And he shall kill the bullock before the Lord
That is, the man that brings the burnt offering, for no other is yet spoken of; and according to the traditions of the elders F8, killing of the sacrifice was right when done by strangers, by women, and by servants, and by unclean persons, even in the most holy things so be it that the unclean did not touch the flesh; and it is observed F9, that the service of the priest begins in the next clause, killing being lawful by him that was not a priest, according to the Targum of Jonathan, the butcher; but Aben Ezra interprets it of the priests, and certain it is, that the burnt offerings of the fowls were killed by the priests, ( Leviticus 1:15 ) and the Septuagint version renders it, "and they shall kill": but be this as it will, the burnt offering was to be killed in the court before the Lord; and this was typical of the death of Christ, who, according to these types, as well as to other prophecies, was to die for the sins of men, and accordingly did; and if this was the proprietor and not the priest that killed the sacrifice, it may denote that the sins of God's people, for whom Christ's sacrifice was offered up, were the cause of his death:
and the priests, Aaron's sons, shall bring the blood:
in vessels or basins, as the Targum of Jonathan adds, into which they received it when slain:
and sprinkle the blood round about upon the altar that is by the
door of the tabernacle of the congregation;
which was the altar of burnt offering, and not the altar of incense, as appears by the situation of it, see ( Exodus 40:5 Exodus 40:6 ) and the blood was sprinkled all around the altar with two sprinklings: the rule in the Misnah is F11; the slaying of the burnt offering is in the north, and the reception of its blood into the ministering vessels is in the north, and its blood ought to have two sprinklings, which answer to four; which Maimonides
F12 explains thus; because it is said "round about", it must needs be that the sprinklings should comprehend the four sides of the altar; and this is done when the two sprinklings are upon the two horns, which are diametrically opposite; and this is what is meant, "which are four"; the sense is, that those two should include the four sides, and the two opposite horns were the northeast and the southwest, as he and other Jewish writers observe F13, and which he expresses more clearly elsewhere F14: when the priest took the blood in the basin, he sprinkled out of it in the basin, two sprinklings upon the two corners of the altar opposite from it; and he ordered it so to sprinkle the blood upon the horn, that the blood might surround the corners in the form of the Greek letter "gamma" F15; so that the blood of the two sprinklings might be found upon the four sides of the altar; because it is said of the burnt offerings, and of the peace offerings "round about"; and this is the law for the trespass offering, and the rest of the blood was poured out at the bottom southward: now this was always done by a priest, for though the bullock might be killed by a stranger, as Gersom on the place observes, yet its blood must be sprinkled by a priest; and it is the note of Aben Ezra, that this might be done by many, and therefore it is said, the "priests, Aaron's sons", when the slaying of it was only by one. The "altar" on which the blood was sprinkled typified the divinity of Christ, which gave virtue to his blood, whereby it made atonement for sin; and in allusion to this rite Christ's blood is called "the blood of sprinkling", ( 1 Peter 1:2 ) ( Hebrews 12:24 ) which being sprinkled on the heart by the Spirit of God clears it from an evil conscience, and purges the conscience from dead works, and speaks peace and pardon there, ( Hebrews 10:22 ) ( 9:14 ) .
F8 Misn. Zebachim, c. 3. sect. 1. & Maimon. in ib. T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 27. 1. & Zebachim, fol. 32. 1. & Menachot, fol. 19. 1.
F9 Bartenora in Misn. Zebachim, ib.
F11 Misn. Zebachim, c. 5. sect. 4.
F12 Perush in ib.
F13 Jarchi, Bartenora, & Yom Tob, in ib.
F14 Hilchot Korbanot, c. 5. sect. 6.
F15 Vid. T. Bab. Zebachim, fol. 53. 2.