Leviticus 17–18: Avoid Idolatrous Practices

Old Testament Seminary Student Study Guide, (2002), 60–61

Leviticus 17–18 records the Lord’s instructions to the Israelites about practices that would clearly separate them from the false religions of their time. Leviticus 17 contains instructions on what to do when the Israelites killed an animal. Even when an animal was not going to be offered as a sacrifice, the Israelites had to present it before the Lord at the tabernacle. This practice helped prevent any sacrifice to false gods and helped the Israelites to remember that all they had came from the Lord. In Leviticus 17, the Lord also commanded the Israelites not to eat blood. Blood is a common symbol for life, and some false religions of the day included the drinking of blood as part of their religious rituals. By this practice the believers sought to extend their own lives. The Lord gave Israel various sacrifices symbolizing the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ, in which His blood would be shed to give eternal life to all who would believe in Him and obey His commandments (see Leviticus 17:11).Leviticus 18 contains the Lord’s warning to the Israelites that immoral sexual behavior could cause the destruction of nations and that the Israelites would be destroyed if they participated in these practices.