Dave Burnette's Commentary

Leviticus Chapter 17

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Moses
Date Penned: (1445-1444 BC)
Overview: A Handbook for the Priests and Levites (c 1-27)
Theme: Worshipping a Holy God (c 1-17)
Message: Warnings Against Improper Sacrifice (v 1-16)

Leviticus 17 Commentary

(17:1) Instructions to Live Holy - Leviticus 17 through 26 is sometimes called the "holiness code" because this section focuses on what it means to live a holy life. The central verse is 19:2: "Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy."

(17:3-9) A Place for Sacrifice - Why were the Israelites prohibited from sacrificing outside the tabernacle area? God had established specific times and places for sacrifices, and each occasion was permeated with symbolism. If people sacrificed on their own, they might easily add to or subtract from God's laws to fit their own lifestyles. Many pagan religions allowed individual priests to set their own rules; God's commands helped the Israelites resist the temptation to follow the pagan pattern. When the Israelites slipped into idolatry, it was because "every man did that which was right in his own eyes" (see Judges 17:6).

(17:7) Idols in Worship - These devils were certain idols, objects of worship and sacrifice used in ancient cultures, particularly in Egypt, from which Israel had recently escaped. God did not want the people to make this kind of sacrifice in the wilderness or in the Promised Land, where they were heading.

(17:11-14) The Blood Atonement - How does blood make atonement for sin? When offered with the right attitude, the sacrifice and the blood shed from it made forgiveness of sin possible. On the one hand, blood represented the sinner's life, infected by sin and headed for death. On the other hand, the blood represented the innocent life of the animal that was sacrificed in place of the guilty person. The death of the animal (of which the blood was proof) fulfilled the penalty of death. God therefore granted forgiveness to the sinner. It is God who forgives based on the faith of the person doing the sacrificing.

(17:14) Blood's Instructions -  Why was eating or drinking blood prohibited? This prohibition can be traced all the way back to Noah (Genesis 9:4). God prohibited eating or drinking blood for several reasons: (1) To discourage pagan practices. The people of Israel were to be separate and distinct from the foreign nations around them. Eating blood was a common pagan practice. It was often done in hopes of gaining the characteristics of the slain animal like strength or speed). God's people were to rely on him, not on ingested blood, for their power. (2) To preserve the symbolism of the sacrifice. Blood symbolized the life of the animal that was sacrificed in the sinner's place. To drink it would change the symbolism of the sacrificial penalty and destroy the evidence of the sacrifice. (3) To protect the people from infection, because many deadly diseases are transmitted through blood. The Jews took this prohibition seriously, and that is why Jesus' hearers were so upset when he told them to drink his blood John 6:53:56). However, Jesus, as God himself and the last sacrifice ever needed for sins, was asking believers to identify with him completely. He wants us to take his life into us, and he wants to participate in our lives as well.



Dave Burnette's Life Application

God's Way

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue in the book of Leviticus with Chapter 17 and in today's text we see a deeper look in the book of Leviticus looking at this priestly handbook as we walk through the Bible Chapter by Chapter. Here in Chapters 17-26 we enter into what has been called the "Holiness Code" because it outlines the steps to live a Holy life. In this Chapter we are given warnings against improper sacrifices. The Lord gave instructions of proper sacrifices in the Tabernacle for it has much symbolism along with being right or Holy, yet the Israelite's did it "their own way" which brought chastisement from the Lord. In making application we see the Lord has much instruction for our lives. Today we tend to live like the Israelite's attempting to live our lives independently of God and His instructions. Worship, finances, relationships, and all the aspects of our lives are outlined in Scriptures as the Lord has instructed us to live with His best for us. Along with His best the Lord has many symbols woven within its instruction so others will know who this God of the Bible. We need not "reinvent the wheel" as God has a plan for us, that is the best for us, because He loves us. How about you? Do you tend to live your life independently of God's plan that is defined in Scripture? Let us learn from today's text and simply do things "God's Way." 


Leviticus 17

Leviticus 17

 1And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

 2Speak 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,

 3What 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,

 4And 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:

 5To 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.

 6And 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.

 7And 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.

 8And 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,

 9And 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.

 10And 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.

 11For 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.

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

 13And 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.

 14For 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.

 15And 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.

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