I’ve been thinking about animal sacrifices in traditional Japanese religion…. or rather, the lack thereof. Recalling my reading of the Norito way back in the day, just about everything offered was rice, cloth, and riches, but not animals. I’m assuming that’s partly because the Japanese gods are enormous neat-freaks. Blood, entrails, all of that is impure and can’t go into their holy areas. So while the priests have to be blood-splattered to be sanctified, in Shinto, you’d have to scrub the blood off before they’d be sanctified.

The sacrifice of incense is something the Japanese would know, as well as the hand-washing in verses 17-21. All shrines and many temples in Japan have a pool where you have to wash your hands and your mouth before going to pray to ritually purify yourself.

We also get a few more things that can get you “cut off from the people.” If you try to duplicate holy anointing oil or anoint “unqualified” people, you’ll be cut off. I guess this is to keep it out of the hands of charlatans who might try to sell it as a quack cure, or away from people who might want to lead breakaway groups with their own priests. Also, if you use the holy incense as perfume, you’ll be cut off, because seriously, it’s incense, you’re going to smell like a hippie.

It’s interesting to see the number of rituals that would go on in the space of the tabernacle. Different kids of offerings, ordinations, anointing. It was a busy place, and that’s only when it was set up. I wonder if it’ll ever talk about the ritually-correct way to gold it up and carry it around?

The Japanese: kou o taku “to burn incense” (v 1), aitaisuru “to face each other,” kutsugu “to shoulder” (v 4), hedateru “to separate” (v 6), totonoeru “to prepare” (v 7; I promise that someday I’m going to remember the definition of this!), kitei ni hanshita “against the regulation” (v 9), touroku “registration” (v 12), senban “laver” (v 18), houshi “service, ministry” (v 20), kouryou “perfume, incense,” jushi “resin,” shoubu “calamus” (v 23), keihi “cinnamon” (v 24), ruiji shita “similar, close to” (v 33), nyuukou “frankincense” (v 34), funmatsu “powder” (v 36).

When I look at a list like this, full of words I will never use like “frankincense” and “laver,” I am glad when i run up against a word like amaru from several chapters ago, which has been very useful.