I would love to hear what you’re discovering in your voyage through this chapter. In the meantime…
In the creation story G-d brings order and stability out of chaos by dividing what needs to be kept apart, e.g., earth and sea. Distinguishing (dividing) is core to the priests’ job description, e.g., Leviticus 10:10. In this chapter, dividing (distinguishing, separating) turns out to be core to everyone’s job description. But what should be divided, what not divided? Here’s where the discovery, the surprises come.
“When you come into the land and plant all kinds of trees for fruit…” (vv.23-25)—so distinguish between the times to abstain, the times to offer, the times to consume.
“Do not profane your daughter by making her a prostitute” (v.29)—so parental decisions re children’s vocations should be divided into the proper and improper, with ‘to profane’ strikingly applied to persons!
“The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you” (v.34). So distinguishing between the citizen and the alien is not OK?
Newly freed slaves with lots to unlearn. Thankfully, we have the gift of time.