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The Burnt Offering


The L ord summoned Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting, saying: 2Speak to the people of Israel and say to them: When any of you bring an offering of livestock to the L ord, you shall bring your offering from the herd or from the flock.

3 If the offering is a burnt offering from the herd, you shall offer a male without blemish; you shall bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting, for acceptance in your behalf before the L ord. 4You shall lay your hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it shall be acceptable in your behalf as atonement for you. 5The bull shall be slaughtered before the L ord; and Aaron’s sons the priests shall offer the blood, dashing the blood against all sides of the altar that is at the entrance of the tent of meeting. 6The burnt offering shall be flayed and cut up into its parts. 7The sons of the priest Aaron shall put fire on the altar and arrange wood on the fire. 8Aaron’s sons the priests shall arrange the parts, with the head and the suet, on the wood that is on the fire on the altar; 9but its entrails and its legs shall be washed with water. Then the priest shall turn the whole into smoke on the altar as a burnt offering, an offering by fire of pleasing odor to the L ord.

10 If your gift for a burnt offering is from the flock, from the sheep or goats, your offering shall be a male without blemish. 11It shall be slaughtered on the north side of the altar before the L ord, and Aaron’s sons the priests shall dash its blood against all sides of the altar. 12It shall be cut up into its parts, with its head and its suet, and the priest shall arrange them on the wood that is on the fire on the altar; 13but the entrails and the legs shall be washed with water. Then the priest shall offer the whole and turn it into smoke on the altar; it is a burnt offering, an offering by fire of pleasing odor to the L ord.

14 If your offering to the L ord is a burnt offering of birds, you shall choose your offering from turtledoves or pigeons. 15The priest shall bring it to the altar and wring off its head, and turn it into smoke on the altar; and its blood shall be drained out against the side of the altar. 16He shall remove its crop with its contents and throw it at the east side of the altar, in the place for ashes. 17He shall tear it open by its wings without severing it. Then the priest shall turn it into smoke on the altar, on the wood that is on the fire; it is a burnt offering, an offering by fire of pleasing odor to the L ord.

5. And he shall kill the bullock. The ceremony of killing is subjoined, viz., that the priest should prepare the victim itself, and pour its blood upon the altar, for it was not allowable for a private person to kill the victim with his own hands, but what the priest did in their name was transferred to them. 250250     “It is interesting to notice here, (says Bonar, in loco,) that Outram, Witzius, and others, seem to have proved that in patriarchal ages every man might offer his own sacrifice. The patriarchal ages were taught that every man must take Christ for himself personally. In the Mosaic economy, however, this is altered; there is another truth to be shewn forth. Any one (2 Chronicles 30:17) might kill the animal — any common Levite, or even the offerer himself — for there may be many executioners of God’s wrath. Earth and hell were used in executing the Father’s purpose toward the Prince of Life. But there is only one appointed way for dispensing mercy, and therefore only priests must engage in that act that signified the bestowal of pardon.” He appears, however, to be singular in his opinion that any but a Levite might kill the victim. But this is worth remarking, that although they brought the pledge of reconciliation from their home, yet that the ministers of expiation were to be sought elsewhere, since no one was competent for so illustrious an office, save he who was graced by the holy unction of God. It was, therefore, plainly manifested that all mortals are unworthy of coming near God to propitiate Him, and that the hands of all are in a manner polluted or profane except those which God himself has purged. For the honor of sacrificing came from nowhere else but from the grace of the Spirit, of which the external anointing was a pledge. We now understand how it was that individuals offered sacrifices to God, and yet that the priest alone performed this office. The altar was sprinkled with the blood, that the people might know that the blood poured from the victim did not fall on the ground, but was consecrated to God, and breathed, as it were, a sweet savor; just as now the blood of Christ appears before His face. I pass by the rest, since it does not seem worth while to enlarge on the third kind of offering, i.e., of the birds. Yet we must recollect that thus far Moses only speaks of the burnt-offerings, whose flesh was burned; for this was not the case with all, as we shall see hereafter. Although, then, it is twice said that “the priests shall lay the parts, the head and the fat,” etc., we must not understand it as if he only commanded the fat and the head to be burned, but that nothing was to be left the skin. Some think that פדר pheder, 251251     This word only occurs here, and in ver. 12, and chap. 8:20. S.M. says that the Jewish expositors declare it to mean that fat, or network of fat which is found upon the liver, and with which the severance (locus de-collationis) of the head was covered, when the head was put upon the fire. It is not easy to discover who may have said that it meant a dissevered head. — W. “Some translate it (says Poole, in loco) the body, or the trunk of the body, (whence, perhaps, C.’s error.) So the ancient Hebrews quoted in Fagius; so Vatablus, Grotius, Malvenda, Mercerus in Bochart." is a dissevered head, nor do I reject their opinion, provided we do not exclude the fat. Whatever was filthy in the victim, God would have to be washed, that it might not contaminate it. The question now arises why it was burned either wholly or partially. My own opinion is, that by the fire the efficacy of the Spirit is represented, on which all the profit of the sacrifices depends; for unless Christ had suffered in the Spirit, He would not have been a propitiatory sacrifice. Fire, then, was as the condiment which gave their true savor to the sacrifices, because the blood of Christ was to be consecrated by the Spirit, that it might cleanse us from all the stains of our sins. This God would have more fully represented in the burnt-offerings, yet no victim was offered of which some part was not consumed by fire.

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