Leviticus 3

CHAPTER III

The law of the peace-offering in general, 1-5.

That of the peace-offering taken from the flock, 6-11;

and the same when the offering is a goat, 12-17.

NOTES ON CHAP. III

Verse 1. Peace-offering] shelamim, an offering to

make peace between God and man;

See Clarke on Le 7:38,

and Ge 14:18.

Verse 2. Lay his hand upon the head of his offering] See this

rite explained, See Clarke on Ex 29:10, and "Le 1:4".

"As the burnt-offering, (chap. i.,)" says Mr. Ainsworth, "figured

our reconciliation to God by the death of Christ, and the

meat-offering, (chap. ii.,) our sanctification in him before

God, so this peace-offering signified both Christ's oblation of

himself whereby he became our peace and salvation, (Eph 2:14-16;

Ac 13:47; Heb 5:9; Heb 9:28,) and our oblation of praise,

thanksgiving, and prayer unto God."

Verse 3. The fat that covereth the inwards] The omentum, caul

or web, as some term it. The fat that is upon the inwards;

probably the mesentery or fatty part of the substance which

connects the convolutions of the alimentary canal or small

intestines.

Verse 5. Aaron's sons shall burn it] As the fat was deemed

the most valuable part of the animal, it was offered in

preference to all other parts; and the heathens probably borrowed

this custom from the Jews, for they burnt the omentum or caul in

honour of their gods.

Verse 9. The whole rump, it shall he take off hard by the

backbone] To what has already been said on the tails of the

eastern sheep, in the note on Ex 29:22, we may add the following

observation from Dr. Russel concerning the sheep at Aleppo.

"Their tails," says he, "are of a substance between fat and

marrow, and are not eaten separately, but mixed with the lean

meat in many of their dishes, and also often used instead of

butter." He states also that a common sheep of this kind,

without the head, fat, skin, and entrails, weighs from sixty to

seventy English pounds, of which the tail usually weighs fifteen

pounds and upwards; but that those of the largest breed, when

fattened will weigh one hundred and fifty pounds, and their tails

fifty, which corresponds with the account given by Ludolf in the

note referred to above. The sheep about Jerusalem are the same

with those in Abyssinia mentioned by Ludolf, and those of Syria

mentioned by Dr. Russel.

Verse 11. It is the food of the offering] We have already

remarked that God is frequently represented as feasting with his

people on the sacrifices they offered; and because these

sacrifices were consumed by that fire which was kindled from

heaven, therefore they were considered as the food of that fire,

or rather of the Divine Being who was represented by it. "In the

same idiom of speech," says Dodd, "the gods of the heathens are

said, De 32:38, to eat the fat and drink,,the wine which were

consumed on their altars.

Verse 12. A goat] Implying the whole species, he-goat,

she-goat, and kid, as we have already seen.

Verse 17. That ye eat neither fat nor blood.] It is not

likely that the fat should be forbidden in the same manner and in

the same latitude as the blood. The blood was the life of the

beast, and that was offered to make an atonement for their souls;

consequently, this was never eaten in all their generations: but

it was impossible to separate the fat from the flesh, which in

many parts is so intimately intermixed with the muscular fibres;

but the blood, being contained in separate vessels, the arteries

and veins, might with great ease be entirely removed by cutting

the throat of the animal, which was the Jewish method. By the

fat therefore mentioned here and in the preceding verse, we may

understand any fat that exists in a separate or unmixed state,

such as the omentum or caul, the fat of the mesentery, the fat on

the kidneys, and whatever else of the internal fat was easily

separable, together with the whole of the tail already described.

And probably it was the fat of such animals only as were offered

to God in sacrifice, that was unlawful to be eaten.

As all temporal as well as spiritual blessings come from God,

he has a right to require that such of them should be dedicated

to his service as he may think proper to demand. He required the

most perfect of all the animals, and the best parts of these

perfect animals. This he did, not that he needed any thing, but

to show the perfection of his nature and the purity of his

service. Had he condescended to receive the meanest animals and

the meanest parts of animals as his offerings, what opinion could

his worshippers have entertained of the perfection of his nature?

If such imperfect offerings were worthy of this God, then his

nature must be only worthy of such offerings. It is necessary

that every thing employed in the worship of God should be the

most perfect of its kind that the time and circumstances can

afford. As sensible things are generally the medium through

which spiritual impressions are made, and the impression usually

partakes of the nature of the medium through which these

impressions are communicated; hence every thing should not only

be decent, but as far as circumstances will admit dignified, in

the worship of God: the object of religious worship, the place in

which he is worshipped, and the worship itself, should have the

strongest and most impressive correspondence possible.

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