Wherefore say unto them, thus saith the Lord God,.... Send them this message in writing, as from the Lord; for the prophet was now in Chaldea, and could not deliver it by word of mouth to those that inhabited the wastes of Israel; but he could tell it to the messenger that came to him, who had escaped from Jerusalem; or send it by him, or some other:
ye eat with the blood; or rather "upon", or "by" the "blood"F12על הדם "super sanguinem", Munster, Montanus, Cocceius, Starckius; "juxta sanguinem"; so some in Vatablus. ; contrary to the law in Leviticus 19:26 which is a different law from that in Genesis 9:4, and from that in Leviticus 3:17 and refers to an idolatrous practice of the Heathens, which these Jews imitated; who, having slain and offered their sacrifices to devils, sat down round about the blood of them, and ate their food or part of their sacrifice by it, as Kimchi on the text observes. The account MaimonidesF13Moreh Nevochim, par. 3. c. 46. p. 484. gives of the Zabians is this,
"you must know (says he) that the blood is reckoned very unclean and impure by the Zabians, yet is eaten by them, because they think it is the food of devils; and that he that eats it by this means obtains some communications with them; so that they converse familiarly with him, and reveal things future to him, which the vulgar commonly attribute to devils: notwithstanding there were some among them, with whom it seemed very grievous and difficult to eat blood (for it is a thing which the nature of man abhors); these used to slay some beast, and take its blood, and put it in a vessel, or in a hole dug in the earth, and eat the slain beast, sitting in a circle about the blood; imagining to themselves, in so doing, while they ate the flesh the devils ate the blood, and that this is their food; and by this means friendship, fraternity, and familiarity were contracted between them, because they all ate at one table, and sat on one seat; besides, they were of opinion that the devils appeared to them in dreams, and told them things to come, and were of much advantage to them;'
and accordingly it follows:
and lift up your eyes towards your idols; make your devotion, and pray unto them, and worship them, and expect help and assistance from them:
and shed blood; innocent blood, as the Targum; they were guilty of murder as well as of idolatry, or shedding of blood, in sacrifice to idols:
and shall ye possess the land? can such wretches as you, such gross idolaters and murderers, ever think that you are the children of Abraham, and have a right to the inheritance of this land, or shall long continue in the possession of it, living in such abominable iniquities as these?