Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 3: Leviticus Excerpt: God’s Exhaustive Instructions for Sacrificial Barbecues


God’s Exhaustive Instructions for Sacrificial Barbecues

(Leviticus 1-4)


God has a disturbing fixation on burning animals.

I mean, if you took all the animal sacrifice stuff out of Leviticus, you’d have just a couple chapters left. Most of it’s hyper-focused on killing animals for God, especially in these opening chapters. One rather begins to get the impression that he created humans and tempted them into sinning just so he’d have everyone bringing him barbecue all the time. That’s so very… uplifting?

The first thirteen verses of Leviticus 1 deal with the proper sacrificing of bulls, sheep, and goats. There’s lots of splashing blood about. The LORD does love him his bloodbaths. But it’s mostly stuff we heard one thousand times in Exodus, when God went on and on about it. We’ll just skim past that bit. (Lev. 1:1-13)

Things get really graphic when God gets to the birds.

Whereas bulls and sheep and goats get the knife, birds are to be slaughtered with your bare hands. You don’t just wring their necks, either: you’re supposed to twist their little heads right off. Imagine how much livelier church would be if your pastor decided to start obeying more of Leviticus than just a few random verses about gays and witches, threw off his poly/cotton blend shirt, and grabbed a few pigeons off the front lawn. I’ll bet the children would find it ever so morally uplifting to watch Pastor Bob tearing the heads off live birds on a Sunday morning. (Lev. 1:14)

Then, following the strict instructions God has laid down, he’s supposed to wring all their blood out against the altar. We haven’t got altars in many modern churches, but I’m sure the pulpit will do. (Lev. 1:15)

So there’s Pastor Bob, holding a freshly-killed headless birdie with its blood dripping down the pulpit. As per the LORD’s instructions, he next tears out its crop and feathers, and throws those against the east side of the pulpit. Once he’s done that, he grips both of its wings and, with a mighty tug, rips the bird wide open (being careful not to tear it completely apart – no need to get barbaric!). Then he sets the whole thing on fire, and the LORD is pleased. (Lev. 1:16-17)

That’ll certainly bring new energy into the church service.

Now, God is pretty much a meat man, but he’ll also accept really premium flour. But if you bake the LORD a cake out of it, just remember that he hates leaven. If you feel you must include leaven and honey, leave those on the side. Don’t forget, now. He won’t merely send his improperly-prepared meal back to the kitchen: he’ll smite you for botching his order. (Lev. 2:1-12)

Don’t forget the salt. God isn’t in to those low-sodium diets. He wants salt on everything. (Lev. 2:13)

After all this talk of flour, God’s ready to go back to animals again. He’d just like to make it perfectly clear he wants sacrifices with no blemishes whatsoever. If God were at the grocery store, he’d be that obnoxious dude who handles every single vegetable in the produce department, trying to find the perfect ones. He’d be that bloke at the butcher’s block who insists on having the butcher hand-cut about two dozen steaks before finally, reluctantly, accepting one. (Lev. 3:1)

For most sacrifices, only males will do, but for the peace offering, you can sacrifice a female if that’s what you’ve got on hand. Just so long as she hasn’t got any icky blemishes. No matter what you’re sacrificing, just remember to splash its blood liberally around the altar. And make sure you don’t keep any of its fat or blood for yourself. All the fat belongs to God. Every single bit. You’re not supposed to eat any fat or blood, ever. So sorry if you’re a fan of blood puddings. God doesn’t think you should have them. (Lev. 3:6-17)

If you sin, the only way to make up for it is by killing an animal and splashing its blood round the altar. God can’t forgive you unless you kill and burn an innocent critter for your fuck-ups. (Lev. 4:1-35)

There you go, then. Four chapters of killing animals and hating on leaven

in a nutshell. Now, don’t you feel ever so much more holy?

Image is Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 3: Leviticus cover. The background is black. Really Terrible is in slasher-style red font, Bible Stories in a white gothic script beneath. The painting beneath it is Tissot's "The Dead Bodies Carried Away," which shows two men in white robes carrying bodies over their shoulders out of the Israelite camp. Below is vol. 3: Leviticus in the same gothic script.

Copyright © 2016 by Dana Hunter. All rights reserved.

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Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 3: Leviticus Excerpt: God’s Exhaustive Instructions for Sacrificial Barbecues

4 thoughts on “Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 3: Leviticus Excerpt: God’s Exhaustive Instructions for Sacrificial Barbecues

  1. 1

    I have read that the Hebrew fetish for blood sacrifice is what may be responsible for the story of the bloody execution of Jesus. Blood was required by God to pay for sins.

  2. 2

    I guess nowadays God would be a meat and potatoe guy.

    From a documentary I saw recently it seems the priests derived a lot of their income from selling the sacrificial animals.

    Many cultures in that region also made these kind of sacrifices and part of the meat was burned for the gods and another part eaten by the priests and the audience.

  3. rq

    I hate blood pudding, so god’s welcome to my share of it. He’ll have to fight Husband for it, though. Big fan there.
    He WILL, however, have to battle the both of us for the smoked Latvian-style bacon that is just perfect sliced thin on sweet-sour (black rye if you really must) bread and a slice of onion or a stalk of chive on top.

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