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The Access Bible New Revised Standard Bible, written and edited with first-time Bible readers in mind.

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Commentary on Leviticus

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1.1–17 :

The LORD gives laws to Moses concerning the sacrifice of whole animals as burnt offerings. These laws begin a section of instructions for voluntary offerings to God (Lev 1–3 ). Such offerings stand in contrast to other sacrifices of animals and produce that are required at certain fixed times and festivals during the year (chs. 16, 23 ).

1.1–17 .

1 :

The tent of meeting came to be identified with the tabernacle, * the mobile tent of worship in the wilderness. In earlier traditions, it was probably different from the tabernacle. Exodus 33.7–11 mentions the tent of meeting as existing before the tabernacle was constructed (Ex 35.1–40.38 ).

3 :

The burnt offering is unique among the many sacrifices in that it was entirely consumed in the fire on the altar. All other types of sacrifices involved only a portion to be burned on the altar; the remainder was given back as food to be eaten by the priests, the poor, other dependent members of the community, or the donor. The requirement that the male animal be without blemish means that the animal is not blind, lame, or sick. The prophet * in Mal 1.8 asks, “When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not wrong? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not wrong?”

4 :

To lay your hand on the head of the sacrificed animal signifies the donor's ownership of the animal that is being offered to God and the donor's receipt of the benefits of the sacrifice. In this case, the benefits include atonement * for sin, that is, the forgiveness or “covering over” of offenses against God. Burnt offerings especially involved cases of sins of omission or sinful thoughts. Job 1.5 portrays the righteous man named Job who “would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings … For Job said, ‘It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.’”

5 :

Ancient Israelites considered blood to carry the sacred essence of life; it had the power to cleanse ritual impurity and sin ( 17.11; Gen 9.4 ). The act of dashing the blood against the altar signifies God's involvement in the ritual and the reconciliation with the one who offered the animal (see Ex 24.6–8 ). The priests who presided at the sacrifices were Aaron's sons since the Israelite priesthood was a hereditary office and Aaron was the first high priest (Ex 28.1–5; Num 18.1–7 ).

9 :

The fire of sacrifice transforms the animal into smoke that rises to the heavenly dwelling place of God. The sacrificed animal thus becomes a pleasing odor to the LORD , a phrase indicating God's acceptance of the offering; see Gen 8.20–22 .

14–17 :

The poor who are not able to afford the sacrifice of cattle or sheep have the option of presenting an offering of birds; compare 12.2–8 .

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