|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:1,2 The offering of sacrifices was an ordinance of true religion, from the fall of man unto the coming of Christ. But till the Israelites were in the wilderness, no very particular regulations seem to have been appointed. The general design of these laws is plain. The sacrifices typified Christ; they also shadowed out the believer's duty, character, privilege, and communion with God. There is scarcely any thing spoken of the Lord Jesus in Scripture which has not also a reference to his people. This book begins with the laws concerning sacrifices; the most ancient were the burnt-offerings, about which God here gives Moses directions. It is taken for granted that the people would be willing to bring offerings to the Lord. The very light of nature directs man, some way or other, to do honour to his Maker, as his Lord. Immediately after the fall, sacrifices were ordained.
Verse 1. - And the LORD called unto Moses. The first word of the verse, in the original Vayikra, meaning "and called," has been taken as the designation of the book in the Hebrew Bible. The title Leviticon, or Leviticus, was first adopted by the LXX., to indicate that it had for its main subject the duties and functions appertaining to the chief house of the priestly tribe of Levi. The word "and" connects the third with the second book of the Pentateuch. God is spoken of in this and in the next book almost exclusively under the appellation of "the LORD" or "Jehovah," the word "Elohim" being, however, used sufficiently often to identify the two names. Cf. Leviticus 2:13, 19:12. And spake unto him. The manner in which God ordinarily communicated with a prophet was by "a vision" or "in a dream;" but this was not the case with Moses; "My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house; with him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently" (Numbers 12:8). The Levitical code of laws, therefore, was delivered to Moses in his ordinary mental state, not in trance, or dream, or ecstasy. Out of the tabernacle of the congregation. The tabernacle had just been set up by Moses (Exodus 40:16). It derives its name of the congregation, or rather of meeting, from being the place where God met the representatives of his people (see Numbers 16:42). Hitherto God had spoken from the mount, now he speaks from the mercy-seat of the ark in the tabernacle. He had symbolically drawn near to his people, and the sacrificial system is now instituted as the means by which they should draw nigh to him. All the laws in the Book of Leviticus, and in the first ten chapters of the Book of Numbers, were given during the fifty days which intervened between the setting up of the tabernacle (Exodus 40:17) and the departure of the children of Israel from the neighbourhood of Mount Sinai (Numbers 10:11).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the Lord called unto Moses,.... Or "met him", as the phrase is rendered in Numbers 23:4. The word translated "called", the last letter of it is written in a very small character, to show, as the Jews (b) say, that he met him accidentally, and unawares to Moses: other mysteries they observe in it, as that it respects the modesty of Moses, who lessened himself, and got out of the way, that he might not have the government laid upon him, and therefore the Lord called him; or to denote the wonderful condescension of the Lord, whose throne is in heaven, and yet vouchsafed to dwell in the tabernacle, out of which he called to Moses, and from Mount Sinai, and out of the cloud (c). The word "Lord" is not in this clause, but the following, from whence it is supplied by our translators, as it is in the Syriac version, and as the word "God" is in the Arabic version; the two Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem paraphrase it,"the Word of the Lord called to Moses,''by an articulate voice, though it may be it was a still small one; and which some think is the reason of the smallness of the letter before mentioned; and Aben Ezra says that Moses heard it, but all Israel did not hear:
and spoke unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation; from off the mercy seat, between the cherubim over the ark, where the glory of the Lord, or the divine Shechinah and Majesty took up its residence, and from whence the Lord promised to commune with Moses, Exodus 25:22,
saying; what follows concerning sacrifices; which shows, that these were not human inventions, but of divine institution, and by the appointment of God.
(b) Vid. Buxtorf. Tiberias, c. 15. p. 39. (c) R. Abraham Seba, Tzeror Hammor, fol. 92. 1. 2.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
THE THIRD BOOK OF MOSES, CALLED LEVITICUS. Commentary by Robert Jamieson
Le 1:1-17. Burnt Offerings of the Herd.
1. the Lord … spake … out of the tabernacle—The laws that are contained in the previous record were delivered either to the people publicly from Sinai, or to Moses privately, on the summit of that mountain; but on the completion of the tabernacle, the remainder of the law was announced to the Hebrew leader by an audible voice from the divine glory, which surmounted the mercy seat.
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