Leviticus 1

The Burnt Offering

1 The LORD called to Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting. He said,
2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When anyone among you brings an offering to the LORD, bring as your offering an animal from either the herd or the flock.
3 “ ‘If the offering is a burnt offering from the herd, you are to offer a male without defect. You must present it at the entrance to the tent of meeting so that it will be acceptable to the LORD.
4 You are to lay your hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on your behalf to make atonement for you.
5 You are to slaughter the young bull before the LORD, and then Aaron’s sons the priests shall bring the blood and splash it against the sides of the altar at the entrance to the tent of meeting.
6 You are to skin the burnt offering and cut it into pieces.
7 The sons of Aaron the priest are to put fire on the altar and arrange wood on the fire.
8 Then Aaron’s sons the priests shall arrange the pieces, including the head and the fat, on the wood that is burning on the altar.
9 You are to wash the internal organs and the legs with water, and the priest is to burn all of it on the altar. It is a burnt offering, a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the LORD.
10 “ ‘If the offering is a burnt offering from the flock, from either the sheep or the goats, you are to offer a male without defect.
11 You are to slaughter it at the north side of the altar before the LORD, and Aaron’s sons the priests shall splash its blood against the sides of the altar.
12 You are to cut it into pieces, and the priest shall arrange them, including the head and the fat, on the wood that is burning on the altar.
13 You are to wash the internal organs and the legs with water, and the priest is to bring all of them and burn them on the altar. It is a burnt offering, a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the LORD.
14 “ ‘If the offering to the LORD is a burnt offering of birds, you are to offer a dove or a young pigeon.
15 The priest shall bring it to the altar, wring off the head and burn it on the altar; its blood shall be drained out on the side of the altar.
16 He is to remove the crop and the feathers[a] and throw them down east of the altar where the ashes are.
17 He shall tear it open by the wings, not dividing it completely, and then the priest shall burn it on the wood that is burning on the altar. It is a burnt offering, a food offering, an aroma pleasing to 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.

Cross References 43

  • 1. S Exodus 3:4; S Exodus 25:22">Exodus 25:22; Exodus 19:3; Exodus 25:22">Exodus 25:22
  • 2. S Exodus 27:21; S Exodus 40:2; Numbers 7:89
  • 3. Leviticus 7:16,38; Leviticus 22:21; Leviticus 23:38; Leviticus 27:9
  • 4. Leviticus 22:18-19; Numbers 15:3
  • 5. S Genesis 8:20
  • 6. ver 10; Leviticus 22:27; Ezra 8:35; Malachi 1:8
  • 7. S ver 5; S Exodus 12:5; S Leviticus 22:19,20; Deuteronomy 15:21; Hebrews 9:14; 1 Peter 1:19
  • 8. Leviticus 6:25; Leviticus 17:9; Numbers 6:16; Dt 12:5-6,11
  • 9. Isaiah 58:5
  • 10. S Exodus 29:10,15; Leviticus 3:2
  • 11. ver 3; Leviticus 4:29; Leviticus 6:25; Ezekiel 45:15
  • 12. S Genesis 32:20
  • 13. S Exodus 29:36; S Exodus 32:30; 2 Chronicles 29:23-24
  • 14. Exodus 29:11; Leviticus 3:2,8
  • 15. S ver 3; Exodus 29:1; Numbers 15:8; Deuteronomy 18:3; Psalms 50:9; Psalms 69:31
  • 16. Leviticus 8:2; Leviticus 10:6; Leviticus 21:1
  • 17. S Exodus 29:20; Hebrews 12:24; 1 Peter 1:2
  • 18. Leviticus 7:8
  • 19. Exodus 29:17
  • 20. ver 17; S Genesis 22:9; Leviticus 3:5; Leviticus 6:12
  • 21. ver 12; S Exodus 29:13; Leviticus 8:20
  • 22. Leviticus 9:13
  • 23. S Exodus 29:17
  • 24. Leviticus 6:22
  • 25. ver 13; Exodus 29:18; Leviticus 9:14
  • 26. ver 3
  • 27. Lev 23:8,25,36; Numbers 28:6,19
  • 28. ver 13; Genesis 8:21; Leviticus 2:2; Leviticus 3:5,16; Leviticus 17:6; Numbers 18:17; Numbers 28:11-13; Numbers 15:8-10; Ephesians 5:2
  • 29. S Genesis 22:7
  • 30. S ver 3; Exodus 12:5; Leviticus 3:12; Leviticus 4:23,28; Leviticus 5:6; Numbers 15:11
  • 31. S Exodus 29:11
  • 32. S Exodus 29:20; ver 5
  • 33. S ver 8
  • 34. S Exodus 29:17
  • 35. Leviticus 6:22
  • 36. S ver 9
  • 37. Deuteronomy 12:27
  • 38. S Genesis 15:9; Leviticus 5:7; Luke 2:24
  • 39. Leviticus 5:8
  • 40. Leviticus 5:9
  • 41. Leviticus 4:12; Leviticus 6:10; Numbers 4:13
  • 42. S Genesis 15:10
  • 43. S ver 7; Leviticus 5:8

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Or "crop with its contents" ; the meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.

Chapter Summary


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.


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

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