J. H. KURTZ, D. D.









       JAMES MARTIN, B.A.,








          T & T. CLARK. 38 GEORGE STREET





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TWENTY years have passed since I was prompted by the appear-

ance of Bahr's Symbolik to publish my work on “Das Mosaische

Opfer, Mitau 1842." As this work was sold off in the course of

a few years, I cherished the desire and intention of meeting the

questions that were continually arising, by preparing a new edition,

as soon as I should have finished another work which I had then

in hand. But the longer this task was postponed, the greater the

obstacles to its execution appeared. For year after year writings

upon this subject were constantly accumulating, which for the most

part were strongly opposed to the standpoint and results of my

own work, both in their fundamental view and in their interpretation

of various details. These writings had also shown me much that

was weak and unsatisfactory in my own work, particularly in the

elaboration of the separate parts; though opposition had only con-

vinced me more and more of the entire correctness of my earlier

opinions, which were no other than the traditional and orthodox

views. But this did not render me insensible to the fact, that if

the work was to be taken up again, it must be in the form of a

thoroughly new book. On the former occasion I had simply to

overthrow the views of one single opponent, which were as unscrip-

tural as they were unorthodox, and to raise by the side a new

edifice upon the old, firm foundation of the Church. Now, on the

contrary, not only is there a whole forest of opposing standpoints

and opinions to be dealt with, that differ quite as much from one

another, as they do from the view which I have advocated; but

8                                              PREFACE.


so many breaches have been made in the edifice erected by me,

that simply repairing the injured and untenable posts is quite out

of the question, and it is much better to pull down the old building

altogether and erect a new one in its place. The foundation,

indeed, still remains the same, and many of the stones formerly

employed prove themselves still sound; but even these require

fresh chiselling, and such as are not usable have to be laid aside

for new ones.

For so extensive a work, however, I could find neither time nor

leisure, especially as my studies lay in other directions, in conse-

quence of a change that had taken place in the meantime in my

official post and duties. It was not till a year and a half ago,

when my academical labours led once more in the direction of Bibli-

cal Antiquities, that I had to enter ex professo into the Sacrificial

Worship of the Old Testament. With this there arose so strong a

desire to work once more at the subject with a view to publication,

and thus, so to speak, to wipe off old debts, that I could not refrain

any longer. Hence the present volume, which has assumed a

totally different form from the earlier one, and therefore is to be

regarded as an entirely new and independent work.

Thomasius, when speaking of the Old Testament Sacrifices in

his well-known work on Scripture Doctrines (III. 1, p. 39), says:

“It ought, indeed, to be possible to appeal in this case to the con-

sensus of expositors; but how widely do the views of modern writers

differ from one another as to the meaning of this institution!”  It

seems to me, however, that there are but a few prominent points of

Biblical Theology in which such a demand can possibly be made,

and in this point perhaps least of all. Yet there is certainly hardly

any other case, in which the complaints that are made as to the con-

fusion of contradictory views are so perfectly warranted as they are

here. How widely, for example, are theologians separated, who


PREFACE.                                                     9


generally stand closest together when questions relating to the

Church, the Bible, or Theology are concerned, e.g., Hofmann and

Baumgarten, Delitzsch and Kliefoth, Oehler and Keil! To what an

extent doctrinal standpoints, that are in other respects the most op-

posed, may be associated here, is evident from the fact, that in an-

swering the most essential and fundamental question of all, viz.,

whether the slaughtering of the expiatory sacrifice had the signifi-

cation of a poena vicaria, it is possible for me to stand by the side,

not of Hofrnann, Keil, Oehler, and Delitzsch, but of Gesenius, De

Wette, and Knobel.

In this state of affairs, a monograph upon this subject would not

be complete, without examining the theories of opponents, however

great their confusion may frequently be, as well as building up one's

own. Even where there is so little agreement, so little common

ground, and on the other hand, so much opposition in details and

in general principles, in the foundation as well as in the superstruc-

ture, it appears to me to be the duty of an author towards his

readers, not only to tell them his own views and to defend them by

rebutting unwarrantable and unsuccessful attacks, but to give them

a full explanation of the opposite views, and his reason for not adopt-

ing ing them, in order that they may be placed in circumstances to

survey the whole ground of the questions in dispute, and to form

their own independent judgment, even though they may be led to

differ from the views and conclusions of the author himself.

My reason for giving a secondary title to this book,1 by which


1 The present volume is published in the original with two separate title-

pages. One is the title prefixed to this Translation; the other, "History of the

Old Covenant; Supplement to the second volume: The Giving of the Law; Part

I. The Law of Worship." As the author expressly states that he has written this

as an independent work, there was no necessity to publish the second title-page

in the English Translation. The reader will be able to assign it to its proper

connection with the " History of the Old Covenant."--TR.

10                                            PREFACE.


I connect it with my “History of the Old Covenant,” is the follow-

ing:--According to the original plan of that work, the second

volume, which describes the historical circumstances of the Mosaic

age, was to be followed by a systematic account of the Mosaic laws.1

But I had not the time to carry out the present work on so exten-

sive a scale. Moreover, as I have already stated, it has not arisen

from the necessity for going on with the work just mentioned (a

necessity which unquestionably does press most powerfully upon

me), but from the necessity for returning to a subject upon which

I had already written twenty years ago, and which had been taken

up since from so many different points of view, in order that I

might remove such faults and imperfections in my former work as

I had been able to discover, and avail myself of new materials for

establishing and elaborating my views. At the same time, by the

publication of this volume, the substance of which was to have

formed an integral part of my larger work, I have precluded the

possibility of carrying out the latter upon the plan originally pro-

posed. I have thought it desirable, therefore, that the third volume

of that work should continue the history itself (as far as the estab-

lishment of the kingdom); and that the present volume should

appear as the first part of a supplementary work, embracing the

various parts of the Mosaic legislation.


1 This plan is referred to at vol. ii. p. 328 of the original, vol. iii. p. 102 of

the English Translation.--TR.










              OLD TESTAMENT.


CHAPTER I. The Persons Sacrificing,                                                                    18


A. § 1-5. The People,                                                                                    18


B. § 6-9. The Priests,                                                                                     33


,,     II. § 10-16. The Place of Sacrifice,                                                                   39


    III. § 17-25. The Various Kinds of Sacrifice,                                                    51











CHAPTER I. § 27-30. The Notion of Expiation,                                                    66


     „ II. § 31-34. The Objects used in Sacrifice,                                                       75


     „ III. § 35-47. The Presentation and Laying on of Hands,                                  82


    „ IV. § 48-71. Slaughtering, and Sprinkling of the Blood,                                 101


     „ V. § 72-84. Burning of the Sacrifice, and the Sacrificial Meal,                    150


12                                TABLE OF CONTENTS.






CHAPTER I. Distinguishing Characteristics of the Bleeding Sacrifice, 174


A. § 85-88. The Sin-Offering, Burnt-Offering, and Peace-

     Offering,                                                                                                   174


B. § 89-92. The Common Basis of the Sin-Offering and

                  Trespass-Offering,                                                                                  182    


C. § 93-105. The Difference between the Sin-Offering and

      the Trespass-Offering,                                                                            189


     „ II. § 106-122. Ritual of the Sin-Offering and Trespass-Offering,                213


     ,, III. § 123-139. Ritual of the Burnt-Offering and Peace-Offer-

     ing,                                                                                                             249


BOOK III.      




CHAPTER I. § 140-146. Material of the Bloodless Sacrifice,                            281


      „ II. § 147-157. The Minchah of the Fore-Court,                                             296


      ,, III. §158-161. The Minchah of the Holy Place,                                            315








CHAPTER I. The Consecration of the People, the Priests, and the Levites,       322


A. § 162-164. Covenant Consecration of the People,                               322


B. § 165-172. Consecration of the Priests and the Sanc-

tuary,                                                                                                   328


C. § 173. Consecration of the Levites,                                                       340

TABLE OF CONTENTS.                                                      13



CHAPTER II. Adaptation of the Sacrificial Worship to Special Seasons

and Feasts,                                                                                                      341


A. § 174-176. Mosaic Idea of a Feast,                                                        341


B.§ 177-179. Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Service,                                  348


C. § 180-189. The Feast of Passover,                                                         355


D. § 190-193. The Feast of Pentecost.                                                       376


E. § 194-196. The Feast of Tabernacles,                                                    381


F. § 197-212. The Day of Atonement,                                                        385


    ,, III. Adaptation of the Sacrificial Worship to the Levitical and

Priestly Purifications,                                                                                  415


A. § 213-216. Nature and Idea of Uncleanness in connec-

tion with Worship,                                                                            415


B. § 217-223. Removal of Uncleanness caused by Touch-

ing a Corpse,                                                                                      422


C. § 224-228. Cleansing of a Leper when Cured,                                      432


      „ IV. Adaptation of the Sacrificial Worship to certain Peculiar

Circumstances,                                                                                              440


A. § 229-230. Presentation of the First-Born of Cattle,                           440


B. § 231-233. The Nazarite's Offering,                                                       443


C. § 234-237. The Jealousy Offering,                                                         447






BAEHR, K. CHR. W. F., Symbolik des Mosaischen Cultus. 2 Bde. Heidelb.

1837, 39.

----- Der salomonische Tempel. Karlsruhe 1848.

BAUMGARTEN, M., Theologischer Commentar zum Pentateuch. Zweiter Bd.

Kiel 1844.

BUNSEN, CHR. C. J., Vollstandiges Bibelwerk. Erster Bd. Leipzig 1858.

DELITZSCH, FR., Commentar zum Hebraerbrief. Leipzig 1857.

----- System der biblischen Psychologie. Leipzig 1855.

DIESTEL, Set-Typhon, Asahel and Satan. In Niedner's Zeitschrift fur histor.

Theologie. 1860. Heft ii.

EBRARD, J. H. A., Die Lehre von der stellvertretenden Genugthuung. Konigsb.


EWALD, H., Die Alterthumer des Volkes Israel. 2. Aufl. Gottingen 1854.

FUERST, J.,  Hebraisches and Chaldaisches Handworterbuch. Leipzig 1857 ff.

GESENIUS, Thesaurus philol. crit. lingua Hebr. et Chald. Lipsiae 1835 sqq.

HAEVERNICK, Vorlesungen uber die Theologie des A. T., herausg. von H. A.

Hahn. Erlangen 1848.

HENGSTENBERG, E. W., Die Opfer der heil. Schrift. Ein Vortrag. Berlin 1852.

----- Das Passa. Evangel. Kirchenzeitung. Jahrg. 1852. No. 16-18.

----- Das Ceremonialgesetz. In his Beitrage zur Einleit. ins A. Test. Bd. iii.

Berlin 1839. (Dissertations on the Pentateuch, 2 vols. Translated

by Ryland. Clark 1847.)

-----Die Bucher Mose's and Aegypten. Berlin 1841. (Egypt and the Books

of Moses. Clark 1845.)

HOFMANN, J. CAR. K. VON, Der Schriftbeweis. Zweite Halfte, erste Abth. 2

Aufl. Nordlingen 1859.

----- Weissagung and Erfullung. Nordlingen 1841.

KAHNIS, K. F. A., Lutheriscbe Dogmatik. Bd. i. Leipzig 1862.



KARCH, G., Die mosaischen Opfer als vorbildliche Grundlage der Bitten im

Vaterunser. 2 Theile. Wurzburg 1856 f.

KEIL, K. FR., Handbuch der bibl. Archaologie. Erste Halfte: Die gottesdienst-

lichen Verhaltnisse der Israeliten. Frankfurt 1858.

----- Die Opfer des A. Bundes nach ihrer symbolischen and typischen Bedeu-

tung. Luth. Zeitscbrift 1856, iv., 1857, i. ii. iii.

----- Biblischer Commentar uber die Bucher Mose's. Bd. i. Gen. and Exod.

Leipzig 1861.

KLIEFOTH, TH., Liturgische Abhandlungen. Bd. iv. Auch u.. d. Titel: Die

ursprungl. Gottesdienstordnung u. s. w. Bd. i. 2 Aufl. Schwerin


KNOBEL, A., Die Bucher Exodus and Leviticus erklart. Leipzig 1857.

----- Die Bucher Numeri, Deuteron. and Josua erklart. Leipzig 1861.

NEUMANN, W., Die Opfer des alten Bundes. Deutsche Zeitschr. fur christl.

Wissenschaft von Schneider. Jahrg. 1852, 1853.  r i

-----Sacra V. T. Salutaria. Lipsae 1854.

OEHLER, Der Opfercultus des Alten Test. In Herzog's theolog. Realencyclop.

Bd. x. Gotha 1858.

----- Priesterthum im A. Test. Bd: xii. Gotha 1860.

OUTRAM, G., De sacrificiis 11. 2. Amstelod. 1678.

RIEHM, E., Ueber das Schuldopfer. Theol. Studien and Kritiken. 1854.

RINCK, S. W Ueber das Schuldopfer. Theol. Studien and Kritiken. 1855.        

SCHOLL, G. H. F., Ueber die Opferidee der Alten, insbesondere der Juden. In

the Studien der evangel. Geistlichkeit Wurtembergs. Bd. iv. Heft

1-3. Stuttgart 1832.

SCHULTZ, FR. W., Das Deuteronomium erklart. Berlin 1859.

SOMMER, J. G., Biblische Abhandlungen. Bd. i. Bonn 1846. Vierte Abbandl.:

Rein and Unrein nach dem mosaisch. Gesetze S. 183 ff.

STEUDEL, J. CHR. FR., Vorlesungen uber die Theologie des A. Test. herausg.

von G. Fr. Oehler. Berlin 1840.

STOECKL, A., Das Opfer, each seinem Wesen and seiner Geschichte. Mainz


THALHOFER, V., Die unblutigen Opfer des mosaischen Cultus. Regensburg


THOLUCK, A., Das alte Testament im neuen Testament. 5 Aufl. Gotha 1861.

THOMASIUS, G., Christi Person and Werk. Bd. iii. Erlangen 1859.

WELTE, B., Mosaische Opfer. Kirchenlexicon von Wetzer und Welte. Bd. x.

Freiburg 1851.

WINER, G. B., Biblisches Realworterbuch. 2 Bde. Leipzig 1847 f.       















                                        OLD TESTAMENT.


AS the subject in hand is the sacrificial worship of the Old

Testament, that is to say, of the Israelites before Christ,

we have no need to raise the question: To whom were

the sacrifices presented? By worship (cultus) we mean

the worship of GOD; and from the very fact that the sacrifices of

which we are speaking formed an essential ingredient in the Old

Testament worship, they also formed a part of that service which

Israel was required to render to its GOD.--A general answer is also

thus obtained to the further question: By whom were the sacrifices

presented? At the same time, we must inquire somewhat minutely

into the peculiar position and organization of the Israelitish nation,

so far as they affected the worship offered, in order to secure the ne-

cessary basis for our investigation of the precise nature of the sacri-

ficial worship of the Old Testament. With this we shall also have

to connect an inquiry into the nature and importance of the place

in which the sacrifices were presented, since this affected the sacri-

ficial worship in various ways. And, lastly, we shall also have to

discuss the questions: What was sacrifice, and what were the dif-

ferent modes of sacrificing?--In this introductory part, therefore,

we shall have to treat:  1. Of the persons sacrificing;  2. Of the

place of sacrifice; and  3. Of the different varieties of sacrifice.

We shall take them in the order thus given, for the simple reason

18                    THE PERSONS SACRIFICING.


that the arrangement of the place of sacrifice was affected by the

organization of the persons sacrificing, and the varieties of sacrifice

were affected by them both.








        A. THE PEOPLE.


§ 1. When Jehovah had delivered His chosen people Israel (His

“first-born,” Ex. iv. 22) out of the bondage of Egypt, and brought

them as on eagles' wings to Sinai--the eternal altar erected for that

purpose at the creation of the world, where He was about to renew

the covenant, which He had made with the fathers of this people,

with their descendants who were now a great nation, and to estab-

lish them on a firm and immovable foundation by giving them His

law,--He first directed His servant Moses (Ex. xix. 4-6) to lay be-

fore the people the preliminaries of that law, in which the future

calling of Israel was declared to be this: to be Jehovah's possession

before all nations, and as such to be a kingdom of priests and a holy


This expressed, on the negative side, the selection and separation

of Israel from all other nations, and its obligation to be unlike them;

and on the positive side, its obligation to belong to Jehovah alone,

to be holy, because and as He Himself is holy (Lev. xix. 2), and

in all it did and left undone throughout its entire history, to act in

subservience to the saving designs of Jehovah, as the only way by

which it could become the medium of salvation to all nations (Gen.

xii. 3, xxviii. 14).1

In the destination of Israel to be peculiarly “a kingdom of

priests,” so that the whole nation was to consist of nothing but

priests, it was distinctly taught that every Israelite was to bear a

priestly character, and to possess and exercise the specific privileges

and duties of the priesthood. But was soon manifest that Israel,

as then constituted, and in the existing stage of the history of sal-


1 For a thorough and careful examination of the contents of these prelimi-

naries of the covenant, see History of the Old Covenant, vol. iii. pp. 102 sqq.


THE PEOPLE.                                                           19


vation, was not in a condition to enter at once upon its priestly

vocation, and fulfil its priestly work of conveying salvation to the

rest of the nations. For it speedily furnished a practical proof of

its unfitness even for the first and most essential preliminary to this

vocation, viz., that it should draw near to Jehovah, and hold per-

sonal and immediate intercourse with Him (Num. xvi. 5), by turn-

ing round and hurrying away in terror and alarm when it was led

up to the sacred mountain, and Jehovah descended amidst thunder

and lightning, and proclaimed to the assembled congregation out of

the fire and blackness of the mountain the ten fundamental words

of the covenant law.  On that occasion they said to Moses (Ex. xx.

19); “Speak thou with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak

with us, lest we die” (cf. Deut. v. 22 sqq.). By these words they

renounced the great privilege of the priesthood, that of drawing

near to God, and holding personal and immediate intercourse with

Him. With their consciousness of unholiness, they felt that they

were not ripe or qualified for entering upon the fulness of their

priestly vocation. They felt rather that they needed a mediator

themselves to carry on their intercourse with God. The designs of

God Himself with reference to the covenant had from the very

first contemplated this (Ex. xx. 20); but it was necessary that the

people themselves should discover and clearly discern, that for the

time it could not be otherwise. Jehovah therefore expressed His

approval of the people's words (Dent. v. 28, “They have well said

all that they have spoken”); and from that time forth Moses was

formally appointed on both sides as the mediator of the covenant

for the period of its first establishment and early development in

the giving of the law, and at a later period the family of his

brother Aaron was called and set apart by the law itself as a per-

manent priesthood for the priestly nation.

But even after thus declining the specific work of the priest-

hood, Israel still remained the holy, chosen nation, which was not

to be like other nations, but holy, as Jehovah is holy. It continued

to be the possession of Jehovah above all nations; and it still stood

out as a priest of God, distinct from them in life and conduct, in

the possession of divine revelation, of divine institutions, and of the

means of salvation, as well as in the calling to become the vehicle

of salvation to all mankind. The qualifications for this calling it

first truly received through the conclusion of the covenant and its

consecration at Sinai. And even the idea of the universal priest-

hood of the whole nation, however much ground it had lost by the

20                                THE PERSONS SACRIFICING.


temporary demands of a separate priesthood, retained enough to

preserve its hold upon the consciousness of the people, and to point

their longing hopes to the time of fulfilment, when they should enter

upon the full (active) possession of all the privileges and blessings

of the universal priesthood (1 Pet. ii. 5, 9).

§ 2. Birth from Israelitish parents secured to the new-born

child a claim to be received into the membership of the covenant

nation, but did not confer, or even guarantee, membership itself.

On the contrary, a special act of initiation was necessary, viz., the

rite of CIRCUMCISION (hlAUm), which was also performed upon every

stranger who desired to forsake heathenism and to be incorporated

into the covenant nation (Gen. xvii. 27, xxxiv. 14 sqq. ; Ex. xii. 43,

44). Circumcision had been instituted as a sign and seal of that

covenant which God concluded with Abraham (Gen. xvii. 10--14).

But as the Sinaitic covenant was neither an absolutely new one,

nor essentially different from the one which God had previously

concluded with the father of the nation, but was simply the renewal

of that covenant as the basis of their national existence, the same

covenant initiation and covenant seal was still retained for every

individual, as that by which Abraham first entered into the cove-

nant when he was called “alone” (Isa. li. 2).

As circumcision comes only so far into consideration in connec-

tion with the sphere of religious worship, that it attested the fact of

membership in the covenant nation, and on that account was the

conditio sine qua non of participation in certain sacrificial acts; an

inquiry into the origin, essence, and significance of this institution

would lead us too far away from our present object; and there is

the less necessity for it here on account of what we have already

written on the question (Hist. of the Old Covenant, vol. i. pp. 231

sqq. translation).1

But there were many NON-ISRAELITES (MyriGe) living in the land

of Israel, for whose condition care was taken to make provision even

in the earliest code of laws (viz., that contained in the middle books


1 Keil's objections to my remarks, in his Bibl. Archaologie i. 311, do not

really touch them; and they are the more surprising, since his own explanation

("Its significance lay in the religious idea, that the corruption of sin brought

into human nature by the fall was concentrated in the organ of generation,

inasmuch as it is generally in the sexual life that it comes out most strongly;

and, therefore, the first thing necessary for the sanctification of life is the puri-

fication or sanctification of the organ by which life is propagated") coincides so

exactly with the first part of the results of my inquiry, that it might be called

a brief summary of them.

THE PEOPLE.                                               21


of the Pentateuch). If they would allow themselves to be formally

and fully incorporated into the covenant nation by receiving circum-

cision, a perfect equality with the Israelite by birth was guaranteed

to them by the law in both religious and political privileges (Ex. xii.

48). They then ceased to be foreigners. At any rate, there can be

no doubt that when we read in the Thorah of "the stranger that is

within thy gates," or "in the midst of thee," etc., we have invariably

to think of uncircumcised settlers, or foreigners who had not been

naturalized. The rule with respect to their civil position is laid

down in the fundamental principle, "One law shall be to him that

is home-born, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you"

(Ex. xii. 49, cf. Lev. xxiv. 22 and Num. xv. 15, 16). And since

they had, as strangers, no relations to fall back upon, they were ur-

gently commended in Deuteronomy to the especial protection of

the authorities, in common with widows and orphans; and because

they had no inheritance in the holy land, and could not even

acquire landed property, they were to be admitted to the festal and

tithing meals along with the poor of the nation (Ex. xii. 48; Num.

ix. 14; Deut. xiv. 28, 29, xvi. 10 sqq., xxvi. 11 sqq.), and were to

share with them in the gleaning of the vintage, the fruit-gathering,

and the harvest, and in the produce of the sabbatical year (Lev.

xix. 10, xxiii. 22, xxv. 6; Dent. xxiv. 19 sqq.).

In return for these privileges, they were required, on the other

hand, to submit to certain restrictions. For example, they were to

abstain from everything which was an abomination to the Israelites,

and consequently to renounce all idolatry, the eating of blood, etc.

(Ex. xii. 19, xx. 10; Lev. xvi. 29, xvii. 8 sqq., xviii. 20, xx. 2,

xxiv. 16 sqq.; Num. xv. 13 sqq.;  Dent. v. 14); they were also to

fast along with the Israelites on the great day of atonement (Lev.

xvi. 29), and to keep the Sabbath as strictly as they (Ex. xx. 10,

xxiii. 12). Their relation to the sacrificial worship was restricted

to this, that they were allowed to offer all kinds of sacrifice to

Jehovah (burnt-offerings, and peace- (or thank-) offerings, according

to Lev. xvii. 8, xxii. 18, 25; and, according to Num. xv. 29, even

sin-offerings also, as circumstances required), and to participate in

the blessings which the sacrifice secured. They could take no part

in the Passover without previous circumcision (Ex. xii. 48). But

admission to the ordinary sacrificial worship at the tabernacle, was

a necessary correlative to the unconditional law against serving and

sacrificing to their former gods whilst in Jehovah's land.

§ 3. While the Israelite was thus marked and sealed in his own

22                                THE PERSONS SACRIFICING.


body as belonging to the covenant nation, the principle of separation

from heathenism,1 or the duty not to be as the heathen, was also

symbolically manifested in other departments, chiefly in his daily

food, but also to some extent in his CLOTHING (Num. xv. 38-40, cf.

Lev. xix. 19 and Dent. xxii. 11). But as there is not the slightest

connection between the latter and the sacrificial worship, it would

be out of place to enter into any closer examination of the laws

relating to that subject. There is all the more reason, however,

why we should carefully examine the restrictions placed upon the

Israelites in relation to their FOOD, inasmuch as they lay, on the

one hand, at the foundation of the legal enactments with reference

to the sacrificial worship, and were, on the other hand, the necessary

result of the fundamental idea of that worship.

The former applies to the division of the animal kingdom into

CLEAN and UNCLEAN; the Israelites being allowed to eat of the

clean, whilst the unclean was prohibited (cf. Lev. xi.; Dent. xiv.).

On the basis of the old Hebrew division of the animal kingdom into

four parts, the law selects from the class of land animals, as clean

or edible, none but those which ruminate and have also cloven

feet, and pronounces all the rest unclean. The principal animals

selected as clean are the ox, the sheep, the goat, and the various

species of stags, and gazelles or antelopes; and as unclean, the

camel, the hare, the badger, and the swine. Among fishes, the

distinguishing characteristic of the clean is, that they have fins and

scales; so that all smooth, eel-like fishes are excluded. In the case

of the birds, there is no general rule laid down, but the unclean are

mentioned by name,--nineteen kinds in Leviticus, and twenty-one

(3 X 7) in Deuteronomy. The first heptad embraces the carni-

vorous and carrion birds,--eagles, vultures, ravens, etc.; the second,

the ostrich and the different species of owls; the third, nothing but

marsh-birds, and the bat. Of the fourth class, or the so-called


1 Since circumcision was a sign and attestation of membership in the cove-

nant nation, the importance of separation and distinction from heathenism was

eo ipso expressed by it. It is true, this seems at variance with the fact that,

according to Herodotus, the Colchians, Egyptians, and Ethiopians also practised

circumcision. But among these nations circumcision was not a universal or

national custom; for, according to Origen, it was only the priests in, Egypt

who submitted to it, and, according to Clemens Alex., only the priests and

those who were initiated into the mysteries. In any case, the distinction be-

tween circumcised and uncircumcised in the Old Testament is uniformly equi-

valent to that between Israelites and non-Israelites (see instar omnium, Jer. ix.

25, 26).

THE PEOPLE.                                               23


swarming animals (Cr,w,), four species of locusts are the only excep-

tions to the universal sentence of uncleanness.

The distinction between clean and unclean animals, with the

command to abstain from eating the flesh of the latter, was never

merely a civil or medical arrangement, based upon sanitary consi-

derations, in any of the nations in which it prevailed, and least of

all among the Hebrews. Such measures as these would have been

altogether foreign to the spirit of ancient legislation. Moreover,

the obligation to observe them was invariably enforced as a religious

duty, and never upon civil grounds. But to smuggle in laws of a

purely material and utilitarian tendency under the hypocritical

name of religious duties, for the mere purpose of facilitating their

entrance and securing a more spirited observance, would have

been a course altogether opposed to the spirit of antiquity, which

was far too naif, too reckless and unreserved, to do anything of the

kind;--whilst the opposite course, of upholding religious duties by

political commands, is met with on every hand.

But the question as to the reason why certain animals were pro-

nounced clean, and certain others unclean, is a somewhat different

one. This may undoubtedly be traceable to sanitary or other similar

considerations, lying outside the sphere of religion. The actual or

supposed discovery, that the flesh of certain animals was uneatable

or prejudicial to health, and a natural repugnance to many animals,

which sometimes could, and at other times could not, be explained,

may no doubt have been the original reason for abhorring or refusing

them as food. And if, either subsequently or at the same time,

some religious motive led to the establishment of a distinction among

animals between clean and unclean, i.e., between eatable and not

eatable, nothing would be more natural than that all those animals,

whose flesh was avoided for the physical or psychical reasons

assigned, should be placed in the category of unclean, and that the

eating of them, which from the one point of view appeared to be

merely prejudicial to health, or repulsive and disgusting to natural

feelings, should, from the other point of view, be prohibited as sinful

and displeasing to God.

In heathenism there were two ways, varying according to the

different starting points, by which a distinction of a religious charac-

ter might have been established in the animal world between clean

and unclean. Dualism, the characteristic peculiarity of which was

to trace the origin of one portion of creation to an evil principle,

whether passing by the name of Ahriman, Typhon, or anything

24                                THE PERSONS SACRIFICING.


else, necessarily included in this category all noxious animals, and

such as excited horror or disgust, and prohibited the eating of them

as bringing the eater into association with the evil principle; and

Pantheism, which regards all life in nature as the progressive

development and externalization of the absolute Deity, necessa-

rily regarded all noxious and repulsive objects in the animal crea-

tion as a deterioration of the divine life, and avoided them in


But both these views are far removed from the Monotheism of

Israel, which recognised neither a dualism of world-creating prin-

ciples, nor a self-development of God assuming shape in noxious or

disgusting forms of life, but only one holy God, who, by virtue of

His omnipotence, and in accordance with His wisdom, created the

world, and all that is therein, both good and holy. Yet even the

Monotheist could not deny the dualism of good and evil, noxious

and salutary, repulsive and attractive, ugly and beautiful, which

actually exists in the world. Moreover, his revelation taught him,

that degradation and corruption had penetrated, through the curse

of sin, into the world which God created good and holy (Gen. iii.

17, v. 29, ix. 5); and he could discern therein, not only the conse-

quence and the curse, but also the image and reflection, of his own

sinful condition.       

When the Israelites were commanded, by their own revealed

law, not to eat of the flesh of certain animals, but to avoid it as

unclean, the supposition is certainly a very natural one, that the

animals designated as unclean were those in which the consequences

or the reflection of human sinfulness and degradation were most

evidently and sharply defined, and that the command to avoid eat-

ing their flesh as an unclean and abominable thing, was intended to

remind and warn them of their own sin, and their own moral and

natural corruption; so that the real tendency of the laws of food

was so far a moral and religious one, resting upon a symbolical

foundation. And this is the most generally received opinion in

relation to the Mosaic laws of food.1


1 The latest writer on Biblical Antiquities, Dr Keil, has nevertheless con-

founded the realist with the symbolical points of view. He says (vol. ii. p. 20),

“This distinction was based upon a certain intuitive feeling, awakened by the

insight of man into the nature of animals, and their appointment for him, before

that intuition had been disturbed by unnatural and ungodly culture. For as

the innate consciousness of God was changed, in consequence of sin, into a voice

of God in the conscience, warning and convicting him of sin and unrighteous-

ness; so this voice of God operated in such a way upon his relation to the earthly

THE PEOPLE.                                               25


But these ideas, which generally and naturally suggest them-

selves, are not borne out, either by the specific marks of cleanness

and uncleanness mentioned in the law, or by the nature and character

of the animals specially designated as clean or unclean, or, lastly,

by the explanations of the lawgiver himself. To give only one or

two examples: Why should so useful, patient, obedient, and endur-

ing an animal as the camel be better fitted to serve as a symbolical

representation of human sinfulness than the stubborn ox, or the

lustful, stinking goat? why the timid hare, more than the timid

antelope? or why the terribly destructive locusts less than so

many other kinds of the great mass of insects (Sherez)? And why

should the want of rumination and of a thoroughly cloven hoof-

the marks by which the uncleanness of the land animals was to be

recognised--exhibit so decided a picture of human sin, that every

animal not possessing these two marks was at once to be pronounced


Moreover--and this is the most important fact--we never find

any such reason brought forward in one law, nor even remotely


creation, and especially to the animal creation, that many animals stood before

his eyes as types of sin and corruption, and filled his mind with repugnance and

disgust. It was not till after the further degradation and obscuration of his

consciousness of God that this repugnance became distorted in various ways

among many tribes, and along with this distortion the ability to select animals

as food, in a manner befitting the vocation of man, became lost as well. But,

for the purpose of bringing the human race back to God, the Mosaic law sought

to sharpen the perception of the nature of sin, and of that disorder which sin

had introduced into nature universally; and to that end it brought out the dis-

tinction between clean and unclean animals, partly according to general signs,

and partly by special enumeration . . . , but without our being able by means

of our own reflection to discern and point out, in each particular instance, either

the reason for the prohibition, or the exact feature in which the ancients dis-

covered a symbol of sin and abomination."--But to this it may be replied, that

if it was "the innate consciousness of God," the "voice of God" within him,

which first of all filled "the mind of man with repugnance and disgust" at the

unclean animals; and if "this repugnance became distorted in various ways

among many tribes, in consequence of the further degradation and obscuration

of their consciousness of God;" and if, "through unnatural and ungodly cul-

ture," the "intuition into the nature of animals and their appointment for man

was disturbed;" or if, on the other hand, the original "selection of the clean

animals," which was restored by the Mosaic law "for the purpose of bringing

the human race back to God," was actually the "proper" one, in fact the one

"befitting man's vocation;" it is difficult to understand how the Apostles could

feel themselves warranted in entirely abolishing the distinction between clean

and unclean animals,--not to mention any of the other objections to this mis-

taken view.

26                                THE PERSONS SACRIFICING.


hinted at as the determining cause; whilst, on the contrary, a

totally different reason is given in Lev. xx. 24-26 in clear and un-

mistakeable words. Thus in ver. 25 we read: "I am Jehovah

your God, which have separated you from the nations. Ye shall

therefore distinguish between clean beasts and unclean, and be-

tween unclean birds and clean; and ye shall not make your souls

abominable by beast, or by bird, or by any manner of living thing

that creepeth on the ground, which I have separated for you as

unclean."--The leading thought in these laws of food, therefore,

was this: because, and as, Jehovah had separated Israel from the

nations; therefore, and so, Israel was to separate the clean animals

from the unclean. Israel was thus to be reminded by its daily food,

of the goodness of God in choosing it from among the nations, of

its peculiar calling and destination, and of its consequent obligation

not to be as the heathen were. The choice of clean animals for

the sustenance of the natural life, was to typify in the sphere of

nature, what had taken place among men through the selection and

vocation of Israel: the heathen nations being represented by the

unclean animals, and Israel by the clean. The fundamental idea of

the Mosaic laws of food, therefore, was not ethical, but historical,

having regard to the history of salvation.

The strongest confirmation is given to this view by the vision

which Peter saw (Acts x. 10 sqq.), and which was intended to set

before his mind the fact, that in Christianity the difference and

opposition between heathen and Jews was entirely removed; so

that the Apostle Paul was able to write to the Colossians (chap.

ii. 16) 17): "Let no man therefore judge you in meat or in drink

which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of


The circumstance that in the Mosaic law the vegetable kingdom

is not divided into clean and unclean, as it is among other nations,

but the animal kingdom alone, is to be explained on the ground

that the sphere of animal life is the higher of the two, the one

nearer to that of humanity, and therefore better adapted to exhibit

relations and contrasts in the world of men; whereas in heathen-

ism the distinction rested upon totally different (viz., physico-theo-

logical) principles, and therefore analogies could be found in the

vegetable as well as in the animal world.

§ 4. But the discovery of the fundamental idea upon which the

general symbolism of this question rests, by no means solves all the

problems presented by the particular details. The question still

THE PEOPLE.                                               27


remains to be answered, in cases where general signs are laid down

as distinguishing clean from unclean, why the animals in which

such signs were observed should be selected as clean, and all the

rest pronounced unclean. W. Schultz, in his Commentary on Deu-

teronomy, expresses the opinion, that “it is easy to see that these

signs were not in themselves the decisive marks of clean and unclean,

but were abstracted after the distinction had been settled on other

grounds;”--in other words, that in themselves they had no signi-

ficance whatever. But how it is easy to see this, he has not in-

formed us. There can be no question, indeed, that when the

Israelitish lawgiver selected these signs, the custom already existed

of avoiding the eating of the flesh of certain animals as injurious,

repulsive, or disgusting; and from this he no doubt abstracted the

common marks, that were henceforth to be the distinguishing signs

of clean and unclean. But even then it may be asked, on the one

hand, why he chose these particular marks as the criterion, rather

than others which could be detected just as easily, and even pre-

sented themselves unsought;--why, for example, in the case of

quadrupeds, he merely fixed upon rumination and cloven feet, and

not also, or indeed primarily, upon the possession of horns, which

would be the very first thing to strike the eye. There is the less

reason for setting aside the omission of this sign as merely accidental

and unimportant, from the fact, that the ancient Egyptians, among

whom Moses had grown up and received his education, selected the

want of horns as the leading sign of uncleanness in the case of

quadrupeds (Porphyr. de abst. 4, 7). The circumstance, therefore,

that Moses fixed upon rumination and a thoroughly divided hoof as

the signs of cleanness, and not the possession of horns, is an evident

proof that he must have had his own special reasons for doing so;

and, with the wide-spread predominance of symbolism in all that

concerned the worship of God, these reasons must be sought for

in their symbolical significance: consequently, rumination and a

thoroughly cloven foot must have possessed a symbolical worth

which horns did not possess, in relation to the fundamental idea of

the distinction to be made. But, on the other hand, it is quite con-

ceivable, and even probable, that through the adoption of these

marks of cleanness, which were taken from the leading representa-

tives of the different classes of animals ordinarily used for food, cer-

tain animals may have been excluded, which would not have been

placed in the category of the unclean, if sanitary, physical, or

psychical considerations alone had prevailed. Thus, for example,

28                                THE PERSONS SACRIFICING.


pork and the flesh of the camel were eaten by other Eastern nations

with great relish, and without the least hesitation.

If we examine the distinctive marks pointed out by the lawgiver,

we shall see at once, that they all relate either to the food eaten by the

animals, or to their mode of locomotion, or to both together. In the

case of the land animals, as being the most perfect, this is particularly

obvious; and here the two signs coincide. With the water animals,

the question of food, which is brought less under the notice of man,

is passed over, and that of locomotion is the only distinction referred

to. Even in the case of the other two classes of animals, which are

not indicated by any general signs, the questions of food and motion

are evidently taken into consideration. With the birds, the food is

clearly the decisive point, except that here it was impossible to

point out any peculiarities in the organs of nutriment, which would

be at the same time both universally applicable and symbolically

significant. For similar reasons, the movements of the birds

could not be adduced as furnishing marks of universal distinction.

In the case of the fourth class, the infinite variety of species in-

cluded, made it impossible to discover distinctive marks that should

be universally applicable. At the same time, the name Cr,w,, i.e.,

swarmers, leads to the conclusion, that their general movements

were taken into consideration, as furnishing a common ground of


The selection of food and locomotion as the leading grounds of

separation in case of every class, is by no means difficult to ex-

plain. For it is precisely in these two functions that the stage of

animal life is most obviously and completely distinguished from

that of vegetable life, and approaches or is homogeneous with that

of man.

If, then, as Lev. xx. 24 sqq. unquestionably shows, the separa-

tion of the clean animals from the unclean was a type of the selec-

tion of Israel from among the nations; and if, therefore, the clean

animals represented the chosen, holy nation, and the unclean the

heathen world, as the figurative language of the prophets so often

implies; the marks and signs by which the clean and unclean

animals were to be distinguished, must also be looked at from a

symbolical point of view;--in other words, the marks which distin-

guished the clean animals from the unclean, and characterized the

former as clean, must have been a corporeal type of that by which

Israel was distinguished, or at least ought, to have been distinguished,

spiritually from the heathen world. The allusion, therefore, was to

THE PEOPLE.                                               29


the spiritual food and spiritual walk of Israel, which were to be con-

secrated and sanctified, and separated from all that was displeasing

and hostile to God in the conduct of the heathen.

What we are to understand by spiritual walk, needs no demon-

stration: it is walking before the face of God--a firm, sure step

in the pilgrim road of life. Spiritual food is just as undoubtedly

the reception of that which sustains and strengthens the spiritual

life, i.e., of divine revelation, of which Christ says (John iv. 34),

“My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me.” The two func-

tions stand to one another in the relation of receptivity and spon-


Let us apply this to the land animals. The first thing men-

tioned is their chewing the cud. Now, if this is to be regarded as a

figurative representation of a spiritual function if, for example, it is

symbolical of spiritual sustenance through the word of God; the

meaning cannot be better described than it is . Josh. i. 8: "This

book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt

meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do

according to all that is written therein."--In the importance attached

to the cloven hoof, this fact must have been taken into considera-

tion, that the tread of animals so provided is surer and firmer than

that of animals with the hoof whole. And no proof need be given of

the frequency with which reference is made in the Scriptures to the

slipping of the feet, or to a firm, sure step in a spiritual sense (e.g.,

Ps. xxxvii. 31; Prov. v. 6 ; Heb. xii. 13, etc.).--For the birds no

general marks of cleanness or uncleanness are given. But the deter-

mining point of view is nevertheless perfectly obvious. For example,

all birds of prey are excluded, and generally all birds that devour

living animals or carrion, or any other kind of unclean and dis-

gusting food, as being fit representatives of the heathen world. In

the case of the animals in the third and fourth classes, the common

point which is placed in the foreground as distinguishing the un-

clean, is the singularity--so to speak, the abnormal and unnatural

character--of their motion: their disagreeable velocity, their terrible

habit of swarming, etc.

§ 5. The other prohibitions of food contained in the Mosaic law

are based upon different principles, and are to be explained on the

ground that the food forbidden was regarded, either as too holy, or

as too unholy, to be eaten;--the former on account of its relation to

the sacrificial worship, the latter on account of its association with

the defilement of death and corruption. The former alone comes

30                                THE PERSONS SACRIFICING.


under notice here. To this category belong the blood and the fat

of animals. But so far as the fat is concerned, it must be remarked

at the outset, that only the actual lobes or nets of fat, which enve-

lope the intestines, the kidneys, and the liver (Lev. iii. 3, 4, 9, 10,

14, 15), are intended, not the fat which intersects the flesh; and

also, that, according to Lev. vii. 23, this prohibition relates exclu-

sively to the portions of fat alluded to in oxen, sheep, and goats,

not to that of any other edible animals.

For the prohibition of the EATING OF BLOOD, Lev. xvii. 10 sqq.

is the locus classicus. In ver. 11, a triple reason is assigned for the

prohibition: (1.) "For the soul of the flesh is in the blood;"

(2.) "And I have given it upon the altar to make an atonement for

your souls;" (3.) "For the blood, it maketh atonement by means

of the soul." According to Delitzsch (Bibl. Psychol. 196), the pro-

hibition has a double ground here: "The blood has the soul in it,

and through the gracious appointment of God it is the means of

atonement for human souls, by virtue of the soul contained within

it. One reason lies in the nature of the blood, and the other in the

consecration of it to a holy purpose, by which, even apart from the

other ground, it was removed from common use." But Keil opposes

this. "It is not to the soul of animals as such," he says, "as the

seat of a principle of animal life, that the prohibition applies, but to

the soul as the means of atonement set apart by God" (Biblische

Archaologie 1, 23). But if Keil were correct in saying (p. 24) that

"in Lev. xvii. 11 the first two clauses do not assign two indepen-

dent reasons for the prohibition, but merely the two factors of the

foundation for the third clause, which contains the one sole ground

upon which the prohibition is based" (which I do not admit, how-

ever); and if in Gen. ix. 4 ("but flesh in (with) the soul thereof,

the blood thereof, ye shall not eat") the one sole reason for the 

prohibition were not the fact that the blood itself is animated, but

its fitness as a means of atonement (which I am still less able to

allow); even then the correctness of Delitzsch's opinion would be

beyond all doubt, and that for the very reason which has led Keil

to oppose it. For example, he adds (p. 23): "This is clearly evi-

dent from the parallel command in relation to the fat of oxen,

sheep, and goats, or the cattle of which men offer an offering by

fire unto the Lord (Lev. vii. 23, 25). This fat was not to be

eaten any more than the blood, on pain of extermination (Lev. vii.

25, 27, xvii. 10, 13), either by the Israelites or by the strangers

living with Israel." But Keil would not have spoken with such


                        THE PEOPLE.                                               31


confidence if he had placed the relation between these two prohibi-

tions (the eating of blood and of fat) clearly before his mind.

Even in the law of Leviticus (chap. vii. 23 sqq.) we find a very

significant distinction between the prohibition of the eating of blood

on the one hand, and that of fat on the other, which Keil has quite

overlooked. According to Lev. vii. 23, it is only the fat of oxen,

sheep, and goats that may not be eaten; the fat of other edible

animals, therefore, such as stags, antelopes, etc., is not forbidden.

But the prohibition of blood, instead of being restricted to that of

oxen, sheep, and goats, extends to the blood of all animals without

exception (ver. 26). Whence this distinction? The answer is to

be found in ver. 25: the fat of the oxen, sheep, and goats was not

to be eaten, because it was to be offered as a fire-offering to Jeho-

vah, i.e., was to be burnt, upon the altar. To understand this, it

must be borne in mind that, according to the law of Leviticus,

which was drawn up primarily with regard to the sojourn in the

desert, the slaughter of every ox, sheep, or goat, even if it were only

slain for domestic consumption, was to be looked at in the light of

a peace- (or thank-) offering (Lev. xvii. 3-5): hence every such

slaughter was to take place at the sanctuary, the blood of the animal

slain was to be sprinkled upon the altar, and the fat to be burned

there also. The eating of fat, consequently, was prohibited only

because and so far as it was to be offered to Jehovah; so that the

fat of stags, antelopes, etc., might be eaten without hesitation.--It

was altogether different with the law against eating blood. In this

case there was no restriction or exception at all: no blood whatever

was to be eaten, whether the animal from which it flowed were

sacrificed or not sacrificed, sacrificial or not sacrificial. From this

it necessarily follows, that the reason for prohibiting blood cannot

have been the same as that for prohibiting fat. Had the prohibition

of blood rested merely upon the importance of blood as a means of

atonement; then, according to the analogy of the prohibition of fat,

the blood of those animals only should have been forbidden, which

really were offered as atoning sacrifices. But as it related to the

blood of all animals, even to those that were neither sacrificed nor

sacrificial, the principal reason for this prohibition must have been

one entirely unconnected with the sacrificial worship. What it was,

is clearly shown in Gen. ix. 4 and Lev. xvii. 11: "For the soul of

the flesh is in the blood."

That this is the correct view, is also evident from the parallel

commands in the second law contained in Deuteronomy (Deut. xii.).


32                    THE PERSONS SACRIFICING.


According to the law of Leviticus, the slaughter of an ox, sheep, or

goat was to be carried out in every case like a sacrificial slaughter,

and for that reason the eating of the fat of such animals was

unconditionally forbidden.1 The law in Deuteronomy, however,

abrogated this command, as being unsuitable and impracticable in

the Holy Land, especially for those who dwelt at a distance from the

tabernacle, and allowed them at their pleasure to slay and eat oxen,

sheep, and goats at their own homes, as well as antelopes or stags

(Deut. xii. 15, 16, 20-24). But in the case of such private slaugh-

tering, the blood was not sprinkled on the altar, nor was the fat

burned upon the altar. As a matter of course, therefore, the com-

mand not to eat of the fat of the slaughtered animals was abrogated

also;--and this is indicated with even superfluous emphasis by the

repetition of the statement, that they might eat them like the hart

and the roebuck (vers. 15, 22), of which they were never forbidden

to eat the fat. But the eating of blood, whether the blood of oxen,

sheep, and goats, or that of the roebuck and stag, remained as un-

conditionally forbidden as ever. Twice is it emphatically stated

(vers. 16 and 24), that even in private slaughterings the blood was

not to be eaten, but poured upon the earth like water. What Keil

regards as the only reason for the prohibition, namely, the appoint-

ment of the blood as the means of expiation, was as much wanting

here in the slaughtering of such animals as it had formerly been

in that of the roebuck and stag. If, then, for all that, the law

against eating blood still remained in its utmost stringency even in

the case of private slaughterings, whether the animals in question


1 Keil gives a different explanation (pp. 24, 25). "From the fact," he says,

"that the general command in Lev. vii. 23, ‘Ye shall eat no manner of fat of

ox, of sheep, or of goat,’ is more minutely expounded in ver. 25, ‘Whosoever

eateth the fat of the beast of which men offer an offering made by fire unto the

Lord,’ it seems pretty evidently to follow, that the fat of the ox, sheep, and

goat, which was burned upon the altar when they were sacrificed, might be

eaten in those cases in which the animal was merely slaughtered as food." But

Keil has overlooked what he himself has stated two lines before; namely, that

according to Lev. xvii. 3 sqq., the slaughter of such animals was to be regarded

in every case as a sacrificial slaughter, and therefore, that instead of his view

following "pretty evidently" from Lev. vii. 25, it is perfectly evident that the

very opposite follows. So that, when Keil adds, that "in any case the inference

drawn by Knobel from Lev. vii. 24 is untenable, viz., that in the case of oxen,

sheep, and goats, slaughtered in the ordinary way, this (the application of the

fat to ordinary use) was evidently not allowable;" it is obvious that it is not

Knobel's inference, but Keil's condemnation of that inference, which is in any

case untenable.



THE PRIESTS.                                               33


were adapted for sacrifice or not, it is evident that any reason for

such a law, based upon the appointment of blood as a means of

expiation, can only have been a partial and secondary one. There

must have been some other reason, and that a primary one, of

universal applicability; and this is indicated again in the second

giving of the law, viz., the nature of the blood as the seat of the

soul (ver. 23): "For the blood, it is the soul; and thou mayest not

eat the soul with the flesh." There is not the slightest allusion

here, any more than in Gen. ix. 4, to any connection between the

prohibition in question and the appointment of the blood as the

means of expiation, which was applicable only to animals actually

sacrificed, and to them simply as sacrificed.

We must maintain therefore, in direct opposition to Keil, that

it was to the soul of the animals expressly, as the seat or principle

of animal life, that the prohibition applied as a universal rule. In

the case of the blood of the sacrifices, it was merely enforced with

greater stringency, but had still the same reference to the soul as

a means of expiation sanctified by God. In Lev. xvii. 11, both

reasons are given; because, as the context shows, it is to the sacri-

ficial blood that allusion is primarily made. But in what follows,

from ver. 13 onwards, the prohibition is extended from sacrificial

blood to blood of every kind, even that of animals that could not be

offered in sacrifice; and this extension of the prohibition is based

solely upon the nature of the blood as the seat of the soul (ver. 14),

and not upon the fact of its having been appointed as the means of





§ 6. Previous to the giving of the law, the priesthood in the

chosen family, just as in other kindred tribes, was not confined to

particular individuals; but the head of the family discharged the

priestly functions connected with the service of God, for himself

and his family (Gen. viii. 20 sqq.; Job i. 5). For this purpose,

Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob built altars in the different places

where they sojourned, and chiefly upon those spots in which Jehovah

had appeared to them; and there they offered sacrifices, and cleansed

and consecrated their households (Gen. xii. 7, xiii. 18, xxvi. 25,

xxxiii. 20, xxxv. 1, 2). On the institution of the paschal sacrifice

in Egypt, the father of every family discharged the priestly func-

tions connected with that sacrifice (Ex. xii. 7, 22). After the


34                                THE PERSONS SACRIFICING.


exodus from Egypt, all the priestly as well as princely authority

culminated in the person of Moses. The hereditary priesthood of

the heads of families was not abolished in consequence, any more

than their princely rank (Ex. xix. 22, 24); but in Moses they

both culminated in one individual head. It was in consequence of

the request made by the people themselves to Moses (Ex. xx. 19),

"Speak thou with us, and we will hear, but let not God speak with

us, lest we die," and the divine approval of that request, that the

priestly qualifications and duties were transferred from the people,

and their representatives the elders, to Moses alone. At the com-

pletion of the covenant, therefore, we find Moses alone officiating

as priest (Ex. xxiv. 6, cf. § 162 sqq.). But Moses could not

possibly discharge all the priestly functions required by the congre-

gation. On the contrary, his other duties already engrossed his

whole time and strength; consequently he was allowed to divest

himself of the priestly office as soon as the covenant was concluded,

and to transfer it to his brother Aaron, who was then ordained,

along with his sons Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, as an

hereditary priesthood. After the erection of the tabernacle they

were duly consecrated and installed (Ex. xxviii. cf. § 165 sqq.).

But when preparation was made for removing from Sinai, the

necessity was immediately felt for a considerable increase in the

number of persons officiating in the worship of God. The taber-

nacle had to be taken down; all the different parts, as well as the

various articles of furniture, had to be carried from place to place

at every fresh encampment it had to be set up again: and for all

this a very large number of chosen and consecrated hands were

required. To this service, therefore, all the other members of the

tribe to which Aaron belonged were set apart, viz., the tribe of Levi,

--comprising the three families of the Kohathites, the Gershonites,

and the Merarites. Henceforth, therefore, this tribe was removed

from its co-ordinate position by the side of the other tribes, and was

appointed and consecrated to the service of the sanctuary, that is

to say, to the performance of all such duties connected with the

tabernacle as were not included in the peculiar province of the  

priestly office, which still continued to be the exclusive prerogative

of the family of Aaron (Num. i. 49-51, iii. 6-10, viii. 5-22).

After the sparing of the first-born in the night of the exodus

from Egypt, they became the peculiar possession of Jehovah; and

consequently they ought properly to have been the persons selected

for life-long service in the sanctuary. But for the purpose of giving


THE PRIESTS.                                               35


greater compactness and unity to the personnel employed, the

Levites and their descendants took their place (Num. iii. 12) 13,

viii. 16-19). It was necessary, however, before this was done, that

all the first-born should be redeemed by means of certain specially

appointed sacrifices, and gifts to the tabernacle (cf. § 229).

In this way the persons officially engaged in the worship were

divided into three stages. The lowest stage was occupied by such

of the LEVITES as were not priests, who acted merely as attendants

and menial servants. On a higher stage stood the Aaronites, as

the true PRIESTS. And lastly, Aaron himself, and subsequently

the successive heads of the family (according to the right of primo-

geniture), represented as HIGH PRIEST, lOdGAha NheKoha, the point of unity

and the culminating point of all the priestly duties and privileges.

§ 7. What notion the Hebrew formed of the priesthood, cannot

be determined with any certainty from the name NheKo, since the

primary meaning of the root Nhk is doubtful and disputed. On the

other hand, Moses clearly describes the nature of the priesthood in

Num. xvi. 5. On the occasion of the rebellion of the Korahites

against the restriction of the priestly prerogatives to the family of

Aaron, he announces to them, “To-morrow Jehovah will show

who is His, and who is holy, that He may suffer him to come near

unto Him; and whom He shall choose, him will He suffer to come

near unto Him.” There are four characteristics of the priesthood

indicated here. The first is election by Jehovah, as distinguished

both from wilful self-appointment, and also from election by human

authority of any kind whatever. The second is the result of this

election, viz., belonging to Jehovah; which means, that the priest, as

such, with all his life and powers, was not his own, or the world's,

but had given himself entirely up to the service of Jehovah. The

third is, that as the property of Jehovah, the priest, like everything

belonging to Jehovah, was holy. And this involved the qualification

for the fourth, viz., drawing near to Jehovah, as the true and ex-

elusive prerogative and duty of the priest.

All that is indicated here as composing the nature and purpose

of the Levitical priesthood, has been already mentioned in Ex.

xix. 5, 6, as characterizing the whole covenant nation when regarded

in the light of its priestly vocation. As a kingdom of priests, Israel

was Jehovah's possession out of, or before, all nations, and as such,

a holy nation; whilst the basis of its election is seen in the deliver-

ance from Egypt (ver. 4), and the design, that they might draw

near, in the approach to the holy mountain (ver. 17). From this

36                                THE PERSONS SACRIFICING.


resemblance it follows, that the priesthood of the Aaronites in

relation to Israel, was similar to that of Israel in relation to the

heathen. The Aaronites were the priests of the nation, which had

been called and appointed to a universal priesthood, but which was

not yet ripe for such a call, and therefore still stood in need of

priestly mediation itself.

What we are to understand by coming near to Jehovah, which

was the true calling of the Aaronic priesthood, according to Num.

xvi. 5, may easily be gathered from what goes before. The design

and purpose of this priesthood was mediatorial communion with

God, mediation between the holy God and His chosen people, which

had drawn back in the consciousness of its sinfulness from direct

communion with God (Ex. xx. 19). Like all communion, this

also was reciprocal. Priestly approach to God involved both

bringing to God, and bringing back from God. The priests brought

into the presence of God the sacrifices and gifts of the people, and

brought from God His gifts for the people, viz., reconciliation and

His blessing.

§ 8. But from the very nature of such a mediatorial office, two

things were essential to its true and perfect performance; and these

the Aaronic priest no more possessed than any one else in the nation

which stood in need of mediation.

If it was the consciousness of their own sinfulness which,

according to Ex. xx. 19, prevented the people from drawing near to

God, and holding direct intercourse with Him; the question arises,

how Aaron and his sons, who belonged to the same nation, and

were involved in the same sinfulness, could possibly venture to come

into the presence of Jehovah. The first and immediate demand

for a perfect priesthood, appointed to mediate between the holy God

and the sinful nation, would be perfect sinlessness; but how little

did the family of Aaron, involved as it was in the general sinful-

ness, answer to this demand

Secondly, and this was no less essential, true and all-sufficient

mediation required that the mediator himself should possess a

doublesidedness; and in this the Aaronic priest was quite as defi-

cient as in the first thing demanded, namely, perfect sinlessness. To

represent the people in the presence of Jehovah, and Jehovah in

the presence of the people, and to be able to set forth in his own

person the mediation between the two, he ought to stand in essential

union on the one hand with the people, and on the other with God

and in order fully to satisfy this demand, he ought to be as much


THE PRIESTS.                                               37


divine as human. But the Aaronic priesthood partook of human

nature only, and not at all of divine.

Both demands were satisfied in an absolutely perfect way in

that High Priest alone (Heb. vii. 26, 27), to whose coming and

manifestation the entire history of salvation pointed, who, uniting

in His own person both deity and humanity, was sent in the ful-

ness of time to the chosen people, and through their instrumen-

tality (Gen. xii. 3, xxviii. 14) to the whole human race, and through

whom, just as Aaron's sons attained to the priesthood by virtue of

their lineal descent from Aaron, so, by means of spiritual regenera-

tion and sonship (1 Pet. ii. 5, 9), the universal spiritual priesthood

and "kingdom of priests" have been actually realized, the members

of which are redeemed from sin, and partakers of the divine nature

(2 Pet. i. 4), and of which, according to Ex. xix. 4-6, Israel was

called and appointed to be the first-born possessor (Ex. iv. 22).

But as the manifestation of this priesthood could not be, and

was not intended to be, the commencement and starting point, but

only the goal and fruit, of the whole of the Old Testament history

of salvation; and yet, in order that this goal might be reached, it

was indispensably necessary that intercourse with God through the

mediation of a priest should be secured to the chosen nation of the old

covenant; the priesthood of that time could only typically prefigure

the priesthood of the future, and could only possess in a symbolical

and typical manner the two essential prerequisites, sinlessness and

a divine nature. The former it acquired through washing and a

sacrificial atonement, the latter by investiture and anointing on

the occasion of its institution and consecration (Ex. xxix. cf. § 165

sqq.); and these were renewed previous to the discharge of every

priestly function by repeated washings, and by the assumption of

the official dress, which had already been anointed (Ex. xxix. 21).

The sacrificial atonement, which was made at the first dedication,

had to be repeated, not only on every occasion on which a priest

was conscious of any sin or uncleanness, but also once a year (on

the great day of atonement, cf. § 199), for the cancelling of all the

sin and uncleanness of the entire priesthood which might have re-

mained unnoticed; and this must be effected before any further

priestly acts could be performed. Moreover, the demand for sin- had its fixed symbolical expression in the demand for phy-

sical perfection, as the indispensable prerequisite to any active

participation in the service of the priesthood (Lev. xxi. 16-24).

§ 9. As the Levites and priests were separated by their voca-


38                                THE PERSONS SACRIFICING.


tion, and by their appointment to the service of the sanctuary, from

the rest of the tribes, and did not receive, as the rest had done, a

special allotment of territory in the Holy Land, where they could

provide for their own wants by the cultivation of the soil, their

maintenance had to be provided for in a different way. The tribe

of Levi was to have no inheritance in the promised land, for, said

Jehovah, “I am thy part and thine inheritance (Num xviii. 20;

Deut. x. 9, etc.). At the same time forty-eight cities were assigned

to them as dwelling-places, distributed among all the tribes (that by

their knowledge of the law they might be of service to all as teach-

ers, preceptors, judges, and mediators: cf. Lev. x. 11); and thir-

teen of these cities were specially designated a cities of the priests"

(Num. xxxv. 1-8; Josh. xxi.; 1 Chron. vi. 54-66).1  But for their

actual maintenance they were referred to Jehovah, in whose service

they were to be entirely employed; so that it was only right that

Jehovah should provide for their remuneration. This was done,

by His assigning to them all the revenues and dues which the people

bad to pay to Him as the Divine King and feudal Lord of all.

These included the first-fruits and tenths of all the produce of the


1 As the priesthood was limited, after the death of Aaron's eldest sons,

Nadab and Abihu, to the families of his other two sons, and therefore cannot

have embraced more than from ten to twenty persons at the time of the entrance

into the Holy Land, there is apparently a great disproportion between the number

of priests' cities and the actual need,--on the supposition, that is to say, that

these thirteen cities were intended to be occupied exclusively by priests. But

for that very reason such a supposition is obviously a mistake. Even the so-

called priests' cities were undoubtedly, for the most part, inhabited by Levites,

and only distinguished from the rest of their cities by the fact, that one or more

of the families of the priests resided there. Just as Jerusalem was called the

king's city, though it was not inhabited by the court alone, so might these thir-

teen cities be called priests' cities, even if there were only one priestly family

residing there. When we consider that the number of priests' cities was not

fixed by the law, but was determined in Joshua's time (chap. xxi. 4), and that

the number 13, which admits of no symbolical interpretation whatever, can only

have been decided upon because of some existing necessity, it is more than proba-

ble that the number of priests at that time was exactly 13, and that at first there

was only one priestly family in every priests' city. It is true, that if we deduct

the home of the high priest, the one head of the entire priesthood, who dwelt,

no doubt, wherever the tabernacle was, the number 12 remains, answering to the

number of the tribes, which may be significant as a contingency, but was not

determined on account of that significance, since the 24 orders of priests, which

were afterwards appointed, do not appear to have been connected at all with the

number of the tribes; nor was one priests' city taken from each tribe, but the

selection was confined to the three tribes nearest to the sanctuary, Judah, Simeon,

and Benjamin.

THE PLACE OF SACRIFICE.                                  39


land, as well as the first-born of men and cattle, which were partly

presented in kind, and had partly to be redeemed with money. Of

all the sacrificial animals, too, which the people offered to Jehovah

spontaneously, and for some reason of their own, certain portions

were the perquisites of the officiating priest, unless they were

entirely consumed upon the altar; and this was only the case with

the so-called burnt-offerings.

All the first-fruits and first-born came directly to the priests.

In these the Levies did not participate, because they had them-

selves been appointed as menial servants to the priests, in the place

of the first-born who were sanctified in Egypt. On the other hand,

the tithes fell to the share of the Levites, who handed a tenth of

them over to the priests.







§ 10. The patriarchs had erected simple altars for the worship

of God in every place at which they sojourned (Gen. viii. 20, xii. 7,

xiii. 18, etc.). Even the house of God, which Jacob vowed that

he would erect at Luz (= Bethel: Gen. xxviii. 22), was nothing

more than an altar, as the execution of the vow in Gen. xxxv. 1, 7,

clearly proves. When the unity of the patriarchal family had been

expanded into a plurality of tribes, houses, and families, and these

again were formed by the covenant at Sinai into the unity of the

priestly covenant nation, a corresponding unity in the place of

worship became also necessary. The idea of the theocracy, accord-

ing to which the God of Israel was also the King of Israel, and

dwelt in the midst of Israel; the appointment and vocation of the

people to be a “kingdom of priests,” and a “holy nation” (Ex. xix.

6); the temporary refusal to enter upon the duties of that vocation

(Ex. xx. 19); the consequent postponement of it till a future time;

and the transference of it to a special priesthood belonging to the

tribe of Levi;--all this was to have its symbolical expression in the

new house of God. At the same time, it was necessary to create a

fitting substratum for the incomparably richer ceremonial appointed

by the law.

Moses therefore caused a sanctuary to be erected, answering to


40                                THE PLACE OF SACRIFICE.


these wants and demands, according to the pattern which Jehovah

had shown him on the holy mount (Ex. xxv. 9, 40), and by the

builders expressly appointed by God, Bezaleel and Aholiab (Ex.

xxxi. 2, xxxvi. 1, 2). To meet the necessities of the journey

through the desert, it was constructed in the form of a portable

tent, and consisted of the dwelling (NKAw;miha) and a court surrounding

it on every side (rceHAha, Ex. xxv.-xxxi. and xxxv.-xl.).

The DWELLING itself was an oblong of thirty yards in length,

and ten yards in breadth and height, built on the southern, northern,

and western sides of upright planks of acacia-wood overlaid with

gold. Over the whole there were placed four coverings. The inner

one, consisting of costly woven materials (byssus woven in different

colours, with figures of cherubim upon it), was so arranged as to

form the drapery of the interior of the dwelling, whilst the other

three were placed outside. In the front of the building, towards the

east, there were five gilded pillars of acacia-wood; and on these a

curtain was suspended, which closed the entrance to the dwelling,

and bore the name of j`sAmA.

The interior of the dwelling was divided into two parts by a

second curtain, sustained by four pillars, and made of the same

costly fabric and texture as the innermost covering. Of these

two parts the further (or westerly) was called the MOST HOLY,

MywidAQA wd,qo and was a perfect cube of ten cubits in length, breadth,

and height; so that the other part, or the HOLY, wd,qo.ha, was of the

same height and breadth, but twice as long. This inner curtain was

called tk,roPA.

The COURT was an uncovered space completely surrounding

the dwelling, 100 cubits long and 50 cubits broad, bounded by 60

wooden pillars of 5 cubits in height. The pillars stood 5 cubits

apart, and the spaces between were closed by drapery of twined

byssus. In the front, however, i.e., on the eastern side, there was

no drapery between the five middle pillars, so that an open space

was left as an entrance of 20 cubits broad; and this was closed by a

curtain of the same material and texture as the curtain at the door

of the tabernacle, and, like the latter, was called j`sAmA.

The position of the dwelling within the court is not mentioned.

It probably stood, however, so as to meet at the same time the

necessities of the case and the demands of symmetry, 20 cubits

from the pillars on the north, south, and west, leaving a space of 50

cubits square in front of the entrance to the tabernacle.

            § 11. The ALTAR OF BURNT-OFFERING, hlAOfhA HBaz;mi, stood in the


THE PLACE OF SACRIFICE.                                  41


COURT. It was a square case, made of acacia-wood, lined within

and without with copper, and filled with earth. It was five cubits in

lengthand breadth, but only three cubits high. At the four corners

there were four copper horns. About half-way up the chest there ran

a bank, bKor;Ka, all round the outside, evidently that the officiating

priests might stand upon it, and so be able to perform their duties at

the altar with greater convenience. From the outer edge of this bank

a network of copper sloped off to the ground. The space underneath

this grating was probably intended to receive the blood which re-

mained over from the sacrifices.--There was also a LAVER, rOy.Ki in

the court, in which the priests washed their hands and feet,--a pro-

cess that had to be repeated, according to Ex. xxx. 20, 21, every

time they entered the Holy Place or officiated at the altar.

In the HOLY PLACE there were three articles of furniture:--

1. The ALTAR. tr,Foq; rFaq;mi HBaz;mi or tr,Fo;q HBaz;mi, made of

acacia-wood overlaid with gold. It was one cubit in length, one in

breadth, and two in height, and stood in the centre, before the entrance

to the Holy of Holies. The upper surface, which was surrounded

by a rim, and had gilt horns at the four corners, was called gGA, a

term suggestive of the flat roofs of oriental houses. The principal

purpose to which it was applied was that of burning incense ; but

there were certain sacrificial animals whose blood was sprinkled

upon the horns.--2. The TABLE OF SHEW-BREAD, NHAl;wu.ha, also con-

structed of acacia-wood overlaid with gold, a cubit and a half in

height, two cubits long, and one cubit broad. Upon this was placed

the so-called shew-bread (§ 1.59), which had to be changed every


gold, and beaten work. From the upright stem there branched out,

at regular intervals, three arms on each side, which curved upwards

and reached as high as the top of the central stern. Each of these

was provided with one oil lamp, so that there were seven lamps in

a straight line, and probably at equal distances from one another.

The height of the candelabrum is not given.

In the MOST HOLY PLACE there was only one article of furni-

ture, viz., the ARK OF THE COVENANT or the ARK OF TESTIMONY,

tyriB;ha NOrxE, tUdfehA NOrxE. It consisted of two parts. The ark itself was a

chest of acacia-wood, covered within and without with gold plates,

two cubits and a half long, and one cubit and a half in breadth and

height. In the ark there was the testimony, tUdfehA; i.e., the two

tables of stone, which Moses had brought down from the holy mount,

containing the ten words of the fundamental law, written by the


42                                THE PLACE OF SACRIFICE.


finger of God. A plate of beaten gold, tr,PoKa, served as the lid of the

ark; and at each end of this lid stood a cherub of beaten gold. The

cherubim stood facing each other, and looking down upon the Cap-

poreth, which they overshadowed with their outspread wings. With

regard to the form of these cherubim, the figures of which were

also worked in the Parocheth, the curtain before the Most Holy,

and the inner covering of the tabernacle, all that we can gather

from the description is, that they were probably of human shape,

and that they had one face and two wings.

§ 12. On the DESIGN OF THE SANCTUARY,1 the names them-

selves furnish some information. It was called the TENT OF

MEETING, dfeOm lh,xo and we may learn from Ex. xxv. 22, xxix.

43, what that name signifies. Jehovah says, that He will there

meet with the children of Israel, and talk with them, and sanctify

them through His glory. It is also called the DWELLING-PLACE,

NKAw;mi, as in Ex. xxv. 8, and xxix. 45, 46, Jehovah promises that

He will not merely meet with Israel there from time to time, but

dwell there constantly in the midst of them, and there make Himself

known to them as their God. Lastly, it is also called the TENT OF

WITNESS, tUdfehA lh,xo, where Jehovah bears witness through His

covenant and law that He is what He is, viz., the Holy One of

Israel, who will have Israel also to be holy as He is holy (Lev. xix.

2), and who qualifies Israel for it by His blessing and atoning grace

(Ex. xx. 24). In accordance with this design, as soon as it

was finished, the glory of Jehovah filled the tabernacle (Ex. xl.

34 sqq.).

The tabernacle, then, must represent an institution, in connection

with which Jehovah dwelt perpetually in Israel, to sanctify it--

an an institution, to establish which He had led them out of Egypt

(Ex. xxix. 46); which was not established, therefore, till after the

Exodus. This institution as is self-evident could be no other than

the theocracy founded at Sinai, or the kingdom of God in Israel,

the nature and design of which is described in Ex. xix. 4-6.

From this fundamental idea we may easily gather what was

involved in the distinction between the court and the tabernacle.

If the latter was the dwelling-place of Jehovah in the midst of

Israel, the former could only be the dwelling-place of that people

whose God was in the midst of it, just as the tabernacle was in the


1 A more elaborate and thorough discussion of the meaning of

the tabernacle and its furniture, is to be found in my Beitrage zur Symbolik

des alttest. Cultus (Leipzig 1851).


THE PLACE OF SACRIFICE.                                  43


midst of the court. And the fact that the people were not allowed

to enter the dwelling of God, but could only approach the door-

permission to enter being restricted to their consecrated representa-

tives and mediators, the priests-irresistibly reminds us of Ex. xx.

19, and shows that the court was the abode of that people, which,

notwithstanding its priestly calling, was not yet able to come directly

to God, but still needed specially appointed priestly mediators to

enter the dwelling-place, to hold communion with God in their

stead, to offer the gifts of the people, and to bring back the proofs

of the favour of God.

But the dwelling-place of God was also divided into two parts

the HOLY PLACE, and the MOST HOLY. These were two apart-

ments in one dwelling. Now, since the relation between the

dwelling-place and the court presented the same antithesis as that

between the unpriestly nation and the Aaronic priesthood--and

since the ordinary priests were only allowed to enter the Holy Place,

whilst the high priest alone could enter the Most Holy,--it is evident

that the distinction between the Holy and Most Holy answered

essentially to that between the ordinary priest and the high priest;

and therefore, that the abode of God in the Most Holy set forth the

highest culmination of the abode of God in Israel, which, for that

very reason, exhibited in its strongest form the fact that He was

then unapproachable to Israel. A comparison between the name

“Holy of Holies,” and the corresponding "heaven of heavens," in

Deut. x. 14, 1 Kings viii. 27, also leads to the conclusion, not that

the Most Holy was a type of heaven in its highest form, but that it

contained the same emphatic expression of the Jehovistic (saving)

presence and operations of God in. the kingdom of grace, as the

name "heaven of heavens" of the Elohistic presence and operations

of God in the kingdom of nature.

The division of the dwelling-place into Holy and Most Holy was

an indication of the fact, therefore, that in the relation in which

the priests stood to God, and consequently also in that in which the

people would stand when they were ripe for their priestly vocation,

there are two different stages of approachability. The constant

seat and throne of God was the Capporeth, where His glory was

enthroned between the wings of the cherubim (Num. vii. 89; Ex.

xxv. 22). But as the room in which all this took place was hidden

by the Parocheth from the sight of those who entered and officiated

in the Holy Place, the latter represents the standpoint of that

faith which has not yet attained to the sight of the glory of God,


44                                THE PLACE OF SACRIFICE.


and the Most Holy the standpoint of the faith which has already

attained to sight (vide 1 Cor. xiii. 12).

The threefold division of the tabernacle contained a figurative

and typical representation of the three progressive stages, by which

the kingdom of God on earth arrives at its visible manifestation and

ultimate completion. In the COURT there was displayed the existing

stage, when Israel, as the possessor of the kingdom of God, still stood

in need of priestly mediators; in the HOLY PLACE, the next stage,

when the atonement exhibited in type in the court, would be com-

pleted, and the people themselves would be able in consequence to

exercise their priestly calling and draw near to God; in the MOST

HOLY, the last stage of all, when the people of God will have

attained to the immediate vision of His glory. This triple stage of

approach to God, which was set forth simultaneously in space in the

symbolism of the tabernacle, is realized successively in time through

the historical development of the kingdom of God. The first stage

was the Israelitish theocracy; the second is the Christian Church;

the third and last will be the heavenly Jerusalem of the Apocalypse.

Each of the two earlier stages contains potentially within itself all

that has still to come; but it contains it only as an ideal in faith

and hope. For the first stage, therefore, it was requisite that

representations and types of the two succeeding stages should be

visibly displayed in the place appointed for worship.

§ 13. The principal object in the court, and that in which its

whole significance culminated, was the ALTAR OF BURNT-OFFERING.

The first thing which strikes the eye in connection with an altar is,

that it represents an ascent from the earth towards heaven ( hmABA  =

altare), a lifting of the earth above its ordinary and natural level.

From the time that Jehovah ceased to walk with man upon the

earth, and hold intercourse with him there, as He had done before

the fall (Gen. iii. 8), and the earth was cursed for man's sin in

consequence of the fall (Gen. iii. 17), and heaven and earth became

so separated, the one from the other, that God came down from

heaven to reveal Himself to man (Gen. xi. 5, xviii. 21), and then

went up again to heaven (Gen. xvii. 22),--the natural level of the

earth was no longer adapted to the purpose of such intercourse. It

was necessary, therefore, to raise the spot where man desired to

hold communion with God, and present to Him his offerings, into

an altar rising above the curse. Whilst the name hmABA expressed

what an altar was, viz., an elevation of the earth, the other and

ordinary name of the altar indicated the purpose which it served


THE PLACE OF SACRIFICE.                                  45


it was a place of sacrifice, on which sinful man presented his slain 

offering for the atonement and sanctification of his soul before God.

But the altar which JEHOVAH caused to be built, was not merely

the raising of the earth towards the heaven where God had dwelt

since sin drove Him from the earth, but also the place where heaven

itself, or rather He who fills heaven with His glory, came down to

meet the rising earth;--not only the spot where man offered his gifts

to Jehovah, but also the spot where God came to meet the gifts of

man and gave His blessing in return. For Jehovah promised this

in Ex. xx. 24: "In all places where I record My name, I will

come unto thee and bless thee." But an altar, however high it may

be built, does not reach to the heaven where God dwells. In itself,

therefore, it merely expresses the upward desires of man. And

these desires are not realized and satisfied, till God Himself comes

down from heaven upon the altar.

According to Ex. xx. 24, 25, it was a general rule for an altar

to be built of earth or unhewn stones, as still retaining their

original form and component elements. It is true that this very

composition of earth and stone represented the curse, which adhered

to them in their existing natural condition. But man, with all his

art and diligence, is unable to remove this curse. Consequently, no

tooling or chiselling of his was to be allowed at all. Whatever he

might do, he could not sanctify the altar which was formed from

the earth that had been cursed. That could be done by none but

God, who had promised "to record His name there" (Ex. xx.

24),--"to give the atoning blood upon the altar, to make an atone-

ment for their souls" (Lev. xvii. 11). Jehovah appointed and

consecrated the place where the altar was to be built; He gave to

the blood of the sacrifice, that was sprinkled upon it, the atoning

worth which it possessed; and He caused the smoke of the sacrifice

which was consumed upon the altar to become a sweet smelling

savour, as representing the self-surrender of man (Gen. viii. 21).

The elevated earth, which formed the altar in the court, was

surrounded by a wooden chest covered with copper, to give it a

firm cohesion and fixed form. By the square shape of the surround-

ing walls the seal of the kingdom of God was impressed upon it.

The altar, therefore, was the evident representative of the Old

Testament institution of atonement and sanctification, by which

the expiation of sinful man and the sanctifying self-surrender of

the expiated sinner were effected before God. This being its mean-

ing, it could only stand in the court, the abode of the sinful, though


46                                THE PLACE OF SACRIFICE.


reconcilable nation, which could not yet draw near directly to

Jehovah, but still needed the mediation of the Levitical priesthood

for the presentation of its sacrifices and gifts.

In our interpretation of the HORNS, which rose from the altar at

its four corners, we need not refer, as Bahr (Symbolik 1, 472) and

Keil (Arch. 1, 104) do, to passages in which the horn of the ani-

mal is mentioned as indicative of strength, or as its glory and orna-

ment; nor to those in which the horn is used as the symbol of the

fulness and superabundance of blessing and salvation; but, as

Hofmann and Kliefoth have done, to such passages as Isa. v. 1,

where the term horn is applied to an eminence running up to a point.

For the idea of height is the predominant one in connection with

the altar; and the only thing, therefore, that comes into considera-

tion is, what the horn is in relation to the height of the animal,

viz., its loftiest point,--and not what it is as an ornament or

weapon. Still farther from the mark, however, is the allusion to

the horn as a symbol of fulness; for the horn acquires this signifi-

cance merely as something separated from the animal, or as a vessel

shaped like a horn that has been taken of. The horns on the altar

increased its height. Consequently, the blood sprinkled on the

horns of the altar was brought nearer to God, than that which was

merely sprinkled on the sides.

§ 14. Since the Holy Place, as we saw, was a part of the abode

of God which the priests alone could enter, as the mediators of a

nation which, notwithstanding its priestly calling, was still unpriestly,

the three articles of furniture in the Holy Place, together with the

offerings connected with them, foreshadowed typically what the

nation, regarded as a priestly nation, was to offer to its God in

gifts and sacrifices, and what qualities and powers it was to unfold

before Him. And as the way to the Holy Place necessarily lay

through the court, where atonement was made for the sinful

nation, and where it dedicated and consecrated itself afresh to its

God, and entered anew into fellowship with Him; the offerings in

the Holy Place are to be regarded as symbols of such gifts and ser-

vices, as none but a nation reconciled, sanctified, and in fellowship

with God, could possibly present.

Of the three articles of furniture in the Holy Place, the ALTAR

OF INCENSE was unquestionably the most significant and important.

This is indicated not only by its position between the other two,

and immediately in front of the entrance to the Most Holy, but

also by its appointment and designation as an altar, on the horns of


THE PLACE OF SACRIFICE.                                  47


which the blood of atonement, that was brought into the Holy

Place (§ 107), was sprinkled; inasmuch as this established an

essential and necessary relation between it and the altar of the

court on the one hand, and the Capporeth of the Most Holy on the

other. It is true, the sacrifices which were offered upon this altar,

and ascended to God in fire, were not the bleeding sacrifices of

atonement, but the bloodless sacrifices of incense, which, as our

subsequent investigation will show (§ 146), represented the prayers

of the congregation, that had just before been, reconciled, sanctified,

and restored to fellowship with God, by the bleeding sacrifice of

the court. The altar of incense stood in the same relation to the

altar of burnt-offering, as the Holy Place to the court, as the

priestly nation to the unpriestly, as the prayer of thanksgiving and

praise from those already reconciled and sanctified to the desire and

craving for reconciliation and sanctification, and as the splendour

of the gold seven times purified, in which it was enclosed, to the

dull, dead colour of the copper which surrounded the altar in the

court. It was a repetition of the altar that stood in the court, but

a repetition in a higher form.

The two other articles of furniture, the TABLE OF SREW-BREAD

and the CANDLESTICK, were offshoots, as it were, of the altar of

incense, as their position on either side indicates; and the peculiar

form of each was determined by the offerings which it held; for

the bread required a table, and the lights a candelabrum. What

was combined together in one article of furniture in the altar of

burnt-offering in the court, was here resolved into three, which

served to set forth the ideas in question in a much more complete

and many-sided manner (cf. § 158 sqq.).

§ 15. In the MOST HOLY, as the abode of God in the fullest

sense of the word, and in the most thorough unapproachableness,

there was but one article of furniture, though one consisting of

is several parts, viz., the ARK OF THE COVENANT, with the CAPPORETH.

Hengstenberg's view, expressed in his Dissertations on the Penta-

teuch (vol. ii. 525, translation), which may perhaps look plausible at

first sight,--viz., that the covering of the ark, or of the law contained

in it, by the Capporeth, was intended to express the idea, that the

grace of God had covered or silenced the accusing and condemning

voice of the law,--will be found, on closer and more careful investiga-

tion, to be defective and inadmissible on every account (see my Bei-

trage zur Symbolik der Alttest. Cultus-statte, pp. 28 sqq.). I have

the greater reason for still regarding the course of argument adopted


48                                THE PLACE OF SACRIFICE.


as satisfactory, because Keil has been induced by it to give up

Hengstenberg's view, and in all essential points to adopt my own. I

will repeat the leading points of my argument here.

First of all, it must be borne in mind, that the ark of the cove-

nant answered a double purpose: (1) to preserve the tables of the

law, and (2) to serve as a support and basis to the Capporeth. Let

us commence with the former. As the receptacle for the two tables

of the law, it was called the "ark of the testimony," or "ark of the

covenant." The tables of the law were named the testimony, tUdfehA,

because in them God furnished the people with a testimony to His

own nature and will. This attestation was the preliminary, the

foundation and the soul of the covenant which He concluded with

His people. Hence the ark of the testimony was also called the

"ark of the covenant," tyriB;ha NOrxE.  In like manner, the tables of the

law are also called "the tables of, the covenant" (Dent. ix. 9, 11,

15), and the words engraved upon them “the words of the cove-

nant" (Ex. xxxiv. 28). And, in certain cases, the former are de-

signated in simple terms as "the covenant" (tyriB;ha, equivalent to

the record of the covenant: 1 Kings viii. 21; 2 Chron. vi. 11).

There can be no doubt, therefore, that the tables of the law lying in

the ark were looked upon as an attestation of the covenant con-

cluded with Israel, and as that alone. But this record of the cove-

nant did not lie naked and open; on the contrary, it was enclosed

in an ark or chest,--the place of the lid being taken by the Cap-

poreth. This showed that it was not only a treasure, but the most

costly jewel, the dearest possession of Israel. And it was worthy of

such estimation; for, having been written by the finger of God, it

was a divine testimony, a pledge of the continuance and perpetuity

of the covenant made with God, and a guarantee of the eventual

fulfilment of all the promises attached to this covenant, and of all

the purposes of salvation which it was designed to subserve.

The ark, with the testimony within it, was also a support to the

Capporeth. For the Capporeth was not merely intended as a lid

for the ark, but had an independent purpose of its own. This is

evident from the name itself, which is derived from the Piel rPeKi

and is to be rendered, not “covering,” but "seat of atonement,"    ;

i[lasth<rion,  propitiatorum ("mercy-seat," Luther, etc.).  rPeKi denotes

not a local material covering, but a spiritual one; and the object of

this covering is always and everywhere the sin of man. For this

reason, the name Capporeth cannot possibly be understood as de-

noting the fact that it covered the tables of the law. For the object


THE PLACE OF SACRIFICE.                                  49


to be covered by the Capporeth, i.e., to be atoned for, could not be

anything that came from God, and least of all God's holy law.

Moreover, the law of God was to be anything but covered up, that

is to say, covered up in any sense that would represent its voice as


The Capporeth, therefore, apart from the fact that it closed up

the ark, must have been something in itself, must have had its own

significance and purpose within itself. And though it did un-

doubtedly form a material, local covering to the ark, this can only

have been of subordinate, collateral, and secondary importance.

§ 16. But what was this real, independent, primary, and princi-

pal significance of the Capporeth? Keil's interpretation (Archao-

logie i. 114) falls back into Bahr's error, of confounding the king-

dom of nature with that of grace, or natural revelation with the

revelation of salvation, and is altogether beside the mark. Accord-

ing to his view, "the Capporeth resembled the firmament, and bore

the name Capporeth or mercy-seat, because the highest and most

perfect act of atonement in the Old Testament economy was per-

fected upon it, and God, who betrothed Himself to His people in

grace and mercy by an everlasting covenant, sate enthroned there-

on." The latter part,--namely, that the Capporeth was the highest

medium of atonement in the old covenant, and at the same time

was the throne of Jehovah, which, though for the time unapproach-

able by the people, was nevertheless erected upon earth and in the

midst of Israel,--is unquestionably perfectly correct; but for that

very reason the Capporeth could not possibly represent the firma-

ment. Or are we to suppose, that the highest and most perfect act

of atonement in the old covenant ought properly to have been per-

formed upon the firmament of heaven, but that, as this could not

well be accomplished, a representation of it was placed as its sub-

stitute in the Holy of Holies?  And was the true act of expiation

in the fulness of time, of which this was only a shadow and type

(§ 56), really performed above the firmament, i.e., in heaven?

Was it not rather accomplished on earth, in the land of Judaea?

No doubt "that God, who betrothed Himself to His people in grace

and mercy by an everlasting covenant," was enthroned upon the

Capporeth. But this betrothal took place, not above the firma-

ment, i.e., in heaven, but on the earth, at Sinai. Jehovah came

down for the purpose (Ex. xix. 20); and the glory of Jehovah

entered the sanctuary, and took up its permanent place upon the

Capporeth (Ex. xl. 34 sqq. ; Num. vii. 89; Ex. xxv. 22). Un-


50                                THE PLACE OF SACRIFICE.


questionably there is also a throne of God in the heaven of heavens,

which stands upon the firmament; but the throne of God in the

Most Holy Place on earth was so far from being a copy or repre-

sentative of that heavenly throne, that it rather presented a contrast,

and one as sharp as that between heaven and earth, nature and

grace, Elohim and Jehovah.

This confusion of ideas, which Keil himself has generally kept

distinct enough elsewhere (Arch. i. 94 sqq.), has evidently arisen

from his being misled by the connection between the Capporeth

and the figures of the two cherubim and the fact that the latter

are often represented as surrounding the throne of God in heaven.

But if Jehovah, in addition to the throne in heaven, established one

also for Himself upon earth, could He not surround the latter with

cherubim also? Moreover, Keil has involved himself, without per-

ceiving it, in the most striking self-contradictions. Figures of

cherubim, precisely similar to those which stood upon the Cappo-

reth, were also woven into the inner covering of the tabernacle, and

into the curtain which separated the Holy Place from the Most

Holy. Now if the Capporeth must represent the firmament of

heaven because of the cherubim standing upon it, simple consis-

tency requires that the entire space of the Holy and Most Holy

should be regarded as a figurative representation of heaven. And

this Bahr actually maintains, though Keil rejects such a view as

thoroughly unscriptural, and decides correctly that the tabernacle

was a figure of the kingdom of God in Israel (p. 95).

What the Capporeth was really intended to represent, is evident

from its name, and practically exhibited in the fact that the

highest and most perfect expiation was effected upon it. It was

called, and was primarily, a means of atonement (i[lasth<rion,  propi-

tiatorium). By the circumstance that on the great day of atone-

ment (Lev. xvi.) the blood of the holiest sin-offering was sprinkled

upon it, just as the blood of the ordinary sacrifices on ordinary days

was sprinkled upon the horns of the altar of burnt-offering in

the court, or upon the altar of incense in the Holy Place, it was

shown to be an altar,--but an altar that was as much higher and

holier than the other two altars, as the Most Holy Place was higher

and holier than the Holy Place and the court of the tabernacle.

But there were two other peculiarities connected with this altar.

As the Capporeth acquired the form of an altar simply from its

connection with the ark, inasmuch as without this support it

would have been merely an altar-plate, and the essential charac-




teristic, viz., that of elevation, would have been wanting; so this

altar acquired its higher sanctity and worth, in part at least, from

the fact that it contained within it the "testimony," the covenant,

--that is to say, the record of the covenant, the costliest treasure in

the possession of Israel. But in a still higher degree did its incom-

parable sanctity grow out of the fact, that the glory of Jehovah

rested between the wings of the cherubim that overshadowed it,

whereby the altar became the throne of God--the throne of grace.

Now, since the support of the throne, together with the Capporeth

as an altar-plate, enclosed the record of the covenant, or the cove-

nant testimony and covenant pledge; the idea expressed was this,

that Jehovah's being enthroned in this place was based upon, and

rendered possible by, the covenant which God had concluded

with Israel, and the institution of atonement which He had given

(Lev. xvii. 11). With reference to the altar of burnt-offering, the

promise had also been given (Ex. xx. 24), that Jehovah would

come down to Israel there to receive their offerings, and recompense

them by His blessing. But there He came invisibly, in a manner

that could only be grasped by faith, not by sight; whereas upon

the throne-altar in the Most Holy Place He descended, or rather

was enthroned, in a visible (symbolical) form, viz., in the cloud,

which represented the glory of Jehovah, and was visible to the eyes

of those who were permitted to pass within the veil (Lev. xvi. 2,

cf. § 199).






§ 17. The term offering,1 when used in a general sense in

connection with divine worship, usually denotes, according to its

derivation from of erre, the dedication of any suitable possession

to God, or to divine purposes. So far as etymology and the usage

of the language are concerned, this idea is distinctly expressed in

the Hebrew term NbAr;qA, Corban, i.e., presentation (equivalent to tOnT;ma

wd,qo, "holy gifts," in Ex. xxviii. 38; vid. Mark vii. 11, "Corban,

that is to say, a gift"). Such presents, which had all to be brought


1 The German Opfer corresponds rather to our word sacrifice; but it was

necessary to substitute the word offering here.--TR.


52                    THE VARIOUS KINDS OF SACRIFICE


to the dwelling-place of God and delivered up in the court, inas-

much as they were gifts for God, might either be offered to God

and to His sanctuary for a permanent possession or use--as was the

case, for example, and chiefly, with all the offerings devoted to the

erection, furnishing, and maintenance of the sanctuary (cf. Num.

vii. 3, 11, 12, 13, 77, xxxi. 50), as well as with such objects of

vows as became Corban in consequence of the vow (Mark vii. 11)

--or the thing presented might be appropriated to and consumed

in the service of God, or for His glory. The offerings of the latter

kind were divided again into two classes, which differed essentially,

according as they were laid upon the altar and offered directly to

God, either in whole or in part, by being consumed in the fire or

else applied at once and entirely to the remuneration and mainten-

ance of the priests and Levites as the servants of Jehovah (§ 69),

The latter were regarded as the taxes, which the people had to pay

to the God-King Jehovah, the true Owner of the land. They in-

cluded the first fruits and tithes of all the produce of the land, as

well as the male first-born of man and beast. But the first-born of

men and of the unclean animals--i.e., of such as were not edible,

and therefore not fit for sacrifice--had to be redeemed, whilst the

first-born of clean animals, or those fit for sacrifice, were partly

consumed upon the altar; so that, to a certain extent, they belonged

to both classes (Num. xviii. 17, 18, cf. § 229). Thus, we find, there

were three classes of offerings: (1) Corbanim for the sanctuary of.

Jehovah, or DEDICATION GIFTS; (2) Corbanim for the maintenance

of the servants of Jehovah, or FEUDAL TAXES (first-fruits, tithes,

and first-born); and (3) Corbanim for Jehovah Himself, or ALTAR-

SACRIFICES. Of the last, some were called most holy (MywidAqA wd,qo),

viz., such as were either consumed entirely upon the altar, or, so far

as they were not consumed, were eaten by the priests, and by

them alone. Cf. Knobel on Lev. xxi. 22.

In the present work we have to do with the gifts of the third

class alone, i e., with the Corbanim which were placed either in

whole or in part upon the altar. Even in the Thorah the name

Corban is applied pre-eminently to these.

§ 18. Hengstenberg (Opfer, p. 4) very properly blames Bahr,

and others who have followed him, for commencing their attempt to

determine the nature and meaning of sacrifice, in the stricter sense

of the term, with Lev. xvii. 11, where, as we have already seen

(§ 11), the prohibition to eat blood is based upon the fact, that

the soul of the flesh is in the blood, and Jehovah gave the blood




to His people upon the altar, to make atonement therewith for their

souls. In this passage they imagined that they had found "the

key to the whole of the Mosaic theory of sacrifice." It is perfectly

obvious, however, that Lev. xvii. 11 merely furnishes the key to

the sprinkling of the blood in the case of the sacrifice of animals.

But the question, whether, as has been maintained on that side, an

explanation of the sprinkling of the blood prepares the way for

understanding the other functions connected with the sacrifice of

animals, or whether the animal sacrifices alone could lay claim to the

character of independent offerings, whilst the bloodless (vegetable)

gifts were merely to be regarded as accompaniments to the bleeding

(animal) sacrifices, must be determined, even if it could be proved

at all, from the special inquiry which follows afterwards, and there-

fore, even if correct, ought not to be laid down as an a priori axiom.

But what both Hengstenberg and Keil have adopted as the basis

and key to the altar-sacrifices, both bleeding and bloodless, is cer-

tainly quite as inadmissible as that laid down by Bahr. The true

basis is said to be found in Ex. xxiii. 15, "My face shall not be

seen empty," or as it reads in Deut. xvi. 16, "Appear not empty

before the face of Jehovah;" to which is added by way of expla-

nation in ver. 17, "Every one according to the gift of his hand,

according to the blessing which Jehovah thy God has given." It is

really incomprehensible how these two theologians could fall into

the mistake of regarding the passages quoted as the basis of the

whole sacrificial worship; for, according to both the context and the

true meaning of the words, they have nothing to do with it, or

rather, are directly at variance with its provisions. The amount of

the sacrifices to be offered upon the altar (whether bleeding or

bloodless) was not determined, in the majority of cases, as it is in

Deut. xvi. 17, by the possessions or income of the person sacrificing.

The command of the law of sacrifice was not "according to the

gift of his hand, according to the blessing which Jehovah thy God

hath given thee." The exact amount was prescribed in every case

by the law; and the difference in the worth of the offerings was

regulated, not by the wealth and income of the sacrificer, but partly

by his position in the theocracy (i.e., by the question, whether he

was priest, prince, or private individual), and partly by differences

in the occasion for the sacrifice.1  But apart from this, how can our


1 It is to be hoped that no one will be sufficiently wanting in perspicacity

to bring forward as an objection to my statement the fact, that a poor man, who

was not in a condition to bring the sheep which was normally required, was     


54                    THE VARIOUS KINDS OF SACRIFICE.


opponents have overlooked the fact, that these passages do not refer

to the altar-sacrifices in particular, which they ought to do to war-

rant such an application, and not even to the Corbanim in general,

or as a whole. They apply exclusively and expressly to the first-

fruits and tenths to be offered on the three harvest festivals; and

they could not refer to anything else, even if no such statement

had been made. How complete a mistake this quid pro quo is, is

also evident from the fact, that if, instead of restricting the demand

there expressed to the harvest festivals and the harvest gifts, we

extend it, as Hengstenberg and Keil have done, to the sacrificial

worship generally; then to enter the Holy Place, where the name

of Jehovah dwelt, without offering sacrifice,--say even for the pur-

pose of praying, or of beholding the beautiful service of the Lord

(Ps. xxvii. 4, ciii. 4, and lxxxiv.; Luke ii. 27, 37, etc.),--would

necessarily have been regarded as an act of wickedness and pre-


§ 19. Since, therefore, neither the passages adduced by Bahr,

nor those which Hengstenberg cites as containing the key to the

nature and meaning of sacrifice, are available for the purpose, and

since no others offer themselves, the only course left open is to

take as our starting point the connection between the sacrifices in

the more restricted sense of the word and all the rest of the offer-

ings. We have to examine, therefore, (1) what they had in cour-

mon with the other Corbanim, and O 2 in what they differed from


The three classes of Corbanim (§ 17) were all holy gifts. They

were called holy, because they were all related to Jehovah, whether

they were offered and appropriated to Him directly and personally,

or whether they fell to the portion of His servants the Levites and

priests, or to His dwelling-place the sanctuary. In the case of all

of them, those prescribed by the law (gifts of duty), as well as

free-will offerings presented without constraint or necessity (spon-

taneous gifts), the real foundation of the offering was the conscious-

ness of entire dependence upon God and entire obligation towards

Him--a consciousness which is always attended by the desire to

embody itself in such gifts as these. The main point was never the

material, pecuniary worth of the gifts themselves, either in connec-

tion with their presentation on the part of man, or their acceptance

on the part of God. The God whom the Israelite had recognised


allowed to offer a pigeon instead, and if this were impossible, to offer the tenth

part of an ephah of wheaten flour. Lev. v. 11.




as the Creator of heaven and earth, could not possibly desire the

offering of earthly blessings for their own sake; He could not care

about the gift, but only about the giver, that is to say, about the

feelings, of which the gift was the expression and embodiment.

Hence the possession, which the worshipper gave up, was the repre-

sentative of his person, his heart, his emotions. In these gifts,

which were his justly acquired property, gained by the sweat of his

face and the exercise of his earthly calling, he offered, in a certain

sense, an objective portion of himself, since the sweat of his own

labour adhered to it, and he had expended his own vital energy

upon it, and thereby, as it were, really given it life. In this way

he gave expression to his consciousness of the absolute dependence

of his whole life and activity upon the grace and blessing of God,

and to his obligation to devote it entirely to God and to divine pur-

poses in praise, thanksgiving, and prayer. He gave partially back

to God, what he had received entirely from God, and had wrought

out and acquired through the blessing of God. And in the part, he

sanctified and consecrated the whole, or all that he retained and

applied to the maintenance of his own life and strength, and with

this his own life also, to the maintenance of which he had devoted

it. "It is true (says Oehler, Reallex. x. 614), the impulse from    

within, which urges a man to the utterance of praise, thanksgiving,

and prayer to God, finds its expression in the words of devotion;

but it is fully satisfied only when those words are embodied, when

they acquire, as it were, an objective existence in some appropriate

act, in which the man incurs some expense by self-denial and self-

renunciation, and thus gives a practical proof of the earnestness of

his self-dedication to God."

§ 20. If we proceed now to examine what it was, that constituted

the essential difference between the Corbanim of the third class and

those of the other two, we shall find it in the peculiar relation in

which the former stood to the altar. For this reason we have de-

signated the offerings of the third class altar-offerings. In material

substance, it is true, they were essentially the same as those of the

second class (the feudal payments). The objects presented were in

both instances the produce of agriculture and grazing; in both

there were animal and vegetable, bleeding and bloodless, offerings;

and they were both alike the fruit and produce of the life and work

connected with the ordinary occupation, or the means by which life

was invigorated and sustained. But the difference was this: some

went directly to the priests and Levites, whilst the others were given


56                    THE VARIOUS KINDS OF SACRIFICE.


directly and personally to Jehovah, through the relation in which

they were placed to the altar. For the altar was the spot upon

which men presented their gifts to Jehovah who dwelt on high, and

to which Jehovah came down to receive the gifts and bless the

giver (Ex. xx. 24). All the Corbanim of the third class, whether

animal or vegetable, were burned upon the altar in whole or part,

and on that account are designated in the Thorah either hw,xi (firing,

from wxe fire), or hOAhy; ywe.xi (Jehovah's firing). What the purpose of

this burning upon the altar was, is evident from the almost universal

formula: hOAhyl; hw,.xi HaOHyni Hayrel; (i.e., firing to the savour of peace, of

satisfaction, of good pleasure for Jehovah), Ex. xxix. 41; Lev. viii. 21,

etc. (see also Gen. viii. 21).  Jehovah smelt the vapour as it ascended

from the burning,--i.e., the essence of the sacrificial gift purified by

a fire from the merely earthly elements,--and found peace, satisfaction,

good pleasure therein. The gift was intended for Him personally,

and He accepted it personally, and that with good-will; and, ac-

cording to Ex. xx. 24, He blessed the giver in consequence. But if,

as we have seen, it was not the gift as such that Jehovah desired,

but the gift as the vehicle of the feelings of the giver, as the repre-

sentative sentative of his self-surrender, the cordial acceptance of the gift on

the part of God, expressed in the words HaOHyni Hayre, applies not to the

gift in itself, but to the gift as the representative of the person pre-

senting the sacrifice. The distinguishing feature which belonged

exclusively and universally to the Corbanim of the third class, viz.,

that of burning upon the altar, was an expression therefore of the

self-surrender of the worshipper, which was well-pleasing to God

and accepted by Him, and which He repaid by His blessing.

But the Corbanim of the third class were placed in another re-

lation to the altar so far as their nature permitted, and one that

was equally essential (in the case, that is, of the animal sacrifices),

viz., by the sprinkling of the blood upon the altar before the sacri-

fice was consumed.  The design of this we may settle now, without

forestalling any subsequent inquiry, from the passage which has

already been referred to in. various ways, viz., Lev. xvii. 11; though

how that design was, or could be, accomplished by such means, we

must leave for a future section. This design is expressed in Lev.

xvii. 11, in the words Mk,ytewop;na-lfa rPekal; i. e. "to expiate (= to cover

the sins of) your souls." The blood was the means of expiation, the

sprinkling of the blood the act of expiation ; and Jehovah Himself,

who appointed this as the mode of expiation for Israel ("And I

have given it you"), acknowledged thereby its validity and force.


THE VARIOUS KINDS OF SACRIFICE.                           57


It is very apparent that the two acts--the sprinkling of the blood

upon the altar, and the burning of the sacrifice upon the altar were

essentially and necessarily connected. The sprinkling of the blood,

or expiation, was the means; the burning, or dedication to Jehovah,

the end. In order that the second should be a “savour of satisfac-

tion to the Lord," it was necessary that the first should precede it;

the first, therefore, was the basis or prerequisite of the second.

It was entirely different with the Corbanim of the second class.

It is true, they were also presented as feudal payments due to

Jehovah; but instead of being retained, or personally appropriated

by Him, they were handed over at once and without reserve to the

priests or Levites. Even in their case the primary consideration

was subjectively (so far as the act of offering was concerned), not

the material gift in itself, but the consciousness of dependence upon

God, and the sense of obligation towards Him, of which the gift

was an expression; but objectively (so far as their application to

the payment and maintenance of the priests and Levites was con-

cerned) the material aspect once more presents itself. This dis-

tinction (viz., that they were not intended for Jehovah personally)

then reacted upon the mode of presentation, so that there was no 

apparent necessity for either the burning as a symbol of direct per-

sonal appropriation on the part of Jehovah, or the sprinkling of

blood as a symbol of the covering of sin preparatory to such appro-

priation. But with the altar-sacrifices, at least so far as they were

personally appropriated by Jehovah, the loftier, ideal aspect of self-

surrender was firmly retained to the end. For that reason they    

were holier than the others, requiring as a basis the sprinkling of

blood, and as a consummation the burning upon the altar. They

possessed and retained, from every point of view, a purely personal

character: on the objective side, because they were to be set apart

for Jehovah personally, and also because Jehovah desired a per-

sonal surrender, and not the mere material gift; on the subjective

side, because in them the worshipper presented himself before

Jehovah, with all his life and deeds, his hopes and longings, his

thanksgiving and praise, his prayers and supplications.

Through this exclusively spiritual character the altar-sacrifices,

as may easily be conceived, stand in a much closer relation to the

equally spiritual character of prayer. They were indispensable to

one another. For, on the one hand a sacrifice offered without

prayer, at least without the spirit of prayer, was a body without

soul, an empty, lifeless, powerless opus operaturm; and, on the other


58                    THE VARIOUS KINDS OF SACRIFICE.


hand, prayer could not dispense with the accompaniment of sacri-

fice. Prayer in itself is merely an ideal expression of the need and

longing for expiation and fellowship with God, and does not really

set these forth; but in the sacrificial worship there is an embodi-

ment, a visible and palpable expression, not merely of the subjective

desire of the worshipper, but also of the objective satisfaction of

that desire. I cannot help regarding it as a mistaken and mislead-

ing statement of Hengstenberg's, therefore, that sacrifice "was in the

main an embodiment of prayer (Hos. xiv. 2 ; Heb. xiii. 15)." On

the contrary, sacrifice was something different from and something

more than prayer. It did not correspond to prayer, as the symbol

to the idea; but it ran parallel to it, and required it as an accom-

paniment throughout its entire course. Moreover, "the main point

in the sacrifice" was not, what prayer could have exhibited equally

well, a subjective longing for the blessings of salvation but an ob-

jective assurance of them. Keil's explanation, in which Hengsten-

berg's idea is adopted, but without the essential, though still not

sufficient limitation, “in the main,” is still more inadmissible.

“Sacrifice,” he says, "is the visible utterance of prayer as the most

direct self-dedication of a man to God."1 (Arch. i. 192.) But if

sacrifice itself was in the main an embodiment of prayer, what ne-

cessity could there be for a special symbol of prayer to be associated

with most of the sacrifices?  For both Hengstenberg and Keil have

thus correctly interpreted the incense which had to be added to every

meat-offering, and thereby to every burnt-offering and peace-offer-

ing also, but which was not allowed to be added to the sin-offering.

§ 21. If we turn now to what was actually offered, to the mate-

rial substance of the Corbanim, it is self-evident that the first and

most important consideration was this, that the offering to be pre-

sented should be the property of the person presenting it, and should

be properly acquired or earned.2 How essential this demand was

with reference to all the Corbanim, is evident from the nature of

the case, and requires no proof. For instance, whereas in the first

class the notion of property was without restriction, and embraced

valuables of every kind (gold, silver, furniture, houses, fields, vine-


1 Vid. Delitzsch on the Epistle to the Hebrews (p. 739): "The sacrifice,

when offered in a right state of mind, had the self-dedication of the worship-

per as its background, and his prayer as its accompaniment (Job xiii. 8 ; 1 Sam.

vii. 9; 1 Chron. xxi. 26; 2 Chron. xxix. 26-30); but it was not the symbol of

either self-dedication or prayer."

2 Thus, for example, the gains of prostitution and the merces scorti virilis

are forbidden to be offered (Dent. xxiii. 18).




yards, etc.), in the second it was restricted to the produce of agri-

culture and grazing, and in the third class was limited still further,

--all garden produce, all fruits except wine and oil and all unclean

animals being excluded, so that the only things left for this class of

offerings were oxen, sheep, goats, and pigeons, as well as wine, oil,

and corn (either in natura, or in the form of flour, dough, bread,

cakes, etc.).

The fact that the Corbanim of the second class were limited to

the produce of agriculture and grazing, but embraced all such pro-

duce, may be explained from their character as feudal payments.

Agriculture and grazing were to be the peculiar and sole occupation

of the Israelites in the land which their God had given them in fief

hence their feudal payments were to be restricted to the produce of


But, in the case of strict altar-sacrifices, two other limitations

were introduced. All kinds of property which could not serve the

Israelite as food (e.g., houses, clothes, furniture, etc.) were to be ex-

cluded, as well as every kind which ought not to be so used (viz., all

unclean animals--the ass, the camel, etc.). In addition to these,

every kind of property was to be excluded which had not been ac-

quired by the worshipper himself in the sweat of his face, i.e., by his    

own diligence and toil, and in the exercise of his own proper calling:   

for example, all edible game, such as stags, gazelles, and antelopes,

and fruit which had grown ready to his hand, and could be eaten

without the bestowal of any special labour or care (such as almonds,

dates, pomegranates, etc.). Oil and wine were not included in them,

because in their case it was not the grape and olive that were offered,

but juice which had been procured in the sweat of the face.1

From what has been already said, it follows that both Bahr

(Symb. ii. 316-17) and Neumann are in error, when the former


1 It is true this last point could not be carried out in all its stringency and 

literality; for a man who bad no field or flock of his own (a labouring man, for

example) could not offer bread that he had reaped, or cattle that he had reared.

It was necessary, therefore, that he should be allowed to offer a sacrifice that he

had bought (the purchase, at any rate, was made in such a case with money       

acquired by the sweat of his own face); and in the Holy Land this exception

afterwards grew to be the rule whenever the person lived at such a distance     

from the sanctuary as rendered it difficult to bring the sacrifice with him.

This exception was a compromise of a similar kind to that which allowed the

poor man, who could not procure an expensive animal, to offer as a substitute

an incomparably cheaper pigeon, or if that were impossible, the tenth part of
an ephah of flour.


60                    THE VARIOUS KINDS OF SACRIFICE.


looks at the material of the altar-sacrifices exclusively in the light

of a collection of the principal productions of the country, and a

representation of the whole of the national property, whilst the

latter merely regards it in the light of food. It is a sufficient reply

to Bahr, that very many of the productions that were characteristic

of the country, and much that represented the national wealth,

could not be offered at all (e.g., the ass, the grape, the fig, the

pomegranate, milk and honey, etc.: Num. xiii. 23; Deut. viii. 7-9,

xi. 7-9). And Neumann's assertion is no less inconsiderate; for

if that had been the only regulating principle, stags, gazelles, and

antelopes, as well as the numerous kinds of clean birds, together

with vegetables, figs, dates, pomegranates, honey, etc., ought to have

been offered as well.

To obtain a correct view of the material selected for the sacri-

fices, we ought to do as Oehler has done viz, to combine the three

aspects referred to, and to regard this as the principle of selection,

that nothing was suitable to the purpose but personal property

justly acquired, which was, on the one hand, the fruit of Israel's

proper avocation (agriculture and the rearing of cattle), and on the

other hand, the natural and legal means of sustenance, that is to

say, of maintaining that avocation.

§ 22. From the rule thus laid down for the choice of the materials

for the altar-sacrifices, it is perfectly obvious that in these offerings

it was not the gift itself, but the giver, that was the primary object

of consideration; in other words, that they represented a personal

self-surrender to the person of Jehovah Himself. If this self-sur-

render to God was to be expressed, not merely ideally in thought,

or verbally in prayer, but in a visible and tangible act; and if,

moreover, as had been unalterably established since the occurrence

related in Gen. xxii, this act was not to assume the form of a real

human sacrifice; nothing remained but to select as a symbolical re-

presentation or substitute some other thing, which was evidently 

suitable for the purpose on account of the close and essential con-

nection existing between it and the worshipper. But for this pur-

pose it was not sufficient that the sacrifice should be merely the

property of the person offering it; on the contrary, it was requisite

that it should stand in a close, inward, essential relation, a psychical

rapport, to the person of the worshipper. This was the case, on

the one hand, whenever the material of the sacrifice was the result

and fruit of his life-work, his true avocation, and thus in a certain

sense was inoculated and impregnated with his own vis vitalis; and,



                        THE VARIOUS KINDS OF SACRIFICE.                           61


on the other hand, whenever it was appointed as the means of main-

taining and strengthening his vital energy, that is to say, when it

impregnated him with its own vis vitalis. But, as the rule laid

down above evidently shows, both points of view were combined in

the material selected for the Mosaic sacrifices. To the cattle which

the Israelite had reared, to the corn which he had reaped, to the

wine and oil which he had pressed, there still adhered the sweat of

his toil. The acquisition and maturing of them had been dependent

upon his own unwearied care, his toil and exertion; and thus, in a

certain sense, one element of his own life had been transferred to

them, and penetrated into them. He had devoted a portion of his

life to the task of acquiring them; and they were consequently, as

it were, an objective portion of his own life. To recognise the full

importance of this connection, it must again be borne in mind, that

according to the law itself the whole of the earthly life-work and

vocation of the Israelite was restricted to agriculture and the rear-

ing of cattle, and consequently that he devoted himself to it with

his whole heart, with undivided interest.

But wine, oil, corn, and cattle were not merely the result of

his toil and care, they were also and chiefly the fruit of the blessing

of GOD, a gift of God; and by virtue of what God had done, they

were appointed and suited to nourish and preserve his bodily life,

and to enable him to carry out his true vocation.

Keil disputes the correctness of this view of a biotic rapport be-

tween the sacrificer and his sacrifice; Oehler, on the contrary, admits

its truth. But when Keil argues, (1) that in that case the ass could

not have been excluded, and (2) that this principle is perfectly inap-

plicable to the vegetable portion of the materials of sacrifice,--it is a

sufficient reply to the former, that the ass was an unclean animal,

and therefore could not be used as food by the Israelites; and we

have already shown that there is no force whatever in the latter.

Neumann (p. 332), on the other hand, will not admit that the

question of property had anything to do with the choice of materials

for the altar-sacrifices; (1) “because dogs, asses, camels, houses,

and even wives, formed part of the property of an Israelite, and yet

were not offered in sacrifice;" (2) because “the ram, which Abra-

ham sacrificed instead of his son, was hardly his own property;" and     

(3) because “in the later period of the Jewish history the instances

were numerous enough, in which the people offered to their God

what had been contributed by foreign kings" (Ezra vi. 9; 1 Macc. x.

39; 2 Mace. iii. 3, ix. 16). Keil, who agrees with Neumann in his

62                    THE VARIOUS KINDS OF SACRIFICE.


rejection of our view, lays stress upon the last point only. The

first needs no refutation on our part. To the second we reply, that

this was before the standpoint of the sacrificial worship of the law

had been reached; and the case in itself was so singular and extra-

ordinary, that it cannot be regarded as supplying the rule for the

rest. And to the third Oehler (p. 625) has already replied, that

“in Ezra's time this was the necessary consequence of the poverty

of the people (Ezra vii. 17, 22); but Nehemiah's directions (Neh.

x. 33, 34) show how strong was the feeling even then, that it was

the duty of the people themselves to provide for the expenses of

their own worship." With regard to the later times of the Syrians

and Romans, the custom at that time proves nothing; for many

things were practised then, which were totally at variance with the

spirit of the Mosaic legislation.

§ 23. The altar-sacrifices were presented under the aspect of

food, not only subjectively, but objectively also; that is to say, they

not only consisted of the materials which constituted the food of

Israel, but they were also to be regarded as food for Jehovah. The

latter would follow from the former as a matter of course, even if it

had not been expressly stated. But it is expressly indicated, inas-

much as these sacrifices are spoken of as a whole, as the bread, the

food, of Jehovah (Lev. iii. 11, 16, xxi. 6, 8, 17, xxii. 25; Num.

xxviii. 2). Not, of course, that flesh, bread, and wine, as such,

could be offered to the God of Israel for food (Ps. 1. 12 sqq.).

They were not to pass for what they were, but for what they sig-

nified; and only in that light were they food for Jehovah. That

which served as the daily food of Israel was adopted as the symbol

of those spiritual gifts, which were offered to Jehovah as food.

We have no hesitation whatever in understanding the expression

bread of Jehovah" in the strict sense of the words; but we must

keep well in mind, that in the case of the God of Israel the allusion

could only have been to spiritual, and not at all to material food.

Jehovah, who, as the God of salvation, had entered into the

history of the world, and moved forward in it and with it, stood in

need of food in that capacity, but of spiritual food, the complete

failure of which would be followed by His also ceasing to be Je-

hovah. That food Israel was to offer Him in its own faithful self-

surrender; and the symbol of that self-surrender was to be seen in

the sacrifices consumed upon the altar, and ascending as a "savour

of satisfaction to Jehovah." If Israel had failed to fulfil its cove-

nant obliation of self-surrender to Jehovah, it would have broken



away from the covenant, and the covenant itself would have ceased;

and had the covenant been once abolished, God would also have

ceased to be the covenant-God, i.e., to be Jehovah.1

§ 24. Our remarks, thus far, apply equally to all the materials

of sacrifice, whether animal or vegetable.  But there is one import-

ant point of view, from which there was an essential distinction

between them, and which is adapted to throw light upon the ques-

tion, why they stood side by side in the sacrificial worship; that is

to say, why bloodless as well as bleeding sacrifices were required.

Animals of the higher class, more especially domestic animals and

cattle, stand incomparably nearer to man than plants do: their life

rests upon the same psychico-corporeal basis, they are subject to

the same conditions of life, they have the same bodily organs and 

functions, and need the same corporeal food as man. All this is

wanting in the case of the plant; or rather, everything in it is

precisely the opposite. An animal, therefore, is far better adapted

to represent the person of, a man, his vital organs, powers, and

actions, than plants can ever be. On the other hand, the cultiva-

tion of plants, more especially the growing of corn, requires far

more of the preparatory, continuous, and subsequent labour of man,

and is more dependent upon him than the rearing of cattle. It was

not upon the latter, but upon the former, that the curse was really

pronounced in Gen. iii. 17-19 (cf. v. 29). The material acquired

by agriculture, therefore, was far more suitable than the flocks to

represent the fruit, or result of the life-work of man. And this

distinction, as we shall afterwards show, was undoubtedly the prin-

ciple by which the addition of the vegetable to the animal materials      

of sacrifice was regulated.

§ 25. The altar-sacrifices are thus divisible into bleeding (animal)

and bloodless (vegetable) sacrifices.2  The former may be grouped


1 Compare with this what Hengstenberg says with reference to the shew-

bread: "This was really the food which Israel presented to its King; but that

King was a spiritual heavenly one; and therefore the food offered to Him under

a material form must be spiritual also . . .  The prayer to God, 'Give us this

day our daily bread,' is accompanied by the demand on the part of God, ‘Give

Me to-day My daily bread;' and this demand is satisfied by the Church, when

it offers diligently to God in good works that for which God has endowed it

with strength, benediction, and prosperity." (Diss. on the Pentateuch, vol. ii.

pp. 531, 532, translation.)

2 This distinction, however, is by no means coincident, as Kliefoth

supposes, with that between the expiatory sacrifices ("by which forgiveness of sins

and the favour and fellowship of God were secured ") and eucharistic offerings

("in which, after reconciliation has taken place, God and man hold intercourse with

64                                THE VARIOUS KINDS OF SACRIFICE.


again in three classes : (1) SIN-OFFERINGS (txFA.Ha) and TRESPASS-

OFFERINGS (MwAxA), the latter of which was merely one peculiar de-

scription of the former; (2) BURNT-OFFERINGS ( hlAfo ) and (3)

PEACE-OFFERINGS (MymilAw;; Luther, "thank-offerings "). In the

first, the sprinkling of the blood appears to have been the principal

thing; in the second, the burning upon the altar; and in the last a

new feature is introduced, which is wanting in both the others,

namely, the sacrificial meal. In the different kinds of bloodless

offerings we have to include, not only those which were burned

upon the altar in the court, but those which were offered upon the

altar, table, and candlestick of the Holy Place. The former were

designated as meat-offerings and drink-offerings (j`s,n,vA hHAn;mi)  and

consisted of corn (meal, bread, cake, etc.) and wine, with the addi-

tion of oil, incense, and salt. We find the same essential elements

in the Holy Place, but distributed upon the three different articles

of furniture--the incense upon the altar, bread and wine (meat-

and drink-offerings) upon the table of shew-bread, and oil (light-

offering) upon the candlestick.

Thus the whole of the Mosaic Corbanim may be classified as




for the maintenance of                  for the endowment of the            for personal appropria-

the priests and Levites                           sanctuary.                        tion on the part of Je-

(first -fruits and tenths).                                                                 hovah.


1. Fruits. 2. Cattle. 3. Men.                    A. Bleeding.                              B. Bloodless.

1 Clean. 2. Unclean.                     1. Sin-offerings and tres-         (1). In the    (2). In the

pass-offerings.                     Court.    Holy Place.

   2. Burnt-offerings.                      Meat and 1. Incense-

   3. Peace-offerings.                      drink-of-      offerings

     ferings.    2. Light-of-


                                                                                                                     3. Meat-of-



one another in mutual fellowship of life" ). Still less is he right in denying to

the bleeding (expiatory) sacrifice the character of an offering altogether. This

view is overthrown at once by the fact that all the sacrifices are called by the

same name, Corbanim. Even the bleeding, expiatory, animal sacrifices were

primarily offerings, or gifts; and this character of an offering was expressed in

the burning (of their fleshy parts), to which they were subjected in the same

way as the bloodless altar-gifts. Even in the case of those bleeding sacrifices

in which the expiation reached its highest point, and everything else gave place

to it (viz., in the case of the sin-offerings), the essential characteristic of an

offering was invariably preserved through the burning of the fat (cf. § 142).









   PART I.




§ 26. The ritual of the bleeding sacrifice may be arranged

according to its salient points in the following manner:--

When circumstances demanded, or inclination prompted, the

person presenting the sacrifice, having selected an animal in accord-   

ance with the legal directions as to both kind and mode brought it

before the door of the tabernacle, i.e., to the altar of burnt-offering

in the court, where he laid his hand upon it, and then slaughtered

it on the north side of the altar. The sacrificer had now performed

his part, and all the rest belonged to the province of the priest.

The latter began by receiving the blood of the animal in a vessel,

and applying it, either in whole or in part, and in various ways    

according to the nature and importance of the sacrifice, to the altar

of the court (in certain cases also to the altar of the Holy Place, or

the Capporeth of the Most Holy). He then flayed the animal, and

having cut it in pieces, and washed the entrails and lower part of the

thigh in water, burned either the whole of it except the skin, which

belonged to himself, or only the fat, upon the altar of the court.

It was only in the case of the burnt-offerings that the former was

done; whilst the latter was the case with all the other kinds of

sacrifice. But in the case of the peace-offerings, after the burning

of the fat and the removal of certain portions, which fell to the lot

of the officiating priest, the remainder was eaten at a sacrificial

meal by the sacrificer himself and his family; and in that of the

sin-offerings and trespass-offerings, the flesh was either burned

without the camp, or (in certain cases) eaten by the priests in the

Holy Place. With the burnt-offerings and peace-offerings, there

66                                THE NOTION OF EXPIATION.


were also associated meat-offerings and drink-offerings; but never

with the sin-offerings and trespass-offerings.

Of the different points referred to here, we shall look, in the

first place, simply at those which mark the progressive steps of the

sacrificial ceremony as a whole, and only so far as they do this.

All the rest we shall defer till we come to our examination of the

various kinds of sacrifice.







§ 27. The EXPIATION (Rabbinical: h.rAPAKa) of the person sacri-

ficing is what we meet with everywhere, not only as the first

intention, but to a certain extent as the chief and most important

end of the bleeding sacrifices in general. When the sacrifice of

animals is mentioned in the law, making atonement (vylAfA rPekal;) is

nearly always expressly mentioned, and for the most part this

alone, as being the purpose, end, and fruit of the sacrifice. It is

perfectly obvious, indeed, that there were other ends to be attained,--

such, for example, as the self-surrender of the sacrifice to Jehovah

in the burning of the sacrificial gift, and the enjoyment of fellow

ship with Jehovah in the sacrificial meal; but the fact that these

ends could not possibly be attained in any other way than by means

of expiation, and on the basis of expiation, gave to the latter its

incomparable, all-surpassing importance, and its central place in

the plan of salvation, the progressive stages of which were sym-

bolically represented in the sacrificial worship. The highest and

most difficult, in fact the only real enigma, which the saving

counsel of God had to solve in the whole history of salvation, was

the expiation of sinful man. Let this difficulty be overcome, and

every other difficulty falls with it to the ground, so that the way is

fully opened for the attainment of all the other blessings of salvation.

The question was not, how could man, who had been created by and

for God, attain to fellowship with God, and continue therein as so

created (there would have been no difficulty in this; in fact, it would

have followed, so to speak, as a matter of course); the question

was, whether, and how, sinful man, notwithstanding his sin, which

had severed all the bonds of fellowship with God, and rendered

THE NOTION OF EXPIATION.                              67


their reunion impossible, could nevertheless attain to that fellow-

ship again. Nothing but expiation, i.e., the extermination of his sin,

could render this impossibility possible. Consequently, the expiation

of his sin was the Alpha and Omega for the wants and longings of

a sinner desirous of fellowship with God; and for that reason, the

law of sacrifice, which meets these wants and this longing with its

institutions of salvation, reiterates again and again, and more than

anything besides, its vylAfA rPekal; or NheKoha vylAfA rP,kiv; ("to make atonement

for him," or "the priest shall make atonement for him").

§ 28. Although the root rpk does not occur in Kal (for the rpaKA

in Gen. vi. 14 is probably a denominative verb from rp,Ko = pitch or

resin, cf. Furst, Lex. i. 621), the correctness of the generally accepted

radical signification, "to cover," "to cover up," is fully established

from the cognate dialects. This radical meaning has been retained

in the Piel, only the notion of covering up has passed from the

literal into a figurative sense. rP,Ki and rPaKu are never used to denote

any other than an ideal covering. In this sense it is chiefly em-

ployed in religious phraseology, i.e., in connection with divine

worship. That which is covered up is never God, or anything

godly,1 but always something ungodly, displeasing to God, hostile

to Him, provocative of His wrath and punishment; that is to say,

sin, guilt, and uncleanness ("for sin," Lev. iv. 35, v. 13, etc.;

"iniquity," Jer. xviii. 23 ; Ps. lxxviii. 38, etc. ; "his ignorance,"

Lev. v. 18). If we find a number of other objects appended to

rP,Ki (e.g., "for the soul," or "for the souls," Ex. xxx. 15; Lev.

xvii. 11, etc. , "for the children of Israel," Num. viii. 19 , "for the

house," Lev. xiv. 53, and many others), it is only in appearance that

this is opposed to our assertion. All these objects come into con-

sideration only so far as sin or uncleanness adheres to them; and it

is not to them, but to the uncleanness adhering to them that the

term rP,Ki applies. In such a case the covering becomes eo ipso an

expiation, and the covered sin no longer exists as sin, but is an

exterminated or expiated sin.          


1 It is incorrect, and likely to mislead, therefore, to speak of atoning

the wrath of God, as Delitzsch, for example, does (Heb. p. 741): "it is the

wrath of God excited by sin which is atoned, i.e., appeased by the punishment of sin." On

the contrary, we must distinguish between expiation and reconciliation. Accord-

ing to the analogy of the ordinary expression, "to reconcile an enemy," we may

also speak of reconciling the angry God, but never of atoning (expiating) God,

or the wrath of God. The reconciliation of the angry person is effected through

the expiation of that by which he has been offended, and his anger has been


68                                THE NOTION OF EXPIATION.


We must here inquire, in the first place, however, by what

process of thought the covered sins were regarded as exterminated

or expiated. According to the general opinion, the covering removed

the sins from the sight of Jehovah; Jehovah saw them no more

they no longer provoked His anger and His punishment; and thus

they might be regarded as no longer existing, as exterminated, and

altogether removed from the wrath of God (vid. Bahr, ii. 204;

Ebrard, p. 42; Kliefoth, p. 31; Oehler, p. 630). In confirmation of

this view appeal is made to the expression in Lev. vi. 7, rP,kiv;

hOAhy; ynep;li NheKoha vylAfA, where the sins are represented as being covered

up “before the face of Jehovah.” But MyniPA is not the face in the

sense of that which sees, but rather in the sense of that which is

seen, or is to be seen; the expression employed to denote the

former is hvhy ynyfl.  And when we find the forgiveness of sins

designated in Micah vii. 19 as a casting of the sins into the depths

the sea, and in Jer. xviii. 23, “washing away (yHim;T,) the sins

before the face of Jehovah," answering as a parallelism to rP,Ki

MnAOfE-lfa; these are simply different figures for the same thing, from

which nothing at all can be inferred as to the meaning of rP,Ki,

although Oelhler appeals to both these points. And when Oehler

goes on to remark, that “the immediate consequence is, that by

virtue of such a covering, the sinful man is protected from the

punishing judge," no objection can be made to this, unless, as is

done by Delitzsch (Heb. p. 387, 740), there is given to rpk itself

the meaning or force of a protective covering, or of a covering from

danger, namely, from the manifestation of the wrath of God. The

meaning of rpk, in the sacrificial terminology, cannot possibly be

that what is covered is to be protected, delivered, preserved. Such

a meaning would be perfectly inadmissible in connection with

the common expressions txFH-lf, Nvf-lf (“for their sin,” “for their

iniquity”), etc.; for sin, iniquity, guilt, or uncleanness, is just what

is not to be protected, but, on the contrary, to be exterminated, set

aside, annihilated. No doubt the object of the verb rpk in the

sacrificial language, is for the most part the person of the sacrificer

himself; in which case, the notion of protection, deliverance, pre-

servation, and so forth, before the wrath of God would be perfectly

applicable. But the frequency with which the verb is connected

with sin, iniquity, etc., compels us to assume, that even where a

person is mentioned as the object, it is not the person himself, or in

himself, that is to be regarded as the object to be covered, but the

sin and uncleanness adhering to him. Moreover, when we observe

THE NOTION OF EXPIATION.                              69


that very frequently, where the person of the sacrificer is mentioned

as the object, there is added, as an explanatory apposition, either

OtxF.AHa-lfa ("concerning his sin"), Lev. iv. 35, v. 13; or OtgAg;wi-lfa

(“concerning his ignorance”), Lev. v. 18; or OtxF.AHame (" from his

sin"), Lev. iv. 26, v. 6, 10, xvi. 34; or tOxm;F.umi ("from the unclean-

nesses"), Lev. xvi. 16; or, lastly, xFAHA rw,xEme (Eng. Ver., "for that"

he sinned") Num. vi. 11; we must admit the correctness of the "

conclusion to which Rosenmiiller and Bahr both came that "the

formula vylf rpk) (Eng. Ver., "make atonement for him"), which

occurs most frequently in the sacrificial ritual, is abbreviated from the

more complete form  Owp;na-lfa rP,Ki  (“make atonement for his soul"),

and that this again stands for Owp;na txF.aHa-lfa rP,Ki ("make atonement

for the sin of his soul").

But whether the word rP,Ki be understood as denoting a cover-

ing in the sense of withdrawing from view, or of protecting from

danger, the use of the word in other connections--viz., in Gen.

xxxii. 20; Prov. xvi. 14; Isa. xxviii. 18, xlvii. 11--seems to show

that neither of these interpretations can be sustained. When Isaiah

says, for example, tv,mA-tx, Mk,t;yriB; rPakuv; ("your covenant with death

shall be covered"), the meaning is not that the covenant with death

shall be rendered invisible, for even as an invisible (secret) covenant

it might answer its purpose quite as well; still less that it shall be

protected from danger, for, on the contrary, it is to be rendered

powerless and nugatory. But covering would only render it power-

less and nugatory, provided it was a covering of a kind to suppress,

restrain, and destroy the ability and effort to assist the ally. In the

same way it would be opposed both to the meaning and the context,

to imagine the words employed by Jacob, "I will cover his face

with a present," as signifying either that he would protect Esau's

face from danger, or that he would hide it from view by means of

his present; on the contrary, Jacob's intention was to protect himself   

from the wrath of Esau, of which his face was the vehicle, and then

to follow this "covering of his face" by actually "seeing his face.”

Nor can we interpret this passage, according to the analogy of the

"covering of the eyes" in Gen. xx. 16, as indicating that it was

Jacob's intention to "hold something before Esau's face which

would prevent him from looking any longer at the wrong that had

been done him" (Hofmann, Schriftbeweis ii. 1, p. 233); for in that

case he would have followed the analogy of Gen. xx. 16, and said,

vynyf hrpkx (“I will cover his eyes”), to say nothing of the fact that

the meaning thus obtained could not possibly be applied to the sacri-

70                                THE NOTION OF EXPIATION.


ficial rpk. Jacob determines to cover Esau's face, not that he may

no longer see the wrong that Jacob has done, but that the anger

depicted in Esau's face may be broken, that is to say, rendered

altogether powerless. And when it is stated in Prov. xvi. 14, that

"a wise man covers (rP,Ki) the wrath of the king," the word is to be

understood in the same sense as Jacob's hrpkx. With this interpre-

tation of the word rP,Ki, "a transition to the phrase hOAh rP,Ki (to cover

mischief) in Isa. xlvii. 11" is undoubtedly a possible," and a mean-

ing may be obtained which shall be perfectly appropriate to the

parallel hfArA rHawi ("the dawning of evil").

In this way, then, we also understand the covering of sin in

the sacrificial worship as a covering by which the accusatory and

damnatory power of sin--its power to excite the anger and wrath

of God--is broken, by which, in fact, it is rendered both harmless

and impotent. And, understood in this sense, the sacrificial covering

was not merely an apparent, conventional, expiation of sin (which

would have been the case if it had been merely removed from the

sight of Jehovah), but a process by which it was actually rendered

harmless, which is equivalent to cancelling and utterly annihilat-

ing. Among other passages which show that the word rP,Ki must

be understood in this sense, we may cite Deut. xxi. 9, where the

rPeKani  in ver. 8 is followed by an explanatory rfebaT; (thou shalt put


With this view the intensive force of the Piel, as determining or

modifying this signification, is firmly retained:  it is so complete,

effectual, and overpowering a covering, that all real and active force

in that which is covered up is thereby rendered impossible, or slain.

Hofmann has a very peculiar notion with regard to rP,Ki. In his

opinion, it is a denominative from rp,Ko (a redemption fee), and sig-

nifies to give a covering, or payment; so that the means by which

the sin is expiated assumes the appearance of a “compensation,”

without which the sinner could not be set free from the captivity

of sin; in just the same sense in which payment is made as a re-

demption fee for deliverance from bodily captivity. But notwith-

standing the amazing acuteness, and minute, hair-splitting cleverness,


1 Since writing the above, I have found essentially the same view expressed

by Kahnis (i. 271), who says, "To expiate, literally to cover up, does not mean

to cause a sin not to have been committed, for that is impossible; nor to repre-

sent it as having no existence, for that would be opposed to the earnestness of

the law; nor to pay or compensate it by any performance; but to cover it before

God, i.e., to deprive it of its power to come between us and God."

THE NOTION OF EXPIATION.                              71


with which Hofmann has endeavoured once more to establish this

derivation and meaning, and to defend it against the objections of

Ebrard (pp. 41, 42) and Delitzsch (Heb. 386, 740), in the second

edition of his Schriftbeweis (ii. 1, 232 sqq.), he has not succeeded

even in rendering it plausible. He cannot adduce a single passage

from which this signification of rP,Ki or its derivatives (MyriPuKi and

tr,PoKa) can be proved;1 and still less is he able to meet the important

fact, that the term rp,Ko, which is so common elsewhere, and which

is said to furnish the real key to the explanation of the sacrificial

worship, is not to be met with on one single occasion in connection

with the sacrificial worship, whereas the word rP,Ki which is said to

be derived from it, with its several derivatives, is perpetually em-

ployed, and occurs in connections of the most various kinds, which

would have furnished just as fitting an occasion for the use of rp,Ko

if the two words had really been synonymous.

§ 29. The subject from whom the rPeKa proceeded in connection

with the sacrificial worship, was always represented as either GOD,

or His servant and representative the priest; and the fruit and

effect of it as being the forgiveness of those sins (Lev. iv. 20, rp,kov;

Mh,lA Hlas;niv; NheKoha Mh,ylefE; also Lev. iv. 26, 31, 35, v. 10, 13, 16, 18,

vi. 7; Num. xv. 28 or the removal of that uncleanness Lev xii.

7, 8, hrAhEFAv hAyl,fA rP,kiv; cf. Lev. xiv. 31, 53 xvi. 19), for which expia-

tion was to be made. The blood alone is mentioned as the means

of sacrificial expiation Ex. xxx. 10 Lev. vi. 30, viii. 15, xvi. 

16, etc.); from which it follows, that it was the bleeding sacrifice

alone, and not the bloodless offerings also, which possessed an ex-

piatory value. But why, or in what way, the blood was adapted to

be a means of expiation we learn first of all in connection with the

publication of the command to abstain from eating blood in Lev.

xvii. 11: “For the soul of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given

it to you upon the altar, to make an atonement for your souls: for 

the blood, it makes atonement by means of the soul." We adopt this

rendering of   rPekay; wp,n.,Ba, in common with Bahr, Keil, Delitzsch, etc.


     1 The only passage which could be adduced as favouring this meaning, viz.,

Ex. xxx.--where the census-tax, which is called Owp;na rp,Ko in ver. 12, is de-

scribed in ver. 16 as  MyriPuKiha Js,K, and in ver. 15 as serving Mk,ytewop;na-lfa rPekal;

only proves that on one occasion, under peculiar circumstances, and in a parti-

cular sense, the, hrAP;Ka, which, as a rule, was accomplished by the sacrificial blood,

was accomplished in a more literal sense by a money payment. But it by no

means follows from this, that on every occasion, whatever the means of expiation

might be, it must always be regarded in the light of a payment.

72                                THE NOTION OF EXPIATION.


Ebrard (p. 44), on the other hand, adheres to the rendering adopted by the LXX.

(a]nti> yuxh?j), the Vulgate (pro animae piaculo), and Luther, viz., "for (or

concerning) the soul;" and assumes, in consequence, that according to the usual

phraseology employed in connection with purchase and exchange, the animal foul

is regarded as the purchase money paid for the redemption of the human soul.

But this rendering is inadmissible, since rpk (= to cover) is not one

of the verbs denoting purchase or barter, and there is no allusion

here to exchange. Hengstenberg's rendering, “for the blood expiates

the soul,” is still less admissible, as it has no analogy whatever in the

usage of the language. For rP,Ki is never construed with b objecti

(in wd,q.oBa Lev. vi. 30, xvi. 27, the 2 is to be regarded as local), but

only with lfa or dfaB;, and sometimes also with a simple accusative

Hofmann, Kliefoth, Bunsen, and others, prefer to regard the b as

b essentiae: "the blood expiates as (in the character of) the soul."

The objection made to this by Delitzsch (Psychol. p. 197), that the

b essentiae never stands before a noun determined by an article or

suffix, has been overthrown by Hofmann, who adduces several in-

stances, in which, at all events, it stands before a noun with a suffix

(Ex. xviii. 4; Ps. cxlvi. 5; Prov. iii. 26). I cannot admit that Ex.

vi. 3 is a case in point; for even if El Shaddai might be regarded

elsewhere as a proper name, the very use of b essentiae here would

in itself contain an allusion to its appellative meaning. But al-

though from this point of view also Hofmann's rendering appears

perfectly justifiable, the instrumental force of the b, as being the

more usual one in connection with rP,Ki) (Gen. xxxii. 20; Ex. xxix

33; Lev. vii. 7, xix. 22; Num. v. 8 ; 2 Sam. xxi. 3), and therefore,

at all events, the first to suggest itself, is certainly to be preferred.1


1 Even Hofmann admits that this view has very much to support it in the

frequent use of B; with rP,Ki, to denote the means employed in the process of

expiation; but in his opinion there may be adduced against it the unnatural

character of the fact, "that whilst on other occasions the sacrificial gift is the

medium of the atoning act of the sacrificer, here the blood offered was to be

rendered effective by something altogether different from him." Moreover, "in

other places the blood and the soul are regarded as one." (Thus in Gen. ix. 4

Deut. xii. 23; and in our passage, Lev. xvii. 11.) But the blood is not other

wise distinguished from the soul, nor otherwise identified with it, than as a full

purse is distinguished from and identified with the money that it contains.

Since it was only the soul contained in the blood which gave its worth and

significance to the blood itself, the latter might very well be called the soul,

although the lawgiver was perfectly aware, and in ver. 11 has really stated, that

the soul may be distinguished from the blood because the soul is in the blood

For it would be difficult for any one to persuade himself that the b is a Beth

THE NOTION OF EXPIATION.                              73


§ 30. There is something peculiar, however, in the slighting

way in which Hofmnn speaks of Lev. xvii. 11. "It has sometimes

happened," he says (p. 237), “that the words of Lev. xvii. 11 have

been made the basis of the whole investigation with regard to the

nature of the bleeding sacrifice . . . . . When we read that 'the

blood it expiates by means of the soul,' we learn nothing more than

we have already learned elsewhere." Again, at p. 239 he says

"In this passage we neither find the blood and the soul of the ani-

mal treated as one; nor are we told how far the blood, when it was

applied to the altar, had an expiatory effect; nor is there anything

to lead to the conclusion, that every sacrifice, in connection with

which blood was applied to the altar, was intended as an expiation

or that the application of blood alone served as an expiation, to the

exclusion of all the rest of the sacrificial process."

But this is not a correct statement of the case. It is true that

we already know, from Ex. xxx. 10, Lev. vi. 30, viii. 15, xvi. 16,

that the blood was the medium of expiation; and from Gen. ix. 4,

that the blood stands in an immediate and essential relation to the

soul. But that the blood, as soul, i.e., as the vehicle of the soul,

was the medium of expiation, is stated first and alone in Lev. xvii.

11; and for that reason, this passage must be admitted to possess 

an unparalleled and fundamental importance as a key to the mean-

ing of the bleeding sacrifice.

It also follows undoubtedly from this passage, that any blood

which was sprinkled upon the altar, and therefore “every sacrifice

in which blood was applied to the altar,” was intended as an expia-

tion; and also, that, as blood was applied to the altar in connection

with every animal sacrifice, expiation took place in connection with

them all; and, so far, every kind of animal sacrifice might be de-

signated as an expiatory sacrifice. But it does not follow from this,

that expiation was the sole object in every case; or an equally im-


essentiae and not a Beth locale in the clause xvhi MDABa rWABAha wp,n,. On the other

hand, I fully agree with Hofmann, in opposition to Delitzsch, Knobel, and Oehler,

that in ver 14, in the clause xvhi Owp;nab; OmDA rWABA-lKA wp,n,, the B is neither local

nor instrumental, since neither the one nor the other will give any tolerable

sense; and that it is to be understood as b essentiae, "the soul of all flesh is its

blood, as its soul," or, as Hofmann explains it, "it is true of the soul of all

flesh, that it is its blood, which constitutes its soul." But just as in this place

the context compels us to regard the Beth as essential, because this alone will

give any meaning; so the current phraseology requires that in the word wp,n.,Ba

in ver. 11 it should be regarded as instrumental, which gives a good meaning,

and is perfectly in harmony with the context.

74                                THE NOTION OF EXPIATION.


portant object in them all. The words, "to make atonement for

him" (vylAfA rPekal; ) are expressly used, in fact, not only in connection

with the sin-offering (Lev. iv. 20, 26, 31, 35, etc.) and trespass-

offering (Lev. v. 16, 18, vi. 7, etc.), but in connection with the

burnt-offering also (Lev. i. 4). And if this is not the case with the

peace-offerings, we must not conclude from that, that the law did not

attribute to them any expiatory character at all. In proportion as

the expiatory character of the different kinds of sacrifice diminished

in importance, the eagerness of the law to give prominence to their

atoning virtue diminishes also. The sin- and trespass-offerings are

hardly referred to once, without an allusion to the atonement to be

made. In connection with the burnt-offering, it is expressly men-

tioned only once, viz., at the very commencement of the sacrificial

law (Lev. i. 4; compare, however, Lev. v. 10, xiv. 20, xvi. 24).

And in the sections relating to the peace-offering (Lev. iii., vii. 11-

21) it is not brought into prominence at all.

Thomasius (Christi Person and Werk iii. 1, p. 40) also adduces

Ezek. xlv. 15 (see also ver. 17) as a proof of the expiatory charac-

ter of the peace-offerings. But this passage cannot be accepted as

conclusive. For although the meat-offering, the burnt-offering, and

the peace-offering are classed together in ver. 15 (in ver. 17 the sin-   

offering also is mentioned), and the expression, “to make reconcilia-

tion for them”  ( Mh,ylefE rPekal; ) is applied in common to them all; the

introduction of the meat-offering renders this passage unservice-

able for the end supposed. But we do not require any express or

special proof passages. The question is settled already by Lev.

xvii. 11. If all blood placed upon the altar was atoning blood, this

must have applied to the blood of the peace-offerings also. And

a still more decisive proof is to be obtained per analogiam from the

entire ritual of sacrifice. If the sprinkling of blood in "connection

with the burnt-offering and trespass-offering served as an atonement

( vylAfA rPekal;), the sprinkling of the blood of the peace-offering, which

was performed in precisely the same way, must necessarily have had

the same significance.

On the other hand, it certainly cannot be directly inferred from

Lev. xvii. 11, that it was the sprinkling of blood alone which pos-

sessed an expiatory worth, to the entire exclusion of all the rest of the

sacrificial rites. Though this conclusion, which Hofmann disputes,

is perfectly correct; only it cannot be proved from Lev. xvii. 11.

It may be inferred, however, on the one hand, from the fact, that

the sprinkling of blood is frequently spoken of as making atone-

THE OBJECTS USED IN SACRIFICE.                                           75


ment, apart from any other portion of the sacrificial rite, whilst no

other portion of that rite is ever mentioned as possessing atoning

worth apart from the sprinkling of blood, and, on the other hand, 

from the impossibility of deducing the idea of expiation from any

other part of the sacrificial ritual.







§ 31. We have already seen, chiefly from the statement in Lev.

xvii. 11, that the soul of the sacrificial animal which was brought

to the altar in its blood according to divine direction, made expia-

tion for the sinful soul of the person sacrificing, and procured the

forgiveness of his sin. But neither this passage, nor any other,

explains to us how, why, and by what process the soul of the sacri-

ficial animal was adapted to serve as the means of expiation. The

only way that we have, therefore, of obtaining an answer to this

important question, is to ascertain what idea the Hebrew formed of

the soul of the sacrificial animal in itself, and in its relation to the

soul of man, and also through what process he imagined that soul

to pass, before and during its appropriation as the medium of atone-


A careful and thorough investigation into the Old Testament      

view of the nature and essence of the soul in itself and in its rela-

tion to the other bases and powers of life in both the animal and

the human spheres, cannot of course be undertaken by us here.

We must be content to bring out those points which seem best

adapted to further our immediate purpose.

The whole of the animal and human world is repeatedly com-

prehended in the phrase, MYY.;ha (tmaw;ni )  HaUr OB rw,xE rWABA-lKA, “all flesh,

in which is a (breath) spirit of life" (Gen. vi. 17, vii. 15, 22).      

Consequently, the nature of man, like that of the animal, consists

of flesh (or body) and a life-spirit. But through the connection of

the life-spirit with the flesh, through the indwelling of the spirit in

the flesh, a third arises, viz., the living soul (Gen. ii. 7). Thus it is

expressly stated in Gen. ii. 7, that God breathed into the body of

the man which had been formed from the dust of the earth a

"breath of life," and the man became thereby a living soul. But,

76                    THE OBJECTS USED IN SACRIFICE.


according to Gen. vi. 17, and vii. 15, 22, a spirit or breath of life

dwells in the animals also. Again, according to Gen. ii. 19, they

too were formed from earthly materials. And lastly, they also pro-

ceeded as "living souls" from the creating hand of God (Gen. ii.

19, i. 20, 24). So that we may conclude that they too became

"living souls," through the endowment of their material, earthly

bodies with a "breath of life" (vid. Ps. civ. 30, 31; Job xxxiv. 14,

15; Eccl. iii. 21). In both instances the nostrils are mentioned as

the seat of the spirit or breath (vid. Gen. vii. 22, ii. 7, vyPAxaB;). The

meaning, however, is of course, not that the spirit of life, either in

man or in the animal, is identical with the air which they breathe;

but the obvious intention is to point out the spirit as the power,

whose activity is manifested in breathing as the most striking evi-

dence of existing life. But through the diffusion of this spirit-power

throughout the flesh, there arises a third, viz., the living soul. The

soul, therefore, is not something essentially different from the life-

spirit, but merely a mode of existence which it assumes by pervading

and animating the flesh; and regarded in this light, it has its seat,

both in man and beast, in the blood (Lev. xvii. 11; Gen. ix. 4-6).

Since the soul, therefore, represents in itself the unity of flesh and

spirit, and as the incarnate life-spirit is the first principle, the seat

and source of all vital activity, the whole man, or the whole animal,

may of course be appropriately designated "a living soul," as is the

case in Gen. i. 20, 24, ii. 7, 19.

§ 32. Now, if animals as well as men are "living souls," and in

both this is dependent in the same way upon the indwelling of a

"spirit of life" in the flesh, it might almost appear as though the

Old Testament view rendered any essential distinction between man

and beast impossible. But that is not the case. The essential dis-

tinction between man and beast, notwithstanding this apparent

levelling on the part of the Hebrews, is no less certain, and is main-

tamed with even greater sharpness, than was the case among other


A comparison of Gen. ii. 7 with Gen. ii. 19 will be sufficient to

show, that the author made an essential distinction between the

animal and the human creation. It is true he uses the same ex-

pression, "God formed," with reference to both, and the result in

both cases was a "living soul." But he makes a distinction even

in the substratum for the formation of the body. In the case of

the animals he says at once, "of the ground;" but in that of the

man he says, "dust of the ground." In the former he speaks of the

THE OBJECTS USED IN SACRIFICE.                               77


earthly material without selection; in the latter, of a nobler, finer,

and as it were sublimated, earthly material. In the case of the 

former, too, there is no express reference made to the endowment of

the earthly figure with a "breath of life;" though he can hardly

have intended to deny that this was the case, since its result is

admitted, viz., that the animal also became a "living soul." But

he regarded it as too trivial and unimportant to be specially men-

tioned, and therefore embraced it in the one expression "formed;"

whereas, in ver. 7, the “breathing in of the breath of life” becomes

an independent act, and is described as the acme of the whole pro-


In the first account of the creation, the formation of man is still

more expressly distinguished from that of the animal. A simple

command of God (i. 20, 24) calls the animals out of the earth as

their material womb (rendered fruitful by the Spirit of God, which

had moved upon the face of the primary chaotic matter); but in

the creation of man God holds a formal consultation with Himself,

and creates him in His own image. The creation ascends step by

step; its last work is man and he alone, of all creatures, bears in

himself the image of God (i. 26, 27). Now, if we compare with

this the two points in the creation of man in Gen. ii. 7, there can

be no question that the endowment with the image of God is to be

associated, not with the fact first named, "He formed," but with

the second, "He breathed." The endowment of man with a spirit

of life was at the same time an endowment with the image of God.

The animals were also endowed, like man, with a spirit of life, and

thus became a living soul; but man's spirit of life alone was im-

pregnated with an essentially divine potency, by which the image of

God was impressed upon his nature. And it is this potency which

we are accustomed to call spirit, in distinction from body and soul,

and because of the absence of which we deny that the animal is

possessed of a spirit; whereas the Hebrew phraseology, employing

the word spirit (HaUr) or breath (hmAwAn;) in a broader sense, attributes

a spirit to the animal also.

Whether and how far that divine potency, which belonged to

man alone, was obscured, weakened, suppressed, or even lost through

the fall, we are nowhere expressly informed, either in the Penta-

teuch or any other part of the Old Testament. But that this did

not take place without a considerable deterioration and alteration of

its original standing and worth, especially from an ethical point of

view, is presupposed by the whole of the Old Testament history and     

78                    THE OBJECTS USED IN SACRIFICE.


doctrine of salvation. But it is equally certain that its inalienable,

so to speak its physical side--viz., self-consciousness, personality,

freedom of choice, self-determination, and consequent responsibility

for his actions--remained with man even after the fall (Gen. iv. 10;

Deut. xi. 26; Josh. xxiv. 15, etc.); whereas the actions of the

animal are determined by instinct, by the necessities of its nature,

and it cannot direct or unfold its powers in any other way than that

to which its nature impels, so that it is not, and cannot be, respon-


§ 33. “Spirit” or “breath” denotes the animal life (in man as well

as the animal), so far as its activity is shown in the process of respi-

ration.  “Soul,” on the other hand, denotes the same, so far as it is

manifest in the circulation of the blood. As the spirit pervades the

body, and, so to speak, becomes incarnate in it by means of the pro-

cess of breathing, it becomes “soul,” which has its seat in the blood,

and, by means of the blood, penetrates and animates the whole

body in all its members, the whole flesh in all its muscles and

nerves. Hence the “spirit” is the potential, the “soul” the actual,

principle of life; and it is not the spirit but the soul which connects

the outer with the inner world (by its receptive activity), and the

inner with the outer world (by its spontaneous activity). It is the

sensitive principle, the seat of emotion, of liking and disliking, and

If the impelling power of motion and action. Through its mediation

the impressions and influences of the outer world assume the

form of perception. Through this the individual is affected agree-

ably or disagreeably from without, experiencing pleasure or pain.

Through this also the individual manifests its power outwardly in

movement and action. This impels it to do what yields it pleasure,

to avoid what causes pain. It is also the seat and source of desire,

both on its positive and its negative side, as affection or aversion,

sympathy or antipathy. Hence, in the New Testament, whenever

this is the only motive power by which any man's conduct is re-

gulated, he is called a soulish, or psychical (Eng. Ver. natural")


This is the common basis of the human and the animal souls.

They have a common foundation--a common root and source.

And both were originally dependent upon the primary moving of

the Spirit of God, which moved upon the chaotic mass of earthly


1 Such passages as Gen. ix. 5, vi. 7 ; Ex. xxi. 28; Lev. xx. 15, 16; Deut.

xiii. 15, are not to be regarded in the light of punishment inflicted upon the ani-

mal. Gen. iii. 14 stands altogether by itself.

THE OBJECTS USED IN SACRIFICE.                               79


matter, out of which their corporeality was formed. But above this

common natural basis, there rises the essential difference between the

human and animal souls. Whereas the animal world was merely

endowed with a spirit of life by a general creative operation of the

Spirit of God upon the earthly material, out of which their bodies

were prepared; the breathing of the spirit of life into the human

form was the result of a direct, special, unique act of God, through

which the general, earthly spirit of life was imbued with specific

and divine powers; so that the spirit of life thus impregnated, ren-

dered man not merely a living soul (Gen. ii. 7), but also the       

image of God (Gen. i. 27), and thereby stamped upon him on the

physical (essential) side, as a copy of the divine nature, the indelible

character of personality, with all its attributes, and on the ethical

(habitual) side, as a (potential) copy of the divine character, the

capacity to be holy as God is holy. For as man, by virtue of his

personality, was able to mould himself otherwise than God had in-

tended, and to will otherwise than God had willed; this side of his

likeness to God could only have been imparted to him at first as a

mere capacity, and not as a developed and inalienable reality. And

the fact is recorded in Gen. iii., that the man did not progress from

the potential holiness at first imparted, to an actual holiness of his

own choosing; but on the contrary, abused his freedom and fell

into unholiness and sin.

The following, therefore, we may regard as the result of our

discussion thus far. The soul of the animal, like that of man, is

the first principle, the seat and source, of the sensuous life in all

its functions; in this respect, both are alike. But the difference;

between them consists in this, that if we look at the absolute con-

dition of both, the soul of the animal is determined and sustained

by instinct and the necessities of its nature, and therefore is not

capable of accountability; whilst the soul of man, on the contrary,

by virtue of the likeness to God imparted at first, is possessed of

personality, freedom, and accountability; whereas, if we look at the

condition of both, as it appears before us in reality, and as the

practical result of that inequality, the soul of man appears laden

with sin and guilt, and exposed to the judgment of God (Gen. ii.

17, iii. 16 sqq.), whilst the animal soul, because not responsible

for its actions, may be regarded as perfectly sinless and free from

guilt. The soul is in both the seat of pleasure and displeasure,     is

and, as such, the impulse to all that is done or left undone; but in

man alone can the pleasure or displeasure be regarded as sinful, and




the soul be designated as the birth-place and laboratory of sin;

since in it alone, and not in the animal soul, the element of per-

sonality, i.e., of free self-determination and inalienable accountability,

is to be found.

We are all the more warranted, or rather compelled, to bring

forward this contrast--on the one hand, freedom from sin and guilt,

on the other, sinfulness and guilt--as of essential importance to our

question; because, as rPekal; shows, in connection with every animal

sacrifice, though in different degrees, the point in question was the

expiation of the sin which clung to the soul of the person sacrific-

ing. The sinless and guiltless soul of the animal was the medium

of expiation for the sinful and guilty soul of the person by whom

the sacrifice was offered.

§ 34. Before proceeding to the second question,--viz., what was

done to, and with, the soul of the sacrificial animal before and for

the sake of the expiation,--we must first of all consider the choice of

the materials of sacrifice, and what was requisite to fit them for the


The material of sacrifice, so far as expiation was the object in

view, consisted of an animal. But all kinds of animals were not

admissible; nor was every individual belonging to such species as

were admissible necessarily suitable for the purpose. The only 

animals admissible were those which served the Israelites as food,

and had been reared by themselves (§ 21), and which therefore

stood in a biotic relation to the person presenting the sacrifice

(§ 22). We have already examined the meaning of these provi-

sions,and have found that, whilst all the Corbanim were primarily

and chiefly representatives of personal self-surrender to Jehovah,

the altar-sacrifices possessed this character in an especial and exclu-

sive manner. And another difference has also presented itself

(§ 24); viz., that the animal sacrifices set forth the person of the

sacrificer himself and his vital powers the vegetable sacrifices, the

fruits and performances of those vital powers. And in connection

with this, it must also be borne in mind, that the laws of food sanc-

tioned and established the notion, that the clean, i.e., the edible

animals, from which alone it was lawful to take those that were

sacrificed, were representatives of Israel as the chosen nation; whilst

the unclean animals, on the other hand, were representatives of the

heathen world, which stood outside the sanctifying covenant with

Jehovah (§ 3; vid. Lev. xx. 24-26). If, as we have already seen

(§ 23), the altar-sacrifices were regarded as food for Jehovah

THE OBJECTS USED IN SACRIFICE.                               81


( hOAhyla MH,l,), it follows as a matter of course, that Israel durst not offer

to Jehovah such food as His own people had been forbidden to eat

because it was unclean; and if the intention of such offerings was

not to present earthly food, of which Jehovah had no need, but

spiritual food, which alone is well-pleasing to Jehovah, and which

was really requisite to His Jehovistic relation--in other words, the

faithful self-surrender of the covenant nation,--all unclean animals

were necessarily excluded, as being representatives of the heathen

world. And the fact that even clean animals were not all admis-

sible in sacrifice, but only such of them as were the objects of their

own care and rearing, of their daily thought and need, had, as we

have seen, its good and obvious foundation in the spiritual worth

of this food of Jehovah, and in the personal self-dedication of the

sacrificer, of which it was the representation.

With regard to the sex, both male and female were admissible;

at the same time, the law for the most part gave express directions

when a male animal was to be offered, and when a female, and pro-

ceeded generally upon the rule, that the male, as superior in worth,

power, and importance, was to be used for the higher and more im-

portant sacrifices. The age of the animal was also taken into con-

sideration: it was not to bear any signs of weakness about it,

either because of its youth, or because of its age. As a general  

rule, it was required, that animals from the flocks should be at least

eight days old (Lev. xxii. 27; Ex. xxii. 30); and in most cases it

was prescribed, with regard to sheep and goats (Lev. ix. 3, xii. 6;

Ex. xxii. 28; Num. xxviii. 3, 9, 11), and once with regard to oxen

(Lev. ix. 3), that they should be a year old. But a still greater age

is generally indicated in the case of oxen, by the use of the word rPA

and hrAPA (as distinguished from the calf, lg,fe Lev. ix. 3), without any

limits being assigned. According to the rabbinical regulations, no

animal was to be more than three years old.1--With regard to the

character of the animal, bodily faultlessness was strictly required

(Lev. xxii. 20-24). Both of these demands--viz., that of a vigor-

ous age, and that of bodily faultlessness--were connected with the

appointment of the animal as a medium of expiation. As so

appointed, it was not to have the very same thing that it was de- 

signed to expiate in the person presenting the sacrifice. In man,

no doubt, the infirmities, wants, and injuries, for which the expiation


1 In Judg. vi. 25, the instruction to offer a bullock of seven years old was

connected with the duration of the Midianitish oppression; and therefore, as an

exceptional case, was not necessarily opposed to the rabbinical tradition.



was intended, were moral in their nature; whereas an animal, not

being an accountable creature, could have none but physical faults.

But what sin is in the sphere of the moral spirit-life, bodily infirmi-

ties and injuries are in the sphere of the physical and natural life;

and, for that reason, bodily faultlessness and vital energy were

adapted to copy and represent symbolically that spiritual purity

and fulness of life, which were requisite in a perfect sacrifice as a

medium of expiation, and as an antidote to ethical wants, infirmi-

ties, and crimes.

On proceeding now to examine what was done with the sacrifi-

cial materials so chosen and constituted, we find the whole process

consisting of six leading stages: (1) The presentation of the animal,

by bringing it to the altar in the court; (2) the laying on of

hands; (3) the slaughtering before the altar; (4) the sprinkling of

blood against the altar; (5) the burning of the flesh upon the

altar; and (6) the sacrificial meal which was held at the sanctuary.







§ 35. The BRINGING of the animal by the sacrificer himself is

expressed by the verb xybihe, and is to be distinguished from the

“offering” of the animal (=byriq;hi); the latter term being used to

denote the whole of the sacrificial rite. The place to which the

sacrifice was required to be brought was the court of the sanctuary

(Lev. i. 3, iv. 4, 14, etc.), as being the only spot where sacrifices

were allowed to be offered (Lev. xvii. 1-6). The reason for this

act lies upon the surface: the person presenting the offering showed

thereby that he felt and desired to put into practice the wish, the

need, or the obligation to renew, to fortify, and to give life, by

means of such an offering, to his fellowship with that God who

dwelt and revealed Himself there (§ 12). The presentation of the

animal was followed, no doubt, by an examination on the part of

the priests, to see whether it answered in kind and condition to the

directions contained in the law (§ 34), inasmuch as it was necessary

that this should be decided before any further steps could be taken.

§ 36. Of incomparably greater importance was the LAYING ON



OF HANDS, which was done by the sacrificer himself. This took

place in connection with every kind of animal sacrifice (even in the

trespass-offerings, § 122), except that of pigeons; and even then

j the omission was certainly made on outward grounds alone, and had

therefore no decisive meaning. The standing expression applied to

this ceremony, OdyA-tx, j`masA (which led the Rabbins to call the act

itself the Semichah), is stronger and more significant than our

“laying on of hands:” it denotes a resting, leaning upon the hand.

The choice of this expression, therefore, shows that it had reference

to a most important act--an act which required the strongest energy

and resoluteness both of mind and will,--for which reason the Rab-

bins expressly required that the Semichah should be performed

with all the powers of the body (Maimonides, HaKo-lkAB; cf. Oehler, p.


The laying on of hands in general denotes, throughout the Holy

Scriptures, the transfer or communication of some supersensual ele-

ment to or upon another, whether it be a power, gift, affection, or

obligation: for example, in the act of blessing (Gen. xlviii. 13, 14;

Matt. xix 13-15); in the communication of the Holy Spirit in

general (Acts viii. 17 sqq., xi:x. 6), and especially in connection with   

consecration to any theocratical or ecclesiastical office (Num. xxvii.

18 sqq.; Deut. xxxiv. 9; Acts vi. 6; 1 Tim. v. 22); in the mira-

culous cures of Christ and His Apostles (Matt. ix. 18; Mark vi. 5;

Luke xiii. 13 Acts ix. 12, 17); in the setting apart of a personal

substitute (Num. viii. 10, x:xvii. 18 sqq.; Deut. xxxiv. 9); in the

sentence of a malefactor to execution (Lev. xxiv. 14 and Susannah

ver. 34).2 Consecration, therefore, to some new position in life, by one

who had the power and the right to make the appointment, and to

qualify and equip the other for it, is to be regarded as the general

purpose of the imposition of hands. For blessing may be looked at


1 According to the unanimous tradition of the Jews, a verbal confession of

sins was associated with the imposition of hands; and, according to the Mish-

nah (cf. Outram, p. 170), it ran as follows:--Obsecro Donmine, peccavi, deliqui,

rebellavi, hoc et illud feci, nunc autem paenitentiam ago, sitque haec (hostia) ex-

piatio mea. Bahr also admits that "the sacrificial ceremony can hardly have

been performed in perfect silence; but, just as among the heathen, prayers or

other formularies were repeated during the sacrifice." But the law of Moses

never mentions any such custom; for Lev. xvi. 21 does not bear upon the point

at all (§ 45), and the command in Lev. v. 5 and Num. v. 7 with regard to the      

confession of sin cannot be adduced as any proof of the custom, since it is not

connected with the imposition of hands, but precedes the whole sacrificial cere-


2 For a fuller examination of these passages, cf. § 45.



in this light, and miraculous healing also: the former is the conse-

cration of the person blessed to the course and sphere of labour

which the person blessing intends for him; the latter, the consecra-

tion of the person who has hitherto been ill or crippled, to a healthy

and vigorous life. What power, gift, affection, or obligation it was

that was communicated or transferred to this end through the im-

position of hands, must be learned from the peculiar circumstances

under which, the purpose for which, or the psychical emotion and

decision with which it was performed in the cases referred to, as

well as in connection with the sacrificial ceremony.

§ 37. In Bahr's opinion (ii. 341), the laying on of hands in con-

nection with the sacrifice was “nothing but a formal and solemn

declaration, on the one hand, that this gift was his actual property,

and on the other hand, that he was ready to give up this property

of his entirely to death, i.e., to devote it to death for Jehovah.” In

my Mosaisches Opfer, p. 65 sqq., I have, as I believe, already shown

this view, together with all the positive and negative arguments

adduced in its favour, to be perfectly groundless and untenable,

and I therefore feel that I am relieved from the necessity of repeat-

ing my objections here.       

Hofmann, on the other hand, in the first edition of his Schrift-

beweis (ii. 1, pp. 153-4), has expressed himself as follows on the

significance of this ceremony:--"What the person offering the

sacrifice inwardly purposed to do, when bringing the animal to the

Holy Place, was to render a payment to God; and he had full power

to appropriate the life of the animal for the rendering of this pay-

ment.1 And the meaning of the imposition of hands was, that he

intended to make use of this power, and so inflicted death upon the

animal, by which he purposed to render payment to God."  Exam-

ples, analogies, and other proofs of this assertion, he did not think

of furnishing. In the second edition the passage is wanting, and

in the place of it we read (pp. 247, 248), that the laying on of

hands was “an appointment of the animal for a slaughter, the ob-

ject of which (as Delitzsch admits) was twofold, viz., to obtain the

blood for the altar, and the flesh for the fire-food of Jehovah,

whether the intention was to supplicate the mercy of God towards

the sinner, i.e., to make expiation, or (as in the case of the thank-

offering) to present thanksgiving and prayer for the blessings of

life." But this correction has not really mended the matter. For


1 Strange to say, Hofmann bases this power upon the fact recorded in

Gen. iii. 21; cf. § 68.



if the "appointment for such a slaughter" was nothing more than

the declaration, that by virtue of the power accruing to him from

Gen. i. 26, he had determined "to do to this animal all that neces-

sarily followed from his desire to obtain the mercy of God, or give

glory to His goodness by thanksgiving and supplication" (p. 247),

such a declaration was very superfluous; for it had already been

sufficiently made in the simple act of bringing to the altar an animal

that really belonged to him, and was entirely subject to his control.

Nothing short of such a difference in the manner in which the im-

position of hands took place, in the sin-offerings on the one hand,

and the thank-offerings on the other, as would have shown that the

former expressed a desire for the mercy of God, and the latter

thanksgiving and prayer for the blessings of life, and thus would 

have introduced a new feature that was not already expressed by

bringing the animal to the altar, could possibly deliver the laying

on of hands, if so understood, from the reproach of a perfectly idle

and unmeaning pleonasm. But if the appointment of the animal

was something more than a simple declaration of the purpose for

which it was offered; then, just as the imposition of hands in the

ordination to an office was something more than the declaration 

that the person to be ordained was appointed to that office (viz., the

requisite endowment with the Spirit of God), so must it also in this

case have been intended to express a communication, both answering

to, and qualifying it for the purpose to which it was devoted. But

this is just what Hofmann denies.

§ 38. Whilst Bahr and Hofmann are thus unable to content

themselves with the traditional and orthodox view, which has pre-

vailed from time immemorial, and was adopted alike by the Rabbins

and the Fathers of the Church, viz., that the laying on of hands

was expressive of the transfer of sin and guilt from the person

sacrificing to the animal sacrificed; that view has met with numerous   

supporters even in our own day. And even Keil, who in other

respects has thoroughly given up the Church theory of sacrifice, 

has not been able in this particular point to break away from it

though, as we shall soon discover, he has involved his own doctrine

in the most striking self-contradictions by thus stopping half-way

(§ 53).

Modern supporters of this view start with the assumption, that  

the laying on of hands must denote, in the ritual of sacrifice, as in

every other place in which it occurs, a communication or transfer,

the object of which, here as everywhere else, was to be gathered



from the feelings or intention of the person by whom the act was

performed. Now, as the starting point in sacrifice was the conscious-

ness of guilt, and the end the expiation of that guilt: as the soul of

the sacrificer, therefore, was entirely filled with the desire to be

delivered from its guilt and sin; the imposition of hands could only

express the (symbolical) transfer of his sin and guilt to the animal

to be sacrificed. But with regard to the special adaptation of this

view to the various kinds of sacrifice, the advocates of this view

differ from one another, and may be classified in two separate


In the opinion of some, the laying on of hands had throughout

the sacrificial ritual, in the burnt-offerings and peace-offerings, as

well as in the sin-offerings and trespass-offerings, one and the same

signification, viz., the transfer of sin or sinfulness from the person

sacrificing to the animal sacrificed, since in every case it was pre-

paratory paratory to the expiation, and the expiation alone. This view    

formed one of the leading thoughts in my own Mosaisches Opfer;

and among later writers it has met with approbation from Havernick

Ebrard, Kliefoth, Stockl, and others.

In the opinion of the others, on the contrary, the idea of the

transfer of sin was expressed in the laying on of hands in the case

of the sin-offerings and trespass-offerings only. In the burnt-

offerings and peace-offerings they attribute to it a very different

meaning. This remark applies to Neumann, Delitzsch, and Keil

more especially, but also to Gesenius, Winer, Knobel, Tholuck, and

others. Keil, who has gone most thoroughly into the question,

expresses himself thus: "If the desire of the sacrificer was to be

delivered from a sin or trespass, he would transfer his sin and tres-

pass to the victim; but if, on the other hand, he desired through

the sacrifice to consecrate his life to God, that he might receive

strength for the attainment of holiness, and for a walk well-pleasing

to God, he would transfer this desire, in which the whole effort of

his soul was concentrated, to the sacrificial animal; so that in the

latter, as in the former instance, the animal would henceforth take

his place, and all that was done to it would be regarded as being

done to the person who offered it. But if the intention was merely

to express his gratitude for benefits and mercies received or hoped

for he would simply transfer this feeling of gratitude to the victim

so that it would represent his person only so far as it was absorbed (?)

into the good received or sought for." Delitzsch expresses him-

self to the same effect: "By the imposition of hands the person



presenting the sacrifice dedicated the victim to that particular object

which he hoped to attain by its means. He transferred directly to

it the substance of his own inner nature. Was it an expiatory

sacrifice, i.e., a sin-offering or a trespass-offering; he laid his sins

upon it, that it might bear them, and so relieve him of them."

Delitzsch does not go any further into a discussion of their meaning

in the case of the burnt-offering and peace-offering. Neumann

says, “The person presenting the sacrifice laid his hand upon the

victim, to transfer to it his own individual determination by means

of the appropriation. . . . Only, let it not therefore be supposed, that

in every case it denoted a simple imputation of sins. If I brought

a peace-offering to my God, the victim upon which I had laid my

hand would carry my peace into His presence; and if I brought

an atoning sacrifice, it would express my desire to be delivered from

my guilt and sin."  Hengstenberg affirms, that “its signification in

general was to show the rapport between the person sacrificing and

the sacrifice itself. Anything more precise must necessarily be 

learned from the nature of the particular sacrifice. . . . In the sin-

offering and burnt-offering the thought was expressed symbolically,

‘That am I;’ and in the thank-offering, on the other hand, ‘That

is my gift, my thanksgiving.’”

§ 39. According to the view last mentioned, therefore, the

imposition of hands had a different meaning in every one of the

different kinds of sacrifice just as it did not represent the same

thing in a miraculous cure as in a simple blessing, nor the same

thing in consecration to an office as in a sentence of execution.

But are we warranted in resorting to such an analogy?  In the

latter, the act has reference in every instance to a totally different

department of life; and in all the cases mentioned, the attendant

circumstances, the occasions, and the subjects, differ entirely from

one another. In the former, on the contrary, notwithstanding the

difference in the sacrifices, the act itself is always confined to one

and the same department, being performed with the same attendant

circumstances and on the same foundation; and even the persons 

by whom it is performed are not distinguished in relation to that

act by special and different endowments, or official positions, as is

the case with a father who gives his blessing, with a worker of

miraculous cures a consecrating dignitary, or an accusing witness.

But if, notwithstanding this, the imposition of hands in the different

kinds of sacrifice effected the transfer of different objects, one

would suppose that this difference would be indicated in some way,



say, by a verbal declaration connected with the imposition of hands;

yet of this there is nowhere the slightest trace.1

What can have been the object transferred in the case of the

burnt-offerings and peace-offerings if not the same as in that of

the sin-offerings and trespass-offerings? Delitzsch leaves the ques-

tion unanswered, and thus evades the difficulty of expressing a clear

and definite opinion. According to Neumann, the peace-offering

was thereby commissioned by the person presenting it to carry his

peace before God (1). And yet none of the sacrificial rites which

followed favour such a conclusion; for the sprinkling of its blood

upon the altar served, according to Lev. xvii. 11, as a covering for

sin; and the burning of the fat cannot have been intended as an

execution of that commission an more than the eating of the

flesh. It is just as difficult to understand how Hengstenberg can

maintain his distinction, seeing that the burnt-offering was un-

doubtedly quite as much a gift and offering as the thank-offering.

Keil's distinction is perfectly incomprehensible. That the animal

constituting the sin-offering or trespass-offering should, after I had

transferred my sin or guilt to it, be treated itself as sinful or guilty,

and that “what happened to it should be regarded as happening to

the person offering the sacrifice," is perfectly intelligible. But when

I had transferred my wish for powers of holiness to the animal

selected as a burnt-offering, would the animal itself be regarded as

wishing for such powers? or would the thank-offering, to which I

had transferred my gratitude for benefits received or desired, be

treated as expressing thanks for such benefits, and all that happened

to it be looked upon as the fulfilment of my wish, or the result of

my gratitude? Certainly not; for it was slaughtered immediately

afterwards, and therefore could neither receive the power desired,

nor manifest the gratitude that was felt. Moreover, in the presen-

tation of a thank-offering, another feature was associated with the

feeling of gratitude. The thoughts of the person offering the

sacrifice were directed from the very first to the sacrificial meal,

and to what was signified by that meal, namely, fellowship with

God; so that the desire for this would fill and move his soul when

laying on his hands, and even force itself into the foreground. Why

then should not this be the object transferred? And just as the


1 The peculiar and unparalleled case mentioned in Lev. xvi. 21 cannot serve

as a proof, that the imposition of hands in connection with all the sin-offerings

was accompanied by a verbal declaration; to say nothing of the burnt-offerings

and peace-offerings. Vid. § 45.




want of expiation sought and found satisfaction, not only in the sin

and trespass-offering, but in the burnt-offering and peace-offering

also; so not in the burnt-offering only, but in the sin-offering, tres-

pass-offering, and peace-offering also, did the striving after a self-

surrender, that craved sanctification, seek and find satisfaction;

the former being met by the sprinkling of blood, and the latter

(though not in the same degree) by the burning upon the altar.

Consequently, according to our opponents' premises, the imposition

of hands would necessarily be preparatory not merely to the sprin-

kling of blood, but to the other sacrificial functions also; so that in

the sin-offering, not merely the sin, but also the wish for sanctification

would be transferred, and in the burnt, offering, not merely the latter,

but the former as well. This, or something similar, is actually

maintained by Ewald (Alterthk. p. 47). "The laying on of hands,"

he says, "indicated the sacred moment when the person presenting

the sacrifice, just as he was commencing the sacred rite, laid all the

feelings, which gushed from him in fullest glow, upon the head of

that creature whose blood was to be shed for him, and to appear as

it were before God."

In all the different varieties of sacrifice, the laying on of hands

stood in the same local, temporal, and conditional, i.e., preparatory,

relation to the slaughtering, and the sprinkling of the blood. Are

we not warranted, therefore, and even obliged, in every case, to

uphold the same signification in relation to them? Take the burnt-

offering, in connection with which, in the very front of the sacri-

ficial law in Lev. i. 4, expiation is so evidently, expressly, and

emphatically mentioned as one point, if not as the main point, and

placed in the closest relation to the laying on of hands ("He shall

put his hand upon the head of the burnt-offering; and it shall be

accepted for him, to make atonement for him"). Is it really the

fact that even here the: imposition of hands stood in no relation 

whatever to the expiation? Certainly, if there were nothing else to

overthrow such a view, the passage just quoted would suffice, and

before this alone it would be compelled inevitably to yield.

§ 40. Let us now examine the other view, of which I was once

a supporter, that the imposition of hands was intended to express

the same simple meaning in connection with all the sacrifices, viz.,

the transfer of sin or sinfulness from the person sacrificing to the

animal sacrificed. I will confess at the outset, that I am no longer

prepared to maintain my old opinion in this particular form (§ 44

sqq.); but as the arguments of my opponents have not led me to



this change in my views, my relinquishing that opinion has not

made me insensible to the elements of truth which it contains.

We will compare it first of all with the view which Keil and

Delitzsch oppose to it. In how much simpler, clearer, more intelli-

gible, and concrete a form does it present the meaning of the cere-

mony in question! And what objection has been offered to it from

this side ? It is true, the final purpose in connection with the

burnt-offering was the burning, and with the peace-offering the

sacrificial meal and consequently the ultimate intention of the

person presenting the sacrifice was directed, in the former, to a

complete self-surrender to Jehovah, in the latter, to fellowship with

Him. But in the mind of the worshipper, the consciousness of his

sin rose like an insuperable wall in the way of both: he knew that

his self-surrender could never be well-pleasing to God, and that

his longing for fellowship with God could never be satisfied, till

atonement had been made for his sin. Even in the sacrifice of a

burnt-offering or peace-offering, therefore his desire was first of

all directed to expiation; whilst his purpose of self-surrender, and

the striving after fellowship with God, could only come to light

when his sin had been covered and atoned for. Would not the     

longing for forgiveness, so long as it remained unsatisfied, stand in

the foreground of his thoughts and feelings, and suppress for the

time every other feeling? But if this question must be answered

in the affirmative, every ground for our opponents' view is swept

away. The only thing that could have favoured that view at all

would have been, that the laying on of hands in the burnt- and

peace-offerings should have taken place after the atonement was

completed, and immediately before the burning or the sacrificial

meal,--the animal of course having been killed in the meantime.

In the case of the burnt-offering, we appeal with conclusive

force to Lev. i. 4; for it is not to the burning, but to the atone-

ment, and to that alone, that the imposition of hands is there ex-

pressly represented as preparatory. Even in the burnt-offering it

was requisite that all the desires and actions of the worshipper, all

the co-operation and help of the priest, should be directed first of

all to the making of atonement, before anything further or any-

thing different could be undertaken; for the complete surrender,

which was the ultimate purpose in the burnt- (or whole) offering,

had necessarily to be preceded by complete expiation.

This applies to the peace-offering also. In the pious Israelite,

the consciousness of his own sin and of the divine holiness was so




clear and strong, that he was afraid lest he should die if he drew

near to God and held communion with Him (Ex. xx. 19, xxxiii. 

20, etc.); and consequently his longing for that communion, and

for the joy which it inspired, was overpowered by the fear that he

might not be able to stand. When he brought a peace-offering,

therefore, hoping thereby to obtain communion--real house-and-

table fellowship with God how could it be otherwise than that the

sinfulness which rendered him unfit for that fellowship should be

present to his mind, and his whole soul be filled with the desire

for expiation before anything else, and therefore in connection

with the laying on of hands? And if the feeling of gratitude for

benefits received, or the prayer for blessings desired, impelled him

to present a peace-offering, would not the contrast between his own

sinful unworthiness and the blessing enjoyed or hoped for so occupy

and control his thoughts and feelings, that here also the conscious-

ness of sin and the want of expiation would assert themselves, and

fill his mind before everything else?

There is also another point of importance. If the imposition of  

hands, even in its preliminary signification, had respect to the

objects which lay beyond the expiation, and, in the case of the

burnt- and peace-offerings, to one of them exclusively, as our oppo-

nents maintain,--viz., in that of the burnt-offering to self-surrender

in the burning, and in that of the peace-offering to fellowship with

God in the sacrificial meal; we should expect to find an imposition

of hands, or something answering to it, connected with the meat-

offering also (especially when it was not introduced as a mere

appendage to the bleeding sacrifice, but was an independent offer-

ing without the basis of an animal sacrifice: § 151 sqq.), inasmuch

as the desire for sanctification and fellowship was as prominent a

feature in these as in either the burnt- or the peace-offerings. But

as nothing of the kind is to be found, we are warranted perhaps in

drawing the conclusion, that the sacrificial imposition of hands had

exclusive regard to the atonement, and therefore was admissible in

the bleeding sacrifices alone.

§ 41. Hofmann's own view of the sacrificial imposition of hands

we have already shown to be untenable (§ 37). In his arguments

against my view and those of his other opponents, he really does

nothing more than lay hold of certain expressions which are easily

misunderstood, and are probably to some extent inappropriate or

wrong, and then, having fathered upon them a meaning which     

does not belong to them, exhibit the absurdities to which this



meaning leads. Thus he seizes upon the ambiguous expression of

Delitzsch (p. 737), "By the imposition of hands the worshipper

appropriated to himself the victim for that particular purpose to

which he intended it to be applied," and observes, in reply (p. 247),

"It is perfectly obvious that it was his own property; and that

being the case, he did not require first of all to appropriate it to

himself." But who cannot see that what Delitzsch means by

"appropriating" is not appropriating it as property, but appropri-

ating what was his property already to the purpose which as a

sacrifice, it was intended to subserve? Thus again he replies to

Kliefoth: "But it was not a real transfer of sin and guilt; for it

is impossible to see how they could ever be really transferred to

an animal;" whereas Kliefoth means something entirely different.

For, when he says (p. 52), "The imposition of hands was not a

sign that the person laying his hands upon the head of another

‘attributed’ something to him; but invariably, wherever it occurs in

the Scriptures, some real communication is made in consequence,"--

he evidently refers to the imposition of hands apart from the sacri-

ficial worship, and certainly does not mean to deny that in the

purely symbolico-typical ceremonial it represents symbolically, what

in other departments it really effects. It is much the same when

Hofmann observes, in reply to Keil (i. 206), "Nor was it an ap-

pointment of the animal to be or to suffer anything in the place of

the person offering it, either by causing it to be punished for his

fault, which would be quite out of place in the thank-offering, or

by transferring his own intention to it, when the slaughtering of

the animal was really the commencement of its fulfilment." But the

transfer of an intention is something very different from the fulfil-

ment of that intention; and, so far as the supposed inappropriate-

ness of this meaning to the imposition of hands in the case of the

"thank-offerings" is concerned, Keil has fallen into just the same

error as Hofmann here.

§ 42. Hofmann argues most warmly and elaborately against the

opinion expressed by me in my Mosaisches Opfer (pp. 67 sqq.

"According to Kurtz," he says, "the imposition of hands always

denoted the impartation of that which the one possessed and the

other was to receive; consequently, in the case of sacrifice, as every

sacrifice, in his opinion, was an expiatory sacrifice, it denoted the

communication of the sinful affection to the animal soul, so that

the death which took place was thereby rendered a representative

death. An exchange of position was expressed by it: the soul of



the sacrifice appearing as if laden with sin and guilt, and that of

the person sacrificing as free from both." This view Hofmann now

takes the trouble to expose, as leading to absurd consequences.

"But how was it," he replies, "with the imposition of the hands

when a person was blessing, or healing, or ordaining? Did he

change places with the person upon whom his hands were laid, so

that he lost the good which he conferred upon the other? In all

these cases the imposition of hands was the act, which accompanied

the conferring of whatever the person acting intended for the other.     

The internal process of intention and application was expressed in

the corresponding pressure of the hand, applied to the head of the

person for whom anything was intended, whether it belonged to the      

person officiating or not. The agent needed plenary power to com-

municate it, but there was no necessity for it to be his own; to say

nothing of his parting with it by conferring it upon another, or ex-

changing it for what the other previously possessed. The person

blessing did not transfer his own peace, nor the healer his own

health, nor the person ordaining his own office: he simply made

use of his own priestly character, his healing power, his official

standing, to do to the other what this authority empowered him to


I must acknowledge at the outset, that I now consider the ex-

pression, "a change of places," both inappropriate and liable to be

misunderstood; and that, looking at the circumstances, it may pro-

perly be said, that by the imposition of hands the sacrificial animal

was appointed to play the part of the sinner meriting punishment,

i.e., to bear the merited punishment in his stead, but not (what the

expression might certainly be made to mean, though I never in-

tended to say it) that the person presenting the sacrifice had hence-      

forth to take the place which previously belonged to the animal

sacrificed. But Hofmann does me a grievous injustice when he

forces upon me the absurd assertion, that through the imposition of

hands the person sacrificing not only transferred his sin and guilt

to the sacrificial animal, but exchanged them for "what the other

(viz., the animal) formerly possessed." I have undoubtedly said

(p. 83), that "by the imposition of hands sin and guilt were sym-

bolically imputed to the soul of the sacrifice;" but not that, vice

versa and eo ipso, the previous innocence of the animal sacrificed

was imputed to the sacrificer. I have also said, it is true, that      

"henceforward the animal to be sacrificed passed for what HE was

before, viz., laden with sin and guilt, and therefore took his place;"



but not that the person presenting the sacrifice passed henceforward

for that which the animal was before, and so took the place of the

animal. And Hofmann has no right to father such nonsense upon


I grant that what the person acting conferred upon the other was

not necessarily his own, in the sense of being his own property; but

I have never said that the imposition of hands was the communica-

tion of something that was the property of the one and was to

become the property of the other, but "of what the one had and

the other was to receive." And certainly, in any case, I must first

have what I am to impart to another. So that here also Hofmann

twists my words, and then convicts me of talking nonsense.

Nor did I ever think of maintaining anything so foolish as that

the person laying on the hand always, and under all circumstances,

“parted with the good which he conferred upon the other,” or that

“the person blessing always transferred his own peace, the healer

his own health, the ordainer his own office;” and this does not fol-

low in any way from my explanation. Sin and guilt are not a        

"good," but an evil; and that makes an essential difference, which

Hofmann is pleased to ignore. Where the imposition of hands de-

notes the communication of some salutary power or gift (as, for

example, in blessing, in the communication of the Spirit, in ordina-

tion, or in the miraculous cures of Christ and His Apostles), which

the agent desires another to possess, though without parting with it

himself, we must regard such a communication as somewhat resem-

bling a flame lighting a second flame without being extinguished,

or the sun imparting light and warmth to the earth without thereby

losing its luminous and warming power. But when, as in Num.

viii. 10, it denotes the transfer from one person to another of a cer-

tain responsibility, from which the former desires to be free, the

communication is to be regarded as exhaustive and complete; and

the same would also be the case when it denoted (as in Lev. xxiv.

14 and Susannah 34, according to my opinion at that time) the

rolling off or rolling back of a certain crime upon another. And it

was upon the latter, not the former cases, that I rested my view,

that the sacrificial imposition of hands, in which there was also the

transfer of a responsibility and the rolling away of an evil, denoted

the imputation of sin. It is only by generalizing, therefore, what I

had particularized, that Hofmann has succeeded in stamping my

view as absurd. How thoroughly unjust such generalization must

be, is evident from Hofmann's observations in another way also;



for, in the reckless heat of his generalizing process, he brings for-

ward a case as impossible, which is not only possible, but is men-

tioned in the Scriptures as having actually occurred. For in Num.

xxvii. 18 sqq. and Deut. xxxiv. 9, Moses is said to have “transferred

his own office to Joshua by the imposition of hands." And in how

thoughtless and unfair a manner are the other two sentences com-

posed! It is true, the person conferring the blessing does not

transfer his own peace, or the person effecting a cure his own

health;" but the former imparts the blessing power, and the latter

the healing power, entrusted to him, and that without suffering any

loss in consequence, because it is in the very nature of such spiritual

powers that they should not be exhausted through communication

to others.

One more remark in conclusion. "In all these cases," says

Hofmann, "the imposition of hands was the act which accompanied

the appropriation of what the person acting intended for the other."

Only the accompaniment, then, and not the medium?  No doubt the

latter would be inconvenient enough for Hofmann's theory of the

sacrificial imposition of hands; but does this warrant him in diluting

the mediation, which is so obvious in these cases, into a mere accom-

paniment? Was nothing more intended than a mere accompani-

ment, and not a real means of conveying the gift, when the Apostles

communicated the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands; or when,

as is stated in Deut. xxxiv. 9, "Joshua was filled with the spirit of

wisdom, FOR Moses had laid his hands upon him," and when Jehovah

said to Moses, with regard to the same imposition of hands, "Thou

shalt lay of thine honour upon him" (Num. xxvii. 20)?

§ 43. We have already seen in § 36, that the imposition of hands

in all cases that were unconnected with sacrifice, denoted dedication

to some new office, or some new position of responsibility. Was

this also the idea when the imposition of hands was associated with

the sacrificial worship? I do not imagine that any one will be able

to answer this question in the negative. According to Lev. i. 4

(cf. § 39, 40), it denoted the dedication of the sacrificial animal, as

the medium of atonement for the sins of the person whose hands

were laid upon its head.

But on this common basis, as an act of dedication, there arises

at once a considerable variety of divergences. In some cases the

imposition of hands effected the substitution of one person for an-

other (vid. Num. viii. 10, xxvii. 18; Dent. xxxiv. 9). What the

person previously entitled, qualified, or required, was no longer able,



or willing, or bound, to perform, was henceforth to be done by the

other. In other cases, again, there was no room for the thought of

any such substitution as this. Now, to which of these classes did

the imposition of hands in the sacrificial ritual belong? We reply,

without the least hesitation, to the former; and in this we may con-

gratulate ourselves on the agreement of nearly all the commentators,

who attribute a representative character to the sacrificial animal,

though they do so in different ways, and who regard the imposition

of hands as denoting dedication to this vicarious position.1 And

properly so. For if the assumption is warranted, that the God of

Israel sought the sacrificial gift, so far as it was a gift, not for what

it was in itself--i.e., not as bodily food, and not on account of its

material worth--and that Israel never imagined that it could serve

its God with such gifts as these, but that, on the contrary, God

sought the giver in the gift, and Israel represented thereby its own

self-surrender;--if, moreover, it is also true that Israel, even on the

ground of its laws of food (Lev. xx. 24-26, cf. § 4), was accustomed

to regard the animals which were allowed to be offered in sacrifice

as representatives of itself in contrast with the heathen world

and if, lastly, it is evident from Lev. xvii. 11 that the animal, on

account of the soul which dwelt in its blood, was also the medium

of atonement for the soul of the person presenting it, which, as we

shall presently see, it could only be through a vicarious expiation of

his sins,--all this places it beyond the possibility of doubt that the

animal sacrificed had also a representative character.

When Moses approached the end of his earthly course, he

ordained Joshua as his successor, and substituted him for himself,

by communicating of his glory  ( j~d;Ohme) to him (Num. xxvii. 20),

and filling him with the spirit of wisdom (Deut. xxxiv. 9), through

the laying on of hands. In Num. viii. 10, on the other hand, the sub-

stitution of the Levites in the place of the first-born of all the tribes,

is described as effected through the laying on of the hands of the


1 Even Keil admits, in various places, the representative character of the

sacrificial animal by virtue of the imposition of bands, though this involves him

in contradiction with his own fundamental view of the meaning of the sacri-

ficial worship (§ 53, 69). Thus in the passage already noticed, when he says

of the sin-, trespass-, and burnt-offerings, that "the sacrificial animal henceforth

took the place of the person offering it, and what happened to it is to be re-

garded as happening to the sacrificer himself." But when he afterwards says

that he admits the representative character of the peace-offering "only so far  

as the victim was absorbed in the good received or prayed for," I confess that I

am perfectly unable to make out what the sentence means.



congregation, i.e., of the elders as its representatives; and what was

transferred in this case, was the obligation of life-long service in the

sanctuary, based upon the fact, that all the first-born belonged to

Jehovah (§ 6). In the one case, therefore, it was a good, a salutary

power and gift, which was transferred; in the other, a burdensome

obligation. Which of these two was analogous to the imposition of

hands in the sacrificial ritual? Certainly not the first. For, ac-

cording to the relation in which the imposition of hands is proved

by Lev. i. 4 to have stood to the act of expiation, the idea was not

the giving up of any good, but the getting rid of a certain evil.

But was it analogous to the second? Undoubtedly it was. As the

debtor is under obligations to the creditor, the thief to the person

robbed, the rebel to the king, in the sense of being bound to render

to him, or stiffer from him, according to the wrong that he has

done; so also is the sinner to his Lord and God. This obligation

was transferred by the person sacrificing to the sacrificial animal,

that it might render or suffer all that was due from him to God, or,

vice versa, on account of his sin; and through this, the blood of the

animal, in which is its soul, became the medium of expiation for the

soul of the person sacrificing (§ 28).

§ 44. This was the meaning of the imposition of hands in the

sacrificial ritual. Consequently, I must candidly confess, that my

previous opinion of this ceremony-viz., that it denoted a transfer of

sin and guilt, a so-called imputation of sin, in sacrifices of every

kind--cannot be sustained. But so far from adopting in the place

of it the opinion of Neumann, Keil, and Delitzsch, that the idea of

the imputation of sin is to be restricted to the sin-offerings and

trespass-offerings, I should be disposed to pronounce their opinion

all the more untenable, just because of this unwarranted restriction

(§ 39, 40). Moreover, as I have already stated, no argument ad-

duced by any one of my opponents--either Hofmann or Hengsten-

berg, Keil, Delitzsch, or Oehler--has brought me to the conclusion

that my previous opinion was untenable. What produced this con-

viction, was chiefly a more careful examination of Lev. xvii. 11, the

very same passage which I had principally relied upon to support

my previous opinion, and, in fact, a very simple argument ( one so

obvious, that I am puzzled to understand how it could ever have

escaped my own notice, or that of my former opponents and sup-

porters), namely, that if the souls of the persons sacrificing, or, to

speak with still greater precision, the sins adhering to or proceeding

from their souls, were to be covered by the blood of the sacrifice, as



Lev. xvii. 11 states that they were these sins could not have been

communicated to the blood itself (or, more correctly, to the soul of the

animal which was in the blood), but must have adhered to the soul of

the sacrificer after the imposition of hands, as well as before.

§ 45. The evidence adduced both by myself and others who

held the same view, in support of the transference of the sins from

the sacrificer to the sacrifice through the imposition of hands, I

find on closer scrutiny to be insufficient. We will take first of all

the argument based upon Lev. xvi. 21, which has been appealed to

with the most confident assurance of victory (cf. Tholuck, p. 94,

Neumann, 1853, p. 343; Ebrard, p. 49; Delitzsch, p. 737). The

allusion is to the second goat presented as a sin-offering on the great

day of atonement (after the first had been sacrificed in the ordinary

way as an expiation), and the passage runs thus: "And let Aaron

lay ( j`masAv; ) both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess

over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their

transgressions in all their sins and put 0n)1) ut Zthem upon the head

of the goat," etc. All that Hofmann has said to weaken the cer-

tainly apparent force of this passage, is little adapted to do so. He

says (p. 246): "Reference has been made to Lev. xvi. 21, as the

passage where we are to learn the meaning of the imposition of

hands in connection with the sacrifices. But why is it stated there

that the priest is to lay both his hands upon the head of the animal,

which is an essentially different attitude, viz., that of a person -

praying over the animal? The act which we are considering cor-

responds to what followed afterwards, when he laid the sins of the

congregation upon the head of the animal, that it might carry them

into the wilderness." But who is likely to be convinced by the

argument, that because the expression generally employed is "to

lay on the hand," and here Aaron is to lay on both hands, therefore

the ceremony referred to in the latter place is not the imposition of

hands, but the attitude of prayer? If the difference between sin-

gular and plural be pressed at all, how is it possible to understand it

in any other way than this, that the laying on of both hands denoted

a greater amount of energy in the communication than the laying

on of only one? Moreover, is not the very same act, which is

designated in Num. xxvii. 18 as a OdyA-tx, j`masA ("lay thine hand upon

him"), afterwards described in Deut. xxxiv. 9 as a vydAyA-tx, j`masA

(“Moses had laid his hands upon him”)? Where are the proofs,

then that laying on the hands ever was or could be an attitude of

prayer?  And how weak and empty is the subterfuge, that it was



not the laying on of Aaron's hands, but what followed--viz., Aaron's

laying the sins of the congregation upon the head of the animal--

which corresponded to our ceremony! Is it not obvious that the

latter was the necessary consequence and effect of the first? You

have only to read the passage with the three consecutive verbs in

the Perfect tense, to be convinced how utterly powerless the reason-

ing is. And by what means, if not by the laying on of the hands,

are we to suppose that the sins were laid upon the head, of the


There is certainly more force in what Bahr has said (ii. 339)

against the bearing of this passage upon the doctrine of imputation.

“The goat,” he says, “neither took the place of the high priest nor

that of the children of Israel; it was not even put to death, but sent

alive into the desert; in fact, it was not a sacrifice at all, and the

treatment of it therefore proves nothing with regard to the ritual

of sacrifice." In fact, everything connected with this imposition of

hands was done in such a way, as to distinguish it entirely from the

ordinary sacrificial ceremony. In addition to the circumstance

pointed out by Bahr, it should also be remembered, that in every

other case in which a sacrifice was presented for the whole congre-

gation, it was not by the high priest, but by the elders as repre-

sentatives of the congregation, that the lain on of hands was

performed, and that thiis the only occasion on which the cere-

mony is accompanied by a verbal declaration ( hDAvat;hiv; ) which serves

to explain it. And this very circumstance, that a verbal explanation

was thought necessary as an accompaniment to the act itself, is a

proof that here, and. nowhere else, the imposition of hands was to

be regarded as a laying on of sin. We shall return to this passage

at § 199.

§ 46. Again, Lev. xxiv. 14 has been misinterpreted in a manner

that favours the doctrine of imputation. It is there commanded that,

before stoning a blasphemer who has been sentenced to death, the

witnesses of his blasphemy are to lay their hands upon his head.

The same occurs in Susannah 34, when Susannah is condemned

to death on account of her supposed adultery. The reason for this

is thought to have been, that the capital crime committed within a

community was supposed to reflect a kind of complicity in the guilt,

a stain or curse upon the whole community, or, at all events, upon

the witnesses of the act; and that this was to be rolled back upon 

the actual criminal. But no proof is to be found that such an idea

was ever entertained. For the fact that the sins of forefathers



continued to adhere to their descendants as guilt demanding

punishment or expiation (2 Sam. xxi.), and the circumstance that

the family of a criminal was regarded and punished as sharing in

the guilt (Josh. vii.), had nothing in common with Lev. xxiv. 14.

And Num. xxxv. 31-34, in which I once thought that I had dis-

covered the key to Lev. xxiv. 14, has just as little bearing upon that

passage. It is there commanded, that no ransom is to be accepted

for the forfeited life of a wilful murderer, but he is to be executed

forthwith. If this be neglected by Israel, the land is thereby de-

filed, and the blood which has remained unavenged will bring a

curse upon the land, which will rest upon it until the demands of

strict justice are satisfied.  But this passage would only favour

the view in question, provided the curse upon the land came from,

the crime of the murderer, which is evidently a misapprehension.

It was not from the malefactor or his crime that it came, but from

the neglect, on the part of the judges appointed for that purpose,

to punish him for the crime.

Nevertheless, Lev. xxiv. 14 may help us to a correct interpreta-

tion of the sacrificial imposition of hands, or at least help to con-

firm the conclusion which we have already reached by a different

method (§ 43). And it will do so all the more, if Ewald is really

correct, as seems very probable, in stating that "the older sacrificial

rite evidently furnished the model" for the judicial custom men-

tioned in Lev. xxiv. 14. In both cases it was a dedication to death

which was expressed by the imposition of hands; with this differ-

ence, however, that the dedication in the case of the sacrificial ani-

mal signified a substitution of the animal for the person sacrificing

it, whereas there could be nothing of the kind here, inasmuch as the

act had reference simply and solely to the sin of the person about

to be executed. "There is no transference here," as Hofmann

correctly says, "of what is one's own to some one else; but the sin

committed by the criminal is placed upon his own head, that it may

come upon him in the punishment which he afterwards receives."

On the other hand, the character of the transference, or assignment,

was essentially the same in both. The idea in both cases was the

assignment of an obligation or debt: in the former instance that of

another (§ 43); in the latter, his own, viz., the obligation to submit

to death on account of the sin or crime that had been committed.

In the former, the sinner himself devoted the animal to death for

his own sin; in the latter, it was the witnesses of the crime who

dedicated the criminal himself to death: for in the one, the sinner







himself was his own accuser, because either he alone was aware of

his sin, or he was best acquainted with it; in the other, it was the

witnesses who (with the exception of the criminal himself) were the

only persons aware of his crime, or those best acquainted with it.

§ 47. Hengstenberg adduces, as one of the principal arguments

for a transference of the sins to the sacrificial animal, at any rate

in the case of the sin-offering and trespass-offering, the names of

the sacrifices themselves, txF.AHa (= sin) and MwAxA (= guilt); and he

has been followed by Baumgarten and Keil. Through the transfer

of the sin, or trespass, he says, the animal became as it were a living

sin or trespass. But Oehler (p. 649) has justly replied to this:

The name of the sin-offering, txF.AHa, at all events, ought not to be

adduced in support of such a view, since by a very simple metonymy    

(vid., e.g., Micah vi. 3, where fwaP, also stands in connection with

txF.AHa) it is used to designate the sacrifice offered for the sin

(txFA.Ha-lfa, Lev. iv. 3), on which account the LXX. generally ren-

der the name quite correctly, peri> a[marti<aj.”  In addition to Micah

vi. 7 (not vi. 3), we may adduce, in proof of the frequent occurrence

of such a metonymy in the current phraseology, Isa. xl. 2, where the

expression hAyt,xF.oHa-lKA can only be rendered “all the punishments”

or "expiations for their sins," not all their "sins;" also Zech. xiv.

19, where, in the same manner, Myirac;mi txF.aHa cannot mean the sin,   

but the punishment of Egypt. The thought, that through the

"imputation of sins," the person to whom it was imputed actually

became "sin," is, as it appears to me, a monstrous and inconceiv-

able one, which presupposes that, at all events before the laying on

of hands, the sacrificer was either “sin” himself, or equivalent to








§ 48. The imposition of hands was followed by the SLAUGHTER-

ING (hFAyHiw;, 2 Chron. xxx. 17), by the hand of the person offering the


1 The word sprinkling we have used here in its broadest sense; so that it is

to be understood as including the application of the blood to the altar, and other

media of expiation in every possible way (viz., literal sprinkling (hz.Ahi), rinsing

(qrazA), and smearing with the finger).



sacrifice, and this again by the SPRINKLING OF THE BLOOD (hqAyriz;)

by the hand of the priest. If the conclusion which we have arrived

at above (§ 36, 43) as to the meaning of the imposition of hands

in connection with sacrifice be the correct one, viz., that according

to Lev. i. 4 it denoted the consecration of the animal to be the medium

of atonement for the sins of the person sacrificing, by means of a

substitutionary transference (as shown by the analogy of Num. viii.

10) of the obligation to do or suffer, in his stead, that which his God

demanded from him on account of his sin; then the slaughtering

could only express the completion of the act, or the endurance of

the punishment, in order that the animal, or rather its blood, in

which was its soul, might thereby become fitted to be a medium of

expiation. The imposition of hands, therefore, may be more exactly

defined as the consecration to death (according to the analogy of

Lev. xxiv. 14; cf. § 45), and that a vicarious, penal death; the

slaughtering, as the completion of this penal death, by which the

blood of the animal was fitted to become the medium of expiation;

and the sprinkling of the blood, the completion of the expiation


This combination and this conclusion are so clear, firm, and

certain, that even if there were no other passage in the Old Testa-

ment in which death is represented as the wages of sin (Rom. vi.

23), the sacrificial worship itself would be sufficient to prove that it

is a genuine Old Testament doctrine. But there are other passages

which can be shown to teach it. It may be traced, in fact, to the

very first and fundamental beginning of divine revelation in the

primeval history of man. For the declaration tUmTA tOm (“thou shalt

surely die"), in connection with the first sin (Gen. ii. 17, iii. 17),

taught it; and every one of the innumerable repetitions of tmaUy tOm

(“he shall surely be put to death”), which occur in the law, con-

firmed the lesson taught.

The truth involved in Gen. ii. 17, iii. 17, that every sin, whether

small or great according to a human standard, is to be regarded as

rebellion against the will of God and an abuse of the image of   

God, and therefore as deserving of death, but that a decree of

divine grace intervened, in consequence of which death does not

take place on the first sin, or every subsequent sin, but only when it

pleases God to cut off the man and the respite provided by that

sparing mercy (Gen. vi. 3); this truth is not only confirmed, but

explained and expanded by the Mosaic sacrificial worship on the

one hand, and the Mosaic jurisprudence on the other, or rather by



the supplementary or antithetical relation in which they stand the

one to the other.

The eternal counsel of Divine Mercy devised a redemption from

sin and its consequences. Death, indeed, as the necessary wages of

sin, cannot be, and is not intended to be, averted in consequence,

since the mortality which through sin has pervaded the corporeal

life, must be brought, like an abscess, to a head, in order that in

like manner it may then be overcome, and removed by means of a

curative process. On the other hand, not only is the approach of

death retarded as long as God sees fit, that man and the human

race may have time to manifest the subjective conditions of salva-

tion, which the divine counsel of mercy demands, but death is   

divested of its eternal duration and rule; for as death is in a man

before he actually dies, so the man is in death after he dies. In the

former case, death is a potentiality, bound and repressed by the

vital energy; in the latter, it is an unfettered power without him,

and possessing unlimited supremacy over him. The author of the

book of Genesis did not, of course, possess so clear and sure an

insight into the relation between sin, death, and redemption, as has

been made possible for man on New Testament ground; but GOD

possessed it, and even under the Old Testament it was by this that

He regulated His treatment of man.

But whilst this general alteration of things removed the original

necessity for every single sin to be immediately punished with

death, and the divine provision intervened, that man might con-

tinue alive for a longer or shorter time notwithstanding his sinful-

ness and his many actual sins; that provision did not extend to all

actual sins, for example, not to such as threatened and endangered

the very existence either of the moral world in general, or of the

special theocratic plan of salvation, and therefore not to capital

crimes. But in order that the consciousness might still be pre-

served, served, that strictly and originally every sin, even those which

seemed the most trivial, deserved immediate death, and this law

of nature was only interrupted by the sparing mercy of God; the

institution of sacrificial expiation was established, or rather per-

mitted and legitimated by God,--an institution which stood in a

typical relation to the complete salvation that had been predeter-

mined in the eternal counsels of God, as the progressive develop-

ment of the plan of salvation showed with growing clearness (Isa.

liii.), and the event at Golgotha displayed in perfect light (cf. §57).

§ 49. Keil (i. 211), indeed, thinks that the scriptural proofs of



the sacrificial death having been a penal death, are drawn by me

among others, "merely" from two "misinterpreted" passages, viz.,

Rom. vi. 23 ("the wages of sin is death"), and Heb. ix. 22 ("with-

out shedding of blood there is no remission of sins"). But I can

safely affirm, that in this sentence both the "merely" and the

“misinterpreted” are wrong. Where the misinterpretation of

Rom. vi. 23 is supposed to lie, I cannot imagine, since I have under-

stood, the passage in just the same sense as Keil himself, who

gives this exposition: "The wages of sin is the justly acquired and

merited reward which follows sin." And Keil cannot deny that

these wages "may be called a punishment so far as the reward is an

evil and not a good." But in his opinion, "so long as it has not

been proved from other sources that the sacrificial act (he ought to

have said, the act of slaying) is to be regarded as a judicial act,

there is no ground for applying Rom. vi. 23 to the sacrificial slay-

ing." Very good; but where is the misinterpretation of Rom. vi.

23, if the explanation is correct, and it is only our application of the

correct explanation which is inadmissible?

When Keil charges me, on the other hand, with misunder-

standing Heb. ix. 22, the true ground for the charge is, that I have

interpreted it in a different manner from himself. By the ai[mat-

ekxusi<a, for example, I understand the pouring out of the blood in

the act of slaying . Keil understands it, in common with other

expositors, of the sprinkling of blood, and consequently accuses

Bleek, who gives the same explanation as I have done, of counting

the passages in its favour instead of weighing them. Since then,

Lunemann and Delitzsch have given the same interpretation of the

passage. What Keil himself has adduced in opposition to this

meaning, certainly does not seem adapted to prove it to be inadmis-

sible. For instance, he says (i. 212): "The ai[matekxusi<a in the

Epistle to the Hebrews cannot be understood as referring to the

slaying of the sacrifice, because in the whole of the law of sacrifice

the shedding of blood is nowhere referred to, and the slaying is

never spoken of as a shedding of blood." But could not the writer

of the Epistle to the Hebrews by any possibility gather more from

the law of sacrifice, than is stated there expressis verbis? And is

not the slaying of an animal eo ipso a shedding or pouring out of

its blood?1


1 Keil closes his discussion of Heb. ix. 22 with this remark: "The expres-

sion ai[matekxusi<a relates to the pouring out of the blood on the altar, which

appears to have been indispensable to the forgiveness of sin. And the shedding



However, I shall not dispute any further here, whether Heb. ix.

22 refers to the shedding of the blood or the sprinkling of the blood,

but will leave the decision of this controversy to the commentators

on the Epistle to the Hebrews; since, even if the latter were proved

to be the correct view, it would only show that the (possibly more

extended) view of the writer of that Epistle was in harmony with

our interpretation, though not the authoritative and genuine view 

of the lawgiver and his contemporaries.

§ 50. As there is nothing at variance with the Old Testament

in the idea of death as a penal suffering, consequent upon sin and

indispensable to the expiation of sin; so also there is nothing at

variance with it in the other idea involved in our interpretation of

the Shechitah (the slaying), viz., that of vicarious suffering. This

even Oehler admits (p. 631); and the correctness of it is established

by the following passages:  

(1.) The vicarious death of an animal for a man is most clearly

expressed in Gen. xxii. 13, in the words OnB; tHaTa, a in the stead of his

son." Abraham was to have offered his son as a burnt-offering,

and therefore to have given him up to death; but instead of his

son, he sacrifices, puts to death, a ram, according to the divine pur-

pose, and under the direction of the word and providence of God.

It may be questioned whether this sacrifice was to possess an expia-

tory worth as well, and whether the slaying is to be regarded as a

death occurring as the wages of sin; but it cannot be disputed that

the severity of the test of Abraham's faith consisted not in the

tOlfEha (i.e., in the burning) of his son, after he had been slain, but

in the killing of his son, which was indispensable to such a sacrifice,

and that the killing of the ram as an offering saved him from any

such necessity, and according to the gracious will of God was a

substitute for it: so that in this case, at all events, the death of an

animal did take place as a substitute for the death of a man, which

was strictly required. And that is all that is necessary for our


(2.) To this we may add the ceremony prescribed in Deut. xxi.


of the blood of Christ is to be judged by the same rule. The satisfaction ren-

dered by His death did not lie in the dying or shedding of blood as such, but

in the fact that He gave up Himself, or His life, as a guilt-offering for the sins

of the world." But who has ever maintained that the satisfaction rendered by

the Old Testament sacrifices consisted in the death as such? All that is main-

tained is, that it consisted in the death as so appointed by the imposition of

hands; and mutatis mutandis the same remark equally applies to the sacrifice of




1-9, at the basis of which, even according to Oehler's decision,

"there evidently lies the idea of poena vicaria." (See also Delitzsch

on Hebrews, pp. 742-3.) The blood of a murdered person demanded

the blood of the murderer as an expiation (Num. xxxv. 33). But if

the murderer could not be discovered, a heifer was to be killed, and

the elders of the nearest town were to pray to God, that He would

regard its death as representing the execution of the murderer who

could not be found; that the innocent blood which had been shed

might no longer lie uncovered, i.e., unexpiated (ver. 8), in the land

(because, according to Gen. iv. 10, so long as that was the case, it

cried to heaven for vengeance); and that the city might not re-

main under the ban, which the murder committed in the neighbour-

hood had brought upon it. It is true, the object in this instance

was not to cover or atone for the sin of the murderer, and therefore

not to obtain blood as a means of expiation for that sin; so that, as

a matter of course, the act of slaying could not be designated a

hFAyHiw;.  But the idea of a poena vicaria, suffered by an animal in-

stead of a man, is as evident here as in the sacrificial worship; the

only difference being, that in the one case the punishment could not

be inflicted upon the person who deserved it because he was not to

be found; and in the other case, it was not to be inflicted upon him,

because the mercy of God had provided a means of expiation for

his sin in the blood of the animal offered by him and dying for him.

(3.) A still further proof of the existence of the idea that an

innocent person might die for a guilty one, and the latter thereby

escape the punishment he deserved, is to be found in Ex. xxxii

When the people had sinned in the wilderness through the worship

of the golden calf, to such an extent that the wrath of Jehovah was

ready to destroy them altogether (ver. 10), and that even Moses

ordered them to be decimated by the swords of the Levites to satisfy

in some measure the just demands of that wrath (vers. 27, 28); he

said (ver. 30), "I will go up unto Jehovah; peradventure I may

be able to make expiation for your sin;" and then went before

Jehovah interceding for the rest, and saying (ver. 32), "Now for-

give them their sin, or else blot me out of Thy book." The meaning

of this prayer is, that God might accept the punishment inflicted

upon those who had been executed already, as an expiation or

covering for the same sin on the part of those who were living still;

and that if this did not suffice (since the latter had their own sins

to atone for), that He would take his own life, the life of the inno-

cent one, as a covering or expiation. No doubt Jehovah refused



to grant this request, and said (ver.. 33), “Whosoever bath sinned

against Me, him will I blot out of My book;” but the existence of

the idea of such a, substitution in the religious consciousness of

Moses is nevertheless unquestionable.1 And more than that, the

existence of a thought so opposed to all human notions of justice in

the case of a man like Moses would be perfectly inexplicable and

inconceivable, if it could not be traced to the manifestation of the

very same idea in the sacrificial worship with the direct sanction

of God.

(4.) To this we may add, that what Moses the servant of God

offered, though God did not accept the offer, was to be actually

performed by another, greater Servant of Jehovah--by one who, ac-

cording to Isaiah's predictions in chaps. xl.-lxvi., was Moses' true

antitype in the history of salvation in this as in everything besides,

a Moses in higher potency,--and to be performed with the consent

and approval of Jehovah (chap. liii.). Of this Servant of Jehovah

it is stated in vers. 4 sqq., “He hath borne our griefs and carried

our sorrows. He was wounded for our transgressions, He was

bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon

Him ; and by His stripes we are healed." And in ver. 10, with

express allusion to the sacrificial worship, it is stated that God made

"His life an offering for sin." Could there be a more obvious,

more lucid, or more indisputable interpretation of the sacrificial

slaying than this?  The undeniable fact, that the later Jewish

theory of sacrifice regarded the slaying as a vicarious penal death,

might be despised as a rabbinical error; but the exposition of a

prophet, like the writer of Isa. liii., instead of being thus lightly set

aside, must be regarded as authentic. And even if the words of the

prophet are not admitted to possess the character of an interpreta-

tion at least they must have all the force of an expansion of the

Mosaic view of sacrifice; and in that case they would at all events

prove as much as this, that the foundation for such a view of the

sacrificial slaying already existed in the Mosaic ritual of sacrifice.

§ 51. Whilst Bahr (ii. 343) attributes to the slaying a meaning

in accordance with his general theory of sacrifice, viz., that it ex-


1 Hofmann (p. 248) enters his protest against this view. “All that Moses

really asks,” he says, "is that if Jehovah will not forgive the nation He may

blot out his name from the book of life. He has no wish to live if his people

are to forfeit their sacred calling, which they have received from God." But

the answer given by God in ver. 33 requires our interpretation; for it presup-

poses that Moses had asked to be blotted out of the book, for the purpose of

preserving those who had deserved it because of their sin. Cf. Rom. ix. 3.        



hibited the completion of the self-surrender, for which the laying

on of hands had already exhibited a willingness, and Neumann (l. c.

343) regards it as an acknowledgment on the part of the person

presenting the offering, that he gave the animal entirely up, re-

nouncing for ever both it and its life (both of them opinions which

we do not feel it necessary to refute); Delitzsch, Oehler, and Hof-

mann do not allow it to have possessed any independent significance

at all. Oehler says (p. 628), “In the Mosaic ritual the slaying

was evidently nothing more than a necessary link in the process;

it was simply the means of procuring the blood." Delitzsch again

says (p. 426), "The Shechitah merely answered the double purpose

of providing the blood, in which was the life of the animal, for the

expiation of the soul of the sacrificer, and the flesh as fire-food for

Jehovah;" and this Hofmann expressly approves and adopts in the

second edition of his Schriftbeweis.

Delitzsch observes, at p. 744, "The killing was merely the

means of procuring the blood and offering the sacrifice; and hence

it was not called killing, but slaughtering." Let us look at this first

of all. In opposition to the penal theory, Delitzsch lays stress upon

the fact, that the killing of the sacrificial animal is always desig-

nated by the verb FHw, never by tymihe. In this he thinks that he

can discover a proof that the idea of killing, as an act of signifi-

cance in itself, was foreign to the sacrificial slaying, and the sole

intention was to take away life, as the necessary step to another

purpose, viz., the procuring of the blood or the flesh. This thought

is derived, however, not from the Hebrew, but from the German

idiom, where the notion of slaughtering certainly has received such

an application. And the fact that the verb FHw is never used in

ordinary life to denote a literal slaughtering for the purpose of

cooking the flesh (HbF is the word generally used) ought to have

created some distrust of this attempt to define the meaning of FHw.

Moreover, we actually find this verb applied to the slaying of a

man, where there could not have been any other object than to put

a him to death, namely, as punishment for a crime that was thought

worthy of death (e.g., Num. xiv. 16; Judg. xii. 6 ; 1 Kings xviii.

40; 2 Kings x. 7, 14, xxv. 7 ; Jer. xxxix. 6, xli. 7).  FHw ac-

cording to its etymology is related to hHw, HHw, tHw (vid. Rodiger

in Gesenius Thes.), and its primary meaning was probably to throw

down, to strike to the ground, to destroy, to lay in ruins. In the

more developed stage of the language it became a technical term

for the killing of an animal; from that it settled down into a



special term belonging to the sacrificial worship, and thus acquired

so definite and fixed a meaning, that people were afraid to apply it

to the slaughtering of an animal for the ordinary purposes of life.

From its original use, however, which was restricted to the killing

of an animal, it came also to be applied to the killing of a man,

when it took place, not in the mode adopted in an ordinary execu-

tion, but in a summary and informal manner, by striking to the

ground (as a beast is killed). Thus it is evident, that neither in    

the derivation of the word, nor in its customary use, is there the

least warrant for attributing to it that exclusive reference to the 

procuring of blood or flesh, which certainly has come to be asso-

ciated with the German word schlachten (to slaughter).

§ 52. In opposition to the idea that the Shechitah had no inde-

pendent significance of its own, there rises with irresistible force

the solemnity of the act, its firm incorporation into the sacrificial

ritual, and the necessity for its being performed on holy ground,

before Jehovah (Lev. i. 5, etc.), by the side of the altar, in the

presence of the priest, and with his indispensable, and therefore

certainly significant, co-operation. If it had been nothing more

than the means of procuring the blood and flesh for sprinkling and

burning upon the altar, it is difficult to see why it was necessary

that it should be performed on holy ground; why not at a man's

own home, from which the blood and flesh could easily have been

taken to the altar, without in any way detracting from the worth of

the sprinkling and burning. This was at all events indicated in the

original law (Lev. vii. 25, xvii. 3-5), where the slaughtering of every     

animal, even for domestic and ordinary purposes, is ordered to be 

carried out in precisely the same manner as a peace-offering (cf. § 5).

But what furnishes the strongest testimony against this attempt

to deprive the Shechitah of all independent worth, is the command,

that animals offered in sacrifice should be killed on the north side

of the altar only.

It is true, this command is particularly and expressly mentioned

only in connection with the burnt-offerings, sin-offerings, and tres-

pass-offerings (Lev. i. 11, iv. 24, 29, 33, vii. 2); and the Rabbins

have inferred from this (11 without reason," as Keil also says, i.

205), that the peace-offerings were to be slain on a different

side (viz., the south). But if the lawgiver had intended to make

the peace-offering an exception to this otherwise universal rule, he

would have indicated it, not by silence, but by an express command.

This silence is rather a direct proof of the contrary.



What the reason for this command was, it is impossible to de-

termine with perfect certainty. But Ewald's opinion is assuredly

wrong, that we may see in this "the remnant of an earlier belief,

that the Deity resides either in the north or in the east, and that it

is from thence that He comes."  Tholuck's conjecture is a much

more probable one, viz., that the north side (NOpcA, the hidden dark

midnight side, hence the side pregnant with evil) was regarded as

the gloomy and joyless one. Should this be accepted as the true

explanation (and it would be difficult to find one more plausible),

not only would it be a proof in itself of the independent worth of

the Shechitah, but would throw a considerable weight into the scale

in favour of the very same meaning which we obtained in § 48, 50,

by a different process.. But whatever may be the reason for the

command, there must at all events have been some reason; and

this is in itself a proof that the slaughtering, to which it referred,

must have possessed some significance also.

A few commentators, indeed--e.g., Fr. v. Meyer (on Lev. i. 11)

and Bunsen (ad h. l.)--imagine that they can find a sufficient

reason for the command in the external necessities of the case. On

the eastern side, they say, there was the heap of ashes (ver. 16), on

the western the tabernacle and the large basin (Ex. xl. 30), and on

the southern the entrance; so that the only side left for the

slaughtering was the northern side. But there is no force in this;

for if there had been no other (symbolical) difficulties in the way,

the southern side would have been the most appropriate, just

because the entrance was there.

§ 53. That Oehler should see no meaning in the sacrificial

slaughtering in itself, was a necessary consequence of his funda-

mental view of sacrifice; and in no other way could he possibly

succeed in bringing the slaughtering into harmony with his expla-

nation of the other parts of the sacrificial ceremony. This opinion

is based upon the correct premiss, that if the sacrificial slaughtering

had not the force of a poena vicaria, we must give up all idea of

discovering any symbolical meaning whatever. But with the

independent position which it occupied, the solemnity with which

it was performed in the Holy Place, etc., it is very hard to do the

latter. Hence, even Keil acknowledges the necessity of attributing

to it a significance of its own. The meaning which he has given,

however, is more decidedly erroneous than even Oehler's negation

of all meaning, since it drives him inevitably into partly open and

partly latent opposition to the scriptural data, and also to his own



interpretation of the other parts of the ritual of sacrifice. He

commences (i. 206) with the admission, that "the slaughtering of

the animal was a symbol of the surrender of life to death;" only

not a surrender, he adds, “to death as the punishment of sin, . . . for

although the death of the sacrificer, symbolized by the slaying of the

victim, was a fruit and effect of sin, it did not come under the

aspect of punishment, because sacrifice was an institution of divine

grace, intended to insure to the sinner not the merited punishment,

but, on the contrary, forgiveness of sins; whilst the death which 

follows sin is and remains, as a rule, a punishment only for that

sinner for whom there is no redemption, and brings to those who

are redeemed and forgiven deliverance from all evil, and an entrance

into eternal and blessed life with God.1  If, therefore, the object           

of sacrifice was the reconciliation of man to God, and his reception

into a state of grace with all its felicitous consequences, which no

one denies and there is no possible ground for denying, the death

connected with the sacrifice can only be regarded as the medium

of transition from a state of separation and estrangement from God

into one of grace and living fellowship with Him, or as the only 

way into the divine life out of the ungodly life of this world. And

even though the necessity for this way displays the holiness of the

righteous God, who has appointed death as the wages of sin; yet a

death which redeems man from sin, and introduces him into eternal

life, cannot be called a punishment, since the idea of divine holiness

and righteousness is by no means exhausted by the notion of punish-

ment alone.”

In examining this argument, even if we take no notice of the

unhistorical blending of the Old and New Testament standpoints

(for it is only the latter which teaches that death is the bridge for

crossing from the ungodly life of this world into the godly life of

eternal blessedness with God) and if we also pass over the doctrinal

ambiguity, which both affirms and denies that death is the punish-

ment of sin in the case of the redeemed, and ascribes to death,

which is and remains under all circumstances the wages of sin,

what belongs to redemption alone;--we shall still find this view in

all respects untenable as applied to the ritual of the sacrificial wor-

ship. The death of the sacrificial animal is said to typify the death 

of the redeemed, which, however, is "not punishment for sin,"


1 So far as these assertions are directed against the theory of penal death,

we shall examine them by and by at § 65. Here we are only concerned to

examine Keil's own view.




but rather "a passage into the divine life out of the ungodly life of

this world." Now Oehler does not state, what alone would make

good sense, that the holiness of the person sacrificing, qua redeemed,

was "transferred to the victim," but, like Keil himself in his expla-

nation of the imposition of hands in connection with the atoning

sacrifice, maintains that "the sin and guilt" of the sacrificer as a

sinner were so transferred; so that the animal was made "as it

were incarnate sin," and its body "a body of sin." It is not by

the atonement of sin, therefore, but by giving compensation for sins

still unatoned for, that death is stamped as the "medium for the

transition from a state of separation and estrangement from God

into one of grace and living fellowship with God;" and yet, after

all this, the sinner who is already perfectly redeemed, inasmuch as

he has already entered "into a state of grace and fellowship with

God," into "eternal and blessed life with God," is then for the first

time to have expiation made for his sins. According to this theory

of Keil's, the expiation, i.e., the sprinkling of the blood, ought

necessarily to have preceded the slaughtering; for it was through

the expiation that the life of a sinner was first qualified for entering

into a state of grace and fellowship with God, into eternal and

blessed life with God. This no one has ever yet denied, or ever

can deny.

By thus rejecting the true meaning of the sacrificial slaying,

Keil is driven into opposition, partly to the biblico-orthodox doctrine,

which he nevertheless still holds, and partly to his own interpreta-

tion of the other parts of the sacrificial ceremony. But it becomes

still more striking when we find in other parts of Keil's work the

very same doctrine which he has here opposed and rejected when

advocated by me, expressed in the very same words, and given as

his own view of the sacrificial slaying. For example, whereas he

affirms, at p. 207, that "the slaying typified the surrender of the

life of the sacrificer to death, but did not typify death as the punish-

ment of sin;" at p. 237 he says, "Now the ram of the trespass-

offering stood for the person of the guilty man, and by being slain,

suffered death in his stead as the punishment for his guilt." At p.

228, again, he says, " By being slain, the animal of the sin-offering

was given up to death, and suffered death for the sinner, i.e., in the

place of the person sacrificing, as the wages of sin!" and at p. 283,

“By these attributes (sc., freedom from blemish, and a fresh,

vigorous fulness of life) the animal was perfectly fitted to bear as a

sin-offering the guilt of the congregation imputed to it by the laying



on of hands, and to suffer death in a representative capacity as the wages

of sin." So also at p. 384:  “As a sacrifice appointed by the Lord,

the paschal lamb suffered death vicariously, as the effect of sin, for the

father of the family who killed it for himself and his household.”

Only on one or two occasions does it seem to have occurred to

the writer that it was necessary to reconcile these self-contradictions.

Thus at p. 213 he observes: "But the justice of God was made

manifest through the grace that ruled in the sacrificial atonement,        

in this respect: expiation presupposed death; without death, in fact,

i.e, without dying spiritually, it is absolutely impossible to be re-

ceived into the fellowship of divine mercy; and without physical

death there can be no entrance into eternal blessedness. And

herein lies the reason, why every sacrifice of atoning worth was

necessarily required to be a sacrifice by death, and why, in the

performance of the sacrificial rite, the victim had to suffer death,

before its blood could be sprinkled upon the altar." But even with

reference to this exposition, which is not overburdened with super-

fluous clearness, we have several important queries to make. If

expiation presupposed death, how could death even before expiation

lead from the ungodly life of this world into the blessedness of

life eternal, seeing that evidently this could only be said, if death,

on the contrary, presupposed expiation?  “Only to a man redeemed

and pardoned,” says Keil himself, at p. 207, "could death bring

redemption from all evil, and effect a transition into eternal and

blessed life with God." But how is pardon itself secured? Is it

through physical death in itself? Is it not rather through expiation,

or the extermination of sin? And yet, according to Keil, expiation

presupposes death, which forms the passage to eternal life, instead of  

death presupposing expiation. How strange a righteousness of God

would that be, which should be manifested in the reception of a

sinner through death, before expiation, and therefore without expia-

tion, into the blessedness of eternal life? And yet this is said to

constitute the reason why in the sacrificial ritual the victim was

necessarily put to death, before its blood could be sprinkled on the altar!

And if this was actually the reason why the sacrifices of an expia-

tory character (i.e., according to Keil, the sin- and trespass-offerings)

were required to be sacrifices by death, and why death necessarily

preceded expiation,--where are we to look for the reason why the

sacrifices, that were not expiatory in their character (viz., the burnt-

offerings and thank-offerings), were also required to be sacrifices by

death, and in their case also death necessarily preceded the expiation?



I am quite unable to find any reconciliation of the contradictions

occurring here, in what Keil says at p. 228. “The sinner,” he

says, a certainly merited death, and the victim taking his place had

to suffer it in his stead, because the mercy of God could not, and

would not destroy, or even weaken, the holiness of the law; and

therefore, even when the sinner was intended to discern in the

death of the sin-offering what he himself would have deserved, if

God had dealt with him according to His justice, the law contains

no statement to the effect, that the sin-offering was in any sense a

satisfaction," etc. (for the rest, see § 65, 67). On the contrary, the

discrepancies appear rather to multiply. For how could the sinner

discern in the death of the sacrificial animal what he himself would

have deserved, viz., death as the punishment of sin, if that death

was a symbol, not of death as the punishment of sin, but, on the

contrary, of a death which redeemed from sin and introduced into

the blessedness of eternal life? And how can it be said, that the

victim had necessarily to suffer in the place of the sinner the death

deserved by him as the punishment of his sin if the death of the

victim is not to be regarded as a penal death at all? And how is

it possible to find the idea expressed in the institution of sacrifice,

that the mercy of God could not destroy or weaken the holiness of

the law which demanded death as the punishment of sin, if, as is

stated immediately afterwards, the sacrifice had no satisfactory

worth, and the grace of God out of pure mercy covered over the

sin? Does not "pure" mercy in this way become an arbitrary

mercy, opposing the demands of the holiness of the law, and not

merely weakening, but actually abolishing it?

§ 54. We will now adduce two other examples, to show how

the denial of a satisfactio vicaria in the Old Testament sacrifices, on

the part of theologians who are generally anxious to adhere to the

biblical and orthodox standpoint, is sure to drive them to inconsis-

tencies and contradictions. Delitzsch, speaking of the imposition of

hands which preceded the slaying, says (p. 737), "If it was an

expiatory, i.e., a sin- or trespass-offering, he laid his sins upon it,

that it might bear them and carry them away from him." Now, if

this be correct, it is placed beyond all doubt, that between the impo-

sition of hands and the sprinkling of the blood (at any rate, in the

case of the sin-offerings and trespass-offerings) something must have

intervened, by which the sin imputed in the laying on of hands was

overcome, wiped away, and changed into its opposite. For, just as

sin could not be covered expiated wiped away by sin so the blood



of the animal, which after the imposition of hands was laden (as

the vehicle of the soul) with sin and guilt, could not in that condi-

tion become the means of expiation. Something else must neces-

sarily have been done to it in the meantime, by which the sin

imputed to it, and by virtue of that imputation regarded as its own,

had been conquered and wiped away, and by which it had been

fitted to be used as a means of expiation; and there is nowhere else

that we can look for this, but in the slaying which intervened, and

which could only be a vicarious penal suffering, by virtue of which

it suffered the death which the sacrificer deserved, and suffered it

for him. The blood brought to the altar was then a proof that the

merited punishment had been endured, and in that light was fitted

to cover the sinful soul of the sacrificer himself.

Delitzsch, again, always lays great stress upon the necessity of

acknowledging the representative character of the sacrificial animal.

But as he is unwilling to acknowledge it in the hFAyHiw; where it is

primarily and chiefly appropriate, he is induced to place it in the

sprinkling of the blood. Thus he says, at p. 741, "In Lev. xvii.

11 it is stated that the blood of the animal made expiation for the

soul of the person offering it, by virtue of the soul which was con-

tained in it: evidently, therefore, the soul of the animal took the

place of the soul of the man; and when poured out in the blood,

covered the soul of the man, which was deserving of death, before

an angry God." And again, at p. 745: "The Old Testament

sacrifice, so far as it was expiatory, was intended to be regarded as

representative. There was no ritual manifestation, indeed, of the

penal suffering, since the expiation was only effected through the

blood, apart from the violent death; but the bleeding expiation, 

when understood typically, as it was intended to be understood, and

has been prophetically expounded in Isa. liii., also pointed to a vica-

rious satisfaction to be rendered to the judicial righteousness of

God." But the idea of representation in the first half of the sacri-

ficial ceremony (i.e., before the burning) was evidently applicable to

the slaying alone, as a penal suffering, and not at all to the atone-

ment, i.e., the sprinkling of the blood. The blood brought to the

altar, or rather the soul which dwelt within it, was to cover the soul

of the offerer there. How could it, then, take the place of the latter?

For, where one person takes the place of another, the other is not

there himself, but the representative is there in his stead, performing

or suffering what the former ought to have suffered or performed.

§ 55. The meaning of the SPRINKLING OF THE BLOOD is self-



evident, after what has been stated already. The person presenting

the sacrifice was conscious of his sin or sinfulness; he knew that he

was liable, in consequence, to death as the wages of sin. It is true,

the divine long-suffering, which, notwithstanding the threat to the

first sinner, "In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die"

had preserved his life for a lengthened period, extended to him also

as to every other sinner. Provided he did not commit, or had not

committed, any sin which threatened to overturn and destroy the

moral order of the universe generally, or the essential elements of

its specifically theocratic order, and which it was necessary on that

account for the judicial authorities of earth to punish with death, he

need not immediately die. But, for all that, he was under sentence

of death for every minor sin, and even for mere sinfulness, from

which all actual sins proceed; and this sentence of death lay like a

ban upon him, disturbing the peace of his soul, preventing him from

the quiet and happy enjoyment of the blessings of life, causing him

to see himself as an object of divine wrath, and even in this earthly

life threatening him either with a quick and painful death, or with

evils and calamities of every description. And with the Old Testa-

ment Israelite this was all the more the case, because his want of a

clear perception of eternal life hereafter was accompanied with an

equal want of any clear perception of retribution, hereafter; and

the whole weight of divine retribution to his consciousness, there-

fore, fell not in the life beyond, but in the life on this side the

grave. To be delivered from this ban by the expiation, the wiping

away, the forgiveness of his sin, was therefore the inmost desire of

his soul, the most pressing need of his life. But from the very

earliest times God had established an institution of grace, by which

he could secure the expiation or forgiveness of his sins. Accordingly,

relying upon the divine vyTitan; (“I have given it,” Lev. xvii. 11), he

brought to the altar an animal from his own stall--a living, animated

being like himself, a domesticated animal, which as such belonged

to his own house, which had been tended by himself almost as one

tends his own child, which was dear to him almost like a man-

servant or maid-servant, but which was not a sinful creature like

himself, his servant, his maid-servant, or his child, but sinless, in-no-

cent, pure, without blemish, without fault or failing, and which, on

account of all this, was apparently well fitted-at all events better

fitted than any other gift which he could possibly offer as a recom-

pense for his guilt--to redeem his soul which was under the death-

ban of sin. And to that he set apart the animal, being directed to



do so by God Himself. By laying his hands upon it he transferred

to it his own sentence of death, and caused it to suffer in his stead

the punishment, which he was conscious that he himself deserved

on account of his sins. Upon this the priest, as the mediator be-

tween God and the nation, carried to the altar the blood which had

passed through death, the wages of sin, that on that spot where,

according to Ex. xx. 24 (cf. § 13), Jehovah had promised to come

to His people to bless them, he might cover and atone for the sinful

soul of the person presenting the sacrifice.

The imposition of hands was the qualification of the sacrificial

animal for the vicarious endurance of punishment; and the death

in which this was completed was the qualification of the animal

blood, in which its soul resided, for the act of expiation; and this

again was completed by the bringing of the blood thus qualified to

the altar, where it covered (ideally) the sinful soul of the person

offering it. The imposition of hands did not deliver the person  

sacrificing from his sin; for it was not a transference of his sin to

the sacrificial animal (§ 44), but only the communication of a sub-

stitutionary obligation, to suffer on his behalf what he had deserved

on account of his sin. Even the slaying, in which it suffered death

vicariously for him, did not effect in itself an expiation or wiping 

away of his sins, just as my pecuniary debts are not wiped out by

the fact of another having earned the necessary money through the

labour of his hands. The debts themselves can only be wiped out

by his covering them with the money which he has earned; and so

a debt of sin requires to be covered by the merit of the suffering of

the sacrifice before it can be regarded as atoned for and wiped out;

in other words, the meritorious performance of the sacrifice must be 

transferred to the sinful soul of the person presenting it, and person-

ally appropriated to him (so as to be regarded as his merit, his per-

formance), in the same way in which his obligation had previously 

been imputed to the sacrifice. And, according to Lev. xvii. 11, this

was done by means of the sprinkling of the blood, in which the sinless

and guiltless soul of the sacrificial animal covered (if only ideally) the

soul of the person offering it. The merit acquired by the soul of the

victim, which in itself was pure and sinless and therefore liable to no

punishment on its own account, through its vicarious endurance of

death, now acted upon the sinful soul of the sacrificer as a covering

for sin, that is to say, it rendered his sin inoperative (§ 28).1      


1 Compare the pregnant words of Kahnis, i. 271: "The sacrificial blood

atones, so far as it is the life of the animal in compendio; for in the blood (Lev.



§ 56. But for this expiation to possess any objective validity, it

was necessary that it should be performed at the altar (Lev. xvii.

11), and by the priest (Lev. i. 5, 11, etc.), not by the sacrificer him-

self; and even that was insufficient unless the antecedents and pre-

liminaries--viz., the presentation, the imposition of hands, and the

slaying--had taken place before the altar and in the presence of the

priest. The latter contains its own explanation; for it is self-evident

that an obligation or debt which I owe to any one must be discharged

either in his own presence or that of his accredited agent, whether

I discharge it in my own person or by deputy. The former proves

that the sacrificial blood was not fully qualified for the purposes of

atonement, either in itself, or through the imposition of hands and

the infliction of death; but that it acquired for the first time its

objective; atoning power, through the fact that the priest, as medi-

ator of the saving grace of God brought it to the altar (i e. to the

place of mercy and salvation, where Jehovah came to His people to

bless them), and there it acquired a divine energy which supplied all

its defects and endowed it with plenary power.

Substitution under any circumstances is of course a problema- 

tical thing, and its acceptance and acknowledgment are dependent

upon the mercy of God (Ex. xxxii. 33). But the substitution re-

ferred to here, is in all respects so obviously insufficient, that we

cannot speak of its possessing validity according to natural law,

but only according to the law of mercy laid down by the divine plan

of salvation. It is true, the sacrificial animal, as belonging to the

flock and home, stood in a biotic rapport with the person presenting

the sacrifice (§ 23); but the animal was not, what a thorough sub-

stitution would have required, re vera of his own nature--was not

re vera, but only symbolically, his alter ego: there was altogether

wanting an internal basis of substitution, a positive unity of nature

and will, resting upon the nature and will of both. The animal,

again, was certainly guiltless and sinless; but only because it stood

below the sphere of sin, not because it was elevated, or had raised

itself, above that sphere. It is true, the obligation to suffer death

for the sinner was transferred to it by the imposition of hands; but

this transference, again, was only symbolical and figurative, not

literal and real. The animal was doubtless the property of the

person sacrificing it; consequently, he possessed the right and the


xvii. 11) is that life, which carries negatively the death that it has endured in

our stead, and positively a pure life, which can be brought into fellowship with

God." See also p. 585.



authority to offer up its life for his own good and salvation. But

for all that, it was a forced, and therefore an insufficient representa-

tion; inasmuch as it was impossible, from a pneumatico-ethical

point of view, for the animal to declare its free-will to give itself up

to death for the sinner as the wages of his sin, being utterly desti-

tute as it was of this pneumatic character, and of the least freedom

of will and purpose (§ 33); whilst from a Psychico-Physical point

of view, it would resist with all its might the attempt to use it in

this way as a means of atonement; whereas the sin to be expiated

had sprung from the soil of free personality, and therefore it was

requisite that the expiation itself should be the product of free per-

sonality, the sacrifice a voluntary one, the result of an independ-

ent and perfectly unconstrained resolution of the will. Again,

the sacrifice, it is true, was put to death. But the death which the

animal suffered, was not of the same kind or importance as that

which the sinner deserved; for the life of an animal belongs to a

lower stage than that of man, and hence death to an animal is     

something different from death to a man. Moreover, in the sacri-

ficial worship, sin was considered, not as a violation of human

rights and claims (for in this respect it was liable to the penal juris-

diction of earthly magistrates), but as rebellion against God--both 

God without us, i.e., a resistance to the objective will and law of

God, and also God within us, i.e., a violation of the image of God

in us, which in the form of conscience protests and strives against 

sin. But if the foundation of all justice is the jus talionis (Ex. xxi.

23, soul for soul, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, etc.), and consequently

the violation of that which is violated must return upon the person

of the violator with all the force given to it by the greatness of

the injury, and the importance of that which is injured; it is evi-

dent that, although the violation of earthly relationships may be

atoned for by earthly punishment (and in its most intense form

by capital punishment), yet sin, as an injury done to the eternal,

holy God, the Lord and Creator of heaven and earth, demands a

death which is not exhausted by earthly death (the only death pos-

sible to the sacrificial animal), and a punishment which continues

even in Sheol (as the abode of the departed human soul), yea,

to all eternity, because the God offended is an eternal God.

§ 57.  The whole of the sacrificial ceremony, up to the act of

expiation itself, moved upon the basis of symbolism; and the sacri-

ficial blood, therefore, was capable of nothing more than a symboli-

cal atonement. But Lev. xvii. 11 does not state that the atonement



was merely symbolized by the sprinkling of the blood; on the con-

trary, it assigns to it a real atoning power. Whence did the sacri-

ficial blood acquire this; and by what means did its symbolical

atoning power acquire the potency of a real atonement, and the

empty, powerless symbol a sacramental efficacy?

According to the principles of natural (so to speak, Elohistic)

justice, the expiation of a sin can only be effected by personal satis-

faction; that is, by the sinner himself enduring all the punishment

deserved, in other words, an equivalent to the sin. But it is alto-

gether different with the principles of saving (Jehovistic) justice.

For the divine plan of salvation has, discovered a way by which the

sinner, without completely exhausting the punishment of sin in his

own person, may be freed and delivered. It consists objectively in

this, that a righteous being interposes for sinners, endures for them

the merited punishment,--a; righteous one, whose life is worth in-

finitely more than the life of all sinners together, whose temporary

sufferings surpass in worth and importance even the eternal suffer-

ings of the whole human race,--a righteous one, who, by placing

himself in essential rapport with sinful humanity, becomes their

true (not merely conventional) representative, their real alter ego,

and thereby qualifies himself to endure the punishment of sin for

them; and who undertakes all this of his own free-will. It con-

sists subjectively in this, that the sinner, on the other hand, is placed

in a condition to enter into essential rapport with this righteous

being by an unconstrained determination of his own will; so that,

as the righteous one bears and exhausts the sinner's punishment as

his own, he also may make the sin-exterminating merits, thereby

acquired by the righteous one, into his own.

According to the counsel of God the self-sacrifice of this right-

eous being could not, and was not intended to become a historical

event until the fulness of time. But to the consciousness of God,

who is exalted above time and space, and to whom there is no past

or future, but only an eternal now, this sacrifice, while to man still

in futurity, was ever a present event; and therefore its fruits and

its merits were objectively present also. And this was the genuine

and essential atoning power with which God endowed the sacrificial

blood that was brought to the altar, as the place of salvation and of

grace, so as to change the empty symbol into a true sacramental

type. Then, too, the saying applies: accedit verbum (Lev. xvii. 11,

"I have given it") ad elenaentum, et fit sacramentum. For even then

God could appropriate the merit of that righteous one, which had





already an objective existence to Him, to the covering of the sins

of those who were subjectively fitted for it. But to prevent the de-

lusion, that sin was a light thing in the estimation of God, that He

could and would forgive sin and bestow His mercy without reserve,

or without satisfaction being rendered to justice, an institution was

provided in the sacrificial worship of the Old Testament for the

sinner who desired salvation, that brought before his mind afresh,

with every new sin for which he sought atonement, what his sin de-

served, and he would have had to suffer, if he had been required to

atone for it himself, and what must necessarily take place to release

him from that obligation; inasmuch as what God then directed to

be done to the animal, was what would one day be done in the ful-

ness of time to that righteous one, for the covering of the sins of

all sinners who desired salvation and were fitted to receive it.

§ 58. Thus far we have taken our stand upon the New Testa-

ment, Gospel ground, that we might be able from this point of view

to understand the meaning of the sacrificial expiation of the Old

Testament, and see in what the objective atoning worth ascribed to

it consisted. The question becomes incomparably more difficult,

when we look at it from the legal standpoint of the Old Testament,

and seek to discover the meaning attached to it by Moses and his

contemporaries. Was the Israelite of that age also conscious of this

typical import of the animal sacrifice; or, at any rate, was it pos-

sible for him to attain to this consciousness?

In the first place, we may here point to the fact, that this typi-

cal import of the sacrifice actually did develop itself in the heart of

Judaism, without any New Testament influence, and therefore out

of the elements existing in the Mosaic ritual; for not only is it ex-

pressed from the pre-Christian standpoint of an Isaiah (chap. liii.),

but from the equally pre-Christian standpoint of many of the later

Rabbins, who maintained very decidedly that the animal sacrifices

would cease with the coming of the Messiah, because He would 

perform in the most perfect manner all that the sacrifices had been

designed to accomplish.

We are warranted, therefore, in expecting and looking for the

germs, or germinal elements, of this consciousness in Mosaism itself.

Among these we notice first of all those shortcomings and defects

in the animal sacrifices, which we have already pointed out, and

which could not be overlooked even from the standpoint of an  

Israelite under the Old Testament. For the fact that the blood

of bulls and goats could not take away sin (Heb. ix. 12), was one



which must have forced itself upon the mind of every thinking man.

It would also be brought before the Israelite by the fact, that aton-

ing efficacy was not attributed to the blood of the animal, after or

in consequence of the imposition of hands and infliction of death,

but was acquired first of all from contact with the altar, upon

which God came down to His people with power to bless and save

(Ex. xx. 24).

But when this imperfection in his sacrificial worship was once

clearly brought before his mind, and with it the contrast between

the insufficiency of the means and the fulness of the promise, which

insured an eventual and perfect efficacy to those means notwith-

standing these defects; he could hardly fail to investigate and

search for the explanation of this incongruity between the means

employed and the effect produced. For ordinary purposes, the

promise “This blood maketh atonement for your souls was prac-           

tically sufficient, provided it was received in simple faith; for

the faith which laid hold of this word grasped at the same time

the blessing of the sacrifice promised therein, which was really the

same, even though its internal ground might not be perceived.

But to any one who studied the secrets of the divine plan of sal-

vation, and the sacred imagery of the ritual,--who did not "let the

book of the law depart out of his mouth, but meditated therein day

and night" (Josh. i. 8),--whose "delight was in the law of the

Lord" (Ps. i. 2),--who prayed, "Open Thou mine eyes, that I may

behold wondrous things out of Thy law,"--there must have pre-

sented themselves the first glimpses of a deeper knowledge, even

if he perceived at the same time, that a more perfect insight could

only be obtained after a further development of the sacred history

and its accompanying revelation. Did not Moses himself point out

the symbolical and typical character of the entire ritual appointed

by him, when he distinctly stated that the eternal original had been

shown to him on the holy mount? And what could be more simple,

than to bring the germ and centre of the whole ritual into connec-

tion with thee primary promises of the salvation to be secured through

the seed of the woman, and the seed of the patriarchs? What

more simple, than to connect the centre of his hopes and expecta-

tions with the centre of his worship--to imagine a hidden, even

though incomprehensible, link between the two, and to seek in this

link the solution of the sacred enigma?

But undoubtedly, for a clear perception and deep insight into

the historico-typical import of the sacrificial atonement, and a full



solution of its enigmas, the way was first prepared through the pro-

phetic standpoint of an Isaiah, and eventually completed in the

sacrifice on Calvary.

§ 59. The juridical interpretation of the Old Testament sacrifice,

in which the slaughtering is regarded as a poena vicaria endured

by the sacrificial animal in the stead of the person offering it, has

been the one generally received, from the time of the Rabbins and

Fathers--at least so far as the sin-offerings and trespass-offerings

are concerned; and even in the most recent times it has found

many supporters of note. Among these are Gesenius, De Wette,

Winer, Hengstenberg (in his Christology, and his Sacrifices of Holy

Scripture), Scholl, Bruno Bauer, v. Meyer, Havernick, Lange, Thal-

hofer, Stockl, Tholuck, Ebrard, Knobel, Kliefoth, Keil, Thomasius, 

and Kahnis.

On the other hand, it has met with numerous opponents, espe-

cially in modern times; though the arguments adduced certainly

do not gain in importance from the fact, that for the most part

they are founded upon feelings altogether distinct from the subject

in hand, viz., an antipathy to the orthodox, New Testament doctrine

of reconciliation, as is undeniably the case with Steudel, Klaiber,

Bahr, and Hofmann. In the case of Keil, who repeatedly reverts

to the orthodox, traditional view, and thereby involves himself in

striking discrepancies, it is to be lamented that he should evidently

not have been conscious of the discrepancies, or he would certainly

have adhered throughout, and not merely in isolated passages, to           

the old well-tried truth, instead of his new and untenable discoveries.   

Neumann's views and words are so misty and obscure, that they

have consequently but little weight. But Oehler and Delitzsch,   

who cannot certainly be supposed to have any ulterior end to serve,

have been led away to their negative position by attaching too much

importance to various plausible arguments.

§ 60. We will now examine the objections offered to the view

in question. Steudel adduces four objections in his Vorlesungen

uber d. Theol. des A. T.: (1.) "Throughout the whole of the Old

Testament we never meet with any such idea as this, that the

pardon which God confers must be purchased first of all by sub-

stitution. He grants forgiveness at once, as soon as the sinner

repents; and that not merely according to the teaching of the

prophets (Ezek. xviii. 1 sqq., xxxiii. 14 sqq.), but according to the

teaching of the Pentateuch also (as in Deut. iv. 30, 31, xxx. 2 ; Lev.

xxvi. 40 sqq.), where the promise is given, that when the Israelites



turn to the Lord, He will also turn at once to them in mercy, and

bestow upon them all His blessing." To this I have already given

the following answer in my Mos. Opfer: How marvellous! whilst

some writers take the greatest offence at the wrathful Jew-God of

the Old Testament, who can only be appeased with blood, others

find in Him a loving Father, who forgives in the most indiscriminate

manner. God grants forgiveness, they say, without anything further;

in other words, without a sacrifice. But the whole law of worship,

which never promises forgiveness without anything further, but

always makes it dependent upon a sacrificial expiation, rises against

this. Steudel does indeed modify his "without anything further,"

by introducing the condition of repentance. But does not that

addition prove the very opposite of what it is meant to prove? It

proves, that is to say, that for the Israelite there was no forgiveness

without sacrifice; for conversion, turning to Jehovah, included the

offering of sacrifice. What could it mean but returning to the

theocratic union? And this could only be effected through sacri-

fice. What else could it mean than returning from a heathen to a

theocratic life, the central point of which was the sacrificial wor-

ship? What else, than resuming and faithfully performing the

theocratic duties that had been neglected, and which had their    

centre in sacrifice? By what other means could the Israelite give a

practical demonstration of the earnestness, the genuineness, and the

permanence of his repentance, than by a faithful worship of Jehovah,

as demanded in the law, the very soul of which was sacrifice? If,

therefore, forgiveness could only be obtained by repenting and turn-

ing to Jehovah, by that very fact it was made dependent upon the

sacrifice, in which this was practically exhibited; and the entire argu-

ment is consequently reduced to this circle: an assumption that sacri-

fice did not involve substitution may be adduced as a proof that it did.

(2.) Steudel says, “It is just in connection with the more im-

portant sins that we never find the slightest intimation of their need-

ing to be expiated by sacrifice. And yet if sacrifices were appointed

for the violation of precepts relating to outward acts, how important

must it have seemed, supposing substitution to have been the idea,

that sacrifices should be offered for moral offences in the strict sense

of the word, which were of much greater importance!" But the

most casual glance at the sacrificial law will show, that it was not

merely the violation of outward precepts, which the law undoubtedly

exhibits as equally important, and in certain circumstances more

important than many offences of a strictly "moral" character, that



had to be expiated by sacrifice, but offences of the latter kind as

well. In one respect, indeed, the statement is certainly correct.

There were certain offences of greater importance--those, for

example, which arose from wantonness and rebellion (Num. xv.

30, 31), whether they were violations of outward or of strictly

moral laws--which could not be expiated by sacrifice, but had to

be punished by extermination.  The reason why the latter could not

be "bound" (as, mutatis mutandis, in the Christian Church), even

in the case of repentance, was, that the institution of sacrifice

under the Old Testament related to the earthly theocracy alone

the sinner was excluded by his sin from membership in the covenant

and theocracy; and the atoning sacrifice was intended to qualify

him for readmission, a thing which execution rendered eo ipso impos-

sible. But the fact that the institution of sacrifice in the Old Testa-

ment contained no allusion to the life everlasting after death, may be

explained on the ground, that the standpoint of the Old Testament

did not furnish any clear or profound insight into the life eternal.

(3.) Steudel's third objection is this: "According to Lev. v. 11,

in cases of extreme poverty a bloodless sin-offering of meal might

be offered instead of the bleeding sacrifice. Hence the only correct

view of the sin-offering must be one, which regards it as of no  

essential moment, whether the offering presented consisted of an

animal or of meal, and therefore does not recognise a poena vicaria.”

But even Bahr (ii. 181) will not allow, that there is any force in 

this argument. "D. Strauss is right," he says, "in pronouncing

this decision perfectly incorrect, and in saying, as he does in his

Streitschriften, p. 163, ‘Whenever it was possible, whenever any one

was in a condition to bring a pair of doves, the sin-offering was to

be a bleeding one; it was only in cases of extreme distress that  

meal was allowed to be substituted; but we have no right to allow

the nature of the substitute to exert any influence upon our inter-

pretation of the thing itself, and to regard the characteristic which

was wanting in the former, as being necessarily absent from the

latter also."' We cannot regard this argument, however, as Bahr

does, as sufficient in all respects to meet Steudel's objection, for the  

substitute must be related in some way to the thing actually re-

quired, however inferior it may be in actual worth and importance.

Stones, for example, could never serve as a substitute for coffee,

though acorns might. And if, as a matter of course, even the

poorest of the people were to be furnished with the means of ob-

taining expiation; in cases where it was absolutely impossible to



procure a sacrificial animal for the purpose, the substitute appointed

would necessarily be, not an animal that was not suitable for sacri-

fice, but something which at all events might be offered. The sym-

bolical manifestation of the satisfactio vicaria in the slaughtering of

the animal would no doubt be wanting; but the satisfactio itself

might be there, as the element of real satisfaction even in the

animal sacrifice did not proceed from the slaughtering, but was

communicated by the grace of God to the blood sprinkled upon the

altar through a donum superadditum.

(4.) He argues, “On the great day of atonement (Lev. xvi.) the

one goat upon which the sins of the people were actually laid, was

sent away at perfect liberty into the desert, without any poena  

vicaria, whilst upon the other goat, which was sacrificed, the sins

were not laid; so that neither in the one instance nor in the other

is substitution of any kind to be thought of." (For our answer to

this, see § 199 sqq.) 

§ 61. Whilst Steudel's objections, to which we have just referred,

have not been repeated by any later writers, those of Bahr, in part

at least, have met with great approval. They are the following:

(l.) “The juridical view, we are told, makes the act of slaying,

by which the punishment was completed, the culminating point

and centre of the whole of the sacred transaction. But this shows

at once the fallacy of that view. For nothing is more obvious, than

that the blood, and not the death, and the use made of the blood,

the sprinkling therefore, and not the slaying, constituted the main

feature and centre of the sacrifice. But the ritual law distinguishes

the two, the slaying and the sprinkling, most sharply from one

another, and states expressly that it was by the latter, and not by

the former, that the expiation, the ultimate object of the sacrifice,

was effected. In any case the sprinkling of the altar or Capporeth

was not a penal act; and it follows indisputably, therefore, that the

notion of punishment can never have been the central point of the

idea of sacrifice." Similar objections are made again and again by