And he shall flay the burnt offering
Take off its skin; this was the only part of it that was not burnt, and was the property of the priest, ( 7:8 ) but who this was done by is not so manifest, since it is in the singular number "he", and seems to be the bringer of the offering; for Aaron's sons, the priests that sprinkled the blood, are spoken of plurally; and agreeably, Gersom observes, that the flaying of the burnt offering and cutting it in pieces were lawful to be done by a stranger; but Aben Ezra interprets "he" of the priest; and the Septuagint and Samaritan versions read in the plural number, "they shall flay" and this was the work of the priests, and who were sometimes helped in it by their brethren, the Levites, ( 2 Chronicles 29:34 ) and as this follows upon the sprinkling of the blood, it was never done till that was; the rule is, they do not flay them (the sacrifices) until the blood is sprinkled, except the sin offerings, which are burnt, for they do not flay them at all F16. The flaying of the burnt offering may denote the very great sufferings of Christ, when he was stripped of his clothes, and his back was given to the smiters, and his cheeks to them that plucked off the hair; and the skin of the sacrifice, which belonged to the priest, may be an emblem of the righteousness of Christ, and which also was signified by the coats of skins the Lord God made for Adam and Eve, ( Genesis 3:21 ) that robe of righteousness, and garments of salvation, which all that are made kings and priests to God are clothed with:
and cut it into his pieces;
which was done while he was flaying it, and after this manner, as Maimonides relates F17, he flays until he comes to the breast, and then he cuts off the head, then its legs, and finishes the flaying; then he rends the heart, and brings out its blood; then he cuts off the hands, and goes to the right foot, and cuts off that, and after that he cuts down the beast until its bowels are discovered; he takes the knife and separates the lights from the liver, and the caul of the liver from the liver, and does not remove the liver out of its place; and he goes up to the right side, and cuts and descends to the backbone, and he does not go to the backbone until he comes to the two tender ribs; he comes to the neck, and leaves in it two ribs here and two ribs there; he cuts it and comes to the left side, and leaves in it two tender ribs above and two tender ribs below; then he comes to the point of the backbone, he cuts it, and gives it and the tail, and the caul of the liver, and the two kidneys with it; he takes the left foot and gives it to another; and according to this order they flay and cut in pieces the burnt offering of the cattle; and these are the pieces spoken of in the law, ( Leviticus 1:6 ) some apply this to the ministers of the Gospel, rightly dividing the word of God, and to the effect the word has in dividing asunder soul and spirit; but it is best to apply it to Christ, either to the evidence given of him in the Gospel, in which he is clearly set forth in his person, natures, and offices, and in all the parts and branches thereof; where every thing is naked and open to view, as the creature was when thus cut up; or rather to his sufferings, which he endured in every part of his body, from head to foot.
F16 Hilchot Korbanot, c. 5. sect. 18.
F17 Ib. c. 6. sect. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. Vid. Misnah Tamid, c. 4. sect. 2, 3.