Leviticus 17

Listen to Leviticus 17

The Place of Sacrifice

1 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
2 "Speak to Aaron and his sons and to all the people of Israel and say to them, This is the thing that the LORD has commanded.
3 If any one of the house of Israel 1kills an ox or a lamb or a goat in the camp, or kills it outside the camp,
4 and 2does not bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting to offer it as a gift to the LORD in front of the tabernacle of the LORD, bloodguilt shall be imputed to that man. He has shed blood, and that man 3shall be cut off from among his people.
5 This is to the end that the people of Israel may bring their sacrifices that they sacrifice 4in the open field, that they may bring them to the LORD, to the priest at the entrance of the tent of meeting, and sacrifice them 5as sacrifices of peace offerings to the LORD.
6 And the priest shall 6throw the blood on the altar of the LORD at the entrance of the tent of meeting and burn the fat 7for a pleasing aroma to the LORD.
7 So they shall no more sacrifice their sacrifices to goat demons, after whom they 8whore. This shall be a statute forever for them throughout their generations.
8 "And you shall say to them, Any one of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who sojourn among them, who 9offers a burnt offering or sacrifice
9 and 10does not bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting to offer it to the LORD, 11that man shall be cut off from his people.

Laws Against Eating Blood

10 "If any one of the house of Israel or of the strangers who sojourn among them 12eats any blood, I will 13set my face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from among his people.
11 14For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar 15to make atonement for your souls, 16for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.
12 Therefore I have said to the people of Israel, No person among you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger who sojourns among you eat blood.
13 "Any one also of the people of Israel, or of the strangers who sojourn among them, who takes in hunting any beast or bird that may be eaten shall 17pour out its blood and 18cover it with earth.
14 For the life of every creature[a] is its 19blood: its blood is its life.[b] Therefore I have said to the people of Israel, You shall not eat the blood of any creature, for the life of every creature is its blood. Whoever eats it shall be cut off.
15 20And every person who eats what dies of itself or what is torn by beasts, 21whether he is a native or a sojourner, 22shall wash his clothes and 23bathe himself in water and be unclean until the evening; then he shall be clean.
16 But if he does not wash them or bathe his flesh, 24he shall bear his iniquity."

Leviticus 17 Commentary

Chapter 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)

Verses 1-9 All the cattle killed by the Israelites, while in the wilderness, were to be presented before the door of the tabernacle, and the flesh to be returned to the offerer, to be eaten as a peace-offering, according to the law. When they entered Canaan, this only continued in respect of sacrifices. The spiritual sacrifices we are now to offer, are not confined to any one place. We have now no temple or altar that sanctifies the gift; nor does the gospel unity rest only in one place, but in one heart, and the unity of the Spirit. Christ is our Altar, and the true Tabernacle; in him God dwells among men. It is in him that our sacrifices are acceptable to God, and in him only. To set up other mediators, or other altars, or other expiatory sacrifices, is, in effect, to set up other gods. And though God will graciously accept our family offerings, we must not therefore neglect attending at the tabernacle.

Verses 10-16 Here is a confirmation of the law against eating blood. They must eat no blood. But this law was ceremonial, and is now no longer in force; the coming of the substance does away the shadow. The blood of beasts is no longer the ransom, but Christ's blood only; therefore there is not now the reason for abstaining there then was. The blood is now allowed for the nourishment of our bodies; it is no longer appointed to make an atonement for the soul. Now the blood of Christ makes atonement really and effectually; to that, therefore, we must have regard, and not consider it as a common thing, or treat it with indifference.

Cross References 24

  • 1. [Deut. 12:5, 6, 13-15, 21]
  • 2. ver. 9
  • 3. [Exodus 30:33]
  • 4. Leviticus 14:7, 53
  • 5. Leviticus 1:5
  • 6. [See ver. 5 above]
  • 7. See Genesis 8:21
  • 8. See Exodus 34:15
  • 9. Leviticus 1:2, 3
  • 10. ver. 4
  • 11. [See ver. 4 above]
  • 12. See Leviticus 3:17
  • 13. Leviticus 20:3, 6; Leviticus 26:17; Jeremiah 44:11; Ezekiel 14:8; Ezekiel 15:7; [Psalms 34:16]
  • 14. ver. 14
  • 15. [Matthew 26:28; Mark 14:24; Romans 3:25; Romans 5:9; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14, 20; Hebrews 13:12; 1 John 1:7; Revelation 1:5]
  • 16. Hebrews 9:22
  • 17. Deuteronomy 12:16, 24; Deuteronomy 15:23
  • 18. Ezekiel 24:7
  • 19. ver. 11; See Genesis 9:4
  • 20. See Leviticus 22:8
  • 21. See Leviticus 16:29
  • 22. See Leviticus 11:25
  • 23. Leviticus 15:5
  • 24. [Numbers 19:20]; See Leviticus 5:1

Footnotes 2

Chapter Summary


In this chapter a law is given, ordering all sorts of persons, Israelites and sojourners, to bring their sacrifices to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, on pain of being cut off, Le 17:1-9; and a special and particular prohibition of sacrificing to devils is delivered out, Le 17:7; and the eating of blood, and of everything that dies of itself, or is torn with beasts, is forbidden under the above penalty, Le 17:10-16.

Leviticus 17 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.