Leviticus 1:14
And if the burnt sacrifice for his offering to the LORD be of fowls, then he shall bring his offering of turtledoves, or of young pigeons.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(14) Be of fowls.—The fowls here are in contrast to the cattle in Leviticus 1:2. And as the quadrupeds there are immediately defined to consist of bullocks, sheep and goats, so the generic term winged creature is here restricted to the dove and pigeon. It will thus be seen that five different kinds are allowed for the burnt offering, viz., the bullock, lamb, goat, dove and pigeon, the same that Abram was commanded to offer (Genesis 15:9).

Of turtledoves.—Though in the case of the burnt offering, as well as of the sin offering, pigeons were permitted to those who were too poor to offer quadrupeds, yet in certain other cases birds were prescribed for all irrespective of their circumstances. Not only did turtledoves regularly come in large flocks (Song of Solomon 2:11-12; Jeremiah 8:7) into Palestine at certain periods, but owing to these sacrifices the Jews have always kept dove-cots and reared pigeons (2Kings 6:25; Isaiah 60:8; Joseph. Wars, v. 4, 4). To supply the demand for them, dealers in these birds sat about with them in cages on stalls in the Temple court (Matthew 21:2; John 11:16, &c.).

Leviticus 1:14. Turtle-doves — Those who were not able to go to the charge of a sheep or goat might offer a bird. And these birds were preferred before others, 1st, Because they were easily obtained; for Maimonides observes, that they were so plenteous in Canaan, and consequently so cheap, that the poorer sort could easily afford to bring this oblation. 2d, Because they fitly represented Christ’s chastity, meekness, and gentleness, and that purity of mind which becomes every worshipper of God. Hence birds of prey, and those of a coarser kind, were not to be offered. The pigeons were to be young, because then they are best; but the turtle-doves are better when they are grown up, and therefore they are not confined to that age.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.Of turtledoves, or of young pigeons - The offering of a bird was permitted to one who was too poor to offer a quadruped. (Compare the marginal references.) But in certain rites of purification birds were appointed for all, whatever might be their circumstances. See Leviticus 15:14, Leviticus 15:29; Numbers 6:10. The limitation of the age of the pigeons may be accounted for by the natural habits of the birds. It would seem that the species which are most likely to have been the sacrificial dove and pigeon are the common turtle and the bluerock pigeon, a bird like our stock-dove, and considerably larger than the turtle. The turtles come in the early part of April, but as the season advances they wholly disappear. The pigeons, on the contrary, do not leave the country; and their nests, with young ones in them, may be easily found at any season of the year. Hence, it would appear, that when turtledoves could not be obtained, nestling pigeons were accepted as a substitute. 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. These birds were appointed for the relief of the poor who could not bring better. And these birds are preferred before others, partly because they were easily gotten, and partly because they are fit representations of Christ’s chastity, and meekness, and gentleness, for which these birds are remarkable. The pigeons must be young, because then they are best; but the turtle-doves are better when they are more grown up, and therefore they are not confined to that age. 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.

And if the burnt sacrifice for his offering to the LORD be of fowls, then he shall bring his offering of turtledoves, or of young pigeons.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
(c) Fowls (14–17)

This kind of offering is not included in the general introduction in Leviticus 1:2. The ritual is slightly altered; the laying the hand on the victim is omitted, the bringing in the hand being equivalent; and the priest performs all the ceremonial.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. It was the duty of the sons of Aaron, i.e., of the priests, to offer the sacrifice upon the altar. To this end they were to "put fire upon the altar" (of course this only applies to the first burnt-offering presented after the erection of the altar, as the fire was to be constantly burning upon the altar after that, without being allowed to go out, Leviticus 6:6), and to lay "wood in order upon the fire" (ערך to lay in regular order), and then to "lay the parts, the head and the fat, in order upon the wood on the fire," and thus to cause the whole to ascend in smoke. פּדר, which is only used in connection with the burnt-offering (Leviticus 1:8, Leviticus 1:12, and Leviticus 8:20), signifies, according to the ancient versions (lxx στέαρ) and the rabbinical writers, the fat, probably those portions of fat which were separated from the entrails and taken out to wash. Bochart's explanation is adeps a carne sejunctus. The head and fat are specially mentioned along with the pieces of flesh, partly because they are both separated from the flesh when animals are slaughtered, and partly also to point out distinctly that the whole of the animal ("all," Leviticus 1:9) was to be burned upon the altar, with the exception of the skin, which was given to the officiating priest (Leviticus 7:8), and the contents of the intestines. הקטיר, to cause to ascend in smoke and steam (Exodus 30:7), which is frequently construed with המּזבּחה towards the altar (ה local, so used as to include position in a place; vid., Leviticus 1:13, Leviticus 1:15, Leviticus 1:17; Leviticus 2:2, Leviticus 2:9, etc.), or with המּזבּח (Leviticus 6:8), or על־המּזבּח (Leviticus 9:13, Leviticus 9:17), was the technical expression for burning the sacrifice upon the altar, and showed that the intention was not simply to burn those portions of the sacrifice which were placed in the fire, i.e., to destroy, or turn them into ashes, but by this process of burning to cause the odour which was eliminated to ascend to heaven as the ethereal essence of the sacrifice, for a "firing of a sweet savour unto Jehovah." אשּׁה, firing ("an offering made by fire," Eng. Ver.), is the general expression used to denote the sacrifices, which ascended in fire upon the altar, whether animal or vegetable (Leviticus 2:2, Leviticus 2:11, Leviticus 2:16), and is also applied to the incense laid upon the shew-bread (Leviticus 24:7); and hence the shew-bread itself (Leviticus 24:7), and even those portions of the sacrifices which Jehovah assigned to the priests for them to eat (Deuteronomy 18:1 cf. Joshua 13:14), came also to be included in the firings for Jehovah. The word does not occur out of the Pentateuch, except in Joshua 13:14 and 1 Samuel 2:28. In the laws of sacrifice it is generally associated with the expression, "a sweet savour unto Jehovah" (ὀσμὴ εὐωδίας: lxx): an anthropomorphic description of the divine satisfaction with the sacrifices offered, or the gracious acceptance of them on the part of God (see Genesis 8:21), which is used in connection with all the sacrifices, even the expiatory or sin-offerings (Leviticus 4:31), and with the drink-offering also (Numbers 15:7, Numbers 15:10).
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