Order of Contents
The Best Commentaries on Leviticus
Bonar, Andrew – A Commentary on the Book of Leviticus, Expository and Practical, with Critical Notes 1861 520 pp.
Bonar (1810–1892) was a minister in th Free Church of Scotland.
*** – ‘Very precious. Mr. Andrew Bonar has a keen eye for a typical analogy, but he always keeps the rein upon his imagination, and is therefore safe to follow. He is a master in Israel.’ – Spurgeon
Bush was a Biblical scholar, a professor of oriental literature in New York City University, and initially a presbyterian minister.
“Two works on Leviticus are deserving of continuous study. These are by George Bush and Samuel Kellogg. While other treatments may from time to time appear, they will invariably prove to be less satisfying.” – Cyril J. Barber
*** – ‘The author read extensively to produce this volume. In his later years he became a Swedenborgian, but there is no trace of that leaning in this or his other comments. He inserts the notes of the Pictorial Bible, but handsomely acknowledges them.’
Kellogg, S.H. – The Book of Leviticus 1891 565 pp.
“Of the commentaries on Leviticus, few can compare with the one by Samuel Kellogg (1839-1899). An American Presbyterian scholar and missionary, Dr. Kellogg wrote on a variety of themes. Now that he has passed on to his reward, his writings, and particularly his exposition on the third book of Moses, have become his greatest legacy.
In his treatment of the ‘law of the priests’, Samuel Kellogg deals with the origin and growth of divine revelation, and interprets what Moses penned in the light of the circumstances in which the sons of Israel found themselves while in the desert. He is aware of the typology of the Tabernacle and its services, but wisely waits until he has treated the need for holiness and the place of sacrifice before showing how the ritual and service of the sanctuary prefigured the character and death of Christ.
Dr. Kellogg also deals objectively and fairly with the laws governing the daily lives of God’s people-a people only recently emancipated from slavery and only now beginning to learn what it meant to be free. Even here his application of biblical truth is based upon accurate interpretation, so much so that the provision for and importance of cleansing form the defilement of sin is made to parallel graphically the teaching of the New Testament.
Two works on Leviticus are deserving of continuous study. These are by George Bush and Samuel Kellogg. While other treatments may from time to time appear, they will invariably prove to be less satisfying.” – Cyril J. Barber
Murphy, James – A Critical & Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Leviticus with a New Translation (1872)
Murphy was an evangelical professor of Hebrew in Belfast, Ireland. Spurgeon gave his highest rating to Murphy’s commentaries on Genesis, Exodus and the Psalms, though Spurgeon does not mention this particular work.
‘Combines a devotional emphasis with sound exegesis.’ – Cyril J. Barber
Poole, Matthew – Critical Synopsis of the Bible: Leviticus Buy
This is different and much larger than Poole’s Annotations on Scripture. Here Poole gives something of a history of interpretation (from Jewish writers until Christian interpreters of Poole’s own day) on every verse of the Bible.
‘…you will find in Poole’s Synopsis a marvelous collection of all the wisdom and folly of the critics. It is a large cyclopedia worthy of the days when theologians could be cyclopean, and had not shrunk from folios to octavos. Query—a query for which I will not demand an answer—has one of you beaten the dust from the venerable copy of Poole which loads our library shelves? Yet as Poole spent no less than ten years in compiling it, it should be worthy of your frequent notice—ten years, let me add, spent in Amsterdam in exile for the truth’s sake from his native land. His work is based on an earlier compilation entitled Critic Sacri, containing the concentrated light of a constellation of learned men who have never been excelled in any age or country.’ – Spurgeon
More Commentaries on Leviticus
Devotional & Practical
** “For popular reading. The author wrote too much to be profound.” – Spurgeon
** “A companion to the volume last mentioned.” – Spurgeon
Payne, J. Barton – ‘Leviticus’ in The Biblical Expositor: The Living Theme of the Great Book with General and Introductory Essays & Exposition, vol. 1 Buy ed. Carl Henry (1960)
This little known commentary set by leading evangelicals (many of which were reformed) is brief (think airplane view) but helpful. Payne, who was reformed, wrote a theology on the Old Testament through the outline of the structure of the Covenant, at the recommendation of Professor John Murray.
Babington, Gervase – Certain Plain, Brief and Comfortable Notes upon Exodus & Leviticus also in Works (d. 1610)
Willet, Andrew – A Six-fold Commentary upon the Third Book of Moses, called Leviticus (d. 1621)
** “Plodding along with his six-fold load, Willet gives us a comparison of ten versions, ‘handles well nigh two thousand theological questions,’ and quotes ‘above forty authors, old and new.’ He sums up all preceding commentaries, both Protestant and Romish.” – Spurgeon
Mackintosh, Charles H. – Notes on the Book of Leviticus (1860)
** “We do not endorse the Plymouthism which pervades these notes, but they are frequently suggestive. Should be read cautiously.” – Spurgeon
Moorehead, William – Studies in the Mosaic Institutes (1895) 276 pp.
“An edifying study by one of the great evangelical scholars of the past century.” – Cyril J. Barber
Patrick, Simon – A Commentary upon the 3rd Book of Moses, called Leviticus 1698
Patrick (1626-1707) was an Arminian, Latitudinarian Anglican.
Rainsford, Marcus – The Tabernacle in the Wilderness, and the Gospel according to Leviticus Buy (1897) 294 pp. ToC Reprinted by Klock & Klock
Seiss, Joseph – The Gospel in Leviticus, or an Exposition of the Hebrew Ritual (1860)
Seiss (1823–1904) is known for his commentary on Revelation.
** “Twenty-one very admirable lectures, founded upon Bush and Bonar, but containing much original matter. The work deserves attention.” – Spurgeon
‘Expository sermons by a nineteenth-century Lutheran pastor. Although valuable, not as thorough or as helpful as Kellogg’s study in the Expositor’s Bible.’ – Cyril J. Barber
Ibn Ezra – Commentary on Leviticus at Sefaria
Rashi – On Leviticus at Patristic Bible Commentary
The Early Church on Leviticus
* “Darling says, that this is ‘a commentary of profound learning and research;’ but it seems to us to be mainly filled with that archaic learning which is now out of date.” – Spurgeon
Ambrosiaster – Questions & Answers on Leviticus (on Lev. 7:1) at Patristic Bible Commentary
Augustine – Questions on Leviticus (chs. 5-26) at Patristic Bible Commentary
Cyril of Alexandria – bk. 11: ‘Leviticus’ in Glaphyra on the Pentateuch, vol. 2: Exodus – Deuteronomy in Fathers of the Church, vol. 138 Pre (Catholic University of America Press, 2019), pp. 128-67
Cyril (c. 376 – 444)
Theodoret of Cyrus – The Questions on the Octateuch, vol. 2: On Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges & Ruth in Library of Early Christianity Ref (Catholic University of America Press, 2007) 431 pp.
Theodoret (c. AD 393 – c. 458/466)
Grosseteste, Robert – On the Cessation of the [Ceremonial] Laws in The Fathers of the Church: Medieval Continuation (Catholic University of America Press)
On Figures & Types
Guild, William – Moses Unveiled: or Those Figures which Served unto the Pattern and shadow of heavenly things, pointing out the Messiah Christ Jesus, briefly explained; Whereunto is added the harmony of all the prophets, breathing with one mouth the mystery of his coming, and of that redemption which by his death He was to accomplish (1620) 62 pp.
Guild was a Scottish covenanter.
Keach, Benjamin – Tropologia, a Key to Open Scripture Metaphors… together with Types of the Old Testament (d. 1704)
Keach was a calvinistic Baptist at the same church that Spurgeon would later minister at.
** “This is a vast cyclopedia of types and metaphors of all sorts, and was once very popular. It is a capital book, though too often the figures not only run on all-fours but on as many legs as a centipede. It is not strictly upon Leviticus, but we felt bound to insert it in this place.” – Spurgeon
Mather, Samuel – The Figures or Types of the Old Testament, by which Christ & the Heavenly things of the Gospel were Preached & Shadowed to the People of God of Old, Explained & Improved in Sundry Sermons (†1671; 1705) 570 pp.
** – ‘Though this is a work upon all the types, it contains so much instructive matter upon the Levitical sacrifices that we cannot forbear mentioning it here. It is one of the old standard books of our fathers.’ – Spurgeon
On Chapters in Leviticus
Jukes, Andrew – The Law of the Offerings in Leviticus 1-7 considered as the appointed figure of the various aspects of the offering of the Body of Jesus Christ 1st ed. 1854, 1867 230 pp.
*** – ‘A very condensed, instructive, refreshing book. It will open up new trains of thought to those unversed in the teaching of the types.’ – Spurgeon
Newton, Benjamin Wills – Thoughts on Parts of Leviticus (1857) on chs. 1-11
** “This [the first part of it] touches only the first six chapters; but it treats of the offerings in a manner deeply spiritual and helpful. This writer has some peculiarities of style and thought; but in matter and spirit he is far removed from the Darby school.” – Spurgeon
Clapham, Henoch – A Manual of the Bible’s Doctrine for Law & Gospel, Letter & Spirit, sign & thing signified, reduced to the First Chapter of Leviticus: Wherewith (occasionally) be plainly considered and briefly concluded, the most main questions wherewith the Christian churches be combied (London, 1606)
Worden, Thomas – The Leper, and the Leper’s House, Cleansed, being an Exposition upon some part of the 14th Chapter of Leviticus; the Mystery of which is Explained and Applied to the state and condition of a Sinner’s Becoming a Saint, with profitable uses and applications, as also what chapter may be applied to, as to the cleansing or destroying of any particular church of Christ in and under the time of the Gospel… (London, 1695)
We are unable to find any information about Worden.
Pierce (1746-1829) was an English Reformed Baptist.
The Authenticity of Leviticus
Vos, Geerhardus – ch. 16, ‘Internal Evidence of the Mosaic Origin of the Laws in Exodus-Numbers’ in The Mosaic Origin of the Pentateuchal Codes (1886)
Vos (1862-1949) was one of the last conservative theologians at Old Princeton, and is known as the father of reformed Biblical Theology.