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Le 1:1-17. BURNT OFFERINGS OF THE HERD.
1. the Lord . . . spake . . . out of the tabernacle--The laws that are contained in the previous record were delivered either to the people publicly from Sinai, or to Moses privately, on the summit of that mountain; but on the completion of the tabernacle, the remainder of the law was announced to the Hebrew leader by an audible voice from the divine glory, which surmounted the mercy seat.
2. Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them--If the
subject of communication were of a temporal nature, the Levites were
excluded; but if it were a spiritual matter, all the tribes were
comprehended under this name
3. a burnt sacrifice--so called from its being wholly consumed
on the altar; no part of it was eaten either by the priests or the
offerer. It was designed to propitiate the anger of God incurred by
original sin, or by particular transgressions; and its entire
combustion indicated the self-dedication of the offerer--his whole
nature--his body and soul--as necessary to form a sacrifice acceptable
This was the most ancient as well as the most conspicuous mode of
4. shall put his hand upon the head--This was a significant act
which implied not only that the offerer devoted the animal to God, but
that he confessed his consciousness of sin and prayed that his guilt
and its punishment might be transferred to the victim.
5. he shall kill the bullock--The animal should be killed by the
offerer, not by the priest, for it was not his duty in case of
voluntary sacrifices; in later times, however, the office was generally
performed by Levites.
8. the fat--that about the kidneys especially, which is called "suet."
9. but his inwards and his legs shall he wash in water,
&c.--This part of the ceremony was symbolical of the inward
purity, and the holy walk, that became acceptable worshippers.
10-13. if his offering be of the flocks--Those who could not afford the expense of a bullock might offer a ram or a he-goat, and the same ceremonies were to be observed in the act of offering.
14-17. if the burnt sacrifice . . . be of fowls--The gentle nature and cleanly habits of the dove led to its selection, while all other fowls were rejected, either for the fierceness of their disposition or the grossness of their taste; and in this case, there being from the smallness of the animal no blood for waste, the priest was directed to prepare it at the altar and sprinkle the blood. This was the offering appointed for the poor. The fowls were always offered in pairs, and the reason why Moses ordered two turtledoves or two young pigeons, was not merely to suit the convenience of the offerer, but according as the latter was in season; for pigeons are sometimes quite hard and unfit for eating, at which time turtledoves are very good in Egypt and Palestine. The turtledoves are not restricted to any age because they are always good when they appear in those countries, being birds of passage; but the age of the pigeons is particularly marked that they might not be offered to God at times when they are rejected by men [HARMER]. It is obvious, from the varying scale of these voluntary sacrifices, that the disposition of the offerer was the thing looked to--not the costliness of his offering.