Leviticus 1

The Law of Burnt Offerings

1 Then 1the LORD called to Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting, saying,
2 "Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, 'When any man of you brings an [a]2offering to the LORD, you shall bring your [b]offering of animals from 3the herd or the flock.
3 'If his offering is a 4burnt offering from the herd, he shall offer it, a male 5without defect; he shall offer it 6at the doorway of the tent of meeting, that he may be accepted before the LORD.
4 '7He shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, that it may be accepted for him to make 8atonement on his behalf.
5 '9He shall slay the [c]young bull before the LORD; and Aaron's sons the priests shall offer up 10the blood and 11sprinkle the blood around on the altar that is at the doorway of the tent of meeting.
6 '12He shall then skin the burnt offering and cut it into its pieces.
7 '13The sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire on the altar and arrange wood on the fire.
8 'Then Aaron's sons the priests shall arrange the pieces, the head and the 14suet over the wood which is on the fire that is on the altar.
9 'Its 15entrails, however, and its legs he shall wash with water. And 16the priest shall offer up in smoke all of it on the altar for a burnt offering, an offering by fire of 17a soothing aroma to the LORD.
10 'But if his offering is from the flock, of the sheep or of the goats, for a burnt offering, he shall offer it a 18male without defect.
11 '19He shall slay it on the side of the altar northward before the LORD, and Aaron's sons the priests shall sprinkle its blood around on the altar.
12 'He shall then cut it into its pieces with its head and its 20suet, and the priest shall arrange them on the wood which is on the fire that is on the altar.
13 'The entrails, however, and the legs he shall wash with water. And 21the priest shall offer all of it, and offer it up in smoke on the altar; it is a burnt offering, an offering by fire of a soothing aroma to the LORD.
14 'But if his offering to the LORD is a burnt offering of birds, then he shall bring his offering from the 22turtledoves or from young pigeons.
15 'The priest shall bring it to the altar, and wring off its head and offer it up in smoke on the altar; and its blood is to be drained out 23on the side of the altar.
16 'He shall also take away its crop with its feathers and cast it beside the altar eastward, to the place of the [d]24ashes.
17 'Then he shall tear it by its wings, but 25shall not sever it. And the priest shall offer it up in smoke on the altar on the wood which is on the fire; 26it is a burnt offering, an offering by fire of a soothing aroma 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 26

  • 1. Exodus 19:3; Exodus 25:22; Numbers 7:89
  • 2. Mark 7:11
  • 3. Leviticus 22:18
  • 4. Leviticus 6:8-13
  • 5. Exodus 12:5; Leviticus 22:20-24; Deuteronomy 15:21; Deuteronomy 17:1
  • 6. Leviticus 17:8, 9; Deut 12:5, 6, 11
  • 7. Ex 29:10, 15, 19; Leviticus 3:2, 8
  • 8. Exodus 29:33; Lev 4:20, 26, 31; 2 Chronicles 29:23, 24
  • 9. Ex 29:11, 16, 20
  • 10. Leviticus 17:11
  • 11. Leviticus 1:11; Leviticus 3:2, 8, 13; Hebrews 12:24; 1 Peter 1:2
  • 12. Leviticus 7:8
  • 13. Leviticus 6:8-13
  • 14. Leviticus 1:12; Leviticus 3:3, 4; Leviticus 8:20
  • 15. Exodus 12:9
  • 16. Numbers 15:8-10; Numbers 28:11-14
  • 17. Genesis 8:21; Exodus 29:18, 25; Leviticus 1:13; Numbers 15:3; Ephesians 5:2
  • 18. Exodus 12:5; Leviticus 1:3; Ezekiel 43:22; 1 Peter 1:19
  • 19. Exodus 24:6; Leviticus 1:5; Leviticus 8:19; Leviticus 9:12
  • 20. Leviticus 3:3, 4
  • 21. Numbers 15:4-7; Numbers 28:11-14
  • 22. Genesis 15:9; Leviticus 5:7, 11; Leviticus 12:8; Luke 2:24
  • 23. Leviticus 5:9
  • 24. Leviticus 6:10
  • 25. Genesis 15:10; Leviticus 5:8
  • 26. Leviticus 9:13

Footnotes 4

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