Attention! has pledged to build one church a year in Uganda. Help us double that pledge and support pastors in the heart of Africa.
Click here to join the effort!

Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Leviticus 3

Verses 1-17

Leviticus 3:1. Oblation, is variously rendered; sometimes an offering of any kind, sometimes, as here, a sacrifice of peace-offering. The LXX render it an offering of salutation; when a man had recovered from some affliction, or escaped some danger, this was his eucharist to the Lord.

Leviticus 3:5. The burnt-sacrifice, or holocaust, signifies not only a single beast, but often a collection of animals, slain and burnt for sin.

Leviticus 3:17. That ye eat neither fat nor blood. They were not to eat blood, because it is the life of the creature. But why were they forbidden to eat the fat which covereth the inwards? Because the idolaters both ate the fat and drank the blood of their victims; because the fat being extremely nutritive, it might teach them to avoid all impurity; because fat being the best portion, and fittest to burn on the altar, it was most proper to offer it up to the Lord.


The covenant made with Israel included every class of temporal mercies, and those mercies were shadows of heavenly things to those who had faith to look at things not seen. National peace and prosperity being gifts of the covenant, as well as remission of sins, it was a most reasonable duty to bring peace-offerings to the Lord, and to acknowledge his mercy and love. Who hath hardened himself against the Lord and prospered? Job 9:4.

The oblations being brought to the door of the tabernacle by the imposition of hands and the sprinkling of blood, resembled the holocausts or burnt- offerings; but they differed in the admission of female victims, in the triple division of the parts, one to the Lord, another to the priests, and a third to the worshipper.

The fat and all the richer parts of the sacrifice being claimed by the Lord, should teach us to give him our heart and our mind, and to withdraw our affections from every low and corrupt desire. He who gives his whole heart to the Lord shall not be torn with warring passions, but eat the full ripe fruits of the Spirit; and Christ will dwell in him richly in all wisdom and heavenly understanding. The peace-offerings being divided among the worshippers, as well as among the priests, seem to teach that all who approach God’s covenant have an equal interest in the merits of his Son; the righteousness of God being upon all them that believe. Let every soul therefore be encouraged to come, for in Christ we have a high altar, and ease of access.

But while the Lord provides for the soul a rich sacrifice of all the fruits of the Redeemer’s passion and death, we are taught by the prohibition of eating fat, not to indulge the body in the slightest intemperance. If it is nourished with plain and wholesome food, as the beast for labour, it is quite sufficient. Our real happiness does not consist in sensual enjoyment, but in intellectual delight. Then pleasure is pure and divine, a joy becoming the house and altar of the Most High.

The prohibition concerning blood, is doubtless designed to teach us, that as it was the blood of the sacrifice that made the atonement, it was to be regarded as sacred to the Lord, especially as being prefigurative of that “precious blood” shed for us on Calvary, by which we have life and salvation. Nor are we, at the same time, taught less caution concerning the blood of man, for God will require blood for blood, and life for life: he will also visit for all sorts of cruelty and hardness of heart, whether to man or beast.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Leviticus 3". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. 1835.