Eating the Sacrifice


When people used to sacrifice an animal to Yahweh, would they eat it after? I thought they burnt it, so it was really a sacrifice, since they didn’t get to eat it.

So how come we eat the ‘sacrificial lamb’? How is it a sacrifice if you eat it after?


Read Deuteronomy and Leviticus - not all sacrifices were burnt whole. Many of 'em it would just be the fat and the internal organs and a few other bits and pieces that were burnt. Certainly parts were reserved for the priests to eat. Now, since we share in a universal priesthood of sorts, it means all of us!

The sacrifice was in giving it to the priests (God’s representatives, so indirectly to God) rather than keeping it for yourself.

Others weren’t burnt at all (offerings of flour, wine, oil - wine and oil especially were simply poured on the ground or on the altar - or again reserved to the priests to use).

Remember Jesus as well as the sacrificial lamb is also the paschal (passover) lamb … now that definitely WAS eaten!


You need to read Exodus 12 regarding the institution of the passover feast. The unblemished lamb is both slain and eaten, at God’s command.


Thanks for the answers.

Reading Exodus 12 I see that the passover lamb is not referred to as a sacrifice. But then they eat unleavened bread for 7 days, which is sort of a sacrifice.

I guess the passover lamb became a sacrifice when Jesus became that lamb for us, but we still eat it anyway… or the unleavened bread, but that was something else… what a confusing combination of rituals.


Ex 12:27 *…you shall say, `It is the sacrifice of the LORD’s passover, for he passed over the houses of the people of Israel in Egypt, when he slew the Egyptians but spared our houses.’" And the people bowed their heads and worshiped. *

I’m not sure what more you expect to find.

BTW, both Mark and Luke refer to sacrificing the passover lamb (not referring to Christ, but the Jewish passover lamb).


Oops, I only read the first part of chapter 12 up to verse 20. :blush:


Just seven short lines from enlightenment. :slight_smile:

A post on my blog about the Eucharist this part talking the sacrifice the jews had at passover. It might be helpfull.


the sacrifice of the Eucharist, that is the sacrifice of the Lamb who was slain, is actually the Paschal sacrifice, the Lamb of the Passover, and tha paschal lamb was certainly consumed. so the sprinkling with blood (on the lintels in this case) required in typical levitical animal sacrifice was required, but also eating the sacrificial animal.


I would only suggest that those who do not believe in the Eucharistic Sacrifice read the Gospel of John, 6th Chapter. When he, Jesus, was finished explaining that his flesh was real food and his blood real drink, many of his disciples said, “We cannot take this talk any longer.” They then left Jesus. Note that he did not go after them and say , Wait, you misunderstood me. He let them go and was even prepared to let the apostles go for he turned to them and said, “Are you going to leave me too”. Sounds to me like he really meant what he said.
Deacon Ed B


Not only would many sacrifices be eaten, there were no laws regarding butchering animals. ALL animals had to be slaughtered before the Tent of Meeting. So the only way to eat meat at that time was to bring a sacrifice. IN fact, in Leviticus there is a specific prohibtion against slaughtering any animal outside the TEnt of Meeting, with some exceptions for animals that one hunted.


I guess I thought a sacrifice meant that you were giving something up. For example throwing a virgin into a volcano, you’re giving up one of your people. Burning an animal, you’re giving up an animal. But if you eat the animal you sacrifice, what have you really sacrificed? How is that a sacrifice?


you are sacrificing the blood and some part of the animal, I believe. You are sacrificing the animal’s life. Certain sacrifices one did not eat, as they were wholly burnt, and certain sacrifices were meant for the priests. The system was a ritualistic way of acknowlding the One God. One place to Sacrifice. Specific Times to sacrifice, specific things to sacrifice. All done in a way to leave no doubt who the sacrifices were for.


The primary useful thing about a sheep is not its meat. It’s the wool, which is a renewable resource every year. You can make the wool into useful items; you can sell the wool and buy other stuff. You can breed the sheep and have it make more sheep, at the same time it’s making you wool. Its lanolin on the wool also soothes your hands and helps cure wounds. And you don’t even have to pay for the feed; the sheep eats grass that seeds itself for free! Finally, when the sheep gets too old for any other use, you can eat its meat.

If you kill a lamb for Passover, you are sacrificing its entire useful lifetime of producing stuff for you. You get to eat the meat, yes, but that’s only one meal. Basically, you are destroying one of your little factories so you can eat the machinery. :slight_smile:

Turtledoves and pigeons also are useful for more than just meat, although not as useful as sheep.


I don’t believe turtledoves were eaten. If I recall, those sacrifices were wholly burned.


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