And I had such high hopes for Leviticus. Oh, who am I kidding? Leviticus is probably the most misused of all of the books of the bible. In its pages lie hundreds of bizarre rules. Many critics claim that the book is evil, but it’s not that evil, it’s mostly just… bizarre. This isn’t much of a shock, most ancient books are a little bizarre because the authors had such a limited and ignorant worldview. I put no blame on the authors, and through their works we can gain insight into past cultures. The problem comes when people decide to make these ancient writings the basis for their lives, and those who quote Leviticus are full of vitriolic passion.
Believers usually point out the tidbits they agree with and ignore the remaining 99%. For example, the first five chapters are almost entirely God detailing how to eviscerate and burn animals in order to sedate his wrath.
This comic represents the entire first chapter of Leviticus because there is very little new ground to cover. God demands sacrifices, the kind that Psalm 51:16 says he doesn’t like or desire, to act as a temporary payment for the sin of the Israelite’s great-great-great-×100-ancestors. I won’t return to why this is messed up—I already covered it, and even a child can explain why it’s immoral.
The slaughtering process was already mentioned numerous times in Exodus, but there is a tiny bit of new information here. God now seems to allow the execution of birds; specifically, turtledoves and pigeons. The instructions for sacrificing these little guys is dictated by our loving Lord in Leviticus 1:15-17: you first rip off the animal’s head, then squeeze out the blood, pluck the feathers and tear off the crop, toss the carcass into the ash pile, and finally burn the thing whole so that God may enjoy it’s sweet savor.
The next time someone quotes you Leviticus, just start reading aloud from verse 1, and at the end of each verse ask them, “Is this still moral?”
I should also point out that there is a translation issue, oddly enough with the word feathers. While the KJV translates the Biblical Hebrew word nowtsah into “feathers”, modern translators don’t think the word means feathers, but rather the contents of the crop. This is kind of important because, as commentator Albert Barnes points out, the feathers are supposed to remain and be burned with the carcass. I hope nobody used the KJV for instructions on sacrificing birds, or God is gonna have a hissy fit!