Leviticus 17

Eating Blood Forbidden

1 The LORD said to Moses,
2 “Speak to Aaron and his sons and to all the Israelites and say to them: ‘This is what the LORD has commanded:
3 Any Israelite who sacrifices an ox,[a] a lamb or a goat in the camp or outside of it
4 instead of bringing it to the entrance to the tent of meeting to present it as an offering to the LORD in front of the tabernacle of the LORD—that person shall be considered guilty of bloodshed; they have shed blood and must be cut off from their people.
5 This is so the Israelites will bring to the LORD the sacrifices they are now making in the open fields. They must bring them to the priest, that is, to the LORD, at the entrance to the tent of meeting and sacrifice them as fellowship offerings.
6 The priest is to splash the blood against the altar of the LORD at the entrance to the tent of meeting and burn the fat as an aroma pleasing to the LORD.
7 They must no longer offer any of their sacrifices to the goat idols[b] to whom they prostitute themselves. This is to be a lasting ordinance for them and for the generations to come.’
8 “Say to them: ‘Any Israelite or any foreigner residing among them who offers a burnt offering or sacrifice
9 and does not bring it to the entrance to the tent of meeting to sacrifice it to the LORD must be cut off from the people of Israel.
10 “ ‘I will set my face against any Israelite or any foreigner residing among them who eats blood, and I will cut them off from the people.
11 For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.[c]
12 Therefore I say to the Israelites, “None of you may eat blood, nor may any foreigner residing among you eat blood.”
13 “ ‘Any Israelite or any foreigner residing among you who hunts any animal or bird that may be eaten must drain out the blood and cover it with earth,
14 because the life of every creature is its blood. That is why I have said to the Israelites, “You must not eat the blood of any creature, because the life of every creature is its blood; anyone who eats it must be cut off.”
15 “ ‘Anyone, whether native-born or foreigner, who eats anything found dead or torn by wild animals must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be ceremonially unclean till evening; then they will be clean.
16 But if they do not wash their clothes and bathe themselves, they will be held responsible.’ ”

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 27

  • 1. Leviticus 10:6,12
  • 2. S Leviticus 3:7
  • 3. S Leviticus 7:23
  • 4. ver 9; 1 Kings 8:4; 2 Chronicles 1:3
  • 5. Deuteronomy 12:5-21
  • 6. S Genesis 17:14
  • 7. S Leviticus 3:1; Ezekiel 43:27
  • 8. S Leviticus 4:18
  • 9. S Leviticus 3:2
  • 10. S Leviticus 1:9; Numbers 18:17
  • 11. S Exodus 22:20; 2 Chronicles 11:15
  • 12. S Exodus 32:8; Exodus 34:15; Deuteronomy 32:17; Jeremiah 3:6,9; Ezekiel 23:3; 1 Corinthians 10:20
  • 13. S Exodus 12:14
  • 14. S Genesis 9:12
  • 15. S Leviticus 1:3
  • 16. S ver 4
  • 17. S Leviticus 3:7
  • 18. S Genesis 9:4; Leviticus 3:17; Deuteronomy 12:16,23; 1 Samuel 14:33
  • 19. ver 14; Genesis 9:4
  • 20. Hebrews 9:22
  • 21. Leviticus 7:26; Deuteronomy 12:16; Ezekiel 24:7; Ezekiel 33:25; Acts 15:20
  • 22. ver 11; S Genesis 9:4
  • 23. S Leviticus 7:24
  • 24. S Exodus 22:31; Deuteronomy 14:21
  • 25. S Leviticus 14:8
  • 26. S Leviticus 11:40
  • 27. S Leviticus 5:1

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. The Hebrew word can refer to either male or female.
  • [b]. Or "the demons"
  • [c]. Or "atonement by the life in the blood"

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

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