Leviticus 19:26
You shall not eat any thing with the blood: neither shall you use enchantment, nor observe times.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(26) Ye shall not eat any thing with the blood.—According to the administrators of the law during the second Temple, there are no less than five different things forbidden here. It prohibits (1) eating the flesh of a legally slaughtered animal as long as its life is not quite gone, or whilst the flesh is still trembling; (2) eating the flesh of sacrificial animals whilst the blood is still in the sprinkling bowl, and before it has been sprinkled on the altar; (3) eating the meat of mourners by the relatives when a member of the family has been publicly executed, and his blood has been shed; (4) eating anything by the judicial court on the day when their sentence of death is being executed on the criminal; and (5) it warns the rebellious and gluttonous son not to eat immoderately by the penalty of blood.” The ancient Chaldee Version, therefore, which translates it “Ye shall not eat the flesh of any sacrifice whilst the blood is in the basin unsprinkled,” exhibits the second of these prohibitions involved in this interpretation; and all the five premise the rendering of this phrase, “Ye shall not eat by the blood,” which has the merit of being literal; whilst the Authorised Version follows the first of these five prohibitions. Others, again, who also translate it “Ye shall not eat by the blood,” take it as a prohibition of the idolatrous practice which obtained among the Zabii, who, to obtain favour from the demons, gathered the blood of the sacrifices which they offered to them into a vessel or a hole dug in the earth, and then sat around it to consume the sacrificial meal by the blood, thinking that thereby they fraternised with these demons. This seems to be favoured by the next clause.

Neither shall ye use enchantment.- Better, ye shall use no enchantment. According to the authorities during the second Temple, this consisted in any one saying, “A morsel has dropped out of my mouth; the staff has fallen out of my hand; my child has called out behind me; a crow has cawed to me; a deer has crossed my path; a serpent crept on my right hand; a fox has gone by on my left;” and regarding these as bad omens for the day which has now began or for the work which he has just commenced. Or if he says to the man who raises the taxes, “Do not begin with me; it is still early in the day; it is the first of the month; it is the beginning of the week; I shall be unlucky the whole day, week, or month to be the first to be burdened;” this is enchantment.

Nor observe times.—This, according to the same authorities, consists in “taking notice of the seasons and days, and in saying this is a good day to begin a journey, to-morrow will be lucky to make a purchase.”

Leviticus 19:26. Any thing with the blood — Any flesh out of which the blood is not first poured. Neither shall ye use enchantments — It was unpardonable in them, to whom were committed the oracles of God, to ask counsel of the devil. And yet worse in Christians, to whom the Son of God is manifested, to destroy the works of the devil. For Christians to have their nativities cast, or their fortunes told, or to use charms for the cure of diseases, is an intolerable affront to the Lord Jesus, a support of idolatry, and a reproach both to themselves and to that worthy name by which they are called. Nor observe times — Superstitiously, esteeming some days lucky, others unlucky.19:1-37 laws. - There are some ceremonial precepts in this chapter, but most of these precepts are binding on us, for they are explanations of the ten commandments. It is required that Israel be a holy people, because the God of Israel is a holy God, ver. 2. To teach real separation from the world and the flesh, and entire devotedness to God. This is now the law of Christ; may the Lord bring every thought within us into obedience to it! Children are to be obedient to their parents, ver. 3. The fear here required includes inward reverence and esteem, outward respect and obedience, care to please them and to make them easy. God only is to be worshipped, ver. 4. Turn not from the true God to false ones, from the God who will make you holy and happy, to those that will deceive you, and make you for ever miserable. Turn not your eyes to them, much less your heart. They should leave the gleanings of their harvest and vintage for the poor, ver. 9. Works of piety must be always attended with works of charity, according to our ability. We must not be covetous, griping, and greedy of every thing we can lay claim to, nor insist upon our right in all things. We are to be honest and true in all our dealings, ver. 11. Whatever we have in the world, we must see that we get it honestly, for we cannot be truly rich, or long rich, with that which is not so. Reverence to the sacred name of God must be shown, ver. 12. We must not detain what belongs to another, particularly the wages of the hireling, ver. 13. We must be tender of the credit and safety of those that cannot help themselves, ver. 14. Do no hurt to any, because they are unwilling or unable to avenge themselves. We ought to take heed of doing any thing which may occasion our weak brother to fall. The fear of God should keep us from doing wrong things, though they will not expose us to men's anger. Judges, and all in authority, are commanded to give judgment without partiality, ver. 15. To be a tale-bearer, and to sow discord among neighbours, is as bad an office as a man can put himself into. We are to rebuke our neighbour in love, ver. 17. Rather rebuke him than hate him, for an injury done to thyself. We incur guilt by not reproving; it is hating our brother. We should say, I will do him the kindness to tell him of his faults. We are to put off all malice, and to put on brotherly love, ver. 18. We often wrong ourselves, but we soon forgive ourselves those wrongs, and they do not at all lessen our love to ourselves; in like manner we should love our neighbour. We must in many cases deny ourselves for the good of our neighbour. Ver. 31: For Christians to have their fortunes told, to use spells and charms, or the like, is a sad affront to God. They must be grossly ignorant who ask, What harm is there in these things? Here is a charge to young people to show respect to the aged, ver. 32. Religion teaches good manners, and obliges us to honour those to whom honour is due. A charge was given to the Israelites to be very tender of strangers, ver. 33. Strangers, and the widows and fatherless, are God's particular care. It is at our peril, if we do them any wrong. Strangers shall be welcome to God's grace; we should do what we can to recommend religion to them. Justice in weights and measures is commanded, ver. 35. We must make conscience of obeying God's precepts. We are not to pick and choose our duty, but must aim at standing complete in all the will of God. And the nearer our lives and tempers are to the precepts of God's law, the happier shall we be, and the happier shall we make all around us, and the better shall we adorn the gospel.Certain pagan customs, several of them connected with magic, are here grouped together. The prohibition to eat anything with the blood may indeed refer to the eating of meat which had not been properly bled in slaughtering (Leviticus 7:26; Leviticus 17:10, etc.): but it is not improbable that there may be a special reference to some sort of magical or idolatrous rites. Compare Ezekiel 33:25.

Leviticus 19:26

Observe times - It is not clear whether the original word refers to the fancied distinction between lucky and unlucky days, to some mode of drawing omens from the clouds, or to the exercise of "the evil eye."

26. shall not eat any thing with the blood—(See on [45]Le 17:10).

neither … use enchantment, nor observe times—The former refers to divination by serpents—one of the earliest forms of enchantment, and the other means the observation, literally, of clouds, as a study of the appearance and motion of clouds was a common way of foretelling good or bad fortune. Such absurd but deep-rooted superstitions often put a stop to the prosecution of serious and important transactions, but they were forbidden especially as implying a want of faith in the being, or of reliance on the providence of God.

With the blood, i. e. any flesh out of which the blood is not first poured. See 1 Samuel 14:32. The Jews write, that the Egyptians and other nations, when they offered sacrifices to the devils, did eat part of the sacrifices, beside the blood which was kept in basons for that end, which also they believed to be as it were the special food of the devils.

Nor observe times, to wit, superstitiously, by the observation of the clouds, or stars, or otherwise, by esteeming some days lucky, others unlucky. See Deu 18:10,11 Es 3:7. Ye shall not eat anything with the blood,.... Or upon, over, or by the blood (s), for this law seems different from that in Genesis 9:4, and from those in Leviticus 3:17; and is variously interpreted by the Jewish writers; some of not eating flesh, the blood not being rightly let out of it, as not being thoroughly cleared of it (t), and so comes under the notion of things strangled; others of not eating of sacrifices until the blood stands in the basin (u); and others of not eating any flesh whose blood is not sprinkled on the altar, if near the holy place (w): some think it refers to the custom of murderers who eat over the person slain, that the avengers of the slain may not take vengeance on them, supposing something superstitious in it, because of what follows (x); though it rather has respect to an idolatrous practice of the Zabians, as Maimonides (y) informs us, who took blood to be the food of devils, and who used to take the blood of a slain beast and put it in a vessel, or in a hole dug in the earth, and eat the flesh sitting round about the blood; fancying by this means they had communion with devils, and contracted friendship and familiarity with them, whereby they might get knowledge of future things; See Gill on Ezekiel 33:25,

neither shall ye use enchantment; soothsaying or divination by various creatures, as by the weasel, birds, or fishes, as the Talmudists (z); or rather by serpents, as the word used is thought to have the signification of; or by any odd accidents, as a man's food falling out of his mouth, or his staff out of his hand, or his son calling after him behind, or a crow cawing to him, or a hart passing by him, or a serpent on his right hand and a fox on his left, or one says, do not begin (any work) tomorrow, it is the new moon, or the going out of the sabbath (a):

nor observe times; saying, such a day is a lucky day to begin any business, or such an hour an unlucky hour to go out in, as Jarchi, taking the word to have the signification of times, days, and hours, as our version and others; but Aben Ezra derives it from a word which signifies a cloud, and it is well known, he says, that soothsayers view and consult the clouds, their likeness and motion; but some of the ancient writers, as Gersom observes, derive it from a word which signifies an eye, and suppose that such persons are intended who hold the eyes of people, cast a mist before them, or use some juggling tricks whereby they deceive their sight.

(s) "super sanguine", Montanus, Munster; "super sanguinem", Fagius. (t) Joseph. Antiqu. l. 6. c. 6. sect. 4. T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 63. 1.((u) Targum Jon. in loc. T. Bab. Sanhedrin, ib. (w) Aben Ezra in loc. (x) Baal Hatturim in loc. (y) Moreh Nevochim, par. 3. c. 46. (z) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 66. 1. Jarchi in loc. (a) Kimchi, Sepher Shorash. rad.

Ye shall not eat any thing with the blood: neither shall ye use enchantment, nor {i} observe times.

(i) To measure lucky or unlucky days.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
26. with the blood] The LXX. has here instead ‘upon the mountains,’ probably influenced by the phrase in Ezekiel 18:6; Ezekiel 22:9, which, however, according to Rob.-Sm. (Kinship, p. 312), should be assimilated to accord with Ezekiel 33:25.

use enchantments] Employ divination. See e.g. Genesis 44:5, where the method was by hydromancy (Driver ad loc.).

practise augury] The original meaning of the Heb. verb is uncertain, but probably its sense is to hum (as insects) or whisper (as leaves), and hence is applied to the low murmuring made by diviners. Augury in the etymological sense (inferences from marking the flight of birds) was practised in the East. See Driver, Deut. p. 225.Verses 26-28. - After a repetition of the fundamental ceremonial law against eating things which have the blood in them (the LXX. rendering, ἐπὶ τῶν ὀρέων, "upon the mountains," arises from a mistaken reading), follow prohibitions

(1) to use enchantment, literally, to whisper or mutter after holding communication with serpents (if the word nichesh be derived from nachash, a serpent);

(2) to observe times, or rather, according to a more probable etymology, exercise the evil eye;

(3) to round the corners of your heads, that is, use a sort of tonsure, as was done by some Arabian tribes (Herod., 3:3) in honour of their god Orotal, and by the Israelites as a form of mourning (Deuteronomy 14:1; Isaiah 22:12);

(4) to mar the corners of thy beard, a fashion of mourning which accompanied the tonsure of the head (see Leviticus 21:5; Isaiah 15:2; Jeremiah 48:37;

(5) to make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, another form of mourning, associated with the two previously mentioned practices (see chapter Leviticus 21:5; Deuteronomy 14:1; Jeremiah 16:6; Jeremiah 41:3; Jeremiah 48:37);

(6) to print any marks upon you, that is, tattoo themselves in memory of the dead. All these customs were unbecoming the dignity of God's people, and had been connected with idolatrous practices. Even the personal rights of slaves were to be upheld; and a maid, though a slave, was not to be degraded to the condition of personal property. If any one lay with a woman who was a slave and betrothed to a man, but neither redeemed nor emancipated, the punishment of death was not to be inflicted, as in the case of adultery (Leviticus 20:10), or the seduction of a free virgin who was betrothed (Deuteronomy 22:23.), because she was not set free; but scourging was to be inflicted, and the guilty person was also to bring a trespass-offering for the expiation of his sin against God (see at Leviticus 5:15.). נחרפת, from חרף carpere, lit., plucked, i.e., set apart, betrothed to a man, not abandoned or despised. הפדּה redeemed, חפשׁה emancipation without purchase, - the two ways in which a slave could obtain her freedom. בּקּרת, ἁπ. λεγ., from בּקּר to examine (Leviticus 13:36), lit., investigation, then punishment, chastisement. This referred to both parties, as is evident from the expression, "they shall not be put to death;" though it is not more precisely defined. According to the Mishnah, Kerith. ii. 4, the punishment of the woman consisted of forty stripes.
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