My Bible is a student study Bible, so it has lots of notes here and there and has a brief introduction to each book of the Bible just giving an overview of it and things like that. At the start of Leviticus, it says that many people lose interest in Leviticus when reading through the Bible because it is such a detailed book of rules and procedures, in essence, a law book. I agree with that, it is all about God’s laws for the Israeliets, but I found it really interesting! I had trouble stopping every morning, even when I realised how late it was getting!
There is repetition of a number of points and there is nothing that on it’s own stood out to me until chapter 9, I found it as a whole very interesting though just because I’ve not gone into all the rules on pre-Christ sacrifices in depth before, and I found it really interesting and intrigueing.
Leviticus overlaps slightly with Exodus, not just in the establishment of laws, but in Leviticus chapter 9, Aaron his sons are ordained before the Lord, as in the end of Exodus. There is a reason this is repeated here though, following the ordination, it goes into the start of the roles of the priests and establishes what they are and aren’t allowed to do, as well as what they are required to do for the Israelites.
I particularly like the first offering performed by Aaron in the end of chapter 9, I think this would have been such an amazing sight and experience, to be there when this happened, from the end of Chapter 9:23-24 “the glory of the LORD appeared to all the people. 24 Fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the fat portions on the altar. And when all the people saw it, they shouted for joy and fell facedown.”
Of course though, it didn’t take long before people decided to go their own way and in chapter 10, Aaron’s two eldest son’s disobeyed the instructions given to them by God for sacrifices, “contrary to His command.” And they were consumed by fire from the presence of the Lord.
A chapter of particular relevance to me is 11, clean and unclean foods and the laws surrounding them. Now regardless of whether you believe that in Peter’s vision of the unclean animals being lowered down and God saying not to call anything he has made unclean is referring to unclean food being clean or being analagous to saying the gentiles shouldn’t be left out just because they aren’t Jews, or both, this chapter has great advice on meat.
3 You may eat any animal that has a split hoof completely divided and that chews the cud.
4 ” ‘There are some that only chew the cud or only have a split hoof, but you must not eat them. The camel, though it chews the cud, does not have a split hoof; it is ceremonially unclean for you. 5 The coney, though it chews the cud, does not have a split hoof; it is unclean for you. 6 The rabbit, though it chews the cud, does not have a split hoof; it is unclean for you. 7 And the pig, though it has a split hoof completely divided, does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you. 8 You must not eat their meat or touch their carcasses; they are unclean for you.
9 ” ‘Of all the creatures living in the water of the seas and the streams, you may eat any that have fins and scales. 10 But all creatures in the seas or streams that do not have fins and scales—whether among all the swarming things or among all the other living creatures in the water—you are to detest. 11 And since you are to detest them, you must not eat their meat and you must detest their carcasses. 12 Anything living in the water that does not have fins and scales is to be detestable to you.
13 ” ‘These are the birds you are to detest and not eat because they are detestable: the eagle, the vulture, the black vulture, 14 the red kite, any kind of black kite, 15 any kind of raven, 16 the horned owl, the screech owl, the gull, any kind of hawk, 17 the little owl, the cormorant, the great owl, 18 the white owl, the desert owl, the osprey, 19 the stork, any kind of heron, the hoopoe and the bat.
God then goes through the birds, insects, then reiterates on the animals that walk on all fours:
26 ” ‘Every animal that has a split hoof not completely divided or that does not chew the cud is unclean for you; whoever touches the carcass of any of them will be unclean. 27 Of all the animals that walk on all fours, those that walk on their paws are unclean for you;
And then goes on to animals that move about on the ground like lizards and snakes.
As I was saying, regardless of what you believe about clean and unclean animals for food, this is very good advice. Why? Look at the animals that are considered unclean, what they eat and how the live. Many of them are scavengers and live off whatever is lying around and live in disgusting conditions. Some of them, such as pigs which are explicitly mentioned here as well, have been found to contain huge numbers of parasites and can also increase the likelihood of heart problems when eaten regularly far more than other red meats like beef or lamb. That was on Ten news a couple months ago I believe, I’ll have to see if I can find a source for that on the net somewhere.
Look at sea creatures for example as well, prawns, no scales or fins, catfish, fins but no scales, regardless of what they are fed if they are bred for consumption, they recycle organic matter including waste from other fish and sea creatures. That in and of itself is a pretty big turn off for me as far as eating them! There are others of course that fit into the unclean category like squid, octopi, sharks etc that are both scavengers and predators and that don’t necessarily live in similar conditions to things like prawns or catfish, but considering how good the advice is on other animals, I’m quite happy to stay away from these things, especially since, even cooked they are quite repulsive looking anyway.
I don’t eat much meat anyway, but just comparing the clean and unclean animals and so on, I just can’t stomach eating those that are indicated here as not being clean. There is obviously a reason God classified them this way, whether we realise it or not.