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Leviticus Community and Covenant Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Chapter:Verse)

Quote #1

The Lord summoned Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting, saying: Speak to the people of Israel and say to them: When any of you bring an offering of livestock to the Lord, you shall bring your offering from the herd or from the flock. (NRSV 1:1-2)

And the Lord called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man of you bring an offering unto the Lord, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock. (KJV 1:1-2)

God, like any good Shmooper, knows the value of starting with a short summary. Pretty much everything in Leviticus is right here in the first two verses. God's commands to his people. Sacred ritual in the holy Tabernacle. Drawing a line between what's permitted and forbidden. The rest is just details.

Quote #2

You shall not omit from your grain offerings the salt of the covenant with your God; with all your offerings you shall offer salt. (NRSV 2:13)

And every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt. (KJV 2:13)

Like many people cooking on a grill, God goes heavy on the seasoning. Why salt? A preservative used to keep food from going bad, it is an ancient way of symbolizing God's lasting contract with Israel. Of course, if Leviticus had been written more recently, God probably would have told to Israel to skip the salt and use ethylenediamine tetra-acetic acid instead.

Quote #3

The fire on the altar shall be kept burning; it shall not go out. Every morning the priest shall add wood to it, lay out the burnt offering on it, and turn into smoke the fat pieces of the offerings of well-being. A perpetual fire shall be kept burning on the altar; it shall not go out. (NRSV 6:12-13)

And the fire upon the altar shall be burning in it; it shall not be put out: and the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order upon it; and he shall burn thereon the fat of the peace offerings. The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out. (KJV 6:12-13)

A callback to the burning bush and God's pillar of fire, the eternal flame represents God's everlasting covenant with Israel. The symbol remains powerful today, as evidenced by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the grave of President John F. Kennedy and cover versions of this song by The Bangles.

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