King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Leviticus 17

All sacrifices to be offered at the tabernacle. (1-9) Eating of blood, or of animals which died a natural death, forbidden. (10-16)

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All sacrifices to be offered at the tabernacle

1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

2 Speak unto Aaron, and unto his sons, and unto all the children of Israel, and say unto them; This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded, saying,

3 What man soever there be of the house of Israel, that killeth an ox, or lamb, or goat, in the camp, or that killeth it out of the camp,

4 And bringeth it not unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, to offer an offering unto the LORD before the tabernacle of the LORD; blood shall be imputed unto that man; he hath shed blood; and that man shall be cut off from among his people:

5 To the end that the children of Israel may bring their sacrifices, which they offer in the open field, even that they may bring them unto the LORD, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest, and offer them for peace offerings unto the LORD.

6 And the priest shall sprinkle the blood upon the altar of the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and burn the fat for a sweet savour unto the LORD.

7 And they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto devils, after whom they have gone a whoring. This shall be a statute for ever unto them throughout their generations.

8 And thou shalt say unto them, Whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers which sojourn among you, that offereth a burnt offering or sacrifice,

9 And bringeth it not unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, to offer it unto the LORD; even that man shall be cut off from among his people.

Eating of blood, or of animals which died a natural death, forbidden

10 And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people.

11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.

12 Therefore I said unto the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood.

13 And whatsoever man there be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, which hunteth and catcheth any beast or fowl that may be eaten; he shall even pour out the blood thereof, and cover it with dust.

14 For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off.

15 And every soul that eateth that which died of itself, or that which was torn with beasts, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger, he shall both wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even: then shall he be clean.

16 But if he wash them not, nor bathe his flesh; then he shall bear his iniquity.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 3. If he kill, &c. That is, in order to sacrifice. The law of God forbids sacrifices to be offered in any other place but at the tabernacle or temple of the Lord: to signify that no sacrifice would be acceptable to God, out of his true temple, the one, holy, Catholic Apostolic Church. Ch. — On other occasions, many believe that the blood of oxen, sheep, and goats, was to be poured out in honour of God by the priest, who received a part of each. Deut. xviii. 3. xii. 15, 22. Theod. q. 23. Perhaps this law regards the time when the Hebrews sojourned in the desert; and that of Deuteronomy has a reference to those times when they should obtain possession of Chanaan. C. — We read of some private people like Manue and Elias, who offered sacrifice at a distance from the tabernacle. But this was done by a particular inspiration of God, who dispensed with his own law. S. Aug. q. 56. 3 K. xviii. 23. Judg. xiii. 19. M. See Jos. viii. 31.

Ver. 5. They. The Egyptians and other nations, kill in the field, as the Hebrews had also done, till it was now prohibited. Some were, perhaps, still much inclined to adore, (C.) and to offer sacrifices privately to devils; (v. 7,) and therefore God forbids any sacrifice, but such as was performed by his priests at the tabernacle. H.

Ver. 7. Devils. Heb. schirim: which some translate goats, (the hairy ones,) satyrs, &c. The Egyptians adored the goat, (which they represented like the god Pan) particularly in the territory of Mendes, near which the Hebrews had dwelt. Its worship was very abominable and obscene. Strabo xvii. C. — Ezechiel (xvi. 22) intimates that the Hebrews were given to idolatry in Egypt. They had also recently adored the calf. H.

Ver. 10. Eat blood. To eat blood, was forbidden in the law; partly because God reserved it to himself to be offered in sacrifices on the altar, as to the Lord of life and death; and as a figure of the blood of Christ; and partly to give men a horror of shedding blood. Gen. ix. 4, 5, 6. Ch. — Some barbarians feast on human blood. The Massagetes drunk the blood of horses, and the Gelonians of Pontus mixed it with milk. Georg. iii. 463. If the Hebrews did any such thing, and it became public, they were put to death. But if it remained private, God threatens to take vengeance himself of their cruelty and disobedience. The face often denotes anger.

Ver. 11. Life, (anima). The sensitive soul depends on the blood. The soul and the blood are often used in the same sense. Deut. xii. 23. Ps xxix. 10. Sanguine quærendi reditus animaque litandum—Argolica. Æneid ii. C. — If any one think that blood is the soul of cattle, we need not examine this question very nicely. S. Aug. q. 57. D.

Ver. 13. Hunting, with nets, or with bow and arrow. If a dog had killed the prey, it would have rendered it unclean. Tostat. But perhaps dogs were not employed in hunting by the Hebrews. The Persians use lions, &c. Chardin. C. — Earth, to prevent any abusive custom, such as that of the magicians, who pretended to raise spirits by blood. Tiresias would not disclose the truth to Ulysses, till he had drunk some blood. Odys. xxii. The Jews abhorred things strangled, and the apostles forbade the primitive Christians to use them. Acts xv. Phocilides, the pagan, says, “abandon such remains to dogs; beasts eat the leavings of beasts.” Euseb. C.

Ver. 15. Stranger. Perhaps the proselyte of justice, not simply of the gate, for the latter were allowed to eat and purchase what had died of itself. Deut. xiv. 21. — Clean, having offered the sacrifice. C. iv. 27. But if he eat such things knowingly, or neglected these regulations, he was more severely punished. H.