Bible Commentaries

Coke's Commentary on the Holy BibleCoke's Commentary

Leviticus 2



The meat-offerings of flour with oil and incense, and of the first-fruits in the ear, are enjoined: salt is commanded to be offered with every oblation.

Before Christ 1490.

Verse 1

Leviticus 2:1. A meat-offering The words immediately following clearly shew what is meant by this offering; and, consequently, how ill it is rendered a meat-offering. מנחה Minchah signifies any offering or present made to God, as a means of appearing his wrath; and it should certainly have been rendered here, either a bread or wheat-offering: accordingly, Le Clerc renders it donarium farreum; and the French gateau.

Verse 2

Leviticus 2:2. The priest shall burn the memorial of it A part of it was to be burned in testimony of its being dedicated to God, and to be a memorial to him of his covenant, and promise in the sacred Seed Christ: accordingly Houbigant renders it partem memoriolem: so it is said of Cornelius, that his prayers and his alms came up for a memorial before God; Acts 10:4. So, to remember all thy meat-offerings, (מנחה minchah) says Ainsworth, is the same as to accept them. It appeals from the following verses, that this mincha or bread-offering might be made either of plain flour or else of flour baken, and made into cakes. For a full account of it, see Outram.

REFLECTIONS.—As we are indebted to God for every bit of bread we put into our mouths, it is but reasonable and just that we should acknowledge his kind provision for us, by offering a part to his service. Though we have no longer the earthly sanctuary, we have the poor always with us; and when we break our bread to the hungry, God will accept the offering as done to himself. Note; 1. The least acknowledgment which flows from a grateful heart, is acceptable to God. 2. It is highly reasonable that they who minister in holy things, should live by the altars they serve.

Verse 11

Leviticus 2:11. Ye shall burn no leaven, nor any honey In our note on Exo 12:8 we have assigned some reasons why leaven was forbidden. It is more difficult to say why honey was prohibited. It is certain, that honey was very generally used by the heathens in their sacrifices; and, therefore, Spencer observes, that "the reason why the use both of honey and leaven was forbidden to the Jews in their bread or meat-offerings, might be, to prevent their having the same absurd notions of the Deity, which the heathens seem to have had of their gods; namely, that he regarded the gifts, more than the hearts of men: or that leaven and honey which rendered bread more savoury to men, would also render it more acceptable to God." A writer observes, that they were forbidden to offer honey, because the heathens always used honey in their sacrifices to the dead. As leaven had undoubtedly a moral reference, so it is most probable that honey had the same. Philo says, that it imported a prohibition from all voluptuousness.

Verse 12

Leviticus 2:12. As for the oblation of the first-fruits The first-fruits of honey, as Bochart informs us, is that which is first gathered from the hives in the spring: this was to be offered, but not burned upon the altar; see Deuteronomy 26:2.

Verse 13

Leviticus 2:13. Every oblation—shalt thou season with salt Leaven and honey being forbidden, salt is particularly enjoined to be offered with every oblation: and this, as some suppose, in opposition to the custom of the early heathens, who used no salt, but honey and other sweets, to season their sacrifices. We, have, upon another occasion, observed, that the house of the Lord was furnished, as it were, with all things suitable to the notion of a complete dwelling or habitation: (see the note on Exodus 25:23.) hence, salt, used at every table, was commanded also to be constantly used at this table of the Lord. But whatever opposition this might bear to the customs of the heathens, whatever reference to the primitive simplicity of the first ages, as Spencer supposes, or to the model of an ordinary feast, there can be no question, but that it had a moral aspect, as well as the leaven and the honey. To this we are led by the New Testament; see Mark 9:49. Ephesians 4:29. Col 4:6 from whence we may reasonably gather, that, as salt has two qualities, the one to season meat, the other to preserve it from corruption, so it fitly denotes that integrity and uncorruptedness of heart, which seasons every sacrifice, and renders men's persons and services grateful to God. In Numbers 18:19 a perpetual covenant is called a covenant of salt; for the reason of which, we refer to the notes on that place, and for more on this subject.

Verse 14

Leviticus 2:14. If thou offer a meat-offering of thy first-fruits unto the Lord, &c.— This offering seems to have been of a private nature: a public and national one of the same sort is enjoined, ch. Leviticus 23:10, &c. Le Clerc thinks this ceremony was in commemoration of the most ancient food, when men had not yet learned the art of baking bread; but brayed or pounded the green corn, and eat it: in process of time, they learned to dry it, and grind it into flour, and so make bread of it. Pliny tells us, that Numa [the second king of Rome] appointed that the corn which was to be offered to the gods, should be parched; because he thought that the fire purified it, and so rendered it a more proper offering.

REFLECTIONS.—1. Honey and leaven are forbidden in all their offerings upon the altar, and salt commanded to be always sprinkled upon them. Hence we may learn, (1.) That they who serve God, must purge out the old leaven of malice and wickedness, and bring the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (2.) Unless the salt of Divine Grace be in our offerings, all that we can bring of our own will be unsavoury. (3.) Salt, being a symbol of friendship, intimates, that we should in all our offerings exercise faith in God as our reconciled Friend.

2. If the corn offered was from green ears, they must be the fairest in the field, dried and threshed out; to intimate, (1.) That our green days of infancy and youth should be devoted to God, and that God accepts with delight such offerings. (2.) The fire of zeal and fervency in religious duties is peculiarly becoming in youth.
Lastly, we may observe, that the blood of Jesus is the sweet frankincense to which we are indebted for every acceptable service.

Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Leviticus 2". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. 1801-1803.