Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Laws about fat Leviticus 3: 16-17


 All the fat (shall be offered) before the Lord. It is an everlasting statute unto all your generations, that neither the fat nor the blood shall be eaten in any of your dwellings, but upon the back of the altar it shall be sacrificed unto the Name of the Lord. (Leviticus 3:16-17) 
From The Targums of the Pentateuch: Pseudo-Jonathan
 Leviticus (found on-line here: http://targum.info/pj/pjlev01-06.htm)

I am still reading around the laws of the various offerings in Leviticus chapters 3-6, and I noticed that another “Everlasting Statute” had been put in place.  I always knew the law regarding blood, “Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.” (Genesis 9:4) But here in Leviticus is the addition of a no-exception law regarding the fat of an animal...both the sacrifice or in your "dwelling."

And I wondered why?

When you think about the fat described on the animal (on the ‘entrails’ or intestines, on the kidneys, etc.) if you have been around any animal being butchered, you can tell how well an animal has been cared for by the amount and quality of the fat on the organs and in the meat.

Now, I haven’t been around a farm for a long time, but this I do know: meat of a well cared for animal will have a good amount of fat on it.  In any areas where you have subsistence farming or herding of animals, if the grazing is good, the animals will have quite alot of fat in them.  Fat will give a human being easy calories.  If you want to have a lot of energy in a survival situation, you need fat.  But if you have enough to eat, and balanced nutrition: the fat on the organs of an animal is excess.

Perhaps this command to offer all the fat of an animal was to teach trust in God to provide for his people a balanced, steady supply of food so that the people did not need to eat any emergency rations (fat) to stay alive. 

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