Leviticus 1

Listen to Leviticus 1
1 And the LORD called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man of you bring an offering unto the LORD, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock.
3 If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD.
4 And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him.
5 And he shall kill the bullock* before the LORD: and the priests, Aaron's sons, shall bring the blood, and sprinkle the blood round about upon the altar that is by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
6 And he shall flay the burnt offering, and cut it into his pieces.
7 And the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire upon the altar, and lay the wood in order upon the fire:
8 And the priests, Aaron's sons, shall lay the parts, the head, and the fat, in order upon the wood that is on the fire which is upon the altar:
9 But his inwards and his legs shall he wash in water: and the priest shall burn all on the altar, to be a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.
10 And if his offering be of the flocks, namely, of the sheep, or of the goats, for a burnt sacrifice; he shall bring it a male without blemish.
11 And he shall kill it on the side of the altar northward before the LORD: and the priests, Aaron's sons, shall sprinkle his blood round about upon the altar.
12 And he shall cut it into his pieces, with his head and his fat: and the priest shall lay them in order on the wood that is on the fire which is upon the altar:
13 But he shall wash the inwards and the legs with water: and the priest shall bring it all, and burn it upon the altar: it is a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.
14 And if the burnt sacrifice for his offering to the LORD be of fowls, then he shall bring his offering of turtledoves, or of young pigeons.
15 And the priest shall bring it unto the altar, and wring off his head, and burn it on the altar; and the blood thereof shall be wrung out at the side of the altar:
16 And he shall pluck away his crop with his feathers,[a] and cast it beside the altar on the east part, by the place of the ashes:
17 And he shall cleave it with the wings thereof, but shall not divide it asunder: and the priest shall burn it upon the altar, upon the wood that is upon the fire: it is a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.

Leviticus 1 Commentary

Chapter 1

God ordained divers kinds of oblations and sacrifices, to assure his people of the forgiveness of their offences, if they offered them in true faith and obedience. Also he appointed the priests and Levites, their apparel, offices, conduct, and portion. He showed what feasts they should observe, and at what times. He declared by these sacrifices and ceremonies, that the reward of sin is death, and that without the blood of Christ, the innocent Lamb of God, there can be no forgiveness of sins.

The offerings. (1,2) From the herds. (3-9) From the flocks, and of fowls. (10-17)

Verses 1-2 The offering of sacrifices was an ordinance of true religion, from the fall of man unto the coming of Christ. But till the Israelites were in the wilderness, no very particular regulations seem to have been appointed. The general design of these laws is plain. The sacrifices typified Christ; they also shadowed out the believer's duty, character, privilege, and communion with God. There is scarcely any thing spoken of the Lord Jesus in Scripture which has not also a reference to his people. This book begins with the laws concerning sacrifices; the most ancient were the burnt-offerings, about which God here gives Moses directions. It is taken for granted that the people would be willing to bring offerings to the Lord. The very light of nature directs man, some way or other, to do honour to his Maker, as his Lord. Immediately after the fall, sacrifices were ordained.

Verses 3-9 In the due performance of the Levitical ordinances, the mysteries of the spiritual world are represented by corresponding natural objects; and future events are exhibited in these rites. Without this, the whole will seem unmeaning ceremonies. There is in these things a type of the sufferings of the Son of God, who was to be a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world? The burning body of an animal was but a faint representation of that everlasting misery, which we all have deserved; and which our blessed Lord bore in his body and in his soul, when he died under the load of our iniquities. Observe, 1. The beast to be offered must be without blemish. This signified the strength and purity that were in Christ, and the holy life that should be in his people. 2. The owner must offer it of his own free will. What is done in religion, so as to please God, must be done by love. Christ willingly offered himself for us. 3. It must be offered at the door of the tabernacle, where the brazen altar of burnt-offerings stood, which sanctified the gift: he must offer it at the door, as one unworthy to enter, and acknowledging that a sinner can have no communion with God, but by sacrifice. 4. The offerer must put his hand upon the head of his offering, signifying thereby, his desire and hope that it might be accepted from him, to make atonement for him. 5. The sacrifice was to be killed before the Lord, in an orderly manner, and to honour God. It signified also, that in Christians the flesh must be crucified with its corrupt affections and lust. 6. The priests were to sprinkle the blood upon the altar; for the blood being the life, that was it which made atonement. This signified the pacifying and purifying of our consciences, by the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ upon them by faith. 7. The beast was to be divided into several pieces, and then to be burned upon the altar. The burning of the sacrifice signified the sharp sufferings of Christ, and the devout affections with which, as a holy fire, Christians must offer up themselves, their whole spirit, soul, and body, unto God. 8. This is said to be an offering of a sweet savour. As an act of obedience to a Divine command, and a type of Christ, this was well-pleasing to God; and the spiritual sacrifices of Christians ( 1 Peter. 2:5 )

Verses 10-17 Those who could not offer a bullock, were to bring a sheep or a goat; and those who were not able to do that, were accepted of God, if they brought a turtle-dove, or a pigeon. Those creatures were chosen for sacrifice which were mild, and gentle, and harmless; to show the innocence and meekness that were in Christ, and that should be in Christians. The offering of the poor was as typical of Christ's atonement as the more costly sacrifices, and expressed as fully repentance, faith, and devotedness to God. We have no excuse, if we refuse the pleasant and reasonable service now required. But we can no more offer the sacrifice of a broken heart, or of praise and thanksgiving, than an Israelite could offer a bullock or a goat, except as God hath first given to us. The more we do in the Lord's service, the greater are our obligations to him, for the will, for the ability, and opportunity. In many things God leaves us to fix what shall be spent in his service, whether of our time or our substance; yet where God's providence has put much into a man's power, scanty offerings will not be accepted, for they are not proper expressions of a willing mind. Let us be devoted in body and soul to his service, whatever he may call us to give, venture, do, or suffer for his sake.

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. his feathers: or, the filth thereof

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO LEVITICUS

This book is commonly called by the Jews Vajikra, from the first word with which it begins, and sometimes Mynhk trwt, "the law of the priests" {a}; and this is its name in the Syriac and Arabic versions: by the Septuagint interpreters it is called leuitikon, and by the Latins, Leviticus, or the Levitical book, because it gives an account of the Levitical priesthood, as the apostle calls it, Heb 7:11. It treats of the sacrifices under the Levitical dispensation, and of the priests concerned in them, and of the times and seasons in which they were offered, and of many other rites and ceremonies. That it was wrote by Moses is not only generally believed by the Jews, but is affirmed in the New Testament; see Mt 8:4, Joh 8:5 compared with Le 14:2, 20:10 from whence, as well as from other citations out of it in other places, the authority of it may be concluded. The matter of it was delivered to Moses, and very likely by him then written upon the erection of the tabernacle, which was in the second year of the Israelites coming out of Egypt, in the first month, and the first day of the month, Ex 40:17 and it was on the same day that the Lord spake to Moses out of it, and delivered to him the laws concerning sacrifices, recorded in the first seven chapters; see Nu 1:1 compared with Le 1:1 and on the eighth day of the same month, and some following days, the remainder of it was given to him, and written by him, see \Le 8:1 12:1 16:1\ to which agrees the Targum of Jonathan on Le 1:1.

``when Moses had made an end of erecting the tabernacle, Moses thought and reasoned in his heart, and said, Mount Sinai, its excellency was the excellency of an hour, and its holiness the holiness of three days, it was not possible for me to ascend unto it, until the time that the Word was speaking with me; but this tabernacle of the congregation, its excellency is an excellency for ever, and its holiness an holiness for ever, it is fit that I should not enter into it, until the time that be speaks with me from before the Lord; and therefore the Word of the Lord called to Moses, and the Word of the Lord spake with him out of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying;''

and to the same purpose the Jerusalem Targum. It was written in the year from the creation of the world 2514, and about 1490 years before the coming of Christ. The various sacrifices, rites, and ceremonies made mention of in it, were typical of Christ, and shadows of good things to come by him: there are many things in it, which give great light to several passages in the New Testament, and it is worthy of diligent reading and consideration.

{a} T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 103. 2.

\\INTRODUCTION TO LEVITICUS 1\\

This chapter contains certain laws and rules concerning sacrifices, particularly burnt offerings, which were delivered by the Lord to Moses, Le 1:1,2 what those offerings should be of, Le 1:3,10,14 what rules should be observed, what actions should be done, first by the persons that brought them, Le 1:3,4 and then by the priest that offered them, with respect to the burnt offering of the herd, Le 1:5-9 and to the burnt offering of the sheep and goats, Le 1:11-13 and to the burnt offering of fowls, Le 1:15-17 all which, when offered aright, were of a sweet savour to the Lord, Le 1:9,13,17.

Leviticus 1 Commentaries