If, however, one's peace offering to the LORD is from the flock, he must present a male or female without blemish.
1. THE DESCRIPTION OF THE FAT OF THE LAMB. Verses 8-10.
1. Note the expression, "The fat thereof, and the whole rump." The "and" here is expletive rather than copulative, thus, "The fat thereof, even the whole rump." But the "rump," as vulgarly understood among us, is muscle, not fat. The part here indicated is the tail. This is evident from what follows, viz." It shall be taken off hard by the back-bone." The tail of the sheep even in our climate is fat, but in the East it is remarkably so, some of them weighing from twelve to forty pounds.
2. The portions burnt were very inflammable.
(1) Here, in addition to the fat of the tail, was all the fat of the inwards, which in a sheep might weigh eight or ten pounds. This, when ignited, would be consumed, whatever else may have been laid upon the altar.
(2) These parts were considered to be the seat of the animal passions. In this view the lesson of their consumption upon the altar would be that our passions should be in complete subjection to God. Also to impress upon us that, if not consumed in the milder fires of his love, how obnoxious they are to the fierce fires of his wrath!
(3) The rapid consumption of the fat of lambs upon the altar is therefore appropriately used to describe the extermination of the wicked. "But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the Lord shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away" (Psalm 37:20). Fire, it would seem, will be the chief instrument which Providence will summon for the destruction of the threes of Antichrist (Revelation 17:16; Revelation 18:9; Revelation 19:8, 20; Revelation 20:9, 14).
II. THE EXPRESSION, "FOOD OF THE OFFERING MADE BY FIRE UNTO THE LORD" (verse 11).
1. Thus, what was consumed by fire is called God's food.
(1) Some construe this to mean that what is consumed is food for the fire. But this is to give no information. Nor would this be a sufficient reason for the prohibition of the fat as food for an Israelite (see verses 16, 17). Note, the fat intermingled with the flesh was not forbidden, but those portions only which were prescribed to be offered upon the altar (see Nehemiah 8:10).
(2) But how could God be said to feast upon such food? Not literally, certainly (see Psalm 1:13). But figuratively. Thus his attributes of justice and mercy are, so to speak, hungry for satisfaction; and this satisfaction they find in that sacrifice of Christ, in virtue of which he is not only merciful, but just in justifying the ungodly (Romans 3:24-26).
(3) To avail ourselves of this mercy of God, we must justify him, viz. by hearty repentance and true faith. While God magnifies his justice in his mercy, we, too, must magnify his justice in his mercy.
2. The portions of the peace offering not consumed upon the altar were eaten by men.
(1) Here, then, was the expression of a fellowship between God and men, which is established through sacrifice. This glorious privilege is set forth also in the Christian Eucharist. We feast with the Lord at his table (1 Corinthians 10:21).
(2) Here also was fellowship between religious men. The priest had his portion, and the offerer his. That the offerer should feast with a Gentile would have been profanity. So the fellowship of Christians is with the holy universe (Hebrews 12:22-24).
III. THE NOTE PROHIBITING THE EATING OF BLOOD. Verse 17.
1. What are the reasons for this?
(1) The first is that the blood is the life of the flesh. The prohibition of blood as food is a Noachian precept, and this reason is given there. The object is to set a store upon life (see Genesis 9:4-6).
(2) The second is that blood is given upon the altar to make atonement for the soul, viz. life for the life (Leviticus 17:10-14). The atoning blood of Christ must not be treated as a common thing (Hebrews 10:29).
2. We may here refer to a circumstance in connection with the bleeding of the sacrifice.
(1) The Jews tell us that the animal, after the slaughtering, was suspended on hooks near the place of rings for the removing of the skin. How suggestive of the hanging of Jesus upon the tree of his cross!
(3) To human appearance this prophecy seems to have been fulfilled as by accident. The same remark may be applied to the fulfillment of many prophecies. There are no mere accidents. The careful hand of an all-wise Providence is in everything. - J.A.M.
These are the commandments which the Lord commanded Moses for the children of Israel.Hebrews 4:2). And upon the whole matter we may see cause to bless God that we are not come to Mount Sinai (Hebrews 12:18).
1. That we are not under the dark shadows of the law, but enjoy the clear light of the gospel, which shows us Christ the end of the law for righteousness (Romans 10:4). The doctrine of our reconciliation to God by a Mediator is not clouded with the smoke of burning sacrifices, but cleared by the knowledge of Christ, and Him crucified.
2. That we are not under the heavy yoke of the law and the carnal ordinances of it, as the apostle calls them (Hebrews 9:10), imposed till the time of reformation, a yoke which neither they nor their fathers were able to bear (Acts 15:10); but under the sweet and easy institutions of the gospel, which pronounces those the true worshippers, that worship the Father in spirit and truth, by Christ only, and in His name, who is our Priest, Temple, Altar, Sacrifice, Purification, and All. Let us not therefore think that because we are not tied to the ceremonial cleansings, feasts, and oblations, a little care, time, and expense will serve to honour God with. No, but rather have our hearts more enlarged in free-will-offerings, to His praise, more inflamed with holy love and joy, and more engaged in seriousness of thoughts, and sincerity of intention. Having boldness to enter into the holiness by the blood of Jesus, let us draw near with a true heart, and in full assurance of faith, worshipping God with so much the more cheerfulness and humble confidence, still saying, Blessed be God for Jesus Christ.
( Matthew Henry, D. D..)
(J. M. Gibson, D. D.).
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