If the compelling stories of Genesis and Exodus virtually tell themselves, Leviticus is a different case: it is where the terms of the contract between God and his chosen people are spelled out for posterity in meticulous detail. Some find it technical and uninspiring; others revel in the ritual. I embraced Leviticus as a challenge and chose to illuminate it in black and gold, and with multiple shades of grey to reflect the nuanced interpretations of the written legal word that are inherent to even the most carefully worded law.

Most of the rules in Leviticus deal with contracts and laws that God imposes on us. There is only one biblical contract in which man also negotiates his terms: the story of Jacob’s Dream, where the word ‘vow’ first appears in the Torah. In this story, the distraught Jacob awakens and pledges to worship God for eternity if He protects, clothes and feeds him, and returns him to his father’s home. I used this Genesis event to illustrate the laws regulating vows as written in Leviticus.  Jacob’s vow also offers a unique insight into man’s faith in God: the expectation that He shall provide the basic needs throughout our journey through life. We may each follow different paths, but our fundamental hopes are the same. 

As I approached the third book, I kept hearing the same comment from everyone. “What are you going to do with Leviticus?” If the compelling stories of Genesis and Exodus virtually tell themselves, Leviticus is a different case: it is where the terms of the contract between God and his chosen people are spelled out for posterity in meticulous detail. Many regard this book of laws as technical, dry and uninspiring.

I embraced Leviticus as a challenge, and chose to illuminate it in black and gold, and in multiple shades of grey to reflect the nuanced interpretations of the written legal word that are inherent to even the most carefully worded law. Drawing on the visual index compiled during work on Genesis and Exodus, I paired the imagery of previously introduced concepts with the now-written law, showing how fundamental issues served as conceptual precedents before formally entering the codex.

My illustrations of Leviticus represent the evolution of law from the basic concept of divine order in the primordial matter of nature described in Genesis to the codex of God’s law for his chosen people as laid down in Leviticus.

The main idea of law is to introduce order in human relationships- between individuals and themselves, between individuals and their surroundings, and between individuals and their God.

Most of the rules in Leviticus deal with contracts and laws that God imposes on us. There is only one biblical contract in which man also negotiates his terms: the story of Jacob’s Dream, where the word vow first appears in the Torah.

In this story, the distraught Jacob awakens and pledges to worship God for eternity if He protects, clothes and feeds him, and returns him to his father’s home. I used this Genesis event to illustrate the laws regulating vows as written in Leviticus. 

Jacob’s vow also offers a unique insight into man’s faith in God: the expectation that He shall provide the basic needs throughout our journey through life. We may each follow different paths, but our fundamental hopes are the same.