|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:10-17 Those who could not offer a bullock, were to bring a sheep or a goat; and those who were not able to do that, were accepted of God, if they brought a turtle-dove, or a pigeon. Those creatures were chosen for sacrifice which were mild, and gentle, and harmless; to show the innocence and meekness that were in Christ, and that should be in Christians. The offering of the poor was as typical of Christ's atonement as the more costly sacrifices, and expressed as fully repentance, faith, and devotedness to God. We have no excuse, if we refuse the pleasant and reasonable service now required. But we can no more offer the sacrifice of a broken heart, or of praise and thanksgiving, than an Israelite could offer a bullock or a goat, except as God hath first given to us. The more we do in the Lord's service, the greater are our obligations to him, for the will, for the ability, and opportunity. In many things God leaves us to fix what shall be spent in his service, whether of our time or our substance; yet where God's providence has put much into a man's power, scanty offerings will not be accepted, for they are not proper expressions of a willing mind. Let us be devoted in body and soul to his service, whatever he may call us to give, venture, do, or suffer for his sake.
Verse 14. - If the burnt sacrifice for his offering to the Lord be of fowls. A comparison of Leviticus 12:8 leads us to infer that the permission to offer a bird was a concession to poverty. The pigeon and the turtle-dove were the most easy to procure, as the domestic fowl was at this time unknown to the Hebrews. The first and only allusion in the Bible to the hen occurs in the New Testament (Matthew 23:37; Luke 13:30, nor is there any representation of the domestic fowl in ancient Egyptian paintings. The domicile of the bird was still confined to India. A single pigeon or turtle-dove formed a sacrifice, and there was no rule in respect to sex, as there was in the case of the quadrupeds.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And if the burnt sacrifice for his offering to the Lord be of fowls,.... As it might be for the poorer sort, who could not offer a bullock, nor a sheep, or a lamb, Leviticus 5:7,
then he shall bring his offering of turtledoves, or of young pigeons; the Jewish writers all agree, that the turtles should be old, and not young, as the pigeons young, and not old; so the Targum of Jonathan, Jarchi, Aben Ezra and Gersom (l); the latter gives two reasons for it, because then they are the choicest and easiest to be found and taken: no mention is made of their being male or female, either would do, or of their being perfect and unblemished, as in the other burnt offerings; but if any part was wanting, it was not fit for sacrifice, as Maimonides (m) observes. These creatures were proper emblems of Christ, and therefore used in sacrifice, whose voice is compared to the turtle's, and his eyes to the eyes of doves, Sol 2:12 and who is fitly represented by them for his meekness and humility, for his chaste and strong affection to his church, as the turtledove to its mate, and for those dove like graces of the Spirit which are in him.
(l) Vid. T. Bab. Cholin, fol. 22. 1, 2.((m) Issure Mizbeach, c. 3. sect. 1, 2. Vid. Misn. Zebachim, c. 7. sect. 5. & Maimon. & Bartenora, in ib.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
14-17. if the burnt sacrifice … be of fowls—The gentle nature and cleanly habits of the dove led to its selection, while all other fowls were rejected, either for the fierceness of their disposition or the grossness of their taste; and in this case, there being from the smallness of the animal no blood for waste, the priest was directed to prepare it at the altar and sprinkle the blood. This was the offering appointed for the poor. The fowls were always offered in pairs, and the reason why Moses ordered two turtledoves or two young pigeons, was not merely to suit the convenience of the offerer, but according as the latter was in season; for pigeons are sometimes quite hard and unfit for eating, at which time turtledoves are very good in Egypt and Palestine. The turtledoves are not restricted to any age because they are always good when they appear in those countries, being birds of passage; but the age of the pigeons is particularly marked that they might not be offered to God at times when they are rejected by men [Harmer]. It is obvious, from the varying scale of these voluntary sacrifices, that the disposition of the offerer was the thing looked to—not the costliness of his offering.
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