Leviticus 17:10
And whatever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eats any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eats blood, and will cut him off from among his people.
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(10) And whatsoever man.—Better, and what man soever. (See Leviticus 17:8.)

Eateth any manner of blood.—This prohibition, which has already been mentioned twice in Leviticus, is in both instances joined to the prohibition of fat. (See Leviticus 3:17; Leviticus 7:26-27.) Owing to its great importance, however, the law is enacted here separately, where it naturally follows the order that the blood of all animals sacrificed in the sanctuary is to be offered to the Lord upon the altar. According to the canons which obtained during the second Temple, the blood of clean fishes, of locusts, and of permissible creeping things is exempted.

I will even set my face against that soul.—That is, make him feel my anger. Though this phrase only occurs twice more in this book, and only once in connection with legal enactments (see Leviticus 20:3; Leviticus 20:6; Leviticus 26:17), yet from its usages in other passages it is clear that the expression “face” denotes anger, which shows itself in the countenance. Thus the phrase, which is translated in the Authorised Version, “I will appease him” (Genesis 30:20), is in the original, “I will appease his face,” where it manifestly stands for anger. Hence Lamentations 4:16, which is in the original, “the face of the Lord hath divided them,” is properly rendered in the Authorised Version in the text by “the anger of the Lord.” (Comp. also 1Peter 3:12.)

Leviticus 17:10. I will set my face — I will be an enemy to him, and execute vengeance upon him immediately; because such persons probably would do this in private, so that the magistrate could not know nor punish it. Write that man undone, for ever undone, against whom God sets his face.17:10-16 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 But this law was ceremonial, and is now no longer in force; the coming of the substance does away the shadow.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.The prohibition to eat blood is repeated in seven places in the Pentateuch, but in this passage two distinct grounds are given for the prohibition: first, its own nature as the vital fluid; secondly, its consecration in sacrificial worship.10. I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people—The face of God is often used in Scripture to denote His anger (Ps 34:16; Re 6:16; Eze 38:18). The manner in which God's face would be set against such an offender was, that if the crime were public and known, he was condemned to death; if it were secret, vengeance would overtake him. (See on [44]Ge 9:4). But the practice against which the law is here pointed was an idolatrous rite. The Zabians, or worshippers of the heavenly host, were accustomed, in sacrificing animals, to pour out the blood and eat a part of the flesh at the place where the blood was poured out (and sometimes the blood itself) believing that by means of it, friendship, brotherhood, and familiarity were contracted between the worshippers and the deities. They, moreover, supposed that the blood was very beneficial in obtaining for them a vision of the demon during their sleep, and a revelation of future events. The prohibition against eating blood, viewed in the light of this historic commentary and unconnected with the peculiar terms in which it is expressed, seems to have been levelled against idolatrous practices, as is still further evident from Eze 33:25, 26; 1Co 10:20, 21. i.e. I will be an enemy to him, and execute vengeance upon him immediately; because such persons probably would do this in private, so as the magistrate could not know nor punish it. See this or the like phrase Leviticus 20:3 26:17 Jeremiah 3:12 Ezekiel 14:8. And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel,.... That is by birth an Israelite, of every age, sex, or condition, as before:

or of the strangers that sojourn among you; proselytes of righteousness, for the following law was only obligatory on such, and upon Israelites, as appears from its being lawful to give or sell that which dies of itself to a stranger, that is, to a proselyte of the gate, or to an Heathen, Deuteronomy 14:21,

that eateth any manner of blood; that is, as Ben Gersom interprets it, of beasts and birds, concerning which the prohibition only is, according to him; for as for the blood of others there was no obligation, nor were any guilty on account of them; particularly the blood of fishes, and of locusts, or human blood, the blood of a man's teeth, which a man might swallow without being guilty of the breach of this law (g). Some restrain this to the blood of the sacrifices before treated of; but Jarchi observes, lest any should think, because it is said, it is "the blood that maketh the atonement for the soul": that a man is not guilty only on account of the blood of sanctified things, therefore it is said "any manner of blood":

I will set my face against that soul that eateth blood; signifying how greatly he should be provoked thereby, how much he should resent it, how exceedingly displeasing it would be to him, and what severity might be expected to be exercised towards him for it; for dreadful it is to have the face of God set against a man, see Psalm 34:16. Maimonides (h) observes, that this form of speech does not occur in any third precept besides these two, concerning idolatry or sacrificing a son to Moloch, Leviticus 20:3, and eating blood; because eating of blood gives an occasion to one species of idolatry, worshipping of devils, see Leviticus 19:26,

and will cut him off from among his people; which confirms the above sense of the phrase of cutting off as expressive of death by the hand of God; See Gill on Leviticus 17:4.

(g) Hilchot Maacolot Asurot, c. 6. sect. 1.((h) Ut supra. (Moreh Nevochim, p. 3. c. 46.)

And 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 {g} my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people.

(g) I will declare my wrath by taking vengeance on him as in Le 20:3.

10. The prohibition (cp. Leviticus 17:12) is found also in Leviticus 3:17, Leviticus 7:26, Leviticus 19:26; Deuteronomy 12:16; Deuteronomy 12:23-24; Deuteronomy 15:23. It is regarded as having been obligatory from the beginning (Genesis 9:4). The word ‘eat’ is probably used in order to include eating flesh which contained blood. When the people ate thus in their haste after the defeat of the Philistines, this is described as eating ‘with (Heb. upon) the blood’ (1 Samuel 14:32-34). Cp. ch. Leviticus 19:26; Ezekiel 33:25.Verses 10, 11. - The appointment made just above, that the blood of all animals slain in sacrifice should be offered to the Lord on his altar in the court of the tabernacle, leads naturally to a reiteration of the prohibition of the eating of blood, and a statement of the reason of that prohibition. "But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat," was given as a command to Noah (Genesis 9:4). It has already been repeated twice in the Book of Leviticus (Leviticus 3:17; Leviticus 7:26), and it is still again found in chapter Leviticus 19:26; Deuteronomy 12:16; Deuteronomy 15:23. The present is the locus classicus which explains the earnestness with which the rule is enforced. It begins with an extension of the obligation from the Israelites to the sojourners among them, and with a solemn declaration that, in case of transgression, God will take into his own bands the punishment of the offenders; not only is he to be cut off or excommunicated by political or ecclesiastical authority, but God himself will set his face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people, by death, or such means as he chooses to adopt. Then follows the reason for the prohibition. For the life of the flesh is in the blood. The blood may not be eaten because it is the vehicle of life, literally, the soul of the flesh, that is, it is the seat of the animal life of the body. "It is the fountain of life," says Harvey; "the first to live, the last to die, and the primary seat of the animal soul; it lives and is nourished of itself, and by no other part of the human body." In consequence of possessing this character, it is to be reserved, to make an atonement for your souls upon the altar; for thus only blood became qualified for the purpose of atonement. The clause, for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul, should be translated, for the blood maketh atonement by means of the soul, i.e., by means of the life which it contains. It is because the blood is the vehicle of the animal's life, and represents that life, that it serves to cover, or make atonement for, the soul of the offerer of the sacrifice, who presents it instead of his own life. Whoever of the house of Israel slaughtered an ox, sheep, or goat, either within or outside the camp, without bringing the animal to the tabernacle, to offer a sacrifice therefrom to the Lord, "blood was to be reckoned to him;" that is to say, as the following expression, "he hath shed blood," shows, such slaughtering was to be reckoned as the shedding of blood, or blood-guiltiness, and punished with extermination (see Genesis 17:14). The severity of this prohibition required some explanation, and this is given in the reason assigned in Leviticus 17:5-7, viz., "that the Israelites may bring their slain-offerings, which they slay in the open field, before the door of the tabernacle, as peace-offerings to Jehovah," and "no more offer their sacrifices to the שׂעירים, after whom they go a whoring" (Leviticus 17:7). This reason presupposes that the custom of dedicating the slain animals as sacrifices to some deity, to which a portion of them was offered, was then widely spread among the Israelites. It had probably been adopted from the Egyptians; though this is not expressly stated by ancient writers: Herodotus (i. 132) and Strabo (xv. 732) simply mentioning it as a Persian custom, whilst the law book of Manu ascribes it to the Indians. To root out this idolatrous custom from among the Israelites, they were commanded to slay every animal before the tabernacle, as a sacrificial gift to Jehovah, and to bring the slain-offerings, which they would have slain in the open field, to the priest at the tabernacle, as shelamim (praise-offerings and thank-offerings), that he might sprinkle the blood upon the altar, and burn the fat as a sweet-smelling savour for Jehovah (see Leviticus 3:2-5). "The face of the field" (Leviticus 17:5, as in Leviticus 14:7, Leviticus 14:53): the open field, in distinction from the enclosed space of the court of Jehovah's dwelling. "The altar of Jehovah" is spoken of in Leviticus 17:6 instead of "the altar" only (Leviticus 1:5; Leviticus 11:15, etc.), on account of the contrast drawn between it and the altars upon which they offered sacrifice to Seirim. שׂעירים, literally goats, is here used to signify daemones (Vulg.), "field-devils" (Luther), demons, like the שׂדים in Deuteronomy 32:17, who were supposed to inhabit the desert (Isaiah 13:21; Isaiah 34:14), and whose pernicious influence they sought to avert by sacrifices. The Israelites had brought this superstition, and the idolatry to which it gave rise, from Egypt. The Seirim were the gods whom the Israelites worshipped and went a whoring after in Egypt (Joshua 24:14; Ezekiel 20:7; Ezekiel 23:3, Ezekiel 23:8, Ezekiel 23:19, Ezekiel 23:21, Ezekiel 23:27). Both the thing and the name were derived from the Egyptians, who worshipped goats as gods (Josephus c. Revelation 2, 7), particularly Pan, who was represented in the form of a goat, a personification of the male and fertilizing principle in nature, whom they called Mendes and reckoned among the eight leading gods, and to whom they had built a splendid and celebrated temple in Thmuis, the capital of the Mendesian Nomos in Lower Egypt, and erected statues in the temples in all directions (cf. Herod. 2, 42, 46; Strabo, xvii. 802; Diod. Sic. i. 18). The expression "a statute for ever" refers to the principle of the law, that sacrifices were to be offered to Jehovah alone, and not to the law that every animal was to be slain before the tabernacle, which was afterwards repealed by Moses, when they were about to enter Canaan, where it could no longer be carried out (Deuteronomy 12:15).
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