Command the children of Israel, and say unto them
For what follows concerned them all; namely, the offering of their daily, weekly, monthly, and anniversary sacrifices, which were not for private persons, but for the whole congregation; and these might be considered by them not merely as commands and duties to be observed, but as tokens of the divine favour to them, that notwithstanding all their rebellions and provocations in the wilderness, sacrifices for sin were ordered, continued, and accepted of by the Lord; and his acceptance of them, and well pleasedness in them, may easily be observed in the expressions used concerning them:
my offering, and my bread;
by "offering" may be meant in general all sacrifices which were offered to the Lord, and by his command; and more especially the burnt offering, which was wholly and peculiarly his, and is after explained by sacrifices made by fire, and it is chiefly of burnt offerings this chapter treats; and by "bread" may be meant either the shewbread, which was set upon a table before the Lord continually, as his bread; so the Targum of Jonathan,
``my oblation, the bread of the order of my table, shall the priests eat, but what ye offer on the altar no man has power to eat;''or else the meat offering, or rather, as it may be called, the bread offering, which always went along with burnt offerings; though the copulative "and", which is not in the text, may be omitted, and both may signify the same, "my offering", that is, "my bread"; for the sacrifices were the food of God, the provisions of his house, of which there were all sorts in the sacrifices, flesh, bread, and wine; particularly the daily sacrifice was his food every day, and the fat of sacrifices burnt is called the food of the offering made by fire, ( Leviticus 3:16 ) , so Jarchi interprets it, "my offering", this is the blood; "my bread", the "amurim", or fat that covereth the inward parts, which were burnt on the altar:
for my sacrifices made by fire for a sweet savour unto me;
which respects burnt offerings, wholly consumed by fire, and were entirely the Lord's, and which he smelled a sweet savour in, or were acceptable to him: these the children of Israel were
to observe to offer unto him in their due season;
the daily sacrifice, morning and evening; not before morning, nor after evening, as Aben Ezra observes; and so all the rest at the proper time fixed, whether weekly, monthly, or yearly. The Jews, from this phrase, "observe to offer unto me", conclude the necessity of fixing stations, or stationary men, as Jarchi notes; so the tradition is,
``these are the stations, as it is said, "command the children of Israel" but how can the offering of a man be offered, and he not stand by it? wherefore the former prophets appointed twenty four courses, and to every course there was a station at Jerusalem of priests, Levites, and Israelites; and when the time of each course came to go up, the priests and Levites went up to Jerusalem, and the Israelites who belonged to that course went into their cities, and read the history of the creation F4:''now these stations, or stationary men, were substitutes for, or representatives of all Israel, and stood by the sacrifices when they were offered, in which all Israel were concerned, as particularly in the daily sacrifice, which is here first taken notice of.
F4 Taanith, c. 4. sect. 2.