Bowels as Sacrifice, A Jew's Perspective
Updated: Mar 17, 2020
And the two kidneys, and the fat that is on them, which is by the flanks, and the caul above the liver, with the kidneys, it shall he take away, Leviticus 3:4.
In the consecration of the Aaron and his sons, in the peace offering, and in the sin offerings for the priest or the congregation, not only does the fat need to be burnt upon the offering but the kidneys need to be burnt as well. I'm not so sure as to why the kidneys are important but needless to say, they are important.
Paul Scott asked Avi Gold our friend from Israel, committed Jew, Hebrew scholar and friend to King James Bible Bible believers why the kidneys were important. He had this to say:
The word כליות (klayot) is the word which is translated as "kidneys" in Leviticus. In the text of the King James, the word "kidneys" appears 18 times. These are spread among Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, and Isaiah, but in all of these, the word refers to organs of an animal which is sacrificed.
However, the word כליות appears elsewhere in the Tanakh as well. Yet, in those places a different word is used in King James. This is the word "reins". Very often, "reins" appears with "heart", such as Psalm 7:9, Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins.
Psalm 26:2, Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.
Jeremiah 11:20, But, O LORD of hosts, that judgest righteously, that triest the reins and the heart, let me see thy vengeance on them: for unto thee have I revealed my cause.
Jeremiah 17: 20, I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
However, the word "reins" also appears in the context of instruction and as something which is supposed to guide a person.
Psalm 16:7, I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons.
Isaiah 11:5 And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.
Yet, the mechanism of the reins does not always do as it is supposed to do:
Jeremiah 12:2, Thou hast planted them, yea, they have taken root: they grow, yea, they bring forth fruit: thou art near in their mouth, and far from their reins.
This further explains why the reins are tried in those other verses. However, when the reins do as they are supposed to do, they appear in a very positive light indeed:
Proverbs 23:15-16, My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine. Yea, my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right things.
The combination of these verses should help, I hope, in explaining why the kidneys are singled out in Leviticus among the various internal organs.
In a subsequent post, we will look at the bowels as sacrifice from a Pauline perspective. Nevertheless, the kidneys are associated with the priesthood and with the internal guidance of a person, not just the thoughts of a person, but the intents behind those thoughts.