they are to wash their clothes and be unclean until evening.
"Unclean" here means physically and ritually impure. (For example, touching
a dead human, likely to happen when disposing of people who passed away, made
one unclean for a week and called for a more involved cleansing agent and
ritual--Num.19.) And the severity of punishment is greater for eating banned
clean animal blood (cut off) than for eating banned unclean animal blood (a
clothes cleaning ritual and being temporarily unclean, which may be a mild form
of "cut off" if "cut off" meant disfellowshipping).
Applying Mosaic law here to the subject at hand, trying to imagine a ruling
for blood transfusions in verses about eating clean and unclean animals, only
leads to imagining it as a ritual concern, not necessary as an ethical one of
the most severe penalty--death. Transfusions don't need to be thought of as
matters of eating (p.35), but if we arbitrarily and debatably imagine finding
guidance about it in these verses, we'd be thinking about greater or lesser
mild penalties. If a Mosaic law follower had a modern blood transfusion, they
might have a greater such penalty if the blood came from a full convert, who
was clean, instead of a non-convert, for example, provided that the Mosaic rul-
ing was to see modern blood transfusion as a matter of eating.
Israelites and resident aliens who eat an animal found dead shall wash their
clothes, bathe in water (an added penalty for it), and be unclean till evening.
If they won't wash their clothes and bathe they will be held responsible and
cut off (Lev.15:31; Num.19:13,20).
Israelites shall not eat an animal found dead (and unbled). They may give it
to a resident alien who may eat it, or sell it it a foreigner, because Israel-
ites are holy to God. (By ending the cleansing penalty for resident aliens who
ate an animal found dead, Israelites--full converts--are all the more set off
from them as clean and holy to God.)
If we assume God wouldn't have followers encourage others to be unethical,
this means that followers were told to set others off as different in a ritual
way. The various interpretations agree that those given such unclean meat were
being indicated as not being full converts.
See p.15 for the Jewish and JWs leaders' views of Gen.9:3,4. The JWs leaders
give those verses as binding on the whole world thereafter, and some of the Jew-
ish view take them as binding on the whole world thereafter. Taking either view
of Gen. 9:3,4 that way is imaginable but not necessary.
The Jewish view of Gen.9:3,4, to not eat of a live animal, if interpreted to
be binding on the whole world thereafter, doesn't conflict with Deut.14:21,
which is about animals found dead.
The JWs leaders' view of Gen.9:3,4 has God require the whole world thereafter
to not eat from an animal unless at least about half of the blood is removed.
At Deut.14:21, it not only has the problem of God not telling full converts to
tell others that, but has God tell full converts to give resident aliens or
foreigners animal meat with all the blood in it to use as food without further
explanation. The JWs leaders' view calls for God to have full converts tell
others to do the opposite of an earlier permanent rule they were bound to, which
is a conflict that's avoided with other interpretations without a need for ex-
Despite the JWs leader's implied claim of having the most face value interpre-
tation of the pertinent verses and a scriptural guarantee for their blood doc-
trine, they have the most conflicting interpretation of verses here and not the
guaranteed one. This points to a view of Gen.9:3,4 as better indicated as being
something other than the JWs leaders' view of that passage, too.
The possibility of seeing any view of Gen.9:3,4 as not being binding on the
whole world by this time creates no conflict at Deut.14:21.
The ability to reconcile whichever interpretation you pick here with the "ab-
stain from...blood" rule of the Council of Jerusalem is described on p.35.
Related ideas of Mosaic law
In Mosaic law there is a complex of ritual concerns that blood fits into in a
variety of ways. Since the New Testament book of Hebrews, for example, refers
back to Mosaic law and blood in explaining the crucifixion, there are a few
other ideas used in Mosaic law to understand beyond the ban on eating blood.
"Unclean" means tainted by a physical, ritual, or ethical impurity. Some-
thing unclean is defiled, polluted, and profaned. It shows up as an influence