“The firstborn of your sons you are to give to me. You are to do the same with your oxen and your sheep — it is to stay with its mother seven days, and on the eighth day you are to give it to me. You are to be my specially separated people. Therefore you are not to eat any flesh torn by wild animals in the countryside; rather, throw it out for the dogs.”-Exodus 22:29-31
Today, let’s finish up chapter 22 of Exodus.
First, concerning the verse “the firstborn of your sons you are to give to me”.
This is NOT a command to perform child sacrifice.
During the archaic period of Hebrew culture, the firstborn officiated as priests.
A position that in short time would be replaced by God’s ordained priesthood from the sons of Levi.
The standard practice at the time became to “redeem” the firstborn by paying a fixed amount to the priests.
Contrast this with Exodus 13:15.
“When Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go,
the Lord killed the firstborn
of both people and animals in Egypt.
This is why I sacrifice to the Lord
the first male offspring of every womb
and redeem each of my firstborn sons.“
Next, we are told NOT to eat any flesh torn by wild animals out in the fields.
And the reason given is because the Israelites are to be God’s “specially separated people”.
“Specially separated people” is a rendering from the Complete Jewish Bible.
However, in this case, I feel like the King James version better captures the true essence of the original Hebrew.
“And ye shall be holy men unto me”
Or Robert Alter’s Torah translation is even better.
“And consecrated men you shall be to Me”
The root Hebrew word here is KODESH and is the exact same word used for the act of CONSECRATION that occurred before the Israelites were given the Law at Sinai.
So literally speaking, this phrase would mean “men of holiness”.
The strong implication here is that to eat carrion would be an act of self-defilement.
The Scriptural pattern being brought forth is that God is higher than man and man is higher than the animals.
Hence, while God does NOT partake of what man partakes, man is not to partake of what animals partake.
Another point to keep in mind is that the heathen had no qualms about partaking of flesh killed by wild animals.
But God’s people were to be SEPARATED from the entire rest of the world, and thus were not to eat as the heathen do.
The spiritual takeaway here is obvious.
We are not to eat like the heathen do.
We are not to work like they do.
We are not to rest like they do.
We are not to copulate like they do.
We are not to raise our children like they do.
We are not to think as they do.
We are not to live as they do, period.
We are to be SEPARATE.
NEXT TIME WE BEGIN EXODUS CHAPTER 23