Leviticus 2:1
And when any will offer a meat offering unto the LORD, his offering shall be of fine flour; and he shall pour oil upon it, and put frankincense thereon:
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(1) A meat offering.—Better, an oblation of a meat offering, as the same two words are rendered in Leviticus 2:4; Leviticus 2:13. The meat offerings which come next in the legal enumeration, and which occupy the whole of the present chapter, consisted of three kinds. The first is fine flour with oil and frankincense (Leviticus 2:1-3). The flour was of wheat (Exodus 29:2), and was double the value of the ordinary barley flour (2Kings 7:1; 2Kings 7:16; 2Kings 7:18), and because of its use at the sacrifices formed part of the Temple stores (1Chronicles 9:29; 1Chronicles 23:29).

Shall pour oil upon it.—Oil being to the food of the Israelites what butter is to ours, the offerer is here commanded to put some of it into this preparation in order to make it more palatable to the priests who were to eat part of it. (See Leviticus 2:3.) The frankincense was designed to counteract the offensive smell arising from the quantity of the flesh burnt there, as is evident from the following verse, where it is stated that it is wholly to be burnt.

Leviticus 2:1. When any will offer a meat-offering — The word מנחה, mincha, which we render meat-offering, signifies generally a simple oblation or gift. In this chapter and elsewhere it signifies an offering of things inanimate, in opposition to animal sacrifices, described in the former chapter. The word meat-offering (which is supposed by some to have been an ancient false print, that has run through many editions of our Bible, for meal-offering) conveys a quite different idea to the English reader. It certainly would be better rendered meal-offering, or wheat-offering. It was of two kinds: the one which, being joined with other offerings, (Numbers 15:4; Numbers 15:7; Numbers 15:10,) was particularly prescribed with the measure and proportion of it. The other, which is here spoken of, was left to the offerer’s good-will, both for the thing offered and the quantity. As to the matter of these minchas, or offerings of things inanimate, it was of such things as were of great use to the support of human life, namely, flour, bread, wine, salt, &c. Now this sort of sacrifices was appointed, 1st, Because these are things of the greatest necessity and benefit to man, and therefore it is meet that God should be served with them, and owned and praised as the giver of them. 2d, In condescension to the poor, that they might not want an offering for God, and to show that God would accept even the meanest services, when offered with a sincere mind. Some of these offerings were for the whole congregation, as the waved sheaf, (Leviticus 23:11,) and the two waved loaves, Leviticus 23:17. Some, again, were for private persons; among which were that for the poor sinner who could not afford the more expensive sacrifices, Leviticus 5:11, that, for the suspected woman, Numbers 5:15; besides the voluntary ones. He shall pour oil upon it, and put frankincense thereon — To make a sweet odour in the court of the tabernacle, which otherwise would have been very offensive, by reason of the blood that was sprinkled and the flesh that was burned there daily.

Besides, the pouring oil, and putting frankincense thereon, signified its being grateful and acceptable to God. And therefore in the offering of jealousy, when guilt was supposed, and sin brought to remembrance, no oil nor frankincense was to be put on the oblation. Now both these things were emblematical of spiritual blessings; the oil of the graces of the Holy Spirit, which are compared to oil and to anointing therewith, (Psalm 45:7; 1 John 2:20,) and are necessary to make any offering acceptable to God; and the frankincense of Christ’s atonement and intercession, compared to a sweet odour, Ephesians 5:2. And the intention of all these offerings being fully answered by the mediation of the Messiah and the blessings of his gospel, it was proper they should cease upon his death, as is thought to have been expressly foretold, Daniel 9:27.

2:1-11 Meat-offerings may typify Christ, as presented to God for us, and as being the Bread of life to our souls; but they rather seem to denote our obligation to God for the blessings of providence, and those good works which are acceptable to God. The term meat was, and still is, properly given to any kind of provision, and the greater part of this offering was to be eaten for food, not burned. These meat-offerings are mentioned after the burnt-offerings: without an interest in the sacrifice of Christ, and devotedness of heart to God, such services cannot be accepted. Leaven is the emblem of pride, malice, and hypocrisy, and honey of sensual pleasure. The former are directly opposed to the graces of humility, love, and sincerity, which God approves; the latter takes men from the exercises of devotion, and the practice of good works. Christ, in his character and sacrifice, was wholly free from the things denoted by leaven; and his suffering life and agonizing death were the very opposites to worldly pleasure. His people are called to follow, and to be like him.A meat offering - Better translated in Leviticus 2:4 an oblation of a meat offering קרבן qorbân, see Leviticus 1:2 מנחה mı̂nchāh. signifies literally a "gift"; and it appears to have been applied especially to what was given by an inferior to a superior Genesis 32:18-20; Genesis 43:11; Judges 3:15; 1 Samuel 10:27 : but in the technical language of the Law, it regularly denoted the vegetable offerings as distinguished from the animal offerings. Our translators have rendered it "meat-offering", applying the word "meat", according to old usage, as a general term for food. Vegetable-offering or meal-offering would be a more convenient rendering.

The meaning of the מנחה mı̂nchāh appears to be much more simple than that of the animal sacrifices. The מנחה mı̂nchāh, as a sacrifice, was something surrendered to God, which was of the greatest value to man as a means of living. It might thus seem to be merely eucharistic. But it should not be overlooked that the grain had been modified, and made useful, by man's own labor. Hence, it has been supposed that the מנחה mı̂nchāh expressed a confession that all our good works are performed in God and are due to Him.

The order in which the kinds of offering are named agrees with their development in order of time. The burnt-offering and the מנחה mı̂nchāh answer to the first two offerings on record Genesis 4:3-4; Amos 5:22.

Three kinds of מנחה mı̂nchāh are here mentioned; (1) Leviticus 2:1-3; (2) Leviticus 2:4-7; (3) Leviticus 2:14-16. Of each of them a small portion was burned on the altar "for a memorial," and the remainder was given to the priests. The offerings of flour belonged to the priests at large, but those of cakes and wafers to the officiating priests, Leviticus 7:9-10. Instructions to the priests are given in Leviticus 6:14-23.

Fine flour - finely bolted flour of wheat. It was probably always presented in a bowl, compare Numbers 7:13.

Oil - For the purpose of anointing and as food; in both senses a symbol of divine grace.

Frankincense - See the Exodus 30:34 note.


Le 2:1-16. The Meat Offerings.

1. when any will offer a meat offering—or gift—distinguishing a bloodless from a bloody sacrifice. The word "meat," however, is improper, as its meaning as now used is different from that attached at the date of our English translation. It was then applied not to "flesh," but "food," generally, and here it is applied to the flour of wheat. The meat offerings were intended as a thankful acknowledgment for the bounty of Providence; and hence, although meat offerings accompanied some of the appointed sacrifices, those here described being voluntary oblations, were offered alone.

pour oil upon it—Oil was used as butter is with us; symbolically it meant the influences of the Spirit, of which oil was the emblem, as incense was of prayer.Concerning free-will meat-offerings, of fine flour with oil and frankincense upon it, Leviticus 2:1; for a memorial, Leviticus 2:2. The remainder most holy, to be eaten by Aaron and his sons, Leviticus 2:3. Of baked and unleavened cakes mixed and wafers sprinkled with oil, Leviticus 2:4; or dressed in the pan, Leviticus 2:5; or in the frying-pan, Leviticus 2:7; but without leaven or honey, Leviticus 2:11. The firstlings excepted, Leviticus 2:12. Salt of the covenant to be offered, Leviticus 2:13. First-fruits, how to be offered, Leviticus 2:14-16.

A meat-offering was of two kinds; the one joined with other offerings, Numbers 15:4,7,10, which was prescribed, together with the measure or proportion of it; the other, of which this place speaks, was a distinct and separate offering, and was left to the offerer’s good will, both for the thing and for the quantity. And the matter of this offering was things without life, as meal, corn, cakes, &c. Now this sort of sacrifices were appointed,

1. Because these are things of greatest necessity and benefit to man, and therefore it is meet that God should be served with them, and owned and praised as the giver of them.

2. In condescension to the poor, that they might not want an offering for God, and to show that God would accept even the meanest services, when offered to him with a sincere mind.

3. These were necessary provisions for the feast, which was here to be represented to God, and for the use of the priests, who were to attend upon these holy ministrations.

Fine flour, searched, or sifted, and purged from all bran, it being fit that the best things should be offered to the best Being.

He shall pour oil upon it; which may note the graces of the Holy Ghost, which are compared to oil, and anointing with it, Psalm 45:7 1Jo 2:20, and which are necessary to make any offering acceptable to God. The frankincense manifestly designed Christ’s satisfaction and intercession, which is compared to a sweet odour, Ephesians 5:2, and to incense, Revelation 8:3.

And when any man will offer a meat offering unto the Lord,.... Or, "when a soul", and which Onkelos renders "a man", so called from his more noble part; and, as the Jews say, this word is used because the Minchah, or meat offering here spoken of, was a freewill offering, and was offered up with all the heart and soul; and one that offered in this manner, it was all one as if he offered his soul to the Lord (s): there were some meat offerings which were appointed and fixed at certain times, and were obliged to be offered, as at the daily sacrifice, the consecration of priests, the waving of the sheaf, &c. Exodus 29:40 but this was a freewill offering; wherefore it is said, "when any man will offer"; the Hebrew word "a meat offering", may be derived from "to bring" or "offer", and so is a name common to offerings of any sort; or from to "recreate" and delight, it being of a sweet savour to the Lord, as other offerings were; others derive it from a root not in use, and in the Chaldee language signifies a gift or present, in which sense this word is used, Genesis 32:13.

his offering shall be of fine flour; of flour of wheat, Exodus 29:2 for, as the Jews say, there is no fine flour but wheat, and this was for the meat offering, 1 Chronicles 21:23 and this was to be of the finest of the wheat; for all offerings, whether private or public, were to be of the best, and to be brought from those places which were noted for having the best; and the best places for fine flour were Mechmas and Mezonicha, and the next to them were Caphariim, in the valley; and though it might be taken out of any part of the land of Israel and used, yet it chiefly came from hence (t); and according to the Jewish writers (u); the least quantity of fine flour used in a meat offering was the tenth part of an ephah, which was about three pints and a half, and a fifth part of half a pint: Christ was prefigured by the meat offering; his sacrifice came in the room of it, and put an end to it, Psalm 40:7 whose flesh is meat indeed, the true meat or bread, in distinction from this typical meat offering, John 6:55 the fine flour denotes the choiceness, excellency, and purity of Christ; the dignity of his person, the superiority of him to angels and men, being the chiefest, and chosen out of ten thousand; the purity of his human nature being free from the bran of original corruption, and the spotlessness of his sacrifice: and fine flour of wheat being that of which bread is made, which is the principal part of human sustenance, and what strengthens the heart of man, and nourishes him, and is the means of maintaining and supporting life; it is a fit emblem of Christ, the bread of life, by which the saints are supported in their spiritual life, and strengthened to perform vital acts, and are nourished up unto everlasting life, and who, as the meat offering, is called the bread of God, Leviticus 21:6 John 6:33.

and he shall pour oil upon it; upon all of it, as Jarchi observes, because it was mingled with it, and it was the best oil that was used; and though it might be brought from any part of the land of Israel, which was a land of oil olive, yet the chief place for oil was Tekoah, and the next to it was Ragab beyond Jordan, and from hence it was usually brought (w); and the common quantity was a log, or half a pint, to a tenth deal of fine flour, as Gersom asserts from the wise men, and to which Maimonides (x) agrees; and Gersom on the place observes, that it is proper that some of the oil should be put in the lower part of the vessel, and after that the fine flour should put in it, and then he should pour some of it upon it and mix it: the oil denotes the grace of the Spirit poured out upon Christ without measure, the oil of gladness, with which he was anointed above his fellows, and from whence he has the name of Messiah or Christ, or Anointed; and with which he was anointed to be prophet, priest, and King, and which renders him very desirable and delightful to his people, his name being as ointment poured forth, Psalm 45:7.

and put frankincense thereon; on a part of it, as Jarchi's note is; and according to him, the man that brought the meat offering left an handful of frankincense upon it on one side; and the reason of this was, because it was not to be mixed with it as the oil was, and it was not to be taken in the handful with it (z); and the quantity of the frankincense, as Gersom says, was one handful: this denoted the sweet odour and acceptableness of Christ, the meat offering, both to God and to his people: it is an observation of the Jewish writers, that the pouring out of the oil on the fine flour, and mixing it with it, and putting on the frankincense, might be done by a stranger, by any man, by the man that brought the meat offering, but what follows after the bringing of it to the priest were done by him (a).

(s) Jarchi, Aben Ezra, & Baal Hatturim, in loc. (t) Misn. Menachot, c. 8. sect. 1.((u) Jarchi & Gersom in loc. (w) Misn. Menachot, c. 8. sect. 3.((x) Hilchot Maaseh, Hakorbanot, c. 13. sect 5. (z) Vid T. Bab. Sotah, fol. 14. 2.((a) T. Bab. Menachot, fol. 9. 1. & 18. 2. & Pesachim, fol. 36. 1. & Jarchi in loc.

And when any will offer a {a} meat offering unto the LORD, his offering shall be of fine flour; and he shall pour oil upon it, and put frankincense thereon:

(a) Because the burnt offering could not be without the meat offering.

Verse 1. - And when any will offer a meat offering unto the Lord. The word used in the original for "meat offering" (minchah), means, like its Greek equivalent, δῶρον, a gift made by an inferior to a superior. Thus the sacrifices of Cain and Abel were their "minchah" to God (Genesis 4:3, 4), the present sent to Esau by Jacob was his "minchah" (Genesis 32:13), and the present to Joseph was his brethren's "minchah" (Genesis 43:11). It is therefore equivalent to a gift of homage, which recognizes the superiority of him to whom it is offered, and ceremonially promises loyal obedience to him. Owing to its use in this passage, it came gradually to be confined in its signification to vegetable gifts, - unbloody sacrifices, as they are called sometimes, in contrast to animal sacrifices - while the word "corban" crone to be used in the wider acceptation which once belonged to "minchah." The conditions to be fulfilled by the Israelite who offered a meat offering were the following.

1. He must offer either

(1) uncooked flour, with oil, salt, and frankincense, or

(2) flour made into an unleavened cake (whether of the nature of biscuit or pancake), with oil, salt, and frankincense; or

(3) roasted grains, with oil, salt, and frankincense.

2. He must bring his offering to the court of the tabernacle, and give to the priests at least as much as one omer (that is, nearly a gallon), and not more than sixty-one omers. The priest receiving it from him must:

1. Take a handful of the flour, oil, and salt, or a proportionate part of the cake (each omer generally made ten cakes) in place of the flour, and burn it with all the frankincense as a memorial upon the altar of burnt offering.

2. With his brother priests he must eat the remainder within the precincts of the tabernacle. Here the essentials of the sacrifice are the presentation made by the offerer, and the burning of the memorial on the altar, followed by the consumption of the remainder by the priests. The moral lesson taught to the Israelite completed that of the burnt offering. As the burnt offering taught self-surrender, so the meat offering taught recognition of God's supremacy and submission to it, the first by the surrender of a living creature substituted for the offerer, the second by the gift of a part of the good things bestowed by God on man for the preservation of life which, being given back to God, serve as a recognition of his supremacy. Spiritually the lesson taught the Jew was that of the necessity of a loyal service to God; and mystically he may have learnt a lesson

(1) as to the force of prayer rising up to heaven as the incense which had to be offered with each form of the meat offering;

(2) as to the need of purity and incorruption, symbolized by the prohibition of leaven and honey, and the command to use salt. The supplemental character of the meat offering accounts for the order in which it here stands, not arbitrarily interposed between two animal sacrifices, but naturally following on the burnt offering, as an adjunct to it and the complement of its teaching. So close was the union between the two sacrifices, that the burnt offering was never offered without the accompaniment of the meat offering (Numbers 15:4). It has been also maintained that the meat offering, like the drink offering, was never made independently of the animal sacrifice; but this cannot be proved. On the contrary, the manner in which laws regulating it are here laid down, lead to the inference that it might be offered, when any willed it, by itself. The close connection between the sacrifice of an animal and the offering of cakes of flour, and of wine, is noticeable in heathen sacrifices likewise. The very word, immolare, translated "to sacrifice," is derived from the mola or salt-cake offered with the animal; and the other word ordinarily used in Latin for "sacrifice," that is, mactare, is derived from the victim being enriched (magis auctus) with the libation of wine. Thus we see that the offering of the fruits of the earth was regarded, elsewhere as well as in Judaea, as the natural concomitant of an animal sacrifice, and not only that, but as so essential a part of the latter as to have given a name to the whole ceremony, and not only to the whole ceremony, but to the specific act of the slaughter of the victim. The thought of the heathen in offering the fruits of the earth was probably not much different from that of the Israelites. It was his gift to the superhuman power, to which he thus acknowledged that he owed submission. We may further notice that salt was enjoined in the heathen as in the Jewish sacrifices as indispensable. Pliny says that the importance of salt is seen especially in sacrifices, none of which are completed without the salt-cake ('Hist. Nat.,' 31, 7) The now obsolete use of the word "meat" in the sense of "food," in contrast to "flesh," creates some confusion of thought. "Fruit offering" would be a better title, were it not that the signification of "fruit" is going through a similar change to that which "meat" has undergone. "Flour offering" might be used, but an alteration in the rendering is not imperative. Leviticus 2:1The first kind consisted of soleth, probably from סלה equals סלל to swing, swung flour, like πάλη from πάλλω, i.e., fine flour; and for this no doubt wheaten flour was always used, even when חטּים is not added, as in Exodus 29:2, to distinguish it from קמח, or ordinary meal (σεμίδαλις: 1 Kings 5:2). The suffix in קרבּנו (his offering) refers to נפשׁ, which is frequently construed as both masculine and feminine (Leviticus 4:2, Leviticus 4:27-28, Leviticus 2:1, etc.), or as masculine only (Numbers 31:28) in the sense of person, any one. "And let him pour oil upon it, and put incense thereon (or add incense to it)." This was not spread upon the flour, on which oil had been poured, but added in such a way, that it could be lifted from the minchah and burned upon the altar (Leviticus 2:2). The priest was then to take a handful of the gift that had been presented, and cause the azcarah of it to evaporate above (together with) all the incense. קמצו מלא: the filling of his closed hand, i.e., as much as he could hold with his hand full, not merely with three fingers, as the Rabbins affirm. Azcarah (from זכר, formed like אשׁמרה from שׁמר) is only applied to Jehovah's portion, which was burned upon the altar in the case of the meat-offering (Leviticus 2:9, Leviticus 2:16, and Leviticus 6:8), the sin-offering of flour (Leviticus 5:11), and the jealousy-offering (Numbers 5:26), and to the incense added to the shew-bread (Leviticus 24:7). It does not mean the prize portion, i.e., the portion offered for the glory of God, as De Dieu and Rosenmller maintain, still less the fragrance-offering (Ewald), but the memorial, or remembrance-portion, μνημόσυνον or ἀνάμνησις (Leviticus 24:7, lxx), memoriale (Vulg.), inasmuch as that part of the minchah which was placed upon the altar ascended in the smoke of the fire "on behalf of the giver, as a practical mememto ('remember me') to Jehovah:" though there is no necessity that we should trace the word to the Hiphil in consequence. The rest of the minchah was to belong to Aaron and his sons, i.e., to the priesthood, as a most holy thing of the firings of Jehovah. The term "most holy" is applied to all the sacrificial gifts that were consecrated to Jehovah, in this sense, that such portions as were not burned upon the altar were to be eaten by the priests alone in a holy place; the laity, and even such of the Levites as were not priests, being prohibited from partaking of them (see at Exodus 26:33 and Exodus 30:10). Thus the independent meat-offerings, which were not entirely consumed upon the altar (Leviticus 2:3, Leviticus 2:10, Leviticus 6:10; Leviticus 10:12), the sin-offerings and trespass-offerings, the flesh of which was not burned outside the camp (Leviticus 6:18, Leviticus 6:22; Leviticus 7:1, Leviticus 7:6; Leviticus 10:17; Leviticus 14:13; Numbers 18:9), the shew-bread (Leviticus 24:9), and even objects put under the ban and devoted to the Lord, whether men, cattle, or property of other kinds (Leviticus 27:28), as well as the holy incense (Exodus 30:36), - in fact, all the holy sacrificial gifts, in which there was any fear lest a portion should be perverted to other objects, - were called most holy; whereas the burnt-offerings, the priestly meat-offerings (Leviticus 6:12-16) and other sacrifices, which were quite as holy, were not called most holy, because the command to burn them entirely precluded the possibility of their being devoted to any of the ordinary purposes of life.
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