Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Leviticus 2

Leviticus 2: Rules for grain offerings

Synopsis

This chapter outlines rules for presenting grain offerings to the LORD.

  • Grain offerings which are not prepared are to be of fine flour
    • The person offering the grain offering is to pour oil and incense on it, and then bring it to the priests
    • The priest will take a handful of it and burn it on the altar
    • The rest of the offering belongs to the priests.
Here we see an example of the fact that the priests are to live off of what the people present to the LORD. For some types of offerings, the laws outlined by God list what is to be God’s portion, and what is to be the priests’ portion.

  • Grain offerings can also be prepared ahead of time.
    • If the offering will be baked in an oven, it should be mixed with oil and made into wafers, which are then to be spread with oil
    • If it will be prepared on a griddle, it should be mixed with oil, and then crumbled and spread again with oil
    • It can also be made in a pan; again, it is to be mixed with oil
    • No grain offerings are to be made with yeast
  • The prepared offering is to be brought to the priest, who will burn the “memorial portion” (verse 9) on the altar. The rest of the grain offering belongs to the priest.
I’m not sure how the “memorial portion” of the sacrifice is defined, so in this case, I’m not sure how much the priest is supposed to burn, and how much to keep.

  • Grain offerings are never to contain yeast or honey.
    • Yeast and honey can be used in firstfruit offerings, but are not to be offered on the altar.
  • All grain offerings are to be seasoned with salt.
  • Grain firstfruit offerings are to consist of crushed heads of the new grain, roasted in the fire, with oil and incense on it. The priest will burn all of this on the altar.
I seem to remember reading somewhere that the reason God didn’t want yeast in the offerings is because it’s alive. I assume that somewhat applies to the honey, as well, although I’m not 100% sure the real reason for these rules.

Thoughts

It is interesting to note the wording, when the laws talk about the portion of the offering that belongs to the priests; consider verse 3:

The rest of the grain offering belongs to Aaron and his sons; it is a most holy part of the offerings made to the LORD by fire.

This phrase is repeated in verse 10; it is a “most holy part” of the sacrifice. The provision for the priests and their families is a core part of the offering, not an afterthought.

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