7 occurrences in 7 dictionaries

Reference: Blood


The life of all animals was regarded as especially in the blood, which was a sacred and essential part of the sacrifices offered to God, Heb 9:22. It was solemnly sprinkled upon the altar and the mercy seat, "for it is the blood that maketh atonement for the soul," Le 17 the life of the victim for the life of the sinner. It was therefore most sacredly associated with the blood of the Lamb of God which "cleanseth us from all sin," Eph 1:7; 1Jo 1:7. Hence the strict prohibition renewed in Ac 15:29. In direct opposition to this are the heathen customs of drinking the blood of animals and even of men- of eating raw flesh, with the blood, and even fresh cut from the living animal, 1Sa 14:32; Ps 16:4; Eze 33:25.

Besides the ordinary meaning of the word blood, it often signifies the guilt of murder, 2Sa 3:28; Ac 27:25; also relationship or consanguinity. "Flesh and blood" are placed in contrast with a spiritual nature, Mt 16:17, the glorified body, 1Co 15:50, and evil spirits, Eph 6:12. The cause "between blood and blood," De 17:8, was one where life was depending on the judgment rendered.

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(1.) As food, prohibited in Ge 9:4, where the use of animal food is first allowed. Comp. De 12:23; Le 3:17; 7:26; 17:10-14. The injunction to abstain from blood is renewed in the decree of the council of Jerusalem (Ac 15:29). It has been held by some, and we think correctly, that this law of prohibition was only ceremonial and temporary; while others regard it as still binding on all. Blood was eaten by the Israelites after the battle of Gilboa (1Sa 14:32-34).

(2.) The blood of sacrifices was caught by the priest in a basin, and then sprinkled seven times on the altar; that of the passover on the doorposts and lintels of the houses (Ex 12; Le 4:5-7; 16:14-19). At the giving of the law (Ex 24:8) the blood of the sacrifices was sprinkled on the people as well as on the altar, and thus the people were consecrated to God, or entered into covenant with him, hence the blood of the covenant (Mt 26:28; Heb 9:19-20; 10:29; 13:20).

(3.) Human blood. The murderer was to be punished (Ge 9:5). The blood of the murdered "crieth for vengeance" (Ge 4:10). The "avenger of blood" was the nearest relative of the murdered, and he was required to avenge his death (Nu 35:24,27). No satisfaction could be made for the guilt of murder (Nu 35:31).

(4.) Blood used metaphorically to denote race (Ac 17:26), and as a symbol of slaughter (Isa 34:3). To "wash the feet in blood" means to gain a great victory (Ps 58:10). Wine, from its red colour, is called "the blood of the grape" (Ge 49:11). Blood and water issued from our Saviour's side when it was pierced by the Roman soldier (Joh 19:34). This has led pathologists to the conclusion that the proper cause of Christ's death was rupture of the heart. (Comp. Ps 69:20.)

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Forbidden to be eaten (Ge 9:4) under the Old Testament, on the ground that "the life (soul) of the flesh (the soul which gives life to the flesh) is in the blood," and that "God gave it upon the altar to make atonement with for men's souls" (Le 17:11). Translate the next clause, "for the blood maketh atonement by virtue of the soul." The blood, not in itself, but as the vehicle of the soul, atones, because the animal soul was offered to God on the altar as a. substitute for the human soul. Now that Christ's one, and only true, sacrifice has superseded animal sacrifices, the prohibition against eating blood ceases, the decree in Acts 15 being but temporary, not to offend existing Jewish prejudices needlessly. In Le 3:17 the "fat" is forbidden as well as the blood. God reserved the blood to Himself, investing it with a sacramental sanctity, when allowing man animal food. Besides the atoning virtue it typically had, it brought a curse when not duly expiated, as by burial (Ge 9:4; Le 17:13).

The blood of victims was caught by the priest in a basin, and sprinkled seven times (that of birds was squeezed out at once) on the altar, its four corners or horns, on its side above and below the line running round it, or on the mercy-seat, according to the nature of the offering; the blood of the Passover lamb on the lintel and doorposts (Exodus 12; Le 4:5-7; 16:14-19). A drain from the temple carried the blood into the brook Kedron. A land was regarded as polluted by blood shed on it, which was to be expiated only by the blood of the murderer, and not by any "satisfaction" (Ge 4:10; 9:4-6; Heb 12:24; Nu 35:31,33; Ps 106:38). The guilt of bloodshed, if the shedder was not known, fell on the city nearest by measurement, until it exculpated itself, its elders washing their hands over an expiatory sacrifice, namely, a beheaded heifer in a rough, unplowed, and unsown valley (De 21:1-9).

The blood and water from Jesus' side, when pierced after death, was something extraordinary; for in other corpses the blood coagulates, and the water does not flow clear. The "loud voice" just before death (Lu 23:46) shows that He did not die from mere exhaustion. The psalmist, His typical forerunner, says (Ps 69:20), "reproach hath broken my heart." Crucifixion alone would not have killed Him in so short a time. Probably the truth is, if we may with reverence conjecture from hints in Scripture, that mental agony, when He hung under the Father's displeasure at our sins which He bore, caused rupture of the pericardium, or sac wherein the heart throbs. The extravasated blood separated into the crassamentum and serum, the blood and the water, and flowed out when the soldier's spear pierced the side.

Hence appears the propriety of Heb 10:19-20, "having boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He hath consecrated for us through the veil (which was 'rent' at His death), that is to say His flesh." Also, "this is My body which is broken for you" (1Co 11:24) is explained by the breaking of the heart, though it was true "a bone of Him shall not be broken" (Joh 19:27-32); compare also 1Jo 5:6, "this is He that came by water (at His baptism by John in Jordan) and blood" (by His bloody baptism, at Calvary).

THE AVENGING OF BLOOD by the nearest kinsman of the deceased was a usage from the earliest historical times (Ge 9:5-6; 34:30; 2Sa 14:7). Among the Bedouin Arabs the thar, or law of blood, comes into effect if the offer of money satisfaction be refused. So among the Anglo-Saxons the wer-gild, or money satisfaction for homicide, varying in amount according to the rank, was customary. The Mosaic law mitigated the severity of the law of private revenge for blood, by providing six cities of refuge (among the 48 Levitical cities), three on one side of Jordan, three on the other, for the involuntary homicide to flee into. The avenger, or goel (derived from a Hebrew root "pollution," implying that he was deemed polluted until the blood of his slain kinsman was expiated), was nearest of kin to the man slain, and was bound to take vengeance on the manslayer.

If the latter reached one of the six cities, (Kedesh in Naphtali, Shechem in mount Ephraim, Hebron in the hill country of Judah, W. of Jordan; Bezor in Reuben, Ramoth in Gilead (Gad), Golan in Manasseh, E. of Jordan,) he was safe until the elders of the city, and then those of his own city, decided whether it was an involuntary act. In this case he was kept safe from the avenger in the city of refuge, so long as he did not go 2,000 cubits beyond its precincts. After the high priest's death he might return home in safety (Nu 35:25,28; Jos 20:4-6). The roads were to be kept clear, that nothing might retard the flight of the manslayer, to whom every moment was precious (De 19:3). Jewish tradition adds that posts inscribed "Refuge," "Refuge," were to be set up at the cross roads. All necessaries of water, etc., were in the cities.

No implements of war were allowed there. The law of retaliation in blood affected only the manslayer, and not also (as among pagan nations) his relatives (De 24:16). Blood revenge still prevails in Corsica. The law of blood avenging by the nearest kinsman, though incompatible with our ideas in a more civilized age and nation, is the means of preventing much bloodshed among the Arabs; and its introduction into the law of Israel, a kindred race, accords with the provisional character of the whole Mosaic system, which establishes not what is absolutely best, supposing a state of optimism, but what was best under existing circumstances. Moreover, it contained an important typical lesson, hinted at in Heb 6:18; 2:14-15.

The Son of man, as He to whom the Father hath committed all judgment, is the goel or avenger of blood on guilty man, involved by Satan the "murderer from the beginning" in murderous rebellion against God. He, in another sense, is the goel or redeemer of man, as the high priest whose death sets the shut up captive free; He is also the priestly city of refuge (His priestly office being the mean of our salvation), by fleeing into which man is safe; but in this latter sense, as our High priest "ever liveth," we must not only eater the city, and moreover abide in Him, but also abide in Him forever for eternal safety (Joh 15:1-11). "The way" to Him is clearly pointed out by God Himself (Isa 30:21). "Turn you to the stronghold, ye prisoners of hope" (Zec 9:12) Once in Christ, He can defy avenging justice (Ro 8:33-34).

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Among all primitive races the blood, especially of human beings, has been and is regarded with superstitious, or rather, to be just, religious awe. By the Hebrews also blood was Invested with peculiar sanctity as the seat of the soul (nephesh), that is of the principle of life (Le 17:11 'the life [Heb. nephesh] of the flesh is in the blood'). From this fundamental conception of blood as the vehicle of life may be derived all the manifold social and religious beliefs and practices with regard to it, which play so large a part in Scripture. See Atonement, Clean and Unclean, Covenant, Food, Propitiation, Sacrifice.

A. R. S. Kennedy.

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The blood of man is claimed by God; for the 'life is in the blood;' 'the blood is the life.' It therefore must not be eaten; if not offered in sacrifice it must be 'poured upon the earth as water.' "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed." The blood also maketh atonement for the soul: it must be poured out upon the altar. Ge 9:4-6; Le 17:10-14; De 12:23-25; Ac 15:29. In the O.T. dispensation everything in the tabernacle, the priests and their dresses were purged and sanctified by blood, everything being sprinkled with blood, including the book of the law and the people. Heb 9:18,21. This was typical of the blood of the Lord Jesus, which has accomplished everything for the Christian: with His blood He 'purchased' us, '/Acts/20/28'>Ac 20:28; 'justified' us, '/Romans/5/9'>Ro 5:9; 'redeemed,' '/Ephesians/1/7'>Eph 1:7; 'sanctified,' '/Hebrews/13/12'>Heb 13:12; 'cleanseth us from all sin,' 1Jo 1:7; etc.

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To blood is ascribed in Scripture the mysterious sacredness which belongs to life, and God reserved it to himself when allowing man the dominion over and the use of the lower animals for food. Thus reserved, it acquires a double power: (1) that of sacrificial atonement; and (2) that of becoming a curse when wantonly shed, unless duly expiated.

Ge 9:4; Le 7:26; 17:11-13

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BLOOD. Beside its proper sense, the fluid of the veins of men and animals, the term in Scripture is used,

1. For life. "God will require the blood of a man," he will punish murder in what manner soever committed. "His blood be upon us," let the guilt of his death be imputed to us. "The voice of thy brother's blood crieth;" the murder committed on him crieth for vengeance. "The avenger of blood;" he who is to avenge the death of his relative, Nu 35:24,27.

2. Blood means relationship, or consanguinity.

3. Flesh and blood are placed in opposition to a superior nature: "Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father who is in heaven," Mt 16:17.

4. They are also opposed to the glorified body; "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God," 1Co 15:50.

5. They are opposed also to evil spirits: "We wrestle not against flesh and blood," against visible enemies composed of flesh and blood, "but against principalities and powers," &c, Eph 6:12.

6. Wine is called the pure blood of the grape: "Judah shall wash his garments in the blood of the grape," Ge 49:11; De 32:14.

7. The priests were established by God to judge between blood and blood; that is, in criminal matters, and where the life of man is at stake;

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