Leviticus 17


וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר   17:1

Levi. 17:1  And the Lord spoke to Moses saying,

דַּבֵּר אֶל־אַהֲרֹן וְאֶל־בָּנָיו וְאֶל כָּל־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵיהֶם זֶה הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר־צִוָּה יְהוָה לֵאמֹר   17:2

Levi. 17:2  “Speak to Aaron and to his sons and to all the children of Israel and you shall say to them, ‘This is the thing that the Lord has commanded saying,’”

אִישׁ אִישׁ מִבֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר יִשְׁחַט שֹׁור אֹו־כֶשֶׂב אֹו־עֵז בַּמַּחֲנֶה אֹו אֲשֶׁר יִשְׁחַט מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה   17:3

Levi. 17:3  “Each man from the house of Israel who might kill a bullock or a lamb or a goat in the camp or who might kill outside the camp,

וְאֶל־פֶּתַח אֹהֶל מֹועֵד לֹא הֱבִיאֹו לְהַקְרִיב קָרְבָּן לַיהוָה לִפְנֵי מִשְׁכַּן יְהוָה דָּם יֵחָשֵׁב לָאִישׁ הַהוּא   17:4

דָּם שָׁפָךְ וְנִכְרַת הָאִישׁ הַהוּא מִקֶּרֶב עַמֹּו

Levi. 17:4  and does not bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting to present an offering to the Lord before the Tabernacle of the Lord, blood shall be imputed to that man.  Blood is spilled and that man shall be cut off from among his people,

לְמַעַן אֲשֶׁר יָבִיאוּ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת־זִבְחֵיהֶם אֲשֶׁר הֵם זֹבְחִים עַל־פְּנֵי הַשָּׂדֶה וֶהֱבִיאֻם לַיהוָה   17:5

אֶל־פֶּתַח אֹהֶל מֹועֵד אֶל־הַכֹּהֵן וְזָבְחוּ זִבְחֵי שְׁלָמִים לַיהוָה אֹותָם

Levi. 17:5  because the children of Israel must bring their sacrifices that they are sacrificing on the edge of the field, and they must bring them to the Lord, to the entrance of the tent of meeting, to the priest, and sacrifice them, peace offerings to the Lord.”

These three verses, Levi.17:3-5, provide us with a very interesting insight.  Offerings need not be slaughtered at the tent of meeting.  They may be slaughtered anywhere as long as they are then brought to the priests.

וְזָרַק הַכֹּהֵן אֶת־הַדָּם עַל־מִזְבַּח יְהוָה פֶּתַח אֹהֶל מֹועֵד וְהִקְטִיר הַחֵלֶב לְרֵיחַ נִיחֹחַ לַיהוָה   17:6

Levi. 17:6  “And the priest shall sprinkle the blood on the altar of the Lord at the entrance of the tent of meeting and shall make the fat smoke for a sweet scent to the Lord.”

וְלֹא־יִזְבְּחוּ עֹוד אֶת־זִבְחֵיהֶם לַשְּׂעִירִם אֲשֶׁר הֵם זֹנִים אַחֲרֵיהֶם חֻקַּת עֹולָם תִּהְיֶה־זֹּאת לָהֶם    17:7


Levi. 17:7  “So no more shall they sacrifice their sacrifices to the satyrs after which they had been going astray.  This shall be an everlasting statute for them for their generations.”

The first part of this verse seems to say the same thing that vss. 17:3 to 17:5 say, but in a very different way.  Satyrs, I imagine, are the field and forest gods of the pagans.  So it looks like God equates the killing of an animal in the field that is fit for sacrifice to pagan worship.  And apparently the children of Israel had been doing this before the exodus from Egypt. In addition, they apparently had to do it in the wilderness; they had to kill the quail that God had provided for them.

וַאֲלֵהֶם תֹּאמַר אִישׁ אִישׁ מִבֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל וּמִן־הַגֵּר אֲשֶׁר־יָגוּר בְּתֹוכָם אֲשֶׁר־יַעֲלֶה עֹלָה אֹו־זָבַח   17:8

Levi. 17:8  “And you shall say to them, ‘Each man from the house of Israel or from a stranger who will sojourn in your midst who shall offer a burnt offering or a sacrifice,

וְאֶל־פֶּתַח אֹהֶל מֹועֵד לֹא יְבִיאֶנּוּ לַעֲשֹׂות אֹתֹו לַיהוָה וְנִכְרַת הָאִישׁ הַהוּא מֵעַמָּיו   17:9

Levi. 17:9  and will not have brought it to the entrance of the tent of meeting to offer it to the Lord, then that man shall be cut off from his people.”

Verse 17:8 provides us with some additional insight into the discussion that accompanies Levi. 16:29 concerning the stranger sojourning in the midst of the people.  Notice that even a stranger among the Jews must follow the Commandments of the Lord or he will be cut off from his people.  But who are his people?  I assume his people are of the same kind as our people -- that is, his ancestors.

וְאִישׁ אִישׁ מִבֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל וּמִן־הַגֵּר הַגָּר בְּתֹוכָם אֲשֶׁר יֹאכַל כָּל־דָּם וְנָתַתִּי פָנַי בַּנֶּפֶשׁ הָאֹכֶלֶת    17:10

אֶת־הַדָּם וְהִכְרַתִּי אֹתָהּ מִקֶּרֶב עַמָּהּ

Levi. 17:10   “And each man from the house of Israel or from a stranger sojourning in their midst who might eat any blood, then I will direct My anger to the soul of the one eating the blood and cut it off from the midst of its people.”

כִּי נֶפֶשׁ הַבָּשָׂר בַּדָּם הִוא וַאֲנִי נְתַתִּיו לָכֶם עַל־הַמִּזְבֵּחַ לְכַפֵּר עַל־נַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶם כִּי־הַדָּם הוּא בַּנֶּפֶשׁ   17:11


Levi. 17:11   “For the soul of the flesh, it is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for the blood, it is with the soul; it shall make atonement.”

From this verse, we are to understand why we are not to eat the blood.  It is with the soul, and the Lord has given it to us to make atonement for our souls.  Taking this one step further, it seems that the soul that eats the blood circumvents atonement for that soul, thereby cutting itself off from the midst of its people.

עַל־כֵּן אָמַרְתִּי לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל כָּל־נֶפֶשׁ םִכֶּם לֹא־תֹאכַל דָּם וְהַגֵּר הַגָּר בְּתֹוכְכֶם לֹא־יֹאכַל דָּם   17:12

Levi. 17:12   “Therefore I say to the children of Israel, ‘No soul from you shall eat blood, and no stranger sojourning among you shall eat blood.”

The first part of this verse is superseded by Levi. 7:26.  The second part applies to a stranger and is new.

וְאִישׁ אִישׁ מִבְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וּמִן־הַגֵּר הַגָּר בְּתֹוכָם אֲשֶׁר יָצוּד צֵיד חַיָּה אֹו־עֹוף אֲשֶׁר יֵאָכֵל וְשָׁפַךְ   17:13

אֶת־דָּמֹו וְכִסָּהוּ בֶּעָפָר

Levi. 17:13   “And each man from the children of Israel or from the stranger sojourning among you who might go hunting beast or fowl that may be eaten, then he shall pour out its blood and cover it with earth.”

This verse clarifies an aspect of kashrut, that is, of the kosher laws.  A wild beast or bird that is hunted down and killed and which may be eaten (because it conforms to the descriptions in Leviticus 11) need not be ritually slaughtered.  It is kosher, as long as its blood is spilled out and covered with earth.

כִּי־נֶפֶשׁ כָּל־בָּשָׂר דָּמֹו בְנַפְשֹׁו הוּא וָאֹמַר לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל דַּם כָּל־בָּשָׂר לֹא תֹאכֵלוּ כִּי נֶפֶשׁ כָּל־בָּשָׂר   17:14

דָּמֹו הִוא כָּל־אֹכְלָיו יִכָּרֵת

Levi. 17:14   “For the soul of all flesh is its blood.  It is with its soul.  So I shall say to the children of Israel, ‘The blood of no flesh shall you eat, for the soul of all flesh, it is its blood; any one eating it shall be cut off.’”

The eighth word in this verse, translated by me as So I shall say, could be a first-person imperfect verb with a non-inverting vav.  But it could also be one of the ten errors pertaining to this type of word in which the vav is intended to be inverting.  The reason for this latter possibility is that in v. 17:12 the Lord unequivocally says I say.

וְכָל־נֶפֶשׁ אֲשֶׁר תֹּאכַל נְבֵלָה וּטְרֵפָה בָּאֶזְרָח וּבַגֵּר וְכִבֶּס בְּגָדָיו וְרָחַץ בַּמַּיִם וְטָמֵא עַד־הָעֶרֶב   17:15


Levi. 17:15   “And any soul who shall eat that which died by itself or which was torn by beasts, whether home-born or a stranger, then he shall wash his clothes and bathe in water, and be unclean till the evening; then he shall be clean.”

The command in this verse is substantially what was stated in Levi. 11:39 and 11:40 and is not a new command, although here the stranger is included while there carrying the beast is equivalent to eating it.

וְאִם לֹא יְכַבֵּס וּבְשָׂרֹו לֹא יִרְחָץ וְנָשָׂא עֲוֹנֹו   17:16

Levi. 17:16   “But if he will not wash or will not bathe his flesh, then he shall bear his iniquity.”

Torah Commandments in this Chapter

189. One slaughtering an animal that is fit for sacrifice outside the

        Tabernacle/Temple courtyard must bring it to the priests.   V. 17:3,4

190  The priest shall sprinkle the blood of the sacrifice on the altar.   V. 17:5

191.  You shall not sacrifice your offerings to pagan gods.   V. 17:7

192.  He (of the children of Israel or a stranger sojourning with them) who hunts any

         animal that may be eaten shall pour out the blood and cover it with earth.  V. Levi. 17:13

193.  Anyone eating an animal that died by itself or was torn by beasts shall

         wash his clothes and bathe in water and be unclean until evening.   V. 17:14


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