Only you shall not eat the blood; you shall pour it on the earth as water.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Ye shall pour it upon the earth.—This act was a necessary part of every slaughter of an animal for food. The blood, which is the life, must be poured upon the earth for God, whether the victim was consigned to the altar or not. It was a continual reminder of the necessity for the sacrifice of the death of Christ, to be continued until He should come. Thus the act was, in a sense, sacramental.Leviticus 17:3, etc.) must be adhered to as regards animals slain in sacrifice, yet permission is now given to slaughter at home what was necessary for the table. The ceremonial distinctions did not apply in such cases, anymore than to "the roebuck" (or gazelle) "and hart," animals allowed for food but not for sacrifice.
16. ye shall not eat the blood; ye shall pour it upon the earth as water—The prohibition against eating or drinking blood as an unnatural custom accompanied the announcement of the divine grant of animal flesh for food (Ge 9:4), and the prohibition was repeatedly renewed by Moses with reference to the great objects of the law (Le 17:12), the prevention of idolatry, and the consecration of the sacrificial blood to God. In regard, however, to the blood of animals slain for food, it might be shed without ceremony and poured on the ground as a common thing like water—only for the sake of decency, as well as for preventing all risk of idolatry, it was to be covered over with earth (Le 17:13), in opposition to the practice of heathen sportsmen, who left it exposed as an offering to the god of the chase.Only ye shall not eat the blood; ye shall pour it upon the earth as water.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Leviticus 22:21, and Numbers 15:3, Numbers 15:8) distinctly shows. - "Rejoicing before the Lord," which is the phrase applied in Leviticus 23:40 to the celebration of the feast of Tabernacles, was to be the distinctive feature of all the sacrificial meals held by the people at the sanctuary, as is repeatedly affirmed (Deuteronomy 14:26; Deuteronomy 16:11; Deuteronomy 26:11; Deuteronomy 27:7). This holy joy in the participation of the blessing bestowed by the Lord was to be shared not only by sons and daughters, but also by salve (men-servants and maid-servants), that they too might taste the friendliness of their God, and also by "the Levite that is in your gates" (i.e., your towns and hamlets; see at Exodus 20:10). This frequently recurring description of the Levites (cf. Deuteronomy 12:18; Deuteronomy 14:27; Deuteronomy 16:11, Deuteronomy 16:14; Deuteronomy 18:6; Deuteronomy 26:12) does not assume that they were homeless, which would be at variance with the allotment of towns for them to dwell in (Numbers 35); but simply implies what is frequently added in explanation, that the Levites had "no part nor inheritance," no share of the land as their hereditary property, and in this respect resembled strangers (Deuteronomy 14:21, Deuteronomy 14:29; Deuteronomy 16:11, etc.).
(Note: The explanation given by De Wette, and adopted by Riehm, of the expression, "the Levite that is within thy gates," is perfectly arbitrary and unfounded: viz., that "the Levites did not live any longer in the towns assigned them by the earlier laws, but were scattered about in the different towns of the other tribes.")
And the repeated injunction to invite the Levites to the sacrificial meals is not at variance with Numbers 18:21, where the tithes are assigned to the tribe of Levi for their maintenance. For however ample this revenue may have been according to the law, it was so entirely dependent, upon the honesty and conscientiousness of the people, that the Levites might very easily be brought into a straitened condition, if indifference towards the Lord and His servants should prevail throughout the nation. - In Deuteronomy 12:13, Deuteronomy 12:14, Moses concludes by once more summing up these instructions in the admonition to beware of offering sacrifices in every place that they might choose, the burnt-offering, as the leading sacrifice, being mentioned instar omnium.
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