Thursday, March 31, 2022

The Hebrew noun דם (dām) is the word for "blood." When God questions Cain about the murder of Abel in Genesis 4:10, the text refers to the testimony of Abel's blood that was shed as proof of his murder: "What have you done? Listen; your brother’s blood (דמי) is crying out to me from the ground!" While the shedding of blood is an essential aspect of ritual sacrifices, the consumption of blood is forbidden in the Hebrew Bible as it represents the life of the being. Leviticus 17:10–12 clearly outlines the cultural boundaries surrounding blood and its uses: "If anyone of the house of Israel or of the aliens who reside among them eats any blood (דם), I will set my face against that person who eats blood דם), and will cut that person off from the people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood דם); and I have given it to you for making atonement for your lives on the altar; for, as life, it is the bloodדם) that makes atonement. Therefore I have said to the people of Israel: No person among you shall eat blood (דם), nor shall any alien who resides among you eat blood (דם)."