Who can the priest marry? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
It’s time to return to our walk through the Bible looking at the topic of divorce and marriage. Today, we’re in Leviticus 21 and this is a long chapter so I urge you to look it up on your device, but it is about the rules of marriage for priests. It’s noteworthy that priests are allowed to marry. That is never called into question. However, there are rules set up about who they can marry.
Someone like myself can wonder what it means when a priest can’t marry someone who is divorced. Of course, I have no desire to marry a priest, but I am divorced. Is something wrong with me? If a woman is divorced, what makes her unacceptable for a priest to marry?
Prostitution I can understand, but even then we could be tempted to say, “Couldn’t this be an example of grace?” Perhaps so, but do we really think Israel was there yet? Israel was still having to learn the basics of following YHWH. If there was any sin Israel fell into, it was sexual sin. This was also connected with idolatry and thus did not need to be even risked being treated as “No big deal.”
So why divorce? The same thing could be going on as well. This was to give the idea of purity entirely. Note that there is a difference when we get to the high priest. A regular priest can marry a widow, but the high priest can’t even do that. The woman he marries must be a virgin.
Why? The high priest must be seen as set apart for one woman and one woman set apart for him. His marriage cannot have any mixture in it whatsoever. Perhaps we can see some foreshadowing of the marriage of Christ one day with His wife who is to be set apart for Him to be pure and pristine.
Someone divorced like myself need not think we’re just being shunned. There is nothing about divorced people not being able to remarry, at least at this point. There will be some stipulations later on, but there is something implicit that a divorced person can remarry. After all, if they couldn’t, it would be obvious that you couldn’t marry a divorced person.
I hope to not lose track of this series, but I am reading some other books and plan some reviews so we’ll see what happens.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)