Troublesome Topic: Don’t Touch Blood!

Lesson 3 of 7

The Regulations against Touching Blood Taught Respect for Life.

Blood is necessary for life, and the Torah states that “the life of a creature is in the blood” (Lev. 17:11, and also v. 14). If the blood is a well-spring of life, it should not be treated as an ordinary, insignificant thing, but with special care. Hence the instructions in the Law to not touch blood or eat meat with blood in it, as well as purification processes required when someone did touch blood or had been bleeding for whatever reason. The issue was not the blood itself, but what it represented—life. The connection between blood and life is made clear by the phrase, “the life is in the blood.” By showing special care with blood, they were showing special care for life itself.

Life is normal, death is abnormal. Life is God’s way; death is not God’s way. Life came from, and still comes from God. For these reasons, the regulations about not touching blood (or dead things) were key to the spiritual principles God wanted to teach His people.

But God knows that life includes situations that are less-than-perfect. Touching blood or touching a dead body was sometimes necessary and other times unavoidable. This is why touching a dead body, or touching blood, was not considered sin; it was only considered uncleanness. One of the lessons from the laws about “don’t-touch-unclean-things” was that life is the norm in God’s kingdom, death is not. Getting close to death was not a sin, but it was something that God did not want His people to get used to or think of as OK. In general we should stay away from things that cause death.

Unfortunately, the Israelites did not always respect life as God wanted them to. Numerous societies of ancient times, including Israel to some degree, practiced child sacrifice in the worship of gods like Chemosh, Molech, Baal, and others.

The issue of respecting life, all life, has direct connections to our modern times as we deal with issues like abortion, population control and others.

The next lesson in the Medium and short series on Covenants is You Must Care for the Widows Orphans and Foreigners

The next lesson in the full series on Covenants is Respect for All Life Must Include the Unborn