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Bible Commentaries

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

Leviticus 6

 

 

Introduction

Three Revelations Made By God To Moses All Related To Guilt/Compensation Offerings (Leviticus 5:14 to Leviticus 6:7).

Three revelations are now made concerning the guilt offering and when it should be offered. Two of the three are introduced by the words, ‘And Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying.’ They may have been given on two separate occasions. They were probably added here to connect with the previous reference to the Guilt Offering. In that instance no compensation was payable, although instead confession was required. In these examples the question of compensation raises its head.


Verses 1-7

A Guilt Offering For Causing Financial Loss To A Neighbour By Dishonesty (Leviticus 6:1-7).

Leviticus 6:1

‘And Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,’

This introduction may suggest an additional revelation given at a different time, which is tacked on to the previous duo to make a threesome in accordance with the writer’s general practise of putting things in threes.

Leviticus 6:2-3

‘If any one sin, and commit a trespass against Yahweh, and deal falsely with his neighbour in a matter of a deposit, or of bargaining, or of robbery, or have oppressed his neighbour, or have found that which was lost, and deal falsely with regard to it, and swear to a lie; in any of all these things that a man does, sinning in them,’

These sins too are against Yahweh, but not this time against the Sanctuary. They are sins against Yahweh’s people which require compensation as well as atonement, for they have suffered loss. They are evidence of financial dishonesty and greed. This is a reminder that to take false advantage of God’s people is to take false advantage of God. Here the command ‘you shall not covet’ has been broken.

The sins in mind are those of dishonesty with respect to a deposit not repaid when it should have been, the making of a false or unfair bargain, a deliberate theft, the sin of oppressing or crowding a neighbour for financial gain, that of finding something that was lost and keeping it, or the making of a lie on oath. If someone has done any of these things and is now faced up with his sin, either by conscience, or by neighbour pressure, or pressure from someone in authority (they are ‘found guilty’), he must fall in line with the requirement that follows.

Leviticus 6:4-5

‘Then it shall be, if he has sinned, and is guilty, that he shall restore that which he took by robbery, or the thing which he has obtained by oppression, or the deposit which was committed to him, or the lost thing which he found, or any thing about which he has sworn falsely; he shall even restore it in full, and shall add the fifth part more to it, to him to whom it belongs shall he give it, in the day of his being found guilty.’

The first thing that he must do is make full restoration, and on top must add one fifth as a kind of fine. It is possible that this signifies a double tithe (two tenths). The one who has suffered loss in this case receives the compensation. These rules would not apply in the case of farm stock where the compensation might be much higher (Exodus 22:1-4).

Leviticus 6:6-7

‘And he shall bring his guilt offering to Yahweh, a ram without blemish out of the flock, according to your estimation, for a guilt offering, to the priest: and the priest shall make atonement for him before Yahweh, and he shall be forgiven concerning whatever he does so as to be guilty by it’.

After restoring what was lost and paying one fifth compensation the person must now bring his guilt offering to Yahweh. It is to be an unblemished ram at a value estimated by Moses (‘your estimation’) in relation to the amount that had been lost and is now being restored. This will then be offered by the priest who will make the necessary atonement. Thus will the person be forgiven for what they were guilty of.

These three instances should make many of us think. How often do we give less than we should to God’s work. Will a man rob God?’ asked Malachi, but many of us do. Or have we treated holy things lightly? The way some people dress to meet up with God is in itself a disgrace. Do we owe Him no honour? Or is our behaviour and attitude in church fully pleasing to God? Or are there ways in which financially we get one over on others? These are questions on which we should examine ourselves.

But the basic lesson that comes over here is that when we put right a financial wrong we should pay compensation at one fifth. Then only can we come to God to find forgiveness.


Verses 8-13

Further Instructions With Regard To The Offerings And Sacrifices To Be Made To Yahweh (Leviticus 6:8 to Leviticus 7:21).

These additions to the details of the offerings are split into three sections by the words ‘And Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying.’ In the first section is ‘the law of the whole burnt offering’ and ‘the law of the grain offering’, in the second is more detail about the grain offering referring to the daily grain offering of the priests, and in the third are ‘the law of the purification for sin offering’, ‘the law of the guilt offering’ and ‘the law of the peace sacrifices’. Yet they are united by the phrase ‘this is the law of --.’ This may suggest that the middle section has been inserted between the first and the third in order to amplify the description of the grain offering. But all are words of Yahweh given to Moses.

This is not just a repeat of what has gone before. It contains new instructions with regard to these offerings and sacrifices.

Leviticus 6:8

‘And Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,’

This statement again indicates the beginning of a new section.

The Law of the Whole Burnt Offering (Leviticus 6:9-13).

The concern here is more of maintaining the altar fir so as to properly consume the whole burnt offering than with the whole burnt offering itself.

Leviticus 6:9

‘Command Aaron and his sons, saying, This is the law of the whole burnt offering. The whole burnt offering shall be on the hearth on the altar all night until the morning; and the fire of the altar shall be kept burning on it.’

We now have added information about the whole burnt offering which especially has in mind the morning and evening offerings (Exodus 29:38-42), which are themselves whole burnt offerings (Numbers 28:3-8). The whole burnt offering is to be allowed to burn all night, and the fire is to be kept alight under it, so as to ensure that it is properly consumed. The initial offering of such an offering may with much practise be quick, but the outworking of it takes the whole night. We too need to recognise that ‘full surrender’ an the evening is easy, but do we make it last through until the morning? Our dedication of ourselves must be wholehearted and lasting (Romans 12:1-2).

Leviticus 6:10

‘And the priest shall put on his linen garment, and his linen breeches shall he put on his flesh, and he shall take up the ashes which have resulted from the fact that the fire has consumed the burnt-offering on the altar, and he shall put them beside the altar.’

When the morning comes the Priest must put on his priestly linen garment, and his breeches so that there is no danger of his private parts being exposed, (the breeches will be ‘put on his flesh’ i.e. they will cover his hidden parts. Compare here Exodus 20:26; Exodus 28:42-43). Then he must take up the ashes containing the remains of offerings and sacrifices, and put them on one side beside the altar. Activity on the altar involves what is holy and the Priest must thus be adequately clothed with ‘holy garments’, so holy that he must not leave the tabernacle wearing them. They are separated and set apart wholly to God’s service.

So must we ensure that when we go about God’s service we are properly prepared as far as it is possible. God desires no slapdash ways.

Leviticus 6:11

‘And he shall put off his garments, and put on other garments, and carry forth the ashes outside the camp to a clean place.’

Then he will divest himself of the priestly garments, put on other clothes, and carry the ashes out to a clean place. It must be a clean place because the ashes are holy and must not be defiled. There they will remain with God.

The importance for us of these requirements is that they bring home the fact of the sacredness of dealing with the things of God. Not having such solemn ritual we can tend to forget with Whom we are dealing, and that we should not approach Him lightly. We need constantly to recognise that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God, and although through Christ the fear has been mainly removed, we need to remember with Whom we have to do. Our God is a consuming fire. We must love and tremble at the same time, for He is a holy God.

Leviticus 6:12

‘And the fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it, it shall not go out; and the priest shall burn wood on it every morning: and he shall lay the whole burnt offering in order on it, and shall burn on it the fat of the peace-offerings.’

At this stage the fire is not to be allowed to go out. Morning having come wood will then be placed on the fire to revive it, and then the morning whole burnt offering is to be placed on the wood, after which the fat of the peace offerings may also be burned on it.

Leviticus 6:13

‘Fire shall be kept burning on the altar continually; it shall not go out.’

A perpetual fire is to be maintained on the altar. It may be questioned how this ties in with Leviticus 1:7? The answer probably lies in how the fire was maintained. It was probably kept burning in a part of the altar space permanently when not in use, but moved into position and kindled with wood when it was needed. Thus when the whole burnt offering was to be offered the fire would be taken from where it was on the altar, placed in the centre and then fed with wood, as Leviticus 1:7 says.

The continual flame is probably also to be seen as a symbol of the continual divine presence, reminding us continually of His never failing presence and of our responsibilities towards Him, so that recognising His requirements we offer ourselves afresh to Him daily.

We have here a reminder of what should be the intent of our lives, to come daily to Him Who is the continually burning Flame, so that through our offering of ourselves in Him and to Him, we too might continually burn and constantly reveal God’s glory. This will be brought about by our continually working out what He works in us (Philippians 2:13), and by our continually offering ourselves daily in worship and prayer through His word, so that we are wholly taken up with Him, and so that our continual offering of ourselves is received by Him. We have the assurance that the Flame will never go out. Our lives should therefore be a daily offering.


Verses 14-18

The Law of the Grain Offering (Leviticus 6:14-18).

This is dealing further with the grain offerings described in Leviticus 2 but concentrating more on the right of the priest to partake of them. It reminds us that it provides holy food for the priests. It is then followed by a description of the twice daily grain offering on behalf of the priests, of which they cannot partake.

Leviticus 6:14-15

‘And this is the law of the grain offering. The sons of Aaron shall offer it before Yahweh, before the altar. And he shall take up from it his handful, of the milled grain of the grain offering, and of its oil, and all the frankincense which is on the grain offering, and shall burn it on the altar for a pleasing odour, as the memorial of it, to Yahweh.’

As in chapter 2, but in more abbreviated form, the grain offering is brought and offered to Yahweh mingled with oil and with the frankincense placed on it. Then a handful of milled grain and oil, (the memorial of it to Yahweh) together with all the frankincense, is offered by fire to Yahweh.

In this way are we to offer our gratitude for His many provisions for us, and dedicate to Him our daily labour, together with the pleasing odour of Christ, which is like the frankincense brought from afar to enhance our offering. Thus are we acceptable to God.

Leviticus 6:16

‘And what is left of it shall Aaron and his sons eat: it shall be eaten without leaven in a holy place; in the court of the tent of meeting they shall eat it.’

Then what is left of the grain offering can be eaten by the priests, and they alone, for it is a whole offering. It is to be eaten without leaven in a holy place, in the court of the tent of meeting. It is a part of their ‘holy eating’ which prepares them for their ministry to the people.

In the same way may all who are ‘sanctified in Him’ (1 Corinthians 1:2; Hebrews 2:11) as a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9) can partake of Christ as the living bread Who has come down from Heaven to give life to the world (John 6:33), partaking of Him daily through faith from His word, so that we never hunger, and coming to Him daily in confident trust so that we never thirst (John 6:35). And for this, like the priests, we should go aside into a dedicated place before we go out into the world, so that, daily receiving of Him, we might take blessing to the world (compare Galatians 2:20). What we receive is most holy.

Leviticus 6:17

‘It shall not be baked with leaven. I have given it as their portion of my offerings made by fire; it is most holy, as the sin offering, and as the guilt offering.’

This grain offering was in no way to be baked with leaven. This confirms that it could certainly be baked if required, but not with leaven. There must be within it no ‘corrupting’ influence of the outward created world. It must be as from God, as received by His people. And this is because it is a portion of the offerings made by fire, the offerings which belonged to Yahweh, but of which he was willing for His priests to partake. They were most holy offerings, as were the purification for sin and guilt offerings (some of which could also be partaken of by the priests). They could only be eaten by His holy priests within His holy tabernacle. And they must be totally pure.

So should we in our quiet moments receive the unleavened word, uncorrupted by outward influences, receiving it into our hearts from God. There is a time for more detailed study with the help of outward influences, but there is also a time when He and His word and ourselves should be alone together, when we partake of the unleavened word. The warning is constant. Beware of the corrupting influence of the world with its sinful and spiritually harmful pleasures, its glittering offers that draw us from the way of righteousness, (the deceitfulness of riches), and its prizes offered if only we will compromise the truth!

Leviticus 6:18

‘Every male among the children of Aaron shall eat of it, as his portion for ever throughout your generations, from the offerings of Yahweh made by fire: whoever touches them shall be holy.’

And the portions of the grain offerings after the memorial has been offered are for Aaron’s sons ‘for ever throughout their generations’, that is, into the foreseeable future. They were of the offerings of Yahweh made by fire, but His priests could partake of them, for they were holy to Him. And whoever touched such offerings were to be holy. This was a warning to any others not to touch them, for if they were made holy like the priests, but were not of the priestly family, they would strictly have to be put to death as an offering by fire to Yahweh. (Alternately they would have to live priestlike lives without the benefits of being a priest. Possibly, however, this was one of the offences that could be dealt with by the guilt offering for trespass in the holy things if done unwittingly - Leviticus 5:15). Only those whom God had made holy, could be holy and live. It is dangerous to presume on God.

In the same way all who are His and sanctified in Him may continually partake of Christ and of His word. But we must beware, for we are touching holy things. By it we are continually sanctified and must ever therefore recognise our responsibility of priesthood and service to the world. Once we have partaken there is no release. We are His for ever.


Verses 19-23

Further Revelation On The Grain Offering: The Regular Grain Offering (Leviticus 6:19-23).

Information is now given about the regular morning and evening grain offering, offered along with the continual whole burnt offering. None of this could be partaken of, even by the priests, it was wholly offered by fire to Yahweh.

Leviticus 6:19

‘And Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,’

Leviticus 6:20

‘This is the oblation of Aaron and of his sons, which they shall offer to Yahweh in the day when he is anointed, the tenth part of an ephah of milled grain for a grain offering perpetually. A portion of it in the morning, and a portion of it in the evening.’

This regular twice daily grain offering was first offered on the day when Aaron was anointed and consecrated along with his sons (Exodus 29). It was then to be offered twice daily continually thereafter on behalf of the priests. It was made up of a tenth part of an ephah of milled grain at each offering. There would be two portions, one for the morning and one for the evening offering, each portion being the tenth part of an ephah (about 2 dry litres each portion). Compare for this Exodus 29:40; Numbers 28:5.

Leviticus 6:21

‘On a flat-pan it shall be made with oil; when it is soaked, you will bring it in: in baked pieces shall you offer the grain offering for a pleasing odour to Yahweh.’

This was to be mixed with oil and baked on a flat pan. Once the whole was ready it was to be brought in and offered in baked pieces (just as the sheep was offered in pieces) as a grain offering. No frankincense was necessary as it was offered with the whole burnt offering. It was for a pleasing odour to Yahweh, an offering of joy and thanksgiving.

In this we see a picture of the offering up of the One Who above all was a pleasing odour to God. He was grain from God, milled by men, and thus able to be a satisfactory offering to Him, the bread that came down from Heaven to suffer and die (John 6:51), Who became a pleasing odour to God.

And we, as His priesthood, are called through Him to offer up our worship and praise in His name, accepted for His sake (Hebrews 13:15), ourselves a pleasing odour to Him.

Leviticus 6:22-23

‘And the anointed priest who shall be in his stead from among his sons shall offer it. By a statute for ever it shall be wholly burnt to Yahweh. And every grain offering of the priest shall be wholly burnt. It shall not be eaten.’

This grain offering is to be offered by the anointed priest at the time, a descendant of Aaron, perpetually into the future. It was primarily his responsibility to provide it. This is an everlasting statute. And as the priest’s offering it must be wholly burnt up. It must not be eaten. It is an offering made by fire (Leviticus 2:2; Leviticus 2:9). It is wholly His.

This reminds us that there is that in Christ of which we may partake, for we are His priesthood and we need to receive life and power from Him, but there is that which was offered on our behalf, of which we cannot partake, or even have any real understanding, for it is the means of our atonement and acceptance which was beyond understanding. We can only stand back and glorify God for it daily.


Verses 24-30

The Law of the Purification for Sin Offering (Leviticus 6:24-30).

Leviticus 6:24

‘And Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,’

If the previous section was inserted here this may have been put in to take up the first section again, reminding us that it is a revelation from Yahweh to Moses. Otherwise it may have been a fresh revelation, but continuing the previous one.

Leviticus 6:25

‘Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, This is the law of the purification for sin offering. In the place where the whole burnt offering is killed shall the purification for sin offering be killed before Yahweh. It is most holy.’

The purification for sin offering is to be slain in the same place as the whole burnt offering, that is to the north of the altar (Leviticus 1:11) in the court of the tabernacle. But the thought is as much that it should be slaughtered there because it is most holy, for these are two most holy offerings. The holiness of the offering from the start is being stressed, so that the regulations that follow will be seen in all their seriousness.

Leviticus 6:26

‘The priest who offers it for sin shall eat it: in a holy place shall it be eaten, in the court of the tent of meeting.’

Once its blood and fat with its innards have been offered, the priest who offered it for sin may eat of it. He has been caught up in the holiness of the sacrifice and is therefore in a fit state to do so. And he must eat it in a holy place, in the court of the tent of meeting. Thus is the holiness of the purification for sin offering doubly stressed. All of it is holy, For God has worked through it to neutralise and blot out sin and make holy what once bore sin. All that connects with it is brought within its holiness.

Leviticus 6:27

‘Whatever shall touch its flesh shall be holy; and when there is sprinkled of the blood from it on any garment, you shall wash that on which it was sprinkled in a holy place.’

It is so holy that whatever touches its flesh is made holy, and if any of the blood falls on a piece of clothing it must be washed in a holy place. This all brings out the divine power that is at work in the act of purification of a sinner. It is the Holy One at work.

Leviticus 6:28

‘But the earthen vessel in which it is boiled shall be broken; and if it be boiled in a bronze (or ‘copper’) vessel, it shall be scoured, and rinsed in water.’

Thus the earthen vessel in which the meat is boiled must be broken after use, and if it is boiled in a bronze or copper vessel it must be scoured out and rinsed with water. The absorbent earthen vessel may have absorbed something of the offering. It is therefore too holy to be used again. In the case of the metal vessel there is no absorption. It may therefore be cleansed. (Besides which the earthenware was easy to break, not so the bronze vessel, and if not broken properly it might have been used improperly).

Leviticus 6:29

‘Every male among the priests shall eat of it. It is most holy.’

But any true male priest may eat of it (even if he is not fitted for service because of some blemish, as long as he is ritually clean - Leviticus 21:18-23). But only they. For it is most holy.

It is difficult to see how the holiness of the offering could be more emphasised. When God is at work in purification He makes all holy. Thus can we know that when we are purified by the One Who made Himself an offering for sin, He makes us completely holy.

Leviticus 6:30

‘And no purification for sin offering, of which any of the blood is brought into the tent of meeting to make atonement in the holy place, shall be eaten. It shall be burnt with fire.’

But there is something even more holy than a purification for sin offering, and that is an offering which is brought within the tent of meeting to make atonement in the Holy Place, the purification for sin offerings for the priest and for the community. They are so holy that they are taken to a clean place outside the camp and burned for Yahweh. (And the same will be true of the offerings on the Day of Atonement - chapter 16). How holy then are those who are cleansed in the blood of Jesus!

 


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Bibliography Information
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Leviticus 6:4". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/leviticus-6.html. 2013.

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