Rules about Blood, and Rules for the Priests
v22 The *LORD said (this) to Moses.
v23 ‘Say this to the *Israelites. “Do not eat any *fat from cows, *bulls, sheep or goats.
v24 (You may find a tame) animal that a wild animal has hurt. (Or you may find) an animal that is already dead. You may use its *fat for any other purpose, but you must not eat it.
v25 Someone may eat the *fat from a type of animal that you may offer on the *altar to the *LORD. (The *LORD) will *cut off that person from his people.
v26 And wherever you live, you must not eat the blood of any bird or animal.
v27 If anyone eats blood, (the *LORD) will *cut off that person from his people” ’.
v28 The *LORD said (this) to Moses.
v29 ‘Say this to the *Israelites. “Anyone who brings a *peace offering to the *LORD must bring part of it. That part is a special gift to the *LORD.
v30 With his own hands, he must bring the *offering that he will make to the *LORD on the fire. He must bring the *fat and the breast. He must wave the breast in front of the *LORD as a *wave offering.
v31 The priest must burn the *fat on the *altar, but the breast belongs to Aaron and his sons.
v32 You must give the right leg of your *peace offerings to the priest. It is your gift to him.
v33 A son of Aaron will offer the blood and the *fat of the *peace offering. He must have the right leg as his share.
v34 I have taken these parts of the *Israelites’ *peace offerings. And I have given these parts to Aaron the priest and to his sons.
· The breast that (the offerer) waves.
· The leg that (the offerer) gives.
These parts will be their regular share from the *Israelites.” ’
v35 This is the share that was for Aaron and his sons. (It was their share) of the *offerings (that people made) to the *LORD on the fire. (The fire was on the *altar.) This happened on the day that (Aaron and his sons) came to the *LORD to serve him as priests.
v36 The *LORD ordered the *Israelites to give them this as their regular share. He did this on the day when they became priests. (The *Israelites had to do this) for all their *descendants (in future centuries).
v37 These are the rules for the *whole offering, *corn offering, *sin offering, *guilt offering, *ordination offering and *peace offering.
v38 The *LORD gave these rules to Moses on the mountain called Sinai. He did it on the day when he ordered the *Israelites to bring their *offerings to the *LORD. That was in the desert near Sinai.
Verse 23 The *Hebrew words for *Israelites means ‘sons of *Israel’. They were the *descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. A *descendant is someone in your family that lives after you do.
Verse 24 Bible students have given us some examples of the uses for this *fat. They include its use in medicines, bandages, candles, and as oil. People could also use it to start fires.
Verse 25 The *Hebrew words for ‘on the *altar’ really mean ‘on the fire’. This fire was on the *altar. Notice this. This rule was only about the types of animals that the *Jews could offer as *sacrifices (*cattle, sheep and goats). That *fat belongs to God. But the *Jews could eat the *fat from other clean animals.
Verses 26-27 The passage emphasises blood. Blood is important. Life is in blood, Leviticus 17:11, and life belongs to God.
Verse 30 The breast is of course a piece of meat from the front of the animal’s body, near the animal’s heart. This part of the animal belonged to the priest. A recent *Jewish Rabbi has described the *wave offering. One waves the meat up and down, and left and right. For a *Jew, this reminds him that everything in heaven and earth belongs to God. He waves the meat to give it to God. But God gives that meat to the priest.
So the piece of meat that was closest to the heart belonged to the priest. *Jews considered that the heart was very special and important. People believed that you thought with your heart. And they believed that you felt love in your heart. So the gift of the meat that was closest to the heart was an expression of love.
In time, there were wicked priests. It is interesting that they refused to obey this particular rule (1 Samuel 2:12-14). They felt no love for the people whom they served.
Verse 32 They thought that the right leg was one of the best bits of meat on an animal. 1 Samuel 9:24 says that Samuel gave it to Saul. It was special!
Verses 35-36 These verses tell us that the priests would always have a share of the food. This meant that they could always be busy in the *meeting tent, or, later, in God’s house in Jerusalem.
Verses 37-38 *Ordination is what happened to a man in order to appoint him a priest. There is more about this in Leviticus chapter 8.
R.K. Harrison, in the IVP *Commentary on Leviticus, points out an interesting fact. There are very few problems with the *Hebrew words of Leviticus chapters 1 to 7. This probably means that these chapters were very important to the *Jews. So the *Jews copied them most carefully.
Something to do
1. Below is a table. This sort of table is a series of boxes. It makes it easy to see and to understand information. Read through Leviticus chapters 1 to 7 to find the information to fill in the boxes.
What the offerer must bring
What the offerer and priest do
Does its smell please the *LORD?
Who, if anyone, eats the *offering?
What does this *offering mean to Christians?
The answer to the question on the right is either ‘*fellowship’ or ‘forgiveness’. ‘Forgiveness’ means that God has forgiven us. You may have to draw your own table if this one is not big enough!
2. Consider the ‘fire that never goes out’. For the *Jews, it meant that God’s house was in the middle of their camp. He was living among them. And he permitted them to offer *sacrifices so that they could have *fellowship with him. For Christians, it means that Jesus is continuously praying for them, Hebrews 7:24-25. It probably has many more meanings. Can you think of any?
3. It is the Holy Spirit that makes a Christian holy. It does not happen when he touches holy things. Read Ephesians 4:15, 2 Peter 3:18.
4. Read Acts 6:2, 1 Corinthians 9:13, 1 Corinthians 10:18 and 1 Timothy 5:17-18. Compare them with Leviticus 7:1-10.
accidental ~ a description of an act that a person did not do on purpose.
altar ~ a special table where the priests burned *incense, grain and animals.
anoint ~ to pour *oil onto someone in order to appoint that person for a special task. The *Jews did this when they made someone into a priest or king.
anointed ~ the past form of the word ‘*anoint’; also, a description of someone whom people have appointed to do a special task by a ceremony with *oil.
ark ~ another word for box. In Leviticus, the ark was a sacred box where the *Jews kept special things.
atonement ~ another word for what happens when God forgives us. After God forgives us, we are ‘at one’ with him. In other words, we are united as friends (or have friendly relations) with him.
blessings ~ good things that God gives to people.
bull ~ the male animal of the same kind as a cow.
burnt offering ~ an *offering that the priests burned completely. It is the same as the *whole offering.
Canaan ~ the old name for the countries afterwards called *Israel and *Judah.
cattle ~ a number of cows and *bulls.
clay ~ a type of earth that people use to make pots.
clean ~ suitable for God or for God’s people. A clean person could go to God’s house to *worship him.
commentary ~ notes about a book in the Bible.
corn offering ~ a gift of grain to the *LORD. See the explanation in the note called ‘The 5 *sacrifices’ near the beginning of this commentary.
courtyard ~ a yard round an important building.
covenant ~ the special promise or agreement that God made with the *Jews.
cross ~ the wooden object on which Jesus died.
cut off ~ to give someone a punishment that separates that person from his family or nation. That punishment may be death. But it may be to force that person to live abroad.
descendant ~ members of your family who live after you live.
dove ~ a type of bird that has a gentle character.
Egyptians ~ people who come from Egypt; Egypt is a country in north Africa.
ephah ~ 8 cups full of flour.
fat ~ part of an animal’s body that is not red meat, nor skin, nor bone. Fat is an oily substance.
fellowship ~ a special type of friendship between God and his people. Or, the special type of friendship that God’s people have with each other.
finest flour ~ in Leviticus, the best quality flour. People put it through the mill until it was like powder.
first-born ~ the first baby that is born in a human family. Or, the first young animal to be born to its mother.
first fruits ~ the first fruits or grains that you pick each year.
flock ~ a group of sheep or goats.
Gospels ~ the books that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John wrote.
Greek ~ the language of the people who live in Greece.
guilt offering ~ an *offering by someone who is responsible for certain wrong acts. See the explanation in the note called ‘The 5 *sacrifices’ near the beginning of this commentary.
Hebrew ~ the language that the *Jews spoke.
herd ~ a group of cows and *bulls.
holiness ~ the quality of somebody who is *holy, or very, very good.
holy ~ very, very good; only God is really holy. Or, a description of something that belongs to God.
horn ~ hard material that grows on the heads of some animals like cows and goats. Or, the points that were on the corners of the *altars.
incense ~ a material that gives a good smell when people burn it.
Israel ~ the name of the country where the *Jews went to live, especially the northern part of that country.
Israelites ~ the *LORD’s people whom Moses led out of Egypt. Afterwards, they lived in the countries called *Judah and *Israel.
Jewish ~ a word that describes *Jews and what they do.
Jews ~ another word for the *Israelites.
Judah ~ the name of the southern part of the country where the *Jews went to live.
kidney ~ an important inner part of an animal’s body.
lamb ~ a young sheep.
lampholder ~ an object that holds a lamp.
Latin ~ the ancient language of the people who lived in Rome.
Levite ~ a member of the *tribe of Levi.
linen ~ a material that people make from a plant called flax: it was usually white.
liver ~ an important inner part of an animal’s body.
LORD ~ a special name for God. In the *Hebrew Bible it translates YHWH. YHWH probably means ‘he is always alive’. So the word LORD (which means ‘master’) is not a proper translation.
meeting tent ~ the special tent where God met with Moses. The priests could enter it to *worship; they burnt *sacrifices on the *altar in front of it.
New Testament ~ the last 27 books in the Bible.
offering ~ gift.
oil ~ a type of oil that comes from an oily fruit called the olive. People used this oil in their food and they burnt it in lamps.
ordination ~ the ceremony to appoint a man to be a priest.
ordination offering ~ the special *offering for the *ordination ceremony.
pancake ~ a flat bread that people cooked in a pan.
Passover ~ the special day when the *Israelites remembered that God led them out of Egypt.
peace ~ absence of war. Or, the calm and content attitude that one receives because of a right relationship with God and with other people.
peace offering ~ a gift to thank God. This *offering is about *fellowship with God and his people. See the explanation in the note called ‘The 5 *sacrifices’ near the beginning of this commentary.
pentecost ~ 50th. The Day of Pentecost was a special party at the beginning of the wheat harvest. It was 50 days after *Passover.
pigeon ~ a type of bird which has a gentle character.
point to ~ describe.
Promised Land ~ *Canaan, that is, the country that God promised to the *Israelites. It was the land that he promised to Abraham.
ram ~ a male sheep.
religious ~ about religion.
Sabbath (Day), Sabbath (Year) ~ the 7th day of the week; or the 7th year during a period of 7 years. The 7th day was a special day for rest and *worship. People did not work on that day.
sacrifice ~ something that people burned on an *altar for God; or to burn on an *altar for God. People also gave sacrifices to false gods.
scapegoat ~ the goat that takes away *sin on the Day of *Atonement (or *Yom Kippur).
shekel ~ a weight that is 0.4 of an ounce (12 grams).
showbread ~ the bread that the priests put on God’s *altar every week.
sin ~ to do wrong things; not to obey God’s rules. Or, the things we do when we sin. Evil thoughts, words and deeds are all sin, whether we do them on purpose or not.
sin offering ~ an *offering by a person who is guilty of particular types of *sin. See the explanation in the note called ‘The 5 *sacrifices’ near the beginning of this commentary.
sinner ~ a person who *sins.
soul ~ the part of us that lives when our body dies.
temple ~ God’s house in Jerusalem.
tribe ~ a very large family.
unclean ~ unsuitable for God or for God’s people. When someone was unclean, that person was unable to *worship at God’s house.
underclothes ~ clothes that people wear next to their bodies.
unleavened ~ something that contains no *yeast. The Time of Unleavened Bread is a special holiday that begins immediately after *Passover. It lasts for a week. During the week, the *Jews do not eat bread that contains *yeast.
wave offering ~ a gift that the priest waves in front of the *LORD.
whole offering ~ an *offering that the priests burned completely on the *altar. See the explanation in the note called ‘The 5 *sacrifices’ near the beginning of this commentary.
worship ~ to praise someone (usually God). You tell him that you believe him to be very, very great. Also, you love him and you will obey him.
yeast ~ the substance that makes bread ‘rise’, that is, to get bigger in the oven.
yeast-free ~ with no *yeast, or *unleavened.
Yom Kippur ~ the *Jewish name for the Day of *Atonement. It is the special day to remember that God forgives *sin.