Leviticus 22:21
When a man presents a peace offering to the LORD from the herd or flock to fulfill a vow or as a freewill offering, it must be without blemish or defect to be acceptable.
A Plain Man's SermonSpurgeon, Charles HaddonLeviticus 22:21
Blemishes in Our SacrificesAnon.Leviticus 22:21
Giving the Worst to GodSharpened ArrowsLeviticus 22:21
God Ought to have the BestChristian AgeLeviticus 22:21
Offerings to be Without BlemishHenry, MatthewLeviticus 22:21
Worthless OfferingsJ. Tinling.Leviticus 22:21
Holiness of Priests and SacrificesR.A. Redford Leviticus 22:1-33
Priestly DisqualificationsR.M. Edgar Leviticus 22:1-33
Characteristics of Acceptable ServiceW. Clarkson Leviticus 22:17-30
Laws of the OblationsJ.A. Macdonald Leviticus 22:17-33

The very fact that all the points here referred to have been fully brought out before lends strong emphasis to them as matters of vital importance in the estimation of God. If our worship and service are to be acceptable, there must be -

I. SPONTANEITY OF SPIRIT. "Ye shall offer at your own will" (verse 19); "when ye will offer... offer it at your own will" (verse 29). There is a wilfulness in worship which is blamable (Colossians 2:23); but there is a willingness, a "cheerfulness in giving," which is peculiarly acceptable unto God. The service which is rendered of necessity, under strong constraint and against the inclination of the spirit, has the least virtue, if, indeed, it have any at all. That which proceeds from a heart in fullest sympathy with the act, delighting to do the will of God (Psalm 40:8), is well pleasing unto him.

II. COMPARATIVE EXCELLENCY. "Ye shall offer... a male without blemish.... whatsoever hath a blemish, that shall ye not offer: for it shall not be acceptable for you," etc. (verses 19-22). If the Hebrew worshipper brought that creature from flock or herd which, as being blemished, was least valuable, he did that which was offensive rather than acceptable. He put his Creator and Redeemer (verse 33) in the second place, and his own material interests in the first place. He was to bring his best to the holiest. We, too, must avoid this fatal error - must rise to this spiritual height. We must not put off our Redeemer with that which we shall miss the least - in kind, in substance, in time; we must bring to his altar the sweetness, the strength, and the beauty of all that we have to bring; we must reserve the choice treasures for his hand of love. So far as may be in a world of imperfection, our offering to a Divine Saviour "shall be perfect to be accepted" (verse 21).

III. REGARD FOR A SOLEMN PLEDGE. Absolute perfection, the positively whole and unblemished animal, might be difficult, or in some cases impossible, to secure. Hence some relaxation from the rule was allowed in the case of the free-will offering. But in the redemption of a vow no such departure was permitted (verse 23). Any vow which was made unto God was considered to be in the last degree obligatory (Deuteronomy 23:21, 22; Ecclesiastes 5:4, 5; Psalm 76:11). When "God's vows are upon us," when we stand pledged before him

(1) to discharge certain functions, or

(2) to abstain from certain evils or perils,

we should feel that we are bound with peculiarly strong bonds to make our sacrifice, of whatever kind it be, in its fulness and integrity.

IV. ABSENCE OF IMPURITY. (Verse 20; see Leviticus 7:15-18.)

V. PREFERENCE OF THE DIVINE WILL TO HUMAN GRATIFICATION. "Strangers" might bring their offerings to the house of the Lord. It was a pleasing and gratifying firing to witness the stranger bringing his bountiful tribute to the altar of Jehovah. It gratified the national feeling. But nothing might be accepted from the foreigner which was not worthy to be laid on the altar of the Holy One of Israel. His will to receive only unblemished offerings must outweigh their readiness or eagerness to receive outside testimony to the excellency of their institutions. We may be too eager to welcome the tribute of the stranger; we must require of him that he worship in sincerity and purity. The honour and the will of God should be more to us than the passing gratification we gain from any source whatever. Whatever we lose, he must be honoured and obeyed. - C.

It shall be perfect to be accepted.
1. The ceremonial law, as ordained by the hand of Moses and Aaron, called the worshippers of God to great carefulness before Him. Before their minds that solemn truth was ever made visible, "I the Lord thy God am a jealous God." Nothing might be done thoughtlessly. Of every ceremony it might be said, "It must be perfect to be accepted." God must have the minds and thoughts of men, or He counts that they are no worshippers. We need to think a great deal more about how we come before the Most High; and if we thought more and prayed more, we should become more certain of our inability to do anything as we ought to do it, and we should be driven to a more entire dependence upon the Spirit of God in every act of worship. This in itself would be a great blessing.

2. The ceremonial law also engendered in men who did think a great respect for the holiness of God. They could not help seeing that God required everything in His service to be of the very best. They must have felt that sin was not a trifle, but a thing for which there must be life given and blood shed before it could be removed; and that life and blood must be the life and blood of a perfect and unblemished offering.

3. Under the Jewish ceremonial law, one of the most prominent thoughts, next to a great respect for the holiness of God, would be a deep regard for the law of God. Everywhere that the Israelite went he was surrounded by law. If men do not understand the law, they will not feel that they are sinners; and if they are not consciously sinners, they will never value the sin-offering.


1. It most effectually judges and casts forth all self-righteousness, although this is the great deceit wherewith thousands are buoyed up with false hopes. "It shall be perfect to be accepted; there shall be no blemish therein." If you can come up to this rule you shall be saved by your righteousness; but if you cannot reach you must fail of acceptance.

2. Why, look, ye that hope to be saved by your own doings, your nature at the very first is tainted! There is evil in your heart from the very beginning, so that you are not perfect and are not without blemish. Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one.

3. Look again, for I feel sure that there must have been a blemish somewhere as matter of fact. As yet you are not conscious of a blemish; and possibly there is some justification for this unconsciousness. Looking upon you, I feel inclined to love you, as Jesus loved that young man who could say of the commandments, "All these have I kept from my youth up." But I must beg you to answer this question — Has there not been a blemish in your motives? What have you been doing all these good things for? "Why, that I might be saved!" Precisely so. Therefore selfishness has been the motive which has ruled your life. Moreover, it is not only your nature and your motive which are imperfect. You certainly must have erred somewhere or other, in some act of your life. The Scripture also is dead against you when it says, "There is none righteous; no, not one."

4. Methinks if I could read all hearts, there is not one here, however self-righteous he may be, who would not have to confess distinct acts of sin. I know how some of you have lived. You were amiable girls and excellent young women, and have grown up to be careful, loving wives; and therefore you say, "I never did anybody any harm; surely I may be accepted." I wish that there were more like you. I am not condemning you; far from it; but I know that your tendency is to think that because of all this you must in yourselves be accepted of God. Give me your hand, and let me say to you, with tears, "It is not so, my sister; it is not so, my brother. It must be perfect to be accepted; there must be no blemish in it." This is a death-blow for your self-confidence; for there was a time, some day or other in your life, in which you did wrong. What I have you no hasty temper? Have no quick words escaped you which you would wish to recall? What! have you never murmured against God, or complained of His providence? Have you never been slothful when you ought to have been diligent? Can you say that your heart has never desired evil — never imagined impurity? Have you never gone to live in an old house which looked like new? You had fresh paint, and varnish, and paper in superabundance; and you thought yourself dwelling in one of the sweetest of places, till one day it happened that a board was taken up, and you saw under the floor. What a gathering of every foul thing! You could not have lived in that house at peace for a minute had you known what had been covered up. Rottenness had been hidden, decay had been doctored, death had been decorated. That is just like our humanity. When lusts are quiet, they are all there. The best man in this place, who is not a believer in Christ, would go mad if he were to see himself as God sees him.

5. This text makes a clean sweep of all other kinds of human confidences. Some are deceived in this sort: "Well," they say, "I do not trust in my works; but I am a religious person, and I attend the sacrament, and I go to my place of worship pretty regularly. I feel that I must certainly be right. I have faith in Jesus Christ and in myself." In various ways men thus compose an image whose feet are part of iron and part of clay.

II. As this rule shuts out all other confidences, so THIS RULE SHUTS US UP TO THE SACRIFICE OF JESUS CHRIST. Oh, if I had the tongues of men and of angels, I could never fitly tell you of Him who offered Himself without spot unto God, for He is absolutely perfect; there is no blemish in Him!

1. He is perfect in His nature as God and man. There was not the possibility of sinning about the Saviour — no tendency that way, no desire that way. Nothing that could be construed into evil ever came upon His character.

2. As He was perfect in His nature, so was He in His motive. What brought Him from above but love to God and man? You can find no trace of ambition in Christ Jesus. In Him there is no thought of self.

3. As His nature was perfect, so was His spirit. He was never sinfully angry, nor harsh, nor untrue, nor idle. The air of His soul was the atmosphere of heaven rather than of earth.

4. Look at His life of obedience, and see how perfect that was. Which commandment did He ever break? Which duty of relationship did He ever forget? He honoured the law of God and loved the souls of men.

5. Look at the perfection of His sacrifice. He gave His body to be tortured, and His mind to be crushed and broken, even unto the death-agony. He gave Himself for us a perfect sacrifice. All that the law could ask was in Him.

III. Listen, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that know the Lord! You are saved. You have not, therefore, to bring any sacrifice by way of a sin-offering, but you have to bring SACRIFICES OF THANKSGIVING. It is your reasonable service that you offer your bodies a living sacrifice unto God. If you do this you cannot bring an absolutely perfect sacrifice, but you must labour to let it be perfect in what is often the Biblical sense of perfection. You must take care that what you bring is not blind, for the blind were not to be offered. You must serve God with a single eye to the glory of God. And as it must not be blind, so it must not be broken. Whenever we serve God, we must do it with the whole of our being, for if we try to serve God with a bit of our nature, and leave the rest unconsecrated, we shall not be accepted. Next, they were not to bring a maimed sacrifice: that is, one without its limbs. Some people give grudgingly, that is to say, they come up to the collection-box with a limp. Many serve Christ with a broken arm. The holy work is done, but it is painfully and slowly done. Among the heathen, I believe, they never offered in sacrifice to the gods a calf that had to be carried. The reason was that they considered that the sacrifice ought to be willing to be offered, "and so it must be able to walk up to the altar. Notice in the Old Testament, though there were many creatures, both birds and beasts, that were offered to God, they never offered any fish on the holy altar. The reason probably is that a fish could not come there alive. Its life would be spent before it came to the altar, and therefore it could not render a life unto God. Take care that you bring your bodies a living sacrifice. We must not bring Him the mere chrysalis of a man, out of which the life has gone; but we must bring before Him our living, unmaimed selves if we would be acceptable before Him. It is then added, "or having a wen." It does not look as though it would hurt the sacrifice much to have a wen; yet there must not be a wen, or spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. Above all, avoid that big wen of pride. The sacrifice was not to be scabbed, or to have the scurvy. That is to say, it was to be without any sort of outward fault. I have heard men say, "It is true I did not do that thing well, but my heart was right." That may be, but you must try and make the whole matter as good as it can be. What a deal of scabbed service our Lord gets! Men try to be benevolent to their fellow-creatures with an irritable temper. Certain people try to serve God, and write stinging letters to promote brotherly love, and dogmatical epistles in favour of large-mindedness. Too many render to the Lord hurried, thoughtless worship; and many more give for offerings their smallest coins and such things as they will never miss. God has many a scurvy sheep brought before Him. The best of the best should be given to the Best of the best. Would God that the best of our lives, the best hours of the morning, the best skill of our hands, the best thoughts of our minds, the very cream of our being, were given to our God!

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

1. This law was, then, necessary for the preserving of the honour of the sanctuary and of the God that was there worshipped.

2. This law made all the legal sacrifices the fitter to be types of Christ, the great Sacrifice, from which all those derived their virtue.

3. It is an instruction to us to offer to God the best we have in our spiritual sacrifices. If our devotions be ignorant, and cold, and trifling, and full of distractions, we offer the blind, and the lame, and the sick for sacrifice. But cursed be the deceiver that doth so, for while he thinks to put a cheat upon God, he puts a damning cheat upon his own soul.

( Matthew Henry, D. D..)

All religious service is of the nature of sacrifice.

I. Read this requirement of perfect sacrifices, and by it let us test our regard for the SABBATH SERVICES. God has once, at least, read us a very solemn lesson of the manner in which He regards lost Sabbaths. Seventy Sabbatical years the Jews allowed to drop out of their calendar. Seventy years were spent by them in captivity. A fearful presage to us of what might be the national judgment if, as a Church and people, we went on to blot out from amongst us our day of rest. Every one will agree that if the Sabbath be obligatory, then it is assuredly obligatory thus far —

1. That there be regular attendance upon public service.

2. Of the other hours of the day, that a part be spent in private devotional exercises, a part in religious reading; that a higher and more sacred tone of conversation be maintained; that some work of piety and love be performed.

II. By this test let us judge our SANCTUARY WORSHIP. Examine ourselves in the house of God. Difficulty of keeping the mind collected and devout results from want of due preparation.

1. Something may be said respecting the posture of body we assume in the sanctuary. Position of body reacts upon the mind. Indolence is associated with, and leads to, irreverence. Kneeling is required equally by the dignity of God and the weakness of our nature.

2. So with the voice. Difficult to overestimate how much is lost —

(a)to the beauty of our services;

(b)to the glory of God;

(c)to our own souls, by the silence so many of us maintain, both in the responses and in the service of song.But there are more serious "blemishes" in our sanctuary sacrifices than these. Where is —

(1)The constant mental effort essential to true worship and proper in the presence of God?

(2)The self-distrust due from such sinful creatures as we?

(3)The self-discipline to bring ourselves into responsiveness to God's Spirit?

(4)The inward up-looking for Divine light and grace?

(5)The frequent reminding our selves of what. we .are and. what God is?

(6)The simple spirit of self-application?

(7)The faith to give wings to prayer?Well might St. James say, "Ye have not because ye ask not, or ask amiss." "Blemish on sacrifice" drives the flame down again.

III. By this test let us examine our observance of THE SACRAMENT OF THE LORD'S SUPPER. A word in solemn affection to some. You never attend the sacrament to celebrate the Lord's death at all. Others, if at all, so irregularly as almost to turn the attendance into a mockery.

1. Happy for us that we can turn from all our poor "blemished" sacrifices to that pure and perfect sacrifice of Christ, which has been offered "without blemish and without spot" for us.

2. Only let us never forget that he who would safely trust in the power of that "Sacrifice" for his salvation must take the spotlessness of that Sacrifice for his daily pattern.


Sharpened Arrows.
A pastor went one day to call on a member of his church, who was a farmer. During the conversation the work of Christian benevolences was touched upon, and the farmer proudly alluded to the fact that out of his few acres of ground he always set aside one acre to the Lord's use. The pastor, hoping to here get the material for an illustration in his own work, asked the farmer brother, "Which acre do you set aside?" This was a question that came very unexpectedly, but the farmer was honest enough to tell the truth, and replied, "When it is a dry season, I select one up there," pointing to a field on the hillside; "and when it is a wet season, I choose one down there," pointing to a field of very low land which lay at the foot of the hill. I give this illustration, not on account of its rarity, but because it is a true picture of thousands of professed Christians, who give to God's service that part of their time and means that is left after first satisfying their own personal selfish ends.

(Sharpened Arrows.)

Christian Age.
One cold morning a little ragged, woeful-looking child came in at our back door, begging for food. "Please, ma'am, mend the children most starved. Only a bit o' bread." "Have you no father or mother, child?" asked

I. "Yes'm," and a look of shame and despair mantled his hollow cheeks. "Don't they work and earn money?" "Yes'm, little; but they most allus spend it afore they gets home, at the 'Horn o' Plenty.' "Immediately my heart became adamant. The miserable, drunken brutes, thought I, I'll not feed their children. Then I remembered there is a very stale loaf of bread in the cupboard, scarcely fit for toast. I gave that to the child, very glad to dispose of it. He grabbed it eagerly, with a clutch that reminded one of the grasp of the drowning, when they would fain save themselves. Little Gracie, our six-year-old darling, had been a silent spectator; but after the boy departed, she came to me with deep inquiry depicted upon her spiritual countenance, saying, "Mamma, if Jesus Christ had come and said He was starving to death, would you have given Him that awful dry loaf of bread?" "Why, child," said I, "why do you ask such a question ?" "Why, when we give to the poor, ought we not to think that we are really giving to Jesus Himself? I thought He said so when here upon the earth." "Well, Gracie," said I, kissing her sweet, troubled face, "I think you are right, and I will remember your lesson next time. Yes, Gracie, we, whom the Lord hath blessed in our 'granary and our store,' would soon relieve suffering humanity if we gave our alms as if we really were giving to the 'Blessed Redeemer.' We are too prone to forget this truth." "The very best that we have in the house isn't too good for Him, is it, mamma?" asked she. "No, no, my precious child," replied I, clasping her to my heart and thinking, "Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast Thou ordained strength and wisdom."

(Christian Age.)

— A missionary in China, describing in the Sunday at Home, the sacrifices which are offered to Confucius at the usual and autumnal equinoxes, says, "We looked at the victims, and they were diseased, scraggy brutes, worthless offerings. Oh, the mockery and the utter insincerity and indifference of the Chinese mind to all sense of honour I My friend explained the matter to me; he said they were allowed so much by the Treasury for this purpose, and the cheaper they could get the animals the more they could pocket."

(J. Tinling.)

Aaron, Israelites, Moses
Acceptable, Accepted, Accomplish, Beeves, Blemish, Bringeth, Brings, Cattle, Clearly, Complete, Damage, Defect, Fellowship, Flock, Free, Freewill, Freewill-offering, Free-will-offering, Fulfil, Fulfill, Fulfilment, Herd, Makes, Mark, Oath, Offereth, Offering, Offerings, Offers, Oxen, Payment, Peace, Peace-offering, Peace-offerings, Perfect, Pleasing, Present, Sacrifice, Sheep, Special, Therein, Uttered, Voluntary, Vow, Willing-offering
1. The priests in their uncleanness must abstain from the holy things
6. How they shall be cleansed
10. Who of the priest's house may eat of the holy things
17. The sacrifices must be without blemish
26. The age of the sacrifice
29. The law of eating the sacrifice of thanksgiving

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Leviticus 22:21

     5741   vows
     7364   fellowship offering
     8321   perfection, divine

Leviticus 22:17-22

     8271   holiness, purpose

Leviticus 22:17-23

     7366   freewill offering

Leviticus 22:17-25

     7316   blood, OT sacrifices

Leviticus 22:18-25

     5278   cripples

Leviticus 22:19-21

     6603   acceptance, divine

Leviticus 22:20-25

     6118   blemish

The Two Sabbath-Controversies - the Plucking of the Ears of Corn by the Disciples, and the Healing of the Man with the Withered Hand
IN grouping together the three miracles of healing described in the last chapter, we do not wish to convey that it is certain they had taken place in precisely that order. Nor do we feel sure, that they preceded what is about to be related. In the absence of exact data, the succession of events and their location must be matter of combination. From their position in the Evangelic narratives, and the manner in which all concerned speak and act, we inferred, that they took place at that particular
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

Eleventh Day. The Holy one of Israel.
I am the Lord that brought you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God; ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy. I the Lord which make you holy, am holy.'--Lev. xi. 45, xxi. 8. 'I am the Lord Thy God, the Holy One of Israel, Thy Saviour. Thus saith the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King.'--Isa. xliii. 3, 14, 15. In the book of Exodus we found God making provision for the Holiness of His people. In the holy
Andrew Murray—Holy in Christ

The emphasis which modern criticism has very properly laid on the prophetic books and the prophetic element generally in the Old Testament, has had the effect of somewhat diverting popular attention from the priestly contributions to the literature and religion of Israel. From this neglect Leviticus has suffered most. Yet for many reasons it is worthy of close attention; it is the deliberate expression of the priestly mind of Israel at its best, and it thus forms a welcome foil to the unattractive
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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