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Bible Commentaries
Leviticus 7

Clarke's CommentaryClarke Commentary

Verse 1


The law of the trespass-offering, and the priest's portion in

it, 1-7.

As also in the sin-offerings and meat-offerings, 8-10.

The law of the sacrifice of peace-offering, 11,

whether it was a thanksgiving-offering, 12-15;

or a VOW or voluntary offering, 16-18.

Concerning the flesh that touched any unclean thing, 19, 20,

and the person who touched any thing unclean, 21.

Laws concerning eating of fat, 22-25,

and concerning eating of blood, 26, 27.

Farther ordinances concerning the peace-offerings and the

priest's portion in them, 28-36.

Conclusion of the laws and ordinances relative to

burnt-offerings, meat-offerings, sin-offerings, and

peace-offerings, delivered in this and the preceding chapters,

37, 38.


Verse Leviticus 7:1. Trespass-offering — See end of the chapter. Leviticus 7:38; Leviticus 7:38.

Verse 2

Verse Leviticus 7:2. In the place where they kill the burnt-offering — viz., on the north side of the altar, Leviticus 1:11.

Verse 3

Verse Leviticus 7:3. The rumpLeviticus 3:9; Leviticus 3:9, where the principal subjects in this chapter are explained, being nearly the same in both.

Verse 4

Verse Leviticus 7:4. The fat that is on them — Chiefly the fat that was found in a detached state, not mixed with the muscles; such as the omentum or caul, the fat of the mesentery, the fat about the kidneys, &c. Leviticus 3:9, &c.

Verse 8

Verse Leviticus 7:8. The priest shall have to himself the skin — Bishop Patrick supposes that this right of the priest to the skin commenced with the offering of Adam, "for it is probable," says he, "that Adam himself offered the first sacrifice, and had the skin given him by God to make garments for him and his wife; in conformity to which the priests ever after had the skin of the whole burnt-offerings for their portion, which was a custom among the Gentiles as well as the Jews, who gave the skins of their sacrifices to their priests, when they were not burnt with the sacrifices, as in some sin-offerings they were among the Jews, see Leviticus 4:11. And they employed them to a superstitious use, by lying upon them in their temples, in hopes to have future things revealed to them in their dreams.

Of this we have a proof in Virgil, AEn. lib. vii., ver. 86-95.

"-------------huc dona sacerdos

Cum tulit, et caesarum ovium sub nocte silenti

Pellibus incubuit stratis, somnosque petivit;

Multa modus simulncra videt volitantia miris,

Et varias audit voces, fruiturque deorum

Colloquio, atque imis Acheronta affatur Avernis.

Hic et tum pater ipse petens responsa Latinus

Centum lanigeras mactabat rite bidentes,

Atque harum effultus tergo stratisque jacebat

Velleribus. Subita ex alto vox reddita luco est."

First, on the fleeces of the slaughter'd sheep

By night the sacred priest dissolves in sleep,

When in a train, before his slumbering eye,

Thin airy forms and wondrous visions fly.

He calls the powers who guard the infernal floods,

And talks, inspired, familiar with the gods.

To this dread oracle the prince withdrew,

And first a hundred sheep the monarch slew;

Then on their fleeces lay; and from the wood

He heard, distinct, these accents of the god.


The same superstition, practised precisely in the same way and for the same purposes, prevail to the present day in the Highlands of Scotland, as the reader may see from the following note of Sir Walter Scott, in his Lady of the Lake: -

"The Highlanders of Scotland, like all rude people, had various superstitious modes of inquiring into futurity. One of the most noted was the togharm. A person was wrapped up in the skin of a newly-slain bullock, and deposited beside a water-fall, or at the bottom of a precipice, or in some other strange, wild, and unusual situation, where the scenery around him suggested nothing but objects of horror. In this situation he revolved in his mind the question proposed; and whatever was impressed upon him by his exalted imagination, passed for the inspiration of the disembodied spirits who haunt these desolate recesses. One way of consulting this oracle was by a party of men, who first retired to solitary places, remote from any house, and there they singled out one of their number, and wrapt him in a big cow's hide, which they folded about him; his whole body was covered with it except his head, and so left in this posture all night, until his invisible friends relieved him by giving a proper answer to the question in hand; which he received, as he fancied, from several persons that he found about him all that time. His consorts returned to him at day-break; and then he communicated his news to them, which often proved fatal to those concerned in such unwarrantable inquiries.

"Mr. Alexander Cooper, present minister of North Virt, told me that one John Erach, in the Isle of Lewis, assured him it was his fate to have been led by his curiosity with some who consulted this oracle, and that he was a night within the hide above mentioned, during which time he felt and heard such terrible things that he could not express them: the impression made on him was such as could never go off; and he said, for a thousand worlds he would never again be concerned in the like performance, for it had disordered him to a high degree. He confessed it ingenuously, and with an air of great remorse, and seemed to be very penitent under a just sense of so great a crime: he declared this about five years since, and is still living in the Isle of Lewis for any thing I know." - Description of the Western Isles, p. 110. See also Pennant's Scottish Tour, vol. ii., p. 301; and Sir W. Scott's Lady of the Lake.

Verse 9

Verse Leviticus 7:9. Baken in the ovenLeviticus 2:5; Leviticus 2:5, &c.

Verse 12

Verse Leviticus 7:12. If he offer it for a thanksgiving — See the notes at the end of this chapter. Leviticus 7:38; Leviticus 7:38.

Verse 15

Verse Leviticus 7:15. He shall not leave any of it until the morning. — Because in such a hot country it was apt to putrefy, and as it was considered to be holy, it would have been very improper to expose that to putrefaction which had been consecrated to the Divine Being. Mr. Harmer supposes that the law here refers rather to the custom of drying flesh which had been devoted to religious purposes, which is practised among the Mohammedans to the present time. This, he thinks, might have given rise to the prohibition, as the sacred flesh thus preserved might have been abused to superstitious purposes. Therefore God says, Leviticus 7:18, "If any of the flesh of the sacrifice - be eaten at all on the third day, it shall not be accepted, neither shall it be imputed unto him that offereth it; it is an abomination, and the soul that eateth of it shall bear his iniquity." That is, on Mr. Harmer's hypothesis, This sacred flesh shall avail nothing to him that eats it after the first or second day on which it is offered; however consecrated before, it shall not be considered sacred after that time. See Harmer's Obs., vol. i., p. 394, edit. 1808.

Verse 20

Verse Leviticus 7:20. Having his uncleanness upon him — Having touched any unclean thing by which he became legally defiled, and had not washed his clothes, and bathed his flesh.

Verse 21

Verse Leviticus 7:21. The uncleanness of man — Any ulcer, sore, or leprosy; or any sort of cutaneous disorder, either loathsome or infectious.

Verse 23

Verse Leviticus 7:23. Fat, of ox, or of sheep, or of goat. — Any other fat they might eat, but the fat of these was sacred, because they were the only animals which were offered in sacrifice, though many others ranked among the clean animals as well as these. But it is likely that this prohibition is to be understood of these animals when offered in sacrifice, and then only in reference to the inward fat, as mentioned on Leviticus 7:4. Of the fat in any other circumstances it cannot be intended, as it was one of the especial blessings which God gave to the people. Butter of kine, and milk of sheep, with FAT of LAMBS, and RAMS of the breed of Bashan, and GOATS, were the provision that he gave to his followers. See Deuteronomy 32:12-14.

Verse 27

Verse Leviticus 7:27. Whatsoever soul - that eateth any manner of bloodGenesis 9:4. Shall be cut off - excommunicated from the people of God, and so deprived of any part in their inheritance, and in their blessings. Genesis 17:14.

Verse 29

Verse 29. Shall bring his oblation — Meaning those things which were given out of the peace-offerings to the Lord and to the priest. - Ainsworth.

Verse 30

Verse 30. Wave-offeringExodus 29:27; Exodus 29:27.

Verse 32

Verse 32. The right shoulderExodus 29:27; Exodus 29:27.

Verse 36

Verse 36. In the day that he anointed themExodus 40:15; Exodus 40:15.

Verse 38

Verse 38. In the wilderness of Sinai. — These laws were probably given to Moses while he was on the mount with God; the time was quite sufficient, as he was there with God not less than fourscore days in all; forty days at the giving, and forty days at the renewing of the law.

As in the course of this book the different kinds of sacrifices commanded to be offered are repeatedly occurring, I think it best, once for all, to give a general account of them, and a definition of the original terms, as well as of all others relative to this subject which are used in the Old Testament, and the reference in which they all stood to the great sacrifice offered by Christ.

1. אשם ASHAM, TRESPASS-offering, from אשם asham, to be guilty, or liable to punishment; for in this sacrifice the guilt was considered as being transferred to the animal offered up to God, and the offerer redeemed from the penalty of his sin, Leviticus 7:37. Christ is said to have made his soul an offering for sin, (אשם), Isaiah 53:10.

2. אשה ISHSHEH, FIRE-offering, probably from אשש ashash, to be grieved, angered, inflamed; either pointing out the distressing nature of sin, or its property of incensing Divine justice against the offender, who, in consequence, deserving burning for his offence, made use of this sacrifice to be freed from the punishment due to his transgression. It occurs Exodus 29:18, and in many places of this book.

3. הבהבים HABHABIM, ITERATED OR REPEATED offerings, from יהב yahab, to supply. The word occurs only in Hosea 8:13, and probably means no more than the continual repetition of the accustomed offerings, or continuation of each part of the sacred service.

4. זבח ZEBACH, a SACRIFICE, (in Chaldee, דבח debach, the ז zain being changed into ד daleth,) a creature slain in sacrifice, from זבח zabach, to slay; hence the altar on which such sacrifices were offered was termed מזבח mizbeach, the place of sacrifice. Genesis 8:20; Genesis 8:20. Zebach is a common name for sacrifices in general.

5. חג CHAG, a festival, especially such as had a periodical return, from חגג chagag, to celebrate a festival, to dance round and round in circles. See Exodus 5:1; Exodus 12:24. The circular dance was probably intended to point out the revolution of the heavenly bodies, and the exact return of the different seasons. See Parkhurst.

6. חטאת CHATTATH and חטאה CHATTAAH, SIN-offering, from חטא chata, to miss the mark; it also signifies sin in general, and is a very apt term to express its nature by. A sinner is continually aiming at and seeking happiness; but as he does not seek it in God, hence the Scripture represents him as missing his aim, or missing the mark. This is precisely the meaning of the Greek word ἁμαρτια, translated sin and sin-offering in our version; and this is the term by which the Hebrew word is translated both by the Septuagint and the inspired writers of the New Testament. The sin-offering was at once an acknowledgment of guilt, in having forsaken the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns that could hold none; and also of the firm purpose of the offerer to return to God, the true and pure fountain of blessedness. This word often occurs. Genesis 4:7; Genesis 4:7; and "Genesis 13:13".

7. כפר COPHER, the EXPIATION or ATONEMENT, from כפר caphar, to cover, to smear over, or obliterate, or annul a contract. Used often to signify the atonement or expiation made for the pardon or cancelling of iniquity. See Clark's note on "Exodus 25:17".

8. מועד MOED, an APPOINTED annual festival, from יעד yaad, to appoint or constitute, signifying such feasts as were instituted in commemoration of some great event or deliverance, such as the deliverance from Egypt. See Exodus 13:10, and thus differing from the chag mentioned above. Genesis 1:14; Genesis 1:14.

9. מלאים MILLUIM, CONSECRATIONS or consecration-offerings, from מלא mala, to fill; those offerings made in consecrations, of which the priests partook, or, in the Hebrew phrase, had their hands filled, or which had filled the hands of them that offered them. Exodus 29:19; Exodus 29:19; and see 2 Chronicles 13:9.

10. מנחה MINCHAH, MEAT-offering, from נח nach, to rest, settle after toil. It generally consisted of things without life, such as green ears of corn, full ears of corn, flour, oil, and frankincense; (see on Leviticus 2:1, c.) and may be considered as having its name from that rest from labour and toil which a man had when the fruits of the autumn were brought in, or when, in consequence of obtaining any rest, ease, c., a significant offering or sacrifice was made to God. It often occurs. Genesis 4:3; Genesis 4:3. The jealousy-offering (Numbers 5:15) was a simple minchah, consisting of barley-meal only.

11. מסך MESECH and ממסך MIMSACH, a MIXTURE-offering, or MIXED LIBATION, called a DRINK-offering, Isaiah 55:11, from מסך masach, to mingle it seems in general to mean old wine mixed with the less, which made it extremely intoxicating. This offering does not appear to have had any place in the worship of the true God; but from Isaiah 65:11, and Proverbs 23:30, it seems to have been used for idolatrous purposes, such as the Bacchanalia among the Greeks and Romans, "when all got drunk in honour of the god."

12. משאת MASSEETH, an OBLATION, things carried to the temple to be presented to God, from נשא nasa, to bear or carry, to bear sin; typically, Exodus 28:38; Leviticus 10:17; Leviticus 16:21; really, Isaiah 53:4; Isaiah 53:12. The sufferings and death of Christ were the true masseeth or vicarious bearing of the sins of mankind, as the passage in Isaiah above referred to sufficiently proves. See this alluded to by the Evangelist John, John 1:29; and see the root in Parkhurst.

13. נדבה NEDABAH, FREE-WILL, or voluntary offering; from נדב nadab, to be free, liberal, princely. An offering not commanded, but given as a particular proof of extraordinary gratitude to God for especial mercies, or on account of some vow or engagement voluntarily taken, Leviticus 7:16.

14. נסך NESECH, LIBATION, OR DRINK-offering, from נסך nasach, to diffuse or pour out. Water or wine poured out at the conclusion or confirmation of a treaty or covenant. To this kind of offering there is frequent allusion and reference in the New Testament, as it typified the blood of Christ poured out for the sin of the world; and to this our Lord himself alludes in the institution of the holy eucharist. The whole Gospel economy is represented as a covenant or treaty between God and man, Jesus Christ being not only the mediator, but the covenant sacrifice, whose blood was poured out for the ratification and confirmation of this covenant or agreement between God and man.

15. עלה and עולה OLAH, BURNT-offering, from עלה alah, to ascend, because this offering, as being wholly consumed, ascended as it were to God in smoke and vapour. It was a very expressive type of the sacrifice of Christ, as nothing less than his complete and full sacrifice could make atonement for the sin of the world. In most other offerings the priest, and often the offerer, had a share, but in the whole burnt-offering all was given to God.

16. קטרת KETORETH, INCENSE or PERFUME-offering, from קטר katar, to burn, i. e., the frankincense, and other aromatics used as a perfume in different parts of the Divine service. To this St. Paul compares the agreeableness of the sacrifice of Christ to God, Ephesians 5:2: Christ hath given himself for us, an offering - to God for a SWEET-SMELLING savour. From Revelation 5:8 we learn that it was intended also to represent the prayers of the saints, which, offered up on the altar, Christ Jesus, that sanctifies every gift, are highly pleasing in the sight of God.

17. קרבן KORBAN, the GIFT-offering, from קרב karab to draw nigh or approach. See this explained on Leviticus 1:2. Korban was a general name for any kind of offering, because through these it was supposed a man had access to his Maker.

18. שלמים SHELAMIM, PEACE-offering, from שלם shalam, to complete, make whole; for by these offerings that which was lacking was considered as being now made up, and that which was broken, viz., the covenant of God, by his creatures' transgression, was supposed to be made whole; so that after such an offering, the sincere and conscientious mind had a right to consider that the breach was made up between God and it, and that it might lay confident hold on this covenant of peace. To this the apostle evidently alludes, Ephesians 2:14-19: He is our peace, (i. e. our shalam or peace-offering,) who has made both one, and broken down the middle wall; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, c. See the whole passage, and Genesis 14:18; Genesis 14:18.

19. תודה TODAH, THANK-offering, from ידה yadah, to confess offerings made to God with public confession of his power, goodness, mercy, c.

20. תנופה TENUPHAH, WAVE-offering, from נף naph, to stretch out an offering of the first-fruits stretched out before God, in acknowledgment of his providential goodness. This offering was moved from the right hand to the left. Exodus 29:27; Exodus 29:27.

21. תרומה TERUMAH, HEAVE-offering, from רם ram, to lift up, because the offering was lifted up towards heaven, as the wave-offering, in token of the kindness of God in granting rain and fruitful seasons, and filling the heart with food and gladness. As the wave-offering was moved from right to left, so the heave-offering was moved up and down; and in both cases this was done several times. These offerings had a blessed tendency to keep alive in the breasts of the people a due sense of their dependence on the Divine providence and bounty, and of their obligation to God for his continual and liberal supply of all their wants. Exodus 29:27; Exodus 29:27.

In the above collection are comprised, as far as I can recollect, an explanation of all the terms used in the Hebrew Scriptures which signify sacrifice, oblation, atonement, offering, &c., &c., as well as the reference they bear to the great and only sufficient atonement, sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction made by Christ Jesus for the sins of mankind. Larger accounts must be sought in authors who treat professedly on these subjects.

Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Leviticus 7". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/acc/leviticus-7.html. 1832.
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