God allowed His people to eat meat, but He had concerns about how and where these animals would be killed. The commandments can be summarized this way: every time an animal is used for food, its death must be treated as a sacred event. That’s why God tells the people to present it to Him in the sanctuary. Whenever one of God’s creatures gives its life for one of our meals, that life is to be respected.
Blood is central to life. It makes life possible. That’s why blood is so significant to the sacrifices, and violating any of these laws results in severe penalties.
18 The Eternal One spoke to Moses.
Eternal One: 2 Go, talk with the Israelites. Tell them I am the Eternal One, your God. 3 You must not act as you saw the Egyptians do when you lived in Egypt, nor should you act as they do in Canaan where I am taking you. Do not follow their practices. 4 From here on out, you will live by My commands and honor My decrees and live your lives according to them alone. I am the Eternal One, your God. 5 Stay devoted to My decrees and commands. The person who observes them will live by them.[a] I am the Eternal One.
6 You must not have sexual relations with anyone closely related to you. I am the Eternal One. 7 This includes your father and your mother. You are to honor her as your mother and not have sexual relations with her. 8 You are not to have sexual relations with your father’s wife; you might as well violate your father. 9 You are not to have sexual relations with your sister—whether she is your father’s daughter or mother’s daughter, regardless of where she has lived, with your family or elsewhere. 10 Do not have sexual relations with your son’s daughter or your daughter’s daughter; since they are your own flesh and blood, such an act would bring shame to you. 11 You are not to have sexual relations with your stepsister, the daughter of your father and his wife;[b] for she is still your sister. 12 Do not have sexual relations with your father’s sister, your aunt; she is your father’s flesh and blood. 13 Do not have sexual relations with your mother’s sister, your aunt; she is your mother’s flesh and blood. 14 You are not to dishonor your father’s brother, your uncle, by approaching his wife for sexual relations. She is your aunt. 15 You are not to have sexual relations with your daughter-in-law; she is your son’s wife. 16 You are not to have sexual relations with your brother’s wife, your sister-in-law;[c] you might as well violate your brother. 17 You are not to have sexual relations with a woman and her daughter, her son’s daughter, or her daughter’s daughter; they are blood relations. It would be a disgusting act. 18 As long as your wife is living, do not marry her sister or have sexual relations with her. This would make them rivals.
19 You are not to have sexual relations with a woman while she is in her menstrual impurity. 20 Do not have sexual relations with your neighbor’s wife; such an act defiles you both. 21 Do not sacrifice your children to Molech. Such an unholy sacrifice desecrates your God’s name. I am your God, the Eternal One. 22 You are not to have sexual relations with a man in the same way you do with a woman; such a thing is detestable. 23 Do not engage in a sexual act with an animal—this includes men as well as women; such behavior defiles you and perverts the proper order of things.
24 Do not defile yourselves by engaging in any of these perverse things. I am driving out all these other nations ahead of you because they have corrupted themselves with disgusting acts like these. 25 The entire land of Canaan is so impure that I will punish the land until it vomits out those who dwell upon it. 26 I want you to keep My decrees and judgments. No Israelite and no outsider living among you should commit any of the detestable acts that 27 the people who were in Canaan before you committed when they desecrated the land. 28 Do not desecrate the land or the land will vomit you from it as it has done to those who were there before you. 29 All those who commit these disgusting acts will be cut off from their community. 30 Therefore, observe My laws and do not commit any of these disgusting acts which have been committed by the people who lived in the land before you. If you observe them, you will not defile yourselves like they did. I am the Eternal One, your God.