Leviticus: *Worship the *LORD in the Beauty of *Holiness

*Sacrifices that God Accepts

An EasyEnglish Bible Version and Commentary (2800 word vocabulary) on Leviticus chapters 1 to 7

www.easyenglish.info

Gordon Churchyard

This commentary has been through Advanced Checking.

Words in boxes are from the Bible, except for the words in brackets (…).

A word list at the end explains words with a *star by them.

 

‘The best book about Leviticus is Hebrews.’ (R.K. Harrison) (Hebrews is a book in the *New Testament of the Bible.)

Go to: Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4:1 to 5:13 | Chapter 5:14 to 6:7 | Chapter 6:8 to 7:21 | Chapter 7:22-38

What does the word ‘Leviticus’ mean?

Moses, or one of his helpers, wrote Leviticus in the *Hebrew language. All the people called *Jews spoke the *Hebrew language. They belonged to the family that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob started. The *Jews called the Book of Leviticus ‘wayyiqra’. This is actually two *Hebrew words, ‘way’ and ‘yiqra’. They mean ‘and’ and ‘he called’. These words are the first words in the book in the *Hebrew language. When the *Jews translated their Bible into the *Greek language, they gave the book a new title. The new *Greek title meant ‘about the *Levites’. Our title ‘Leviticus’ is the *Latin word for ‘about the *Levites’. The people who lived in Greece spoke *Greek. The people who lived in Rome spoke *Latin. When Jesus came to the earth, many people spoke *Latin and *Greek.

Jacob had 12 children. One of them was called Levi. His *descendants became the *tribe of Levi. *Descendants are members of your family that live after you. A *tribe is a very large family. Members of this family were called *Levites. They had a special job to do. Some of them worked in the house of God. They were called priests. Other priests worked in every town in the country. They helped people to understand the Bible. The Book of Leviticus, (‘wayyiqra’), helped the priests to do their work. Remember that all the priests were *Levites.

But now there are no *Jewish priests with the same duties as they had at the time of Moses. But the Book of Leviticus is still important. The reason for this is that many things in the book *point to (describe) the life and death of Jesus! Leviticus was important after the *Jews left Egypt. Today, it is important after a person becomes a Christian. There is more about this below. But today, we could call the Book of Leviticus by another name. That name would be, ‘*Worship the *LORD in the Beauty of *Holiness’. ‘*Worship’ means many things. They include ‘love and obey’. *LORD is a special name for God. It probably means ‘always alive’. ‘*Holiness’ means that people always try to please God. God always thinks that this makes people beautiful.

Normally, it would not be possible for anyone to *worship the *LORD in the beauty of *holiness. The Bible says that all people are *sinners. By our own efforts, we cannot please God. But God has provided a method so that we can *worship him properly.

For the *Jews, that method was *sacrifice. They would give to God parts of the animals that they killed. Sometimes they gave the whole animal. The priests burned the gift on the *altar at the house of God. God accepted the animal’s death so that the *Jews could *worship him. The animal had suffered death so that the *Jews could live as friends with God.

For Christians, that method is also *sacrifice. But it is not the death of an animal. God has provided his own precious son, Jesus, to be the perfect *sacrifice. His death deals with every *sin of the people who invite him into their lives. He has freed them from *sin’s power so that they can *worship the *LORD in the beauty of *holiness. So we can all please God because of Jesus’ *sacrifice on the *cross.

Why is Leviticus important for Christians?

Before we read the Book of Leviticus, we must link Leviticus with Exodus. There are three main reasons for this.

Moses wrote Leviticus in the *Hebrew language. The first *Hebrew word in Leviticus is ‘way’. This *Hebrew word means ‘and’. It links the first sentence in Leviticus with the last sentence in Exodus. Moses wanted his people to read the two books together.

In Exodus, Moses described how his people should build the ‘house of God’. This was not God’s house in Jerusalem, called The *Temple. The *Jews did not yet live in Jerusalem. This house was a tent, which people could carry with them. Many ancient people did this, like the *Egyptians. A tent like this showed everybody that their god was with them. Moses’ tent showed people that the God of *Israel was with the *Jews. In Exodus we read how the *Jews made the tent. But in Leviticus, we learn what the priests had to do in God’s tent. All the priests belonged to the *tribe of Levi. They were God’s special servants.

The first 5 books of the Bible tell us about several periods in the life of each person. If that person is a Christian, then the books mean this:

Genesis … *Sin makes a person into a slave of the devil. *Sin is when we do not obey God. Everybody is in this group of people. ‘Everybody has *sinned’, Romans 3:23. We *sin when we do not obey God’s laws. Genesis also tells us about people who tried to obey God, including Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph.

Exodus … God makes people free. So they are not slaves. They are like the *Jews who came out of Egypt. Christians are free. In other words, *sin does not still control them like slaves. God makes them free when they first believe in Jesus. They believe that Jesus died to save them from the devil. Now they are not the devil’s people. Instead they are God’s people. We call this ‘conversion’.

Leviticus … God wants his people to be friends with him. This is a special type of friendship that we call ‘*fellowship’. God brought the *Jews out of Egypt so that they could have *fellowship with him. And God frees Christians from *sin so that they can have *fellowship with him. This is what God wants very much. Leviticus tells us that we can have *fellowship with God. We can have *fellowship with God because Jesus died for us! That is why Leviticus is important for Christians.

Numbers … God’s people look for the *Promised Land. For the *Jews, it was the country called Israel. For Christians it is Heaven and the New Earth. Heaven is the home of God. We call this the Christian’s ‘walk’ with God. God shows his people the way to go. We often call this ‘guidance’, because God is guiding his people.

Deuteronomy … God’s people have reached the *Promised Land. They are ‘home’! Here are the rules that they must obey while still on this earth. There are no such rules in Heaven.

What is in the ‘house of God’?

Here is a map of the ‘house of God’ that the *Jews made. The Book of Exodus describes it.

 

 

 

 

North

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

West

 

A

B

 

C

 

D

East

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South

 

 

 

 

A and B was a tent. This is where God met Moses. This translation calls it the ‘*meeting tent’. The name reminded people that God met Moses there. After Moses, the only people who could go into the *meeting tent were the priests. All the priests could go into B, but only the chief priest could go into A. He could only go into A once every year. B was called the ‘holy place’, but A was called the ‘most holy place’. In A was a special box. It was called ‘the *ark of the *covenant’. ‘*Ark’ here is another word for box. The *covenant was a special promise that God made with the *Jews. In B there were other things:

1) An *altar, where the priests burned *incense. An *altar is a special table. When they burned *incense, it gave a nice smell.

2) A table, where the priests put some bread each week, on the *Sabbath day. It was called ‘the *showbread’.

3) A *lampholder that the *Jews had made from gold. A *lampholder is something that holds an oil lamp while it burns.

C was a large basin of water. The priests washed themselves and animals in it.

D was another *altar. The priests burned *sacrifices on this *altar. It was a wooden table with a metal top. The *sacrifices were animals, birds or corn. The people brought the animals, birds or corn to the priests. Leviticus chapters 1 to 7 tell us about these various *sacrifices. Also, there is a list of them below, in the section called ‘The 5 *sacrifices’. The *sacrifices are also called ‘*offerings’. ‘*Offering’ is another word for ‘gift’. They burned these *sacrifices, or gifts, for three reasons:

1) God told them to do it. This is one of the messages of the Book of Leviticus. If the people obeyed God, he would be very kind to them. But if they refused to obey him, they would not avoid their punishment.

2) God was pleased when his people gave *sacrifices. They realised that, like the animal, they should die because of their *sins. But God accepted the *sacrifice instead of the person who gave it.

3) After the *sacrifices, they could have *fellowship (special friendship) with God. God wanted his people to have friendly relations with him. And by means of the *sacrifices, God had made this possible.

For Christians, each *sacrifice has a special meaning. It tells them something about the death of Jesus Christ. The Book of Hebrews in the *New Testament explains this.

Round the ‘house of God’, there was a yard, where ordinary people could go. It was called a ‘*courtyard’. There was a wall all round it. The *Jews made the ‘wall’ from curtains and animal skins.

What is in the Book of Leviticus?

We can divide the Book of Leviticus into 8 sections.

1. Rules about the *sacrifices. (Leviticus 1:1 to 7:38)

2. Rules about how to make a priest. (Leviticus 8:1 to 10:20)

3. Rules about what is *clean and what is not *clean. (Leviticus 11:1 to 15:33)

4. The Day of *Atonement. (Leviticus 16:1 to 16:34)

5. Rules about religion. (Leviticus 17:1 to 22:33)

6. Holy days, weeks and years (Leviticus 23:1 to 25:55)

7. *Blessings and punishments. (Leviticus 26:1 to 26:46)

8. Rules about promises and *offerings. (Leviticus 27:1 to 27:34)

The 5 *sacrifices

In Leviticus chapters 1 to 7 we read about 5 types of *sacrifices. Below is a series of boxes. We call it a ‘table’. It helps us to understand the description and purpose of each *sacrifice.

 

Name of *sacrifice

Where to find it in Leviticus

The purpose of this *sacrifice

What the people offered (or gave as a *sacrifice)

What they did with it

*Whole offering

Leviticus 1:1-17

To make God favourable. To give yourself humbly to God.

A perfect *bull, sheep, goat, or birds (called *pigeons or *doves).

They burned everything.

*Corn offering

Leviticus 2:1-16

To thank God and also to make him favourable to the offerer. To give your goods and your work to God.

Cake or bread with no salt or *yeast (*yeast makes bread to rise).

They burned some and the priests ate some.

*Peace offering

Leviticus 3:1-17 and 22:18-30

To thank God; to be at peace with God; to be happy with other people; to express love to God.

Also, after you have carried out a promise completely.

A perfect male or female animal, whatever you can afford.

They burned the *fat; the priests and the offerer ate the rest of the animal.

*Sin offering

Leviticus 4:1 to 5:13

To ask God to forgive you when you *sinned by accident.

It depended who you were. There were various kinds of *sin offerings.

They burned the *fat for God; they burned the rest outside the camp

*Guilt offering

Leviticus 5:14-19

To ask God to forgive you when you *sinned against his holy things, or when you hurt somebody else.

A perfect male sheep.

They burned the *fat for God, but the priests ate the rest.

 

The note at the start of this Commentary tells us that Leviticus is about God’s people. 3500 years ago, they were the *Jews. But Leviticus also tells us about Jesus. So, it also tells us about Christian people.

The *Jews gave these 5 *offerings at the *meeting tent. Christians do not give animals as their *offerings. Instead, Jesus is their *offering; he is their *whole, *corn, *peace, *sin and *guilt offering. Normally, only *Jews and Christians give these types of *offerings. They are gifts to God from God’s people.

That helps us to understand that the first three *offerings are not for *sin. They are for *fellowship. They bring God and his people together. They become ‘at one’. In other words, they have friendly relations with him; they are united as friends with him.

That is why Leviticus 1:4 has *atonement (or ‘at-one-ment’) in it. But it is not the usual meaning of at-one-ment. The usual meaning is when God forgives a *sinner for the first time. They become ‘at one’. In Leviticus chapters 1 to 3, it is when a *Jew or a Christian wants to be ‘at one’ with God in his daily life. That is why the word ‘wants’ in Leviticus 1:3 is so important. Also, it tells us why they burned everything in chapter 1. The Christian who wants *fellowship with God gives everything to God. Something to do number 1 tells us how Jesus did this for Christians (see the end of chapter 1).

So, as you read Leviticus chapters 1 to 7, remember this. It is only about God’s people. In Moses’ time, they were *Jews. Now, also, they are Christians.

Chapter 1

The *Whole Offering

v1 And the *LORD called Moses. (The *LORD) spoke to him from the *meeting tent. This is what he said.

v2 ‘Speak to the *Israelites. Say this to them. “Anyone among you may bring an animal as an *offering to the *LORD. But you must bring your *offering from the *herd or from the *flock.” ’

Notes

These two verses introduce (provide the initial information to explain) the whole Book of Leviticus. They also introduce the first section, Leviticus chapters 1 to 7.

Verse 1 The word ‘and’ links Leviticus with Exodus. Read the note at the start of this Commentary. *LORD is a name for God. In *Hebrew, it is YHWH. It probably means ‘always alive’. *LORD is not a translation of YHWH. It represents the *Hebrew word. There is a map that includes the *meeting tent in the opening sections of this Commentary. The *meeting tent is the place where the *LORD met Moses (Exodus 25:22).

Verse 2 The *Hebrew word for *Israelites in this verse is ‘sons of *Israel’. *Israel is another name for Jacob. Jacob was Abraham’s grandson. Jacob had 12 sons. Each son’s family became one of the 12 *tribes of *Israel. So ‘sons of *Israel’ is a name for all the *Jews. Note two things about the phrase: ‘anyone among you may bring… an *offering’.

·  ‘Anyone’ means only one person. This is not an *offering for the whole nation. It is for only one person. The *Hebrew word for ‘anyone’ in this verse is ‘adam’. Also, ‘anyone’ need not be *Jewish.

·  ‘*Offering’ means that the person wanted to offer something to the *LORD. It was not something that he had to do. The person wants *fellowship with God. So, by means of the *sacrifice, the person offers himself to God. The *Hebrew word for ‘*offering’ is ‘carban’. The word is in Mark 7:11: ‘It is Corban, which means a gift.’

‘*Herd’ means a ‘group’ of *cattle. Cows are *cattle. ‘*Flock’ means a ‘group’ of sheep or goats. So, ‘from the *herd or from the *flock’ means *cattle, sheep or goats. But verse 3 says that the *cattle must be male. A male cow is called a *bull.

Because the animals were valuable, the *offering cost the offerer something. This is important. It reminds us of what the death of Jesus cost God. Also, the *offering could not merely be the gift of money. The animal had to die. This too is important. We can only have a right relationship with God because Jesus died for us.

v3 ‘If someone wants to offer a *whole offering (from the *herd), he must do it at the door of the *meeting tent. It must be a perfect male (animal) from the *herd. Then the *LORD will accept it.

v4 He must lean (with) his hand on the head of the *whole offering. Then (the *LORD) will accept it on behalf of him. Then it will make *atonement for him.

v5 He must kill the *bull in front of the *LORD. Then the priests, who are Aaron’s sons, will bring the (animal’s) blood to the *altar. They will splash it all round the *altar, which is at the door of the *meeting tent.

v6 (The offerer) must take the skin off the *whole (animal). Then he must cut the *offering into pieces.

v7 The sons of Aaron, who is the priest, must put fire onto the *altar. Then they must put wood onto the fire.

v8 Aaron’s sons are the priests, They will then arrange the pieces (of the animal) onto the wood that is burning on the *altar. They will include the head (of the animal) and its *fat.

v9 (The offerer) must wash (the animal’s) legs and its inside parts with water. The priest will then burn it all on the *altar. It is a *whole offering. It is a gift that (people) offer by fire. Its smell pleases the *LORD.

 

v10 If someone wants to offer a *whole offering from the *flock, it will be either a sheep or a goat. He must offer a male (animal) that is perfect.

v11 He must kill it in front of the *LORD, at the north side of the *altar. Aaron’s sons, (who are) the priests, will splash its blood onto all the sides of the *altar.

v12 (The offerer) must cut (the animal) into pieces. The priest will then arrange the pieces on the wood that is burning on the *altar. He will include the head and the *fat.

v13 (The offerer) must wash the legs (of the animal) and its inside parts with water. Then the priest must bring it all and he must burn it on the *altar. It is a *whole offering. It is a gift that (people) offer by fire. Its smell pleases the *LORD.

 

v14 If someone wants to offer a bird as a *whole offering, he must offer a *dove or a young *pigeon.

v15 The priest shall bring (the bird) to the *altar. He will screw off its head and he will burn it on the *altar. He will drain its blood on the side of the *altar.

v16 (The priest) must remove the bird’s stomach and everything that is in it. He must throw it to the east side of the *altar, where the ashes are.

v17 He must pull the bird open by its wings, but he must not pull it apart completely. Then the priest must burn it on the wood that is burning on the *altar. It is a *whole offering. It is a gift that (people) offer by fire. Its smell pleases the *LORD.’

Notes

Verse 3 The offerer must want to give something to the *LORD.

The *Hebrew word for ‘*whole offering’ is olah. The *Hebrew word means something that ‘goes up’. As they burned the whole animal, we translate ‘olah’ as ‘*whole offering’. Its smell ‘goes up’ to the *LORD in the smoke. This pleased the *LORD very much. It is the thing that he wants most of all: to be at one with his people. (In other words, to have friendly relations with his people, or to be united as friends with them.)

That is why the *whole offering is the first of the five *offerings in the Book of Leviticus. Many English Bibles call the *whole offering ‘the *burnt offering’. This was because the priests burned it. But ‘*whole offering’ is a better name, because they also burned the other 4 *offerings.

The important word in this verse is ‘accept’. God really wants *fellowship with his people. This *offering is not about *sin. It is about the *sinner whom God has forgiven. It is about that *sinner who wants *fellowship with God. The *sinner gives himself to God, and his *offering is really himself. We can only find this *fellowship because Jesus offered himself for us. Jesus is our ‘carban/Corban’. (See my note on verse 2 for the meaning of ‘carban/Corban’.)

Verse 4 ‘*Atonement’ is a special word. When we do not obey God, we *sin. We become ‘apart’ from him. *Atonement means that we are not apart from God. We are ‘at one’ with him. In other words, we have friendly relations with him. When he forgives us, we are ‘at one’, or ‘together’ with him. When the offerer leaned his hand onto the animal’s head, he became at one with it. (In other words, he became the same as the animal.) So he felt that he should die like the animal. He may have said part of a psalm, such as Psalm 40, 51 or 66. Perhaps the priest replied with parts of Psalm 20 or 50.

But the important thing is this. The offerer is already one of God’s people. He is free. He is not a slave any longer. He has come through ‘the Red Sea’ (Exodus chapter 14). Now, *atonement means that he wants whole *fellowship with God. So he offers a *whole offering! The word ‘lean’ is the important word in this verse. The offerer must press on the animal’s head. This makes him one with (in other words, ‘the same as’) the animal. He unites himself with it.

Verse 5 It is the blood that is important. Christians know that the blood of animals cannot bring *atonement, Hebrews 10:4. This says, ‘The blood of *bulls and goats cannot take away *sins’. Only the blood of Jesus can take away the *sin that is part of human nature. By means of Jesus’ death, God gives us life that will never end.

But God provided animal *sacrifices so that the *Jews could have *fellowship with him. They could not know everything that we know now because of Jesus’ death. But God would forgive them and they would have friendly relations with him.

That is why in verse 5, the priest splashed the blood of the animal on all 4 sides of the *altar. He gave the animal’s blood to the *LORD instead of the offerer’s blood. Not only does this forgive *sin, it also makes the offerer at one (united as friends) with God. This is what God wants most of all. He wants *fellowship with his people.

The *Hebrew words for ‘*bull’ mean ‘son of the *herd’. That may mean *bull, but it may mean ‘young *bull’.

Verse 6 They must not burn the animal’s skin on the *altar. The offerer must remove it from the animal. Later the priests and *Levites removed the animal’s skin, 2 Chronicles 29:34. Perhaps this was because so many people offered animals for *sacrifices. The animal’s skin became the property of the priests.

Verse 7 The priests made the first fire. After this, the fire always burned. Sometimes they had to make many fires on the *altar, because there were so many *sacrifices, 1 Kings 8:64.

Verse 8 The head of the animal and its *fat were for God alone. The priests and the offerer never ate the *fat. (See the section called ‘the 5 *sacrifices’ near the start of this *commentary). Something to do number 2 tells us what each part probably means.

Verse 9 The offerer must wash the inside parts of the animal with water. It would not be right to make the *altar dirty with what is in the animal. The *Hebrew word for ‘burn’ means ‘make into smoke’. It is this smoke that pleases the *LORD. Because the smell is pleasant, we call this a ‘good smell’ *sacrifice. The first three *sacrifices in Leviticus are ‘good smell’ *sacrifices. The *Hebrew words ‘pleases the *LORD’ really mean this. ‘The *LORD now has rest.’

Verse 10 A *flock is a group of sheep or goats. As with the animal from the *herd, the offerer must want to offer something to the *LORD. Perhaps they included goats because of the *scapegoat in Leviticus chapter 16.

Verse 11 This time, the offerer does not put his hand onto the animal’s head. But he does kill the animal, as with the *bull, but not the birds (verse 15). Some Bible students think that ‘lean with his hand’, verse 4, also refers to all the *whole offerings.

Verse 12 Again, as with the *bull, the offerer must cut the animal into pieces. Then the priest put the pieces onto the *altar.

Verse 13 Again, the rules are similar to the rules for *bulls. Note again that the smell pleases the *LORD. It is a ‘good smell’ *sacrifice.

Verse 14 The rules allow birds because poor people could not afford *bulls, sheep or goats. Neither do the rules say that the birds must be male or perfect. This would make it easier for the poorer people.

Verses 15-17 The priest does everything. He kills the bird and pulls off its head. Then he pours out its blood and he burns the body. The priests took the ashes away regularly. Note again that the smell pleases the *LORD. It is a ‘good smell’ *sacrifice.

Further Note

The *whole offering means that the *worshipper offers the whole of themselves to God. God gives that person a humble attitude so that they will please God. Read Micah 6:6-8 and Romans 12:1-2.

Something to do

1. There are three things in this chapter: the offerer, the *offering and the priest. In Moses’ time, they were all different. But for Christians, they are all the same. They all *point to Jesus! Study the verses in the table below.

 

Christ was the offerer

 

They did not kill Christ. He offered himself so that they could kill him.

John 10:18

 

Christ was the *offering

 

This was the body that God had prepared for Christ. He offered his body to live for us and to die for us.

Psalm 40:6-8

Hebrews 10:5-9

 

Christ was the priest

 

Christ was a special priest.

He was not a *Levite. He was ‘after the type of Melchizedek’.

Hebrews 5:10

Then remember this. The offerer ‘must lean with his hand upon the head of the *whole offering’ (Leviticus 1:4). A Christian is ‘in Christ’. So Jesus did this for every Christian! He made it possible for them to have *fellowship with God. He made it possible for every Christian to *worship God.

2. There are several *offerings. They all *point to Jesus! Study the verses in the table below.

 

*Bulls (male cows)

The *bull was a strong animal.

Jesus was strong and he worked hard with people.

Psalm 144:14

Mark 1:35-38 and 3:20

Mark 6:30-45

 

Sheep or goats

The *lamb did not complain when it suffered.

Jesus did not complain when he suffered.

Isaiah 53:7

1 Peter 2:23

 

*Pigeons or *doves

 *Doves make a noise that sounds like people who are very sad. *Doves do nothing that is wrong. (That is, they are gentle birds.)

Isaiah 38:14 and 59:11

Mark 10:16

3. There are 4 things that make the *offerings important for Christians.

1) ‘Its smell pleases the *LORD’, verses 9, 13 and 17. God liked the *offering. So the offerer could come to where God was. Then there could be *fellowship.

2) God accepted the offerer, verse 3.

3) A life became the gift upon the *altar, verse 5.

4) Everything burned up completely on the *altar, verse 9. Nothing remained.

Think about the life of Jesus on this earth. Did he do these 4 things?

Chapter 2

The *Corn Offering

v1 ‘When anybody (wants to) bring a *corn offering to the *LORD, (that person must make it) with the *finest flour. They must pour *oil onto it and they must put *incense onto it.

v2 Then they must take it to the priests, (who are) Aaron’s sons. (The priest) must take as much (of the mixture) as he can hold in his hand. It must contain the *finest flour, (some) *oil and all the *incense. He must burn this on the *altar as a reminder. It is a gift that (people) offer by fire. Its smell pleases the *LORD.

v3 The rest of the *corn offering belongs to Aaron and to his sons. It is a very holy part of the *offerings that they make on the fire to the *LORD.

v4 If you bake your *corn offering in an oven, you must make it (like this).

·  Use the *finest flour.

·  Mix oil with the flour and make *unleavened bread.

·  Or make *unleavened biscuits and spread *oil on them.

v5 If you cook your *corn offering on a flat pan, you must (do these things).

·  Use the *finest flour.

·  Mix *oil with the flour.

·  Do not use *yeast.

v6 You must break (the *pancake) in pieces and then you must pour *oil onto it. It is a *corn offering.

v7 If you fry your *corn offering in a pan, you must make it with the *finest flour and with *oil.

v8 You must bring the *corn offering (that you) made from any of these things to the *LORD. Give it to the priest and he will bring it to the *altar.

v9 The priest will offer (part of) the *corn offering (to the *LORD). (It will be) a reminder. He will burn it on the *altar. It is a gift that (people) offer by fire. Its smell pleases the *LORD.

v10 The rest of the *corn offering belongs to Aaron and to his sons. It is a very holy part of the gifts that (people) offer to the *LORD by fire.

 

v11 You must not use *yeast in any *corn offering that you give to the *LORD. You must never burn any *yeast or any honey as a gift to the *LORD.

v12 You may bring those things to the *LORD when you offer the *first fruits (from your plants to him). But you must not offer them on the *altar (because they do not make) a pleasant smell (for the *LORD).

v13 You must put salt on every *corn offering that you make. Do not let the salt of your *covenant with God be missing from your *corn offerings. There must be salt with all the *offerings that you give (to the *LORD).

 

v14 If you bring a *corn offering of *first fruits to the *LORD, (do it like this). Break the pieces of new corn that come from the tops of the new plants. Then cook them in a fire. Then offer the *first fruits (to the *LORD).

v15 Put *oil and *incense on it, (because) it is a *corn offering.

v16 Then the priest will burn (part of) this, with the *oil and all the *incense (on the *altar). (It will be) a reminder. It is a gift that (people) offer to the *LORD by fire.’

Notes

This is the second ‘good smell’ *offering. As the *whole offering was, it was for the purpose of *fellowship. The people that made it were already God’s people. This means *Jews before Jesus came to the earth; or Christians today. So it is not about *sin. The 4th and 5th *offerings are about *sin. This is about people who want to ‘*worship the *LORD in the beauty of *holiness’. (A note near the start of this Commentary explains this phrase.)

Unlike the other *offerings, an animal does not die as a *sacrifice here. Instead, people gave a gift from their harvest. They were giving the result of their work to God.

Usually, people gave the *corn offering with one of the other *offerings. Only the poorest people could only afford to give a *corn offering.

Verse 1 The *oil came from a fruit called the olive. *Incense made a pleasant smell when they burned it. The first difference from the *whole offering is that they did not burn an animal or a bird. They burned some corn. They made the *finest flour from wheat. It cost twice as much as ordinary flour. They put it through the mill until only the tiniest pieces remained, like powder. It was hard work to make it. But afterwards, they could mix the flour easily.

Verse 2 Bible students are not sure whom the ‘reminder’ is for. Also, what does he remember? R.K. Harrison gives two main theories. Perhaps the reminder is:

·  to help God to remember the offerer (Psalm 20:4).

·  to help the offerer to remember what God has done for them.

Some Bible students think that it means both of these.

A ‘reminder’ means something that reminds someone about something else. The Book of Leviticus speaks several times about a reminder (see Leviticus 2:2, 2:9, 2:16, 5:12, 6:15 and 24:7). On each occasion, the priests burned a small quantity of something to God, which they gave instead of something larger. Afterwards, the rest of the gift was food for the priests.

Verse 3 Here is the next difference between the *corn offering and the *whole offering. In the *whole offering, the priests burned the whole *offering for God’s satisfaction. In the *corn offering, the priests can eat most of it. But, like the *whole offering, the pleasant smell allowed the offerer to have *fellowship with God. It was not an *offering that asked God to forgive the offerer’s *sin. Because it is an ‘holy part’, the priests had to eat it in a special part of the ‘house of God’. They could not take it outside.

Verse 4 ‘*Unleavened’ means that it has no *yeast in it. People add *yeast to bread to make it ‘rise’. In other words, the bread gets bigger as it cooks. People could bring bread or biscuits instead of corn. But they must not have *yeast in them, or they would not be pure.

Verses 5-6 We call *offerings like this ‘*pancakes’. So the *corn offering can be corn (verses 1-3), bread or biscuits (verse 4), or *pancakes (verse 5). *Pancakes were the type of bread that people cooked in a flat pan.

Verse 9 Read the note on verse 2 for ‘reminder’.

Verse 11 *Yeast made bread to ‘rise’, or get bigger in the oven. Honey was a sweet substance. It is a type of sugar. But when you burn it, it makes a nasty smell! Perhaps *yeast also makes a bad smell when people burn it. But both honey and *yeast made sugar to turn into alcohol. Perhaps this was the reason.

There is another possible reason. Flour with oil made a very simple type of bread. People usually added honey or they used *yeast to make the bread nicer. Honey would make it sweeter and *yeast would make it softer. But God told the people to offer him something that was simple and basic. The only way that they could improve the gift was their own effort to prepare it.

Verse 12 Deuteronomy 26:1-11 describes how people gave the *first fruits from their harvest to God. This was a special gift to thank God for all that he had provided. It could include things like honey, which God did not allow his people to include in the regular *offerings. But the priests did not burn these gifts on the *altar.

See verses 14-16 for another type of gift of *first fruits. The priests could burn that gift, but it did not contain honey or *yeast.

Verse 13 People in the east ‘ate salt’ together when they were friends. It was the custom to pour a little salt onto bread when friends ate together. Salt made this *offering a friendship *offering; it was for the purpose of *fellowship. Read also Numbers 18:19 and 2 Chronicles 13:5.

Verses 14-16 The ‘*first fruits’ are the first corn plants that become ripe at the start of the harvest. If someone offered the ‘*first fruits’ to the *LORD, then they could use the rest for themselves. Perhaps they offered the ‘*first fruits’ of other plants too. They made these *offerings:

·  with the *whole offerings (Leviticus chapter 1);

·  at *Pentecost, when the corn was ready to harvest.

Verse 16 mentions the ‘reminder’ again, as in verse 2. Here again, the priest burns part of the grain, with oil and *incense, as a ‘reminder’.

Something to do

1. Compare the *whole offering with the *corn offering. In what ways are they (a) similar and (b) different?

2. There are 4 things in a *corn offering: flour, *oil, *incense and salt. As in the *whole offering, Jesus is again the *offering here instead of Christians. Look at the *gospels and epistles (the letters by Paul, Peter, James, and John) to find how Jesus was like these 4 things. In some passages, Jesus just speaks about these 4 things. The table below may help you.

 

flour

People broke the corn to make flour.

Matthew 15:37

1 Corinthians 11:24

*oil

*Oil represents (is a word picture of the Holy Spirit.

Mark 1:10

Luke 4:14

*incense

Its smell pleases God.

2 Corinthians 2:15

Ephesians 5:2

salt

It makes things pure.

Matthew 5:13

Mark 9:49

Chapter 3

The *Peace Offering

v1 ‘Someone may want to offer a *peace offering. If he offers an animal from the *herd, it can be male or female. But he must offer a perfect animal to the *LORD.

v2 He must lean his hand on the head of his *offering. Then he must kill it at the entrance of the *meeting tent. Then Aaron’s sons, (who are) the priests, will splash the blood against all the sides of the *altar.

v3 From the *peace offering, he must offer a gift to the *LORD on the fire. Some (*fat) covers the inside parts of the animal and some is on the inside parts. He must offer all this *fat (on the *altar).

v4 (He must also offer) both *kidneys with the *fat on them near (the animal’s) back legs. (And he must also offer the *fat) that covers the *liver. He will remove this with the *kidneys (from the animal).

v5 Then Aaron’s sons will burn (these parts of the animal) on the *altar. They will put them on the top of the *whole offering, on the burning wood. This is a gift that (people) offer by fire. Its smell pleases the *LORD.

 

v6 Someone (else) may want to offer a *peace offering. If he offers an animal from the *flock, it can be male or female. But he must offer a perfect animal to the *LORD.

v7 If he offers a *lamb, he must bring it in front of the *LORD.

v8 He must lean his hand on the head of his *offering. Then he must kill it in front of the *meeting tent. Then Aaron’s sons will splash the blood against all the sides of the *altar.

v9-10 From the *peace offering, he must offer a gift to the *LORD on the fire. (He must offer all these things).

·  The *fat.

·  All the *fat from the tail. (The offerer) must cut off (the tail) near the bone in (the animal’s) back.

·  All the *fat that covers the parts inside the animal, or is on these parts.

·  Both the *kidneys, with the *fat on them near (the animal’s) back legs.                            (v10)

·  (The *fat) that covers the *liver, which he must remove (from the animal) with the *kidneys.

v11 Then the priest must burn it all on the *altar. This is a gift of food that (the offerer) makes to the *LORD by fire.

 

v12 Someone may want to offer a goat. He must bring it in front of the *LORD.

v13 He must lean his hand on its head. Then he must kill it in front of the *meeting tent. Then Aaron’s sons will splash the blood against all the sides of the *altar.

v14-15 (The offerer) must give part of his *offering as a gift to the *LORD on the fire. (He must give these things).

·  All the *fat that covers the parts (that are) inside (the animal).

·  All the *fat that is on (these inside parts).

·  Both the *kidneys, with the *fat on them near (the animal’s) back legs.                            (v15)

·  (The *fat) that covers the *liver. He must remove this with the *kidneys.

v16 Then the priest must burn it all on the *altar. This is a gift of food that (the offerer) makes by fire. Its smell pleases (the *LORD). All the *fat belongs to the *LORD.

 

v17 Wherever you live, you must always obey this rule. And your families in future centuries (must obey this rule. The rule is this:) You must not eat any *fat or any blood.

Notes

Like the first two *offerings, this is a ‘good smell’ *offering. It is not about *sin. It is about a person who wants *fellowship with God. Again, the only way that this can happen is through Jesus.

Before the *Israelites entered Canaan, God did not allow them to kill animals anywhere for meat. If they wanted to eat meat from a cow, *bull, sheep or goat, they had to bring it to God’s house (17:8-9). They had to offer it to God as a *peace offering.

They would burn the *fat on the *altar. People considered the *fat to be the richest part, so they were giving the best part to God. The priest received part of the meat. And the person who brought the *offering received the rest of the meat. He ate it with his family and friends.

So the people were sharing the meat with God and his priests. They were having *fellowship together.

Verse 1 Some translations call this ‘the *fellowship offering’. *Fellowship is a special friendship that God has with his people. But the *Hebrew word is ‘shelamim’ which means ‘peaces’ (the plural of ‘peace’). We can have this *fellowship, or ‘*peace with God and our neighbours (other people)’, because Jesus died for us. His death did not only mean that God can forgive us. It also means that we can come into God’s house as his friends. A *herd is a group of cows. Male cows are called *bulls. So verses 1-5 are about *bulls and cows.

Verse 2 When the offerer leaned his hand on the head of the animal, he united himself with it. The note on Leviticus 1:4 explains this. The section called ‘What is in the house of God’ explains where the *meeting tent is. That section is near the start of this Commentary.

The priest had to use the blood to make the *altar *clean. Here, the word ‘*clean’ does not mean ‘not dirty’. It means that God approves of the *altar. So he accepts the gifts that his people offer there.

The blood is a word picture for the life of the animal. The animal’s life was the cost to provide *fellowship between the people, the priests, and God.

Verses 3-5 The *liver and *kidneys are important parts of bodies. In many religions, people examined the *liver and *kidneys to find out what would happen in the future. But God’s law did not allow people to do this. Instead, God told the *Jews to burn the *kidneys with the *fat on the *altar. They had to burn the *fat that covers the *liver too. The *altar was outside the *meeting tent.

Verse 6 An animal from the *flock would be a sheep or a goat. But the rules about goats are in verses 12-16. So verses 6-11 are about sheep.

Verse 7 ‘In front of the *LORD’ means outside the *meeting tent. The *Jews understood that the *LORD was in this tent. It was his home on the earth.

Verse 9 The sheep that lived in *Israel had very fat tails. Their tails weighed about 15 pounds (7 kilos)! The people offered all this *fat to the *LORD.

Verses 12-16 These verses contain the instructions for goats. They are very similar to the instructions for *cattle (verses 1-5) and for sheep (verses 6-11).

Verse 17 This was a very important rule, because the blood represented (stood for) the life of the animal. The life belongs to God, so the people could not take it for themselves.

Something to do

1. Study Hebrews 9:11-16. Notice that the death of Christ brings us into *fellowship with God.

This is the purpose of the first three *offerings: the *whole, *corn and *peace offerings.

2. The *Hebrew word ‘shalom’ means ‘peace’. But this peace does not mean that there is no war. It is better to translate it ‘healthy’. In other words, we are ‘healthy’ in everything that we do. For example, our relationships with other people are ‘healthy’ (good and friendly). Pray that God will make you shalom!

Chapter 4:1 to 5:13

The *Sin Offering

Chapter 4 v1 The *LORD said to Moses,

v2 ‘Say (this) to the *Israelites. The *LORD’s commands forbid you to do certain things. If anyone does any of those things, he has *sinned. If he has done it by accident, (he shall bring a *sin offering).

 

v3 If the chief priest *sins, this would make (all) the people guilty. He must bring to the *LORD a perfect young *bull. It is a *sin offering, for the *sin that he has done.

v4 He must bring the *bull to the entrance of the *meeting tent, in front of the *LORD. He must press his hand on its head and he must kill it in front of the *LORD.

v5 Then the chief priest must take some of the *bull’s blood and he must carry it into the *meeting tent.

v6 He must put his finger into the blood. He must splash some of it 7 times in front of the *LORD. (He must do this) in front of the curtain between the holy place (and the most holy place).

v7 The priest must then put some of the blood onto the *horns of the *incense *altar. This is in front of the *LORD in the *meeting tent. He must pour away the rest of the *bull’s blood at the base of the (other) *altar. This is where (the priests) burn the *whole offering. It is at the entrance of the *meeting tent.

v8 He must remove all the *fat from the *bull (which is) the *sin offering. This *fat covers the parts inside (the animal), or is on these parts.

v9 He must remove both (the animal’s) *kidneys, with the *fat on them (which is) near (the animal’s) legs. He must also (remove), with the *kidneys, (the *fat which) covers the *liver.

v10 He must (do it in the same way) as he removes the *fat from the cow. (He does that when) he kills (the cow) as a *peace offering. Then the priest must burn all these things on the *altar (where he burns) the *whole offering.

v11-12 The rest of the *bull includes its skin, its meat, its head and legs, the inside parts and the dirt. He must take all the rest of the *bull outside the camp. He must take it to a place that his religion considers to be *clean. They throw the ashes there (from the *altars). He must burn everything on a fire of wood on the ashes.’

Notes

What is the difference between *sin and *guilt offerings in Leviticus 4:1 to 6:7? Bible students explain it in different ways. Here are two of them. Most Bible students agree with the second one.

·  One way to understand it is this. The *sin offering refers to original *sin. The *guilt offering refers to actual *sin. When we are born, we all have original *sin. It is a result of Adam’s original *sin in Genesis chapter 3. So, we *sin without thought about what we are doing. We *sin ‘by accident’. We may not even realise that we have not obeyed God’s commands. Actual *sin is when we choose to *sin. We know that we are doing something wrong. The *guilt offering in Leviticus 5:14 to 6:7 is for actual *sin. The *sin offering in chapter 4:1 to 5:13 is for original *sin. Notice that the *offerings in Leviticus chapters 1, 2 and 3 are not about *sin. They bring the offerer into *fellowship with God. As a result, he or she is able to *worship God. But if the offerer worries about *sin, these two *offerings in Leviticus chapters 4, 5 and 6 will comfort him or her. (From ‘The Law of the *Offerings’, by Andrew Jukes.)

·  Another way to understand it is this. The *sin offering is for something that does not hurt people. But the *guilt offering is different. It is for *sins that have hurt people. This is true even if the *sinner did not intend to hurt people. So the *guilt offering includes money to pay to the person that the *sinner has hurt. (From Bible *Commentary by Fausset.)

Verse 2 In the *Hebrew Bible, the last part of the verse is a sentence without an end. We could translate it as: ‘If anyone *sins by accident, and does not obey the *LORD’s commands …’ Then, from verse 3, there are several sections. Each says what various *sinners must do. These *sinners include:

·  The chief priest, verses 3-12.

·  All the *Israelites, verses 13-21.

·  A leader of the people, verses 22-26.

·  One person among the people, verses 27-35 and 5:1-13.

The *Hebrew word for ‘anyone’, here and in Leviticus 4:27, 5:1, 5:15, 5:17 and 6:2 is ‘nephesh’. It means ‘*soul’. This is the part of us that lives when our body dies. This emphasises the importance of *sin.

Verses 3-12 These verses explain what happened if the chief priest *sinned by accident. He was the leader of the *Jewish religion, so his *sin affected everybody in the nation.

The priest may have done something in the wrong way, accidentally, in the *meeting tent. If he intended to do it, the punishment was death, Numbers 15:30, Hebrews 10:28. *Sins by accident like this were probably very rare.

We do not know how he might realise about his *sin. Perhaps he might read about his error in God’s law. Perhaps God would show the priest that he had *sinned. Or perhaps troubles, for example, poor harvests, would affect the nation because of his *sin.

The *Hebrew word for ‘chief priest’ really means ‘*anointed priest’. Ellicott’s Bible *Commentary says that the *Jews only *anointed chief priests. This was probably true when Moses was alive. They *anointed people when they poured olive *oil onto them. So we have translated ‘*anointed priest’ as ‘chief priest’. The *Hebrew word for ‘*anointed’ is (in English) ‘messiahed’! In English, the word ‘messiah’ is a translation of Christ! That is interesting, because Hebrews 8:26-27 describes Jesus as the ideal chief priest. And Hebrews 4:15 says that he was without any *sin.

There is a map near the start of this Commentary. That map shows where the *meeting tent, the holy place, the most holy place and the two *altars were. There were 4 *horns on both *altars. Animals like cows and *bulls had *horns on their heads. The 4 *horns were at the corners of the *altar. The *horns pointed upwards, to where God lives in heaven.

The chief priest put the *bull’s blood on the *horns of the *incense *altar and in various other places. By this means, he asked God to forgive his *sin. Remember this. God only forgives *sin when someone or something has died. The *bull had died instead of the chief priest, so that God could forgive the chief priest’s *sin.

When the chief priest *sinned, even by accident, it was a serious matter. It meant that the *meeting tent was not *clean. God would not answer his people’s prayers there. He could not forgive his people! So it was important that the chief priest made the *meeting tent ‘*clean’ again. When it was *clean, God could again meet with his people.

The chief priest burned the *bull’s *fat on the *altar, as he would burn the *fat of a *peace offering. And now the chief priest and the people could have *fellowship with God again.

Notice that, apart from *kidneys, *liver and *fat of the *bull, they burned the rest of the animal ‘outside the camp’. It was *unclean until the fire had burnt it completely. Hebrews 13:11-13 tells us that Jesus died ‘outside the camp’. The city of Jerusalem was ‘the camp’ and Calvary was ‘outside the camp’. Calvary was the hill where Jesus died.

v13 The people in *Israel must not do anything that the *LORD’s commands forbid. If all (the people in *Israel) *sin by accident, then they are (all) guilty. This is so even if the people do not know about it.

v14 When they become aware of their *sin, the people must bring a young *bull as a *sin offering. They must give it (to the *LORD) in front of the *meeting tent.

v15 The leaders of the people must press their hands on the *bull’s head in front of the *LORD. Then they must kill the *bull in front of the *LORD.

v16 Then the chief priest must take some of the *bull’s blood into the *meeting tent.

v17 He must put his finger into the blood. He must splash it 7 times in front of the *LORD. (He must do this) in front of the curtain (between the holy place and the most holy place).

v18 He must put some of the blood on the *horns of the *altar. This is the *altar which is in front of the *LORD in the *meeting tent. He must pour away the rest of the (*bull’s) blood at the base of the (other) *altar. This is where they burn the *whole offering. It is at the entrance of the *meeting tent.

v19 He must remove all the *fat from (the *bull) and he must burn the *fat on the *altar.

v20 He must do with this *bull what he did with the *bull for the *sin offering. So the priest will make *atonement for (the people) and (the *LORD) will forgive them.

v21 Then (the priest) must take the *bull outside the camp. He must burn it as he burned the first *bull. This is the *sin offering for all the people.’

Notes

Verses 13-15 This seems to refer to the situation where everybody *sins in the same incident. They did not intend to *sin, but they did not obey God’s law. This was a very serious matter. Perhaps the chief priest had given wrong advice to the people. Then all the people *sinned. The leaders must press their hands on the head of the *bull. This transfers their *sin to the *bull. It reminds us that God transferred our *sin to Jesus on the *cross.

Verses 16-21 Again, it was necessary to use the *bull’s blood to make the *meeting tent ‘*clean’. Again, the priest had to burn the *fat, as he burned the *fat of a *peace offering. When the *meeting tent was *clean, God could again meet with his people. And they could have *fellowship with him.

Notice that nobody eats any part of this *offering. They burned parts of the *bull on the *altar. They burned the rest outside the camp.

v22 ‘A leader must not do anything that the commands of the *LORD his God forbid. When a leader *sins by accident, he is guilty.

v23 When he becomes aware of his *sin, he must bring a perfect male goat as his *offering.

v24 He must press his hand on the goat’s head and he must kill it. (He must do this) in the place where they kill the *whole offering in front of the *LORD. It is a *sin offering.

v25 Then the priest must put some of the blood of the *sin offering onto his finger. He must put it onto the *horns of the *altar where they burn the *whole offering. He must pour out the rest of the blood at the base of the *altar.

v26 He must burn all the *fat on the *altar, as he burned the *fat of the *peace offering. So the priest will make *atonement for the man’s *sin. (God will) forgive the man.’

Notes

Verses 22-26 ‘Becomes aware’ (verse 23) probably means that someone told the leader about his *sin. There are some differences from the *offerings in verses 1-21.

·  The *offering is a goat.

·  One of the priests offers the goat, not the chief priest.

·  The priest puts the blood on the *horns of the other *altar. This is not the one inside the *meeting tent, as in verses 1-21. It is the one that is outside it.

·  The priest does not burn the animal outside the camp. Bible students say that he probably ate its meat himself. It was part of his wages.

The priest burned the *fat as he burned the *fat of a *peace offering.

v27 If one of the people *sins by accident, he is guilty. He has done something that one of the *LORD’s commands forbids.

v28 When he becomes aware of his *sin, he must bring a perfect female goat. It is his *offering for his *sin.

v29 He must press his hand on the head of the *sin offering. Then he must kill it where (the priests) offer the *whole offering.

v30 Then the priest must put some of the blood onto his finger. He must put it on the *horns of the *altar where they offer the *whole offering. Then he must pour out the rest of the blood at the base of the *altar.

v31 He must remove all the *fat as they remove the *fat from the *peace offering. Then the priest must burn it on the *altar. Its smell will please the *LORD. So the priest will make *atonement for him and God will forgive him.

v32 If anyone brings a *lamb as his *sin offering, he must bring a perfect female *lamb.

v33 He must press his hand on its head. Then he must kill it as a *sin offering in the place where people kill the *whole offering.

v34 Then the priest must put some of the blood of the *sin offering on his finger. He must put it on the *horns of the *altar where they offer the *whole offering. Then he must pour out the rest of the blood at the base of the *altar.

v35 He must remove all the *fat as they remove the *fat from the *lamb for the *peace offering. Then the priest must burn it on the *altar. He must put it onto the other *offerings that he gives to the *LORD by fire. So the priest will make *atonement for the *sin that he has done. Then (God) will forgive him.’

Notes

Verses 27-35 The *Hebrew word for ‘one of’ (in verse 27) is ‘nephesh’. It means ‘*soul’. Our *soul is the part of us that lives when our body dies. This emphasises the importance of *sin. This passage uses the word in several places. We have usually translated it as ‘he’ (that is, the offerer).

These are the rules for the *sin offering when an ordinary member of the public *sins by accident. They are like the rules for the leader (verses 22-26). The main differences are:

·  A leader must offer a male animal. But a member of the public gives a female animal.

·  A leader must offer a goat. But a member of the public may offer a *lamb instead.

These differences are probably because a leader is responsible for other people. So his *sin affects other people too. (Compare James 3:1.)

Chapter 5 v1 ‘A person may *sin (like this). He may hear (a judge) warn the public (to speak the truth). That person may have seen (the incident), or he may have learned about it. Although he is a witness, he does not tell anyone. But he is responsible.

v2 Or a person may touch something that is *unclean. It may be the dead body of an *unclean wild animal or an *unclean tame (animal). It may be the dead body of an *unclean animal that slides on the ground. But he does not realise that he has done it. Yet he becomes *unclean and so he is guilty.

v3 Or he may touch something *unclean that is of human origin. It may be anything that makes people *unclean. He may not be aware of it. But when he realises it, he is guilty.

v4 Or a person may make a quick promise (in front of God) to do something either good or bad. It is the sort of quick promise that many people make. Then he forgets about it. But afterwards he becomes aware of it. And then he will be guilty. This is true for any of these promises.

v5 When a person is guilty of any of these *sins, he must confess his *sin.

v6 He must bring his *sin offering to the *LORD for the wrong thing that he has done. He must bring a female *lamb or a female goat for a *sin offering. Then the priest will make *atonement for him because of his *sin.

v7 If he cannot afford a *lamb, then he must bring to the *LORD two *doves or two young *pigeons. This is what he must offer (to the *LORD. He must offer these birds) for the *sin that he has done. One is for a *sin offering and the other one is for a *whole offering.

v8 He must bring them to the priest, who will offer the first one for the *sin offering. The priest will screw its head round, but he will not cut it off completely.

v9 Then he must splash some of the *sin offering’s blood against the sides of the *altar. He must pour out the rest of the blood at the base of the *altar. It is a *sin offering.

v10 The priest shall then offer the other (bird) as a *whole offering. The priest must follow the rules (for the *whole offering). So (the priest) will make *atonement for what (the *sinner) has done. Then (the *LORD) will forgive (the *sinner).

v11 However, if he cannot afford two *doves or two young *pigeons, he must bring *finest flour as a *sin offering. His *sin offering must be one tenth of an *ephah of flour. He must not put *oil or *incense on it, because it is a *sin offering.

v12 He must bring it to the priest. The priest must take out of it what he can hold in one hand. It is a reminder. The priest will burn it on the *altar. He will put it on top of other gifts that (people) give to the *LORD by fire. It is a *sin offering.

v13 So the priest will make *atonement for (the *sinner), for any of these *sins that he has done. And (the *LORD) will forgive him. The rest (of the flour) is for the priest, as it is for the *corn offering.’

Notes

Verse 1 Bible students are not sure what this verse means.

Here is one possibility. A judge has ordered all the witnesses to give evidence in a court of law. This person is a witness, but he did not speak in the court. He has said nothing, but he is still guilty of *sin. Probably, like the people in verses 2-4, he is unaware of his *sin. For example, he did not realise the importance of something that he saw. Or he misunderstood what the judge was ordering people to do.

That person is guilty because he did not speak the whole truth. But the *LORD will accept a *sin offering on his behalf.

Verse 2 The word ‘*unclean’ means something that separates you from God. Here, it is a *religious word. It does not mean that our bodies are dirty! ‘*Religious’ means ‘about religion’. Bible students are not sure why some of these animals make a person *unclean.

It was not normally a *sin if a person became *unclean. But it was a *sin for an *unclean person to join in with public *worship. This person joined in with public *worship although he was *unclean. He did not know that he was *unclean. But he was still guilty of *sin. However, the *LORD will accept a *sin offering on his behalf.

Verse 3 Again, this verse is a puzzle for Bible students. In other parts of the Bible, this fault does not make a person guilty. Or there are other rules that make the person *clean again. So maybe there is something more here than we can understand.

Probably, as in verse 2, the person joined in with public *worship while he was still *unclean. He did not intend to carry out this *sin. But he was not aware that he was *unclean until later. Again, the person is guilty. But the *LORD accepts a *sin offering on his behalf.

Verse 4 The quick promise means one that he does not think properly about. In English, we call this a ‘rash’ promise. This person promised to do something, then he forgot about it. He could not perform his promise, until he remembered it again. And when he remembered, it was too late. He has *sinned, but the *LORD accepts a *sin offering on his behalf.

Verse 5 The person must confess his *sin to God in public. By this means, the person gives honour to God. The person humbly agrees that God is right.

Verse 6 ‘Make *atonement’ means ‘make *clean again’. Therefore, the *sinner and God can come together again.

Verse 7 *Doves and *pigeons are similar birds. They are about 1 foot (0.3 metres) long and people often keep them as tame birds. People think that they are gentle birds. This is why the *dove is often a sign of the Holy Spirit of God. However, they are not a sign of the Holy Spirit in this verse. Instead, they *point to Jesus, who offered himself for us.

Verses 11-12 One tenth of an *ephah is about 8 cups full of flour. There must be no *oil or *incense because it is not a ‘good smell *offering’, see Leviticus 2:6. Read the note on Leviticus 2:2 to explain ‘reminder’.

Verse 13 What the priest does not burn he can keep for himself. It is his wage. Probably, part of the *lamb, goat and birds are as well, but Leviticus does not say so.

Something to do

1. In the Bible, the number 7 means ‘complete’. Here are some verses for you to read. In each passage, decide what is complete. Genesis 2:2-3; Exodus 25:37; Leviticus 4:6, 8:11, 8:35, 12:2, and 16:14; Numbers 19:19; 2 Kings 5:10-14; Joshua chapter 6; Revelation 5:6 and 5:15.

2. Study Hebrews 13:11-13 carefully. Compare these verses with Leviticus 4:3-12.

Chapter 5:14 to 6:7

The *Guilt Offering

Chapter 5 verse 14 The *LORD said (this) to Moses.

v15 A person may *sin *accidentally (like this). He may do something wrong about any (one) of the *LORD’s holy things. He must bring to the *LORD a perfect *ram from the *flock to pay for his *sin. It must have the proper value in silver *shekels. (Check it) by (the standard of) the *shekel in the holy place. It is a *guilt offering.

v16 He must pay for what he has not done properly about the holy things. He must also give one fifth of the value (of the *ram) extra. He must give it all to the priest. (The priest) will make *atonement for him with the *ram as a *guilt offering. Then (God) will forgive him.

v17 A person may *sin, although he does not know it. He may have done something that any (one) of the *LORD’s commands forbids. He is guilty and therefore he is responsible (for his *sin).

v18 He must bring a perfect *ram from the *flock to the priest. It is (his) *guilt offering. It must have the proper value. So the priest will make *atonement for his *accidental *sin. Then (God) will forgive him.

v19 It is a *guilt offering. He is guilty because he has done wrong things against the *LORD.’

 

Chapter 6 verse 1 The *LORD said (this) to Moses.

v2-3 ‘A person may *sin against the *LORD. He may not be loyal to the *LORD (in any of these ways).

·  He may lie to his neighbour about something that (his neighbour) gave him to look after.

·  (He may lie to his neighbour) about something that he stole.

·  He may cheat (his neighbour).

·  He may find property that somebody lost. Then he lies about it.                                      (v3)

·  He may promise something (to somebody), but he does not intend to do it.

·  He may do any of the *sins that people often do.

v4 When he does these *sins, then he becomes guilty. He must return what he stole. (He must give back) what he took wrongly. (He must return) what (his neighbour) gave him to look after. (He must give back) the property that he found.

v5 If he made a false promise, (he must do the right thing). He must pay completely (to the owner everything that he took). And he must also add a fifth of its value and he must give it all to the owner. He must do it on the day that he gives his *guilt offering (to the priest).

v6 And as a punishment he must bring his *guilt offering to the priest and to the *LORD. It must be a perfect *ram from the *flock. It must have the proper value.

v7 And so the priest will make *atonement for him in front of the *LORD. Then (God) will forgive him for any of the things that he did. (These things) made him guilty.’

Notes

Chapter 5:15 The *Hebrew word for person here is ‘nephesh’. Read the note on Leviticus 4:2. The wrong things may have included:

·  Bad *offerings.

·  No *offerings.

Part of the *offerings made wages for the priests. So the ‘nephesh’ may have hurt the priests. So this is a *guilt offering. Read the first note in chapter 4 for an explanation. The *Hebrew word for ‘something wrong’ is ma-al. It means that the ‘nephesh’ (person) does not respect God. He is not behaving like a good *Jew. The *Hebrew word for value means ‘your value’. This probably means that the priest decided the value of the ma-al (the wrong deed). A *ram was a male sheep. A *Hebrew *shekel at this time weighed about 0.4 of an ounce (12 grams).

Note the importance of the proper value. The ma-al (the wrong deed) has a real cost. And its cost matters to God. That is why the priest must check the weight. He must test it against the weight of the *shekel in the holy place.

Bible students have given us some examples of the type of ma-al (wrong deed) that this passage refers to.

·  A person might not give something that he promised to give to God (Ecclesiastes 5:6).

·  A person might eat the *first fruits from his harvest, which belong to God (Exodus 34:26).

·  A person might cut the wool from a *first-born sheep (Deuteronomy 15:19).

Verse 16 Bible students do not agree what people did here. Some think that the *sinner gave a *ram and money. Other Bible students think that the *sinner gave the value of the *ram in money and another fifth. And yet other Bible students think that the priest bought the *ram for the *guilt offering with the money. We cannot be sure.

If the ma-al (wrong deed) had an actual value, then probably the *sinner gave a fifth of that value. If so, in those cases he did not give a fifth of the *ram’s value.

Verse 18 Again, as in verse 15, ‘value’ is ‘your value’. Again, the priest must decide. Notice that here there is no need to give one fifth of the value of the *ram extra. This is probably because there is a difference between the *LORD’s things and his commands. In verse 15, the person took something that belonged to the *LORD. In verse 18, he did not. Also, the person or the priest may not know that he has *sinned. In verse 15, the priest knows, even if the *sinner does not!

Chapter 6:2 All the *sins in verses 2-3 are against people. But they are also against the *LORD, because the people are the *LORD’s people. If we steal from other people, we are in fact stealing from the *LORD. This verse again uses the *Hebrew word ma-al, as in Leviticus 5:15.

Verses 5-6 He must do everything before he brings his *ram to the priest. (See also Matthew 5:23-24.) A *ram is a male sheep. The priest must decide how valuable it must be as in 5:15. So the *sinner must return what he took wrongly. Also, he must bring the *ram as a punishment.

Something to do

1. Study these verses about how a Christian should behave: Romans 12:17; Ephesians 4:25; Philippians 4:8; Titus 2:9-10. Then read 1 Corinthians 12:26.

2. If you have not obeyed the verses above, then confess your *sin to God. Tell him that you are sorry. Do what you can to make things right.

Chapter 6:8 to 7:21

Further Rules about the *Offerings

Chapter 6:8 The *LORD said (this) to Moses.

v9 ‘Give this command to Aaron and to his sons. Say (to them): These are the rules for the *whole offering. The *whole offering must remain on the *altar fire all night until morning. The fire must continue to burn on the *altar.

v10 The priest must then put on his *linen clothes. He must wear *linen *underclothes next to his body. He must take away the ashes of the *whole offering, which the fire has burned on the *altar. He must put them at the side of the *altar.

v11 Then he must take off these clothes and he must put on other (clothes). He must carry the ashes outside the camp, to a place that (his) religion considers to be *clean.

v12 The fire on the *altar must continue to burn. It must not go out. Every morning, the priest must add wood to the fire. He must arrange the *whole offering on the fire. He must burn the *fat from the *peace offerings on it.

v13 The fire must always burn on the *altar. It must not go out.

 

v14 These are the rules for the *corn offering. Aaron’s sons must bring it to the *LORD, in front of the *altar.

v15 The priest must take in his hand some of the *finest flour and *oil. He must also take all of the *incense that is on the *corn offering. He must burn them on the *altar as a reminder. They will make a smell that pleases the *LORD.

v16 Aaron and his sons must eat the rest of it. But they must eat it without *yeast in a place that is holy. They must eat it in the yard outside the *meeting tent.

v17 They must not bake it with *yeast. I have given it to them. It is their share of the *offerings that people burn to me on the fire (outside the *meeting tent). It is very, very holy, like the *sin and *guilt offerings.

v18 Any male *descendant of Aaron may eat it. When people make *offerings to the *LORD by fire, (Aaron’s *descendants will burn them). But this is the regular share of those *offerings that Aaron’s *descendants will receive in future centuries. Whoever touches it will become holy.’

 

v19 The *LORD also said (this) to Moses.

v20 ‘This is the *offering that Aaron and his sons must bring to the *LORD. They must do this on the day when people *anoint him. (They must bring) one tenth of an *ephah of *finest flour as a regular *corn offering. (They must bring) half of it in the morning and half of it in the evening.

v21 Prepare it with *oil on a flat pan. Mix it well. Then break the *corn offering into pieces and burn it for the *LORD. Its smell will please him.

v22 The son (of the chief priest) who will be the next chief priest must prepare it. It is the *LORD’s regular share. (The priest) must burn it completely.

v23 (They) must burn every priest’s *corn offering completely. Nobody must eat it.’

 

v24 The *LORD said (this) to Moses.

v25 ‘Tell Aaron and his sons that these are the rules for the *sin offering. They must kill the *sin offering in front of the *LORD. (They must do it) in the place where they kill the *whole offering. It is very, very holy.

v26 The priest who offers it must eat it. He must eat it in a holy place, in the yard by the *meeting tent.

v27 Whatever touches any part of the meat will become holy. And if anyone spills any of the blood onto their clothes, they must wash the clothes in a holy place.

v28 The priest must break the *clay pot that he cooked the meat in. But if he cooked it in a metal pot, he must clean it well. Afterwards, he must clean the pot again with water.

v29 Any male member of a priest’s family may eat it. It is very, very holy.

v30 But the priests must not eat any *sin offering if they have taken its blood into the *meeting tent. It makes *atonement (for the *sinner) in the holy place. They must burn that *sin offering.’

Notes

The rules in Leviticus 1:1 to 6:7 are for the *worshipper. Here are further rules for the priests. They were the men who worked near and in the *meeting tent. Later, they worked in the House of God in Jerusalem. This house had the same things in it as the *meeting tent.

Chapter 6:8-13 Further rules for the *whole offering

There are three important further rules.

·  The fire on the *altar must burn all night, verse 9. In fact, it must never go out, verse 13. This rule would continuously remind the *Israelites of the importance of the *sacrifices. They carried out these *sacrifices because of God’s great kindness. He would forgive people because of the *sacrifices. He would have *fellowship with them because of the *sacrifices.

·  The priest must wear *linen clothes to take the ashes from the *whole offering away from the *altar. This includes clothes next to his body, what we now call *underclothes. People make *linen clothes from a plant called flax. But the priest must put on other clothes to take the ashes outside the camp.

·  He must burn the *fat of the *peace offering on top of the *whole offering, verse 12. This would make the *whole offering easier to burn. The passage does not explain the reason for this rule. But it seems right that the *peace offering should be close to the *whole offering. People gave *whole offerings in order to offer the whole of themselves to God. And the *peace offering was evidence that God had accepted their *offering. Now they could have *fellowship with God.

This particular *whole offering was probably the one in Exodus 29:38-42. The priests offered it in the morning and at night for all the people. This was in addition to the *whole offerings that people gave (Leviticus chapter 1). They would probably give their own *whole offerings on special occasions, for example, birthdays. (Compare Job 1:4-5 which probably describes a much earlier period of time.)

Chapter 6:14-23 Further rules for the *corn offering

Verses 14-18 These are further rules for the *corn offering that we read about in chapter 2. The priests burn a small part of it on the *altar as a ‘reminder’. Read the note on Leviticus 2:2. The rest is food for the priests and their male *descendants.

*Jews discussed the last sentence of verse 18 for many years after – see Haggai 2:12.

Verses 19-23 This is about the priests’ *corn offering. We have not read about this *offering before. It is different from the usual *corn offering, because nobody eats this one. The priests must burn it all on the *altar.

The chief priest made this *offering on the first day of his service. That was the day when people *anointed him. It seems that the chief priest made a *corn offering each day afterwards. And it seems that each priest made a *corn offering on his first day of service, but not afterwards.

‘*Anoint’ means ‘pour *oil onto’. The *oil was not fuel oil. The *oil came from a fruit called the olive. The *Jews *anointed men when they became priests or kings. The *Hebrew word for *anoint gives us our word ‘messiah’. Some Bible Students think that they only *anointed the chief priest during Moses’ life. Later, they *anointed all priests. For ‘*ephah’ read the note on 5:11.

Chapter 6:24-30 Further rules for the *sin offering

‘Holy’ in these verses does not mean ‘very, very good’. It means that it now belongs to the *LORD. It is part of the place of their religion, the *meeting tent. The ‘holy place’ in this chapter means in the yard round the *meeting tent.

The passage distinguishes between two different types of *sin offering. The priests must not eat the *sin offerings that are for *atonement in the holy place, verse 30. We read about those *sin offerings in 4:1-21. But the priests do eat other *sin offerings, although they are very, very, holy. These probably included *sin offerings that the priests offered regularly on behalf of all the *Israelites. The priests ate these *offerings to show that God accepted the *offerings. And he was allowing the priests to have *fellowship with him.

Chapter 7:1 ‘ “These are the rules for the *guilt offering, which is very, very holy.

v2 (The priest) must kill the *guilt offering in the place where he kills the *whole offering. He must splash its blood against all the sides of the *altar.

v3 He must offer all its *fat (to the *LORD). (This includes) the *fat tail and the *fat that covers the parts inside (the animal).

v4 (He must offer) both the *kidneys with the *fat that is on them near the legs. (The priest) must also remove (the *fat) that covers the *liver with the *kidneys.

v5 Then the priest must burn them on the *altar. They are an *offering that he makes to the *LORD on the fire. It is a *guilt offering.

v6 Any male person in a priest’s family may eat it. But (because) it is very, very holy, he must eat it in a holy place.

 

v7 (The priests) must use the same rules for the *sin offering as they use for the *guilt offering. The parts (that they do not burn) belong to the priest. He (is the priest) that has made *atonement with them.

v8 The priest who offers a *whole offering for anyone may keep the (animal’s) leather for himself.

v9 Every *corn offering belongs to the priest who offered it. This includes (corn) that they baked in an oven. (And it includes corn that) they cooked on a flat pan.

v10 Every *corn offering belongs equally to all the sons of Aaron. It does not matter whether it has *oil in it or not.

 

v11 These are the rules for a *peace offering that a person may give to the *LORD.

v12 He may offer it to say ‘thank you’ (to the *LORD). If so, then with this ‘thank-you’ *offering he must also offer (these things).

·  Cakes of bread (that he) mixed with *oil but not with *yeast.

·  Thin biscuits (that he) made without *yeast. He must spread *oil on them.

·  Cakes of bread (that he) made with the *finest flour. He must mix the flour and *oil well.

v13 With his ‘thank-you’ *peace offering, he must give (another) *offering. It is cakes of bread that (he has) made with *yeast.

v14 He must bring one of each kind as an *offering. It is something that he gives to the *LORD. It will belong to the priest who splashed the blood of the *peace offerings.

v15 (The offerer) must eat the meat of his ‘thank-you’ *peace offering on the day that he offers it. He must leave none of it until the morning.

v16 But there is (an exception). His *offering may be the result of a special promise. Or it may be an *offering that he just wants to make. Then he must eat the *offering on the day that he offers it. But he may eat any of it that remains on the next day.

v17 He must burn any meat from the *offering that remains until the third day.

v18 If anyone eats meat from the *peace offering on the third day, (God) will not accept it. (God) will not consider that the offerer has given (a proper *offering. The *offering) is not *clean. (God will make) anyone who eats any of it responsible.

v19 Nobody may eat any meat that touches anything *unclean. They must burn it. However, anyone whom (his) religion (considers) *clean may eat other meat.

v20 But nobody who is *unclean may eat any meat from the *peace offering. (If he does, the *LORD) will *cut him off from his people. (The *peace offering) belongs to the *LORD.

v21 Someone may touch something that is *unclean. (It may be) of human origin. Or (it may be) an animal that is *unclean. (Or, it may be) *unclean because it is really nasty. If he then eats any of the meat from the *peace offering, (the *LORD) will *cut him off from his people. (The *peace offering) belongs to the *LORD.” ’

Chapter 7:1-6 Further rules for the *guilt offering

We have read about the *guilt offering in 5:14 to 6:7. This passage shows what the priests must do with the *ram. The priests must offer all the fat, including the inner parts, to the *LORD. There is a similar rule for the *peace offering in 3:14-15 and for the *sin offerings in chapter 4.

Further rules include what to do with the meat after they have burned the *fat, *liver and *kidneys. The men in the priests’ families can eat the meat. The *liver and *kidneys are important parts inside an animal.

Chapter 7:7-10 Parts of the *offerings that belong to the priests

God allows the priests to receive something from each type of *offering. They even receive something from the *whole offering: the animal’s leather. So God provides for his priests: the *offerings become their meat, their bread, and even their clothes.

The offerer knew that the priests accepted the *offering on God’s behalf. This was clear because the priests took the proper parts for themselves. And the priests knew that God approved of them. This was clear because he was sharing his gifts with them.

Chapter 7:11-21 Further rules for the *peace offering

The *peace offering is an animal: cow, *bull, *ram, sheep or goat, Leviticus chapter 3. But the *peace offering may be to say ‘thank you’ to the *LORD for something. Then the offerer must also give an *offering of cakes, bread and biscuits.

The offerer receives back the meat from his *peace offering. He can eat it with his friends and family. But they must eat all the meat on that day. They cannot keep any of it.

However, sometimes there is an exception (verse 16). Then the offerer could eat some of the meat on the next day. But he must burn any that remains on the third day. This may be for their health. But clearly there is a more serious meaning too. If they do eat it on the third day, God will not accept any of the *offering. God only accepted fresh meat; and so we must offer our thanks to him for his daily kindness (Lamentations 3:22-23).

The word ‘*unclean’ in verses 19-21 means this. The *unclean person cannot come near to the *meeting tent. ‘Cut off’ means that the *LORD would punish that person. It may mean that the person would die. Or it may mean that the person must not still live among the *Israelites. The really nasty animal in verse 21 may be something that slides along the ground, like a snake. Bible students are not sure what it was.

Chapter 7:22-38

Rules about Blood, and Rules for the Priests

v22 The *LORD said (this) to Moses.

v23 ‘Say this to the *Israelites. “Do not eat any *fat from cows, *bulls, sheep or goats.

v24 (You may find a tame) animal that a wild animal has hurt. (Or you may find) an animal that is already dead. You may use its *fat for any other purpose, but you must not eat it.

v25 Someone may eat the *fat from a type of animal that you may offer on the *altar to the *LORD. (The *LORD) will *cut off that person from his people.

v26 And wherever you live, you must not eat the blood of any bird or animal.

v27 If anyone eats blood, (the *LORD) will *cut off that person from his people” ’.

 

v28 The *LORD said (this) to Moses.

v29 ‘Say this to the *Israelites. “Anyone who brings a *peace offering to the *LORD must bring part of it. That part is a special gift to the *LORD.

v30 With his own hands, he must bring the *offering that he will make to the *LORD on the fire. He must bring the *fat and the breast. He must wave the breast in front of the *LORD as a *wave offering.

v31 The priest must burn the *fat on the *altar, but the breast belongs to Aaron and his sons.

v32 You must give the right leg of your *peace offerings to the priest. It is your gift to him.

v33 A son of Aaron will offer the blood and the *fat of the *peace offering. He must have the right leg as his share.

v34 I have taken these parts of the *Israelites’ *peace offerings. And I have given these parts to Aaron the priest and to his sons.

·  The breast that (the offerer) waves.

·  The leg that (the offerer) gives.

These parts will be their regular share from the *Israelites.” ’

v35 This is the share that was for Aaron and his sons. (It was their share) of the *offerings (that people made) to the *LORD on the fire. (The fire was on the *altar.) This happened on the day that (Aaron and his sons) came to the *LORD to serve him as priests.

v36 The *LORD ordered the *Israelites to give them this as their regular share. He did this on the day when they became priests. (The *Israelites had to do this) for all their *descendants (in future centuries).

v37 These are the rules for the *whole offering, *corn offering, *sin offering, *guilt offering, *ordination offering and *peace offering.

v38 The *LORD gave these rules to Moses on the mountain called Sinai. He did it on the day when he ordered the *Israelites to bring their *offerings to the *LORD. That was in the desert near Sinai.

Notes

Verse 23 The *Hebrew words for *Israelites means ‘sons of *Israel’. They were the *descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. A *descendant is someone in your family that lives after you do.

Verse 24 Bible students have given us some examples of the uses for this *fat. They include its use in medicines, bandages, candles, and as oil. People could also use it to start fires.

Verse 25 The *Hebrew words for ‘on the *altar’ really mean ‘on the fire’. This fire was on the *altar. Notice this. This rule was only about the types of animals that the *Jews could offer as *sacrifices (*cattle, sheep and goats). That *fat belongs to God. But the *Jews could eat the *fat from other clean animals.

Verses 26-27 The passage emphasises blood. Blood is important. Life is in blood, Leviticus 17:11, and life belongs to God.

Verse 30 The breast is of course a piece of meat from the front of the animal’s body, near the animal’s heart. This part of the animal belonged to the priest. A recent *Jewish Rabbi has described the *wave offering. One waves the meat up and down, and left and right. For a *Jew, this reminds him that everything in heaven and earth belongs to God. He waves the meat to give it to God. But God gives that meat to the priest.

So the piece of meat that was closest to the heart belonged to the priest. *Jews considered that the heart was very special and important. People believed that you thought with your heart. And they believed that you felt love in your heart. So the gift of the meat that was closest to the heart was an expression of love.

In time, there were wicked priests. It is interesting that they refused to obey this particular rule (1 Samuel 2:12-14). They felt no love for the people whom they served.

Verse 32 They thought that the right leg was one of the best bits of meat on an animal. 1 Samuel 9:24 says that Samuel gave it to Saul. It was special!

Verses 35-36 These verses tell us that the priests would always have a share of the food. This meant that they could always be busy in the *meeting tent, or, later, in God’s house in Jerusalem.

Verses 37-38 *Ordination is what happened to a man in order to appoint him a priest. There is more about this in Leviticus chapter 8.

R.K. Harrison, in the IVP *Commentary on Leviticus, points out an interesting fact. There are very few problems with the *Hebrew words of Leviticus chapters 1 to 7. This probably means that these chapters were very important to the *Jews. So the *Jews copied them most carefully.

Something to do

1. Below is a table. This sort of table is a series of boxes. It makes it easy to see and to understand information. Read through Leviticus chapters 1 to 7 to find the information to fill in the boxes.

 

*Offering

What the offerer must bring

What the offerer and priest do

Does its smell please the *LORD?

Who, if anyone, eats the *offering?

What does this *offering mean to Christians?

 

*Whole offering

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Corn offering

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Peace offering

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Sin offering

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Guilt offering

 

 

 

 

 

 

The answer to the question on the right is either ‘*fellowship’ or ‘forgiveness’. ‘Forgiveness’ means that God has forgiven us. You may have to draw your own table if this one is not big enough!

2. Consider the ‘fire that never goes out’. For the *Jews, it meant that God’s house was in the middle of their camp. He was living among them. And he permitted them to offer *sacrifices so that they could have *fellowship with him. For Christians, it means that Jesus is continuously praying for them, Hebrews 7:24-25. It probably has many more meanings. Can you think of any?

3. It is the Holy Spirit that makes a Christian holy. It does not happen when he touches holy things. Read Ephesians 4:15, 2 Peter 3:18.

4. Read Acts 6:2, 1 Corinthians 9:13, 1 Corinthians 10:18 and 1 Timothy 5:17-18. Compare them with Leviticus 7:1-10.

Word List

accidental ~ a description of an act that a person did not do on purpose.

altar ~ a special table where the priests burned *incense, grain and animals.

anoint ~ to pour *oil onto someone in order to appoint that person for a special task. The *Jews did this when they made someone into a priest or king.

anointed ~ the past form of the word ‘*anoint’; also, a description of someone whom people have appointed to do a special task by a ceremony with *oil.

ark ~ another word for box. In Leviticus, the ark was a sacred box where the *Jews kept special things.

atonement ~ another word for what happens when God forgives us. After God forgives us, we are ‘at one’ with him. In other words, we are united as friends (or have friendly relations) with him.

blessings ~ good things that God gives to people.

bull ~ the male animal of the same kind as a cow.

burnt offering ~ an *offering that the priests burned completely. It is the same as the *whole offering.

Canaan ~ the old name for the countries afterwards called *Israel and *Judah.

cattle ~ a number of cows and *bulls.

clay ~ a type of earth that people use to make pots.

clean ~ suitable for God or for God’s people. A clean person could go to God’s house to *worship him.

commentary ~ notes about a book in the Bible.

corn offering ~ a gift of grain to the *LORD. See the explanation in the note called ‘The 5 *sacrifices’ near the beginning of this commentary.

courtyard ~ a yard round an important building.

covenant ~ the special promise or agreement that God made with the *Jews.

cross ~ the wooden object on which Jesus died.

cut off ~ to give someone a punishment that separates that person from his family or nation. That punishment may be death. But it may be to force that person to live abroad.

descendant ~ members of your family who live after you live.

dove ~ a type of bird that has a gentle character.

Egyptians ~ people who come from Egypt; Egypt is a country in north Africa.

ephah ~ 8 cups full of flour.

fat ~ part of an animal’s body that is not red meat, nor skin, nor bone. Fat is an oily substance.

fellowship ~ a special type of friendship between God and his people. Or, the special type of friendship that God’s people have with each other.

finest flour ~ in Leviticus, the best quality flour. People put it through the mill until it was like powder.

first-born ~ the first baby that is born in a human family. Or, the first young animal to be born to its mother.

first fruits ~ the first fruits or grains that you pick each year.

flock ~ a group of sheep or goats.

Gospels ~ the books that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John wrote.

Greek ~ the language of the people who live in Greece.

guilt offering ~ an *offering by someone who is responsible for certain wrong acts. See the explanation in the note called ‘The 5 *sacrifices’ near the beginning of this commentary.

Hebrew ~ the language that the *Jews spoke.

herd ~ a group of cows and *bulls.

holiness ~ the quality of somebody who is *holy, or very, very good.

holy ~ very, very good; only God is really holy. Or, a description of something that belongs to God.

horn ~ hard material that grows on the heads of some animals like cows and goats. Or, the points that were on the corners of the *altars.

incense ~ a material that gives a good smell when people burn it.

Israel ~ the name of the country where the *Jews went to live, especially the northern part of that country.

Israelites ~ the *LORD’s people whom Moses led out of Egypt. Afterwards, they lived in the countries called *Judah and *Israel.

Jewish ~ a word that describes *Jews and what they do.

Jews ~ another word for the *Israelites.

Judah ~ the name of the southern part of the country where the *Jews went to live.

kidney ~ an important inner part of an animal’s body.

lamb ~ a young sheep.

lampholder ~ an object that holds a lamp.

Latin ~ the ancient language of the people who lived in Rome.

Levite ~ a member of the *tribe of Levi.

linen ~ a material that people make from a plant called flax: it was usually white.

liver ~ an important inner part of an animal’s body.

LORD ~ a special name for God. In the *Hebrew Bible it translates YHWH. YHWH probably means ‘he is always alive’. So the word LORD (which means ‘master’) is not a proper translation.

meeting tent ~ the special tent where God met with Moses. The priests could enter it to *worship; they burnt *sacrifices on the *altar in front of it.

New Testament ~ the last 27 books in the Bible.

offering ~ gift.

oil ~ a type of oil that comes from an oily fruit called the olive. People used this oil in their food and they burnt it in lamps.

ordination ~ the ceremony to appoint a man to be a priest.

ordination offering ~ the special *offering for the *ordination ceremony.

pancake ~ a flat bread that people cooked in a pan.

Passover ~ the special day when the *Israelites remembered that God led them out of Egypt.

peace ~ absence of war. Or, the calm and content attitude that one receives because of a right relationship with God and with other people.

peace offering ~ a gift to thank God. This *offering is about *fellowship with God and his people. See the explanation in the note called ‘The 5 *sacrifices’ near the beginning of this commentary.

pentecost ~ 50th. The Day of Pentecost was a special party at the beginning of the wheat harvest. It was 50 days after *Passover.

pigeon ~ a type of bird which has a gentle character.

point to ~ describe.

Promised Land ~ *Canaan, that is, the country that God promised to the *Israelites. It was the land that he promised to Abraham.

ram ~ a male sheep.

religious ~ about religion.

Sabbath (Day), Sabbath (Year) ~ the 7th day of the week; or the 7th year during a period of 7 years. The 7th day was a special day for rest and *worship. People did not work on that day.

sacrifice ~ something that people burned on an *altar for God; or to burn on an *altar for God. People also gave sacrifices to false gods.

scapegoat ~ the goat that takes away *sin on the Day of *Atonement (or *Yom Kippur).

shekel ~ a weight that is 0.4 of an ounce (12 grams).

showbread ~ the bread that the priests put on God’s *altar every week.

sin ~ to do wrong things; not to obey God’s rules. Or, the things we do when we sin. Evil thoughts, words and deeds are all sin, whether we do them on purpose or not.

sin offering ~ an *offering by a person who is guilty of particular types of *sin. See the explanation in the note called ‘The 5 *sacrifices’ near the beginning of this commentary.

sinner ~ a person who *sins.

soul ~ the part of us that lives when our body dies.

temple ~ God’s house in Jerusalem.

tribe ~ a very large family.

unclean ~ unsuitable for God or for God’s people. When someone was unclean, that person was unable to *worship at God’s house.

underclothes ~ clothes that people wear next to their bodies.

unleavened ~ something that contains no *yeast. The Time of Unleavened Bread is a special holiday that begins immediately after *Passover. It lasts for a week. During the week, the *Jews do not eat bread that contains *yeast.

wave offering ~ a gift that the priest waves in front of the *LORD.

whole offering ~ an *offering that the priests burned completely on the *altar. See the explanation in the note called ‘The 5 *sacrifices’ near the beginning of this commentary.

worship ~ to praise someone (usually God). You tell him that you believe him to be very, very great. Also, you love him and you will obey him.

yeast ~ the substance that makes bread ‘rise’, that is, to get bigger in the oven.

yeast-free ~ with no *yeast, or *unleavened.

Yom Kippur ~ the *Jewish name for the Day of *Atonement. It is the special day to remember that God forgives *sin.

Book List

The Interlinear NIV *Hebrew-English Old Testament/John R Kohlenberger III/Zondervan

The Holy Bible (English Version for the Deaf)/Baker Book House

Word Biblical Commentary on Leviticus/John E Hartley/Nelson

Leviticus/R K Harrison/Inter-Varsity Press

 

© 2010, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is in EasyEnglish Level B (2800 words).

July 2010

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