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THE Greek version of the Septuagint, and the Vulgate Latin, have given the title of
Leviticus to the third book of the Pentateuch, and the name has been retained in almost all the modern versions. The book was thus called because it treats principally of the laws and regulations of the Levites and priests in general. In Hebrew it is termed up" Vaiyikra,
And he called,” which is the first word in the book, and which, as in preceding cases, became the running title to the whole. It contains an account of the ceremonies to be observed in the offering of burnt-sacrifices; meat, peace, and sin-offerings; the consecration of priests, together with the institution of the three grand national festivals of the Jews, the PASSOVER, PENTECOST, and TABERNACLES, with a great variety of other ecclesiastical matters, It seems to contain little more than the history of what passed during the eight days of the consecration of Aaron and his sons, though Archbishop Usher supposes that it comprises the history of the transactions of a whole month, viz., from April 21 to May 21, of the year of the world 2514, which answers to the first month of the second year after the departure from Egypt. As there are no data by which any chronological arrangement of the facts mentioned in it can be made, it would be useless to encumber the page with conjectures which, because uncertain, can answer no end to the serious reader for doctrine, reproof, or edification in righteousness. As the law was our schoolmaster untò Christ, the whole sacrificial system was intended to point out that Lamb of God, Christ Jesus, who-takes away the sin of the world. In reading over this book, this point should be kept particularly in view, as without this spiritual reference no interest can be excited by a perusal of the work.
The principal events recorded in this book may be thus deduced in the order of the chapters:
Moses having set up the tabernacle, as hąs been related in the conclusion of the preceding book; and the cloud of the Divine glory, the symbol of the presence of God, having rested upon it; God called to him out of this tabernacle, and delivered the laws and precepts con-. lained in the seven first chapters.
In chap, i, he prescribes every thing relative to the nature and quality of burnt offerings, and the ceremonies which should be observed, as well by the person who brought the sacrifice as by the priest who offered it.
In chap. ii. he treats of meat-offerings of fine flour with oil and frankincense; of cakes, and the oblations of first-fruits.
Chap. iii, treats of peace-offerings, prescribes the ceremonies to be used in such offerings, and the parts which should be consumed by fire.
Chap. iv. treats of the offerings made for sins of ignorance ; for the sins of the priests, rulers, and of the common people.
Chap. v. treats of the sin of him who, being adjured as a witness, conceals his knowledge of a fact; the case of him who touches an unclean thing; of him who binds himself by a vow or an oath ; and of trespass-offerings in cases of sacrilege, and in sins of ignorance.
Chap, vi. treats of the trespass-offerings for sins knowingly committed ; and of the offerings for the priests, the parts which should be consumed, and the parts which should be considered as the priests' portion. And in
Chap, vii. the same subject is continued,
PREFACE TO LEVITICUS.
Chap. viii. treats of the consecration of Aaron and his sons; their sin-offering; burnt-offering; ram of consecration; and the time during which these solemn rites should continue.
Chap. ix. After Aaron and his sons were consecrated, on the eighth day they were commanded to offer sin-offerings and burnt-offerings for themselves and for the people, which they accordingly did, and Aaron and Moses having blessed the people, a fire came forth from before the Lord, and consumed the offering that was laid upon the altar.
Chap. x. Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, having offered strange fire before the Lord, are consumed ; and the priests are forbidden the use of wine and all inebriating liquors.
Chap. xi. treats of clean and unclean beasts, fishes, birds, and reptiles.
Chap. xii. treats of the purification of women after child-birth, and the offerings they should present before the Lord.
Chap. xiii. prescribes the manner of discerning the infection of the leprosy in persons, garments, and houses.
Chap. xiv. prescribes the sacrifices and ceremonies which should be offered by those who were cleansed from the leprosy.
Chap. xv. treats of certain uncleannesses in man and woman; and of their purifications.
Chap. xvi. treats of the solemn yearly expiation to be made for the sins of the priest and of the people, of the goat and bullock for a sacrifice, and of the scape-goat ; all which should be offered annually on the tenth day of the seventh month.
Chap. xvii. The Israelites are commanded to offer all their sacrifices at the tabernacle ; the eating of blood is prohibited, as also the flesh of those animals which die of themselves, and of those that are torn by dogs.
Chap. xviii. shows the different degrees within which marriages were not to be contracted, and prohibits various acts of impurity.
Chap. xix, recapitulates a variety of laws which had been mentioned in the preceding book, (Exodus,) and adds several new ones.
Chap. xx. prohibits the consecration of their children to Molech, forbids their consulting wizards and those which had familiar spirits, and also a variety of incestuous and unnatural mixtures.
Chap. xxi. gives different ordinances concerning the mourning and marriages of priests, and prohibits those from the sacerdotal office who have certain personal defects.
Chap. xxii, treats of those infirmities and uncleannesses which rendered the priests unfit to officiate in sacred things, and lays down directions for the perfection of the sacrifices which should be offered to the Lord.
Chap. xxiñ. treats of the Sabbath and the great annual festivals—the passover, pentecost, feast of trumpets, day of atonement, and feast of tabernacles.
Chap. xxiv. treats of the oil for the lamps, and the shew-bread; the law concerning which had already been given, see Exod. xxv., &c.; mentions the case of the person who blasphemed God, and his punishment; lays down the law in cases of blosphemy and murder; and recapitulates the lex talionis, or law of like for like, prescribed Exod. xxi.
Chap. xxv. recapitulates the law, given Exod. xxiii., relative to the Sabbatical year ; prescribes the year of jubilee; and lays down a variety of statutes relative to mercy, kindness, benevolence, charity, &c.
Chap. xxvi. prohibits idolatry, promises a great variety of blessings to the obedient, and threatens the disobedient with many and grievous curses.
Chap. xxvii. treats of vows, of things devoted, and of the tithes which should be given for the service of the tabernacle,
No Chronological Table can be affixed to this book, as the transactions of it scem' to have been included within the space of eight days, or of a month at the utmost, as we have already seen. And even some of the facts related here seem to have taken place previously to the erection of the tabernacle; nor is the order in which the others occurred so distinguished as to enable us to lay down the precise days in which they took place.
THE THIRD BOOK OF MOSES,
L E VI TI CU S.
Year before the common Year of Christ, 1490.-Julian Period, 3224.-Cycle of the Sun, 27.—Dominical
Letter, D.-Cycle of the Moon, 9.-Indiction, 6.-Creation from Tisri or September, 2514.
A. M. 2514.
The Lord calls to Moses out of the tabernacle, and gives him directions concerning burnt-offerings of the beeve
kind, 1, 2. The burnt-offering to be a male without blemish, 3. The person bringing it to lay his hands upon its head, that it might be accepted for him, 4. He is to kill, flay, and cut it in pieces, and bring the blood to the priests, that they might sprinkle it round about the altar, 5, 6. All the pieces to be laid upon the altar and burnt, 7–9. Directions concerning offerings of the SMALLER CATTLE, such as sheep and goats, 10-13.
Directions concerning offerings of fowls, such as doves and pigeons, 14–17.
A. M. 2514. B. C. 1490.
B. C. 1490. An. Exod. Isr. 2. Moses, and spake unto him Israel, and say unto them, . If An. Exod. Isr. 2. Abib or Nisan.
out of the tabernacle of the any man of you bring an offer- Abib or Nisan. congregation, saying,
ing unto the Lord, ye shall bring your offera Exod. xix. 3. -b Exod. xl. 34, 35; Num. xii. 4, 5.
Chap. xxii. 18, 19.
or offering of access. This custom has been often reVerse 1. And the Lord called unto Moses] From ferred to in the preceding books. See also chap. vii. the manner in which this book commences, it appears Of the cattle] 72707 habbehemah, animals of the plainly to be a continuation of the preceding; and in- beeve kind, such as the bull, heifer, bullock, and calf ; deed the whole is but one law, though divided into five and restrained to these alone by the term herd, pa portions, and why thus divided is not easy to be con- bakar, which, from its general use in the Levitical jectured.
writings, is known to refer to the ox, heifer, &c. And Previously to the erection of the tabernacle God had therefore other animals of the beeve kind were excluded. given no particular directions concerning the manner Of the flock} 7x3 tson, sheep and Goats ; for we of offering the different kinds of sacrifices; but as have already seen that this term implies both kinds ; soon as this Divine structure was established and con- and we know, from its use, that no other animal of the secrated, Jehovah took it as his dwelling place; de- smaller clean domestic quadrupeds is intended, as no scribed the rites and ceremonies which he would have other animal of this class, besides the sheep and goat, observed in his worship, that his people might know was ever offered in sacrifice to God. The animals what was best pleasing in his sight, and that, when mentioned in this chapter as proper for sacrifice are the thus worshipping him, they might have confidence that very same which God commanded Abraham to offer; they pleased him, every thing being done according to see Gen. xv. 9. And thus it is evident that God dehis own directions. A consciousness of acting accord-livered to the patriarchs an epitome of that law which ing to the revealed will of God gives strong confidence was afterwards given in detail to Moses, the essence to an upright mind.
of which consisted in its sacrifices; and those sacriVerse 2. Bring an offering] The word f? 1p korban, fices were of clean animals, the most perfect, useful, from 57 karab, to approach or draw near, signifies an and healthy, of all that are brought under the immeoffering or gift by which a person had access unto diate government and influence of man. Gross-feedGod: and this receives light from the universal custom ing and ferocious animals were all excluded, as were that prevails in the east, no man being permitted to also all birds of prey. In the pagan worship it was approach the presence of a superior without a present widely different ; for although the ox was esteemed or gift; and the offering thus brought was called kor- among them, according to Livy, as the major hostia ; ban, which properly means the introduction-offering, and according to Pliny, the victima optima, et laudatis
“ Quod pro
The burnt-offering of the herd,
CHAP. I. - and the manner of offering it A. M. 2514. ing of the cattle, even of the LORD: i and the priests, Aaron's A. M. 2514. B. C. 1490.
B. C. 1490. An. Exod. Isr: 2. herd, and of the flock.
sons, shall bring the blood, and An. Exod. Isr. 2 Abib or Nisan.
3. If his offering be a burnt- sprinkle the blood round about Abib or Nisan. sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male upon the altar that is by the door of the taberd without blemish: he shall offer it of bis nacle of the congregation. own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle 6 And he shall flay the burnt-offering, and of the congregation before the Lord. cut it into his pieces.
4. e And he shall put his hand upon the head 9 And the sons of Aaron the priest shall of the burnt-offering; and it shall be f accepted put fire upon the altar, and ? lay the wood in for him -6 to make atonement for him. order upon the fire.
5 And he shall kill the h bullock before the 8 And the priests, Aaron's sons, shall lay
d Exod. xii. 5; chap. ill. 1 ; xxii. 20, 21 ; -Deut. xv. 21 ; Mal. & Chap. iv: 20, 26, 31, 35; ix. 7; xvi. 24; Num. xv. 25; i. 14; Eph. v. 27; Heb. ix. 14; 1. Pet. i. 19.- Chap. iv. 15; 2 Chron. xxix. 23, 24, Rom. v. 11. h Mic: vi. 6. Li 2 Chron. iii. 2, 8, 13; viii. 14, 22 ; xvi. 21 ; Exodus xxix. 10, 15, 19. Xxxv. 11; Heb. x. 11. -k Chap. üi. 8; Heb. xii. 24 ; 1 Pet. I Chap. xxii. 21, 27; Isa. lvi. 7; Rom. xii.d; Phil. iv. 18.
J Gen. xxii. 9. sima deorum placatio, Plin. Hist: Nat., lib. viii., c. 45, It has been sufficiently remarked by learned men " the chief sacrifice and the most availing offering that almost all the people of the earth had their burntwhich could be made to the gods;" yet obscene fowls offerings, on whieh also they placed the greatest deand ravenous beasts, according to the nature of their pendence. It was a general maxim through the heathen deities, were frequently offered in sacrifice. Thus they world, that there was no other way to appease the insacrificed horses to the sun, wolves to Mars, asses to censed gods; and they sometimes even offered human PBiApus, swine to Ceres, dogs to Hecate, &c., &c. sacrifices, from the supposition, as Cæsar expresses it, But in the worship of God all these were declared that life was necessary to redeem life, and that the unclean, and only the three following kinds of quad- gods would be satisfied with nothing less. RUPEDs were commanded to be sacrificed : 1. The bull vita hominis nisi vita hominis redditur, non posse aliter or or, the cow or heifer, and the calf. 2. The he-goat, deorum immortalium numen placari arbitrantur.”she-goat, and the kid. 3. The ram, the ewe, and the Com. de Bell. Gal., lib. vi. But this was not the case lamb.. Among Fowls, only pigeons and turtle-doves only with the Gauls, for we see, by Ovid, Fast., lib. were commanded to be offered, except in the case of | vị., that it was a commonly received maxim among cleansing the leper, mentioned chap. xiv. 4, where two more polished people : clean birds, generally supposed to be sparrows or other small birds, though of what species is not well known,
“ Prò parvo victima parva cadit. are specified. Fish were not offered, because they
Cor pro corde, precor, pro fibris surite fibras. could not be readily brought to the tabernacle alive.
Hanc animam vobis pro meliore damus." Verse 3. Burnt-sacrifice] The most important of See the whole of this passage in the above work, all the sacrifices offered to God; called by the Sep- from ver. 135 to 163. tuagint óhokaviwua, because it was wholly consumed, Verse 6. He shall flay] Probably meaning the perwhich was not the case in any other offering. See on son who brought the sacrifice, who, according to some chap. vii.
of the rabbins, killed, flayed, cut up, and washed the His own voluntary will] 13895 lirtsono, to gain sacrifice, and then presented the parts and the blood to himself acceptance before the Lord, in, this way all the priest, that he might burn the one, and sprinkle the the versions appear to have understood the original other upon the altar. But it is certain that the priests words, and the connection in which they stand obvi- also, and the Levites, flayed the victims, and the priest ously requires this meaning.
had the skin to himself; see chap. vii. 8, and 2 Chron. Verse 4. He shall put his hand upon the head of the xxix. 34. The red heiser alone was not flayed, but burnt-offering] By the imposition of hands the per- the whole body, with the skin, &c., consumed with fire. son bringing the viotim acknowledged, 1. The saerifice See Num. xix: 5. as his own.. 2. That he offered it as an atonement Verse 7. Pul fire) The, fire that came out of the for his sins. 3. That he was worthy of death because tabernacle from before the Lord, and which was kept he had sinned, having forfeited his life by breaking the perpetually burning ; see chap. ix. 24. Nor was it law, 4. That he entreated God to accept the life of lawful to use any other fire in the service of God. the innocent animal in place of his own. 5. And all See the case of Nadab-and Abihu, chap. x. this, to be done profitably, must have respect to HIM : Verse 8. The priests—shall lay the parts). The whose life, in the fulness of time, should be made a sacrifice was divided according to its larger joints. sacrifice for sin, 6. The blood was to be sprinkled 1. After its blood was poured out, and the skin reround about upon the aliar, ver. 5, aş by the sprinkling moved, the head was cut off. 2. They then opened of blood the atonement was made ; for the blood was it and took out the omentum, or caul, that invests the the life of the beast, and it was always supposed that intestinés. 3. They took out the intestines with the life went to redeem life. See note on Exod. xxix. mesentery, and washed them well, as also the fat. 10. On the required perfection of the sacrifice see 4. They then placed the four quarters upon the altar, the note on Exod. xii. 5.
covered them with the fat, laid the remains of the in
A. M. 2514.
Abib or Nisan.
The offering from the flock.
The offering of fowls. the parts, the head, and the fat, legs with water :- and the priest A. M. 2514. Av. Exod Isr. 2. in order upon the wood that is shall bring it all, and burn it upon An. Exod. Isr: 2. Abib or Nisan. on the fire which is upon the altar. the altar: it is a burnt-sacrifice,
9 But his inwards and his legs shall he an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour wash in water: and the priest shall burn all on unto the LORD. the altar, to be a burnt-sacrifiee, an offering 14 And if the burnt-sacrifice for his offering made by fire, of a m sweet savour unto the to the Lord be of fowls, then he shall bring his LORD.
offering of turtle doves, or of young pigeons. 10 And if his offering be of the flocks, 15. And the priests shall bring it unto the namely, of the sheep, or of the goats, for a altar, and wring off his head, and burn it on burt-sacrifice; he shall bring it a male - with the altar; and the blood thereof shall be wrung out blemish.
out at the side of the altar. 11 • And he shall kill it on the side of the 16 And he shall pluck away his crop with altar northward before the LORD: and the "his feathers, and cast it beside the altar on priests, Aaron's sons, shall sprinkle his blood the east part, by the place of the ashes. round about upon the altar :
17 And he shall cleave it with the wings 12 And he shall cut it into his pieces, with thereof, but t shall not divide it asunder: and his head and his fat: and the priest shall lay the priests shall burn it upon the altar, upon them in order on the wood that is on the fire the wood that is upon the fire : u it is a burntwhich is upon the altar.
sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet 13 But he shall wash the inwards and the savour unto the LORD.
testines upon them, and then laid the head above all. small bird. All these must be without spot or ble5. The sacred fire was then applied, and the whole mish-the most perfect of their respective kinds, and mass was consumed. This was the holocaust, or-com- be wholly consumed by fire. - The Rick were to bring plete burnt-offering.
the most costly; the poor, those of least price. Even Verse 0. An offering-af a sweet savour] An non in this requisition of justice how much mercy was nin'l ishsheh reiach nichoach, a fire-offering, an odour mingled! If a man could not bring a bullock or a of rest, or, as the Septuagint express it, duola ooun heifer, a goat-or a sheep, let him bring a calf, a kid, evwdlas, a sacrifice for å sweet-smelling savour ;" or a lamb. If he could not bring any of these because which place St. Paul had evidently in view when he of his poverly, let him bring a turtle-dove, or a young wrote Eph. v. 2 : “Christ hath loved ús, and hath pigeon, (see chap. v. 7 ;) and it appears that in cases given himself for us an offering, kai Avolav-Etc oomy of extreme poverty, even a little meal or fine flour evwdias, and a sacrifice, for a sweet-smelling savour ;"I was accepted by the bountiful Lord as a sufficient obwhere he uses the same terms as the Septuagint. lation ; see chap, v. 11. This brought down the be- . Hence we find that the holocaust, or burnt-offering, nefits of the sacrificial service within the reach of the typified the sacrifice and death of Christ for the sins poorest of the poor; as we may take for granted that of the world.
every person, however low in his circumstances, might Verse 10. His offering be of the flocks) See onver. 2. be able to provide the tenth part of an ephiah, about
Verse 12. Cut it into his pieces] See the notes on three quarts of meal, to make an offering for his soul Gen. xv.
unto the Lord. But every man must bring something; Verse 16. Pluck away his crop with his feathers) the law stooped to the lowest circumstances of the In this sacrifice of fowls the head was violently wrung poorest of the people, but every man must sacrifice, off, then the blood was. poured out, then the feathers because every man had sinned. Reader, what sort were placked off, the breast was cut open, and the of a sacrifice dost thou bring to God? To Him thou crop, stomach, and intestines taken out, and then the owest thy whole body, soul, and substance ; are all body was burnt. Though the bird was split up, yet it these consecrated to his service? Or has he the rewas not divided asunder. This circumstance is par- fuse of thy time, and the offal of thy estate ?
God ticularly remarked in Abram's sacrifice, Gen. xv. 10: requires thee to sacrifice as his providence has blessed See the notes there. ---See Ainsworth.
thee. "If thou have much, thou shouldst give liberally
to God and the poor ; if thou have but little, do thy We have already seen, on ver. 2, that four kinds diligence to give of that little. God's justice requires of animals might be made burnt-offerings to the Lord, a measure of that which his mercy has bestowed. But 1. Neat cattle, such as bulls, oxen, cows, and calves. remember that as thou hast sinned, thou needest a 2. He-goats, she-goats, and kids. 3. Rams, eves, Saviour. Jesus is that lamb without spot which has and lambs. 4. Pigeons and turtle-doves; and in one been offered to God for the sin of the world, and which case, viz., the cleansing of the leper, sparrows or some thou must offer to him for thy sin; and it is only