Leviticus 3:1
And if his oblation be a sacrifice of peace offering, if he offer it of the herd; whether it be a male or female, he shall offer it without blemish before the LORD.
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(1) A sacrifice of peace offering.—The peace offering of which this chapter treats, consisted of two kinds, the peace offering from the herd (Leviticus 3:1-5), and the peace offering from the flock (Leviticus 3:6-15). As in the case of the burnt offering (Leviticus 1:3), the ox is mentioned first, because it is most costly and more important.

Whether it be a male.—Whilst in the case of the burnt offering (Leviticus 1:3; Leviticus 1:10) the male only was legal, there is no distinction of sex here, nor is there any limitation of age. All that was required was that it should be without any organic defect.

Leviticus 3:1. A sacrifice of peace-offering — The original word here used, שׁלמים, shelamim, is in the plural number, and is properly rendered peaces, pacifications, and also payments. These were offerings for peace, prosperity, and the blessing of God; either, 1st, Obtained, and then they were thank-offerings, or peace-offerings for thanksgiving, as they are termed, Leviticus 7:15. Or, 2d, Desired; and so they were a kind of supplications to God. Sometimes, again, they were offered by way of vow, (Leviticus 7:16; Proverbs 7:14,) in expectation of peace and future blessings; for peace, in the Hebrew language, signifies all manner of prosperity and happiness. In this case they were properly termed payments, namely, of the vows previously made. Sometimes they were offered without any antecedent obligation of a vow, in which case they were called free-will-offerings, Leviticus 7:11; Leviticus 7:16. Those sacrifices which were called sin-offerings and trespass-offerings, supposed the offerer to be obnoxious to the divine justice on account of sin, and God to be displeased; and they were appointed for atonement and reconciliation. But peace-offerings supposed God to be reconciled to the offerer, and him to be at peace with God; in testimony of which reconciliation and peace, the offerer was in this case admitted to partake of the altar. For whereas, in the holocausts, or whole burnt-offerings, the altar consumed all the flesh of the sacrifice, neither the priest nor any of the people being allowed to partake; and in the sin and trespass offerings, though the priests did partake, yet the offerers had no share; in these peace-offerings the offerers themselves were allowed to partake of the sacrifice, and feast upon it. They partook of the Lord’s table, and that was a sign of favour and friendship. For eating together was always esteemed so, and was therefore used in ancient times in making covenants and agreements. Thus, when Christ becomes our peace, and being justified through his blood, we are made one with him and with his followers; through him we have communion with God, and with his people in his ordinances, finding the flesh of Christ to be meat indeed, and his blood drink indeed. Through the exercise of faith in his sacrifice, which puts away sin, love to him and each other is shed abroad in our hearts, and while we gratefully offer and dedicate ourselves to his service as a free-will-offering, we rejoice in each other’s gifts and graces, and communicate to one another’s necessities. This fellowship with the Father and the Son, and one with another, is happily shadowed forth, and seems to have been intended to be represented in this significant ceremony of the Jewish Church. Whether it be male or female — Females were allowed here, though not in burnt-offerings, because those principally respected the honour of God, who is to be served with the best, but the peace-offerings did primarily respect the benefit of the offerer, and therefore the choice was left to himself. Again, burnt-offerings had regard to God, as in himself the best of beings, and therefore were wholly burned. But peace-offerings had regard to God as a benefactor to his creatures, and therefore were divided between the altar, the priest, and the offerer.

3:1-5 The peace-offerings had regard to God as the giver of all good things. These were divided between the altar, the priest, and the owner. They were called peace-offering, because in them God and his people did, as it were, feast together, in token of friendship. The peace-offerings were offered by way of supplication. If a man were in pursuit of any mercy, he would add a peace-offering to his prayer for it. Christ is our Peace, our Peace-offering; for through him alone it is that we can obtain an answer of peace to our prayers. Or, the peace-offering was offered by way of thanksgiving for some mercy received. We must offer to God the sacrifice of praise continually, by Christ our Peace; and then this shall please the Lord better than an ox or bullock.The peace-offering (like the burnt-offering, Leviticus 1:3, and the Minchah, Leviticus 2:1) is here spoken of as if it was familiarly known before the giving of the Law. "Peace-offering" seems preferable to "thank-offering," which occurs in several places in the margin of our Bible. "thank-offering" appears to be the right name for a subordinate class of peace-offering. CHAPTER 3

Le 3:1-17. The Peace Offering of the Herd.

1. if his oblation be a sacrifice of peace offering—"Peace" being used in Scripture to denote prosperity and happiness generally, a peace offering was a voluntary tribute of gratitude for health or other benefits. In this view it was eucharistic, being a token of thanksgiving for benefits already received, or it was sometimes votive, presented in prayer for benefits wished for in the future.

of the herd—This kind of offering being of a festive character, either male or female, if without blemish, might be used, as both of them were equally good for food, and, if the circumstances of the offerer allowed it, it might be a calf.Concerning thank-offerings: of bullocks, male or female, without blemish; the manner of this oblation, Leviticus 3:1-5. Of small cattle, male or female, without blemish; a lamb, Leviticus 3:6-11; a goat, Leviticus 3:12-16. All fat the Lord’s; the fat and blood not to be eat, 16, 17.

Which was an offering for peace and prosperity, and the favour and blessing of God, either,

1. Obtained; and so this was a thank-offering, as Leviticus 7:12,16; or,

2. Desired; and so it was a kind of supplication to God, as Judges 20:26 1 Chronicles 21:26. Whether it be a male or female; which were allowed here, though not in burnt-offerings, because those principally respected the honour of God, who is to be served with the best; but the peace-offerings did primarily respect the benefit of the offerer, and therefore the choice was left to himself.

And if his oblation be a sacrifice of peace offering,.... The Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan render it, the "sacrifice of holinesses", or "sanctifications"; so called, not because they were more holy than other sacrifices; for they were what the Jews (c) call the lighter holy things, in distinction from the most holy things, such as the meat offerings were, Leviticus 2:10 but as Ainsworth suggests, either because none but holy persons might eat of them, Leviticus 7:19 though this also was enjoined in other sacrifices, or because hereby the name of God was sanctified. These offerings were either by way of thanksgiving for favours received, or for free devotion, or as a vow, and in order to obtain for himself that offered and family health and safety, peace and prosperity, see Leviticus 7:11 all which the word used signifies; and these sacrifices are by the Septuagint called "sacrifices of salvation" or "health", because offered either in gratitude for it, or to enjoy it; or else they were offered to make peace and reconciliation, and therefore are called peace offerings, and that they were for this purpose is certain from Ezekiel 45:15 and Gersom says they had their name from hence, because they bring peace between God and men; they were a kind of a pacific festival between God, the priests, and the owner, and were typical of Christ, who has made peace for us by his blood and sacrifice. There is something very offensive to God in sin, it being a breach of his law, and contrary to his nature and will, provoking to the eyes of his glory, deserving of wrath, and death itself, and so not only sets man at a distance from him, but creates an enmity between them; hence a peace offering became necessary; such an one man could not bring acceptable to God; for neither his repentance nor good works would do; but Christ has offered up himself a sacrifice, and thereby has made reconciliation for sin and sinners, and procured peace with God for them; the consequence of which is spiritual peace here, and eternal peace hereafter; and so is a "sacrifice of peaces", as the Hebrew phrase here may be literally rendered, and is the proper antitype and full completion of this sort of sacrifice:

if he offer it of the herd; that is, a bullock:

whether it be a male or female; as it might be either; showing, as some think, that in Christ Jesus, and in the Gospel churches, and under the Gospel dispensation, there is no distinction of male and female, with respect to blessings and privileges, Galatians 3:28 or rather as others, denoting both strength and weakness in Christ; strength in his obedience, and weakness in his sufferings; strong he was as the man of God's right hand made so by him, and yet was crucified through weakness:

he shall offer it without blemish before the Lord: signifying the perfection and purity of Christ's sacrifice of peace offering in the sight of God: "before the Lord"; this, according to Gersom, was on the west side of the court.

(c) Misn. Zebachim, c. 5. sect. 7.

And if his oblation be a sacrifice of {a} peace offering, if he offer it of the herd; whether it be a male or female, he shall offer it without blemish before the LORD.

(a) A sacrifice of thanksgiving offered for peace and prosperity, either generally or particularly.

1. And if his oblation] This clause introducing the Peace-Offering corresponds to Leviticus 1:3 which stands at the beginning of the regulations for the Burnt-Offering.

The Peace-Offering may be either male or female, (a) of the herd (Leviticus 3:1-5) or of the flock either (b) a lamb (Leviticus 3:7-11), or (c) a goat (Leviticus 3:12-16). The age is not specified. The procedure should be carefully compared with that for the Burnt-Offering in ch. 1. There is nothing corresponding to the last clauses of Leviticus 1:3-4 referring to acceptance and atonement.

Verse 1. - Peace offering, Zebach shelamim, "sacrifice of peace offerings." The singular, shelem, occurs once (Amos 5:22). The conditions to be fulfilled by a Jew who offered a peace offering were the following: -

1. He must bring either

(1) a young bull or cow, or

(2) a young sheep of either sex, or

(3) a young he-goat or she-goat.

2. He must offer it in the court of the tabernacle.

3. In offering it he must place, or lean, his hand upon its head.

4. He must kill it at the door of the tabernacle.

5. He must provide three kinds of cakes similar to those offered in the meat offering, trod leavened bread (Leviticus 7:11-1-3). The priest had:

1. To catch the blood, and strike the sides of the altar with it, as in the burnt sacrifices.

2. To place upon the burnt offering, smoldering upon the altar, all the internal fat of the animal's body, together with the kidneys enveloped in it, and, in the case of the sheep, the fat tails, for consumption by the fire.

3. To offer one of each of the three different kinds of unleavened cakes, and one loaf of the leavened bread, as a heave offering.

4. To wave the breast of the animal backwards and forwards, and to heave the leg or haunch upwards and downwards, in token of consecration (see notes on Leviticus 7:14, 30, 31).

5. To take for his own eating, and that of his brethren the priests, the three cakes and loaf and haunch that had been heaved and waved.

6. To return the rest of the animal, and the remaining cakes and loaves, to the offerer, to serve as a feast for him and his, to be eaten the same or the next clay, in the court of the tabernacle. The lesson taught by the peace off, ring was the blessedness of being in union with God as his covenant people, and the duty and happiness of exhibiting a joyous sense of this relation by celebrating a festival meal, eaten reverently and thankfully in the house of God, a part of which was given to God's priests, and a part consumed symbolically by God himself. The burnt offering had typified self-surrender; the meat offering, loyal submission; the peace offering typified the joyous cheerfulness of those who, having in a spirit of perfect loyalty surrendered themselves to God, had become his children, and were fed at the very board at which he deigned symbolically to partake. The most essential part of the meat offering was the presentation; of the burnt offering, the consumption of the victim on the altar; of the peace offering the festive meal upon the sacrifice. The combined burnt and meat offering was the sacrifice of one giving himself up to God; the peace offering, that of one who, having given himself up to God, is realizing his communion with him. In this respect the peace offering of the old dispensation foreshadows the Lord's Supper in the new dispensation. Several other names have been proposed for the peace offering, such as thank offering, salvation offering, etc. No name is more suitable than peace offering, but the word must be understood not in the sense of an offering to bring shout peace, but an offering of those who arc in a state of peace, answering to the Greek word αἰρνηική, rather than to the Latin word pacifica. "A state of peace and friendship with God was the basis and sine qua non to the presentation of a shelem, and the design of that presentation, from which its name was derived, was the realization, establishment, verification, and enjoyment of the existing relations of peace, friendship, fellowship, and blessedness" (Kurtz, 'Sacrificial Worship'). Leviticus 3:1In the act of sacrificing, the presentation of the animal before Jehovah, the laying on of hands, the slaughtering, and the sprinkling of the blood were the same as in the case of the burnt-offering (Leviticus 1:3-5). It was in the application of the flesh that the difference first appeared.
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