If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish…
First, they were probably the oldest form of sacrifice. In the next place, they had the very widest application, and could be presented by any person without distinction, a point which is the more significant as the offerer, sharing the sacred functions with the priests, had to perform several important parts of the ceremony himself. And lastly, though originally designed to convey merely the worshipper's awe and his unconditional surrender to the Divine supremacy, they were, in the Levitical code, invested with the character of atonement (ver. 4), and were not only commanded on specified occasions, but left to the spontaneous impulse of the heart that yearns for peace and for the expiation of sins known to the transgressor alone. They were therefore meant to serve the highest ends of an inward religion. Thus modified, they marked a decided progress in the path of spiritual faith; they were, in fact, the forerunners of the expiatory offerings which form the very crowning point of the sacrificial system, and beyond which, even at the very next step, the mind leaves the fetters of the ceremonial law and enters the purer regions of freedom and elevation. Hence the Levitical holocausts lead us to a time when the deeprooted tendencies towards pagan idolatry had been conquered, and the intellectual efforts of the more thoughtful and more gifted among the Hebrews had been rewarded by the establishment of a religious creed, which, however far removed from absolute truth, and however repugnant to the true attributes of the Deity and the requirements of philosophy and reason, at least permitted the exercise of noble and exalted humanity, and even facilitated, more than any of the preceding and most of the later systems of theology, an insight into the moral government of the world, and the higher aims of human existence. Thus the very beginning of the Book reveals unmistakably the time and purposes of its composition, and forms the first link in that great chain of evidence which leads to the most pregnant and most interesting historical results.
(M. M. Kalisch, Ph. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD.