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Bible Commentaries
Leviticus 2

Gill's Exposition of the Whole BibleGill's Exposition



This chapter contains the law of the meat offering, and gives an account of what it was made of, fine flour, with oil poured, and frankincense put upon it, Leviticus 2:1 what was done with it; part of it burnt upon the altar, and the rest was the property of the priests, Leviticus 2:2 how it was to be when baked in an oven, or in a pan, or fried in a frying pan, Leviticus 2:4 what was prohibited in it, leaven and honey, Leviticus 2:11 what was to be used in it, salt, Leviticus 2:13 and what was to be the oblation and meat offering of the first fruits, and what to be done with it, Leviticus 2:12.

Verse 1

And when any man will offer a meat offering unto the Lord,.... Or, "when a soul", and which Onkelos renders "a man", so called from his more noble part; and, as the Jews say, this word is used because the Minchah, or meat offering here spoken of, was a freewill offering, and was offered up with all the heart and soul; and one that offered in this manner, it was all one as if he offered his soul to the Lord s: there were some meat offerings which were appointed and fixed at certain times, and were obliged to be offered, as at the daily sacrifice, the consecration of priests, the waving of the sheaf, c.

Exodus 29:40 but this was a freewill offering wherefore it is said, "when any man will offer"; the Hebrew word

מנחה, "a meat offering", may be derived from נחה, "to bring" or "offer", and so is a name common to offerings of any sort; or from

הניח, to "recreate" and delight, it being of a sweet savour to the Lord, as other offerings were; others derive it from מנח, a root not in use, and in the Chaldee language signifies a gift or present, in which sense this word is used, Genesis 32:13

his offering shall be of fine flour; of flour of wheat,

Exodus 29:2 for, as the Jews say, there is no fine flour but wheat, and this was for the meat offering, 1 Chronicles 21:23 and this was to be of the finest of the wheat; for all offerings, whether private or public, were to be of the best, and to be brought from those places which were noted for having the best; and the best places for fine flour were Mechmas and Mezonicha, and the next to them were Caphariim, in the valley; and though it might be taken out of any part of the land of Israel and used, yet it chiefly came from hence t; and according to the Jewish writers u; the least quantity of fine flour used in a meat offering was the tenth part of an ephah, which was about three pints and a half, and a fifth part of half a pint: Christ was prefigured by the meat offering; his sacrifice came in the room of it, and put an end to it, Psalms 40:7 whose flesh is meat indeed, the true meat or bread, in distinction from this typical meat offering, John 6:55 the fine flour denotes the choiceness, excellency, and purity of Christ; the dignity of his person, the superiority of him to angels and men, being the chiefest, and chosen out of ten thousand; the purity of his human nature being free from the bran of original corruption, and the spotlessness of his sacrifice: and fine flour of wheat being that of which bread is made, which is the principal part of human sustenance, and what strengthens the heart of man, and nourishes him, and is the means of maintaining and supporting life; it is a fit emblem of Christ, the bread of life, by which the saints are supported in their spiritual life, and strengthened to perform vital acts, and are nourished up unto everlasting life, and who, as the meat offering, is called the bread of God, Leviticus 21:6 John 6:33

and he shall pour oil upon it; upon all of it, as Jarchi observes, because it was mingled with it, and it was the best oil that was used; and though it might be brought from any part of the land of Israel, which was a land of oil olive, yet the chief place for oil was Tekoah, and the next to it was Ragab beyond Jordan, and from hence it was usually brought w; and the common quantity was a log, or half a pint, to a tenth deal of fine flour, as Gersom asserts from the wise men, and to which Maimonides x agrees; and Gersom on the place observes, that it is proper that some of the oil should be put in the lower part of the vessel, and after that the fine flour should put in it, and then he should pour some of it upon it and mix it: the oil denotes the grace of the Spirit poured out upon Christ without measure, the oil of gladness, with which he was anointed above his fellows, and from whence he has the name of Messiah or Christ, or Anointed; and with which he was anointed to be prophet, priest, and King, and which renders him very desirable and delightful to his people, his name being as ointment poured forth, Psalms 45:7

and put frankincense thereon; on a part of it, as Jarchi's note is; and according to him, the man that brought the meat offering left an handful of frankincense upon it on one side; and the reason of this was, because it was not to be mixed with it as the oil was, and it was not to be taken in the handful with it z; and the quantity of the frankincense, as Gersom says, was one handful: this denoted the sweet odour and acceptableness of Christ, the meat offering, both to God and to his people: it is an observation of the Jewish writers, that the pouring out of the oil on the fine flour, and mixing it with it, and putting on the frankincense, might be done by a stranger, by any man, by the man that brought the meat offering, but what follows after the bringing of it to the priest were done by him a.

s Jarchi, Aben Ezra, & Baal Hatturim, in loc. t Misn. Menachot, c. 8. sect. 1. u Jarchi & Gersom in loc. w Misn. Menachot, c. 8. sect. 3. x Hilchot Maaseh, Hakorbanot, c. 13. sect 5. z Vid T. Bab. Sotah, fol. 14. 2. a T. Bab. Menachot, fol. 9. 1. & 18. 2. & Pesachim, fol. 36. 1. & Jarchi in loc.

Verse 2

And he shall bring it to Aaron's sons, the priests,.... And this is all that he did with it; he left it with the priest, who carried it to the altar, to the southwest horn of it b: the order of bringing it, according to Maimonides c, was this,

"a man brings fine flour from his house in baskets of silver or of gold or of other kind of metals, in a vessel fit to be a ministering vessel; and if it is a meat offering of fine flour, he puts it into a ministering vessel, and sanctifies it in a ministering vessel;''

then did what follows:

and he shall take thereout his handful of the flour thereof, and of the oil thereof; as mixed together: the Jews say d, this was done with the right hand, which is very likely, that being generally used in this way: the Talmudists thus describe the manner in which the handful was taken; the priest stretched out his three fingers over the palm of his hand, and gathered the handful in the plate or pan, and parted it off with his thumb above, and with his little finger below; and this was the most difficult piece of service in the sanctuary e: though Maimonides f rejects this notion of difficulty, and says it was done in the common way, in which men take up a handful of anything: but Bartenora says g, it was not in the usual way, but much as before described: the priest put the sides of his fingers into the flour, and gathered the flour with the sides of his fingers within his hand, and took of the flour only three fingers' full, upon the palm of his hand, and no more; and that it might not be heaped or go out, he pared it off, above with his thumb, and below with his little finger; and this he affirms, according to the Gemara, and what his masters had taught him, was one of the hardest pieces of service in the sanctuary:

with all the frankincense thereof; this was not taken along with the handful of flour and oil; for if there was ever so small a quantity of frankincense in the handful it was not right h; for the frankincense, when brought, was put on one side of the fine flour, and when the handful was taken, then that was taken altogether, and put upon it:

and the priest shall burn the memorial of it upon the altar: that is, he was to burn the handful of fine flour and oil with the frankincense, as a "memorial"; either to put the Lord in mind of his lovingkindness to his people, and of his covenant with them, and promises unto them, to which the allusion is, Psalms 20:3 or to put the offerer in mind of the great sacrifice of Christ, who was to be offered for his sins, and to be a meat offering to him: this was the part the Lord had in this offering, and which related to his worship, as the word used sometimes signifies, as De Dieu has observed:

[to be] an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord;

Psalms 20:3- :.

b T. Bab. Sotah, ib. & Meaachot, fol. 8. 2. c Hilchot Maaseh Hakorbanot, c. 13. sect. 12. d Misn. Menachot, c. 1. sect. 2. e T. Bab. Menachot, fol. 11. 1. f In Misn. Menachot, ib. g In ib. h Misn. ib. & Jarchi in loc.

Verse 3

And the remnant of the meat offering shall be Aaron's and his sons',.... Which not only shows the care taken by the Lord for the maintenance of the priests, from whence the apostle argues for the support of ministers of the Gospel, 1 Corinthians 9:13 but denotes that such who are made priests unto God by Christ, have a right to feed upon Christ the meat offering by faith; who is that altar and meat offering, which none but such have a right to eat of:

it is a thing most holy of the offerings of the Lord made by fire; some offerings with the Jews were only holy things, or, as they call them, "light" holy things, comparatively speaking; others were heavy holy things, or most holy; or, as it is in the original, "holiness of holiness", the most holy of all.

Verse 4

And if thou bring an oblation of a meat offering baken in an oven,.... This is another kind of meat offering, or in another form; the former was only fine flour and oil mixed together, and frankincense put on it, but this was made up into cakes, and baked in an oven, and not in anything else, according to the Jewish tradition i; he that says, lo, upon me be a meat offering baked in an oven, he may not bring that baked otherwise; and this meat offering was made into cakes and wafers, and then baked, as follows: and

[it shall be] unleavened cakes of fine flour mingled with oil, or unleavened wafers anointed with oil; which according to the Jews were made after this manner k; the priest put the oil into a vessel before the making of it, then put the fine flour to it, and put oil upon it, and mixed it, and kneaded it, and baked it, and cut it in pieces, and put oil upon it, and mixed it, and again put oil upon it, and took the handful, and it was the fourth part of an hin of oil that was divided into the several cakes; the cakes, they say, were obliged to be mixed, and the wafers to be anointed; the cakes were mixed, but not the wafers the wafers were anointed, and not the cakes. The oil denoted the grace of the Spirit of God in Christ, and in his people; and being unleavened, the sincerity and truth with which the meat offering, Christ, is to be upon.

i Misn. Menachot, c. 5. sect. 9. Maimon. & Bartenora in. ib. k T. Bab. Menachot, fol. 75. 1.

Verse 5

And if thy meat offering be an oblation [baken] on a pan,.... Which had no edge or covering, and the paste on it hard, that it might not run out:

it shall be of fine flour unleavened, mingled with oil; signifying the same as before.

Verse 6

Thou shalt part it in pieces,.... This answered to the dividing of the pieces of the burnt offering, Leviticus 1:6 and signified the same thing; Leviticus 1:6- : Leviticus 1:6- : All meat offerings, it is said l, that were prepared in a vessel, were obliged to be cut to pieces; the meat offering of an Israelite, one (cake) was doubled into two, and two into four, and then divided, each piece was about the quantity of an olive:

and pour oil thereon; after parted into pieces,

Leviticus 1:6- :

[it is] a meat offering; as well as that of fine flour, or that which was baked in an oven.

l Misn. Menachot, c. 6. sect. 4. Maimon. Maaseh Hakorbanot, c. 13. sect. 10.

Verse 7

And if thy oblation [be] a meat offering [baken] in the fryingpan,.... It is asked m, what difference there is between the pan, and the fryingpan? the fryingpan has a cover, but the pan has no cover; the fryingpan is deep, and its works (or paste) flow, or are thin, but the pan is extended, and its works (or paste) are hard or stiff; which Maimonides n explains thus, the fryingpan is a deep vessel, which has a lip or edge round about it, and the paste which is baked in it is thin and flows; the pan is a vessel which has no lip or edge, and therefore its paste is hard or stiff, that it flow not: now all these acts of mixing the flour, and kneading, and baking, and frying, and cutting in pieces, as well as burning part on the altar, signify the dolorous sufferings of Christ when he was sacrificed for us, to be both an atonement for our sins, and food for our faith:

it shall be made of fine flour with oil: as the other sort of meat offerings before mentioned.

m Misn. Menachot. c. 5. sect. 8. n Misn. ib. & Maaseh Hakorbanot, c. 5. sect. 7. Vid. Jarchi & Gersom & Ben Melech in loc.

Verse 8

And thou shalt bring the meat offering, that is made of these things, unto the Lord,.... Either to the tabernacle, the house of the Lord, or to the Lord's priest, as it follows:

and when it is presented to the priest; by the owner of it:

he shall bring it unto the altar; to the south west horn of the altar o.

o Jarchi & Gersom in loc. T. Bab. Sotah, fol. 14. 2. Menachot, fol. 8. 2. Zebachim, fol. 63. 1.

Verse 9

And the priest shall take from the meat offering a memorial thereof,.... That is, an handful of it; as of the fine flour, Leviticus 2:2 so of the pieces of that which was baked, whether in the oven, or pan, or fryingpan:

and shall burn it upon the altar; the memorial or handful:

[it is] an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord;

Leviticus 2:2- :.

Verse 10

And that which is left of the meat offering,.... Not burnt with fire:

[shall be] Aaron's and his sons'; the high priest took his part first, and then the common priests:

[it is] a thing most holy of the offerings of the Lord made by fire; :-.

Verse 11

No meat offering which ye shall bring unto the Lord shall be made with leaven,.... It might be used in peace offerings, and in the wave loaves, Leviticus 7:13 but not in meat offerings; not only in the handful that was burnt, but in the rest that was eaten by Aaron and his sons; for so is the rule p,

"all meat offerings are kneaded in hot water, and are kept that they might not be leavened; and if what is left of them be leavened, a negative precept is transgressed, Leviticus 2:11.''

It denoted in Christ, the antitype of the meat offering, freedom from hypocrisy and all false doctrines, which were the leaven of the Scribes and Pharisees, Luke 12:1 and in his people that feed upon him by faith, that they should be clear of malice and wickedness, and of communion with profane and scandalous persons, 1 Corinthians 5:6 so the Jews q say, the corruption of nature is like to leaven, and therefore forbid:

for ye shall burn no leaven, nor any honey, in any offering of the Lord made by fire; as leaven was used in some offerings, so honey was brought with the first fruits, 2 Chronicles 31:5 but neither of them might be used in offerings made by fire; they are forbidden to be burnt: the reason why they were forbidden, some think is, because they were used by the Heathens in their sacrifices, so Maimonides r, whose customs were not to be followed; and certain it is that honey was used in Heathen sacrifices: Homer speaks of honey as the sweet food of the gods s, and what they desire; and so Pausanias t relates of the Eleans, that, according to an ancient custom, they used to offer on the altar frankincense, and wheat mixed with honey: Porphyry u observes, that the ancient sacrifices with most were sober, the libations of water; after these, libations of honey, ready prepared by the bees, the first of moist fruits, next libations of oil, and, last of all, libations of wine; the Egyptians used honey in their sacrifices w; or the reason is, because it was much of the same fermenting nature with leaven, as Aben Ezra, and when burnt gave an ill smell, which was not proper in offerings made by tire, of a sweet savour to the Lord; or rather because a symbol of sin and sinful pleasures. Baal Hatturim on the place says, the corruption of nature is sweet to a man as honey, and intimates that that is the reason of its prohibition: it denotes unto us that such as would feed by faith on Christ ought to relinquish sinful lusts and pleasures; and that those that will live godly in Christ Jesus must not expect their sweets, but bitters, even afflictions, reproaches, and persecutions, for Christ's sake, in this life.

p Misn. Menachot, c. 5. sect. 2. q Baal Hatturim in loc. r Moreh Nevochim, par. 3. c. 46, p. 481. s ----- μελι χλωρον, &c. Hymn. in Mercur. prope finem.

χρηστον μελιτωμα, &c. Batrachomyo. t Eliac. 1. sive l. 5. p. 316. u De Abstinentia, l. 2. c. 20, 21. w Herodot. Euterpe, sive l. 2. c. 40.

Verse 12

As for the oblation of the firstfruits, ye shall offer them unto the Lord,.... Or "in" or "with the oblation", as some render it; that is, along with the oblation of the firstfruits leaven and honey might be offered: the Arabic version is very express, "but for a sacrifice of firstfruits ye" shall offer both to God; as they might be, as before observed; so the Targum of Jonathan,

"for the leavened bread of the firstfruits shall be offered, and dates in the time of the firstfruits; the fruits with their honey shall be offered, and the priest shall eat them:''

but they shall not be burnt on the altar for a sweet savour; which they could not make, and besides were to be the portion of the priests.

Verse 13

And every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt,.... Which makes food savoury, and preserves from putrefaction; denoting the savouriness and acceptableness of Christ as a meat offering to his people, he being savoury food, such as their souls love, as well as to God the Father, who is well pleased with his sacrifice; and also the perpetuity of his sacrifice, which always has the same virtue in it, and of him as a meat offering, who is that meat which endures to everlasting life, John 6:27 and also the grave and gracious conversation of those that by faith feed upon him, Mark 9:50

neither shall thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering; this seems to suggest the reason why salt was used in meat offerings, and in all others, because it was a symbol of the perpetuity of the covenant, which from thence is called a covenant of salt, Numbers 18:19 namely, the covenant of the priesthood, to which these sacrifices belonged, Numbers 25:13 hence the Targum of Jonathan,

"because the twenty four gifts of the priests are decreed by the covenant of salt, therefore upon all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt:''

with all thine offerings thou shall offer salt, even those that were not to be eaten, as well as those that were; as the burnt offering of the herd, of the flock, and of fowls, and their several parts; all were obliged to be salted that were offered, excepting wine, blood, wood, and incense x; hence there was a room in the temple where salt was laid up for this purpose, called לשכת מלח, "the salt room" y; and which was provided by the congregation, and not by a private person z; our Lord has reference to this law in Mark 9:49 the Heathens always made use of salt in their sacrifices a.

x Maimon. Issure Mizbeach, c. 5. sect. 11. y Misn. Middot, c. 5. sect. 2. z Maimon. Issure Mizbeach, c. 5. sect. 13. a Ante Deos Homini, &c. Ovid. Fastor. l. 1. Vid. Horat. Carmin. l. 3. Ode 23.

Verse 14

And if thou offer a meat offering of thy firstfruits unto the Lord,.... This, according to Aben Ezra, was not any of the offerings of the firstfruits, which they were obliged to, as at the passover or pentecost, or feast of tabernacles, but a free will offering; but Jarchi thinks it is to be understood of the meat offering of the Omer, Leviticus 23:13 and so Gersom, which was offered up on the sixteenth of Nisan; and this is the general sense of the Jewish writers b:

thou shalt bring for the meat offering of thy firstfruits green ears of corn dried by the fire; these were ears of barley, which began to be ripe in the month Abib, which month had its name from hence, and is the word here used; these were dried by the fire, being green and moist, or otherwise they could not have been ground; for, according to Gersom, these were afterwards ground into fine flour:

[even] corn beaten out of full ears; and so made the finest flour: the firstfruits were a type of Christ, who is so called, 1 Corinthians 15:23 the beating of the ears of corn, and drying of them by the fire, and the grinding of them, denoted the sufferings of Christ.

b Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. Menachot, c. 10. sect. 4.

Verse 15

And thou shalt put oil upon it, and lay frankincense thereon,.... Either on the ears of corn dried, or on the fine flour of them when ground; in like manner as the oil and frankincense were put upon the fine flour of wheat, and upon the cakes and wafers baked, Leviticus 2:1

it [is] a meat offering; one sort of it, and like the rest.

Verse 16

The priest shall burn the memorial of it,.... That which is taken out of it for a memorial, the same with the handful of fine flour and cakes of the meat offering:

part of the beaten corn thereof; or that which was ground in a mill:

and part of the oil thereof, with all the frankincense thereof; as was done in the other meat offerings:

it is an offering made by fire unto the Lord, see Leviticus 2:2.

Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Leviticus 2". "Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/geb/leviticus-2.html. 1999.
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