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Deuteronomy 12:20-28

Context
The Sanctity of Blood

12:20 When the Lord your God extends your borders as he said he would do and you say, “I want to eat meat just as I please,” 1  you may do so as you wish. 2  12:21 If the place he 3  chooses to locate his name is too far for you, you may slaughter any of your herd and flock he 4  has given you just as I have stipulated; you may eat them in your villages 5  just as you wish. 12:22 Like you eat the gazelle or ibex, so you may eat these; the ritually impure and pure alike may eat them. 12:23 However, by no means eat the blood, for the blood is life itself 6  – you must not eat the life with the meat! 12:24 You must not eat it! You must pour it out on the ground like water. 12:25 You must not eat it so that it may go well with you and your children after you; you will be doing what is right in the Lord’s sight. 7  12:26 Only the holy things and votive offerings that belong to you, you must pick up and take to the place the Lord will choose. 8  12:27 You must offer your burnt offerings, both meat and blood, on the altar of the Lord your God; the blood of your other sacrifices 9  you must pour out on his 10  altar while you eat the meat. 12:28 Pay careful attention to all these things I am commanding you so that it may always go well with you and your children after you when you do what is good and right in the sight of the Lord your God.

1 tn Heb “for my soul desires to eat meat.”

2 tn Heb “according to all the desire of your soul you may eat meat.”

3 tn Heb “the Lord your God.” See note on “he” in 12:5.

4 tn Heb “the Lord.” See note on “he” in 12:5.

5 tn Heb “gates” (so KJV, NASB); NAB “in your own community.”

6 sn The blood is life itself. This is a figure of speech (metonymy) in which the cause or means (the blood) stands for the result or effect (life). That is, life depends upon the existence and circulation of blood, a truth known empirically but not scientifically tested and proved until the 17th century a.d. (cf. Lev 17:11).

7 tc Heb “in the eyes of the Lord.” The LXX adds “your God” to create the common formula, “the Lord your God.” The MT is preferred precisely because it does not include the stereotyped formula; thus it more likely preserves the original text.

8 tc Again, to complete a commonly attested wording the LXX adds after “choose” the phrase “to place his name there.” This shows insensitivity to deliberate departures from literary stereotypes. The MT reading is to be preferred.

9 sn These other sacrifices would be so-called peace or fellowship offerings whose ritual required a different use of the blood from that of burnt (sin and trespass) offerings (cf. Lev 3; 7:11-14, 19-21).

10 tn Heb “on the altar of the Lord your God.” The pronoun has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons to avoid redundancy.



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