Sharon Wilharm Bible Storyteller

Daughters of Priests

In Leviticus chapters 18-20 Moses goes into explicit detail on laws of morality and purity. He also makes clear the severe penalties for breaking these laws. It’s interesting reading, but I’ll let you read it for yourself. Continuing on in chapter 21, we find the regulations for priests and their families.

The first command is for priests to not defile themselves by touching a dead body except in the case of their nearest relatives – mother, father, son, daughter, brother, or virgin sister. If his sister was married, however, he was not to defile himself for her. If a priest touched a dead body, they would be unclean for seven days, but God understood the need for an exception in the case of immediate family.

The rules continue by ordering that priests were not to marry a harlot or defiled woman nor a woman who was divorced. The priests and their families were to be above reproach, without any suspicion of evil.

If a daughter of a priest played the harlot, she profaned her father, and was to be stoned and then burned.

If the priest was a high priest, he was held to an even higher standard. He could only marry a virgin, not a widow, divorced woman, or defiled woman.

So what does all this mean to us today?

First, we see that even among men of God, family is still a priority. God acknowledged the importance of immediate family.

Then we see the need for priests and their families to be exemplary. Those who are in ministry are held to a higher standard. Of course, being human, they will fall, and God understands that, too. He loves us and wants the best for us.  

Read about daughters of priests in Scripture: Leviticus 21

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