The Book of Leviticus
Introduction: Let me quote from p. 127 of Barthel's What the Bible Really Teaches: The contents of the Book of Leviticus are so dry and technical that the ability to read a passage from it served as the standard test of literacy in the Middle Ages. This was particularly important because priests, or persons claiming ot be priests, who were accused of serious crimes were allowed to go free if they could successfully invoke the "benefit of clergy"—that is, if they could read through a line or two of difficult liturgical Latin without stumbling over too many of the words. The introduction to Leviticus in The New American Standard Study Version says, on the other hand, Leviticus is today the least appreciated portion of the Pentateuch.
In working through the exegesis of this book, I have found it to be one of the more poorly translated books of the Bible (in the KJV as well as in most other translations, a conspicuous exception being Young's Translation. There are very different Hebrew words which are translated alike; there are a host of Hebrew words which could be translated uniformly, yet the translators unnecessarily give them a variety of different translations. It is as though the translators picked the least qualified team to handle Leviticus. I feel it is one of the most neglected portions of God's word myself. For those who carry a red-letter edition of the Bible, note that Levitcus is spoken to Moses directly from Yahweh Elohim, the revealed member of the Godhead, Who is also Jesus Christ. In other words, almost all of Leviticus should be in red letters.
General content: The name Leviticus implies that this book is predominantly the rules and regulations which are part and parcel to the operation of the Levitical priesthood; however, this is only partially true. First of all, when those of the priesthood are addressed, as in Lev. 1–9, 21–22 and 23, it is not the entire tribe of the Levi's but those who are descended directly from Aaron. Not even Moses's sons were considered. Furthermore, the remainder, which is the bulk of the book, is directed toward all Jewish believers of that time (and all believers in Israel for the next several centuries). As we will see, these are not just a collection of old, unimportant, antiquated laws, but the regulations will have a two-fold purpose to believers today: (1) An outline of holiness and correct behavior is presented; (2) the future of Israel is predicted throughout several chapters of this book (particularly Lev. 23); and, (3) a complete Christology is given in OT shadow form (particularly in the sacrifices and the feast days). When we exegete this book, it will be clear that the true Author knew exactly what would occur on the cross and revealed this to the people of Israel in shadow form. The images and the parallels are too great in number for this to all be a happy coincidence. And considering that we have a Greek translation of the entire Old Testament preceding the writing of the New Testament by at least 100 years, this indicates that Leviticus could not have been written after our Lord suffered on the cross. It is my personal opinion that throughout the Old Testament we have our Lord's suffering revealed in shadow form, enough so that anyone who would be positive toward God's Word could be saved by the revealing of the gospel and the regeneration of their souls. In such cases, they may not be able to verbalize just exactly what it was the took them from death to life, however God redeemed them with their one decision of positive volition toward the work of Christ on the cross.
The name of this book is quite the misnomer. The tribe of Levi is mentioned twice by name in the same passage (Lev. 25:32–33). The Levites were to help out the priests, but they themselves were not the priesthood. Again, the priesthood, as we have seen, is a very small subset of the Levite tribe—those who are descended from Aaron.
L.S. Chafer once remarked in his great Systematic Theology that the gospel and every aspect of the gospel is more clearly revealed in the New Testament than it is in the Old. Let me explain why: God would use Satan to take our Lord to the cross. The betrayal and brutality that our Lord faced, the courts which tried and convicted our Lord, and the suffering which He endured prior to the cross were things that He endured at the hand of Satan. Satan put our Lord on the cross. Had He known what He was actually doing, Satan would have in any way possible tried to prevent Jesus Christ from going to the cross. However, in his scheming to place Jesus Christ under the greatest of human suffering, he inadvertently placed out Lord on the cross whereupon our Lord paid for our sins in full. Satan's greatest act of evil up until that time resulted in the salvation of billions of lost members of the human race. Satan fell into God's plan because, even though millions upon millions of people were saved prior to the cross by believing in Jesus Christ as revealed by the animal sacrifices and the holy days, that information was revealed to them by the Holy Spirit, as the natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit. God the Holy Spirit never revealed the gospel to Satan and that is how God took the greatest acts of evil and transformed it into blessing for all of the human race. We are fortunate beyond our ability to express in words that our God has turned cursing into blessing, which is the story of every Christian's life.
Important Quotations: (1) And Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying; (2) You will be holy [or, set apart] because I am holy; (3) I am Yahweh Elohim, the one taking you out of Egypt. These several verses help set the theme for Leviticus. God makes a distinction between the Jews and the surrounding Gentile nations. God has severed them from the Gentiles, just as we as believers are distinguished and separated from the unsaved world. Once man is redeemed (Lev. 1–16), then his life should reflect God's holiness and perfection. The latter portion of Leviticus is God speaking to Israel explaining how to distinguish themselves from the degenerate Egyptians from whom they were removed; and from the Gentiles in whose midst they would soon find themselves.
Outline of Leviticus:
Part One: the Approach to Yahweh
I. Regulations Concerning Animal Sacrifices (Lev. 1–7)
A. Burnt offerings (Lev. 1)
B. Tribute offerings (Lev. 2)
C. Peace offerings (Lev. 3)
D. Sin offerings (Lev. 4)
E. Guilt offerings (Lev. 5:1–6:7)
F. Participation of priests in offerings (Lev. 6:8–7:35)
G. Summary (Lev. 7:36–38)
II. Narrative (Lev. 8–10)
A. The consecration of Aaron and his sons (Lev. 8)
B. Aaron offers sacrifices to Yahweh (Lev. 9)
C. Aaron's sons, Nadad and Abihu, sin against God and are executed (Lev. 10)
III. The Clean versus the Unclean (Lev. 11–15)
A. Which animals may be used as food (Lev. 11)
B. The cleanness of childbirth (Lev. 12)
C. Leprosy (Lev. 13)
D. Cleansing that which is leprous (Lev. 14)
1. The leper (Lev. 14:1–32)
2. A leprous house (Lev. 14:33–57)
E. Various discharges (Lev. 15)
1. Menstrual uncleanness (Lev. 15:1–10)
2. Men with a discharge (Lev. 15:11–17)
3. Men and women (Lev. 15:18–33)
IV. The Great Day of Atonement (Lev. 16)
Part Two: Holiness to Yahweh
I. Laws Pertaining to the Sons of Israel (Lev. 17–20)
A. Proper procedures for sacrifices (Lev. 17:1–9)
B. Prohibitions against the eating of blood (Lev. 17:10–16)
C. Prohibitions against immoral and incestuous relations (Lev. 18)
D. Prohibitions against idolatry (Lev. 19:1–8)
E. Being set apart in behavior (Lev. 19:9–37)
F. Penalties for violating God's laws (Lev. 20)
II. Law Pertaining to the Priesthood (Lev. 21–)
A. Regulations to avoid profaning oneself (Lev. 21:1–16)
B. Limitations on qualification for the priesthood and operation in the priesthood (Lev. 21:17–22:16)
C. Acceptable offerings from the priests (Lev. 22:17–33)
D. Regulations concerning the Sabbath and the religious feasts (Lev. 23:1–25)
1. Unleavened bread (Lev. 23:5–8)
2. First fruits (Lev. 23:9–14)
3. Weeks (Lev. 23:15–22)
4. Trumpets (Lev. 23:23–25)
5. The Day of Atonement (Lev. 23:26–32)
6. Tabernacles (Lev. 23:33–43)
III. Responsibilities of the Priesthood (Lev. 24:1–12)
IV. Penalties Outlined for Certain Violations of the Law (Lev. 24:13–23)
V. The Sabbatical Yer (Lev. 25:1–7)
VI. The Year of Jubilee (Lev. 25:8–55)
VII. Blessings Which Accompany Obedience (Lev. 26:1–13)
VIII. Penalties Which Accompany Disobedience—the Outline of Israel's Future (Lev. 26:14–46)
IX. Appendix: Vows and Determinations of Value (Lev. 27)
Scofield groups these chapters slightly differently, and I provide his outline due to its brevity, an attribute of Scofield for which he was legend: I. The Offerings (Lev. 1–7). Ii. Consecration of Aaron and His Sons (Lev. 8–10). Iii. Law of Cleanliness and Holiness (Lev. 11–15, 17–22). Iv. The Day of Atonement (Lev. 16). V. Laws Regulating the Personal Relatinships of the Redeemed People (Lev. 18–20). Vi. Law Regulating the Priesthood and the Seven Great Feasts of the Hebrew Calendar (Lev. 21–23). Vii. Additional Laws, Promises, and Warnings (Lev. 24–27).
Authorship: Moses was not really the author of Leviticus, except for a few short portions of it, e.g., Lev. 9–10 and a part of Lev. 24. Moses was God's secretary and this book was given directly from God to Moses. For those of you who have red-lettered editions of the Bible wherein all of the words of Jesus Christ are in red—most of Leviticus should also be in red. The most oft-used phrase of Leviticus is then Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying... (Lev. 4:1 6:1, 8 8:1 11:1 etc.). Leviticus is a fulfillment of a promise made by God in Ex. 25:22 "And there I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, I will speak to you about all that I will give you in commandment for the sons of Israel." See also Ex. 29:43 40:34, which tell us that the presence of Yahweh came to dwell in the finished tabernacle and the very first verse of Leviticus tells us: Then Yahweh called to Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting, saying... Essentially, what appears to be the case, is that God called Moses into the Tent of Meeting and began dictating to him, probably speaking from above the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant. Whether the curtain was open between Moses and the Ark is not told to us (and that God spoke from above the Ark is an educated guess, not a stated fact of Scripture).
Our Lord gave a general witness as to the inspiration of Leviticus (and to the rest of the Law in Lev. 24:44–46: Now He said to them, "These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled." Then He opened their mind to understand the Scriptures and He said to them, "Thus it is written that the Messiah [or, Christ] should suffer and rise again from the dead the third day." Our Lord also said that the entirety of the Law and the prophets depend upon Deut. 6:5 and Lev. 19:18 (Matt. 22:40). Throughout this verse by verse study of the book of Leviticus, we will find several portions of it which are quoted authoritatively in the New Testament, another witness to their inspiration by God.
However, as God's secretary, Moses was the human author of Leviticus, and this is confirmed in the New Testament. Leviticus states this specifically in the Hebrew of Lev. 26:46, the literal rendering of which is: These are the statutes and ordinances and laws which Yahweh placed between Himself and the sons of Israel by the hand of Moses on Mount Sinai. Jesus Christ said to the cleansed leper, "Go and show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded." (Matt. 8:4 Lev. 14:2). Paul writes: For Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on the law will live by that righteousness (Rom. 10:5; paraphrasing Lev. 18:5).
Therefore, anyone who suggests that the human author of Leviticus was anyone other than Moses or that Leviticus is anything less than the Word of God, directly contradicts both the Old and New Testaments.
The primary reason authorship is attributed to authors other than Moses is (1) some liberal theologians do not like the idea that most of Leviticus is presented as a series of quotations from God to Moses. If authorship is laid upon someone or upon a group of people who came along much later in the history of Israel, then this as a quotation from God can be considered fanciful embellishment, thus demeaning its contents. (2) There are elements of prophecy in Leviticus: the cross and the work of our Lord Jesus Christ is foreshadowed throughout; the future history of the Jews is laid out for us in Lev. 26; and the liberal theologian does not like the idea that God has told us centuries in advance what would occur. This is way too supernatural for them. (3) Finally, we have some laws in here dealing with sexual morality, ethical behavior and crime and punishment which are stated in absolutes (Lev. 18–20). If these are direct quotations from God, then logically we are not allowed to do our own thing and engage in sexual immorality or unethical behavior without possible reprisal from the God of the universe. Some people despise the notion that God treats some groups of people as a cancer that should be removed; however, such a viewpoint is found in Leviticus and is expanded upon throughout the rest of the Old Testament. The NIV Study Bible comments: During the last three centuries many scholars have claimed to find in the Pentateuch four underlying sources. The presumed documents, allegedly dating from the tenth to the fifth centuries bc, are called J (for Jahweh/Yahweh, the personal OT name for God), E (for Elohim, a generic name for God), D (for Deuteronomic) and P (for Priestly). Each of these documents is claimed to have its own characteristics and its own theology, which often contradicts that of the other documents. The Pentateuch is thus depicted as a patchwork of stories, poems and laws. However, this view is not supported by conclusive evidence, and intensive archaeological and literary research has tended to undercut many of the arguments used to challenge Mosaic authorship. We have covered this subject before in greater detail and for those with an interest, Josh McDowell covers the arguments in great detail in his book, Evidence Which demands a Verdict, Vol. 2.
Time of Writing: As has been discussed previously, Leviticus was written by Moses and not as the result of several people writing the Pentateuch centuries after these events took place. The actual time spent on Leviticus was short; just four weeks, or possibly less. The few events which took place and the dictation occurred after the erection of the tabernacle (Ex. 40:17 Lev. 1:1) and prior to the departure fromMount Sinai two months later (Num. 1:1 10:11). Ex. 40:17 and Num. 1:1 place the writing between the first day of the first month of the second year and the first day of the second month of the second year. Therefore, Leviticus was written in approximately May of 1445 bc (Scofield gives a wider range, between 1450 and 1410 bc).
Synopsis: The bulk of Leviticus is a direct quote from Yahweh to Moses. There is only a small amount of narrative in Lev. 9–10 and 24:10–23 (which is interspersed by directives from God). The great emphasis of the book of Leviticus is that God spoke this directly to Moses. No less than 50 times do we find this particular fact recorded in this book.
The Title of Leviticus: The Septuagint titled this book Levitikon (Λευιτικον) [pronounced lyoo-IT-ee-kon], which means pertaining to the Levites. The Levites were descended from Levi, one of the twelve sons of Jacob. At the beginning, the Levites were not given a place in the worship of Yahweh, but Aaron and his sons were. Whenever some information was convey by God to Moses concerning the offerings or the function of ceremonial worship, we find either the phrase, then Yahweh spoke to Moses and to Aaron saying... (Lev. 13:1 14:33 15:1) or then Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to Aaron and to his sons... (Lev. 17:1–2 21:1 22:1, 18). Aaron and his sons are properly Levites, but they are a small subset of the tribe of Levi. The actual tribe of Leviticus is only alluded to but once in one small portion of all of Leviticus (Lev. 25:32–33). In other words, this title is a misnomer—it is not a good title for the book of Leviticus. The title given this book by the Jews was different. The Hebrews entitled this the same way we name most of our hymns; the first line of our hymns are often the name of the hymn and the first word in Leviticus is the Hebrew designation for this book: Wayîq'râ’ (א ָר ׃ק ̣ ַו ) [pronounced wa-yee-q'-RAW] and it means and He called, which is a much better title for this book. From the beginning of the book until the end, it is God calling to us, particularly in Lev. 26 with His impassioned warning to the Jews, a warning to follow them throughout their entire history.
Least Known Linguistic Fact: We will see a lot of similarities in the vocabulary of Leviticus and Ezekiel (and occasionally Numbers)—and more similarities than we would find in the vocabulary of the rest of the Pentateuch and Leviticus. There are some words found only in two or three of these books throughout the entirety of the Old Testament. This is due in part ot subject matter, but more so because much of both books were spoken by the same person: Jesus Christ, Yahweh Elohim, the God of Israel. Furthermore, I would not be surprised if Ezekiel primarily studied Leviticus. A similarity in vocabulary does not have to mean, as some have claimed, that Leviticus and Ezekiel were written by the same person.
Themes: Throughout the beginning of Leviticus, we will find the sacrifice of various animals. Every one of these animals must be innocent, without spot and blemish, a picture of our Lord Jesus Christ. The sins of the Jews were transferred to these animals just as the sins of all mankind were placed upon our Lord. The shedding of their blood, which is their life, is analogous to the spiritual death of our Lord (and using this expression does not minimize the pain and sacrifice involved on the part of our Lord).
Holiness plays a prominent part in the book of Leviticus. Yahweh demands perfect animals for His sacrifices, the priests must be without physical defects. Several chapters are devoted to what is clean and not clean, therefore, what is holy and what is not. The NIV Study Bible points out that just as Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden due to their sin, a person with a skin disease is banished from the camp of God, and the unregenerate man, who has not taken upon himself the covering or shield of Jesus Christ, will be banished from the presence of God forever.
Israel became God's representative here on earth, just as the church presently represents Jesus Christ here on earth in this dispensation. God demanded that they be holy, even as He is holy. The book of Leviticus, among other things, sets a standard of behavior and laws which separated or, better yet, distinguished the Jews from the heathen world around them.
Separation is a key theme of Leviticus. The Jews were not just to be separated away from the Gentiles as separation has a two-fold connotation—not only are you separated away from something, but you are separated to something else. The Jews were to separted unto God, and this was to be revealed in their ceremonies (Lev. 17), their daily living (Lev. 18–22), their worship (Lev. 23–25), and their future was tied directly to their relationship with God (Lev. 26). When our Lord summed up the Law in one sentence, He quoted from Leviticus and from Deuteronomy: And one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" And He said to him, " 'You will love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your sould and with all your mind.' This is the great and foremost commandment. And a second is like it: 'You will love your neighbor as yourself' On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets." (Matt. 22:35–40 Deut. 6:5 Lev. 19:18).
Narrative Content: The bulk of Leviticus is Law; that which is to separate the Jews from the Gentiles around them. There are regulations dealing with the ceremonial laws of Israel, such as the sacrifices, the holy days, the feasts, etc. Every ceremony in Leviticus is backed by solid reality and fraught with meaning. There are laws concerning what is clean and unclean, there are laws which deal with ethical behavior, sexual morality and the proper treatment of slaves, Gentiles, and fellow Jews. The brief portions of Leviticus which are narrative were likely episodes which occurred chronologically between the sessions of God's dictation to Moses and serve as a backdrop. We have the various sacrifices that the Jews were to make, led by their priests; and we have the responsibilities of the priests; and this is followed by the sloppiness and imprecision of Aaron's two oldest sons, who were executed by God for their lack of personal integrity in spiritual matters. We may view their transgression as minor; however, when it comes to the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, we should never be sloppy or imprecise. They were in a position of great spiritual authority and responsibility and they did not take seriously their office before the Lord. God executed them under the Law.
The second narrative is found in Lev. 24:10–23 where Israel is commanded to stone a man guilty of blaspheming. All of the Jews had witnessed their deliverance at the hand of God. Only the most irreverent would take God's omnipotence lightly. His execution was demanded by God and carried out by the people.
The New Testament View: One of the major pitfalls of people who are involved in self-study and who begin with the Law, is that they become confused as to what God's program is. When our Lord was resurrected from the dead, He immediately began to teach the Scriptures; that is, the Old Testament (Luke 24:25–32, 44–48). Every pastor should teach the Old and New Testaments. Although the Old Testament primarily deals with the Age of Israel when Israel was under the Law, this does not mean that we should not study it. We need to know how the gospel was presented to our Old Testament brothers. It is in studying the Old Testament that we develop a full appreciation for God's Word and a much deeper understanding. What occurs in the Old Testament helps us to fix our place today in the New Testament Church Age. Finally, we are awed by the prophecies which are found throughout the Old Testament, those which deal with our Lord's death on the cross and the future of Israel, found in Leviticus 1400 years prior to their fulfillments. It is these prophecies which aide some in solidifying their faith in God's Word, realizing that not every religious book is God's Word, but that we can determine whether it is from God or not because when He speaks, we can see that it will come to pass.
Outline of Chapter 1:
vv. 1–9 The procedure for the offering of a bull
vv. 10–13 The procedure for the offering of a goat or a sheep
vv. 14–17 The procedure for the offering of a dove or pigeon
Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines:
v. 2 Minchâh
v. 2 Terûmâh
v. 2 Qorbân
v. 8 Fire, in Scripture, Refers to God's Holiness in Judgement
Doctrines Alluded To
Introduction: In Exodus 40, Moses saw to it that the tabernacle had been assembled. Now, in Lev. 1, he meets Yahweh in the tent of meeting and receives more instructions as to the ceremonial portion of worship. What should be kept in mind throughout is that the gospel will be presented through the sacrifices offered in this chapter. Lev. 1 allows a person making an offering to bring one of five kinds of animals, enumerated in three categories, depending upon his financial ability. This was an offering to God over and above tithing.
The Procedure for the Offering of a Bull
Yahweh called to Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting, saying, [Lev. 1:1]
The order of the Hebrew is much different: it reads, called to Moses and spoke Yahweh to him from the tent of meeting saying. Because of the preposition preceding Moses, we know that Moses is not the subject the the object of the verb. The tent of meeting was a place set up for Yahweh to come and speak to Moses and occasionally to the priests. This was not a place of human contact. Our churches are not tents of meeting. But note, the first sentence in Leviticus tells us that God is speaking directly to Moses and we are given a direct quote from the God of the Universe, the God who created the heavens and earth. The great emphasis of the book of Leviticus is that God spoke this directly to Moses. No less than 50 times do we find this particular phrase recorded in this book. It is this relationship that Moses had with God, speaking with God face-to-face, which was not enjoyed by any prophet after him (Deut. 34:10). Prepositions are important; the concluding verse of Leviticus is These are the commandments which Yahweh commanded Moses for the people of Israel at Mount Sinai (Lev. 27:34). Owen's, NIV, The Amplified Bible, NRSV all translate this on Mount Sinai. The KJV and Owen's translate this last verse as in Mount Sinai. However, the preposition in question is the bêyth prefixed preposition and, although it can mean in or on; what is implied by this often used preposition is proximity. Moses receives this information at, near or by Mount Sinai. The whole point of the tent of meeting was so that Moses did not have to climb up Mount Sinai to meet with Yahweh; that God would come to him in the tent of meeting. The Jews have moved somewhat, as we have seen in Ex. 33; apparently, by Lev. 27:34, they are still within the sight of Mount Sinai or are walking around it and are still at its base. It is clear in this verse that God spoke to Moses from the tent of meeting. Here we use the mîn prefixed preposition, which is a preposition of separation, translated out of, out from, from. This verse and the last verse of Leviticus when taken with Ex. 33, indicate that the Jews have not traveled very far since Moses receive the Law from upon Mount Sinai.
There has been a change which has taken place. Back in Exodus, after the golden calf incident, the tent of meeting was outside the camp. Prior to that, God was removed, almost unreachable at the top of Mount Sinai; and He only allowed Moses to approach Him. Since the tabernacle was built, the tabernacle which speaks of His holiness and righteousness and foretells His plan, God now has a place to dwell in the camp of Israel. This is a matter of the Jews responding favorably to God's directions to bring offerings to Moses to build the tabernacle. When we listen to God and follow his directives, we are blessed. Israel was then blessed by having the tent of meeting, the tabernacle within their camp.
As has been discussed in the introduction, there is no objective reason for doing anything other than taking this book at face value as the writing of Moses.
"Speak to the people of Israel and say to them: 'When any man from you brings an offering to Yahweh you will bring your offering of cattle from the herd or from the flock.' [Lev. 1:2]
To the reader in the English, nothing seems out of place here; however, we have a new word, not used before, and one which is generally translated offering or oblation. Qorbân (ן ָ ׃ר ָק) [pronounced kor-BAWN] is firstly pronounced differently than I would have thought; this may have been a convention from transliterating it into the Greek later (or Aramaic), but we would expect because of its spelling that qorbân would be pronounced qaw-r'-BAWN instead. This word is found almost exclusively in Leviticus and Numbers (primarily in the first three chapters of Leviticus and the 7th chapter of Numbers) and then in Ezek. 20:28 40:43. That is it; we find it no where else. What I would like to do is put together another English word for it so that this is not confused with the two common words for offering, which are minchâh (ה ָח ׃נ ̣מ) [pronounced min-KHAWH] (Strong's #4503 BDB #585) and terûmâh (ה ָמ ֻר ׃) [pronounced t'roo-MAWH] (BDB #929 Strong's #8641). Let's see if we can possibly distinguish between these three words, all translated offering (this, by the way, excludes the word sin, which is occasionally translated sin offering).
(1) This is the first word used for an offering, found as far back as Gen. 4:3–5.
(2) This can refer to an offering of vegetables, which was rejected by God (Gen. 4:3, 5).
(3) This word is often translated in the KJV as meat offering (e.g., Lev. 2:1, 3–9), which is very misleading (BDB p. 585), as it can refer to a meal offering or to a grain offering (Gen. 4:3 Num. 5:25–26).
(4) Jacob, having swindled his brother Esau on two occasions, returned to his brother with many presents in order to placate Esau (thinking him to be as greedy and as unforgiving as himself). The word translated present or gift is minchâh (Gen. 32:13, 18, 20–21).
(5) Therefore, it is used to mean a present or a tribute brought to someone out of respect in hopes of placating that person, doing obeisance to them, etc.
(6) What would be nice is to be able to come up with a translation which could be used throughout the Bible which would (1) differentiate it from qorbân and terûmâh, (2) allow for some consistency when minchâh is found, and (3) to translate it without damaging its meaning. To be consistent, a good translation of this word would a tribute-offering.
(1) Terûmâh is related to several words which mean to lift up, to raise, height.
(2) This word is first used with regards to bringing things to Moses for the purpose of building the tabernacle (Ex. 25, 29, 30).
(3) This word is often translated heave offering in the KJV because it was lifted up before God (this is the word's relation to height) (Ex. 29:28 Lev. 7:34 Num. 31:41).
(4) We find this word primarily in Exodus and Numbers, a few times in both Leviticus and Deuteronomy, throughout several other books, and quite often in Ezek. 45 and 48.
(5) Most of the passages infer money and it is found in conjunction with the word tithe, meaning that it is not a tithe (2Chron. 31:12 Mal. 3:8).
(6) Although most of the time, terûmâh refers to an offering to God, it can refer simply money which is given as a bribe (Prov. 29:4).
(7) Although I have not examined every passage in which this word occurs, that this word could be reasonable translated contribution consistently without doing much damage to the meaning of the passages.
(1) Finally, let's examine qorbân, the word introduced to us here (BDB #898 Strong #7133). This word is found almost exclusively in Leviticus and Numbers (the conspicuous exceptions being Ezek. 20:28 40:43).
(2) According the Thieme and Rotherham, this word means something brought near. This word is often translation oblation, but few people have any idea what that means. It comes from the verb qârav (ב ַר ָק) [pronounced kaw-RAV] (that is from Strong's; the vowel points are different in BDB); and it means come near, approach in the Qal stem. In the Hiphil, it is often translated bring, offer. However, there is no way one can get that meaning from Gen. 12:11 and Ex. 14:10, where the Hiphil perfect clearly means to be brought near. At this point, I am going to go out on a limb and not translate this word offer, as most translators have done throughout the book of Leviticus and Numbers, but retain the meaning come near or brought near. BDB seems to support this notion by not giving this as one of their primary definitions.
(3) This appears to refer to an animal brought to be offered to God as a blood sacrifice or as a burnt offering. This is the animal before it is sacrificed (Lev. 1:3, 10 3:7, 12 Num. 4:28, 32).
(4) We could get away with rendering this [animal] offering most of the time and be safe. However, a more literal rendering would be that which is brought near.
(5) It is interesting that this word, although used very little in the Old Testament, was taken by the Jews, changed somewhat, and used as a gimmick in New Testament times. That is, it came to mean given to God and certain personal items could be declared corban, meaning that they did not have to be shared with anyone else. Some errant adult children would not help support their parents because the things that they owned were declared corban and therefore could not be given away to just anybody.
A fourth word could be added to this list—׳ôlâh (ה ָלֹע) [pronounced ģo-LAW]—a word which is related to the word for climb, ascend and it can be consistently rendered burnt offering.
A person has purposed in his heart to bring an offering to Yahweh. From you refers to from the person bringing the offering; this is pretty much exactly what Moses is to say to them. The offering first of all will come from their herd or flock. This is not going to be an offering of their favorite vegetables, as Cain brought before God. Most, but not all, offerings, were blood sacrifices.
"If a burnt offering—his offering—[is] a male from the herd without blemish, he will bring it [near] at the door of the tent of meeting; he will offer it that he may be accepted before Yahweh. [Lev. 1:3]
Recall that right at the door of the tabernacle is the brazen altar. The animal brought is to be without blemish. This is not because we are bringing our very best to God. There is nothing in these sacrifices which indicate that is the criteria. What is expected, however, is an animal that is without spot and without blemish; this is Jesus Christ come in the flesh, a man without fault, without failing and without sin. The sacrifices brought before Yahweh had to be illustrative of our Lord. This is what it took to be accepted before Yahweh.
A burnt offering was to be brought before Yahweh every morning and evening throughout Israel's history (Ex. 29:39–42). As the NIV points out, double burnt offerings were brought on the Sabbath (Num. 28:9–10) and additional burnt offerings were brought on feast days (Num. 28–29). The offering in this verse is in addition to those offerings. The offering had to be male, without blemish (see Mal. 1:8); the rich brought a bull, the average person brought a sheep or a goat; and the poor brought a dove or a pigeon. The giver always placed his hand upon the head of the animal to transfer his sin to the innocent animal (Lev. 1:4). And, one of the more interesting aspects of this burnt sacrifice is that the fire was never to go out (Lev. 6:13), speaking of God's continual and unending justice, which necessitates a continual and unending Lake of Fire. Further pointed out in the NIV, is that they entire sacrifice was to be burned (Lev. 1:9); hence it was sometimes designated the holocaust offering (hole means whole, and caust means burnt). The priest was allowed to retain the hide of the animal (Lev. 7:8), as the hide speaks of the covering (or, atonement) of our sins. See the Doctrine of the Burnt Offering. Not finished yet!!
"He will lay his hand upon the head of the burnt offering and it will be accepted for him to make atonement for him. [Lev. 1:4]
In Ex. 29:33 we covered the doctrine of atonement. This was a covering of the sin until our Lord came and bore our sins in His own body on the tree (I Peter 2:24). What is being done is the sins of the man bring the offering are being laid upon the head of his animal; they are transferred from his hand to the animal and then the animal is sacrificed on his behalf. The hand lain upon the head indicates identification. The sinner is identified with the animal, whose sacrifice covers his sin, just as our Lord was identified with us and our sins (Isa. 53:4–6 Rom. 6:3–10).
"Then he will kill the bull [lit., son of the herd; often renderered one of the herd] before Yahweh and Aaron's sons, the priests, will present the blood and throw the blood against the altar round about [the altar] that is at the door of the tent of meeting. [Lev. 1:5]
The primary sacrifice is a blood sacrifice. This is not a function of the day and time; blood sacrifices go all the way back to the first couple, Adam and the woman (recall their clothing was made from animal skins; an animal had to die first and the hide was used to cover them up). A blood sacrifice is the way that God the Father pointed forward in history to the sacrifice of His Son on our behalf. The priests present the blood and the offering to God. We had to learn immediately that there would always be an intermediary between us and God. This intermediary began as the priests; however, the true mediator between God and man is the man Christ Jesus; the priests themselves were shadows of the One to come. Peter called the recepients of his first letter sprinkled with the blood of Jesus Christ (I Peter 1:2).
Notice the order in which these things are done. First the offerer brings the bull and slays it. Before all else, Jesus Christ must die on behalf of sinners. This is the first place that the unbeliever must go to. The primary nature of this act applies both to man and to God. Then, the priests spring into action. They, representing man to God, place this offering before God the Father, just as Jesus Christ, after His death on the cross, presented Himself to God the Father. The resurrection indicates the acceptance of His atoning work on our behalf. This is the smoke, the tranquilizing scent, which is lifted up toward heaven.
Heb. 9:19–23 reads: For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people, according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, "This is the blood of the covenant which God command you." And in the same way, he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels fo the ministry with the blood. And according to the Law, almost all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness. Therefore, it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be cleansed with these, but the heavenly thing s themselves with better sacrifices than these.
"And he will flay the burnt offering and cut it into pieces. [Lev. 1:6]
I am not certain if there is any symbolism involved when the body of the animal is cut into pieces here. It could be simply a matter of practicality; that is, there is no way that they could pick up the entire animal and lay him upon the altar. It would require them to cut the larger animals into pieces.
"And the sons of Aaron, the priest, will place fire on the altar and lay in order wood upon the fire. [Lev. 1:7]
So, what we have so far is that the animal has been sacrificed by having its little wooly throat cut. Now Aaron's sons place a fire upon the altar. Now I would think that it would be ideal if the top of the brazen altar was grating, but I don't think that it was. The word flay here is ideal. It means to strip off and has a variety of applications. The hide was stripped off the rest of the body, which was cut into pieces. The hide was saved for the priests, as a covering.
"And Aaron's sons, the priests, will lay in order the pieces: the head and the fat upon the wood that is on the fire, upon the altar. [Lev. 1:8]
As Paul said in I Cor. 14:40: But let all things be done properly and in an orderly manner.
(1) God first appeared to Moses as a burning bush (Ex. 3:2) and later guided Israel at night as a pillar of fire (Ex. 13:21).
(2) When God judged degenerate Sodom and Gomorrah, fire and brimstone rained down from heaven (Gen. 19:24).
(3) The day of the Lord, when Christ returns and removes the unbelievers from earth by fire, speaking both of His righteousness and His judgement, is mentioned in Mal. 3:2: [Yahweh is speaking] "But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner's fire and like a laundryman's soap." A refiner's fire removes the dross (the impurities) from the metals under fire. The impurities of the earth, those not covered with the blood of Jesus Christ, will be removed from this earth.
(4) Fire speaks of testing by God (which removes impurities (I Peter 1:7).
(5) I Cor. 3:12–14 speaks of our human good being judged and burned in the evaluation judgement by Jesus Christ; again, an illustration of God's holiness, righteousness and judgement.
(6) God is a consuming fire in Heb. 12:29.
(7) Our Lord speaks of hellfire as judgement in Mark 9:43–50.
(8) Finally, we have the sobering warning that If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:15).
"But its entrails and its legs, he will wash with water and the priest will burn the whole on the altar as a burnt offering, an offering by fire, a tranquilizing smell to Yahweh. [Lev. 1:9]
The entire animal is offered upon the altar and it is offered as cleansed. Our Lord offered Himself on the cross as absolute human perfection. Since we see this phrase, a sweet savor or a pleasing odor to Yahweh throughout the Penteteuch, we should attempt to discern its meaning. There are, obviously, two Hebrew words here. We have the neutral word rêyach (ַחי ֵר) [pronounced RAY-ahkh]. We find it used primarily with a modifier (Gen. 8:31 Ex. 29:18); however, it does occur apart from a modifier (Gen. 27:27 Ex. 5:21). In Gen. 27:27, it speaks of old, blind Isaac smelling the smell of who he thought was Esau. This odor may have been offensive to some, pleasing to others; and it was quite pleasing to Isaac. In Ex. 5:21, however, the Jews are castigating Moses because he has made their smell displeasing to Pharaoh, a phrase meaning Pharaoh came to be very displeased with the Jews. Because this word can be used in both a positive and negative sense, using odor, savor or fragrance to translate tend to slant its meaning; smell or scent are good neutral translations. The next word is our all important modifier: nîchôach (ַחחי ̣נ) [pronounced nee-KHO-(w)ahkh]. Unfortunately, it does not occur apart from rêyach and is found nowhere in the Bible but in the Pentateuch (only once in Genesis, twice in Numbers and not at all in Deuteronomy) and in Ezekiel 6:13 16:19 20:28, 41. It is said to mean tranquilizing, soothing, quieting by BDB and this would be a better rendering than sweet or pleasing. The reason for this is that each sacrifice of an animal speaks of the death of our Lord Jesus Christ and the judgement for our sins by God the Father on the cross. This cannot be a pleasing, pleasant or sweet odor to God; however, because it does speak of our Lord's efficacious work on our behalf, it is a tranquilizing and quieting smell. Rather than looking down upon our sins and evil nature and wanting to judge us for this, God is tranquilized by this odor. It is all very anthropomorphic. Therefore, become imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up on behalf of us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma (Eph. 5:1–2).
The Procedure for the Offering of a Goat or a Sheep
"If his gift from the flock, from the sheep or the goats; he will offer for a burnt offering a male without blemish. [Lev. 1:10]
We will see this phrase over and over: without spot and without blemish. The animal brought to the altar was perfect, to illustrate the perfection of the humanity of Jesus Christ.
"And he will kill it on the north side of the altar, before Yahweh, and Aaron's sons, the priests, will throw its blood against the altar round about. [Lev. 1:11]
I am not entirely certain as to the reason for the North side; maybe when I draw a picture of the tabernacle and its furniture, this will become more clear. There is an audience observing what is occurring here and with every sacrifice, they see the blood of the sacrifice scattered around the altar to God.
"And he will cut it into pieces with its head and with its fat and the priest will lay in order these pieces [lit., them] upon the wood that is on the first upon the altar. [Lev. 1:12]
As before, the animal is cut up and burned.
"But the entrails and the legs, he will wash with water and the priest will offer the whole [animal] and burn a burnt offering on the altar; it [is] an offering by fire, a tranquilizing scent to Yahweh. [Lev. 1:13]
With every offering that was burnt, the judgement of this animal in their stead was a sweet savor to God. This represents the propitiation (covering) of our sins. We are presented to God perfect not because we have tried really hard to be good but because He has covered our sins with the blood of Christ and has judged our sins in Christ with fire. The reason the legs are washed is because these are what have come into contact with the earth, which is unclean, as it is the devil’s world. The entrails are washed because they represent the old sin nature (what better portion of the animal?).
The Procedure for the Offering of a Dove or Pigeon
"If a burnt offering of birds—his offering to Yahweh—then he will bring his offering from turtledoves or from young pigeons. [Lev. 1:14]
Not every person had money or great herds and flocks. However, salvation is open to anyone, rich or poor. A person with very little could bring as little as a bird as a blood sacrifice to God. Turtledoves are common to the Palestinian area at all times of the year, although there is a preponderance of them during the times of migration. It appears as though they were domesticated and only the domesticated birds were used as sacrifices to God. In the Bible, all uses of the word turtledove refer to sacrificial purposes, except in SOS 2:12 and Jer. 8:7. In Song of Solomon, their use is a matter of referring to a certain time of year, a little after the springtime. In Jeremiah, the built-in migrating clock of the turtledove is spoken of. Other than that, these turtledoves were easily obtained birds. We will cover the pigeon later.
"And the priest will bring it to the altar and wring off its head and burn on the altar and its blood will be drained out; its blood on the side of the altar. [Lev. 1:15]
Notice that the bird is not cut into pieces, indicating that it was a practical matter in sacrificing a large animal and unnecessary with a bird. However, the blood of the sacrifice was again emphasized.
"And he will take away its crop with the feathers and cast it beside the altar on the east side in the place of the ashes. [Lev. 1:16]
A crop is a digestive organ of the bird. I don't know why this was removed with the feathers and cast on the side. However, we do not even know if this is what the Hebrew word means; it is uncertain (NIV Study Bible, p. 147).
"And he will tear it by its wings, but he will not divide [it]. The priest will burn it on the altar upon the wood that is on the fire; it is a burnt offering, an offering by fire, a tranquilizing scent to Yahweh. [Lev. 1:17]
The tearing apart of the bird speaks of a violent, awful death. Our Lord's death on the cross on our behalf was more painful, more violent, than anything that we could imagine. It was the equivalent of enduring a multitude of hells for all eternity. How you can take infinity and somehow shrink it into a point of time is a matter of mathematics and God's grace.
See The Doctrine of the Types of Animal Sacrifices in the Law
Introduction: Lev. 2 covers the grain offerings, which represent what happens after atonement and salvation. This chapter will have a rather sparse outline. This could have easily been a portion of chapters 1 or 3. There will be further regulations regarding offerings of fine flour in Lev. 6:14–23 7:9–10.
Outline of Chapter 2:
Vv. 1–16 Regulations concerning grain offerings
Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines:
v. 16 A Summary of the Grain Offerings
Regulations Concerning Grain Offerings
When anyone brings near a [freewill] offering, a tribute of fine flour to Yahweh, he will pour oil upon it, his offering and place frankincense upon it. [Lev. 2:1]
The Amplified Bible When anyone offers a cereal offering...
The Emphasized Bible But when any person would bring near as an oblation, a meal-offering,...
KJV And when any will offer a meat offering...
NASB Now when anyone presents a grain offering...
Young's Lit. Translation And when a person bringeth near an offering, a present...
We have already examined the word qorbân (ן ָ ׃ר ָק) [pronounced kor-BAWN], which is used as a freewill offering; one which is not required (that is, volition is involved). Similarly, we have examined the word minchâh (ה ָח ׃נ ̣מ) [pronounced min-KHAWH], which does not mean cereal offering or meal offering, but properly is a present or a tribute (see Gen. 4:3–5 32:13, 18 2Sam. 8:2). Out of the eight translations which I regularly consult, only one, Young's, had this verse correct. We are told in context just what kind of an offering this is. Ç ôleth (ת ∵לֹס) [pronounced SO-leth] is consistently rendered flour or fine flour in Scripture. Minchâh became so closely identified with this offering of fine flour that it became the word for a grain offering; however, this is not its original meaning, nor should we necessarily take it for the meaning here in context. We can allow the context of the passage to guide us in the type of minchâh, or tribute or present, that is alluded to.
This is the offering of a believer. A bloodless sacrifice does not save. Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness (Heb. 9:22b). This is a believer who is bringing near to God an offering which speaks of his thankfulness to God. The offering is a tribute to Yahweh and His provision. It is unfortunate that this passage is incorrectly translated so often is that it blurs the meaning and interpretation of the verse.
At the end of this chapter, we will examine the doctrine of the grain offering.
"And he will bring it to Aaron's sons, the priests, and he will grasp from it a handful of fine flour and oil with all of its frankincense and the priest will burn as its memorial portion upon the altar, an offering by fire, a tranquilizing scent to Yahweh. [Lev. 2:2]
The word which I translated burn is not really burn; it is the 3rd masculine singular, Hiphil perfect of qâţar (ר ַט ָק) [pronounced kaw-TAR] and it is the word used to burn incense. In other words, whatever is burned is caused to smoke. It might not really catch fire and burn, but it can be caused to decompose, the smoke being a sign of that chemical decomposition. All of the flour along with the oil and frankincense represent God's blessing and graciousness to the believer. This believer brings back some of this to God, recognizing the source of his blessing.
"And the remainder of the tribute offering [will be] for Aaron and his sons; it is a most holy portion [lit., the holy of holies] of the altar fire to Yahweh. [Lev. 2:3]
Aaron and his sons worked full-time in service to God. They required food and clothing and shelter, as did anyone else. They had to be remunerated for their time and dedication. We will later learn that the priests were to eat this only in the tent of meeting, the tabernacle, and were not to use this to feed their families (Lev. 6:16–18).
"And when you bring a tribute offering—[it will be] baked, of fine flour; unleavened cakes mixed with oil or unleavened wafers, spread [lit., anointed] with oil. [Lev. 2:4]
The fine flour is an eveness and stability in ones life; a balance of character. There is no quality in excess and no quality of character which is missing. The oil is the Holy Spirit and the frankincense is the fragrance of his life. There is no leaven, as that speaks of impurities (false doctrine) and there is no honey mixed in (honey speaks of sweatness; and, in this context, it would be unbearable sweetness). See the Doctrine of Olive Oil—not finished yet!!
"And if a tribute is baked on a griddle, [then] your offering is to be of fine flour, mixed with oil, and unleavened. [Lev. 2:5]
The pan mentioned here was a clay pan which sat on top of a stone which was heated by a fire; not unlike our frying pans today. According to the NIV notes, iron pans were used later.
The difference here is in the cooking. When baked in the over, the oil goes on top and when baked upon the griddle, the oil is used actually in with the bread. Even though the church age is well hidden from those in the Old Testament, it sounds an awful lot like v. 4, with the oil spread on top of the unleavend cakes, deals with the induement of the Holy Spirit, which is Old Testament spirituality; and that v. 5, where the oil is mixed i with the cakes, deals with the filling of the Holy Spirit, which is New Testament spirituality. It is not necessary that all of the symbolism be completely understood by those in the Old Testament.
"Having broken it into pieces, you will pour oil upon it; it [is] a tribute. [Lev. 2:6]
I am doing my best to give these verses a literal rendering, as most translations do a very poor job with Leviticus. The breaking of the bread into pieces is the scattering of Israel and it also represents the church, the body of Christ, which is broken into pieces and spread out throughout the world, as is must be for any evangelism to take place.
"And if a tribute [offering] of a pan—your offering of fine flour—it will be made [lit., constructed] with oil. [Lev. 2:7]
I am praying that God will raise up a man, who knows the original languages much better than I do, to put together a literal translation of the Old Testament, with his eye toward consistancy, differentiation and accuracy. It would be marvelous to have such a Bible, with a side-by-side less literal interpretation, where idioms are translated as per their intended inference rather than as per their literal meaning. Note here the importance of the Holy Spirit; all the offerings of flour speak of the spiritual life after salvation (as if there is one prior to) and the importance of the filling of the Holy Spirit. The offering of our lives and service to God are meaningless apart from His gracious provision of the Spirit.
"You will bring the tribute [offering] which is made [lit. constructed] of these [things] to Yahweh; furthermore, he [the giver] will approach [with] it [or, bring it near] to the priest and he will bring it near to the altar. [Lev. 2:8]
In this verse, Owen's translates three different words by the word bring. The first word is bôw’ (א) [pronounced bo] which means, in the Qal stem, come in, go, go in; however, in the Hiphil, the causative stem, it means to take in, to bring, to come in with; and, surpringly enough, it is translated quite consistently by the KJV when found in the Hiphil stem. It generally requires a direct object, as it is the object which is being brought somewhere. Qârav (ב ַר ָק) [pronounced kaw-RAV] means come near, approach in the Kal stem. We have already examined this particular word in Lev. 1:2. In the Hiphil, it is often translated bring, offer. However, there is no way one can get that meaning from Gen. 12:11 and Ex. 14:10, where the Hiphil perfect clearly means to be brought near, to approach. At this point, I am going to continue to not translate this word offer, as most translators have done throughout the book of Leviticus and Numbers, but retain its actual meaning approach, come near or brought near. BDB seems to support this notion by not giving this as one of their primary definitions. In this verse, qârav does not mean offer because the person with the tribute is the giver and the person receiving it is the priest; it is presented or brought near to the priest; it is actually offered to Yahweh. In this verse, qârav is in the 3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil perfect, 3rd person feminine singular suffix (referring to the tribute offering). In terms of differentiation, we have a tough one coming up next. The word is nâgas ( ַג ָנ) [pronounced naw-GAS] and it appears to have meanings almost identical to qârav; this is, it means come near, draw near, approach, come hither in the Kal stem; and bring near, bring hither, brought in the Hiphil. It is parsed the same as qârav; nâgas is in the 3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil perfect, 3rd person feminine singular suffix.
"And the priest will lift up its memorial portion out from the tribute [offering] and burn on the altar a fire-offering, a tranquilizing scent to Yahweh. [Lev. 2:9]
In general, I have a great and abiding respect for those who translated the KJV. It is a scholarly and relatively literal translation into the King's English. However, Leviticus is a mess and other translators seemed to have followed suit. The portion of God's Word which speaks continually of our Lord's sacrifice on our behalf was given to the hacks of the translating committee. The Book of Leviticus is almost in its entirety a direct quote from God to Moses as recorded by Moses. You would expect that in a case like that, the translators would go out of their way to be as accurate as possible. The verb is the 3rd person, masculine singular, Hiphil perfect of rûwm (םר) [pronounced room] and it means to exalt, to lift up and even to offer up.
"And the remainder of the tribute [will be] for Aaron and his sons; [it is] a holy of holies fire-offerings to Yahweh. [Lev. 2:10]
A portion of this tribute to Yahweh is to be burned to Yahweh; and the remainder is given to Aaron and his sons. Note that these works, this life of the believer, as represented by the unleavened bread—it is most holy to God.
"All of the tribute which you bring near to Yahweh will not be made with leaven, for all of leaven and all of honey you will not burn out of it a fire-offering to Yahweh. [Lev. 2:11]
There was no sugar in that portion of the ancient world, so all sweetening was done with honey or boiled concentrated grape juice. There are several examples in the Bible where honey is obtained from wild bees (Deut. 32:13 Judges 14:8–9 Luke 24:41–43). Bee had been confined to hives in Egypt and Assyria by that time so that honey could be obtained.
There are other interpretations given to the exclusion of honey from its use in the grain offering. It was used to help the fermentation process in brewing beer. However, I don't think that the use of honey in that process was so exclusive as to not be used in other areas as well. Maimonides said that only idolators used leavened bread smeared with honey as a sacrifice to God. Another interpretation is that honey was used in some unspeakable way in some Canaanite religious ritual; however, the Jews were only slightly familiar with the Canaanites, and less so with their cultic practicies. Furthermore there is nothing in the Scriptures that I am aware of which suggests some sort of inherent evil tied closely to honey. Now let me give you the correct interpretation:
Leaven speaks of corruption of doctrine and honey speaks of sweetness. The offering of our Lord on the cross was not sweet; it was an experience beyond all imaginable horror. Our lives are not to be characterized by a sacharine sweetness, that phoney behavior which causes most intelligent unbelievers to grimace and find another place to be, but a lifestyle dedicated to God, free of phoniness. Scofield writes: Honey is mere natural sweetness and could not symbolize the divine graciousness of the Lord Jesus. In other words, sweetness is a personality trait and some are and some aren't. This is not a trait which is exclusively Christian; in fact, some Christians, filled with the Spirit, are not sweet. This does not mean that we will be less than gracious nor does it mean that we speak our personal opinions, no matter how offensive. Proper training in manners precludes us from saying any damn thing which comes into our mind. A young person without training says the first thing which comes to their mind; they have a thought and some of them feel that they must express it before its gone ("That's an ugly shirt"). Part of being civilized is learning not to say everything that pops into your head; it is a matter of consideration to others and a matter of minding our own business. A Christian should show signs of being civilized and gracious, without having to resort to a phoney sweetness. Our phoney sweeness does not cut it with God and He wants no part of it.
Now, together, the leaven and honey speak of corruption because together they were used in the fermentation process of both beer and wine. So together, they do symbolize the corruption of that which is true; that is, the corruption of Bible doctrine. Paul helps us to interpret the concept of leaven: Let us therefore celebvrate the feast, not with old leaven nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth (I Cor. 5:8). If necessary, review the doctrine of leaven from Ex. 12:15.
"An offering of first fruit—you may approach with them [i.e., the honey and the leaven] to Yahweh, but they will not lift [them] up on the altar for a tranquilizing scent [Lev. 2:12]
At this point, we need to examine the Doctrine of the Firstfruits—not finished yet!! The firstfruits are not things which are sacrificed to God. They speak of the prosperity with which God has given us; this is not a sacrifice on our side or from God's side. It is blessing to us from God. Therefore, we do not associate it directly with the cross. These things come as a result of the cross. As Thieme was wont to say, "What does God do for us after doing to most for us on the cross? He does much more than the most."
"And all of your approachings of your tributes you will season with salt and you will not case the salt of the covenant with your God from your tribute; with all your offerings, you will approach [with] salt. [Lev. 2:13]
Salt is a preservative and it is the nation Israel which preserved the ancient world and today, it is the church, the body of Christ which preserves the earth. It is also salt which gives a real taste or a spice to some things, and it is our lives, not as self-righteous, prissy boys and girls laced with phoney sweetness, but our lives in a dedicated to God lifestyle. Salt, in the ancient world, is also closely associated with signing a covenant. See the Doctrine of Salt—not finished yet. Num. 18:19 2Chron. 13:5 Ezek. 43:24 Col. 4:6 It is equivalent to signing a covenant between two parties (in this case, warring parties between whom peace is made). Today, salt is a relatively inexpensive condiment; however, in the ancient world, it was an expensive spice, necessary to the diet.
"And if you approach with a tribute of firstfruits to Yahweh, then you will approach with green ears [of corn] dried by the fire, the tribute of firstfruits. [Lev. 2:14]
I am not certain whether we are speaking of grain or of corn here. In any case, the grain or corn ws dried or roasted by fire; our grace from God on earth is a portion of our eternal inheritance, as God has given His tacit approval to. This prosperity in no way compromises His integrity and justice.
"And you will place oil upon it and frankincense; it [is] a tribute [offering]. [Lev. 2:15]
This is not a grain or a cereal offering; whether we are speaking of corn or grain here, this offering is a tribute to the grace of Yahweh.
"And the priest will burn a portion of the crushed grain as its memorial portion and out of the oil upon all of its frankincense a fire-offering to Yahweh." [Lev. 2:16]
Again, this does not exactly burn, but it is placed into the first until is chars and smokes.
When anyone offers an offering of a meal offering to Yahweh, his offering shall be of fine flour; and he shall pour oil on it, and put frankincense on it. He shall bring it to Aaron's sons the priests; and he shall take his handful of its fine flour, and of its oil, with all its frankincense; and the priest shall burn the memorial of it on the altar, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor to Yahweh (Lev. 2:1–3).
That which is left of the meal offering shall be Aaron's and his sons'. It is a most holy thing of the offerings of Yahweh made by fire. "'When you offer an offering of a meal offering baked in the oven, it shall be unleavened cakes of fine flour mixed with oil, or unleavened wafers anointed with oil. If your offering is a meal offering of the baking pan, it shall be of unleavened fine flour, mixed with oil. You shall cut it in pieces, and pour oil on it. It is a meal offering. If your offering is a meal offering of the frying pan, it shall be made of fine flour with oil. You shall bring the meal offering that is made of these things to Yahweh: and it shall be presented to the priest, and he shall bring it to the altar. The priest shall take from the meal offering its memorial, and shall burn it on the altar, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor to Yahweh. That which is left of the meal offering shall be Aaron's and his sons'. It is a thing most holy of the offerings of Yahweh made by fire (Lev. 2:4–10).
No meal offering, which you shall offer to Yahweh, shall be made with yeast; for you shall burn no yeast, nor any honey, as an offering made by fire to Yahweh. As an offering of firstfruits you shall offer them to Yahweh: but they shall not come up for a sweet savor on the altar. Every offering of your meal offering you shall season with salt; neither shall you allow the salt of the covenant of your God to be lacking from your meal offering. With all your offerings you shall offer salt (Lev. 2:11–13).
If you offer a meal offering of first fruits to Yahweh, you shall offer for the meal offering of your first fruits grain in the ear parched with fire, bruised grain of the fresh ear. You shall put oil on it, and lay frankincense on it: it is a meal offering. The priest shall burn as its memorial, part of its bruised grain, and part of its oil, along with all its frankincense: it is an offering made by fire to Yahweh (Lev. 2:14–16).
What was Done
Fine flour with oil and frankincense
Offering by fire which results in smoke
The even flour speaks of the evenness and balance of Christ’s character; the oil speaks of the Holy Spirit and the frankincense means that He is acceptable to God (sweet smelling)
Baked grain offering
Made without leaven, with oil throughout and on top
Broken into bits with more oil poured upon it; offered by fire resulting in smoke
This speaks of Christ’s body, which was broken for us. No leaven means that there is no mixture of false doctrine; oil means that He was empowered by God the Holy Spirit.
Lev. 2:11, 13
additional commands for grain offerings
It cannot be made with honey or leaven; must be made with salt
The lack of leaven means that it has not been corrupted; the lack of honey means that this was not sweet to Jesus Christ. His pain and suffering was much greater than any man has known before.
The directions seem a little contradictory*; the first fruits were not to ascend as a soothing aroma
This applies to all firstfruits offerings, which may or may not be those in vv. 1–10. The firstfruits are brought to the Lord but not offered by fire. This appears to be an offering which is utilized by the priests, just as we give a portion of our money to a church.
A grain offering from the early ripened fruits; fresh stalks of grain
Oil is poured upon it as well as incense
Offered by first to Jehovah; smoke ascends from this offering
This speaks of Christ, the firstfruits of the resurrection; after dying for our sins, God the Father resurrects Him from the dead, giving approval to His work.
These are bloodless offerings. It is not clear to me whether or not they could be offered apart from sacrificial offerings. In Num. 28:3–6, they are offered with animal sacrifices; however, that does not mean that they would always be offered that way. Perhaps, God gave people the choice? When someone offered a grain offering alone, it was essentially saying “Thanks, God, for taking care of me as an Israelite.” Maybe it was just a ritual (obviously, this would be the case with any offering). Perhaps the person who offered the sacrificial animal knew, on some level, that this sacrifice was a necessary part of his offering. On the other hand, Num. 28:12–13 seem to give us a clear indication when we would use this or that grain offering.
The person offering the grain offering could not eat of it (the priests could). However, the priests could not eat of their own grain offerings (Lev. 6:22–23).
* The word for firstfruits in v. 12 is entirely different from the word for firstfruits in v. 14. In v. 14, in the NASB, they are called early ripened things instead of firstfruits. We may not have a good handle upon how vv. 12 and 14 are differentiated, but we do know that they are different.
Scofield’s summary: The meal-offering. The fine flour speaks of the evenness and balance of the character of Christ; of that perfection in which no quality was in excess, none lacking; the fire, of His testing by suffering, even unto death; frankincense; the fragrance of His life Godward (see Ex. 30:34). The absence of leaven: His character as "the Truth" (see Ex. 12:8). The absence of honey: His was not that mere natural sweetness which may exist quite apart from grace. The oil mingled: is Christ as born of the Spirit (Matt. 1:18-23). The oil upon: is Christ as baptized with the Spirit (John 1:32 6:27). The oven: the unseen sufferings of Christ; His inner agonies; (Heb. 2:18 Matt. 27:45-46). The pan: His more evident sufferings (for example, Matt. 27:27-31). The salt: this is the pungency of the truth of God—that which arrests the action of leaven.
Introduction: Lev. 3
Outline of Chapter 3:
Vv. 1–5 The instructions concerning a peace offering from the herd
Vv. 6–11 The instructions for offering a lamb from the flock
Vv. 12–17 The instructions for offering a goat from the flock
Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines:
v. 17 What About the Blood?
The Instructions Concerning a Peace Offering from the Herd
"And if a sacrifice of peace offerings: if he offers his offering from the herd, whether male or female, he will approach with it before Yahweh without blemish. [Lev. 3:1]
We have a new word for offerings here: shelem (ם∵ל ∵ש) [pronounced SHEH-lem]; and, if you know no other word of Hebrew, you likely know shâlôwm (םל ָש) [pronounced shaw-LOHM], a word for peace and prosperity. Other than the vowel points and wâw cholem,, which acts like a vowel, we have the same word, which often means that the meanings are closely related. Since we find this word used nowhere else except with regards to specific offerings, it is reasonable to translate shelem as peace-offering. However, this word is more encompassing than simple peace with God. It refers to prosperity, as in prosperity from God; to an alliance, as in an alliance with God; and fellowship, because through the blood fo our Lord, we have fellowship with God. Peace is our reconciliation with God (Col. 1:20). Future from this time, peace proclaimed by our Lord would include peace between Israel and the church, two entities used mightily by God during two different time periods; and this peace includes peace with God (Eph. 2:11–18). Because this particular sacrifice speaks of fellowship, Aaron's sons, the priests, would participate in the eating of a portion of the sacrifice (Lev. 7:31–34), as eating and drinking is a portrayal of fellowship (Luke 22:30). Strong’s #8002 BDB #1023.
Gower's The New Manners and Customs of the Bible succinctly explains: The Selamim, or peace offering, was a fellowship meal in which the worshiper and his friends sat down to a meal with God in peace. After confession and sacrifice, God's portion of the meal—the fat—was burned upon the altar. The remainder was eaten by the worshiper, his family, and friends (Lev. 3; 7:11–21, 28, 34). This offering could be used to express thanks, to accompany a vow, or to be a freewill offering.
Peace offering can imply all of that; unfortunately, it rarely does to the average reader. In fact, too often, all the carnal man thinks of is inner peace when the peace offering is mentioned. This is typical of man-centered thinking; what will this do for me in relationship to me? In some cases, an inner peace will result from salvation and its perpetuation is only possible through rebound and doctrine.
We are, because of our old sin nature, at enmity with God; we are at war with God. Because of our old sin nature, our actual sins and Adam's original sin, God is at war with us. His perfect righteousness demands justice, which is a demand for our condemnation. We need peace between ourselves and God. This peace offering illustrates our Lord's death for our peace with God. "And a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us...and His name will be called...Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6). Therefore, having been justified by faith, let us have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:1).
The peace offering is the offering where the offerer could eat a portion of the sacrifice. This eating is what implies fellowship with God (Lev. 7:15?). During the three annual feast events, or festivals, thousands of animals were sacrificed in peace offerings and other offerings (Ex. 23:14–17). Solomon himself offered 20,000 cattle and 120,000 sheep during one 14-day period (1Kings 8:63–65). Further regulations concerning the peace-offerings can be found in Lev. 7:11–21, 28–34.
"And he will lay his hand upon the head of his offering and kill it at the door of the tent of meeting and Aaron's sons, the priests, will throw the blood against the altar round about. [Lev. 3:2]
For one who does not understand the reasons why this is all done, this would appear to be a very gruesome religion. But we know that the hand upon the head transfers the sin from the owner to the animal; that Jesus Christ was killed where God came to meet man, on earth, in Israel, at the door of the tent of meeting, if you will. The blood signifies the spiritual death of our Lord on the cross on our behalf. It is hard to relate to all of this in the Old Testament unless you see its fulfillment in the New Testament.
"And he will approach from the sacrifice of the peace offerings—an offering by fire to Yahweh; the fat covering the entrails and all the fat that is on the entrails. [Lev. 3:3]
It is this animal sacrifice which is the approach of the offerer to God. I do not fully comprehend the fat and the entrails thing, however.
"And the two kidneys with the fat that is on them at the loins and the appendage of [or, the fatty mass next to] the liver with the kidneys he will remove it. [Lev. 3:4]
The kidneys are often related to human emotion (Job 19:27 Psalm 7:9 73:21 Prov. 23:16); fat to prosperity (Gen. 45:18 Num. 18:12); I am going to pass over this word for loins (also translated flanks) temporarily, as it can vary a great deal as to its meaning and usage (compare this passage to Job 31:24 Psalm 49:13 78:7 Prov. 3:26 Eccles. 7:25; ten to one that you cannot even figure out which words in the English represent this word in this passage). The word translated appendage, midriff, caul is found only in relationship to these offerings. Liver is also associated with emotions (Lam. 2:11), although not as closely as kidneys are. The word for liver is the same as the adjective for heavy, difficult, oppressive. The emotions fo the animal are laid bare before all when they are offered to God. We are told that our Lord continually, in the thick darkness, screamed "My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?" (Psalm 22:1 Matt. 27:46)
"Aaron's sons will burn on the altar against the burnt offering [or, ascending offering] which is upon the wood on the fire, a fire-offering, a tranquilizing scent to Yahweh. [Lev. 3:5]
The fire is judgement, and the tranquilizing scent is God being appeased. I realize that this is repetitious, but that was the intention of the continual sacrifices—they were repetitious in order to teach the gospel. Recall that these ascending offerings were offered every morning and evening by the sons of Aaron (Ex. 29:38–42); the fellowship offerings were offered with them on the brazen altar (Ex. 24:5).
The Instructions for Offering a Lamb from the Flock
"And if his offering from the flock, a sacrifice of a peace-offering to Yahweh, a male or female, he will approach with it without defect. [Lev. 3:6]
We have the continual theme of the animal being without blemish, or defect; as our Lord was perfect. As Pilate said, "I have no found no guilt in him [requiring] death." (Luke 23:22b)
"If he approaches with a lamb for his offering, then he will approach with it before Yahweh. [Lev. 3:7]
We have almost a play on words in this verse. The Hebrew for approach, come near is used twice and the word for offering is the noun cognate of that verb.
"And having lain his hand upon the head of his offering, he will kill it before the tent of meeting and Aaron's sons will throw its blood against the altar round about. [Lev. 3:8]
The hand on the head—transference of sin; the sprinkling of the blood—the cleansing of our sins through Christ's death for us on the cross.
"Then he will approach from the sacrifice of the peace offering, a fire-offering to Yahweh; its fat, the entire fat tail close by the backbone, taking it away and the fat that covers the entrails and all the fat that is on the entrails. [Lev. 3:9]
Just as the animal is completely exposed before man, our souls are ocmpletely exposed before God. We are an open book entirely before Him and our lives are entirely exposed to the angels and demons, who daily observe us. According the the NIV Study Bible, there is a breed of sheep, still found in the Mideast, whose tail has a great deal of fat. This fat tail was often fried and eaten .
"And the two kidneys with the fat that is on them at the loins and the appendage of the liver with the kidneys, he will remove. [Lev. 3:10]
These things are being removed from the animal by the offerer.
"And the priest will burn it on the altar as food, a fire-offering to Yahweh. [Lev. 3:11]
I believe what is being burned upon the altar is the remains of the beast, after these things have been removed. Maybe the judgement for our sin is done apart from prosperity, apart from emotion (?).
The word translated food here is lechem (ם ∵ח ∵ל) [pronounced LEH-khem] actually means bread literally. However, it often has the wider application of being translated food. Strong’s #3899 BDB #536. This verse is a prime example.
In other cultures, sacrifices offered up were to be eaten by the gods (Ezek. 16:20); Yahweh does not eat these sacrifices (Psalm 50:7–13). The only way in which Yahweh participates in the eating of these sacrifices is symbolically, as a representation fellowship, or peace, between the offerer, the perfect priest who offers the sacrifice and Yehowah (Lev. 21:21 22:25). It is not until God takes upon Himself the body of a man that we may eat and drink with Him. And when the hour had come, He reclined [to eat]; and the Apostles with Him. And He said to them, "I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer, for I say to you, I will never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God." And having taken a cup, when He had given thanks, He said, "Take this and share it among yourselves, for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes." And, having taken bread, when He had given thanks, He broke [it] and gave [it] to them, saying, "This is My body which is given on behalf of you; do this in remembrance of Me." And in the same way, the cup, after they had eaten, saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant by means of My blood." (Luke 22:14–20).
The Instructions for Offering a Goat from the Flock
"If his offering is a goat, then he will approach with it before Yahweh. [Lev. 3:12]
This is the scapegoat, who takes the sin upon itself.
"And he will lay his hand upon its head and kill it before the tent of meeting and the sons of Aaron will throw it blood against the altar, round about. [Lev. 3:13]
The sins are transferred to the animal and the blood atonement is performed.
"Then he will approach from it as his offering, a fire-offering to Yahweh; the fat covering the entrails and all the fat that is on the entrails; [Lev. 3:14]
The animal's body is laid bare as our souls are laid bare.
"And the two kidneys with the fat that is on them at the loins, and the appendage of the liver with the kidneys, he will remove it. [Lev. 3:15]
It seems to refer to the goat. The sacrifice will be just the opposite from the offering of the lamb.
"And the priest will burn them [lit., cause them to smoke] on the altar as food offered by fire—all the fat [is] for a tranquilizing scent to Yahweh. [Lev. 3:16]
It appears here that the goat is removed from the innards and the innards are burned upon the altar whereas with the lamb, the innards were removed and the lamb was burned upon the altar.
"[This is] a perpetual statue throughout your generations in all of your dwelling places: neither fat nor blood will you eat." [Lev. 3:17]
The health benefits are obvious; a lot of diseases are avoided by not partaking in either of these things, and God will preserve the Jews partially by their diet. On the spiritual level, we should take this in points:
There are a lot of bloody sacrifices in the Old Testament. This leads us to ask...
1. The life of the animal is in the blood (Gen. 9:4 Lev. 17:11).
2. The blood represents the spiritual death of our Lord (Matt. 26:28 Mark 14:24).*
3. When an animal is sacrificed and his blood poured out on the altar, this represents the death of our Lord when His life is sacrificed and His human spirit—His life—is judged by God and suffers hell on our behalf. This is an analogous situation (Mark 14:22–24 John 6:51 Heb. 9:22).
4. We do not take part in the spiritual death of our Lord in any way. We do not, with the pain and suffering that we have in our own lives, become a part of this spiritual death and help God in any way. All of the work done on our behalf on the cross is done 100% by our Lord Jesus Christ; we can only appropriate this on our behalf through believing in Him (Eph. 2:8–9).
5. What our Lord did for us upon the cross was substitutionary; He suffered spiritual death, the equivalent of an eternity of hell for every single one of us (Matt. 26:28 Heb. 9:12 9:22).
6. Therefore, we do not drink the blood or eat of the flesh any more than we help Jesus Christ die for our sins. Our participation in this regard is a matter of faith in Him and not a matter of assistance (John 6:35 Titus 3:5).
* It should be obvious in these two passages that our Lord did not give His disciples His literal blood; they drank unleavened wine (grape juice) with Him; it represented His blood, which is the analogy between His death on the cross and the death of the animals on the altar.
Outline of Chapter 4:
Vv. 1–2 A summary of chapter 4
Vv. 3–12 The offering of a priest who has unknowingly committed a sin
Vv. 13–21 The offering on behalf of the congregation of Israel which has unknowingly sinned
Vv. 22–26 The offering of a man of prominence who has sinned unknowingly
Vv. 27–35 The offering of a common man who has sinned unknowingly
Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines:
Introduction: Lev. 4 brings up the issue of unknown sins. The more doctrine that you know, the more you are cognizant of a variety of sins which many believers are unaware. For instance, some believers might become a conscientious objector or admire someone who is a conscientious objector, because they do not realize that is a sin. Others may be involved in sex outside of marriage (presumably because they are in love) or believe that a homosexual union is as valid before God as a heterosexual marriage, and this is due to their lack of knowledge. Not only does God tell us that "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge", but ignorance of sin is no excuse. We cannot become Christians and then ignore God's Word and do whatever we want; this will place us under serious discipline. It does not matter one whit whether we commit these sins in ignorance or with full knowledge of what it is that we are doing. These sins were paid for by our Lord on the cross and this must be symbolized by the death of a sacrifice.
A major difference between this chapter and the previous three is that the sacrifices offered in the other chapters were voluntary. They represented fellowship with our Lord Jesus Christ after salvation, which is an option to all believers (as opposed to a life of discipline). However, the sacrifices herein contained are mandatory offerings.
A Summary of Chapter 4
And Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, [Lev. 4:1]
Again, God is speaking directly to Moses. Had I been breaking up the chapters, I probably would have placed chapters 1–3 together as one chapter and, throughout this book, allowed Yahweh speaking to Moses to determine the chapter divisions.
"Say to the people of Israel, saying, if any one unknowingly deviates [or, sins] from any of the commandments of Yahweh and does any one of them which should not be done; [Lev. 4:2]
Two words should be examined here. Yahweh is delivering to Israel the Law where everything that they need to know about transgressing against God can be found. Because they have a portion of the Law and will soon have the Law in its entirety, we can now have the word shegâgâh (ה ָג ָג ׃ש) [pronounced sh'gaw-GAWH], found in this passage for the first time in God's Word. This is a noun which modifies either the word sin (Lev. 5:15 Num. 15:27) or a particular sin (Num. 35:11, 15). Unknowingly is a good translation, but not exactly fit several passages, such as Num. 35:11, 15 Joshua 20:3, 9. When we speak of unintentional manslaughter (as the passages named do), a good translation is unwittingly, unintentionally. However, we should stick with unknowingly when dealing with committing sins when we do not realize that they are sins. You may wonder why I have taken this stance when my preference is to go with a consistent and accurate translation whenever possible. This is because when it comes to committing a sin, we intend to commit that sin, whether we recognize that it is a sin or not. Our volition is involved. Some force of evil does not cause us to sin against our own volition. What is unintentional, at times, are the results of the sin. Some people, because of pre-marital sex, become involved in an horrible abusive marriage where both the husband and the wife are unhappy and the children are caused daily grief do to their parent's behavior. At the time of committing sex outside of marriage, their intention was some self-satisfaction, either sexual or emotional; or it was a pay back or a reward. In any case, the results were unintentional, although the sin which precipitated the results was very intentional (even if the people involved did not realize that pre-marital sex is wrong in all instances). The point that I am trying to make in the translation of this word is that volition should not be removed from the picture in all instances by using the word unintentional except with regards to some of the results being unintentional.
The second word worth examining is châtâ (א ָט ָח) [pronounced khaw-TAW], the word for sin, which we have seen very little of until now. This word only occurs five times in Genesis (Gen. 20:9 39:9 40:1 43:9 44:32), which covers a period of time of over 2000 years; and only three times in Exodus prior to Ex. 32 (Ex. 5:16 9:27 10:16). After the Law, we find this word much more often—three times in Ex. 32 to describe the transgression of the Jews against God in the constructing of the golden calf (vv. 30–33), over fifteen times in Leviticus (a shorter book than Exodus or Genesis) and several times thereafter. It is not that there were not some laws of God which were understood and which could be transgressed. Job understood that there were certain laws of God, as did his friends, although they did not always agree on what these laws were or who had transgressed them. The most popular translation of this word is sin, however transgress, miss, miss the mark, err are also reasonable translations. However, it would be nice to update this word to a modern vocabulary, which will be difficult to do in this era of nonjudgmental everyone needs self-esteem mind set. When an object is given in context (such as, this particular verse), deviate, stray from, go astray from or transgress might be acceptable translations. When it comes to committing an act of sin, commit a transgression is wordy, but reasonable. Two other wordy, but good translations would be subvert [God's Law], transgress [the Law].
This verse deals with people who are believers, who are ignorant of a portion of God's Word, and have transgressed against God. They have unknowingly (but not unintentionally) deviated from the commandments of God. Examples of these transgressions are given in Lev. 5:15–18 22:14.
On the other end of the spectrum we have those who stand in defiance of God. But the person who acts defiantly, whether he is native or an alien, that one is blaspheming the Yahweh; and that person will be cut off from among his people, because he has despised the Word of Yahweh and has broken His commandment, that person will be completely cut off; his iniquity on him (Num. 5:30–31). This is an act which is greater than knowingly sinning; this is a person who stands up against God and sins to spite God's commandments.
The Offering of a Priest Who Has Unknowingly Committed a Sin
"If it is the anointed priest who transgresses [against God] [or, sins], thus bringing guilt upon the people, then he will offer for the sins which he has committed, a young bull, without defect to Yahweh with regards to sin. [Lev. 4:3]
The word sin occurs twice in this verse; the second occurrence is generally translated for a sin offering. However, with the prefixed lâmed preposition, I've given a very literal translation. Throughout the Old Testament, the word for sin offering and for sin are the same word. The offering for sin, identifying the sacrifice completely with the sin, is a type of Jesus Christ, being identified completely with our sins, as He was made sin for us (I Cor. 5:21). The death of the sacrifice is the death of our Lord and the tranquilizing scent is the acceptance by God the Father for His sacrifice on our behalf (Psalm 22 Isa. 53 Matt. 26:28). There are two slants on this: (1) the word for sin should only be translated sin and not sin offering (which is what I will attempt to do); or (2) that it can be translated either way, allowing context to determine. I believe that the former is what was intended originally, but that the passage of time allowed this word to take on the additional meaning of sin offering. Taking either position should not do irreparable damage to the meaning of any passage in Leviticus.
Notice the first person mentioned who could commit a sin of ignorance, a priest—the high priest in fact—one who is knowledgeable in the Law. The priest, by his sin, bring guilt upon all the people. Why? He represents the people before God. It is because of the priest that we are acceptable before God. Jesus Christ had to offer Himself up as undefiled, unblemished, perfect in His humanity, otherwise, His atonement for our sin would have been worthless. Therefore, a priest must be in fellowship before God to perform his priestly functions. The analogy goes as far as the priest represents man before God and the priest must be perfect. The breakdown of this analogy is alluded to by the author of Hebrews, who wrote: For it was proper that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins, and then for the [sins] of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, [appoints] a Son, made perfect forever (Heb. 7:26–28). This sin of the priest recognizes that the priest under the Law of Israel was only a man who not only was capable of sin, but did in fact transgress against the Law of God. In fact, there were instances where priests, even the high priests, were unbelievers (this is easily illustrated in the day that our Lord walked this earth).
For those who think they can attain, in this life, sinless perfection, take note: the person with the highest spiritual authority in the land, with the greatest spiritual responsibility by office, was only a man who sinned. For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins; he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself is also beset with weakness; and because of it, he is obligated to offer [sacrifices] for sins, as for the people, so also for himself (Heb. 5:1).
Next we must deal with the sin of the high priest bringing sin upon all men. The high priest is a man who represents all man before God. The Bible concentrates on the analogy of the high priest to the second Adam, Jesus Christ. However, the high priest is also similar to the first Adam, inasmuch as he does represent the nation Israel before God, just as Adam represented all of mankind to God. Adam as the federal head of the human race sinned knowingly against God, thus infecting his entire being with rebellion against God, and placing all of us under guilt. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ will all be made alive (I Cor. 15:22). For if by the transgression of the one, the many dies, much more did the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many...So then, as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness, there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man's disobedience the man were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One, the many will be made righteous (Rom. 5:15b, 18–19).
"And he will bring the bull to the door of the tent of meeting before Yahweh and lay his hand on the head of the bull and kill the bull before Yahweh. [Lev. 4:4]
The priest was forgiven in the same way as anyone else. Even though the priest represented man before God and was a type of Jesus Christ, he was still a man who sinned and he still required the forgiveness of God, based upon the death of the One he represented.
As the NIV study Bible puts it, all three principles of atonement are found in v. 4: (1) substitution of the bull for the offerer; (2) identification of the sins of the offerer with the sacrifice; and, (3) the death of the animal brought before God on behalf of the offerer.
"And the anointed priest will take some of the blood of the bull and bring it to the tent of meeting; [Lev. 4:5]
As the Apostle John tells us, The blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all sin (I John 1:7b). Or as the writer of Hebrews wrote, And according to the Law, almost all things are cleansed with blood; and without shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness (Heb. 9:22). And Paul writes In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace (Eph. 1:7).
"And the priest will dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle out from the blood seven times before Yahweh in front of the veil of the sanctuary. [Lev. 4:6]
This is the index finger on the right hand of the priest (Lev. 14:16). Seven times speaks of perfection; the blood of our Lord is alluded to twice by the apostle Peter: [the] chosen, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, because of obedience to Jesus Christ; and be sprinkled with His blood. May grace and peace be yours in fullest measure (I Peter 1:1b–2). And again, Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from you empty manner of life inherited from your forefathers, but with the precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless; [the] blood of Christ (I Peter 1:18–19).
"And the priest will put some of the blood on the protrusions of the altar of fragrant incense before Yahweh which is in the tent of meeting; and the rest of the blood of the bull he will pour out at the base of the altar of burnt offering, which is at the door of the tent of meeting. [Lev. 4:7]
The blood of the sacrifice is put everywhere around there to cleanse the priest of his sin, albeit an unknown sin. When the blood was sprinkled, it was sprinkled on the protrusions of the altar of incense and around the base of the brazen altar; however, on the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16), the blood was sprinkled upon the mercy seat, the covering of the ark of the covenant. The protrusions of the altar were related to atonement made by Aaron or his sons (Ex. 30:10).
"And all the fat of the bull of the sin—he will take from it the fat that covers the entrails and all the fat that is on the entrails. [Lev. 4:8]
The fat here is the choicest portion of the bull. Most Bibles render the word chatâth (תא ָ ַח) [pronounced khat-TAHTH] as sin offering; but it is the simple word for sin; the sin and the offering for sin are so closely related that this word is often rendered sin offering.
"And the two kidneys and the fat that is on them at the loins and the appendage of the liver with the kidneys, which he will take away. [Lev. 4:9]
Much of the insides of the animal are removed.
"Just as these are taken from the ox of the sacrifice of the peace-offering; and the priest will burn them upon the altar of burnt offering. [Lev. 4:10]
The insides of the animal are burned upon the brazen altar. Recall that the peace offering is one of peace with God, prosperity, and fellowship.
"But the skin of the bull and all its flesh with the head, its legs, its entrails and its dung; [Lev. 4:11]
The other portions of the bull will have a different end. For this offering, the insides are burned upon the brazen altar and the bulk of the beast is burned outside the camp of Israel. This animal is not eaten as a part of the sacrifice.
"And he will carry forth the whole bull outside the camp in a [ceremonially] clean place where the ashes are poured out and he will burn it on wood on the fire and it will be burned where the ashes are poured out. [Lev. 4:12]
Because a thick darkness hung over Golgotha when our Lord died for our sins, no one ever saw Him actually bear our sins—even those who were there at the time; even so, in this way, the public does not see part of the sacrifice being burned. The writer of Hebrews draws an additional analogy: With reference to the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest for sin, they are burned outside the camp. Therefore, Jesus, also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach (Heb. 13:11–13). We find other instances of the sacrifice being slain outside the camp in Ex. 29:14 Lev. 9:11 16:26–28 and Num. 19:3.
The interest in cleanliness for a place outside the camp was not a matter of physical cleanliness (Mark 7:1–4). Cleanliness has a two-fold emphasis: upon the purity of our Lord Who gave Himself for us (I Cor. 5:21 I Peter 2:22) and upon our cleanliness as a result of salvation (Lev. 11:45 20:7). Throughout the Old Testament, there is an emphasis upon things which are clean as versus things which are unclean. In life, there are issue which are black and white and there are issues which allow for graduations of gray. When it comes to salvation, you are either saved or unsaved; there is no in-between. This is the contrast between clean and unclean (which we will study more of in Lev. 11–15). However, when it comes to spiritual growth, we have people who behave like unbelievers (I Cor. 3:3) to people who are called friend of God (James 2:23) and all points in between.
Now, what we do have in these previous verse is also an analogy. We have the anointed priests with their personal sin or sins, bringing guilt upon the whole people, followed by the appropriate sacrifice. Adam, by his personal sin, brought guilt upon all mankind. Jesus, the second Adam, by His blood sacrifice, took it away. It is difficult to put together a perfect analogy, as the human High Priest would undoubtedly sin, and actual provision should be made for that. However, the High Priests are simply men, and men sin. Each High Priest represents the Messiah to come. So the sin of the High Priest (as men) brings guilt upon all of Israel; the sacrifice they offer and their office as High Priest, represents Jesus, and the sacrifice takes away this sin.
The Offering on Behalf of the Congregation of Israel Which Has Unknowingly Sinned
"And if the all of the congregation of Israel commits a sin unknowingly and the thing is hidden from the eyes of the assembly and they do any one of the things which Yahweh has commanded which are not to be done and are guilty; [Lev. 4:13]
This is the protasis to a conditional statement. The first verb sounds like a verb, a noun and a modifier (commits a sin unknowingly); however, it is the single word shâgâh (ה ָג ָש) [pronounced shaw-GAWH] and it is the verb cognate for shegâgâh. It is translated to err, to go astray; the context of this verse (see Lev. 4:14), it implies that this is an unknown sin; hence the translation.
"When the sin becomes known which they have committed against it [the Law], the assembly will offer a young bull with regards to sin and bring it before the tent of meeting. [Lev. 4:14]
This tells us that the sin in question is an unknown sin and helps to pin down the meaning of shâgâh for us (and its adjective cognate shegâgâh). Becomes known is the 3rd person feminine singular, Niphal perfect of yâda‛ (ח ַד ָי) [pronounced yaw-DAH], and this is the common word for know, used a thousand times in the Old Testament.
"And the elders of the congregation will lay their hands upon the head of the bull before Yahweh and he will kill the bull before Yahweh. [Lev. 4:15]
This is a sin committed by most or all of Israel. An example of this from the past was their involvement with the golden calf idol. In the future it will be cowardice in war and failure to destroy the entirety of an enemy when so instructed. The elders of the congregation represent the entire congregation before God, just as rulers will have to give an account before God for the rulership which1 was entrusted by God to them.
"Then the priest—the anointed—will come out from the blood of the bull to the tent of meeting. [Lev. 4:16]
Because the life of the animal is in the blood, the blood of the animal sacrifice is continually emphasized in every sacrifice of a live animal.
"And the priest will dip his finger out from the blood and sprinkle [it] seven times before Yahweh in front of the veil. [Lev. 4:17]
My attempt here is to improve the accuracy of the translation, which is why some of the verbs and preposiitons are different from what you have in your Bible.
"And he shall put out from the blood on the protrusions of the altar which is before Yahweh in the tent of meeting and the rest of the blood he will pour out at the base of the altar of burnt offering which is at the door of the tent of meeting. [Lev. 4:18]
It is about time that we examined the Doctrine of Horns (or Protrusions)—not finished yet!! They symbolize the power and the mercy of the one in power.
"And he will take all its fat from it and burn [it] upon the altar. [Lev. 4:19]
And since this term occurs so many times, we need to look at the Doctrine of Fat—not finished yet!!
"Thus he will do with the bull as he did with the bull of the sin [offering]; so the priest will do with this and he will make atonement for them and they will be forgiven. [Lev. 4:20]
Literally, we have the bull of the sin here and it is possible that we can continue to translate chatâ’ch as sin, transgression, offense rather than as sin offering.
"And he will bring out the bull to the outside of the camp and burn it as he burned the first bull—it [is] the sin of the assembly. [Lev. 4:21]
With a corrected translation, the meaning becomes more clear. The sin is closely identified with the bull and the bull is removed from the camp and judged, just as Jesus Christ hung between heaven and hell, away from the camp of Israel, and died for our sins. Also, God has removed our sin from us. The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and he said, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29). And you know that He was revealed in order to take away sins and in Him there is no sin (I John 3:5). "Your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven." (Isa. 6:7b). As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us (Psalm 103:12).
Again, we have this careful mixture of actuality and analogy is continued. If the entire congregation of Israel commits sin (which, obviously, they have to as individuals, being human), then one anointed priest makes an offering for all of Israel. As you have read, we do not have a plurality of priests in this function. One priest offers the sacrifice and that priest goes through all the rituals to atone for the sin on behalf of the entire congregation. Now, although it is possible for all of Israel to commit a sin (such as the demanding that Saul be their king), this is a pretty rare situation. Still, a ceremony which covers this sin is put together for us, because what it represents is much more important than the actual ceremony itself.
The Offering of a Man of Prominence Who Has Sinned Unknowingly
"When a ruler sins, unknowingly doing any one of all of the commands of Yahweh, his God which [thing] was not to be done and he is guilty; [Lev. 4:22]
This reminds me of the story of David and Bathsheba. David takes this beautiful woman—his right woman, in fact—from a faithful and loyal soldier and then has the soldier killed in battle; he suffers a great deal of discipline. However, he is so taken by Bathsheba that he never thinks to confess his sin to God. Finally, Nathan the prophet speaks to him and relays to him a parable, a story of a poor man who had but one ewe lamb, which he bought and took care of; a lamb which grew up with him and his children, eating from the table scraps. Then a rich man, with a great many flocks and herds comes along and takes the lamb away from the poor man. As David's anger burns against the rich man, Nathan tells him, "You are the man!" David was so far gone in reversionism, that he lost his spiritual compass (2Sam. 11–12). For those of you who are married and you think that you have spotted your right woman on the arm of someone else, keep in mind that David's sin and rebuke take up two chapters; his discipline takes up the next five or six chapters.
"When his sin, which he has committed, is made known to him, he will bring as his offering a male goat, a kid, without blemish. [Lev. 4:23]
The payment for sin is basically the same for men of all walks of life, whether priests, the entire congregation or a man of great prominence. The reason something like this is mentioned is that the sins of the priests and a man of great prominence are going to be more noticeable than the sins of anyone else. For those who recall the transgressions of Jimmy Swaggart; for most people, what he did was a sin, but not all that serious a transgression; however, given his position and notoriety, it became, for a few weeks, a media circus. He was forgiven by God the way anyone else is forgiven; the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all swin and wrongdoing.
"And he will lay his hand upon the head of the goat and kill it in the place where they kill the burn offering before Yahweh—it [is] sin. [Lev. 4:24]
The goat took on the sin of the prominent official; it became his sin and received the punishment deserved by teh official, just as He made Him, who knew no sin, sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (II Cor. 5:21).
"Then the priest will take some of the blood of the sin offering with his finger and put it on the protrusions of the altar of burnt offering and the [remainder of its] blood he will pour out at the base of the altar of burnt offering. [Lev. 4:25]
Again, the blood of our Lord cleanses us from all sin. This particular offering, and the ones that follow until Lev. 5:13, are eaten in part by the priests (Lev. 6:19–20). The reason that the sacrifice on behalf of the high priest was not eaten was that was the point at which the analogy broke down. Our Lord, our High Priest, is perfect and required no sacrifice for Himself; however the human high priest does. When we deal with many of the sacrifices which deal with salvation, they are eaten just as eating, in the New Testament, often illustrates faith in Jesus Christ (John 6:31–58). Therefore, the eating takes place when the type is apt.
The Offering of a Common Man Who Has Sinned Unknowingly
"And he will burn all of its fat on the altar like the fat of the sacrifice of peace-offerings. So shall the priest make atonement for him for his sin and he will be forgiven. [Lev. 4:26]
All of this is simply the way that men of those days observed God's grace by laying one man's sin upon an innocent animal and then the innocent animal is slain.
"And if any soul of the people of the land sins unknowingly in doing it—any one of the commandments of Yahweh which should not be done, and is guilty; [Lev. 4:27]
Notice we have a repeat of the same scenario given us three times before.
"When his sin, which he has committed, is made known to him, he will bring for his offering a female goat without blemish, a kid, for his sin which he has committed. [Lev. 4:28]
Economics never prevented anyone from participating in the worship of Yahweh. The high priest and the entire congregation sacrificed a bull for their sins Lev. 4:3, 14). A ruler, or civic leader, brought that which was a bit less expensive, a male goat; and the average person brought a female goat. However, the common person, if he was poor, could have brought instead, a dove or a pigeon (Lev. 5:7–8 12:6, 8); or, if he were really poor, he could bring the equivalent of two quarts of flour (Lev. 5:11).
"And he will lay his hand on the head of the sin and kill the sin at the place of burnt offering. [Lev. 4:29]
The animal is closely identified with sin and most translations render sin here in offering both times.
"And the priest will take some of its blood with his finger and put it on the protrusions of the altar of burnt offering and [the rest of] its blood he will pour out at the base of the altar. [Lev. 4:30]
Whether rich or poor, a man of prominence or a man known by few, the payment for sin was the same—our Lord's death upon the cross.
"And all its fat he will remove as the fat is removed from the peace offerings; and the priest will burn it upon the altar for a tranquilizing scent ot Yahweh; and the priest will [thus] made atonement [covering] for him and he will be forgiven. [Lev. 4:31]
Every time a priest slays an animal or burn portions of the animal or takes the animal outside the camp for burning, each of these acts speaks of a different aspect of salvation and our Lord's work upon the cross. It was in this way that salvation was taught to unregenerate man. The human spirit of the unregenerate man was not alive; so God the Holy Spirit acted as the human spirit for many of those observing sacrifice after sacrifice and made these things real to them; some believed in Yahweh and some became terrific legalists, attempted not only to do the Law, but to supplement it with their own works and ideas.
"If he brings a lamb as his offering for sin, he will bring [it] a female without blemish. [Lev. 4:32]
Again, the common person brings a female. I am confused here; I thought a lamb was a female goat; I guess it must be a difference of age. A common man is given an option here as he may not have access specifically to a goat, so he is allowed to instead bring a lamb.
"And he will lay his hand upon the head of the sin and kill it with regards to sin at the place where they kill the burnt offering. [Lev. 4:33]
The ritual is basically the same, whether a female goat or a female lamb.
"Then the priest will take some of the blood of the sin with his finger and put it on the protrusions of the altar of burnt offering and the whole of the blood he will pour out at the base of the altar. [Lev. 4:34]
A small portion is used to cover the protrusions of the altar but the bulk of the blood (referred to as the whole of the blood; here the whole refers to the greater part) is poured out at the base of the altar.
"And he will remove all its fat, the fat of the lamb, from the sacrifice of peace offerings, and the priests will burn it on the altar upon the fire-offerings to Yahweh, and the priest will [in this way] make atonement for him for the sin of his which he has committed and he will be forgiven. [Lev. 4:35]
This is one of the many offerings which was laid next to the morning and evening burnt offering and burned. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Sprit, offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Heb. 9:13–14)
In addition to the offerings herein enumerated, the high priest also made an offering to Yahweh once a year for the unknown sins of Israel as well as for his own unknown sins (these are the unknown sins which were not later known). The priest are continually entering the outer tabernacle, performing the divine worship; but into the second only the high priest enters, once a year, not without blood, which he offers for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance (Heb. 9:6b–7). The was known as the Day of Atonement.
Further regulations concerning sins committed unknowingly are found in Num. 15:22–28.
Outline of Chapter 5:
Vv. 1–4 Four areas of guilt
Vv. 5–13 His sin/guilt offering
Vv. 14–19 A guilt offering and restitution
Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines:
Introduction: Whereas Lev. 4 dealt with the offerings made in regards to sin, Lev. 5 and 6 will deal with offerings made with regards to guilt.
Four Areas of Guilt
"If a soul sins in that [lit., and] he hears a voice of an obligation [or, solemn pact] and he [is] a witness whether he has seen or come to know, yet [or, and if] he does not speak [reveal this], he will bear his guilt [or, iniquity; or punishment for iniquity]. [Lev. 5:1]
As with much of Leviticus, we have our own vocabulary here; a vocabulary which is not entirely unique, but one which is concentrated in Leviticus (and often in Numbers also). We have the common word for sin (or, to go astray, to miss the mark, to commit a transgression), châtâ’ (א ָט ָח ) [pronounced khaw-TAW] and the subject for this word is nephesh ( ∵פ ∵נ ) [pronounced NEH-fesh], the word for soul. This is followed by the common verb for hear in the Qal perfect. This is a completed action. He heard and understood. This is followed by the masculine singular construct of qôwl (לק ) [pronounced kole], the common word for voice or sound (context determines which).
Then we have the most interesting word ’âlâh (ה ָל ָא ) [pronounced aw-LAW], commonly translated oath, curse, or execration. We might also think to translate this as attestation, solemn oath, statement under oath, vow, guarantee, pledge, judicial oath, solemn declaration, solemn promise. We first find this word used in Gen. 24:41, and although most translators use the word oath, even a superficial examination of that context finds that this is not the best rendering of ’âlâh. An oath is something that you make to someone else. This is a solemn promise which the speaker extracts from the listener. Therefore, in this context, it is more of an agreement, a pact, an obligation, a commitment, a verbal contract. The speaker lays out the pact and the listener agrees to it. There is a word by which the listener swears or gives an oath to the first person, but that is a different Hebrew word altogether. That is the word shebû‛âh (ה ָע ֻב ׃ש ) [pronounced sheb-oo-AH], which is not a synonym for ’âlâh (although they are obviously related words as we find the former in Gen. 24:8 (with its verb cognate in v. 9) and the latter in Gen. 24:4. Obviously cursing has nothing to do with either of these passages. Abraham first makes his servant solemnly agree to not take a wife for Isaac from the Canaanites (Gen. 24:2–3, 7). Abraham's servant was sent to Laban to get a wife for Isaac and if one would not go with him, then the servant would be free of Abraham's solemn obligation which he extracted from his servant. This is the way this one word should be translated: a solemn obligation extracted from or agreed to by the listener (or the second party). This reasonably fits the context of Gen. 26:28 1Kings 8:31. Recall that Israel has already told Yahweh that they would do all that he has spoken. Therefore, they had given tacit agreement to His pronouncements of right and wrong. Now for the problem passages: ’âlâh is translated curse in Num. 5:21, 23, 27 Deut. 29:19–21 30:7 Neh. 10:29 Job 31:30. In Numbers, there is another word for curse, which is used; and our word, ’âlâh could be translated a solemn obligation throughout, or the result of a solemn obligation., without doing damage to the gist of the passage (all of thes words, including the word for cursing, will be examined again at that time). Deut. 29:19–21 is similar, inasmuch as God has set up a solemn pact or agreement with Israel—the Law—to which Israel has agreed; and in that pact are promises of cursing (or discipline) to those who disobey God's Word. There are promises in the Law which are positive and those which are negative; in Deut. 29, we can bear this in mind and not necessarily translate ’âlâh as a curse. So it seems to be with all the passages where ’âlâh is translated curse.
So, the person in question hears the sound of a solemn obligation; this is not necessarily a public proclamation. This is God speaking to him through His Word. This is followed with the conjunction and; the 3rd person personal pronoun, properly translated he [is]; and the word for witness.
In the previous chapter, we dealt with unknown sins which later became known. Someone sinned, realized it after the fact and offered a sacrifice to atone for that sin. In this verse, someone sins, and they realize at the time that they have sinned or they find out later, but they don't do anything about it. Hearing God's voice (in His Word) to the Law which he is a witness to, tells us that this person has come to know definitely that he has committed a sin. We have a conjunction used twice, meaning whether...or... And there are two ways that this person could have come to know that he has transgressed God's Law. He has either seen this fact (indicating that these laws would be disseminated in such a way that they could be read by Israel) or he already knew that he was transgressing God's Law. In the previous chapter, if this were something not known to the transgressor, and he found out, then he offered a sacrifice on his own behalf. However, this transgressor knows, either prior to or after the fact. The purpose of spending all this time with the original language is to ascertain just exactly what this person is guilty of. God has set up a solemn pact to which the transgressor has agreed to but then has broken this pact. He knew about it before he transgressed God's Law or came to find out about it later. However, he clearly knows that he has committed a sin.
Now for the person's reaction to his own person wrongdoing. We have the interrogative particle if, the negative, and the 3rd person singular, Hiphil imperfect of nâgad (ד ַג ָנ ) [pronounced naw-GAD], which, although found only in the Hiphil (and a few times in the Hophal), is translated told, shew, professed, declared, expounded. In all of these cases, something is being revealed to someone else, usually verbally. With the negative, the subject keeps this information under his hat. He has sinned, he knows that he has sinned, and he does not reveal it in anyway (as though man is the judge and since no one seemed to catch him, he is going to just let this pass). However, God sees everything that we do and knows everything that we think.
The result of this behavior is the last phrase of v. 1. The conjunction, I believe, acts as the introductory word for the apodosis of a conditional statement; that is, it should be translated then. This is followed by the Qal perfect of nâsâ’ (א ָ ָנ ) [pronounced naw-SAW] which means bear, carry, lift, take. What he will bear is his own iniquity, guilt or punishment for iniquity. The latter word is ‛âvôn (ן ָע ) [pronounced aw-VONE], a word which is pretty consistently rendered iniquity in the KJV. If iniquity is too old of a term for you, then trespass, offense, transgression, wrongdoing, or guilt would be reasonable translations. I personally favor choosing between guilt or punishment for wrongdoing, depending upon the context. When ’âvôn is used in conjunction with nâsâ, the person spoken of is bearing the punishment for his iniquity. (this is also found in Lev. 20:20 22:9 Num. 14:33 Isa. 53:4 Ezek. 23:35, 49 43:20). I need to differentiate between this word and ’âshâm (ם ָש ָא ) [pronounced aw-SHAWM].
Vv. 1–4 give four examples of unintentional sin.
"Or if anyone touches an unclean thing, whether the carcass of an unclean beast or a carcass of unclean cattle or a carcass of unclean swarming things and it is hidden from him, and he has become unclean and he is offensive [or, guilty]. [Lev. 5:2]
I was hoping that once we got started in chapter 5, that we would not become too bogged down; however, even v. 2 will require some exegesis. A word translated will be guilty is not related at all to ‛âvôn. It is the 3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect of ’âsham (ם ַש ָא ) [pronounced aw-SHAHM] and it is translated to be guilty or to offend in the Qal stem. Here we are not speaking of a great criminal act or some horrible act of immorality; someone has inadvertently (or possibly on purpose) come in contact with that which is ceremonially unclean. Ceremonially uncleanness is pretty much the same as coming into close contact with the old sin nature. There is not much else that could be read into this. It doesn't say how, except that touch could encompass a wide range of activities, including eating. For this reason, I like the word offensive more than guilty.
"Of if he touches uncleanness of a person in regards to the entire realm of uncleanness this one becomes unclean, and it is hidden from him, and he discovers [it] [lit., knows], then he becomes offensive. [Lev. 5:3]
Like much of Leviticus, this is a mess, and I may not cover the justification for the translation of everything here. In regards to the entire realm is the lamêd preposition (in regards to) and the masculine singular construct of kôl (לֹ ) [pronounced kole] and this word means the whole, all of, the entirety of, all, every. This word occurs too often for the Englishman's Concordance to list its appearances. In fact, its Chaldean equivalent occurs over a hundred times, even though there is only a small portion of the Bible written in Chaldean (Aramaic?). So what has happened, is this person has become ceremonially unclean unintentionally and then it is called to his attention in some way.
"Or if anyone swears, making a rash oath with his lips to do evil or to do good, with regards to the entire realm of speaking that men by swearing [or, with an oath] and it is hidden from him, when he discovers [it], then he becomes offensive—in any of these. [Lev. 5:4]
Speaking a rash oath is two verbs, actually. The first verb is shâva‛ (ע ַב ָש ) [pronounced shaw-VAH] and it may be recognizable to some because it looks so close the the word fo Sabbath and seven. It is a verb which literally means to seven oneself or to bind oneself with seven things. It is a verb for swearing to something, binding yourself to something, giving your word on something, even taking an oath. The Niphal stem means that shâva‛ is closely associated with another verfb, rather than standing for the passive voice. The second is the rarely used bâţâh (ה ָט ָ ) [pronounced baw-TAWH] and it means to speak rashly, to speak thoughtlessly and it is found only in Psalm 106:33 Prov. 12:18 and twice in this verse.
Under emotional stress, some people make the statement, I swear I am going to kick your butt or, God, get me out of this and I promise that I will... Without thinking, someone binds themself to a certain course of action by an oath; and, in this culture, such an oath was the equivalent of a verbal contract, even though made at the height of emotional duress. Today, a similar situation would be to bind oneself with a contract to something that, after thinking about it later, is not what you want to be bound by or it binds you to something which is wrong. In past times, such a thing could be done verbally and a person was bound to his word even more than a person today is bound by a written, notarized contract. An instance of this is when the daughter of Herodias danced before Herod and pleased him so much that he swore to her, "Whatever you ask of me, I will give it to you, up to half of my kingdom." (Mark 6:23). Other examples of a hasty oaths are found in Judges 11:30–39 and 1Sam. 14:38–39, which could have resulted in the death of the speaker's daughter in the first case, and in the death of Saul's son, Jonathan, in the second. A person who swears to a particular action thoughtlessly was also under sin. So what we have here are four instances, one per verse, of people who have transgressed the Law, although they may not have realized it at the time; in any case, they were responsible for this transgression.
His Sin/Guilt Offering
"When it comes to pass that a man is offensive in any of these [examples], he will confess concerning that which he has sinned against it. [Lev. 5:5]
We have an unusual verb in this verse: yâdâh (ה ָד ָי ) [pronounced yaw-DAWH], which seems to have three different meanings. It means to cast or throw (Zech. 1:21 Lam. 3:53), a use not found too often in the Bible; it means, in the Hiphil, to give thanks (1Chron. 16:4, 7 23:30), and, in the Hithpael, to confess in terms of naming one's transgressions (Lev. 5:5 16:21 Prov. 28:13). The relationship between the meanings is that something is thrown or cast before God. In any case, forgiveness was achieved not by doing anything meritorious, but by naming one's sin to God—something which is true of both the Age of Israel and the Church Age.
Against is a preposition with a feminine singular suffix referring back to these, except as a singular. What follows are commonly known as the guilt-offerings or the offense-offerings.
"And he will bring his offense [offering] to Yahweh against his transgression [lit., sin] which he committed [lit., sinned]; a female from the flock, a lamb or a kid from the goats in regards to sin and the priest will make atonement for him [lit., the priest will cover him or shield him] away from his sin. [Lev. 5:6]
I realize that the prepositions are some of the wording is much different from what you read in your translation of the Bible. I have attempted, at least within the brackets, to give the most literal rendering of this verse that I could. However, for your benefit, to see the difference, I have included several translations below:
The Amplified Bible He will bring his guilt or trespass offering to the Lord for the sin which he has committed, a female from the flock, a lamb or a goat, for a sin offering; and the priest shall make atonement for his sin.
The Emphasized Bible ...and [he] shall bring in as his guilt-bearer unto Yahweh, for his sin which he hath committed, a female from the flock—a lamb or a kid of the goats—as a sin-bearer,—so shall the priest put a propitiatory-covering over him, because of his sin.
KJV And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the Lord for his sin which he hath sinned, a female from the flock, a lamb or a kid of the goats, for a sin offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for him concerning his sin.
NASB He shall also bring his guilt offering to the Lord for his sin which he has committed, a female from the flock, a lamb or a goat as a sin offering. So the priest shall make atonement on his behalf for his sin.
Young's Lit. Translation ...and [he] hath brought in his guilt-offering to Jehovah for his sin which he hath sinned, a female out of the flock, a lamb, or a kid of the goats, for a sin-offering, and the priest hath made atonement for him, because of his sin.
You will notice that it is a matter of interpretation whether we are speaking of sin, sin-bearer or sin-offering. It is all the same word. The same goes for guilt, guilt-bearer, and guilt-offering. As Rotherham pointed out, the sin, the sin-bearer and the sin-offering are so closely associated that one word stood for all three. One portion of the verse where I could have been more literal would have been to say and the priest will cover upon him away from his sin.
The word for guilt or trespass is found here almost for the first time. It is the noun ’âshâm (ם ָש ָא ) [pronounced aw-SHAWM] is found once in Gen. 26:10, where its meaning is relatively well-defined, and now here else until this passage. Its verbal cognate is found prior to this passage in Lev. 4:13, 22, 27 5:2, 3, 5. Scofield says it appears that in the guilt-offering (or, trespass-offering), there is likely restitution involved (Lev. 5:16 6:5); however, the guilt offering is prominent in Lev. 5–6, 14, 19—yet we only find restitution in Lev. 5 and 6. This might be because the emphasis is upon forgiveness by God through a sacrifice as oppose to forgiveness by making restitution (which is works).
"But if his hand cannot afford [lit. cannot reach enough for] a lamb, then he will bring as his offense [-bearer] concerning which he sinned, two turtledoves or two young pigeons to Yahweh, one in regards to sin and one for a burnt-offering. [Lev. 5:7]
Forgiveness of sin was not dependent upon the financial status of the individual who has sinned; God forgives all who come to Him. However, in every case there must be a sin-bearer, a sin-offering, even if it is two very common and easy to obtain pigeons.
"And he will bring them to the priest and he will approach with the one in regards to the sin; first he will wring its head from its neck, but he will not sever [it]. [Lev. 5:8]
Anyone observing these sacrifices knows immediately that sin is not to be taken lightly; these cute, innocent little birds have their necks broken—and this is even for a person, for example, who has just sworn to do something which he later regrets swearing. These are not murderers, adulterers, child-beaters or drunkards; these are men who have committed offense that would be largely overlooked today. Lev. 1:14–17 also deals with the sacrifice of doves or pigeons.
"And he will sprinkle some of the blood of the sin [-bearer] against the side of the altar while the remaining blood will be drained out in the direction of the base of the altar; it [is] a sin [-offering]. [Lev. 5:9]
Here, in both cases, it is quite reasonable to translate the word for sin in both places by sin-bearer or sin-offering. Obviously, the priest is not committing a sin but what is being offered is a sin-offering or a sin-bearer.
"Then the second he will offer a burnt-offering according to the ordinance and it will make atonement for him [lit., it will cover upon him] away from his sin which he has sinned and he will be pardoned. [Lev. 5:10]
The sacrifice of these birds atones for his sin or covers his sin. It is possible that the two birds here speak of Christ's two deaths on the cross; His physical death and His spiritual death, which was efficacious.
"And if one's hand cannot reach two turtledoves or two young pigeons, then he will bring as his offering concerning his sinning, a tenth of an ephah of fine flour for a sin offering; he will put no oil upon it and he will put on frankincense on it, for it [is] a sin [-offering]. [Lev. 5:11]
This offering reveals the death of our Lord for our sins. It is not an offering which deals with spirituality or with spiritual growth; therefore, there is no oil or frankincense involved. Furthermore, if this person is so poor as to only to be able to bring a tenth of an ephah of fine flour, then there should be no additional cost of the oil and frankincense. The amount of flour spoken of here is approximately two quarts. Since this was a bloodless sacrifice, it was offered on top of a burnt-offering in order that the meaning not be lost.
"And he will bring it to the priest and the priest will take a handful of it of the fullness of his hand as his memorial portion and smoke on the altar upon the offerings by fire to Yahweh; it [is] a sin [-offering]. [Lev. 5:12]
The priest takes a full handful of the flour as an offering on behalf of the transgression and it is placed with a burnt-offering so that it will burn. The first speaks of judgement and righteousness.
"Thus, the priest will shield away from him on account of his sin [or cover—away from him—upon his sin] which he sinned on account of any one of these things and he will be forgiven and the remaining [flour] for the priest as in the tribute-offering." [Lev. 5:13]
The priest, as the intermediary between the sinner and God shields or covers the sinner for his offense, against his offense. The preposition here is ‛al (ל ַע ) [pronounced al ] and it means, primarily, upon, against, above, When used with verse of covering or protecting, it means above, upon, even though the articles of clothing may be physically around the person. It can also mean on the ground of (or upon the basis) something is done (Deut. 17:11 Psalm 94:20) or, similarly, where the basis convieved involves the ground; i.e., it involves the cause or the reason or the grounds for something (then, translated on account of, because of as in Gen. 20:2 21:12). The covering or shielding separates the man from his offense and also shields the man from the judgement due to him because of his sin. It is also because of the sin that the man requires shielding or covering from God's judgement.
A Guilt Offering and Restitution
Then Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, [Lev. 5:14]
I have not literally translated this verse; we could go with Then [continued] speaking Yahweh to Moses, to say: Speaking is in the Piel imperfect, the Piel being the intensive stem, but also the stem in which this word most often occurs. The imperfect indicates that this was a continual process. In fact, God has never stopped speaking to man. Here, God speaks to Moses, and to the people through Moses. Then, when our Lord took upon Himself a body of flesh, God spoke to us primarily through His Son, the Living Word (Heb. 1:1–3) and now through the Bible, the written Word.
"If anyone that commits an infraction [even an] infraction and sins unknowingly away from any of the sacred things of Yahweh, he will bring his guilt [-bearer] to Yahweh, a ram without blemish out of the flock valued by you in shekels of silver according to the shekel of the sanctuary; for a guilt [-offering]. [Lev. 5:15]
This verse introduces a new verb. Since God's Law has begun to be enumerated, one could now break a law of God. One unschooled in the Mosaic Law could transgress a law unknowingly. The word here is the Qal imperfect of mâ‛al (ל ַע ָמ ) [pronounced maw-AL] and the KJV consistently translates this as transgress or trespass. Most of the time this transgression is specifically against someone, either God (2Chron. 28:19 Neh. 13:27) or one's spouse (Num. 5:12, 27). In this context, and because of the next verse, I would say that this infraction is committed against an individual, although that is not specifically stated, it is implied by the use of this particular word and the idea of restitution contained in the next verse. BDB, which occasionally does nothing more than list the various way a word has been translated, bypasses the KJV altogether and translates this as act unfaithfully, act treacherously. Commit an infraction might be a more updated version of this verb. It is followed by is substantive cognate, ma‛al (ל ַע ַמ ) [pronounced MAH-al ], which is an act of unfaithfulness, a transgression, an infraction, or a trespass. This is like saying someone has sinned a sin; they have trespassed a trespass or transgressed a transgression. This verb and noun, in a sense, are explained by this verse. The and explains what it means to commit an infraction. The preposition is the mîn preposition of separation or removal. They are separating or removing themselves from the sacredness of Yahweh.
What this person has done is committed a trespass or an infraction which goes against or separates him from the things separated to God. A ram without blemish is brought to the priest to bear his sins.
This may have been a good place for a chapter division, as this is a new kind of offering. Furthermore, this should have been continued into Lev. 6 (as the Hebrew Bible does).
Be that as it may, a trespass (or guilt) offering was different from a sin offering inasmuch as restitution could be involved (see v. 16). However, there are times when the words for sin and trespass (or, guilt), were interchanged. This will be continued in Lev. 6 where theft and cheating are dealt with; sins which obviously require restitution. So all offenses are sins, but not all sins are offenses. An offense is something which is done to someone else. All sin is against God, but we do not make restitution to God for what we have done. The implication here is that there has been a monetary loss taken by the victim and the criminal is to recompense the victim and pay an additional penalty of 20% on top of that.
Incidentally, the value of a sanctuary shekel referred to in v. 15 is 2/5 of an ounce of silver. I do not know the value of the ram, however.
"Also for what he has done wrong away from [that which is] sacred, he will make restitution [lit., make complete] and a fifth he will add to it and give it to the priest and the priest will make atonement for him with the ram of the guilt offering and he will be forgiven. [Lev. 5:16]
Done wrong is the Qal perfect of sin; and sacred is the singular of sacred things in the previous verse. The word for make restitution here (and make amends or shall make good) is the verb shâlêm (ם ֵל ָש ) [pronounced shaw-LEM], which makes it very close to the words for Sabbath, seven and peace. This word means to complete, to recompense, to reward. The context here dictates the translation make restitution.
The thing which this person has done seems to be rather obscure except for the fact that this verse indicates that this was a matter of a transgression which caused property damage, monetary damage or the separation of someone from their money. It is some transgression or infraction for which the criminal can make monetary restitution. This is a principal almost totally ignored today in our Law. There are hundreds of thousands of criminals who serve abbreviated sentences and their victims are never compensated for the crimes committed against them. There are a tens of thousands of white collar criminals who defraud others and rob them of their fortunes; these people should be compensated by those who transgressed against them. Furthermore, an additional amount, over and above the loss, should be paid by the criminal—today, to our court system and at that time, to the priests, who acted as intermediaries, forgiving them of their sins.
"If anyone that sins doing any of all of the commandments of Yahweh which are not to be done, though he does not know it, still [lit., and] he is guilty and he will bear his guilt [or, iniquity; or punishment for iniquity]. [Lev. 5:17]
This is how chapter 5 began; we just lack the filler in the middle. This person basically has a choice; in this verse he may bear his own iniquity or he can follow the instructions in the next verse.
"He will bring a ram without blemish out of the flock valued by you at the price of a guilt [-offering] to the priest and he will make atonement for him for his error which he committed and does not realize; and he will be forgiven. [Lev. 5:18]
The offender carries his own guilt until he brings a ram to the priest and his sins are transferred to the ram and it is slaughtered.
"A guilt [-offering]—it [is] absolutely guilty [lit., in being guilty of being guilty] to Yahweh." [Lev. 5:19]
The first word in this verse is the noun for offense or guilt and the verb cognate is found twice thereafter, first in the Qal infinitive construct followed by the Qal perfect.
From here, we will begin Lev. 6, although in the Hebrew Bible, the next 7 verses are still in Lev. 5.
Introduction: Lev. 6, as was mentioned in the previous chapter, is actually a continuation of Lev. 5. Lev. 6:1–7 are Lev. 5:20–26 in the Hebrew Bible. The Hebrew Bible actually has a better chapter division at this point. The first seven verses deal with a guilt offering, referring back to the final dozen verses from chapter 5. Then we cover a new topic entirely; what the priests do in the offering rituals.
Outline of Chapter 6:
Vv. 1–7 Offenses for which a guilt-offering is appropriate
Vv. 8–13 The burnt offering
Vv. 14–23 The tribute offering
Vv. 24–30 The sin offering
Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines:
Offenses for Which a Guilt-offering Is Appropriate
Lev. 5:14-19 7:1–6
And Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, " [Lev. 6:1 (5:20 in Hebrew Bible)]
My guess would be that every time we find this verse, Moses has taken a break and then has returned to have God speak with him. I don't believe that this is one long conversation, but several shorter ones. We don't have God telling Moses to write these things down because Moses knows enough now to record what Yahweh is telling him. As of now, I have no clue as to whether Moses took dictation in the presence of Yahweh or whether he wrote these things down later; I would personally opt for the former inasmuch as that is the way I would do it. In either case, Moses would have been guided by the Holy Spirit and there would be nothing lost in his recording of God's Word, whether in His presence or not.
"If any one subverts [the Law] [lit., sins] and commits an infraction [even] an infraction in the sight of [or, against] Yahweh even having defrauded [or, deceived] his associate in that being held in protective reserve or [rather], placed in [his] hand; or in extortion [possibly, violent robbery]; or if he has exploited [or, defrauded or oppressed] his associate. [Lev. 6:2 (5:21 in Hebrew Bible)]
We have got a lot of linguistic work to do in this verse. We begin with the Qal imperfect of sins, which I have translated as subverts [the Law]; this word encompasses many categories of wrongdoing. One category of wrongdoing is named here: we have the verb mâ‛al (ל ַע ָמ ) [pronounced maw-AL], which is consistently translated commit a trespass in the KJV; I have translated it commits an infraction, with the understanding that this is generally an infraction against someone. This is followed by its substantive cognate ma‛al (ל ַע ַמ ) [pronounced MAH-ahl ], which is generally translated transgression, faithlessness, trespass and I will update it with the more modern infraction. These word do not have to be together, so this puts great emphasis upon this phrase.
The preposition used with Yahweh is not the common word used for against (ל ַע ), but is the prefixed bêyth preposition be (׃ ) [pronounced b' ] and it denotes proximity. The crimes here are defrauding a neighbor, yet these crimes are infractions in close proximity to Yahweh. Tradition translates this preposition against, although in the sight of would be a reasonable rendering.
The kind of infraction committed is specified even more by the word kâchash (ש ַח ָ ) [pronounced kaw-KHAHSH], a word which indicates lying and deception. It is a word found primarily in the Piel (Joshua 7:11 24:27 Lev. 19:11 Zech. 13:4), however, it is only found twenty-two times in the Old Testament. The word found more often is the noun cognate of shâqar, sheqer Strong's #'s 8266 and 8267. I will need to differentiate between these at some time. I like the rendering defraud, however, the safer translation might be deceive. In this verse, it is in the Piel perfect.
The person he has deceived is not a neighbor, as most translations read, but this is a word almost unique to Leviticus: ‛âmîyth (תי ̣מ ָע ) [pronounced aw-MEETH] and it means associate. It is simply a person the transgressor is associated with, meaning he could be Jewish or not. Outside of Leviticus, it is found only in Zech. 13:7 (there are a lot of words found in Leviticus, Numbers and Ezekiel and Zechariah, if memory serves; meaning not that they were written by the same person, but that the prophets Ezekiel and Zechariah were well-acquainted with the books Leviticus and Numbers).
There are three illustrations of what is means to defraud or to deceive an associate. We have a rare word here: pîqâdôwn (ןד ָ ̣ ) [pronounced pik-kaw-DOHN]. The dagesh in the pe makes it p rather than ph. The dagesh with the qof doubles the letter. We are given a good idea of its meaning in Gen. 41:36—it is a reference to grain which had been stored under guard, brought by the people to the government of Egypt to be sold back to them in times of famine. In other words, it is something stored for protection which will be needed at another date. A reasonable, but wordy rendering might be a reserve held in protective reserve [or, storage].
The next phrase has a very obscure Hebrew word found only here and the word for hand. I will cautiously translate this place in [his] hand or delivered to [his] hand; but this is an educated guess.
Then we have a transgression which seems out of place. The official translation for gâzêl (ל ֵז ָ ) [pronounced gaw-ZALE] is violent robbery; however, I am going to go with extortion instead. It only occurs four times in the Old Testament (Lev. 6:2 Prov. 62:10 Isa. 61:8 Ezek. 22:29). It is the substantive cognate of a verb which might mean to violently rob which is found much more extensively in the Bible.
And finally we have a difficult verb, not because it rarely occurs, but because it occurs quite a number of times with three related but significantly different renderings. The verb is ‛âshaq (ק ַש ָע ) [pronounced aw-SHAHK] and it is rendered oppressed, defrauded, deceived. It is possible that we can combine these meanings into the rendering exploited.
I think what is key to this passage is that we are dealing with monetary gain by one who has taken advantage of someone else by exploiting them; or has legally (or, illegally) taken money from them. The possible infractions are continued in the next verse:
"Or has found what was lost and lied in this; swearing in accordance with deceit in any of all the things which men manufacture [or, do] and sin therein. [Lev. 6:3 (5:22 in Hebrew Bible)]
This verse won't be as difficult as the previous verse. Here something was lost and another found it and either kept it or sold it. Furthermore, if questioned about any of these acts of deception for capital gain, he swears that he is innocent of any wrongdoing.
"And it comes to pass when one sins and has become guilty, he will return that which he seized having stolen [it] or that which he got by exploitation having exploited [someone] or the item(s) held in protective reserve or that which was committed to him or the lost thing which he found. [Lev. 6:4 (5:23 in Hebrew Bible)]
In any matter of defrauding, extortion or exploitation, the offender is to restore to the victim what has been taken. This should be a part of our judicial system.
"Or anything about which he swears in accordance with deceit, he will complete his due [lit., his head] and his fifth he will add upon it; to whom it belongs [lit., to whom it his] he will give it on the day of his guilt [for his offense]. [Lev. 6:5 (5:24 in Hebrew Bible)]
We have a very unusual use of the word head (or top) here. By extortion or defrauding, the victim has become incomplete and the offender completes his fortune by returning it. What is being completed is his top, his head, which is translated in other Bibles as principal, in full or in its sum. The verse ends with the feminine of ’âshâm (ם ָש ָא ) [pronounced aw-SHAWM], which means guilt, offense, guilt for an offense, or offensive. The word found here is ’ashemâh (ה ָמ ׃ש ַא ) [pronounced ash'-MAWH]. The feminine of a word usually softens the word somewhat. The first time we find this word, the priest has sinned, bringing guilt or offensiveness upon the people (Lev. 4:3). Temporarily, I am going to go with the word offensiveness; and here, it is not the day this person sinned and was offensive but the day when this was officially recognized by his offering.
This person may have sworn not to have done such a thing; however, when he confesses or is found out, he must recompense the victim plus 20%. Interestingly enough, the additional 20% appears to go directly to the victim in this situation, rather than to the priests, as in Lev. 5:15. The chief difference seems to be one of cognizance; in the case at hand, there is every indication that the offender knew exactly what he was doing when he defrauded the victim. Therefore, God's Law does take into consideration motive, but the additional 20% penalty goes to someone no matter what the motive.
"Furthermore, his guilt [-offering] he will bring to Yahweh, a ram without blemish out of the flock valued by you at the price for a guilt [-offering] to the priest. [Lev. 6:6 (5:25 in Hebrew Bible)]
On top of restoring that which he defrauded and the 20% penalty, the offender had to bring in an innocent ram to be sacrificed because restoration did not cover his guilt. We may do a number of things which are wrong and run all over town apologizing and restoring and making good on the wrong that we did; but we are still guilty before God. The penalty still must be paid. The 20% is nothing more than a usage fee, an interest, but it is not the full pnealty. The penalty is the ram dying on behalf of the offender for what the offender did.
All offerings are brought before Yahweh; the priest represents Yahweh to the people, as Jesus Christ represents God to man. Therefore, in bringing these offerings to a priest, the people were bringing these things to Yahweh.
"And the priest cover over him [or, make his propitiation] before Yahweh and he will be forgiven for any of all which he did to [become] offensive therein." [Lev. 6:7 (5:26 in Hebrew Bible)]
Even here we do not find complete and absolute forgiveness of sin. The sin is covered before God; his offensiveness and guilt are covered before Yahweh so that God does not see the sin. It is like a band-aid which fixes nothing, it just covers it.
The Burnt Offering
Lev. 1 8:18–21 16:24
Then Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, [Lev. 6:8 (v.1 in Hebrew Bible)]
Both the Hebrew and the English Bible opted for a chapter break at this verse; the English Bible did it back in Heb. 5:20 (that's in the Hebrew Bible) and the Hebrew Bible does it here.
"Command Aaron and his sons, saying, this is the law of burnt-offering [lit., the offering which rises]; this burnt offering [is to be placed] upon the altar all night until the morning and the fire of the altar will be kept burning on it. [Lev. 6:9 (v.2 in Hebrew Bible)]
This is a new topic. Yahweh has resumed speaking to Moses at a different time on a different subject. We have already been told that a burnt offering would be given in the morning and in the evening and that the fire of the brazen altar was not to go out.
Many of the things which will be discussed through to the end of Lev. 6 and into Lev. 7 deal with what happens to the sacrifices after they have been sacrificed; are they eaten, are they not eaten? What if blood splatters on the clothes of the priest? Here we are dealing with potentially confusing symbology, being unclean due to having blood on one's own clothing to be cleansed by the blood of the lamb. So, when dealing with types and symbols, we cannot expect each and every little thing to line up just as we would expect from the first couple readings.
"And the priest will put on his linen garment and he will put upon his body his linen undergarments and he will take up the fat ashes which the fire has consumed—the burnt offering—upon the altar and place them beside the altar. [Lev. 6:10 (v.3 in Hebrew Bible)]
The ashes temporarily remain in full view of the people as a remembrance of the burnt offering given in their stead. They will not remain there for a long time because they will see hundreds of more sacrifices.
"And [then] he will remove his garments and put on other garments and carry forth the fat ashes outside the camp to a clean place. [Lev. 6:11 (v.4 in Hebrew Bible)]
The priest is a type of Jesus Christ. The putting off of the old garments and putting on of the new garments is putting off the old human body and taking up a new, resurrection body, which our Lord did after dying for our sins and being raised by the Holy Spirit. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable and it is raised imperishable; it si sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a soulish body, it is raised a spiritual body...For this perishable must put on the imperishable and this mortal must put on the immoratility (I Cor. 15:42–44a, 53). Our Lord's body was sown and carried forth out of the camp into a clean place. ...Both their master and yours is in heaven... (Eph. 6:9b).
"Furthermore, the fire upon the altar burning against it will not be extinguished and the priest will burn on it every morning [lit., morning morning] and he will lay in order on it the burnt offering and he will burn on it the fat of the peace offerings. [Lev. 6:12 (v.5 in Hebrew Bible)]
As was mentioned, the fire of judgement on the altar is an eternal fire which was to never go out. This is because judgement for sins is everlasting and God's offer of salvation is open to us throughout out entire lives. It is because of the burnt offering that we can have peace with Him.
"A fire will be kept continually burning upon the altar; it will not go out. [Lev. 6:13 (v.6 in Hebrew Bible)]
The judgement for our sins is eternal; it never goes out. We can take the substitutionary death offered us by God or we can die in our own sins. The NIV Study Bible has a different, but reasonable slant on this: The perpetual fire on the altar represented uninterrupted offering to and appeal to God on behalf of Israel .
The Tribute Offering
"Now this is the law of tribute-offering: the sons of Aaron offer it before Yahweh in front of the altar. [Lev. 6:14 (v.7 in Hebrew Bible)]
As I have mentioned before, this is now a meal or a cereal offering, but a tribute offering. The first time this word is used, it is Cain's offering of produce from the ground; however, the second time it is used, it is used of Abel's offering from his flock (Gen. 4:3–4).
"And one will take from it in his first from the fine flour of the tribute offering and from its oil and all the frankincense which is on the tribute offering and burn [it] upon the altar, an altar-flame tranquilizing scent as its memorial portion to Yahweh. [Lev. 6:15 (v.8 in Hebrew Bible)]
The tribute offering is the only bloodless offering made to Yahweh. It is a tribute to Him for what He has done on our behalf. We don't offer Him a blood offering, but an offering of tribute and of thanks.
"And Aaron and his son will eat the rest of it; it will be eaten unleavened; they will eat it in a holy place in the court of the tent of meeting. [Lev. 6:16 (v.9 in Hebrew Bible)]
The unleavened bread speaks of fellowship between man and God and fellowship between man and God can only occur in a holy place. Part of the remuneration that the priests received came from these offerings. Paul uses this fact to illustrate why those who labor in the Word should be reimbursed for that endeavor: Don't you know that those who perform sacred services eat that from the temple; those who attend regularly to the altar have their share with the altar? So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel (I Cor. 9:13–14).
"It will not be baked with leaven; their portion, I have given it out of My altar-flames. It [is] holy of holies, like the sin [-offering] and the sin [-offering]. [Lev. 6:17 (v.10 in Hebrew Bible)]
It is because of the offering by fire, Christ's death on the cross, that this fellowship offering can be given; it is given out of those offerings. Being the holy of holies, it speaks of fellowship between man and God, only possible through the burnt offerings.
"Every male from among the children of Aaron may eat from it as a decree forever throughout your generations from Yahweh's offerings by fire. Whoever touches them will become holy [or, set apart]." [Lev. 6:18 (v.11 in Hebrew Bible)]
What is emphasized here is the familial relationship in order to have fellowship with God. We become family of God through faith in Jesus Christ. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:26).
Then Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, [Lev. 6:19 (v.12 in Hebrew Bible)]
This begins a new topic.
"Aaron and his sons will offer to Yahweh on the day when he is anointed a tenth of an ephah of fine flour as a continual tribute offering, half of it in the morning and half of it in the evening. [Lev. 6:20 (v.13 in Hebrew Bible)]
Fellowship with God between Himself and the members of the family of God is not to be disregarded. Even though burnt offerings are given continually, tribute and fellowship offerings should continue just as regularly.
"It will be made well-mixed on a griddle with oil. You will bring it in baked pieces like a tribute offering of pieces you will offer it [as] a pleasing odor to Yahweh. [Lev. 6:21 (v.14 in Hebrew Bible)]
The unleaven flour is the humanity of Jesus Christ and well-mixed with oil speaks of the indwelling and filling of the Holy Spirit; when filled, God the Holy Spirit directs us entirely in God's plan for our life under the directive category of His will. Baked speaks of being tested in His body and broken into pieces was the cross and our Lord's death where the separation of His soul, spirit and body occurred.
"And the priest who is anointed to succeed him [Aaron] from among his sons will do it as decreed forever to Yahweh. The whole of it will be burned. [Lev. 6:22 (v.15 in Hebrew Bible)]
Several translations read his sons will offer it; however, the word offer is not here, but, rather, the word ‛âsâh, which means do, manufactor, make or construct. It is Aaron's uniquely-born son who offers this body to Yahweh forever. The burning of the body is the judgement of God of Jesus Christ on the cross.
"Ever tribute offering of a priest is [burned] entirely; not eaten." [Lev. 6:23 (v.16 in Hebrew Bible)]
Being burned entirely is the judgement for the entirety of our sins; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; not for ours only, but for the entire world (I John 2:2).
The Sin Offering
Lev. 4:1–5:13 8:14–17 16:3–22
And Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, [Lev. 6:24 (v.17 in Hebrew Bible)]
We will now return to the sin [-offering]:
"Say to Aaron and his sons, saying, 'This is the law of sin [-offering?]: in the place where the burnt offering is killed, the sin [-offering or sin-bearer] will be killed before Yahweh. It [is] the holy of holies. [Lev. 6:25 (v.18 in Hebrew Bible)]
The sin-bearer and the guilt offering are identified with one another, as they are slain in the same place. This place where they are slain is considered extremely holy to Yahweh.
"'The priest who offers it for sin will eat it in a holy place; it will be eaten in the court of the tent of meeting. [Lev. 6:26 (v.19 in Hebrew Bible)]
The priest eating the offering speaks of believing in Jesus Christ; his faith appropriates our Lord's death on his behalf.
"'Whoever touches its flesh will be holy and when any of its blood is sprinkled on a garment, that [garment] whereon it was sprinkled you will wash in a holy place. [Lev. 6:27 (v.20 in Hebrew Bible)]
Identification with the sin-bearer makes one holy. The garments were washed, but they were washed in a place set apart to God. Happines to those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may enter by the gates into the city (Rev. 22:14).
"'And the earthen vessel in which it [i.e., the flesh of the previous verse] is boiled will be broken; but if it is boiled in a bronze vessel, that [bronze vessel] will be scoured and rinsed in water. [Lev. 6:28 (v.21 in Hebrew Bible)]
And when He had given thanks, He broke it, and said, "This is my body which is broken for you." (I Cor. 11:22) The earthen vessel speaks of our Lord's humanity and the breaking of it refers both to the judgement for our sins and the separation of the body, soul and spirit at His physical death; the bronze of His resurrected body.
"'Every male in the priests may eat of it; it [is] holy of holies. [Lev. 6:29 (v.22 in Hebrew Bible)]
This is referring back to the sin-bearer.
"'And no sin offering from which any of the blood is taken into the tent of meeting to make a propitiatory-covering in the sanctuary shall be eaten; with fire it will be consumed'". [Lev. 6:30 (v.23 in Hebrew Bible)]
The blood propitiatory-covering speaks of our Lord's death on our behalf. I don't quite follow why this sacrifice is not eaten and another is. The writer of Hebrews alludes to this verse: For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore, Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Hence, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach (Heb. 13:11–13). The writer of Hebrews was imploring the Jews to go outside the camp of Judaism, outside the religious constrictions of Judaism, and seek the Lord Jesus Christ outside that camp.
Outline of Chapter 7:
vv. 1–7 The offering for offensiveness (or, the guilt-offering)
vv. 8–10 The priests' portion
vv. 11–15 The peace offerings
vv. 16–27 Uncleanness
vv. 28–36 The portions for Aaron and the priests
vv. 37–38 Conclusion of the offering protocols
Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines:
Introduction: Lev. 7 probably should have been combined with Leviticus 6; it is a continuation of instructions about the various offerings; in chapter 7 Yahweh covers the guilt-offering and the peace-offering.
The Offering for Offensiveness (Or, the Guilt-offering)
"This [is] the law of [or, this is the protocol of] [or, more freely, these are the regulations concerning] the guilt [-offering]; it [is] most holy [holy of holies]. [Lev. 7:1]
Throughout Leviticus, I have been translating the word tôwrâh (ה ָר ) [pronounced to-RAW], which is its correct meaning. However, here, and throughout most of Leviticus, the context would indicate just a slightly different emphasis, perhaps better expressed by these are regulations concerning. This is a much freer translation here, as law is in the feminine singular construct. Protocol would be a good one-word rendering here which remains consistent with regard to number. Strong’s #8451 BDB #435.
In examining this verse, it leads me to an hypothesis; I wonder if the definite article preceding sin and guilt, in general, indicates that we are speaking of the sin-bearer or the guilt-offering? There are times when context would make it undeniably sin-offering instead of sin; however, in the realm of Leviticus and Numbers, when offerings are being dealt with, it is likely that this definite article would be the deciding factor when one is uncertain.
Another point of syntax; I am pretty confident when the 3rd person singular pronoun hûw (אה ) [pronounced hoo] should automatically be assumed to come with the verb to be in instances like this, even though there is no verb. Because it is in the masculine gender, it is a reference to the guilt-offering rather than to law (or, protocol).
"In the place where they kill the burnt-offering they will [also] kill the guilt [-offering or -bearer] and one will sprinkle its blood on the altar, round about. [Lev. 7:2]
The burnt-offering and the guilt-bearer are the same things; they are the same person; therefore, they are killed in the same place.
"And all of its fat he will offer from it; the fat tail and the fat that covers the entrails. [Lev. 7:3]
We know that fat at the beginning of the verse is the direct object and not the subject of the verb because it is preceded by the untranslated word êth (ת ֵא ) [pronounced ayth]. Êth is the mark of a direct object (it can also be used as a preposition denoting nearness. Context determines the usage. It refers back to the burnt offering.
"And the two kidneys and the fat that is on them at the loins and the appendage of the liver with the kidneys—he will remove it. [Lev. 7:4]
This is our Lord's body which is broken in judgement for our sins and then separated from the soul and spirit of our Lord. The it here at the very end is difficult to match up with its antecedent. It is in the singular feminine gender; therefore it is not the same as the it in v. 3 (which is in the masculine). Fat at the beginning of v. 3 is also in the masculine. The words in the feminine singular are appendage and fat tail.
"The priest will burn them on the altar as a fire-offering to Yahweh; it is the guilt [-offering]. [Lev. 7:5]
Them is a collective term referring to the items removed from the guilt-offering.
"Every male from among the priests may eat of it; it will be eaten in a holy place; it [is] extremely holy [lit., holy of holies]. [Lev. 7:6]
The priests were partially remunerated at the altar where they were allowed to eat from the offerings made to Yahweh.
"As [it is for] the sin [-offering], so [it is] for the guilt [-offering] [lit., as the sin, as the guilt]—one protocol [more freely, one set of regulations] for them. The priest who makes atonement with it for him it will be. [Lev. 7:7]
We have the repetition of the preposition ke (׃כ ) [pronounced k'], which is sounds to me as though a comparison is being made; therefore, I have translated it slightly differently when it is repeated. Owens calls this a preposition, and BDB lists it as properly a substantive. Here I think its double usage is as much a function of syntax as anything else.
The Priests' Portion
"And the priest who offers any man's burnt offering; the hide of the burnt offering which he has offered, for the priest for him it will be. [Lev. 7:8]
Against, this is a portion of the priests remuneration (although, also the priest must be covered by the hide, which is analogous to being covered by our Lord Jesus Christ in atonement).
"Furthermore, every tribute offering which is baked in the oven and all that are made on a pan or a griddle, to the priest offering it, to him it will be. [Lev. 7:9]
There were at least two types of ovens in the ancient world in the East. One was a simple hole dug in the ground, four or five feet in diameter and approximately three feet deep. The sides and bottom were lined with a mortar. Bread, rolled out to the thickness of a finger, was placed against the sides of the heated oven and instantly baked. A second kind of oven was simply a very large stone vessel. A fire is made at the bottom of this vessel and bread dough is placed on the outside and cooked. It is thought that the latter type of over is in view here. The pan mentioned here is a deep iron vessel with a lid, as versus the griddle which is a thin plate of iron which does not have a lid. Again, those things offered on the altar were also partaken by the priests.
"And every tribute offering mixed with oil or without [lit, or dry] to all of the sons of Aaron; it will be [to] one as [to] his brother. [Lev. 7:10]
The last phrase here is a bit confusing. My educated guess it that this is an idiom meaning that they share in this equally.
The Peace Offerings
"Now these are the regulations concerning [lit., and this is protocol of] the sacrifice of peace offerings [with] which one approaches to Yahweh. [Lev. 7:11]
Again, we have the word for law here, which I will translate as regulations or protocol. Lev. 3 covered peace offerings; however, this section will categorize these peace offerings as offerings of thanksgiving, of vows and of freewill offerings. With regards to these offerings, we will begin to see what is clean and unclean (vv. 22–27) and what the priests will be able to have as their remuneration (vv. 28–36).
"If he approaches with it concerning a thanksgiving, then he will approach [or, draw near] with the sacrifice of thanksgiving—unleavened wafers mixed with oil and unleavened wafers spread [lit., anointed] with oil and cakes [of] fine flour well-stirred having been mixed with oil. [Lev. 7:12]
Whereas most translations use the word offer twice in this verse, the word is qârav (ב ַר ָק ) [pronounced kaw-RAV], which is better translated as draw near, approach, come near. Owens has two different words, both translated mixed (one of the words occurs twice with basically the same morphology); the original RSV translates the one word correctly in both places with the word mixed but in the NRSV, for some inexplicable reason, the second place where we are to find the word mixed, they insert the word soaked instead. I have attempted to be fairly literal with this translation.
Once one is saved, one has a great deal to be thankful for. Certainly, we think a new car, a new house, a beautiful wife or handsome husband, along with a whole host a transitory things which we leave behind at death; however, after salvation, we have an eternal union with God, a place in the heavenlies, and blessings which are unimaginable to us. For these things, things which we take by faith, are the things for which we should be thankful. True thanksgiving can only occur following salvation, and notice that this offering follows the offerings which indicate Christ's death on our behalf and our appropriating that by faith. The NIV Study Bible has the note: Thank offerings were given in gratitude for deliverance from sickness (Ps. 116:17), trouble (Psalm 107:22) or death (Psalm 56:12), or for a blessing received .
"With cakes of leavened bread he will approach; his offering in accordance with the sacrifice of his peace-offerings of thanksgiving. [Lev. 7:13]
There are certain laws and standards which the person approaching is aware and observes. You may be surprised about the leavened bread as opposed to unleavened bread; however, here we are dealing with someone who is already ostensibly a believer in Jesus Christ (or, in that time, in Yahweh Elohim), and the presence of leaven in this case refers to the fact that he still carries within himself an old sin nature. Furthermore, as the NIV Study Bible points out, this leaven (or yeast) in the bread did not violate the prohibitions found in Ex. 23:18 or Lev. 2:11 because this was not an offering which was burned at the brazen altar; in other words, it did not represent Christ's death upon the cross. Jesus Christ had no old sin nature, so anything offered in conjunction with the brazen altar had to be without leaven. However, when the offering speaks of us and our fellowship with God, we do carry an old sin nature within us and therefore should be offering up bread with leaven.
"And he will approach out from this one [cake] from each offering as a contribution to Yahweh to the priest who throws the blood of the peace-offerings, to him it will be. [Lev. 7:14]
Owens takes four different words in this verse and renders them all offer or offering. The NASB gives a more literal translation and I have given an even more literal rendering above.
"And the flesh of the sacrifice of his thanksgiving peace-offerings on the day of his approach shall be eaten and he will not leave any of it until the morning. [Lev. 7:15]
Since this speaks of the death of our Lord, the sacrifice was not left until morning. His corpse will not hang all night on the tree, but you will certainly bury him on the same day (for he who is hanged is curse by God), so that you do not defile your land which Yahweh your God give so you as an inheritance (Deut. 21:23).
"But if a vow or a freewill offering on the day that he approaches with his sacrifice, it will be eaten and on the next day following and what remains of it will be eaten. [Lev. 7:16]
A vow, not an action to be taken lightly, is a deal one strikes with God. One asks for something from God and pledges something in return. The first use of the verb for vow is found in Gen. 28:20–22; Jacob vowed to God that if God gave him basic provisions and allowed him to return to his father's home (he was on the run from Esau), the Yahweh would be his God and he would give a tenth of his wealth to God. We must recall that Jacob was not the most spiritually evolved man at this point in time. In fact, he was on the run because of the fact that he had just defrauded his brother Esau, blind-siding Esau for the second time. Other than Gen. 31:13, which looks back on this incident, this is the first mention in the Bible of a vow since then.
Almost everyone is familiar with the concept of a vow because almost everyone has made a vow to God before at some time or another. And our vow, whether we knew anything about Jacob or not, was often one made prior to regeneration or while in a state of either spiritual immaturity or reversionism, and we asked God to get us out of some jam and then we would promise God that we would do something which would be painful to us but seemed like it would be a spiritual thing to do (such as attend church every Sunday for the next two months or give a specified amount or pray more often). This is typical and often even agnostics and atheists have made vows to God at one point or another in their lives. Very often God does answer our vow and give us at least the desire behind the vow (although we may or may not get the specifics of our vow answered) and there is every indication that God remembers our vows and expects us to fulfill our part of the bargain (Gen. 30:13). A vow which an unbeliever should take is, Speak to me, God, and I will listen to Your gospel. The unbeliever will not hear an audible voice, but the next time the gospel is presented to him, he will realize, possibly as never before, that he is at a crossroads.
This offering does not speak of our Lord hanging on the cross between heaven and hell, dying for our sins. This offering is one where the offerer is making a vow or he has brought this as God has directed his heart. Such offerings should spill into the next day and their blessings still enjoyed.
"But what remains from the flesh of the sacrifice on the third day will be burned with fire. [Lev. 7:17]
There are two things in view here; the meat would spoil after three days and not be safe. Once the meat has spoiled, it is ceremonially unclean. Furthermore, the meat will have been dead for three days and therefore the analogy between its sacrifice and Jesus Christ breaks down; therefore it is no longer considered clean for that reason. The sacrifice was eaten on day one, they ate leftovers on day two, and on day three the remaining offering is to be burned.
"And if the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace-offering is eaten on the third day, he who approached with it will not be accepted, neither will it be credited to him; it will be an abomination [lit., a refuse-like smell] and the person eating of it will bear his iniquity. [Lev. 7:18]
The word translated abomination here and unclean in some translations actually means neither of those things. The word is piggûwl (ל ̣ ) [pronounced pig-GOOL], a rather onomatopoetic word, from an unused root meaning to stink; we are talking about an incredibly foul, fetid odor here.
"And the flesh that touches any unclean thing will not be eaten; it will be burned with fire; and the [clean] flesh—anyone [who is] clean may eat [that] flesh. [Lev. 7:19]
This helps to confirm that uncleanness is the problem with meat in the third day. Ceremonial uncleanness makes it something that we are not to partake in. The analogy is to being filled with the Spirit or not; being in fellowship or not. When we are out of fellowship, then everything that we do and everything that we participate in is unclean.
As a diversion, allow me to point out that the figure of speech found here is call epanadiplosis [pronounced EP-an-a-di-PLO-sis] (or encircling) and a sentence begins and ends with the same word; in this case, flesh. Hereby a complete circle is made, completeness is expressed, and attention is drawn to the solemnity and importance of this statement. In subsequent verses, we will see how important this prohibition was. However, this verse tells us how important it is syntactically.
"But the person who eats the flesh of the sacrifice of the peace-offerings of Yahweh while an uncleanness is on him—that person will be cut off from his people. [Lev. 7:20]
When unclean, we are out of fellowship with God and we are cut off from God and His people. Whereas this could include expulsion from Israel or ostracization, what is actually in view here is being removed, or cut off, from the promises of Yahweh to Israel. A person who was not circumcised would find himself cut off from Yahweh's covenant to Abraham (Gen. 17:14). We have the example of being cut off from one's inheritance in Ge. 31:14 and when the decalogue is introduced, one who worked on the Sabbath was cut off and executed (Ex. 31:14).
"And if any one touches an unclean thing, whether the uncleanness of man or in the proximity of the unclean beast or any unclean abomination, and then eats of the flesh of the sacrifice of the peace-offerings of Yahweh, that person will be cut off from his people." [Lev. 7:21]
As for what detestable things the Jews were not allowed to eat, we are not told in this context. Some of the dietary laws were simply laws will provided for the good health of the Jews in that day and age. It is likely that they knew what kinds of things were excluded, even though we do not. However, breaking the dietary laws meant eating that which was unclean, and would cause one to be cut off from God's promises and provisions for Israel.
All of this is analogous to remaining in fellowship. Once we are saved (which is analogous to being an Israelite through regeneration), we have a Christian life to lead, just as the Jew had a life related to God. The Jew who continues in his life apart from uncleanness participates in the blessings and promises of God. The believer in the church age who grows and remains in fellowship also participates in both eternal and temporal rewards. The believer who becomes unclean by falling out of fellowship has eternal life with God, but his rewards are minimal (I Cor. 3:8–15). Once we are saved, one of the most important things for us is to remain in fellowship. Apart from fellowship with God, our life as a Christians is meaningless.
The Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, [Lev. 7:22]
The new topic to be covered is uncleanness and what makes something unclean.
"Speak to the people of Israel, saying, 'Any fat of ox or sheep or goat you will not eat... [Lev. 7:23]
Here we have stopped mid-sentence and why anyone would do that makes no sense to me. It is obvious that the Jews could eat oxen, sheep and goats. However, they were not allowed to eat the fat, the portion which was God's (Lev. 3:14–17 4:26).
"'The fat of a corpse, and the fat of one torn by beasts may be made for every kind of workmanship, but you will definitely not eat it [lit., in eating, you will not eat it]. [Lev. 7:24]
There was no superstition involved here. The animal was not going to come back alive or be a place of spirits or anything. This is a dietary law. If an animal has dies of itself or if it is so weak that it has been killed by other animals (or it could become infested after its death), the meat it not what should be eaten; and therefore, God declared it unclean. However, this does not mean that the rest of the animal couldn't be used for other non-food purposes (e.g., the hide could be taken and tanned and used).
"'For every person who eats from the fat of [such] an animal from which is he approaches from it a fire-offering to Yahweh, that person will be cut off from his people; [that is] the person who eats. [Lev. 7:25]
Again, we are now dealing with fellowship and not salvation and the person involved with uncleanness on any level is cut off from fellowship with God and with God's people. Further application goes to one attempting to be saved in some other method other than that which is prescribed by the Word of God; there is no salvation apart from faith in Yahweh, Jesus Christ, the God of Israel, the Creator of the Universe.
"'And you will not eat any blood in any of your dwelling, whether of fowl or of animal. [Lev. 7:26]
Not only is this a point of sanitation, but we are not saved by the literal blood of Jesus Christ any more than any one in Israel was saved by the literal blood of the blood sacrifices. It was what they represented and it is the spiritual death of our Lord on the cross which is in view for salvation. This verse makes the distinction between eating the literal flesh and drinking the literal blood of our Lord and believing in Him, which is what it all means. This prohibition is repeated several times (Deut. 12:15–16).
"'Whoever eats any blood will be cut off—that person from his people.'" [Lev. 7:27]
This is an important point and it is driven home by repetition.
The Portions for Aaron and the Priests
And Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, [Lev. 7:28]
I must admit ignorance concerning the exact content of many of the world's great religious books; however, I doubt that any of them have the specific claims to inspiration which we see continually in God's Word the Bible. Over and over again, God, the creator of the Universe, is speaking directly to Moses, who is recording His words.
"Speak to the people of Israel, saying the one approaching with the sacrifice of his peace-offerings to Yahweh will bring his offering to Yahweh from the sacrifice of his peace-offerings. [Lev. 7:29]
We are no longer dealing with the subject of uncleanness, but we have moved on to peace-offerings. Recall that this has nothing to do with world peace or peace with one's neighbor or even with being at peace with oneself, but this is peace with God and subsequent prosperity and well-being.
"With his own hands, he will bring [lit., his hands will bring] the fire-offerings to Yahweh, the fat with the breast he will bring it—the breast—to be waved as a waved-offering before Yahweh. [Lev. 7:30]
The wave offering means that this offering is waved before Yahweh. God is to see the offering and not the man. The breast and the thigh were then bestowed upon those in the priesthood as their due for their spiritual service (Ex. 26:26–28 Lev. 10:14–15).
"The priest will burn the fat on the altar, but the breast will be for Aaron and his sons. [Lev. 7:31]
The emphasis before was on the offerings; however, now that their purpose and meaning is clearer, there are certain ends which need tidying up; for instance, Aaron and his son had to be remunerated for their service.
"And you will give the right thigh as an offering to the priest from the sacrifice of your peace offerings. [Lev. 7:32]
Which priest this would go to will be explained in the next verse.
"He who approaches with the blood of the peace offerings and the fat among the sons of Aaron, the right thigh will be to him for a portion. [Lev. 7:33]
All the sons of Aaron had various functions around the tabernacle and some of them did the offering of the animals on the brazen altar.
"For the breast that is waved and the thigh that is offered, I have taken from the people of Israel out of the sacrifices of their peace offerings and I have given them to Aaron the priest and to his sons for a perpetual due from the people of Israel. [Lev. 7:34]
On one level, our Lord was taken out from the people of Israel; however, we have the more simplified interpretation that this is how God provided for the sons of Aaron.
"This is the anointing of Aaron and the anointing of his sons from the offerings made by fire to Yahweh on the day that they were brought near to serve as priests to Yahweh." [Lev. 7:35]
The common Hebrew words for anointed occur twice here, although there are several translations where you do not even find the word anointed. It also means consecrated portion; something which has been set aside, that something often being holy. The verb for brought near is the same one that I often translate approach and many other translators render as offering. Offering is not a bad rendering; it just isn't the most literal. Even here, in a sense, they are offering themselves before Yahweh. However, this is the Hiphil stem where they are caused to be brought near, whereas for them to offer themselves would require the Hithpael stem.
Yahweh has commanded this to be given to them on the day that they were anointed by the people of Israel; it is a perpetual due throughout their generations. [Lev. 7:36]
They are not given all of this on the day of their anointment; at that point in time, they were assigned those portions as being priests to Yahweh in the line of Aaron. The line of Aaron is consecrated or anointed; set aside in special service to the people of Israel and on behalf of the people of Israel; and, likewise, certain provisions are made available to them—anointed if you will.
Conclusion of the Offering Protocols
This [has been] the protocol for the burnt offering, for the tribute offering, and for the sin offering and for the guilt [or offensive] offering and for the installation offering and of the peace offerings... [Lev. 7:37]
This sums up the kind of offerings which were discussed in the previous seven chapters of Leviticus. Furthermore, this verse clearly indicates that the word for sin and for offensive/guilty could also stand for their respective offerings; and it again confirms my hypothesis of having a definite article in front of them. The installation offering (also called the ordination offering) was covered in Ex. 29 and will actually occur in Lev. 8:14–36.
...which Yahweh commanded Moses in the proximity of Mount Sinai on the day that He commanded the people of Israel to bring their offerings to Yahweh in the desert of Sinai. [Lev. 7:38]
Moses is no longer going to Mount Sinai to speak with God. For awhile, their had been a tent outside the camp and now there was the tabernacle inside the camp. The preposition used with Mount Sinai is one denoting proximity and they are still within the sight of the Mountain range of Mount Sinai, camped in the desert of Sinai. They have broken camp one time and have moved (this occurred at the beginning of Leviticus) but they are still close enough to the mountain to be in its proximity.
Now would be a good time to examine all of the different offerings in chart form. See the Doctrine of Various Offerings—not finished yet!!
Outline of Chapter 8:
Vv. 1–5 God speaks to Moses then Moses speaks to the people concerning the installation of Aaron and his sons to the priesthood
Vv. 6–30 The installation ceremony
Vv. 31–36 Moses commands the sons of Aaron
Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines:
Introduction: Most of Leviticus has been direct instruction fro God to Moses concerning the tabernacle worship which was to take place. This consisted of five categories of approaches (or, drawings near or offerings), or sacrifices, if you will. Lev. 8 begins with some actual narrative. Everything is in place and now the Aaronic priesthood (which is a more accurate designation than the Levitical priesthood) must be formally inducted into their positions. The ceremony here should speak of Jesus Christ and one of the aspects of His ministry, His function as our High Priest. We have already been given a rundown of what must be done in order to sanctify Aaron and his sons back in Ex. 29; this is simply a fulfillment of God's orders at that time.
This chapter and the next chapter, taken together, may seem confusing. Here, Moses is offering a bunch of sacrifices, and in the next chapter, Aaron offers a bunch of sacrifices. The idea is, first, Aaron and his sons must be consecrated, or set apart, for the priestly ministry. That is Lev. 8. In Lev. 9, they then offer up sacrifices for their sins and the sins of the people. Recall that when Moses went up to Mount Sinai, the people persuaded Aaron to revolt against God and to make a golden calf to worship. Well, this was a crappy thing for them to do, and if I were God, I would have killed all of them. However, if I were God, I’d probably have killed myself off for disobedience as well. Lucky for all of us that I am not God. But, the offerings made in Lev. 9 are sin offerings which Aaron makes for himself and the people. These sin offerings, as always, represent Jesus Christ dying for our sins on the cross.
God Speaks to Moses Then Moses Speaks to the People Concerning the Installation
of Aaron and His Sons to the Priesthood
And Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, [Lev. 8:1]
The are almost 700 phrases which indicate direct verbal contact from God in the Penteteuch.
"Take Aaron and his sons with him and the garments and the anointing oil and the bull of the sin [-offering] and the two rams and a basket of the unleavened bread. [Lev. 8:2]
Sin here has a definite article, making it, in this context, the sin-offering or the sin-bearer. These are the supplies required for the installation of Aaron and his sons into the priesthood. The oil speaks of the Holy spirit and it was used to anoint the tabernacle, the furniture of the tabernacle and priests during their installation ceremony. Later it would be used to anoint leaders, as in 1Sam. 10:1 16:13.
"And assemble all of the congregration at the door of the tent of meeting." [Lev. 8:3]
These sacrifices were to be witnessed by the people. God had the individual Israelites witness hundreds upon hundreds of sacrifices in their life times. For us, it would be like hearing the gospel several hundred times throughout our lifetime (which most of us do).
And Moses did as Yahweh had commanded him and the congregation was assembled at the door of the tent of meeting. [Lev. 8:4]
Notice that Moses does very little questioning of God as he did early on in his life (early on meaning age 80 when God first approached Moses).
And Moses said to the congregation, "This [is] the Word which Yahweh has commanded to be done." [Lev. 8:5]
Moses is not about to quote what God has told him to do; he is about to perform the ceremony of sanctifying Aaron's sons as priests. He is making the people aware that this is by direct commandment of God.
The Installation Ceremony
And Moses [was caused to] approached with Aaron and his sons and washed them with water. [Lev. 8:6]
The verb here is the Hiphil imperfect of qârabv (ב ַר ָק ) [pronounced kaw-RABV] which is a word translated offering throughout many Bibles, but it means come near, draw near, approach [with]. Whereas it is improper to speak of Moses offering Aaron and his sons, he certainly does approach with them. Aaron and his sons must be ceremonially clean for this process. Jesus Christ could only function as our High Priest because he was uncorrupted humanity. The washing occured at the brazen laver at the front of the tabernacle (notice that the brazen altar comes first, then the laver when it comes to placement). Moses must separate the priests in their service to Yahweh; this they cannot do for themselves.
And he put upon him the coat and girded him with the girdle and clothes him with the robe and put upon him the ephod and girded him with the skilfully woven band of the ephod, attaching it to him against him [or, with it]. [Lev. 8:7]
We have several different verbs for this clothing process and they were translated differently. The last word is the vêyth preposition with a masculine singular suffix. It means by, with, against; which accounts for the slightly different renderings.
And he placed upon him the breastpiece and he put in the breastpiece the Urim and Thummim. [Lev. 8:8]
The word for placed and for put in this and the previous verse are different words. Here we are told that Urim and Thummim are separate items from the breastpiece itself (which has a pouch; its name means pouch) and they are placed inside this breastplate. Additonal information concerning the ephod, clothes, the breastpiece and Urim and Thummim may be found in Ex. 28.
And he placed the turban upon his head and he placed on the turban in front the golden plate, the holy crown, as Yahweh had commanded Moses. [Lev. 8:9]
This crown spoke of the royalty of Jesus Christ. These are the clothes which the high priest would wear when ministering on behalf of the people to Yahweh. These garments are discussed in detail in Ex. 39:1–39 40:12–16.
Then Moses took the anointing oil and anointed the tabernacle and all that was in it and set them apart [or, consecrated them]. [Lev. 8:10]
All of this must be done in the power of the Holy Spirit and what is revealed is done so through the power of the Holy Spirit. As we have seen, the oil speaks of God the Holy Spirit. Olive oil was absolutely necessary to the diet of the Hebrews. They used it in place of butter and it was used in their cooking. When boiled with soda, it became a soap, used for cleansing. It was also used to rub into the skin and for the hair to make both of them shine (I would assume it was used as a moisteurizer here to combat the dryness of the desert).
And he sprinkled some of it on the altar seven times and anointed the altar and all its utensils and the laver and its base to set them apart [or, to consecrate them]. [Lev. 8:11]
Seven is the number of perfection and of completeness; one ceases doing because something has been completed. We know this because the Hebrew word for seven [things] is shâbvû‛a ( ַעב ָש ) [pronounced sha(b)-VOO-ah] and the word for cease, rest (because everything is finished) is shâbvath (ת ַב ָש ) [pronounced shaw(b)-VATH]. Shâbbath (ת ָ ַש ) [pronounced shahb-BATH] is the Hebrew word for Sabbath, their day of rest once everything had been accomplished or everything had been completed.
And he poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron's head and anointed him to set him apart [or, to consecrate him]. [Lev. 8:12]
No one can function in the Christian life apart from the Holy Spirit. This speaks of guidance, direction, filling and identification with the Holy Spirit. Scofield points out two of the differences between the ordination of the high priest and that of the priests: (1) Aaron is anointed prior to the slaying of the sacrifices; the priests are anointed afterwards. Aaron is a type of Christ and this passage looks forward to several characteristics of our Lord: Our Lord was chosen before the foundation of the world (as we are chosen in Him before the foundation of the world—Eph. 1:4). Jesus did not discover immediately prior to the cross of His mission and person; He knew those from eternity past in His diety and His humanity learned them early on, perhaps as early as age four or five, and at least by age twelve, as the only recorded incident that we have or those years is when Joseph and Mary thought they had lost our Lord, and He said to them, "Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father?" (Luke 2:49). Furthermore, (2) only Aaron is anointed with oil. For He whom God has sent speaks to Words of God; for He [God the Father] gives the Spirit without measure (John 3:34). You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness. Therefore God, You God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness above Your companions (Psalm 45:7 Isa. 61:1, 3 Heb. 1:9). As the one specifically designated as a type of our Lord to come, there must be certain things which set Him apart from the other priests.
And Moses brought Aaron's sons and clothed them with coats and girded them with girdles and bound on them caps as Yahweh had commanded Moses. [Lev. 8:13]
The word for caps here is inferior to the turban found in v. 9. Aaron is the high priest and his garb sets him apart from his sons. His sons are set apart from the rest of the congregation.
Then he brought the bull of the sin[-offering] and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the bull of the sin[-offering]; [Lev. 8:14]
I have taken a slight liberty with the translation here; it should read: and Aaron laid—and his sons—their hands upon the head of the bull of the sin[-offering]. Laid is in the 3rd masculine singular and applies strictly to Aaron; however, his sons also join in. It might be more proper to infer and repeat the verb laid in italics or brackets following and Aaron's sons. Aaron and his sons will first be set apart to serve in the ministry to Yahweh on behalf of the Jewish people, then they will offer sacrifices for the Jews (Lev. 9:15–21).
And he slaughtered it and Moses took the blood and put it on the protrusions of the altar round about with his finger and purified the altar and he poured out the blood at the base of the altar and set it apart [or, consecrated it] to make atonement for it. [Lev. 8:15]
As we learned back while covering the Ten Commandments, there are several words translated kill ormurder in the Old Testament. The word found here is shâchat (ט ַח ָש ) [pronounced shaw-KHAT] and it is used primarily for slaughtering animals for a sacrificial offerings (Gen. 37:31 Ex. 12:6 Lev. 3:2). There are a couple of noteworth exceptions, however. When Abraham is about to kill Isaac, shâchat is used (Gen. 22:10). God did not murder the Exodus generation, He slaughtered them in the desert (Num. 14:16). When Elijah has the prophets of Baal killed, they are slaughtered as with a sacrificial knife (1Kings 18:40). We also find it used for humans in Judges 12:6 2Kings 25:7 Isa. 9:8 Jer. 39:6 49:37 52:10 Ezek. 16:21 23:39 40:41–42 Hos. 5:2 .
The altar had not been used yet and had not been put into the service of Yahweh yet. This was a very solemn ceremony where all these articles of furniture and Aaron and his sons must be set apart from everything profane to be used of God. When we are saved, we are set apart from the world, we are set apart temporarily from out old sin nature and we are separated from the eternal penalty for our sins. God has a plan for our lives, which is a plan separate from the world, the flesh and the devil. Notice here that Moses, the father of the Jewish nation and therefore a representative of the Jewish nation, is the one who kills the first bull which represents Jesus Christ at the installment of the Aaronic priesthood.
And he took all of the fat that was on the entrails and the appendage of the liver and the two kidneys and their fat and Moses burned [them] on the altar. [Lev. 8:16]
No one actually saw our Lord die for our sins; even had Golgotha not been covered with a thick darkness, the unspeakable torment which He endured would have been unseen. Then, all those about the cross heard His continual screaming "My God, My God, why have Your forsaken Me?" These are the insides of the bull which stand for the unseen judgement of our Lord for our sins. For those reading this, you, particularly if you are from the high esteem generation, have no clue as to how undeserving we are of this. Our hearts are often filled with evil continually, in rebellion to God, even after having appropriated His perfect gift of Jesus Christ.
But the bull and its skin and its flesh and its dung he had burned with fire outside the camp, as Yahweh had commanded Moses. [Lev. 8:17]
Just as our Lord had been taken to the cross by the Roman's, outside the camp, if you will, so it was with the bull. We have quoted Heb. 13:11–13 several times with regards to this.
Then he approached with the ram of the burnt offering and Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the ram. [Lev. 8:18]
This indicates their identification with the ram, who took upon itself the penalty for their sins. The sins of Aaron and his sons are transferred to the ram by this act of laying on of hands.
And he slaughtered it and Moses threw the blood upon the altar round about. [Lev. 8:19]
All things are cleansed and sanctified by blood.
And when the ram was cut into pieces, Moses burned the head and the pieces and the fat. [Lev. 8:20]
The burning speaks of the everlasting judgement and the smoke which rises is what satisfies God the Father and causes Him to withhold our deserved judgement.
And when the entrails and the legs were washed with water, Moses burned the whole ram on the altar as a burnt offering, a tranquilizing scent, a fire-offering to Yahweh, as Yahweh had commanded Moses. [Lev. 8:21]
The entrails and the legs speak of the putrification by association with the devil's world and these things must be cleansed in order for them to be offered upon the altar. Our Lord was perfect in His humanity in going to the cross. This perfection is continually noted in the Penteteuch.
Then he approach with the other ram, the ram of installments [or, settings], and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the ram. [Lev. 8:22]
Unfortuantely the words consecration, ordination and installation are thrown about in the KJV Bible almost as synonyms; they are related words, but let's concentrate on the one at hand. Millû’ (א ֻ ̣מ ) [pronounced mil-LOO] is only found in a few passages, is only found in the plural and it has some very telling cognates. The setting of a jewel is the same word with an ah ending (Ex. 28:17, 20 39:12). It is also closely related to the verb for fill and the noun for fullness or that which fills. With this knowledge alone, I would be tempted to render this the fulfillment-setting [of the office of priesthood]. We first find this word in Ex. 25:7 for stones of the settings of the ephod (see also Ex. 35:9, 27 1Chron. 29:2). Then this word is found used in precisely the way as it is here in Ex. 29:22, 26, 27, 31, 34 Lev. 7:37 8:28, 29, 31, 33. I am a little confused; millû is found listed with the several groups of offerings in Lev. 7:37, although it is not alluded to elsewhere prior to Lev. 7. However, most of Lev. 8 speaks of this ceremony. A reaonsable one-word translation would be installation(s), installment(s), as we are speaking of the installment of Aaron and his sons into the priesthood.
And he slaughtered it and Moses took some of its blood and put it on the tip of Aaron's right ear and on the thumb of his right hand and on the great toe of his right foot. [Lev. 8:23]
The blood of Jesus Christ separates Aaron from the world. For dogs have surrounded me; a band of evildoers has encompassed Me; they pierced my hands and my feet (Psalm 22:16).
And Aaron's son were brought and Moses put some of the blood on the tips of their right ears and on the thumbs of their right hands and on the great toes of their right feet; and Moses threw the blood upon the altar round about. [Lev. 8:24]
And they dressed Him [Jesus] up in purple, and, after weaving a crown of thorns, they put it on Him...and they kept beating His head with a reed...The other disciples were saying to him [after the resurrection], "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails and place my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not ever believe." (Mark 15:17, 19a John 20:25). When our Lord was crucified, almost 1500 years after Moses wrote these words, that we realize the significance of the blood on the head, the feet and the hands.
J. Vernon McGee gives a slightly different slant on this passage. The blood-tipped ear symbolizes the ear that will hear the voice of God. Without that, friend, you are not ginng to hear Him. The natural man does not receive the things of Christ. The blood-tipped hand was essential for service. It is impossible ro serve the Lord before one is saved. The blood-tipped foot was essential for the walk before God. All of this is symbolic of the fact that the total personality must be presented to God .
In case you are concerned seeing two very different takes on this passage, many of the prohehcies of the Bible have a near and a far fulfillment (e.g., Lev. 23); that is, they are fulfilled twice. Many passages can have several, non-contradictory interpretations, such as this one.
Then he took the fat and the fat tail and all the fat that was on the entrails and the appendage of the liver and the two kidneys with their fat and the right thigh; [Lev. 8:25]
These are the items which will be burned upon the altar.
And out of the basket of unleavened bread, which was before Yahweh, he took one unleavend cake and one cake of bread with oil and one wafer and placed [them] on the fat and on the right thigh; [Lev. 8:26]
The unleavened bread speaks of the perfection of Jesus Christ in His humanity.
And he placed all these in the hands of Aaron and in the hands of his sons and he waved them as a wave offering before Yahweh. [Lev. 8:27]
Waving these things before Yahweh is a very visual demonstration of believing in the God that they cannot see.
Then Moses took them from their hands and burned [these items] on the altar with the burnt offering as an installation offering, a tranquilizing scent, a fire-offering to Yahweh. [Lev. 8:28]
It is through the death of Jesus Christ that these men are set apart to offer their services to Yahweh.
And Moses took the breast and waved it for a wave offering before Yahweh out from the portion of the ram of installation regarding Moses; it was for a portion as Yahweh commanded Moses. [Lev. 8:29]
Moses was the person that God set in charge of the installation of Aaron and his sons to the priesthood.
Then Moses took some of [lit., out of] the anointing oil and out of the blood which was on the altar and sprinkled it upon Aaron and upon his garments and also upon his sons and his sons' garments with him. He set apart [or, consecrated] Aaron and his garments and his sons and his sons' garments with him. [Lev. 8:30]
It is with the blood of the cross and the power of the Holy Spirit that these were set apart for the service of Yahweh.
Moses Commands the Sons of Aaron
Now what Moses will do is speak to the sons of Aaron and to Aaron in the sight of all the congregation as a matter of ceremony, telling them all what is occurring and where Aaron and his sons will be for the next week.
And Moses said to Aaron and hs sons, "Boil the flesh at the door of the tent of meeting and there eat it and the bread that is in the basket of the installation offerings, as I have been commanded, saying, 'Aaron and his sons will eat it.' [Lev. 8:31]
Eating the flesh and the bread are signs of appropriation of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. This last quote is from Ex. 29:32.
"And what remains of the flesh and the bread you will burn with fire. [Lev. 8:32]
Jesus was judged wholly for our sins.
"And out from the door of the tent of meeting you will not go out for seven days until the day of the completion of the days of your installation; for he will complete [or, ordain; lit., fill your hands] you in seven days. [Lev. 8:33]
As you will recall, seven is the number of perfection and completion. After seven days, the sons of Aaron and Aaron will be ordained as priests unto Yahweh. Recall that the verb cognation of the word for installation is mâlê’ (א ֵל ָמ ) [pronounced maw-LAY] and it is the simple word for fill; as in the earth being filled with violence (Gen. 6:13) or filled with glory, mercy, goodness, knowledge (Psalm 33:5 119:64 Isa. 11:9) or to fill the earth with a population of something (Gen. 1:22, 28 2:1); to fill with anything(2Kings 4:6 2Chron. 7:1 Isa. 21:3), days or years have been fulfilled, accomplished, filled [with living] (Gen. 25:24 Lev. 25:30), or, fulfilled, in terms of completing, finishing with regards to time (Lev. 8:33 12:4 Esther 1:5 Jer. 25:12). This is the amount of time that Yahweh required for the completion and the fulfillment of their ceremonial induction into the priesthood.
"Yahweh has commanded to do as it has been done today, with regards to covering over you [or, making propitiation for you]. [Lev. 8:34]
Moses confirms to them that this ceremony is in accordance with the mandates of their Lord.
"You will remain at the door of the tent of meeting day and night for seven days observing [and obeying] what Yahweh has commanded you to observe and you will not do for I was so commanded." [Lev. 8:35]
We find an oft used verb from the Hebrew: shâmar (ר ַמ ָש ) [pronounced shaw-MAR] and it means keep, guard, watch, preserve. It is used for observing or keeping Yahweh's commandments in Ex. 15:26 Deut. 5:29 Psalm 119:55. It is used for observing certain days as required by Yahweh in Ex. 12:17 23:15. It means to know the law, the precepts, the Word of God, to observe it and to obey it and to guard it. This word occurs approximately 500 times in the Old Testament. As each of the Levitical priests were in special service to Yahweh on behalf of the people of Israel, we in the church age are all in special service to God. We all possess specific spiritual gifts, are possessors of the Holy Spirit and God has a specific, unique plan for each of our lives. He are to obey God, to execute His plan. His mandates are not burdensome. Our greatest human happiness will be found in service to Him rather than pursuing the pleasures of life for a season.
And Aaron and his sons did all the things which Yahweh commanded [them] by the hand of Moses. [Lev. 8:36]
Throughout the end of Exodus and in Leviticus, it seems as though everything is on the right track. God sets up certain decrees and the Jews are obeying these decrees.
Outline of Chapter 9:
Vv. 1–7 Moses gives the final directions for the initial sacrifices
Vv. 8–14 Aaron's offering for himself
Vv. 15–22 Aaron's offering for the people
Vv. 23–24 The glory of Yahweh
Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines:
Moses Gives the Final Directions for the Initial Sacrifices
On the eighth day, Moses called Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel. [Lev. 9:1]
Aaron and his sons have been in the tent of meeting all of this time. They have been set apart for their service to Yahweh.
And he said to Aaron, "Take a bull calf for a sin [-offering] and a ram for a burnt offering—without blemish—and approach with them before Yahweh. [Lev. 9:2]
Here, the word sin means sin-offering because of its context and the parallelism between the animal and the purpose, the animal and the purpose. However, it is not preceeded by a defininte article here. Once these animals are gotten, then are to come before Yahweh.
"And speak to the people [lit., sons] of Israel, saying, 'Take a male goat for a sin [-offering] and a calf and a lamb without blemish for a burnt offering; [Lev. 9:3]
Again, the parallelism indicates that the male goat is a sin-offering.
"And an ox and a ram for peace offerings to sacrifice before Yahweh and a tribute mixed with oil; for today, Yahweh will appear to you.'" [Lev. 9:4]
The initiation of the Aaronic priesthood is a momentous ocassion in the spiritual life of Israel, seting up an institution which would legitimately last for another 1500 years (and still hang on beyond its time even till today in some religions).
And they took what Moses had commanded to the tent of meeting and all the congregation approached and stood before Yehowah. [Lev. 9:5]
Here, the word for approach is correctly translated in most Bibles. So we have had the ceremony of Lev. 8 and this is the culmination of this ceremony. It is possible that many of the people went throughout their week and gave little thought to Aaron and his sons; however, they were in the tent of meeting for seven days, so they thought about this every day.
And Moses said, "This is the word which Yahweh commanded you to do and it will appear to you—the glory of Yahweh." [Lev. 9:6]
Although this is not stated as such, this is not unlike a conditional statement—the Jews were to obey and Yahweh would appear to them. Since they had obeyed, then it did not have to be stated in just that way.
Then Moses said to Aaron, "Draw near [or, approach] to the altar and offer your sin [-offering] and your burnt offering and make a covering [or, atonement] on behalf of yourself and on behalf of the people; and bring the offering of the people and make a covering [or, an atonement] on behalf of them, as Yahweh had commanded." [Lev. 9:7]
We have hear a preposition which is found thrice in this verse; therefore I would like to cover in some detail. Ba׳ad (ד ַע ַ ) [pronounced BAH-ģad] is one of those rare prepositions which does not take up five pages in BDB. In fact, it is explained in less than a full page. With a genitive, it generally connotes separation and is translated from, behind, about, away from; however, it can also mean through (as in through a window) and on behalf of, as we find it used here. Strong's #1157 (#5704 with מ ) BDB #126.
Aaron's Offering for Himself
So Aaron approached in the direction of the altar [or, drew near to the altar] and slaughtered the calf of the sin [-offering], which was for himself. [Lev. 9:8]
Jesus Christ is the high priest of our profession and He does not have to offer an animal for Himself. Therefore, his counterpart does not require a priest to run interference between himself and Yahweh. However, Aaron did possess an old sin nature and had committed personal sins, therefore he was required to be cleansed. However, he is one of the few people who would make an offering for himself. Aaron had to make an offering on behalf of himself because every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. He can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weaknesses; furthermore, because of that, his is obligated to offer [sacrifices] for sins, as for the people, so also for himself (Heb. 5:1–3).
And the sons of Aaron approached with the blood and he dipped his finger in the blood and put it on the protrusions of the altar and he poured out the blood at the base of the altar. [Lev. 9:9]
There is no preposition for with in this verse; however, the verb approach usually implies such a preposition. When we are saved, our Lord applies His blood to us; that it, His spiritual death is applied to us for our salvation. It is His death which saves us; without His spiritual death on the cross, taking upon Himself the judgement for our sins, there is no salvation.
But the fat and the kidneys and the appendage of the liver from the sin [-offering], he burned upon the altar, as Yahweh had commanded Moses. [Lev. 9:10]
The burning is the judgement of God.
But the flesh and the skin he burned with fire outside the camp. [Lev. 9:11]
Just as our Lord was crucified outside the camp; outside the gate of the city. Notice that these images are repeated hundreds of times every year for the Jews.
And he killed the burnt offering and Aaron's sons delivered to him the blood and he threw it on the altar round about. [Lev. 9:12]
This is the ram—the burnt offering—which we are speaking of now. In vv. 8–11, it was the sin-offering, the calf. Both of these offerings were on behalf of Aaron (v. 2).
And they delivered the burn offering to him, in regards to its pieces, along with [lit., and] the head; and he burned them upon the altar. [Lev. 9:13]
As we saw, the animal had to be cut up in order to lift it up and place it upon the altar.
And he washed the entrails and the legs and burned them with the burnt offering on the altar. [Lev. 9:14]
The entrails and the legs are unclean; the entrails for obvious reasons and the legs are in contact with the earth, making them unclean. What is offered on the altar on behalf of the sins of the people must be clean.
Aaron's Offering for the People
Then he approached with the people's offering and took the goat of the sin [-offering], which was for the people, and killed it and offered it for sin like the first sin offering. [Lev. 9:15]
Aaron will also offer an several animals on behalf of the people of Israel. Just in order to use the tabernacle in worship, to be able to bring offerings to God, the people had to be thoroughly cleansed with the blood of several animal sacrifices. Aaron was a type of Christ, as we read, He had to be made like His brothers in all things, that He might become a mericiful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, tro make a covering [or, propititation] for the sins of the people (Heb. 2:18). And, we are fortunate to have a greater HIgh Priest: For it was fitting that we should have suhc a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavenlies, Who does not need dialy, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins, and then for [the sins] of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the Law appoints men as high priest who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, a Son, made perfect forever (Heb. 7:26–28).
And he approached with the burnt offering and made it according to judgement of God. [Lev. 9:16]
The burnt offering is the calf and the lamb. When it reads he made it, Aaron prepared the offering and placed it on the altar as per the instructions of Yahweh. Never forget, in the examination of this portion of God's Word that: Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins (Heb. 10:11).
And he aproached with the tribute offering and filled his hand [lit. palm] from it and burned it upon the altar besides [or, apart from] the burnt offering of the morning. [Lev. 9:17]
The wording here (particularly the two prepsositions and substantive, which becomes a preposotion, and are all translated by the word besides) it somewhat confusing. It sounds as though the tribute offering is made separate from the burnt offering and, at the same time, with the burnt offering. Besides which, flour is not going to burnt on the altar without something else being there. I believe what is being conveyed here is the tribute offering on behalf of the people was offered appart from the tribute offering which was offered with the evening and morning burnt offerings.
I don't know if this is related to the phrase fill the hand, which was continually mistranslated installation. Here it means that this is all that Aaron can hold in his palm. In any case, this one phrase herein used is not properly the installation of Aaron; here it simply refers to carrying the tribute offering in his hand.
He killed the ox and the ram, the sacrifice of peace offerings for the people and Aaron's sons delivered the blood to him, which he threw upon the altar round about. [Lev. 9:18]
These two offerings were mentioned prior to the tribute offering in v. 4.
And the fat of the ox and of the ram, the fat tail and the fat-covering and the kidneys and the appendage of the liver; [Lev. 9:19]
I don't have a clue as to why those who separated the Bible into verses chose to let this phrase stand alone.
And they placed the fat upon the breasts and he burned the fat upon the altar. [Lev. 9:20]
These portions of fat refer to the items from v. 19. The word for breast here, incidentally, is used only of animals in the Old Testament.
But the breasts and the right thigh, Aaron had waved for a wave offering before Yahweh, as Moses commanded. [Lev. 9:21]
This waving in front of Yahweh is a sign to the angels of the belief of the Israelites in what they do not see.
Then Aaron lifted up his hand(s) toward the people and blessed them and he came down from offering the sin offering and the burnt offering and the peace offerings. [Lev. 9:22]
In the Massoretic Text, it reads then Aaron lifted up his hand. However, when this is read, the plural, hands, is read.
One of the blessings of Aaron is found in Num. 6:24–26: "May Yahweh bless you and keep you; May Yahweh make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; May Yahweh left up His countenance on you and give you peace." Paul often blessed those that he wrote to at the end of the epistle (I Cor. 16:23 II Cor. 13:14 Gal. 6:18 Eph. 6:23–24).
This helps us to understand the brazen altar. This descent indicates that Aaron was on a platform or a walkway around the brazen altar, since it was four and a half feet high.
The Glory of Yahweh
And Moses and Aaron went into the tent of meeting and when they came out, the blessed the people and the glory of Yahweh appeared to all the people. [Lev. 9:23]
This was promised to them in v. 6. The description of what it means to see the glory of Yahweh is given in the last verse of this chaper:
And fire came forth from before Yahweh and it consumed the burnt offering upon the altar and the fat and when it was seen, all the people shouted and fell on their faces. [Lev. 9:24]
So we have the ox and the ram upon the altar, and God consumes them both with a burst of fire. Very likely, this was simply lightning from a cloudless sky, designed by God which consumed the sacrifices without harming the altar. A similar manifestation of the glory of God occurred in 1Kings 18:30–39, when Elijah was vindicated by the glory of God consuming the sacrifice that he had laid out for Yahweh.
This, compared to Ex. 40:34–35 indicates to us that to the Israelites, the glory of Yawheh was a sensory supernatural manifestation of his power. That is, something incredible that they would witness, and hear and even smell. We find similar manifestations in 1Kings 18:30–39 (just mentioned) and 2Chron. 7:1.
Outline of Chapter 10:
Vv. 1–3 Nadab and Abihu both die the sin unto death
Vv. 4–7 Moses instructs Aaron concerning this incident
Vv. 8–15 Yahweh speaks directly to Aaron
Vv. 16–20 Moses and Aaron speak
Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines:
Introduction: There is a right way of doing things and a wrong; God has prescribed exactly how He will present the gospel to the unbeliever and there will be no other way. There are times when religious intolerance is God's will. We saw such a thing when God did not have respect for the offering of Cain in Gen. 4. Cain brought Yahweh the efforts of his hard work and God rejected it. We will see here where the two eldest sons of Aaron will bring an unauthorized offering to God. There are things that an individual believer can do and things that they cannot. For instance, it was legitimate for Solomon to build a temple for Yahweh since the Jews were no longer wanderers but they lived in the promised land at its relative height during ancient times. However, God had just set up a list of specific sacrifices and offerings which were to be presented to God and two of Aaron's sons ignore this entirely and improvise. In their particular state, this was tantamount to rejecting God's Word and believing that their word was superior to Yahweh's. For this, they died the sin unto death. Even Aaron did not realize fully what tremendous responsibility they had taken upon themselves as priests to Yahweh.
Nadab and Abihu Both Die the Sin unto Death
Now the sons of Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, took his censer and put in them fire and laid incense upon them and approached [with it] before Yahweh—strange [or unfamiliar] fire which he had not commanded them. [Lev. 10:1]
Although the literal translation of the Hebrew of the last few words does not sound very strong (which He had not commanded them), this is the use of antenantiosis [pronounced ANT-en-an-ti-O-sis], which uses a negative for great emphasis. Bullinger gives the example I praise you not meaning that the person is held in derision; here, when Moses records that this was incense not commanded by God; it was, as a matter of fact, strictly prohibited (Ex. 30:9).
A censor is simply the container which is used to carry fire and possibly incense. The descriptor of the fire is the word zûwr (רז) [pronounced zoor] and this is a verb, used rarely so in seven instances, and primarily as an adjective as a verb in the Qal participle form. We have seen this word but three time prior to this passage: Ex. 29:33 30:9, 33. In two of these passages, it refers to a stranger someone with whom no one is completely familiar. However, Ex. 30:9 reads: "You will not offer any strange incense on this altar, or burnt offering or tribute; and you will not pour out a libation upon it." Strong's #2114 BDB #266.
The religion prescribed by Yahweh was not one of do whatever feels right. There were specific boundaries and limits and strange incense here is that which has not been specifically prescribed by Yahweh. This is an incense or a fire with which Yahweh is not familiar (I am speaking in an anthropological sense); that is, it is not what Yahweh has delineated in His laws to be used. If they believed God's Word, this is the last thing that these two men should have done, having already seen God destroy a large number of Israelites who worshipped a golden calf. Many times throughout Scripture, the burning of the sacrifice is said to be a sweet aroma to God. Nadab and Abihu took it upon themselves to add a little incense to the mix so that the aroma would smell sweet to them as well. What they had done was added works to grace. The animal sacrifices were God’s grace. They brought unblemished animals to God and sacrificed them, and the animals took upon them the sins of Nadab and Abihu (or of the people for whom Nadab and Abihu offered the sacrifice). When they added their incense, this was like adding works to grace—no one is saved by adding their works to grace. In doing this, Nadab and Abihu distorted the message of grace.
Just as God had no regard for the offering of produce by Cain, God does not honor those who come before Him with their own works. They were offering to God that which represented their works, their methods, their personal sacrifice. Those who come to God with their own works will spend all of eternity in the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:11–15). Their deaths illustrate the great error of coming before God according to your own works, your own religion, with your own sacrifice, and your own incense. These things are unclean, they are abominable to God.
Furthermore, our works following salvation must be within God's will. We are to be filled with the Spirit at all times. The Amplified Bible gives the example: And that does not mean first making an unholy alliance in marriage, or in business, or in thought, and then adjusting it to God's will. All of our works should be offered while filled with the Spirit, so that they are not burned up at the judgement seat of Christ (I Cor. 3:11–15).
So Nadab and Abihu represent to us the destruction of the unbeliever who approaches God with his own works rather than with the finished work of Jesus Christ; and they represent the works that we as believers might bring to the judgment seat of Christ—works not done in the Spirit and works that will be burned—consumed, if you will—yet we will be preserved, so as through fire. God's plan incorporates all that is in the world and produces from it good. Even their sin produces for us an illustration by which we are instructed. Even when Satan entered into Judas Iscariot and set the wheels in motion for our Lord to be taken to the cross, he (Satan) had no idea that this would result in the eternal salvation of all who believed.
One is caused to recall a similar incident which took place in the book of Acts (specifically, Acts 5:1–11) when Ananias and Sapphira instantly suffered the sin unto death when they lied to the Holy Spirit. As Zodhiates put it, this had a beneficial sobering effect upon all who heard about it. As a teacher, I have found myself in a position, particularly with a new group of students where I must make an example of one and come down hard on that one in order to preserve class order. When God is founding a new beginning in His plan—as He was with the Law and the nation Israel and as He was with the local church at the beginning of the church age—He had to be swift and severe.
Now, you may think that God’s punishment was rather harsh. After all, all they did was toss in some incense into their fire pans in order to make the smoke sweeter (in their opinion) to God. There is nothing more important for the unbeliever to realize than the fact that his works mean nothing to God; the only thing that gains them access to God is the work of Christ. They stand 100% upon His work and 0% on their own works. When it comes to salvation, you do not bring to God your good intentions, your vows, your sad regret of the sins your have done, baptism, or anything else. You bring to God the finished work of Jesus Christ and nothing else. You don’t add even the smallest amount of incense to His sacrifice. Every evangelist and every teacher who implies or outright teaches some system of works to be added to God’s grace is a blasphemer. Had this been done earlier in the Church Age, they would have been struck instantly dead as well.
Now, some suggest the possibility that they approached Yahweh in a state of drunkenness. This can be possibly inferred by v. 9; v. 10 tells us that the priests were not to confuse the holy with the profane, which is something that they obviously did. However, this is not emphasized in this passage as a whole, so, even though drunkenness is certainly forbidden in tabernacle service, that is not the point of this passage. Furthermore, it’s not much good to give the command after the incident. It’s like God saying, “Oh yeah, I forgot; I don’t like this either, and so I took out your two sons for doing it earlier this afternoon.”
And fire came forth from the presence [lit., face] of Yahweh and devoured them and they died before Yahweh. [Lev. 10:2]
Devoured is a word for eat; however, when used of fire, it means to consume, to devour, to destroy (and it can be used that way apart from the subject fire). Died is in the Qal imperfect, meaning that this action is viewed a process and not as a completed act. They did not die instantly; they had time to think about what it was that they had done.
These men received a great deal of notoriety from God's Word and are mentioned on several ocassions, including Ex. 24:1, 9 28:1 Num. 3:2–4 26:60–61 1Chron. 6:3 24:1–2, usually as the two who died before Yahweh, not having any sons. Their sin is used to instruct us.
Then Moses said to Aaron, "This is what Yahweh has spoken, saying, 'Among those who come near Me, I am holy and before all the people I will be honored [or, glorified].'" and Aaron remained silent. [Lev. 10:3]
We have several translations of the last portion of this verse:
The Amplified Bible ...and before all the people I will be honored. And Aaron said nothing.
The Emphasized Bible And before the faces of all the people must I get myself honour,—And Aaron was dumb.
KJV ...and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace.
NASB " '...And before all the people I will be honored.' " So Aaron, therefore, kept silent.
NIV " '...in the sight of all the people I will be honored.' " Aaron remained silent.
Young's Lit. Translation '...and in the face of all the people I am honoured;' and Aaron is silent.
At the end of Lev. 9, we had the word glory used to describe a phenomenal occurrence in the presence of the people of Israel. This is the word kâbvôwd (דב ָ) [pronounced kawb-VODE] and it refers to glory, abundance, or honor. The verb here is its cognate, the 1st person, Niphal imperfect of kâbvêd (ד ֵב ָ) [pronounced kawb-VADE] and this means honor, glorify, be heavy, weighty, burdensome. Strong's #3513 BDB #457.
The final verb in this verse is the Qal imperfect of dâmam (ם ַמ ָ) [pronounced daw-MAHM] and it means be still, silent, cease, cut off. These are Aaron's sons, his first and second-born and certainly he is none to happy concerning the event which just transpired. However, he takes it in silence. Aaron certainly made some mistakes and was not the great man that Moses was, but he was light years of almost everyone else in that camp.
Moses Instructs Aaron Concerning this Incident
And Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of Uzziel, the uncle of Aaron and said to them, "Approach; carry your brothers out from before the sanctuary and in the direction of out of the camp." [Lev. 10:4]
Aaron is still going to be in some shock and choosing the other brothers would not have been the right thing to do; they were already shocked enough by what happened. Moses presses some other relatives into service to remove the bodies. The word for approach is the one which is too often rendered offering.
So they approached and carried them in their coats in the direction of out of the camp, as Moses had said. [Lev. 10:5]
This was a stubborn generation of Jews and God was required to take firm, if not drastic measures, in order to properly evangelize their descendants for the next 1400 years. It would be nice if God could have slapped some hands here and allowed the two brothers to live, but that would have only opened the doors to great apostasy and disobedience. This generation of Jews required a tight reign on them and they would not have responded to anything less. God had to work with this faithless generation and (1) plant the seed of the nation Israel; (2) organize the feast days; (3) establish the proper sacrifices; (4) set up the tabernacle and design proper tabernacle worship; and, (4) to move toward Canaan, to conquer the land.
And Moses said to Aaron and to Eleazar and Ithamar, his sons, "The hair of your heads do not let hang loose; and do not rend your clothes, so that you don't die and so that your wrath [i.e., the wrath that they would deserve] does not come upon all the congregation. But your brothers, the whole house of Israel, may bewail the burning which Yahweh has burned. [Lev. 10:6]
In most cases, it would be customary for the family of the deceased to go into deep mourning over their deaths. However, Aaron's sons were given tremendous responsibility in their position and in their service to Yahweh, and not only did they take this responsibility lightly, they outright disobeyed a specific ordinance of Yahweh from the outset as their first act following ordination. This indicates that they had absolutely no respect for God's Word and in the position they were in, they received immediate punishment for their sin. We are all exceedingly lucky that our punishment is not as swift and severe as was theirs. The congregation, however, was allowed to mourn their deaths. Aaron and his family could not because they held the same responsibilities as did Nadab and Abihu and mourning for them would be tantamount to sympathy for the mistake that they had made rather than recognizing it as a flagrant disregard for Yahweh's commandments. However, the congregation was allowed to mourn their deaths, keeping in the back of their minds that the same could happen to them.
Yahweh Speaks Directly to Aaron
"And from the door of the tent of meeting, do not go out, so that you don't die for the oil of the anointing of Yahweh is upon you." And they did according to the word of Moses. [Lev. 10:7]
This oil is the Holy Spirit; and you will notice that they obey God's Word as given through Moses explicitly. They were told not to go out; i.e., to join the other mourners; with their office came great responsibility. These were the men who would evangelize Israel and the rest of the world for the next 1400 years. It is a responsibility not to be taken lightly.
And Yahweh spoke to Aaron, saying, [Lev. 10:8]
This is a real rarity; God thus far has spoken primarily to Moses and Aaron was only included on the insistence of Moses.
"Do not drink wine nor strong drink; [not] you nor your sons with you when you go into the tent of meeting, so that you do not die—[this is] a statute forever throughout your generations. [Lev. 10:9]
In this brief conversation with Aaron, God gives him specific laws and commandments directly pertaining to his office as high priest and to the office of priesthood held by his sons.
"You are to distinguish between the holy and the common; and between the unclean and the clean. [Lev. 10:10]
In God's laws, there is a right way of doing things and a wrong. The Lord Jesus had to go to the cross absolutely holy and absolutely clean; He had to be without spot and without blemish. This was the only way He could pay the penalty for our sins. "Her priests have done violence to My Law and have profaned My holy things; they have made no distinction between the holy and the profane, and they have not taught the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they hide their eyes from my Sabbaths, and I am profaned among them." (Ezek. 22:26). "Moreover, they [the priests] will teach between the holy and the profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean." (Ezek. 44:23).
"And you are to teach the people of Israel all the statutes which Yahweh has spoke to them by the hand of Moses." [Lev. 10:11]
Not only did the priests represent man to Yahweh, but they also presented God's Word to the people. With this kind of responsibility, it would have been meaningless to have God's Word presented by two who immediately disobeyed it. This is why certain televangelists and the like are put under such scrutiny. They might do things which we would excuse in our friends and even in our mates; however, as representatives of God, they are to be free of any tinge of wrongdoing. God recognized the impact of sin in the life of one who represents God.
Several translations do an injustice to that last phrase; NASB: ...the Lord has spoken to them through Moses. The Amplified Bible: ...The Lord has spoken to them by Moses. See also the NRSV. Yahweh spoke to them by the hand of Moses; Moses wrote these laws down as God spoke to him. There are times you wonder what was so difficult about a literal rendering here? It should have at least been specified in a footnote.
And Moses said to Aaron, and to Eleazar and to Ithamar, his sons who were left, "Take the tribute [-offering] that remains of the offerings by fire to Yahweh and eat it unleavened beside the altar, for it is most holy." [Lev. 10:12]
Not only were the family of the deceased to not mourn, they were to partake in the portion of the offering which pays tribute to God; which shows respect to Yahweh. There will be times that those close to us will be taken out in the sin unto death and that those close to us will be disciplined; and some will suffer as part of God's plan, apart from any wrongdoing on their part. We must never become bitter because of what we go through or what any loved one must endure. By eating a portion of the tribute offering, Aaron and his sons are paying tribute of Yahweh.
"You will eat it in a holy place because it is your due [lit., statute] and your sons' due [lit., statute] from the offering by fire to Yahweh; for so I am commanded. [Lev. 10:13]
We have several words translated laws, ordinances, commandments, statutes. In order to get a grasp of these wrods, we need to examine the Doctrine of the Word for Law, Commandments, Judgements, Statutes, Ordinances (NOT FINISHED YET!!) The word found here is chôq (קֹח) [pronounced khoke] and it is generally translated statutes and not really distinguished from the feminine form of the same word, which is chuqqâh (ה ָ ֻח) [pronounced khoo-KAWH]. However, I would think that there would be a difference between the two words. Both are related to the verb châqâh (ה ָק ָח) [pronounced khaw-KAWH], which is translated carve, cut; and both have the verb cognate châqaq (ק ַק ָח) [pronounced khaw-KAK], which means to cut in, to decree, to inscribe. Obviously, we will need to spend more time with all of these words. The word translated due is the word usually translated statute (this is also translated portion).
Moses is causing the family of Aaron to refocus upon Yahweh and His perfect justice to try to ward off the bitterness which would be natural in most people. Fire-offering is not a particular offering, but it is whatever has been placed on the brazen altar. Lev. 6:16 tells us that a portion of this tribute would be for Aaron and his sons to eat.
"However, the breast that is waved, you will eat in any clean place, you and your sons and your daughters with you, because [it is] your due and your sons due; they are given [to you] from the sacrifices of the peace offerings of the people of Israel. [Lev. 10:14]
The breast as being the portion for Aaron and his sons was previously mentioned Lev. 7:31, 34. However, this is the first place where the daughters are mentioned as having a portion of this. Obviously, it is possible that anyone in the family could feel bitterness toward Yahweh because of this incident, and we are warned in the New Testament: See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness spring up causes trouble, and by means of it, many are defiled (Heb. 12:15). What the entire family would partake in is a peace offering, which speaks primarily of peace between themselves and God. Yahweh is not in any way soliciting their forgiveness; members of their family given great responsibility have transgressed His Law; He is making it clear that there is peace between Himself and the family of Aaron, that none of them need fear for their lives and that the transgression of Nadab and Abihu would not be imputed to anyone else.
"The thigh that is offered and the breast that is waved with the fire-offerings of fat before Yahweh; it is yours and your sons with you as a portion [lit., statute] of forever, as Yahweh has commanded." [Lev. 10:15]
The peace offerings belong to the priesthood. It is the priests who symbolize peace between Yahweh and man as they stand between Yahweh and man offerings sacrifices on behalf of themselves and the people of Israel. These sacrifices are not performed to placate God but rather to teach the gospel.
Moses and Aaron Speak
Now, Moses diligently inquired concerning the goat of the sin offering, and he saw [lit., behold] it was burned and he was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, the sons of Aaron who remained, saying, [Lev. 10:16]
The person offering the sin offering was to eat it (Lev. 6:25–26). This is a recognition of unknown sin in the life of the participants and the priest ate it as a sign of faith in his forgiveness. The goat is related to the scapegoat which takes upon itself the iniquity or guilt of the congregation. A priest will eat this goat to show his close association with the goat, all of which illustrates our Lord being the scapegoat for our sins and making atonement on our behalf. Another severe act of disobedience could mean the end of Aaron's family.
"Why have you not eaten the sin offering in the place of the sanctuary since it is a holy of holies and has been given to you that you may bear the iniquity of the congregation to make a covering [or, atonement] for them before Yahweh? [Lev. 10:17]
All of the symbology had to ring true. The priest represented Yahweh, Who would die for the sins of the world. The goat represented Yahweh as the scapegoat for the sins of the congregation. The priest had to partake of this goat to be identified with the goat offered for the sins of the congregation.
"Look [lit., behold], its blood was not brought into the sanctuary towards the inside; you certainly should have eaten it [lit., in eating, you eat] in the sanctuary, as I had commanded." [Lev. 10:18]
If the blood was taken into the tabernacle, then the sin offering was not to be eaten (Lev. 6:30); and if it had not, then it was to have been eaten (Lev. 6:29). Moses is quite concerned about the proper proceedure, realizing the dire consequences. He held Aaron responsible here and goes directly to Aaron concerning this matter.
Aaron's response to this would be of utmost importance, as two of his sons have just died the sin unto death for disobeying Yahweh. So let's examine a few of the translations below of what Aaron said to Moses:
The Amplified Bible Behold, this very day in which they have [obediently] offered their sin offering and their burnt offering before the Lord, such [terrible calamities] have befallen me [and them]! If I [and they] had eaten the most holy sin offering today [humbled as we have been by the sin of our kinsmen and God's judgement upon them], would it have been acceptable in the sight of the Lord?
The Emphasized Bible Lo! this very day when they had brought near their own sin-bearer, and their own ascending-sacrifice there befell me such things as these,—if then I had eaten of the sin-bearer this day would it have been well-pleasing i the eyes of Yahweh?
KJV Behold, this day they have offered their sin offering and their burnt offering before the Lord; and such things have befallen me: and if I had eaten the sin offering today, should it have been accepted in the sight of the Lord?
NASB "Behold, this very day they presented their sin offering and their burnt offering before the Lord. When things like these happened to me, if I had eaten a sin offering today, would it have been good in the sight of the Lord?"
NIV "Today they sacrificed their sin offering and their burnt offering before the Lord, but such things as this have happened to me. Would the Lord have been pleased if I had eaten the sin offering today?"
NRSV "See, today they offered their sin offering and their burnt offering before the Lord; and yet such things as these have befallen me! If I had eaten the sin offering today, would it have been agreeable to the Lord?"
Young's Lit. Translation 'Lo, to-day they have brought near their sin-offering and their burnt-offering before Jehovah; the things like these meet me, yet I have eaten a sin-offering today; is it good in the eyes of Jehovah?'
This is obviously a difficult verse to render literally and to make sense from; so we will attend to the exegesis first, and then give a rendition and its interpretation:
The initial word, translated behold, lo, or see is a means of grabbing Moses attention and asking him to listen carefully to what will be said. The word for day (yom) is preceded by a definite article, means this day, today. The word for offer should really be approach with (as it was so translated in this chapter in vv. 4–5). Approach is in the Hiphil perfect, which is completed causative action. All the sons of Aaron were caused to approach by obeying God's Word in this offering. As we have seen, there is no word for sin-offering or for sin-bearer; that this must be clearly inferred by the context.
Yahweh is preceded by the prefixed preposition lâmed, which means to, for and direction is inferred. This preposition describes the direction of their approach. They are coming before God with their sacrifices. What we don't see in the English is that there is a play on words here. The waw consecutive (which is reasonably translated yet in these circumstances followed by the 3rd person, feminine plural, Qal imperfect of qâra (א ָר ָק) [pronounced qaw-RAW], which means to befall, to come upon, to come out against. Qârav means to approach in a positive sense and qârâ’ means to have been overtaken or approached in a negative way. Translated this word as being approached is a bit of a fudge when it comes to general consistently, but it gets across the word play used here. The subject of that sentence is the word êlleh (ה ∵ ֵא) [pronounced EEHL-leh] and it means these, these things. The bêyth preposition indicates proximity. These things have befallen Aaron in his proximity.
We then have the simple word for eaten in the 1st person singular, Qal perfect, preceded by the waw conjunction, meaning had I eaten the sin [-offering] this day... This is followed by the ha (ַה) [pronounced hah] interrogative, which is used in a rhetorical question, expecting a negative answer. In the translation I have given the literal along with the grammatical interpretation of this word ha which expects a negative answer. What the negative answer is expected to the verb in the 3rd masculine singular, Qal imperfect of yâţab (ב ַט ָי) [pronounced yaw-TAB] and it means to make right, to make well, to be pleasing, to be good.
And Aaron said to Moses, "See [lit., behold], this day they have [been caused to] approach(ed) [with] their sin [-offering] and their burnt offering before Yahweh; but yet these things have befallen [approached] me. Had I eaten the sin [-offering] today it [certainly] would [not] have been acceptable in the sight of Yahweh, [would it]? " [Lev. 10:19]
All the priests were to eat from this (Lev. 6:29); however, the circumstances were that, regardless of the wrongdoing, still Aaron's first two sons were slain before his eyes and the eyes of their brothers. The sin offering was one given which spoke of the forgiveness of unknown sins, or sins which became known as such after their commission (Lev. 4:1–2, 13–14). In this case, the sins committed were known and the ones who committed them were punished. Neither Aaron, nor his other sons, nor Israel participated in these sins and those that did were removed like a cancer. The range of fire-offerings were observed; however, the unique circumstances surrounding Nadab and Abihu precluded Aaron and his sons from partaking of this sacrifice.
This is not unlike Hosea's condemnation of Ephraim in Hos. 9. Their sacrifices will not please Him; to them, the bread of misfortune; all of the ones who eat of it will be defiled (Hos. 9:4b). The sin offering was closely associated here with Nadab and Abihu so that all who would eat from it would be defiled as they were defiled.
And when Moses heard that, it was acceptable in his eyes. [Lev. 10:20]
Moses accepted Aaron's explanation.
Outline of Chapter 11:
Vv. 1–2 Introduction to Clean and Unclean Animals
Vv. 3–8 Clean and unclean mammals
Vv. 9–12 Clean and unclean water animals
Vv. 13–19 Clean and unclean flying animals
Vv. 20–25 Clean and unclean insects
Vv. 26–28 Clean and unclean land animals
Vv. 29–44 Clean and unclean animals in close contact with the earth
Vv. 45–47 Summation and reasoning
Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines:
Introduction: From a casual glance, it looks as though Lev. 11 will go fairly fast; we are examining animals for their cleanness or no. Primarily, these are dietary laws which blend into the spiritual life insofar as some things are strictly clean and some things are strictly unclean, as people are saved or not saved; you are filled with the Spirit or you are not; you are producing divine good or you are not. One detail which may occur to the reader is that much of this chapter is disputed when it comes to the translation of which animals are actually being spoken of in terms of being clean or unclean; why would God allow such a large portion of one chapter to become linguistically lost, so to speak? The answer is simple: we are not under the dietary laws of Israel so we do not need a lot more than the principals which we might gain here or there. For this reason, there will not be a lot of text accompanying each verse.
The concept of animals being clean or unclean did not originate with this chapter, but can be found back as far as Gen. 7:2.
Introduction to Clean and Unclean Animals
And Yahweh spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying to them: [Lev. 11:1]
This is one of the few times where it is said that Yahweh is speaking directly to Moses and Aaron. Aaron has weathered his loss dramatically well, which, in of itself, is a good sign concerning his spiritual life.
Now, this does make me ask—why is God speaking to both Moses and Aaron now and what are the circumstances? The biggest change in Aaron’s life is that he has been consecrated into the priesthood (Lev. 8) and he has had offered up sacrifices for his many sins (Lev. 9). Also, his line has been cleansed as well (Lev. 10). Given these things, and given that Aaron, despite his many failings, is now a spiritual leader, God has apparently chosen to speak to him as well. If anything, this should give you pause, to thank God for His grace. When I look at Moses, and how great he was, I think, there is no way; my life is so inferior to his. On the other time, I look at Aaron, see him organizing the Jews to worship a calf, and think, that is “a standard” I can meet. This does not mean I aspire to be as crappy of a believer as Aaron is; I just know that I am. This gives me a great deal of hope.
"Speak to the children of Israel, saying, 'These are the living things which you may eat among all the beasts that are on the earth [lit., 'This (is) the animal of which you may eat from among every beast which (is) upon the land]: [Lev. 11:2]
A heterosis [pronounced HET-e-RO-sis] is the exchange of one thing for another. Here we have the singular used when we would expect the plural. This is just a literary style which gives emphasis to what is being said .
For the rest of the chapter, God will enumerate what is clean and what is not. The purpose of these prohibitions was two-fold: (1) to illustrate certain spiritual truths and, (2) to help preserve the Jewish race from sickness and disease brought on by some of the unclean animals. Like the Sabbath, this was not something which was to be obeyed until the end of time. Mark 7:15, 17a, 18–23 reads: "There is nothing outside the man which going into him can defile him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man." And when leaving the crowd, He had entered the house, His disciples questioned Him...and He said to them, "Are you too so uncomprehending? Do you not see that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not go into his heard, but into his stomach and goes out into the latrine?" (He [thereby] declared al foods clean. And He kept saying, "That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man, for form within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts and the fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and whickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man."
The notes on from The Amplified Bible are good here. God does not arbitrarily decree some law and then arbitrarily disregard it. When that which is complete has arrived, then the partial will be done away with (I Cor. 13:10). In His Word: new. He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is now to disappear. Nowe even the first had regulations of divine worhsip and the earthly sanctuary. Accordingly, both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the wroshiper perfect in conscience, since they only relate to food an drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until the dispensation of the new order. He is the mediator of the new covenant. For the Law, since is contains a shadow of the good things to come, not the real image of things (Heb. 8:13 9:1, 9b–10, 15b 10:1). In the everyday Jewish life, even what they ate set them apart to their God, Yahweh. Today, this is not unilaterally done away with but recapitulated with greater force and meaning: Whatever then you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (I Cor. 10:31). There are times that we will abstain from some foods because they are unclean at that time. I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, except to him who thinks any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. For if because of food, your brother is distressed [or, distracted], you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died. Therefore, do not let what is for you a good thing be slandered as evil. For the kindom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who in this serve Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then, let us pursue the things which make for peace and the edification of one another. Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are clean, but they are evil for the man who eats and gives offense. It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or [to do whatever] by which your brother stumbles (Rom. 14:14–21). So if eating steak around a vegetarian causes him to stumble or obscures the issue, refrain from steak. It is unclean in that instance. If you use your freedom as a Christian to, for instance, create a lot of wasteful trash and flaunt this before an environmentalist, you are not furthering the cause of Christ, you are causing this person to stumble by raising false issues. In this way, we are subject to a higher law, one greater than that presented here in the book of Leviticus. Our Lord said, "Do not presume that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill." (Matt. 5:17). I should point out that this is not a small issue. Not only does Paul spend most of a chapter on this in Romans 14, but he covers the same ground again in I Cor. 8:7–13.
I will let you determine how you are going to handle things when some lame believer comes up to you and tells you tath what you are doing is causing him to stumble; however, the point that is being taught here is that you do not allow false issues to crop up and cloud the gospel of God. You do not give the unbeliever a dissertation on every doctrine that you know because he is going to disagree with all or most of it. What the unbeliever needs is the gospel and all otehr peripheral issues, real or imaginary, should be pushed aside.
Clean and Unclean Mammals
"'Whatever parts the hoof and is cloven footed, chews the cud among the animals, you may eat it. [Lev. 11:3]
V. 3 give us a generalization. The quadrupeds which have hooves which are split and chew the cud, and these are the acceptable ones in the diet.
"'However, you will not eat the following [lit., these] from among those that chew the cud or part the hoof: the camel because it chew the cud, but does not part the hoof—it is unclean to you. [Lev. 11:4]
The camel is one of the wonders of the desert. It can carry as much as 400 lbs (although a conscientious owner would not permit but half that for a longer desert expedition) and they can go, if absolutely necessary, several days without water (although, this is not ideal). They can averages almost 30 miles a day, although a camel with a rider only can go over 100 miles in 13 hours (but not every single day). They hooves are quite unusual, being broad cushions which function well on sand, gravel and rock. It is because of these feet, they are considered unclean.
"'And the hyrax, because it chews the cud but does not part the hoof—it is unclean to you. [Lev. 11:5]
The RSV and the NRSV render this as a rock badger; however, many of thes animals are difficult to track down, as their names show up but once or twice in the Old Testament (case in point, the hyrax here and Deut. 14:7 Psalm 104:18 Prov. 30:26). The hyrax does not chew its cud, but chews with a cross-wise motion, making it appear as though it is ruminating. They are rock dwellers (with the exception of a species which has made its home in the trees in the tropical forest). They are about the size of a rabbit, but much different in appearance, classified near the elephants. They are a grey-brown vegetarians and the reason for their being forbidden as food is not altogether clear (and, again, we could have the name wrong). They are considered tough and dry by Arabs who eat them, although they are hunted regularly in Africa. The Syrian hyrax can still be found today in Upper Galilee .
"'And the hare because it chews the cud but does not part the hoof; it is unclean to you. [Lev. 11:6]
According to ZPEB, Vol. 3, p. 33, the hare is known to practice refection; this is when the hare passes certain droppings of a different texture which are immediately eaten, so he appears to be chewing without taking greens into his mouth. This is so that the digestive bacteria gets another shot at the more indigestible vegetable matter which can be better assimilated this second time. Even though we think of chewing the cud as somewhat different (as it does not elave the animal's body); what is occurring here is the same principle. However, we actually do not know what kind of animal is found here. The Hebrew word for this animal does not necessarily correspond to the English hare .
"'And the swine [pig] because it parts the hoof and is cloven-footed but it does not chew the cud; it is unclean to you. [Lev. 11:7]
The most well-known of the unclean animals is the pig. These animals were domesticated perhaps 1000 years prior to the time of writing of Leviticus throughout Greece, Hungary, Egypt and Mesopotamia. They were used for their skins and bristles and for food in the ancient world (along with some specialized uses in some countries); but otday they are used almost entirely for food. The pig is a potential carrier of severl dangerous diseases, including trichinosis, caused by a tape wormwhich can cause great pain and even death to man and animal. Through proper preparation, this can be totally avoided in today's world; but then, this was not near as preventable. Also, pigs are omniverous scavangers and will dig things up and eat them, passing on disease this way. Modern farming methods also preclude this as a problem today. Pigs are mentioned in Prov. 11:22 Isa. 65:66 Matt. 7:6 8:30, most of thee references concern their uncleanness .
"'You will not eat of their flesh and you will not touch their carcasses; they are unclean to you. [Lev. 11:8]
These animals were obviously more common in the land of Canaan and the Israelites would have more opportunities to be in close association with them. One of the items which will come to mind is our responsibilities as Christians. When one studies the Old Testament, one tends to become a bit off balance if they have not been grounded in the New. We gain great understanding and can experience great spiritual growth from our examination of the Old Testament, as long as we understand that portions of it no longer apply. I Cor. 10:18–33 covers matters of diet. To give you a quick overview, what we eat today is no longer a matter of cleaness and uncleanness as it was to the Israelites. That helped preserve the race and illustrate the spiritual truth of cleaness and uncleanness; however, today, all things a lawful (I Cor. 11:23—the context here is food, lest you take this portion of the verse and run with it). However, there are circumstances where we choose not to eat something which is legitimate for us to eat, but causes someone else to be offended. As we are to be all things to all men, there are activities and choices that we as mature Christians will make that restrict what we eat and what we do, not because we are sinning, but because these things could seriously offend the unbeliever. As an illustration, I personally recycle a lot of my trash. It is partially because of the way I was raised and partially because it is well-thought of to do so; it is not Biblical and it is not divine good (except when performed in the Spirit); it is essentially a neutral action. However, the opposite tact of great waste can, under certain circumstances, cause the very socially aware unbeliever to stumble. When dealing with food, their would be circumstances when eating meat, although completely lawful, might not be expedient; or, in the case quoted, where eating pig would be ill-advised, although it is lawful for us to do so. All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor (I Cor. 11:23–24).
Clean and Unclean Water Animals
"'The following [lit., these] you may eat: from al that are in the waters, everythjing in it that has fins and sacles in the waters, whether in the seas or in the rivers—you may eat them. [Lev. 11:9]
As a person who enjoys fish, I am glad to see that fish are considered to be clean.
"'But anything that does not have fins and scales in the seas or in the rivers of the swarming creatures in the waters and of the living creatures that are in the waters—they are a detestable thing to you. [Lev. 11:10]
Not being a person who is fond of oysters, scallops or clams and being neutral concerning shrimp, I personally have no problems with this verse. However, we, as Christians, are allowed to eat of these unclean foods today.
"'They shall remain a detestable thing to you; you will not eat their flesh and their carcasses you will consider detestable. [Lev. 11:11]
I am unfamiliar with diseases carried by these other creatures.
"'Everything that has not fins and scales in the waters [is] a detestable thing to you. [Lev. 11:12]
There are a couple of words here that perhaps we should examine in this chapter. Shâqats (ץ ַק ָש ) [pronounced shaw-KATS] is found only in Lev. 1:11, 13, 43 20:25 Deut. 7:26 Psalm 22:24. It is variously translated as detest, despised, is an abomination to you. Anyone of these are good translations, the first two being preferred for a more uniform translation as they better fit both the passages in and out of Lev. 11.
The corresponding noun conjugate is shekets (ץ ∵ק ∵ש ) [pronounced she-KETZ] and it is an abomination, a detestable thing. Both renders are perfectly good, although the latter for reasons of uniformity and to tie it to its verb cognate would be preferable.
Our next category to examine are the birds and the things which fly:
Clean and Unclean Flying Animals
"'And these you will detest: among the flying creatures, [the following] will not be eaten; they [are] detestable things: the eagle, the ossifrage [or, black vulture] and the osprey [or, bearded vulture]; [Lev. 11:13]
When examining these passages, we must keep a balance in our interpretation. First of all, the names of these birds and other animals were well-known to the Jews of that day, although we today can be only certain of a handful of the various species mentioned. We are not to find hidden meaning in the name of each and every bird. However, we are to draw general conclusions from the standpoint of the spiritual impact of this chapter just as well as the dietary and sanitary implications.
‛Ôwph (פע ) [pronounced ofe] collectively stands for that which flies, and, although it is used primarily for birds, its use can include bats and flying insects.
The eagle is nesher (ר ∵ש ∵נ ) [pronounced NEH-sher], a word which stands for both eagles and vultures in the Hebrew. Specifically a vulture is referred to in Micah 1:16, where Yahweh has admonished, "Make yourselves as bald as an eagle"; a reference to the Griffon vulture, whose head appears bald from distance, but is covered with a short, creamy down. There is an ancient proverb quoted in the Talmud, which reads a vulture in Babylon can see a carcass in Palestine. The corresponding Greek word also stands for both types of birds and specifically for the vulture in Matt. 24:28. According to ZPEB, other than naturalists trained in this area, few people today can distinguish between the birds, expecially when viewed from a distance. Even as an unclean bird, the eagle is represented generally as a noble creature in the Bible (Ex. 19:4 Jer. 49:22).
An ossifrage is likely the kind of vulture which prays on the marrow once the flesh has been picked off a carcass. The root word means breaker; here, possibly of bones. Three species of vultures, still found in Palestine, are known for this. Two black vultures are collectively meant by this term and the third species is found below:
The osprey (as found in the KJV and others) is probably not the correct designation for this bird, but the bearded vulture instead. The Hebrew word comes from the word goat and therefore possibly means bearded. To give you an idea as to the differences of opinion, I have put together a chart listed several translations and their renderings of these various birds. See Bird Chart—not finished yet!!
"'The kite, the species of falcon [lit., the falcon, according to its kind]; [Lev. 11:14]
To my knowledge, only one author, B. R. Driver, has written the only book dealing specifically with the classification of birds in the Bible; Birds in the OT; I Birds in Law, ©1955. According to ZPEG, even Driverf's extensive study is not absolutely conclusive. For your edification, in ZPEB, Vol. 4, p. 555, there is a chart which compares some of the Hebrew words with the KJV, RSV and with Driver's conclusions.
The first bird in this verse is uncertain, but Driver guesses it is a kite, a bird of prey. The falcon is a generic term and it means keen-sighted. It could refer to a hawk, falcon or a kite.
"'Every species of raven [lit., every raven according to its kind]; [Lev. 11:15]
To be honest, I don't graps why we have the addition of the words according to its kind. The raven is one of the birds that we a certain about. The use of raven in SOS 5:11 (black as a raven) and Prov. 30:17 (where it speaks of the eye being picked uout by ravens) confirms this. ZPEB goes into a fair amount of detail about the raven and the crow family, but suffice to say that the raven is not unclean because there is something inherently evil about it. It simply eats flesh of dead animals and contact with the dead makes one unclean. God did use the raven to bring food to Elijah and Noah sent out a raven from the ark to search for dry land.
"'And the ostrich, the nighthawk, the sea gull, the species of hawk [lit., the hawk, according to its kind]; [Lev. 11:16]
Four different Hebrew words are translated by the English ostrich. ZPEB claims that this is one place where it probably is not an ostrich because they were eaten generally by most ancient peoples and this likely included the Israelites. Rotherham says in the footnote for ostrich daughter of a doleful cry. ZPEB claims that most authorities regard the nighthhawk as a type of owl. Driver rejects sea gull as the proper translation, believing it to be a long-eared owl because Driver hypothesizes that the list is of birds of prey, which the gull is not. Cansdale (who wrote the article in ZPEB) points out that owls make up a very small and innocuous population which would not likely receive a seperate listing; but the gulls are numerous in the Palestine area, with ten true gulls and another eight members of the gull family. Most gulls are scavengers, and this would label them unclean. BDB takes the Hebrew word for hawk as a general word for small birds of prey.
"'And the owl, the cormorant, the great owl; [Lev. 11:17]
The Emphasized Bible names these birds as the pelican, gannet and bittern. Rotherham mentions that the gannet casts itself off of rocks to dive into the water after its prey. On the other hand, Driver names quite a number of owls here, to which ZPEB objects to since they don't believe there was enough contact with owls to warrant the prohibiiton, claiming that some of these owls were pretty much unknown to the desert travelors. This objection is not necessarily valid, as these are the Words of God, not of some nomads wandering through the desert, so there may have been several owls named as unclean. The owl found here is perhaps the most common to the desert area.
Cansdale, in ZPEB Vol. 1, pp. 976–7, discusses the pros and cons to the translation cormorant in more detail than we need to look at here. If it is the cormorant, they have absolutely filthy community nests. RSV translates the last bird as an ibis and Driver and ZPEB disagree.
The NASB footnotes the great owl as being the great horned owl.
"'And the water hen, the pelican, the vulture; [Lev. 11:18]
The KJV reads: and the swan, and the pelican and the gier-eagle. The water swan was a plant eating bird, so that is probably not the rendering of the first bird in this verse; however, we do not know what it actually is. The opinions range from water hen, swan, horned owl, Porphyrio to the Ibis. Driver renders pelican as a type of owl here; however, the pelican sounds plenty unclean to me; the feed their young partially regurgitated food from their mouths. Yuk.
"'And the stork, the species of heron [the heron, according to its kind], the hoopoe and the bat. [Lev. 11:19]
The KJV reads: And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat. Because storks consist often on a diet of frogs and eat in mudd places, they are an unclean bird. Herons are found in the land of Canaan, but the translation here is disputed. Only the KJV renders the third bird of this verse as lapwing. It is very likely a hoopoe [pronounced HOO-poo], which, according to ZPEB, hunts insects in all sorts of unsavory places, taking many dung and other beetles, and its nest gets into the most unsanitary condition. The translation bats is generally accepted (although Rotherham suggests night-bird in his footnote); their build-up of guano where they roost makes them unclean to me. There are some inhabitants of some countries which do eat bat.
Clean and Unclean Insects
"'All winged insects [lit., all thriving things with wings] that go upon all fours are an abomination to you. [Lev. 11:20]
I do not have an explanation for this verse, even by giving an alternate translation of all winged swarming things that go upon all fours, except that perhaps go upon all fours is an expression meaning spends a lot of its time walking like a quadraped, rather than to the specific number of legs.
"'Yet those you may eat among the winged insects [lit. all thriving things with wings] that go on all fours which do not have bending legs above their feet with which to leap on the earth. [Lev. 11:21]
Personally, I really didn't need to hear of any exceptions here. I don't know which kind of insects we are speaking of here nor do I really want to know.
"'Of the following [lit., them] you may eat: the locust, according to its kind, the bald locust, according to its kind, the cricket, according to its kind, and the grasshopper according to its kind. [Lev. 11:22]
I've never perceived myself as a finicky eater; however these do not interest me in the least. However, this was possibly a favorite of John the baptizer's (Matt. 3:4) .
"'But all [other] winged insects [lit., thriving things with wings] which [have] four feet are an abomination to you. [Lev. 11:23]
Here, the explanation of four feet is simple and different from v. 20: the hind legs of the insect are used for jumping and do not have the equivalent of a foot attatched to them (that is, a joint and then a foot). To give you the heebie jeebies, let me quote from The Bible Almanac, p. 240: For every star you can see in the sky on a clear night, scientists have estimated that there are 100 kinds of insects—a total of over 800,000 kinds. Way too many.
"'And by these you will become unclean; whoever touches their carcasses will be unclean until evening. [Lev. 11:24]
Just as we are polluted by one tiny sin, the Israelites were polluted when they came into contact with any of these animals when dead. Their being unclean and their death together tie an act of uncleanliness to death (whether it be eternal separation from God or temporal spiritual death).
"'And whoever carries any part of their carcass will wash his clothes and be unclean until the evening. [Lev. 11:25]
The animals mentioned, generally because of their eating habits, were considered unclean. They often carried diseases while alive and these sometimes killed them. Therefore, avoidance of these animals in terms of food and in terms of simple human contact was to be avoided and this preserved the Israelites for a great many diseases. These laws are both ceremonial and protectional.
Clean and Unclean Land Animals
"'Every animal which parts the hoof but is not cloven-footed and does not chew the cud is unclean to you; everyone who touches them will be unclean. [Lev. 11:26]
These have already been ennumerated at the beginning of this chapter.
"'And all that go on their paws among the animals that go on all fours are unclean to you, whoever touches their carcass will be unclean until the evening. [Lev. 11:27]
This repeats the similar prohibition concerning insects.
"'And he who carries their carcass will wash his clothes and be unclean until the evening; they are unclean to you. [Lev. 11:28]
The association with that which is unclean makes that person unclean.
Clean and Unclean Animals in Close Contact with the Earth
"'And these are unclean to you among the thriving things that thrive upon [or, against] the earth: the weasel, the mouse, the great lizard according to its kind. [Lev. 11:29]
The NASB translates this as the mole, and the mouse, and the great lizard [or, horn-tailed lizard]. Although I do not have a desire to eat either of the former two, when I first went to Costa Rica, one of the items for discussion was raising iguanas on a large scale for meat, as opposed to cattle. This was not an item for discussion among the Israelites, however.
"'The gecko, the land crocodile, the lizard, the sand lizard, and the chameleon. [Lev. 11:30]
Possibly these animals are unclean due to their close association with the earth. The land crocodile is only a wild guess on the part of the translators.
"'These are unclean to you among all that swarm; whoever touches them when they are dead will be unclean until evening. [Lev. 11:31]
Again, this is ceremonial, illustrating that contact with sin pollutes the entire person. There is no such thing as someone being only a little out of fellowship because the sin they committed was relatively inconsequential. All sins place out out of God's fellowship.
"'And anything upon which anoy of them falls when they are dead will be unclean, whether it is an article of wood or a garment or skin or a sack, any vessel that is used for any purpose [or, any article with which work is done] into water it must be put and it will be unclean until the evening—then it will be clean. [Lev. 11:32]
The time element concerns some. At that point in time, our Lord had not come to die for our sins. Our sins wre only covered until then when God could fully forgive us and still retain His perfect righteousness. So the uncleanness which man suffered from would not be truly forgiven until our Lord came.
"'And any earthen vessel which falls from them into its midst, all that is in it will be unclean and you will break it. [Lev. 11:33]
Here, the unclean animals have fallen into the vessel, causing it to become completely unclean. Their earthenware was porous, so it was capable of absorbing uncleanness, from a practical standpoint of bacteria, which washing, even scouring, would not remove. Freeman points out that this is why earthen vessels used in the sacrificial offerings were also destroyed, so that no unclean thing would be placed in them.
"'Any of the food which may be eaten upon which may come [these] waters will be unclean and all drink which may be drunk from every such vessel will be unclean. [Ex. 25:34]
This is food which has come into contact with that which is unclean. This protected the Israelites from many infectous diseases for many years.
"'And everything upon which falls any part of their carcass upon it will be unclean, whether oven or stoves, it will be broken in pieces; they are unclean and they are unclean to you. [Lev. 11:35]
The stove here is a hearth used to support two pots, and thereby economize the flame. What God says to us throughout all of this is our contact with that which is unclean destroys our spiritual life and renders it worthless. All sin takes us out of fellowship. Our running with the fast crowd, the criminal element, can render our spiritual life worthless. Our refusal to cleanse ourselves renders our spiritual life worthless.
"'Nevertheless, a spring or a cistern holding [lit., of a gathering of] water will be clean but whatever touches their carcass will be unclean. [Lev. 11:36]
In order the settle the dryer areas of Palestine, the Jews would use a waterproof sealent, like a plaster, to line cisterns which were dug in the ground to collect water. In case you don't quite folow this particular verse, when a person became unclean, he would have to clean himself. This means coming in contact with the water at a spring or a cistern. This did not make the spring unclean and thereby making them unclean. That is a dog chasing its tail. It is the water of the Word and the water of the Holy Spirit which cleanses us. By cleansing us, neither becomes unclean.
"'And if any part of the carcass falls upon any seed for sowing, that is to be sown, it is clean. [Lev. 11:37]
There are two parts to this; a seed coming into contact with that which is unclean is highly unlikely to carry any diesease or uncleanness of any sort into its eventual fruit. That is the practical view, the protection which God spread over Israel. On the symbolic side, our bodies of corruption when raised are raised free of the old sin nature. But some one will say, "How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?" You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies; and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else. However, God gives it a body just as He desired, and to each of the seeds, a body of its own...so also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable [body]; it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. Iit is sown a soulish body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a soulish body, then there is also a spiritual body (I Cor. 15:35–38, 42–44).
"'But if water is put on the seed and any part of the carcass falls on it, it is unclean to you. [Lev. 11:38]
Here we have a germinating seed. This is analogous to the newborn Christian; as soon as one sins after the new birth, they are corrupt until they rebound (name their sins to God).
"'And if any animal dies of which you may eat, he who touches its carcass will be unclean until the evening. [Lev. 11:39]
Contact with sin in many of its forms makes us unclean. Even contact with Christians who are continually out of fellowship causes us to be unclean (in fact, separation is primarily taught as something which is applied to fellow believers as opposed to unbelievers who sin).
"'And he who eats of its carcass will wash his clothes and be unclean until the evening; he also who carries the carcass will wash his clothes and he is unclean until the evening. [Lev. 11:40]
We are unclean when in touch with spiritual death, which this verse illustrates. There does not appear to be sinfulness, per se, associated with the eating of the carcass of these things which thrive in close contact with the earth; just a temporary uncleanness; however, v. 42 clears up that misconception. This is why it is absolutely necessary to view a verse in context.
"'And every thriving thing that thrives upon [or, against] the earth is an abomination; it will not be eaten. [Lev. 11:41]
In this verse, as well as in v. 29, we have the Qal participle of shârats (צ ַר ָש ) [pronounced shaw-RATS], which is translated creeping; however this is used of fish and other aquatic creatures (Gen. 1:21), animals which are on the earth (Gen. 8:17), frogs which breed in the waters (Ex. 8:3), and even for mankind (Gen. 9:7). In all of these passages the key seems to be a population increase, if not an explosion. Gen. 1:21a reads: And God created the great sea creatures, and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed [or, the waters brought forth abudantly] after their kind... Infest is a good word for this, except that it carries with it a negative connotation and it will be difficult to come up with a similar noun cognate in order to preserve continuity. Thrive is an excellent rendering of this, as it does not connote over-population, crowding, or anything negative; and it can be made into the adjective thriving. The word permeate seems to indicate too much or too concentrated of a population; and the words teem and teeming are wonderful translations, but they sound a bit archaic. The noun cognate for this verb is the very similar sherets (ץ ∵ר ∵ש ) [pronounced SHEH-rets] and can be rendered thriving thing, teeming thing; although many Bibles go with swarming thing, creeping thing. The connotation is an animal in very close contact with the earth in this context due to the preposition (and the nearby Lev. 11:29); however, we cannot infer this in Gen. 1:20–21 because we do not have anything in close contact with the earth. This is why I have taken the translation which you see. The point of much of this is just to identify the creatures named in this verse, which would be a quotation from Lev. 1:29–30.
"'[That is] whatever, goes on its belly and whatever goes on all fours or whatever has many feet; all the thriving things that thrive upon [or, against] the earth—you will not eat them, for they [are] detestable. [Lev. 11:42]
This does not repeat vv. 29–30, but it sums up this portion of God's Word.
"'You will not make yourselves [lit., your souls] detestable with any thriving thing that thrives and you will not defile yourselves with them, so that you do not become unclean; [Lev. 11:43]
In context, defile or making oneself detestable includes eating an animal which comes in close contact with the earth, or touching the carcass of one of them. So that v. 41 was not taken out of context as permissive, v. 43 was added.
"'For I [am] Yahweh, your God. Set yourself apart [or, consecrate yourselves] therefore and become set apart [or, holy] for I am set apart [holy]; you will not defile yourselves with any thriving thing that moves upon [or, against] the earth. [Lev. 11:44]
The analogy here is that God is above the earth, God is seperate from the earth; the animals which are in close contact with the ground, which scurry across the earth, are ceremonial unclean in their close contact with the earth, which is the devil's world now; therefore, the Jews were not to come into close contact with those animals. Association with uncleanliness makes them unclean. God is perfect, God is not unclean, God is holy and God is above all of the earth. The Jews are to be associated with a holy God and not with the things of the earth. This is a matter of what all of this symbolizes, as well as a matter of remaining free of diseases.
Summation and Reasoning
"'For I am Yahweh Who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God; you will therefore be set apart [or, holy] for I am set apart [or, holy]. [Lev. 11:45]
The word holy occurs more often in the book of Leviticus than in any other book of the Bible. In every aspect of the lives of the children of Israel, they were to exhibit holiness, being set apart to Yahweh. It was a mutual situation. Yahweh had chosen them from among all of the peoples of the earth and Yahweh had set Himself apart to them as their God, unique, inasmuch as He is the True God of the Universe.
Another running theme found in the book of Leviticus is I am YahwehWho brought you out of the land of Egypt. This phrase occurs sixty times throughout the Old Testament and nine of these times are in Leviticus. This reenforces the repiprocal nature of the relationship of the Jews and Yahweh. God initiated and the Jews were to respond.
God is closely identified with the Jews. He reminds them that it was He Who brought them out of Egypt, another reason to be set apart from the world. It was He who pulled us out of the world when we believed in Him and he cleansed us with His blood. Paul wrote : "Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate," says the Lord. "Furthermore, do not touch what is unclean and I will embrace you." (II Cor. 6:17 Isa. 52:11) We are closely identified with the one Who took us out of the land of Egypt, out of bondage to slavery and to this world. Peter writes, But like the Holy One Who called you, be set apart [holy] yourselves also in all behavior; because it is written, You will be holy for I Am holy (I Peter 1:15–16).
"'This is the law pertaining to the beast and the bird and every living creature that moves through the waters and every creature that thrives upon [or, against] the earth... [Lev. 11:46]
This is a summation of this chapter in the last two verse.
"'...to make a distinction between the unclean and the clean, between the living creature that may be eaten and the living creature that may not be eaten.'" [Lev. 11:47]
God quotes Himself in Lev. 20:25–26, where Moses has written, "You are therefore to make a distinction between the clean aimal and the unclean, and between the unclean bird and the clean; and yo will not make your souls detestable by animal or by bird or by anything that thrives upon the ground, which I have separated for you as unclean. Thus you are to be holy to Me, for I the Lord am holy and I have set you apart from the peoples to be Mine.
Outline of Chapter 12:
Vv. 1–5 The woman's uncleanness
Vv. 6–8 Ceremonial purification of the woman
Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines:
Introduction: Like the last chapter, this chapter is a self-contained unit. It deals with the the uncleanness of women.
The Woman's Uncleanness
The Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, [Lev. 12:1]
The majority of the verse in Leviticus are direct quotes from God to Moses.
"Speak to the people of Israel, saying, 'When a woman conceives [lit., has been caused to sow] and bears a male [child], then [lit., and] she will be unclean for seven days. (In [the] day of impurity of her menstruation, she remains unclean). [Lev. 12:2]
This verse is a little difficult, as several Bibles throw in menstruation here and others leave it out entirely. The first verb is the Hiphil imperfect of zâra‛ (ע ַר ָז ) [pronounced zaw-RAH], a word used for planting seeds, as we find it poetically used when Yahweh plants Israel in the land (Hos. 2:23); however, it is usually used in it common meaning sowing [seed] (Gen. 47:23 Lev. 25:22); however, it can be used for sowing iniquity (Prov. 22:8). Here, in the causative stem, it can be reasonably rendered conceive.
The second phrase begins with the bêyth conjunction, which simply means in. It is followed by the construct of yom, the word for day. This is followed by the construct of nîdâh (ה ָ ̣נ ) [pronounced nid-DAWH] and it means impurity, as in abhorrent, shunned and this is a word associated with menstruation (see Lev. 15:19–20, 24–26 Ezek. 18:6) and it is very likely that we could translate it menstruation. This is followed by the Qal infinitive construct of dâwâh (ה ָו ָ ) [pronounced dawh-VAWH] and it is a word found only one time in the Old Testament and that is here. Luckily, we have an adjective, dâweh (ה ∵ו ָ ) [pronounced daw-WEH, or, quite possibly daw-WAY] which is also a word associated with menstruation. It is found in Lev. 15:33 20:18 Isa. 30:22 Lam. 1:13 5:17. Her is the feminine suffix of this word. This is followed by the Qal imperfect of a verb found twice in this verse, ţâmê’ (א ֵמ ָט ) [pronounced taw-MAY], the word for ceremonial uncleanness. When used of childbirth, it is in the Qal perfect, meaning it is seen as an entire finished process, whereas the second time it is used, it is in the imperfect, meaning that we have a continuing process; together they aptly describe childbirth as verses menstruation when it comes to uncleanness. I have translated the imperfect as remains unclean. Uncleanness due to menstruation will be covered in more detail in Lev. 15:19–24.
We get a better focus upon ceremonial uncleanness here. Every woman menstruates and God has commanded women from the dawn of time to bear children; so these things are not wrong. However, menstruation is closely asociated with blood, which is unclean when it is the blood of something of this earth; and child birth makes a woman unclean because (1) she blleds somewhat during childbirth, and (2) she has brought another old sin nature into the world. Neither is an act of sin, nor is the woman necessarily out of fellowship during either of these times (although, often she is); but these things make her ceremonially unclean and not unclean due to sinfulness.
"'And on the eighth day, the flesh of his foreskin will be circumcised. [Lev. 12:3]
This verse seems to indicate that the last sentence in v. 2 is parenthetical, which is why several translators have given v. 2 as one sentence, linking the two sentences with as or as when, which words are not found. Circumcision is in the NIphal, which is the passive stem, which is what we would expect.
"'For 33 days she will remain in the blood of her purification; she will not touch any set-apart [or, holy] thing and she will not go into the sacred place until the completion of [the] days of her purification. [Lev. 12:4]
This is a farily literal rendering of v. 4. Because she has brought an unclean thing into the world (a child with an old sin nature—and notice that it is a male-child), she first sees that the child is set apart to God through circumcision, but she remains ceremonially unclean for 33 days.
"'But if she bears a female child, she will be unclean two weeks as in her menstruation and she will remain in the blood of her purifying 66 days. [Lev. 12:5]
First what should be mentioned is the hypallage [pronounced hy-PAL-la-gee] which is found in this verse. Hypallage means interchange. In this verse, what is in the construct should not be and what is not, should. That is, this should not read in the blood of her purifying but in her purification from blood. Such an interchange draws attention to what is really said. This emphasizes that it is the blood of man which makes the woman unclean.
This verse is interesting; when bearing a male-child, she is unclean for one week and she remains in her blood of purification for 33 days and this is all doubled for a female child. The reason for this is that when a woman brought a female child into the world, the child had an old sin nature and it could not be Messiah. When a woman brought a male child into the world, 99.9999999999% of the time the child had an old sin nature and was not Messiah; but the hope was always there that the child would be the promised one.
The woman remaining in the blood of her purification has to do with refraining from going to the tabernacle. She remains in this state until the end of the 33 or 66 days and then she goes to the tabernacle, as is outlined below.
Ceremonial Purification of the Woman
"'And when the completion of the days of her purifying, whether for a son or for a daughter, she will bring a lamb—a year old—for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering to the door of the tent of meeting to the priest. [Lev. 12:6]
The burnt offering is our Lord dying for our sins on the cross and the sin offering is for the forgiveness of sin.
"'And he will approach with it before the face of Yahweh and make a covering [or, atonement] for her; then [lit., and] she is cleansed from the flow [lit. fountain] of her blood; this is the law for her giving birth, with regards to the male or the female. [Lev. 12:7]
I hope that someone who is reading or listening to this, noticing how different this text is from the many translations, would put together a modern English literal translation, with an eye toward consistancy and accuracy, regardless whether a verse seems to make sense or not. This would be a phenomenal tool in the hands of the many pastors who do not have a full grasp of the languages. Owen's word-by-word Analytical Key to the Old Testament is close to what needs to be done, but it is definitely not consistent, nor is it always literal.
"'However, if she cannot afford [lit., her hand cannot attain sufficiency of] a lamb, then she will take two turtledoves or two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering and the priest will make a covering [or, atonement] over her and she will be clean.'" [Lev. 12:8]
Now let's see if any of this sounds familiar: And when eight days were completed so as to circumcise Him, His name was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb. And when the days for their purification acording to the Law of Moses were completed, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it stands written in the Law of the Lord: "Every male that open s the womb will be called holy to the Lord") and to offer a sacrifice according to what was said in the Law of the Lord: "A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons." (Luke 2:21–24). Note that both Joseph and Mary both knew the Law and obeyed it. Note that they were also poor at this time, which is why they did not offer a lamb.
God never places in our way a hinderance to our spiritual life due to lack of money. I recall being very poor, living in a half of a duplex recently abandoned by a motorcycle gang, replete with oil spots throughout because of their motorcycles being driven through the front door and out the back (they set up ramps); and God provided me with more than enough doctrine and the time with which to study. "If any man is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God..." (John 7:17).
Outline of Chapter 13:
Vv. 1–8 Skin disorders in general and their preliminary symptoms
Vv. 9–17 Skin disorders and raw flesh
Vv. 18–23 Skin disorders and boils
Vv. 24–28 Skin disorders and burns
Vv. 29–46 Skin disorders and the head
Vv. 47–59 Surface disorders and organic-based clothing
Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines:
v. 2 Skin Disorders and Indwelling Sin
Introduction: Lev. 13 might go quickly in terms of reading or listening; however, it was a long haul in terms of actually writing this. There are a lot of words that, while not peculiar to this chapter, their meanings were difficult to ascertain, many present-day translations being of limited help. I am certain that because so many people considered Leviticus to be repetitious and hard to read that perhaps they put their weakest translators on the job. I don't know; but often the English words found in this chapter do not coincide with their incidence outside this chapter (and the same could be said for much of Leviticus).
This particular chapter deals with various skin disorders and epidermal diseases, some of which are communicable. There are several words which occur over and over in this chapter and are often mistranslated or translated in such a way that one does not recognize that they are found in a different context elsewhere in the Bible. I will deal with several of these words almost immediately within the first few verses of this chapter. Leprosy is the Hebrew word tsâra׳ath (ת ַע ַר ָצ) [pronounced tsaw-RAH-ģahth] found primarily here and Lev. 14. Other than its twenty appearances in these two chapters, it is only found in six more places in the Bible (Deut. 24:5 2Kings 5:3, 6–7, 27 2Chron. 19). The corresponding verb is tsâra׳ (ע ַר ָצ) [pronounced tsah-RAWĢ] found more often throughout the Bible, several times in the next two chapters, and in Ex. 4:6 Num. 5:2 12:10 2Sam. 3:29 2Kings 5:1, 11, 27 7:3, 8 15:5 2Chron. 26:20–21, 23. Even though it is a verb, it occurs only in the Qal and Puel participles and acts like an adjective in most, if not all, of those passages.
It appears to refer to skin diseases which spread and/or are infectuous, but not exclusively to leprosy (Hansen's disease). Unlike one author who said that the Jews would not understand the concept of infectious, that may or may not be true, but that is not the issue here, as Yahweh dictated this portion of the Bible to Moses and Yahweh discovered infectious skin disorders in eternity past. We know that Yahweh understood this because the most common prescription for leprosy was quarantine of the wound (Lev. 13:4, 11, 31) and/or the patient (v. 26) and/or anything which might carry the disease (vv. 50, 54). Because of the specificity of the disease leprosy, this word would be a superset of the disease leprosy; that is, leprosy would be one of the skin disorders mentioned. This is confirmed by some of these passages reveal an atypical quick recovery from the disease in question (vv. 14–16, for instance).
We get the word leprosy from the Greek lepra, which was used in the Septuagint and in the New Testament. It was in 1873 or 1874 that the Norwegian G. Armauer Hansen discovered the bacillus he named myobacterium leprai, which was present in most cases of leprosy. Due to his discoveries, it is more often called Hansen's disease today.
Leprosy proper occurs in two forms, one an infectious spreading disease and the other is a more benign form. Both begin with a patch of skin which is discolored, often on the face, and the infected area may be impervious to pain, due to possibly nerve damage. The more destructive of the two leprosies, lepromatous, can spread quickly in all directions and spongy, tumorous growths can appear on the epidermis. The disease destroys the flesh on the hands and feet, causing them to become deformed and it into the body and affects various organs. An untreated case of leprosy last as long as twenty years, the person eventually dying of the disease itself or another infection which attacks the weakened body. The less destructive leprosy, tuberculoid, can eventually spread to several discolored areas on the person, recognizable usually by a low ridge around the infected area. Even an untreated case can heal within 1–3 years. Although we are not given many case histories in the Bible, it is possible that due to the plagues of Egypt that leprosy could have spread from there in some way or another or it could have been resident in the desert area. Like AIDES, leprosy will have periods of time when it flares up and the patient can have fever and experience pain. These periods of time might last from a few hours to a few weeks. During this time is when the leprosy is the most infectious. Although there is no indication that the Israelites could treat this disease with anything other than quarantine, we have very effective cures today which do not require the isolation of the infected patient .
Although leprosy and the other skin disorders alluded to in the next two chapters are real, they also speak of the invasiveness and destruction of the old sin nature when given full, uncontrolled reign over the life. AIDES is not unlike leprosy in this respect. It can affect the entire person for the entire remainder of their life, often isolating them and then destroying them over a period of several years. Certain unchecked sins have the same destructive affect, isolating us from our loved ones and destroying our lives over a period of several years. This is apart from divine discipline (which is not a privilege of the unbeliever, anyway).
Skin Disorders in General and their Preliminary Symptoms
Then Yahweh said to Moses, [Lev. 13:1]
We do not know in how many sittings that Moses received all of this information. It is possible that he received this every day, several groups in messages a day, or once a week or less. Whichever, I would personally lean toward the often.
"When a man has a swelling or an eruption or a[n] [unusual] blemish on the skin of his body and it becomes on the skin of his body (into) a leprous disease [lit., a bruised area from an epidermal disorder] then he will be brougth to Aaron the priest or to one of his sons, the priests. [Lev. 13:2]
Here we have an external mark of uncleanness on this person. Several versions of the Bible translate bahereth (ת ∵ר ∵ה ַ) [pronounced bah-HEH-reth] with the phrase bright spot, which I suppose could convey something to someone, but since this word is found only in Lev. 13 and 14:56, context would indicate that this should be translated blemish or discoloration. One might first qualify that with the word new or unusual and then just use the word blemish once it has been identified.
What these skin disorders represents is sin. The following is a list of things which epidermal disorders and sin have in common:
1. It is something which begins on the inside.
2. It manifests itself in horrible ways.
3. Its manifestations are diverse and unpredictable.
4. There is no human cure for sin and there was no human cure for these skin diseases.
5. Those with skin disorders went to the priest; we go to our High Priest with our sin and confess it to Him and He cleanses us (I John 1:9).
An issue that should be addressed from the outset is who dealt with these epidermal disorders? The priests were in charge here. One must keep in mind that the medical attention needed and the serums and medicines which we use today are of relatively recent development with reference to the skin diseases herein described. Furthermore, God dealt with Israel on a much more personal level in this realm than He deals with mankind as a whole. So we must take these chapters in the context of who they are written to and during what time period in man's history and during what time table in God's history (i.e., the dispensation of Israel). Just as we no longer offer animal sacrifices because He Who they represented has come and has died on our behalf, these disorders, which had no proper treatment then (and some may have died out due to quarantine), also had a spiritual meaning as well as actual physical consequences (as just discussed) and the treatment prescribed herein was the best that the ancient world had to offer and it illustrated spiritual truths as well. One of these truths is that we do go to our High Priest for everything.
We do have a case history of a woman who suffered from hemorrhaging for twelve years and she went to the physicians of her day, spending her life savings, yet receiving no relief from the symptoms of her disease. However, God the Son healed her when she went to Him (Mark 5:25–26 Luke 8:43–44).
Now this has become distorted by some groups who disallow modern medicine to work its cures. This is foolish and this is not the purpose of these few chapters. As a believer, we can be struck down with disease to get our attention when we are in perpetual carnality or our disease is a way to glorify God. If we do not seek medical attention, we will become a stumbling block to the unbelievers around us. We ar a stumbling block because no matter what our testimoney is, they look at us as forbidden by our religion from seeking medical help, and Christianity does not forbid that. We will have ample opportunity to reveal character and trust in God, even in a hospital under a physician's care. If we are under discipline, certainly even before going to the doctor, we should rebound and get our lives right with God, pray for healing, and, if necessary, see a physician. Similarly, unbelievers can be struck down with disease to get their attention. Sometimes it requires a great deal of suffering to reach the typical unbeliever. If you are an unbeliever reading or hearing this, ther is a simple way to avoid God having to get tough with you—you need only believe in Jesus Christ for your salvation .
"And the priest will see the diseased area on the skin of his body and if the hair in the diseased area has turned white and the appearance of the diseased area is deeper than the skin of his body, it [is] a leprous disease [lit., it a bruised area from an epidermal disorder]; and the priest has seen him, and he [will pronounce] him unclean. [Lev. 13:3]
Diseased area in this verse is the word nega׳ (ח ַג ∵נ) [pronounced NEH-gahģ] is better understood when viewed between its two verbs nâga׳ (ע ַג ָנ) [pronounced naw-GAHĢ], which means to touch and nâgaph (ף ַג ָנ) [pronounced naw-GAHF] which means to strike, to hit. With the close association of these words, bruised area might be a more literal translation, as though it is the result of being slugged. However, it is used consistently throughout Leviticus 13 and 14 for a diseased area, that we will stick with that rendering. It should be pointed out that is is translated plague by the KJV, being found in Gen. 12:17 and Ex. 11:1 (its only two appearances prior to Leviticus). Wound, injury, bruise are also good renderings of this word. V. 2 pretty much defines what it is we are speaking of in terms of both the disease and the word nega׳. This is given a multitude of renderings in this context, usually different from the rest of the Bible (which is not, by the way, entirely incorrect, as this is a different context). The NASB uses the word infection; Owen's uses diseased spot, diseased person and disease. Young likes the word plague (which I don't because it leads you away from the literal meaning). The Emphasized Bible helps to solve that by using plague-spot.
The translation it is a leprous disease, is an unfortunate one. We have the two words we have just studied, the one for bruised area and the one for a skin disorder. A person can get a bruised area from several different sources, one of them being from a skin disorder; that is the precise meaning here.
At the end of the verse we have the Piel of the verb to make unclean. This is a metonymy where the action is put for the declaration concerning the action. To quote Bullinger, what is said to be done is put for what is declared, or permitted, or foretold as to be done. The main reason we have to stand by this rendering is that the priest, we know, does not make anyone or anything unclean, and the verb is in the 3rd person masculine singular and it carries with it a 3rd person masculine singular suffix. Therefore, the action is being performed by the priest and it is being performed on someone—here, the victim of the skin disorder.
"But if the blemish [or, discoloration] is white on the skin of his body and the appearance of it [is] no deeper than the skin and the hair on it has not turned white, the priest will close up the bruised area for seven days. [Lev. 13:4]
We have a sudden discoloration or blemish on the skin; if it does not appear to be too unusual, then it is not the person with the bruise who is quarantined, but the bruise itself is closed up—today, we would say it would be bandaged or wrapped or covered for seven days. The verb, will close up, has as its direct object bruised area.
"And the priest will look at it on the seventh day and if the bruised area remains unchanged in his eyes [and] the bruised area has not spread on the skin then the priest will close it up seven days [for] a second time. [Lev. 13:5]
I took some liberties with one word due to the context. That word is the 3rd masculine singular, Qal perfect of ׳âmad (ד ַמ ָע) [pronounced ģaw-MAHD] and it means to take a stand; however, when used with this unusual discoloration, it means that this discoloration has remained, it has taken a stand. However, it has not spread (this negative addition further affirms that the blemish is still there). The footnote of the NASB gives a good translation: has stood.
In both verses, it is the bruise and not the person who is being shut up. This doesn't mean that the person involved is not quarantined; it is just that is not in view here. Disease here is in the masculine singular and that is both the suffix of the verb will close it up and the context of the passage. Later, it will be the person who is quarantined.
"And the priest will look at it on the seventh day and if the bruised area [is] fading and has not spread on the skin, then the priest will [pronounce] him cleansed; it [is] an eruption and he will wash his clothes and be clean. [Lev. 13:6]
We should examine two words here. Kêhâh (ה ָה ֵ) [pronounced kay-HAWH] is translated by some lighten and by others become dark. They key to this word is the corresponding verb, kâhâh (ה ָה ָ) [pronounced kaw-HAWH] which is used of the eyes which are growing old and having a difficult time seeing. Sometimes it is rendered as the eyes becoming faint, darkened, dimmed. The idea here is that one is having a harder time distinguishing objects from one another and shapes and colors; everything is blending and it is difficult to discern precise colors and objects. With this bruised area of discoloration, it is not necessarily getting darker or lighter, but it's color is becoming similar to that of the surrounding skin; it is fading into the skin, you might say, just as eyes when they go bad are spoken of as fading. The indication is that this bruised area is healing, albeit slowly.
On a very practical note, the reason for this chapter is that the Israelites faced a number of skin diseases, some relatively harmless one which mimicked the very dangerous ones. This allows the priest to examine those with a skin disorder and to make a pronouncement so that either the patient could return to household without restriction or he might return bandaged up or he might not return but be quarantined instead.
"However, if the eruption spreads in the skin after he has shown himself to the priest for his cleansing, he will appear again [lit., a second time] before the priest. [Lev. 13:7]
This is obviously the third time before the priest; the word for second stands for another act, not identical, but one in a series, and that is what is mean here. Gleason Archer, in his Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, thinks that this might be a phagedenic ulcer (p. 127).
"And the priest will see and if the eruption on the skin has spread, then the priest will pronounce him unclean; it is leprosy [lit., an epidermal disorder]. [Lev. 13:8]
Here we have more than just a wound or a bruise; this is a skin ailment which has progressively gotten worse during the time that it should have improved.
The grammatical construction here which we have rendered will pronounce him unclean was covered in v. 3.
The unbeliever with no interest in things eternal, can have his life destroyed by sin and their results. God does not have to discipline him; in fact, God does not discipline the unbeliever, per se. The unbeliever is not a son of God. This does not mean that the unbeliever leads a carefree life; he faces the effects of sin and God sometimes must try to reach the unbeliever through pain (as we as former unbelievers can testify).
Skin Disorders and Raw Flesh
"A bruised area from an epidermal disorder when it is against a man, he will be brought to the priest. [Lev. 13:9]
Under these circumstances, it does not matter if the previous steps have been followed or not. If a person has leprosy, which speaks of the old sin nature eating away from the inside to the out, then they are to be taken before the priests.
"Then the priest will see and if there [is] a white swelling on the skin which has turned the hair white and the raw portion of raw flesh in the swelling. [Lev. 13:10]
The priest examines the portion of the skin which is infected and takes not on the swelling, the change of hair color and the fleshy area where much of the epidermis has seemingly rotted away.
"It is a chronic [possibly, ancient or old] epidermal disorder on the skin of his flesh and the priest will pronounce him unclean; he will not [or, need not] shut him up because he is unclean. [Lev. 13:11]
Chronic is the word yâshan (ן ַש ָי) [pronounced yaw-SHAHN] and it is a verb for old, found in very few places in the OT (Lev. 26:10 Deut. 4:25). However, this is according to BDB. The exact same verb is also used for the word sleep (as found in Gen. 2:21) which is found sixteen times in the Old Testament. The only reason to treat this as a separate verb is because of its noun cognate, yâshîysh (ש י ̣ש ָי) [pronounced yaw-SHEESH] and it undoubtedly refers to an older person, one who is considered wise because of his age (this word is found only in Job 12:12 15:10 29:8 32:6); and because of its adjectival cognate, yâshân (ן ָש ָי) [pronounced yaw-SHAWN], also a relatively rare word found in only eight places (Lev. 25:22 26:10 Neh. 3:6 12:39 SOS 7:13 Isa. 22:11). I am not sure how to translate it in such a way to distinguish it from the other, more often used word for old , which is zâkên (ן ֵכ ָז) [pronounced zaw-KANE].
In vv. 4–5, we have seen that the wound is what is closed up or covered up (although God the Holy Spirit does not use the word for atonement). The leper represents unregenerate man in a perpetual state of spiritual death. Here, however, it is the person which does not have to been quarantined, as all the words referring to the skin disorder in vv. 10–11 are in the feminine and the verb to shut up carries a masculine suffix.
He does not need to isolate the person for the purpose of further examination anymore because it is clear what the problem is. Further proof is not necessary. Furthermore, this is an ancient disorder taht this person is suffering from, one which has apparently stabilized, but it not infectious.
"And if this [lit., the] epidermal disorder breaks out on the skin so that this disorder [lit. so that the epidermal disorder] covers all of the skin of the bruised area person from head to foot with regards to all of [the] vision [or, sight] of [the] eyes of the priest. [Lev. 13:12]
Here we have what was an ancient skin disease which seems to have spread fast across the entire epidermis of the individual, just as unchecked sin eats up our entire personage. However, what has really ahppend is the discoloration ends up covering the entire body evenly, as we will see in the verse below:
"And the priest will look and if the epidermal disorder has covered all his flesh, he will pronounce the bruised area clean. All has turned white, he [is] clean. [Lev. 13:13]
I must admit to have some initial confusion here as to why is this man now clean? The key here is the word white. Lâbvân (ן ָב ָל) [pronounced lawb-VAWN] means white, but the explanation is in Gen. 30:37. You may be thinking that you do not recall any information about lepers or skin diseases in Genesis (or Exodus for that matter) and you would be correct. White in this verse refers to the white of the tree underneath the bark. Here, the outer skin has been peeled off and what is below is not richly tanned, it is raw, but it is clean. It is as though God creates a new heart within us and we become cleansed from the inside to the out.
"But whenever [lit., in the day] raw flesh appears on him, he is unclean. [Lev. 13:14]
Raw flesh is made up of two Hebrew words: Bâsâr (ר ָ ָ) [pronounced baw-SAWR] means flesh, referring to that which is more than just the epidermis of the body. This word is first used in Gen. 2:21, 35 where God had taken a rib from Adam and then closed up the flesh thereof. This is a word used to express the humanity of man, as separate from animals, from angels and from God (Gen. 6:3, 12–13). It can be used nontechnically for the epidermis; that is, for the skin which is seen (Ex. 28:42). And it is used for the flesh of the animal sacrifices (Lev. 7:17–18). Raw is the Hebrew word is the often used adjective chay (י ַח) [pronounced KHAH-ee] and it means living, alive, and it used of God, man, animals and here, of flesh. Here, it is is the portion of flesh beneath the epidermis which should not be seen; the muscle and fat tissue.
"And the priest will see the raw flesh and pronounce him unclean; raw flesh—it [is] unclean; it [is] a skin disorder. [Lev. 13:15]
Here, this is more than just peeled back skin, like a blistering sunburn. Here the flesh which is further down than just beneath the surface is exposed.
"But if the raw flesh is changed to white, then he will come to the priest... [Lev. 13:16]
Time has progressed and the exposed raw flesh has healed.
"...and the priest will see him and if the bruised area has turned to white, then the priest will pronounce the bruised area clean; he [is] clean. [Lev. 13:17]
Again, the skin disease has healed to a point where the skin, although not richly tanned, is healing.
Skin Disorders and Boils
"And flesh when there is in it a boil on his skin that has healed... [Lev. 13:18]
This boil is an eruption of the skin and it appears to have healed.
"...and there is in place of the boil a white swelling or a white spot [or] reddish, then it is shown to the priest. [Lev. 13:19]
The boil itself has begun to heal and in its place is some swelling, perhaps a swelling with some pus (this would be the white spot) surrounded by reddish skin.
"And the priest will look and notices [lit., behold] the appearance of it [is] deeper than the skin and its hair has turned white, then the priest will pronounce him unclean; [because] it [is] the bruised area from an epidermal disorder in the boil—it has broken out. [Lev. 13:20]
Althogh there are promising signs of healing, when the priest examines the person closer, the infected area goes much deeper than just an epidermal disorder.
"However, if the priest sees it and if there is not white hair on it and it [is] not deeper than the skin but [rather] it [is] fading, the priest will shut it up seven days; [Lev. 13:21]
I am pretty certain that it is the wound which is being shut up and not the person. It is the wound which is examined; however, the shutting up applies to the person as the verb carries with it a mascuine singular suffix, whereas the words for wound are in the feminine mostly. The clincher in this verse is when the priest examines it, it is in the feminine singular; however when it comes to closing it up, it is in the masculine. This does not mean that the person involved was not quarantined before; that was not given information.
"And if it spreads on the skin, the priest will pronounce him unclean; it [is] a bruised area. [Lev. 13:22]
In those days, the priest became the authority on the diseases of the epidermis.
"If if the discoloration remains in one place and does not spread, it [is merely] the inflamation of the boil, then the priest will pronounce him clean. [Lev. 13:23]
I have been following convention throughout and have translated a verb pronounce him clean. This has been the 3rd person masculine singular, Piel perfect, 3rd person masculine singular suffix of ţâhêr (ר ֵה ָט) [pronounced taw-HAIR] which simply means to be cleansed. In the Qal stem, it does not seem to have the force an an active voice, but is almost passive (Lev. 11:32 12:7); and in the Piel stem, it has more of an active force (Num. 8:6, 15 Neh. 13:30 Jer. 33:8), but not always is it the act of cleansing, but the act of pronouncing one cleansed (Lev. 13:6, 13, 17, 23).
Skin Disorders and Burns
"Or when flesh has on its skin a scar of a burn and [this] viable burned-area becomes discolored, [either] reddish-white or white; [Lev. 13:24]
These verses which are two halves of the same sentence ought to have been kept together. There are a couple of words that I was going to translate without mention, but they have caused me some initial confusion. The first is the Hebrew word mîcheyâh (ה ָי ׃ח ̣מ) [pronounced mee-kh'YAWH] and, although it is found only eight times in the Old Testament (Gen. 45:5 Lev. 13:10, 24 Judges 6:4 17:10 2Chron. 14:13 Ezra 9:8–9), it seems to have almost half as many meanings (according to BDB). One of the best rules I have come up with (which may not be original with me) is that God the Holy Spirit often has given us clues as to the meaning of a word, if not a reasonable definition, the first time it occurs in Scripture. In Gen. 45:5, a purpose of Joseph's being taken into slavery is described by this one word mîcheyâh (however, it is not the only reason; more are given in Gen. 45:7–8). What happened, is that some translators allowed Gen. 45:7–8 and God's clearly stated purpose in these verses, to preserve the lives of the Israelites, to cloud the translating of v. 5. Mîcheyâh means simply life, living, sustenance, life-sustenance, survival, and in most instances, the words sustenance, life-sustenance, are good translations. Joseph would preserve the lives of the Israelites (v. 7), but a related concept is in view in this verse, and that is life-sustenance. Joseph would develop great storehouses of grain for life-sustenance. In Leviticus, we have a more difficult time with this word; however, in some diseases, flesh dies and peels off or falls off and in some instances, the flesh remains viable; it is the latter case here. It is in the construct in the Hebrew; I have fudged somewhat and translated it as an adjective. It is attatched to a Hebrew words used twice in this verse, translated burn and burned-area. Some scars from burns are dead tissue and some are not. Here we have viable tissue which is not the same color as the skin surrounding it. The skin diseases covered in this verse and the next few are skin disorders which might develop due to a severe epidermal burn. Some will become cured by themselves and others might become infected.
"The priest will see it and if the hair has turned white on the discoloration and it appears deeper than the skin, then it [is] an epidermal disorder in the burn; it has broken out and the priest will pronounce him unclean—it [is] a bruised area from an epidermal disorder. [Lev. 13:25]
We do not necessarily have a burn in these past two verses, but a skin disorder which resembles a burn.
"However, if the priest examines it and if the hair on the discolored-area is not white and is no deeper than the skin and [is] fading, the priest will shut him up seven days [Lev. 13:26]
Here the area which appears burned looks as though it is in a stage of healing.
"Then the priest will see him the seventh day; if it is spreading on the skin, then the priest will pronounce him unclean—it [is] a bruised area from an epidermal disorder. [Lev. 13:27]
Although it appeared to heal, here the disease has begun to spread.
"However, if the discolored area remains unchanged [lit., has taken a stand] on the skin but is fading; it is a swelling from the burn and the priest will pronounce him clean for it [is only] the scar of the burn. [Lev. 13:28]
Here, this burned area has not spread, but shows definite signs of healing.
Skin Disorders and the Head
"And when a man or a woman it is a bruised area on the head or in the beard; [Lev. 13:29]
This is a disease of the skin which occurs where hair is growing.
"The priest will look at the bruised area and if it appears deeper than the skin and the hair on it is yellow and thin, then the priest will pronounce him unclean; it [is] an itch, an epidermal disorder of the head or the beard. [Lev. 13:30]
This is apparently much more than a very bad case of dandruff, as the normally dark and thick Hebrew hair is yellowing and waning. The Bible Almanac calls this ringworm and Gleason thinks that this could be psoriasis.
"And if the priest sees the itching bruised area and it appears no deeper than the skin and a black hair [is] not on it, then the priest will shut up the itching bruised area for seven days. [Lev. 13:31]
Although most translations read that this is the person with the disease who is quarantined, that is not how the text reads.
"Then the priest will look at the bruised area on the seventh day and if the itch has not spread and there is on it no yellow hair and the appearance of the itch is no deeper than the skin; [Lev. 13:32]
Again, we stop mid-sentence.
"Then he will shave himself, but the itch he will not shave; and the priest will shut up the itch for seven days again [lit., a second time]. [Lev. 13:33]
This is a difficult manuver—the hair of the affected area is removed, but the diseased person is careful not to scrape away the infected skin.
"And the priest will look at the itch on the seventh day and if the itch has not spread on the skin and its appearance is nt deeper than the skin, then the priest will pronounce him clean and he will wash his clothes and be clean. [Lev. 13:34]
Here the infected person is not only pronounced clean, but he is told to wash his clothes as well.
"But if the itch spreads on the skin after his cleansing; [Lev. 13:35]
So it appeared as though everything was okay after the itch was shut up; however now it has spread.
"Then the priest will see him and if the itch has spread on the skin, the priest need not seek for the yellow hair; he is unclean. [Lev. 13:36]
Recall that the hair has been shaved off; there might be very little to look at. The Word of God does not want the priest to look to closely or poke around too closely in case the disease in infectuous.
"But if in his eyes the itch has remained unchanged [has taken a stand] and black hair has grown in it, the itch is healed, he [is] clean, and the priest will pronounce him clean. [Lev. 13:37]
I am certain that there can be some underlying meaning here dealing with the old sin nature; however, these are primarily laws of quarantine and disease.
"When a man or a woman has discolored areas on the skin of the flesh—white spots; [Lev. 13:38]
Here discoloration is in the plural, referring to several areas of discoloration on the skin.
"The priest will look and if on the skin of the body the discolored areas [are] a dull white, it is eczema [or, a freckled spot or tetter] that has broken out on the flesh; he is clean. [Lev. 13:39]
What the hell is tetter? I haven't a clue. This Hebrew word occurs only here and what we are speaking of is an inconsequential ailment, like dandruff. Rotherham refers to it in translation as a dead white spot and quotes the Oxford Gesenius in the footnote, calling it a harmless erruption on the skin. The Bible Almanac calls this vitiligo.
"And a man, if his head [has become] bald, he is clean. [Lev. 13:40]
Some men do suffer from premature baldness and this is a possibly what we have here.
"And if from the border of his face, his head is bald—he has baldness of the forehead—he is clean. [Lev. 13:41]
This is male pattern baldness, which is also not a cause for uncleanness.
"However, if there is on the bald head or the bald forehead a reddish-white bruised [-looking] area, an epidermal disorder is breaking out on his bald head or on his bald forehead. [Lev. 13:42]
This might be the cause of the baldness; which is something outside of genetics.
"Then the priest will examine him and if the swelling of the bruised [-looking] area [is] reddish-white on his bald head or on his bald forehead similar to the appearance of an epidermal disorder in the skin of the flesh; [Lev. 13:43]
Here the head is showing signs of infection beyond what would be normal with baldness.
"Then he is a skin-diseased man; he is unclean—the priest must pronounce him unclean on his head [because of] his bruised [-looking] area. [Lev. 13:44]
Even though loosing one's hair is bad enough, here it is worse due to the accompanying disease. The word that I have been translating as an epidermal disorder I have now translated as skin-diseased.
"And the leper who has the bruised area—his clothes will be torn and his head will be uncovered and he will cover his upper lip and cry, 'Unclean, unclean.' [Lev. 13:45]
The word for uncovered is the masculine singular, Qal passive participle of pâra‛ (ע ַר ָ) [pronounced paw-RAH] which word we have seen in Ex. 32:25 and it has to do with the removal of something (this is the only way it will jive with its use in Ex. 5:4 and Prov. 13:18 15:32). In this context, it is the removal of the hood from the head (head, by the way, is the literal translation, and not hair). This verb is also found in (this is a complete listing) Lev. 10:6 21:10 Num. 5:18 Judges 5:2 2Chron. 28:19 Prov. 1:25 4:15 8:33 29:18 Ezek. 24:14.
The symbol of spiritual darkness and the total penetration and ruination of the body due to sin in the life is leprosy and the other skin disorders herein described. For this man, it is a cause of great distress and God allows such a one to be very demonstrative; I personally would make a terrible Jew.
"As long as he has the bruised area, he will remain unclean. His is unclean [and] he will dwell alone outside the camp [which is] his habitation. [Lev. 13:46]
It is the area outside the camp which is his habitation; not the camp alone.
The NIV Study Bible begins to explain quite well what has occured here. Yahweh inhabited the tabernacle and the camp of Israel (Num. 5:3 Deut. 23:14). To be unclean, even only ceremonially, meant that the person had to live outside the camp, outside God's special privilege, blessing and wall of fire (Lev. 10:4–5 Num. 5:1–4 12:14–15 15:35–36 31:19–24 2Kings 7:3–4 2Chron. 26:21). All of regenerate Israel has an eternal future together and uncleanness was indicative of being outside of Israel and therefore separated from these eternal blessings. Certainly, there was the simple isolation from the camp, which would have been the most immediate concern, but it is what it all symbolizes that is important. The very demonstrative grief outside the camp, the tearing of the clothes, the partial covering of the face, the removal of the hood and the crying out is a view of the Lake of Fire and eternal separation from God due to uncleanness. There is nothing more horrible than to spend the rest of eternity in the Lake of Fire in complete and total separatin from God. When we can apprehend God's eternal blessings by doing so little (by believing in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ and trusting Him for our salvation), it is mind-boggling that anyone would not take five seconds out of their life to make their eternal future certain.
Surface Disorders and Organic-based Clothing
"And the clothing: when there is on it fungus or mold [lit., a bruised area from an epidermal disorder], whether a woolen garment or a linen garment; [Lev. 13:47]
This is the protosis of a conditional sentence. We obviously have a problem here. Clothing cannot be leprous, per se. The explanation of NIV is that this is mildew and we are dealing with ceremonial uncleanness. Whereas that is a possibility, the words used throughout the remainder of this chapter are the same ones used previously, all referring to infectious and/or spreading skin diseases. So it is possible an analogy is being drawn, so that we do not view the entirety of the chapter as simply a medical dissertation, but understand it to have some spiritual significance as well. Therefore, clothing which has become contaminated with mildew, fungus and or mold to where it appears to be an epidermal disorder, is dealt with in a ceremonial way. I may embarrass myself with my ignorance here, but these are clothes worn by people with serious skin diseases and I wonder if it is possible for the disease to spread through contaminated clothing. Keep in mind that we are dealing with various skin diseases and not just leprosy (it is not known how leprosy is spread, although it is thought that it is spread by dischages from the nose and fromskin sores and that the germs enter the body of the uninfected person through cuts in the skin). Such an analogy is not necessarily outside the realm of Biblical theology, as our Lord Jesus Christ warned the church at Sardis: "But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are so entitled." (Rev. 3:4)
The NIV Study Bible points out that around the Sea of Galilee, during the rainy season of Israel (October through March), the heavy amount of condensation makes mildew a serious problem.
When writing to his fellow believers, Jude admonishes them as follows: Keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. Furthermore, convincesome of those who are doubting; [and] rescue others, snatching them out of the fire; and some have mercy accompanied with fear, hating even the garment pulluted by the flesh (Jude 21–23).
"In warp or in woof of linen or wool or in a skin [or, leather] or in any article of skin [or, leather]; [Lev. 13:48]
I had no clue what warp or woof are except for the margin of the NASB which gives the rendering weaving or texture. So therefore it has something to do with the way the fabric is made.
"If the disease shows greenish or reddish in the garment, whether in the skin [or, leather] or in warp or woof or in any article of skin [leather], it [is] a bruised area of an epidermal disorder and will be shown to the priest. [Lev. 13:49]
My guess here is that the skin and infection of the disease has come off in part onto the leper's clothing.
"And the priest will look at the bruised area and shut up the bruised area for seven days. [Lev. 13:50]
It is not the person who is wearing the garment who is shut up, but specifically the bruised area on the garment itself.
"Then he will look at the bruised area on the seventh day; if the bruised area has spread in the garment in warp or in woof or in the skin, whatever be the use of the skin [lit., of all that is made of leather for work], a malignant epidermal disorder the bruised area it [is] unclean. [Lev. 13:51]
We have a rather difficult word in this context, one often translated malignant or fretting. It is the verb mâ’ar (ר ַא ָמ) [pronounced maw-AHR], found only in the Hiphil participle (meaning that it is used as an adjective and it is in the causative stem) and we find this verb only in Lev. 13:51–52 14:44 and in Ezek. 28:24. We would rule out the idea that this is a painful or a prickling sensation, as this word is used only in Leviticus for a piece of clothing and for a house. Furthermore, we already have a word for spreading used in this context. The only clue that we have is that there are indications that this has grown and the two closest Hebrew words—ma’ărâv (ב ָר ֲא ַמ) [pronounced mah-uh-RAWBV] meaning ambush and me’êhrâh (ה ָר ֵא ׃מ) [pronounced m'eh-RAWH] probably meaning curse. It is a tough call and we will stay with malignant.
The discoloration which appears to be a skin disorder on the garment is growing on the garment continuing to stain the garment with larger and larger areas of infection.
"And he will burn the garment, whether in warp or woof, woolen or linen or any article of skin [or, leather] which is the bruised area, for it is a malignant epidermal disorder [and] it will be burned in fire. [Lev. 13:52]
The cloth itself apparently can carry some of the leprous infection here.
"And if the priest looks and the bruised area has not spread in the garment, whether in warp or woof or in any article of skin [leather]; [Lev. 13:53]
The person wearing the garment has got a skin disorder of some kind, but it is not one which is spreading.
"Then the priest will command that they wash the garment on which is the bruised area and he will shut it up seven days a second time; [Lev. 13:54]
It is unclear whether this is the person, the garment or the bruised area here. The one more time seems to indicate that this is the bruised area.
"And the priest will examine the bruised area after it—the bruised area—has been washed; and observe! [lit., behold] the bruised area has not changed its color [lit., its eye], though the bruised area has not spread, it is unclean; you will burn it in the fire; it [is] an epidermal disorder whether on the baldness of the top [lit., head] or in its front. [Lev. 13:55]
Washing is often the prescription for that which is unclean. Remember that all of this is analogous, even though there were likely sanitary reasons for following God's ordinances here. We are washed by the Holy Spirit in regeneration and we are washed by the Word of God throughout our believing lives (Eph. 5:26 Titus 3:5).
In this verse, it is clearly the garment which is thrown into a fire.
"But if the priest looks and the bruised area is faded after it is washed, he will tear it out of the garment or the skin [leather] or the warp or woof; [Lev. 13:56]
So we are still talking about the garment and the portion which is infected is removed.
"Then if it appears again in the garment in warp or woof or in any article of skin [leather], it is spreading; [then] you will burn it with fire, that in which is the disease. [Lev. 13:57]
Again it is the garment here which is burnt.
"However, the garment, warp or woof or anyting of skin [leather], when you have washed it from which the bruised area departs, it will then be washed a second time and be clean. [Lev. 13:58]
My guess here is that some forms of leprousy could be spread on the garment and be infectuous for sometime later. I may be wrong medically here, but that it what this seems to say.
"This is the law for a bruised area from an epidermal disorder in a garment of wool or linen, either in warp or woof or in anyting of skin [leather], whether it is clean or unclean. [Lev. 13:59]
This last sentence seems to indicate that the use of epidermal disorder could refer to a discoloring and an unusual change in the clothing. Again, it is possible that this is simply mildew which has destroyed the fabric to where it is not only unusable but capable of possibly carrying a disease or harboring harmful bacteria.
Outline of Chapter 14:
Vv. 1–32 The ceremonial offerings on behalf of one cleansed from a serious skin disorder
Vv. 33–48 The steps taken to cleanse a house with an analogous ailment
Vv. 49–53 The ceremonial offerings on behalf of a house that has been cleansed
Vv. 54–57 Summary of Leviticus 13 and 14
Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines:
v. 7 The Parallels between Lepers and Our Salvation
v. 52 The Poetic Format of Lev. 14:51–52
Introduction: Lev. 14 will deal with the ceremonial cleansing of a leper (i.e., one who has been afflicted by a serious skin disorder and the disease is now in remission) and the ceremonial cleansing of his house. The first portion could be broken up into three parts, as per the NIV Study Bible: (1) the ritual for the person during the first week, while remaining outside the camp (vv. 1–7); (2) the ritual for the person during the second week, while being inside the camp (vv. 8–20); and, (3) special allowances made for the poor (vv. 21–32).
The Ceremonial Offerings on Behalf of One Cleansed from a Serious Skin Disorder
And Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, [Lev. 14:1]
Again, this is a direct quote from Yahweh, all the more reason for a translator to attempt to get the translation to be exactly correct.
"This is the law of one with an epidermal disorder in the day of his cleansing: he will be brought to the priest... [Lev. 14:2]
One with an epidermal disorder is a long translation of the Pual participle of tsâra׳ (ע ַר ָצ) [pronounced tsah-RAW], which is usually, when found on its own, translated leper. My guess is that it refers to the disease when accompanied by nega‛ (ח ַג ∵נ) [pronounced NEH-gah], which I translate bruised area.
"And the priest will go out out of the camp and the priest will look and if the bruised area from the epidermal disorder is healed in [lit., away from] the one with the epidermal disorder; [Lev. 14:3]
Vv. 2–4 are one sentence which should have been kept together as a full sentence. The leper (I use that term out of convenience and not as a correct medical designation) has been assigned an area outside of the camp and notice that the priest now goes to him, just as Jesus Christ, our High Priest, came to us.
"Then [lit., and] the priest will command them to take for him being cleansed two birds, living, clean, and cedarwood and scarlet material and hyssop. [Lev. 14:4]
Not only does the priest go to the diseased, but he brings with him what is necessary for the ceremonial cleansing. The hyssop is often found in ceremonial cleansing, as it speaks of the cross (this will be covered in more detail later).
"And the priest will command them to kill one of the birds in an earthen vessel over living water. [Lev. 14:5]
The priest oversees this ceremonial cleansing. The earthen vessel is our Lord in his human body and the living water is the Holy Spirit. Our Lord was put to death in the flesh, but made alive by the Spirit (I Peter 3:18b).
I will quote this quite often throughout the Law: For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, "This is the blood of the covenant which God command you." And in the same way he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry with the blood. And according to the law, almost all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness (Heb. 9:19–22 Ex. 24:8). Furthermore, if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse our conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Heb. 9:13–14)
"The living bird: he will take it with the cedarwood and the scarlet material and the hyssop and dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the living water. [Lev. 14:6]
The NASB, The Amplified Bible, KJV, Owen and Young all translate this running water. The NIV and NRSV, fresh water. Only The Emphasized Bible has this literarily translated: it is living water. The adjective here is chay (י ַח) [pronounced KHAH-ee] and it means living. Living water speaks of salvation: Jesus answered and said to her, "If you know the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water." (John 4:10). And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come." And let the one who heads say, "Come." And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes to take the water of life without cost (Rev. 22:17).
The cedarwood is the humanity of Christ; the scarlet material speaks of His blood, the dead bird of His sacrifice on our behalf. The hyssop tells us of the cross, which is mentioned only twice in the New Testament, in John 19:29, at the cross, and in Heb. 9:19, referring back to the sacrifices required under the Law.
"And he will sprinkle it upon him who is to be cleansed from the epidermal disorder seven times; then he will pronounce him clean and will let the living bird go into the open field. [Lev. 14:7]
The release of the living bird, which has just been cleansed with blood, speaks of our cleansing and the freedom from sin that we are afforded. Furthermore, the flight of the live bird speaks of His resurrection (and, later, our resurrection). He, Who was delivered up because of our transgression, was also raised because of our justification (Rom. 4:25). The bird which represents resurrection is just as important as the bird which represents the death of our Lord for our sins. Now if Christ is proclaimed that He has been raised form the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is empty [and meaningless]; your faith is also empty [and meaningless]...For if Christ is not raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins (I Cor. 15:12–14, 17).
The parallels to our salvation are obvious and pointed out by C.I. Scofield (I have expanded on them somewhat):
1. The leper is outside the camp of God (Lev. 14:3 Heb. 13:13).
2. Being outside the camp is being out away from the presence of God (Num. 5:2–3).
3. The priest searches out the leper (Lev. 14:3 Luke 19:10).
4. The leper does nothing for his own purification (Lev. 14:3–7 Rom. 4:4–5).
5. There must be shedding of blood for the remission of sins (Lev. 14:5 Heb. 9:22).
6. If our Lord did not rise from the dead, then our faith is in vain (Lev. 14:7 I Cor. 15:17).
7. The leper is brought into the camp, as we are adopted as sons of God (Lev. 14:8 Gal. 4:4–6)
"And he who is being cleansed will wash his clothes and shave off all his hair and bathe himself in water and he will be clean; and after that he will come into the camp, but will dwell outside his tent seven days. [Lev. 14:8]
There is a mixture of ceremonial cleansing and medical cleansing here. I suspect that there could have been skin disorders in the desert which died out with the Jews because of their careful quarantining of the patients. If every person with HIV virus and AIDES ceased from sexual contact, and every drug addict with the disease ceased from sharing needles, the disease would be gone in one or two generations. However, apart from those who are unaware of their condition, some continue in their sexual immorality because their personal sexual gratification is worth more to them than the lives of those they come in contact with. It is ironic that the ultimate act of love can be the ultimate act of selfishness and total disregard for the other person.
The number seven is often used as the magic number of spiritual completion. We will see a similar cleansing of the Levites in Num. 8:7.
"And on the seventh day, he will shave all his hair off his head and his beard and his eyebrows—all his hair will he shave off; then he will wash his clothes and bathe his body in water and he will be clean. [Lev. 14:9]
The cleansing continues after the seven days have been completed.
"And on the eighth day, two male lambs without blemish and one ewe lamb, a year old, without blemish, and three-tenths of fine flour, a tribute offering, mixed with oil and one pint [lit., log] of oil. [Lev. 14:10]
My sources indicate that the flour is approximately 6 liters (NIV Study Bible) a bushel (NASB) and others indicate that the additional oil is a two-thirds of a pint to a pint, although a great deal of careful reading is necessary to ascertain that from the footnote concerning Josephus and the amount in The Emphasized Bible. The unit log is the smallest measure of volume in the Bible.
"And the priest, who cleanses him, will set the man being cleansed—and these things before Yahweh at the door of the tent of meeting. [Lev. 14:11]
In this verse, we have the noun man and the Hithpael participle of cleanse together. The Hithpael can carry with it a reflexive meaning and, on occasion, a passive one. The participle causes it to be taken as an adjective to describe the leper (the man) in question here. From here on out, the person will be simply referred to as [the one] being cleansed, as we have set a precedent here in v. 11 that we are speaking of this particular man.
Now this is taken before the people in the court of the tabernacle. The oil is the Holy Spirit and the flour speaks of the Word.
"And the priest will take one of the male lambs and offer it for a guilt offering along with the log of oil and wave them for a wave offering before Yahweh. [Lev. 14:12]
What the Jews did in their religious ceremonies was always very demonstrative; since the real had not yet come, they performed ceremonies wich spoke of their coming Lord.
"And he will kill the lamb in the place where they kill the sin offering and burnt offering, in the holy place for the sin offering. The guilt offering belongs to the priest; it is holy of holies. [Lev. 14:13]
All the offerings speak of the same person, therefore they are all slain in the same place. They were slain by the altar in front of the tabernacle (Lev. 1:11 4:4).
"And the priest will take some of the blood of the guilt offering and the priest will put it on the tip of the right ear of him who is being cleansed and on the thumb of his right hand and on the great toe of his right foot. [Lev. 14:14]
Our service to God is done at His right hand and we serve Him with our right hand. This person who has been atoned for and cleansed was dead and separated from life and now he is alive and he can serve his Lord, Yahweh.
"Then the priest will take some of the log of oil and pour [it] into the palm of his own left hand; [Lev. 14:15]
The oil speaks of the Holy Spirit and the hand speaks of our service to God.
"And the priest will dip his right finger out from the oil that is in his left hand and sprinkle some oil with his fingers seven times before Yahweh. [Lev. 14:16]
Seven is the number of divine completion and perfection.
"And some of the oil that remains in his hand the priest will put on the tip of the right ear of the one being cleansed and on the thumb of his right hand and on the great toe of his right foot, upon the blood of the guilt offering. [Lev. 14:17]
The feet speak of out walk with God; the big toe allows us to remain balanced. Our hands speak of our service to God; it is our opposable thumb which makes our hand useful. It is with our ears that we hear God's Word. All of these must be sanctified with the blood fo our Lord and we must be filled with the Holy Spirit in order for our life to have meaning.
"And the rest of the oil that is in the priest's hand he will put on the head of him being cleansed; then the priest will make atonement for him [lit., will cover upon him] before Yahweh. [Lev. 14:18]
Our turning to our Lord Jesus Christ is a momentous occasion, the most spectacular event of our lives. The cost to our Lord was far more than we could ever imagine. Therefore, this ceremony was lengthy and fraught with meaning. It is what is in our head which allows us to serve the Lord. Our minds would think doctrine. One who is firmly grounded in the Word and in the Spirit will have a full, real life.
"And the priest will perform [lit., do] the sin [-offering] and to make atonement for him [lit., cover upon him] [who is] being cleansed from his uncleanness; and afterward, he will kill the burnt offering. [Lev. 14:19]
In the Old Testament, our Lord had not yet in time died for the sins of the world, so these sins were temporarily covered, as this ritual represents.
"And the priest will cause the burnt offering and the tribute offering to ascend on the altar; thus the priest will make atonement for him [lit., cover upon him] and he will be clean. [Lev. 14:20]
It is unfortunate that many of the translations simply have that the priest will offer the sin offering and offer the burnt offering, when it does not say that. In v. 19, the priest performs the ritual of the sin offering. The word used is ׳âsâh (ה ָ ָע) [pronounced ģaw-SAWH] which means to do, to make, to construct. In this case, the sin offering stands for the ceremony of offering the ceremony, which the priest performs. In v. 20, the priest causes the burnt offering to ascend; the verb is ׳âlâh (ה ָל ָע) [pronounced ģaw-LAWH] and it means to climb, to ascend. However, it is found here in the Hiphil perfect, being the causative stem of completed action. The use of the two words together like this is poetic.
"But if he is poor and cannot afford [lit., his hand cannot reach] then he will take one male lamb a built [-offering], to be waved to make atonement for him [lit., to cover upon him] and a tenth of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil for a tribute offering and a log of oil; [Lev. 14:21]
A person's own wealth of lack of it was not a hindrance to salvation.
"And two turtle doves or two young pigeons, such as he can afford [lit., which his hand reaches to]. The one will be a sin [-offering] and the other a burnt offering. [Lev. 14:22]
These are the two easiest to afford birds that would still speak of the death of our Lord and His resurrection.
"And he will bring them on the eighth day for his cleansing to the priest to the door of the tent of meeting before Yahweh. [Lev. 14:23]
There is a proper time to do all of this. He comes before Yahweh on the eighth day, when all has been completed (analogous to our coming to our Lord once He provided salvation).
"And the priest will take the lamb of the guilt offering and the log of oil and the priest will wave them for a wave offering before Yahweh. [Lev. 14:24]
God is omniscient and knows what is being offered; however, there are a cloud of witnesses about and this makes it clear as to what the priest is doing.
"And he will kill the lamb of the guilt offering and put [the blood] on the tip of the right ear of him being cleansed and on the thumb of his right hand and on the great toe of his right foot. [Lev. 14:25]
Again, the right hand speaks of service to God, the thumb speaks of meaningful service; the feet speak of our walk in the Spirit, the big toe speaks of balance.
"And some of the oil the priest will pour upon the palm of his own left hand; [Lev. 14:26]
Being a left-handed person, I am going to have to delve into this left hand business, as there are times when it speaks of judgement; and here, the priest is representing Jesus Christ in His judgement on our behalf.
"And the priest will sprinkle with his right finger some of the oil that is in his left hand seven times before Yahweh; [Lev. 14:27]
The seven being the number of divine completion.
"The priest will then put some of the oil that is in his palm on the lobe of the right ear of [the one] being cleansed and on the thumb of his right hand and the great toe of his right foot in the place where the blood of the guilt offering. [Lev. 14:28]
We are first brought into the family of God through the blood of our Savior; then He goes to prepare a place for us and He sends us His Spirit, represented by the oil. It is our Lord's blood which sanctifies us eternally, and the Holy Spirit Who sanctifies us in time. There is no service to God and no walk before God without regeneration and the filling of the Spirit.
"And the rest of the oil that is in the priest's hand he will put on the head of him who is to be cleansed to make a cover upon him before Yahweh. [Lev. 14:29]
After salvation and after the filling of the Holy Spirit is when our head is filled with doctrine (based upon our positive volition, of course).
"And he will make one of the turtledoves or young pigeons, from that to which his hand can reaches; [Lev. 14:30]
In the situation where the leper is poor, he is not required to bring an offering which is beyond his reach.
"[Even] from that to which his hand reaches, one for a sin [-offering] and the other for a burnt offering, along with the tribute offering. Furthermore [lit., and] the priest will make a covering upon him who is being cleansed before Yahweh. [Lev. 14:31]
This one who was previously unclean, kept outside the camp wherein dwelt the Shekinah glory, is made clean ceremonially through these offerings and through the blood and the oil.
"This is the law for him in whom [there is] a bruised area from an epidermal disorder whose hand cannot reach to his cleansing." [Lev. 14:32]
This is the oft used idiom meaning that he cannot afford his own cleansing; the analogy remains here, as we cannot afford our own cleansing; it had to be a free gift from God.
The Steps Taken to Cleanse a House with an Analogous Ailment
And Yahweh spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, [Lev. 14:33]
Again, Aaron is in the picture.
"When you enter the land of Canaan which I give you for a possession and I put a bruised area from an epidermal disorder in a house in the land of your possession; [Lev. 14:34]
The standard interpretation here is a heavy mildew, mold, fungus and/or bacteria in the house of a Jew. This appears in adobe homes and even on wood where the humidity is high and this is accompanied by sustained high temperatures. The fungus could spread quite rapidly and be a breeding ground for all kinds of diseases and bacteria. However, the words used here are the exact same ones used of the person suffering from a skin disease.
"Then he who owns the house will come and tell the priest, saying, 'A bruised area there seems to me in the house.' [Lev. 14:35]
There seems to me is the 3rd person, masculine singular Niphal perfect of verb rââh (ה ָא ָר) [pronounced raw-AWH] (which means to see), followed by the lâmed preposition (to) and the 1st person suffix. The Niphal is the passive stem, and we are speaking of appearances or what something seems to be.
God has made a promise to those who are in Him; to those who are growing in Him: No evil will befall you nor will an bruised area come near your dwelling place (Psalm 91:10).
"Then the priest will command that they empty the house before the priest goes to see the bruised area so that all that is in the house is not [declared] unclean. So [lit., and] the priest will go in to see the house. [Lev. 14:36]
The standard word for something becoming unclean is found here: ţâmê (א ֵמ ָט) [pronounced taw-MAY].
"And he will look at the bruised area and if that bruised area in the walls of the house [is] deeper greenish or reddish and their appearance deeper than the wall ['s surface]; [Lev. 14:37]
This is most likely a ceremonially unclean situation where the house has become heavy with mildew and aa breeding area for harmful bacteria.
"Then the priest will go out of the house to the door of the house and shut up the house seven days. [Lev. 14:38]
The language is exactly the same as found with the skin disorders and perhaps what is being done is that this is definitely being identified with an analogous situation, so that, even though there was real uncleanness in the previous chapter, this reveals to us that it was also a type, a shadow of things to come, of the things which are real.
"And the priest will return on the seventh day and look and if the bruised area has spread in the walls of the house; [Lev. 14:39]
As in the previous chapter, this also stops mid-sentence.
"Then the priest will command that they take out the stones in which the bruised area [is] and throw them outside the city into an unclean place. [Lev. 14:40]
The analogy here is to the Lake of fire where all that which is unclean is thrown outside of the presence of God.
"And the house he will cause to be scraped off of the house all around and they will pour the plaster that they scrap off outside the city into an unclean place. [Lev. 14:41]
So the stones from the mildewed area and the cement which held them in place are both removed. The Hebrews used several kinds of plaster (or, mortar) in the ancient world. The earliest was simply mud and clay mixed with straw, as they had learned to make in Egypt. The word found here is rendered mortar, plaster and dust, indicating that this was the composition which was primarily used. The Jews also, after having settled in Canaan, used a mixture of earth and ashes and another of sand, ashes and lime for mortar. Occasionally, oil was added to the mixture.
"Then they will take other stones and put them in the place of those stones and other plaster and he will take and plaster the house. [Lev. 14:42]
Much of the key to understanding the book of Ezekiel is a firm grounding in the books of Leviticus and Numbers. "And I will give to them one heard, and will put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances, and do them. Then they will be My people and I will be their God." (Ezek. 11:19–20)
"And if the bruised area returns again and breaks out in the house after he has taken out the stones and has scraped the house and has plastered [it]; [Lev. 14:43]
Some people when they are regenerated, return to their heart which is bruised, their heart of stone and of negative volition.
"Then the priest will go and look and if the bruised area has spread in the house, it is a malignant epidermal disorder in the house; it [is] unclean. [Lev. 14:44]
This is analogous to the person who is perpetually carnal. This is likely mildew, fungus and mold.
"And he will break down the house, its stones and its timber and all of the plaster of the house and he will carry [these things] out of the city to an unclean place. [Lev. 14:45]
This is analogous to dying the sin unto death. It is about as painful as you can possibly imagine. When a house is viewed as unclean and there is no way to cleanse it, then it had to be destroyed. This had practical as well as spiritual benefits.
"Moreover [lit., and] he who enters the house while it is shut up is unclean until the evening. [Lev. 14:46]
Those in contact with the one perpetually out of fellowship often find themselves falling out of fellowship too.
"And he who lies down in the house will wash his clothes and he who eats in the house will wash his clothes. [Lev. 14:47]
Both can become ceremonially unclean and medically unclean. My suspicians were that there were a lot of diseases designed by Satan to destroy the Jewish race and their vigilance kept them healthy, pure and alive.
"But if the priest comes and makes an examination and if the bruised area has not spread after the house was plastered, then the priest will pronounce clean the house for the bruised area is healed. [Lev. 14:48]
After the stones and some of the plaster have been removed and the house has been repaired; then if there is no additional mildew, which would appear like a skin cancer, then the house is considered to be healed.
The Ceremonial Offerings on Behalf of a House That Has Been Cleansed
The Amplified Bible He shall take to cleanse the house...
The Emphasized Bible Then shall he take to cleanse the house...
KJV And he shall take to cleanse the house...
NASB To cleanse the house then, he shall take...
NIV To purify the house, he is to take...
NRSV For the cleansing of the house, he shall take...
Young's Lit. Translation And he hath taken for the cleansing of the house...
The initial portion of this verse seems pretty clear; all of the major translations agree fundamentally as to what is there. The verb meaning to cleanse is ţâhêr (ר ֵה ָט) [pronounced taw-HARE]; however, that is not the word which is found here. The word found here is the Piel infinitive construct of châţâ’ (א ָט ָח) [pronounced khaw-TAW], which simply means to sin. It is preceded by the lâmed preposition, which can mean in regard to, so this is correctly translated:
"And he will take with regards to the sinning of the house, two small birds with cedarwood and scarlet material and hyssop; [Lev. 14:49]
Again, the cleansing of the house is analogous, just as the cleansing of the leper is analogous to what is really important.
"And he will kill one of the birds in an earthen vessel over living water. [Lev. 14:50]
The bird is killed in an earthen vessel just as our Lord was killed in an earthen vessel, his human body. Water speaks of the Word and all of this is done according to God's Word, looking forward as well as in the present day.
"And he will take the cedarwood and the hyssop and the scarlet material along with the living bird and dip them out of the blood of the bird that was killed and in the living water and sprinkle the house seven times. [Lev. 14:51]
The cedarwood speaks of the humanity of our Lord, the hyssop of the cross, the scarlet material of his blood shed for us on the cross. The blood of the dead bird speaks of our Lord's death on the cross and the living water is the Word of God.
"Thus he will cleanse the house with the blood of the bird and with the living water and with the living bird and with the cedarwood and with the hyssop and with the scarlet material. [Lev. 14:52]
All of these items speak of Christ on the cross and when someone observed what was occurring, God the Holy spirit made these things real to him, in front of all the angelic creation and in front of all the demons and this person could be saved and Satan would not know how or why. And my message and my proclaiming were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be by means of the wisdom of mean by means of the power from the God. Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature;; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God's wisdom in a mystery, the hidden, which God predestined before the ages to our glory. [This wisdom] which none of the rulers of this age has understood, for if they had understood it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But just as it stands written, Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard and [things which] have not entered into the heard of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him. For to us God revealed [these things] through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows man except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so, the God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God; which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught to a spiritual apparatus. But the natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual discerns all things, yet he himself is appraised by no man. For who has known the mind of the Lord that he should instruct Him? But, we have the mind of Christ (I Cor. 2:4–16 Isa. 64:6 40:13). Satan is the ruler of this age, along with his demon army; had he understood what God was doing, he would not have crucified the Lord of Glory.
One of the things which we miss in the translation is the poetic nature of some verses. What we have here is an introverted correspondence, also called chiasmos, where the first corresponds with the last, the second corresponds with the second to the last, etc. It is easier to see than it is to describe:
And he will take the cedarwood and the hyssop and the scarlet material
and the living bird
and dip them in the blood of the bird that was killed, and in the living water
and sprinkle the house seven times
thus will he cleanse the house
with the blood of the bird and with the living water
and with the living bird
and with the cedarwood and with the hyssop and with the scarlet material (Lev. 14:51–52).
"And he will let the living bird go out of the city into the open field so he shal make a covering above the house and it shall be clean. [Lev. 14:53]
The living bird allowed to go free is the resurrection of our Lord and it is because of His resurrection that we know we are atoned for.
Summary of Leviticus 13 and 14
"This is the law for all bruised areas from an epidermal disorder: and for an itch; [Lev. 14:54]
This appears to be a summary of Lev. 13–14.
"And for an epidermal disorder in a garment and in a house. [Lev. 14:55]
This is the latter portions of chapters 13 and 14.
"And for a swelling or an eruption and for a spot. [Lev. 14:56]
This is the first portion of Lev. 13.
"To teach in the day of the unclean and of the day of the clean; this is the law for epidermal disorders. [Lev. 14:57]
The use of in the day of can be reasonably, but not literally, rendered when, as it refers to an indefinite time.
Outline of Chapter 15:
Vv. 1–10 Uncleanness of the discharge of a male
Vv. 11–15 The procedure to attain cleanness
Vv. 16–18 Uncleanness of a seminal discharge
Vv. 19–26 Uncleanness of a menstrual discharge (or any discharge of blood)
Vv. 27–30 The procedure to attain cleanness
Vv. 31–33 Summary of chapter 15
Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines:
Introduction: Lev. 15 continues the theme of what is clean and unclean. All discharges of human blood are considered unclean. This is because the life is in the blood and in each cell of our bodies we have the indwelling old sin nature. We are redeemed by the blood of Christ, a lamb without spot and without blemish. We cannot be redeemed by the blood of fallen man because his blood is unclean. So that we are never confused as to Who are redeemer is, we have a chapter telling us that man's blood is unclean.
There are often two themes running concurrently throughout Leviticus (just as many prophecies have a near and a far fulfillment). On the one hand, we are further exposed to sanitation laws which included ultraviolet sterfilization, washing and sewerage disposal millennia before finite man knew that these were for the social good. On the other hand and much more importantly, God's holiness is in the forefront where there is to be no mixing of the clean and the unclean ever and that which is unclean corrupts that which is clean. The closer one came to the holiness of God in the Holy of Holies, the more ceremonial cleanliness became an issue, to the point of making the difference between life and death. We must never lose sight of the fact that God's perfection, justice and righteousness are absolutes and cannot be wisked away by some maudlen, always-forgiving and continually wafting love. God righteousness demands righteness, and His absolute perfection requires absolute perfection—no less is acceptable.
Uncleanness of the Discharge of a Male
Then Yahweh spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, [Lev. 15:1]
Those who broke these chapters up finally decided to allow God to do it, and each time we find this verse, we are in a new topic and therefore a new chapter.
"Speak to the people of Israel, and you will say to them, 'Any man [lit., a man of man], when there is a discharge from his flesh, his discharge is unclean. [Lev. 15:2]
The word used here is flesh, rather than body. It is the Hebrew word bâsâr (ר ָ ָ ) [pronounced baw-SAWR] and it is consistently translated correctly in the KJV; however, most of the other versions vary between flesh and body when referring to a person. It is this word which connects us most closely with the earth and with our old sin nature, but also a neutral word which just differentiates us as mankind (Gen. 2:21–23 6:13, 17 Eccles. 5:6 Isa. 40:6 Joel 2:28). It is also used of animal meat (Lev. 7:15).
Zôwbv (בז ) [pronounced zōbv] means issue, discharge, excretion. It is closely related to the verb zûwbv (בז ) [pronounced zoobv], which means flow, gush, and, when in the participle, it acts as the corresponding adjective. This is the first occurrence of the noun in the Bible, however the verb has occurred several times in Ex. 3:8, 17, 13:5 etc. as in a land flowing with milk and honey. The verb and the noun both occur several times throughout this chapter; in fact, this is the only place where the noun occurs and this accounts for nearly half of the places where the verb occurs.
The is certainly a matter of medical hygiene as well as symbolic spirituality. The NIV indicates that this is probably a reference to diarrhea or urethral discharges; however, I don't think this needs to be so narrowly construed. However, what will be emphasized is any place where the man has sat or lain (vv. 4, 6, 9), which would likely indicate that the discharge was related to the buttocks or to the genitals. Whenever the body exudes some known or unknown fluid that we normally do not or should not, then there is a reasonable chance that fluid, whether blood, pus or whatever, is infected or carrying bacteria. Therefore, it should be treated as unclean. On the spiritual side, man's blood cannot accomplish the same thing as the blood of Jesus Christ. By comparison, since every cell in the body carries the old sin nature, man's blood is unclean, along with any other fluid that happens to emanate from his body.
"And this is [the law] his uncleanness with a discharge: his flesh discharges a discharge or his flesh is stopped from a discharge; it [is] uncleanness in him. [Lev. 15:3]
The differentiation here, which the NASB makes fairly clear, is whether the body is allowing the fluids to discharge or if they are hindered from being discharged due to a blockage of some sort; they are still unclean fluids either way.
"Every bed on which lies the one with the discharge [lit., the discharger] is unclean and every article [of furniture] on which he sits will be unclean. [Lev. 15:4]
One of the changes which I have made is the phrase usually translated and everything (KJV, NASB, and NRSV) which is mande up of the construct of kôl (לֹ ) [pronounced kole] and it means on the whole, every, all, any. With this is an all-purpose word kelîy (י.ל ׃ ) [pronounced k'l-EE] and it is an all-purpose word standing for anything which has been finished, made or produced. It could be translated an article, utensil, vessel, object, stuff, load, baggage, implement, apparatus, weapon, furnitute, receptacle. Therefore, their rendering is not far afield.
The bed mentioned here is probably a mat laid on the ground. The fluid being discharged is unclean and possibly contageous or a carrier of disease-causing bacteria.
"And whoever touches his bed will wash his clothes and bathe himself in water and be unclean until the evening. [Lev. 15:5]
Satan certainly was doing whatever he could do to destroy the Jewish race and using bacteria and disease viruses is not beneath his bag of tricks. These precautions here managed to keep the Jewish race clean and strong for several milleniums.
"And whoever sits on the article [of furniture] on which the discharger has sat will wash his clothes and bathe himself in waer and be unclean until the evening. [Lev. 15:6]
Let's move away from the spiritual temporarily and move to the practical. Here is a person who has possibly been exposed to a disease, virus, or a disease-causing bacteria; he is in a state of human isolation until he has washed his clothes, himself and still maintains a distance form his loved ones until night falls. Although this will not resolve all problems which have to do with bacterial and viral infections, it would go a long way to reducing said infections.
"And whoever touches the flesh of the discharger will wash his clothes and bathe himself in water and be unclean until the evening. [Lev. 15:7]
It would be interesting to see if any other contemporary laws or ordinances also dealt with such things as quarantines and human discharges.
"And if the discharger spit on one who is clean, then he will wash his clothes and bathe himself in water and be unclean until the evening. [Lev. 15:8]
Here we have what would presumably include the discharge from a sneeze or a cough. These are possibly the most infectious of the discharges, and yet quite subtle.
"And any saddle upon which the discharger rides will be unclean. [Lev. 15:9]
Although this all has spiritual application, there is a clear understanding of infectious disease in the mind of the Author of Leviticus.
"And whoever touches the things which were under him will be unclean until the evening and he who carries them will wash his clothes and bathe himself in water and be unclean until the evening. [Lev. 15:10]
Rather than just simple obedience, the Jews devised an incredible series of laws to accompany the Torah. They missed the spiritual significance of these laws and the medical benefits and followed them for the sake of earning Yahweh's respect; and we cannot earn anything from God.
The Procedure to Attain Cleanness
"And anyone who touches against him the discharger and his hands he has not rinsed in water, he will was his clothe and bathe himself in water and be unclean until the evening. [Lev. 15:11]
There are not additional laws required to tell someone how to obey this chapter. Any contact of any kind with a person who is discharging fluids of any sort causes one to become unclean and he must clean himself and his clothes and quarantine himself until at least the evening. When we come into contact with any kind of sin, we become immediately unclean and remain unclean until we are cleansed via I John 1:9.
"And the earthen vessel which the discharger touches will be broken and every vessel of wood will be rinsed in water. [Lev. 15:12]
The earthen vessels, even when washed, can still be breeding grounds for bacteria. On the spiritual side, he who possesses an old sin nature in his earthen vessel, his body of clay, is unclean forever and will never be free of this uncleanness until the vessel dies and he is raised again in a new body.
"And when the discharger is cleansed of his discharge, then he will count for himself seven days for his cleansing and was his clothes and he will bathe his flesh in living water and he will be clean. [Lev. 15:13]
Yahweh heals the disease or causes the discharge to cease. The priest does not do that but ceremonially recognizes God's work.
God knows that even after the effects of a bacterial or viral infection have seemed to subsided, that the person with this infection could still be contagious so he remains unclean for a week. On the spiritual side, our bodies remain unclean until we fulfill or complete God's perfect plan; that is, accomplish that for which he designed us. Recall that the number seven is the number of divine completion. Once we have fulfilled our days on earth, then we will become wholly and totally clean of our old sin nature.
"Andon the eighth day, he will take for himself two turtledoves or two young pigeons and come before Yahweh to the door of the tent off meeting and give them to the priest. [Lev. 15:14]
Bringing the birds represents this person's faith in the cleansing power of Yahweh. He brings his faith to the tabernacle and gives is to the priest.
"And the priest will offer them, one for a sin [-offering] and the other for a burnt offering; and the priest will make atonement for him before Yahweh on account of his discharge. [Lev. 15:15]
The two offerings speak of our Lord's offering for our sins and for his death on the cross. They are two aspects of one event.
Uncleanness of a Seminal Discharge
"And when a man's semen [lit., seed of copulation] goes out from him, he will bathe his entire flesh in water and he will be unclean until evening. [Lev. 15:16]
Ceremonially, every cell of the man's flesh is unclean, even that which gives life is corrupt.
"And ever garment and ever skin on which the semen [lit., seed of copulation] is will be washed with water and be unclean until the evening. [Lev. 15:17]
This is treated as any other discharge from the body. Wretched man that I am; who will st me free from this body of this death? Thanks is to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand, I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin (Rom. 7:24–25).
"And a woman with whom a man lies [with] semen—both of them will bathe themselves in water and be unclean unti the evening. [Lev. 15:18]
We are not dealing with sexually transmitted diseases here; the morality demanded of the Jews by God precluded such diseases. This is strictly ceremonial and a matter of cleanliness, which also reduced sexually transmitted diseases to practically nill. Notice that here, as well as for a menstrual discharge, there is no command of offering a sacrifice. Normal cleanliness is observed. This would indicate that normal sexual activity and the menstrual cycle, although both indicate uncleanness from the standpoint of their respective emissions, there is not necessarily an accompanying moral uncleanness or an uncleanness which requires more that simple cleanliness.
We find an illustration of this verse in 2Sam. 11:4: And David sent messengers and seized her, and when she came to him, he lay with her and when she had purified herself from her uncleanness, she returened to her house. Incidentally, Bathsheba's observance of the Law here, indicated that she was a believer and no mention of a similar response by David is mentioned, indicating that he was out of fellowship of degenerating (or, as Thieme would put it, going into reversionism).
Uncleanness of a Menstrual Discharge (or Any Discharge of Blood)
"And when a woman is discharging, [even when] blood is a discharge from her, from her flesh, she will be in her impurity seven days and whoever touches her will be unclean until the evening. [Lev. 15:19]
The blood of the person makes that person unclean. It means that the woman has gone another month without conceiving and the promise to all mankind is that the woman would bear a Son, a Savior of all mankind. Because another month has gone by and a woman has not brought the Savior into the world, then she is unclean.
"And everything upon which she lies [while] in her impurity is unclean; everything also upon which she sits is unclean. [Lev. 15:20]
Again, this is strictly ceremonial here.
"And whoever touches her bed will wash his clothes and bathe himself in water and be unclean until the evening. [Lev. 15:21]
Whatever comes in contact with the menstruating woman is ceremonially unclean.
"And whoever touches any article [of furniture] upon which she sits will was his clothes and bathe himself in water and be unclean until the evening. [Lev. 15:22]
Similarly, any person who comes in contact with the woman becomes ceremonially unclean.
"Whether he [is] on the bed or the article [of furniture] upon which she sits when he touches it, he will be unclean until the evening. [Lev. 15:23]
I do not know anything about whether diseases are passed via menstrual blood; however, the principle of ceremnial uncleanness still applies.
The next verse has been ruined by a few translations:
The Amplified Bible And if any man lie with her, and her impurity be upon him...
The Emphasized Bible And if any man shall even lie with her, and her cause for removal be upon him...
KJV And if any man lie with her at all, and her flowers be upon him...
NASB And if a man actually lies with her, so that her menstrual impurity is on him...
NIV If a man lies with her and her monthly flow touches him...
NRSV If any man lies with her, and her impurity falls on him...
Young's Lit. Translation And if a man really lies with her, and her separation is on her...
Obviously, we have a little work to do here. The verb shâkabv (ב ַכ ָ ) [pronounced shaw-KAHBV] is the standard ver meaning to lie down. It has many applications, including lying down due to being diseased (1Kings 41:9), to lying down due to humiliation (Jer. 3:25), for a nap (2Sam. 4:7) and for sexual relations (Gen. 19:33 30:15–16). This verb is found twice here, first in the Qal infinitive absolute and then in the 3rd masculine singular, Qal imperfect. Literally, it is And in laying down, a man lays her. In translating that, I included the conjunction at the beginning, the subject man, and the direct object notation with the 3rd person feminine singular suffix (there is no preposition with here). Perhaps that is too literal. If this wasn't the Bible, I would try to soften it up with euphemism.
This is followed by a conjunction and the 3rd person, singular feminine, Qal imperfect of hâyâh (ה ָי ָה ) [pronounced haw-YAWH] which is the Hebrew equivalent of our verb to be. Then we come to our noun of contention: the feminine singular of nîdâh (ה ָ ̣נ ) [pronounced nid-DAWH], which BDB gives as the primary English equivalent impurity and Strong's renders this rejection, and (by implication) impurity. The key to the meaning is the verb from whence this word is derived. Nâdach (ח ַד ָנ ) [pronounced naw-DAHKH] means to drive away, to banish, to expel (Deut. 30:4 2Sam. 14:13–14 Job 6:13 Jer. 49:5). Obviously the woman is not being banished, nor is she expelled, except that ceremonially she is banished or separated. We first studied this word in Lev. 12:2. Menstruation is implied and a separation or ceremonial removal is implied. After plowing through those words, the rest of the verse is fairly simple and equal to its various renderings.
"And if in laying a man lays her and her menstrual-separation is on him, he is unclean seven days and every bed on which he lies is unclean. [Lev. 15:24]
Here the man having sexual relations with the menstruating woman is also considered unclean. Because there is no ceremonial purification rites that the man or the woman had to go through following this activity, this would likely indicate that sexual relations were not strictly forbidden during this time. There was a period of ceremonial uncleanness, but there were no prescribed penalties and no purification rites associated with this act. There was associated with this act seven days of uncleanness. Lev. 18:19 and 20:18 contextually deal with sexual immorality outside the context of marriage and are not pertinent here .
"And a woman when there is discharging a discharge of blood for many days not at the time of her menstrual-separation, or if she is discharging beyond her menstrual separation, all the days of her discharge [is] her uncleanness as in the days of her menstrual-separation she is; she [is] unclean. [Lev. 15:25]
The discharge of blood for any reason at any time outside the menstrual time or when it extends beyond the menstrual cycle is a time for uncleanness. It is treated as a sickness was treated in the realm of uncleanness, just as unusual discharges were handled in Lev. 15:14–15. An example of this is found in Luke 8:43 and following.
"Every bed on which she lies all the days of her discharge as the bed of her menstrual-separation will be to her and everything upon which she sits is unclean as the uncleanness of her menstrual-separation. [Lev. 15:26]
Everything that the woman comes in contact with is unclean.
The Procedure to Attain Cleanness
"And whoever touches them is unclean and he will wash his clothes and bathe himself in water and be unclean until the vening. [Lev. 15:27]
Every person that is in contact with the uncleanness of the woman is also unclean.
"But if she is cleansed of her discharge, she will count for herself seven days and after that she is clean. [Lev. 15:28]
This means that her menstrual cycle is over and she must wait seven days to be completely clean.
"And on the eighth day she will take for herself two turtledoves or two young pigeons and bring them to the priest to the door of the tent of meeting. [Lev. 15:29]
Once she is clean, then she comes to the priest with her ceremonial offering.
"And the priest will make one for a sin [-offering] and the other for a burnt offering and the priest will make a covering for her before Yahweh for her unclean discharge. [Lev. 15:30]
The priest does all of the work now.
Summary of Chapter 15
"Thus you will warn the people of Israel from their uncleanness so they do not die in their uncleanness by defiling My tabernacle that is in their midst. [Lev. 15:31]
Most of the translations begin v. 31 with thus you will warn keep separate [or, keep consecrated] the people of Israel. However, according to the western Samaritan codices and the Septuagint, it should read warn. God wants the symbols of that which is unclean kept separate from His people because any uncleanness brought to His tabernacle could result in the death of any who brings the uncleanness to the tabernacle, as in the sin unto death. [Yahweh is speaking to Ezekiel]: "Son of man, when the house of Israel was living in their own land, they defiled it by their ways and their deeds; their way before Me was like the uncleanness of a woman in her menstrual-separation" (Ezek. 36:17).
This verse tells us that God is still speaking to Moses and Aaron. Also, it is clear why Aaron is present because many of his priestly responsibilities are covered in this chapter. These cannot be taken lightly. The reality behind this chapter and others like it reveal the absolute holiness of God. The unclean cannot come into contact with the clean. We cannot go to God in our filth. There must be a real (and not just a ceremonial) cleansing which has taken place. We, in our corrupt bodies, filled with filthiness and sin, cannot hope in any way to have a relationship with God apart from the provision of God the Son (analogous to what the priest would do on behalf of those who were ceremonially unclean). This was so important, that approaching God improperly in one's uncleanness could result in the sin unto death for all those involved (we have already seen this occur with the two eldest sons of Aaron). Whereas you cannot overemphasize the cross and what Jesus Crhist has done on our behalf; similarly you cannot overemphasize the perfect characterf and the perfect holiness of God, which cannot come into contact with that which is unclean.
"This is the law for him discharging and which the seed of copulation goes out from him with reference to becoming unclean [Lev. 15:32]
Vv. 32–33 summarize what has occurred in this chapter.
"And for her who is sick in her menstrual impurity; this is for any discharger with reference to male or with reference to female; and with reference to the man who lies with a woman who is unclean. [Lev. 15:33]
The past few chapters have the same basic outline. First Yahweh speaks to Moses or to Moses and Aaron; then we have the text of the message, which deals with a particular subject area; and then we have the closing direct quote from Yahweh.
Outline of Chapter 16:
vv. 1–19 The Day of Atonements
vv. 20–28 The Scapegoat and the Final Cleansing
vv. 29–34 The Time of the Day of Atonement
Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines:
Introduction: Lev. 16 covers the day of atonement, the one time of the year that the high priest would enter into the holy of holies and offer up a blood sacrifice on behalf of himself and Israel. The time element (i.e., once a year) is mentioned in Heb. 9:7 and Ex. 30:10 and at the end of this chapter. The actual term, the Day of Atonement is not found here in this chapter. The Jewish term, as we have all heard, it Yom Kippur, however, the correct Biblical designation is Yom Kîppurîym (םי ̣ר ֻ ̣ םי) [pronounced yome kip-poo-REEM] and, in the English, that is Day of Atonements. The Jews made some changes in this day through their traditions, just as we in the Christian realm, adopted these changes and gave a theological significance to the word atonement which is similar to its true meaning, yet still removed (this will be covered in Lev. 16:6).
The Day of Atonements
And Yahweh spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron when they drew near with strange fire to Yahweh and died. [Lev. 16:1]
The phrase with strange fire is not found in the Massoretic Text; however, it is found in the western Targum of Onkelos, the Targum of Jonathan, the Syriac, the Septuagint and the Vulgate; and therefore is probably the correct reading (Lev. 10:1).
It is a verse like this which indicates that it is possible that some of the portions of the books of Moses may not be in strict chronological order. That is, there are certain chapters which contains God's exactly words to Moses (and Aaron) but it is possible that He spoke to Moses fifrst concerning the material in chapter 15 and then the material in chapter 14. However, this places this chapter sometime immediately after their deaths.
And Yahweh spoke to Moses "Tell Aaron, your brother, not to come at all times into the holy [place] within the veil before the mercy seat which is upon the ark, so that he does not die; for in the cloud I will appear upon the mercy seat. [Lev. 16:2]
Here is Aaron, the high priest, one of the most dedicated and spiritual persons of his generation, and Yahweh is telling him not to come into the holy of holies. Part of the problem is the meaning of the translation. It reads that Aaron should not come into the holy [place] at all times; this is an idiom meaning, just at any time. This is a solemn warning that Aaron not die the sin unto death as did his eldest sons. What is being impressed upon Moses is the true sanctity of the holy of holies. What will occur will speak to many generations, but the timing would be but once a year.
"But thus Aaron will come into the holy place: with a bull of the herd for a sin [-offering] and a ram for a burnt offering. [Lev. 16:3]
When Aaron enters into the holy of holies, it must be tied to sacrifice. The sin offering is the man-ward side of the cross; Jesus Christ died for our sins. The burnt offering is the God-ward side of the cross; God the Father accepted His perfect sacrifice on our behalf. There was but one sacrifice, but it took several different animal sacrifices to explain soteriology to the Jews.
This entrance into the holy of holies was to occur but once a year. No one was able to see what was going on; they all knew if they knew Scripture. But into the second [room; i.e., the holy of holies] on the high priest [enters], once a year, not without blood, which he offers for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance. The Holy Spirit signifies this, that the way into the holy place has not yet been disclosed, while the outer tabernacle is still standing, which is a type [or, symbol] for the present time. Accordingly, both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience, since they [are] only food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until the dispensation of this new order. But when Christ appeared a high priest of the good things that have come, through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation. And not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption (Heb. 9:7–12).
"He will be putting on a holy linen coat; the linen undergarments are against his body; he is being girded with the linen girdle; he is wearing the linen turban; these are the holy garments. He will bathe his flesh in water and then put them on. [Lev. 16:4]
The imperfect tense with all of these verbs means that during the entire process, he will be wearing these garments. Only the high priest wore these garments because he was unique, just as our Lord Jesus Christ is the unique God-man. The cleanliness speaks of our Lord's perfection. The fact that he could go into the holy of holies speaks of ceremonial perfection to match our Lord's perfection.
"And from the congregation of the people of Israel, he will take two male goats for a sin [-offering] and one ram for a burnt offering. [Lev. 16:5]
The word for sin-offering, again, is the same as the word for sin. This indicates how closely tied the sin is to the sin-offering. He made Him [Jesus Christ] Who knew no sin, sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (II Cor. 5:21).
There is another historical analogy here, which is rarely seen (if at all). The Day of Atonement spans several millenniums, even though it centers upon the cross. Here, Aaron is representative of Israel, whose sins could only be dealt with symbolically prior to the cross.
"And Aaron will approach with the bull as the sin [-offering] for himself and will make atonement [lit. a covering] on behalf of himself and his house. [Lev. 16:6]
The bull is not offered or sacrificed at this point in time in the rituals of the Day of Atonement. Qârav (ב ַר ָק) [pronounced kaw-RAV] means, as we have seen, come near, approach in the Qal stem. In the Hiphil, it is often translated bring, offer, but it is better translated to approach [with]. We append the with when there is a direct object involved. As we have seen, to bring, to offer are not definitions which will jive with Gen. 12:11 and Ex. 14:10, where the Hiphil perfect clearly means to be brought near. One of the problems with a sloppy translation is that it sounds as though the bull is offered as a sacrifice here, then Aaron casts lots concerning the goats, then it sounds as though he offers the bull again in v. 11. The bull is not offered or sacrificed twice; it is merely brought before the Lord in this verse and sacrificed in v. 11. A correct translation makes that clear. The NIV Study Bible presents vv. 6–10 as an outline of vv. 11–22, which is a possibility; but one which is proposed more due to a poor translation than out of exegesis.
We need to fully understand what atonement means. Scofield points out that this word has come to have a great deal of theological significance beyond its strict usage in the Bible. Here it is the 3rd masculine singular, Piel perfect of kâphar (ר ַפ ָ) [pronounced kaw-FAHR] and it literally means cover, placate, pacify. We fin this word used one time in the Qal stem back in Gen 6:14 where the verb cleanly means to cover [with pitch]. This word is found in the Piel back in Gen. 32:20 where Jacob sends a present to Esau to appease or placate Esau. Recall that the Bible was written by God the Holy Spirit and when dealing with words of great spiritual import, the Holy Spirit reveals their meaning early on in the Bible, cognizant through omniscience, that certain words, like kâphar, come to take on a meaning of their own. These first two uses allow us to reel ourselves in from getting too complex and listing its true meaning. There are two sides to this verb; when man kâphar’s for himself, he appeases Yahweh because the man's sins have been covered over. There is the corresponding masculine noun kôpher (ר∵פֹ) [pronounced KOH-fer] also first found in Gen. 6:14 for the pitch that was used. It was a type of covering. We also find the noun used in Ex. 21:30 where a man's ox had previously killed, it had not been put to death, and it killed again. The ox would be killed, the man would be executed or he kill the ox and would have to pay an amount of money which was the value of a life, which a limitations being set on that amount which could be demanded for the goring of a slave (Ex. 21:32). The clear indication here is that his life is spared if they can come up with an amount of money to cover what had been done and to appease the family of the person who was killed. Therefore, kâphar (and its corresponding noun kôpher) could be translated cover if only the sin of the transgressor was the context, but it could be translated appease if God was the direct object of the verb. The feminine substantive cognate is kappôreth (ת ∵רֹ ַ) [pronounced kap-PO-reth] which means lid, and we find it used only in the Bible for the mercy seat of the ark of the covenant. This lid covers are transgressions of the law and our rebelliousness (recall the objects found within the ark) and our dismissal of God's provisions; and God sees only the complete covering of acacia wood plated with gold and He is appeased. Verb = Strong’s #3722 BDB #497. Noun = Strong’s #3724 BDB #497–499.
To take from Scofield, the absolute master of theological editing, he write, In theology it is a term which covers the whole sacrificial and redemptive work of Christ. In the O.T., atonement is the English word used to translate the Hebrew words which mean cover, coverings or to cover. Atonement is, therefore, not a translation of the Hebrew but a purely theological concept. Strictly speaking, the sacrifices did not atone for the sins of the people, but rather temporarily covered these sins and temporarily appeased the perfect God of justice. It is our Lord Who atones for our sins; that is, He completely removes our sins from us and appeased the perfect God of justice forever.
The bull is brought before God on behalf of Aaron's sins so that he will be qualified to lead in this ritual, because Aaron also posses an old sin nature and he also sins. For every high priest taken from among men is apoint on behalf of men in things pertaining to God in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins; he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself is also beset with weakness; and because of this [his old sin nature], he is obligated to offer [sacrifices] for sins, as for the people, so also for himself. And no one takes the honor to himself, but when he is called by God, even as Aaron was (Heb. 5:1–4).
"And he will take the two goats and set them before [the] faces of Yahweh at the door of the tent of meeting. [Lev. 16:7]
Yahweh, although He is said to be the cloud above the mercy seat, is omniscient; so we use the term faces to indicate this.
"And Aaron will cast lots concerning the two goats; one lot for Yahweh and the other lot for the scapegoat. [Lev. 16:8]
We need to examine a couple of words here. Casting lots is a method of divination used on important matters when prescribed by God to ascertain divine will. This is used only in the Old Testament as a means of divine guidance. This is because at that time there was no a completed Old Testament, so that God's will had to be determined in a number of ways. When used in the New Testament, the first time was a method of selecting who would legally steal our Lord's clothing at the cross, fulfilling prophecy, but not a matter of divine will; who got the clothing was inconsequential and could possibly be in hell today. The only other time a lot is cast concerned the choosing by the Apostles of a successor for Judas. Although God decreed there be a replacement for Judas from eternity past, God would choose this person and the other eleven Apostles would not. They presented to God two men who were not God's choice out of several candidates, who also were not God's choice, and asked God to reveal to them who His choice was. God chose none of them and later revealed this by making the most prominent Apostle out of a persecutor of the church. However, casting lots in the Old Testament was a bona fide means of determining God's will. The mechanics of casting lots has not come down to us because people today would abuse that knowledge (notice how people use prayer to determine God's will; they will go against the clear teaching of Scripture thinking that if they pray hard enough and long enough that they can just go ahead and do whatever it is that they wanted to and, through all their prayer, receive the blessings of God). We know from this verse that when casting these lots, it was apparently done twice, once to determine which goat would be sacrificed to Yahweh and the other to determine which goat would become the scapegoat, casting one lot for Yahweh and the other for the scapegoat. Exatly why this was done this way and how is unknown to us. At least some of the time, the lot was cast into the lap of the caster (Prov. 16:33). Why it is occasionally in the plural and occasionally in the singular is not clearly explained; but, knowing the exact mechanics, again, would be potentially dangerous information.
The word for scapegoat is ‛ăzâ’zel (ל ֵזא ָז ֲע) [pronounced az-aw-ZALE] and this word is found only in this chapter of Leviticus (vv. 8, 10, 26). We do not find it in the New Testament or anywhere else in the Old. The words for goat and departure are combined to make up this word. The Greek translation of the Sepuagint confirms this. The sins of Israel will be placed on this goat and it would take their sins far from them. There is a tradition which came about much later that ‛ăzâ’zel is the name of a desert demon. There is absolutely nothing in Scripture to support this notion. Recall, this is the only chapter in which this word occurs.
"And Aaron will approach with goat on which the lot fell for Yahweh and make it a sin [-offering]. [Lev. 16:9]
The lot noted which goat would be sacrificed directly to God Again, the translations which are usually used make it sound as though Aaron offers the goat here to God and then does it again in v. 15. I am certain that there are been mentions of this as a contradiction in one of those many, short-lived books which purports to reveal all of the contradictions found in the Bible. A correct translation clears up 90% of all alleged contradictions.
"But the goat which the lot fell for [the] scapegoat will be presented alive before Yahweh to make atonement over it and it may be sent away (with reference to the scapegoat) into the desert. [Lev. 16:10]
So there is no confusion in these brief references, the goat is undeniably identified with the scapegoat here (some translations transliterate this word so that it sounds like someone's name). Jesus Christ is presented alive before God the Father when the sins of the world are poured upon Him. Author's of books on systematic theology (such as Chafer or Hodge) spend hundreds of pages on soteriology (the doctrine of salvation), so it only stands to reason that the various aspects of salvation would be dealt with in great detail in the Old Testament, albeit in shadow form.
"And Aaron will approach with the bull as a sin [-offering] for himself and will make atonement for himself and for his house [lit., cover on behalf of himself and on behalf of his house]; and he will kill the bull as a sin [-offering] which [is] his own. [Lev. 16:11]
Next we need to examine the preposition ba‛ad (ד ַע ַ) [pronounced BAH-ad], which we have looked at before; it connotes separation and is translated from, behind, about, away from; however, it can also mean through (as in through a window) and on behalf of, as we find it used here.
Scofield's notes are well worth mentioning here. The sacrificial types which foreshadow the death of our Lord all have these four necessary elements (I am paraphrasing): (1) The sacrifices are substitutionary; the offering takes the place of the offerer in death; (2) God's law is not abrogated nor is it sidestepped or ignored; the sacrificial death was a fulfillment of the sentence of the law; (3) an analogy to sinlessness must be emphasized with every sacrifice, whether it be a lamb without spot or blemish, or the cleansing of the high priest; (4) the result of the sacrifice was both forgiveness and fellowship .
"And he will take a censer full of coals of fire from the altar from before the face of Yahweh and two handfuls [lit., the filling of the hollow of his hands] of sweet incense beaten small; and he will bring it within the veil. [Lev. 16:12]
Now we are speaking of entering into the holy of holies. There cannot be a mistake in this procedure. It is the Holy of Holies which speaks most convincingly of Jesus Christ and man's absolute need for salvation.
"And put the incense on the fire before the face of Yahweh the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat, which is upon the [ark of] testimony, so that he does not die. [Lev. 16:13]
The incense and the mercy seat both speak of propitiation to God; that is, God is satisfied with the sacrifice of Jesus Christ; it is sufficient to allow fellowship between man and God. In the spiritual life, Thieme often emphasized that strictly adhered to precise procedure, was the order of the day. Here is Yahweh speaking directly to Moses telling him that this is exactly the way that this must be done to prevent Aaron dying the sin unto death. Upon the ark of the covenant was the glory of God, which few if any could behold without dying (the clean cannot come into contact with the unclean). The smoke would obscure some of the glory of God.
"And we will take out from the blood of the bull and sprinkle [it] with his finger on the front of the mercy seat, east-ward; he will sprinkle the blood seven times with his finger. [Lev. 16:14]
Seven was the first number that we became acquainted with in terms of meaning; we found that seven indicated divine provision and completion. The sprinkled blood would be like the drops of blood coming from out Lord's hands. Recall that the tabernacle furniture is in the shape of a cross and the eastward side of the furniture corresponds to the downward direction of the cross; that is, here the blood would be dripping down, so to speak. Aaron here is in the holy of holies. Therefore, it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be cleansed with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; nor was it that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood not his own, otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself (Heb. 9:23–26).
By New Testament times, the ark of the covenant was no longer in the holy of holies. Sometime after the time of David, who recovered the ark, and before the inter-testament times; probably during the dispersion, the ark was removed from the Temple (no longer a tabernacle at that time), not to ever be returned. The holy of holies had become as empty as their apostate religion of works.
"Then he will kill the goat of the sin [-offering] which is for the people and bring its blood within the veil and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull; sprinkling it upon the mercy seat and before the mercy seat. [Lev. 16:15]
Again, the blood placed where it was would have been equivalent to blood on the cross where the hands were and this blood would be dripping downward. The sacrifice of the goat was on behalf of the people of Israel.
"Thus, he will make a covering upon the holy place on account of the people of Israel and because of their transgressions, all their sins, so he will do for the tent of meeting which abides with them in the midst of their uncleanness. [Lev. 16:16]
Vv. 16–17 are summary verses telling us what has taken place so far and they give us the stated meaning for the people of Israel in the Old Testament. This is done because of all of the sins and transgressions of the house of Israel, to make a covering or a shielding for the tabernacle, which is in the midst of Israel and in the midst of all her impurities. Our Lord on this earth was preserved in His humanity through the strength, guidance and protection of the Holy Spirit, the exact same Holy Spirit which offers us the exact same strength, guidance and protection.
The purpose of the sacrifices was to temporarily cover over their transgressions so that the God of the Heavens, the perfect and righteous God Who cannot come into contact with anything sinful, does not come into direct contact with their sins and transgressions. There are two reasons why this did not cancel sin: (1) these are rituals, and rituals portray what is real but they are not in of themselves real; and, (2) our Lord had not yet come in time and paid the penalty for sin. For those same two reasons, none of the Jews from the age of Israel were ever resurrected. Christ, the First Fruits, was first resurrected, to show God's approval and to bring many other sons into salvation.
Therefore, He had to be made like His brothers in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people; for since He Himself was tempted in that which He was suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted (Heb. 2:17–18). Whereas Aaron offered up a blood sacrifice for himself and the people of God; God the Son offered up His own blood, then helps us in our weaknesses to withstand sin.
"There is not be any man in the tent of meeting when he enters to make atonement [lit., to make a covering] in the holy place until he comes out and has made atonement for [lit., a covering on behalf of] himself and for his house and for all the assembly of Israel. [Lev. 16:17]
Aaron must be ceremonially clean in order to approach Yahweh and all the congregation must be ceremonially clean in order to approach Yahweh. There is no approach to God apart from Aaron entering the holy of holies and making an offering to God. Our Lord Jesus Christ, without any help from man, gave Himself as a sacrifice for our sins. Jesus Christ died for our sins alone; He made atonement for our sins alone.
"He will go out to the altar which is before Yahweh and make a covering concerning himself and he will take out from the blood of the bull and out from the blood of the goat and he will put [it] on the protrusions of the altar round about. [Lev. 16:18]
The blood is used to cleanse; the altar is where all burned approaches to God are lain. Aaron emerges from the holy of holies and from the tabernacle, just as God the Son will leave the third heaven, then throne room of God, the presence of God the Father, and gather Israel at the end of the tribulation
"And he will sprinkle upon it out from the blood with his finger seven times and cleanse it and set it apart from the uncleannesses of the people of Israel. [Lev. 16:19]
Before Israel has a chance to do anything right or wrong, God calls them unclean and atonement must be made the separate them from their acts of sin and transgressions.
The Scapegoat and the Final Cleansing
"And when he has finished from covering the holy place and the tent of meeting and the altar, he will approach with the live goat. [Lev. 16:20]
These things are earthly items which are not holy in themselves; by the blood, Aaron makes all things holy, or set apart to God by cleansing them with the blood which stands for the blood of our Lord. Then he approaches God with the live goat.
"And Aaron will lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat and confess over him all the iniquities of the people of Israel and all their transgressions , with reference to all their sins, and he will put them upon the head of the goat and send [the goat] away into the desert by the hand of a prepared man. [Lev. 16:21]
The description of the man varies from translation to translation because the adjective describing this man occurs only one time and that is here. It is the word ׳îtîy (י ̣ת ̣ע) [pronounced ģeet-TEE], which is very close to the word ׳âthîd (ד ̣ת ָע) [pronounced ģaw-theed] so some translators give them the exact same meaning. Whereas the latter word has a verb cognate to help fix its meaning, this word does not. There prepared is a reasonable, but not necessarily accurate guess as to the adjective used here.
This verse tells us exactly what was done with the scape goat. Aaron lays both of his hands on the head of the goat and all of the sins of Israel are transferred from Israel to the goat; then the goat will be taken by a man who will free the goat in the wilderness. The goat will in this way take the sins of Israel far from Israel. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us (Psalm 103:12). The Egyptians had a practice when offering sacrifices to place their hands on the head that so that evil may not fall upon them but upon the head of the animal being sacrificed. This is not something which the Jews copied from the Egyptians, but a similar symbol used by God that the Jews were familiar with; much like language of accomodation, this was symbol or type by accommodation.
"And the goat will bear [or, carry] upon himself all their iniquities into a solitary land; and he will let the goat go in the desert. [Lev. 16:22]
Just as our Lord took all of our sins upon Himself; He bore our sins in His own body on the tree (I Peter 2:24a). The solitary land is into the earth when our Lord's body went into the ground, His Spirit into heaven, and his soul to preach to the souls in Tartarus (Luke 23:43, 46, 53). This solitary land (Rotherham calls it lone land and footnotes land of seclusion), is Tartarus to us; where all the souls are kept until the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, it is probably better translated land of separation; the word is gezêrâh (ה ָר ֵז ׃) [pronounced g'zay-RAWH], and, although it is found nowhere else in the Old Testament, this word is closely related to gâzar (ר ַז ָ) [pronounced gaw-ZAHR], and this means to cut, to divide, to decree. This is where our Lord went upon His resurrection, into the solitary land—the land of seclusion, with reference to those who are still alive.
"The Aaron will come into the tent of meeting and he will take off the linen garments that he had put on when he went into the holy place and he will leave them there. [Lev. 16:23]
What is being taught here is amazing. And after these things, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret [one], for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate granted permission. He came therefore, and took away His body. And Nicodemus came also, who had first come face to face with Him by night, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. And so they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had yet been laid. Therefore, on account of the day of preparation, because the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there...and he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb...and looking up, they saw that the tomb had been rolled away, although it was extremely large...[John] cam to the tomb first [before Peter], and stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings laying; he he did not go in. Simon Peter therefore also arrived, following him, and entered the tomb and he looked at the linen wrappings laying; and the face-cloth, which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself (John 19:38–41 Mark 14:46b John 20:4b–7). Just as our Lord was resurrected and left his linen wrappings in His tomb, so Aaron would leave his linen clothing behind in the tabernacle after the symbolic offerings for our sins. Furthermore, Our Lord would shed His covering, His human body in the grave, so to speak; and He was resurrected into a spiritual body. The seed for his resurrection body, that is, His human body, died, was placed into the ground, and was resurrected as a new body. That which was human and temporal was left behind and He took up a new body. Obviously, his body went through a transformation of sorts to one that was capable of walking through closed doors and of vertical ascent. Aaron, in the same way, left his covering behind once the sacrifice for the day of atonement had been completed.
"And he will bathe his body in water in a holy place and put on his garments and come forth and offer his burnt offering and the burnt offering of the people and make a covering on behalf of himself and on behalf of the people. [Lev. 16:24]
Our Lord took upon Himself our sins and was judged for our sins in His body on the cross. However, when He was raised from the dead, He was raised free of these sins, which had been paid for. Aaron's cleansing and putting on his garments and emerging from the tabernacle is analogous to our Lord being raised from the dead in His perfect resurrection body and emerging from the grave, perfect. The burnt offering speaks of the judgement of our Lord; there was a ram for himself and a ram for the congregation (Lev. 16:3, 5). This judgement is the final process.
"And the fat of the sin offering he will burn upon the altar. [Lev. 16:25]
This is either the bull which was offered fro himself or the boat which was offered for the people of Israel.
"And he who released the goat as the scapegoat will wash his clothes and bathe his body in water and afterward he may come into the camp. [Lev. 16:26]
This person has been in contact with the goat, which is bearing all of the sins of Israel. Even thohugh this is a picture of our Lord, it is also a goat bearing the sins of Israel, and therefore, because of the sins, is unclean. The person in charge of releasing the goat must cleanse himself. Since this is all a shadow, an analogy to what is real, the analogy will break down occasionally. This was seen with Aaron, who represents Jesus Christ, our High Priest, but then Aaron had to make sacrifices for himself in order to perform the Levitical ceremonies herein described. For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; Who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins, and then for the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, [appoints] a Son, made perfect forever (Heb. 7:26–28). This is why there was so much ceremony and so many different sacrifices; to illustrate the multifarious aspects of salvation.
"And the bull for the sin offering and the gaot for the sin offering whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the holy place will be carried forth outside the camp and burned with fire; their skin and their flesh and their dung. [Lev. 16:27]
These animals came into contact with the sins of Israel and have ceremonially become unclean due to that contact. Therefore, they are carried outside the camp of Israel and their remains are burned. There are two analogies found here; this is analogous to our Lord being sacrificed outside the gate: For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest for sin are burned outside the camp; therefore, Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate (Heb. 13:11–12). This is also analogous to those who chose to remain in their sins and are burned outside of God's love in the lake of fire: And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he ws thrown into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:15).
"And he who burns them will wash his clothes and bathe his body in water and afterward he may come into the camp. [Lev. 16:28]
Just like the one who released the goat, this close contact with the sacrifices that bore the sins has made these men unclean and they must cleansed again to return to the camp of Israel.
The Time of the Day of Atonement
"And this is to you a statue forever in the seventh month on the tenth day of the month you will humble yourselves and you will not due any work—[not] the native or the stranger who temporarily resides with you. [Lev. 16:29]
I don't know if I am quite ready to deal with the word for yourself in this verse. However, notice that on the day of atonement, the day which speaks of the one day our Lord went to the cross to die for our sins; no one is to do any work. You cannot work or earn your salvation in any way. What God has accomplished is perfect and there is no human effort involved on any level. We merely accept what He has done for us on our behalf. Notice that this is applied to all who are there; not just the Jews, but any stranger who resides there with Israel. Salvation is open to all mankind.
I should take a moment to clear up any confusion when one reads this passage and also reads Lev. 23:32, where the Day of Atonement is to begin on the ninth day of the seventh month. The rest is to begin on the ninth day of the month at dusk; this then became the tenth day of the month for the Jews, as they calculate their days from evening to evening.
Next the date: this was to occur sometime in September/October (according to my NIV); why was this not correspondent to the day our Lord died on our behalf? This is because this particular group of sacrifices spans all history from the ceremonial cleansing of the people of Israel (to which Aaron is analogous) all the way to the end of history when those who do not believe in our Lord are cast into the lake of fire and our Lord returns to rule over a new heavens and a new earth forever. Even though they focus of all sacrifices is firmly upon our Lord's sacrifice on the cross, this particular day is historically far-reaching in both directions of time.
"For it [is] on this day a covering is being made for you to cleanse you from all your sins before Yahweh; you will be clean. [Lev. 16:30]
There is no confusing this issue—the sins of the Jews are dealt with on this day, albeit ceremonially. They cannot work for it; they can only stand and solemnly observe in humility. However, they must be cleansed. There is no provision made for the one who has kept the whole law because no such man exists. Even Aaron had to bring for himself a bull and a ram to sacrifice for his own sins and he had to cleanse himself several times in order to present these things to the sons of Israel.
"It [is] to you a Sabbath day of solemn rest [lit., a sabbath of a sabbath] and you will humble yourselves—[this is] a statute forever. [Lev. 16:31]
Again, a Sabbath is a time of no work; they cannot work for what is being accomplished on their behalf. Even in the Old Testament, it was clear that man could not work to achieve cleansing before God. It is only on this day when the high priest enters into the holy of holies (a place known to the rest of Israel only through God's Word). The priest entered into the holy of holies three times on this day, once with the incense (vv. 12–13), once with the blood of the bull (v. 14) and once with the blood of the goat (v. 15). This was the only day that the people were specifically told to humble themselves. However, I do not believe that they were to necessarily fast (the Scripture is inconclusive here; I have carefully examined the Scriptures used to support such a fast and find them unconvincing in this regard). It may have become a fast day, but that is not necessarily a result of divine mandate but of human works (Isa. 58:5 Zech. 7:5 8:19). The contexts of Isa. 58:5 and Zech. 7:5 indicates that the fasting they did was not approved of by Yahweh (however, it is inconclusive as to whether it was divinely sanctioned or no). There is one verse where humbling oneself is associated with fasting, and that is Psalm 35:13. In any case, it certainly became a day of fasting (Acts 27:9), being called by the name The Fast. We have to separate what God commanded from the later bastardization of these holy days.
"And the priest will make a covering; whoever is anointed and whose hand is filled as priest in his father's place wearing the linen garments, the holy garments. [Lev. 16:32]
When someone has their hands full it means that they had more than enough to do. When, as it was put in those days, someone had their hand filled, then he had a responsibility, a vocation, a calling, which occupied his time. This expression is often translated installed, consecrated. The Piel imperfect of the verb acts almost like a passive voice. That is, the priest did not go out and solicit this position; it was given him by God. Allow me to quote from Zodhiates concerning the use of the Piel: the Piel stem refers to an accomplished or established state of being, without regard to the process or events that brought it about (a meaning reserved to the Qal stem). The Piel stem is used to refer to verbal facts and results. In the Piel stem, the object of the verb is passively transformed so that there is an idea of causation inherent in the meaning, though this causative aspect is never the point of emphasis. It may refer to the difference between a current state and the one that is to be established...Many occupations and repetitive acts are referred to by the Piel stem .
This just lets the Israelites know that this great day of atonement continues throughout time, past the death of Aaron and that someone else will take Aaron's place; and then someone will take his place.
"He will make a covering on behalf of the sanctuary, and on behalf of the tent of meeting; and for the altar he will make a covering; and on behalf of the priests and on behalf of all the people of the assembly, he will make a covering. [Lev. 16:33]
All those things which represent that which is holy must be covered, as all that is in the earth is corrupt and it must be ceremonially cleansed to represent the things which are above.
"[This is] an everlasting statute that a covering is to be made for the people of Israel because of all their sins. Once in the year." And Moses did as Yahweh commanded. [Lev. 16:34]
Notice the chain of command; Yahweh spoke to Moses who then spoke to Aaron. See the chart of the Day of Atonement. And what does all of this to mean to us as believers? Since, therefore, brothers, we have confidence with reference to access to the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated on our behalf through the veil, that is, His flesh, and because [He is] a great priest over the house of God, then let us draw near with a sincere heart in full confidence from doctrine, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water (Heb. 10:19–22).