Friday, February 19, 2010

Leviticus, Chapters 1-7

I can summarize these chapters in a few words: get an animal, kill it, sprinkle the blood around. You can stop reading now if that's enough for you.

Chapter 1

Anyone can sacrifice an animal at the door of the temple. Anyone who wants to do so must bring the best of whatever sort he's sacrificing, and it must be male. Rich men should bring bulls, middle-income men a sheep or a goat, poorer men turtledoves or pigeons. In all cases, the ritual is the same: cut it up, scatter the blood, burn it.

Chapter 2

If you want to offer flour, mix it with oil, salt and frankincense, but NO leaven (yeast) and bring it to the temple. Aaron or another priest will burn some of it, and keep the rest. Nice. Basically, Moses is ensuring that his family doesn't have to work for food here. You can also bring green corn that's been dried over a fire and mix it with the same ingredients.

Chapter 3

In the case of peace offerings, you can use a male or female cow, sheep or goat. The fat gets burned on the altar for god, the priests get the next bits, and you get the kidneys, the kidney fat, and the caul of the liver. Mm-mmm! Of course this is all to be done in perpetuity, but Jews stopped after the destruction of the temple, and Christians don't have to because Jesus was enough. The cows, sheep and goats of the world, at least the perfect male specimens, breathe a collective sigh of relief.

Chapter 4

Should you sin, even in ignorance, you have to kill a pretty young bullock (young bull). The priest has to dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle it on the curtain in front of the ark of the covenant, then smear some on the altar, then pour the rest on the ground. Then the fat has to be burned at the altar. The rest, save the kidneys, kidney fat, and caul has to be burned outside the camp. You can eat the organs. Same punishment if the whole congregation sins. A ruler who sins must bring a perfect male kid goat. Commoners can bring female kid goats. You would think the females would be more valuable, and thus more of a sacrifice. You can also sacrifice lambs. One wonders if there were any animals left at this point who hadn't been sacrificed.

Chapter 5

If you lie in court, touch something dead, the uncleanliness of man (v.3) or make a careless oath, you have to confess and kill a female lamb or kid goat. Poorer men can bring turtledoves or pigeons. The poorest can bring flour, with no oil or frankincense. In all cases, the priest spatters the blood, then burns the fat, keeps the meat and gives you the organs.

Sinning through ignorance, or against your will, requires a ram. After any of these, you've atoned yourself.

Chapter 6

If you lie to your neighbour and say something you borrowed was stolen, or if you stole something, or if you lied about something that was lost and you found, you have to give it back, plus 20 percent. Then you have to kill a ram. the priest has to wear one set of robes to burn the ram, and another to clean up. Makes sense. Then god repeats his instructions about baking bread (NO YEAST). Aaron and his sons can eat the part they don't offer, as well as the meat left over from burnt offerings. Anything that gets bloody has to be washed, no doubt by another brother of Moses. If they cook it in an earthenware pot, they have to break it, thus creating more work for Moses' uncle the potter, but bronze pots can just be washed, so clearly the bronze shaper wasn't a relative.

Chapter 7

Guilt offerings are the most holy, so you have to eat the remains in the temple. The priests get the skins, lucky devils, as well as the meat in the frying pans. If the sacrifice is for thanksgiving, it has to be an unleavened cake or wafer, made with oil, and the priest gets to eat it, but you have to do so that day. If it's a voluntary sacrifice, you can eat the leftovers on the morning, then burn them on the third day. If you do, it's 'an abomination.' So, homosexuality is on par with eating three-day-old leftovers as far as god is concerned. If your sacrifice touches something unclean, or if you are unclean, and you eat it, you'll be exiled. Same punishment for eating fat or blood. You can wave breast fat and meat around as a 'wave offering' which does indeed mean waving it in the air, and then you have to give the fat to god and the breast to the priests. Same for heave offerings. It's funny, because god keeps saying all of this has to be done in perpetuity, but Jerry has somehow decided differently. Could it be he's... interpreting the inerrant word of god?

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