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  • ADAM CLARKE'S BIBLE COMMENTARY -
    LEVITICUS 7

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    CHAPTER VII

    The law of the trespass-offering, and the priest's portion in it, 1-7. As also in the sin-offerings and meat-offerings, 8- 10. The law of the sacrifice of peace-offering, 11, whether it was a thanksgiving - offering, 12-15; or a VOW or voluntary offering, 16-18. Concerning the flesh that touched any unclean thing, 19, 20, and the person who touched any thing unclean, 21. Laws concerning eating of fat, 22-25, and concerning eating of blood, 26, 27. Farther ordinances concerning the peace-offerings and the priest's portion in them, 28-36. Conclusion of the laws and ordinances relative to burnt-offerings, meat-offerings, sin-offerings, and peace- offerings, delivered in this and the preceding chapters, 37, 38.

    NOTES ON CHAP. VII

    Verse 1. "Trespass-offering" - See end of the chapter. See note at "ver. 38".

    Verse 2. "In the place where they kill the burnt-offering" - viz., on the north side of the altar, chap. i. 11.

    Verse 3. "The rump" - See note on "chap. iii. 9", where the principal subjects in this chapter are explained, being nearly the same in both.

    Verse 4. "The fat that is on them" - Chiefly the fat that was found in a detached state, not mixed with the muscles; such as the omentum or caul, the fat of the mesentery, the fat about the kidneys, &c. See note on "chap. iii. 9", &c.

    Verse 8. "The priest shall have to himself the skin" - Bishop Patrick supposes that this right of the priest to the skin commenced with the offering of Adam, "for it is probable," says he, "that Adam himself offered the first sacrifice, and had the skin given him by God to make garments for him and his wife; in conformity to which the priests ever after had the skin of the whole burnt-offerings for their portion, which was a custom among the Gentiles as well as the Jews, who gave the skins of their sacrifices to their priests, when they were not burnt with the sacrifices, as in some sin- offerings they were among the Jews, see chap. iv. 11. And they employed them to a superstitious use, by lying upon them in their temples, in hopes to have future things revealed to them in their dreams.

    Of this we have a proof in Virgil, AEn. lib. vii., ver. 86- 95.

    " - huc dona sacerdos Cum tulit, et caesarum ovium sub nocte silenti Pellibus incubuit stratis, somnosque petivit; Multa modus simulncra videt volitantia miris, Et varias audit voces, fruiturque deorum Colloquio, atque imis Acheronta affatur Avernis.

    Hic et tum pater ipse petens responsa Latinus Centum lanigeras mactabat rite bidentes, Atque harum effultus tergo stratisque jacebat Velleribus. Subita ex alto vox reddita luco est." First, on the fleeces of the slaughter'd sheep By night the sacred priest dissolves in sleep, When in a train, before his slumbering eye, Thin airy forms and wondrous visions fly.

    He calls the powers who guard the infernal floods, And talks, inspired, familiar with the gods.

    To this dread oracle the prince withdrew, And first a hundred sheep the monarch slew; Then on their fleeces lay; and from the wood He heard, distinct, these accents of the god.- PITT.

    The same superstition, practiced precisely in the same way and for the same purposes, prevail to the present day in the Highlands of Scotland, as the reader may see from the following note of Sir Walter Scott, in his Lady of the Lake: - "The Highlanders of Scotland, like all rude people, had various superstitious modes of inquiring into futurity. One of the most noted was the togharm. A person was wrapped up in the skin of a newly-slain bullock, and deposited beside a water-fall, or at the bottom of a precipice, or in some other strange, wild, and unusual situation, where the scenery around him suggested nothing but objects of horror. In this situation he revolved in his mind the question proposed; and whatever was impressed upon him by his exalted imagination, passed for the inspiration of the disembodied spirits who haunt these desolate recesses. One way of consulting this oracle was by a party of men, who first retired to solitary places, remote from any house, and there they singled out one of their number, and wrapt him in a big cow's hide, which they folded about him; his whole body was covered with it except his head, and so left in this posture all night, until his invisible friends relieved him by giving a proper answer to the question in hand; which he received, as he fancied, from several persons that he found about him all that time. His consorts returned to him at day-break; and then he communicated his news to them, which often proved fatal to those concerned in such unwarrantable inquiries. "Mr. Alexander Cooper, present minister of North Virt, told me that one John Erach, in the Isle of Lewis, assured him it was his fate to have been led by his curiosity with some who consulted this oracle, and that he was a night within the hide above mentioned, during which time he felt and heard such terrible things that he could not express them: the impression made on him was such as could never go off; and he said, for a thousand worlds he would never again be concerned in the like performance, for it had disordered him to a high degree. He confessed it ingenuously, and with an air of great remorse, and seemed to be very penitent under a just sense of so great a crime: he declared this about five years since, and is still living in the Isle of Lewis for any thing I know."-Description of the Western Isles, p. 110. See also Pennant's Scottish Tour, vol. ii., p. 301; and Sir W. Scott's Lady of the Lake.

    Verse 9. "Baken in the oven" - See note on "chap. ii. 5", &c.

    Verse 12. "If he offer it for a thanksgiving" - See the notes at the end of this chapter. See note at "ver. 38".

    Verse 15. "He shall not leave any of it until the morning." - Because in such a hot country it was apt to putrefy, and as it was considered to be holy, it would have been very improper to expose that to putrefaction which had been consecrated to the Divine Being. Mr. Harmer supposes that the law here refers rather to the custom of drying flesh which had been devoted to religious purposes, which is practiced among the Mohammedans to the present time. This, he thinks, might have given rise to the prohibition, as the sacred flesh thus preserved might have been abused to superstitious purposes. Therefore God says, ver. 18, "If any of the flesh of the sacrifice-be eaten at all on the third day, it shall not be accepted, neither shall it be imputed unto him that offereth it; it is an abomination, and the soul that eateth of it shall bear his iniquity." That is, on Mr. Harmer's hypothesis, This sacred flesh shall avail nothing to him that eats it after the first or second day on which it is offered; however consecrated before, it shall not be considered sacred after that time. See Harmer's Obs., vol. i., p. 394, edit. 1808.

    Verse 20. "Having his uncleanness upon him" - Having touched any unclean thing by which he became legally defiled, and had not washed his clothes, and bathed his flesh.

    Verse 21. "The uncleanness of man" - Any ulcer, sore, or leprosy; or any sort of cutaneous disorder, either loathsome or infectious.

    Verse 23. "Fat, of ox, or of sheep, or of goat." - Any other fat they might eat, but the fat of these was sacred, because they were the only animals which were offered in sacrifice, though many others ranked among the clean animals as well as these. But it is likely that this prohibition is to be understood of these animals when offered in sacrifice, and then only in reference to the inward fat, as mentioned on ver. 4. Of the fat in any other circumstances it cannot be intended, as it was one of the especial blessings which God gave to the people. Butter of kine, and milk of sheep, with FAT of LAMBS, and RAMS of the breed of Bashan, and GOATS, were the provision that he gave to his followers. See Deut. xxxii. 12-14.

    Verse 27. "Whatsoever soul-that eateth any manner of blood" - See the note on "Gen. ix. 4". Shall be cut off - excommunicated from the people of God, and so deprived of any part in their inheritance, and in their blessings. See the note on "Genesis xvii. 14".

    Verse 29. "Shall bring his oblation" - Meaning those things which were given out of the peace-offerings to the Lord and to the priest.- Ainsworth.

    Verse 30. "Wave-offering" - See on "Exod. xxix. 27".

    Verse 32. "The right shoulder" - See on "Exod. xxix. 27".

    Verse 36. "In the day that he anointed them" - See the note on "Exod. xl. 15".

    Verse 38. "In the wilderness of Sinai." - These laws were probably given to Moses while he was on the mount with God; the time was quite sufficient, as he was there with God not less than fourscore days in all; forty days at the giving, and forty days at the renewing of the law. As in the course of this book the different kinds of sacrifices commanded to be offered are repeatedly occurring, I think it best, once for all, to give a general account of them, and a definition of the original terms, as well as of all others relative to this subject which are used in the Old Testament, and the reference in which they all stood to the great sacrifice offered by Christ. 1. a ASHAM, TRESPASS-offering, from a asham, to be guilty, or liable to punishment; for in this sacrifice the guilt was considered as being transferred to the animal offered up to God, and the offerer redeemed from the penalty of his sin, ver. 37. Christ is said to have made his soul an offering for sin, ( a ,) Isa. liii. 10. 2. ha ISHSHEH, FIRE-offering, probably from a ashash, to be grieved, angered, inflamed; either pointing out the distressing nature of sin, or its property of incensing Divine justice against the offender, who, in consequence, deserving burning for his offense, made use of this sacrifice to be freed from the punishment due to his transgression. It occurs Exod. xxix. 18, and in many places of this book. 3. ybhbh HABHABIM, ITERATED OR REPEATED offerings, from bhy yahab, to supply. The word occurs only in Hos. viii. 13, and probably means no more than the continual repetition of the accustomed offerings, or continuation of each part of the sacred service. 4. jbz ZEBACH, A SACRIFICE, (in Chaldee, jbd debach, the z zain being changed into d daleth,) a creature slain in sacrifice, from jbz zabach, to slay; hence the altar on which such sacrifices were offered was termed jbzm mizbeach, the place of sacrifice. See the note on "Gen. viii. 20". Zebach is a common name for sacrifices in general. 5. gj CHAG, a festival, especially such as had a periodical return, from ggj chagag, to celebrate a festival, to dance round and round in circles. See Exod. v. 1; xii. 24. The circular dance was probably intended to point out the revolution of the heavenly bodies, and the exact return of the different seasons. See Parkhurst. 6. tafj CHATTATH and hafj CHATTAAH, Sin-offering, from afj chata, to miss the mark; it also signifies sin in general, and is a very apt term to express its nature by. A sinner is continually aiming at and seeking happiness; but as he does not seek it in God, hence the Scripture represents him as missing his aim, or missing the mark. This is precisely the meaning of the Greek word amaptia, translated sin and sin-offering in our version; and this is the term by which the Hebrew word is translated both by the Septuagint and the inspired writers of the New Testament. The sin-offering was at once an acknowledgment of guilt, in having forsaken the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns that could hold none; and also of the firm purpose of the offerer to return to God, the true and pure fountain of blessedness. This word often occurs. See the note on "Gen. iv. 7". See the note on "Genesis xiii. 13". 7. rpk COPHER, the EXPIATION or ATONEMENT, from rpk caphar, to cover, to smear over, or obliterate, or annul a contract. Used often to signify the atonement or expiation made for the pardon or cancelling of iniquity. See Clark's note on "Exod. xxv. 17". 8. d[wm MOED, an APPOINTED annual festival, from d[y yaad, to appoint or constitute, signifying such feasts as were instituted in commemoration of some great event or deliverance, such as the deliverance from Egypt. See Exodus xiii. 10, and thus differing from the chag mentioned above. See the note on "Gen. i. 14". 9. yalm MILLUIM, CONSECRATIONS or consecration-offerings, from alm mala, to fill; those offerings made in consecrations, of which the priests partook, or, in the Hebrew phrase, had their hands filled, or which had filled the hands of them that offered them. See the note on "Exod. xxix. 19"; and see 2 Chron. xiii. 9. 10. hjnm MINCHAH, MEAT-offering, from jn nach, to rest, settle after toil. It generally consisted of things without life, such as green ears of corn, full ears of corn, flour, oil, and frankincense; (see on chap. ii. 1, &c.;) and may be considered as having its name from that rest from labour and toil which a man had when the fruits of the autumn were brought in, or when, in consequence of obtaining any rest, ease, &c., a significant offering or sacrifice was made to God. It often occurs. See the note on "Gen. iv. 3". The jealousy-offering (Num. v. 15) was a simple minchah, consisting of barley-meal only. 11. sm MESECH and smm MIMSACH, a MIXTURE-offering, or MIXED LIBATION, called a DRINK-offering, Isa. lv. 11, from sm masach, to mingle; it seems in general to mean old wine mixed with the less, which made it extremely intoxicating. This offering does not appear to have had any place in the worship of the true God; but from Isa. lxv. 11, and Prov. xxiii. 30, it seems to have been used for idolatrous purposes, such as the Bacchanalia among the Greeks and Romans, "when all got drunk in honour of the god." 12. tam MASSEETH, an OBLATION, things carried to the temple to be presented to God, from an nasa, to bear or carry, to bear sin; typically, Exod. xxviii. 38; chap. x. 17; xvi. 21; really, Isaiah liii. 4, 12. The sufferings and death of Christ were the true masseeth or vicarious bearing of the sins of mankind, as the passage in Isaiah above referred to sufficiently proves.

    See this alluded to by the Evangelist John, John i. 29; and see the root in Parkhurst. 13. hbdn NEDABAH, FREE-WILL, or voluntary offering; from bdn nadab, to be free, liberal, princely. An offering not commanded, but given as a particular proof of extraordinary gratitude to God for especial mercies, or on account of some vow or engagement voluntarily taken, ver. 16. 14. sn NESECH, LIBATION, OR DRINK-offering, from sn nasach, to diffuse or pour out. Water or wine poured out at the conclusion or confirmation of a treaty or covenant. To this kind of offering there is frequent allusion and reference in the New Testament, as it typified the blood of Christ poured out for the sin of the world; and to this our Lord himself alludes in the institution of the holy eucharist. The whole Gospel economy is represented as a covenant or treaty between God and man, Jesus Christ being not only the mediator, but the covenant sacrifice, whose blood was poured out for the ratification and confirmation of this covenant or agreement between God and man. 15. nl[ and hlw[ OLAH, BURNT-offering, from hl[ alah, to ascend, because this offering, as being wholly consumed, ascended as it were to God in smoke and vapor. It was a very expressive type of the sacrifice of Christ, as nothing less than his complete and full sacrifice could make atonement for the sin of the world.

    In most other offerings the priest, and often the offerer, had a share, but in the whole burnt-offering all was given to God. 16. trfq KETORETH, INCENSE OR PERFUME-offering, from rfq katar, to burn, i. e., the frankincense, and other aromatics used as a perfume in different parts of the Divine service. To this St. Paul compares the agreeableness of the sacrifice of Christ to God, Eph. v. 2: Christ hath given himself for us, an offering-to God for a SWEET-SMELLING savour. From Rev. v. 8 we learn that it was intended also to represent the prayers of the saints, which, offered up on the altar, Christ Jesus, that sanctifies every gift, are highly pleasing in the sight of God. 17. brq KORBAN, the GIFT-offering, from brq karab to draw nigh or approach. See this explained on chap. i. 2.

    Korban was a general name for any kind of offering, because through these it was supposed a man had access to his Maker. 18. yml SHELAMIM, PEACE-offering, from l shalam, to complete, make whole; for by these offerings that which was lacking was considered as being now made up, and that which was broken, viz., the covenant of God, by his creatures' transgression, was supposed to be made whole; so that after such an offering, the sincere and conscientious mind had a right to consider that the breach was made up between God and it, and that it might lay confident hold on this covenant of peace. To this the apostle evidently alludes, Eph. ii. 14-19: He is our peace, (i. e. our shalam or peace-offering,) who has made both one, and broken down the middle wall; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, &c. See the whole passage, and see the note on "Gen. xiv. 18". 19. hdwt TODAH, THANK- offering, from hdy yadah, to confess; offerings made to God with public confession of his power, goodness, mercy, &c. 20. hpwnt TENUPHAH, WAVE-offering, from Pn naph, to stretch out; an offering of the first-fruits stretched out before God, in acknowledgment of his providential goodness.

    This offering was moved from the right hand to the left. See the note on "Exod. xxix. 27". 21. hmwrt TERUMAH, HEAVE- offering, from ark ram, to lift up, because the offering was lifted up towards heaven, as the wave - offering, in token of the kindness of God in granting rain and fruitful seasons, and filling the heart with food and gladness. As the wave- offering was moved from right to left, so the heave-offering was moved up and down; and in both cases this was done several times. These offerings had a blessed tendency to keep alive in the breasts of the people a due sense of their dependence on the Divine providence and bounty, and of their obligation to God for his continual and liberal supply of all their wants. See the note on "Exodus xxix. 27". In the above collection are comprised, as far as I can recollect, an explanation of all the terms used in the Hebrew Scriptures which signify sacrifice, oblation, atonement, offering, &c., &c., as well as the reference they bear to the great and only sufficient atonement, sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction made by Christ Jesus for the sins of mankind. Larger accounts must be sought in authors who treat professedly on these subjects.

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