Prohibitions against Eating Blood
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to Aaron and his sons and all the people of Israel. This is what the Lord has commanded.
“If any native Israelite sacrifices a bull[a] or a lamb or a goat anywhere inside or outside the camp instead of bringing it to the entrance of the Tabernacle[b] to present it as an offering to the Lord, that person will be as guilty as a murderer.[c] Such a person has shed blood and will be cut off from the community. The purpose of this rule is to stop the Israelites from sacrificing animals in the open fields. It will ensure that they bring their sacrifices to the priest at the entrance of the Tabernacle, so he can present them to the Lord as peace offerings. Then the priest will be able to splatter the blood against the Lord’s altar at the entrance of the Tabernacle, and he will burn the fat as a pleasing aroma to the Lord. The people must no longer be unfaithful to the Lord by offering sacrifices to the goat idols.[d] This is a permanent law for them, to be observed from generation to generation.
“Give them this command as well. If any native Israelite or foreigner living among you offers a burnt offering or a sacrifice but does not bring it to the entrance of the Tabernacle to offer it to the Lord, that person will be cut off from the community.
“And if any native Israelite or foreigner living among you eats or drinks blood in any form, I will turn against that person and cut him off from the community of your people, for the life of the body is in its blood. I have given you the blood on the altar to purify you, making you right with the Lord.[e] It is the blood, given in exchange for a life, that makes purification possible. That is why I have said to the people of Israel, ‘You must never eat or drink blood—neither you nor the foreigners living among you.’
“And if any native Israelite or foreigner living among you goes hunting and kills an animal or bird that is approved for eating, he must drain its blood and cover it with earth. The life of every creature is in its blood. That is why I have said to the people of Israel, ‘You must never eat or drink blood, for the life of any creature is in its blood.’ So whoever consumes blood will be cut off from the community.
“And if any native-born Israelites or foreigners eat the meat of an animal that died naturally or was torn up by wild animals, they must wash their clothes and bathe themselves in water. They will remain ceremonially unclean until evening, but then they will be clean. But if they do not wash their clothes and bathe themselves, they will be punished for their sin.”
- 17:3 Or cow.
- 17:4a Hebrew Tent of Meeting; also in 17:5, 6, 9.
- 17:4b Hebrew will be guilty of blood.
- 17:7 Or goat demons.
- 17:11 Or to make atonement for you.
Forbidden Sexual Practices
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. I am the Lord your God. So do not act like the people in Egypt, where you used to live, or like the people of Canaan, where I am taking you. You must not imitate their way of life. You must obey all my regulations and be careful to obey my decrees, for I am the Lord your God. If you obey my decrees and my regulations, you will find life through them. I am the Lord.
“You must never have sexual relations with a close relative, for I am the Lord.
“Do not violate your father by having sexual relations with your mother. She is your mother; you must not have sexual relations with her.
“Do not have sexual relations with any of your father’s wives, for this would violate your father.
“Do not have sexual relations with your sister or half sister, whether she is your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether she was born into your household or someone else’s.
“Do not have sexual relations with your granddaughter, whether she is your son’s daughter or your daughter’s daughter, for this would violate yourself.
“Do not have sexual relations with your stepsister, the daughter of any of your father’s wives, for she is your sister.
“Do not have sexual relations with your father’s sister, for she is your father’s close relative.
“Do not have sexual relations with your mother’s sister, for she is your mother’s close relative.
“Do not violate your uncle, your father’s brother, by having sexual relations with his wife, for she is your aunt.
“Do not have sexual relations with your daughter-in-law; she is your son’s wife, so you must not have sexual relations with her.
“Do not have sexual relations with your brother’s wife, for this would violate your brother.
“Do not have sexual relations with both a woman and her daughter. And do not take[a] her granddaughter, whether her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter, and have sexual relations with her. They are close relatives, and this would be a wicked act.
“While your wife is living, do not marry her sister and have sexual relations with her, for they would be rivals.
“Do not have sexual relations with a woman during her period of menstrual impurity.
“Do not defile yourself by having sexual intercourse with your neighbor’s wife.
“Do not permit any of your children to be offered as a sacrifice to Molech, for you must not bring shame on the name of your God. I am the Lord.
“Do not practice homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman. It is a detestable sin.
“A man must not defile himself by having sex with an animal. And a woman must not offer herself to a male animal to have intercourse with it. This is a perverse act.
“Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, for the people I am driving out before you have defiled themselves in all these ways. Because the entire land has become defiled, I am punishing the people who live there. I will cause the land to vomit them out. You must obey all my decrees and regulations. You must not commit any of these detestable sins. This applies both to native-born Israelites and to the foreigners living among you.
“All these detestable activities are practiced by the people of the land where I am taking you, and this is how the land has become defiled. So do not defile the land and give it a reason to vomit you out, as it will vomit out the people who live there now. Whoever commits any of these detestable sins will be cut off from the community of Israel. So obey my instructions, and do not defile yourselves by committing any of these detestable practices that were committed by the people who lived in the land before you. I am the Lord your God.”
- 18:17 Or do not marry.