Can the Bible be God's Word?
You are reading Can the Bible be God's Word? by Steve McRoberts
Prev Next Contents

Chapter 3: Leviticus

Lev:3:7: If he offer a lamb for his offering, then shall he offer it before the LORD.
Lev:3:8: And he shall lay his hand upon the head of his offering, and kill it before the tabernacle of the congregation: and Aaron's sons shall sprinkle the blood thereof round about upon the altar.
Lev:3:9: And he shall offer of the sacrifice of the peace offering an offering made by fire unto the LORD; the fat thereof, and the whole rump, it shall he take off hard by the backbone; and the fat that covereth the inwards, and all the fat that is upon the inwards,
Lev:3:10: And the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, which is by the flanks, and the caul above the liver, with the kidneys, it shall he take away.
Lev:3:11: And the priest shall burn it upon the altar: it is the food of the offering made by fire unto the LORD.

This is just a sample of several chapters of redundancy, in which virtually the same procedure is reiterated for each of the various animals that God told people to kill. What moral lesson do we learn from all of this? That if you sin, you should then kill an animal, dissect it, sprinkle its blood, and burn it? I would venture to say that such actions would simply add more wrongdoing to the original sin!

Lev:5:3: Or if he touch the uncleanness of man, whatsoever uncleanness it be that a man shall be defiled withal, and it be hid from him; when he knoweth of it, then he shall be guilty.

This contradicts what Jesus is recorded as saying in the Gospels:

Mk:7:18: And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him;

If ingesting something cannot defile a man, how much less would simply touching something defile him! Yet, Leviticus claims that touching something unclean shall defile a man. Which are we to believe?

Lev:7:8: And the priest that offereth any man's burnt offering, even the priest shall have to himself the skin of the burnt offering which he hath offered.
Lev:7:9: And all the meat offering that is baken in the oven, and all that is dressed in the fryingpan, and in the pan, shall be the priest's that offereth it.
Lev:7:10: And every meat offering, mingled with oil, and dry, shall all the sons of Aaron have, one as much as another.

Here we learn the possible ulterior motive behind the burning of all of these animals: the priests got to eat the leftovers!

Lev:10:1: And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not.
Lev:10:2: And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.
Lev:10:3: Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the LORD spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace.
Lev:10:4: And Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of Uzziel the uncle of Aaron, and said unto them, Come near, carry your brethren from before the sanctuary out of the camp.
Lev:10:5: So they went near, and carried them in their coats out of the camp; as Moses had said.
Lev:10:6: And Moses said unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar, his sons, Uncover not your heads, neither rend your clothes; lest ye die, and lest wrath come upon all the people: but let your brethren, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning which the LORD hath kindled.

Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu attempted a little spontaneous "worship" and were promptly burned to death by God for their presumption. Moses attributed this to God’s "sanctification" and being "glorified"! He wisely counseled Aaron not to mourn the loss of his sons, lest he also suffer from God’s temperamental and violent nature.

Lev:11:13: And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray,

Lev:11:19: And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat.

Bats are not fowls: they are mammals.

Lev:11:20: All fowls that creep, going upon all four, shall be an abomination unto you.

Which fowls have four legs? Had the creator forgotten what he had and hadn’t created?

Lev:11:43: Ye shall not make yourselves abominable with any creeping thing that creepeth, neither shall ye make yourselves unclean with them, that ye should be defiled thereby.
Lev:11:44: For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
Lev:11:45: For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.
Lev:11:46: This is the law of the beasts, and of the fowl, and of every living creature that moveth in the waters, and of every creature that creepeth upon the earth:
Lev:11:47: To make a difference between the unclean and the clean, and between the beast that may be eaten and the beast that may not be eaten.

Why did the "holy" creator create "abominable", "unclean", "unholy" things?

Lev:12:2: Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean.
Lev:12:3: And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised.
Lev:12:4: And she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days; she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled.
Lev:12:5: But if she bear a maid child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her separation: and she shall continue in the blood of her purifying threescore and six days.
Lev:12:6: And when the days of her purifying are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest:
Lev:12:7: Who shall offer it before the LORD, and make an atonement for her; and she shall be cleansed from the issue of her blood. This is the law for her that hath born a male or a female.
Lev:12:8: And if she be not able to bring a lamb, then she shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons; the one for the burnt offering, and the other for a sin offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for her, and she shall be clean.

Why would childbirth render a woman "unclean"? Why would giving birth to a girl render the mother unclean for a period of time twice as long (2 weeks, followed by a 66 day period of "purifying") as for giving birth to a boy (1 week, followed by a 33 day period of "purifying")? Is this yet another instance of females being considered inferior (hence more unclean)?

Earlier (Lev. 11:10), God said that turtles were an "abomination", but here he says that "two turtles" may be offered upon his altar!

Why would two animals have to be killed whenever a child was born? How would this ‘cleanse’ the mother ‘from the issue of her blood’? Is there any explanation other than barbaric superstition?

This is the law Mary observed after giving birth to Jesus: dutifully observing the purification period, and killing two animals:

Lk:2:22: And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;
Lk:2:23: (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;)
Lk:2:24: And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.

It must be then, that "immaculate" Mary wasn’t so immaculate for that month; she was "unclean".

Lev:18:6: None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness: I am the LORD.

Lev:18:10: The nakedness of thy son's daughter, or of thy daughter's daughter, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover: for theirs is thine own nakedness.

The above law would make it very difficult for a parent or grandparent to give their children or grandchildren a bath.

Lev:18:19: Also thou shalt not approach unto a woman to uncover her nakedness, as long as she is put apart for her uncleanness.

This would seem to indicate that if a woman were not "unclean" (i.e. having her menstrual period) it would be all right to strip her naked.

Lev:18:20: Moreover thou shalt not lie carnally with thy neighbour's wife, to defile thyself with her.

Notice that the woman’s right not to be molested is not acknowledged; a man must not lie with his neighbor’s wife because it would defile him! Once again, the Bible fails to consider things from the woman’s point of view.

Lev:18:24: Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you:
Lev:18:25: And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants.

I wonder if God had laid down all these laws for the inhabitants of Canaan before he judged them guilty of breaking them. It hardly seems fair to make up some laws, deliver them to one group, and then punish a different group, ignorant of those laws, for not upholding them. The Bible records atrocities committed by the Israelites which were far more serious than uncovering a relative’s nakedness, homosexuality, or bestiality. Yet, as the Bible relates it, God ordered the Israelites to butcher the Canaanites (men, women, children, infants, and babies still in the womb) based on this travesty of justice. The land did not "vomit out her inhabitants," the Israelites murdered the inhabitants, raped the women, and stole the land.

Lev:19:20: And whosoever lieth carnally with a woman, that is a bondmaid, betrothed to an husband, and not at all redeemed, nor freedom given her; she shall be scourged; they shall not be put to death, because she was not free.
Lev:19:21: And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the LORD, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, even a ram for a trespass offering.
Lev:19:22: And the priest shall make an atonement for him with the ram of the trespass offering before the LORD for his sin which he hath done: and the sin which he hath done shall be forgiven him.

It was evidently only considered a sin to have sex with a "bondmaid" due to the fact that she was the property of her master. Although it takes two to "lie carnally", it was only the woman who was to be scourged: the man would be "forgiven" (after the usual killing of an animal).

Lev:20:12: And if a man lie with his daughter in law, both of them shall surely be put to death: they have wrought confusion; their blood shall be upon them.

Lev:20:17: And if a man shall take his sister, his father's daughter, or his mother's daughter, and see her nakedness, and she see his nakedness; it is a wicked thing; and they shall be cut off in the sight of their people: he hath uncovered his sister's nakedness; he shall bear his iniquity.

Lev:20:19: And thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy mother's sister, nor of thy father's sister: for he uncovereth his near kin: they shall bear their iniquity.
Lev:20:20: And if a man shall lie with his uncle's wife, he hath uncovered his uncle's nakedness: they shall bear their sin; they shall die childless.
Lev:20:21: And if a man shall take his brother's wife, it is an unclean thing: he hath uncovered his brother's nakedness; they shall be childless.
Lev:20:22: Ye shall therefore keep all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: that the land, whither I bring you to dwell therein, spue you not out.
Lev:20:23: And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them.
Lev:20:24: But I have said unto you, Ye shall inherit their land, and I will give it unto you to possess it, a land that floweth with milk and honey: I am the LORD your God, which have separated you from other people.

God specifically mentioned "uncovering the nakedness" of one’s half-sister, one's daughter-in-law, and one’s aunt as sins which the Canaanites had committed. These sins were used to justify the wholesale slaughter of these people and the stealing of their land by the Israelites. Just from reading this passage, one would assume that the Israelites were innocent of such sins, and that is why God proposed to annihilate the Canaanites and give their land to the Israelites.

But, if you’ve been reading the Bible up to this point you know that the Israelites were guilty of the sin of incest. Abraham, for instance, married his half-sister, and he became the patriarch of the Israelites. His son Isaac also claimed to have married his sister (though this, apparently was a lie). Judah, the patriarch of one of the most important tribes of Israel, had sex with his daughter-in-law. Moses himself, to whom these words of God were supposedly directly spoken, was the child of incest; his father had married his aunt:

Ex:6:20: And Amram took him Jochebed his father's sister to wife; and she bare him Aaron and Moses: and the years of the life of Amram were an hundred and thirty and seven years.

So, were the Israelites really so much better than the Canaanites? The Bible’s own record supplies a negative answer, and leaves us to conclude that the slaughter of the Canaanites was not only unjust, but also a horrible crime against humanity.

The prohibition given here against "uncovering the nakedness" of one’s brother’s wife contradicts what we read in Deuteronomy:

Deut:25:5: If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband's brother unto her.

In Leviticus God said that a man should not take his brother’s wife. In Deuteronomy God said that a man should take his brother’s wife. So, if my brother were to die, should I marry his wife or not? Looking to the Bible for guidance on this issue would only lead to confusion.

Lev:21:7: They shall not take a wife that is a whore, or profane; neither shall they take a woman put away from her husband: for he is holy unto his God.

This prohibits a divorced woman from ever remarrying once her husband has "put her away". There is no restriction on the man remarrying (since he is "holy unto his God"). Once again the "perfect law of God" contains a double standard.

Lev:21:17: Speak unto Aaron, saying, Whosoever he be of thy seed in their generations that hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God.
Lev:21:18: For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or any thing superfluous,
Lev:21:19: Or a man that is brokenfooted, or brokenhanded,
Lev:21:20: Or crookbackt, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken;
Lev:21:21: No man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the LORD made by fire: he hath a blemish; he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of his God.

According to this, if a man was born with some deformity, or had broken certain bones, or had "broken" testicles, he could not perform one of the duties of a priest. None of these things directly relate to one’s moral character, nor are they things that one could have any control over. So God was judging by one’s outward appearance, something that Paul indicated was wrong at 2 Cor. 10:7, and something that God claimed not to do (1 Sam. 16:7).

Lev:22:11: But if the priest buy any soul with his money, he shall eat of it, and he that is born in his house: they shall eat of his meat.

In a book which many claim to be the laws of the "loving God", one would expect to find rules regarding ethical conduct and fair play in one’s relationships with others. In stark contrast, we find a book so obsessed with the minutest details centering around the offering of sacrifices, that it accepts the violation of basic ethical principles in passing. In this verse, God does not condemn a priest for buying a slave: God’s only concern is whether the slave should be allowed to eat the priest’s meat!

Lev:25:44: Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids.
Lev:25:45: Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession.

More instruction on how to buy and keep slaves from this "holy book" of moral instruction!

Lev:26:3: If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;
Lev:26:4: Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.
Lev:26:5: And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.
Lev:26:6: And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land.
Lev:26:7: And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword.
Lev:26:8: And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.
Lev:26:9: For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you.

According to this, God is in full control of whether it rains, or the crops do well. This means that droughts and famines are his fault. He is also in control of war and peace, and can choose to bring about peace if he so desires. So the fact that there is war in the world means that God must find it entertaining, and so has no desire to bring about peace.

The text also reveals that God is in control of human reproduction. So the mass starvation and environmental perils humankind faces due to our overpopulation must also amuse the Lord.

The text mentions how God will "rid evil beasts out of the land". If God created all things and declared them all "very good" (Gen. 1:31), how could there be such things as "evil beasts"? If we argue that the animals were created "good", but chose to do evil (the familiar argument used to explain evil humans), then we must accept the fact that beasts have a moral sense. But if non-human animals have a moral sense, then how could it be ethical to kill them as sacrificial offerings as if they had no feelings and no worth of their own?

Lev:26:22: I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number; and your highways shall be desolate.

Why would a just God punish the children and the cattle? It was not up to them to keep the covenant!

Lev:26:28: Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins.
Lev:26:29: And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat.

Here, God promised to induce cannibalism amongst the Israelites! They would eat their own children! Only an insane imagination could’ve come up with such a horrible threat!

Lev:27:28: Notwithstanding no devoted thing, that a man shall devote unto the LORD of all that he hath, both of man and beast, and of the field of his possession, shall be sold or redeemed: every devoted thing is most holy unto the LORD.
Lev:27:29: None devoted, which shall be devoted of men, shall be redeemed; but shall surely be put to death.

Here, God approved of human sacrifice!

Prev Next Contents

This site is concerned with: bible,ethics,atheism,fundamentalism,truth,can the bible be god's word,cure for fundatmentalism