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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Leviticus 6

 

 

Verses 1-7

Leviticus 5:14 to Leviticus 6:7. The Trespass or Guilt Offering.—This is of two kinds, though the principle of amendment is the same. The first kind is stated vaguely; committing a trespass (the word means acting unfaithfully or treacherously; it is coupled with sinning "unwittingly" in Leviticus 5:15; Leviticus 5:17). The offence consists in treating what is Yahweh's as if it were not Yahweh's, i.e. in-correctness, really unintentional, connected with some offering. If not unintentional, the penalty is different (Numbers 15:30). The offerer is not said to kill the guilt offering; though elsewhere, the offerer's act of killing is carefully mentioned, and it seems to be implied in Leviticus 7:2. The second case is intentional—trickery in a matter of deposit or pledge (RVm), or theft, or "oppression," or keeping another's property, or falsehood; all these are trespasses against Yahweh, and as such must be atoned for by a trespass or guilt offering. This offering consists in restitution and, in the first case, amends; the restitution is a ram; the amends is one fifth of the value of the ram. In the second case, the object held back is itself restored with an addition of one-fifth of its value; and a ram is offered to Yahweh as well. The "amends" necessitates a valuation; this is to be made in "sanctuary shekels" (see on Leviticus 27:16-25). Leviticus 5:17-19 seems to add nothing to the preceding; there is no mention of "amends," and "guilt offering" is spoken of, with reference to the subjects of sin offering in Leviticus 4. Perhaps it is an older fragment; cf. Ezra 10:19, where for the sin of marrying foreign wives, a ram is offered by the people "for their guilt." In the case of trespass against one's neighbour, the procedure is parallel; in this case, the restitution is mentioned before the ram of the guilt offering. But the latter is as necessary as the former; all morality is the concern of Yahweh, and in every trespass He is injured. This is one of the few references to social morality in P. The earlier prophets refer to little else, and Ezekiel, in ch. 18, confines his catalogue to non-ritual offences, to be purged only by repentance.


Verses 8-13

Leviticus 6:8-13. The Priests and the Burnt Offering (cf. ch. 1).—This section, however, obviously refers specially to the "continual" or daily sacrifice. The fire on the altar is to be perpetual, like the Roman Vesta-fire; the victim is to rest on the "hearth" or plate on the top of the altar. The priest is to be clothed in linen, as conducing to bodily cleanliness and avoiding sweat (cf. also Exodus 28:42). When the priest carries away the ashes (cf. on Leviticus 4:12), he is to change his garments; the altar garments must not risk "infecting" common objects (cf. Ezekiel 44:19*), Originally there was but one burnt offering daily (cf. 2 Kings 16:15), as here; in Exodus 29:38 ff. and Numbers 28:3 ff., two; so Daniel 9:21. Lev. here gives what is relatively the earlier usage.


Verses 8-30

Leviticus 6:8 to Leviticus 7:38. Special Manual for Priests, given to "Aaron and his sons" (Leviticus 6:9; Leviticus 6:14; Leviticus 6:25, etc.; contrast Leviticus 4:2, etc.). The peace offering is here placed last. It may be noted that two sections (Leviticus 7:7-10 and Leviticus 7:22-27) seem to break the connexion; they are perhaps insertions from independent laws. None of these provisions affect laymen.


Verses 14-18

Leviticus 6:14-18. The Daily Meal Offering (cf. ch. 2 for occasional meal offerings). A meal offering, however, accompanies every burnt offering. This section repeats the provision that no leaven must be used in the baking, and adds that the priests who eat their portion of it must do so in a holy place, and that no women must partake of it; the women of the priests' families are in a lower grade of holiness; to them, as to laymen, the "holy" offerings are taboo. This provision is mentioned here because the priests would have to see to its being carried out.


Verses 18-23

Leviticus 6:19-23. The High Priest's Special Offering.—The High Priest offers a meal offering every day, half in the morning, half at evening. The amount is the same as that of the smallest class of sin offerings (Leviticus 5:11). Priests do not consume their own sin offering; this sacrifice must therefore be burnt entire. The reference to the day of installation (Leviticus 6:20 a) must be a mistaken gloss (as is clear from "perpetually," Leviticus 6:20 b).


Verses 24-30

Leviticus 6:24-30. Special Directions for the Sin Offering.—It is "most holy"; that is, it must be killed by the altar, like a burnt offering, and it can only be eaten by priests. Victims whose blood is brought within the shrine are for priests as well as laymen, and therefore their flesh must not be eaten at all. [The reason for this regulation (Leviticus 6:30) is that the holiness is present in a degree so intense that it is dangerous even for the priests to eat the flesh. It has to be burnt, not of course to convey the sacrifice to God, for this has already been done in the offering of the fat and the blood (Leviticus 4:5-10), but to dispose of the flesh safely and effectively.—A. S. P.] Even a splash of "holy" blood is contagious; it can (and must) be removed from a garment or brass vessel by rinsing or scouring; a porous (and less valuable) pot which has been used for cooking the animal must be destroyed. (Cf. W. R. Smith, RS2, pp. 349, 451.) [The idea is that the "holiness" in the liquid will sink into the very texture of the porous earthenware, so that no washing will remove it; accordingly it must be broken, that it may not be used again. On the other hand, the broth could not sink into the closer texture of the brazen vessel, so that cleansing of the surface sufficed to remove the holiness.—A. S. P.]

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Leviticus 6:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/leviticus-6.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, September 20th, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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