Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, July 17th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Leviticus 17

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-7


Verses 1-7:

This text does not refer to the slaughtering of animals for food. It denotes a change of dispensation. Prior to the Mosaic Law, the father was the high priest for his family. He could offer sacrifices wherever he chose. But with the institution of the Mosaic Law, the tribe of Levi is designated as the priestly tribe, on behalf of the nation. The Aaronic priesthood replaced the patriarchal system, and all sacrifices were to be brought to the Tabernacle, to be offered by Aaron’s sons.

Another reason for this text is: it would serve to bind Israel as a nation into one body spiritually.

Another factor: God specified certain parts of the sacrificial animals as offerings. Precise instructions accompanied each sacrifice. If the sacrifices were allowed away from the appointed place, there was a real danger that these instructions would not be followed.

Any deviation from Divine law, however small it may be or how expedient it may appear in its inception, inevitably leads to greater violations.

"Devils," sair, "hairy one, goat." The term occurs 59 times in the Old Testament, and is translated "goat" 52 times. It is translated "satyr" in Isa 13:21; 34:14. This suggests that the Israelites borrowed from the Egyptians a pagan worship of goat-like creatures. Herodotus describes the depraved worship of the false god worshipped in this form. The Greek deity Pan had the form of a goat-like creature.

Paul refers to the worship of demon spirits by the Gentiles. Israel frequently adopted this practice. God describes it as spiritual fornication.

Verses 8-9

Verses 8, 9:

Excommunication and expulsion was the penalty for violation of this command. Israel evidently took this seriously, at least for a time, as is indicated by the narrative of Jos 22:10-33.

Verses 10-16

Verses 10-16:

The preceding verses stress the important role of the blood in the sacrifices offered on Israel’s central altar. This is followed by the repetition of the ancient prohibition of eating blood. This was first mandated in Ge 9:4, and is repeated in Le 3:17; 7:26; 19:26; De 12:16; 15:23. Violation of this was to bring excommunication.

The reason for this prohibition: The life is in the blood. That is, the blood is the vehicle which carries life. Blood was required for atonement; hence, the life of the innocent must stand as substitute for the life of the guilty. Thus the command has spiritual significance. The life of Jesus was required as the payment for the sins of mankind, 2Co 5:21;

This injunction applies to God’s people today, as the result of the Jerusalem Council shows, Ac 15:28, 29.

The law required that the blood of a wild animal slain in hunting was to be covered with dust or dirt. This was to prevent the contamination of the land.

An animal which died "of itself," or which was killed by another animal, could be eaten. However, this would cause the one eating to be ceremonial unclean, and he would be required to go through the elaborate ritual of purification.

The prohibition regarding the eating of blood applied alike to the Israelites and to those non-Israelites who lived in their midst.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Leviticus 17". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/leviticus-17.html. 1985.
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