The Ground, Blood, and Justice

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Sometimes it is fun to poke around on obscure topics and see how many rabbits you can chase. One interesting thing I ran across in the last couple of days is a connection between the ground, uncovered blood, and justice.

In Genesis 4 we have the story of Cain and Abel. Most of us have heard the story since we were little. Abel offers a better sacrifice than Cain, Cain gets jealous and killed him. While I don’t really like to make excuses for Cain I often wonder if he really didn’t know death would result from the beating he inflicted on his brother since he had never seen anyone die before. Anyway there is an interesting verse in 4:10ff – “The Lord said, ‘What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.'” Justice has been served. In a stroke of divine irony the punishment fits the crime and the very thing he was talented at and offered as his improper sacrifice was taken away from him (and his livelihood with that!). This is the first place we see a connection between the ground, blood, and justice.

In the Old Testament there seems to have been an idea that uncovered blood was a sign that demanded justice to be done (or in some cases revenge). The second instance of this connection is in regard to kosher animals in Leviticus 17:13 “Any Israelite or any alien living among you who hunts any animal or bird that may be eaten must drain out the blood and cover it with earth, because the life of every creature is its blood…” We see the importance of covering the blood of the dead so that they would not incur any type of retribution.

Third we find this concept of covering blood with the earth and its relation to justice in Job 16:18. It is very well known that Job wanted justice more than anything else. Over and over he pleas his case and asks to have a hearing with God. In 16:18 Job makes his plea for justice in some pretty fatalistic terms, “O earth, do not cover my blood; may my cry never be laid to rest!” He is either talking about blood from his sores or the blood that would be spilt if all this calamity ended in the loss of his life. Either way, he hopes his blood will be on display and will be a cry for justice and retribution to show that he was upright in all he did. This justice would discredit the words of his friends and prove Job faithful.

I am not certain if this connects with the “avenger of blood” as in 2 Sam 14:11 or not. That is one rabbit I haven’t had time to chase but would love some insight on that from any of you out there. Just thought I would share an obscure connection that I ran across while studying Leviticus and Job in the last week. What rabbits have you chased lately?

0 Responses

  1. Interesting study. Now I wonder how the uncovered blood and retribution relates to “no forgiveness without the shedding of blood.”

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