Leviticus 6

CHAPTER VI

Laws relative to detention of property intrusted to the care

of another, to robbery, and deceit, 1, 2;

finding of goods lost, keeping them from their owner, and

swearing falsely, 3.

Such a person shall not only restore what he has thus

unlawfully gotten, but shall add a fifth part of the value of

the property besides, 4, 5;

and bring a ram without blemish, for a trespass-offering to

the Lord, 6, 7.

Laws relative to the burnt-offering and the perpetual fire,

8-13.

Law of the meat-offering, and who may lawfully eat of it,

14-18.

Laws relative to the offerings of Aaron and his sons and their

successors, on the day of their anointing, 19-23.

Laws relative to the sin-offering, and those who might eat of

it, 24-30.

NOTES ON CHAP. VI

Verse 2. Lie unto his neighbour, &c.] This must refer to a

case in which a person delivered his property to his neighbour to

be preserved for him, and took no witness to attest the delivery

of the goods; such a person therefore might deny that he had ever

received such goods, for he who had deposited them with him could

bring no proof of the delivery. On the other hand, a man might

accuse his neighbour of detaining property which had never been

confided to him, or, after having been confided, had been

restored again; hence the law here is very cautious on these

points: and because in many cases it was impossible to come at

the whole truth without a direct revelation from God, which

should in no common case be expected, the penalties are very

moderate; for in such cases, even when guilt was discovered, the

man might not be so criminal as appearances might intimate. See

the law concerning this laid down and explained, See "Ex 22:7", &c.

Verse 3. Have found that which was lost] The Roman lawyers

laid it down as a sound maxim of jurisprudence, "that he who

found any property and applied it to his own use, should be

considered as a thief whether he knew the owner or not; for in

their view the crime was not lessened, supposing the finder was

totally ignorant of the right owner." Qui alienum quid jacens

lucri faciendi causa sustulit, furti obstringitur, sive scit,

cujus sit, sive ignoravit; nihil enim ad furtum minuendum, facit,

quod, cujus sit, ignoret.-DIGESTOR, lib. xlvii., TIT. ii., de

furtis, Leg. xliii., sec. 4. On this subject every honest man

must say, that the man who finds any lost property, and does not

make all due inquiry to find out the owner, should, in sound

policy, be treated as a thief. It is said of the Dyrbaeans, a

people who inhabited the tract between Bactria and India, that if

they met with any lost property, even on the public road, they

never even touched it. This was actually the case in this

kingdom in the time of Alfred the Great, about A. D. 888; so that

golden bracelets hung up on the public roads were untouched by

the finger of rapine. One of Solon's laws was, Take not up what

you laid not down. How easy to act by this principle in case of

finding lost property: "This is not mine, and it would be

criminal to convert it to my use unless the owner be dead and his

family extinct." When all due inquiry is made, if no owner can

be found, the lost property may be legally considered to be the

property of the finder.

Verse 5. All that about which he hath sworn falsely] This

supposes the case of a man who, being convicted by his own

conscience, comes forward and confesses his sin.

Restore it in the principal] The property itself if still

remaining, or the full value of it, to which a fifth part more

was to be added.

Verse 6. With thy estimation]

See Clarke on Le 5:15.

Verse 8. And the Lord spake unto Moses] At this verse the

Jews begin the 25th section of the law; and here, undoubtedly,

the 6th chapter should commence, as the writer enters upon a new

subject, and the preceding verses belong to the fifth chapter.

The best edited Hebrew Bibles begin the 6th chapter at this

verse.

Verse 9. This is the law of the burnt-offering] This law

properly refers to that burnt-offering which was daily made in

what was termed the morning and evening sacrifice; and as he had

explained the nature of this burnt-offering in general, with its

necessary ceremonies, as far as the persons who brought them were

concerned, he now takes up the same in relation to the priests

who were to receive them from the hands of the offerer, and

present them to the Lord on the altar of burnt-offerings.

Because of the burning upon the altar all night] If the

burnt-offering were put all upon the fire at once, it could not

be burning all night. We may therefore reasonably conclude that

the priests sat up by turns the whole night, and fed the fire

with portions of this offering till the whole was consumed, which

they would take care to lengthen out till the time of the morning

sacrifice. The same we may suppose was done with the morning

sacrifice; it was also consumed by piecemeal through the whole

day, till the time of offering the evening sacrifice. Thus there

was a continual offering by fire unto the Lord; and hence in

Le 6:13 it is said:

The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar, it shall never go

out. If at any time any extraordinary offerings were to be made,

the daily sacrifice was consumed more speedily, in order to make

room for such extra offerings. See more on this subject in

Clarke's note on "Le 6:23".

The Hebrew doctors teach that no sacrifice was ever offered in

the morning before the morning sacrifice; and none, the passover

excepted, ever offered in the evening after the evening

sacrifice; for all sacrifices were made by day-light. The fat

seems to have been chiefly burned in the night season, for the

greater light and conveniency of keeping the fire alive, which

could not be so easily done in the night as in the day time.

Verse 11. And put on other garments] The priests approached

the altar in their holiest garments; when carrying the ashes,

&c., from the altar, they put on other garments, the holy

garments being only used in the holy place.

Clean place.] A place where no dead carcasses, dung, or filth

of any kind was laid; for the ashes were holy, as being the

remains of the offerings made by fire unto the Lord.

Verse 13. The fire shall ever be burning] See on Le 6:9 and

Le 6:20. In imitation of this perpetual fire, the ancient

Persian Magi, and their descendants the Parsees, kept up a

perpetual fire; the latter continue it to the present day. This

is strictly enjoined in the Zend Avesta, which is a code of laws

as sacred among them as the Pentateuch is among the Jews. A

Sagnika Brahmin preserves the fire that was kindled at his

investiture with the poita, and never suffers it to go out, using

the same fire at his wedding and in all his burnt-offerings, till

at length his body is burnt with it.-WARD's Customs.

Verse 14. The meat-offering]

See Clarke on Le 2:1, &c.

Verse 15. His handful of the flour] An omer of flour, which

was the tenth part of an ephah, and equal to about three quarts

of our measure, was the least quantity that could be offered even

by the poorest sort, and this was generally accompanied with a

log of oil, which was a little more than half a pint. This

quantity both of flour and oil might be increased at pleasure,

but no less could be offered.

Verse 20. In the day when he is anointed] Not only in that

day, but from that day forward, for this was to them and their

successors a statute for ever. See Le 6:22.

Verse 23. For every meat-offering for the priest shall be

wholly burnt] Whatever the priest offered was wholly the Lord's,

and therefore must be entirely consumed: the sacrifices of the

common people were offered to the Lord, but the priests partook

of them; and thus they who ministered at the altar were fed by

the altar. Had the priests been permitted to live on their own

offerings as they did on those of the people, it would have been

as if they had offered nothing, as they would have taken again to

themselves what they appeared to give unto the Lord. Theodoret

says that this marked "the high perfection which God required in

the ministers of his sanctuary," as his not eating of his own

sin-offering supposes him to stand free from all sin; but a

better reason is given by Mr. Ainsworth: "The people's

meat-offering was eaten by the priests that made atonement for

them, Le 6:15, 16, Le 7:7; but because no priest, being a

sinner, could make atonement for himself, therefore his

meat-offering might not be eaten, but all burnt on the altar, to

teach him to expect salvation, not by his legal service or works,

but by Christ; for the eating of the sin-offering figured the

bearing of the sinner's iniquity;" Le 10:17.

Verse 25. In the place where the burnt-offering is killed,

&c.] The place here referred to was the north side of the altar.

See Le 1:11.

Verse 26. The priest-shall eat it] From the

expostulation of Moses with Aaron, Le 10:17, we learn that

the priest, by eating the sin-offering of the people, was

considered as bearing their sin, and typically removing it from

them: and besides, this was a part of their maintenance, or what

the Scripture calls their inheritance; see Eze 44:27-30. This

was afterwards greatly abused; for improper persons endeavoured

to get into the priest's office merely that they might get a

secular provision, which is a horrible profanity in the sight of

God. See 1Sa 2:36; Jer 23:12; Eze 34:2-4; and Ho 4:8.

Verse 27. Whatsoever shall touch the flesh thereof shall be

holy] The following note of Mr. Ainsworth is not less judicious

than it is pious:-

"All this rite was peculiar to the sin-offering, (whether it

were that which was to be eaten, or that which was to be burnt,)

above all the other most holy things. As the sin-offering in

special sort figured Christ, who was made sin for us, (2Co 5:21,)

so this ordinance for all that touched the flesh of the

sin-offering to be holy, the garments sprinkled with the blood to

be washed, the vessels wherein the flesh was boiled to be broken,

or scoured and rinsed-taught a holy use of this mystery of our

redemption, whereof they that are made partakers ought to be

washed, cleansed, and sanctified by the Spirit of God; that we

possess our vessels in holiness and honour, and yield not our

members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin," 1Th 4:4;

Ro 6:13.

Verse 28. The earthen vessel-shall be broken] Calmet states

that this should be considered as implying the vessels brought by

individuals to the court of the temple or tabernacle, and not of

the vessels that belonged to the priests for the ordinary

service. That the people dressed their sacrifices sometimes in

the court of the tabernacle, he gathers from 1Sa 2:13,14, to

which the reader is desired to refer.

In addition to what has been already said on the different

subjects in this chapter, it may be necessary to notice a few more

particulars. The perpetual meat-offering, minchah

tamid, Le 6:20,

the perpetual fire, esh tamid, Le 6:13, and the

perpetual burnt-offering, olath tamid, Ex 29:42,

translated by the Septuagint θυσιαδιαπαντοςπυοδιαπαντος, and

ολοκαυτωμις and ολοκαυτωμαδιαπαντοσ, all cast much light on

Heb 7:25,

where it is said, Christ is able to save them to the uttermost

(ειστοπαντελες, perpetually, to all intents and purposes) that

come unto God by him; seeing he ever liveth (παντοτεζων, he is

perpetually living) to make intercession for them; in which words

there is a manifest allusion to the perpetual minchah, the

perpetual fire, and the perpetual burnt-offering, mentioned here

by Moses. As the minchah, or gratitude-offering should be

perpetual, so our gratitude for the innumerable mercies of God

should be perpetual. As the burnt-offering must be perpetual, so

should the sacrifice of our blessed Lord be considered as a

perpetual offering, that all men, in all ages, should come unto

God through him who is ever living, in his sacrificial character,

to make intercession for men; and who is therefore represented

even in the heavens as the Lamb just slain, standing before the

throne, Re 5:6; Heb 10:19-22. And as the fire on the altar

must be perpetual, so should the influences of the Holy Spirit in

every member of the Church, and the flame of pure devotion in the

hearts of believers, be ever energetic and permanent. A

continual sacrifice for continual successive generations of

sinners was essentially necessary. Continual influences of the

Holy Spirit on the souls of men were essentially necessary to

apply and render effectual this atonement, to the salvation of

the soul. And incessant gratitude for the ineffable love of God,

manifested by his unspeakable gift, is surely required of all

those who have tasted that the Lord is gracious. Reader, dost

thou feel thy obligations to thy Maker? Does the perpetual fire

burn on the altar of thy heart? Art thou ever looking unto

Jesus, and beholding, by faith, the Lamb of God which taketh away

the sin of the world? And dost thou feel the influences of his

Spirit, at all times witnessing with thy spirit that thou art his

child, and exciting thee to acts of gratitude and obedience? If

not, of what benefit has the religion of Christ been to thee to

the present day? Of a contrary state to that referred to above,

it may be well said, This is not the way to heaven, for the way

of life is above to the wise, that they may depart from the

snares of death beneath. Arise, therefore, and shake thyself

from the dust; and earnestly call upon the Lord thy God, that he

may save thy soul, and that thou fall not into the bitter pains

of an eternal death.

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