Leviticus 1:17
And he shall cleave it with the wings thereof, but shall not divide it asunder: and the priest shall burn it upon the altar, upon the wood that is upon the fire: it is a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) And he shall cleave it with the wings thereof.—Before placing it on the altar fire the priest made an incision in the wings, without, however, separating them wholly from the body, thus corresponding in some degree to the limbing of the quadruped. (See Leviticus 1:6.)

Leviticus 1:17. He shall cleave — The bird through the whole length, yet so as not to separate the one side from the other. A sweet savour unto the Lord — Yet, after all, “to love God with all our hearts, and to love our neighbour as ourselves, is better than all burnt-offerings and sacrifices.”

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.His crop with his feathers - The weight of authority is in favor of the marginal rendering. It is most probable that the feathers were burned with the body, and that the wings, mentioned in Leviticus 1:17, were not mutilated.

The place of the ashes - The ashes were daily removed from the altar (except on certain holy days) and thrown into a heap on its eastern side. When the heap became inconveniently large, it was removed in vessels appropriated to the purpose (see Exodus 27:3) to a spot without the camp. Leviticus 4:12; Leviticus 6:11.

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. Shall not divide it asunder; shall cleave the bird through the whole length, yet so as not to separate the one side from the other, and so as there may be a wing left on each side. See Genesis 15:10.

And he shall cleave it with the wings thereof,.... One wing being on one side, and the other on the other side:

but shall not divide it asunder; the body of the bird, though it was cleaved down in the middle, yet not parted asunder, nor any of its wings separated from it; the Targum of Jonathan paraphrases it, "but shall not separate its wings from it"; this denoted, that though, by the death of Christ, his soul and body were separated from each other, yet the human nature was not separated from his divine Person, the personal union between the two natures still continuing; nor was he divided from his divine Father, though he was forsaken by him, yet still in union with him as the Son of God; nor from the divine Spirit, by which he offered up himself to God, and by which he was quickened; nor from his church and people, for whom he suffered, they being united to him as members to their head:

and the priest shall burn it upon the altar, upon the wood that is upon the fire; in like manner as the ox, sheep, or goat were burnt: according to the Misnah, the priest went up the ascent (of the altar) and turned round about the circuit; when he came to the southeast horn, he cut its head (or nipped it) with his nail, over against its neck, and divided it, and squeezed out its blood by the wall of the altar, and turned the part nipped to the altar, and struck it at it, and rubbed it with salt, and cast it upon the fires; then he went to the body and removed the crop and its feathers (or dung) and the entrails that came out along with it, and threw them into the place of ashes; he cleaved but did not divide asunder, but if he divided it was right, then he rubbed it with salt, and cast it upon the fires (q):

it is a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord; See Gill on Leviticus 1:9 so with the Heathens, to the gods of the air they sacrificed fowls for burnt offerings (r).

(q) Misn. Zebachim, c. 6. sect. 5. (r) Porphyr. apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 4. c. 9. p. 146. Vid. Maoreb. Saturnal. l. 3. c. 8.

And he shall cleave it with the wings thereof, but shall not divide it asunder: and the priest shall burn it upon the altar, upon the wood that is upon the fire: it is a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor unto the LORD.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
17. rend it by the wings thereof] The action corresponds to that of dividing into parts (Leviticus 1:6 and Leviticus 1:12), but because of the small size of the bird the division is not completed.

a sweet savour] The offering of fowls is thus described, as well as the offerings of the herd and of the flock, to teach that, whether the offerer bring much or little, it is all one in the sight of God provided only that the heart be directed heavenwards. (Rashi, based on Talm. Menâḥoth.)

Leviticus 1:17He then took out בּנצתהּ את־מראתו, i.e., according to the probable explanation of these obscure words, "its crop in (with) the foeces thereof,"

(Note: This is the rendering adopted by Onkelos. The lxx, on the contrary, render it ἀφελεῖ τὸν πρόλοβον σὺν τοῖς πτεροῖς, and this rendering is followed by Luther (and the English Version, Tr.), "its crop with its feathers." But the Hebrew for this would have been ונצתו. In Mishnah, Sebach. vi. 5, the instructions are the following: "et removet ingluviem et pennas et viscera egredentia cum illa." This interpretation may be substantially correct, although the reference of בנוצתה to the feathers of the pigeon cannot be sustained on the ground assigned. For if the bird's crop was taken out, the intestines with their contents would unquestionably come out along with it. The plucking off of the feathers, however, follows from the analogy of the flaying of the animal. Only, in the text neither intestines nor feathers are mentioned; they are passed over as subordinate matters, that could readily be understood from the analogy of the other instructions.)

and threw it "at the side of the altar eastwards," i.e., on the eastern side of the altar, "on the ash-place," where the ashes were thrown when taken from the altar (Leviticus 6:3). He then made an incision in the wings of the pigeon, but without severing them, and burned them on the altar-fire (Leviticus 1:17, cf. Leviticus 1:9).

The burnt-offerings all culminated in the presentation of the whole sacrifice upon the altar, that it might ascend to heaven, transformed into smoke and fragrance. Hence it is not only called עלה, the ascending (see Genesis 8:20), but כּליל, a whole-offering (Deuteronomy 33:10; Psalm 51:21; 1 Samuel 7:9). If the burning and sending up in the altar-fire shadowed forth the self-surrender of the offerer to the purifying fire of the Holy Ghost; the burnt-offering was an embodiment of the idea of the consecration and self-surrender of the whole man to the Lord, to be pervaded by the refining and sanctifying power of divine grace. This self-surrender was to be vigorous and energetic in its character; and this was embodied in the instructions to choose male animals for the burnt-offering, the male sex being stronger and more vigorous than the female. To render the self-sacrifice perfect, it was necessary that the offerer should spiritually die, and that through the mediator of his salvation he should put his soul into a living fellowship with the Lord by sinking it as it were into the death of the sacrifice that had died for him, and should also bring his bodily members within the operations of the gracious Spirit of God, that thus he might be renewed and sanctified both body and soul, and enter into union with God.

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