Law and Society
I chose Leviticus chapter 11 up to chapters 15 where God said to Aaron and Moses that “tell Israelites that they may eat any cloven-footed animal that chew cud and has hoofs (Bible History Online)”. God is giving out rules to be observed by the Israelites as they head to their promised land. Some of the questions that one would ask are as follows. Does the act of coming into contact with unholy animal make one unholy? What were the purposes of God’s rules to Israelites that he gave to Moses? Does God want us to be holy like him? He outlined all the animals that the Israelites should not eat and the ones they should eat. In addition, he stressed that consumption of unclean animals would make human beings unclean hence there was need for cleansing. An example is where a person consumes an eagle owl that is prohibited. This infers that they have to be cleansed through some rituals conducted by the priests (Bible History Online). It shows that God was mindful about health issues and purity of the people of Israelites as they passed through the wilderness. He was preparing them for the journey ahead that would see them suffer from hunger and thirst.
In chapter 12, 13 and 14 God made some provisions for purification for those unclean individual culminating from various acts such as childbearing, unclean diseases an example of leprosy and contact with unclean animal or its carcasses. The priest would ensure and declare any unclean person an outcast while conducting purification ceremony for cleansing the unclean in the community.
It seems that God has observed their desires and action and identified weaknesses in them that would get people lured into committing sins (King James Bible). In Leviticus chapter 11 verses 44, God says he is holy and expects human beings to resemble his holiness in all their endeavors. It involves the food they eat, their actions and interrelation with the environment they come across on their way (King James Bible).
An Art and Liturgy at St Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai indicates a picture of Mount Sinai that shows the overview of the wilderness (J. Gerstel and S. Nelson). From the mountain down to the lowest regions, there is scanty vegetation an action that depicts that the Israelites would find difficulties in their journey. In the wilderness, they will come across many animals that crawl over the earth or live in the sea (King James Bible). Therefore, a guideline was necessary to make them distinguish unclean creatures from the clean ones.
My understanding about God’s message in this script is that he was putting forth the things that Israelites should ensure they uphold as they move from Egypt to Canaan. Laws were extremely important in the sense that people were moving to the world of unknown and would face many challenges. This insinuates that they would forget about their culture and their God as they encounter new environment and experiences new way of life (Bible History Online). It was a way of alienating Israelites from the Egyptian culture and practices that they got when they were living in Egypt. Israelites were the chosen people hence they were regarded as a holy people by the other communities. Therefore, they were expected to be holy as God is. By doing this, the chosen people would live a holy life that is admired by the rest of the nations in the world. Thus, God would achieve this by imposing regulations to give guidance at all times.
Bible History Online. “Leviticus in the Picture Study Bible – The Book of Leviticus with Maps and Background Information (Bible History Online).” Bible History Online Images and Resources for Biblical History. The British Museum, 12 Feb. 2015. Web. 8 June 2015. <http://www.bible-history.com/studybible/Leviticus/>.
J. Gerstel, Sharon E., and Robert S. Nelson. “Mural and Icon Painting at Sinai | Georgi Parpulov – Academia.edu.” Academia.edu – Share Research. Georgi Parpulov, 22 Apr. 2010. Web. 8 June 2015. <http://www.academia.edu/1489623/Mural_and_Icon_Painting_at_Sinai>.
King James Bible. “LEVITICUS CHAPTER 11.” OFFICIAL KING JAMES BIBLE ONLINE: AUTHORIZED KING JAMES VERSION (KJV). DistribuTECH Africa, 12 Mar. 2015. Web. 8 June 2015. <http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Leviticus-Chapter-11/>.
Spark notes. “SparkNotes: Bible: The Old Testament: Leviticus, Numbers & Deuteronomy.” SparkNotes: Today’s Most Popular Study Guides. Barnes and Noble, 23 Mar. 2015. Web. 8 June 2015. <http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/oldtestament/section5.rhtml>.