This blog gains its name from the book Steele's Answers published in 1912. It began as an effort to blog through that book, posting each of the Questions and Answers in the book in the order in which they appeared. I started this on Dec. 10, 2011. I completed blogging from that book on July 11, 2015. Along the way, I began to also post snippets from Dr. Steele's other writings — and from some other holiness writers of his times. Since then, I have begun adding material from his Bible commentaries. I also re-blog many of the old posts.

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Leviticus 17:10-16 - Blood (Part 2 & Concluding Note).

"10 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 my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people. 11 For 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. 12 Therefore I said unto the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood. 13 And 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. 14 For 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. 15 And 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. 16 But if he wash them not, nor bathe his flesh; then he shall bear his iniquity." —  Leviticus 17:10-16 KJV. 

10. I will even set my face against — This form of words indicates that the extermination of the blood eater will not be by imperfect human judicatories, but by the direct intervention of Jehovah cutting off the offender, as if guilty of a most heinous crime. See Leviticus 7:26, note.

11. The life… in the blood — Literally, “the נֶ֣פֶשׁ (nephesh, soul) of the flesh.” The soul has a double sphere of life. It is both animus, the subject of all the activities of knowing, feeling, and willing, and anima, the principle of animal life vitalizing the blood and operating in nutrition and respiration. In 1628 Dr. Harvey discovered the vitality of the blood, for the circulation of the blood results from a living principle inhering in it. This wonderful discovery of anatomical science had been standing as an open secret in the Mosaic writings three thousand years, overlooked by science in her pride and disbelief of revelation. This is more surprising when we read Solomon’s beautiful announcement of the same truth in Ecclesiastes 12:6. The Bible, when rightly understood, never contradicts science. I have given it… for your souls — Jehovah has not only devised the scheme of an atonement, but he gives the blood which is demanded to perfect this scheme. He not only saves through sacrifice, but he affords the victim. “Behold the Lamb of God” — the Lamb which God requires, and which he accepts, himself provides. The atonement originates with the Father. John 3:16. He is not, as some blasphemously portray him, an inexorable Shylock demanding his pound of flesh. The blood which he demands he gives. How widely different the divine scheme from human attempts at propitiation, in which the god to be appeased is to be bought off by costly sacrifices. God provides his own means of propitiation, so that all boasting is excluded, for we are saved by grace through faith in the one God-given, atoning sacrifice. “The death of Christ,” says Delitzsch, “was a conscious act of loving free-will, the central act of his own self-sacrifice, the solution of the enigma, ‘I have given it,’ in which the saints of the Old Testament had to rest their implicit faith.” Atonement for the soul — All the versions, except the Revised Version, have missed the great truth revealed in the Hebrew, “it is the blood that maketh atonement BY REASON OF THE LIFE.” ב is plainly an instrumental preposition, and not to be rendered ἀντί, instead of, as the Seventy, nor pro, for, as the Vulgate, nor fur, as Luther. See extensive discussion in The Ceremonial Function of the Blood. Men are redeemed from death only by the price of a life. Jesus gave his life a ransom for the world. Says Kalisch, “It is impossible to doubt that the doctrine of vicarious sacrifice was entertained by the Hebrews… The animal dies to symbolize the death deserved by the offerer on account of his sins.” The apparent discrepancy between this verse and Hebrews 10:4, 11, is removed when, with Outram, we regard the blood as a “condition of pardon,” and with Ebrard and Alford, “not the instrument of complete vicarious propitiation, but an exhibition of the postulate of such propitiation.” See concluding note.

12. Neither shall any stranger… eat blood — So ingrained into the Hebrew conscience did this prohibition become that it was as imperative as any precept of the moral law. It was as impossible for even the first Christian Council to conceive of piety in a Gentile convert who ate blood, as in one guilty of fornication. Acts 15:29.

13. Pour out the blood… and cover — This prescribes the manner of killing clean wild beasts and birds. Their blood must be treated as something sacred, lest the blood of atonement on their altars might come to be regarded as a common thing. The covering with dust is omitted in the outline in Deuteronomy 12:24. Even should the bird be killed by a blow or a shot, it would be unclean unless its throat was immediately cut.

15. Died of itself — Hebrew, carcass. The ground of this requirement, that one ignorantly eating such flesh should ceremonially cleanse himself, is that he has eaten blood corrupting in the flesh. The wilful eater of carrion would probably be cut off with the blood-eater. Bathe himself in water — Hebrew, wash with water; the Seventy, ὕδατι, with water, as in Luke 3:16, “I baptize you ὕδατι;” also Acts 1:5; 11:16. A heavy burden, indeed, and one utterly impossible in many instances to be borne, would be the requirement to bathe or immerse the entire person in water; but in any desert where men can live they can find sufficient water with which ceremonially to wash themselves. The same words are correctly translated “wash with water” in Leviticus 22:6.

16. He shall bear his iniquity —
The punishment shall be visited. The same words, in the original, in Exodus 34:7, and Leviticus 10:17, (see note,) signify to bear away or expiate iniquity. See Numbers 9:13, note. A voluntary neglect of purification from an involuntary fault is not a trifle but an iniquity. The great sin of Gospel-hardened sinners is their neglect to wash away their sins and inherited depravity in the precious blood of Jesus Christ.


Bahr regards verse 11 as the key to the whole theory of the Jewish sacrifices. His comment thereon, covering fifteen pages of his great work, embraces the following chief points: that the central point of the sacrifice is not the killing of the animal, but the procedure with the blood; that the end of the sacrifice was expiation or atonement; that it is Jehovah from whom the atonement proceeds; (“I have given it;”) and that it is for man; (“for your souls;”) and that the blood makes an atonement because the soul is in the blood; that the atoning power does not reside in the material blood, but in the soul that is in the blood — bannephesh — “by means of the soul.” There is a substitution of the soul of the animal for the soul of man; yet only a symbolical substitution. The sacrifice has also a sacramental character, so far as blood is the means, ordained of God, of bringing the soul of man into connexion with himself.

Winer says, that “the parallelism of the soul of the animal with the souls of the persons who offered it is assuredly not without significancy.” Tholuck thus proves that the expiatory sacrifices of the Old Testament were in their nature vicarious: 1.) The idea has prevailed in all nations. 2.) Among the Jews the death of men was considered vicarious; (2 Samuel 12:15, etc.; Isaiah 53:4, 5; especially Daniel 9:24-27;) allied to this is substitution by means of animals. 3.) The ritual favours this view; only in the expiatory sacrifices is the animal rendered unclean and its remains burned without the camp, because “it is a sin offering.” Exodus 29:14. 4.) Substitution may be inferred from Leviticus 17:14. 5.) Also from Deuteronomy 21:1-9, where the guilt of an unknown slayer is chargeable upon the whole people, and by washing the hands is transferred to the sacrifice. 6.) The noun kopher, ransom, cognate with the verb kipper, expiate, includes the idea of substitution. 7.) The symbol of the scapegoat is a visible manifestation of the taking away of guilt by means of the expiation. Jewish tradition is very full and positive on this point. The standing rule is, that there can be no expiation except by blood.

No comments:

Post a Comment