Friday, October 2, 2009

27: Slaughter

Exodus 28-29
The story really seems to be slowing down here. All of Exodus 28 is about priestly garments. Which include extravagant robes and a gold breastplate ("for making decisions"). Aaron also becomes head priest. I did find one strange thing. When Aaron enters the "holy place" (which I presume is the tabernacle) he must wear bells as he goes in and as he goes out, so he "will not die". No explanation is given as to what is going to kill him.

Exodus 29 is rather strange (especially if you don't appreciate animals being pointlessly slaughtered). The priests need to be consecrated (Aaron and his sons). Apparently the way you accomplish this is to take a bull and two rams, and find inventive ways to kill them and mutilate their bodies.

First you take a bull, all of the priests put their hands on it's head, and you kill it. You pour it's blood at the base of the altar and then burn random chunks of fat from inside it's body.

Take one of the rams, all of the priests put their hands on it's head. Then you kill it, sprinkle (not pour) it's blood on the altar, dismember it's body and wash all of the parts, then burn it. This is said to produce a "pleasing aroma". Now, I've never smelled a ram burning whole, but I can't imagine the smell is pleasing.

Take the remaining ram, and put the priestly hands on it. Then kill it, smear the blood on their right ears, right thumbs, and right big toes. Why? Then sprinkle the blood on the altar. Take some of it's fat and burn it, again, this aroma (burning flesh) pleases the Lord. God finds the smell of burning flesh pleasing. Need I say more?

Finally, FINALLY, they get to eat some of the meat. A little bit of the last ram is consumed by Aaron and his sons, but what they don't finish that night they have to burn.

Ok, we've pointlessly slaughtered two animals and mostly pointlessly slaughtered a third, so we're done, we're consecrated right? Wrong. For seven days they have to kill a bull and two lambs every day. It doesn't specify whether the 7 bulls are to be eaten or burned, but the lambs are burned, not to be consumed. Again, it reiterates that there is a wonderful aroma coming from the burning flesh of the lambs. Lovely.

So if you have a farm, like to kill and dismember animals, and enjoy the smell of burning flesh, congratulations! You can be consecrated!


  1. My understanding of the bells has been that the people outside will hear it if he falls dead in the presence of God. They're not a prevention of death so much as an indicator.

    I think it's supposed to be disturbing - to the Israelites and to us - that so much blood is needed for atonement. The idea is to give the people a visualization of what their sins will cost Jesus when he comes. It's setting a type.

  2. Sorry, that's not what it says. "The gold bells and the pomegranates are to alternate around the hem of the robe. Aaron must wear it when he ministers. The sound of the bells will be heard when he enters the Holy Place before the LORD and when he comes out, so that he will not die." There is an action and a reason. The action is that the bells will be heard, the reason given is "so he will not die". I see very little other interpretation, unless it is mistranslated, which I could probably be convinced of.

    It strikes me as a little pointless to sacrifice animals. What are we proving when we slaughter a helpless animal? How does you killing something translate into you being forgiven for sin?

  3. As we see from the very beginning, sin costs life. In the New Testament, Jesus' life provides the sacrifice and atonement that the animals could never fully provide.

  4. Why should innocent animal life suffer for human sin? From what I've read so far, most of the 'sins' are being commited by 'god' at the cost of human life...

  5. Maria, the original books of the Bible were not written with Jesus in mind.



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