The Book of Leviticus, Chapter 17

This chapter is about the ancient Jewish community being forbidden eating blood. Yep, this one about to get a little gross. But it also has medicinal applications too. It’s a really short chapter. I hope everyone enjoys this read.

God tells Moses to talk to Aaron & Aaron’s sons plus all of the Israelites. This is what God tells Moses to say to all of them:

Any Israelite who sacrifices an ox, lamb, or goat in or outside of the camp instead of bringing it the entrance of the Tent (of Meeting) to present it before God, in front of the tabernacle of God, that person will be deemed guilty of bloodshed. (I have to say this is pretty progressive! GO ancient Jews! This is animal rights in its finest form. They didn’t want people just willy nilly killing animals, just for the sake of killing animals. There was a time & a place for that stuff.) This person has shed blood & “must be cut off from their people.” (Means excommunicated.) They HAD to bring their sacrifices to the priest, & ergo, to God. And they HAD to bring it to the entrance of the Tent. They had to sacrifice them as a fellowship/peace offerings. The priest is to sprinkle the blood against the altar of God at the entrance to the Tent. Plus burn the fat.

The reason for this is: So that the Israelites will bring to God the sacrifices they’re now making in the open fields. (God wanted the Israelites to have structure. That they were going to sacrifice only to Him & not to the field gods of their ancestors or neighbors.) They must NO LONGER offer any sacrifices to the “goat idols” to “whom they prostitute themselves.” (I can’t make this stuff up!!)

This rule is to go to EVERYONE living with the Israelites. Israelite, alien/foreigner, slave, servant, you get the idea. And ALL of them who broke this rule was excommunicated. (So think about that. If you were a slave & you’re whole family were slaves too, & you were excommunicated. You could never see your family again. Couldn’t talk to them, kids couldn’t see you. Nothing. Excommunication back then wasn’t like it being done today. They made you go away from the camp. Far away.)

Any Israelite or foreigner living in the Israelite community who eats blood, God will set His face against this person & will excommunicate them. (The text says: “…cut them off from his people.”) (Here comes something interesting. And will come back around again. It’s a theme.) For the life of a creature (some include people in this) is in the blood, & God has given it (the blood) to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar.

Any Israelite or foreigner living with you who hunts any animal or bird that may be eaten MUST drain out the blood & cover the blood with earth/dirt. Because the life of every creature is its blood.

Anyone, Israelite or foreigner, who eats anything dead or torn by wild animals must wash his clothes & take a bath. They’ll be ceremonially unclean until evening. (My question is: how is anyone gonna find out? Is God gonna tattle on me? Are they gonna suffer the same fate as Aaron’s sons?) Then they’ll be clean. But if they don’t wash their clothes & bathe themselves, they’ll be held responsible. (It doesn’t say how they’ll be held responsible.)

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