Talk:Gen 8:20-9:17

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Verse 4[edit]

I'm not sure what to make of the parallel between Adam and Eve being prohibited from eating of the tree of life and of Noah and his descendants being prohibited from eating meat with "life" (i.e., blood) in it. But I did find it interesting. --User:Eric 17:26, 2 Feb 2006 (UTC)

Cassuto interprets the permission to eat meat in v. 3 as a concession (I'll elaborate more on this point of his later), so the (literal) prohibition against eating blood here is to "serve . . . as a reminder that in truth all flesh should have been forbidden, and hence it behooves us to avoid eating one part of it in order to remember the former prohibition." --RobertC 15:05, 8 Feb 2006 (UTC)

Is it accurate to say "life," symbolized by blood? To me "symbolized" seems too soft. On the other hand, I also don't like the idea of coming up with some scientific-like explanation of blood as the cause of mortality or something like that. I feel there should be some way of not weakening the claim to symbolism but also not re-interpretting it as a scientific-like claim about how blood works at a physiological level. So anyway I don't have a better suggestion but thought maybe someone else would if I brought up the issue. --Matthew Faulconer 06:06, 8 Feb 2006 (UTC)

I'm confused by verses 3 and 4. Aren't they told in v. 3 that it's OK to eat meat? Then what is v. 4 prohibiting? Is it the literal eating of blood? Not eating live animals (i.e. raw)? Or what? --RobertC 13:35, 8 Feb 2006 (UTC)

Here's what Matthew Henry has to say about it (basically that it's a prohibition against eating raw meat):
"Man must not prejudice his own life by eating that food which is unwholesome and prejudicial to his health (v. 4): "Flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof (that is, raw flesh), shall you not eat, as the beasts of prey do." It was necessary to add this limitation to the grant of liberty to eat flesh, lest, instead of nourishing their bodies by it, they should destroy them. God would hereby show, (1.) That though they were lords of the creatures, yet they were subjects to the Creator, and under the restraints of his law. (2.) That they must not be greedy and hasty in taking their food, but stay the preparing of it; not like Saul's soldiers (1 Sam. xiv. 32), nor riotous eaters of flesh, Prov. xxiii. 20. (3.) That they must not be barbarous and cruel to the inferior creatures. They must be lords, but not tyrants; they might kill them for their profit, but not torment them for their pleasure, nor tear away the member of a creature while it was yet alive, and eat that. (4.) That during the continuance of the law of sacrifices, in which the blood made atonement for the soul (Lev. xvii. 11), signifying that the life of the sacrifice was accepted for the life of the sinner, blood must not be looked upon as a common thing, but must be poured out before the Lord (2 Sam. xxiii. 16), either upon his altar or upon his earth. But, now that the great and true sacrifice has been offered, the obligation of the law ceases with the reason of it."
As is noted above, I think this is not just a prohibition against eating raw meat, it is also a prohibition against eating meet that wasn't killed in a certain way. I believe that Jews still follow these rules for considering a meat kosher. I believe the idea is that certain ways of killing the animal would drain the blood whereas others don't. I'm talking here about something I don't know, when there are plenty of experts out there. Hopefully that is a helpful start. --Matthew Faulconer 14:16, 8 Feb 2006 (UTC)
Thanks--we really need to get more people trained in Jewish law posting on this site! --RobertC 14:41, 8 Feb 2006 (UTC)

Verse 5[edit]

Does anyone have any suggestion what verse 5 means? --Matthew Faulconer 05:52, 8 Feb 2006 (UTC)

Footnote (e) here suggests it means that God will "avenge" the blood of any who take man's life, whether it be another animal or another man. --RobertC 13:27, 8 Feb 2006 (UTC)
that is helpful, thanks.--Matthew Faulconer 14:18, 8 Feb 2006 (UTC)
I spent some time trying to look through through study tools to understand what the word require means. I was surprised that I didn't find more that was helpful. This list of other times the same Hebrew word is translated as require was the most helpful. Though I think interpretting this as avenge makes sense, I'm a bit confused as to how we get there. --Matthew Faulconer 14:37, 8 Feb 2006 (UTC)
Cassuto (p. 126) seems to have a different take, though he self-references a volume that is in my office so I'll have to elaborate on this later. As I understand it now, he first takes verse 4 as a literal prohibition against eating blood, b/c blood is symbolic of life. Verse 5 is then a continuation of this thought, that blood/life is sacred to God, and that the phrase "And surely for your own blood" in v. 5 (an alternate translation apparently) means that the prohibition against blood in v. 4 is not only symbolically significant, but also serves to literally protect man's life (that is, the prohibition is for health reasons too). Here's how Cassuto puts it:
"The injunction to respect the blood as the basis of life is not just an obligation imposed upon you and a limitation of your right to enjoyment; it operates also for you benefit."
--RobertC 14:58, 8 Feb 2006 (UTC)
Not sure I follow. Is the thinking then that by respecting blood we are also protected in the sense that a) we are healthier because we eat better--blood is bad for us or b) establishing a respect for blood means that we won't be senselessly killed or c) both or d) something else? --Matthew Faulconer 15:28, 8 Feb 2006 (UTC)
I interpreted it as (a), but I don't see any reason he couldn't have meant (b). --RobertC 16:32, 8 Feb 2006 (UTC)
Leibowitz (pp. 79-82) has written a lot on this passage. Here's my understanding of what he's written (it's not super clear to me, so this might be a misreading; I'm including several quotes b/c of my unsurety):
  • "Surely the blood of your lives will I require": This phrase says that if anyone (man or beast) takes man's blood, God will go after whoever took it to reclaim that blood so-to-speak (since we are God's children, or made "in the image of God" as v. 6 puts it).
  • ". . . at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man;": As Ibn Ezra interpreted this, God is saying ". . . if many slay a single person or one individual another, I shall seek out the blood. I shall also seek it out from any beast, by commaning another to slay it. For animals are permitted to you but not you to them."
  • ". . . by the hand of every man's brother, I shall require the life of man.": This has been interpreted two ways: (1) the poetic interpretation is that this phrase is a repitition of the earlier point for emphasis (especially if another man kills man, who is his brother, God will seek the stolen blood), (2) the legal interpretation is that "by the hand of man" refers to intentional murder, and "by the hand of every man's brother" refers to unintentional manslaughter--that is, if manslaughter is committed and the guilty party "does not reveal it and ask foregiveness" then God "will seek a reckoning with him". This phrase is referring to God seeking out the offender, which is in contrast to the phrase in v. 6 "by man shall his blood be shed" which refers to man seeking out the offender (I think Matthew Henry discusses this as a basis for human laws against murder).
--RobertC 17:16, 8 Feb 2006 (UTC)

To find out what we're supposed to be getting from this, there is a JST. (See the footnotes for verse 4.) As to how that relates to what we have in the KJV, I don't know. It would seem likely that the message has been garbled by time. --Seanmcox 23:34, 17 Oct 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for pointing this out Sean. I'm surprised how similar this sounds to Pres. Kimball's famous talk about not killing animals—surely it was motivated/related to the JST of this passage. (Perhaps a topic to add the "ideas to help with the website"—wherever that is—would be adding JST notes to the commentary pages....) --RobertC 09:26, 18 Oct 2006 (UTC)

linking to the discussion page[edit]

Though I sort of think it is bad form I'm not sure I have any good reason. But I do think that if we are going to link to the discussion page this should be done in the related links section versus the exegesis section. One rather minor reason not to link to a discussion page is that in principle they can be archived at any time which would break the link. --Matthew Faulconer 07:20, 11 Feb 2006 (UTC)