Leviticus: Study Notes On The Sacrifices

Also see our teaching on Leviticus 1-10

Leviticus 1-6: The Offerings of Ancient Israel

Leviticus 1 & 6

From herd:

  • male w/ no defects
  • lay hand on animal’s head and slaughter
  • priest spatters blood against altar
  • skin and clean the animal and the priest will burn all of it on the altar
  • this is a pleasing aroma to the Lord

From flock:

  • sheep or goat, male w/ no defects
  • slaughter on north side of altar
  • priest spatters blood against altar
  • skin and clean the animal and the priest will burn all of it on the altar
  • this is a pleasing aroma to the Lord

Bird

  • turtle dove or young pigeon
  • priest will wring off its head and drain its blood against the side of the altar
  • priest throws crop and feathers with ashes on east side of altar
  • priest grasps bird by its wings and tears bird open without tearing it apart
  • then burn it
  • this is a pleasing aroma to the Lord

Further instructions (6:8-13)

  • Leave on altar until the next morning and keep fire burning all night
  • In the morning after the priest puts on his official linen garments he must put the ashes inside the altar then change back into regular clothes and carry the ashes outside the camp to a place that is ceremonially clean.
  • The fire must never go out. Each morning the priest must add fresh wood and burn the fat of the peace offerings on it.
  • The whole animal was consumed (v. 13)

Leviticus 2 & 6

Choice flour

  • Pour olive oil on choice flour and sprinkle with incense
  • If from the first portion of the harvest roast the grain on a fire (2:14)
  • Priest scoops out a handful of flour and burns it on the altar
  • Priest keeps the rest

Prepared grain offerings:

  • If baked in an oven
    • Made of choice flour without yeast
    • May be thin cakes baked with olive oil or wafers spread with olive oil
  • If cooked on a griddle
    • Must be made of choice flour mixed with olive oil but no yeast
    • Break in pieces and pour olive oil on it
  • If prepared in a pan: must be made of choice flour and olive oil
  • The priest will burn part of the offering on the altar and keep the rest
  • Remember:
    • No yeast or honey may be burned on the altar
    • Add salt to all your grain offerings as a reminder of God’s eternal covenant

Further instructions: (6:14-18)

  • Priest may bake the remaining grain without yeast and eat it within the courtyard of the tabernacle
  • Anyone or anything that touches these offerings will become holy

Other notes

  • “Only a small portion (a handful, v 2) of the grain offering was actually burnt on the altar. This is called the memorial portion (’azkārâ), which means (lit.) ‘reminder’… After this small portion was offered by fire, the rest of the cereal belonged to the priests, whether uncooked flour, or loaves and cakes of various kinds (10). The cereal offerings were thus a major source of support for the priests, who did not own land and, therefore, had no means of growing their own crops. It is a most holy part because it was set aside for the priests. In other words, it was still just ordinary flour or bread, but it was set aside to be different from the everyday food of one’s family. It was for the Lord’s servants. ‘Holiness’ did not mean something magical or merely religious; it meant that which was set aside to be different.” (New Bible Commentary)

Leviticus 3

From herd or flock:

  • Male or female with no defects
  • Worshipper slaughters the animal at the tabernacle
  • Priests:
    • Splatter blood against all sides of the altar
    • Present part of animal as a sacrifice, including the fat around the internal organs, the two kidneys and the fat around them near the loins and the long lobe of the liver
    • If it’s a sheep then also offer the fat of the broad tail cut off near the backbone
  • It is a pleasing aroma to the Lord
  • Never eat any fat or blood (but the priest and the worshipper ate the rest)
  • This is offered up as “food” (v. 16)
    • “The meat was divided between the priest, who got the breast and the right thigh joint (7:28–34), and the worshipper’s family, who got the rest. So for the priests the fellowship offerings were a major source of protein in their diets. For the worshipper it was the opportunity for a joyful festive meal in God’s presence, which was to be socially inclusive (Dt. 12:7, 12, 19). The fact that the fellowship offering led on to a shared meal may be the reason why no provision was made for the offering of a bird since no bird known to Israelites would have been big enough for a family meal. One may assume, though it is not stated here (but implied in Dt. 12), that those who were too poor to lay on a fellowship offering meal of their own would have been invited to share in those of others in the community.” (New Bible Commentary)

Leviticus 5 & 6

If the high priest sins OR if the entire community sins

  • He/ they must present to the Lord a young bull with no defects
  • He/they must bring the bull to the entrance of the Tabernacle, lay his hand on the bull’s head, and slaughter it (the elders do this in the case of the entire community)
  • With the blood:
    • The priest must dip his finger in it and sprinkle it seven times in front of the inner curtain
    • Put some on the horns of the incense altar
    • Pour the rest at the base of the altar for burnt offerings at the entrance of the tabernacle
  • Remove all the fat of the bull (including all the fat around the internal organs, the two kidneys and the fat around them near the loins, and the long lobe of the liver – just like the cattle offered as a peace offering) and burn it all on the altar of burnt offerings
  • Take whatever is left of the bull—its hide, meat, head, legs, internal organs, and dung—and carry it away to a place outside the camp that is ceremonially clean, the place where the ashes are dumped then burn it all

If one of Israel’s leaders sins but doesn’t realize it

  • He is still guilty
  • He must bring a male goat with no defects, lay his hand on the goat’s head and slaughter it at the place where burnt offerings are slaughtered
  • Then the priest will dip his finger in the blood and put it on the horns of the altar for burnt offerings and then pour out the rest of the blood at the base of the altar.
  • Then he must burn all the goat’s fat on the altar, just as he does with the peace offering.

If any of the common people sin but they don’t realize it

  • They are still guilty
  • They must bring a female goat or female sheep with no defects, lay a hand on its head and slaughter it at the place where burnt offerings are slaughtered.
  • Then the priest will dip his finger in the blood and put it on the horns of the altar for burnt offerings. He will pour out the rest of the blood at the base of the altar.
  • Then he must remove all the fat, just as he does with the fat of the peace offering and burn the fat on the altar

5:1-13

  • Short list of sins requiring a sin offering.
    • If you are called to testify about something you have seen or that you know about, it is sinful to refuse to testify
    • If you unknowingly touch something that is ceremonially unclean, such as the carcass of an unclean animal. When you realize what you have done, you must admit your defilement and your guilt.
    • If you unknowingly touch something that makes a person unclean.
    • If you make a foolish vow of any kind, whether its purpose is for good or for bad. When you realize its foolishness, you must admit your guilt.
  • If you can’t afford a sheep you should bring two pigeons or two turtledoves. If you can’t afford that you should bring two quarts of choice flour

6:24-30

  • The animal given as an offering for sin must be slaughtered in the Lord’s presence at the place where the burnt offerings are slaughtered.
  • The priest who offers the sacrifice as a sin offering must eat his portion in a sacred place within the courtyard of the Tabernacle.
  • Anyone or anything that touches the sacrificial meat will become holy.
  • If any of the sacrificial blood spatters on a person’s clothing, the soiled garment must be washed in a sacred place.
    • If a clay pot is used to boil the sacrificial meat, it must then be broken.
    • If a bronze pot is used, it must be scoured and thoroughly rinsed with water.
  • Any male from a priest’s family may eat from this offering, for it is most holy.

But the offering for sin may not be eaten if its blood was brought into the Tabernacle as an offering for purification in the Holy Place. It must be completely burned with fire.

Leviticus 5 & 6

If someone sins by unintentionally defiling the Lord’s sacred property:

  • The offering must be your own ram with no defects, or you may buy one of equal value
  • Make restitution for the sacred property you have harmed by paying for the loss, plus an additional 20 percent.
  • When you give the payment to the priest, he will purify you with the ram sacrificed as a guilt offering, making you right with the Lord, and you will be forgiven.

If you sin by violating one of the Lord’s commands (even if you are unaware of what you have done)

  • You are guilty.
  • You must bring to the priest your own ram with no defects, or you may buy one of equal value.
  • Through this process the priest will purify you from your unintentional sin

Sins requiring a guilt offering: (6:1-7)

  • Sinning against your associate
  • Cheating in a deal involving a security deposit
  • Stealing or committing fraud,
  • Finding lost property and lying about it
  • Lying while swearing to tell the truth
  • Or committing any other such sin.

On the day Aaron and his sons are anointed,

  • They must present to the Lord a grain offering of two quarts of choice flour, half to be offered in the morning and half to be offered in the evening.
  • It must be carefully mixed with olive oil and cooked on a griddle. Slice this grain offering and present it as a pleasing aroma to the Lord.
  • In each generation, the high priest who succeeds Aaron must prepare this same offering.
  • It belongs to the Lord and must be burned up completely. None of it may be eaten.

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