As it turns out, if you don’t sacrifices meat a certain way, it counts as murder. That’s sort of fascinating. If you kill an animal without making a sacrifice of it (the fat gets burned, you get the rest), you “shall be held guilty of bloodshed,” or as the NCT bluntly puts it, you “shall be seen as a murderer” (v 4). And doing it will get you cut off from the people.
The reason for this, apparently, is to keep people from sacrificing to “goat-demons” (v 7). Now, are “goat-demons” a new class of supernatural creature? Or is it an insult for other nations’ gods? I suppose the former is probably correct, since they also appear in Isaiah in the context of wild creatures inhabiting ruins. Older translations like the KJV called them “satyrs,” the half-man, half-goat creatures from Greek myth. I’m not sure how far back that translation goes. I found the oldest Greek translation ever made (the Septuagint) online, and it doesn’t use “satyr” there. Maybe they didn’t want readers to conflate all the things they believed about satyrs (intelligent, randy, all male) with these goat-demons.
This idea that all your meat has to be sacrificed might explain why there are so many sacrifices to be made. Need to eat mutton tonight? Make a goodwill offering!
This is another one of the unchanging statues that can’t be followed anymore because there isn’t a temple, though. I don’t have the time now (I spent it looking up goat-demons, because I am a fantasy nerd) but I’ll look at whether there are modern alternatives.
Speaking of fantasy stuff, “blood is its life” (v 14). Didn’t Dracula say that? I should re-read that book. Anyway, you’re not supposed to eat anything unless its blood has been fully drained, and you’re also not supposed to eat anything that died naturally or was killed by animals. Eating the former will get you cut off, while eating the latter have to bathe and are unclean for a day. Maybe the difference is an acknowledgment that some people basically have to scavenge if they’re going to get meat at all, and therefore they just get a minor inconvenience.
The Japanese: satsugaisha “murderer” (v 4), juurai “up to now, traditionally,” subeki “should do, ought to do” (v 5), inkou “obscenity, harlotry” (v 7), tatareru “to be cut off” (v 9), tatsu “to cut off” (v 10), hokaku suru “to catch” (v 13).
Next chapter is the really fun stuff: incest, bestiality, child sacrifice… lovely stuff, let me assure you, with a lot to talk about. After that I’ll be on break as I’ll be traveling – hopefully. My cold seems to be getting better, but every time I say that some new symptom crops up.