INTRODUCTION TO LEVITICUS 1 This chapter contains certain laws and rules concerning sacrifices, particularly burnt offerings, which were delivered by the Lord to Moses, Leviticus 1:1 what those offerings should be of, Leviticus 1:3 what rules should be observed, what actions should be done, first by the persons that brought them, Leviticus 1:3 and then by the priest that offered them, with respect to the burnt offering of the herd, Leviticus 1:5 and to the burnt offering of the sheep and goats, Leviticus 1:11 and to the burnt offering of fowls, Leviticus 1:15 all which, when offered aright, were of a sweet savour to the Lord, Leviticus 1:9.
And the Lord called unto Moses,.... Or "met him", as the phrase is rendered in Numbers 23:4. The word ויקרא, translated "called", the last letter of it is written in a very small character, to show, as the Jews
and spoke unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation; from off the mercy seat, between the cherubim over the ark, where the glory of the Lord, or the divine Shechinah and Majesty took up its residence, and from whence the Lord promised to commune with Moses, Exodus 25:22,
saying; what follows concerning sacrifices; which shows, that these were not human inventions, but of divine institution, and by the appointment of God.
Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them,.... For unto no other was the law of sacrifices given; not to the Gentiles, but to the children of Israel:
if any man; or woman, for the word "man", as Ben Gersom observes, includes the whole species:
of you; of you Israelites; the Targum of Jonathan adds,"and not of the apostates who worship idols.'Jarchi interprets it of yours, of your mammon or substance, what was their own property, and not what was stolen from another
bring an offering unto the Lord; called "Korban" of "Karab", to draw nigh, because it was not only brought nigh to God, to the door of the tabernacle where he dwelt, but because by it they drew nigh to God, and presented themselves to him, and that for them; typical of believers under the Gospel dispensation drawing nigh to God through Christ, by whom their spiritual sacrifices are presented and accepted in virtue of his:
ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock; that is, of oxen, and of sheep or goats. The Targum of Jonathan is,"of a clean beast, of oxen, and of sheep, but not of wild beasts shall ye bring your offerings.'These were appointed, Ben Gersom says, for these two reasons, partly because the most excellent, and partly because most easy to be found and come at, as wild creatures are not: but the true reason is, because they were very fit to represent the great sacrifice Christ, which all sacrifices were typical of; the ox or bullock was a proper emblem of him for his strength and laboriousness, and the sheep for his harmlessness, innocence, and patience, and the goat, as he was not in himself, but as he was thought to be, a sinner, being sent in the likeness of sinful flesh, and being traduced as such, and having the sins of his people imputed to him.
If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd,.... So called, because consumed by fire, see Leviticus 6:9 even all of it except the skin, and therefore its name with the Greeks is "a whole burnt offering", as in Mark 12:33 its name in Hebrew is עולה, which comes from a word which signifies to "ascend" or "go up", because not only it was carried up to the altar by the priest, which was common to other sacrifices, but being burnt upon it, it ascended upwards in smoke and vapour; it was typical of Christ's dolorous sufferings and death, who therein sustained the fire of divine wrath, and his strength was dried up like a potsherd with it. Jarchi on Leviticus 1:1 says, there were in the burnt offerings mysteries of future things:
let him offer a male; and not a female, pointing at the Messiah's sex, and his strength and excellency, the child that was to be born, and the Son to be given, whose name should be Immanuel:
without blemish; or perfect, having no part wanting, nor any part superfluous, nor any spot upon it, see Leviticus 22:19 denoting the perfection of Christ as man, being in all things made like unto his brethren, and his having not the least stain or blemish of sin upon him, either original or actual, and so could, as he did, offer up himself without spot to God, Hebrews 2:17,
and he shall offer it of his own voluntary will; not forced or compelled to it, or with any reluctancy, but as a pure freewill offering; so our Lord Jesus Christ laid down his life of himself, and freely gave himself an offering and a sacrifice, and became cheerfully and readily obedient unto death:
at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, before the Lord; it was to be done openly and publicly, and in the presence of the Lord, to whom it was offered up; showing, that Christ's sacrifice would be offered up to God, against whom we have sinned, by which his law would be fulfilled, his justice satisfied, and wrath appeased, and that his death would be public and notorious; see Luke 24:18.
And he shall put his hand on the head of the burnt offering,.... According to the Targum of Jonathan, it was his right hand; but it is generally thought by the Jewish writers that both hands were laid on; so Ben Gersom and Aben Ezra, with whom Maimonides
and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him: that is, the burnt offering should be accepted in his room and stead, and hereby an atonement of his sins should be made for him, typical of that true, real, and full atonement made by the sacrifice of Christ, which this led his faith unto.
And he shall kill the bullock before the Lord,.... That is, the man that brings the burnt offering, for no other is yet spoken of; and according to the traditions of the elders
and the priests, Aaron's sons, shall bring the blood: in vessels or basins, as the Targum of Jonathan adds, into which they received it when slain:
and sprinkle the blood round about upon the altar that is by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation; which was the altar of burnt offering, and not the altar of incense, as appears by the situation of it, see Exodus 40:5 and the blood was sprinkled all around the altar with two sprinklings: the rule in the Misnah is
And he shall flay the burnt offering,.... Take off its skin; this was the only part of it that was not burnt, and was the property of the priest, Leviticus 7:8 but who this was done by is not so manifest, since it is in the singular number "he", and seems to be the bringer of the offering; for Aaron's sons, the priests that sprinkled the blood, are spoken of plurally; and agreeably, Gersom observes, that the flaying of the burnt offering and cutting it in pieces were lawful to be done by a stranger; but Aben Ezra interprets "he" of the priest; and the Septuagint and Samaritan versions read in the plural number, "they shall flay", &c. and this was the work of the priests, and who were sometimes helped in it by their brethren, the Levites, 2 Chronicles 29:34 and as this follows upon the sprinkling of the blood, it was never done till that was; the rule is, they do not flay them (the sacrifices) until the blood is sprinkled, except the sin offerings, which are burnt, for they do not flay them at all
and cut it into his pieces; which was done while he was flaying it, and after this manner, as Maimonides relates
And the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire upon the altar,.... The fire of the altar originally came down from heaven, and consumed the sacrifice, and which was a token of God's acceptance of it, see Leviticus 9:24 and this fire was kept burning continually upon the altar, Leviticus 6:12 and yet the Jewish writers say, it was the command of God, according to this passage, that fire should be brought from another place and put here; Jarchi's note on the text is,"though fire came down from heaven, it was commanded to bring it from a common or private place:'and Maimonides
and lay the wood in order upon the fire; the wood for the sacrifice was an offering of the people, brought to the temple at the times appointed, Nehemiah 10:34 where was a place called לשכת העצים, "the wood room", or "wood chamber", and which was in the northeast part of the court of the women; and here such priests as had blemishes wormed the wood, or searched the wood for worms; for whatsoever wood had a worm found in it, it was not fit to be laid upon the altar; and it was from hence the priests fetched the wood and laid it on the altar
And the priests, Aaron's sons, shall lay the parts,.... That were cut in pieces, Leviticus 1:6 some of which are particularly mentioned:
the head and the fat; the head which was cut off, and the body, the trunk of it; so, Aben Ezra says, the wise men interpret the word פדר "fat", which is only used here and in Leviticus 1:12 and which he thinks is right; though others take it to be the fat caul, or midriff, which parts the entrails; and the Targum of Jonathan renders it, the covering of fat: these are particularly mentioned, but include in general the rest of the pieces, which were laid:
in order upon the wood that is on the fire which is upon the altar; this disposition of the several parts of the burnt offering upon the altar signifies the laying of Christ upon the cross, and the disposition of his head, his hands, and feet there; according to the usual order of crucifixion: the skin, as before observed, was not burnt, but was the property of the priest, and the sinew that shrunk was taken away, and cast upon the ashes in the middle of the altar
But the inwards and his legs shall he wash in water,.... This was first done in a room in the court of the temple, called לשכת המדחין, "the room of the washers", or the washing room, where they washed the inwards of the holy things
and the priest shall burn all on the altar; all the other pieces, as well as the inwards and legs, excepting the skin, which denoted the painful sufferings of Christ, and the extent of them to all parts of his body; and indeed his soul felt the fire of divine wrath, and became an offering for sin:
to be a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire; that is, all the parts of the bullock were burnt on the altar, that it might appear to be a whole burnt offering consumed by fire:
of a sweet savour unto the Lord: he accepting of it, and smelling a sweet savour of rest in it, as an atonement for sin, typical of the sacrifice of Christ, which is to God for a sweet smelling savour, Ephesians 5:2 the Jewish doctors
And if his offering be of the flocks,.... As it might be:
namely, of the sheep, or of the goats for a burnt sacrifice; which were both typical of Christ; see Gill on Leviticus 1:2.
he shall bring it a male without blemish; See Gill on Leviticus 1:3.
And he shall kill it on the side of the altar northward before the Lord,.... This is a circumstance not mentioned in the killing of the bullock: Maimonides
and the priests, Aaron's sons, shall sprinkle the blood round about upon the altar; See Gill on Leviticus 1:5.
And he shall cut it into his pieces, with his head and his fat,.... Or "his body", as the Targum of Jonathan; this was to be cut in pieces in the same manner as the bullock; see Gill on Leviticus 1:6,
and the priest shall lay them in order on the wood that is on the fire, which is on the altar; See Gill on Leviticus 1:8.
But he shall wash the inwards and the legs with water,.... As he did the bullock, Leviticus 1:9,
and the priest shall bring it all: all the parts to the ascent of the altar, as the Jews
and burn it on the altar, it is a burnt offering, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord; See Gill on Leviticus 1:9.
And if the burnt sacrifice for his offering to the Lord be of fowls,.... As it might be for the poorer sort, who could not offer a bullock, nor a sheep, or a lamb, Leviticus 5:7,
then he shall bring his offering of turtledoves, or of young pigeons; the Jewish writers all agree, that the turtles should be old, and not young, as the pigeons young, and not old; so the Targum of Jonathan, Jarchi, Aben Ezra and Gersom
And the priest shall bring it unto the altar,.... The southeast horn of it; near which was the place of the ashes, into which the crop and its feathers were cast
and wring off his head; by twisting it back as it should seem; the word used is only to be found here, and in Leviticus 5:8 the Jews say, it signifies to cut with the nail, and that the priest did this, not with a knife or any other instrument, but with his nail; so Jarchi and Gersom on the place observe: some think he only let out the blood this way, but did not separate the head from the body, which seems to be favoured by Leviticus 5:8 though Maimonides and Bartenora
and burn it on the altar; that is, the head, after squeezing out the blood, and rubbing it with salt:
and the blood thereof shall be wrung out at the side of the altar: or "the wall" of it: this, though mentioned last, must be done before, and immediately upon the wringing of the head, and between that and the burning it on the altar: this wringing off the head, and wringing out the blood, denote violence, and show that Christ's death, which this was a type of, was a violent one; the Jews laid violent hands upon him, and pursued his life in a violent manner, were very pressing to have it taken away, and his life was taken away in such a manner by men, though not without his Father's secret will, and his own consent.
And he shall pluck away his crop with his feathers,.... Or "with its meat", or "dung", as Onkelos renders it, meaning that which was in its crop; and so the Jerusalem Targum interprets it, "with its dung"; and Jonathan's paraphrase is, "with its collection", or what was gathered together in the crop; it includes the entrails, as Gersom observes:
and cast it beside the altar on the east part, by the place of the ashes; where the ashes of the burnt offering were put every day, and every time such an offering was made; and all this answered to the washing of the inwards, and legs of the other burnt offerings, and signified the same thing, the cleanness and purity of Christ, and of his people by him.
And he shall cleave it with the wings thereof,.... One wing being on one side, and the other on the other side:
but shall not divide it asunder; the body of the bird, though it was cleaved down in the middle, yet not parted asunder, nor any of its wings separated from it; the Targum of Jonathan paraphrases it, "but shall not separate its wings from it"; this denoted, that though, by the death of Christ, his soul and body were separated from each other, yet the human nature was not separated from his divine Person, the personal union between the two natures still continuing; nor was he divided from his divine Father, though he was forsaken by him, yet still in union with him as the Son of God; nor from the divine Spirit, by which he offered up himself to God, and by which he was quickened; nor from his church and people, for whom he suffered, they being united to him as members to their head:
and the priest shall burn it upon the altar, upon the wood that is upon the fire; in like manner as the ox, sheep, or goat were burnt: according to the Misnah, the priest went up the ascent (of the altar) and turned round about the circuit; when he came to the southeast horn, he cut its head (or nipped it) with his nail, over against its neck, and divided it, and squeezed out its blood by the wall of the altar, and turned the part nipped to the altar, and struck it at it, and rubbed it with salt, and cast it upon the fires; then he went to the body and removed the crop and its feathers (or dung) and the entrails that came out along with it, and threw them into the place of ashes; he cleaved but did not divide asunder, but if he divided it was right, then he rubbed it with salt, and cast it upon the fires
it is a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord; See Gill on Leviticus 1:9 so with the Heathens, to the gods of the air they sacrificed fowls for burnt offerings
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Leviticus 1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://pro.studylight.org/
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34