1:1,2 The offering of sacrifices was an ordinance of true religion, from the fall of man unto the coming of Christ. But till the Israelites were in the wilderness, no very particular regulations seem to have been appointed. The general design of these laws is plain. The sacrifices typified Christ; they also shadowed out the believer's duty, character, privilege, and communion with God. There is scarcely any thing spoken of the Lord Jesus in Scripture which has not also a reference to his people. This book begins with the laws concerning sacrifices; the most ancient were the burnt-offerings, about which God here gives Moses directions. It is taken for granted that the people would be willing to bring offerings to the Lord. The very light of nature directs man, some way or other, to do honour to his Maker, as his Lord. Immediately after the fall, sacrifices were ordained.
2. Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them—If the subject of communication were of a temporal nature, the Levites were excluded; but if it were a spiritual matter, all the tribes were comprehended under this name (De 27:12).
If any man of you bring an offering unto the Lord—The directions given here relate solely to voluntary or freewill offerings—those rendered over and above such, as being of standing and universal obligation, could not be dispensed with or commuted for any other kind of offering (Ex 29:38; Le 23:37; Nu 28:3, 11-27, &c.).
bring your offering of the cattle, &c.—that is, those animals that were not only tame, innocent and gentle, but useful and adapted for food. This rule excluded horses, dogs, swine, camels, and asses, which were used in sacrifice by some heathen nations, beasts and birds of prey, as also hares and deers.