This chapter is more priestly rules/laws that Aaron & his descendants. Because in ancient Judaism, the priesthood was a hereditary position. Meaning that it passed from, in this case, father to son. (Even though I’ve always wondered what would’ve happened if there were no males born in a generation. It’s happened. It has actually happened to my family, in real life!) This chapter also includes unacceptable sacrifices. I hope y’all enjoy the read!
God continues in this chapter to tell Moses more priestly rules/laws. Here they are:
Aaron & his sons are to treat the sacred offerings, that the Israelites consecrate to God, with respect. So they won’t profane God’s holy name.
For generations to come, if any of Aaron’s descendants is ceremonially unclean & yet comes near the sacred offerings that the Israelites consecrate to God. That person must be excommunicated.
If a descendant of Aaron has infectious skin disease or bodily discharge, he mustn’t eat the sacred offerings until he’s cleansed. He’ll also be unclean if he touches somethings defiled by a corpse, by anyone who has an “emission of semen, if he touches any crawling thing that makes him unclean, any person who makes him unclean, or any person who makes him unclean, whatever the uncleanness is. The one who touches any such thing will be unclean til evening. He mustn’t eat any of the sacred offerings unless he’s taken a ritual bath. When the sun goes down, he’ll be clean. After that, he can eat the sacred offerings. He mustn’t eat anything found dead or torn by a wild animal, so becoming unclean through it.
The priests had to keep God’s requirements so they don’t become guilty & die for treating them with contempt.
No one outside the priest’s family may eat the sacred offerings. Their guests or hired worker can’t eat it either. But if a priest buys a slave with money (It says money specifically because you could trade for a slave or acquire a slave other than by money.), or if a slave is born in the priest’s household, that slave may eat his food. If a priest’s daughter marries anyone other than a priest, she may NOT eat any of the sacred contributions. But if a priest’s daughter becomes a widow or is divorced (which didn’t really happen back then), has no kids, & returns to her dad’s house, she can eat of her dad’s food. No “unauthorized” person may eat any of it.
If anyone eats a sacred offering by mistake (don’t know how that could happen), he must make restitution to the priest for the offering. Plus add 1/5 of the value to it.
The priests mustn’t desecrate the sacred offerings made by the Israelites to God by allowing them to eat the sacred offerings. So bringing on them guilt requiring payment.
Now we’ll be getting into the unacceptable sacrifices. Here we go.
God says to Moses: If anyone, either Israelite or a foreigner, presents a ‘gift’ for a burnt offering to God, either to fulfill a vow or freewill offering, they HAD to bring a male, without defect, cattle, sheep, or goats. In order that it may be accepted on their behalf. Defects in the animal would nullify their offering.
Don’t offer God the blind, injured, maimed, anything with warts, festering or running sores. Don’t place any of these on the altar as an offering to God by fire. However, you may offer as a freewill offering an ox or sheep that’s deformed or stunted. But it’ll not be accepted in fulfillment of a vow. (I know what it just said!) They can’t offer God an animal whose testicles are bruised, crushed, torn, or cut. Can’t do this on your own land. They couldn’t do it on their own land. And couldn’t accept such animals from the hands of a foreigner & offer them as the food of “your” God. They’ll not be accepted on their behalf because they’re deformed & are defective.
When a calf, lamb, or goat is born, it’s to remain with its mom for 7 days. (I’m telling you, the people who came up the movie ‘The Ring’ must’ve read the bible A LOT!) From the 8th day on, it’s fair game to be a sacrifice to God, by fire. Don’t slaughter a cow or sheep & its young on the same day. It must be eaten that same day. They couldn’t leave any of it till morning.
In verse 32 of this chapter has an interesting sequence of words: “Do not profane my holy name. I [God] must be acknowledged as holy by the Israelites…”
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