Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 edition.

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LEVITICUS - Chapter 17

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Leviticus xvii.

Notes & 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. (Challoner) --- 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, Deuteronomy xviii. 3 and xii. 15, 22. (Theodoret, 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. (Calmet) --- 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. (St. Augustine, q. 56.) (3 Kings xviii. 23 and Judges xiii. 19.) (Menochius) See Josue 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, (Calmet) and to offer sacrifices privately to devils; (ver. 7,) and therefore God forbids any sacrifice, but such as was performed by his priests at the tabernacle. (Haydock)

Ver. 7. Devils. Hebrew sehirim: 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.) (Calmet) --- Ezechiel (xvi. 22,) intimates, that the Hebrews were given to idolatry in Egypt. They had also recently adored the calf. (Haydock)

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, Genesis ix. 4, 5, 6. (Challoner) --- Some barbarians feast on human blood. The Massagetes drunk the blood of horses, and the Gelonians of Pontus mixed it with milk. ([Virgil,?] 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. (Deuteronomy xii. 23 and Psalm xxix. 10.) Sanguine quśrendi reditus animque litandumArgolic. (Virgil, ∆neid ii.) (Calmet)

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) (Calmet) --- 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. (Homer, Odyssey 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." (Eusebius) (Calmet)

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, Deuteronomy xiv. 21. --- Clean, having offered the sacrifice, chap. iv. 27. But if he ate such things knowingly, or neglected these regulations, he was more severely punished. (Haydock)


Bible Text & Cross-references:

No sacrifices to be offered but at the door of the tabernacle: a prohibition of blood.

1 And the Lord spoke *to Moses, saying:

2 Speak to Aaron and his sons, and to all the children of Israel, saying to them: This is the word which the Lord hath commanded, saying:

3 Any man whosoever of the house of Israel, if he kill an ox, or a sheep, or a goat, in the camp, or without the camp,

4 And offer it not at the door of the tabernacle an oblation to the Lord, shall be guilty of blood: as if he had shed blood, so shall he perish from the midst of his people.

5 Therefore the children of Israel shall bring to the priest their victims, which they kill in the field, that they may be sanctified to the Lord before the door of the tabernacle of the testimony, and they may sacrifice them for peace-offerings to the Lord.

6 And the priest shall pour the blood upon the altar of the Lord, at the door of the tabernacle of the testimony, and shall burn the fat for a sweet odour to the Lord.

7 And they shall no more sacrifice their victims to devils, with whom they have committed fornication. It shall be an ordinance for ever to them and to their posterity.

8 And thou shalt say to them: The man of the house of Israel, and of the strangers who sojourn among you, that offereth a holocaust or a victim,

9 And bringeth it not to the door of the tabernacle of the testimony, that it may be offered to the Lord, shall perish from among his people:

10 If any man whosoever of the house of Israel, and of the strangers that sojourn among them, eat blood, I will set my face against his soul, and will cut him off from among his people:

11 Because the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you, that you may make atonement with it upon the altar for your souls, and the blood may be for an expiation of the soul.

12 Therefore I have said to the children of Israel: No soul of you, nor of the strangers that sojourn among you, shall eat blood.

13 Any man whosoever of the children of Israel, and of the strangers that sojourn among you, if by hunting or fowling, he take a wild beast or a bird, which it is lawful to eat, let him pour out its blood, and cover it with earth.

14 *For the life of all flesh is in the blood: therefore I said to the children of Israel: You shall not eat the blood of any flesh at all, because the life of the flesh is in the blood, and whosoever eateth it, shall be cut off.

15 The soul that eateth that which died of itself, or has been caught by a beast, whether he be one of your own country or a stranger, shall wash his clothes and himself with water, and shall be defiled until the evening: and in this manner he shall be made clean.

16 But if he do not wash his clothes, and his body, he shall bear his iniquity.

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1: Year of the World 2514.

14: Genesis ix. 4.; Leviticus vii. 26.