When anyone brings a grain offering to the LORD, his offering must consist of fine flour. He is to pour olive oil on it, put frankincense on it,
Leviticus 2:1-11John 4:34; Acts 10:4; Philippians 4:18; John 6:27. The idea prominently presented in the burnt offering is, we have seen, personal consecration, on the ground of expiation and acceptance through a substitute. In the meat offering, to which we now address ourselves, we find the further and supplementary idea of consecrated life-work. For the fine flour presented was the product of labour, the actual outcome of the consecrated person, and consequently a beautiful representative of that whole life-work which results from a person consciously consecrated. Moreover, as in the case of the burnt offering there was a daily celebration, so in the case of this meat offering there was a perpetual dedication in the shew-bread. What we have in this chapter, therefore, is a voluntary dedication on the part of an individual, corresponding to the perpetual dedication on the part of the people. The covenant people are to realize the idea of consecration in their whole life-work. Lange has noticed that here it is the soul (נֶפֶשׁ) which is said to present the meat offering, something more spiritual, as an act, than the presentation of the burnt offering by the man (אָדָם). We assume, then, that the leading thought of this meat offering is consecrated life-work, such as was brought out in all its perfection when our Lord declared, "My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work" (John 4:34).
I. WORK DONE FOR GOD SHOULD BE THE BEST OF ITS KIND. The meat offering, whether prepared in a sumptuous oven (תַנּוּר) such as would be found with the wealthy, or baken in a pan (מַחְבַת) such as middle-class people would employ, or seethed in a common dish (מַרְחֶשֶׁת) the utensil of the poor, - was always to be of fine flour (סֹלֶת), that is, flour separated from the bran. It matters not what our station in life may be, we may still present to God a thorough piece of work. "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might" (Ecclesiastes 9:10) is an exhortation applicable to all. The microscopic thoroughness of God's work in nature, which leads him to clothe even the grass, which is tomorrow to be cast into the oven, with more glory than Solomon (Matthew 6:28-30), is surely fitted to stimulate every consecrated person to the most painstaking work. And here we are led of necessity to the life-work of Jesus Christ, as embodying this idea perfectly. How thoroughly he did everything! His life was an exquisite piece of moral mosaic. Every detail may be subjected to the most microscopic criticism, only to reveal its marvelous and matchless beauty.
II. WORK DONE FOR GOD SHOULD BE PERMEATED BY HIS SPIRIT AND GRACE. The fine flour, be it ever so pure, would not be accepted dry; it required oil to make it bakeable. Oil has been from time immemorial the symbol of Divine unction, in other words, of the Holy Spirit's gracious operation. Hence we infer that work done for God must be done in cooperation with the Spirit. It is when we realize that we are fellow-workers with God, that he is our Partner, that he is working in us and by us, and when, in consequence, we become spiritually minded, walking in the Spirit, living in the Spirit, - it is then that our work becomes a spiritual thing. And here, again, would we direct attention to the life-work of Christ, as spiritually perfect. The gift of the Spirit at his baptism, the descending dove, an organic whole (Luke 3:22), signalizes the complete spirituality of Jesus. He was "filled with the Spirit," it was "in the power of the Spirit" he did all his work. Herein he is our perfect Example.
III. WORK CAN ONLY BE DONE FOR GOD IN A PRAYERFUL SPIRIT. This follows naturally from what has been already stated, but it requires to be emphasized in view of the frankincense which had in every case to accompany the meat offering. This is admittedly the symbol of devotion (cf. Kalisch, in loco). A life-work, to be consecrated, be steeped in prayer; its Godward object must be kept constantly in view, and stated and circulatory prayer must envelop it like a cloud of incense. It is, again, worth while to notice how the perfect life-work of Christ was pervaded by prayer. If any one since the world began had a right to excuse himself from the formality of prayer in consequence of his internal state of illumination, it was Jesus Christ. And yet we may safely say that his was the most prayerful life ever spent on earth. As Dr. Guthrie once said, "The sun as it sank in the western sea often left him, and as it rose behind the hills of Moab returned to find him, on his knees." We need not wonder why he spent whole nights in supplication, for he was bringing every detail of his work into Divine review in the exercise of prayer. There is consequently a most significant appeal issuing out of his holy life, to work prayerfully at all times if we would work for God.
IV. WORK FOR GOD MUST BE DIVORCED FROM MALICE AND FROM PASSION, AND DONE IN CALM PURITY AND STRENGTH. Much of the world's work has malice passion for its sources. These motives seem to be symbolized by the leaven and honey, which were forbidden as elements in the meat offering. Care should be taken in work for God that we do not impart into it worldly and selfish motives. Such are sure to vitiate the whole effort. The Lord with whom we have to do looks upon the heart and weighs the motives along with the work. What a commentary, again, was the perfect life of Jesus upon this! Malice and passion never mixed with his pure motives. He sought not his own will, nor did he speak his own words, but calmly kept the Father's will and glory before him, all through.
V. WORK FOR GOD SHOULD BE COMMITTED TO HIS PRESERVING CARE. For it is to be feared we often forget to season our sacrifices with salt. We work for God in a consecrated spirit, but we do not universally commit our work to his preserving grace, and expect its permanency and purity. Work for God should endure. It is our own fault if it do not. Our blessed Lord committed his work to the preserving care of the Father. He was, if we may judge from Isaiah 49:4, as well as from the Gospel, sometimes discouraged, yet when constrained to say, "I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for naught, and in vain," he could add, "Yet surely my judgment is with the Lord, and my work with my God."
VI. WORK DONE FOR GOD IS SURE TO BENEFIT OUR FELLOW-MEN. The meat offering was only partially burnt on the altar - a handful, containing, however, all the frankincense, was placed in the sacred fire, and thus accepted; the rest became the property of the priest. How beautifully this indicated the truth that when one tries to please God, his fellow-men, and especially those of the household of faith, are sure to participate in the blessing! The monastic idea was an imperfect one, suggesting the possibility of devotion to God and indifference to man coexisting in the same breast We deceive ourselves so long as we suppose so. Our Master went about doing good; he was useful as well as holy; and so shall all his followers find themselves, if their consecrated life-work is molded according to the pattern he has shown us. Faithfulness in the first table of the Law secures faithfulness in the second. - R.M.E.
Thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy fieldDeuteronomy 24. God sanctioned the practice, and commanded that some grain and olives and grapes should be left to be gleaned by the poor, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and thus He required the Jews to pay to those who are more immediately depending for support on His bounty, a sort of tribute in acknowledgment of the tenure under which they held their land. The Jews paid no rent, because God Himself was the owner, having given it to them without price or reward; and when He commanded them to leave something for the poor gleaners in harvest, He did so that He might be able to bless His people in all the work of their hands. The reason why the Almighty sanctioned the practice of gleaning is very similar to this notion. He commanded His people to allow their fields to be gleaned, that they might always be kept in remembrance that they had been bondmen in Egypt. The recollection of this slavery was also preserved among them by the Sabbath, and by the command to do strict justice between man and man, as if the Almighty intended that the people, after they had attained to national power and prosperity, should be continually reminded of "the rock from whence they were hewn, and of the hole of the pit from whence they were digged." The sight of poor persons gleaning in the fields always reminded the Jews that they had been in slavery in Egypt, and that like them they had been depending upon others for a hard and uncertain living. In' fact, both the gleaners and the owners of the fields had been bondmen, and both were alike the receivers of God's bounty, although in different ways and in different degrees. More than three thousand years have rolled past since this law was enacted, but the principle which it contains is just as applicable to gleaners now as it was then. The poor Jew, gleaning in the fields of his rich brethren, had been a slave, but after he got into the Promised Land he became free; and exactly so, every gleaner who now searches in the fields of the farmers for heads of grain is free. I mean to tell you that you are politically free, and that you do not owe obedience to any master, except you bind yourselves to serve him for some payment. You were never slaves, as the Jews had been in Egypt, when they were forced to serve in a cruel bondage. But, let me ask you, are you really free? When you were gleaning in the fields this harvest, could you say with truth that you had once been slaves, but that you were now free? A person gleaning in the fields in harvest may be free, but she is a slave, bound hand and foot, if sin have the dominion over her. A woman gathering heads of grain in the fields may be free, but she is a slave if she spend her hard-won earnings in the public-house, drinking out of the cup which cheers, but swallowing along with the drink liquid fire and death. That gleaner is free who goes out and comes in without any to forbid, but she is a slave to the custom of gleaning, which is otherwise lawful, if, for the sake of the trifle which she may obtain in this way, she neglects her children, her husband, and her home. Every gleaner is as free as the air of heaven, but they are all slaves to their own passions if they are unable to agree together in the same field, and begin to use abusive language, to quarrel about rights which have no existence, except in the goodwill of the farmer, exhibiting scenes which could only find a parallel in the fields of the degraded Canaanites before they were driven out by the Jews. There is not a gleaner in the land who is not absolutely free, but every one of them is bound in fetters far stronger than fetters of iron or of brass, if, with this privilege of gleaning in another man's fields at their command, they have thankless hearts, and entertain no gratitude to God for His mercy, nor to the farmers for their benevolence. This brings me in natural consequence to speak about the persons on whose behalf God made the law about gleaning. They are the poor, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow. I do not know whether those who go out to glean in the fields in these days could be arranged into these four classes; but they at least furnish a guide as to the persons to whom the Almighty especially extends His care. He told His people that the poor should never cease out of the land, therefore He commanded them, saying, "Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor and to thy needy in thy land." The poor are the objects of God's special protection, as long as they lead lives of holiness and humility, contented with their lot, and confident in the mercy of Heaven. If they are profligate and ungodly, dishonest and discontented, idle and careless, not one of the promises in Scripture will apply to them any more than they do to any of God's open and avowed enemies.
2. The next class of persons who were permitted to glean in the fields were strangers, from whatever country they might have come, as was Ruth, who was a daughter of Moab. God also made provision for them, knowing how unhappy is the lot of that man who is an exile from his native land. He commanded His people not on any account to do them an injury: "Thou shalt neither vex a stranger nor oppress him, for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt." God by His providence watches over strangers, and never fails to reward those who help them, whether by allowing them to glean in the fields in harvest-time, or in any other manner.
3. The next class who were allowed to glean were the fatherless, whose parent was dead. If the Jew drove off from his fields in harvest a poor fatherless child, who wanted to glean some heads of corn, I have no doubt that he was guilty of a sin and a crime. There is no obligation upon any Christian man to allow such a one to search over his fields at this season of the year, but when he does permit the fatherless to glean up what the reapers have left behind, I make no doubt that he does that which is pleasing in the sight of God, and he will be able to understand, from the description of the judgment in the twenty-fifth chapter of St. Matthew, that the reward will far outbalance the kindness.
4. The only other class whom God allowed to be gleaners were widows. Like the poor, the stranger, and the fatherless, God always remembers them. Let them always remember, that, whether they may be in a cornfield among other gleaners, like Ruth in the field of Boaz, or, like the woman of Sidon, alone in a cottage with scarce enough food to eat, or, like the widow of Nain, following in tears an only son to the grave, God watches over them, and commands His angels to give them an invisible but effectual protection. There is little more to be said on this subject of gleaning, beyond one other consideration, which we shall do well to lay seriously to heart. We reflected upon the great harvest of men, which is to be gathered in by the angelic reapers at the end of this dispensation. That will be a harvest after which there will be no gleaning.
(O. B. Courtenay, M. A.)
2. The equalisation of the atonement money for poor and rich, thus establishing the value of the poor as equal to the rich (Exodus 30:12).
3. The same minute directions for the poor man's offerings, showing God's equal interest in his sacrifice (chap. 2. &c.)
4. And here the command that the harvest and vintage gleanings should be left (vers. 9, 10). Notice —
I. THAT THE HUMANE LAWS OF MODERN TIMES, respecting gleaning privileges, are all based upon this Mosaic command. Everywhere there is a popular feeling that the farmer should allow, and was not entitled to prevent the poor from gathering what the reaper left behind. In England the custom of gleaning had very nearly passed into a legal right, for there is an extra judicial dictum of Lord Hall, in which he says that those who enter a field for this purpose are not guilty of trespass; and Blackstone (3:12) seems to adopt his opinion. But that has since been twice tried, and decided in the negative in the Court of Common Pleas; the Court finding it to be a practice incompatible with the exclusive enjoyment of property, and productive of vagrancy and many mischievous consequences. "It is still, however, the custom all over England to allow the poor to glean, at least after the harvest is carried" (Chambers).
II. THAT A BENEVOLENT HELPFULNESS IN RESPECT OF THE POOR IS A SPECIAL OBLIGATION OF THOSE WHO ENJOY PLENTY.
1. With God in thought the rich will spare of their abundance that the poor may be fed. You owe all to Him, especially in harvest; and, therefore, share with the needy His gifts to you.
2. Amid harvest rejoicings, gratitude should incite to generosity. "As ye have received, give!" Seek occasion to gladden others — those in need. God is lavish; let your "hands be open" also (Psalm 145:16).
III. THAT THIS GENEROUS CONSIDERATION FOR THE POOR IS A TOKEN OF GOD'S REGARD FOR THE LOWLY.
1. Their maintenance engaged the Divine attention. For them "the corner" of the field was claimed from the reapers, and to them was assigned the right to clear the ground. It was their part in the national soil, the poor had this heritage in the land. And God enjoins on His Church now to "care for the poor." They are Christ's bequeathment to His disciples. "The poor always ye have with you."
2. Their salvation is prominently sought in the gospel. "To the poor the gospel is preached." And "God hath chosen the poor rich in faith." He who showed concern for their physical supply and maintenance, as emphatically manifests His desire that they be "blessed with all spiritual blessings" in Christ. Therefore —(1) The poor should cherish a grateful and trustful hope in their God.(2) They should value the high mercies of redemption in Christ beyond all the kindnesses of His providence. For the favours of providence only affect them temporally, but "the riches of His grace" are of eternal consequence.(3) Let none, because of lowliness or poverty, despond of God's favour. All His regulations prove that "He careth for you." Look unto Him with assurance.
(W. H. Jellie.)
(J. Cumming, D. D.)
LinksLeviticus 2:1 NIV
Leviticus 2:1 NLT
Leviticus 2:1 ESV
Leviticus 2:1 NASB
Leviticus 2:1 KJV
Leviticus 2:1 Bible Apps
Leviticus 2:1 Parallel
Leviticus 2:1 Biblia Paralela
Leviticus 2:1 Chinese Bible
Leviticus 2:1 French Bible
Leviticus 2:1 German Bible
Leviticus 2:1 Commentaries