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Leviticus Bible Study – Lesson #4

Leviticus 6:8-30 thru Leviticus 7:1-38      

LAWS OF THE OFFERINGS

The section from 6:8 to 7:38 presents “the law of the offerings.” In many ways, it is very similar to what has gone before. However, it is addressed to the priests whereas the previous instructions were for the children of Israel (1:2).

6:8–13 The law of the burnt offering: Additional details are given here concerning the garments worn by the priest, the manner in which he disposed of the ashes from the burnt offering, and the care he must exercise to see that the fire on the altar never went out. The ashes were first placed at the east side of the altar, and then carried outside the camp to a clean place.

6:14–17 The law of the grain offering: Here we learn that the priests had to eat their portion of the offering within the court of the tabernacle, and that it was not to be leavened because it was most holy to the Lord.

6:18 Any male children of Aaron could eat the grain offering, but they must be holy, that is, ceremonially clean. These priests did not become holy by touching the offerings. It is important to note that , according to God, holiness was not imparted by touch, but defilement was (Hag. 2:11–13).  

6:19–23 These verses describe a special grain offering which the high priest had to offer morning and evening continually. It was wholly burned by fire.

6:24–30 The law of the sin offering: As explained previously, the priest was allowed to eat portions of certain sin offerings (those described in Lev. 4:22–5:13, where the blood was not carried into the sanctuary). The offerings had to be eaten in the court of the tabernacle. Notice that this offering was most holy. If a layman touched the flesh of the offering, he must be holy or consecrated and had to cleanse himself from ceremonial defilement just as the priests did, though he could not exercise priestly functions. If any of the blood was sprinkled on a garment, the garment had to be washed—not because it was unclean but so that the most holy blood might not be carried out of the sanctuary into everyday life, and thus be profaned. An earthen vessel used to cook the meat of the sin offering had to be broken because the earthenware, being porous, absorbed some of the blood and might later be used for profane purposes. A bronze pot had to be both scoured and rinsed in water to prevent any portion of the most holy sin offering from ever coming in contact with anything that was common or unclean. The sin offering, like the guilt offering, was to be slain in the place where the burnt offering is killed. This was the north side of the altar (1:11), the place of shadows.

7:1–7 The first seven verses of chapter 7 review the law of the trespass offering, most of which has already been covered in 5:14–6:7.

7:8 Verse 8 refers to the burnt offering and provides that the officiating priest was entitled to the skin of the animal.

7:9, 10 Verse 9 indicates the portion of the grain offering that was to go to the officiating priest, and verse 10 what was to go to the rest of the priests.

7:11–18 The law of the peace offering is given in 7:11–21. There were three types of peace offerings, depending on the motive or purpose of the offering: for thanksgiving (v. 12), praising God for some special blessing (v. 16), “in fulfillment of a promise or pledge made to God for the granting of some special request in prayer; for example, preservation on a hazardous journey”; voluntary or freewill (vv. 16,17), “This would appear to be in the nature of a spontaneous expression of praise to God in appreciation of what He has revealed Himself to be.”  The peace offering itself was a sacrificial animal (chap. 3), but here we learn that it was accompanied by certain cakes or breads. The cakes that were required with a thank offering are listed in verses 12 and 13. The offerer was to bring one of each for a heave offering, and this was given to the officiating priest (v. 14). The flesh of the thanksgiving offering was to be eaten the same day (v. 15), whereas the votive offering and the freewill offering could be eaten on the first or second day (v. 16). Anything remaining after two days had to be burned (v. 17); to eat such meat would cause the person to be “cut off,” meaning excommunicated or removed from the privileges of the people of Israel. “This shows,” John Reid writes, “that communion with God must be fresh and not too far removed from the work of the altar.”  

7:19–21 If the flesh touched any unclean thing, it could not be eaten but had to be burned. Only persons who were ceremonially clean could eat the clean flesh. Any person who was ceremonially unclean and who ate of the peace offering would be cut off.

The fact that different portions of the peace offering were designated for the Lord, the priests, and the offerer indicates that it was a time of fellowship. But since God can have no fellowship with sin or uncleanness, those who partook of this festive meal had to be clean.

7:22–27 The fat, considered the best portion, belonged to the Lord. It was burned for Him on the altar, and it was not to be eaten (vv. 22–25). Likewise, the blood, being the life of the flesh, belonged to God and was not to be eaten (vv. 26,27). Today many Jews still seek to comply with these dietary laws. In order for meat to be fit for their consumption, or “kosher,” the blood must be removed. In avoiding the consumption of fat, many Jewish households will not use soaps which contain animal fats. They believe that even to use such products in washing dishes would be to make the dishes non-kosher.

7:28–34 The offerer waved the breast of the peace offerings before the Lord, and it then became the portion of the priests. The right thigh was heaved before the Lord, and then was given to the officiating priest as food for himself and his family.

7:35, 36 These verses repeat that the breast and right thigh were the portion of Aaron and his sons from the day that God first anointed them as priests. As previously suggested, the breast speaks of divine affection and the thigh of divine power.

7:37, 38 This paragraph concludes the section on the laws of the offerings, which began in 6:8. God has devoted much space in His Word to the offerings and their ordinances because they are important to Him. Here in beautiful imagery the Person and work of His Son can be seen in minute detail. Like the different facets of a diamond, these types all reflect the resplendent glory of Him “who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God” (Heb. 9:14).