Leviticus 1-3: Laws for offerings.

June 15, 2015.

Daily Reading: Leviticus 1-3.

Background: Exodus 37-40. Leviticus details the instructions that God gave Moses to tell the children of Israel, teaching them about the temple worship that He wanted for them, that they might stand before Him as holy, consecrated for Him. The book lies between the completion of the tabernacle, found at the end of Exodus, and Israel’s departure from Sinai.

Concepts and Connections.

Chapter 1

Laws for burnt offerings: Opening the book of Leviticus, we enter the setting of Moses receiving instruction from the Lord to tell the people how they should bring burt offerings before Him, that they might go up as a pleasing aroma before the Lord. Note that these are merely the instructions for the burnt offerings, not the reasons to present a burnt offering to the Lord. The reasons for the different offerings will come later. There are three different sources of the burnt offering given in this chapter, from the heard, from the flock and an offering of birds, and with each, instructions are given on how to sacrifice each animal. From the heard, a male without blemish was to be brought and killed just before the time of offering, and the priest were to throw the blood against the side of the altar and arrange the rest of it, with washed entrails, on the altar and burn it as a food offering to the Lord. If the offering was from the flock, a male without blemish was to be brought and offered in a similar manner. Finally, when the offering was a bird (see Leviticus 5:7, 12:9), the priests were to wring its head and drain the blood down the side of the altar, Then they are to tear the bird by the wings, but not sever it completely, and burn it on the altar similar to that of the heard or the flock.

Chapter 2

Laws for grain offerings: This chapter lays out the instructions for the grain offerings that were brought before the Lord. Note that these are merely the instructions for grain offerings, not the reasons to present a grain offering to the Lord. The reasons for the different offerings will come later. The one who brought the grain offering could either bring it in the form of flour, or cooked with oil in a couple of different ways. With the grain offerings, a memorial portion was to be burnt on the altar, while the rest of the offering was to be given to the priests as their portion for their service to the Lord. Note that any grain offering brought before the Lord (that was not an offering of first fruits) could not be mixed with leaven (or honey), probably in reference to the command against having leaven when the children of Israel prepared for the Exodus (see Exodus 12).

Chapter 3

Laws for peace offerings: This chapter details the instructions of offering a peace offering before the Lord, again not giving the reason for a peace offering (though it is somewhat implied in the name), but rather just talking about how to actually carry out the offering (the reason for peace offerings will be detailed later). The peace offering could be from the heard or the flock, each animal killed in front of the tent of meeting, the priest throwing the blood at the side of the altar. Note the emphasis on the entrails of the animals and the fat of the animals for these offerings as compared to the burnt offerings in chapter one. The text specifically says that the fat is for the Lord here, indicating one reason why the children of Israel were not to eat the fat or the blood of animals.

Tomorrow’s Reading: I Kings 10-13.

The Lord give you peace.


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