Criticism of Temple sacrifice

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For it is hesed that I desire, not sacrifice,
and knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
Matthew 9:13
Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy [eleos,] not sacrifice.’ I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.
"Eleos" is from the same root as "eleison": "Kyrie, eleison!"


What do I care for the multitude of your sacrifices?
says the LORD.
I have had enough of whole-burnt rams
and fat of fatlings;
In the blood of calves, lambs, and goats
I find no pleasure.
Thus says the Lord:
With heaven my throne
and earth my footstool,
what house could you build me,
what place could you make for my rest?
All of this was made by my hand
and all this is mine – it is the Lord who speaks.
But my eyes are drawn to the man
of humbled and contrite spirit,
who trembles at my word.


With what shall I come before the LORD,
and bow before God most high?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?
Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams,
with myriad streams of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my crime,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
Micah is asking: "Should I kill my child as a sacrifice to God?" (!).
You have been told, O mortal, what is good,
and what the LORD requires of you:
Only to do justice and to love goodness,
and to walk humbly with your God.



34 For your name’s sake, do not deliver us up forever, or make void your covenant.

35 Do not take away your mercy from us, for the sake of Abraham, your beloved, Isaac your servant, and Israel your holy one,

36 To whom you promised to multiply their offspring like the stars of heaven, or the sand on the shore of the sea.

37 For we are reduced, O Lord, beyond any other nation, brought low everywhere in the world this day because of our sins.

38 We have in our day no prince, prophet, or leader, no burnt offering, sacrifice, oblation, or incense, no place to offer first fruits, to find favor with you.

["In desolation, never to despair."]

39 But with contrite heart and humble spirit let us be received; As though it were burnt offerings of rams and bulls, or tens of thousands of fat lambs,

40 So let our sacrifice be in your presence today and find favor before you; for those who trust in you cannot be put to shame.

[vs. Job and Jesus]

41 And now we follow you with our whole heart, we fear you and we seek your face. Do not put us to shame,

42 but deal with us in your kindness and great mercy.

43 Deliver us in accord with your wonders, and bring glory to your name, O Lord:


Psalm 50

7 Listen, my people, I will speak;
Israel, I will testify against you;
God, your God, am I.

8 Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you,
your burnt offerings are always before me.

9 I will not take a bullock from your house,
or he-goats from your folds.

10 For every animal of the forest is mine,
beasts by the thousands on my mountains.

11 I know every bird in the heights;
whatever moves in the wild is mine.

12 Were I hungry, I would not tell you,
for mine is the world and all that fills it.

13 Do I eat the flesh of bulls
or drink the blood of he-goats?

14 Offer praise as your sacrifice to God;
fulfill your vows to the Most High.

15 Then call on me on the day of distress;
I will rescue you, and you shall honor me.