My Mum's Ancient Family Bible

My Mum's Ancient Family Bible
Kept in the garage of all places for so many years, it's finally been put to good use.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Goat Whisperer (Leviticus 16-19)

God seems to demand an animal sacrifice every minute. It's a little excessive. He calls upon Aaron to make an animal sacrifice involving two goats. He kills one but is instructed to place his hands on the head of the other and "confess over him all the iniquities of the people of Israel, and all their transgressions, all their sins; and he shall put them upon the head of the goat, and send him away into the wilderness" (Lev 16:21). A goat. To me, a goat is a very disinterested-looking animal. I imagine the goat chewing some metal object and staring off into the distance with glassy eyes, while Aaron earnestly atones for his entire people's sins by whispering them into its hairy ear. How ridiculous.

I think I've mentioned before that God doesn't want people to consume the blood of any animal. The reason comes out in Leviticus 17: "You shall not eat the blood of any creature, for the life of every creature is its blood; whoever eats it shall be cut off" (Lev 17:14). I looked up some of the kosher rules and this is one of them. All blood is supposed to be drained from meat and poultry, or broiled out of it. How sad. Last night, I was treated by a friend to a delicious medium-rare T-Bone at Jacob's Steakhouse. It was truly a revelation. I personally believe it would be a sin to overcook a nice piece of meat like that.

Levitcus 18 focuses on who you should never see naked; basically, any of your relatives or in-laws (this isn't Europe). If you do try to "uncover the nakedness" of any of them then God threatens that the land will "vomit you out" (Lev 18:28). I'd like to know what some of the other options for translation were on that one.

A bunch of weird rules get served up in Leviticus 19. Some of these I've heard before but some I haven't.

1. You can't wear clothes made with two different kinds of materials (like a poly-cotten blend).

2. You can't sport a shaggy beard [this is how I interpret "You shall not... mar the edges of your beard" (Lev 19:27)].

3. You can't have tattoos.

4. You can't be loose about measuring things (so you can't bake cookies and put in roughly a cup of sugar).

After listing these rules, God says "You shall rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the LORD" (Lev 19:32). Okay, so God is an old guy.

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