Leviticus 17:13 Commentary - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)
(13) And whatsoever man.—Better, what man soever (see Lev. 17:3). Hitherto the law mainly discussed the blood of sacrificial animals, or those quadrupeds which were slaughtered at home. In this and the following verses the statute is extended to all other creatures which, though wild, are legally clean and used as food.
Which hunteth and catcheth.—Hunting, which was an amusement with other nations of antiquity, was with the serious Hebrew a matter of necessity. It was resorted to as a matter of necessity to exterminate dangerous beasts (Exo. 23:29), but more especially to procure food (Gen. 25:27; Pro. 12:27). Besides the numerous pitfalls, snares, traps, &c, which are so frequently mentioned in the Bible, the Hebrews also employed arms in catching game (Gen. 27:3). When wounded, or when the game had to be killed to facilitate its being carried home, the hunters were liable to become careless about the blood, as is evident from the practice which obtained among some of the ancients. Thus we are told that the Zabians, when they slew a beast, put the blood into a vessel or into a hole which they dug in the ground, and then sat round and feasted on it. It is to prevent such outrages on the sacred blood, which the hunters were especially liable to commit when hungry, that the law is here enacted. An instance of the hungry army flying upon the spoil, killing the cattle in the field, and eating the flesh with the blood, is recorded in 1Sa. 14:32-34. (Comp. also Eze. 33:25.)
Any beast or fowl that may be eaten.—That is, those wild beasts or fowl which, according to the dietary law, were usually eaten. During the second Temple this was interpreted strictly to apply to the clean wild beasts, but not to those not permitted to be eaten.
He shall even pour out the blood.—The earth, from which all animals came forth at their creation (Gen. 1:24), is to receive back again the principle of their life. They proceeded from the womb of the earth, and their life-blood is to return to it. With such scrupulous care was this law observed during the second Temple, that the following Benediction was ordered to be recited when the blood was covered up: “Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who hath sanctified us by His precepts, and hath commanded us to cover up the blood.”
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Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)
Charles John Ellicott (1819 - 1905) was a distinguished English Christian theologian, academic and churchman. He briefly served as Dean of Exeter, then Bishop of the united see of Gloucester and Bristol.
His works include:
- An Old Testament Commentary for English Readers, 1897. (Editor)
- A New Testament Commentary for English Readers, 1878.