Leviticus 2


The meat-offering of flour with oil and incense, 1-3.

The oblation of the meat-offering baked in the oven and in

the pan, 4-6.

The meat-offering baked in the frying-pan, 7-10.

No leaven nor honey to be offered with the meat-offering, 11.

The oblation of the first-fruits, 12.

Salt to be offered with the meat offering, 13.

Green ears dried by the fire, and corn to be beaten out of

full ears, with oil and frankincense, to be offered as a

meat-offering of first-fruits, 14-16.


Verse 1. Meat-offering] minchah. For an

explanation of this word See Clarke on Ge 4:3, and

Lev. vii. Calmet has remarked that there are five kinds of the

minchah mentioned in this chapter.

1. soleth, simple flour or meal, Le 2:1.

2. Cakes and wafers, or whatever was baked in the oven,

Le 2:4.

3. Cakes baked in the pan, Le 2:5.

4. Cakes baked on the frying-pan, or probably, a gridiron,

Le 2:7.

5. Green ears of corn parched, Le 2:14.

All these were offered without honey or leaven, but

accompanied with wine, oil, and frankincense. It is very likely

that the minchah, in some or all of the above forms, was the

earliest oblation offered to the Supreme Being, and probably was

in use before sin entered into the world, and consequently

before bloody sacrifices, or piacular victims, had been ordained.

The minchah of green ears of corn dried by the fire, &c., was

properly the gratitude-offering for a good seed time, and the

prospect of a plentiful harvest. This appears to have been the

offering brought by Cain, Ge 4:3;

See Clarke on Ge 4:3.

The flour, whether of wheat, rice, barley, rye, or any other

grain used for aliment, was in all likelihood equally proper;

for in Nu 5:15,

we find the flour of barley, or barley meal, is called minchah.

It is plain that in the institution of the minchah no animal was

here included, though in other places it seems to include both

kinds; but in general the minchah was not a bloody offering, nor

used by way of atonement or expiation, but merely in a

eucharistic way, expressing gratitude to God for the produce of

the soil. It is such an offering as what is called natural

religion might be reasonably expected to suggest: but alas! so

far lost is man, that even thankfulness to God for the fruits of

the earth must be taught by a Divine revelation; for in the

heart of man even the seeds of gratitude are not found, till

sown there by the hand of Divine grace.

Offerings of different kinds of grain, flour, bread, fruits,

&c., are the most ancient among the heathen nations; and even the

people of God have had them from the beginning of the world. See

this subject largely discussed on Ex 23:29, where several

examples are given. Ovid intimates that these

gratitude-offerings originated with agriculture. "In the most

ancient times men lived by rapine, hunting, &c., for the sword

was considered to be more honourable than the plough; but when

they sowed their fields, they dedicated the first-fruits of their

harvest to Ceres, to whom the ancients attributed the art of

agriculture, and to whom burnt-offerings of corn were made,

according to immemorial usages." The passage to which I refer,

and of which I have given the substance, is the following:-

"Non habuit tellus doctos antiqua colonos:

Lassabant agiles aspera bella viros.

Plus erat in gladio quam curvo laudis aratro:

Neglectus domino pauca ferebat ager.

Farra tamen veteres jaciebant, farra metebant:

Primitias Cereri farra resecta dabant.

Usibus admoniti flammis torrenda dedere:

Multaque peccato damna tulere suo."

FASTOR., lib. ii., ver. 515.

Pliny observes that "Numa taught the Romans to offer fruits to

the gods, and to make supplications before them, bringing salt

cakes and parched corn; as grain in this state was deemed most

wholesome." Numa instituit deos FRUGE colere, et MOLA SALSA

supplicare, atque (ut auctor est Hemina) far torrere, quoniam

tostum cibo salubrius esset.-HIST. NAT. lib xviii., c. 2. And it

is worthy of remark, that the ancient Romans considered "no grain

as pure or proper for divine service that had not been previously

parched." Id uno modo consecutum, statuendo non esse purum ad

rem divinam nisi tostum.-Ibid.

God, says Calmet, requires nothing here which was not in common

use for nourishment; but he commands that these things should be

offered with such articles as might give them the most exquisite

relish, such as salt, oil, and wine, and that the flour should be

of the finest and purest kind. The ancients, according to

Suidas, seem to have made much use or meal formed into a paste

with milk, and sometimes with water. (See Suidas in μαζα.) The

priests kept in the temples a certain mixture of flour mingled

with oil and wine, which they called υγιεια Hugieia or health,

and which they used as a kind of amulet or charm against

sickness; after they had finished their sacrifices, they

generally threw some flour upon the fire, mingled with oil and

wine, which they called θυληματα thulemata, and which,

according to Theophrastus, was the ordinary sacrifice of the


Verse 2. His handful of the flour] This was for a memorial,

to put God in mind of his covenant with their fathers, and to

recall to their mind his gracious conduct towards them and their

ancestors. Mr. Ainsworth properly remarks, "that there was

neither oil nor incense offered with the sin and jealousy

offerings; because they were no offerings of memorial, but such

as brought iniquities to remembrance, which were neither gracious

nor sweet-smelling before the Lord." Nu 5:15; Le 5:11.

In this case a handful only was burnt, the rest was reserved

for the priest's use; but all the frankincense was burnt, because

from it the priest could derive no advantage.

Verse 4. Baken in the oven] tannur, from

nar, to split, divide, says Mr. Parkhurst; and hence the oven,

because of its burning, dissolving, and melting heat.

Verse 5. Baken in a pan] machabath, supposed to be a

flat iron plate, placed over the fire; such as is called a

griddle in some countries.

Verse 7. The frying-pan] marchesheth, supposed to be

the same with that called by the Arabs a ta-jen, a shallow

earthen vessel like a frying-pan, used not only to fry in, but

for other purposes. On the different instruments, as well as the

manner of baking in the east, Mr. Harmer, in his observations on

select passages of Scripture, has collected the following curious


"Dr. Shaw informs us that in the cities and villages of

Barbary, there are public ovens, but that among the Bedouins, who

live in tents, and the Kabyles, who live in miserable hovels in

the mountains, their bread, made into thin cakes, is baked either

immediately upon the coals, or else in a ta-jen, which he tells

us is a shallow earthen vessel like a frying-pan: and then cites

the Septuagint to show that the supposed pan, mentioned Le 2:5,

was the same thing as a ta-jen. The ta-jen, according to

Dr. Russel, is exactly the same among the Bedouins as the ρηγανον, a

word of the same sound as well as meaning, was among the Greeks.

So the Septuagint, Le 2:5:

if thy oblation be a meat-offering, baken in a pan, (απο

τηγανου,) it shall be of fine flour unleavened, mingled with oil.

"This account given by the doctor is curious; but as it does

not give us all the eastern ways of baking, so neither does it

furnish us, I am afraid, with a complete comment on that variety

of methods of preparing the meat-offerings which is mentioned by

Moses in Le 2:1-16. So long ago as Queen Elizabeth's time,

Rauwolff observed that travellers frequently baked bread in the

deserts of Arabia on the ground, heated for that purpose by fire,

covering their cakes of bread with ashes and coals, and turning

them several times until they were baked enough; but that some of

the Arabians had in their tents, stones, or copper plates, made

on purpose for baking. Dr. Pococke very lately made a like

observation, speaking of iron hearths used for baking their


"Sir John Chardin, mentioning the several ways of baking their

bread in the east, describes these iron plates as small and

convex. These plates are most commonly used, he tells us, in

Persia, and among the wandering people that dwell in tents, as

being the easiest way of baking, and done with the least expense;

the bread being as thin as a skin, and soon prepared. Another way

(for he mentions four) is by baking on the hearth. That bread is

about an inch thick; they make no other all along the Black Sea

from the Palus Maeotis to the Caspian Sea, in Chaldea, and in

Mesopotamia, except in towns. This, he supposes, is owing to

their being woody countries. These people make a fire in the

middle of a room; when the bread is ready for baking they sweep a

corner of the hearth, lay the bread there, and cover it with hot

ashes and embers; in a quarter of an hour they turn it: this

bread is very good. The third way is that which is common among

us. The last way, and that which is common through all Asia, is

thus: they make an oven in the ground, four or five feet deep and

three in diameter, well plastered with mortar. When it is hot,

they place the bread (which is commonly long, and not thicker

than a finger) against the sides, and it is baked in a moment.

"D'Arvieux mentions another way used by the Arabs about Mount

Carmel, who sometimes bake in an oven, and at other time on the

hearth; but have a third method, which is, to make a fire in a

great stone pitcher and when it is heated, they mix meal and

water, as we do to make paste to glue things together, which they

apply with the hollow of their hands to the outside of the

pitcher, and this extremely soft paste spreading itself upon it

is baked in an instant. The heat of the pitcher having dried up

all the moisture, the bread comes off as thin as our wafers; and

the operation is so speedily performed that in a very little time

a sufficient quantity is made.

"Maimonides and the Septuagint differ in their explanation of

Le 2:5; for that Egyptian rabbi supposes this verse speaks of a

fiat plate, and these more ancient interpreters, of a ta-jen. But

they both seem to agree that these were two of the methods of

preparing the meat-offering; for Maimonides supposes the seventh

verse speaks of a frying-pan or ta-jen; whereas the Septuagint,

on the contrary, thought the word there meant a hearth, which

term takes in an iron or copper plate, though it extends farther.

"The meat-offerings of the fourth verse answer as well to the

Arab bread, baked by means of their stone pitchers, which are

used by them for the baking of wafers, as to their cakes of bread

mentioned by D'Arvieux, who, describing the way of baking among

the modern Arabs, after mentioning some of their methods, says

they bake their best sort of bread, either by heating an oven, or

a large pitcher, half full of certain little smooth shining

flints, upon which they lay the dough, spread out in form of a

thin broad cake. The mention of wafers seems to fix the meaning

of Moses to these oven pitchers, though perhaps it may be thought

an objection that this meat-offering is said to have been baked

in an oven; but it will be sufficient to observe that the Hebrew

words only signify a meat-offering of the oven, and consequently

may be understood as well of wafers baked on the outside of these

oven pitchers, as of cakes of bread baked in them. And if thou

bring an oblation, a baked thing, of the oven, it shall be an

unleavened cake of fine flour mingled with oil, or unleavened

wafers anointed with oil. Whoever then attends to these accounts

of the stone pitcher, the ta-jen, and the copper plate or iron

hearth, will enter into this second of Leviticus, I believe, much

more perfectly than any commentator has done, and will find in

these accounts what answers perfectly well to the description

Moses gives us of the different ways of preparing the

meat-offerings. A ta-jen indeed, according to Dr. Shaw, serves

for a frying-pan as well as for a baking vessel; for he says, the

bagreah of the people of Barbary differs not much from our

pancakes, only that, instead of rubbing the ta-jen or pan in

which they fry them with butter, they rub it with soap, to make

them like a honeycomb.

"Moses possibly intended a meat-offering of that kind might be

presented to the Lord; and our translators seem to prefer that

supposition, since, though the margin mentions the opinion of

Maimonides, the reading of the text in the sixth verse opposes a

pan for baking to a pan for frying in the seventeenth verse. The

thought, however, of Maimonides seems to be most just, as Moses

appears to be speaking of different kinds of bread only, not of

other farinaceous preparations.

"These oven pitchers mentioned by D'Arvieux, and used by the

modern Arabs for baking cakes of bread in them, and wafers on

their outsides, are not the only portable ovens of the east. St.

Jerome, in his commentary on La 5:10, describes an eastern oven

as a round vessel of brass, blackened on the outside by the

surrounding fire which heats it within. Such an oven I have seen

used in England. Which of these the Mishnah refers to when it

speaks of the women lending their ovens to one another, as well

as their mills and their sieves, I do not know; but the foregoing

observations may serve to remove a surprise that this

circumstance may otherwise occasion in the reader of the Mishnah.

Almost every body knows that little portable handmills are

extremely common in the Levant; movable ovens are not so well

known. Whether ovens of the kind which St. Jerome mentions be as

ancient as the days of Moses, does not appear, unless the ta-jen

be used after this manner; but the pitcher ovens of the Arabs

are, without doubt, of that remote antiquity.

"Travellers agree that the eastern bread is made in small thin

moist cakes, must be eaten new, and is good for nothing when kept

longer than a day. This, however, admits of exceptions. Dr.

Russel of late, and Rauwolff formerly, assure us that they have

several sorts of bread and cakes: some, Rauwolff tells us, done

with yolk of eggs; some mixed with several sorts of seed, as of

sesamum, Romish coriander, and wild garden saffron, which are

also stewed upon it; and he elsewhere supposes that they prepare

biscuits for travelling. Russel, who mentions this stewing of

seeds on their cakes says, they have a variety of rusks and

biscuits. To these authors let me add Pitts, who tells us the

biscuits they carry with them from Egypt will last them to Mecca

and back again.

"The Scriptures suppose their loaves of bread were very small,

three of them being requisite for the entertainment of a single

person, Lu 11:5. That they were generally eaten new, and baked

as they wanted them, as appears from the case of Abraham. That

sometimes, however, they were made so as to keep several days; so

the shew-bread was fit food, after lying before the Lord a week.

And that bread for travellers was wont to be made to keep some

time, as appears from the pretences of the Gibeonites, Jos 9:12,

and the preparations made for Jacob's journey into Egypt, Ge 45:23.

The bread or rusks for travelling is often made in the form of large

rings, and is moistened or soaked in water before it is used. In

like manner, too, they seem to have had there a variety of eatables

of this kind as the Aleppines now have. In particular, some made

like those on which seeds are strewed, as we may collect from that

part of the presents of Jeroboam's wife to the Prophet Ahijah,

which our translators have rendered cracknels, 1Ki 14:3.

Buxtorf indeed supposes the original word nikkuddim

signifies biscuits, called by this name, either because they were

formed into little buttons like some of our gingerbread, or

because they were pricked full of holes after a particular manner.

The last of these two conjectures, I imagine, was embraced by our

translators of this passage; for cracknels, if they are all over

England of the same form, are full of holes, being formed into a

kind of flourish of lattice-work. I have seen some of the

unleavened bread of the English Jews made in like manner in a net

form. Nevertheless I should think it more natural to understand

the word of biscuit spotted with seeds; for it is used elsewhere

to signify works of gold spotted with studs of silver; and, as it

should seem, bread spotted with mould, Jos 9:5-12; how much more

natural is it then to understand the word of cakes spotted with

seeds, which are so common in the east! Is not lebiboth,

in particular, the word that in general means rich cakes? a sort

of which Tamar used to prepare that was not common, and furnished

Amnon with a pretence for desiring her being sent to his house,

that she might make some of that kind for him in the time of his

indisposition, his fancy running upon them; see 2Sa 13:2-8.

Parkhurst supposes the original word to signify pancakes, and

translates the root labab to move or toss up and down: 'And

she took the dough, ( vattalosh,) and kneaded (

vattelabbeb, and tossed) it in his sight, vattebashshel,

and dressed the cakes.' In this passage, says Mr. Parkhurst, it

is to be observed that is distinguished from to knead,

and from to dress, which agrees with the interpretation here


"The account which Mr. Jackson gives of an Arab baking

apparatus, and the manner of kneading and tossing their cakes,

will at once, if I mistake not, fix the meaning of this passage,

and cast much light on Le 11:35. "I was much amused by

observing the dexterity of the Arab women in baking their bread.

They have a small place built with clay, between two and three

feet high, having a hole in the bottom for the convenience of

drawing out the ashes, somewhat similar to that of a lime-kiln.

The oven, which I think is the most proper name for this place,

is usually about fifteen inches wide at top, and gradually grows

wider to the bottom. It is heated with wood, and when

sufficiently hot, and perfectly clear from smoke, having nothing

but clear embers at the bottom, which continue to reflect great

heat, they prepare the dough in a large bowl, and mould the cakes

to the desired size on a board or stone placed near the oven.

After they have kneaded the cake to a proper consistence, they

pat it a little, then toss it about with great dexterity in one

hand till it is as thin as they choose to make it. They then wet

one side of it with water, at the same time wetting the hand and

arm with which they put it into the oven. The side of the cake

adheres fast to the side of the oven till it is sufficiently

baked, when, if not paid proper attention to, it would fall down

among the embers. If they were not exceedingly quick at this

work, the heat of the oven would burn their arms; but they

perform it with such amazing dexterity that one woman will

continue keeping three or four cakes in the oven at once, till

she has done baking. This mode, let me add, does not require

half the fuel that is made use of in Europe." See more in

HARMER'S Observat., vol. i., p. 414, &c., Edit. 1808.

Verse 8. Thou shalt bring the meat-offering] It is likely

that the person himself who offered the sacrifice brought it to

the priest, and then the priest presented it before the Lord.

Verse 11. No meat-offering-shall be made with leaven] See the

reason of this prohibition in the note on Ex 12:8.

See Clarke on Ex 12:8.

Nor any honey] Because it was apt to produce acidity, as some

think, when wrought up with flour paste; or rather because it was

apt to gripe and prove purgative. On this latter account the

College of Physicians have totally left it out of all medicinal

preparations. This effect which it has in most constitutions was

a sufficient reason why it should be prohibited here, as a

principal part of all these offerings was used by the priests as

a part of their ordinary diet; and these offerings, being those

of the poorer sort, were in greater abundance than most others.

On this account, the griping, and purgative quality of the honey

must render it extremely improper. As leaven was forbidden

because producing fermentation, it was considered a species of

corruption, and was therefore used to signify hypocrisy, malice,

&c., which corrupt the soul; it is possible that honey might have

had a moral reference, also, and have signified, as St. Jerome

thought, carnal pleasures and sensual gratifications. Some

suppose that the honey mentioned here was a sort of saccharine

matter extracted from dates. Leaven and honey might be offered

with the first-fruits, as we learn from the next verse; but they

were forbidden to be burnt on the altar,

Verse 13. With all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt.]

SALT was the opposite to leaven, for it preserved from

putrefaction and corruption, and signified the purity and

persevering fidelity that were necessary in the worship of God.

Every thing was seasoned with it, to signify the purity and

perfection that should be extended through every part of the

Divine service, and through the hearts and lives of God's

worshippers. It was called the salt of the covenant of God,

because as salt is incorruptible, so was the covenant made with

Abram, Isaac, Jacob, and the patriarchs, relative to the

redemption of the world by the incarnation and death of Jesus

Christ. Among the heathens salt was a common ingredient in all

their sacrificial offerings; and as it was considered essential

to the comfort and preservation of life, and an emblem of the

most perfect corporeal and mental endowments, so it was supposed

to be one of the most acceptable presents they could make unto

their gods, from whose sacrifices it was never absent. That

inimitable and invaluable writer, Pliny, has left a long chapter

on this subject, the seventh of the thirty-first book of his

Natural History, a few extracts from which will not displease the

intelligent reader. Ergo, hercule, vita humanior sine Sale

nequit degere: adeoque necessarium elementum est, ut transierit

intellectus ad voluptates animi quoque. Nam ita SALES

appellantur omnisque vitae lepos et summa hilaritas, laborumque

requies non alio magis vocabulo constat. Honoribus etiam

militiaeque inter ponitur, SALARIIS inde dictis--Maxime tamen in

sacris intelligitur auctoritas, quando nulla conficiuntur sine

mola salsa. "So essentially necessary is salt that without it

human life cannot be preserved: and even the pleasures and

endowments of the mind are expressed by it; the delights of life,

repose, and the highest mental serenity, are expressed by no

other term than sales among the Latins. It has also been applied

to designate the honourable rewards given to soldiers, which are

called salarii or salaries. But its importance may be farther

understood by its use in sacred things, as no sacrifice was

offered to the gods without the salt cake."

So Virgil, Eclog. viii., ver. 82: Sparge molam.

"Crumble the sacred mole of salt and corn."

And again, AEneid., lib. iv., ver. 517:-

Ipsa mola, manibitsque piis, altaria juxta.

"Now with the sacred cake, and lifted hands,,

All bent on death, before her altar stands."


In like manner Homer:-


Iliad, lib. ix., ver. 214.

"And taking sacred salt from the hearth side,

Where it was treasured, pour'd it o'er the feast."


Quotations of this kind might be easily multiplied, but the

above may be deemed sufficient.

Verse 14. Green ears of corn dried by the fire] Green or

half-ripe ears of wheat parched with fire is a species of food in

use among the poor people of Palestine and Egypt to the present

day. As God is represented as keeping a table among his people,

(for the tabernacle was his house, where he had the golden table,

shewbread, &c.,) so he represents himself as partaking with them

of all the aliments that were in use, and even sitting down with

the poor to a repast on parched corn! We have already seen that

these green ears were presented as a sort of eucharistical

offering for the blessings of seed time, and the prospect of a

plentiful harvest.

See Clarke on Le 2:1; several other examples might be

added here, but they are not necessary.

The command to offer salt with every oblation, and which was

punctually observed by the Jews, will afford the pious reader

some profitable reflections. It is well known that salt has two

grand properties. 1. It seasons and renders palatable the

principal ailments used for the support of life. 2. It prevents

putrefaction and decay. The covenant of God, that is, his

agreement with his people, is called a covenant of salt, to

denote as we have seen above, its stable undecaying nature, as

well as to point out its importance and utility in the

preservation of the life of the soul. The grace of God by Christ

Jesus is represented under the emblem of salt, (see Mr 9:49;

Eph 4:29; Col 4:6,) because of its relishing, nourishing, and

preserving quality. Without it no offering, no sacrifice, no

religious service, no work even of charity and mercy, can be

acceptable in the sight of God. In all things we must come unto

the Father THROUGH HIM. And from none of our sacrifices or

services must this salt of the covenant of our God be lacking.

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