ON THE BOOK OF






























1852 by James Nisbet and Company






    Digitally prepared and posted on the web by Ted Hildebrandt (2004)

         Public Domain.

              Please report any errors to:  thildebrandt@gordon.edu 










SOME years ago, while perusing the Book of Leviticus in

the course of his daily study of the Scriptures, the author

was arrested amid the shadows of a past dispensation,

and led to write short notes as he went along. Not long

after, another perusal of this inspired book--conducted

in a similar way, and with much prayer for the teaching

of the Spirit of truth--refreshed his own soul yet more,

and led him on to inquire what others had gleaned in

the same field. Some friends who, in this age of activity

and bustle, find time to delight themselves in the law of

the Lord, saw the notes, and urged their publication.

There are few critical difficulties in the book; its

chief obscurity arises from its enigmatical ceremonies.

The author fears he may not always have succeeded in

discovering the precise view of truth intended to be exhi-

bited in these symbolic rites; but he has made the

attempt, not thinking it irreverent to examine both sides

of the veil, now that it has been rent. The Holy Spirit




surely wishes us to inquire into what He has written; and

the unhealthy tone of many true Christians may be

accounted for by the too plain fact that they do not

meditate much on the whole counsel of God. Expe-

rience, as well as the Word itself (Ps. i. 2, 3), might lead

us to value very highly the habit of deeply pondering

the discoveries of the mind of God given in all parts of

Scripture, even the darkest.

Throughout this Commentary, the truth that saves,

and the truth that sanctifies, is set before the reader in a

variety of aspects, according as each typical rite seemed

to suggest. It may thus be useful to all classes of per-

sons. And what, if even some of the house of Israel

may have their eye attracted to the Saviour, while giving

heed to the signification of those ceremonies which to

their fathers were sign-posts (tOtOx, Ps. lxxiv. 9) in,

the way of life?



C0LLACE, May 5, 1846.






A FEW corrections have been made, and a few additional

remarks introduced, in this edition. The subjects of the

Book of Scripture briefly expounded in these pages are  

all of a vital nature, though the form in which they were

presented by Moses is obsolete. A writer of the middle

ages, Hildebert, suggests much by these few lines


Quis locus Aurora postduam Sol venit ad ortum?

Quisne locus votis teneat cum navita portum?

Leg Aurora fuit; bos et capra vota fuere;    

Crux Sol, Crux portus. Haec omnia praeteriere.

Crux clausit templum, Crux solvit aenigmata legis.

Sub Cruce cessat ephod, et deficit unctio regis."



The Nature of the Book . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                         1

The Burnt Offering (Chapter 1) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                      10

The Meat Offering (Chapter 2) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                       31

The Drink Offering    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                    46

The Peace Offerings (Chapter 3) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                      50

The Sin Offering (Chapter 4) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                      62

Sin Offering for Sins of Inadvertency (Chapter 5) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                    83

The Trespass Offering (Chapters 5 and 6) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                     96

Special Rules for Priests Who Minister at the

Altar of God (Chapters 6:8--7)  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                   109

The Priesthood Entering on Their Office (Chapter 8) . . . . . . . . . . . . .                 144

Aaron's Entrance on His Office (Chapter 9) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                  177

The Fencing of the Priestly Ritual (Chapter 10)    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .               187

Remembrances of the Broken Law - the Clean and

the Unclean (Chapter 11)  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                  203

Original Sin - What Has Been Transmitted to Us

(Chapter 12   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                    228

The Leprosy. Indwelling Sin - Its Horrid Features

(Chapter 13)  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                   232

The Leprosy Removed (Chapter 14) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                     257

The Secret Flow of Sin from the Natural Heart,

Typified in the Running Issue (Chapter 15)  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                   278

The Day of Atonement (Chapter 16) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                     290

The Use of Animal Food Regulated (Chapter 17) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                    311

Private and Domestic Obligations - Purity in Every

Relation of Life (Chapter 18)  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                   319

Duties in the Every-Day Relations of Life

(Chapter 19) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                   334

Warnings Against the Sins of the Former

Inhabitants (Chapter 20) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                   351

Personal Duties of the Priests (Chapter 21) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                362

Household Laws Regarding Holy Things (Chapter 22) . . . . . . . . . . . .                 374

The Public Festivals, or Solemn Convocations

(Chapter 23) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                  386

Duty of Priests When Out of Public View in the

Holy Place (Chapter 24)  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                 415

The Sabbatic Year, and the Year of Jubilee

Millennial Times (Chapter 25)  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .               431

Israel's Temporal Blessings, in Contract to the Curse

(Chapter 26) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                458

Entire Devotion to God, Induced by the Foregoing

Views of His Character (Chapter 27) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .             479
















THERE is no book, in the whole compass of that inspired

Volume which the Holy Ghost has given us, that con-

tains more of the very words of God than Leviticus. It

is God that is the direct speaker in almost every page;

his gracious words are recorded in the form wherein they

were uttered. This consideration cannot fail to send us

to the study of it with singular interest and attention.

It has been called "Leviticus," because its typical

institutions, in all their variety, were committed to the

care of the tribe of Levi, or to the priests, who were of

that tribe. The Greek translators of the Pentateuch

devised that name. The Talmud, for similar reasons,

calls it MynihEKioha traOt, “the law of the priests.” But

Jewish writers in general are content with a simpler

title; they take the first words of the book as the name,

calling it xrAq;yiva,"Vayikra,” q. d. the book that begins

with the words, “And the Lord called.”

2                      THE NATURE OF THE BOOK


It carries within itself the seal of its Divine origin.

As an internal proof of its author being Divine, some

have been content to allege the prophecy contained in

chap. xxvi., the fulfilment of which is spread before the

eyes of all the earth. But if, in addition to this, we find

every chapter throughout presenting views of doctrine

and practice that exactly dovetail into the unfigurative

statements of the New Testament, surely we shall then

acknowledge that it bears the impress of the Divine mind

from beginning to end.

The Gospel of the grace of God, with all that follows in

its train, may be found in Leviticus. This is the glorious

attraction of the book to every reader who feels himself

a sinner. The New Testament has about forty references

to its various ordinances.

The rites here detailed were typical; and every type

was designed and intended by God to bear resemblance

to some spiritual truth. The likeness between type and

antitype is never accidental. The very excellency of these

rites consists in their being chosen by God for the end of

shadowing forth "good things to come" (Heb. x. 1). As

it is not a mere accidental resemblance to the Lord's

body and blood that obtains in the bread and wine used

in the Lord's supper, but on the contrary, a likeness that

made the symbols suitable to be selected for that end; so

is it in the case of every Levitical type. Much of our

satisfaction and edification in tracing the correspondence

between type and antitype will depend on the firmness

with which we hold this principle.

If it be asked why a typical mode of shewing forth

truth was adopted to such an extent in those early days,

it may be difficult to give a precise answer. It is plain,

such a method of instruction may answer many purposes.

                        THE NATURE OF THE BOOK                               3


It may not only meet the end of simplifying the truth,

it may also open the mind to comprehend more, while

it deepens present impressions of things known. The

existence of a type does not always argue that the thing

typified is obscurely seen, or imperfectly known. On the

contrary, there was a type in the garden of Eden--the

tree of life,--while life, in all its meaning, was fully com-

prehended by Adam. In all probability, there will be

typical objects in the millennial age; for there is to be a

river which shall flow from Jerusalem to water the valley

of Shittim (Joel iii. 18), the same of which Ezekiel

(xlvii. 1) and Zechariah (xiv. 8) speak. This river is

said to be for the healing of the Dead Sea, while on its

banks grow majestic trees, whose leaves are for the heal-

ing of the nations. No doubt a spiritual significance lies

hid in these visible signs; the visible symbol seems to be

a broad seal and sign of the peculiar truth manifested in

these days, viz. the overflowing stream of the Holy Spirit

(who shall be poured out at Jerusalem on the house of

David first), winding its course over earth to convey

saving health to all nations. Certain it is that types do

not necessarily imply that the antitype is dimly known.

The Lord may use them as he uses Gospel ordinances at

present, to convey light to us, and leave more indelible

impressions. A German writer (Hahn) has said, "Types

were institutions intended to deepen, expand, and ennoble

the circle of thoughts and desires, and thus heighten the

moral and spiritual wants, as well as the intelligence and

susceptibility of the chosen people."*  And not less truly

is this point touched upon by the Reformer Tyndale, in


* Southey says of Laud: "He began his dying address in that state of calm

but deepest feeling, when the mind seeks for fancies, types, and dim similitudes,

and extracts from them consolation and strength."--(Book of the Church.)

4                      THE NATURE OF THE BOOK


his Prologue into the Third Book of Moses:--"Though

sacrifices and ceremonies can be no ground or foundation.

to build upon that is, though we can prove nought with

them--yet, when we have once found out Christ and his

mysteries, then we may borrow figures, that is to say,

allegories, similitudes, and examples, to open Christ, and

the secrets of God hid in Christ, even unto the quick,

and can declare them more lively and sensibly with them

than with all the words of the world. For similitudes

have more virtue and power with them than bare words,

and lead a man's understanding further into the pith and

marrow and spiritual understanding of the thing, than all

the words that can be imagined." Again he says, "Alle-

gories prove nothing; but the very use of allegories is to

declare and open a text, that it may be better perceived

and understood . . .  There is not a better, more vehement,

or mightier thing to make a man understand withal, than

an allegory. For allegories make a man quick-witted, and

print wisdom in him, and make it to abide, when bare

words go but in at the one ear and out at the other."

The Epistle to the Hebrews lays down the principles

upon which we are to interpret Leviticus. The specimens

there given of types applied furnish a model for our

guidance in other cases; and the writer's manner of

address in that Epistle leads us to suppose that it was no

new thing for an Israelite thus to understand the ritual

of Moses. No doubt old Simeon (Luke ii. 25) frequented

the temple daily in order to read in its rites the future

development of a suffering Saviour, as well as to pray

and worship. Anna the prophetess did the same; for

all these knew that they prophesied of the grace that was

to come to us, and therefore inquired and searched dili-

gently (1 Pet. i. 10). Had Aaron, or some other holy

THE NATURE OF THE BOOK                               5


priest of his line, been "carried away in the spirit," and

shewn the accomplishment of all that these rites pre-

figured, how joyful ever after would have been his daily

service in the sanctuary! When shewn the great Antitype,

and that each one of these shadows pictured something

in the person or work of that Redeemer, then, ever after,

to handle the vessels of the sanctuary would be rich food

to his soul. It would be "feeding beside the still waters,

and in green pastures." For the bondage of these elements

did not consist in sprinkling the blood, washing in the

laver, waving the wave-shoulder, or the like; but in doing

all this without perceiving the truth thereby exhibited.

Probably to a true Israelite, taught of God, there would

be no more of bondage in handling these material ele-

ments, than there is at this day to a true believer in

handling the symbolic bread and wine through which he

"discerns the body and blood of the Lord." It would be

an Israelite's hope every morning, as he left the "dwell-

ings of Jacob," to see "in the gates of Zion," more of the

Lamb of God, while gazing on the morning sacrifice. "I

will compass thine altar, 0 Lord, that I may publish with

the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous

works" (Ps. xxvi. 6, 7). And, as the sun declined, he

would seek to have his soul again anointed, after a busy

day's vexations, by beholding the evening lamb.

Tyndale says, that while there is "a star-light of Christ"

in all the ceremonies, there is in some so truly "the light

of the broad day," that he cannot but believe that God

had shewed Moses the secrets of Christ and the very

manner of his death beforehand. At all events, it was

what they did see of Christ through this medium that so

endeared to them the tabernacle and temple-courts. It

was the very home of their souls. "How amiable are

6                      THE NATURE OF THE BOOK


thy tabernacles, 0 Lord of hosts! My soul longeth, yea,

even fainteth for the courts of the Lord!" (Ps. lxxxiv. 1,

2.) And it is thus we can understand how those thou-

sands (or rather, tens of thousands) who believed were

all "zealous of the law" (Acts xxi. 20). The Christian

elders of Jerusalem, including James and other apostles,

lent their sanction to their zeal in some degree; and

Paul himself saw nothing necessarily sinful in it. For it

was all well, if they used the law only as "their school-

master to bring them to Christ" (Gal. iii. 24). It must

have been thus that Paul himself employed his thoughts

while "purifying himself" in the temple, and engaging in

the other ordinances regarding vows (Acts xxi. 26). His

thoughts would be on the Antitype; and possibly the

actual performing of these rites by a fully enlightened

soul might lead to some distinct views of truth contained

in them, which would have escaped the observation of a

mere spectator. And, if we may throw out a conjecture

on a subject where Millennarians and Anti-millennarians

are alike at sea--is it not possible that some such end as

this may be answered by the temple which Ezekiel foretells

as yet to be built? (chap. xl., &c.) Believing nations may

frequent that temple in order to get understanding in

these types and shadows. They may go up to the moun-

tain of the Lord's house, to be there taught his ways

(Isa. ii. 3). In that temple they may learn how not one

tittle of the law has failed. As they look on the sons of

Zadok ministering in that peculiar sanctuary, they may

learn portions of truth with new impressiveness and

fulness. Indeed, the very fact that the order of arrange-

ment in Ezekiel entirely differs from the order observed

in either tabernacle or temple, and that the edifice itself

is reared on a plan varying from every former sanctuary,

THE NATURE OF THE BOOK                   7


is sufficient to suggest the idea that it is meant to cast

light on former types and shadows. Many Levitical rites

appear to us unmeaning; but they would not do so if

presented in a new relation. As it is said of the rigid

features of a marble statue, that they may be made to

move and vary their expression so as even to smile, when

a skilful hand knows how to move a bright light before

it; so may it be with these apparently lifeless figures, in

the light of that bright millennial day. At all events, it

is probably then that this much-neglected book of Levi-

ticus shall be fully appreciated. Israel--the good olive-

tree--shall again yield its fatness to the nations round

(Rom. xi. 17). Their ancient ritual may then be more

fully understood, and blessed truth found beaming forth

from long obscurity. When Jesus, the High Priest,

comes forth from the Holiest, there may be here fountains

of living water to which he shall lead us--Himself seen

to be the glorious Antitype, the Alpha and the Omega!

But let us proceed to the contents of this book. It

will be found that it contains a full system of truth,

exhibiting sin and the sinner, grace and the Saviour,         

comprehending, also, details of duty, and openings into

the ages to come--whatever, in short, bears upon a

sinner's walk with a reconciled God, and his conversation

in this present evil world. Our heavenly Father has

condescended to teach his children by most expressive

pictures; and, even in this, much of his love appears.

The one great principle of interpretation which we

keep before us, is apostolic practice. This is the key

we have used. We find the sacred writers adduce the

likeness that exists between the thing that was typified

and the type itself, and resting satisfied there. So we

lay down this as our great rule,--there must be obvious

8                      THE NATURE OF THE BOOK


resemblance. And next, we search into these types, in

the belief that Christ is the centre-truth of Revelation;

and surely no principle is more obviously true? The

body or substance of the law is Christ (Col. ii. 17), and

types are a series of shadows projected from Christ "the

body." It is this Messiah that has been, from the begin-

ning, the chief object to be unveiled to the view of men;

and in the fact that New Testament light has risen, lies

our advantage in searching what these things signify.

Mr M'Cheyne, of Dundee, thus expressed himself, on one

occasion, regarding this point, in a letter to a friend:--

"Suppose," said he, "that one to whom you were a

stranger was wrapt in a thick veil, so that you could not

discern his features; still, if the lineaments were pointed

out to you through the folds, you could form some idea

of the beauty and form of the veiled one. But suppose

that one whom you know and love--whose features you

have often studied face to face--were to be veiled up in

this way, how easily you would discern the features and

form of this beloved one! Just so, the Jews looked upon

a veiled Saviour, whom they had never seen unveiled.

We, under the New Testament, look upon an unveiled

Saviour; and, going back on the Old, we can see, far

better than the Jews could, the features and form of

Jesus the Beloved, under that veil. In Isaac offered

(Gen. xxii.), in the scape-goat (Lev. xvi.), in the shadow

of the great rock (Isa. xxxii. 2), in the apple-tree (Song

ii. 2), what exquisite pictures there are seen of Jesus!

and how much more plainly we can see the meaning than

believers of old!" To the same purpose John Bunyan

writes. He represents Mansoul, in his Holy War, as

feasting at the Prince's table, and then getting riddles set

before them.  “These riddles were made upon the King

                        THE NATURE OF THE BOOK                   9


Shaddai, and Immanuel his son, and upon his wars and

doings with Mansoul . . .  And when they read in the

scheme where the riddles were writ, and looked in the

face of the Prince, things looked so like, the one to the

other, that Mansoul could not forbear but say, ‘This is

the Lamb! This is the Sacrifice! This is the Rock!

This is the Red Cow! This is the Door! and This is

the Way!”

The space of a month was occupied in delivering the

various ordinances of this book to Moses. This is proved

from Exod. xl. 17, compared with Numb. i. 1. It is the

revelations of that one memorable month that are now to

form the subject of our study. Witsius (De Mysterio

Tab.) has remarked, that God took only six days to

creation, but spent forty days with Moses in directing

him to make the tabernacle--because the work of grace

is more glorious than the work of creation. And so we

find the law from Sinai occupying three days at most,

while these rules that exhibited the love and grace of

God are spread over many weeks.





                      The Burnt Offering


"Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world"--

John i. 29


THE TABERNACLE was that tent whose two apartments,

separated by the veil, formed the Holy Place, and the

Most Holy. This " tabernacle" was God's dwelling-place

on earth; where he met with men,--the token of his

returning to man after the fall. It was here that "the

voice of the Lord God" was often heard, as in Eden, in    

the cool of the day.


Ver. 1. And the Lord called unto Moses, and spake unto him out

             of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying,--


The cloud that guided Israel* had descended on the

tabernacle; and while this pillar stood over it, the glory

of the Lord filled the Holy of holies within (Exod. xl. 34).

Rays of this glory were streaming out all around, per-

haps like the light that shone from Christ's form "on the

holy mount," through his raiment, till the whole hill

shone. Out of the midst of this "excellent glory" (2

Pet. i. 17) came the voice of the Lord. He called on

Moses as at the bush; and having fixed the undivided


* In Exod. xl. 34-38, we have the general history of this cloud; not the nar-

rative of its motions on a particular occasion.

THE BURNT-OFFERING               CHAP. I          11


attention of Moses on him that spake, Jehovah utters his

mind. What love is here! The heart of our God, in

the midst of all his own joy, yearning to pour itself out

to man!

The date of these laws is probably a few days after

the tabernacle had been set up. They are given not from

Sinai, though at its foot (see chap. xxvii. 34); but from

over the mercy-seat, from between the cherubim, where

the glory had so lately found a resting-place. Perhaps

this intimated that all these institutions about to be

given bear on the same great subject, viz. Atonement

and its effects. Sinai and its law a few weeks before,

with the dark apostasy in the matter of the golden calf,

had lately taught them the necessity of reconciliation,

and made their conscience thirst for that living water.

And it is given here. The first clause of this book

declares a reconciled God--"The Lord called to Moses,"

as a man to his friend.


Ver. 2. Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If

    any man of you bring an offering unto the Lord, ye shall bring

    your offering* of the cattle, even of the herd and of the flock.


When the Lord said, "Speak to the children of Israel,"

instead of himself addressing them, it taught the people

their need of a Mediator. It was as if he had said,

These things are addressed to sinners who cannot see my

face or hear my voice, except through a daysman.

The offerings first spoken of are those that are to be

wholly consumed--types of complete exhaustion of wrath.

In these cases, everything about the animal was consumed,

sinews, horns, bones, hoof, the wool on the sheep's head,

and the hair on the goat's beard--(Willet). Hence they


* The Septuagint render this "prosoisete ta dwra u[mw?n."

Hence, perhaps, Heb. viii. 3, "gifts and sacrifices."

12                    THE BURNT-OFFERING                CHAP. I


were called whole burnt-offerings (o[lokautwmata). God

prescribes the symbols of atonement, even as he fixed on

the ransom itself. It is a sovereign God that sinners are

dealing with; and in so doing, he fixed on the herd and

the flock, as the only class of cattle (hmAheB;), or four-

footed beasts, that he would accept. If we are to inquire

into a reason for this beyond his mere sovereignty, there

are two that readily present themselves as every way

probable. First, oxen, sheep, and goats (the herd and

flock) are easily got by men, being at their hand. He

did not wish to make them go in pursuit of beasts for

offering, for salvation is brought to our hand by our God.

Second, the characteristics of these animals fit them to

be convenient types of various truths relating to sacrifice.

The ox taken from feeding by the river-side, or the sheep

from its quiet pastures,--perhaps from among the lilies

of Sharon,--was an emblem of the Redeemer leaving the

joy and blessedness of his Father's presence, where he

had been ever "by the streams that make glad the city

of God." Another reason has been assigned, viz. all

these were horned animals. Whether in the East such

were reckoned more valuable than other animals we

cannot say. It is, at least, worthy of notice, that the

horn, which is the symbol of power and honour, is found

in them all.


Ver. 3. If his offering be a burnt-sacrifice of the herd, let him

            offer a male, without blemish: he shall offer it of his own

voluntary will, at the door of the tabernacle of the congrega-

tion, before the Lord.


“A male," representing the second Adam, "without

blemish." Christ, by his one offering, makes his Church

spotless (Eph. v. 27), and, therefore, he was to be so


* See Guild's Moses Unveiled.

            THE BURNT-OFFERING                CHAP. I                      13


himself. Of course, therefore, the type of him must be

so. In the peace-offerings it was different: for these

typified rather the effects of Christ's atonement on the

receiver than himself atoning; and the animal, in that

case, might have some defect or blemish, even as the

effects of his work may be imperfectly experienced by

the sinner, though the work itself is perfect. But what-

ever speaks of Christ himself must speak of perfection.

"Before the Lord" is an expression ever recurring: it is

remarkable that it should occur so often. But perhaps

it was because the Lord meant thus to insert a Divine

safeguard against the Socinian idea, that sacrifice chiefly

had reference to the offerer, not to God. Every sacrifice

is brought before "the great Inhabitant of the sanctu-

ary." So also this expression guards us against Popish     

error, as if ministers of Christ are priests in the same

sense as the line of Aaron. No; ministers of Christ

approach men in behalf of God, who sends them as am-

bassadors, but these priests approached God in behalf

of guilty men. "He shall offer it of his own voluntary

will."* The Gospel warrant is, "Whosoever will, let him

come." There must be a willing soul; none but a soul

made willing in the day of his power pays any regard

to atonement. The Lord allows all that are willing, to

come to the atoning provision. "Are you thirsty for

the living God? for yonder altar's sacrifice?" might some

son of Aaron say to a fearful soul. The fearful con-

science replies, "I cannot well tell if I be really thirsty

for him." "But are you, then, willing to go to yonder

altar?" "Yes, I am." "Then you may come; for


* Some translate this, “He shall offer it in order to be accepted.” I do

not think this meaning can be proved to be the true one, although the Septuagint

generally renders the expression, " dekton e@nanti Ku<riou;" and the Oxford MS,

here has, "dekton au]t& e]cilasqai e]nanti Kuriou."

14        THE BURNT-OFFERING                CHAP. I


read Leviticus i. 3, and see that it is neither riches nor

poverty, moral attainment nor deep experience, but sim-

ply a conscience willing to be bathed in atonement, that

is spoken of by the God of Israel."

Come then with the sacrifice to "the door of the taber-

nacle." The altar was near the door of the tabernacle;

it faced it. It was the first object that met the eye of

a worshipper coming in. The priest met him there, and

led the offerer with his sacrifice on to the altar. The

presenting any sacrifice there was a type of the worship-

per's object being to get admission into the presence of

God by entrance at that door ("access," Eph. ii. 18).

Thus the offerer walked silently and with holy awe to

the door of the tabernacle, and there met his God.

As a type of Christ, it would declare Christ's willing

offering of himself “Lo, I come;" and how he was, in

the fulness of time, led silently as a lamb to the slaugh-

ter. For we are to distinguish between the presentation   

of Christ before he went forth, and the presentation of   

himself after all was done.


Ver. 4. And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt-

offering; and it shall be accepted for him, to make atonement

for him.


This action of the offerer gives us a view of faith.

The offerer puts his hand on the same head whereon the

Lord's hand was laid, and thereby agrees to all that is

implied in his choosing that offering. God and the

believing soul meet at the same point, and are satisfied

by the same display of the Divine attributes.--" He

shall put his hand."* It is yet more forcible in the


* We make no reference, here nor elsewhere, to Jewish traditions as

to the manner in which the thing was done, and the words used. It is strange

that Ainsworth, Patrick, Outran, and others, should waste so much time in this

            THE BURNT-OFFERING                CHAP. I                      15


Hebrew—“He shall lean his hand” (j`msAv;), the very

word used in Psalm lxxxviii. 7, "Thy wrath leaneth

hard upon me." We lean our soul on the same person

on whom Jehovah leant his wrath.

When the worshipper had thus simply left his sins,

conveyed by the laying on of his hand upon the sacrifice,

he stands aside. This is all his part. The treatment of

the victim is the Lord's part. The happy Israelite who

saw this truth might go home, saying, "I have put my

hand on its head; it shall be accepted as an atonement."

Faith in the Lord's testimony was the ground of an

Israelite's peace of conscience,--nothing of it rested on

his own frame of mind, character, or conduct.


Ver. 5. And he shall kill the bullock before the Lord; and

the priests, Aaron's sons, shall bring the blood, and sprinkle

the blood round about upon the altar that is by the door of

the tabernacle of the congregation.


It is interesting to notice here, that Outram, Witsius,

and, others, seem to have proved that, in patriarchal

ages, every man might offer his own sacrifice. Heads of

families, and heads of a tribe or nation, often acted for

those under them; but the idea that the first-born were

the only priests is without foundation. The patriarchal

age was taught that every man must take Christ for

himself personally. In the Mosaic economy, however,

this is altered. There is another truth to be shewn

forth. Any one (2 Chrou. xxx. 17) might kill the ani-

mal--any common Levite, or even the offerer himself

--for there may be many executioners of God's wrath.

Earth and hell were used in executing the Father's pur-


department. Are these traditions anything more than human fancy--often, too,

of a somewhat modern date? Augustine judged well when he said, “Quid scrip-

tura voluerit, non quod illi opinati fuerint, inquirendum."



pose toward the Prince of Life. But there is only one

appointed way for dispensing mercy; and therefore only

priests must engage in the act that signified the bestowal

of pardon.

The animal is "killed" in the presence of the Lord.

And now, what an awfully solemn sight! The priest

“brings forward the blood." As he bears it onward, in

one of the bowls of the altar, all gaze upon the warm

crimson blood! It is the life! So that when the blood

is thus brought forward, the life of the sacrifice is brought

before God! It is as if the living soul of the sinner

were carried, in its utter helplessness and in all its filthi-

ness, and laid down before the Holy One!

The blood was then "sprinkled round about upon the

altar." The life being taken away, the sinner's naked

soul is exhibited! He deserves this stroke of death-

death death in the Lord's presence, as a satisfaction to his holi-

ness! As the blood that covered the door on the night

of the Passover represented the inmates' life as already

taken, so the blood on the altar and its sides signified

that the offerer's life was forfeited and taken. It was

thus that Jesus "poured out his soul unto death" for us.

It was, further, "round about," as well as "upon," the

altar. This held it up on all sides to view; and the

voice from the altar now is, "Look unto me, and be ye

saved, all the ends of the earth."  All within the camp

might look and live; for this sacrifice represents Christ's

dying as the only way for any, and the sufficient way for all.

The altar mentioned here was the "altar of brass;"

not the "golden altar," which stood in the Holy Place.*


Ver. 6. And he shall flay the burnt-offering, and cut it into his



* See some remarks on the brass of this altar in a note, chap. xiv. 5.

            THE BURNT-OFFERING                CHAP. I                      17


Here, again, any one might act, as well as the priest;

for any of God's creatures may be the executioners of his

wrath. “He shall flay."--The skin torn from off the

slain animal may intimate the complete exposure of the

victim, uncovered, and laid open to the piercing eye of

the beholder. But specially, it seems to skew that there

is no covering of inherent righteousness on the person of

the sinner. While the skin was unwounded, the inward

parts were safe from the knife; thus, so long as man had

personal righteousness interposing, no knife could pierce

his soul. But the taking away of the victim's skin

skewed that the sinner had no such protection in God's

view; even as the bringing of such skins to Adam and

Eve, after the fall, skewed that God saw them destitute

of every covering, and had, in his mercy, provided cloth-

ing for them by means of sacrifice.

The "cutting it into pieces" would at last leave the

sacrifice a mangled mass of flesh and bones. Entire dis-

location of every joint, and separation of every limb and

member, was the process. By this the excruciating tor-

ment due to the sinner seems signified. God's sword--

his Abraham's knife--spares not the sacrifice; but uses

its sharpness and strength to pierce and destroy to the

uttermost. The slashing sword of wrath leaves nothing

to the guilty; but, as "one woe is past, behold, another

woe cometh quickly." Yet it is "into his pieces."

There was an order observed--a regularity and deliber-

ate systematic procedure. So will it be in the damna-

tion of hell; every pang will be weighed by perfect holi-

ness, every stroke deliberated upon ere it is inflicted.

And, in truth, this deliberate infliction is the most awful

feature of justice. It leaves the sufferer hopeless. The

stroke is awfully relentless, determined, righteous! Such,

18        THE BURNT-OFFERING                CHAP. I


too, were the Saviour's sufferings. Every part and pore

of his frame was thus mangled; every member of his

body, every feeling of his soul. There was not an action

of his life, or desire in his heart, but was combined with

woe; and all so just, that from the cross he lifts his

eyes to his Father, and looking on him--as he had ever

done, cries, "But thou art holy!" (Ps. xxii. 3.)


Ver. 7. And the sons* of Aaron the priest shall put fire upon

the altar, and lay the wood in order upon the fire.


This verse is well illustrated by Heb. ix. 14, "Who,

through the eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot

to God." Christ was prepared, in his human nature, by

the Holy Spirit. The Father prepared the fire of wrath,

filled the vial with that wrath, and, then poured it out.

The Holy Spirit, as Heb. ix. 14 declares, set all things in

order, in Christ's human nature, ready for the vial being

poured out. At the moment when the fire came down

and consumed him, love to God and man was at its

highest pitch in his soul--obedience, holy regard for the

Divine law, hatred of sin, love to man.

The wood, taken by itself, is not a type of anything;

but it must be taken thus:--the laying the wood in

order preparatory to the fire coming. In this view it

represents what we have just said.

The fire was from that fire which descended from the

cloudy pillar. It was, therefore, divinely intended to

shew "the wrath of God revealed from heaven" against

all ungodliness of men. Indeed, the fire from the bosom

of that cloud was no less than a type of wrath from the


* We sometimes see mistakes committed in representations of tabernacle

scenes. Levites are made to act as priests, and Levites are exhibited blowing

the silver trumpets. But all this was the duty of Aaron's sons alone. True;

they were Levites, but they were the priestly family among the Levites. Priests

are Levites, but all Levites are not priests.

THE BURNT-OFFERING                CHAP, I          19


bosom of God against him who lay in his bosom (see

chap. vi. 9, and ix. 24).


Ver. 8. And the priests, Aaron's sons, shall lay the parts, the

head, and the fat, in order upon the wood that is on the fire

which is upon the altar.


The fat did, of course, help the flame to consume the

head, notwithstanding the gushing stream of blood. But

what is the type? The head was that whereon the

offerer leant his hand, conveying to it his load of guilt.

The fat (rd,PA) is a word that occurs only, thrice, viz.

here, and ver. 12, and chap. viii. 20. Some understand

it to be the midriff; others, the fat separated from the

rest of the flesh; but there is no way of arriving at the

certain import. The type, however, is obvious. The

head and this fat are two pieces--one outward, the other

inward; thus representing the whole inner and outer

man. Christ's whole manhood, body and soul, was

placed on the altar, in the fire, and endured the wrath of

God. There could be no type of his soul otherwise than

by selecting some inward part to signify it; and that is

done here by the "fat." It is on the fat, too, that the

fire specially kindles. It is at the man's heart, feelings,

and desires that God expresses his indignation most fully.

It is the heart that is desperately wicked. It is the

carnal mind that is enmity against God.


Ver. 9. But his inwards and his legs shall he wash in water:

and the priest shall burn all on the altar, to be a burnt-

sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the



Answerable to the "head and fat" of the former


* The North American Indians long practised sacrifice; and D. Brainerd, in

his Journal, tells us of a great sacrifice where “they burnt the fat of the inwards

in the fire, and sometimes raised the flame to a prodigious height.”

20                    THE BURNT-OFFERING                CHAP. I


verse, as parts representing the inward and outward, we

have here the legs and the intestines. The legs and in-

testines may be supposed to be selected to mark outward

and inward defilement--man's polluted nature needing

to be washed in water. But why wash these in water, if

they are to be burnt? Because here is a sacrifice for

others--"the just for the unjust"--Christ taking our

place. Now, lest anything should seem to indicate per-

sonal defilement in him, these portions are washed in

water, and then presented. Christ's body and soul, all

his person, and all his acts, were holy. His walk was

holy, and his inmost affections holy.

Such was the sacrifice on which the fire came! See

Isaac on the wood! but the knife has pierced this Isaac!

--in symbol, the original and immutable sentence, "Thou

shalt die." Here is death; and it has come in such a

manner as not to leave a vestige of the victim's former

aspect. The victim is all disfigured, and has become a

mass of disjointed bones and mangled flesh, because thus

shall it be in the case of the lost in hell. The lost sinner's

former joy, and even all his relics of comfort, are gone

for ever--no lover or friend would ever be able to re-

cognise that lost one. Even as it was with Jesus when

he took the position of the lost; his visage seemed to

every eye more marred than any man, and his form more

than the sons of men. But lo! as if even all this were

not expressive enough, that mangled mass is committed

to the flames, and in the consuming flame, every remain-

ing mark of its former state disappears. All is ashes.

So complete is the doom of the lost--as testified on this

altar, and fulfilled by Jesus when he took the sinner's

place. That smoke attests that God's righteousness is

fully satisfied in the suffering victim. His blood--his


            THE BURNT-OFFERING                CHAP. I          21


soul--is poured out! and the flame of Divine wrath burns

up the suffering one! The smoke ascends--"a sweet

savour to the Lord." He points to it, and shews therein

his holy name honoured, and his law magnified. It is

sweet to Jehovah to behold this sight in a fallen world.

It reminds him, so to speak, of that Sabbath-rest over

the first creation (Gen. ii. 2); only this is deeper rest, as 

being rest after trouble. This "sweet savour" is literally

"savour of rest" (HaOHyni Hayri); as if the savour stayed his

wrath and calmed his soul. So Eph. v. 2. And at the

view of that ascending smoke, more joyful hallelujahs are

sung than will be heard over the smoke of the pit (Rev.

xix. 3). For here love has free scope as well as righteous-

ness. What a rest will the millennial and heavenly rest

be, when, in addition to other elements, it has in it this

element of perfect satisfaction--" He shall, rest in his

love!" (Zeph. iii. 17.)

Such, then, is the "ox and bullock that has horns and

hoofs" (Ps. lxix. 31) ; and such, too, the meaning of the

offering. The Antitype set forth in Psalm lxix. has mag-

nified the name of the Lord, and set aside the type.


Ver. 10. And if his offering be of the flocks, namely, of the sheep,

or of the goats, for a burnt-sacrifice; he shall bring it a male

without blemish.


It appears that wealthier men generally selected oxen

as their offering;* and men less able took sheep or goats;

while ver. 14 shews that those yet poorer brought doves.

God thus left the sacrifice open alike to the rich, the

middle classes, and the labouring poor. For in Jesus

Christ there is neither Greek nor Jew, barbarian nor

Scythian, bond nor free; he is within reach of all alike.


* That is, oxen were always part of their sacrifice. Thus Numb.

vii. and I Chron. xxix. 21.



Our High Priest welcomes sinners under the wide name,

“Him that cometh " (John vi. 3 7); the advancing foot-

steps of a sinner to his altar, whether he be great or small,

is a sweet sound in our Aaron's ear.

Here is specially included the offering of the lamb.

Morning and evening this was done by the priest for all

Israel. "He was led as a lamb to the slaughter"* (Isa.

liii. 7). Every day that picture was exhibited to Israel.


Ver. 11. And he shall kill it on the side of the altar northward

before the Lord: and the priests, Aaron's sons, shall sprinkle

his blood round about upon the altar.


There is a peculiarity here which does not occur in the

sacrifices of the herd, namely, it is to be killed on the

north side of the altar. One obvious reason seems to be

this: there was a necessity, for the sake of order, that

there should be a separate place for killing the oxen and

the sheep. No quarter of the heavens was sacred; and

since, at other times, the sacrifice was presented on the

east side, a variety like this answered the purpose of

proclaiming that Jesus is offered to any soul in any na-

tion, east or north, i.e. from east to west, north to south,

his death is presented to the view of all, to be believed

by men as soon as they see it. "Look unto me, and be

ye saved, all the ends of the earth."†


Ver. 12, 13. And he shall cut it into his pieces, with his head and

his fat; and the priest shall lay them in order on the wood


* An old writer asks, why Christ is called so often "the Lamb of God,"

and not "the ox, or the ram, of God." The reply is, because these were not        

offered “every day," whereas the lamb was a daily offering, and therefore fitted

to proclaim Christ's blood as always ready for use.

† Some have tried without success to discover a deeper meaning in the

“north," And have suggested that the omission of it in Ps. lxxv. 6 strengthens this

idea. But in that passage "south" also is omitted, the Hebrew being rbad;mi.mi,,

"from the desert," referring to the caravans, which, amid all their rare

commodities, never brought the gift spoken of.

            THE BURNT-OFFERING                CHAP. I          23


that is on the fire which is upon the altar. But he shall wash

the inwards and the legs with water; and the priest shall bring         

it all, and burn it upon the altar: it is a burnt-sacrifice, an

offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord.


The sheep or goat is not commanded to be "flayed,"

as ver. 6 commands as to the ox or bullock; perhaps

because flaying signified the defencelessness of the victim

left without a covering. Now, the sheep or goat is, by its

very nature, defenceless enough. Our attention, therefore,

in this type, is rather fixed on the complete stroke of the

knife, that separates all into its pieces ready for the fire.

When the Lord said, "Awake, 0 sword, against my

Shepherd" (Zech. xiii. 7), the Saviour was smitten to

the very soul, and wrath came down on him like fire.

In ver. 13, the words, "and shall bring it all near,"

intimate the solemn care with which the priest advanced

to the spot and lighted the wood, attending to every

point, although his offering was one of the flock, and not

of the herd. This clause seems intended to put equal

honour on the offering of the flock as on that of the

herd, for the Antitype is all that gives either of them

any importance.

The other particulars are the same as those mentioned

in verses 7- 9.

How simple the rules laid down for ordering his

favourite type--the lamb! But let us not fail to notice

that the use made of the lamb is what we are chiefly

called to observe--not the lamb itself in particular; as if

to shew that it is not Christ's meek nature, but Christ,

the meek and lowly one, in his connexion with the altar,

that we ought to be reminded of by the name "Lamb."

If it had been his character only, or chiefly, that was

referred to in that name--"Lamb of God," there would

24                    THE BURNT-OFFERING                CHAP. I


have been no propriety in typifying him by the "ox"

and the "goat." But if the manner of his death and

the intention of his sufferings were mainly referred to,

then all is appropriate.




Ver. 14. And if the burnt-sacrifice for his offering to the Lord

be of fowls, then shall he bring his offering of turtle-doves, or

of young pigeons.


In John ii. 14, we find this third class of offerings

referred to, along with the other two,--oxen, sheep, and


From chap. v. 7, we learn that the poorer class were

to bring this sort of sacrifice. "To the poor the Gospel

is preached;" and ministers must be as solicitous for the

salvation of the poor as of the rich.

The dove or pigeon was to be a male; for the Hebrew

word for "young pigeons" is hnAOy yneB;, "sons of the

dove." Thus it was fitter to represent Christ. And of

the winged tribes, none were ever taken for sacrifice,

except the dove and the turtle-dove. These abounded,

in the Holy Land, so that the poorest could get them

easily.* They were fitted, also, to be emblems of Jesus,

just as was the lamb. He is undefiled and holy, full of

love and tenderness; therefore the dove is his type. And

as the dove at the Deluge brought the message of peace,

and as the turtle-dove is the known emblem of peace,

because its voice is heard from the olive-tree (itself the


* In the course of my ordinary visits in the country; I one day sat down to

converse with a poor illiterate believer, at whose board a beautiful tame pigeon

used to feed. I opened the Bible at this passage, and chewed this type of a suf-

fering Saviour. It seemed to be specially blessed--she long remembered this

type of Jesus: and in this simple incident, there seemed to me discernible some-

thing of the wisdom and goodness that so provided for the poor of Israel.

            THE BURNT-OFFERING                CHAP. I          25


type of peace), in quiet, calm security, so, on this ground

more specially, they are the better types of Jesus. The

previous suffering of the offered dove, or turtle, repre-

sents Christ suffering ere he enters into peace, and

becomes the peace-maker. Taken from his Father's

bosom, he comes to suffer. The dove, "by the rivers of   

water" (Song v. 12), in peace and joy, is caught, and

wrung to death on the altar. The olive-groves must be

searched, and the turtle-dove taken from its own happy,

peaceful olive-tree. It is then violently brought to the

altar, and left lifeless there! Thus it was with Jesus.

But from this suffering and death of the Peaceful One

results "peace on earth." "He is our peace" (Eph. ii.

14). He breathes out on us nothing less than his own

peace--"My peace I give unto you" (John xiv. 27).

And soon, too, as the grand and wide result of all, "the

voice of the turtle (the herald of spring and of storms

past) shall be heard in our land" (Song ii. 12); and the      

deluge of fire being passed, this dove shall bring its

olive-branch to announce to the new earth that wrath is

for ever turned away. Christ, who died to make peace,

shall reign in peace, over a peaceful earth, which his

own blood has made the dwelling of righteousness.

He of whom these things are spoken, when on earth,

shewed, from such Scriptures as these, that he needed

to suffer unto death. "Thus it is written, and thus it

behoved Christ to suffer" (Luke xxiv. 46), said Jesus,

while shewing the things written in the law of Moses

concerning himself.


Ver. 15. And the priest shall bring it unto the altar, and wring

of his head, and burn it on the altar; and the blood thereof

shall be wrung out at the side of the altar.


The method of putting the dove to death must be

26                    THE BURNT-OFFERING                CHAP. I


regulated by the nature of the victim; hence, here it is

by "wringing off his head." But this arrangement is

the better fitted to exhibit another. Feature in the death  

of Jesus, viz. the awful violence done to one so pure, so

tender, and so lovely. We shrink back from the terrible

harshness of the act, whether it be plunging the knife

into the neck of the innocent lamb, or wringing off the

head of the tender dove. But, on this very account, the

circumstances are the better figure of the death of Jesus.

“He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his

mouth; yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him."

After this, "the blood was to be wrung out"

squeezed or pressed out) over the side of the altar, till it

ran in a crimson stream down the altar's side, in view of

all. Then it collects at the foot of the altar; and there

is a cry, like that from the souls under the altar in Rev.

vi. 9, against the cause of this blood-shedding, viz. sin.

A testimony against sin ascends up into the ears of the

Lord of Sabaoth. But his blood speaketh better things

than the blood of Abel, or the cry of the martyred ones;

for the response to this cry of blood is not vengeance,

but pardon to man.

It was the priest who performed this apparently harsh

and cruel act, for the Father bruised Jesus, and the

priest acts in his name.


Ver. 16. And he shall pluck away his crop with his feathers,

and cast it beside the altar, on the east part, by the place of

the ashes.


The crop, containing the food, seems to be considered

unclean, because an emblem of man's appetites. Now, as

there was nothing of man's sinful appetites in the Holy

One, there must be nothing even in the type, that might

lead us to suppose that he was otherwise than perfectly

            THE BURNT-OFFERING                CHAP. I          27


holy. Hence "the crop" is removed. "The feathers,"

also, are removed, because they are a covering to the

dove; and it must be left quite unsheltered when the

drops of the storm fall thick and heavy upon it. These

are to be cast to "the place of ashes," out of sight of

God; and thus the dove is offered, in a state of purity

and of unprotectedness, on the altar.


Ver. 17. And he shall cleave it with the wings thereof, but shall

not divide it asunder: and the priest shall burn it upon the

altar, upon the wood that is upon the fire: it is a burnt-

sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the



“The cleaving” (fS.awi) implies such a separation as is

not complete. It is only dislocation, but not disruption

of the parts, as is also explained in the clause, "but shall

not divide it asunder." In this we see another typical

circumstance. It is like that in the case of the paschal

lamb--"A bone of him shall not be broken." At the

same time, this type gives us, in addition, a reference to

the Saviour's racked frame on the cross, when he said,

"All my bones are out of joint" (Ps. xxii. 14). All this

seems intended to declare that Jesus in his death, was

whole, though broken,--"sin for us," but "no sin in him."

"With the wings thereof," to shew nothing left what-

soever that could be means of escape--total weakness.

Jesus said, as he suffered, "I am poured out like water"

(Ps. xxii. 14).

And this sacrifice is "of a sweet savour to the Lord."

It satisfies the Father well--so much so, that we find his

redeemed ones called by the name that refers us back to

the sacrifice. For example--the Church is called "the

dove" (Song ii. 14). So--"Deliver not the soul of thy

turtle-dove into the hands of the enemy" (Ps. lxxiv. 19).

28                    THE BURNT-OFFERING                CHAP. I


Just as both Christ and his Church are called "the lily,"

in Song ii. 1, 2 ; and both his voice and theirs is " like

the voice of many waters" in the book of Revelation

(comp. Rev. i. 15; xiv. 2 ; xix. 6). If the Church says,

Behold, thou art fair, my beloved (ydiOd), yea, pleasant

(Song i. 16), it is in response to Christ, who had said,

Behold, thou art fair, my love (ytiyAf;ra); behold, thou art

fair." So truly one is Christ and Ms people, they are in

a manner identified! "Lord, thou art my righteousness,

and I am thy sin; thou hast taken from me what was

mine, and given me what was thine." “ ]W th?j glukei<aj

a]ntallagh?j!  w@ th?j a]necixniastou dhmiourgiaj! w@ tw?n a]pros-

dokh<twn eu]ergesiw?n!”—(Epist. ad Diognet. 9.) "Oh, sweet

exchange ! Oh, unsearchable device! Oh, benefits be-      

yond all expectation!"


And now, looking back on this chapter, let us briefly

notice that the rudimental sketch of these offerings, and

the mode of their presentation, will be found at the gate

of Eden. Some have sought for their origin* in Egyptian

ceremonies, at one time imitated, at another purposely

opposed. But this is altogether erroneous.

Davison refuses to admit that sacrifice in the patriarchal

time was identical in meaning with sacrifice in the Mosaic

dispensation--admitting that, if that identity could be

made out, the Divine origin of sacrifice would be proved.†

Now, is there one text in all the Bible to shew that

sacrifice (which Davison gladly admits had in it the

atoning principle in the institutions of Moses) ever has

more than one meaning? As well might we ask evidence

to prove that "to call on the name of the Lord" in the


* Vide Spencer, &c.

† On The Origin and Intention of Primitive Sacrifice.

            THE BURNT-OFFERING                CHAP. I          29


days of Enos was quite a different act from "calling on

the name of the Lord" in the days of the Psalmist; or

that "righteousness" in Abraham's day (Gen. xv. 6) was

different from "righteousness" in Paul's days (Rom.

iv. 3). Just as we believe the Hiddekel and Euphrates of

Genesis ii. are the same as the Hiddekel and Euphrates of

later history; and the cherubim of Genesis iii. the same

as those in the tabernacle; and the "sweet savour" of

Genesis viii. 21 the same as that in Leviticus i. 9 and

Ephesians v. 2; so do we regard the intention of sacrifice

as always the same throughout Scripture. There would

therefore be need, not of proof to establish this principle,

but of argument to refute it. Ours is the obvious and

common-sense principle. All these ordinances were parts

of the one telescope, through which men saw the Star of

Bethlehem from afar. In Mosaic rites, the telescope was

drawn out farther than at Eden, and the focus at which

the grand object could be, best seen was more nearly

found. But the gate of Eden presents us with the same

truths in a more rudimental form.

Some have traced the outlines of the Mosaic ritual at

the gate of Eden in the following manner:--Within the

gate stood the cherubim, occupying the hallowed spot    

where the Tree of Life waved its branches. This resem-

bled the Holy of holies; and the veil that prevented the

approach of any from without was the flaming sword,

flashing its sheets of fire on every side. But opposite to

this sword, at some distance, we see an altar, where our

first parents shed the blood of sacrifice--shewing in type

how the barred-up way of access to the Tree of Life was

to be opened by the blood of the woman's bruised seed.

On this altar bloody and unbloody offerings were ap-

pointed to be presented in their season. And when we

30                    THE BURNT-OFFERING                CHAP. I


find clean and unclean noticed (Gen. viii. 20), and in

Abraham's case (Gen. xv. 9, 10), the heifer and goat,

the turtle and the pigeon, and also "commandments,

statutes, and laws" (parallel to Lev. xxvi. 46), we cannot

but believe that these fuller institutions in Leviticus are

just the expansion of what Adam first received. The

Levitical dispensation is the acorn of Eden grown to a

full oak. If so, then may we say, that the child Jesus,

wrapped in his swaddling-clothes, was, in these ceremonies,

laid down at the gate of Eden!










I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye

present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God."--

Rom. xii. 1    

"The things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a

sacrifce acceptable, well pleasing to God."--Phil. iv. 18


Ver. 1. And when any will offer a meat-offering unto the Lord,

his offering shall be of fine flour; and he shall pour oil upon

it, and put frankincense thereon.


IN Daniel ix. 27, "He shall cause the sacrifice and

oblation to cease," there seems to be reference made to

the two great divisions, sacrifices with, and sacrifices

without, blood. For the words are more exactly, “He

shall cause sacrifice and meat-offering (hHAn;mi) to cease."

So also in I Sam. iii. 14, and Ps. xl. 6. We have now

come to this second class of offerings.

The meat-offering (so called by our translators because

the greater part of it was used for food) represents the

offerer's person and property, his body and his posses-

sions.*  When he had by the burnt-offering; obtained full


* Ainsworth gives in substance the same meaning of the type, when he says

that it signified "the sanctification of persons and actions, and the acceptation

of them." Patrick is evidently far wrong when he speaks of these meat-offerings

as a merciful provision for those who could not afford to offer animal sacrifices.

32                    THE MEAT-OFFERING                   CHAP. II


acceptance for his soul, he comes next to give up his

whole substance to the Lord who has redeemed him.

The mercies of God constrain him to give up all he has   

to the Lord. The meat-offering was generally, or rather

always, presented along with some animal sacrifice, in

order to shew the connexion between pardon of sin and

devotion to the Lord. The moment we are pardoned, all

we are, and all we have, becomes the property of Christ.

“Ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price"

(1 Cor. vi. 19). Our Redeemer and kinsman buys first

Ruth, the Moabitess herself, and nest, he claims also the

field and inheritance. Joseph, who saves our life, buys

up our bodies and our substance.

A type that was to represent this dedication of body

and property behoved to be one that had no blood

therein; for blood is the life or soul, which has been

already offered.

This distinction may have existed as early as the days      

of Adam. When God instituted animal sacrifice to

represent the atonement by death, he probably also in-    

stituted this other sort; the fact of this latter existing,

and its meaning and use being definitely understood,

would tend to confirm the exclusive use of animal sacrifice

when atonement was to be shewn forth. Cain's offering

of first fruits might have been acceptable as a meat-

offering, if it had been founded upon the slain lamb, and

had followed as a consequence from that sacrifice.*  But

the statement in Heb. xi. 4 lets us know that Cain had

not faith in the seed of the woman; therefore his offering


         * In this view Ambrose (De Incarnat. Dom. Sacram., cap. i.) is not wrong:--

Nihil invenio quod in specie munerum reprehendam, nisi quod et Cain munera

sua displicuisse cognovit, et Dominus dixit, Si recte offeras, recte autem non

dividas, peccasti. Ubi igitur est crimen? Ubi culpa? Non in oblatione muneris,

sed in oblationis affectu."

            THE MEAT-OFFERING                   CHAP. II                     33


was hateful to God. Cain's attempt was virtually this,--

to present himself and his property to God, as if they had

been under no curse that needed blood first of all to wash

them. He sought to be accepted by his holiness, and so

overthrew salvation by Christ. Acts of clarity, substi-

tuted for Christ's work, as a means of pacifying the con-

science, make up precisely this sin of Cain. Nor are

they less mistaken who think, by self-denial, and by doing

good to others in their life and conduct, to obtain favour,

and be accepted with God. This is offering the meat-

offering ere the man has been cleansed by the burnt-

offering. It is putting sanctification before justification.*

And there is a tendency to this error in those books

which recommend anxious souls, that are not yet come to

Christ, to draw up a form of self-dedication, and solemnly

give themselves to the Lord. These counsellors are in

danger of leading souls past the blood of the Lamb,

and of putting the meat-offering too hastily into their


This meat-offering was presented daily, along with the

morning and evening sacrifice, teaching us to give all we

have to the Lord's use, not by irregular impulse on parti-

cular exigencies, but daily.

In Isaiah lxvi. 20, the words, "They shall bring all

your brethren an offering (hHAn;mi) to the Lord," are very

appropriate when we keep in mind that this is the


* An instance of such-like self-righteousness we find among the early

Fathers. Ephraim Syrus seems never to have found the blood-sprinkled way,

but to have travelled onward to eternity over a road strewn with the palm-branches

of good feelings and deeds of self-denial, and watered with tears at every step. His

wretched scheme of peace may be gathered from such congratulations as these

--Makari<zw u[ma?j, w@ gnh<sioi, o!ti o[rq^? politei<a fi<louj e[autou>j e]poi<hsate

t& qe&?(Logoj A.)  He counts those friends of his happy because

he thinks they have made themselves acceptable to God by their manner of life."

The same remark replies to the writings of Thomas-a-Kempis.

34                    THE MEAT-OFFERING                   CHAP. II


typical meaning of the meat-offering--these persons are

the meat-offering. Perhaps, also, in 1 Samuel xxvi. 19,

"If the Lord have stirred thee up against me, let him

accept a meat-ofering" (HHAn;mi), there may be reference

to this species of offering, representing the person and all

he possessed. At the same time, the word when

not contrasted or conjoined with the sacrifice, is often

used as a generic term for any offering.*

But we have still to call attention to the chief applica-

tion of this type. It shews forth Christ himself. And

indeed, this should have been noticed first of all, had it

not been for the sake of first establishing the precise

point of view in which this type sets forth its object.

We are to consider it as representing Christ himself, in

all his work of obedience--soul and body. He is the

"fine wheat," pure, unspotted; yet also "baked," &c.,

because subjected to every various suffering. The burnt-

offering being presented and consumed, Christ's glorious

obedience in his human nature, and all that belonged to

him, was accepted, as well as his sacrifice; for he and

all that is his was ever set apart for, and accepted by

the Father. "Lord, truly I am thy servant" (Ps. cxvi.

16). And if it represent Christ, it includes his Church.

Christ, and his body the Church, are presented to the

Father, and accepted. Christ, and all his possessions in

heaven and earth, whether possessions of dominion or

possessions in the souls of men and angels, were all pre-

sented to, and accepted by the Father. And Christ

delights thus to honour the Father. He will delight to


* And so the Septuagint sometimes render it by qusi<a, and sometimes by

prosfora<. In Ezek. xlv. 15, where it occurs, the meaning would have been

brought out more exactly by rendering the clause thus:--"One lamb out of the

flock, from the pastures of Israel, for an offering (a Mincha, as in Gen. iv. 4),

even for burnt-offerings and for peace-offerings."

            THE MEAT-OFFERING                   CHAP. II                     35


deliver up even the kingdom to the Father (1 Cor. xv.

24). What an example for each of his people! Let us

behold our pattern, and give up ourselves, body and soul

and substance, to the glory of our God.

Let us now examine the chapter in detail.

The meat-offering must be of fine flour,--the fine

wheat of Palestine, not the coarser Hmaq,, "meal," but the

fine tl,so, bolted and sifted well. It must in all cases be  

not less than the tenth of an ephah (chap. v. 11); in

most cases far more (see Numb. vii. 13). It was taken

from the best of their fields, and cleansed from the bran

by passing through the sieve. The rich seem to have  

offered it in the shape of pure fine flour, white as snow,

heaping it up, probably, as in Numb. vii. 13, on a silver

charger, or in a silver bowl, in princely manner. It thus

formed a type, beautiful and pleasant to the eye, of the

man's self and substance dedicated to God, when now

made pure by the blood of sacrifice that had removed his

sin. For if forgiven, then a blessing rested upon his

basket and his store, on the fruit of his body, and the

fruit of his ground, the fruit of his cattle, and the in-

crease of his kine (see Deut. xxviii. 3-6). Even as  

Jesus, when raised from the tomb, was henceforth no

more under the curse of sin, but was blessed in body,

for his body was no longer weary or feeble; and blessed

in company, for no longer was he numbered among trans-

gressors; and blessed in all his inheritance, for "all          

power was given him in heaven and in earth."

The oil poured on the fine flour denoted setting apart.

It was oil that was used by Jacob at Bethel in setting

apart his stone pillow to commemorate his vision; and

every priest and king was thus set apart for his office.

Oil, used on these occasions, is elsewhere appropriated to

36                    THE MEAT-OFFERING                   CHAP. II


mean the Spirit's operation--the Spirit setting apart

whom he pleases for any office.

The frankincense, fragrant in its smell, denoted the

acceptableness of the offering. As a flower or plant--

the rose of Sharon or the balm of Gilead--would induce

any passing traveller to stoop down over them, and regale

himself with their fragrance, so the testimony borne by

Christ's work to the character of Godhead brings the

Father to bend over any to whom it is imparted, and to

rest over him in his love. The Lord Jesus says to his

Church, in Song iv. 6, "Until the day break, and the

shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of

myrrh, and the hill of frankincense." This spot must be

the Father's right hand. In like manner, then, it ought

to be the holy purpose of believing souls who are look-

ing for Christ, to dwell so entirely amid the Redeemer's

merits, that, like the maidens of king Ahasuerus (Esther

ii. 12), they shall be fragrant with the sweet odours,

and with these alone, when the Bridegroom comes.

When Christ presented his human person and all he  

had, he was indeed fragrant to the Father, and the oil

of the Spirit was on him above his fellows (see Isa. lxi. 1;

Ps. xlv. 7 ; Heb. ix. 14).

And equally complete in him is every believer also.

Like Jesus, each believer is God's wheat--his fine flour.

He is clothed in the fine linen, white and clean, and

stands by Christ's side, in the likeness of Christ. Even

now is he able to say, "As he is (at the Father's right

hand), so are we in this world"--as completely righteous,

as really accepted (1 John iv. 17).


Ver. 2. And he shall bring it to Aaron's sons the priests: and

he shall take thereout his handful of the flour thereof, and of

the oil thereof; with all the frankincense thereof; and the priest

            THE MEAT-OFFERING                   CHAP. II                     37


shall burn the memorial of it upon the altar,  to be an offering

made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord.


One of Aaron's sons was to take a handful out of what

was brought, a handful of flour, and a proportional quan-

tity of the oil. Along with this he was to take “all 

the frankincense," because all was needed to express the

complete acceptance. This is "the memorial of the          

meat-offering"*--a part for the whole. In dedication        

of our body and property, we need not go through every

article in detail, but we take some part as a specimen

and an earnest of all the rest.

In Acts x. 4, Cornelius's "prayers and alms" are called

a memorial." These alms and prayers were a specimen

of the whole man's dedication. He was a believer, like

old Simeon, already accepted, and this meat-offering of

his, the dedication of self and substance, expressed by

prayers and alms, was acknowledged on the part of God

by the gift of more light and liberty.


Ver. 3. And the remnant of the meat-offering shall be Aaron's

and his sons'; it is a thing most holy of the offerings of the

Lord made by fire.


The offering is declared "most holy." And to shew

that the mass was so, as well as the handful, the remnant

is given to Aaron's sons to feast upon. Even Aaron, who

bore on his mitre " Holiness to the Lord," could safely

eat of it.


* Isaiah (1xvi. 3) refers first to the burnt-offering, speaking of slaying the

lamb and the ox; and then in the next clause, to the meat-offering, speaking of

him that "offers a hHAn;mi and maketh a frankincense-memorial" hnAbol; ryKiz;ma.

Milton has, without authority, blended these two together in his description of

Abel's offering, Paradise Lost, xi.

“*        *          *          *          *          A shepherd next,

More meek, came with the firstlings of his flock

Choicest and best; then, sacrificing laid

The inwards and the fat, with incense strew'd,

on the cleft wood."

38                    THE MEAT-OFFERING                   CHAP. II


In this manner we are assured of the true and thorough

acceptance of our dedicated things, when once we are

forgiven. How complete is the assurance we have of the

acceptance of Christ and all that are his! Nay, even of

their substance. There is a blessing "on their basket

and on their store." So completely is its curse removed,

that under the tree in the plains of Mamre, angels,

and the Lord of angels, eat of Abraham's bread and his

fatted calf!

But the declaration, "It is a thing most holy," teaches

us how we should regard every member of our body as

belonging to God; and everything we possess." Ye are

not your own." "It is most holy." How little do we feel

it to be so!


Ver. 4. And if thou bring an oblation of a meat-offering baken in

the oven, it shall be unleavened cakes of fine flour mingled with

oil, or unleavened wafers anointed with oil.


A part of the type of the fine flour, already noticed,

may be that Christ was ground by sore agony, and

endured unutterable anguish when bruised for us. And

so the wine of the drink-offering, afterwards noticed,

would imply a reference to the wine-press, out of which

he came. And in like manner, the oven here mentioned,

and the other articles exposed to the fire, would contain

a reference to his enduring the fierce flame of wrath.*

But admitting this use of the emblems to be doubtful,

we find a certain and obvious meaning in the diversities of

form in which the meat-of Bring appears. As in chap. i.

we saw that God, for the sake of the less wealthy, took

a lamb or a dove, when a more costly sacrifice would have


* Willet quotes Pellicanus, who applies these varieties in the preparation of

the meat-offering to the manifold nature of afflictions " Nunc Clibanus, nunc

Patilla, nunc Craticula dici possunt:" a true remark, whether contained here or


            THE MEAT-OFFERING                   CHAP. II                     39


been beyond the reach of the offerer; so it is here: for

the sake of different ranks in society, the meat-offering

has a form in which any one may be able to present it.

If he is rich, let him bring his fine flour from the finest of

the wheat. If he is not able to do this, let him bring "a

meat-offering baleen in the oven." If he cannot afford

this, having no oven, then let him bring somewhat "baken

in the fire plate," or pan. If even this is not in his power,

he will at least possess a frying pan, and. let him bring

what it prepares. God excuses none, of whatever rank,

from dedicating themselves and their substance to him.

The widow has two mites to cast into the Lord's treasury.

In 1 Chron. xxiii. 29, this gradation seems referred to

when it is said, "For that which is baked in the pan,

and for that which is fried, and for all manner of measure

and size."

The oven was a utensil which was generally possessed

by all in the middle ranks of life. If they have this, let

them prepare in it "cakes" (tOL.Ha), of a larger size, and

wafers" (Myqyqir; cakes of a smaller size, and bring

these as their meat-offering. The larger cakes must have

"oil mingled through them;" the smaller and thinner must

have oil on them. In both cases, the oil that sets apart

must not be wanting. Nay, where it is possible, it must    

form part, as it were, of the substance, by being mingled

with it.

And there must be no leaven; for leaven indicates

corruption at work. If we give grudgingly, with restless,

impatient, tumultuous, anxious feelings, we are offering

with leaven. We must dedicate self and substance in

Christ's spirit--"Not my will, but thine be done."


Ver. 5. And if thy oblation be a meat-offering, baken in a pan, it

shall be of fine flour unleavened, mingled with oil.

40                    THE MEAT-OFFERING                   CHAP. II


This is another form in which it may be presented, if

the man be yet poorer than the last mentioned; if he use

the "fire plate" in his house, and not "the oven." The

only article of furniture absolutely necessary for prepar-

ing food seems to have been the "frying-pan" of verse 7.

Anything more than that indicated comfort and ease.

The "cakes" and "wafers" of last verse evidently inti-

mated a moderate degree of luxury. And this man also

possessed some degree of independence in his circum-

stances. Perhaps he occupied the station of a tradesman,

if not somewhat above that. He, too, must dedicate all

to the Lord.


Ver. 6. Thou shalt part it in pieces, and pour oil thereon: it is

a meat-offering.


This division into pieces may shew that every part of

our substance is to be given up. We must allow God to

divide and choose and appropriate as he pleases. And

then, each part must be "anointed with oil;" set apart by

the priest's hand. Both the whole, as a whole, and every

part of it, must be given up to the Lord.


Ver. 7. And if thy oblation be a meat-offering baken in the frying-

pan, it shall be made of fine flour with oil.


The shallow frying-pan (a shallow vessel, of earth, used

to this day by the Arabs, and called Tagen) indicated

poverty, if the man had this and no other culinary utensil.

It was used in boiling, and therefore was indispensable.

He, too, must offer what he has. God is willing to have

him and his; he does not despise the poor. Nay, by

attending to different classes of men; he finds out op-

portunities of some new exhibition of his wisdom and


Here the opportunity is afforded of enforcing the lesson,



            THE MEAT-OFFERING                   CHAP. II                     41


that whatever is wanting, oil must not be wanting: the

Spirit must set apart whatever is really dedicated.


            Ver. 8. And thou shalt bring the meat-offering that is made of

                        these things unto the Lord: and when it is presented unto the

                        priest, he shall bring it unto the altar.


            A poor worshipper might be apt to be discouraged

when he witnessed the more costly gifts of others: there-

fore the Lord kindly condescends to assure; his heart by

specially inserting here these directions to the priest, viz.

that he must take the humblest meat-offering, and present

it on the altar. The priest might be ready to neglect so     

poor an offering; but here he is warned., "When the

offerer presents it, the priest shall bring it." Our Master

was ever more tender-hearted than his disciples. The

disciples rebuked those who brought little children to

him; but Jesus said, "Suffer them to come." Jehovah,

God of Israel, is Jesus, the Son of man!


            Ver. 9. And the priest shall take from the meat-offering a memorial

                        thereof, and shall burn it upon the altar: it is an offering

                        made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord.


            The memorial is what was directed to be taken, ver. 2.

And this is to be done as much in this poorer offering as

when it was fine flour. There is no virtue in the size or    

in the quality of the thing.

            The "sweet savour" reminds us of Paul's words to the

Philippians, when they had, though poor, given him what

they could spare of their substance: "I have received of

Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an

odour of a sweet smell" (Phil. iv. 18). Jesus in heaven

smells this sweet savour, and will reward it at the day of

his appearing.

            Ver, 10. And that which is left of the meat-offering shall be


42                    THE MEAT-OFFERING                   CHAP. II


Aaron's and his sons'; it is a thing most holy of the offerings

of the Lord made by fire.


It is most holy (see ver. 3 again), and it is taken from

the fire-offerings of the Lord, expressing complete appro-

priation by the Lord, of the things offered to him. He

takes what we offer; it is not a mere compliment. We

may not say, "I give myself to the Lord," and then do as

we please. The Lord takes us at our word. We are no       

more our own, nor is our body ours, nor our members,

nor our money, nor our health, nor our talents, nor our   

reputation, nor our affections, nor our relations, nor our

very life itself. All is the Lord's--in his treasury--

"among the offerings made by fire," that ascend up to      

heaven in the smoke of the altar.    

Then follow some general rules in regard to the general

subject of meat-offerings.   


Ver. 11. No meat-offering, which ye shall bring unto the Lord,          

shall be made with leaven: for ye shall burn no leaven, nor

any honey, in any offering of the Lord made by fire.


Leaven indicates corruption, and is the very opposite

of salt, which preserves (ver. 13), and which must never

be wanting. Honey includes all that is sweet, like the

honey* of grapes, figs, and the reed or calanus (which grew

on the banks of the waters of Merom), and it is forbidden

both because it turns to sourness, and leads to fermen-

tation, and perhaps also because it is a luxury; and the     

Lord desires nothing of earthly sweetness. His offerings

must have neither corruption nor carnal sweetness. We

must, like Christ, be the Lord's; holy and separate from the

world, not pleasing ourselves. In chap. xxiii. 17, there is


* Jarchi says, yrp qytm lk–“all sweetness of fruit,"--sweet things

obtained from any fruit. Honey was reckoned corrupting, because it ferments. The

Chaldee uses in the sense of fermenting, a word derived from wbAd;,



            THE MEAT-OFFERING                   CHAP. II                     43


a special lesson taught by the presence of leaven in the two

loaves of the first-fruits; it is altogether unlike this case.


Ver. 12. As for the oblation of the first fruits, ye shall offer them

unto the Lord; but they shall not be burnt on the altar for a

                        sweet savour.           


The first ripe fruits of any sort are meant. These,

when offered, were typical of presenting the person's self

and substance, and hence are included in the subject of

meat-offering. But they are not to be brought to the

altar, because they shew us Christ in a peculiar aspect;

and that aspect seems to be Christ glorified, or raised up,

after suffering. Hence there is no burning of any part

of them, for the suffering is done. The Holy Spirit takes

truth in portions, and seems sometimes to turn our eye

away from one portion of truth on purpose to let us see

better some other portion, by keeping our attention for a

time fixed on that alone.


Ver. 13. And every oblation of thy meat-offering shalt thou season

with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of

thy God to be lacking from thy meat-offering: with all thine

offerings thou shalt offer salt.


This salt indicates corruption removed and prevented;     

and in the case of the meat-offering, it is as if to say, Thy

body and thy substance are become healthy now; they

shall not rot. They are not like those of the ungodly in

James v. 2, "Your riches are corrupted." There is a

blessing on thy body and thy estate. And next it in-

timates the friendship (of which salt was a well-known

emblem) now existing between God and the man. God

can sup with man, and man with God (Rev. iii. 18).

There is a covenant between him and God, even in re-

gard to the beasts of the field (Job v. 23), and fowls of

heaven (Hos. ii, 18). The friendship of God extends to


44                    THE MEAT-OFFERING                   CHAP. II


his people's property; and to assure us of this he appoints

the salt in the meat-offering--the offering that especially

typified their substance. How comforting to labouring

men! how cheering to care-worn merchants--if they dedi-

cate themselves to God, he is interested in their property

as much as they themselves are! "Who is a God like

unto thee!" But more; "with all thine offerings thou shalt

offer salt," declared that the sweet savour of these sacri-

fices was not momentary and passing, but enduring and

eternal. By this declaration he sprinkles every sacrifice

with the salt of his unchanging satisfaction. And "the

covenant by sacrifice" (Ps. 1. 5) is thus confirmed on the

part of God: he declares that he on his part will be



Ver. 14. And if thou offer a meat-offering of thy first fruits unto

the Lord, thou shalt offer, for the meat-offering of thy first-

fruits, green ears of corn dried by the fire, even corn beaten

out of full ears.


These are voluntary meat-offerings, and they differ

from those of verse 12. The sense is, "If thou wishest

to make a common meat-offering out of these first-fruits,

it shall be done in the following manner." A peculiar

typical circumstance attends these. These are "ears of

corn," a figure of Christ (John xii. 24); and "ears of the

best kind," for so the Hebrew intimates. They

are "dried by the fire," to represent Jesus feeling the

wrath of his Father, as when he said, "My strength is

dried up," i.e. the whole force of my being is dried up

(Ps. xxii. 15); "I am withered like grass" (Ps. cii. 4).

0 how affecting a picture of the Man of sorrows! How    

like the very life! The best ears of the finest corn in

the plains of Israel are plucked while yet green; and

instead of being left to ripen in the cool breeze, and


            THE MEAT-OFFERING                   CHAP. II                     45


under a genial sun, are withered up by the scorching fire.

It was thus that the only pure humanity that ever walked

on the plains of earth was wasted away in three-and-

thirty years by the heat of wrath he had never deserved.

While obeying night and day, with all his soul and

strength, the burning wrath of God was drying up his

frame. "Beaten out of full ears," represents the bruises

and strokes whereby he was prepared for the altar.

“Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the

things which he suffered" (Heb. ii. 10). It is after this

preparation that he is a perfect meat-offering, fully de-

voted, body and substance, to the Lord.

In all this he is "First fruits," intimating that many

more shall follow. He the first-fruits, then all that are

his in like manner. We must be conformed to Jesus in

all things; and here it is taught us that we must be con-

formed to him in self-dedication--self-renunciation. We

must please the Father; as he left us an example, saying,

"I do always those things that please him" (John viii.

29), even under the blackest sky.


Ver. 15. And thou shalt put oil upon it, and lay frankincense

thereon: it is a meat-offering.

Ver. 16. And the priest shall burn the memorial of it, part of the

beaten corn thereof, and part of the oil thereof,* with all the

frankincense thereof:  it is an offering made, by fire unto the



The smoke and the fragrance ascend to heaven. All is

accepted--Christ first, then each of his people. He

passed through suffering, fire, and flame--then was

accepted. They, being reckoned one with him, are

treated as if they had done so too. Whatever sufferings

are left to them are not atoning, but only sanctifying.


* lfa, “una cum," says Rosenmuller.

46                    THE DRINK-OFFERING                 CHAP. II




Some one might here ask, Why is there no mention of

the wine-offering or drink-offering? It is rather remark-

able that the drink-offering should be omitted in the

midst of so full a setting forth of tabernacle rites. It is,

often joined with burnt-offerings and meat-offerings, as in

Ezek. xlv. 17. But properly speaking, the drink-offering

was not a part of any sacrifice; though it was never

offered by itself alone. It was a rite superadded, to ex-

press the worshipper's hearty concurrence in all that he

saw done at the altar. Hence, it could be deferred till

a convenient time arrived. It appears from Numbers

xv. 2, 4, that it was not to be observed till they came to

Canaan, and had reached the plentiful vineyards of Sorek

and Engedi.

But we may notice, in passing, the object and meaning

of this ordinance. It was "strong wine poured unto the

Lord" (Numb. xxviii. 7). Wine is the representation of

joy, and hence it was an expression, on the offerer's part,

of his cheerful and hearty acquiescence in all that was

done at the altar. He saw the lamb slain--a type of

atoning blood for his guilty soul; he saw the meat-offer-

ing presented--a type of entire dedication to the Lord;

and, therefore, when he lifted up the cup of wine, and

poured it forth before the Lord at the altar, over the

ashes of the sacrifice, and the memorial of the meat-

offering, offering, his so doing was equivalent to his saying, "In

all this I do heartily acquiesce. I welcome atoning blood

to my guilty soul, and I give up my redeemed soul to him

that has atoned for me. Amen, Amen!"

It is to this drink-offering that reference is made in

Judges ix. 13, where wine is said to "cheer God and


            THE DRINK-OFFERING                 CHAP. II                     47


man." It is not to wine used at table for convivial pur-

poses that allusion is there made, but to wine used at the

altar. There it did truly gladden God and man. Like

the water of the well of Bethlehem poured out by David,

it expressed the heart poured out. The Lord rejoiceth to 

see a sinner accept the offered atonement. Is not the

shepherd's heart glad when he finds the lost Sheep? Does

not the father weep for very joy as he sees his prodigal

return, and fall upon his neck? And likewise the Lord

rejoiced to see a ransomed sinner giving himself up to his

God, as he rejoiced over Abraham when he did not with-

hold even Isaac. "He taketh pleasure in them that fear

him." On the other hand, the sinner himself was glad

as he poured out the wine; for there is "joy and peace      

in believing," in accepting the offered Saviour. Nor less

so in giving up all to the Lord; for he that giveth up

“houses and lands" for Christ's sake, receives a hundred-

fold more in this present life. Is it not, then, true, that

“wine made glad the heart of God and man?" Might

not the vine that grew in Israel's land say, "Should I

leave my wine, that cheereth God and man?”  The olive,

in, the same manner, could say, "Should I leave my

fatness, wherewith by me they honour God and man?"

(Judges ix. 9;) because olive-oil supplied the tabernacle

lamps, as well as lighted up the halls of princes; and

some part of a hin of oil--the special symbol of conse-

cration--must accompany every meat-offering (Numb.

xv. 5, 6).

If it be here asked, Did our Lord fulfil the type of

the drink-offering? We say, Yes; by the entire willing-

ness he ever felt, to suffer, and to obey for us. Even on

the night wherein he was betrayed, he sang, and gave

God praise that he must die. And perhaps there is


48                    THE DRINK-OFFERING                 CHAP. II


more meaning in the words of Luke xxii. 20 than is

generally noticed. “This cup is the New Testament in

my blood." This wine-cup not only exhibits the blood

that seals the New Covenant, but exhibits it as the wine

that may cheer our souls. The blood of the grape of the

True Vine gladdens God and man.

But returning to the immediate subject of the chapter

before us, let us sum it up by briefly quoting Hannah's

offering (1 Sam. i. 24) when Samuel was weaned. We

find there three bullocks. This is the burnt-offering-a

bullock for herself, and for her husband, and for her

child; and as if to express her belief that her child

needed atoning blood, she offers a bullock for him as     

well as for herself, nay (ver. 25), expressly offers it at

the moment of presenting him. Next, we find the ephah

of flour. This is the meat-offering. It expressed the

dedication of themselves, and all they had, to God. An

ephah contained ten omers or ten deals, and three of

these was the usual quantity that went to each meat-

offering (Numb. xv. 9, 12) on such an occasion as this.

But here, no doubt, their meat-offering had more than

three omers, just in order to skew overflowing love.

The bottle of wine, last of all, was intended for the

drink-offering; and as an ephah of flour was far more

than was required by law, even for so many persons

(Numb. xv. 9), so no doubt this bottle of wine was more

than full measure, and was poured out before the Lord

to express the entire cheerfulness wherewith all this was

done by the parties concerned. It was after all this

(1 Sam. i. 28, and ii. 1) that they filled the tabernacle

with the voice of adoration and praise, and then returned

rejoicing to Ramah.

That this mode of worshipping the Lord was not


THE DRINK-OFFERING                 CHAP. II                     49


infrequent in Israel may appear, further, from 1 Sam. x. 3.

The three worshippers whom Saul met "going up to God

to Bethel," along Tabor plain, were carrying,  1. A kid;

one for each, to be a burnt-offering;  2. A loaf of bread,

or large cake; one for each, to be a meat-offering;  3. As

bottle of wine; one for all, as in Samuel's case.

"Happy are the people that are in such a case; yea,

happy the people whose God is the Lord!" Happy the

people where again and again some thankful worshipper

is saying, "What shall I render to the Lord for all his

benefits towards me? I will take the cup of salvation,      

and call upon the name of the Lord" (Ps. cxvi. 13).

The drink-offering of wine, poured out before the Lord

over the peace-offering that some Israelite had brought

in the way of thanks for benefits received (as Numb.

xv. 3 directs), this is "the cup of salvation." And from

time to time the courts of the Lord's house are enlivened

by the happy countenance of some grateful worshipper,

who smiles with delight as the priest pours out for him

the sparkling wine of Lebanon or Sorek. Nor is it

less true that the Lord himself rejoices--his heart is

"cheered;" he rests in his love, making his love the very

canopy over all.









"Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through

our Lord Jesus Christ; by whom also we have access by faith into this

grace wherein we stand."--Rom. v. 1, 2



Ver. 1. And if his oblation be a sacrifice of peace-offering; if he

offer it of the herd, whether it be a male or female, he shall

offer it without blemish before the Lord


THE PEACE-OFFERING* is introduced to our notice with-

out any formal statement of the connexion between it

and the preceding offerings. That there is a connexion is

taken for granted, and the prophet Amos (v. 22) refers

to this understood order when he says, "Though ye offer

me burnt-offerings, and your meat-offerings, I will not

accept them; neither will I regard the peace-offerings of

your fat beasts." The connexion is simply this: a justi-

fied soul, devoted to the Lord in all things, spontaneously

engages in acts of praise and exercises of fellowship. The

Lord takes for granted that such a soul, having free ac-

cess to him now, will make abundant use of that access.

Often will this now redeemed sinner look up and sing,


* In Hebrew the word is always plural, except in Amos v. 22. It is in every

other place MymilAw;, perhaps equivalent to "things pertaining to peace"--things

that spoke of peace, viz. the divided pieces of the sacrifice, some parts burnt on

the altar, some feasted upon by the priest, some by the offerer. Various sorts

of blessing, included in the word peace, were thus set forth.


THE PEACE-OFFERINGS  CHAP. III                   51


"0 Lord, truly I am thy servant; I and thy servant,

and the son of thine handmaid: thou hast loosed my

bonds. I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving,

and will call upon the name of the Lord" (Ps. cxvi. 16).

The animal might be a female. In this offering the

effects of atonement are represented more than the manner

of it; and therefore there is no particular restriction to

males.*  Just as we afterwards find that part of the

animal was to be feasted upon, and not all to be burned,

as in the whole burnt-offering; because here the object

principally intended is to shew Christ's offering conveying

blessing to the offerer. It is true, that in the, peace-offering

presented by the priest himself, and in that presented at

the season of first-fruits, there is an injunction that it be

a male that is offered; but the reason in these cases may

be, that on occasions which were more than ordinarily

solemn, there was a special intention to exhibit something

of the manner, as well as the effects, of Christ's sacrifice

--himself, as well as what he accomplished, was to be


It must be "without blemish;" for it represents "the

holy child Jesus;" "altogether lovely;" "who knew no

sin"--the Head of a Church that is to be "without spot,

or wrinkle, or any such thing."


Ver. 2. And he shall lay his hand upon the head of his offering,

and kill it at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation:

and Aaron's sons, the priests, shall sprinkle the blood upon the

altar round about.


The offerer's hand, resting on the head of the animal,      

was equivalent to his pointing to Christ as the source of

his blessings; q. d. "The chastisement of my peace is


* So, a kid might be taken as well as a lamb for the Passover (Exod. xiii. 5)

Attention was directed to the use made of the blood; not to the kind of animal


52                    THE PEACE-OFFERINGS   CHAP. III


laid upon him; therefore I am come this day, laden with

benefits, to give thanks while I enjoy the blessing" (see

above, chap. i. 5). And let us again notice the words,

“kill it at the door of the tabernacle." We cannot cross

the threshold of his Father's house, and enter his many

mansions, except by his peace-speaking blood. "Being

justified by faith, we have peace--we have access into his

grace" (Rom. v. 1, 2).


Ver. 3, 4. And he shall offer of the sacrifice of the peace-offering

an offering made by fire unto the Lord; the fat that covereth

the inwards, and all the fat that is upon the inwards, and the

two kidneys, and the fat that is on them, which is by the flanks,

and the caul above the liver, with the kidneys, it shall he take



From a comparison of Exod. xxix. 13, it becomes plain

that all the pieces here mentioned were to be removed

from the animal, and burnt by themselves. "It shall he

take" is equivalent to "this--all this shall he take."

They were not to burn the whole animal, but only

these portions. These portions were like "the memorial"

(chap. ii. 2) in the case of the meat-offering. And the

parts chosen for this end are the richest parts, the fat--

the fat within, and the fat that might be said to be without

(ver. 9), in the case of the lamb.

Peculiar care is to be given to take out all the fat that

was within, "the fat that covers the inwards," or intestines;

next, "the kidneys," which are composed of the richest

substance, richer than even fat;* then "the fat in which

the kidneys" are imbedded, and which is "on the loins"

(flanks), i.e. the inner fat muscles of the loins which had


* Hence Deut. xxii. 14, “the fat of the kidneys of wheat," is used to ex-

press the highest degree of richness in the wheat. Patrick quotes Aristotle de

Animal., iii. 9, "e@xousi de nefroi malista tw?n splagxnw?n pimelhn."


THE PEACE-OFFERINGS  CHAP. III                   53


the collops of fat (Job xv. 27); and "the caul (tr,t,yi)

above the liver and above the kidneys" (see the margin

and the original Hebrew). It is not easy to ascertain the

meaning of "the caul," some making it one of the lobes

of the liver (Gesenius, from the Septuagint); others the

midriff; and others the gall-bladder. It is every way

likely that it was some fat part near the liver and


Now, observe that all these portions of the animal are

the richest; and also deeply seated, near the heart. In

an offering of thanks and fellowship, nothing was more

appropriate than to enjoin that the pieces presented

should be those seated deep within. We approach a

reconciled God, to hold fellowship with him as Adam did

in Eden in the cool of the day; or rather as those before

the throne do in their holy worship. We come to praise,

to glorify, to enjoy our God. What, then, can we bring

but the most inward feelings, all of the richest kind, and-

all, from the depth of the soul. Our reins (Heb. tOylAK;,  

same as " kidneys") must yield their desires, in all abund-

ance, to the God that trieth the "heart and reins" (Ps,

vii. 9). Our loins were before "filled with pain" (Isa.

xxi. 3), because sin's "loathsome disease" spread through

them (Ps. xxxviii. 7); therefore now we consecrate their

strength, using it all for him, "the effectual working of

whose power" has set us free. Yea, whatever can be

found anywhere in or about our heart and reins, we yield

it all to him who "poured out his soul unto death." This

is communion with God.

Such was the rich offering of his soul which Jesus made

as our peace-offering, when "by the eternal Spirit he

offered himself to God." Every deep affection, every

emotion, all that love could feel, all that desire could


54                    THE PEACE-OFFERINGS   CHAP. III


yearn over, was presented by him to the Father in that

hour when he became "our peace" (Eph. ii. 14).    

And all these feelings were at the moment tried and

tested by the fire which blazed around them. The just

wrath of God seemed to spurn and thrust down each

heartfelt emotion; yet all remained unchanged and

undiminished, and were poured into the mould of the

Father's heart by that very heat of wrath.

We, as reconciled, are to pour out these same feelings

in all their fulness, but under the kindly influence of love.

The heat of love, not the fire of wrath, is to melt our

souls and pour forth our feelings.


Ver. 5. And Aaron's sons shall burn it on the altar upon the

burnt-sacrifice, which is upon the wood that is on the fire: it

is an offering made by fire of a sweet savour unto the Lord.


Here the Septuagint have "o]smh eu]wdiaj Kuri&," the

terms employed by Paul in Eph. v. 2--"qusia ei]j o]smhn


The parts thus prepared, the fat parts, are to be put

on the altar; but not at random, anywhere on the altar.

A particular mode is fixed upon. They are to be put

"on the sacrifice that is upon the wood which feeds the

flame" of the altar. The daily sacrifice is referred to,

which typified the atonement in all its fulness. Upon

this, therefore, must the pieces of the peace-offerings be

laid. Our daily acts of communion with God, our daily

praise, our daily thanksgiving, must be founded afresh on

the work of Jesus. "By him therefore let us offer the

sacrifice of praise to God continually" (Heb. xiii. 15).


Ver. 6. And if his offering, for a sacrifice of peace-offering unto the

Lord, be of the flock, male or female, he shall offer it without



The Father's delight in his Son seems plainly exhibited


THE PEACE-OFFERINGS  CHAP. III                   55


in the ever-recurring direction--"without blemish." The

eye of God rested with infinite complacency on the spot-

lessness of Jesus. "Behold my servant whom I have

chosen, mine elect (q.d. my chosen Lamb), in whom my

soul delighteth." It is an expression that teaches us by

its frequent repetition, both the holy delight which the

Father had in "the holy child Jesus," and the delight he

will have in his unblemished Church. It is a holy God

that speaks; it is the author of the holy law. The law-

giver is he who prescribes the type of a fulfilled and       

satisfied law. We recognise the God and Father of our

Lord and Saviour “just, while he justifies.” It is truly

pleasant, unspeakably precious, to see God's thorough

demand for spotlessness; for thus we are assured, that

beyond all doubt, our reconciliation is solid. It is full

reconciliation to a God who is fully satisfied.


Ver. 7, 8. If he offer a lamb for his offering, then shall he offer

if, before the Lord. And he shall lay his hand upon the head

of his offering, and kill it before the tabernacle of the congre-

gation: and Aaron's sons shall sprinkle the blood thereof

round about upon the altar.


The lamb is as fully acknowledged as the offering from

the herd--the bullock or heifer; for it is not the thing

itself, but what it represented, that has value in it. One

of the ends answered by permitting a gradation in the

value of the things sacrificed, was this; it turned atten-

tion to the Antitype, instead of the type itself--to the

Lamb of God, instead of the value of the mere animal.


Ver. 9, 10. And he shall offer, of the sacrifice of the peace-

offering, an offering made by fire unto the Lord; the fat

thereof, and the whole rump, it shall he take off hard by the

back-bone; and the fat that covereth the inwards, and all the

fat that is upon the inwards, and the two kidneys, and the fat



56                    THE PEACE-OFFERINGS               CHAP. III


that is upon them, which is by the flanks, and the caul above

the liver, with the kidneys, it shall he take away.


The only difference here, from ver. 3; 4, is, that here

we have, in addition to the other pieces already noticed,

"the rump," or tail (hyAl;xA). In Syrian sheep, this was

a part of the animal which the shepherd reckoned very

valuable; it is large,* and, being composed of a substance

between fat and marrow, is not inferior in taste and

quality to marrow. Still the richest portions are claimed

for the altar. Every rich thought, every rich emotion,

every intense feeling, was devoted by Christ for us, and

is to be now sent back by us to him. And it is said,

"the tail he shall remove close by the back-bone," q.d.

take it entire and complete--leaving nothing behind.

Perhaps we are entitled to consider the Psalmist as

referring to this offering in Ps. lxiii. 5, "My soul shall

be satisfied as with marrow and fatness"--here is the

reference to the pieces presented--q.d. My soul shall

be satisfied, as if I had received all that is intimated by

the rich pieces of the peace-offering. And so also, when

Isaiah says (lv. 2), "Eat ye that which is good, and let

your soul delight itself in fatness," q.d. Come to the great

peace-offering, and take the richest portions, even those

selected for God! Enjoy the very love wherewith the

Father loveth the Son!


Ver. 11. And the priest shall burn it upon the altar: it is the food

of the offering made by fire unto the Lord.


Instead of saying, "It is a sweet savour," we have

here another expression, equally significant. "It is the

food, the sacrifice made by fire." It is called "food," or

"bread," because God is now regarded as a Father feast-


* This is so well known that writers usually refer us to Aristotle de Animal.,

viii. 28, where he says, "Ou[raj e]xei to platoj phxewj."


THE PEACE-OFFERINGS  CHAP. III                   57


ing his prodigal children who have returned home, or as

a friend entertaining guests. Hence Ezekiel xliv. 7, "Ye

offer my bread, the fat and the blood;" and hence the

altar is called "the table of the Lord" (Mal. i. 7; also

Lev. xxi. 22). This represents God as one at table

with his people; they feast together. He is no more

their foe. If it was the chief aggravation of Judas's sin,

He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel

against me;" then it is impossible for God to be other-

wise than an eternal friend, "an everlasting Father," to

those whom he invites home. In this view we see the

keenness of the reproach in Mal. i. 7, 12, and in Ezek.

xliv. 7. They treated the privilege of children and

friends with contempt; God, in his most kindly aspect,

was despised and scorned.


Ver. 12, 13. And if his offering be a goat, then he shall offer it

before the Lord. And he shall lay his hand upon the head of

it, and kill it before the tabernacle of the congregation: and

the sons of Aaron shall sprinkle the blood thereof upon the

altar round about. And he shall offer thereof his offering,

even an offering made by fire unto the Lord.


The goat stands here in the same relation to the

peace-offering from the herd, as did the turtle-dove and

pigeon to the bullock of the whole burnt-sacrifice. The

poorer sort might bring the goat; when he could not

bring the blood of bulls, he brought the blood of goats.

And thus, still, they were prevented from attaching im-

portance to the mere type.   

The goat represents Jesus as one taken out of the  

flock for the salvation of the rest. Let us suppose we

saw "a flock of goats appearing from Mount Gilead"

(Song vi. 5). The lion from Bashan rushes upon this

flock ; one is seized, and is soon within the jaws of the


58                    THE PEACE-OFFERINGS   CHAP. III


lion! This prey is enough; the lion is satisfied, and

retires; the flock is saved by the death of one. This inci-

dental substitution does not, indeed, shew forth the man-

ner of our Substitute's suffering; but it is an illustration

of the fact, that one dying saved the whole flock. The

goat is one of a class that goes in flocks in Palestine, and

so are fitted to represent Christ and his people. And,

perhaps, the fact of an animal like the goat being selected

to be among the types of Christ, was intended to prevent

the error of those who would place the value of Christ's

undertaking in his character alone. They say, "Behold

his meekness--he is the Lamb of God!" Well, all that

is true; it is implied in his being "without blemish."

But that cannot be the true point to which our eye is

intended to be directed by the types; for what, then,

becomes of the goat? They may tell us of the meekness

of the lamb, and patience of the bullock, and tenderness

of the turtle-dove; but the goat, what is to be said of it?

Surely it is not without a special providence that the goat

is inserted, where, if the order of chap. i. had been fol-

lowed, we would have had a turtle-dove? The reason is,

to let us see that the main thing to be noticed in these

types is the atonement which they represented. Observe

the stroke that falls on the victim, the fire that consumes

the victim, the blood that must flow from the victim,

whether it be a bullock, a lamb, a turtle-dove, or a


The Socinian view of Christ's death is thus contra-

dicted by these various types; and our eye is intently

fixed on the atoning character of the animal, more than

on anything in its nature.

While other types do exhibit the character and nature

of the Saviour, it was fitting that one type, such as this


THE PEACE-OFFERINGS  CHAP. III                   59


of the goat, should thus guard us against the idea that

that in itself was atonement.


Ver, 14-16. The fat that covereth the inwards, and all the

fat that is upon the inwards, and the two kidneys, and the

fat that is upon them, which is by the flanks, and the caul

above the liver, with the kidneys, it shall he take away. And

the priest shall burn them upon the altar: it is the food of the

offering made by fire, for a sweet savour.


This offered goat is as fully accepted, as a peace-

offering, as was the lamb or bullock; for the atoning       

aspect of the type is just as complete in this case as in

any other. "It is food--an offering made by fire "--as

ver. 11.


Ver. 17. All the fat is the Lord's. It shall be a perpetual

statute for your generations, throughout all your dwellings,

that ye eat neither fat nor blood.


Some think "the fat " is the fat of beasts used in sacri-

fice (chap. vii. 25). But, perhaps, it was the fat of all

beasts used "in their dwellings." Those parts mentioned

as sacrificial must always be set aside. But the fat of

other parts of the animal (the fat that was part of the

flesh) was used, and reckoned a luxury; see Neh. viii. 10

--"Eat the fat." This is the most probable explanation.

There may be a reproof intended in Ezek. xxxiv. 3, "Ye

eat the fat," as if they even took the forbidden portions.

"Blood," because the life--the sign of atonement--must  

not be eaten. It is the solemn type of the poured-out


Thus in the dwellings of Israel there was something to

keep them in daily remembrance of the Great Sacrifice.

Their deep and awful reverence must be felt at home as

well as in the sanctuary. Their homes are made a sanc-

tuary thereby, as they set apart the fat and the blood at




their tables! And thus they live as redeemed men,

realising their dependence on the blood of Jesus, and

delighting to cast the crown at his feet in every new

remembrance of his work.

Few ordinances were more blessed than these Peace-

offerings. Yet, like the Lord's Supper with us, often

were they turned to sin. The lascivious woman in Prov.

vii. 14, comes forth saying, "I have peace-offerings with

me; this day have I paid my vows." She had actually

gone up among the devoutest class of worshippers to pre-

sent a thank-offering, and had stood at the altar as one

at peace with God. Having now received from the priest

those pieces of the sacrifice that were to be feasted upon,

lo! she hurries to her dwelling, and prepares a banquet

of lewdness. She quiets her conscience by constraining

herself to spend some of her time and some of her sub-

stance in his sanctuary. She deceives her fellow-creatures,

too, and maintains a character for religion; and then she

rushes back to sin without remorse. Is there nothing

of this in our land? What means Christmas-mirth, after

pretended observance of Christ's being born? What

means the sudden worldliness of so many on the day fol-

lowing their approach to the Lord's Table? What means

the worldly talk and levity of a Sabbath afternoon, or

evening, after worship is done?

Contrast with this the true worshipper, as he appears

in Psalm lxvi. He has received mercies, and is truly

thankful. He comes up to the sanctuary with his offer-

ings, saying--

"I will go into thy house with burnt-offerings; I will

pay thee my vows, which my lips have uttered, and my

mouth hath spoken, when I was in trouble " (ver. 13, 14).



            THE PEACE-OFFERINGS. CHAP. III.                  61


            In the "burnt-offerings," we see his approach to the

altar with the common and general sacrifice; and next,

in his "paying vows," we see he has brought his peace-

offerings with him. Again, therefore, he says at the


            "I will offer unto thee burnt-sacrifices of fatlings "

(ver. 15).

            This is the general offering, brought from the best of

his flock and herd. Then follow the peace-offerings-

            "With the incense (treFoq;, fuming smoke) of rams;

I will offer bullocks with goats. Selah."

            Having brought his offerings, he is in no haste to de-

part, notwithstanding; for his heart is full. Ere, there-

fore, he leaves the sanctuary, he utters the language of a

soul at peace with God--

            “Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will de-

clare what he hath done for my soul. I cried unto him

with my mouth, and he was extolled with my tongue.

If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear

me: but verily God hath heard me; he hath attended

to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, which path

not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me!"

            This, truly, is one whom "the very God of peace" has

sanctified, and whose whole spirit, and body, and soul,

he will preserve blameless unto the coming of the Lord

Jesus Christ (1 Thess. v. 23).




                                         CHAPTER IV


                           THE SIN-OFFERING


“Little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And

if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Faker, Jesus Christ the

righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only,

but also for the sins of the whole world."--1 John ii. 1, 2


WERE a scorpion on our brow, prepared to thrust in its

deadly sting, while we were unconscious of any danger,

surely the friend would deserve our thanks who saw the

black scorpion there, and cried aloud to us to sweep it

off. Such is a sin of ignorance; and God, who is "a

God of knowledge," is the gracious friend. In this char-

acter he appears here.


            Ver. 1, 2. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto

                        the children of Israel, saying, if a soul shall sin through

                        ignorance against any of the commandments of the Lord, con-

                        cerning things which ought not to be done, and shall do

                        against any of them:--


            The former chapters of this book have been in sub-

stance like the first chapter of John's first Epistle. We

have been shewn in type that life eternal which was

manifested to us in Christ the great Atonement. Next,

we were shewn that the Lord had a claim on all that is

ours, and therefore must we give up ourselves and all


            THE SIN-OFFERING           CHAP. IV                   63


that is ours to him. This done, we walk in fellowship

with him.

            These things having been written to us, in the first

three chapters, to the end "that we sin not"--that we

may not live like the dark world around us, but may be

drawn to him who draws us with his cords of love--the

Lord now speaks again to "the children of Israel"--his

"little children." He points out what is to be done

when they come to the knowledge of sin of which they

were not aware before. The cases are understood to be

things committed, not mere omissions of duty; and how

saddening to find that we grieve the Lord in so many

hidden ways! We have a heart as prone to sin, as the

body is to weariness.

            The sin through ignorance (hgAgAw;) is the same that

David prays against in Ps. xix. 12, "Who can under-

stand his errors (tOxygiw;)? cleanse thou me from secret

things!" These are not sins of omission, but acts com-

mitted by a person when, at the time, he did not suppose

that what he did was sin.* Although he did the thing

deliberately, yet he did not perceive the sin of it. So

deceitful is sin, we may be committing that abominable

thing which cast angels into an immediate and an eternal

hell, and yet at the moment be totally unaware! Want

of knowledge of the truth, and too little tenderness of

conscience, hide it from us. Hardness of heart and a

corrupt nature cause us to sin unperceived. But here

again the form of the Son of man appears! Jehovah,

God of Israel, institutes sacrifice for sins of ignorance,

and thereby discovers the same compassionate and con-


            * Josh. xx. 3, "Who killeth any person in ignorance (hgAgAw;bi ) and did not

know," i. e. did not know that his action would have had that effect (comp.

Deut. xix. 4).

64                    THE SIN-OFFERING                       CHAP. IV


siderate heart that appears in our High Priest, "who can

have compassion on THE IGNORANT!" (Heb. v. 2.) Amidst

the types of this Tabernacle we recognise the presence of

Jesus--it is his voice that shakes the curtains and speaks

in the ear of Moses--"If a soul shall sin through igno-

rance!" The same yesterday, to-day, and for ever!


                                    THE PRIEST'S SIN


            Ver. 3, 4. If the priest that is anointed do sin according to the

                        sin of the people; then let him bring, for his sin which he hath

                        sinned, a young bullock without blemish unto the Lord for a

                        sin-offering. And he shall bring the bullock unto the door of

                        the tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord; and shall

                        lay his hand upon the bullock's head, and kill the bullock

                        before the Lord.


            The anointed priest must mean the High Priest, for he

only was anointed. In ver. 5, the Septuagint have so

understood it, for they give "o[ i[ereuj o[ Xristoj o[ teteleiw-

menoj." Now, the first case, is that of the anointed priest

sinning. " The law maketh men high priests that have

infirmity" (Heb. vii. 28). This sin the priest may have

committed in his public services, in the execution of his

office. Being invested with office, his sins are peculiarly

aggravated, and peculiarly dangerous--their effect upon

others may be incalculable. The words, "according to

the sin of the people" (MfAhA tmaw;xAl;) are more properly

rendered, "so as to cause the people to sin,"--he sins to

the sinning of the people. (Tou? ton laon a[martei?n.--Sep-

tuagint. "Delinquere faciens populum."--Vulg.) The Old

Testament ministry involved awful responsibilities, as well

as the New. The personal holiness of the priest is pro-

vided for by this consideration, that if he, because of de-

ficient wisdom, or because he had not faithfully sought  


THE SIN-OFFERING           CHAP. IV                   65


help from the sanctuary, were guilty of some mistake in

the service, or polluted some of the holy vessels, his sin

would injure thousands of souls. It might destroy the

comfort of thousands; it might misrepresent the way of

acceptance to thousands, and thereby ruin their souls.

It left the sanctuary-door open to Satan. And, on the

other hand, in such circumstances, surely the people would

learn to pray for the ministering priest, and to feel, that

after all, he was no more than an instrument used by

God for their sakes. There seems thus to have been, in

all ages, the flow of the same sympathies through Christ's

body, the Church. The Church has been ever "com-

pacted by that which every joint supplieth." But let us


            Hitherto we have seen atonement made by sacrifice,

but now we are to see imputation of sin. Atonement is

effected by imputation of sin to another. The priest's

sin is to be brought to the altar. He is to bring "a bul-

lock." This is the very same kind of offering as when the

whole congregation sin. As the most bulky and most

expensive form of sacrifice was the bullock, the priest

must take this form of sacrifice, in order to make more

obvious to the eye his concern for his sin. He spares no

cost in bringing his sin to the altar; and the people

learn from him to spare no cost in bringing their sins to

the atoning blood.

            The type, applied to our Surety, may be this—that  

when Christ, our Anointed Priest, took upon him our sin

as his own, he had to offer exactly what we would have

had to do ourselves, had we been reckoned with in our

own persons. If there be sin found upon the priest,

then his offering must be no less than the whole congre-



66                    THE SIN-OFFERING                       CHAP. IV


            Ver. 5, 6. And the priest that is anointed shall take of the bul-

                        lock's blood, and bring it to the tabernacle of the congrega-

                        tion. And the priest shall dip his finger in the blood, and

                        sprinkle of the blood seven times before the Lord, before the

                        veil of the sanctuary.


            The " seven times," throughout all Scripture, intimates

a perfect and complete action.* The blood is to be

thoroughly exhibited before the Lord--life openly exhi-

bited as taken to honour the law that had been violated.

It is not, at this time, taken within the veil, for that

would require the priest to enter the Holy of holies--a

thing permitted only once a year. But it is taken very

near the mercy-seat--it is taken "before the veil," while

the Lord, that dwelt between the cherubim, bent down

to listen to the cry that came up from the sin-atoning


            Was the blood sprinkled on the veil? Some say not,

but only on the floor, close to the veil. The floor of the

Holy Place was dyed in blood; a threshold of blood

was formed, over which the high priest must pass on the

day of atonement, when he entered into the Most Holy,

drawing aside the veil. It is blood that opens our way

into the presence of God; it is the voice of atoning blood

that prevails with him who dwells within. Others, how-

ever, with more probability, think the blood was sprink-

led on the veil.†  It might intimate that atonement was


            * The "seven times" of some passages, and the "once" of others (Heb. x.

10; 1 Pet. iii. 18), intimate the same thing, viz. so completely done that no

more is needed. It is the one action in seven parts, for the satisfaction of all

who see it done. And so the "One Spirit," and the "Seven Spirits." The

Pythagoreans learned from the Hebrews to account this number very important

in religious acts.

            † The Hebrew is doubtful tkerPA ynep; tx, is put at the close of the sentence.

Most probably it is so put, in order to define what "before the Lord" meant.

The Septuagint is "kata> to> katape<tasma." But Aben Ezra has tkrp lf hzy,

"he shall sprinkle on the veil."


THE SIN-OFFERING           CHAP. IV                   67


yet to rend that veil; and, as that beautiful veil repre-

sented the Saviour's holy humanity (Heb. x. 20), O

how expressive was the continual repetition of this

blood-sprinkling seven times! As often as the priest

offered a sin-offering, the veil was wet again with blood

which dropt on the floor. Is this Christ bathed in the

blood of atonement? Yes; "through that veil" the way

was opened to us--through the flesh of Jesus--through

the body that for us was drenched in the sweat of blood.


Ver. 7. And the priest shall put some of the blood upon the horns

of the altar of sweet incense before the Lord, which is in the

tabernacle of the congregation; and shall pour all the blood

of the bullock at the bottom of the altar of the burnt-offering,

which is at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.


The priest retires a few steps from before the veil.

Having gazed solemnly on the seven times sprinkled  

blood, in the light of the golden candlestick, he is

directed to another act. He is to approach the golden

altar-that altar whereon sweet incense was presented.

Incense, being fragrant, represented that which is pleasing,

and which has in it acceptability; and when offered

along with prayer, praise, or any feeling, of the soul,

exhibited a type of the merits of the Surety enveloping

his people's services. The horns of this altar (said to have

been of a pyramidical shape) represented the power and

strength that lay in this mode of approaching Jehovah.

The horn is the recognised symbol of power. Incense

ascending between the four horns was symbolical of

praise, prayer, or any service presented to God, ascend-

ing with all prevailing merit. And blood, placed on

these horns,* exhibited the strong appeal to God made


* There is no incense burnt on this altar on this occasion, "in order to teach

us," says an old writer, “not to confide in our prayers for pardon.”

68                    THE SIN-OFFERING                       CHAP. IV


by atonement. A strong appeal to God is made by the

blood thus placed on the horns of the golden altar. It

is like the voice in Rev. ix. 13.

We have seen that the priest first of all sprinkled the

blood on the floor, close to the veil, or on the veil, whence

it fell in drops to the ground, so that a cry was heard

ascending from the Holy Place itself. And then he

sprinkled it on the four horns of the altar of intercession,

that an appeal of unbroken strength might go up into the

ears of the Lord from the very place of strong crying.

He knew that it spoke better things than the blood of

Abel. When the anointed priest was thus engaged, was

he not a type of Jesus in the act of expiating his people's

guilt? Probably the priest knelt, and then prostrated

himself on the ground, as he sprinkled the blood before

the veil; and it would be with many tears, and strong

crying from the depths of his soul, that he touched the

altar's horns--a type of Jesus in the garden, when he

fell on his face, and, being in an agony, prayed more

earnestly, and "offered up supplications, with strong

crying and tears, to him that was able to save him from

death" (Heb. v. 7). Although in this case, the priest's

sense of guilt was personal, and therefore was deep and

piercing, yet when Jesus took on him our sins, he, too,

felt them, and felt them as if they had been his own. He

cried, "Mine iniquities have taken hold upon me!" (Ps.

xl. 12.) Identifying himself with us, his soul grieved

immeasurably for the sin he bore, and his tears dropt on

the awful burden which he took up, as sincerely as if it

had been altogether his own.

            At length the priest comes from the Holy Place--leaving

it, however, filled with the cry of blood--a cry for pardon!

--and proceeds to the altar of burnt-offering, directly


THE SIN-OFFERING           CHAP. IV                   69


opposite the door. There he pours out the rest of the

blood, at the foot of the altar,* his eye locking straight

toward the Holy Place. Within and without the Holy

Place, the voice of atonement was now heard ascending

from the blood. What a sermon was thus preached to

the people! Atonement is the essence of it--atonement

needed for even one sin, and applied as soon as the sin

was known. There is no trifling with God. What a

ransom for the soul is given!--life--the life of the Seed

of the Woman! What care to present it--what earnest-

ness! The Holy Place is filled with its cry, and the courts           

without also; and the priest's soul is intently engaged in

this one awful matter! The people, perceiving the whole

transaction, must have felt it singularly powerful, first, for

conviction--Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and

yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all" (James ii. 10);

and, secondly, for invitation—“To-day, if ye will hear

his voice, harden not your hearts."


Ver. 8-10. And he shall take of from it all the fat of the

bullock for the sin-offering; the fat that covereth the inwards,

and all the fat that is upon the inwards, and the two kidneys,

and the fat that is upon them, which is by the flanks, and the

caul above the liver, with the kidneys, it shall he take away,

as it was taken of from the bullock of the sacrifice of peace-

offerings; and the priest shall burn them upon the altar of the



The same ceremonies as were used in the peace-offer-

ings are intentionally introduced here (see iii. 10). The

object seems to be, to shew the offerer that he is now

accepted. It is not in vain that he has sprinkled the

blood on the floor of the Holy Place and its altar of incense,

and poured out what of the blood remained, in sight of


* It is said, that in Jerusalem, there was an underground canal at the altar

in the temple, by which the blood was carried off to the brook Cedron.--Patrick.


70                    THE SIN-OFFERING                       CHAP. IV


all the people. God gives this sign of reconciliation, viz.

at this stage of his offering, the sacrifice is treated as a  

peace-offering. The voice of peace now breathes over the

sacrifice, and through the courts, as much as if a voice had

said, "It is a savour of rest."


Ver. 11, 12. And the skin of the bullock, and all his flesh, with

his head, and with his legs, and his inwards, and his dung,

even the whole bullock shall he carry forth without the camp

unto a clean place, where the ashes are poured out, and burn

him on the wood with fire: where the ashes are poured out

shall he be burnt.


But that the priest, and all present, might go home

with an awful conviction of the heinousness even of for-

given sin, other things remained to be done. We are not

to forget sin, because it has been atoned for; and we are

not to think lightly of sin, because it is washed away.

Our God wishes his people to retain a deep and lively

sense of their guilt, even when forgiven. Hence the con- 

cluding ceremonies in the case of the priest's sin.

The very skin of the bullock is to be burnt--thus

expressing more complete destruction than even in the

case of the whole burnt-offering. Here is the holy law

exacting the last mite; for the skin is taken, and the

whole flesh, the head and legs (i. 8), the intestines, and the

very dung--"even the whole bullock!" Unsparing justice,

that is, unspotted justice! And yet more. As if the

altar were too near God's presence to express fully that

part of the sinner's desert which consists in suffering

torment far off from God, all this is to be done "without

the camp"--a distance, it is calculated, of four miles from

the Holy Place. In all sacrifices, indeed, this separation

from God is represented in some degree by the ashes

being carried away out of the camp; but, to call attention


THE SIN-OFFERING           CHAP. IV                   71


still more to this special truth, we are here shewn the

bullock burnt on the wood, "without the camp, where the

ashes were wont to be poured out." It was over the very

ashes that lay poured out there; for, in the last clause of

the verse, the preposition lfa is used. "The clean place"

is defined to be this place of ashes. It was clean, because,

when reduced to ashes by consuming fire, all guilt was

away from the victim, as intimated in Ps. xx. 3, "Let him

turn thy burnt-sacrifice to ashes" (hn,w.;day;), the word used

here also.

At this part of the ceremonies, there was meant to be

exhibited a type of hell. This burning afar off, away

from the Holy Place, yet seen by the whole congregation,

was a terrible glance at that truth--"They shall be tor-

mented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the

holy angels, and in presence of the Lamb; and the smoke

of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever" (Rev.

xiv. 10).

It is plain, also, that God took the opportunity which

this offering afforded, or rather shaped this part of the

rites belonging to the offering, in order to shew somewhat

more of Christ's death.

In every sacrifice which was of a public nature, or for

a public person, the animal was carried without the camp,

as we may see in chap. xvi. 27, on the day of atonement.

The reason of this was that, in these cases, Christ's public

sacrifice, as offered to the whole world, and every creature,

and as fulfilling the law's demands to the last mite, was

to be especially prefigured. It is carried "without the

camp," as Jesus was crucified outside of the gates of

Jerusalem (Heb. xiii. 12), that it might be in sight of all

the camp, as Christ's one offering is held up to all the

world, to be used by whosoever will. Next, suffering far


72                    THE SIN-OFFERING                       CHAP. IV


off from the Holy Place, with his Father's face hidden,

and all the fire of wrath in his soul and on his body, Jesus

farther fulfilled this type in regard to the entire satisfaction 

demanded by the law. And, inasmuch as he suffered at

Jerusalem, where the ashes of the sacrifices were poured

out, he may be said to have fulfilled the type of the "clean

place." For we see him, over these remnants of typical

sacrfrice, offering up the one true and perfect offering.

But it was Calvary that was specially a "place of ashes,"

inasmuch as there the demands of justice were wont to

be satisfied, and the bones of victims to human law cast

out. Joseph's new tomb, hewn out of the very rock of

Calvary, is the exact counterpart to the "clean place,"

at the very spot where the ashes of so many dead men

were to be found all around.

What a view of hell does the suffering Saviour

give! The face-covering between him and his Father-

the criminal's veil hung over him for three hours, the

three hours of darkness--away from the Holy Place--

driven from the mercy-seat, and beyond the bounds of

the holy city--an outcast, a forsaken soul, a spectacle to

all that passed by--wrath to the uttermost within, and

his person, even to the eye, more marred than any man,

while his cry, "My God! my God! why hast thou for--

saken me?" ascended up as the smoke of the sacrifice, to

heaven, shewing the heat of the unutterable agony, and

testifying the unswerving exactness of the holy law.

What a contrast to his Coming again without sin, and

entering Jerusalem again with the voice of the archangel,

in all his glory, bringing with him those whom he

redeemed by that death on Calvary!

In one respect his people are to imitate the view of

him shewn in this type. As he went forth to witness for


THE SIN-OFFERING           CHAP. IV                   73


God's holy law--went forth without the gate, a spectacle

to all the earth; so they, redeemed by him, are to go

forth to witness of that death and redemption which he

has accomplished (Heb. xiii. 12). We are to "go forth

unto him;" we are to be constantly, as it were, viewing

that spectacle of united love and justice, looking to his

cross; though in so doing we make ourselves objects of

amazement and contempt to the world, who contemn those

whom they see going forth to stand by the side of the

Crucified One.




Ver. 13. And if the whole congregation of Israel sin through

ignorance, and the thing be hid from the eyes of the assembly,

and they have done somewhat against any of the command-

ments of the Lord, concerning things which should not be done,

and are guilty;--


The moral law was sometimes broken by the nation at

large; as in the matter of the golden calf, and the mur-

muring at the report of the spies. It is thought by Rashi   

that a sin like this occurred when "the Sanhedrim did       

not instruct, the people in regard to some ceremonial

observance." Admitting that such cases occurred, yet it

is important to notice, that even if the people were led

into sin by their priest, they are not excused: they are

guilty, and suffer the consequences." The prophet Hosea

(iv. 6-9) shews that people are not freed from sin or

punishment in such cases.

This, however, is but one way whereby the congrega-

tion are led into sin. Often it happened that a man made

little use of his knowledge, and so ate holy things, as we


* The proper rendering of "are guilty," UmwexA, is, in this place, "are suffer-

ing the penalty." As in Ps. xxxiv. 21, 22, "shall be desolate;" and Isa.

xxiv. 6.


74                    THE SIN-OFFERING                       CHAP. IV


find, chap. xxii. 14; and the whole people, in 1 Sam. xiv.

33, ate of the blood. Though they had not despised the

priest, nor refused the law at his lips, yet they might let

the word slip from their mind; as in Heb. ii. 1, we are

told may still occur.

We all know that it is possible for a child of God to be

cherishing unawares some idol, or indulging, like Eli, a

too easy temper. Or he may be rash in his words, and

frowning in his looks, where Jesus would only have looked

on in grief. He may be cherishing pride like Hezekiah

(Isa. xxxix.), or exhibiting blind zeal as the sons of Zebe-

dee. He may be unawares substituting labour for fellow-

ship with God, working without love, and suffering without

faith in exercise. Prejudice against particular doctrines  

may be his secret sin; or wrong motives may be in-

fluencing him to do right actions. He may contrive to

retain the look of greenness when the sap is gone. Even

a whole community of believers may be pervaded by some

such sin.

But more specially, a whole church may be in the state

of the congregation referred to here.  It may be deny-     

ing some great truth in theory or in practice. Thus, it

may make light of the duty which kings and magistrates

owe to Christ; as is done by some churches. It may be

suffering "that woman Jezebel to teach and to seduce"

(Rev. ii. 20). It may be admitting some civil element

into the management of its spiritual affairs, as is done in

many Protestant Churches. It may be shutting its eyes

to some great truth, or winking at some heresy. It may

teach error in doctrine; or it may have left its first love.

It may have allowed discipline to have become lax and

corrupt, as, alas! is too generally true of all the Churches

of the Reformation.


THE SIN-OFFERING           CHAP. IV                   75


These secret sins may be keeping God from blessing

the whole people, though he blesses individuals. Some-

where amid these sources is to be found the origin of much

of our inefficiency and unprofitableness. Ai cannot be

taken because of the accursed thing in the camp. The

mariners cannot make out the voyage to Tarshish with

Jonah on board.

Israel was thus led to constant self-examination and

close attention to the revealed will of God.


Ver. 14. When the sin, which they have sinned against it, is known,

then the congregation shall offer a young bullock for the sin,

and bring hint before the tabernacle of the congregation.


Their offering is the same as the priest's, because of

their mutual relation. The people's sin is not overlooked,

but is judged with as much severity as the priest's. Every

man must bear his own burden; and God is jealously



Ver. 15. And the elders of the congregation shall lay their hands

upon the head of the bullock before the Lord; and the bullock

shall be killed before the Lord.


The elders, in the name of the people, convey the guilt

of the people to the head of the victim. It was this class

of men--the elders--that put Jesus to death, with the

priests. Now here we see that their act was a national

act--strictly national--since they were representatives of

all Israel. And their cry, "His blood be on us," joining

with the multitude, was a national rejection of Jesus.

Ah, had they then joined to put their hands on him as

the acknowledged sacrifice, they might have remained to

this day!

            The guilt of the whole people was thus made to meet

in one point, viz. on the bullock. It is to a scene like


76                    THE SIN-OFFERING                       CHAP. IV


this that Isaiah (liii. 6) refers--" The Lord made the

iniquity of us all to meet on him" (Ob faygp;hi).


Ver. 16-20. And the priest that is anointed shall bring of the

bullock's blood to the tabernacle of the congregation; and the

priest shall dip his finger in some of the blood, and sprinkle

it seven times before the Lord, even before the veil. And

he shall put some of the blood upon the horns of the altar

which is before the Lord, that is in the tabernacle of the con-

gregation, and shall pour out all the blood at the bottom of

the altar of the burnt-offering, which is at the door of the

tabernacle of the congregation. And he shall take all his

fat from him, and burn it upon the altar. And he shall do

with the bullock as he did with the bullock for a sin-offering,

so shall he do with this: and the priest shall make an atone-

ment for them, and it shall be forgiven them.


The expression, ver. 20, is to be understood, "He shall

do in this case as he has done already," in the case of a

bullock for sin-offering, viz. ver. 3. The declaration, "It

shall be forgiven," seems inserted here because otherwise

there is not here, as in the last case, any particular exhi-

bition of peace, as in ver. 8-10. This declaration, there-  

fore, is made, that pardon may be assuredly known.


Ver. 21. And he shall carry forth the bullock without the camp,

and burn him as he burned the first bullock: it is a sin-offering

for the congregation.


It is remarkable, that after the declaration of forgive-

ness, these other ceremonies take place. They are in-

tended, no doubt, to impress a horror of sin on the soul,

even after it is forgiven. The forgiven man is most capa-

ble of seeing the horror of sin ; and therefore the people

are first pardoned, and then led out to see the last mite

exacted without the camp. See the same order observed,

and for the same reason, we suppose, at ver. 11, 12.

None but a pardoned man could have uttered Paul's cry,


THE SIN-OFFERING           CHAP. IV                   77


“0 wretched man that I am; who shall deliver me from

the body of this death?" (Rom. vii. 24.)

The identity of Christ and his people, also, is taught

by their offering being burnt exactly in all respects as the

priest's, whose offering more especially typified Jesus.




Ver. 22, 23. When a ruler hath sinned, and done somewhat

through ignorance against any of the commandments of the

Lord his God, concerning things which should not be done,

and is guilty; or if his sin, wherein he bath sinned, come to

his knowledge; he shall bring his offering, a kid of the goats,

a male without blemish.


If a ruler has sinned. . . . and is suffering the penalty,"

as in ver. 13. The ruler may sin ignorantly, and be led

to know his sin by some suffring, like Abimelech, in Gen.

xx. 3-17; or it might be by some friend's reproof, or by

new circumstances occurring. So ver. 27.

The ruler is such a one as those princes (MyxiWin;) of the

tribes in Numb. vii. It includes all civil magistrates. His

high responsibility is here shewn just as in Prov. xxix.

12, "If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants will be


It is said, "The Lord his God;" as if to call attention

to the duty of publicly recognising the Lord, and of rulers

having the Lord as their own God. A ruler is specially

bound to be a man of God. This is taken for granted

here, "The Lord his God." No casting off of Messiah's

cords here. He that ruleth over men must be as the Just

One, "ruling in the fear of God."

A kid of the goats" is his sin-offering. It is a differ-

ent victim from that offered by the priest or congregation,

in order to shew that God definitely marks sin. And yet

still the essence of atonement is the same, the blood of a



78                    THE SIN-OFFERING                       CHAP. IV


victim that dies. Priest or prince must alike be atoned

for by blood. The "male without blemish" is the spot-      

less Saviour, the Son of man.


Ver. 24, 25. And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the

goat, and kill it in the place where they kill the burnt-offering

before the Lord: it is a sin-offering. And the priest shall

take of the blood of the sin-offering with his finger, and put it

upon the horns of the altar of burnt-offering, and shall pour

out his blood at the bottom of the altar of burnt-offering.


It seems intentionally twice stated here, that the altar

of burnt-offering was to be the place where his sin-

offering was to be presented;--it is to be killed where

the usual sacrifices for that altar are killed, and its blood

is to be sprinkled there. The reason may be this:--

The altar of incense in the Holy Place was peculiarly the

scene of the priest's intercession, and of the people's

prayers as a congregation. The sins in holy things

pointed inward, toward the Holy Place. On the other

hand, a ruler's sins pointed toward the camp. Hence,

the blood that atones for his sin is sprinkled on the horns

of that altar where it would be publicly observed. The

cry of the blood on the four horns,--the strong cry,

based on all prevailing atonement,--was to ascend within

hearing, as it were, of all his subjects, inasmuch as his

sins affected the welfare of the nation.


Ver. 26. And he shall burn all his fat upon the altar, as the

fat of the sacrifice of peace-offerings: and the priest shall

make an atonement for him as concerning his sin, and it shall

be forgiven him.


The last clause may be intended to draw attention to

the fact, that in this instance the atonement is because of

this particular sin, and not simply because he is a sinner


THE SIN-OFFERING           CHAP. IV                   79


in nature and by common actual transgressions. The

opportunity is here embraced of impressing on us the

need of atonement for particular sins,--for every sin by  

itself; and for those little-regarded sins which we apolo-

gise for by saying, "I did not know of it." Jonathan's

sin in taking a little honey (1 Sam. xiv. 39, 43), and

Abimelech's sin (Gen. xx. 6), shew how jealous God is

of even what appears sin, especially in public persons.




Ver. 27, 28. And if any one of the common people sin through

ignorance, while he doeth somewhat against any of the com-

mandments of the Lord, concerning things which ought not to

be done, and be guilty, (see ver. 13); or if his sin, which he

hath sinned, come to his knowledge: then he shall bring his

offering, a kid of the goats, a female without blemish, for his

sin which he hath sinned.


“A female" is here offered. Each kind of sin is thus

definitely noticed, and each sinner's case treated by itself.

But why is it a female, since Christ is typified by these

offerings?--It is not easy to say. Perhaps it was intended

by God, that by occasionally taking female sacrifices;

Israel should be kept from ever once supposing that atone-

ment was not intended equally for the daughters of Zion.

The circumstance that a female kid is here fixed upon

served to take off the impression that the male intimated

only the atonement of the men of Israel. Though, how-

ever, its being male or female is of use for other lessons,

it is not the chief point to be noticed; the point to be

observed is, that the blood is an atonement. The sub-

sidiary ideas are not to be dwelt upon always; but every-

where the principle of atonement by blood is to be kept in

the sinner's view.


"For his sin which he hath sinned." Lest the man

80                    THE SIN-OFFERING                       CHAP. IV


should think that the sin was trifling, because he was a

common man, and not a ruler, this emphatic notice is

taken of his sin:--


Ver. 29-31. And he shall lay his hand upon the head of

the sin-offering, and slay the sin-offering in the place of the

burnt-offering. And the priest shall take of the blood thereof,

with his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altar of

burnt-offering, and shall pour out all the blood thereof at the

bottom of the altar. And he shall take away all the fat

thereof, as the fat is taken away from off the sacrifice of peace-

oferings; and the priest shall burn it upon the altar for a

sweet savour unto the Lord; and the priest shall make an

atonement for him, and it shall be, forgiven him.


The clause, "for a sweet savour unto the Lord," occurs

here, though omitted in the three preceding cases. The

reason may be to shew the worshipper, that though he

was a common man, and not a ruler, yet still as much

attention is paid to him as to the others. The offering

which he presents is a sweet savour, as much as Noah's.

The full acceptance and full favour shewn to every

believer alike is immeasurably sweet. One family! all

alike accepted! and all alike kept as the apple of his eye!

And thus this sin, that unawares was troubling him, is

away. And when even one sin, and that a sin of igno-        

rance, is completely removed, who can tell how much

light may flow into our now cleansed souls? A new

window is opened,--a new eye--when the scale has fallen

from it.


Ver. 32-34. And if he bring a lamb for a sin-offering, he

shall bring it a female without blemish. And he shall lay

his hand upon the head of the sin-offering, and slay it for a

sin-offering in the place where they kill the burnt-offering.

And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin-offering with

his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt-



THE SIN-OFFERING           CHAP. IV                   81


offering, and shall pour out all the blood thereof at the bottom

of the altar.


It might sometimes not be easy to bring a kid. If so,

let a lamb be taken. Only, blood must be shed. The

poor man's lamb is specially noticed and fully received as

the richer man's offering. "Like precious faith" is the

common property of all God's family--"One Lord, one



Ver. 35. And he shall take away all the fat thereof, as the fat

of the lamb is taken away from the sacrifice of the peace-offer-

ings; and the priest shall burn them upon the altar, according

to the offerings made by fire unto the Lord: and the priest

shall make an atonement for his sin that he hath committed,

and it shall be forgiven him.


The expression, "according to the offerings made by

fire," should be "in addition to (lfa) the offerings,"--the

daily sacrifice, morning and evening,--or, "upon the

offerings," i.e. over the very, remnants of the daily

sacrifice. It is exactly like chap. iii. 5. We are there

taught that particular sins must be cast upon the one

great Atonement; and the cases that occur in this chapter

of special guilt are just specific applications of the great

truth taught in the daily sacrifice.

Israel was taught that their different offerings were

all of one nature in the main with the general burnt-

offering;--one Saviour only was prefigured, and one

atonement. These sin-offerings, presented "upon the

daily sacrifice," resemble tributary streams pouring in

their waters into one great ocean. "Christ once suffered

for sins, the Just for the unjust, to bring us unto God"

(1 Pet. iii. 18).*  0 how anxious is our God to purge


* In Numb. xxii. 26, another direction is given, viz. in a case where the

nation had for a time forsaken the law of Moses. This happened under several


82                    THE SIN-OFFERING                       CHAP. IV


us from every stain! The priest's hyssop is introduced

into every corner of the building, that we may be alto-

gether pure. Well may we join the seraphim in their

song, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts."

Some have regarded the offences for which satisfaction

is made in this chapter as offences of a national kind-

offences against the Theocracy, by which an Israelite for-

feited the favour of Jehovah as his Theocratic Ruler, and

was for a time cut off from his protection. Even when

taken in this limited view, how significant are the sacri-

feces! The offender comes confessing his sin, and bringing

a victim to suffer in his stead. The animal is slain in his

room; the man is forgiven, and retains his standing as a

protected Israelite--remaining under the shadow of the

Guardian Cloud. The sacrifice never failed to produce

this effect; but nothing else than the sacrifice ever did--

"Without shedding of blood there is no remission." This

principle of the Divine government was engraven on the

hearts of Israel, viz. whosoever is pardoned any offence

must be pardoned by means of another's death. "The

great multitude" of the saved are all pardoned by one

of infinite worth having died for them all (see 2 Cor.

v. 14).


idolatrous kings, such as Manasseh. Ignorance became the sin of the next

generation. Perhaps, Josiah's alarm at the hearing of the law found in the

temple is the kind of case there intended. In ver. 27-29, individuals are taught

to seek personal pardon besides.










"Brethren, if a man be overtaken* in a fault, ye which are spiritual,

restore such an one in the spirit of meekness."--Gal. vi. 3


Ver. 1. And if a soul sin, and hear the voice of swearing, and

is a witness, whether he hath seen or known of it; if he do

not utter it, then he shall bear his iniquity.


THE meaning is, "If a person sin in this respect," viz.

that he hear the oath of adjuration administered by the

judge, and is able to tell, having either seen or otherwise

known the matter about which he is to testify: if such a

man do not tell all he knows, he shall be reckoned guilty

of a sin.

"The voice of swearing" undoubtedly means here the

adjuration of a judge to a prisoner. The term (hlAxA)

employed here is the same as that used in 1 Sam. xiv. 24,

"Saul had adjured the people;" and in 1 Kings viii.

31, "If an adjuration be laid upon him," adjuring him to

speak out the truth; and Judges xvii. 2, "The eleven

hundred shekels of silver that were taken from thee,

about which thou didst adjure;" and Prov. xxix. 24, "He

heareth an adjuration, and yet telleth not," The judge,

in a court of justice, was permitted to elicit information


*"Overtaken," is prolhfq^, hurried into sin ere he is well aware

(Bretsehneider). "Fault," is paraptwma, transgression, sin.



84                    SINS OF INADVERTENCY             CHAP. V


from the witness by solemnly charging him to answer and

tell all he knew, under penalty of a curse from God, if he

did not reveal the whole truth. It was in those circum-

stances that our Lord was placed before the High Priest

(Matt. xxvi. 63). He was then, surely, in the depths of

humiliation! For now he is called upon, under threaten-

ing of the curse of his own Father, to break that strange

silence, and tell all he knows--"I adjure thee by the living

God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son

of God.” And then it was that the Lamb of God no

longer kept himself dumb; but, bowing to the solemn

force of this adjuration, shewed the same meekness in

replying as before he had done in keeping silence. From

the depth of his humiliation he pointed upward to the

throne, and declared himself Son of God, and Judge of

quick and dead.

The sins mentioned in this chapter are chiefly sins

arising from negligence--sins which might have been

avoided, had the person been more careful.

The case of the witness, in ver. 1, is one where the

person omitted to tell particulars which he could have

told, or else, through carelessness, mis-stated some things.

Let us learn the breadth of God's holy law! Not a tittle.

fails. Let us learn the Holy Spirit's keen observation of

sin in us. Let us learn to be jealous over ourselves, and

seek to be of "quick discernment in the fear of the

Lord." Much sin is committed by omissions. Duties

partially done have in them the guilt of Ananias and



Ver. 2. Or if a soul touch any unclean thing, whether it be a

carcase of art unclean beast, or a carcase of unclean cattle, or

the carcase of unclean creeping things, and if it be hidden

from him; he also shall be unclean, and guilty.


SINS OF INADVERTENCY CHAP. V                    85


These, as well as ver. 3, are cases where others could

see the pollution, though the man himself might be

unaware of it at the time. They were, therefore, cases of

a public injury in some degree. Through inadvertency a

man might touch a carcase* of an unclean "beast" (hY.AHa),

the term used for the sort of animals most commonly met

with in every-day work. These are noticed first, as it

was most likely they would oftenest meet with them.

Then "cattle" in the fields or forests. Lastly, "creeping

things," such as the weasel, the mouse, or the lizard (xi.

30). Thus there is a gradation, greater, middle, and

smallest; as if to say to us, that any degree of pollution

is offensive to a pure and holy God. A true Israelite

ought to keep completely free from all that defiles, how-

ever trifling, in the eye of the world. Whatever sin God's

eye resteth on, that is the sin which the man of God

abhors. The man after God's own heart prays, "Cleanse

thou me from secret faults" (Ps. xix. 12). And, in refer-

ence to its being "hidden," yet still chargeable upon the

sinner, he exclaims, "Thou hast set our iniquities before

thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance" (Ps.

xc. 8).

Here, too, we learn that "sin is the transgression of

the law" (1 John iii. 4). It is not merely when we act

contrary to the dictates of conscience that we sin; we may

often be sinning when conscience never upbraids us. The

most part of a sinner's life is spent without any check on

the part of conscience--that being dead and corrupt, fallen

and depraved, responding to the man's lusts, rather than

to the will of God. Hence it is said here, that though


* Were dead bodies reckoned unclean on the ground that they are the fruit

of sin? The sting of death is, as it were, sunk into them; and so sin is proved to

be there.


86        SINS OF INADVERTENCY             CHAP. V


“it be hidden from him,” he shall be unclean. He is

guilty, though his conscience did not warn him of the

guilt contracted.

Awful truth! We know not what we do! When the

Book is opened and read, what a record of unfelt guilt!

"Had they known, they would not have crucified the

Lord of glory;" but yet their act was the blackest of

sins. Who can tell what pages there may be in the Book

of Remembrance?*


Ver. 3. Or if he touch the uncleanness of man, whatsoever unclean-

ness it be that a man shall be defiled withal, and it be hid

from him; when he knoweth of it, then he shall be guilty.


This last clause is equivalent to "If it be hid from him,

though he afterward come to know it." "The unclean-

ness of a man" is such as the leprosy or a running issue


Again the lesson is enforced, that unconscious as our

depraved souls may be of the presence of sin, sin may

have polluted us, and separated between us and God. We

are guarded against the deceitfulness of sin. We need to

be told of sin by others. Our coming afterwards to know

our sin, may often be by means of our brethren's reproofs,

and their quicker discernment of evil. Hence it is written,

“Exhort one another daily, while it is called To-day, lest

any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin”

(Heb. iii. 13).


Ver. 4. Or if a soul swear, pronouncing with his lips to do evil,

or to do good, whatsoever it be that a man shall pronounce

with an oath, and it be hid from him; when he knoweth of it,

then he shall be guilty in one of these.


* Francis Quarles truly, though quaintly, says of a sin of ignorance,--

"It is a hideous mist that wets amain,

Though it appear not in the form of rain."


SINS OF INADVERTENCY             CHAP. V        87


More literally, "If a person swear; blabbing with his

lips"--rashly uttering his vow. The careless way of

doing even what is right is here condemned. Incon-

siderateness is a heinous crime, for the man is appealing

to God; and especially so when the thing vowed is evil.

The case of man inadvertently swearing to do evil, is a

case like Jephthah's. Jephthah meant good, but it turned

out to be evil of a flagrant nature. The clause, "And it

be hid from him," is equivalent to "And did not rightly

understand the thing about which he swore." There is a

solemn lesson taught us in regard to the mode of doing

even right things. Approach the Holy One with fear

and reverence. But alas! how plentiful is the flow of

hidden sin committed in our dedications to God, or in

resolutions to be his, expressed to him in prayer and

praise. Even in saying or writing "God willing" (D.V.),

this secret sin may be oftentimes chargeable upon our

unconscious souls.

"In one of these," i.e. any of the cases mentioned--the

adjuration; touching the dead body, or other uncleanness;

and rash vows.


Ver. 5, 6. And it shall be, when he shall be guilty in one of

these things, that he shall confess that he bath sinned in that

thing. And he shall bring his trespass-offering unto the Lord, 

for his sin which he hath sinned, a female from the flock, a

lamb, or a kid of the goats, for a sin-offering; and the priest

                        shall make an atonement for him concerning his sin.


The first thing that strikes us here as very noticeable

is the injunction, "He shall confess that he hath sinned."

Abarbinel, on the sixteenth chapter, says, that confession

necessarily accompanied every sacrifice for sin. But we

have not met this duty before, in the express form of a

command, because hitherto the sins brought to the altar


88                    SINS OF INADVERTENCY             CHAP. V


were open and admitted sins.* But here the sins are

"hidden;" and therefore the offerer must openly confess

them, that so God may be honoured--"That thou mightest

be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou

judgest" (Psalm li. 4). This is the end of confession;

it vindicates God, proclaiming him just in the penalty he

inflicts. We see this in Achan's case, when Joshua said,

"My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the Lord God of

Israel, and make confession unto him, and tell me now

what thou hast done; hide it not from me" (Josh. vii.

19). It is thus that, when we truly confess, we become

witnesses for God--we testify that we have come to see

the sin and its evil, which he declared that his pure eye

saw. The original uses a word for confess, which in

another form means to praise (hDAvat;hi and hdAOh); and

in the New Testament as well as the Old, the two acts

are often reckoned the same.† The tribute to the holiness

of the Lord, paid in confession, is praise to his name.

We decrease; he increases.

"He shall bring his trespass-offering." Some suppose

that there were on this occasion, first the trespass-offer-

ing, and then a sin-offering. But not so: it ought to be

rendered, "He shall bring his offering;" the word MwAxA

being used not as a specific term, but as a general term

for any offering on account of sin. And it is thus that it

is used by Isaiah (liii. 10), "When. thou shalt make his

soul an offering for sin" (Owp;na MwAxA MywitA).

The offering is to be "a female from the flock." It


* There is no doubt but that the laying on of the hand on the animal's head

involved confession of sin. So common was confession, that John the Baptist's

practice of insisting on confession of sin from all that came to his baptism excited

no opposition. They were thus naturally led to understand what he meant by

telling them to lay their sins on the "Coming one."

† See the same use of e]comologou?mai.


SINS OF INADVERTENCY             CHAP. V                    89


is a less glaring sin than some others, such as chap. iv.

1-27, and therefore a female, and a young one, is taken.

And either a female kid, or a female lamb, may be chosen;

the object being to fix the offerer's attention upon the

blood shed for his sin, and not upon any quality in the

victim, as might have been the result, had only, the lamb

been allowed. His sin and its atonement is all that must

engage the offerer.


Ver. 7. And if he be not able to bring a lamb, then he shall bring,

for his trespass which he hath committed, two turtle-doves, or

two young pigeons, unto the Lord; one for a sin-offering, and

the other for a burnt-offering.


Here, again, we see the God of Israel manifesting

himself to be that very Saviour who "preached glad

tidings to the poor." The two doves are allowed for

their sake.

But why two? Is this not equivalent to an intima-

tion that one turtle-dove or pigeon would not represent

the Saviour? Is this not attaching importance to the

mere material of the sacrifice? The answer to these

questions leads us to a very interesting view of the

Lord's tender regard to the feelings of the poor of his


There is no importance attached to the mere number,

considered in itself; for in chap. i. 15, there was only

one turtle-dove sacrificed; and it was sufficient as a

type, and equivalent to the one bullock or lamb. But

here and elsewhere, where two doves are offered, there is

a special reason why two are chosen. The one is always

for a sin-offering, and the other for a burnt-offering.

Now, in the sin-offering, when it was a lamb or the like,

there were portions left for the use of the priest, after

the sacrifice was offered; and these portions, received


90                    SINS OF INADVERTENCY             CHAP. V


and feasted on by the priest, were equivalent to a declar-

ation of the complete removal of the sin, since the priest

himself could thus fearlessly use them. But there was

no room for this being done when a turtle-dove was

offered. There were no portions for the priest to feast

upon. Hence, in order that the poor worshipper might

not lose this consoling part of the type, he is told to offer

a second turtle-dove as a burnt-offering. And in this

latter offering, the Lord himself directly receives all, and

pronounces all to be a "sweet savour" (chap. i. 17); so

that the poor saint gets even a more hearty assurance of

his offering being accepted, than does another who only

gets this assurance by means of the priest's receiving his

portion to feast upon, and seeing the priest's household

feast thereon.


Ver. 8, 9. And he shall bring them unto the priest, who shall offer that

which is for the sin-offering first, and wring off his head front

his neck, but shall not divide it asunder. And he shall sprinkle

of the blood of the sin-offering upon the side of the altar; and

the rest of the blood shall be wrung out at the bottom of the



There is some difference in the ceremony, observed

here in slaying the turtle-dove from that of chap. i. 14.

The head is to be wrung off, yet so as not to separate it

from the body. It would hang down upon the lifeless

body, the blood also dropping upon its white clean

plumage. Was it meant to be a type of Jesus bowing

his head as he gave up the ghost? His head, bleeding

with the thorns that had crowned him, dropped upon his

bosom as the sting of death entered his holy frame.

There may be a farther type. The Passover lamb, of

which not a bone was broken, prefigured Jesus as one

not a bone of whose body should be broken;" and yet,


SINS OF INADVERTENCY             CHAP. V                    91


at the same time, it prefigured the complete keeping and

safety of Christ's body the Church; as it is written, in

Psalm xxxiv. 20, "He keepeth all his bones; not one of

them is broken." So also here; the bowing of the

Saviour's head seems prefigured--not too small a circum-

stance for an Evangelist to record, and for the Father to

remember, regarding the well-beloved Son; but there

may also be herein a type of the glorious truth, that

Christ and his body the Church cannot be separated.

The head and the body must be left undivided.

In chapter i. 15, there is no mention of the sprinkling

of any of the blood upon the altar. But here some of

it is first sprinkled on the side of the altar, then the rest

wrung out at the bottom. The sprinkling on the altar's

side was quite sufficient to declare life taken; and as the

second dove would have its blood wrung out over the side

of the altar, there was a fitness in making this difference.

At the same time, it chews us how sprinkling a part or

pouring out the whole, express equally the same truth;

just as in baptism, the symbol is equally significant,

whether the water be sprinkled on the person or the

person plunged into the water.


Ver. 10. And he shall offer the second for a burnt-ofering, accord-

ing to the manner; and the priest shall make an atonement

                        for him, for his sin which he hath sinned, and it shall be for-

given him.


"Thus shall the priest make an atonement for him

[cleansing him] from the sin which he hath sinned."*

The poor saint has full and ample testimony given to the

completeness of his offering. The one great ocean

Christ ONCE suffered"--"one sacrifice " (Heb. x. 12)


* This seems to be the force of OtxF.AHame here and ver. 6. It is a constructio

praegnans, as in ver. 16, Nmi xFHA.


92                    SINS OF INADVERTENCY             CHAP. V


makes the bullock appear as insignificant as the turtle-

dove. The waves of the sea cover every shallow pool.


Ver. 11. But if he be not able to bring two turtle-doves, or two

young pigeons; then he that sinned shall bring for his offering

the tenth part of an ephah of fine four for a sin-offering: he

shall put no oil upon it, neither shall he put any frankincense

thereon; for it is a sin-offering.


The Lord descends even to the poorest of all, those

who had no lamb to spare. He provides for the Lazaruses

of Israel, and the widows who have but two mites remain-

ing, in the very spirit of love wherein Jesus spoke of them.

It is Jesus who, as Jehovah, arranges these types for the

comfort of his afflicted people.

The burnt-offering was never allowed to be of any

inanimate thing. For in that great type of the Saviour,

blood must flow. It must exhibit life taken, and the

sentence, "Thou shall surely die," executed. The sacri-

fice which was the groundwork of all the rest must exhibit

death. But this point being settled and established, any

danger of misapprehension is removed. Whatever may

afterwards be the varieties permitted in the forms of

offering, yet at the threshold the necessity for the shedding,

of blood in order to remission must be declared and tes-

tified (Heb. ix. 22). But now there is here a permission

granted--a permission which cannot be misunderstood,

since its application is limited to this one particular class

of persons, and for special reasons--a permission to bring

an offering of fine four, when the man is too poor to

bring two turtle-doves or young pigeons. This meat-

offering is expressly spoken of as not the strict and proper

offering, but merely a substitute for that better kind.


* Socinians in vain try to make a handle of this case; for if ever there

was an instance where it could be said, "Exceptio probat regulam," it is here.


SINS OF INADVERTENCY             CHAP. V                    93


And, as remarked by Magee, the poor man would look

forward to the day of atonement to complete what this

was a substitute for, He is then to take a handful of the

fine wheat of the land of his Israel. A few ears of the

wheat of that land would furnish enough; and every Israel-

ite had some family inheritance. An omer, or the tenth

part of an ephah, is the quantity; just the very quantity

of manna that sufficed for each day's support. Probably

the poor man, who needed to bring his offering for a sin

committed, was thus taught to give up just his food for

that day--fasting before the Lord.

As in the Jealousy-offering (Numb. v.), no oil or frank-

incense must be put upon it; for the very intention of it

is to present to the Lord the person and substance of the-

offerer (see chap. ii. 1) as altogether defiled--a mass of


No doubt this new kind of sin-offering is intentionally

permitted, in order to shew some things that the animal

sacrifice could not have shewn forth. It exhibits not the

soul only (that is taken for granted when the body and

substance are devoted), but all that belongs to the person

--his body and his property--as needing to be redeemed

by sacrifice, since it has become polluted. All is forfeited

--no frankincense of sweet savour on it, no oil of conse-



Ver. 12, 13. Then shall he bring it to the priest, and the priest

shall take his handful of it, even a memorial thereof, and burn

it on the altar, according to the offerings made by fire unto the

Lord: it is a sin-offering. And the priest shall make an

atonement for him, as touching his sin that he hath sinned in

one of these, and it shall be forgiven him: and the remnant

shall be the priest's, as a meat-offering.


The memorial of this mass of sin is consumed in the

94                    SINS OF INADVERTENCY             CHAP. V


fire of wrath; but the priest takes his portion, in order

to shew that the sin is cleansed out from the mass.

Shall it not be thus at the resurrection morning? The

body now cleansed, and earth itself purged by fire? Then

is man fully redeemed; his soul, his body, his inheritance

or possessions. No sin left to bring in a secret curse! no

Gibeonite-blood lying hid in its bosom to bring on sudden

and unthought-of woes. No Achan-treasure in the tent-

floor, provoking the eyes of the Lord's glory.


In looking back on this chapter concerning sins of

inadvertency, how awful is the view it presents of the

Lord's jealousy! "His eyes are as a flame of fire;" and

he "judges not according to the hearing of the ear," but

according to the truth that remains untold. How great

the provocation that his own saints give to him daily, by

touching the unclean, and by other almost imperceptible

movements of the heart towards evil. "Woe is me! I

am undone; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I

dwell among a people of unclean lips!" In such cases

we need to take for ourselves the counsel that Cain re-

jected when the Lord said, "If thou doest well (sinnest

not) shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not

well (sinnest), a sin-offering lieth at thy door" (txF.AHa

fbero) (Gen. iv. 7). How ancient is the grace of God!

How old is that gracious saying, "These things write I

unto you, that ye sin not; and if any man sin, we have

an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;

and he is the propitiation for our sins."

In these ancient days, there was the same grace ex-

hibited to the sinner as there is under the New Testa-

ment. God held out forgiveness, full and immediate, in

order to allure the sinner, without delay, back to fellow-


SINS OF INADVERTENCY             CHAP. V                    95


ship with himself. And as now, so then, many abused

this grace. They used it not to cleanse their conscience,

but to lull it asleep. Of these Solomon is supposed to

complain,* in Prov. xiii. 6, "Wickedness perverteth the

sin-ofering" (txFA.Ha Jl.esaT;). Nevertheless, the truth of

God stood sure; "righteousness preserved the perfect."



* See Faber on Sacrifice.











"Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever

things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely,

whatsoever things are of good report .... think on these things. ... and

the God of peace shall be with you."--Phil. iv. 8, 9


Ver. 14. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, If a soul

commit a trespass,--


MANY of the best writers, such as Outram, come to no

definite conclusion as to the difference between the sin-

offering and the trespass-offering. But we are satisfied,

on the whole, that the trespass-offering (MwAxA) was offered

in cases where the sin was more private, and confined to

the individual's knowledge. The sin was known only to

the man himself; and hence it was less hurtful in its

effects. We have seen that chapter v. 6 is no contradic-

tion tion to this especial use of the word, as MwAxA was origi-

nally as general in its sense as xFAHA; and in Isaiah liii.

10, either it is used in that same general way, or, if

meant to be more special, the sense will be, "When thou

shah make his soul an offering for sins which no one

ever saw him commit; for he had done no violence, nor

was deceit in his mouth."


THE TRESPASS-OFFERING          CHAPT. V                  97


The sin-offering, being of a more public nature, was on

that account more fitted to be the usual type of Christ's

offering. It was both public and definite.

The trespass-offering was always a ram. It was thus

fitted to remind Israel of Abraham's offering Isaac, when

the ram was substituted. The blood of it was always

put "on the sides" of the altar; not on the horns, as in

the case of the sin-offering, where the offering was more

of a public nature, and needed to be held up to all.

The cases here are--

1. Fraud toward God in respect to things in his worship.

2. Fraud towards man. The instances given are speci-

mens of wrong done by the trespasser to the first and

second tables of the law.

Perhaps it was too much for a frail mortal to hear the

Lord speak long. There was a short interval between

the last revelation of the will of the Lord, and this that

followed it. Silence reigned through the Holy Place; and

under the beams of the bright cloud of glory, Moses

would sit down, and trace on his tablets the directions

just received. And now the voice of the Lord spoke

again--the same voice that afterwards said to John in

Patmos, "Write the things which thou hast seen, and the

things which are, and the things which shall be here-

after."It then declared of each church of Asia, "I

know thy works." It is the voice of the same holy and

jealous, yet gracious and tender Priest, the same true and

faithful Witness. The voice said--


Ver. 15. If a soul commit a trespass, and Sin through ignorance,

in the holy things of the Lord; then he shall bring for his

trespass unto the Lord a ram without blemish out of the flocks,

with thy estimation by shekels of silver, after the shekel of the

sanctuary, for a trespass-offering.



98                    THE TRESPASS-OFFERING          CHAP. V


That we may see the sort of sins meant here, let us

refer to a special case. The class of sins here is transgres-

sions in regard to the holy things of the Lord. Now, in

Ecclesiastes v. 6, we have such a case. "Suffer not thy

mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before

the angel, that it was an error (hgAgAw;,, as here): wherefore

should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of

thine hands?" The wish to be spoken well of, and to be-

come eminent for piety in the eyes of the people and priest,

led this man, while attending public worship in the temple,

to vow with his lips more than he could, or more than he

really wished to give. By this rash vow, he came under

the sin mentioned in this chapter, ver. 4. But this is not

all. When the priest* came (see 1 Sam. ii. 13) to take

his share of the offering according to the law, the man

was tempted to deny that he had vowed so much; and

thus he fell into the sin of trespass; mentioned in ver. 15

of this chapter, inasmuch as he withholds what he promised

to the house of God. God will destroy his prosperity,

unless such a man forthwith bring the trespass-offering.

Similar cases might be given; thus, if a man eat the

first-fruits (Exod. xxxiv. 26), or shear the first-born

sheep (Deut. xv. 19)--(Ainsworth), he is to bring "a

ram without blemish out of the flock." He is to choose

one of the most valuable of his flock, a type of him who

was "chosen out of the people," "one that was mighty"

(Ps. lxxxix. 19). It was to be costly; it must not be

of an inferior sort, but (Deut. xxxii. 14) of that sort which

were "rams of the breed of Bashan." The priest is to

estimate the value according to the standard of the sanc-


* The angel or messenger seems to be the priest himself. So he is called in

Malachi ii. 7. And if so, is it not with a reference to the jealous angel in Exod.

xxxii. 34? The priest is his representative, presiding over the temple.


THE TRESPASS-OFFERING          CHAPT. V                  99


tuary. Probably we are hereby taught the costliness of

the Redeemer's offering.     

Consider the "estimation." It was not every offering

that would answer the great end; it must be a costly,

precious offering--the precious blood of the Son of God           

(2 Pet. i. 19). Who can tell how high it was estimated     

in the sanctuary above, where not one spot of sin ever

found a rest in the most secret heart of one ministering

spirit? The question is asked, Is this one offering suffi-

cient for the sinner? The Holy One applies the test of

his law, and measures it by his own holy nature, and finds

it such that he declares, "I am well pleased;" "I lay in

Zion a tried stone;" "He hath magnified the law, and

made it honourable."

But, 2. Was it such as reached the case of others?

Yes; it was meant for others. He who wrought it out

was a surety. His body was "prepared" for the sake of

others. His eye ran down with tears for others. The

words such as never man spake, were for others, "He

suffered, the Just for the unjust."

3. But may I use it? Yes, not only you may, but you

must use it, or perish.


Ver. 16. And he shall make amends for the harm that he bath

done in the holy thing, and shall add the fifth part thereto,

and give it unto the priest: and the priest shall make an

atonement for him with the ram of the trespass-offering, and it

shall be forgiven him.


The trespasser is to be no gainer by defrauding God's

house. He is to suffer, even in temporal things, as a

punishment for his sin. He is to bring, in addition to

the thing of which he defrauded God, money to the

extent of one-fifth of the value of the thing. This was

given to the priest as the head of the people in things of


100                 THE TRESPASS-OFFERING          CHAP. V


God, and representative of God in holy duties. It was

to be a double tithe because of the attempt to defraud

God.* We shall never be gainers by stinting our time

and service in the worship of God. What we withdraw

from him, he will withdraw from us in another way.

Besides, the very fact of cherishing such an idea in our

minds will cause the Lord to veil his grace and glory

from our view until we have anew sought him by the

blood of Jesus. And in the meantime, the sorrow and

darkness of our heart will teach us that it is a bitter

thing to depart from the Lord.

But there is something in this part of the ordinance

far more significant still. It seems to exhibit the require-

ments ments of God in order to a true atonement. Atonement

must consist--

1. Of restitution of the principal--restoring all that

was lost. The injury done is to be made up by the per-

son submitting to give back every item he took away.

2. Of the addition of more. There must be also a

making up of the wrong done, by the person suffering

loss, as a recompence for the evil. In these two pro-

visions, do we not see set forth in symbol the great fact

that God in atonement must get back all the honour that

his law lost for a time by man's fraud; and also must

have the honour of his law vindicated by the pay-

ment of an amount of suffering? The active obedience

of Christ gave the one ; his passive obedience provided

the other.

These principles being thus set forth and agreed to, the

ram was brought forward, wherein was exhibited the per-


* The tithe regularly paid was an acknowledgment that God had a right to

the things tithed; and this double tithe was an acknowledgment, that in conse-

quence of this attempt to defraud him, his right must be doubly acknowledged.



            THE TRESPASS-OFFERING          CHAP. V                    101


son that was to be the giver of atonement. A ram "out

of the flock," even as Christ was "one chosen out of the

people" (Ps. lxxxix. 19).


Ver. 17. And if a soul sin, and commit any of these things which

are forbidden to be done by the commandments of the Lord;

though he wist it not, yet is he guilty, and shall bear his;



            This is a remarkable passage in proof of the awful           

sin that may be committed through ignorance--"Though  

he wist it not, yet is he guilty." Knowledge was within

his reach in this case; for the things spoken of are mat-

ters connected with sanctuary worship. It is even such a

case as Paul's, whose ignorance was no excuse for his sin,

since he might have inquired and known.*

The cases referred to here are evidently those wherein

holy things, or things connected with worship, were neg-

lected or defectively performed. It is that class of cases

wherein--it may be through ignorance--the Lord was

defrauded of what was due in his worship.


Ver. 18, 19. And he shall bring a ram without blemish out of

the flock, with thy estimation, for a trespass-offering, unto the

priest: and the priest shall make an atonement for him con-

cerning his ignorance wherein he erred, and wilt it not; and it

shall be forgiven him. It is a trespass-offering: he hath cer-

tainly trespassed against the Lord.


How emphatic is the rehearsal of his sin--"Atonement

for him concerning his ignorance wherein he erred, and

wist it not;" and again, "He hath certainly trespassed

against the Lord;" though men would have been ready to

treat it as a light matter!


* Evidently, in 1 Tim. i. 13, we are to read thus: “Putting me into the

ministry, who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious, though

I obtained mercy. For I did all this ignorantly in unbelief," q.d. for my igno-

rance and unbelief (both equally inexcusable) led me to these excesses.


102                 THE TRESPASS-OFFERING          CHAP, VI


Israel was thus shut up to the solemn duty of inquiring

into the Lord's revealed will. By treating ignorance as a

sin of such magnitude, the Lord made provision among

his people for securing a thorough and continual search

into his mind and will; and thus, no doubt, family

instruction was universal in every tent in the wilderness,

and the nation were an intelligent as well as a peculiar



(CHAP. VI. 1-7 )


Ver. 1. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,--


There was silence again in the Holy Place, until Moses

had recorded the above precepts bearing on Jehovah's

own special worship. And when these trespasses against

the first table of the law had been declared and marked,

the voice of the Lord was again heard. We may recog-

nise the same voice that spoke on that mountain of Galilee;

for here is the same principle of broad, holy exactness in

applying the law as in Matt. v. The mind of the Father

and of his Son is one and the same as to the extent of

the law, even as it is alike in love to the transgressor.


Ver. 2, 3. If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against the Lord,

and lie unto his neighbour in that which was delivered him to

keep, or in fellowship, or in a thing taken away by violence, or

hath deceived his neighbour; or hath found that which was lost,

and lieth concerning it, and sweareth falsely; in any of all

these that a man doeth, sinning therein:--


Here is a specimen selected of the common forms in

which defrauding others may occur. There is first a

temptation mentioned, to which friends are exposed with

one another in private intercourse. A man asks his

friend to keep something for him; or, in the wider accep-


THE TRESPASS-OFFERING          CHAPT. VI                 103


tation of the original term (NOdqAp;), gives a neighbour a

trust to manage for him of any kind, or commits to his

care for the time, any article. The LXX have used the

word "paraqhkh," which, in 2 Tim. i. 12, is rendered,

“What I have committed to him." Anything lent to

another is included; a tool, like the prophet's borrowed

axe (2 Kings vi. 5), or a sum of money left in a neigh-

bour's keeping (Exod. xxii. 7); in short, any "stuff"

(Exod. xxii. 7), or articles (MyliKe). A lent book, or bor-

rowed umbrella, would come under this law; and how

few have the sincere honesty of that son of the prophets,

in 2 Kings vi. 5, vexed because the thing injured in their

hands was a borrowed thing!--"Alas! my master, for it

was borrowed!" The Lord expects, in such case, com-

plete disinterestedness; the man is to do to others as he

would have others do to him. Any denial of having

received the thing, any appropriation of it to himself, any

carelessness in the keeping of it, is a trespass in the eye

of God. You have wronged God in wronging your


The case of "fellowship," or partnership, refers to the

transactions of public life; not, however, to openly un-

lawful acts, but to acts lawful in appearance, while selfish

in reality. This points specially to business transactions,

where there ought to be the utmost disinterestedness, one

partner giving more scrupulous attention to the interests

of the other than to his own, mortifying his jealous self-

love by his regard to his partner's concerns. This is the

generous morality of the God of Israel. The same head

would include the conscientious observances of government

regulations or commercial laws, as to taxes on goods.

These regulations being understood principles on which

trade is carried on, are really of the nature of "fellow-


104                 THE TRESPASS--OFFERING         CHAP. VI


ship." So also bargains in trade; though not many are

so jealous as Abraham in Gen. xxiii., to avoid even the

appearance of wronging others. Most are as Prov. xx. 14.

“A thing taken by violence,” includes cases of oppres-

sion or hardship, where mere power deals with weakness.

Such was Naboth's case (1 Kings xxi. 2); such was Isaac's

(Gen. xxvi. 4).

"Or hath deceived his neighbour.” The word qwafA is

rightly rendered, in the Septuagint, h]dikhse. It speaks of

another form of oppression--"hath deceitfully oppressed."

There are cases of strong, but secret terror, as when a

landlord uses his pecuniary superiority to constrain a

tenant's vote, or force a dependant to attend a particular

place of worship. It exists, too, where a mistress thought-

lessly gives too much work to her servants, or where a

farmer exacts unceasing labour, from morning to night,

at the hands of his ploughmen, or where a shopkeeper's

business is carried on at such a rate that his apprentices

have no calm rest of body or soul. In another shape, a

Jew was guilty of this trespass if, in using the permission

(Deut. xxiii. 24, 25) to pluck grapes, or ears of corn, as

he passed his neighbour's grounds, he took more than he

would have done had he been in his own vineyard or

corn fields.

“Or hath found that which was lost, and lieth concern-

ing it.” Unconcerned at the anxiety it may have given

to the loser, the man refuses to part with what he has

found. This is surely selfishness in the extreme. But it

is so, also, if the finder is not willing to hear of an owner,

glad only at his own advantage, and saying, "The owner

may never miss it--God has thrown it into my hands."

The Lord teaches us not to build up our joy on the loss

or sorrow of others.


THE TRESPASS-OFFERING          CHAP, VI                   105


Such is the kind care of the God of Israel. Is he not

still "The Eagle" over them, stirring up her nest, and flut-

tering over her young? He teaches his family to be full

of love-superiors, inferiors, equals. He would infuse the

holy feelings of heaven into the camp of Israel. Truly,

society regulated by the Lord is blessed society, for his

own love flows through it all, and is the very joints and

bands. Hence it is that a sin against a neighbour, in one   

of these points, is a "trespass against the Lord" (ver. 1).  

The selfish man is an unholy man, altogether unlike God.

Yet earth is full of such. When men are happy them-

selves, they take no thought of others' misery. When at

ease, they disregard the pain of others. Some even relieve

distress out of subtle selfishness, seeking thereby to be

free to indulge themselves with less compunction. Not so

the Lord. The eternal Son comes forth from the bosom

of the Blessed, and, for the sake of the vilest, dives

into the depths of misery. "He restored what he took

not away," and "delivered him that without cause was

his enemy." And in proportion as we feel much of this

love of God to us, we shall feel much love to him, and to

our brother also (1 John iv. 20).


Ver. 4, 5. Then it shall be, because he hath sinned, and is guilty,

that he shall restore that which he took violently away, or the

thing which he hath deceitfully gotten, or that which was deli-

vered him to keep, or the lost thing which he found, or all that

about which he hath sworn falsely; he shall even restore it in

                        the principal, and shall add the fifth part more thereto, and

give it unto him to whom it appertaineth, in the day of his



Patrick renders ver. 4, "If he sin and acknowledge his

guilt;" for if his case were one where witnesses convicted

him, then Exod. xxii. 7-9 held good. The case of


106                 THE TRESPASS-OFFERING          CHAP. VI


Zaccheus, on the day of his, coming to Jesus ("the day

of his trespass-offering" surely), illustrates this restitution

as an attendant upon forgiveness. When the Lord forgave

him, the same Lord also inclined him to restore what he

had unjustly taken, and to give back far more than he

had taken.

The fifth part is given, in addition to the principal,

just as in the case of holy things being; fraudulently with-

held. It is a double tithe (two-tenths), and so is equiva-

lent to a double acknowledgment of the person's right to

the thing, of which he had been, for a time, unjustly de-

prived. See chap. v. 15, 16.

No doubt this exceeding jealousy on the part of God

in maintaining the rights of men, and exhibiting such

strict equity, was intended to display to the world what

his own holy character is. The most impartial and ex-

tensive justice is here exhibited. And his demand for

restitution shews that the Lord will maintain his violated

rights to the uttermost. It further proves, that while he

requires (as John proclaimed, Luke iii. 8, 10-14) repent-

ance and amendment, still it is not these that in any degree

satisfy the Lord; for there is, in addition to the restoring of

the principal, a new demand by the law, for the very act of

attempting to defraud it--one-fifth part beyond the former

demand! Thus was Israel prepared for an awful enforce-

ment of Divine claims in the person of Immanuel; and

thus were they shewn what must be the infinite merit of

him who should be able to restore all that had been taken

away from his God!


Ver. 6, 7. And he shall bring his trespass-offering unto the Lord,

a ram without blemish out of the flock, with thy estimation, for

a trespass-offering unto the priest: and the priest shall make

an atonement for him before the Lord; and it shall be for-


THE TRESPASS-OFFERING          CHAPT. VI                 107


given him, for any thing of all that he hath done, in trespassing



"For any of all the things"--thus proclaiming that

"the blood of Jesus cleanseth from all sin." The case of

presumptuous sins is not referred to here, for these in-

volved a disregard, in the offender, to the very offerings

that could exhibit pardon to his conscience. But this

section ends with the proclamation of free forgiveness

from all manner of sin. The Lord would thus at once

allure the sinner from his transgression, and lead him to

the immediate joy of reconciliation. It is the surest and

speediest way to lead him out of his former path of guilt.

“There is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be


With Israel, as with us, there were many who saw no

meaning or reason in God's appointments. Want of true

conviction of sin made them despise these types, while the

godly, who felt their loins filled with a grievous disease,

found therein their daily refreshment. This is the true.

sense of Prov. xiv. 9, when properly rendered--"Fools

make a mock of the trespass-offering, but with the righ-

teous it is in esteem." The Septuagint seem to have had a

glimpse of this meaning, for they use "kaqarismo>j" for

MwAxA, and they render NOcrA, "dekto>j." The godly cherished

these typical delineations of atonement, while the careless,

earthly-minded Israelite saw nothing in them to desire.

None go to the hiding-place who fear no storm. The

stream flows by unheeded when the traveller on its banks

is not thirsty. The whole will not use the physician.

Sense of sin renders Jesus precious to the soul. How

Peter loved the risen Saviour, who relieved him of the

load of his denial! A sight of wrath to come gives a new

aspect to every spiritual thing. In Egypt, a sight of the


108                 THE TRESPASS-OFFERING          CHAP. VI


destroying angel's sword would make Israel prize the

blood. Ishmael might have mocked at the ram caught in

the thicket; but not so Isaac, who had been bound with

the cords of death. It is only "fools" that will "mock

at the trespass-offering;" with the righteous it is held in

unspeakable esteem. Their song is, "Thanks be unto

God for his unspeakable gift!"









Special Rules for the Priests who minister at

      the Altar of God.



"God .. hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to

us the ministry of reconciliation. For he hath made him to be sin for us,

who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in

him."--2 Cor. v. 18, 21




Ver. 8, 9. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Command

Aaron and his sons, saying, This is the law of the burnt-offer-

ing: It is the burnt-offering, because of the burning upon the

altar all night unto the morning, and the fire of the altar shall

be burning in it.


THE ground traversed over in chapters i., ii., iii., iv., v.,

is now re-traversed, but for a quite different object. Sup-

plemental directions to the priests, in regard to their part

in the offering of the sacrifices, is the object in view.

But this gives opportunity for the typifying of some most

important truths.

"The law of the burnt-offering," or of things to be

observed in offering it, is first stated. Perhaps, in ver. 9,

we should read the parenthesis thus--"As for the burnt


110                             SPECIAL RULES


offering, it is to be burning* on the altar all night until

the morning; and the fire of the altar must be kept

burning on it." However, retaining our rendering, we

have the fact, that the fire must be kept burning the whole

night long.

The Holy One speaks again from the Holy Place. He

now tells some of the more awful thoughts of his soul.

His words reveal views of sin and righteousness that ap-

pear overwhelmingly awful to men. His eternal justice,

flaming forth against all iniquity, is declared to Israel in

the fire of the altar. This fire is never to be extinguished;

"for every one of his righteous judgments endureth for

ever" (Ps. cxix. 160). It burns all night long--an em-

blem of the sleeplessness of hell, where "they have no

rest, day nor night"--and of the ever-watchful eye of

righteousness that looks down on this earth.

Perhaps it was intended to exhibit two things:--

1. "The smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever

and ever . . . . tormented with fire and brimstone in

presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the

Lamb" (Rev. xiv. 10, compared with ver. 18). The whole

camp saw this fire, burning in the open court all night

long. "So shall you perish," might an Israelitish father

say to his children, taking them to his tent door, and

pointing them, in the gloom and silence of night, to the

altar, "So shall you perish, and be for ever in the flames,

unless you repent!"

2. It exhibited, also, the way of escape. See, there is

a victim on the altar, on which these flames feed! Here

is Christ in our room. His suffering, seen and accepted


* Horsley renders hdAq;Om lfA, "upon the burning fuel;" and others to the

same effect. See Ainsworth. Hengstenberg, on Ps. cii. 3, understands the word,

"the whole heap of fuel."


FOR THE PRIESTS               CHAP. VI                   111


by the Father, was held forth continually to the faith of

Israel, night and day. And upon that type, the pledge

and token of the real sacrifice, did the eye of the Father

delight to rest night and day. It pleased him well to see   

his justice and his love thus met together there. And

the man of Israel, who understood the type, slept in peace,

sustained by this truth, which the straggling rays from the

altar gleamed into his tent.


Ver. 10. And the priest shall put on his linen garment, and his

linen breeches shall he put upon his flesh, and take up the ashes

which the fire hath consumed with the burnt-offering on the

altar, and he shall put them beside the altar.


The linen* garment is a type of purity, as we see in

the book of Revelation (xix. 8). The priest is the emblem

of the Redeemer in his perfect purity coming to the work

of atonement. The word for garment† means a suit of

clothes. It takes in the linen breeches, as well as all the

other parts of the priest's dress. His whole suit is to be the

garb of purity. It is not glory that is set forth; these are

not the "golden garments." It is holy humanity; it is

Jesus in humiliation, but without one stain of sin. There

is a special reason for the direction as to the linen breeches.

It is meant to denote the completeness of the purity that

clothes him; it clothes him to his very skin, and "covers

the flesh of his nakedness" (Exod. xxvi:ii. 42). It was

not only our unrighteousness, and our corrupt nature, that

Jesus was free from; but also from that other part of our

original sin, which consists in the imputed guilt of Adam.

The linen breeches that "covered the nakedness" of the

priest, lead us back at once to our first parents' sin, when


* The word is dbA not ww,.. The latter is a finer sort, supposed to be silk.

dma, the O in which, in the opinion of Ewald, is merely the sign of the

Status Constr., as in OtyHi.


112                             SPECIAL RULES


they were naked and ashamed in the garden, after the

Fall. Here we see this sin also covered. He who comes

to atone for all our sins has himself freedom from all--

completely pure.

"He shall take up the ashes which the fire has con-

sumed," i.e. the ashes of that which the fire has consumed,

viz. the wood. By the figure which grammarians call

ellipsis, or breviloquence, "ashes" is used for the mate-

rial out of which ashes came; as Isaiah (xlvii. 2) speaks of

grinding "meal."--(Ainsworth.) The wood was under-

neath the burnt-offering.* This being done, the ashes

were to be placed by themselves, for a little time, "beside

the altar." All eyes would thus see them and take notice

of them, before they were carried out into a clean place.

Probably there were two reasons for this action.

1. The fire was thus kept clear and bright, the ashes

being removed. God thereby taught them that he was

not careless as to this matter, but required that the type.

of his justice should be kept full and unobscured.

2. The ashes were shewn for the purpose of making it

manifest that the flame had not spared the victim, but

had turned it into ashes. It was not a mere threatening

when the angels foretold that Sodom and Gomorrah were

to be destroyed for their sin; their doom (2 Pet. ii. 6) is 

declared to have come on them, "turning them to ashes."

So here, all that was threatened is fulfilled. There the

ashes lie; any eye may see them. The vengeance has

been accomplished! The sacrifice is turned into ashes.”

Justice has found its object! The lightning has struck


* Another rendering is, “The ashes of the fire that has consumed the burnt-

offering on the altar."--(Horsley.) But this requires a transposition of the words.

May it not be, "He shall take up the ashes when the fire consumes the burnt-

offering on the altar?"


FOR THE PRIESTS               CHAP. VI                   113


the lightning-rod, and is now passed! View Ps. xx. 4 in     -

this light--" Remember all thy offerings, and accept".

turn to ashes--"thy burnt-sacrifice." The Lord's arrows

are not pointless; he performs all his threatenings, for he

is holy. "0 Lord God of hosts, who is a strong Lord like

unto thee ? or to thy faithfulness round about thee" (Ps. lxxxix. 8).


Ver, 11. And he shall put of his garments, and put on other gar-

ments, and carry forth the ashes without the camp unto a clean



The priest, coming out of the sanctuary, lays aside

these linen garments, and goes forth out of the camp in

another dress. These linen garments are now reckoned

polluted; the sin he carried in with him cleaves to them.

In another linen dress, therefore-another priestly suit*

--he goes on to the spot where the ashes were to be left,

as memorials of the curse having come on the victim.

May this be intended to shew that Christ, specially at his

death, was to be "numbered with the transgressors?" He

seemed to die as one who had no holiness, no righteous-

ness, no innocence--"He made his grave with the wicked".

But, casting off this appearance of being a transgressor, as

he cries, "It is finished," he is carried to a clean spot.

His surety-character appeared--he is buried in Joseph's



* Some think this must have been a dress of meaner materials than the

linen, to represent sin cleaving to him. But where do we ever read of such?

† Some propose to change the rendering of Isa. liii. 9, in order to bring out

explicitly the fact that Christ died among transgressors, but was buried with

the rich. But is there any ground for this proposed change? Whether the ori-

ginal admits of it, is doubtful; for few Jews will be satisfied with the rendering

of his tomb." It is obviously far better to keep the present render-


"He made his grave with the wicked (plural),

And with the rich (singular) in his death," i. e. when he died.


114                             SPECIAL RULES


“Unto a clean place," as in chap. iv. 12. In after days

this clean place may have been some spot beyond the

walls of Jerusalem. In Jer. xxxi. 40, "the valley of the

ashes" is mentioned-a place which was used for this

purpose, and may have been at the very Calvary where

the Great Sacrifice was offered, and its ashes laid.

Ver. 12. And the fire upon the altar shall be burning in it [i. e.

on the bosom of the altar]; it shall not be put out: and the

priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt-

offering in order upon it; and he shall burn thereon the fat

of the peace-offerings.

Formerly, the fact was mentioned of the fire never

being allowed to go out. Here there is mention made of

the manner in which it was kept, burning. The wood


At the hour of his death, behold the providence of God! A rich man, one of the

most honourable and esteemed in Jerusalem, a member of Sanhedrim, and a dis-

ciple, unexpectedly appears at Calvary. This was Joseph of Arimathea, without

exception the most singularly noble character introduced to us in the Gospels.

This rich man had been driven into concealment by the plots formed against him

by the Jews, on account of his defending Jesus in the Sanhedrim openly (Luke,

xxiii. 51). This is what John says (chap. six. 38)--"Being a disciple,"

kekrumme<noj de> dia> to>n fo<bon tw?n  ]Ioudai<wn"--not "SECRETLY," for it

is, not "kekrumme<nwj" (though even the adverb might mean, as in the Septuagint

of Jer. xiii. 17, "in secret places"), but "secreted," or forced to hide by reason

of their plots. He was the very contrast to timid Nicodemus, bold and unre-

served. Behold! then, this man suddenly returns to the city; and finding that

all is over, he boldly seeks the body of Jesus, his beloved Master. And next, he

and Nicodemus--two rich men, but the one all boldness, the other nervously

timid--lay the body in its silent tomb. And where is the tomb? " In the place

where he was crucifed" (John xix. 41); that is, at the very spot where crimi-

nals were put to death, and where they used to be buried. Extraordinary as it

may appear, this very spot was the spot where Joseph's new tomb was hewn out

of a rock! The stony sides of the tomb-the new tomb--"the clean place,"

where Jesus was laid--were part of the malefactor's hill. His dead body is

“with the rich man and with the wicked " in the hour of his death! His grave

is the property of a rich man; and yet the rocks which form the partition be-

tween his tomb and that of the other Calvary Malefactors, are themselves part

of Golgotha. Is there not here a fulfilment of Isaiah's words to the letter, and

that in a way so unlikely, that no eye could have foreseen it but His, who fore-

ordained the whole?

FOR THE PRIESTS   CHAP. VI                   115    


was to be supplied constantly in sufficient measure,

and the sacrifice laid thereon. There is an object for the 

Divine justice to seize upon; and this victim must be

shewn every morning, exposed to that intolerable flame.

Christ bears the vehement heat of Jehovah's altar--the

reality of wrath.

There is no "putting out" of this fire.* "The fire is

not quenched," is Christ's own expression; perhaps in

reference to this type (Mark ix. 44). There will be no

putting out of these flames in eternity--no waters to

quench them--no interference of God's mercy to end

them. The company of their ungodly friends will not

“put out” any of the torments of the damned; nor shall

any intellectual efforts "put them out," by diverting

men's thoughts from their deserved doom. Christ's

agony is the proof of this. If ever God would have

“put out” one flame, it would have been in his case.

Yet he withheld no suffering--"all his waves" were

against him; he laid him in "the lowest pit."

Perhaps "burn the fat of the peace-offerings" is intro-

duced here to shew how the flame was to be fed. The

fat must feed it till it blazes bright and strong, casting its

light through the darkness, in view of all the camp. It

was an awful view of Divine justice; it figured out the

tremendous fierceness of almighty wrath. Yet inasmuch

as it is "the fat of peace-offerings," a discerning, believing

worshipper may find the elements of peace even here.


* In Song viii. 6, "vehement flame" is most generally understood to be

“the flame of Jehovah.” The love of Jesus is seen in proportion as we see

the heat of the wrath which he bore for us. "Love is strong as death--like the

flame of Jehovah," i. e. on the altar. How great was the sin of Ahaz (2 Chron.

Xxviii. 24) when lie shut up the temple! There was this ingredient in his guilt

he was attempting to extinguish the perpetual fire on the altar, as if thereby to hide

from his view the type of God's justice and a coming hell--a sin-avenging God.


116                             SPECIAL RULES


The peace-offering on which that flame has fed declared

his reconciliation; so that he can read the assurance of

his acceptance even in these flames! Justice fully satis-

fied, and yet the worshipper standing in peace, is the

truth taught us by the blazing flame of this altar. "Our

God is a consuming fire."


Ver. 13. The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall

never go out.


Throughout, we are emphatically shewn that this fire

has no end. We are reminded of John's words, "The

wrath of God abideth on him" (John iii. 36), and Christ's

thrice-repeated declaration, "Where their worm dieth

not, and their fire is not quenched" (Mark ix.) The

word for "go out" is the same that elsewhere is rendered

"quenched" (hB,k;ti).  The eternal justice of Jehovah

shall never cease to find fuel in hell; and never shall it

cease to find satisfaction in the Altar of the Great High

Priest. Hence we see that an everlasting righteousness

was what we needed (Dan. ix. 24). "Eternal redemp-

tion" is what has been obtained for us (Heb. ix. 12).




Ver. 14. And this is the law of the meat-offering: The sons of Aaron

shall offer it before the Lord, before the altar.


The duties of the priest are dwelt upon here. The

officiating priest shall take the meat-offering from the

worshipper, and shall present it. He shall do this

solemnly, coming up "before the altar," i. e. in front of

it, in sight of all the people who stand by. For thus the

dedication of all that the man has--body and property,

as well as soul--is publicly declared. All are witnesses

that now he is not his own.


FOR THE PRIESTS   CHAP. VI                   117


Ver. 15. And he shall take of it his handful, of the four of the meat-

offering, and of the oil thereof, and all the frankincense which

is upon the meat-offering, and shall burn it upon the altar for

a sweet savour, even the memorial of it, unto the Lord.


When the memorial (see chap. ii. 2) was taken and          

burnt, the offerer saw a sight that refreshed his soul. He

saw the altar smoking, and felt the air breathing with his

accepted gift--"a savour of rest." It was on such occa-

sions as these that the priests exhibited salvation and its

results so fully to the comfort of the worshippers, that

“the saints shouted for joy” (Ps. cxxxii, 16).


Ver. 16. And the remainder thereof shall Aaron and his sons

eat: with unleavened bread shall it be eaten in the holy place;

in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation they shall eat



It ought to be rendered, "Unleavened shall it be

eaten;"* that is, the remainder which Aaron and his

sons received as their part, shall be eaten in the form of

unleavened bread. There must not be anything in it that

would intimate sin or corruption; for since the memorial

has been offered, the remainder is reckoned pure, so pure

that it may be put into the hands of the priests as food,

and eaten on holy ground. It may present to us the fact,

that when Jesus was once offered as a "sweet savour of

rest," then what remained, viz. his body the Church, was

pure, and might be freely admitted to holy ground--to

heaven, and to all heavenly employments.

The "holy place" here, is the court of the tabernacle

(ver. 26), where the altar and laver stood. It is "holy" on

the same principle that Peter calls the hill of transfigu-

ration "the holy mount" (2 Pet. i. 18); and because the

same God was present there who made the place "holy


* a]zuma brwqhsetai  (Sept.)--Eaten as unleavened. " Comedet absque

fermento" (Vulg.)


118                             SPECIAL RULES


ground" to Moses at the bush (Exod. iii. 5). There is a

passage in Numbers (xviii. 10) where the court seems to

be called "most holy"—“In the most holy place shalt

thou eat it"--unless we render the words (as Horsley

proposes), "Among the most holy things thou shalt eat

it." Patrick's explanation of it, by a reference to the

holy chambers in Ezekiel xlii., is altogether out of the

question. It seems to be simply the holiness arising

from the Lord's presence, hallowing the courts where

such offerings were made, that is meant.

In Leviticus xxiv. 9, and elsewhere, it is again called

“the holy place." And no wonder; for it was "at the

door of the tabernacle" (vii. 31)--in other words, oppo-

site the altar, which was the prominent object in the view

of all in the courts, but specially of any at the entrance.

To this, allusion is made in Isa, lxii. 9, when thank-offer-

ings of corn and wine are spoken of as feasted on "in

the courts of my holiness."


Ver. 17. It shall not be baken with leaven. I have given it unto

them for their portion of my offerings made by fire: it is most

holy, as is the sin-offering, and as the trespass-offering.


They are directed not to use it as they might do bread

at their own dwellings: "There must be no leaven in it,     

for it is a gift to them from me. Let it, then, derive its

sweetness and relish to their taste from the consideration

that it is my gift to them." This is truly like Hannah,

Samuel's mother: when, rejoicing after her son's birth, she

sings, not of her joy in her first-born, but of her joy in

him who gave her the rich gift--"My heart rejoiceth in    

the Lord; mine horn is exalted in the Lord" (1 Sam, ii. 1),

There is here, also, a cheering notice of the full commu-

nion that subsists between God and his people--"I have

given it for THEIR portion, out of my offerings." As if


FOR THE PRIESTS               CHAP. VI                   119


there was an intercommunity of goods--of blessings--

between God and his people. He and they alike feast

upon the same holiness and purity, found in the Right-

eous One.

Ministers, and indeed all God's people, are here taught

not to consider the smallest service or offering as unim-

portant. Lest these "cakes," and "flour," and "baken

things” should be treated slightly, the Lord as solemnly  

declared, “It is most holy, as is the sin--offering, and as

the trespass-offering."


Ver. 18. All the males among the children of Aaron shall eat of it. 

It shall be a statute for ever in your generations concerning the

offerings of the Lord made by fire every one that toucheth them

shall be holy.


While all the males of Aaron's line might eat thereof,

every one must remember in all generations to do so

with deep reverence; for "every one (or everything) that

toucheth them shall be holy." Any person or thing

touching them was to be reckoned as set apart to holy

purposes, to be treated accordingly. Garments, vessels,

or the like, must be then considered as on holy ground;

and, accordingly, must be washed in clean water, as an

emblem of setting apart from common use. Persons, too,

that came in contact, must wash themselves, being, like

Moses at the bush, suddenly drawn into God's presence,

where they must put off the shoe.

What a circle of deep awe was thus drawn round the

altar and its offerings! "God is greatly to be feared in

the assembly of his saints, and to be had in reverence

of all that are about him" (Ps. lxxxix. 7). Nothing is

more blissful than God's presence, yet nothing more solem-

nising. Bethel was "the gate of heaven," and yet " how

dreadful!" This is holy bliss; it is not as the world's joy.


120                             SPECIAL RULES


Ver. 19, 20. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, This is the

offering of Aaron, and of his sons, which they shall offer unto

the Lord in the day when he is anointed; the tenth part of an

ephah of fine four, for a meat-offering perpetual, half of it in the

morning, and half thereof at night.


“A meat-offering perpetual” means, that this shall be

in all ages the manner of the priest's meat-offering. The

common priests and Aaron offered it at their first enter-

ing an office, that is, "the day when he is anointed."

They had been already told what to bring, in Exod.

xxix. 2, but they are told how to bring it--what cere-

monies to use in the bringing of it.

The priest's meat-offering was of “fine flour,” in "cakes

and wafers" (Exod. xxix. 2), and "baken in the pan"

(ver. 21). It thus contained a reference to the two most

common sorts of meat-offering mentioned in chap. ii. 1-6.

It was neither the richest nor the poorest,

The omer, or tenth part of the ephah, is fixed on as the

measure. It might remind them of the omer of manna

which they used daily to gather; and the omer of it kept

in the golden pot. When they remembered that manna,

would not their hearts naturally feel their obligations to

devote all their substance to him who gave them bread

from heaven, and was still commanding the blessing on

their fields and dwellings?


Ver. 21. In a pan it shall be made with oil; and when it is baken,

thou shalt bring it in: and the baken pieces of the meat-offer-

ing shalt thou offer for a sweet savour unto the Lord.


They were to bring it ready-baken, that is, prepared

in the form of cakes and wafers, as Exod. xxix. 2 directed,

and as chap. ii. 5 appoints in regard to things baken in

the pan.

The oil, and other particulars, have been noticed above.

The bringing it to the altar, all ready, may have been



FOR THE PRIESTS               CHAP. VI                   121


meant to teach the need of a fully-prepared offering--

nothing imperfect--if presented to the Lord for acceptance.


            Ver. 22, 23. And the priest of his sons, that is anointed in his

                        stead, shall offer it: it is a statute for ever unto the Lord: it

                        shall be wholly burnt. For every meat-offering for the priest

                        shall be wholly burnt: it shall not be eaten.


            The ministering high priest already in office presented

this offering of the sons of Aaron on the day of their


            It is particularly declared that it must be "wholly

burnt"--"not eaten"--because it was a priest's offering

(see ver. 30 also). This prefigured, no doubt, the truth

that Christ gave Himself, entirely and completely, as the

offering. This type refers to the Saviour alone, not to

his people. It is speaking only of the Head, not of the

members. He who was his people's priest, in giving

himself, gave himself wholly, soul and body, to the con-

suming flame. "Our God is a consuming fire:" and that

fire withered his spirit as he bore the curse. This meat-

offering was wholly burnt, because it is the meat-offering

of the priest, who is the type of Jesus.


                        REGARDING THE SIN-OFFERING


            Vex. 24, 25. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak un-

                        to Aaron and to his sons, saying, This is the law of the sin-

                        offering: In the place where the burnt-offering is killed shall

                        the sin-offering be killed before the Lord: it is most holy.


            It must be brought solemnly before the Lord, like the

great burnt-offering, and killed on the same spot, on the

north side of the altar (i. 11). It is to one and the same

atonement that all these sacrifices refer.

            “It is most holy." All sacrifices were to be regarded

with awful reverence. For it was as if the worshippers


122                             SPECIAL RULES


were standing at the cross, where the Marys stood, and

saw the Saviour die. Or like the heavenly host, when

they saw the disembodied soul ("the blood was the life")

of the Redeemer come in before the Father, at the moment

the last mite was paid, and he had cried, "It is finished."

Was there ever such an hour in heaven? or shall there

ever be such an hour in earth or heaven? Even in the

act of accepting the atonement made, how solemnly does

the soul feel that receives it! See Isaiah, when the live

coal touched his lips. What, then, must have been the

hour when atonement itself was spread out complete?

The hour when a lost sheep returns is solemn; but what

is this to the hour when the Shepherd himself returned?


            Ver. 26. The priest that offereth* it for sin shall eat it; in the holy

                        place shall it be eaten, in the court of the tabernacle of the



The Lord, who "by himself purged away sin," holds

communion with the once sinful man. He accepts the

offerer who presents this sacrifice. In Hosea iv. 8, this

rite is referred to--"They eat up the sin-offering of my

people" (txF.AHa); and then "lift up their hearts to their

iniquity." The degenerate priests one moment engaged

in duty, and the next ran back to sin.


            Ver. 27, 28. Whatsoever shall touch the flesh thereof shall be holy:

                        and when there is sprinkled of the blood thereof upon any

                        garment, thou shalt wash that whereon it was sprinkled in the

                        holy place. But the earthen vessel wherein it is sodden shall

                        be broken: and if it be sodden in a brasen pot, it shall be both

                        scoured and rinsed in water.         


            How awful is atoning blood! Even things without

life, such as garments, are held in dreadful sacredness if


            * htAxo xFe.Ham;ha NheKoha. May it be, "Who maketh it sin;" i. e. by thus offer-

ing it, he makes it a mass of sin? See this use of the word in chap. ix. 15.


FOR THE PRIESTS               CHAP. VI                   123


this blood touch them. No wonder, then, that this earth,

on which fell the blood of the Son of God, has a sacred-

ness in the eye of God. It must be set apart for holy

ends, since the blood of Jesus has wet its soil. And as

the earthen vessel, within which the sacrifice was offered,

must be broken, and not used for any meaner end again;

so must our Earth be decomposed and new-moulded, for

it must be kept for the use of him whose sacrifice was

offered there. And as the brazen vessel must be rinsed

and scoured, so must this earth be freed from all that

dims its beauty, and be set apart for holy ends. It must

be purified and reserved for holy purposes; for the blood

of Jesus has dropt upon it and made it more sacred than  

any spot, except where he himself dwells. "My holy

mountain" (Isa. xi. 9), is the name it gets from himself,

when he is telling how he means to cleanse it for his

own use.


            Ver. 29, 30. All the males among the priests shall eat thereof

                        it is most holy. And no sin-offering, whereof any of the blood

                        is brought into the tabernacle of the congregation, to reconcile

                        withal in the holy place, shall be eaten; it shall be burnt in

                        the fire.


            Again the sacredness of it is declared. It seems

as if nothing was so fitted to teach us holiness as com-

plete atonement. "He sitteth between the cherubim,"

says Ps. xcix. 1, looking down on the sprinkled blood;

therefore, "Let the earth be moved."

            The sin-offerings are the class of sacrifices mentioned

as "those whereof any of the blood is brought into the

tabernacle, to reconcile withal in the holy place." Now,

these will be found to be the same sin-offerings that were

"burnt without the camp" (Heb. xiii. 11). All of which

specially and peculiarly prefigured the entireness of the


124                             SPECIAL RULES


Saviour's work (see chap. iv. 12). On this account they

are never to be eaten, but all consumed; as observed in

a similar case (ver. 23). On some occasions the Lord is

pleased to exhibit parts of the truth separately, withdraw-

ing our view, for the sake of deeper impressiveness, from

all but one point at a time. This seems to be done here.

We are here led to notice the entireness and complete-

ness of the offering, apart from the results of restoring

fellowship between the sinner and his God, which "eating"

would have intimated. The transfer of the offerer's guilt

to the victim was so complete that the victim is altogether

polluted--all "made sin." Hence nothing of it what-

soever must be used; the fire must thoroughly consume

it all. Thus we behold the debt and the gold that pays

it, all told down on the floor of the holy place! What a

debt! What a payment! The last mite is there! Behold

the demands of a holy God! And these all met and

satisfied! Behold the sacrifice and the fire!--and then

the sacrifice "wholly consumed!" How fierce the heat of

the flame! How complete the consumption! Thus ter-

-ribly pure is the justice of the Lord in vindicating his

holy law--that jealous God, who is " Holy, holy, holy!"    


                                    (CHAP. VII )




            Ver. 1, 2. Likewise this is the law of the trespass-offering: it is

                        most holy. In the place where they kill the burnt-offering shall

                        they kill the trespass-offering: and the blood thereof shall he

                        sprinkle round about upon the altar.


            So much had been said of the blood of the sin-offering,

in chap. iv., that there was no need to call attention to

that matter in giving directions to the priests regarding   

it. But there had been little said about the blood of the


FOR THE PRIESTS               CHAP. VII                  125


trespass-offering; and therefore it is specially noticed

here. The blood must be "sprinkled round about upon

the altar." Surely Israel must have felt that their souls      

were reckoned very guilty by their God, since he spoke

to them so continually in the language of blood. None

but a heavy-laden sinner could relish this never-varying

exhibition of blood to the eye of the worshipper. The     

pilgrims to Zion, in after days, must often, as they jour-

neyed through the vale of Baca, have wondered what was

to be seen and heard in the courts of the Lord's house,

of which the worshippers sang, "How amiable are thy

tabernacles, 0 Lord of hosts! My soul longeth, yea, even

fainteth, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my       

flesh crieth out for the living God. . . . Blessed are they

that dwell in thy house!" (Ps. lxxxiv. 1, 2, 4.) And

when they arrived, and saw in these courts blood on the

altar, blood in the bowls of the altar, blood on its four

horns, blood on its sides, blood meeting the eye at every

turn, none but a deeply-convicted soul, none but a soul

really alive to the guilt of a broken law, could enter into

the song, and cry with the worshippers, "How amiable!"

Even so with a preached Saviour at this day, and a sin-

convinced soul!


            Ver. 3-6. And he shall offer of it all the fat thereof; the rump,

                        and the fat that covereth the inwards, and the two kidneys, and

                        the fat that is on them,* which is by the flanks, and the caul

                        that is above the liver, with the kidneys, it shall he take away.

                        And the priest shall burn them upon the altar for an offering

                        made by fire unto the Lord: it is a trespass-offering. Every

                        male among the priests shall eat thereof: it shall be eaten in

                        the holy place: it is most holy.


            * "The fat that is on them," and that, too, which is "on the flanks"--a

construction similar to Ps. cxxxiii. 3, "The dew of Hermon, and also the dew

that descendeth on the mountains of Zion."


126                             SPECIAL RULES


            These rites had been prescribed, in chaps. iii. and iv.,

in regard to other offerings, but had not been prescribed

as belonging to the trespass-offering; and as the priests

are specially instructed here, the specific directions come

in appropriately here.

            The Lord is not weary of repeating these types,

both because of his wondrous love to the sinner, and his

still more unfathomable love to him whom he holds out

to fallen man in each of these figures--his Well-beloved.


            Ver. 7. As the sin-offering is, so is the trespass-offering: there is

                        one law for them: the priest that maketh atonement therewith

                        shall have it.


            "One law," not in regard to all the ceremonies used

therein, but in regard to this special circumstance of the

priest having the pieces left as his portion (see in chap.

vi. 26). The design of this may have been to fix atten-

tion on one special result of atonement, viz. that he who

is the means of making atonement has a claim on all that

the offerer brings; thus shewing forth Christ's claim on

his people for whom he atones--"Ye are not your own;

for ye are bought with a price" (1 Cor. vi. 20).





Ver. 8. And the priest that offereth any man's burnt-offering, even

the priest shall have to himself the skin of the burnt-offering

which he hath offered.


This general rule seems naturally to follow the special

case just noticed in ver. 7. There we see "the skin"

given to the priest, irresistibly reminding us of the skins

that clothed Adam and Eve. If Jesus, at the gate of

Eden, acting as our Priest, appointed sacrifice to be

offered there, then he had a right to the skins, as priest;


FOR THE PRIESTS               CHAP. VII                  127


and the use to which he appropriated them was clothing

Adam and Eve. He has clothing for the naked soul--

"fine raiment" (Rev. iii. 18)--obtained from his own

sacrifice. Even at the gate of Eden he began to "counsel

us to buy of him fine raiment, that we might be clothed."

And this is his office still (Rev. iii. I8).


Ver. 9, 10. And all the meat-offering that is oaken in the oven,

and all that is dressed in the frying pan and in the pan, shall

be the priest's that offereth it. And every meat-offering

mingled with oil, and dry, shall all the sons of Aaron have,

one as much as another.


"All the meat-offering"--after the memorial was taken,

of course (see chap. ii. 2, 9). All the kinds of meat-

offering are mentioned here--those prepared in the oven,

frying pan, and pan. Then, in ver. 10, the heap of fine

flour is meant by "every meat-offering mingled with oil,

and dry." It is not baked, but dry; the oil being on it

merely to consecrate it.

The meaning of this part of the type has already been

noticed in chap. ii.




Ver. 11. And this is the law of the sacrifice of peace-offerings,

which he shall offer unto the Lord.


The Jews say that the peace-offerings for thanksgiving

were brought on such occasions as Psalm cvii. mentions

--on occasions of deliverance from danger in travelling

the desert, or voyaging the sea, or captivity, or sickness.

The words used in that psalm countenance the idea (ver.

22), "And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving,

and declare his works with rejoicing." Peace-offerings

brought on occasion of a vow were probably very similar,

but with this difference, that in the time of danger--e. g.


128                             SPECIAL RULES


a storm at sea, or simoom in the desert--they were pro-

mised or vowed to the Lord. Such vowed peace-offerings

go under the name of "sacrifices of thanksgiving," in

Ps. cxvi. 17, compared with verses 1, 14, 18,

Those called "voluntary " (hbAdAn;) were probably

brought just because the soul of the worshipper was, at

the time, overflowing with gratitude; there was not, in

this case, any peculiar event to call for them. They were

nearly allied to praise, in so far as both these offerings

("free-will offerings") and praise were dictated simply by

the fulness of the worshipper's heart. Hence the phrase-

ology of Ps. cxix. 108, "Accept, I beseech thee, the free-

will offerings of my mouth." And Heb. xiii. 15, "By

him, therefore, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God

continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to

his name."


Ver. 12. If he offer it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer with

the sacrifice of thanksgiving unleavened cakes mingled with oil,

and unleavened wafers anointed with oil, and cakes mingled

with oil, of fine flour, fried.


The last clause means, "the cakes mingled with oil

shall be made of fine flour prepared." The second sort

of meat-offering is fixed upon as the kind to be brought

along with peace-offerings; because, perhaps, it was under-

stood that the offerer was a man able to bring this, if he  

could afford to bring a thanksgiving sacrifice. And the

meat-offering naturally accompanies an expression of    

gratitude; for it is a binding of the offerer to the Lord,

himself and all he has, body and substance, as well as

soul. So, in Psalm cxvi., where the vows are paid by a

sacrifice of thanksgiving, we hear the offerer saying also,

in ver. 16, "0 Lord, truly I am thy servant." What is

the meaning of the redeemed casting even their crowns


FOR THE PRIESTS               CHAP. VII                  129


at Christ's feet? Is not this their expression of abounding

gratitude? They would fain have nothing of their own.

Let all be his.


Ver. 13, 14. Besides the cakes, he shall offer for his offering

leavened bread with the sacrifice of thanksgiving of his peace-

offerings. And of it he shall offer one out of the whole obla-

tion for an heave-offering unto the Lord, and it shall be the

priest's that sprinkleth the blood of the peace-offerings.


Here is a remarkable appointment. "Leavened bread"

is to be offered. To understand this, we are to keep in

mind that this is a peace-offering, and therefore the offerer

is in a reconciled state toward God. His sins are all for-

given; there is peace between him and his God; But

this reconciliation does not declare that there is no cor-

ruption left remaining in the worshipper. Perfect pardon

does not imply perfect holiness. There is a remnant of

evil left. But here we see that remnant of evil brought

out before the Lord. The "leavened cakes" intimate the

corruption of the offerer; and God having graciously

accepted him, and delivered him from evils in the world

(for this is an offering of thanksgiving for special mercies),

he testifies his gratitude by bringing out what of corrup-

tion is found in his soul, that it may be removed. "Being

made free from sin, ye have your fruit unto holiness"

(Rom. vi. 22).

And to express yet more fully the intention of bringing

out this "leavened bread," the 14th verse tells that it is to

be "heaved to the Lord."*  One cake of this bread that

is leavened is heaved up to the Lord; the priest lifts it up


* The word is hmAUrt;, and the " wave-offering" is hpAUnt;. Both words imply

the same action; but the former is the more comprehensive. The "wave-offer-

ing" is confined to lesser things, that could easily be lifted up. Neither term

implies anything as to a new kind of sacrifice, but only a new mode of present-

ing the sacrifice.


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before the Lord, and, in the sight of all the congregation,

waves it to the four quarters of the heavens, as a sign that

he is giving it over to the Lord. Thus the grateful offerer

presents to the Lord all he has, and spreads out his very

corruptions to be dealt with as the Lord sees good. Was

he not saying, while the priest thus waved the leavened

cake to the four winds, "Search me, 0 God, and know

my heart; try me, and know my thoughts; and see if

there be any wicked way in me, and. lead me in the way

everlasting" (Ps. cxxxix. 23, 24). Patrick remarks that

the leavened bread was not put upon the altar. It is held

up in order to be removed.


Ver. 15. And the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace-offerings for

thanksgiving shall be eaten the same day that it is offered; he

shall not leave any of it until the morning.


The priest that sprinkled the blood was to eat the

pieces of this peace-offering the same day that it was

offered. Some say that this rule prevented covetousness

arising in the priests; no one had it in his power to hoard

up. Others say that this rule was fitted to promote brotherly

love; for he must call together his friends, in order to

have it all finished. But these uses are only incidental.

The true uses lie much nearer the surface. Israel might

hereby be taught to offer thanksgiving while the benefit

was still fresh and recent. Besides this, and most

specially, the offerer who saw the priest cut it in pieces,

and feast thereon, knew thereby that God had accepted

his gift, and returned rejoicing to his dwelling, like David

and his people, when their peace-offerings were ended, at

the bringing up of the ark (2 San. vi. 17-19). The

Lord took speciat notice of this free spontaneous thank-

offering, inasmuch as he commanded it to be immediately

eaten, thus speedily assuring the worshipper of peace and


FOR THE PRIESTS               CHAP. VII                  131


acceptance. The love of our God is too full to be re-

strained from us one moment longer than is needful for

the manifestation of his holiness.


Ver 16, 17. But if the sacrifice of his offering be a vow, or a   

voluntary offering, it shall be eaten the same day that he

offereth his sacrifice; and on the morrow also the remainder

of it shall be eaten. But the remainder of the flesh of the

sacrifice on the third day shall be burnt with, fire.


This is the case of a peace-offering offered on occasions

when the man had bound himself by a vow to present it;

and those other occasions when he brought it voluntarily,

that is, of his own thought, although nothing special had

occurred to him to draw it forth. There is one particular

in which this offering is to be dealt with differently from

the first kind. The time within which it must be eaten

is never extended beyond the third day; and if any

portion remained so long as the third day, that part is to

be forthwith brought out and burnt. Every precaution

is taken that none of the portions should suffer the taint

of corruption. The type refers to the incorruption of the

Surety, after he had been offered as a sacrifice. When

the third day came round, God completed his testimony

to the acceptance of his Son's work, by forthwith raising

him from the dead, ere corruption could begin. It seems

to be implied here, that "what remained" was to be

speedily consumed on the third day--perhaps as soon as

morning dawned, in order to be the more exact type of

the resurrection--" early on the first day of the week."


Ver. 18. And if any of the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace-offer-

ings be eaten at all on the third day, it shall not be accepted,

neither shall it be imputed unto him that offereth it: it shall be

an abomination, and the soul that eateth of it shall bear his



132                             SPECIAL RULES


How strictly is the type guarded, that so there may be

no misrepresentation of the Antitype! Lest possibly it

should corrupt by the third day, it is never to be eaten

then; for holy fellowship with God must be set forth by

eating it pure.