Leviticus 1

Verse 43. And Moses did look upon all the work] As being the

general superintendent of the whole, under whom Bezaleel and

Aholiab were employed, as the other workmen were under them.

They had done it as the Lord had commanded] Exactly according to

the pattern which Moses received from the Lord, and which he laid

before the workmen to work by.

And Moses blessed them.] Gave them that praise which was due to

their skill, diligence, and fidelity. See this meaning of the

original word in the note on Ge 2:3.

See Clarke on Ge 2:3. See also a fine instance of

ancient courtesy between masters and their servants, in the case

of Boaz and his reapers, Ru 2:4. Boaz came from Bethlehem, and

said to the reapers, The Lord be with YOU! And they answered him,

The Lord bless THEE! It is, however, very probable that Moses

prayed to God in their behalf, that they might be prospered in all

their undertakings, saved from every evil, and be brought at last

to the inheritance that fadeth not away. This blessing seems to

have been given, not only to the workmen, but to all the people.

The people contributed liberally, and the workmen wrought

faithfully, and the blessing of God was pronounced upon ALL.

THE promptitude, cordiality, and despatch used in this business

cannot be too highly commended, and are worthy of the imitation of

all who are employed in any way in the service of God. The

prospect of having God to dwell among them inflamed every heart,

because they well knew that on this depended their prosperity and

salvation. They therefore hastened to build him a house, and they

spared no expense or skill to make it, as far as a house made with

hands could be, worthy of that Divine Majesty who had promised to

take up his residence in it. This tabernacle, like the temple,

was a type of the human nature of the Lord Jesus; that was a

shrine not made with hands, formed by God himself, and worthy of

that fulness of the Deity that dwelt in it.

It is scarcely possible to form an adequate opinion of the

riches, costly workmanship, and splendour of the tabernacle; and

who can adequately conceive the glory and excellence of that human

nature in which the fulness of the Godhead bodily dwelt? That

this tabernacle typified the human nature of Christ, and the

Divine shechinah that dwelt in it the Deity that dwelt in the

man Christ Jesus, these words of St. John sufficiently prove: In

the beginning was the WORD, and the WORD was with God, and the

WORD was GOD. And the WORD was made flesh, and dwelt among us,

(εσκηνωσενενημιν, made his TABERNACLE among us,) full of

grace and truth-possessing the true Urim and Thummim; all the

lights and perfections, the truth and the grace, typified by

the Mosaic economy, Joh 1:1,14. And hence the evangelist adds,

And we beheld his glory; as the Israelites beheld the glory of

God resting on the tabernacle, so did the disciples of Christ see

the Divine glory resting on him, and showing itself forth in all

his words, spirit, and works. And for what purpose was the

tabernacle erected? That God might dwell in it among the children

of Israel. And for what purpose was the human nature of Christ so

miraculously produced? That the Godhead might dwell in it; and

that God and man might be reconciled through this wonderful

economy of Divine grace, God being in Christ reconciling the world

unto himself, 2Co 5:19. And what was implied by this

reconciliation? The union of the soul with God, and the

indwelling of God in the soul. Reader, has God yet filled thy

tabernacle with his glory? Does Christ dwell in thy heart by

faith; and dost thou abide in him, bringing forth fruit unto

holiness? Then thy end shall be eternal life. Why shouldst thou

not go on thy way rejoicing with Christ in thy heart, heaven in

thine eye, and the world, the devil, and the flesh, under thy

feet?

THE THIRD BOOK OF MOSES

CALLED

LEVITICUS

-Year before the common Year of Christ, 1490.

-Julian Period, 3224.

-Cycle of the Sun, 27.

-Dominical Letter, D.

-Cycle of the Moon, 9.

-Indiction, 6.

-Creation from Tisri or September, 2514.

CHAPTER I

The Lord calls to Moses out of the tabernacle, and gives him

directions concerning burnt-offerings of the beeve kind,

1,2.

The burnt-offering to be a male without blemish, 3.

The person bringing it to lay his hands upon its head, that it

might be accepted for him, 4.

He is to kill, flay, and cut it in pieces, and bring the blood

to the priests, that they might sprinkle it round about the

altar, 5, 6.

All the pieces to be laid upon the altar and burnt, 7-9.

Directions concerning offerings of the SMALLER CATTLE, such as

sheep and goats, 10-13.

Directions concerning offerings of FOWLS, such as doves and

pigeons, 14-17.

NOTES ON CHAP. I

Verse 1. And the Lord called unto Moses] From the manner in

which this book commences, it appears plainly to be a

continuation or the preceding; and indeed the whole is but one

law, though divided into five portions, and why thus divided is

not easy to be conjectured.

Previously to the erection of the tabernacle God had given no

particular directions concerning the manner of offering the

different kinds of sacrifices; but as soon as this Divine

structure was established and consecrated, Jehovah took it as his

dwelling place; described the rites and ceremonies which he would

have observed in his worship, that his people might know what was

best pleasing in his sight; and that, when thus worshipping him,

they might have confidence that they pleased him, every thing

being done according to his own directions. A consciousness of

acting according to the revealed will of God gives strong

confidence to an upright mind.

Verse 2. Bring an offering] The word korban, from

karab, to approach or draw near, signifies an

offering or gift by which a person had access unto God: and this

receives light from the universal custom that prevails in the

east, no man being permitted to approach the presence of a

superior without a present or gift; and the offering thus brought

was called korban, which properly means the

introduction-offering, or offering of access. This custom has

been often referred to in the preceding books.

See also Clarke on "Le 7:38".

Of the cattle] habbehemah, animals of the beeve

kind, such as the bull, heifer, bullock, and calf; and

restrained to these alone by the term herd, bakar, which,

from its general use in the Levitical writings, is known to refer

to the ox, heifer, &c. And therefore other animals of the beeve

kind were excluded.

Of the flock] tson. SHEEP and GOATS; for we have

already seen that this term implies both kinds; and we know, from

its use, that no other animal of the smaller clean domestic

quadrupeds is intended, as no other animal of this class, besides

the sheep and goat, was ever offered in sacrifice to God. The

animals mentioned in this chapter as proper for sacrifice are the

very same which God commanded Abraham to offer; see Ge 15:9.

And thus it is evident that God delivered to the patriarchs an

epitome of that law which was afterwards given in detail to

Moses, the essence of which consisted in its sacrifices; and

those sacrifices were of clean animals, the most perfect, useful,

and healthy, of all that are brought under the immediate

government and influence of man. Gross-feeding and ferocious

animals were all excluded, as were also all birds of prey. In

the pagan worship it was widely different; for although the ox

was esteemed among them, according to Livy, as the major hostia;

and according to Pliny, the victima optima, et laudatis sima

deorum placatio, Plin. Hist. Nat., lib. viii., c. 45, "the chief

sacrifice and the most availing offering which could be made to

the gods;" yet obscene fowls and ravenous beasts, according to

the nature of their deities, were frequently offered in

sacrifice. Thus they sacrificed horses to the SUN, wolves to

MARS, asses to PRIAPUS, swine to CERES, dogs to HECATE, &c., &c.

But in the worship of God all these were declared unclean, and

only the three following kinds of QUADRUPEDS were commanded to be

sacrificed: 1. The bull or ox, the cow or heifer, and the

calf. 2. The he-goat, she-goat, and the kid. 3. The

ram, the ewe, and the lamb. Among FOWLS, only pigeons and

turtle-doves were commanded to be offered, except in the case of

cleansing the leper, mentioned Le 14:4, where two clean

birds, generally supposed to be sparrows or other small birds,

though of what species is not well known, are specified. Fish

were not offered, because they could not be readily brought to

the tabernacle alive.

Verse 3. Burnt-sacrifice] The most important of all the

sacrifices offered to God; called by the Septuagint ολοκαυτωμα,

because it was wholly consumed, which was not the case in any

other offering. See Clarke on Le 7:38.

His own voluntary will] lirtsono, to gain himself

acceptance before the Lord: in this way all the versions appear

to have understood the original words, and the connection in

which they stand obviously requires this meaning.

Verse 4. He shall put his hand upon the head of the

burnt-offering] By the imposition of hands the person bringing

the victim acknowledged, 1. The sacrifice as his own. 2. That he

offered it as an atonement for his sins. 3. That he was worthy

of death because he had sinned, having forfeited his life by

breaking the law. 4. That he entreated God to accept the life of

the innocent animal in place of his own. 5. And all this, to be

done profitably, must have respect to HIM whose life, in the

fulness of time, should be made a sacrifice for sin. 6. The

blood was to be sprinkled round about upon the altar,

Le 1:5, as by the sprinkling of blood the atonement was made;

for the blood was the life of the beast, and it was always

supposed that life went to redeem life.

See Clarke on Ex 29:10.

On the required perfection of the sacrifice

See Clarke on Ex 12:5.

It has been sufficiently remarked by learned men that almost

all the people of the earth had their burnt-offerings, on which

also they placed the greatest dependence. It was a general maxim

through the heathen world, that there was no other way to appease

the incensed gods; and they sometimes even offered human

sacrifices, from the supposition, as Caesar expresses it, that

life was necessary to redeem life, and that the gods would be

satisfied with nothing less. "Quod pro vita hominis nisi vita

hominis redditur, non posse aliter deorum immortalium numen

placari arbitrantur."-Com. de Bell. Gal., lib. vi. But this was

not the case only with the Gauls, for we see, by Ovid, Fast.,

lib. vi., that it was a commonly received maxim among more

polished people:-

"--------Pro parvo victima parva cadit.

Cor pro corde, precor, pro fibris sumite fibras.

Hanc animam vobis pro meliore damus."

See the whole of this passage in the above work, from ver. 135

to 163.

Verse 6. He shall flay] Probably meaning the person who

brought the sacrifice, who, according to some of the rabbins,

killed, flayed, cut up, and washed the sacrifice, and then

presented the parts and the blood to the priest, that he might

burn the one, and sprinkle the other upon the altar. But it is

certain that the priests also, and the Levites, flayed the

victims, and the priest had the skin to himself; see Le 7:8,

and 2Ch 29:34. The red heifer alone was not flayed, but the

whole body, with the skin, &c., consumed with fire. See Nu 19:5.

Verse 7. Put fire] The fire that came out of the tabernacle

from before the Lord, and which was kept perpetually burning; see

Le 9:24. Nor was it lawful to use any other fire in the

service of God. See the case of Nadab and Abihu, Le 10:1, 2.

Verse 8. The priests-shall lay the parts] The sacrifice was

divided according to its larger joints. 1. After its blood was

poured out, and the skin removed, the head was cut off. 2. They

then opened it and took out the omentum, or caul, that invests

the intestines. 3. They took out the intestines with the

mesentery, and washed them well, as also the fat. 4. They then

placed the four quarters upon the altar, covered them with the

fat, laid the remains of the intestines upon them, and then laid

the head above all. 5. The sacred fire was then applied, and the

whole mass was consumed. This was the holocaust, or complete

burnt-offering.

Verse 9. An offering-of a sweet savour]

ishsheh reiach nichoach, a fire-offering, an odour of rest, or,

as the Septuagint express it, θυσιαοσμηευωδιας, "a sacrifice

for a sweet-smelling savour;" which place St. Paul had evidently

in view when he wrote Eph 5:2: "Christ hath loved us, and hath

given himself for us an offering, καιθυσιανειςοσμηνευωδιας,

and a sacrifice, for a sweet-smelling savour," where he uses the

same terms as the Septuagint. Hence we find that the holocaust,

or burnt-offering, typified the sacrifice and death of Christ for

the sins of the world.

Verse 10. His offering be of the flocks]

See Clarke on Le 1:2.

Verse 12. Cut it into his pieces]

See Clarke on Ge 15:10.

Verse 16. Pluck away his crop with his feathers] In this

sacrifice of fowls the head was violently wrung off, then the

blood was poured out, then the feathers were plucked off, the

breast was cut open, and the crop, stomach, and intestines taken

out, and then the body was burnt. Though the bird was split up,

yet it was not divided asunder. This circumstance is

particularly remarked in Abram's sacrifice, Ge 15:10.

See Clarke on Ge 15:10. See Ainsworth.

WE have already seen, on Le 1:2, that four kinds of animals

might be made burnt-offerings to the Lord. 1. Neat cattle, such

as bulls, oxen, cows, and calves. 2. He-goats, she-goats, and

kids. 3. Rams, ewes, and lambs. 4. Pigeons and turtle-doves;

and in one case, viz., the cleansing of the leper, sparrows or

some small bird. All these must be without spot or blemish-the

most perfect of their respective kinds, and be wholly consumed by

fire. The RICH were to bring the most costly; the POOR, those of

least price. Even in this requisition of justice how much

mercy was mingled! If a man could not bring a bullock or a

heifer, a goat or a sheep, let him bring a calf, a kid,

or a lamb. If he could not bring any of these because of his

poverty, let him bring a turtle-dove, or a young pigeon,

(see Le 5:7;) and it appears that in cases of extreme poverty,

even a little meal or fine flour was accepted by the bountiful

Lord as a sufficient oblation; see Le 5:11. This brought

down the benefits of the sacrificial service within the reach of

the poorest of the poor; as we may take for granted that every

person, however low in his circumstances, might be able to

provide the tenth part of an ephah, about three quarts of meal,

to make an offering for his soul unto the Lord. But every man

must bring something; the law stooped to the lowest

circumstances of the poorest of the people, but every man must

sacrifice, because every man had sinned. Reader, what sort of a

sacrifice dost thou bring to God? To Him thou owest thy whole

body, soul, and substance; are all these consecrated to his

service? Or has he the refuse of thy time, and the offal of thy

estate? God requires thee to sacrifice as his providence has

blessed thee. If thou have much, thou shouldst give liberally to

God and the poor; If thou have but little, do thy diligence to

give of that little. God's justice requires a measure of that

which his mercy has bestowed. But remember that as thou hast

sinned, thou needest a Saviour. Jesus is that lamb without spot

which has been offered to God for the sin of the world, and which

thou must offer to him for thy sin; and it is only through Him

that thou canst be accepted, even when thou dedicatest thy whole

body, soul, and substance to thy Maker. Even when we present

ourselves a living sacrifice to God, we are accepted for his sake

who carried our sins, and bore our sorrows. Thanks be to God,

the rich and the poor have equal access unto him through the Son

of his love, and equal right to claim the benefits of the great

sacrifice!

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