In Deuteronomy 19 Yehovah instructs Israel’s seed (erroneously and otherwise known as “the children of Israel”) to separate 3 cities (all Levitical cities) and later, once we had taken the land of the Canaanites, to add 3 more; lest the avenger of blood should overtake the man-slayer (הרצח, ha-ra-tsach), who was not deserving of death, and kill him.
“Now if Yehovah, thy Elohim enlarges thy territory, as He swore to thy fathers, and gives thee the land which He promised to give to thy fathers, and if thou keep all these commandments and do them, which I command thee today, to love Yehovah, thy Elohim and to walk always in His ways, then thou shall add three more cities for thyself besides these three, lest innocent blood be shed in the midst of thy land which Yehovah, thy Elohim is giving thee as an inheritance, and thus guilt of bloodshed [דמים, da-mim is the plural form of דם, dam or blood] be upon thee. (Deu 19:9-10)
This word דמים, da-mim is translated in many ways; “guilt of bloodshed,” “blood-guiltiness.” “the guilt of shedding blood,” “blood,” and others; but the one I like best is, “all the blood.”
Yehovah feels strongly about the innocent blood of a man or an animal that is killed improperly, and blood is a subject that He talks about over 300 times in in Torah (Genesis through Deuteronomy). Anyone who sheds blood of man or beast (be-hem-ah) inappropriately will be cut off from Israel. He says the life is in the blood.
But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood [דם] . Surely for your blood [דם], for your lives, I will demand a reckoning; from the hand of every beast I will require it, and from the hand of man. From the hand of every man’s brother I will require the life of man. “Whoever sheds the man’s blood [דם], by a man his blood [דם] shall be shed; For in the image of Elohim He made the man. (Gen 9:4-6)
Moreover you shall not eat any blood [דם] in any of your dwellings, whether of bird or beast. Whoever eats any blood, that person shall be cut off from his people.’ ” (Lev 7:26-27)
“Whatever man of the house of Israel who kills an ox or lamb or goat in the camp, or who kills it outside the camp, and does not bring it to the door of the tabernacle of meeting to offer an offering to Yehovah before the tabernacle of Yehovah, the guilt of bloodshed [דם, blood] is imputed to that man. Blood [דם] he has shed; and that man shall be cut off from among his people. (Lev 17:3-4)
If a man lies with a woman during her sickness and uncovers her nakedness, he has exposed her flow, and she has uncovered the flow of her blood [דם]. Both of them shall be cut off from their people. (Lev 20:18)
Killing a man, slaughtering a clean animal inappropriately, and even eating a clean animal that has been slaughtered by another inappropriately [this is what “meat sacrificed to idols” is all about“] has eternal consequences; and if you have eaten any meat, with the USDA label on it, you too are guilty of “all the blood.” Being cut off from among Yehovah’s people means there is no life after death. But hey, most men today are not Yehovah’s people anyway; they have never left the kingdom of their birth and made themselves wholly Yehovah’s man; they have committed this sin and would be cut off from among Yehovah’s people even if they were his people. So eat, drink and be merry; but know, that payment will be due.
Yehovah commanded each Ezrach man concerning how to lead those within his gates saying,
Thou shalt not רצח [ra-tsach]; Thou shall not murder! (Exo 20:13)
If a man is killed within thy gates / thy land, and his blood goes unredeemed; that blood will defile the land in which it is spilled.
So you shall not pollute the land where you are; for blood defiles the land, and no covering can be made for the land, for the blood that is shed on it, except by the blood of him who shed it. (Num 35:33)
Lest innocent blood be shed in the midst of thy land which Yehovah, thy Elohim is giving thee as an inheritance, and thus guilt of bloodshed be upon thee. (Deu 19:10)
This is why a man is called an avenger/redeemer of the blood, and is so hot on the trail of the man-slayer; he knows how Yehovah feels about unanswered blood and wants to cleanse his land of that blood. A redeemed of the blood is a near of kin to the one who was killed.
“And this is the case of the man-slayer [הרצח, ha-ra-tsach] who flees there, that he may live: … he shall flee to one of these cities and live; lest an avenger [גאל, gaw-al – a redeemer] of the blood, while his anger is hot, pursue the man-slayer and overtake him, because the way is long, and kill him, though he was not deserving of death, since he had not hated the victim in time past. (Deu 19:4-6)
An avenger [גאל, gaw-al – a redeemer] of the blood [הדם, ha-dam] himself shall kill [ימית, moot] the murderer [הרצח, ha-ra-tsach]; when he meets him, he shall kill him [ימתנו׃, moot]. (Num 35:19)
H1350 גאל – gaw-al – Redeem: To restore one to his original position or avenge his death. In the participle form this verb means avenger as it is the role of the nearest relative to redeem one in slavery or avenge his murder. (AHLB)
Yehovah also has a plan if we fail to find the man who spilled the blood in our land and that is what Deuteronomy 21:1-9 is all about. All blood must be dealt with according to Yehovah’s instructions.
Guilt of bloodshed will get a man cut off from among Yehovah’s people
Three out of the five things that the new Ger (those Gentiles who had just left the kingdom of the birth and now were joining to Yehovah’s kingdom and people), were commanded not to do any longer were related to blood in Acts 15.
- Not to eat “Meat sacrificed to idols”*
- No sexual immorality
- Eating nothing strangled*
- Not eating blood*
- Keeping the Sabbath
These five things were listed by James (the brother of Yeshua and the head of the called-out ones in Jerusalem) and were chosen as minimum requirements in order to keep the man who just joined himself to Yehovah and His other called-out people from getting kicked out from among his new people before he had a chance to learn more.
I think this makes so much sense for the prayer of the man who is turning to Yehovah.
Create in me a clean heart, O Elohim, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your holy spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You. Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed [מדמים, from all the blood], O Elohim, the Elohim of my salvation, and my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness. My Master, open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Your praise. For You do not desire slaughters, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The slaughters of Elohim are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart. These, O Elohim, You will not despise. (Psa 51:10-17)
We discussed this subject in great depth during our class (3 years ago) and this verse during our Q & A. We also found that only an Ezrach man can be a witness against his brother or his neighbor (the Ger who dwells with him).
So much to learn, so little time; ha, and so little interest by those who “think” they already know Torah and the ways that lead to life. Here is the audio of my class and about 45 minutes of Q & A which I thought you might enjoy.
Guilt Of Bloodshed
2D10 Deuteronomy 19-20
[Click to play this audio or right-click and “Save As” to download]
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