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

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-16

Leviticus 17:3. Killeth an ox; not for the purpose of eating, but for sacrifice. The object of this precept was first to prevent idolatry, and next to support the religion appointed of God to shadow forth the glory of Christ. But the precept was not absolute. Samuel offered sacrifice in Mizpeh, David at Araunah’s, and Elijah on mount Carmel.

Leviticus 17:7. Devils. לשׂעירם literally, beings full of hair, as the goats worshipped in Egypt; figuratively, fawns and satyrs of every kind which the imagination can paint. It was under a thousand vain figures in which the idols were made, that Satan availed himself, to draw the worship of men wholly to himself. Our version reads “devils,” as the Vulgate; and St. Paul calls the cup of idols “the cup of devils,” to which they offered blood. Israel being now married to the Lord, such worship would be spiritual fornication or adultery.

Leviticus 17:11. The life of the flesh is in the blood. Death, and deadness of a limb, follow obstructions of circulation in the blood. The ancients knew this fact, lately adopted in modern science, that animal life flows in the blood. Blood is ceremonially forbidden, for the gentiles drank the blood of their enemies, and offered libations of it to their idols. Genesis 9:0. Psalms 16:3.


The Lord as sovereign of the universe and giver of life, has a right to command, without being accountable to his creatures; but he is so gracious and condescending, that he not only governs his rational creatures by the wisest of laws, but deigns to assign a reason, in one place or other, for almost every precept. The uniform character of revelation is to preserve us from sin, and to make us holy and happy. In appointing his holy sanctuary as the only place of sacrifice, oblation and atonement, there was a cause of the most weighty kind; there being but one Mediator between God and men, but one altar, the cross; but one laver, regeneration; but one mercy-seat, the throne of grace; and but one Holy Spirit, by whom we have access to the Father through the Son of his love. Let us therefore revere the smallest of his precepts, that our persons and our services may be accepted of the Lord.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Leviticus 17". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/leviticus-17.html. 1835.
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