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Bible Commentaries

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

Leviticus 7

 

 

Verse 1

VII.

(1) Likewise this is the law . . . . —Better, and this is the law:, &c. Just as Leviticus 6:24-30 contains additional regulations addressed to the priest about the rites of the sin offering, so Leviticus 7:1-10 gives more precise instructions about the trespass offering, supplementing Leviticus 5:1-13, also designed for the guidance of the priest.


Verse 2

(2, 4) In the place where they kill.—That is, the north side of the altar (Leviticus 1:11).

Shall they kill the trespass offering.—That is, the people who bring these sacrifices shall kill them, since the offerers themselves slaughtered the victim. (See Leviticus 1:5.)

The blood thereof shall he sprinkle.—Better, throw the blood. (See Leviticus 1:5.) Unlike the sin offering, the blood of which was thrown upon the horns of the altar (Leviticus 4:25; Leviticus 4:30; Leviticus 4:34), that of the trespass offering was simply thrown upon the walls of the altar, or round about it. (See Leviticus 5:9.) During the second Temple there was a scarlet line or thread round the altar, exactly in the middle. The blood of the trespass offering and of the peace offering was thrown round about below the central line, whilst that of the whole burnt offering was thrown round about above the central line.


Verse 3-4

(3, 4) And he shall offer.—For the regulations here described, see Leviticus 3:3-4; Leviticus 3:8-9, &c.


Verse 5

(5) And the priest shall burn.—These fat pieces he shall burn, as in the case of the sin offering and peace offering (Leviticus 4:26; Leviticus 4:31).


Verse 7

(7) There is one law for them.—That is, the same rule, as stated in Leviticus 6:27-28, applies to both the sin offering and the trespass offering; hence what is omitted in the regulation of the one must be supplied from the directions given in the other.


Verse 8

(8) The priest shall have to himself the skin.—As the skin was the only part not consumed by the fire, in the case of the burnt offering, it fell to the share of the officiating priest. According to the rule which obtained during the second Temple, all the skins of the most holy things belonged to the officiating priests—i.e., those of the trespass offering, the sin offerings of the laity, &c.—whereas those of the holy things—i.e., those of the peace offerings—belonged to the owners of the victims. These skins, which accumulated during the week, the priests whose course it was to serve divided between them every Sabbath evening.


Verse 9

(9) And all the meat offering.—Better, every meat offering. That is, dressed in whichever of the three ways here mentioned. (See Leviticus 2:4-7.)

Shall be the priest’s.—With the exception of the memorial part, which was burnt upon the altar (see Leviticus 2:4-10), the whole was to go to the particular priest who offered it.


Verse 10

(10) And every meat offering . . . and dry.—Better, but every meat offering . . . or dry. The only exception to the foregoing rule is the raw flour offering. That is, the voluntary offering of flour which was mingled with oil (Leviticus 2:1), or the poor man’s sin

offering, which, though resembling a meat offering, had no oil put upon it (see Leviticus 5:11), and the offering of jealousy (Numbers 5:15).

Shall all the sons of Aaron have.—That is, whether with or without oil, the remainder of this kind of raw offering is to be equally shared by all the priests.

One as much as another.—Literally, a man as his brother; that is, every man alike. From the expression man, which, as it will thus be seen, is used in the original but does not appear in the Authorised Version, the rule obtained in the time of Christ that neither a child nor woman, though of priestly descent, could partake of this offering; but a priest who was disqualified from officiating through a physical blemish had a share in it, as he comes under the designation of man.


Verse 11

(11) And this is the law of the sacrifice of peace offerings.—That is, the rites to be observed in connection with this sacrifice. As in the case of the sin offering (Leviticus 4:24-31 with Leviticus 6:24-30) and the trespass offering (Leviticus 5:1-13 with Leviticus 7:1-10), so here (Leviticus 7:11-21), we have more specific and fuller directions given to the priests with regard to the peace offerings, about which orders had previously been given to the people (Leviticus 3:1-15).

Which he shall offer.—That is, he who feels it his duty to offer it to the Lord. This common Hebrew idiom of using a verb with he in it without an antecedent is better expressed in English by the impersonal, which one shall offer, or by the passive, which shall be offered. (See Leviticus 7:20-29.) Three classes of peace offerings are specified—(1) an acknowledgment of mercies received, (2) as a vow offering, (3) as a freewill offering.


Verse 12

(12) If he offer it for a thanksgiving.—That is, acknowledgment of special mercies received from God, such as deliverance in travels, by land or sea, redemption from captivity, restoration to health, &c., enumerated in Psalms 107. It is to this sacrifice that the apostle alludes when he says, “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually.”

Then he shall offer with the sacrifice.—That is, with the bullock or cow if it be from the herd, or a lamb or goat if it be from the flock (Leviticus 3:1).

Unleavened cakes mingled with oil.—From the fact that no mention is here made of the number of cakes or the quantity of oil, it is evident that this was left to the decision of the administrators of the laws and the spiritual guides of the people. The rule which obtained during the second Temple with regard to this offering was as follows :—The offerer brought twenty tenths or pottles of fine flour; ten of them he made leavened and ten he left unleavened. He made the leavened into ten cakes, and of the ten that were unleavened he made thirty cakes. These thirty unleavened cakes, which were made with half a log of oil, were divided into three tens, and each ten was prepared in a different manner; that is, ten with an eighth of the oil were baked in the oven, ten with another eighth of the oil were made into wafers, and ten with a fourth of the oil were hastily fried. Of the forty cakes the priest received four, one of each sort, thus obtaining a tenth part.


Verse 13

(13) Besides the cakes.—That is, the thirty un leavened cakes which were made of half of the quantity of the flour brought by the offerer, as described in the previous verse, the ten leavened cakes made of the other half of the flour are to be brought. These had all to be baked before the victim was slaughtered. The only other occasion when leavened bread formed part of the offering was on Pentecost (Leviticus 23:17); but no portion of it was burnt on the altar as a memorial, for leaven was forbidden to be on the altar. (See Leviticus 2:11-12.)


Verse 14

(14) And of it he shall offer one out of the whole.—Better, and he shall offer of it one out of each. That is, the officiating priest waves one of each of the four kinds of cakes before the Lord as a heave offering (see Exodus 29:24; Exodus 29:28), and is to have these four loaves as his portion, while the rest or the remaining thirty-six cakes belonged to the owner of the sacrifice.


Verse 15

(15) And the flesh of the sacrifice.—That is, after the priest had the breast and the shoulder, the share of the victim which belongs to the offerer, together with the remaining loaves, he with his family and poor guests (see Deuteronomy 12:11-18) are to eat up before the morning, which at the time of the second Temple was limited to midnight. This limitation of time was designed both to encourage liberality to the poor, and to impress upon those who partook of it that it was a sacrificial and sacred feast, so as to prevent its being turned into unseemly conviviality.


Verse 16

(16) Be a vow or a voluntary offering.—The vow and the voluntary offering which constitute the second class of peace offerings are both entirely voluntary. The distinction between them, as defined by the canon law, which obtained in the time of Christ, is as follows :—A vow (nçdçr) is an obligation voluntarily imposed upon oneself with the formula, “Behold, I take it upon myself to bring a bullock, &c., for a peace offering.” This undertaking is binding upon the person till he fulfils it. Hence, if the bullock in question dies, or is stolen, or becomes disqualified for a sacrifice, he must bring another. A free-will offering (nedabah) simply pledges voluntarily a certain animal for a peace offering, with the formula, “ Behold, this animal I devote for a peace offering.” Hence, if the animal in question dies, or is stolen, or has otherwise become disqualified for sacrifice, the obligation ceases, since it does not extend beyond the animal thus devoted.

It shall be eaten the same day.—As both these votive offerings were an indirect mode of supplication having respect to future favours, and hence were not a spontaneous expression of pious devotion, they were not so sacred as the former. They were, therefore, allowed to be eaten both on the day of presentation and on the following day.


Verse 17

(17) But the remainder of the flesh.—If, however, the sacrifices were very plentiful, or if through niggardliness of the owners a sufficient number of poor guests were not invited, so that the victim could not be eaten up within the time specified, all that remained on the third day was to be burnt.


Verse 18

(18) And if any of the flesh . . . be eaten.—The owner of the sacrifice was responsible for the due observance of this injunction. If, through his neglect, any one ate of the sacrifice after the limited time here specified, the efficacy of the sacrifice was disannulled, and the offerer had to bring another votive offering.

It shall be an abomination.—That is, the flesh left so long in the Eastern climate begins to putrefy, and becomes loathsome and offensive on the third day; so that which is holy becomes desecrated.

And the soul that eateth of it.—Hence he who ate it after the prescribed time was regarded as eating carrion, he bore his guilt, i.e., incurred the penalty of excision.


Verse 19

(19) And the flesh that toucheth.—Not only does the sacrificial flesh become desecrated when left by itself beyond the prescribed period, but when it comes in contact with what is unclean, man, woman, or animal, which might happen whilst it is carried from the altar to the place where it is eaten, it becomes defiled, and must be burnt, so that no profane use is made of it.

And as for the flesh, all that be clean shall eat thereof.—Better, And as for the flesh, every one that is clean may eat the flesh—that is, any one whom the offerer invites may partake of the sacrificial repast, provided he is legally clean.


Verse 20-21

(20, 21) But the soul that eateth, &c—Any one who partakes of the Lord’s holy peace offering in a state of legal defilement, arising either from contact with unclean men or objects (see Leviticus 11:8-44; Leviticus 15:1-33), incurs the penalty of excision.


Verse 22

(22) And the Lord spake unto Moses.—This formula introduces a fresh communication made to the lawgiver (Leviticus 7:22-27), containing explanations and restrictions of the precept laid down in Leviticus 3:17, about the fat and blood of animals. The section before us, therefore, supplements and expands the previous law upon the same subject, just as the foregoing section supplemented and expanded the regulations about the different sacrifices.


Verse 23

(23) Ye shall eat no manner of fat.—That is, the fat of beeves, sheep, or goats. The fat of these three kinds of sacrificial quadrupeds is prohibited, even when they are not killed as sacrifices, but when slaughtered for private consumption; but the fat of other tame or wild clean quadrupeds, as stags, roes, &c. &c, was lawful. According to the practice which obtained during the second Temple, there are three kinds of fat for the eating of which a man incurred the penalty of excision: the fat (1) which is upon the inwards, (2) upon the two kidneys, and (3) upon the flanks (Leviticus 9:10). The rump, the kidney, and the caul above the liver were not called fat, except in sacrifices. The fat which is covered with flesh is lawful, the fat upon the kidneys is forbidden; but that which is within the kidneys, as well as that of the heart, is lawful.


Verse 24

(24) And the fat of the beast that dieth of itself.—That is, of the aforesaid animals which died of any disease or accident, or were killed by wild beasts, and which, therefore, are entirely unclean (see Leviticus 17:15; Leviticus 22:8), might be used for common purposes in ordinary life, such as making candles, &c., &c.


Verse 25

(25) The fat of the beast of which men offer an offering.—That is, the fat of beeves, sheep, or goats. (See Leviticus 7:23.) If he did it presumptuously he incurred the penalty of excision, and if he did it inadvertently he was beaten with forty stripes save one, and had to bring the sin offering appointed.


Verse 26

(26) Moreover ye shall eat. . . . —Better, and ye shall eat no blood in all your dwellings. That is, this law is binding upon the Israelites wherever they may dwell. (See Leviticus 3:17.)

Whether it be of fowl or of beast.—It extends to all fowls and quadrupeds, whether they are legally prescribed as sacrifices or not; but not to fishes, locusts, creeping things, &c., which are not prescribed in the dietary laws as unclean.


Verse 27

(27) That soul shall be cut off.—According to the law which obtained during the second Temple, the punishment of excision was only inflicted for eating the life-blood (see Leviticus 17:11), that is, the blood in which the life of the animal resides, and the loss of which causes death. For eating the blood found in the limbs, or in any internal portion of the body, a sin offering had to be brought, and the offender was beaten with stripes.


Verse 28

(28) And the Lord spake unto Moses.—With this formula, which, as we have seen, indicates a fresh communication made by the Lord to the lawgiver, additional precepts are introduced, regulating God’s portion of the peace offering.


Verse 29

(29) He that offereth the sacrifice of his peace offerings.—That is, if his peace offering is one of the three aforementioned classes. (See Leviticus 7:11.)

Shall bring his oblation.—That is, those portions of the peace offering which the offerer devoted to the Lord and to the officiating priest.


Verse 30

(30) His own hands shall bring.—This act the owner himself was to perform, and it was not to be deputed to any one else. The manner in which this rite was performed in the time of Christ was as follows:—The offerer killed the sacrifice, and the priest sprinkled the blood. The victim was then flayed, and the officiating priest took out the inwards, cut the flesh into pieces, and separated the breast and the right shoulder. Whereupon he laid the fat first upon the owner’s hands, then the breast, then the shoulder above it; the two kidneys and the caul of the liver above them again, and the bread above the whole, put his own hand under that of the offerer, and waved it all before the Lord. Hereupon the priest salted the inwards, and burned them upon the altar. The breast and right shoulder, as well as the bread waved before the Lord, were eaten by him and his brother priests, whilst the remainder of the flesh and the rest of the bread were eaten by the owner and his friends. If two persons brought a peace offering in partnership, one of them waved for both; and if a woman brought it, the waving was performed by the officiating priest, since women were not allowed to wave except in the offering of jealousy and of a Nazarite (Numbers 5:25; Numbers 6:20).


Verse 34

(34) By a statute for ever.—That is, the statute that these two parts of the peace offering are to be given to Aaron and his descendants who may officiate at this sacrifice, is binding upon the Israelites as long as the priesthood lasts.


Verse 35

(35) This is the portion of the anointing of Aaron and of the anointing of his sons.—Better, this is the share of Aaron and the share of his sons. That is, the wave breast and the heave shoulder.


Verse 36

(36) Which the Lord commanded to be given them.—That is, this command is binding upon every offerer to give the before-mentioned parts to the officiating priests, since this is their right by virtue of their office.


Verse 37

(37) This is the law . . . —This and the following verse sum up the whole sacrificial law contained in Leviticus 1-8

The burnt offering.—Described in Leviticus 1:3-17, with its supplement, Leviticus 6:8-13.

The meat offering.—Described in Leviticus 2:1-16, with its supplement, Leviticus 6:14-18.

The sin offering.—Described in Leviticus 4:1-35, with its supplement, Leviticus 6:24-30.

The trespass offering.—Described in Leviticus 5:1-13, with its supplements, Leviticus 5:14-19, Leviticus 6:1-7, Leviticus 7:1-10.

And of the consecrations.—Better, and of the offering of consecration, that is, the meat offering which the high priest is to bring on his consecration to the pontifical office, described in Leviticus 6:19-23.

The peace offering.—Described in Leviticus 3:1-17, with its supplements, Leviticus 7:11-21; Leviticus 7:28-36.

 


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Bibliography Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Leviticus 7:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/leviticus-7.html. 1905.

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