“It is to be a permanent regulation through all your generations wherever you live that you will eat neither fat nor blood.”-Leviticus 2:17
I’ve gotta be honest with you.
When I first read Leviticus and that statement from the Lord prohibiting the eating of fat, I was a little depressed.
The reason is because I love a super fatty piece of steak with all of its flavory juices oozing out of the meat adding flavor to my mashed potatoes as well as a sweet aroma to the dining area.
Let’s face it folks, fat tastes awesome!!!
And contrary to popular opinion, fat, specifically “saturated” fat is healthy for you!
It gives you that satisfying feeling of fullness and will actually help you lose weight if balanced out properly with the other macronutrients.
So in the Lord’s eyes, am I doing wrong by enjoying a juicy, succulent cut of steak, chicken, or lamb?
Let’s explore this issue a little bit.
Take a look at the following verse:
“He is to present the sacrifice of the peace offerings as an offering made by fire to Adonai; it is to consist of the fat covering the inner organs, all the fat above the inner organs, the two kidneys, the fat on them near the flanks, and the covering of the liver, which he will remove with the kidneys.”-Leviticus 3:3
When offering up a ZEVAH (Peace Offering), the Lord is specifically saying that the fat from the animal surrounding the liver, kidney, and entrails is to be included in the sacrifice that is burnt up on the altar.
There is a special term in Hebrew for this type of fat that surrounds the organs of the sacrificial animals.
It is HELEV.
It is HELEV that was used for the sacrificial burning up on the Brazen Altar and it is precisely this type of fat that was prohibited from human consumption.
HELEV is NOT taking about the ordinary fat found under the skin or hide of an animal, like what we see in an ordinary cut of meat.
This ordinary type of fat is called SHUMAN in Hebrew.
And SHUMAN is okay for human consumption.
However, HELEV was absolutely prohibited from being eaten by anyone whether layman or priest.
In fact, after Israel settled in the Promised Land, this was extended to the prohibition of eating HELEV type fat even if the animal was not being used for a sacrifice.
Do you see an interesting pattern or principle here?
The internal organ HELEV fat that is okay for the sacrifices is forbidden to be eaten.
And SHUMAN, the layer of fat located just under the animal’s skin that is okay to be eaten, is forbidden for the sacrifices.
What’s okay for humans is bad for the sacrifices and vice versa.
We’re also told that when a sheep is offered as a Peace offering, in addition to the fat surrounding its internal organs (the HELEV), the fat from the sheep’s tail is also to be included.
But understand this does NOT include the tail from every existing kind of sheep.
In those times, there was actually a special variety of sheep held in high esteem in the Middle East aptly called the “FAT-TAILED SHEEP”.
It was the fat from this particular animal that the Lord was commanding to be sacrificed.
Also, notice that verse 17 gives us some important information.
This law deals with the acceptable kind of animal fat and also deals with animal blood.
We are also informed that this law is to be in effect permanently.
And notice WHERE this law is to be in effect.
“It is to be a permanent regulation through all your generations wherever you live that you will eat neither fat nor blood.”
My point is that up until this point in time, the instructions being given were restricted to the Tabernacle.
However, from here on out, this law concerning the eating of fat and blood is to apply to anywhere and everywhere a Hebrew may settle.
So the conclusion of today’s post is clear cut.
From the Lord’s perspective, HELEV, the internal organ fat, is off-limits for human consumption.
However, SHUMAN, the ordinary fat found under the skin of an animal, is okay!
So enjoy your fatty T-bone steaks!