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Friday, September 22nd, 2023
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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Bible Commentaries
Leviticus 17

Barnes' Notes on the Whole BibleBarnes' Notes

Verse 1

This chapter, in its immediate bearing on the daily life of the Israelites, stands as the first of four Lev. 17–20 which set forth practical duties, directing the Israelites to walk, not in the way of the pagan, but according to the ordinances of Yahweh.

Verses 3-7

Devils - The word in the original is the “shaggy goat” of Leviticus 4:23. But it is sometimes employed, as here, to denote an object of pagan worship or a demon dwelling in the deserts 2 Chronicles 11:15; Isaiah 13:21; Isaiah 34:14. The worship of the goat, accompanied by the foulest rites, prevailed in Lower Egypt; and the Israelites may have been led into this snare while they dwelt in Egypt.

This law for the slaughtering of animals was not merely to exclude idolatry from the chosen nation. It had a more positive and permanent purpose. It bore witness to the sanctity of life: it served to remind the people of the solemnity of the grant of the lives of all inferior creatures made to Noah Genesis 9:2-3; it purged and directed toward Yahweh the feelings in respect to animal food which seem to be common to man’s nature; and it connected a habit of thanksgiving with the maintenance of our human life by means of daily food. 1 Timothy 4:3-5. Having acknowledged that the animal belonged to Yahweh the devout Hebrew received back its flesh as Yahweh’s gift.

Verse 8

The strangers which sojourn - The foreigners who dwell. See Leviticus 16:29 note.

Or sacrifice - i. e., a slaughtered offering of any kind, generally a peace-offering.

Verses 10-14

Rather, For the soul of all flesh is its blood with its soul (i. e. its blood and soul together): therefore spake I to the children of Israel, Ye shall not eat the blood of any flesh, for the soul of all flesh is its blood, etc.

Verse 15

This law appears to be grounded on the fact that the body of an animal killed by a wild beast, or which has died of itself, still retains a great portion of its blood. The importance ascribed to this law in later times may be seen in 1 Samuel 14:32-35; Ezekiel 4:14; Ezekiel 44:31, and still more in the apostolic decision regarding “things strangled,” which are pointedly connected with blood Acts 15:20.

Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Leviticus 17". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnb/leviticus-17.html. 1870.
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