INTRODUCTION TO LEVITICUS 6
This chapter treats of the trespass offering for sins committed knowingly and wilfully, Leviticus 6:1 and of the law of the burnt offering, and of cleansing the altar of burnt offering, and keeping the fire burning on it continually, Leviticus 6:8 and of the meat offering, which is repeated with some additional circumstances, Leviticus 6:14 and of the offering at the consecration of the high priest, Leviticus 6:19 and of the sin offering, and where to be killed and eaten, and by whom, Leviticus 6:24.
And the Lord spake unto Moses,.... Continuing his speech with him, for the same law of the trespass offering is still discoursed of, only with respect to different persons:
saying: as follows.
If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against the Lord,.... All sin is against the Lord, contrary to his nature and will, and a transgression of his law; but some sins are more apparently so than others, and against which he expresses greater indignation and abhorrence, being attended also with very aggravating circumstances, as these that follow; which are such as are not only contrary to the will of God, but to the good of society, and tend to the subversion of it, of which he is the founder and supporter, and especially when he is sworn by, and appealed to as a witness, in a case not only injurious but false:
and lie unto his neighbour in that which was delivered him to keep; whether money or goods, or any living creature, sheep, cow, horse, &c. and should deny that ever anything was delivered to him, and take his oath upon it; which is a very grievous crime, and not to go unpunished, as was known by the light of nature, and declared by the Heathen oracle
or in fellowship: in partnership; as, for instance, having received money belonging to them both, denies he ever received any, and so cheats his partner of what was his due, and being put to his oath, takes it: or, "in putting of the hand"
or in a thing taken away by violence: without the will and knowledge of the owner; privately and secretly, but being suspected, is challenged with it, and denying it, is made to swear, which he does falsely:
or hath deceived his neighbour; cheated him in trade and commerce, defrauded him in business, extorted money from him; or by calumny and false accusation got anything out of his hands, see Luke 19:8 or by detaining the wages of the hireling; so Jarchi and Ben Gersom.
Or have found that which was lost, and lieth concerning it,.... Who having found anything lost, at once concludes it his own, and converts it to his own use, never inquiring after the proprietor of it, or taking any method to get knowledge of him, and restore it to him; but so far from that, being suspected of finding it, and charged with it denies it: Maimonides
and sweareth falsely; which is to be understood, not of the last case only, but of all the rest, or of anyone of them, as it follows:
in any of all these that a man doeth, sinning therein; by unfaithfulness in a trust, cheating, defrauding, lying, and false swearing.
Then it shall be, because he hath sinned and is guilty,.... Owns his guilt through remorse of conscience, and makes a confession of it; or otherwise, upon conviction, without such confession he was to pay double, see Exodus 22:7 whereas, in this case it is only ordered:
that he shall restore that which he took violently away: whether money, goods, or cattle:
or the thing which he hath deceitfully gotten; by outwitting him, by extortion, by false accusation, or detention of wages:
or that which was delivered him to keep; in which he was unfaithful to his trust, be it what it will:
or the lost thing which he found; and denied he had it.
Or all that about which he hath sworn falsely,.... In all and each of the above cases, in which he had committed a trespass and denied it, and to the denial adds a false oath, and yet after all acknowledges it:
he shall even restore it in the principal; whatsoever he has embezzled, or cheated another of, or detained from the right owner, the whole of that was to be restored:
and shall add the fifth part more thereto; to the principal, see Leviticus 5:16 but Maimonides
and give it unto him to whom appertaineth; as, to his neighbour, who had deposited anything in his hands; or his partner, he had any ways wronged; or whomsoever he had defrauded in any respect; or the proprietor of lost goods; Ben Gersom observes, it was not to be given to his son, nor to his messenger: in the case of taking anything away by violence, though but the value of a farthing, it is said, that he shall be obliged to bring it after him (from whom he has taken it) even unto Media (should he be there); he shall not give it to his son, nor to his messenger, but he may give it to the messenger of the sanhedrim; and if he dies, he must return it to his heirs
in the day of his trespass offering; when he brings that, but restoration must first be made: the Targum of Jonathan renders it, in the day he repents of his sin: and so Aben Ezra interprets it,"in the day he returns from his trespass;'when he owns and confesses it, is sorry for it, and determines to do so no more. Maimonides observes
And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the Lord,.... That is, to the tabernacle of the Lord, to the altar of the Lord in it, and to his priest ministering therein, as it follows:
a ram without blemish out of the flock, with thy estimation, for a trespass offering unto the priest; the same offering that was ordered for a trespass through ignorance, Leviticus 5:16 typical of the sacrifice of Christ offered up both for sins of ignorance and wilful transgressions, for his blood cleanses from all sin; see Gill on Leviticus 5:16; the phrase "with thy estimation", used there also Leviticus 5:16, is here interpreted by Ben Gersom of two shekels, the value the ram was to be of, brought for the trespass offering.
And the priest shall make an atonement for him before the Lord,.... By offering the ram he brought, by which a typical, but not real atonement was made; for the blood of bulls and goats, of sheep and rams, could not take away sin; but as they were types of Christ, and led to him, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world:
and it shall be forgiven him, for anything of all that he hath done, in trespassing therein; any and everyone of the above sins, with all the aggravations of them, were forgiven, upon the atonement made, though they were so enormous; and, indeed, all manner of sin is forgiven for Christ's sake, except the sin against the Holy Ghost: and L'Empereur
And the Lord spake unto Moses,.... It maybe after some intermission, or pause made; for some here begin a new chapter, and indeed a new section here begins in the Hebrew copies:
saying; as follows:
Command Aaron and his sons,.... Who were nominated, selected, and appointed to the office, though not yet consecrated to it and invested with it, see Leviticus 8:1.
saying, this is the law of the burnt offering; of the daily sacrifice, morning and evening:
it is the burnt offering, because of, or for the burning upon the altar all night unto the morning; as there was nothing offered on the altar of burnt offering after the evening daily sacrifice, nor anything before the morning daily sacrifice, it was the more difficult to keep the fire of the altar burning in the night; wherefore a slow fire was used in the evening sacrifice, and several things remained to be burnt in the night: so Maimonides
and the fire of the altar shall be burning in it; not without it, as Aben Ezra observes, but on it; that is, should be ever burning on it, night and day, as it is after declared.
And the priest shall put on his linen garment,.... "His measure"
and his linen breeches shall he put upon his flesh; to cover his nakedness; that indecency might be prevented, and that he might not be exposed to ridicule; and though these two garments are only mentioned, yet the wise men say the word "put on" includes the bonnet and the girdle; for the removing of the ashes from the altar, which is the thing he was to be thus clothed to do, was done in the four garments, though the Scripture mentions but two
and take up the ashes which the fire hath consumed, with the burnt offering on the altar; this was the first thing the priests did in a morning, and which in later times they cast lots for, and the first lot was for this service, and which was performed very early
and he shall put them beside the altar: without, at the corner of the altar, as Aben Ezra, on the east side of it; so says Jarchi, the priest takes a full censer of the innermost consumptions (that is, of the innermost parts of the sacrifice reduced to ashes), and puts them in the east of the rise of the altar; or, as by another
And he shall put off his garments,.... Those before mentioned, he is said to put on:
and put on other garments; not common garments or lay-habits, what the priests wore when they were not on duty; for, as Ben Gersom says, these were priestly garments, though meaner than the first, or those that were put off: and so Jarchi says, they were worse than they were: it seems as if they were such that were spotted and dirty, and threadbare, almost worn out, and only fit for such sort of work as to carry out ashes: and so Maimonides
and carry forth the ashes; when these, gathered on a heap, were become large, as Jarchi says, and there was no room for the pile of wood, they carried them out from thence; and this, he observes, was not obligatory every day, but the taking of them up, as in the preceding verse Leviticus 6:10, they were bound to every day: and these they carried
without the camp, unto a clean place; for though they were ashes, yet being ashes of holy things, were not to be laid in an unclean place, or where unclean things were: as the burnt offering was a type of Christ in his sufferings and death, enduring the fire of divine wrath in the room and stead of his people; so the carrying forth the ashes of the burnt offering, and laying them in a clean place, may denote the burial of the body of Christ without the city of Jerusalem, wrapped in a clean linen cloth and laid in a new tomb, wherein no man had been laid, Matthew 27:59.
And the fire upon the altar shall be burning in it, it shall not be put out,.... There were three fires, or piles of wood for fire continually; the first was a large one, on which the daily sacrifice was burnt; the second less, and called the pile of the incense, because they took from it fire in a censer to burn the morning and evening incense; and the third was only for preserving the fire that it might not go out: and of this it is written, Leviticus 6:12
and the priest shall burn wood in it every morning: until the fourth hour of the day, according to the Targum of Jonathan; that is, unto ten o'clock in the morning:
and lay the burnt offering in order upon it; both morning and evening, and as often as any sacrifices of that kind were offered up:
and he shall burn thereon the fat of the peace offerings; that which was upon the inwards and covered them, and upon the kidneys, and flanks, and caul of the liver; see Leviticus 3:3.
The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar,.... This was what first fell from heaven, Leviticus 9:24 and which in after ages was maintained by constant fuel put unto it, there being every day burnt offerings upon it; which was an emblem of the love of Christ to his people, which is ever in a flame and burning, and can never be quenched by the many waters of their sins and iniquities; nor by all the sufferings he underwent to atone for them; nor by all the meanness and afflictions they are attended with; his love is fervent towards them, and always the same: and also of their love to him, which is unquenchable by the persecutions of men, by afflictions by the hand of God, by divine desertions, by Satan's temptations, or their own corruptions: it likewise may be an emblem of the graces of the Spirit of God in the hearts of his people, which have both light and heat in them; and though they are sometimes very low as to exercise, yet are in a wonderful manner preserved amidst great oppositions made unto them from within and from without; and may also be a symbol of the word of God, sometimes compared to fire for its light and heat, and may be signified by the fire on the altar for its perpetuity, which continues and abides, notwithstanding the attempts of men and devils to get it out of the world; and though the ministers of it die, that lives, and has been preserved in the worst of times, and will burn most clearly, and shine most brightly in the end of the world. This perpetual fire may also point at the prayers of saints, the fervency of them, and their perseverance in them; or rather to the efficacy and acceptance of the sacrifice of Christ, which always continues; nor may it be amiss applied to the afflictions of God's people, which constantly attend them in this world, and they must expect to have while in it; and even to the wrath of God on wicked men to all eternity, and which is the fire that cannot be quenched:
it shall never go out; as it is highly probable it never did, until the destruction of the temple by Nebuchadnezzar; though the author of second Maccabees states that:"For when our fathers were led into Persia, the priests that were then devout took the fire of the altar privily, and hid it in an hollow place of a pit without water, where they kept it sure, so that the place was unknown to all men.' 2 Maccabees 1:19)pretends that some devout priests, who were carried captives into Persia, hid the fire of the altar privily in the hollow of a pit, where was no water, and in which it was kept sure and unknown to men, and was found and restored in the times of Nehemiah,"20 Now after many years, when it pleased God, Neemias, being sent from the king of Persia, did send of the posterity of those priests that had hid it to the fire: but when they told us they found no fire, but thick water; 21 Then commanded he them to draw it up, and to bring it; and when the sacrifices were laid on, Neemias commanded the priests to sprinkle the wood and the things laid thereupon with the water. 22 When this was done, and the time came that the sun shone, which afore was hid in the cloud, there was a great fire kindled, so that every man marvelled.' (2 Maccabees 1)but this is contrary to what the Jews always assert
And this is the law of the meat offering,.... Or the rules to be observed concerning that, for which, though directions are given, Leviticus 2:1, &c. yet is here repeated with some additions to it:
the sons of Aaron shall offer it before the Lord; being brought unto them by the children of Israel:
before the altar; or at the face of it, for what was properly offered was burnt upon it, as in the following verse Leviticus 6:15, for it should be rather rendered "in", or "on the altar"
And he shall take of it his handful,.... See Gill on Leviticus 2:2.
And the remainder thereof shall Aaron and his sons eat,.... What quantity of fine flour the meat offering consisted of is not said; very probably it was left to the offerer to bring what he would, since it was a freewill offering:
with unleavened bread shall it be eaten in the holy place; or rather, "unleavened shall it be eaten"; for it cannot well be thought that bread of any sort should be eaten with this offering, which, properly speaking, was itself a bread offering, and so it should be called, rather than a meat offering; and certain it is, that no meat offering was to be made of leaven, but of fine flour unleavened, and so to be eaten, not by the priests in their own houses, but in the tabernacle; not in that part of it properly called the holy place, in distinction from the holy of holies, but as it follows:
in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation they shall eat it; in a room provided in that court for that purpose, as afterwards in the temple.
It shall not be baked with leaven,.... Which, as it was a type of Christ, may denote his sincerity both in doctrine, life, and conversation; and as it may respect the offerer, may signify his uprightness and integrity, and his being devoid of hypocrisy and insincerity:
I have given it unto thee for their portion of my offerings made by fire; this was part of the provision made for the maintenance of the priests, as it was but just that they that ministered at the altar should live of it; and the rather, as the priests and Levites had no portion and inheritance in the land of Israel, and therefore must be supported in another way, which the Lord took care of:
it is most holy, as the sin offering, and as the trespass offering; as they, so this being devoted to sacred uses, what were not consumed upon the altar belonged to the priests, and were their perquisites, nor might they be appropriated to the use of any other.
All the males among the children of Aaron shall eat of it,.... And they only, for none but they might eat in the holy place, and therefore these holy things that were to be eaten there, were only eaten by them; what might be eaten by the priests in their own houses, their wives and daughters ate of, but in the holy place only their males, and a male was one that was thirteen years of age:
it shall be a statute for ever in your generations, concerning the offerings of the Lord made by fire; a statute to last till the Messiah should come, the true meat or bread offering; and the bread he gave was his flesh, and he that eats of it shall not die, but live for ever, John 6:27,
everyone that toucheth them shall be holy; signifying, that no one ought to touch them but a holy person, one devoted to holy services, the priests and their sons; or "whatsoever"
And the Lord spake unto Moses,.... At the same time the above laws were delivered:
saying; as follows.
This is the offering of Aaron and his sons,.... That is, of such of them as succeeded him in the high priesthood, as appears from Leviticus 6:22 so Aben Ezra, of him, or of one of his sons in his room; though some think the common priests offered the following oblation at the time of their initiation into their office, though they were not anointed as the high priest was, nor obliged as he to continue the offering daily:
which they shall offer unto the Lord in the day when he is anointed; when he, or any of his sons in his stead, were anointed, for as yet he himself was not; see Leviticus 8:2 some, as Aben Ezra observes, think that ב, "in", is instead of מ, "from", and that the sense is, that Aaron, or his successor, and every of them, were to offer the following offering perpetually from the time of their being anointed, and put into the office of the high priest, and which certainly was the case, as appears by what follows:
the tenth part of an ephah of fine flour for a meat offering perpetual; which was an omer, and as much as a man could eat in one day; and this the high priest offered every day, as long as he lived, or was in his office, and that at his own expense, as Josephus says
half of it in the morning, and half of it at night; so that this constantly returned as the morning and evening sacrifices did, and followed them. Jarchi says of this, that it was the common meat offering at the consecration of a priest, but the high priest offered it every day; and it appears from the Misnic writers
In a pan it shall be made with oil,.... With oil olive, as the Targum of Jonathan; the pan in which it was made was a vessel that had no covering, nor hollow in the middle, nor any lip or edge, but was a plane, and extended, and the dough made on it was hard and stiff, that it might not run off
and when it is baked, thou shalt bring it in; not thoroughly baked, but very little, as says Josephus, hastily, so that it swells, and rises up in bubbles. Jarchi says, the flour was first mixed in hot water, and after that it was baked in an oven, and then fried in a pan:
and the baked pieces of the meat offering shalt thou offer for a sweet savour unto the Lord; or the meat offering cut in pieces shalt thou offer, as both the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem; the twelve cakes were broken each into two, and twelve halves were offered in the morning, and twelve at evening: the manner in which it was done was, the priest divided every cake into two by measure, so that he might offer half in the morning, and half in the evening; and he took the halves and doubled everyone of them into two, and broke them, until he found every broken piece doubled into two, and he offered the halves with half the handful of frankincense in the morning, and in like manner in the evening
And the priest of his sons that is anointed in his stead shall offer it,.... The successor of the high priest:
it is a statute for ever unto the Lord; which he by an everlasting statute appointed to be offered to him by every high priest, until the Messiah should come:
it shall be wholly burnt; of a common meat offering only a handful was burnt, and the rest was the priest's; see Leviticus 6:15.
For every meat offering for the priest shall be wholly burnt,.... Wherefore the priest that offered this for the high priest got nothing by it: he served him gratis:
it shall not be eaten; neither by himself, nor any other priest. The priests by eating the offerings of the people bore their iniquities, and made atonement for them, Leviticus 10:17 but the priests might not eat their own sacrifices, to show that they could not bear their own sins, and make atonement for them; and this proves the insufficiency of the legal sacrifices, and the need there was for one to arise of another order to take away sin; and it is thought by some to be typical of the active obedience of Christ
And the Lord spake unto Moses,.... Continued his discourse with him:
saying; as follows.
Speak unto Aaron, and to his sons, saying, this is the law of the sin offering,.... Or the rules to be observed concerning that, besides what had been already delivered in Leviticus 4:1,
in the place where the burnt offering is killed shall the sin offering be killed before the Lord; and that was on the north side of the altar, see Leviticus 1:11 and so Aben Ezra and Ben Gersom observe, that the place of slaying every sin offering was the north; and some have observed that Mount Calvary, where our Lord was crucified, lay pretty much to the north of Jerusalem, see Psalm 48:2,
it is most holy; sacred to the Lord, offered up to him, and accepted by him, and typical of the most pure and holy sacrifice of Christ, who was made sin, and an offering for sin, in the room and stead of his people.
The priest that offereth it for sin shall eat it,.... Thereby signifying that he bore the sin of the person that brought the offering, and made atonement for it; as a type of Christ, who bore the sins of his people in his own body on the tree, and made satisfaction for them; see Leviticus 10:17. This is to be understood not of that single individual priest only that was the offerer, but of him and his family; for, as Ben Gersom observes, it was impossible for one man to eat all the flesh of a beast at one meal or two; but it means, as he says, the family of the priest that then officiated, the male part:
in the holy place shall it be eaten, in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation; within the hangings, as Ben Gersom's note is, with which the court of the tabernacle was hung and made; in some room in that part of the sanctuary did the priest, with his sons, eat of the holy offerings that were appropriated to them; an emblem of spiritual priests, believers in Christ, feeding in the church upon the provisions of his house, the goodness and fatness of it.
Whatsoever shall touch the flesh thereof shall be holy,.... None but holy persons, such as were devoted to holy services, even the priests and their sons, might touch and eat of the flesh of the sin offering: all that did so were sacred persons; and even what were used in eating it, dishes and knives, were to be put to no other use, not to any common service, or for anything but holy things; which was done to keep up a veneration for the sacrifices, and especially for the great sacrifice they typified, the sacrifice of Christ, whose flesh is meat indeed; and whoever eats of that by faith dwells in Christ, and Christ dwells in him, John 6:55,
and when there is sprinkled of the blood thereof upon any garment; the garment of the priest that slays and offers it:
thou shalt wash that whereon it was sprinkled in the holy place; it was not to be carried out of the tabernacle, and washed elsewhere, but in the sanctuary; either at the laver, where the priests washed their hands and feet, or in some room in the court for that purpose. This was done to preserve an esteem and value for the blood of the sacrifice, as typical of the precious blood of Christ.
But the earthen vessel wherein it is sodden shall be broken,.... That being porous, the liquor in which the sin offering was boiled might soak into it, and the smell of it be retained, and therefore, as such vessels were not very costly, they were ordered to be broken; but where the broken pieces were carried and laid, the Jewish writers are at a loss about; for, that vessels, which had served for holy uses, should be laid in an open public place and exposed, they thought was indecent; and as there might be in a course of time great quantities broken, it would look very disagreeable and unseemly to have them lie in heaps in the sanctuary; they therefore have framed a miracle, and conceit that they were swallowed up in the ground where they were laid
and if it be sodden in a brazen it shall be both scoured and rinsed in water; brass, being more valuable, must not be destroyed; and besides the liquor could not soak into that, and whatever scent it retained was easily and soon removed by scouring and rinsing; the former was with hot water, and the latter with cold, as Ben Gersom affirms.
And all the males among the priests shall eat thereof,.... As of the meat offerings, Leviticus 6:18 and this shows that not the single priest that offered only ate of it, Leviticus 6:26 but his male children, and not those only, but those of other priests then upon duty, or in the court:
it is most holy; See Gill on Leviticus 6:25.
And no sin offering, whereof any of the blood is brought into the tabernacle of the congregation to reconcile withal in the holy place, shall be eaten,.... Every offering, and so every sin offering, was killed in the court of the tabernacle, on the north side of the altar; and the blood of some of them, as on the day of atonement, was carried within the vail and sprinkled on the mercy seat for reconciling the holy place, and making atonement for it; now the flesh of such sin offerings might not be eaten by the priests, though all others might:
it shall be burnt in the fire. Ben Gersom says, it was burnt in its place in the court, in a place prepared there to burn things rejected, and sanctified; and I think, adds he, this place was on the east side, i.e. of the court; but it is clear from Leviticus 16:27 where the above case is mentioned, that it was to be carried out without the camp, and burnt there. What use the apostle makes of this, applying it to Christ, see Hebrews 13:11.
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Leviticus 6". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://pro.studylight.org/
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34