|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
24:1-8 A solemn covenant was made between God and Israel. Very solemn it was, typifying the covenant of grace between God and believers, through Christ. As soon as God separated to himself a peculiar people, he governed them by a written word, as he has done ever since. God's covenants and commands are so just in themselves, and so much for our good, that the more we think of them, and the more plainly and fully they are set before us, the more reason we may see to comply with them. The blood of the sacrifice was sprinkled on the altar, on the book, and on the people. Neither their persons, their moral obedience, nor religious services, would meet with acceptance from a holy God, except through the shedding and sprinkling' of blood. Also the blessings granted unto them were all of mercy; and the Lord would deal with them in kindness. Thus the sinner, by faith in the blood of Christ, renders willing and acceptable obedience.
Verse 5. - And he sent young men. The Levitical priesthood not being as vet instituted, either all the people were regarded as holy, and so any one might offer sacrifice, or the "young men" selected may have been of the number of the first-born, who were priests in their respective families until the appointment of Aaron and his sons to be priests of the nation (Exodus 28:1). No doubt young men were selected as most competent to deal with struggling animals.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And he sent young men of the children Israel,.... To the altar under the hill he had these young men, according to Jarchi, were the firstborn of the children of Israel; and so the Targums Onkelos and Jonathan; and the latter adds,"for unto this hour the worship was among the firstborn, as yet the tabernacle of the covenant was not made, and as yet the priesthood was not given to Aaron.''But though this is a notion that has obtained among learned men, both Jews and Christians, it has been called in question by some, who have such reasons against it, as are not easily refuted. And very probably, as the seventy elders were such as were selected from the senior and graver part of the people, so these were choice young men, that were separated from others for this service, without any regard to birthright:
which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the Lord; by way of thankfulness; and such were used at making covenants, when the parties ate and drank together. The Vulgate Latin version has it, "twelve calves", without any authority for it.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5. young men—priests (Ex 19:22), probably the oldest sons of particular families, who acted under the direction of Moses.
oxen—Other animals, though not mentioned, were offered in sacrifice (Heb 9:18-20).
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