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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Leviticus

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Leviticus 17: Eating Blood Forbidden

 

v.1,2 Introductory call to hear

v,3,4 Sacrifices to be made ONLY at the Tabernacle

v.5-7 Sacrifices to be according to the Law, not to idols

v.8-10 Lawbreakers will be cut off

v.11-14 The Life Principle reiterated three times

v.15,16 Beware Uncleanness.

 

 

v.1,2 Introductory call to hear

 

v.1 The Lord said to Moses,

v.2 “Speak to Aaron and his sons and to all the Israelites and say to them: ‘This is what the Lord has commanded:

 

[Notes: The instructions about blood clearly have God-origin.]

 

 

v,3,4 Sacrifices to be made ONLY at the Tabernacle

 

v.3 Any Israelite who sacrifices an ox, a lamb or a goat in the camp or outside of it

v.4 instead of bringing it to the entrance to the tent of meeting to present it as an offering to the Lord in front of the tabernacle of the Lord—that person shall be considered guilty of bloodshed; they have shed blood and must be cut off from their people.

 

[Notes: The key prohibition seems to be in the word ‘sacrifices'. Some suggest that any killing of animals was prohibited but that would go against God's statement much earlier in the Bible that was set down as a general principle: “Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it.” (Gen 9:3,4) This instruction [v.3,4] would be to stop casual sacrifices leading to idolatry. See below.]

 

 

v.5-7 Sacrifices to be according to the Law, not to idols

 

v.5 This is so the Israelites will bring to the Lord the sacrifices they are now making in the open fields. They must bring them to the priest, that is, to the Lord, at the entrance to the tent of meeting and sacrifice them as fellowship offerings.

v.6 The priest is to splash the blood against the altar of the Lord at the entrance to the tent of meeting and burn the fat as an aroma pleasing to the Lord.

v.7 They must no longer offer any of their sacrifices to the goat idols to whom they prostitute themselves. This is to be a lasting ordinance for them and for the generations to come.'

 

[Notes: These verses reveal a practice already in operation of people sacrificing animals to God in the fields and were obviously sinking into idol worship which had to be stopped.]

 

 

v.8-10 Lawbreakers will be cut off

 

v.8 “Say to them: ‘Any Israelite or any foreigner residing among them who offers a burnt offering or sacrifice

v.9 and does not bring it to the entrance to the tent of meeting to sacrifice it to the Lord must be cut off from the people of Israel.

v.10 “‘I will set my face against any Israelite or any foreigner residing among them who eats blood, and I will cut them off from the people.

 

[Notes: Anyone offering a burnt offering or other sacrifice NOT at the Tabernacle to be cut off.]

 

 

v.11-14 The Life Principle reiterated three times

 

v.11 For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life.

v.12 Therefore I say to the Israelites, “None of you may eat blood, nor may any foreigner residing among you eat blood.”

v.13 “‘Any Israelite or any foreigner residing among you who hunts any animal or bird that may be eaten must drain out the blood and cover it with earth,

v.14 because the life of every creature is its blood. That is why I have said to the Israelites, “You must not eat the blood of any creature, because the life of every creature is its blood; anyone who eats it must be cut off.”

 

[Notes: Today we would say that life is observed by brain activity and heart activity. When the heart stops for any length of time without mechanical support, life ceases. In that respect life is maintained by the blood passing through the heart. Perhaps as a means of honouring that aspect of God's design for mot living creatures, this principle is strongly laid out three times in these four verses, confirming God's words in Gen 9:4. Blood might also be used by pagan cultures for pagan practices and so ensuring no blood in the meat should distinguish Israel from other nations.]

 

 

v.15,16 Beware Uncleanness.

 

v.15 “‘Anyone, whether native-born or foreigner, who eats anything found dead or torn by wild animals must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be ceremonially unclean till evening; then they will be clean.

v.16 But if they do not wash their clothes and bathe themselves, they will be held responsible.'”

 

[Notes: Eating animals found already dead was prohibited without rigorous cleansing.]

       

    

CONTINUE TO CHAPTER 18