Leviticus 4:12
Even the whole bullock shall he carry forth without the camp unto a clean place, where the ashes are poured out, and burn him on the wood with fire: where the ashes are poured out shall he be burnt.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) Even the whole bullock shall he carry forth.—This does not mean that the high priest himself had to carry the whole bullock all that distance, but in accordance with the idiom so common in Hebrew, where the singular is used for the plural, or the indefinite or impersonal form, denotes that those who assisted in doing the rough work of the altar shall carry the victim. Hence the ancient Greek Version (LXX.) and the Samaritan rightly render it by “and they shall carry,” in the plural: i.e., the whole bullock shall be carried forth. In Leviticus 4:24 of this very chapter the Authorised Version properly translates the same idiom into “in the place where they kill the burnt offering,” though the verb, as in the verse before us, is in the singular. (See also Leviticus 4:14.)

Without the camp.—During the time of the second Temple there were three places for burning: one place was in the court of the sanctuary, where they burnt the sacrifices which were unfit and rejected; the second place was in the mountain of the house called Birah, where were buried those sacrifices which met with an accident after they had been carried out of the court; and the third place was without Jerusalem, called the place of ashes. It is this place to which the Apostle refers when he says, “for the bodies of those beast whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest as an offering for sin are burned without the camp. Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people through his own blood, suffered without the gate(Hebrews 13:11-12).

And burn him on the wood with fire.—Whilst special wood was required for the burning of those victims which were consumed in the court of the sanctuary (see Leviticus 1:7), the sacrifices which were taken outside the city could be burnt with any wood, or even straw or stubble. All that was insisted on was that it should be burned with fire, as the text before us has it, but not with cinder, coals, or lime.

Leviticus 4:12. The whole bullock — So no part of this was to be eaten by the priests, as it was in other sin-offerings. The reason is plain, because the offerer might not eat of his own sin-offering, and the priest was the offerer in this case, as also in the sin-offering for the whole congregation below, of which the priest himself was a member. Shall be carried forth — Not by himself, which would have defiled him, but by another whom he shall appoint for that work. Without the camp — To signify either, 1st, The abominable nature of sin, especially in high and holy persons, or when it overspreads a whole people. Or, 2d, The removing of the guilt or punishment of that sin from the people. Or, 3d, That Christ should suffer without the camp or gate. Where the ashes are — For the ashes, though at first they were thrown down near the altar, (Leviticus 1:16,) yet afterward they, together with the filth of the sacrifices, were carried into a certain place without the camp.

4:1-12 Burnt-offerings, meat-offerings, and peace-offerings, had been offered before the giving of the law upon mount Sinai; and in these the patriarchs had respect to sin, to make atonement for it. But the Jews were now put into a way of making atonement for sin, more particularly by sacrifice, as a shadow of good things to come; yet the substance is Christ, and that one offering of himself, by which he put away sin. The sins for which the sin-offerings were appointed are supposed to be open acts. They are supposed to be sins of commission, things which ought not to have been done. Omissions are sins, and must come into judgment: yet what had been omitted at one time, might be done at another; but a sin committed was past recall. They are supposed to be sins committed through ignorance. The law begins with the case of the anointed priest. It is evident that God never had any infallible priest in his church upon earth, when even the high priest was liable to fall into sins of ignorance. All pretensions to act without error are sure marks of Antichrist. The beast was to be carried without the camp, and there burned to ashes. This was a sign of the duty of repentance, which is the putting away sin as a detestable thing, which our soul hates. The sin-offering is called sin. What they did to that, we must do to our sins; the body of sin must be destroyed, Ro 6:6. The apostle applies the carrying this sacrifice without the camp to Christ, Heb 13:11-13.A clean place where the ashes are poured out See Leviticus 1:16 note. It was a place free from impurities, not like those referred to in Leviticus 14:40, Leviticus 14:45. The flesh, though it was burned in an ordinary way, and not sent up in the fire of the altar (see Leviticus 1:9 note), was not to be confounded with carrion, but was associated with the remains of the sacrifices. The priests could not eat the flesh of this victim or of that offered for the sin of the congregation, as they ate that of other sin-offerings Leviticus 6:26. Compare Leviticus 10:17-18, because they were in these cases in the position of offerers. Leviticus 16:27; Hebrews 13:11. The same rule was observed in regard to the meat-offering of the priests, Leviticus 6:23. It was only of the peace-offering that the offerer himself could partake. 11. the skin of the bullock, and all his flesh—In ordinary circumstances, these were perquisites of the priests. But in the expiation necessary for a sin of the high priest, after the fat of the sacrifice was offered on the altar, the carcass was carried without the camp [Le 4:12], in order that the total combustion of it in the place of ashes might the more strikingly indicate the enormity of the transgression, and the horror with which he regarded it (compare Heb 13:12, 13). So no part of this was to be eaten by the priests, as it was in other sin-offerings, Leviticus 6:26. The reason is plain, because the offerer might not eat of his own sin-offering, and the priest was the offerer in this case, as also in the sin-offering for the whole congregation below, Leviticus 4:21, of which the priest himself was a member.

Shall he carry forth; not himself, which would have defiled him, but by another whom he shall appoint for that work, as may be gathered from Leviticus 16:27,28.

Without the camp, to signify either,

1. The horrible and abominable nature of sin, especially in high and holy persons, or when it overspreads a whole people. Or,

2. The removing of the guilt and punishment of that sin from the people, and their duty of keeping such wickedness out of the camp for time to come. Or,

3. That Christ should suffer without the camp or gate, as he did. See Hebrews 13:11,12. Where the ashes are poured out; for the ashes, though at first they were thrown down near the altar, Leviticus 1:16, yet afterwards they, together with the filth of the sacrifices, were carried into a certain place without the camp. See Leviticus 6:10,11.

Even the whole bullock shall he carry forth without the camp,.... The Jewish writers interpret it without the three camps (b), the camp of the tabernacle, the camp of the Levites, and the camp of the Israelites; when the temple was built, such sacrifices were carried and burnt without the city of Jerusalem; there were three places for burning; one was in the midst of the court, where they burnt such sacrifices as were unfit and rejected; the other was in the mountain of the house called Birah, where they burnt such as any accident befell them, after the carrying of them out of the court; and the third place was without Jerusalem, called the place of ashes (c): this was typical of Christ being had out of the city of Jerusalem, and suffering without the gates of it, Hebrews 13:11,

unto a clean place, where the ashes are poured out; the ashes of the burnt offerings. This, according to Ainsworth, answered to the place where Christ was crucified, being a place of skulls, or dead men's ashes, John 19:17,

and burn him on the wood with fire; any wood might be used for the burning of it, even straw or stubble, which in the Hebrew language are called wood, as Gersom on the place observes, and so Maimonides (d); and it is added, "with fire", as the last writer says (e), to exclude lime and cinder coals:

where the ashes are poured out shall he be burnt; openly without; and seeing it is not said, that the priest shall carry forth the bullock, and shall burn it, it is concluded by Gersom on the place, that both may be done lawfully by a stranger, and so Maimonides (f).

(b) T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 68. 1. 2. & Sanhedrin, fol. 42. 2. Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. Zebachim, c. 12. sect. 5. Jarchi in loc. (c) Maimon. Maaseh Hakorbanot, c. 7. sect. 3, 4. (d) Maimon. Hilchot Maaseh Hakorbanot, c. 7. sect. 5. (e) Ib. Vid. T. Bab. Pesachim, fol. 75. 1.((f) Maimon. ib.

Even the whole bullock shall he carry forth without the camp unto a clean place, where the ashes are poured out, and burn him on the wood with fire: where the ashes are poured out shall he be burnt.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Leviticus 4:12The skin of the bullock, and all the flesh, together with the head and the shank and the entrails (Leviticus 1:9) and the foeces, in fact the whole bullock, was to be carried out by him (the sacrificing priest) to a clean place before the camp, to which the ashes of the sacrifices were carried from the ash-heap (Leviticus 1:16), and there burnt on the wood with fire. (On the construction of Leviticus 4:11 and Leviticus 4:12 see Ges. 145, 2).

The different course, adopted with the blood and flesh of the sin-offerings, from that prescribed in the ritual of the other sacrifices, was founded upon the special signification of these offerings. As they were presented to effect the expiation of sins, the offerer transferred the consciousness of sin and the desire for forgiveness to the head of the animal that had been brought in his stead, by the laying on of his hand; and after this the animal was slaughtered, and suffered death for him as the wages of sin. But as sin is not wiped out by the death of the sinner, unless it be forgiven by the grace of God, so devoting to death an animal laden with sin rendered neither a real nor symbolical satisfaction or payment for sin, by which the guilt of it could be wiped away; but the death which it endured in the sinner's stead represented merely the fruit and effect of sin. To cover the sinner from the holiness of God because of his sin, some of the blood of the sacrifice was sprinkled seven times before Jehovah in the holy place; and the covenant fellowship, which had been endangered, was thereby restored. After this, however, the soul, which was covered in the sacrificial blood, was given up to the grace of God that prevailed in the altar, by means of the sprinkling of the blood upon the horns of the altar of incense, that it might receive the forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God, and the full enjoyment of the blessings of the covenant be ensured to it once more. But the sin, that had been laid upon the animal of the sin-offering, lay upon it still. The next thing done, therefore, was to burn the fat portions of its inside upon the altar of burnt-offering. Now, if the flesh of the victim represented the body of the offerer as the organ of his soul, the fat portions inside the body, together with the kidneys, which were regarded as the seat of the tenderest and deepest emotions, can only have set forth the better part or inmost kernel of the man, the ἔσω ἄνθρωπος (Romans 7:22; Ephesians 3:16). By burning the fat portions upon the altar, the better part of human nature was given up in symbol to the purifying fire of the Holy Spirit of God, that it might be purified from the dross of sin, and ascend in its glorified essence to heaven, for a sweet savour unto the Lord (Leviticus 4:31). The flesh of the sin-offering, however, or "the whole bullock," was then burned in a clean place outside the camp, though not merely that it might be thereby destroyed in a clean way, like the flesh provided for the sacrificial meals, which had not been consumed at the time fixed by the law (Leviticus 7:17; Leviticus 8:32; Leviticus 19:6; Exodus 12:10; Exodus 29:34), or the flesh of the sacrifices, which had been defiled by contact with unclean objects (Leviticus 7:19); for if the disposal of the flesh formed an integral part of the sacrificial ceremony in the case of all the other sacrifices, and if, in the case of the sin-offerings, the blood of which was not brought into the interior of the sanctuary, the priests were to eat the flesh in a holy place, and that not "as a portion assigned to them by God as an honourable payment," but, according to the express declaration of Moses, "to bear and take away (לשׂאת) the iniquity of the congregation, to make atonement for them" (Leviticus 10:17), the burning of the flesh of the sin-offerings, i.e., of the animal itself, the blood of which was not brought into the holy place, cannot have been without significance, or simply the means adopted to dispose of it in a fitting manner, but must also have formed one factor in the ceremony of expiation. The burning outside the camp was rendered necessary, because the sacrifice had respect to the expiation of the priesthood, and the flesh or body of the bullock, which had been made חטּאת by the laying on of the hand, could not be eaten by the priests as the body of sin, that by the holiness of their official character they might bear and expiate the sin imputed to the sacrifice (see at Leviticus 10:17). In this case it was necessary that it should be given up to the effect of sin, viz., to death or destruction by fire, and that outside the camp; in other words, outside the kingdom of God, from which everything dead was removed. But, inasmuch as it was sacrificial flesh, and therefore most holy by virtue of its destination; in order that it might not be made an abomination, it was not to be burned in an unclean place, where carrion and other abominations were thrown (Leviticus 14:40, Leviticus 14:45), but in the clean place, outside the camp, to which the ashes of the altar of burnt-offering were removed, as being the earthly sediment and remains of the sacrifices that had ascended to God in the purifying flames of the altar-fire.

(Note: The most holy character of the flesh of the sin-offering (Leviticus 6:18.) furnishes no valid argument against the correctness of this explanation of the burning; for, in the first place, there is an essential difference between real or inherent sin, and sin imputed or merely transferred; and secondly, the flesh of the sin-offering was called most holy, not in a moral, but only in a liturgical or ritual sense, as subservient to the most holy purpose of wiping away sin; on which account it was to be entirely removed from all appropriation to earthly objects. Moreover, the idea that sin was imputed to the sin-offering, that it was made sin by the laying on of the hand, has a firm basis in the sacrifice of the red cow (Numbers 19), and also occurs among the Greeks (see Oehler in Herzog's Cycl.).)

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