Atoning Blood The Command Against Eating Blood -- By: Johnny Serafini

Journal: Puritan Reformed Journal
Volume: PRJ 01:1 (Jan 2009)
Article: Atoning Blood The Command Against Eating Blood
Author: Johnny Serafini


Atoning Blood
The Command Against Eating Blood

Leviticus 17:10-16

Johnny Serafini

This passage, together with its complete context (17:1-16) has a central place in the book of Leviticus. It follows the sections on the laws concerning our approach to God, which involve the laws of the sacrifices (ch. 1 –7), the priests (ch. 8 –10) and the laws regarding purity (ch. 11-16), culminating in the great Day of Atonement. From this text on, the theme becomes that of sanctification, or the laws regarding our walk with God (17 –27). Allen Ross calls chapters 17– 26 the “Instructions to holiness.”1 Blood has been the essential element regarding every subject before chapter 17 and it continues to be essential in the rest of the book. Wenham sees chapter 17 as a “hinge between the two halves of the book: 1-16 recording the regulations for public life and worship, and 18-25 recording the regulations for personal and private affairs of individuals.”2 Chapter 17, which deals with the instructions on how to handle blood, stands in the center of all else in which blood is the ever-present element used for atoning.

Chapter 17, as a whole, forms a unit. Verses 1-9 deal with the requirement of slaughtering animals before the tabernacle. Verses 10-16 speak of how to handle the blood of animals. Both sections reveal the sacredness of blood and the need to deal with it properly. The passage considered in more detail in this paper (vv. 10-16) is structured as follows: there is the general case stated (vv. 10-11), the direct command stated a first time (v. 12), the first sub case (v. 13), the command stated a second time (v. 14), and a second sub case (vv. 15-16). Combini...

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