I think the title of Leviticus 17 is my favorite title of any chapter thus far in the Bible. God has made it very clear that He requires you to spread blood around in certain situations, mainly to cleanse yourself of sin. However, apparently God now wants to make it very clear that eating blood is clearly forbidden. God is no fan of vampires. 🙂
“Any Israelite who sacrifices an ox, a lamb or a goat in the camp or outside of it 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.” – Leviticus 17:3-4
You can’t sacrifice an animal to God just anywhere. The sacrifice must take place in a specific location or it won’t count. God is petty that way. He’s all-knowing and should know your intentions, but either He doesn’t or He ignores your best intentions. If you’re too weak to carry the animal to the specific altar, too bad for you, your loving intention toward God doesn’t count.
“Any Israelite or any foreigner residing among them who offers a burnt offering or sacrifice 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.” – Leviticus 17:8-9
You may be a foreigner unaware of the local customs and you may have full love for God, but if you sacrifice that animal in the wrong place, sucks to be you. You are punished and banished from the town. That’s the love God shows you in return for your love to Him.
“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. 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. Therefore I say to the Israelites, ‘None of you may eat blood, nor may any foreigner residing among you eat blood.’” – Leviticus 17:10-12
The blood is the life of a creature. It’s okay to kill a creature and spread its blood all over an altar, but don’t you dare eat or drink that blood! Spreading it inside your body is bad. Spreading it on an altar is good. Um…okay.
“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. But if they do not wash their clothes and bathe themselves, they will be held responsible.” – Leviticus 17:15-16
God, however, provides a loophole to the no eating blood law. If you do eat blood, you can still be clean if you take a bath. That’s it. Take a bath and you are okay. Don’t take that bath and don’t launder your clothes and you will be punished!
No one said God had to make sense and Leviticus 17 is another example of God making little to no sense. The Bible is supposed to be the most holy of books because it is the word of God. If by holy one means weird and crazy, okay, I agree, the Bible is the most holy of books! 🙂
Coming Soon: Leviticus – Chapter 18: Unlawful Sexual Relations