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Bible Commentaries
Leviticus 1

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-9


Note: Commentary on Pentateuch, including Leviticus, was written by Dr. G.F. Crumley. (verse by verse commentary follow chart and introduction)


The Way Of Daily Cleansing

I. How Sinners and Saints approached God, Le 1:1

to 10:20.

A. Through the offerings, Le 1:1 to 7:38.

B. Through the priests, Le 8:1 to 10:20.

II. How the Redeemed Walked With God, Le 11:1 to

27:34 Thru Sanctification:

A. Laws Concerning Purity, Le 11:1 to 15:33.

B. The Law of Day of Atonement, Le 16:1-34.

C. Laws Regulating Sacrificing, Le 17:1-16.

D. Laws Regarding Standards of Conduct, Le 18:1 to 20:27.

E. Laws Regarding Standards for Priests. Le

21:1 to 22:16

F. Laws Regarding Offerings, Le 22;17-33.

G. Laws Regulating Festivals, Le 23:1-44.

H. Laws Regarding, Oil, Bread, and Blasphemy, Le 24:1-23.

I. Laws Concerning the Sabbatical year, Le


J. Laws Regarding the year of Jubilee, Le 25:8-55.

K. Laws Concerning Obedience, Le 26:1-46.

L. Laws Regarding Vows and Tithes, Le 27:1-34.


AUTHOR: Fundamental Bible scholars agree that Moses wrote the book of Leviticus. Wellhausen, in 1877, advanced the theory that Leviticus was the work of anonymous priests and writers as late as BC 450. Recent archaeological finds disprove this theory. There is no valid reason to question the Mosaic authorship of the Book.

DATE: Likely about one month following the close of the Book of Exodus. Leviticus closely follows Exodus in historical continuity. Although it contains some historical materials, it is primarily a book of legal and ritual provisions.

TITLE: "Leviticus" comes from the Latin rendering of the Greek title, "Levitikon," or "Liber Leviticus." The Hebrew title is the first word of the text, "And He Called," wayyiqra.

SUBJECT: Leviticus may be described as a technical manual of procedures governing the physical, moral, and spiritual life of Israel. As the name suggests, it was written primarily for the priests and Levites, as the custodians of holy things and instructors of moral and religious values, as follows:

Chapters 1-7: details of procedures involved in various offerings and sacrifices. These include both animal sacrifices and food sacrifices.

Chapters 8-10: liturgical, describing consecration rites of the priesthood.

Chapters 11-15: listing of various clean and unclean beasts; regulations regarding rules of hygiene.

Chapter 16: the important "Yom Kippur" sacrifice, the Great Day of Atonement.

Chapters 17-20: ethical laws, and the penalties for violation.

Chapters 21-27: holiness, consecration, promises, and vows.


Verses 1-9:

The various sacrifices, prescribed in the Levitical code, were not for the purpose of obtaining pardon from sin for the offerers, Mic 6:6-8; Ps 40:6-8; Heb 10:1-6. They were figures (types) of various aspects of the complete work of Jesus Christ, Heb 9:8-14; 10:7-14.

The whole burnt offering pictures the complete self-surrender of Christ, in the sacrifice of Himself as the Substitute for sinners, Isa 53; Php 2:5-8. The entire animal was to be utterly consumed in the sacrificial flames - nothing was spared. This pictures Jesus’ giving Himself in His entirety - His body to be broken (1Co 11:24), His mind to suffer agony (Mt 26:38), His spirit to be separated from the Father (Mt 27:46; Mr 15:34). In His sacrificial death, Jesus suffered everything any person will ever have to suffer in hell. He became the complete sacrifice for sin.

"And (the Lord) called," wayyiqra, is the designation of the Book, in the Hebrew text. "Leviticus" was first adopted by the Septuagint, as indicated of the main subject of the Book, being the duties of the priests and Levites.

"And" connects this book to the Book of Exodus.

The text implies that the giving of Leviticus occurred shortly after the erection of the tabernacle (Ex 40:16).

This does not mark the institution of sacrifices. Burnt offerings and other sacrifices had existed since the fall (Ge 4:3, 4). Leviticus is the regulation of the offerings already in use among the Israelites.

"If any. . .bring an offering," not a command, but a provision for the voluntary offerings which any could bring. Other passages designate certain specific times when offerings were to be made.

"Burnt offering," olah, "that which ascends." In De 33:10, the term is Kaleel, "whole offering." An Israelite bringing this offering must fulfill these conditions:

1.He must offer either (1) a young bull; (2) a young ram; (3) a young he-goat; (4) a turtle-dove; or (5) a pigeon.

2. If a bull, ram, or goat, the sacrifice must be brought to the entrance of the tabernacle in front of the brazen altar.

3. The offerer must place his hand upon the animal’s head.

4. The offerer, or a Levite, must kill the animal

5. The sacrifice must be flayed (skinned).

6. The offerer must separate the sacrificial animal into various portions.

7. The offerer must wash the intestines and legs.

In fulfilling all these conditions, the offerer was personally identified with the sacrifice, and thus affirmed his personal need and his faith in the efficacy of his deed. This typifies the sinner’s personal involvement in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on his behalf.

The priests also had a role to fulfill in this sacrifice. They must catch the blood in a basin and sprinkle it upon the altar. They must arrange the fire upon the altar, and then arrange the various parts of the sacrifice on the altar. The following morning, the priests must take the ashes of the whole burnt offering from the altar, place them on the east of the altar, then carry them outside the camp to a clean place for proper disposal.

Four separate parts constituted this offering:

1. The oblation (presentation) of the sacrificial victim.

2. The immolation or slaughter of the sacrificial victim.

3. The offering of the blood, or "life for life."

4. The consumption of the entire sacrifice.

The first two were performed by the offerer. The third was by the priest. The fourth indicated God’s acceptance of the sacrifice.

"Without blemish," a condition to be met in all offerings. This typifies the sinless life of Jesus, who became the sinner’s substitute, 2Co 5:21.

The sacrifice must be offered of one’s "own voluntary will," lit. "for his own acceptance." This is two-fold, indicating: (1) the offerer’s voluntary acceptance of his own guilt and the efficacy of the sacrifice; and (2) faith in being accepted on the merits of the sacrifice. This typifies that the sinner must recognize his own guilt and the efficacy of Jesus’ death on his behalf; and he must trust in the merits of Jesus Christ for his salvation.

Verses 10-13

Verses 10-13:

The ritual to be followed was the same if the burnt sacrifice were of a bull, a ram, or a he-goat.

"Northward," was the side of the altar upon which the animal was to be slaughtered. The reason for this: to the east was the pile of ashes, to the west was the tabernacle, the "ascent" (steps) to the altar was to the south; the northward would be the most convenient side for the animal to be slain.

Verses 14-17

Verses 14-17:

The provision that the whole burnt sacrifice may be a turtledove or a pigeon, rather than a four-legged animal, is a concession to poverty. None might offer the excuse that he could not afford the cost of this sacrifice, see Le 12:8. This typifies God’s provision for salvation to all, regardless of their economic status, see Isa 55:1, 2; Mt 11:5.

"Turtledove," yor, a wild, migratory bird similar to the common mourning dove.

"Pigeon," yonah, the common rock dove, a non-migratory bird. This was the variety of dove sent by Noah from the ark, see Ge 8:8-12.

The difference in the ritual between the offering of the animal and the offering of the fowl was fourfold:

1. The offerer was not required to lay his hand upon the head of the sacrifice.

2. The altar itself, rather than the space northward, is the place where the victim was to be slain.

3. The priest, rather than the offerer, must slay the sacrifice.

4. The blood is to be squeezed from the sacrifice and smeared upon the altar, rather than to be caught in a basin.

The feathers, along with the crop and its contents, were placed beside the altar to the east, in the place where the ashes were deposited.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Leviticus 1". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/leviticus-1.html. 1985.
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