Lemuel Dedicated to God, a king whom his mother instructed (Pro 31:1). Nothing is certainly known concerning him. The rabbis identified him with Solomon.
Lentiles (Heb. 'adashim ), a species of vetch (Gen 25:34; Sa2 23:11), common in Syria under the name addas. The red pottage made by Jacob was of lentils (Gen 25:29). They were among the provisions brought to David when he fled from Absalom (Sa2 17:28). It is the Ervum lens of Linnaeus, a leguminous plant which produces a fruit resembling a bean.
Leopard (Heb. namer , so called because spotted, Sol 4:8), was that great spotted feline which anciently infested the mountains of Syria, more appropriately called a panther (Felis pardus). Its fierceness (Isa 11:6), its watching for its prey (Jer 5:6), its swiftness (Hab 1:8), and the spots of its skin (Jer 13:23), are noticed. This word is used symbolically (Dan 7:6; Rev 13:2).
Leprosy (Heb. tsara'ath , a "smiting," a "stroke," because the disease was regarded as a direct providential infliction). This name is from the Greek lepra , by which the Greek physicians designated the disease from its scaliness. We have the description of the disease, as well as the regulations connected with it, in Lev. 13; 14; Num 12:10, etc. There were reckoned six different circumstances under which it might develop itself, (1.) without any apparent cause (Lev 13:2); (2.) its reappearance (Lev 13:9); (3.) from an inflammation (Lev 13:18); (4.) on the head or chin (Lev 13:29); (5.) in white polished spots (Lev 13:38, Lev 13:39); (6.) at the back or in the front of the head (Lev 13:40). Lepers were required to live outside the camp or city (Num 5:1; Num 12:10, etc.). This disease was regarded as an awful punishment from the Lord (Kg2 5:7; Ch2 26:20). (See MIRIAM; GEHAZI; UZZIAH.) This disease "begins with specks on the eyelids and on the palms, gradually spreading over the body, bleaching the hair white wherever they appear, crusting the affected parts with white scales, and causing terrible sores and swellings. From the skin the disease eats inward to the bones, rotting the whole body piecemeal." "In Christ's day no leper could live in a walled town, though he might in an open village. But wherever he was he was required to have his outer garment rent as a sign of deep grief, to go bareheaded, and to cover his beard with his mantle, as if in lamentation at his own virtual death. He had further to warn passers-by to keep away from him, by calling out, 'Unclean! unclean!' nor could he speak to any one, or receive or return a salutation, since in the East this involves an embrace." That the disease was not contagious is evident from the regulations regarding it (Lev 13:12, Lev 13:13, Lev 13:36; Kg2 5:1). Leprosy was "the outward and visible sign of the innermost spiritual corruption; a meet emblem in its small beginnings, its gradual spread, its internal disfigurement, its dissolution little by little of the whole body, of that which corrupts, degrades, and defiles man's inner nature, and renders him unmeet to enter the presence of a pure and holy God" (Maclear's Handbook O.T). Our Lord cured lepers (Mat 8:2, Mat 8:3; Mar 1:40). This divine power so manifested illustrates his gracious dealings with men in curing the leprosy of the soul the fatal taint of sin.
Letter In Rom 2:27, Rom 2:29 means the outward form. The "oldness of the letter" (Rom 7:6) is a phrase which denotes the old way of literal outward obedience to the law as a system of mere external rules of conduct. In Co2 3:6, "the letter" means the Mosaic law as a written law. (See WRITING.)
Leummim Peoples; nations, the last mentioned of the three sons of Dedan, and head of an Arabian tribe (Gen 25:3).
Levi Adhesion. (1.) The third son of Jacob by Leah. The origin of the name is found in Leah's words (Gen 29:34), "This time will my husband be joined [Heb. yillaveh ] unto me." He is mentioned as taking a prominent part in avenging his sister Dinah (Gen 34:25). He and his three sons went down with Jacob (Gen 46:11) into Egypt, where he died at the age of one hundred and thirty-seven years (Exo 6:16). (2.) The father of Matthat, and son of Simeon, of the ancestors of Christ (Luk 3:29). (3.) Luk 3:24. (4.) One of the apostles, the son of Alphaeus (Mar 2:14; Luk 5:27, Luk 5:29), called also Matthew (Mat 9:9).
Leviathan A transliterated Hebrew word (livyathan), meaning "twisted," "coiled." In Job 3:8, Revised Version, and marg. of Authorized Version, it denotes the dragon which, according to Eastern tradition, is an enemy of light; in Job 41:1 the crocodile is meant; in Psa 104:26 it "denotes any large animal that moves by writhing or wriggling the body, the whale, the monsters of the deep." This word is also used figuratively for a cruel enemy, as some think "the Egyptian host, crushed by the divine power, and cast on the shores of the Red Sea" (Psa 74:14). As used in Isa 27:1, "leviathan the piercing [R.V. 'swift'] serpent, even leviathan that crooked [R.V. marg. 'winding'] serpent," the word may probably denote the two empires, the Assyrian and the Babylonian.
Levirate Law From Latin levir , "a husband's brother," the name of an ancient custom ordained by Moses, by which, when an Israelite died without issue, his surviving brother was required to marry the widow, so as to continue his brother's family through the son that might be born of that marriage (Gen 38:8; Deu 25:5; compare Ruth 3; Rut 4:10). Its object was "to raise up seed to the departed brother."
Levite A descendant of the tribe of Levi (Exo 6:25; Lev 25:32; Num 35:2; Jos 21:3, Jos 21:41). This name is, however, generally used as the title of that portion of the tribe which was set apart for the subordinate offices of the sanctuary service (Kg1 8:4; Ezr 2:70), as assistants to the priests. When the Israelites left Egypt, the ancient manner of worship was still observed by them, the eldest son of each house inheriting the priest's office. At Sinai the first change in this ancient practice was made. A hereditary priesthood in the family of Aaron was then instituted (Exo 28:1). But it was not till that terrible scene in connection with the sin of the golden calf that the tribe of Levi stood apart and began to occupy a distinct position (Ex. 32). The religious primogeniture was then conferred on this tribe, which henceforth was devoted to the service of the sanctuary (Num 3:11). They were selected for this purpose because of their zeal for the glory of God (Exo 32:26), and because, as the tribe to which Moses and Aaron belonged, they would naturally stand by the lawgiver in his work. The Levitical order consisted of all the descendants of Levi's three sons, Gershon, Kohath, and Merari; whilst Aaron, Amram's son (Amram, son of Kohat), and his issue constituted the priestly order. The age and qualification for Levitical service are specified in Num 4:3, Num 4:23, Num 4:30, Num 4:39, Num 4:43, Num 4:47. They were not included among the armies of Israel (Num 1:47; Num 2:33; Num 26:62), but were reckoned by themselves. They were the special guardians of the tabernacle (Num 1:51; Num 18:22). The Gershonites pitched their tents on the west of the tabernacle (Num 3:23), the Kohathites on the south (Num 3:29), the Merarites on the north (Num 3:35), and the priests on the east (Num 3:38). It was their duty to move the tent and carry the parts of the sacred structure from place to place. They were given to Aaron and his sons the priests to wait upon them and do work for them at the sanctuary services (Num 8:19; Num 18:2). As being wholly consecrated to the service of the Lord, they had no territorial possessions. Jehovah was their inheritance (Num 18:20; Num 26:62; Deu 10:9; Deu 18:1, Deu 18:2), and for their support it was ordained that they should receive from the other tribes the tithes of the produce of the land. Forty-eight cities also were assigned to them, thirteen of which were for the priests "to dwell in", i.e., along with their other inhabitants. Along with their dwellings they had "suburbs", i.e., "commons", for their herds and flocks, and also fields and vineyards (Num 35:2). Nine of these cities were in Judah, three in Naphtali, and four in each of the other tribes (Josh. 21). Six of the Levitical cities were set apart as "cities of refuge" (q.v.). Thus the Levites were scattered among the tribes to keep alive among them the knowledge and service of God. (See PRIEST.)