REMEMBER...

Put Your Arrow On
Scripture Reference;
Wait Two Seconds,
Scripture Appears!
ALWAYS Read Bible!

GLOBE CROSS STANDING ON BIBLE
GLOBE CROSS STANDING ON BIBLE

BIBLE CROSS FLASHING STAR
BIBLE CROSS FLASHING STAR

HEBREW BIBLE SCROLL
HEBREW BIBLE SCROLL

DEAD SEA SCROLL
DEAD SEA SCROLL

CHRISTIAN FLAG WAVING CHRISTIAN
AMERICAN FLAG WAVING AMERICAN

GOLD CROSS
GOLD CROSS

GLOBE CROSS STANDING ON BIBLE
GLOBE CROSS STANDING ON BIBLE

CAMBRIDGECAMBRIDGECAMBRIDGECAMBRIDGECAMBRIDGE

Genesis - Deuteronomy:
Cambridge Bible Commentary, Comprehensive;
By The Cambridge Theological Seminary™
Where The Word of God Is: "STILL...INERRANT!"

DARK BLUE NEWS CENTRE

GOLD DIVIDER WITH CROSS CENTER
 GOLD BAR

Cambridge!

Bible Commentary, Comprehensive

Genesis-Deuteronomy

GOLD DIVIDER WITH CROSS CENTER

"Welcome to CHRISTIPEDIA™

Understanding Future According to "HIS WORD",
Understanding History Providentially, as "HIS-STORY!"
And Today, From Where We've Been, To Where "HE'S LEADING!"
GOLD DIVIDER WITH CROSS CENTER

SKULL and BONES"WIKIPEDIA WARNING!SKULL and BONES

FACT: Wikipedia is the "World's Most-Referenced Resource!"
FACT: Wiki Philosophy: ATHEIST, ANTI-CHRISTIAN, ANTI-BIBLE;
FACT: We Recognize Wikipedia's Great Success
HOWEVER, WE URGE YOU NOT TO TRUST THEIR ANTI-CHRISTIAN BIAS!

See WIKIPEDIA Founder Jimmy Wales on CELEBRATED ATHEIST PAGE]
GOLD DIVIDER WITH CROSS CENTER

"CHRISTIPEDIA™ Recommendation!

Use Ameripedia, Conservapedia, Theopedia, Biblipedia, Islamipedia;
Scriptipedia, Judaeopedia, Medipedia, Christipedia, Musicipedia, etc;
For ALL information: A "BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW REALLY MATTERS!"
We plead for support to Biblical Christian Researchers, Scholars;

"CHRISTIPEDIA™" is a “Trademark” Of NewtonStein Academy,
Of Cambridge Theological Seminary™, American Bible Church;
PLEASE DO NOT INFRINGE!


GOLD DIVIDER WITH CROSS CENTER
 GOLD BAR

Web’s Largest and Most,

Comprehensive, Christian Website!

From An "INERRANT-BIBLE" VIEWPOINT

(Nearly 500,000 Pages!)
The Web
Ministers-Best-Friend
GOLD DIVIDER WITH CROSS CENTER

God's Eternal Guarantee!

"Heaven and Earth Shall Pass Away;
But GOD'S WORDS Shall NOT Pass Away! (Matthew 5:18) "
--Jesus the Messiah, AD-33
GOLD DIVIDER WITH CROSS CENTER
    CAMBRIDGECAMBRIDGECAMBRIDGECAMBRIDGECAMBRIDGE
    "CAMBRIDGE!"

    "CAMBRIDGE-CHRISTIPEDIA™"

    NewtonStein Statement On Holy Scriptures;

    The ‘Lens’ Through Which All Knowledge Is Understood;

    THE WORD of GOD, AXIOM-1:

    "IF" there exists any such thing as 'The Word of God'; [and ALL evidence proves such does exist:]

    "THEN" by inherent definition - it must be:

      Holy, Inspired, Inerrant, Intrepid, Infallible, Infinitive, Invincible, Indestructible, Inexhaustible, Inalienable, Immutable, Implacable, Impossible-to-Improve: Eternal and Indubitable NEVER FAILING and ALL CONQUERING!

      DEDUCTING from the simple fact - that God equates His Word with Himself:

        "In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, . . ." John 1:1 (and other Scriptures),
    Thus 'GOD'S WORD' can have no lesser standard than stated above;


    "GOD'S WORD MUST" THEREFORE BE:

      As true in history, archeology, geography, Earth science, medical science, nutrition, gerontology, agriculture, botany, astronomy, physics, chemistry, climatology, government, law, psychology, sociology - and every subject it touches - as in Theology, Divinity and Doctrine:

    And "IF IT BE NOT" - true in all subjects mentioned above; and And "IF IT BE NOT"

      Holy, Inspired, Inerrant, Intrepid, Infallible, Infinitive, Invincible, Indestructible, Inexhaustible, Inalienable, Immutable, Implacable, Impossible-to-Improve: Eternal and Indubitable in EVERY FIELD OF KNOWLEDGE:
    Whatever else it may be, it cannot be ‘The Incomparable Word’ of the Great Creator God!

    CAMBRIDGECAMBRIDGECAMBRIDGECAMBRIDGECAMBRIDGE
    "CAMBRIDGE!"

    Do You Qualify for
    An Honorary "Doctor of Divinity" from Cambridge Theological Seminary?
    If you believe God's Word as Stated Above:
    Probably!
    (CLICK! For a Free Evaluation!)
    GOLD DIVIDER WITH CROSS CENTER
     GOLD BAR
    CHRISTIPEDIA™

    Please Visit Top Webpages


    GOLD DIVIDER WITH CROSS CENTER

    [1] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" - "GREAT COMMISSION MANDATE!” Some Sobering Questions; (Very Brief!)

    [2] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" – "God’s Goals” v. “Satan’s Goals” – WHO WINS? (Very Brief!)

    [3] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" – Greatest PLAN of Evangelization DO THE MATH, Part-1 (Very Brief!)

    [4] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" –Jesus said: “I WILL Build MY Church!”
    (But Did He Really Mean It?)

    [5] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" – Alarming Church News! USA! (Brief)

    [6] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" – Christ’s Commission: Does it Mean “Global Domination?”

    [7] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" – Can You Face The Truth? Part-2 (MESSAGE)

    [8] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" – Can You Face The Truth? Part-2 (MESSAGE)

    [9] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" – Jesus and Paul on the “End-of-the-World” by-NewtonStein

    [10] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" - Conservative Activists: "Who's Who in Christian Conservative Politics?

    [11] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" – Is Our Modern Church Ignorant of Christ’s Purpose?

    [12] "RAPTURE-READY™" – Why Jesus did not come back in 2009! (Do you Know?)

    [13] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" – Preachers’ Greatest Sin: (Are You guilty?)

    [14] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" – Christ Warns: A “Five-Fold-Question!”

    [15] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" – OPEN LETTER to Our Fellow Laborers

    [16] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" - "Are All Denominations Wrong? Mostly?

    [17] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" – Who Will save Christianity?

    [18] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" – A Workable Plan that would-Truly Revive Christianity!

    [19] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" - "American Christianity Rides The Titanic!

    [20] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" – Founding Fathers’ Kingdom, Now Dominion!

    [21] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" – Great Falling Away Prophesied by Apostle Paul!

    [22] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" – Biblical End of World, Basic Terms and Concepts

    [23] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" – Christianity Is Dying In Western Civilization: WHY?

    [24] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" – Christian Myths! Do You Believe Them?

    [25] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" – Church Growth Goals Priority Page

    [26] "RAPTURE-READY™" – Modern Christianity Is A Mess!

    [27] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" – The “Anti-Christ Home Page

    [28] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" – TOP-TEN Messages To Maximize Your Ministry

    [29] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" – Calling All Christians Unite, Christ Commands!

    [30] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" – Christianity Is Confusing and Getting WORSE! WHY?

    [31] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" – Every-Minister A Hero

    [32] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" – Legal Abortion: Is It Good for Christians?

    [33] " CHRISTIPEDIA™" – Southern Baptists Dying: WHY?

    [34] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" – Satan’s TOP-TEN Greatest-Lies! Do You Believe Any?

    [35] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" –Truth Test-3 Questions For Christians

    [36] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" – Evangelicals Call for Government School Exodus!

    [37] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" - "Hall of Faith Christian Activist Ministers, 2nd-half 20th Century "

    [38] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" –The Early Christian-Church Outlaws Homosexuality!

    [39] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" – PREACHERS! Do You Know About PULPIT FREEDOM SUNDAY?

    [40] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" – Our GOD-GIVEN Rights, Guaranteed in the Bible: Called “Civil” and “Human” Rights

    [41] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" - "Rush Limbaugh Quotes" on Christ and Christianity!

    [42] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" - "TALK-RADIO REPUBLICANS, "Republican Power and Catholics!"

    [43] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" - "GREAT COMMISSION MANDATE!" Some Sobering Questions;

    [44] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" - "Hall of Faith Christian Activist Ministers, 2nd-half 20th Century "

    [45] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" –The Early Christian-Church Outlaws Homosexuality!

    [46] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" – PREACHERS! Do You Know About PULPIT FREEDOM SUNDAY?

    [47] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" – Our GOD-GIVEN Rights, Guaranteed in the Bible: Called “Civil” and “Human” Rights

    [48] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" - "Rush Limbaugh Quotes" on Christ and Christianity!

    [49] “CHRISTIPEDIA™" - "TALK-RADIO REPUBLICANS, "Republican Power and Catholics!"

    [50] “AMERIPEDIA™" - George Washington Used 30-THEOLOGICAL TERMS, 3000 Times!

    GOLD DIVIDER WITH CROSS CENTER

    SCIENCE-DARWIN-JESUS-FISHSCIENCE-DARWIN-JESUS-FISH

    ATOM WHIRLINGSCIENCE-HAECKELS-DRAWINGSCIENCE-DARWIN-PORTRAIT.jpgSCIENCE-HAECKELS-DRAWINGATOM WHIRLING

    "HAECKEL'S DRAWINGS" FRAUD In SCIENCE!

    Haeckel's Imaginary Drawings: 100 Years of Error

    The 40-Year Piltdown Hoax!

    The 'Nebraska Man' becomes a 'Pig's Tooth!'

    10 Scientific Frauds that Rocked the World!

    Global Warming Hoax (Hundreds of Articles!)

    GRAVITATIONSCIENCE-ATOM-ON-CROSS SCIENCE-PERIODIC-TABLE SCIENCE-ATOM-ON-CROSSGRAVITATION

    "GENESIS-1" TRUTH In SCIENCE!

    SCIENCE-DARWIN-JESUS-FISHSCIENCE-DARWIN-JESUS-FISH

    GOLD DIVIDER WITH CROSS CENTER
     GOLD BAR
    CHRISTIPEDIA™

    Presents:


    Genesis - Deuteronomy!
    International Standard Bible Commentary;

    Original Matthew Henry's: Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein;

    For "STUDENTS-N-SCHOLARS"

    By The Cambridge Theological Seminary;

    Key Word - Color Coded Edition;

    Approx 100,000 Hours;
    Approx 12,500 Web-Pages;
    Approx 100,000 Scriptures;

    NewtonStein!

    All Commentary from INSPIRED-INERRANT View of God's Word!

    Combining the best Bible Scholars of Yester-Year-&-Today:
    When "GOD'S TRUTH was NOT - and is NOT - POLITICALLY CORRECT!"

    GOLD DIVIDER WITH CROSS CENTER

    REMEMBER!

    Simply Move Your "ARROW" over any Scripture Reference

    Scripture will appear in TWO VERSIONS, KJV & LITERAL;
    GOLD DIVIDER WITH CROSS CENTER

    Do You Qualify for
    An Honorary "Doctor of Divinity" from Cambridge Theological Seminary?
    If you believe God's Word as Stated Above:
    Probably!
    (Click for a Free Evaluation)


    GOLD DIVIDER WITH CROSS CENTER
    CAMBRIDGECAMBRIDGECAMBRIDGECAMBRIDGECAMBRIDGE
    "CAMBRIDGE!"




    GOLD DIVIDER WITH CROSS CENTER

    Will You Take "THE BIBLE PLEDGE?"

    (Christians Sending a "Message" to ALL Elected Officials!)

    Many Thousands Already Have: And GOD is "Keeping Track!"!

    (Are you Afraid? Ashamed? Apathetic? Anti-Christ? Or Against God's Authority?)

      "BIBLE PLEDGE!"

        "The BIBLE is the WORD of GOD!

          *HIS ULTIMATE TRUTH!

          *HOLY and UNCHANGING!

          *HIGHEST AUTHORITY on Earth!

        As I UNDERSTAND the BIBLE,

          >> I will NEVER 'GO' against, 'VOTE' against, or 'SPEAK' Against,

          >> The WORD of GOD,

          >> So Help me GOD!

      AMERICAN FLAG WAVING AMERICAN I am a 'CHRISTIAN AMERICAN'!" CHRISTIAN FLAG WAVING CHRISTIAN

        Please "CLICK" the following to Affirm your Commitment as a CHRISTIAN AMERICAN to the Word of God upon the Earth!

      This Christian American BELIEVES in the WORD OF GOD!


    CHRISTIAN FLAG WAVING CHRISTIANRAPTURE READY BANNER PART-1RAPTURE READY BANNER RAPTURE READY BANNER PART-3 CHRISTIAN FLAG WAVING CHRISTIAN

    Many Fine Bible Scholars seem unaware,
    Of Christ's Great Parable covering the whole Church Age,
    From His Sowing First Seed and His Great End-Time Harvest of Souls!
    To Final Judgment of the Unsaved and their Damnation;
    To Christ’s Presence and Eternal Kingdom!

    (See Greatest Parable on End of Times!)
    Christ’s Greatest Parable on End of Times: Brief Overview

    CHRISTIAN FLAG WAVING CHRISTIANRAPTURE READY BANNER PART-1RAPTURE READY BANNER RAPTURE READY BANNER PART-3 CHRISTIAN FLAG WAVING CHRISTIAN


    GOLD DIVIDER WITH CROSS CENTER
    CAMBRIDGECAMBRIDGECAMBRIDGECAMBRIDGECAMBRIDGE
    "CAMBRIDGE!"

    **SEE ALSO - **SEE ALSO - **SEE ALSO;

    The INTERNATIONAL STANDARD BIBLE VERSION

    By Webster-NewtonStein;

    With Cambridge Theological Seminary™, AD-2000;

    Translation Axiom: God's Word! "INSPIRED-INERRANT!"

    The "INTERNATIONAL STANDARD BIBLE VERSION"


    The "STRONG'S ADVANCED HEBREW LEXICON" by NewtonStein


    |A|B|C|D|E|F|G|H|I|J|K|L|M|N|O|P|Q|R|S|T|U|V|W|X-Y|Z|


    (See Cambridge Concise Bible CONCORDANCE)

    (See Cambridge Concise Bible DICTIONARY)

    (See Cambridge Comprehensive Bible DICTIONARY)

    (See Cambridge Comprehensive Bible ENCYCLOPEDIA)



    GOLD DIVIDER WITH CROSS CENTER

    NEWTONSTEIN ANNOTATED & AMPLIFIED;

    INTERNATIONAL STANDARD BIBLE ENCYCLOPAEDIA
    Published 1915, Amplified & Edited 2000;

    Letter ""

    FINAL NOTE;

    Deuter-canonical Books are included as references, and less often, the Pseudoe-pigraphia (extra-biblical New Testament Era writings - such as the Gospel of Barnabas - used for over 300 years by the early Church.

    Though these are not Inerrant Scripture, they are very important as geographical and historical references, and helping to understand how particular Hebrew and Greek words were used.

    Since the Deuter-canonical Books were part of the Jewish Bible that Jesus and Paul used, they have great value for understanding the era between the Covenants, and all things Jewish.

    Many will be surprised to know they were in the Geneva Bible of Calvin and Knox - and the Puritan Pilgrims - and included in the King James for over 275 years . . .

    . . . and left out in later versions - ONLY to make the Bible MORE PROFITABLE, by selling at the usual price, while being much smaller to print!

    No wonder Paul said the "love of money is the root of all evil!"

    Further know, that that these books are rejected by most Bible Preachers today, BECAUSE the Jews of Jesus' Day rejected them for the Jewish Canon at the Council of Jamnia after the fall of Jerusalem.

    This seems reasonable enough, and though these Scribes and Lawyers SHOULD have had superior knowledge in ALL THINGS JEWISH . . . in their Jewish wisdom, THEY ALSO REJECTED JESUS AS THE MESSIAH!!!

    TheDeuter-canonical Books are very "Kingdom of God" and "Messianic" Oriented, thus the Jews sis NOT want any writings confirming that Jesus WAS the Jewish Messiah.

    The wise "Students-N-Scholars" will know them, as they provide light on New Testament Scripture that are NOT understood otherwise;

    Quick Example:

    In Luke 3:36 YOUR Bible reads as follows:

      "Which was the son of Cainan, which was the son of Arphaxad, which was the son of Sem (Shem), which was the son of Noe (Noah), which was the son of Lamech;"

    This ancestor of Jesus named "Cainan, son of Arphaxad": where is he in YOUR Bible/ (Check Genesis 11:13, and other genealogies).

    This dilemma - which the WORLD calls a great contradiction in the linage of Jesus as the Christ - can ONLY be solved by the Bible Jesus used, which included the Deuter-canonical Books.

    Do you suppose Jesus knew more about the "Correct Books" of the Bible than your Denomination?



    GOLD DIVIDER WITH CROSS CENTER

    Cambridge Bible Commentary, Comprehensive;

    Matthew Henry's: Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein;

    "Leviticus 1"

    AN EXPOSITION, WITH PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS
    OF THE THIRD BOOK OF MOSES, CALLED LEVITICUS;



    BACKGROUND

      There is nothing historical in all this book of Leviticus except the account which it gives us ofthe consecration of the priesthood (ch. viii.-ix.), of the punishment of Nadab and Abihu, by thehand of God, for offering strange fire (ch. x), and of Shelomith's son, by the hand of the magistrate,for blasphemy (ch. xxiv). All the rest of the book is taken up with the laws, chiefly the ecclesiasticallaws, which God gave to Israel by Moses, concerning their sacrifices and offerings, their meats anddrinks, and divers washings, and the other peculiarities by which God set that people apart forhimself, and distinguished them from other nations, all which were shadows of good things tocome, which are realized and superseded by the gospel of Christ. We call the book Leviticus, fromthe Septuagint, because it contains the laws and ordinances of the levitical priesthood (as it is called,Heb. vii. 11), and the ministrations of it. The Levites were principally charged with these institutions,both to do their part and to teach the people theirs. We read, in the close of the foregoing book, ofthe setting up of the tabernacle, which was to be the place of worship; and, as that was framedaccording to the pattern, so must the ordinances of worship be, which were there to be administered.In these the divine appointment was as particular as in the former, and must be as punctuallyobserved. The remaining record of these abrogated laws is of use to us, for the strengthening ofour faith in Jesus Christ, as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, and for the increaseof our thankfulness to God, that by him we are freed from the yoke of the ceremonial law, and livein the times of reformation.L E V I T C U SCHAP. I.This book begins with the laws concerning sacrifices, of which the most ancient were theburnt-offerings, about which God gives Moses instructions in this chapter. Orders are here givenhow that sort of sacrifice must be managed. I. If it was a bullock out of the herd, ver. 3-9. II. If itwas a sheep or goat, a lamb or kid, out of the flock, ver. 10-13. III. If it was a turtle-dove or a young657Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)pigeon, ver. 14-17. And whether the offering was more or less valuable in itself, if it was offeredwith an upright heart, according to these laws, it was accepted of God.The Law Concerning Offerings. (b. c. 1490.)1 And the Lord called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tabernacle ofthe congregation, saying, 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them,If any man of you bring an offering unto the Lord, ye shall bring your offering ofthe cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock.Observe here, 1. It is taken for granted that people would be inclined to bring offerings to theLord. The very light of nature directs man, some way or other, to do honour to his Maker, and payhim homage as his Lord. Revealed religion supposes natural religion to be an ancient and earlyinstitution, since the fall had directed men to glorify God by sacrifice, which was an implicitacknowledgment of their having received all from God as creatures, and their having forfeited allto him as sinners. A conscience thoroughly convinced of dependence and guilt would be willingto come before God with thousands of rams, Mic. vi. 6, 7. 2. Provision is made that men shouldnot indulge their own fancies, nor become vain in their imaginations and inventions about theirsacrifices, lest, while they pretended to honour God, they should really dishonour him, and do thatwhich was unworthy of him. Every thing therefore is directed to be done with due decorum, by acertain rule, and so as that the sacrifices might be most significant both of the great sacrifice ofatonement which Christ was to offer in the fulness of time and of the spiritual sacrifices ofacknowledgment which believers should offer daily. 3. God gave those laws to Israel by Moses;nothing is more frequently repeated than this, The Lord spoke unto Moses, saying, Speak unto thechildren of Israel. God could have spoken it to the children of Israel himself, as he did the tencommandments; but he chose to deliver it to them by Moses, because they had desired he wouldno more speak to them himself, and he had designed that Moses should, above all the prophets, bea type of Christ, by whom God would in these last days speak to us, Heb. i. 2. By other prophetsGod sent messages to his people, but by Moses he gave them laws; and therefore he was fit to typifyhim to whom the Father has given all judgment. And, besides, the treasure of divine revelation wasalways to be put into earthen vessels, that our faith might be tried, and that the excellency of thepower might be of God. 4. God spoke to him out of the tabernacle. As soon as ever the shechinahhad taken possession of its new habitation, in token of the acceptance of what was done, God talkedwith Moses from the mercy-seat, while he attended without the veil, or rather at the door, hearinga voice only; and it is probable that he wrote what he heard at that time, to prevent any mistake, ora slip of memory, in the rehearsal of it. The tabernacle was set up to be a place of communionbetween God and Israel; there, where they performed their services to God, God revealed his willto them. Thus, by the word and by prayer, we now have fellowship with the Father, and with hisSon Jesus Christ, Acts vi. 4. When we speak to God we must desire to hear from him, and reckonit a great favour that he is pleased to speak to us. The Lord called to Moses, not to come near (underthat dispensation, even Moses must keep his distance), but to attend and hearken to what shouldbe said. A letter less than ordinary in the Hebrew word for called, the Jewish critics tell us, intimatesthat God spoke in a still small voice. The moral law was given with terror from a burning mountainin thunder and lightning; but the remedial law of sacrifice was given more gently from a mercy-seat,because that was typical of the grace of the gospel, which is the ministration of life and peace.658Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)Law of the Burnt-Offering. (b. c. 1490.)3 If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male withoutblemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle ofthe congregation before the Lord. 4 And he shall put his hand upon the head of theburnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him. 5 Andhe shall kill the bullock before the Lord: and the priests, Aaron's sons, shall bringthe blood, and sprinkle the blood round about upon the altar that is by the door ofthe tabernacle of the congregation. 6 And he shall flay the burnt offering, and cutit into his pieces. 7 And the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire upon the altar,and lay the wood in order upon the fire: 8 And the priests, Aaron's sons, shall laythe parts, the head, and the fat, in order upon the wood that is on the fire which isupon the altar: 9 But his inwards and his legs shall he wash in water: and the priestshall burn all on the altar, to be a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweetsavour unto the Lord.If a man were rich and could afford it, it is supposed that he would bring his burnt-sacrifice,with which he designed to honour God, out of his herd of larger cattle. He that considers that Godis the best that is will resolve to give him the best he has, else he gives him not the glory due untohis name. Now if a man determined to kill a bullock, not for an entertainment for his family andfriends, but for a sacrifice to his God, these rules must be religiously observed:—1. The beast tobe offered must be a male, and without blemish, and the best he had in his pasture. Being designedpurely for the honour of him that is infinitely perfect, it ought to be the most perfect in its kind.This signified the complete strength and purity that were in Christ the dying sacrifice, and thesincerity of heart and unblamableness of life that should be in Christians, who are presented to Godas living sacrifices. But, literally, in Christ Jesus there is neither male nor female; nor is any naturalblemish in the body a bar to our acceptance with God, but only the moral defects and deformitiesintroduced by sin into the soul. 2. The owner must offer it voluntarily. What is done in religion, soas to please God, must be done by no other constraint than that of love. God accepts the willingpeople and the cheerful giver. Ainsworth and others read it, not as the principle, but as the end ofoffering: "Let him offer it for his favourable acceptation before the Lord. Let him propose this tohimself as his end in bringing his sacrifice, and let his eye be fixed steadily upon that end—that hemay be accepted of the Lord." Those only shall find acceptance who sincerely desire and design itin all their religious services, 2 Cor. v. 9. 3. It must be offered at the door of the tabernacle, wherethe brazen altar of burnt-offerings stood, which sanctified the gift, and not elsewhere. He must offerit at the door, as one unworthy to enter, and acknowledging that there is no admission for a sinnerinto covenant and communion with God, but by sacrifice; but he must offer it at the tabernacle ofthe congregation, in token of his communion with the whole church of Israel even in this personalservice. 4. The offerer must put his hand upon the head of his offering, v. 4. "He must put both hishands," say the Jewish doctors, "with all his might, between the horns of the beast," signifyingthereby, (1.) The transfer of all his right to, and interest in, the beast, to God, actually, and by amanual delivery, resigning it to his service. (2.) An acknowledgment that he deserved to die, andwould have been willing to die if God had required it, for the serving of his honour, and the obtaining659Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)of his favour. (3.) A dependence upon the sacrifice, as an instituted type of the great sacrifice onwhich the iniquity of us all was to be laid. The mystical signification of the sacrifices, and especiallythis rite, some think the apostle means by the doctrine of laying on of hands (Heb. vi. 2), whichtypified evangelical faith. The offerer's putting his hand on the head of the offering was to signifyhis desire and hope that it might be accepted from him to make atonement for him. Though theburnt-offerings had not respect to any particular sin, as the sin-offering had, yet they were to makeatonement for sin in general; and he that laid his hand on the head of a burnt-offering was to confessthat he had left undone what he ought to have done and had done that which he ought not to havedone, and to pray that, though he deserved to die himself, the death of his sacrifice might be acceptedfor the expiating of his guilt. 5. The sacrifice was to be killed by the priests of Levites, before theLord, that is, in a devout religious manner, and with an eye to God and his honour. This signifiedthat our Lord Jesus was to make his soul, or life, an offering for sin. Messiah the prince must becut off as a sacrifice, but not for himself, Dan. ix. 26. It signified also that in Christians, who areliving sacrifices, the brutal part must be mortified or killed, the flesh crucified with its corruptaffections and lusts and all the appetites of the mere animal life. 6. The priests were to sprinkle theblood upon the altar (v. 5); for, the blood being the life, it was this that made atonement for thesoul. This signified the direct and actual regard which our Lord Jesus had to the satisfaction of hisFather's justice, and the securing of his injured honour, in the shedding of his blood; he offeredhimself without spot to God. It also signified the pacifying and purifying of our consciences by thesprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ upon them by faith, 1 Pet. i. 2; Heb. x. 22. 7. The beast wasto be flayed and decently cut up, and divided into its several joints or pieces, according to the artof the butcher; and then all the pieces, with the head and the fat (the legs and inwards being firstwashed), were to be burnt together upon the altar, v. 6-9. "But to what purpose," would some say,"was this waste? Why should all this good meat, which might have been given to the poor, andhave served their hungry families for food a great while, be burnt together to ashes?" So was thewill of God; and it is not for us to object or to find fault with it. When it was burnt for the honourof God, in obedience to his command, and to signify spiritual blessings, it was really better bestowed,and better answered the end of its creation, than when it was used as food for man. We must neverreckon that lost which is laid out for God. The burning of the sacrifice signified the sharp sufferingsof Christ, and the devout affections with which, as a holy fire, Christians must offer up themselvestheir whole spirit, soul, and body, unto God. 8. This is said to be an offering of a sweet savour, orsavour of rest, unto the Lord. The burning of flesh is unsavoury in itself; but this, as an act ofobedience to a divine command, and a type of Christ, was well pleasing to God: he was reconciledto the offerer, and did himself take a complacency in that reconciliation. He rested, and was refreshedwith these institutions of his grace, as, at first, with his works of creation (Exod. xxxi. 17), rejoicingtherein, Ps. civ. 31. Christ's offering of himself to God is said to be of a sweet-smelling savour(Eph. v. 2), and the spiritual sacrifices of Christians are said to be acceptable to God, throughChrist, 1 Pet. ii. 5.10 And if his offering be of the flocks, namely, of the sheep, or of the goats, fora burnt sacrifice; he shall bring it a male without blemish. 11 And he shall kill iton the side of the altar northward before the Lord: and the priests, Aaron's sons,shall sprinkle his blood round about upon the altar. 12 And he shall cut it into hispieces, with his head and his fat: and the priest shall lay them in order on the wood660Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)that is on the fire which is upon the altar: 13 But he shall wash the inwards and thelegs with water: and the priest shall bring it all, and burn it upon the altar: it is aburnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord. 14 Andif the burnt sacrifice for his offering to the Lord be of fowls, then he shall bring hisoffering of turtledoves, or of young pigeons. 15 And the priest shall bring it untothe altar, and wring off his head, and burn it on the altar; and the blood thereof shallbe wrung out at the side of the altar: 16 And he shall pluck away his crop with hisfeathers, and cast it beside the altar on the east part, by the place of the ashes: 17And he shall cleave it with the wings thereof, but shall not divide it asunder: andthe priest shall burn it upon the altar, upon the wood that is upon the fire: it is a burntsacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord.Here we have the laws concerning the burnt-offerings, which were of the flock or of the fowls.Those of the middle rank, that could not well afford to offer a bullock, would bring a sheep or agoat; and those that were not able to do that should be accepted of God if they brought a turtle-doveor a pigeon. For God, in his law and in his gospel, as well as in his providence, considers the poor.It is observable that those creatures were chosen for sacrifice which were most mild and gentle,harmless and inoffensive, to typify the innocence and meekness that were in Christ, and to teachthe innocence and meekness that should be in Christians. Directions are here given, 1. Concerningthe burnt-offerings of the flock, v. 10. The method of managing these is much the same with thatof the bullocks; only it is ordered here that the sacrifice should be killed on the side of the altarnorthward, which, though mentioned here only, was probably to be observed concerning the former,and other sacrifices. Perhaps on that side of the altar there was the largest vacant space, and roomfor the priests to turn them in. It was of old observed that fair weather comes out of the north, andthat the north wind drives away rain; and by these sacrifices the storms of God's wrath are scattered,and the light of God's countenance is obtained, which is more pleasant than the brightest fairestweather. 2. Concerning those of the fowls. They must be either turtle-doves (and, if so, "they mustbe old turtles," say the Jews), or pigeons, and, if so, they must be young pigeons. What was mostacceptable at men's tables must be brought to God's altar. In the offering of these fowls, (1.) Thehead must be wrung off, "quite off," say some; others think only pinched, so as to kill the bird, andyet leave the head hanging to the body. But it seems more likely that it was to be quite separated,for it was to be burnt first. (2.) The blood was to be wrung out at the side of the altar. (3.) Thegarbages with the feathers were to be thrown by upon the dunghill. (4.) The body was to be opened,sprinkled with salt, and then burnt upon the altar. "This sacrifice of birds," the Jews say, "was oneof the most difficult services the priests had to do," to teach those that minister in holy things to beas solicitous for the salvation of the poor as for that of the rich, and that the services of the poorare as acceptable to God, if they come from an upright heart, as the services of the rich, for heaccepts according to what a man hath, and not according to what he hath not, 2 Cor. viii. 12. Thepoor man's turtle-doves, or young pigeons, are here said to be an offering of a sweet-smelling savour,as much as that of an ox or bullock that hath horns or hoofs. Yet, after all, to love God with all ourheart, and to love our neighbour as ourselves, is better than all burnt-offerings and sacrifices,Mark xii. 33.661Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)L E V I T C U SCHAP. II.In this chapter we have the law concerning the meat-offering. I. The matter of it; whether ofraw flour with oil and incense (ver. 1), or baked in the oven (ver. 4), or upon a plate (ver. 5, 6), orin a frying pan, ver. 7. II. The management of it, of the flour (ver. 2, 3), of the cakes, ver. 8-10. III.Some particular rules concerning it, That leaven and honey must never be admitted (ver. 11, 12),and salt never omitted in the meat-offering, ver. 13. IV. The law concerning the offering of firstfruitsin the ear, ver. 14, &c.The Law of the Meat-Offering. (b. c. 1490.)1 And when any will offer a meat offering unto the Lord, his offering shall be offine flour; and he shall pour oil upon it, and put frankincense thereon: 2 And heshall bring it to Aaron's sons the priests: and he shall take thereout his handful ofthe flour thereof, and of the oil thereof, with all the frankincense thereof; and thepriest shall burn the memorial of it upon the altar, to be an offering made by fire, ofa sweet savour unto the Lord: 3 And the remnant of the meat offering shall beAaron's and his sons': it is a thing most holy of the offerings of the Lord made byfire. 4 And if thou bring an oblation of a meat offering baken in the oven, it shallbe unleavened cakes of fine flour mingled with oil, or unleavened wafers anointedwith oil. 5 And if thy oblation be a meat offering baken in a pan, it shall be of fineflour unleavened, mingled with oil. 6 Thou shalt part it in pieces, and pour oilthereon: it is a meat offering. 7 And if thy oblation be a meat offering baken in thefryingpan, it shall be made of fine flour with oil. 8 And thou shalt bring the meatoffering that is made of these things unto the Lord: and when it is presented untothe priest, he shall bring it unto the altar. 9 And the priest shall take from the meatoffering a memorial thereof, and shall burn it upon the altar: it is an offering madeby fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord. 10 And that which is left of the meatoffering shall be Aaron's and his sons': it is a thing most holy of the offerings of theLord made by fire.There were some meat-offerings that were only appendices to the burnt-offerings, as that whichwas offered with the daily sacrifice (Exod. xxix. 38, 39) and with the peace-offerings; these haddrink-offerings joined with them (see Num. xv. 4, 7, 9, 10), and in these the quantity was appointed.But the law of this chapter concerns those meat-offerings that were offered by themselves, whenevera man saw cause thus to express his devotion. The first offering we read of in scripture was of thiskind (Gen. iv. 3): Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering.I. This sort of offerings was appointed, 1. In condescension to the poor, and their ability, thatthose who themselves lived only upon bread and cakes might offer an acceptable offering to Godout of that which was their own coarse and homely fare, and by making for God's altar, as the662Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)widow of Sarepta for his prophet, a little cake first, might procure such a blessing upon the handfulof meal in the barrel, and the oil in the cruse, as that it should not fail. 2. As a proper acknowledgmentof the mercy of God to them in their food. This was like a quitrent, by which they testified theirdependence upon God, their thankfulness to him, and their expectations from him as their ownerand bountiful benefactor, who giveth to all life, and breath, and food convenient. Thus must theyhonour the Lord with their substance, and, in token of their eating and drinking to his glory, mustconsecrate some of their meat and drink to his immediate service. Those that now, with a gratefulcharitable heart, deal out their bread to the hungry, and provide for the necessities of those that aredestitute of daily food, and when they eat the fat and drink the sweet themselves send portions tothose for whom nothing is prepared, offer unto God an acceptable meat-offering. The prophetlaments it as one of the direful effects of famine that thereby the meat-offering and drink-offeringwere cut off from the house of the Lord (Joel i. 9), and reckoned it the greatest blessing of plentythat it would be the revival of them, Joel ii. 14.II. The laws of the meat-offerings were these:—1. The ingredients must always be fine flourand oil, two staple commodities of the land of Canaan, Deut. viii. 8. Oil was to them then in theirfood what butter is now to us. If it was undressed, the oil must be poured upon the flour (v. 1); ifcooked, it must be mingled with the flour, v. 4, &c. 2. If it was flour unbaked, besides the oil itmust have frankincense put upon it, which was to be burnt with it (v. 1, 2), for the perfuming ofthe altar; in allusion to this, gospel ministers are said to be a sweet savour unto God, 2 Cor. ii. 15.3. If it was prepared, this might be done in various ways; the offerer might bake it, or fry it, or mixthe flour and oil upon a plate, for the doing of which conveniences were provided about thetabernacle. The law was very exact even about those offerings that were least costly, to intimatethe cognizance God takes of the religious services performed with a devout mind, even by the poorof his people. 4. It was to be presented by the offerer to the priest, which is called bringing it to theLord (v. 8), for the priests were God's receivers, and were ordained to offer gifts. 5. Part of it wasto be burnt upon the altar, for a memorial, that is, in token of their mindfulness of God's bounty tothem, in giving them all things richly to enjoy. It was an offering made by fire, v. 2, 9. The consumingof it by fire might remind them that they deserved to have all the fruits of the earth thus burnt up,and that it was of the Lord's mercies that they were not. They might also learn that as meats arefor the belly, and the belly for meats, so God shall destroy both it and them (1 Cor. vi. 13), and thatman lives not by bread alone. This offering made by fire is here said to be of a sweet savour untothe Lord; and so are our spiritual offerings, which are made by the fire of holy love, particularlythat of almsgiving, which is said to be an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God (Phil. iv. 18), and with such sacrifices God is well pleased, Heb. xiii. 16. 6. Theremainder of the meat-offering was to be given to the priests, v. 3, 10. It is a thing most holy, notto be eaten by the offerers, as the peace-offerings (which, though holy, were not most holy), butby the priests only, and their families. Thus God provided that those who served at the altar shouldlive upon the altar, and live comfortably.11 No meat offering, which ye shall bring unto the Lord, shall be made withleaven: for ye shall burn no leaven, nor any honey, in any offering of the Lord madeby fire. 12 As for the oblation of the firstfruits, ye shall offer them unto the Lord:but they shall not be burnt on the altar for a sweet savour. 13 And every oblationof thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of663Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offeringsthou shalt offer salt. 14 And if thou offer a meat offering of thy firstfruits unto theLord, thou shalt offer for the meat offering of thy firstfruits green ears of corn driedby the fire, even corn beaten out of full ears. 15 And thou shalt put oil upon it, andlay frankincense thereon: it is a meat offering. 16 And the priest shall burn thememorial of it, part of the beaten corn thereof, and part of the oil thereof, with allthe frankincense thereof: it is an offering made by fire unto the Lord.Here, I. Leaven and honey are forbidden to be put in any of their meat-offerings: No leaven,nor any honey, in any offering made by fire, v. 11. 1. The leaven was forbidden in remembranceof the unleavened bread they ate when they came out of Egypt. So much despatch was required inthe offerings they made that it was not convenient they should stay for the leavening of them. TheNew Testament comparing pride and hypocrisy to leaven because they swell like leaven, comparingalso malice and wickedness to leaven because they sour like leaven, we are to understand andimprove this as a caution to take heed of those sins which will certainly spoil the acceptablenessof our spiritual sacrifices. Pure hands must be lifted up without wrath, and all our gospel feasts keptwith the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 2. Honey was forbidden, though Canaan flowedwith it, because to eat much honey is not good (Prov. xxv. 16, 27); it turns to choler and bitternessin the stomach, though luscious to the taste. Some think the chief reason why those two things,leaven and honey, were forbidden, was because the Gentiles used them very much in their sacrifices,and God's people must not learn or use the way of the heathen, but his services must be the reverseof their idolatrous services; see Deut. xii. 30, 31. Some make this application of this doubleprohibition: leaven signifies grief and sadness of spirit (Ps. lxxiii. 21), My heart was leavened;honey signifies sensual pleasure and mirth. In our service of God both these must be avoided, anda mean observed between those extremes; for the sorrow of the world worketh death, and a loveto the delights of sense is a great enemy to holy love.II. Salt is required in all their offerings, v. 13. The altar was the table of the Lord; and therefore,salt being always set on our tables, God would have it always used at his. It is called the salt of thecovenant, because, as men confirmed their covenants with each other by eating and drinking together,at all which collations salt was used, so God, by accepting his people's gifts and feasting them uponhis sacrifices, supping with them and they with him (Rev. iii. 20), did confirm his covenant withthem. Among the ancients salt was a symbol of friendship. The salt for the sacrifice was not broughtby the offerers, but was provided at the public charge, as the wood was, Ezra vii. 20-22. And therewas a chamber in the court of the temple called the chamber of salt, in which they laid it up. Canthat which is unsavoury be eaten without salt? God would hereby intimate to them that theirsacrifices in themselves were unsavoury. The saints, who are living sacrifices to God, must havesalt in themselves, for every sacrifice must be salted with salt (Mark ix. 49, 50), and our speechmust be always with grace (Col. iv. 6), so must all our religious performances be seasoned withthat salt. Christianity is the salt of the earth.III. Directions are given about the first-fruits. 1. The oblation of their first-fruits at harvest, ofwhich we read, Deut. xxvi. 2. These were offered to the Lord, not to be burnt upon the altar, but tobe given to the priests as perquisites of their office, v. 12. And you shall offer them (that is, leavenand honey) in the oblation of the first-fruits, though they were forbidden in other meat-offerings;664Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)for they were proper enough to be eaten by the priests, though not to be burnt upon the altar. Theloaves of the first-fruits are particularly ordered to be baked with leaven, Lev. xxiii. 17. And weread of the first-fruits of honey brought to the house of God, 2 Chron. xxxi. 5. 2. A meat-offeringof their first-fruits. The former was required by the law; this was a free-will offering, v. 14-16. Ifa man, with a thankful sense of God's goodness to him in giving him hopes of a plentiful crop, wasdisposed to bring an offering in kind immediately out of his field, and present it to God, owningthereby his dependence upon God and obligations to him, (1.) Let him be sure to bring the first ripeand full ears, not such as were small and half-withered. Whatever was brought for an offering toGod must be the best in its kind, though it were but green ears of corn. We mock God, and deceiveourselves, if we think to put him off with a corrupt thing while we have in our flock a male, Mal.i. 14. (2.) These green ears must be dried by the fire, that the corn, such as it was, might be beatenout of them. That is not expected from green ears which one may justly look for from those thathave been left to grow fully ripe. If those that are young do God's work as well as they can, theyshall be accepted, though they cannot do it so well as those that are aged and experienced. Godmakes the best of green ears of corn, and so must we. (3.) Oil and frankincense must be put uponit. Thus (as some allude to this) wisdom and humility must soften and sweeten the spirits andservices of young people, and then their green ears of corn shall be acceptable. God takes a particulardelight in the first ripe fruits of the Spirit and the expressions of early piety and devotion. Thosethat can but think and speak as children, yet, if they think and speak well, God will be well pleasedwith their buds and blossoms, and will never forget the kindness of their youth. (4.) It must be usedas other meat-offerings, v. 16, compare v. 9. He shall offer all the frankincense; it is an offeringmade by fire. The fire and the frankincense seem to have had a special significancy. [1.] The firedenotes the fervency of spirit which ought to be in all our religious services. In every good thingwe must be zealously affected. Holy love to God is the fire by which all our offerings must bemade; else they are not of a sweet savour to God. [2.] The frankincense denotes the mediation andintercession of Christ, by which all our services are perfumed and recommended to God's graciousacceptance. Blessed be God that we have the substance of which all these observances were butshadows, the fruit that was hid under these leaves.L E V I T C U SCHAP. III.In this chapter we have the law concerning the peace-offerings, whether they were, I. Of theheard, a bullock or a heifer, ver. 1-5. Or, II. Of the flock, either a lamb (ver. 6-11) or a goat, ver.12-17. The ordinances concerning each of these are much the same, yet they are repeated, to showthe care we ought to take that all our services be done according to the appointment and the pleasureGod takes in the services that are so performed. It is likewise to intimate what need we have ofprecept upon precept, and line upon line.Law of the Peace-Offering. (b. c. 1490.)665Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)1 And if his oblation be a sacrifice of peace offering, if he offer it of the herd;whether it be a male or female, he shall offer it without blemish before the Lord.2 And he shall lay his hand upon the head of his offering, and kill it at the door ofthe tabernacle of the congregation: and Aaron's sons the priests shall sprinkle theblood upon the altar round about. 3 And he shall offer of the sacrifice of the peaceoffering an offering made by fire unto the Lord; the fat that covereth the inwards,and all the fat that is upon the inwards, 4 And the two kidneys, and the fat that ison them, which is by the flanks, and the caul above the liver, with the kidneys, itshall he take away. 5 And Aaron's sons shall burn it on the altar upon the burntsacrifice, which is upon the wood that is on the fire: it is an offering made by fire,of a sweet savour unto the Lord.The burnt-offerings had regard to God as in himself the best of beings, most perfect andexcellent; they were purely expressive of adoration, and therefore were wholly burnt. But thepeace-offerings had regard to God as a benefactor to his creatures, and the giver of all good thingsto us; and therefore these were divided between the altar, the priest, and the owner. Peace signifies,1. Reconciliation, concord, and communion. And so these were called peace-offerings, because inthem God and his people did, as it were, feast together, in token of friendship. The priest, who wasordained for men in things pertaining to God, gave part of this peace-offering to God (that partwhich he required, and it was fit he should be first served), burning it upon God's altar; part he gaveto the offerer, to be eaten by him with his family and friends; and part he took to himself, as thedays-man that laid his hand upon them both. They could not thus eat together unless they wereagreed; so that it was a symbol of friendship and fellowship between God and man, and aconfirmation of the covenant of peace. 2. It signifies prosperity and all happiness: Peace be to youwas as much as, All good be to you; and so the peace-offerings were offered either, (1.) By way ofsupplication or request for some good that was wanted and desired. If a man was in the pursuit orexpectation of any mercy, he would back his prayer for it with a peace-offering, and probably putup the prayer when he laid his hand upon the head of his offering. Christ is our peace, ourpeace-offering; for through him alone it is that we can expect to obtain mercy, and an answer ofpeace to our prayers; and in him an upright prayer shall be acceptable and successful, though webring not a peace-offering. The less costly our devotions are the more lively and serious they shouldbe. Or, (2.) By way of thanksgiving for some particular mercy received. It is called a peace-offeringof thanksgiving, for so it was sometimes; as in other cases a vow, ch. vii. 15, 16. And some makethe original word to signify retribution. When they had received any special mercy, and wereenquiring what they should render, this they were directed to render to the God of their mercies asa grateful acknowledgment for the benefit done to them, Ps. cxvi. 12. And we must offer to Godthe sacrifice of praise continually, by Christ our peace; and then this shall please the Lord betterthan an ox or bullock. Observe,I. As to the matter of the peace-offering, suppose it was of the herd, it must be without blemish;and, if it was so, it was indifferent whether it was male or female, v. 1. In our spiritual offerings,it is not the sex, but the heart, that God looks at, Gal. iii. 28.II. As to the management of it. 1. The offerer was, by a solemn manumission, to transfer hisinterest in it to God (v. 2), and, with his hand on the head of the sacrifice, to acknowledge the666Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)particular mercies for which he designed this a thank-offering, or, if it was a vow, to make hisprayer. 2. It must be killed; and, although this might be done in any part of the court, yet it is saidto be at the door of the tabernacle, because the mercies received or expected were acknowledgedto come from God, and the prayers or praises were directed to him, and both, as it were, throughthat door. Our Lord Jesus has said, I am the door, for he is indeed the door of the tabernacle. 3. Thepriest must sprinkle the blood upon the altar, for it was the blood that made atonement for the soul;and, though this was not a sin-offering, yet we must be taught that in all our offerings we must havean eye to Christ as the propitiation for sin, as those who know that the best of their services cannotbe accepted unless through him their sins be pardoned. Penitent confessions must always go alongwith our thankful acknowledgments; and, whatever mercy we pray for, in order to it we must prayfor the removal of guilt, as that which keeps good things from us. First take away all iniquity, andthen receive us graciously, or give good, Hos. xiv. 2. 4. All the fat of the inwards, that which wecall the tallow and suet, with the caul that encloses it and the kidneys in the midst of it, were to betaken away, and burnt upon the altar, as an offering made by fire, v. 3-5. And this was all that wassacrificed to the Lord out of the peace-offering; how the rest was to be disposed of we shall find,ch. vii. 11, &c. It is ordered to be burnt upon the burnt-sacrifice, that is, the daily burnt-offering,the lamb which was offered every morning before any other sacrifice was offered; so that the fatof the peace-offerings was an addition to that, and a continuation of it. The great sacrifice of peace,that of the Lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world, prepares the altar for our sacrificesof praise, which are not accepted till we are reconciled. Now the burning of this fat is supposed tosignify, (1.) The offering up of our good affections to God in all our prayers and praises. God musthave the inwards; for we must pour out our souls, and lift up our hearts, in prayer, and must blesshis name with all that is within us. It is required that we be inward with God in every thing whereinwe have to do with him. The fat denotes the best and choicest, which must always be devoted toGod, who has made for us a feast of fat things. (2.) The mortifying of our corrupt affections andlusts, and the burning up of them by the fire of divine grace, Col. iii. 5. Then we are truly thankfulfor former mercies, and prepared to receive further mercy, when we part with our sins, and haveour minds cleared from all sensuality by the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning, Isa. iv. 4.6 And if his offering for a sacrifice of peace offering unto the Lord be of theflock; male or female, he shall offer it without blemish. 7 If he offer a lamb for hisoffering, then shall he offer it before the Lord. 8 And he shall lay his hand uponthe head of his offering, and kill it before the tabernacle of the congregation: andAaron's sons shall sprinkle the blood thereof round about upon the altar. 9 And heshall offer of the sacrifice of the peace offering an offering made by fire unto theLord; the fat thereof, and the whole rump, it shall he take off hard by the backbone;and the fat that covereth the inwards, and all the fat that is upon the inwards, 10And the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, which is by the flanks, and thecaul above the liver, with the kidneys, it shall he take away. 11 And the priest shallburn it upon the altar: it is the food of the offering made by fire unto the Lord. 12And if his offering be a goat, then he shall offer it before the Lord. 13 And he shalllay his hand upon the head of it, and kill it before the tabernacle of the congregation:667Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)and the sons of Aaron shall sprinkle the blood thereof upon the altar round about.14 And he shall offer thereof his offering, even an offering made by fire unto theLord; the fat that covereth the inwards, and all the fat that is upon the inwards, 15And the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, which is by the flanks, and thecaul above the liver, with the kidneys, it shall he take away. 16 And the priest shallburn them upon the altar: it is the food of the offering made by fire for a sweetsavour: all the fat is the Lord's. 17 It shall be a perpetual statute for your generationsthroughout all your dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor blood.Directions are here given concerning the peace-offering, if it was a sheep or a goat. Turtle-dovesor young pigeons, which might be brought for whole burnt offerings, were not allowed forpeace-offerings, because they have no fat considerable enough to be burnt upon the altar; and theywould be next to nothing if they were to be divided according to the law of the peace-offerings.The laws concerning a lamb or goat offered for a peace offering are much the same with thoseconcerning a bullock, and little now occurs here; but, 1. The rump of the mutton was to be burntwith the fat of the inwards upon the altar, the whole rump (v. 9), because in those countries it wasvery fat and large. Some observe from this that, be a thing ever so contemptible, God can make ithonourable, by applying it to his service. Thus God is said to give more abundant honour to thatpart which lacked, 1 Cor. xii. 23, 24. 2. That which was burnt upon the altar is called the food ofthe offering, v. 11, 16. It fed the holy fire; it was acceptable to God as our food is to us; and sincein the tabernacle God did, as it were, keep house among them, by the offerings on the altar he kepta good table, as Solomon in his court, 1 Kings iv. 22, &c. 3. Here is a general rule laid down, thatall the fat is the Lord's (v. 16), and a law made thereupon, that they should eat neither fat nor blood,no, not in their private houses, v. 17. (1.) As for the fat, it is not meant of that which is interlardedwith the meat (that they might eat, Neh. viii. 10), but the fat of the inwards, the suet, which wasalways God's part out of the sacrificed beasts; and therefore they must not eat of it, no, not out ofthe beasts that they killed for their common use. Thus would God preserve the honour of that whichwas sacred to himself. They must not only not feed upon that fat which was to be the food of thealtar, but not upon any like it, lest the table of the Lord (as the altar is called), if something werenot reserved peculiar to it, should become contemptible, and the fruit thereof, even its meat,contemptible, Mal. i. 7, 12. (2.) The blood was universally forbidden likewise, for the same reasonthat the fat was, because it was God's part of every sacrifice. The heathen drank the blood of theirsacrifices; hence we read of their drink-offerings of blood, Ps. xvi. 4. But God would not permitthe blood, that made atonement, to be used as a common thing (Heb. x. 29), nor will he allow us,though we have the comfort of the atonement made, to assume to ourselves any share in the honourof making it. He that glories, let him glory in the Lord, and to his praise let all the blood be pouredout.L E V I T C U S668Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)CHAP. IV.This chapter is concerning the sin-offering, which was properly intended to make atonementfor a sin committed through ignorance, I. By the priest himself, ver. 1-12. Or, II. By the wholecongregation, ver. 13-21. Or, III. By a ruler, ver. 22-26. Or, IV. By a private person, ver. 27, &c.Law of the Sin-Offering. (b. c. 1490.)1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Speak unto the children of Israel,saying, If a soul shall sin through ignorance against any of the commandments ofthe Lord concerning things which ought not to be done, and shall do against any ofthem: 3 If the priest that is anointed do sin according to the sin of the people; thenlet him bring for his sin, which he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemishunto the Lord for a sin offering. 4 And he shall bring the bullock unto the door ofthe tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord; and shall lay his hand upon thebullock's head, and kill the bullock before the Lord. 5 And the priest that is anointedshall take of the bullock's blood, and bring it to the tabernacle of the congregation:6 And the priest shall dip his finger in the blood, and sprinkle of the blood seventimes before the Lord, before the vail of the sanctuary. 7 And the priest shall putsome of the blood upon the horns of the altar of sweet incense before the Lord, whichis in the tabernacle of the congregation; and shall pour all the blood of the bullockat the bottom of the altar of the burnt offering, which is at the door of the tabernacleof the congregation. 8 And he shall take off from it all the fat of the bullock for thesin offering; the fat that covereth the inwards, and all the fat that is upon the inwards,9 And the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, which is by the flanks, andthe caul above the liver, with the kidneys, it shall he take away, 10 As it was takenoff from the bullock of the sacrifice of peace offerings: and the priest shall burnthem upon the altar of the burnt offering. 11 And the skin of the bullock, and allhis flesh, with his head, and with his legs, and his inwards, and his dung, 12 Eventhe whole bullock shall he carry forth without the camp unto a clean place, wherethe ashes are poured out, and burn him on the wood with fire: where the ashes arepoured out shall he be burnt.The laws contained in the first three chapters seem to have been delivered to Moses at onetime. Here begin the statutes of another session, another day. From the throne of glory between thecherubim God delivered these orders. And he enters now upon a subject more strictly new thanthose before. Burnt-offerings, meat-offerings, and peace-offerings, it should seem, had been offeredbefore the giving of the law upon mount Sinai; those sacrifices the patriarchs had not been altogetherunacquainted with (Gen. viii. 20; Exod. xx. 24), and in them they had respect to sin, to makeatonement for it, Job i. 5. But the law being now added because of transgressions (Gal. iii. 19), andhaving entered, that eventually the offence might abound (Rom. v. 20), they were put into a wayof making atonement for sin more particularly by sacrifice, which was (more than any of the669Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)ceremonial institutions) a shadow of good things to come, but the substance is Christ, and that oneoffering of himself by which he put away sin and perfected for ever those who are sanctified.I. The general case supposed we have, v. 2. Here observe, 1. Concerning sin in general, thatit is described to be against any of the commandments of the Lord; for sin is the transgression ofthe law, the divine law. The wits or wills of men, their inventions or their injunctions, cannot makethat to be sin which the law of God has not made to be so. It is said likewise, if a soul sin, for it isnot sin if it be not some way or other the soul's act; hence it is called the sin of the soul (Mic. vi.7), and it is the soul that is injured by it, Prov. viii. 36. 2. Concerning the sins for which thoseofferings were appointed. (1.) They are supposed to be overt acts; for, had they been required tobring a sacrifice for every sinful thought or word, the task had been endless. Atonement was madefor those in the gross, on the day of expiation, once a year; but these are said to be done against thecommandments. (2.) They are supposed to be sins of commission, things which ought not to bedone. Omissions are sins, and must come into judgment; but what had been omitted at one timemight be done at another, and so to obey was better than sacrifice: but a commission was past recall.(3.) They are supposed to be sins committed through ignorance. If they were done presumptuously,and with an avowed contempt of the law and the Law-maker, the offender was to be cut off, andthere remained no sacrifice for the sin, Heb. x. 26, 27; Num. xv. 30. But if the offender were eitherignorant of the law, as in divers instances we may suppose many were (so numerous and variouswere the prohibitions), or were surprised into the sin unawares, the circumstances being such asmade it evident that his resolution against the sin was sincere, but that he was overtaken in it, asthe expression is (Gal. vi. 1), in this case relief was provided by the remedial law of the sin-offering.And the Jews say, "Those crimes only were to be expiated by sacrifice, if committed ignorantly,for which the criminal was to have been cut off if they had been committed presumptuously."II. The law begins with the case of the anointed priest, that is, the high priest, provided heshould sin through ignorance; for the law made men priests who had infirmity. Though his ignorancewas of all others least excusable, yet he was allowed to bring his offering. His office did not so farexcuse his offence as that it should be forgiven him without a sacrifice; yet it did not so far aggravateit but that it should be forgiven him when he did bring his sacrifice. If he sin according to the sinof the people (so the case is put, v. 3), which supposes him in this matter to stand upon the levelwith other Israelites, and to have no benefit of his clergy at all. Now the law concerning thesin-offering for the high priest is, 1. That he must bring a bullock without blemish for a sin-offering(v. 3), as valuable an offering as that for the whole congregation (v. 14); whereas for any otherruler, or a common person, a kid of the goats should serve, v. 23, 28. This intimated the greatnessof the guilt connected with the sin of a high priest. The eminency of his station, and his relationboth to God and to the people, greatly aggravated his offences; see Rom. ii. 21. 2. The hand of theofferer must be laid upon the head of the offering (v. 4), with a solemn penitent confession of thesin he had committed, putting it upon the head of the sin-offering, ch. xvi. 21. No remission withoutconfession, Ps. xxxii. 5; Prov. xxviii. 13. It signified also a confidence in this instituted way ofexpiating guilt, as a figure of something better yet to come, which they could not stedfastly discern.He that laid his hand on the head of the beast thereby owned that he deserved to die himself, andthat it was God's great mercy that he would please to accept the offering of this beast to die forhim. The Jewish writers themselves say that neither the sin-offering nor the trespass-offering madeatonement, except for those that repented and believed in their atonement. 3. The bullock must bekilled, and a great deal of solemnity there must be in disposing of the blood; for it was the blood670Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)that made atonement, and without shedding of blood there was no remission, v. 5-7. Some of theblood of the high-priest's sin-offering was to be sprinkled seven times before the veil, with an eyetowards the mercy-seat, though it was veiled: some of it was to be put upon the horns of the goldenaltar, because at that altar the priest himself ministered; and thus was signified the putting away ofthat pollution which from his sins did cleave to his services. It likewise serves to illustrate theinfluence which Christ's satisfaction has upon the prevalency of his intercession. The blood of hissacrifice is put upon the altar of his incense and sprinkled before the Lord. When this was done theremainder of the blood was poured at the foot of the brazen altar. By this rite, the sinneracknowledged that he deserved to have his blood thus poured out like water. It likewise signifiedthe pouring out of the soul before God in true repentance, and typified our Saviour's pouring outhis soul unto death. 4. The fat of the inwards was to be burnt upon the altar of burnt-offering, v.8-10. By this the intention of the offering and of the atonement made by it was directed to the gloryof God, who, having been dishonoured by the sin, was thus honoured by the sacrifice. It signifiedthe sharp sufferings of our Lord Jesus, when he was made sin (that is, a sin-offering) for us, especiallythe sorrows of his soul and his inward agonies. It likewise teaches us, in conformity to the deathof Christ, to crucify the flesh. 5. The head and body of the beast, skin and all, were to be carriedwithout the camp, to a certain place appointed for that purpose, and there burnt to ashes, v. 11, 12.This was very significant, (1.) Of the duty of repentance, which is the putting away of sin as adetestable thing, which our soul hates. True penitents say to their idols, "Get you hence; what havewe to do any more with idols?" The sin-offering is called sin. What they did to that we must do toour sins; the body of sin must be destroyed, Rom. vi. 6. (2.) Of the privilege of remission. WhenGod pardons sin he quite abolishes it, casts it behind his back. The iniquity of Judah shall be soughtfor and not found. The apostle takes particular notice of this ceremony, and applies it to Christ(Heb. xiii. 11-13), who suffered without the gate, in the place of a skull, where the ashes of deadmen, as those of the altar, were poured out.13 And if the whole congregation of Israel sin through ignorance, and the thingbe hid from the eyes of the assembly, and they have done somewhat against any ofthe commandments of the Lord concerning things which should not be done, andare guilty; 14 When the sin, which they have sinned against it, is known, then thecongregation shall offer a young bullock for the sin, and bring him before thetabernacle of the congregation. 15 And the elders of the congregation shall lay theirhands upon the head of the bullock before the Lord: and the bullock shall be killedbefore the Lord. 16 And the priest that is anointed shall bring of the bullock's bloodto the tabernacle of the congregation: 17 And the priest shall dip his finger in someof the blood, and sprinkle it seven times before the Lord, even before the vail. 18And he shall put some of the blood upon the horns of the altar which is before theLord, that is in the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall pour out all the bloodat the bottom of the altar of the burnt offering, which is at the door of the tabernacleof the congregation. 19 And he shall take all his fat from him, and burn it upon thealtar. 20 And he shall do with the bullock as he did with the bullock for a sinoffering, so shall he do with this: and the priest shall make an atonement for them,671Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)and it shall be forgiven them. 21 And he shall carry forth the bullock without thecamp, and burn him as he burned the first bullock: it is a sin offering for thecongregation.This is the law for expiating the guilt of a national sin, by a sin offering. If the leaders of thepeople, through mistake concerning the law, caused them to err, when the mistake was discoveredan offering must be brought, that wrath might not come upon the whole congregation. Observe, 1.It is possible that the church may err, and that her guides may mislead her. It is here supposed thatthe whole congregation may sin, and sin through ignorance. God will always have a church onearth; but he never said it should be infallible, or perfectly pure from corruption on this side heaven.2. When a sacrifice was to be offered for the whole congregation, the elders were to lay their handsupon the head of it (three of them at least), as representatives of the people and agents for them.The sin we suppose to have been some common custom, taken up and used by the generality ofthe people, upon presumption of its being lawful, which afterwards, upon search, appeared to beotherwise. In this case the commonness of the usage received perhaps by tradition from their fathers,and the vulgar opinion of its being lawful, would not so far excuse them from sin but that they mustbring a sacrifice to make atonement for it. There are many bad customs and forms of speech whichare thought to have no harm in them, and yet may bring guilt and wrath upon a land, which thereforeit concerns the elders both to reform and to intercede with God for the pardon of, Joel ii. 16. 3. Theblood of this sin-offering, as of the former, was to be sprinkled seven times before the Lord, v. 17.It was not to be poured out there, but sprinkled only; for the cleansing virtue of the blood of Christwas then and still is sufficiently signified and represented by sprinkling, Isa. lii. 15. It was to besprinkled seven times. Seven is a number of perfection, because when God had made the world insix days he rested the seventh; so this signified the perfect satisfaction Christ made, and the completecleansing of the souls of the faithful by it; see Heb. x. 14. The blood was likewise to be put uponthe horns of the incense-altar, to which there seems to be an allusion in Jer. xvii. 1, where the sinof Judah is said to be graven upon the horns of their altars. If they did not forsake their sins, theputting of the blood of their sin-offerings upon the horns of their altars, instead of taking away theirguilt, did but bind it on the faster, perpetuated the remembrance of it, and remained a witness againstthem. It is likewise alluded to in Rev. ix. 13, where a voice is heard from the four horns of thegolden altar; that is, an answer of peace is given to the prayers of the saints, which are acceptableand prevalent only by virtue of the blood of the sin-offering put upon the horns of that altar; compareRev. viii. 3. 4. When the offering is completed, it is said, atonement is made, and the sin shall beforgiven, v. 20. The promise of remission is founded upon the atonement. It is spoken here of theforgiveness of the sin of the whole congregation, that is, the turning away of those national judgmentswhich the sin deserved. Note, The saving of churches and kingdoms from ruin is owing to thesatisfaction and mediation of Christ.22 When a ruler hath sinned, and done somewhat through ignorance against anyof the commandments of the Lord his God concerning things which should not bedone, and is guilty; 23 Or if his sin, wherein he hath sinned, come to his knowledge;he shall bring his offering, a kid of the goats, a male without blemish: 24 And heshall lay his hand upon the head of the goat, and kill it in the place where they killthe burnt offering before the Lord: it is a sin offering. 25 And the priest shall take672Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)of the blood of the sin offering with his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altarof burnt offering, and shall pour out his blood at the bottom of the altar of burntoffering. 26 And he shall burn all his fat upon the altar, as the fat of the sacrificeof peace offerings: and the priest shall make an atonement for him as concerninghis sin, and it shall be forgiven him.Observe here, 1. That God takes notice of and is displeased with the sins of rulers. Those whohave power to call others to account are themselves accountable to the ruler of rulers; for, as highas they are, there is a higher than they. This is intimated in that the commandment transgressed ishere said to be the commandment of the Lord his God, v. 22. He is a prince to others, but let himknow the Lord is a God to him. 2. The sin of the ruler which he committed through ignorance issupposed afterwards to come to his knowledge (v. 23), which must be either by the check of hisown conscience or by the reproof of his friends, both which we should all, even the best and greatest,not only submit to, but be thankful for. What we have done amiss we should be very desirous tocome to the knowledge of. That which I see not, teach thou me, and show me wherein I have erred,are prayers we should put up to God every day, that though through ignorance we fall into sin wemay not through ignorance lie still in it. 3. The sin-offering for a ruler was to be a kid of the goats,not a bullock, as for the priest and the whole congregation; nor was the blood of his sin-offeringto be brought into the tabernacle, as of the other two, but it was all bestowed upon the brazen altar(v. 25); nor was the flesh of it to be burnt, as that of the other two, without the camp, which intimatedthat the sin of a ruler, though worse than that of a common person, yet was not so heinous, nor ofsuch pernicious consequence, as the sin of the high priest, or of the whole congregation. A kid ofthe goats was sufficient to be offered for a ruler, but a bullock for a tribe, to intimate that the ruler,though major singulis—greater than each, was minor universis—less than the whole. It is bad whengreat men give bad examples, but worse when all men follow them. 4. It is promised that theatonement shall be accepted and the sin forgiven (v. 26), that is, if he repent and reform; for otherwiseGod swore concerning Eli, a judge in Israel, that the iniquity of his house should not be purgedwith sacrifice nor offering for ever, 1 Sam. iii. 14.27 And if any one of the common people sin through ignorance, while he doethsomewhat against any of the commandments of the Lord concerning things whichought not to be done, and be guilty; 28 Or if his sin, which he hath sinned, come tohis knowledge: then he shall bring his offering, a kid of the goats, a female withoutblemish, for his sin which he hath sinned. 29 And he shall lay his hand upon thehead of the sin offering, and slay the sin offering in the place of the burnt offering.30 And the priest shall take of the blood thereof with his finger, and put it upon thehorns of the altar of burnt offering, and shall pour out all the blood thereof at thebottom of the altar. 31 And he shall take away all the fat thereof, as the fat is takenaway from off the sacrifice of peace offerings; and the priest shall burn it upon thealtar for a sweet savour unto the Lord; and the priest shall make an atonement forhim, and it shall be forgiven him. 32 And if he bring a lamb for a sin offering, heshall bring it a female without blemish. 33 And he shall lay his hand upon the head673Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)of the sin offering, and slay it for a sin offering in the place where they kill the burntoffering. 34 And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin offering with his finger,and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and shall pour out all theblood thereof at the bottom of the altar: 35 And he shall take away all the fat thereof,as the fat of the lamb is taken away from the sacrifice of the peace offerings; andthe priest shall burn them upon the altar, according to the offerings made by fireunto the Lord: and the priest shall make an atonement for his sin that he hathcommitted, and it shall be forgiven him.I. Here is the law of the sin-offering for a common person, which differs from that for a ruleronly in this, that a private person might bring either a kid or a lamb, a ruler only a kid; and that fora ruler must be a male, for the other a female: in all the circumstances of the management of theoffering they agreed. Observe, 1. The case supposed: If any one of the common people sin throughignorance, v. 27. The prophet supposes that they were not so likely as the great men to know theway of the Lord, and the judgment of their God (Jer. v. 4), and yet, if they sin through ignorance,they must bring a sin-offering. Note, Even sins of ignorance need to be atoned for by sacrifice. Tobe able to plead, when we are charged with sin, that we did it ignorantly, and through the surpriseof temptation, will not bring us off if we be not interested in that great plea, Christ hath died, andentitled to the benefit of that. We have all need to pray with David (and he was a ruler) to be cleansedfrom secret faults, the errors which we ourselves do not understand or are not aware of, Ps. xix.12. 2. That the sins of ignorance committed by a single person, a common obscure person, didrequire a sacrifice; for, as the greatest are not above the censure, so the meanest are not below thecognizance of the divine justice. None of the common people, if offenders, were overlooked in acrowd. 3. That a sin-offering was not only admitted, but accepted, even from one of the commonpeople, and an atonement made by it, v. 31, 35. Here rich and poor, prince and peasant, meettogether; they are both alike welcome to Christ, and to an interest in his sacrifice, upon the sameterms. See Job xxxiv. 19.II. From all these laws concerning the sin-offerings we may learn, 1. To hate sin, and to watchagainst it. That is certainly a very bad thing to make atonement for which so many innocent anduseful creatures must be slain and mangled thus. 2. To value Christ, the great and true sin-offering,whose blood cleanses from all sin, which it was not possible that the blood of bulls and of goatsshould take away. Now, if any man sin, Christ is the propitiation (1 John ii. 1, 2), not for Jews only,but for Gentiles. And perhaps there was some allusion to this law concerning sacrifices for sins ofignorance in that prayer of Christ's, just when he was offering up himself a sacrifice, Father, forgivethem, for they know not what they do.L E V I T C U SCHAP. V.674Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)This chapter, and part of the next, concern the trespass-offering. The difference between thisand the sin-offering lay not so much in the sacrifices themselves, and the management of them, asin the occasions of the offering of them. They were both intended to make atonement for sin; butthe former was more general, this applied to some particular instances. Observe what is here said,I. Concerning the trespass. If a man sin, 1. In concealing his knowledge, when he is adjured, ver.1. 2. In touching an unclean thing, ver. 2, 3. 3. In swearing, ver. 4. 4. In embezzling the holy things,ver. 14-16. 5. In any sin of infirmity, ver. 17-19. Some other cases there are, in which these offeringswere to be offered, ch. vi. 2-4; xiv. 12; xix. 21; Num. vi. 12. II. Concerning the trespass-offerings,1. Of the flock, ver. 5, 6. 2. Of fowls, ver. 7-10. 3. Of flour, ver. 11-13; but chiefly a ram withoutblemish, ver. 15, &c.Law of the Sin-Offering. (b. c. 1490.)1 And if a soul sin, and hear the voice of swearing, and is a witness, whether hehath seen or known of it; if he do not utter it, then he shall bear his iniquity. 2 Orif a soul touch any unclean thing, whether it be a carcase of an unclean beast, or acarcase of unclean cattle, or the carcase of unclean creeping things, and if it be hiddenfrom him; he also shall be unclean, and guilty. 3 Or if he touch the uncleanness ofman, whatsoever uncleanness it be that a man shall be defiled withal, and it be hidfrom him; when he knoweth of it, then he shall be guilty. 4 Or if a soul swear,pronouncing with his lips to do evil, or to do good, whatsoever it be that a man shallpronounce with an oath, and it be hid from him; when he knoweth of it, then he shallbe guilty in one of these. 5 And it shall be, when he shall be guilty in one of thesethings, that he shall confess that he hath sinned in that thing: 6 And he shall bringhis trespass offering unto the Lord for his sin which he hath sinned, a female fromthe flock, a lamb or a kid of the goats, for a sin offering; and the priest shall makean atonement for him concerning his sin.I. The offences here supposed are, 1. A man's concealing the truth when he was sworn as awitness to speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Judges among the Jews hadpower to adjure not only the witnesses, as with us, but the person suspected (contrary to a rule ofour law, that no man is bound to accuse himself), as appears by the high priest adjuring our Saviour,who thereupon answered, though before he stood silent, Matt. xxvi. 63, 64. Now (v. 1), If a soulsin (that is, a person, for the soul is the man), if he hear the voice of swearing (that is, if he beadjured to testify what he knows, by an oath of the Lord upon him, 1 Kings viii. 31), if in such acase, for fear of offending one that either has been his friend or may be his enemy, he refuses togive evidence, or gives it but in part, he shall bear his iniquity. And that is a heavy burden, which,if some course be not taken to get it removed, will sink a man to the lowest hell. He that hearethcursing (that is, that is thus adjured) and betrayeth it not (that is, stifles his evidence, and does notutter it), he is a partner with the sinner, and hateth his own soul; see Prov. xxix. 24. Let all that arecalled out at any time to bear testimony think of this law, and be free and open in their evidence,and take heed of prevaricating. An oath of the Lord is a sacred thing, and not to be dallied with. 2.A man's touching any thing that was ceremonially unclean, v. 2, 3. If a man, polluted by such touch,came into the sanctuary inconsiderately, or if he neglected to wash himself according to the law,675Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)then he was to look upon himself as under guilt, and must bring his offering. Though his touchingthe unclean thing contracted only a ceremonial defilement, yet his neglect to wash himself accordingto the law was such an instance either of carelessness or contempt as contracted a moral guilt. If atfirst it be hidden from him, yet when he knows it he shall be guilty. Note, As soon as ever God byhis Spirit convinces our consciences of any sin or duty we must immediately set in with theconviction, and prosecute it, as those that are not ashamed to own our former mistake. 3. Rashswearing. If a man binds himself by an oath that he will do or not do such a thing, and theperformance of his oath afterwards proves either unlawful or impracticable, by which he is dischargedfrom the obligation, yet he must bring an offering to atone for his fully in swearing so rashly, asDavid that he would kill Nabal. And then it was that he must say before the angel that it was anerror, Eccl. v. 6. He shall be guilty in one of these (ch. v. 4), guilty if he do not perform his oath,and yet, if the matter of it were evil, guilty if he do. Such wretched dilemmas as these do some menbring themselves into by their own rashness and folly; go which way they will their consciencesare wounded, sin stares them in the face, so sadly are they snared in the words of their mouth. Amore sad dilemma this is than that of the lepers, "If we sit still, we die; if we stir, we die." Wisdomand watchfulness beforehand would prevent these straits.II. Now in these cases, 1. The offender must confess his sin and bring his offering (v. 5, 6);and the offering was not accepted unless it was accompanied with a penitential confession and ahumble prayer for pardon. Observe, The confession must be particular, that he hath sinned in thatthing; such was David's confession (Ps. li. 4), I have done this evil; and Achan's (Josh. vii. 20),Thus and thus have I done. Deceit lies in generals; many will own in general they have sinned, forthat all must own, so that it is not any particular reproach to them; but that they have sinned in thisthing they stand too much upon their honour to acknowledge: but the way to be well assured ofpardon, and to be well armed against sin for the future, is to be particular in our penitent confessions.2. The priest must make atonement for him. As the atonement was not accepted without hisrepentance, so his repentance would not justify him without the atonement. Thus, in our reconciliationto God, Christ's part and ours are both needful.7 And if he be not able to bring a lamb, then he shall bring for his trespass, whichhe hath committed, two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, unto the Lord; one fora sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering. 8 And he shall bring them untothe priest, who shall offer that which is for the sin offering first, and wring off hishead from his neck, but shall not divide it asunder: 9 And he shall sprinkle of theblood of the sin offering upon the side of the altar; and the rest of the blood shall bewrung out at the bottom of the altar: it is a sin offering. 10 And he shall offer thesecond for a burnt offering, according to the manner: and the priest shall make anatonement for him for his sin which he hath sinned, and it shall be forgiven him.11 But if he be not able to bring two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, then he thatsinned shall bring for his offering the tenth part of an ephah of fine flour for a sinoffering; he shall put no oil upon it, neither shall he put any frankincense thereon:for it is a sin offering. 12 Then shall he bring it to the priest, and the priest shalltake his handful of it, even a memorial thereof, and burn it on the altar, according676Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)to the offerings made by fire unto the Lord: it is a sin offering. 13 And the priestshall make an atonement for him as touching his sin that he hath sinned in one ofthese, and it shall be forgiven him: and the remnant shall be the priest's, as a meatoffering.Provision is here made for the poor of God's people, and the pacifying of their consciencesunder the sense of guilt. Those that were not able to bring a lamb might bring for a sin-offering apair of turtle-doves or two young pigeons; nay, if any were so extremely poor that they were notable to procure these so often as they would have occasion, they might bring a pottle of fine flour,and this should be accepted. Thus the expense of the sin-offering was brought lower than that ofany other offering, to teach us that no man's poverty shall ever be a bar in the way of his pardon.The poorest of all may have atonement made for them, if it be not their own fault. Thus the poorare evangelized; and no man shall say that he had not wherewithal to bear the charges of a journeyto heaven. Now,I. If the sinner brought two doves, one was to be offered for a sin-offering and the other for aburnt-offering, v. 7. Observe, 1. Before he offered the burnt-offering, which was for the honourand praise of God, he must offer the sin-offering, to make atonement. We must first see to it thatour peace be made with God, and then we may expect that our services for his glory will be accepted.The sin-offering must make way for the burnt-offering. 2. After the sin-offering, which madeatonement, came the burnt-offering, as an acknowledgment of the great mercy of God in appointingand accepting the atonement.II. If he brought fine flour, a handful of it was to be offered, but without either oil or frankincense(v. 11), not only because this would make it too costly for the poor, for whose comfort this sacrificewas appointed, but because it was a sin-offering, and therefore, to show the loathsomeness of thesin for which it was offered, it must not be made grateful either to the taste by oil or to the smellby frankincense. The unsavouriness of the offering was to intimate that the sinner must never relishhis sin again as he had done. God by these sacrifices did speak, 1. Comfort to those that had offended,that they might not despair, nor pine away in their iniquity; but, peace being thus made for themwith God, they might have peace in him. 2. Caution likewise not to offend any more, rememberingwhat an expensive troublesome thing it was to make atonement.Law of the Trespass-Offering. (b. c. 1490.)14 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 15 If a soul commit a trespass, andsin through ignorance, in the holy things of the Lord; then he shall bring for histrespass unto the Lord a ram without blemish out of the flocks, with thy estimationby shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary, for a trespass offering: 16And he shall make amends for the harm that he hath done in the holy thing, andshall add the fifth part thereto, and give it unto the priest: and the priest shall makean atonement for him with the ram of the trespass offering, and it shall be forgivenhim. 17 And if a soul sin, and commit any of these things which are forbidden tobe done by the commandments of the Lord; though he wist it not, yet is he guilty,and shall bear his iniquity. 18 And he shall bring a ram without blemish out of the677Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)flock, with thy estimation, for a trespass offering, unto the priest: and the priest shallmake an atonement for him concerning his ignorance wherein he erred and wist itnot, and it shall be forgiven him. 19 It is a trespass offering: he hath certainlytrespassed against the Lord.Hitherto in this chapter orders were given concerning those sacrifices that were bothsin-offerings and trespass-offerings, for they go by both names, v. 6. Here we have the lawconcerning those that were properly and peculiarly trespass-offerings, which were offered to atonefor trespasses done against a neighbour, those sins we commonly call trespasses. Now injuries doneto another may be either in holy things or in common things; of the former we have the law in theseverses; of the latter in the beginning of the next chapter. If a man did harm (as it is v. 16) in theholy things of the Lord, he thereby committed a trespass against the priests, the Lord's ministers,who were entrusted with the care of these holy things, and had the benefit of them. Now if a mandid alienate or convert to his own use any thing that was dedicated to God, unwittingly, he was tobring this sacrifice; as suppose he had ignorantly made use of the tithes, or first-fruits, or first-bornof his cattle, or (which, it should seem by ch. xxii. 14-16, is principally meant here) had eaten anyof those parts of the sacrifices which were appropriated to the priests; this was a trespass. It issupposed to be done through mistake, or forgetfulness, for want either of care or zeal; for if it wasdone presumptuously, and in contempt of the law, the offender died without mercy, Heb. x. 28.But in case of negligence and ignorance this sacrifice was appointed; and Moses is told, 1. Whatmust be done in case the trespass appeared to be certain. The trespasser must bring an offering tothe Lord, which, in all those that were purely trespass-offerings, must be a ram without blemish,"of the second year," say the Jewish doctors. He must likewise make restitution to the priest,according to a just estimation of the thing which he had so alienated, adding a fifth part to it, thathe might learn to take more heed next time of embezzling what was sacred to God, finding to hiscost that there was nothing got by it, and that he paid dearly for his oversights. 2. What must bedone in case it were doubtful whether he had trespassed or no; he had cause to suspect it, but hewist it not (v. 17), that is, he was not very certain; in this case, because it is good to be sure, he mustbring his trespass-offering, and the value of that which he feared he had embezzled, only he wasnot to add the fifth part to it. Now this was designed to show the very great evil there is in sacrilege.Achan, that was guilty of it presumptuously, died for it; so did Ananias and Sapphira. But this goesfurther to show the evil of it, that if a man had, through mere ignorance, and unwittingly, alienatedthe holy things, nay, if he did but suspect that he had done so, he must be at the expense, not onlyof a full restitution with interest, but of an offering, with the trouble of bringing it, and must takeshame to himself, by making confession of it; so bad a thing is it to invade God's property, and socautious should we be to abstain from all appearances of this evil. We are also taught here to bejealous over ourselves with a godly jealousy, to ask pardon for the sin, and make satisfaction forthe wrong, which we do but suspect ourselves guilty of. In doubtful cases we should take and keepthe safer side.L E V I T C U S678Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)CHAP. VI.The first seven verses of this chapter might fitly have been added to the foregoing chapter,being a continuation of the law of the trespass-offering, and the putting of other cases in which itwas to be offered; and with this end the instructions God gave concerning the several kinds ofsacrifices that should be offered: and then at v. 8 (which in the original begins a new section of thelaw) he comes to appoint the several rites and ceremonies concerning these sacrifices which hadnot been mentioned before. I. The burnt-offering, ver. 8-13. II. The meat-offering (ver. 11-18),particularly that at the consecration of the priest, ver. 19-23. III. The sin-offering, ver. 24, &c.Law of the Trespass-Offering. (b. c. 1490.)1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 2 If a soul sin, and commit a trespassagainst the Lord, and lie unto his neighbour in that which was delivered him to keep,or in fellowship, or in a thing taken away by violence, or hath deceived his neighbour;3 Or have found that which was lost, and lieth concerning it, and sweareth falsely;in any of all these that a man doeth, sinning therein: 4 Then it shall be, because hehath sinned, and is guilty, that he shall restore that which he took violently away,or the thing which he hath deceitfully gotten, or that which was delivered him tokeep, or the lost thing which he found, 5 Or all that about which he hath swornfalsely; he shall even restore it in the principal, and shall add the fifth part morethereto, and give it unto him to whom it appertaineth, in the day of his trespassoffering. 6 And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the Lord, a ram withoutblemish out of the flock, with thy estimation, for a trespass offering, unto the priest:7 And the priest shall make an atonement for him before the Lord: and it shall beforgiven him for any thing of all that he hath done in trespassing therein.This is the latter part of the law of the trespass-offering: the former part, which concernedtrespasses about holy things, we had in the close of the foregoing chapter; this concerns trespassesin common things. Observe here,I. The trespass supposed, v. 2, 3. Though all the instances relate to our neighbour, yet it iscalled a trespass against the Lord, because, though the injury be done immediately to our neighbour,yet an affront is thereby given to his Maker and our Master. He that speaks evil of his brother issaid to speak evil of the law, and consequently of the Law-maker, Jam. iv. 11. Though the personinjured be ever so mean and despicable, and every way our inferior, yet the injury reflects uponthat God who has made the command of loving our neighbour second to that of loving himself.The trespasses specified are, 1. Denying a trust: If a man lie unto his neighbour in that which wasdelivered him to keep, or, which is worse, which was lent him for his use. If we claim that as ourown which is only borrowed, left in our custody, or committed to our care, this is a trespass againstthe Lord, who, for the benefit of human society, will have property and truth maintained. 2.Defrauding a partner: If a man lie in fellowship, claiming a sole interest in that wherein he has buta joint-interest. 3. Disowning a manifest wrong: If a man has the front to lie in a thing taken awayby violence, which ordinarily cannot be hid. 4. Deceiving in commerce, or, as some think, by false679Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)accusation; if a man have deceitfully oppressed his neighbour, as some read it, either withholdingwhat is due or extorting what is not. 5. Detaining what is found, and denying it (v. 3); if a man havefound that which was lost, he must not call it his own presently, but endeavour to find out the owner,to whom it must be returned; this is doing as we would be done by: but he that lies concerning it,that falsely says he knows nothing of it, especially if he back this lie with a false oath, trespassethagainst the Lord, who to every thing that is said is a witness, but in an oath he is the party appealedto, and highly affronted when he is called to witness to a lie.II. The trespass-offering appointed. 1. In the day of his trespass-offering he must makesatisfaction to his brother. This must be first done if thy brother hath aught against thee: Becausehe hath sinned and is guilty, (v. 4, 5), that is, is convicted of his guilt by his own conscience, andis touched with remorse for it; seeing himself guilty before God, let him faithfully restore all thathe has got by fraud or oppression, with a fifth part added, to make amends to the owner for the lossand trouble he had sustained in the mean time; let him account both for debt and damages. Note,Where wrong has been done restitution must be made; and till it is made to the utmost of our power,or an equivalent accepted by the person wronged, we cannot have the comfort of the forgivenessof the sin; for the keeping of what is unjustly got avows the taking, and both together make but onecontinued act of unrighteousness. To repent is to undo what we have done amiss, which (whateverwe pretend) we cannot be said to do till we restore what has been got by it, as Zaccheus (Luke xix.8), and make satisfaction for the wrong done. 2. He must then come and offer his gift, must bringhis trespass-offering to the Lord whom he had offended; and the priest must make an atonementfor him, v. 6, 7. This trespass-offering could not, of itself, make satisfaction for sin, nor reconciliationbetween God and the sinner, but as it signified the atonement that was to be made by our LordJesus, when he should make his soul an offering or sin, a trespass-offering; it is the same word thatis here used, Isa. liii. 10. The trespasses here mentioned are trespasses still against the law of Christ,which insists as much upon justice and truth as ever the law of nature or the law of Moses did; andthough now we may have them pardoned without a trespass-offering, yet not without true repentance,restitution, reformation, and a humble faith in the righteousness of Christ: and, if any make themore bold with these sins because they are not now put to the expense of a trespass-offering forthem, they turn the grace of God into wantonness, and so bring upon themselves a swift destruction.The Lord is the avenger of all such, 1 Thess. iv. 6.Law of the Burnt-Offering. (b. c. 1490.)8 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 9 Command Aaron and his sons,saying, This is the law of the burnt offering: It is the burnt offering, because of theburning upon the altar all night unto the morning, and the fire of the altar shall beburning in it. 10 And the priest shall put on his linen garment, and his linen breechesshall he put upon his flesh, and take up the ashes which the fire hath consumed withthe burnt offering on the altar, and he shall put them beside the altar. 11 And heshall put off his garments, and put on other garments, and carry forth the asheswithout the camp unto a clean place. 12 And the fire upon the altar shall be burningin it; it shall not be put out: and the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and680Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)lay the burnt offering in order upon it; and he shall burn thereon the fat of the peaceofferings. 13 The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out.Hitherto we have had the instructions which Moses was directed to give to the people concerningthe sacrifices; but here begin the instructions he was to give to the priests; he must command Aaronand his sons, v. 9. The priests were rulers in the house of God, but these rulers must be ruled; andthose that had the command of others must themselves be commanded. Let ministers rememberthat not only commissions, but commands, were given to Aaron and his sons, who must be insubjection to them.In these verses we have the law of the burnt-offering, as far as it was the peculiar care of thepriests. The daily sacrifice of a lamb, which was offered morning and evening for the wholecongregation, is here chiefly referred to.I. The priest must take care of the ashes of the burnt-offering, that they be decently disposedof, v. 10, 11. He must clear the altar of them every morning, and put them on the east side of thealtar, which was furthest from the sanctuary; this he must do in his linen garment, which he alwayswore when he did any service at the altar; and then he must shift himself, and put on other garments,either such as were his common wear, or (as some think) other priestly garments less honourable,and must carry the ashes into a clean place without the camp. Now, 1. God would have this done,for the honour of his altar and the sacrifices that were burnt upon it. Even the ashes of the sacrificesmust be preserved, to testify the regard God had to it; by the burnt-offering he was honoured, andtherefore thus it was honoured, and therefore thus it was honoured. And some think that this carewhich was taken of the ashes of the sacrifice typified the burial of our Saviour; his dead body (theashes of his sacrifice) was carefully laid up in a garden, in a new sepulchre, which was a cleanplace. It was also requisite that the altar should be kept as clean as might be; the fire upon it wouldburn the better, and it is decent in a house to have a clean fire-side. 2. God would have the prieststhemselves to keep it so, to teach them and us to stoop to the meanest services for the honour ofGod and of his altar. The priest himself must not only kindle the fire, but clean the hearth, and carryout the ashes. God's servants must think nothing below them but sin.II. The priest must take care of the fire upon the altar, that it be kept always burning. This ismuch insisted on here (v. 9, 12), and this express law is given: The fire shall ever be burning uponthe altar, it shall never go out, v. 13. We may suppose that no day passed without some extraordinarysacrifices, which were always offered between the morning and evening lamb; so that from morningto night the fire on the altar was kept up of course. But to preserve it all night unto the morning (v.9) required some care. Those that keep good houses never let their kitchen fire go out; thereforeGod would thus give an instance of his good house-keeping. The first fire upon the altar came fromheaven (ch. ix. 24), so that by keeping that up continually with a constant supply of fuel all theirsacrifices throughout all their generations might be said to be consumed with that fire from heaven,in token of God's acceptance. If, through carelessness, they should ever let it go out, they could notexpect to have it so kindled again. Accordingly the Jews tell us that the fire never did go out uponthe altar, till the captivity in Babylon. This is referred to Isa. xxxi. 9, where God is said to have hisfire in Zion, and his furnace in Jerusalem. By this law we are taught to keep up in our minds aconstant disposition to all acts of piety and devotion, an habitual affection to divine things, so asto be always ready to every good word and work. We must not only not quench the Spirit, but we681Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)must stir up the gift that is in us. Though we be not always sacrificing, yet we must keep the fireof holy love always burning; and thus we must pray always.Law of the Meat-Offering. (b. c. 1490.)14 And this is the law of the meat offering: the sons of Aaron shall offer it beforethe Lord, before the altar. 15 And he shall take of it his handful, of the flour of themeat offering, and of the oil thereof, and all the frankincense which is upon the meatoffering, and shall burn it upon the altar for a sweet savour, even the memorial ofit, unto the Lord. 16 And the remainder thereof shall Aaron and his sons eat: withunleavened bread shall it be eaten in the holy place; in the court of the tabernacleof the congregation they shall eat it. 17 It shall not be baken with leaven. I havegiven it unto them for their portion of my offerings made by fire; it is most holy, asis the sin offering, and as the trespass offering. 18 All the males among the childrenof Aaron shall eat of it. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations concerningthe offerings of the Lord made by fire: every one that toucheth them shall be holy.19 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 20 This is the offering of Aaron andof his sons, which they shall offer unto the Lord in the day when he is anointed; thetenth part of an ephah of fine flour for a meat offering perpetual, half of it in themorning, and half thereof at night. 21 In a pan it shall be made with oil; and whenit is baken, thou shalt bring it in: and the baken pieces of the meat offering shaltthou offer for a sweet savour unto the Lord. 22 And the priest of his sons that isanointed in his stead shall offer it: it is a statute for ever unto the Lord; it shall bewholly burnt. 23 For every meat offering for the priest shall be wholly burnt: itshall not be eaten.The meat-offering was either that which was offered by the people or that by the priests attheir consecration. Now,I. As to the common meat-offering,1. Only a handful of it was to be burnt upon the altar; all the rest was allowed to the priests fortheir food. The law of the burnt-offerings was such as imposed upon the priests a great deal of careand work, but allowed them little profit; for the flesh was wholly burnt, and the priests had nothingbut the skin. But to make them amends the greatest part of the meat-offering was their own. Theburning of a handful of it upon the altar (v. 15) was ordered before, ch. ii. 2, 9. Here the remainderof it is consigned to the priests, the servants of God's house: I have given it unto them for theirportion of my offerings, v. 17. Note, (1.) It is the will of God that his ministers should be wellprovided for with food convenient; and what is given to them he accepts as offered to himself, ifit be done with a single eye. (2.) All Christians, being spiritual priests, do themselves share in thespiritual sacrifices they offer. It is not God that is the gainer by them; the handful burnt upon thealtar was not worth speaking of, in comparison with the priests' share; we ourselves are the gainersby our religious services. Let God have all the frankincense, and the priests shall have the flour682Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)and the oil; what we give to God the praise and glory of we may take to ourselves the comfort andbenefit of.2. The laws concerning the eating of it were, (1.) That it must be eaten unleavened, v. 16. Whatwas offered to God must have no leaven in it, and the priests must have it as the altar had it, andno otherwise. Thus must we keep the feasts of the Lord with the unleavened bread of sincerity andtruth. (2.) It must be eaten in the court of the tabernacle (here called the holy place), in some roomprepared by the side of the court for this purpose. It was a great crime to carry any of it out of thecourt. The very eating of it was a sacred rite, by which they were to honour God, and therefore itmust be done in a religious manner, and with a holy reverence, which was preserved by confiningit to the holy place. (3.) The males only must eat of it, v. 18. Of the less holy things, as the first-fruitsand tithes, and the shoulder and breasts of the peace-offerings, the daughters of the priests mighteat, for they might be carried out of the court; but this was of the most holy things, which being tobe eaten only in the tabernacle, the sons of Aaron only might eat of it. (4.) The priests only thatwere clean might eat of it: Every one that toucheth them shall be holy, v. 18. Holy things for holypersons. Some read it, Every thing that toucheth it shall be holy: Al the furniture of the table onwhich these holy things were eaten must be appropriated to that use only, and never after used ascommon things.II. As to the consecration meat-offering, which was offered for the priests themselves, it wasto be wholly burnt, and none of it eaten, v. 23. It comes in here as an exception to the foregoinglaw. It should seem that this law concerning the meat-offering of initiation did not only oblige thehigh priest to offer it, and on that day only that he was anointed, and so for his successors in theday they were anointed; but the Jewish writers say that by this law every priest, on the day he firstentered upon his ministry, was bound to offer this meat-offering,—that the high priest was boundto offer it every day of his life, from the day in which he was anointed,—and that it was to beoffered besides the meat-offering that attended the morning and evening sacrifice, because it is saidhere to be a meat-offering perpetual, v. 20. Josephus says, "The high priest sacrificed twice everyday at his own charges, and this was his sacrifice." Note, Those whom God has advanced aboveothers in dignity and power ought to consider that he expects more from them than from others,and should attend to every intimation of service to be done for him. The meat-offering of the priestwas to be baked as if it were to be eaten, and yet it must be wholly burnt. Though the priest thatministered was to be paid for serving the people, yet there was no reason that he should be paid forserving the high priest, who was the father of the family of the priests, and whom therefore anypriest should take a pleasure in serving gratis. Nor was it fit that the priests should eat of the offeringsof a priest; for as the sins of the people were typically transferred to the priests, which was signifiedby their eating of their offerings (Hos. iv. 8), so the sins of the priests must be typically transferredto the altar, which therefore must eat up all their offerings. We are all undone, both ministers andpeople, if we must bear our own iniquity; nor could we have had any comfort or hope if God hadnot laid on his dear Son the iniquity of us all, and he is both the priest and the altar.Law of the Sin-Offering. (b. c. 1490.)24 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 25 Speak unto Aaron and to his sons,saying, This is the law of the sin offering: In the place where the burnt offering iskilled shall the sin offering be killed before the Lord: it is most holy. 26 The priest683Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)that offereth it for sin shall eat it: in the holy place shall it be eaten, in the court ofthe tabernacle of the congregation. 27 Whatsoever shall touch the flesh thereof shallbe holy: and when there is sprinkled of the blood thereof upon any garment, thoushalt wash that whereon it was sprinkled in the holy place. 28 But the earthen vesselwherein it is sodden shall be broken: and if it be sodden in a brazen pot, it shall beboth scoured, and rinsed in water. 29 All the males among the priests shall eat thereof:it is most holy. 30 And no sin offering, whereof any of the blood is brought into thetabernacle of the congregation to reconcile withal in the holy place, shall be eaten:it shall be burnt in the fire.We have here so much of the law of the sin-offering as did peculiarly concern the priests thatoffered it. As, 1. That it must be killed in the place where the burnt-offering was killed (v. 25), thatis, on the north side of the altar (ch. i. 11), which, some think typified the crucifying of Christ onmount Calvary, which was on the north side of Jerusalem. 2. That the priest who offered it for thesinner was (with his sons, or other priests, v. 29) to eat the flesh of it, after the blood and fat hadbeen offered to God, in the court of the tabernacle, v. 26. Hereby they were to bear the iniquity ofthe congregation, as it is explained, ch. x. 17. 3. The blood of the sin-offering was with greatreverence to be washed out of the clothes on which it happened to light (v. 27), which signified theawful regard we ought to have to the blood of Christ, not counting it a common thing; that bloodmust be sprinkled on the conscience, not on the raiment. 4. The vessel in which the flesh of thesin-offering was boiled must be broken if it were an earthen one, and, if a brazen one, well washed,v. 28. This intimated that the defilement was not wholly taken away by the offering, but did rathercleave to it, such was the weakness and deficiency of those sacrifices; but the blood of Christthoroughly cleanses from all sin, and after it there needs no cleansing. 5. That all this must beunderstood of the common sin-offerings, not of those for the priest, or the body of the congregation,either occasional, or stated upon the day of atonement; for it had been before ordained, and wasnow ratified, that if the blood of the offering was brought into the holy place, as it was in thoseextraordinary cases, the flesh was not to be eaten, but burnt without the camp, v. 30. Hence theapostle infers the advantage we have under the gospel above what they had under the law; forthough the blood of Christ was brought into the tabernacle, to reconcile within the holy place, yetwe have a right by faith to eat of the altar (Heb. xiii. 10-12), and so to take the comfort of the greatpropitiation.L E V I T C U SCHAP. VII.Here is, I. The law of the trespass-offering (ver. 1-7), with some further directions concerningthe burnt-offering and the meat-offering, ver. 8-10. II. The law of the peace-offering. The eatingof it (ver. 11-21), on which occasion the prohibition of eating fat or blood is repeated (ver. 22-27),and the priests' share of it, ver. 28-34. III. The conclusion of those institutions, ver. 35, &c.684Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)Law of the Trespass-Offering. (b. c. 1490.)1 Likewise this is the law of the trespass offering: it is most holy. 2 In the placewhere they kill the burnt offering shall they kill the trespass offering: and the bloodthereof shall he sprinkle round about upon the altar. 3 And he shall offer of it allthe fat thereof; the rump, and the fat that covereth the inwards, 4 And the twokidneys, and the fat that is on them, which is by the flanks, and the caul that is abovethe liver, with the kidneys, it shall he take away: 5 And the priest shall burn themupon the altar for an offering made by fire unto the Lord: it is a trespass offering.6 Every male among the priests shall eat thereof: it shall be eaten in the holy place:it is most holy. 7 As the sin offering is, so is the trespass offering: there is one lawfor them: the priest that maketh atonement therewith shall have it. 8 And the priestthat offereth any man's burnt offering, even the priest shall have to himself the skinof the burnt offering which he hath offered. 9 And all the meat offering that isbaken in the oven, and all that is dressed in the fryingpan, and in the pan, shall bethe priest's that offereth it. 10 And every meat offering, mingled with oil, and dry,shall all the sons of Aaron have, one as much as another.Observe here, 1. Concerning the trespass-offering, that, being much of the same nature withthe sin-offering, it was to be governed by the same rules, v. 6. When the blood and fat were offeredto God to make atonement, the priests were to eat the flesh, as that of the sin-offering, in the holyplace. The Jews have a tradition (as we have it from the learned bishop Patrick) concerning thesprinkling of the blood of the trespass-offering round about upon the altar, "That there was a scarletline which went round about the altar exactly in the middle, and the blood of the burnt-offeringswas sprinkled round about above the line, but that of the trespass-offerings and peace-offeringsround about below the line." As to the flesh of the trespass-offering, the right to it belonged to thepriest that offered it, v. 7. He that did the work must have the wages. This was an encouragementto the priests to give diligent attendance on the altar; the more ready and busy they were the morethey got. Note, The more diligent we are in the services of religion the more we shall reap of theadvantages of it. But any of the priests, and the males of their families, might be invited by him towhom it belonged to partake with him: Every male among the priests shall eat thereof, that is, mayeat thereof, in the holy place, v. 6. And, no doubt, it was the usage to treat one another with thoseperquisites of their office, by which friendship and fellowship were kept up among the priests.Freely they had received, and must freely give. It seems the offerer was not himself to have anyshare of his trespass-offering, as he was to have of his peace-offering; but it was all divided betweenthe altar and the priest. They offered peace-offerings in thankfulness for mercy, and then it wasproper to feast; but they offered trespass-offerings in sorrow for sin, and then fasting was moreproper, in token of holy mourning, and a resolution to abstain from sin. 2. Concerning theburnt-offering it is here appointed that the priest that offered it should have the skin (v. 8), whichno doubt he might make money of. "This" (the Jews say) "is meant only for the burnt-offeringswhich were offered by particular persons; for the profit of the skins of the daily burnt-offerings forthe congregation went to the repair of the sanctuary." Some suggest that this appointment will help685Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)us to understand God's clothing our first parents with coats of skins, Gen. iii. 21. It is probable thatthe beasts whose skins they were were offered in sacrifice as whole burnt-offerings, and that Adamwas the priest that offered them; and then God gave him the skins, as his fee, to make clothes offor himself and his wife, in remembrance of which the skins ever after pertained to the priest; andsee Gen. xxvii. 16. 3. Concerning the meat-offering, if it was dressed, it was fit to be eatenimmediately; and therefore the priest that offered it was to have it, v. 9. If it was dry, there was notso much occasion for being in haste to use it; and therefore an equal dividend of it must be madeamong all the priests that were then in waiting, v. 10.Law of the Peace-Offering. (b. c. 1490.)11 And this is the law of the sacrifice of peace offerings, which he shall offerunto the Lord. 12 If he offer it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer with thesacrifice of thanksgiving unleavened cakes mingled with oil, and unleavened wafersanointed with oil, and cakes mingled with oil, of fine flour, fried. 13 Besides thecakes, he shall offer for his offering leavened bread with the sacrifice of thanksgivingof his peace offerings. 14 And of it he shall offer one out of the whole oblation foran heave offering unto the Lord, and it shall be the priest's that sprinkleth the bloodof the peace offerings. 15 And the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offerings forthanksgiving shall be eaten the same day that it is offered; he shall not leave any ofit until the morning. 16 But if the sacrifice of his offering be a vow, or a voluntaryoffering, it shall be eaten the same day that he offereth his sacrifice: and on themorrow also the remainder of it shall be eaten: 17 But the remainder of the fleshof the sacrifice on the third day shall be burnt with fire. 18 And if any of the fleshof the sacrifice of his peace offerings be eaten at all on the third day, it shall not beaccepted, neither shall it be imputed unto him that offereth it: it shall be anabomination, and the soul that eateth of it shall bear his iniquity. 19 And the fleshthat toucheth any unclean thing shall not be eaten; it shall be burnt with fire: and asfor the flesh, all that be clean shall eat thereof. 20 But the soul that eateth of theflesh of the sacrifice of peace offerings, that pertain unto the Lord, having hisuncleanness upon him, even that soul shall be cut off from his people. 21 Moreoverthe soul that shall touch any unclean thing, as the uncleanness of man, or any uncleanbeast, or any abominable unclean thing, and eat of the flesh of the sacrifice of peaceofferings, which pertain unto the Lord, even that soul shall be cut off from his people.22 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 23 Speak unto the children of Israel,saying, Ye shall eat no manner of fat, of ox, or of sheep, or of goat. 24 And the fatof the beast that dieth of itself, and the fat of that which is torn with beasts, may beused in any other use: but ye shall in no wise eat of it. 25 For whosoever eateth thefat of the beast, of which men offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord, even thesoul that eateth it shall be cut off from his people. 26 Moreover ye shall eat no686Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)manner of blood, whether it be of fowl or of beast, in any of your dwellings. 27Whatsoever soul it be that eateth any manner of blood, even that soul shall be cutoff from his people. 28 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 29 Speak untothe children of Israel, saying, He that offereth the sacrifice of his peace offeringsunto the Lord shall bring his oblation unto the Lord of the sacrifice of his peaceofferings. 30 His own hands shall bring the offerings of the Lord made by fire, thefat with the breast, it shall he bring, that the breast may be waved for a wave offeringbefore the Lord. 31 And the priest shall burn the fat upon the altar: but the breastshall be Aaron's and his sons'. 32 And the right shoulder shall ye give unto thepriest for an heave offering of the sacrifices of your peace offerings. 33 He amongthe sons of Aaron, that offereth the blood of the peace offerings, and the fat, shallhave the right shoulder for his part. 34 For the wave breast and the heave shoulderhave I taken of the children of Israel from off the sacrifices of their peace offerings,and have given them unto Aaron the priest and unto his sons by a statute for everfrom among the children of Israel.All this relates to the peace-offerings: it is the repetition and explication of what we had before,with various additions.I. The nature and intention of the peace-offerings are here more distinctly opened. They wereoffered either, 1. In thankfulness for some special mercy received, such as recovery from sickness,preservation in a journey, deliverance at sea, redemption out of captivity, all which are specifiedin Ps. cvii., and for them men are called upon to offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving, v. 22. Or, 2. Inperformance of some vow which a man made when he was in distress (v. 16), and this was lesshonourable than the former, though the omission of it would have been more culpable. Or, 3. Insupplication for some special mercy which a man was in the pursuit and expectation of, here calleda voluntary offering. This accompanied a man's prayers, as the former did his praises. We do notfind that men were bound by the law, unless they had bound themselves by vow, to offer thesepeace-offerings upon such occasions, as they were to bring their sacrifices of atonement in case ofsin committed. Not but that prayer and praise are as much our duty as repentance is; but here, inthe expressions of their sense of mercy, God left them more to their liberty than in the expressionsof their sense of sin—to try the generosity of their devotion, and that their sacrifices, being free-willofferings, might be the more laudable and acceptable; and, by obliging them to bring the sacrificesof atonement, God would show the necessity of the great propitiation.II. The rites and ceremonies about the peace-offerings are enlarged upon.1. If the peace-offering was offered for a thanksgiving, a meat-offering must be offered withit, cakes of several sorts, and wafers (v. 12), and (which was peculiar to the peace-offerings) leavenedbread must be offered, not to be burnt upon the altar, that was forbidden (ch. ii. 11), but to be eatenwith the flesh of the sacrifice, that nothing might be wanting to make it a complete and pleasantfeast; for unleavened bread was less grateful to the taste, and therefore, though enjoined in thepassover for a particular reason, yet in other festivals leavened bread, which was lighter and morepleasant, was appointed, that men might feast at God's table as well as at their own. And some thinkthat a meat-offering is required to be brought with every peace-offering, as well as with that of687Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)thanksgiving, by that law (v. 29) which requires an oblation with it, that the table might be as wellfurnished as the altar.2. The flesh of the peace-offerings, both that which was the priest's share and that which wasthe offerer's must be eaten quickly, and not kept long, either raw, or dressed, cold. If it was apeace-offering for thanksgiving, it must be all eaten the same day (v. 16); if a vow, or voluntaryoffering, it must be eaten either the same day or the day after, v. 16. If any was left beyond the timelimited, it was to be burnt (v. 17); and, if any person ate of what was so left their conduct shouldbe animadverted upon as a very high misdemeanour, v. 18. Though they were not obliged to eat itin the holy place, as those offerings that are called most holy, but might take it to their own tentsand feast upon it there, yet God would by this law make them to know a difference between thatand other meat, and religiously to observe it, that whereas they might keep other meat cold in thehouse as long as they thought fit, and warm it again if they pleased, and eat it three or four daysafter, they might not do so with the flesh of their peace-offerings, but it must be eaten immediately.(1.) Because God would not have that holy flesh to be in danger of putrefying, or being fly-blown,to prevent which it must be salted with fire (as the expression is, Mark ix. 49) if it were kept; as,if it was used, it must be salted with salt. (2.) Because God would not have his people to be niggardlyand sparing, and distrustful of providence, but cheerfully to enjoy what God gives them (Eccl. viii.15), and to do good with it, and not to be anxiously solicitous for the morrow. (3.) The flesh of thepeace-offerings was God's treat, and therefore God would have the disposal of it; and he orders itto be used generously for the entertainment of their friends, and charitably for the relief of the poor,to show that he is a bountiful benefactor, giving us all things richly to enjoy, the bread of the dayin its day. If the sacrifice was thanksgiving, they were especially obliged thus to testify their holyjoy in God's goodness by their holy feasting. This law is made very strict (v. 18), that if the offererdid not take care to have all his offering eaten by himself or his family, his friends or the poor,within the time limited by the law, or, in the event of any part being left, to burn it (which was themost decent way of disposing of it, the sacrifices upon the altar being consumed by fire), then hisoffering should not be accepted, nor imputed to him. Note, All the benefit of our religious servicesis lost if we do not improve them, and conduct ourselves aright afterwards. They are not acceptableto God if they have not a due influence upon ourselves. If a man seemed generous in bringing apeace-offering, and yet afterwards proved sneaking and paltry in the using of it, it was as if he hadnever brought it; nay, it shall be an abomination. Note, There is no mean between God's acceptanceand his abhorrence. If our persons and performances are sincere and upright, they are accepted; ifnot, they are an abomination, Prov. xv. 8. He that eats it after the time appointed shall bear hisiniquity, that is, he shall be cut off from his people, as it is explained (ch. xix. 8), where this law isrepeated. This law of eating the peace-offerings before the third day, that they might not putrefy,is applicable tot the resurrection of Christ after two days, that, being God's holy one, he might notsee corruption, Ps. xvi. 10. And some think that it instructs us speedily, and without delay, to partakeof Christ and his grace, feeding and feasting thereon by faith to-day, while it is called to-day (Heb.iii. 13, 14), for it will be too late shortly.3. But the flesh, and those that eat it, must be pure. (1.) The flesh must touch no unclean thing;if it did, it must not be eaten, but burnt, v. 19. If, in carrying it from the altar to the place where itwas eaten, a dog touched it, or it touched a dead body or any other unclean thing, it was then unfitto be used in a religious feast. Every thing we honour the holy God with must be pure and carefullykept from all pollution. It is a case adjudged (Hag. ii. 12) that the holy flesh could not by its touch688Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)communicate holiness to what was common; but by this law it is determined that by the touch ofthat which was unclean it received pollution from it, which intimates that the infection of sin ismore easily and more frequently communicated than the savour of grace. (2.) It must not be eatenby any unclean person. When a person was upon any account ceremonially unclean it was at hisperil if he presumed to eat of the flesh of the peace-offerings, v. 20, 21. Holy things are only forholy persons; the holiness of the food being ceremonial, those were incapacitated to partake of itwho lay under any ceremonial uncleanness; but we are hereby taught to preserve ourselves purefrom all the pollutions of sin, that we may have the benefit and comfort of Christ's sacrifice, 1 Pet.ii. 1, 2. Our consciences must be purged from dead works, that we may be fit to serve the livingGod, Heb. ix. 14. But if any dare to partake of the table of the Lord under the pollution of sinunrepented of, and so profane sacred things, they eat and drink judgment to themselves, as thosedid that ate of the peace-offerings (v. 20) and again (v. 21), that they pertain unto the Lord: whateverpertains to the Lord is sacred, and must be used with great reverence and not with unhallowedhands. "Be you holy, for God is holy, and you pertain to him."4. The eating of blood and the fat of the inwards is here again prohibited; and the prohibitionis annexed as before to the law of the peace-offerings, ch. iii. 17. (1.) The prohibition of the fatseems to be confined to those beasts which were used for sacrifice, the bullocks, sheep, and goats:but of the roe-buck, the hart, and other clean beasts, they might eat the fat; for those only of whichofferings were brought are mentioned here, v. 23-25. This was to preserve in their minds a reverencefor God's altar, on which the fat of the inwards was burnt. The Jews say, "If a man eat so much asan olive of forbidden fat—if he do it presumptuously, he is in danger of being cut off by the handof God—if ignorantly, he is to bring a sin-offering, and so to pay dearly for his carelessness." Toeat of the flesh of that which died of itself, or was torn of beasts, was unlawful; but to eat of the fatof such was doubly unlawful, v. 24. (2.) The prohibition of blood is more general (v. 26, 27), becausethe fat was offered to God only by way of acknowledgment, but the blood made atonement for thesoul, and so typified Christ's sacrifice much more than the burning of the fat did; to this thereforea greater reverence must be paid, till these types had their accomplishment in the offering up of thebody of Christ once for all. The Jews rightly expound this law as forbidding only the blood of thelife, as they express it, not that which we call the gravy, for of that they supposed it was lawful toeat.5. The priest's share of the peace-offerings is here prescribed. Out of every beast that wasoffered for a peace-offering the priest that offered it was to have to himself the breast and the rightshoulder, v. 30-34. Observe here, (1.) That when the sacrifice was killed the offerer himself must,with his own hands, present God's part of it, that he might signify thereby his cheerfully giving itup to God, and his desire that it might be accepted. He was with his own hands to lift it up, in tokenof his regard to God as the God of heaven, and then to wave it to and fro, in token of his regard toGod as the Lord of the whole earth, to whom thus, as far as he could reach, he offered it, showinghis readiness and wish to do him honour. Now that which was thus heaved and waved was the fat,and the breast, and the right shoulder, it was all offered to God; and then he ordered the fat to hisaltar, and the breast and shoulder to his priest, both being his receivers. (2.) That when the fat wasburnt the priest took his part, on which he and his family were to feast, as well as the offerer andhis family. In holy joy and thanksgiving, it is good to have our ministers to go before us, and to beour mouth to God. The melody is sweet when he that sows and those that reap rejoice together.Some observe a significancy in the parts assigned to the priests: the breast and the shoulder intimate689Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)the affections and the actions, which must be devoted to the honour of God by all his people andto the service also of the church by all his priests. Christ, our great peace-offering, feasts all hisspiritual priests with the breast and shoulder, with the dearest love and the sweetest and strongestsupports; for his is the wisdom of God and the power of God. When Saul was designed for a kingSamuel ordered the shoulder of the peace-offering to be set before him (1 Sam. ix. 24), which gavehim a hint of something great and sacred intended for him. Jesus Christ is our great peace-offering;for he made himself a sacrifice, not only to atone for sin, and so to save us from the curse, but topurchase a blessing for us, and all good. By our joyfully partaking of the benefits of redemptionwe feast upon the sacrifice, to signify which the Lord's supper was instituted.35 This is the portion of the anointing of Aaron, and of the anointing of his sons,out of the offerings of the Lord made by fire, in the day when he presented them tominister unto the Lord in the priest's office; 36 Which the Lord commanded to begiven them of the children of Israel, in the day that he anointed them, by a statutefor ever throughout their generations. 37 This is the law of the burnt offering, of themeat offering, and of the sin offering, and of the trespass offering, and of theconsecrations, and of the sacrifice of the peace offerings; 38 Which the Lordcommanded Moses in mount Sinai, in the day that he commanded the children ofIsrael to offer their oblations unto the Lord, in the wilderness of Sinai.Here is the conclusion of these laws concerning the sacrifices, though some of them areafterwards repeated and explained. The are to be considered, 1. As a grant to the priests, v. 35, 36.In the day they were ordained to that work and office this provision was made for their comfortablemaintenance. Note, God will take care that those who are employed for him be well paid and wellprovided for. Those that receive the anointing of the Spirit to minister unto the Lord shall havetheir portion, and it shall be a worthy portion, out of the offerings of the Lord; for God's work isits own wages, and there is a present reward of obedience in obedience. 2. As a statute for ever tothe people, that they should bring these offerings according to the rules prescribed, and cheerfullygive the priests their share out of them. God commanded the children of Israel to offer their oblations,v. 38. Note, The solemn acts religious worship are commanded. They are not things that we areleft to our liberty in, and which we may do or not do at our pleasure; but we are under indispensableobligations to perform them in their season, and it is at our peril if we omit them. The observanceof the laws of Christ cannot be less necessary than the observance of the laws of Moses was.L E V I T C U SCHAP. VIII.This chapter gives us an account of the solemn consecration of Aaron and his sons to the priest'soffice. I. It was done publicly, and the congregation was called together to be witnesses of it, ver.1-4. II. It was done exactly according to God's appointment, ver. 5. 1. They were washed anddressed, ver. 6-9, 13. 2. The tabernacle and the utensils of it were anointed, and then the priests,690Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)ver. 10-12. 3. A sin-offering was offered for them, ver. 14-17. 4. A burnt-offering, ver. 18-21. 5.The ram of consecration, ver. 22-30. 6. The continuance of this solemnity for seven days, ver. 31,&c.Consecration of Aaron and His Sons. (b. c. 1490.)1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Take Aaron and his sons with him,and the garments, and the anointing oil, and a bullock for the sin offering, and tworams, and a basket of unleavened bread; 3 And gather thou all the congregationtogether unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. 4 And Moses did asthe Lord commanded him; and the assembly was gathered together unto the door ofthe tabernacle of the congregation. 5 And Moses said unto the congregation, Thisis the thing which the Lord commanded to be done. 6 And Moses brought Aaronand his sons, and washed them with water. 7 And he put upon him the coat, andgirded him with the girdle, and clothed him with the robe, and put the ephod uponhim, and he girded him with the curious girdle of the ephod, and bound it unto himtherewith. 8 And he put the breastplate upon him: also he put in the breastplate theUrim and the Thummim. 9 And he put the mitre upon his head; also upon the mitre,even upon his forefront, did he put the golden plate, the holy crown; as the Lordcommanded Moses. 10 And Moses took the anointing oil, and anointed thetabernacle and all that was therein, and sanctified them. 11 And he sprinkled thereofupon the altar seven times, and anointed the altar and all his vessels, both the laverand his foot, to sanctify them. 12 And he poured of the anointing oil upon Aaron'shead, and anointed him, to sanctify him. 13 And Moses brought Aaron's sons, andput coats upon them, and girded them with girdles, and put bonnets upon them; asthe Lord commanded Moses.God had given Moses orders to consecrate Aaron and his sons to the priests' office, when hewas with him the first time upon mount Sinai, Exod. xxviii. and xxix., where we have also theparticular instructions he had how to do it. Now here we have,I. The orders repeated. What was there commanded to be done is here commanded to be donenow, v. 2, 3. The tabernacle was newly set up, which, without the priests, would be as a candlestickwithout a candle; the law concerning sacrifices was newly given, but could not be observed withoutpriests; for, though Aaron and his sons had been nominated to the office, they could not officiate,till they were consecrated, which yet must not be done till the place of their ministration wasprepared, and the ordinances were instituted, that they might apply themselves to work as soon asever they were consecrated, and might know that they were ordained, not only to the honour andprofit, but to the business of the priesthood. Aaron and his sons were near relations to Moses, andtherefore he would not consecrate them till he had further orders, lest he should seem too forwardto bring honour into his family.II. The congregation called together, at the door, that is, in the court of the tabernacle, v. 4.The elders and principal men of the congregation, who represented the body of the people, were691Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)summoned to attend; for the court would hold but a few of the many thousands of Israel. It wasdone thus publicly, 1. Because it was a solemn transaction between God and Israel; the priests wereto be ordained for men in things pertaining to God, for the maintaining of a settled correspondence,and the negotiating of all affairs between the people and God; and therefore it was fit that bothsides should appear, to own the appointment, at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. 2. Thespectators of the solemnity could not but be possessed, by the sight of it, with a great venerationfor the priests and their office, which was necessary among a people so wretchedly prone as thesewere to envy and discontent. It was strange that any of those who were witnesses of what was heredone should afterwards say, as some of them did, You take too much upon you, you sons of Levi;but what would they have said if it had been done clandestinely? Note, It is very fit, and of gooduse, that ministers should be ordained publicly, plebe praesente—in the presence of the commonpeople, according to the usage of the primitive church.III. The commission read, v. 5. Moses, who was God's representative in this solemnity, producedhis orders before the congregation: This is the thing which the Lord commanded to be done. ThoughGod had crowned him king in Jeshurun, when he made his face to shine in the sight of all Israel,yet he did not institute or appoint any thing in God's worship but what God himself had commanded.The priesthood he delivered to them was that which he had received from the Lord. Note, All thatminister about holy things must have an eye to God's command as their rule and warrant; for it isonly in the observance of this that they can expect to be owned and accepted of God. Thus we mustbe able to say, in all acts of religious worship, This is the thing which the Lord commanded to bedone.IV. The ceremony performed according to the divine ritual. 1. Aaron and his sons were washedwith water (v. 6), to signify that they ought now to purify themselves from all sinful dispositionsand inclinations, and ever after to keep themselves pure. Christ washes those from their sins in hisown blood whom he makes to our God kings and priests (Rev. i. 5, 6); and those that draw near toGod must be washed in pure water, Heb. x. 22. Though they were ever so clean before and no filthwas to be seen upon them, yet they must be washed, to signify their purification from sin, withwhich their souls were polluted, how clean soever their bodies were. 2. They were clothed with theholy garments, Aaron with his (v. 7-9), which typified the dignity of Christ our great high priest,and his sons with theirs (v. 13), which typified the decency of Christians, who are spiritual priests.Christ wears the breast-plate of judgment and the holy crown; for the church's high priest is herprophet and king. All believers are clothed with the robe of righteousness, and girt with the girdleof truth, resolution, and close application; and their heads are bound, as the word here is, with thebonnet or diadem of beauty, the beauty of holiness. 3. The high priest was anointed, and, it shouldseem, the holy things were anointed at the same time; some think that they were anointed before,but that the anointing of them is mentioned here because Aaron was anointed with the same oilwith which they were anointed; but the manner of relating it here makes it more than probable thatit was done at the same time, and that the seven days employed in consecrating the altar werecoincident with the seven days of the priests' consecration. The tabernacle, and all its utensils, hadsome of the anointing oil put upon them with Moses's finger (v. 10), so had the altar (v. 11); thesewere to sanctify the gold and the gift (Matt. xxiii. 17-19), and therefore must themselves be thussanctified; but he poured it out more plentifully upon the head of Aaron (v. 12), so that it ran downto the skirts of his garments, because his unction was to typify the anointing of Christ with the692Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)Spirit, which was not given by measure to him. Yet all believers also have received the anointing,which puts an indelible character upon them, 1 John ii. 27.14 And he brought the bullock for the sin offering: and Aaron and his sons laidtheir hands upon the head of the bullock for the sin offering. 15 And he slew it;and Moses took the blood, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about withhis finger, and purified the altar, and poured the blood at the bottom of the altar, andsanctified it, to make reconciliation upon it. 16 And he took all the fat that wasupon the inwards, and the caul above the liver, and the two kidneys, and their fat,and Moses burned it upon the altar. 17 But the bullock, and his hide, his flesh, andhis dung, he burnt with fire without the camp; as the Lord commanded Moses. 18And he brought the ram for the burnt offering: and Aaron and his sons laid theirhands upon the head of the ram. 19 And he killed it; and Moses sprinkled the bloodupon the altar round about. 20 And he cut the ram into pieces; and Moses burntthe head, and the pieces, and the fat. 21 And he washed the inwards and the legsin water; and Moses burnt the whole ram upon the altar: it was a burnt sacrifice fora sweet savour, and an offering made by fire unto the Lord; as the Lord commandedMoses. 22 And he brought the other ram, the ram of consecration: and Aaron andhis sons laid their hands upon the head of the ram. 23 And he slew it; and Mosestook of the blood of it, and put it upon the tip of Aaron's right ear, and upon thethumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot. 24 And he broughtAaron's sons, and Moses put of the blood upon the tip of their right ear, and uponthe thumbs of their right hands, and upon the great toes of their right feet: and Mosessprinkled the blood upon the altar round about. 25 And he took the fat, and therump, and all the fat that was upon the inwards, and the caul above the liver, andthe two kidneys, and their fat, and the right shoulder: 26 And out of the basket ofunleavened bread, that was before the Lord, he took one unleavened cake, and acake of oiled bread, and one wafer, and put them on the fat, and upon the rightshoulder: 27 And he put all upon Aaron's hands, and upon his sons' hands, andwaved them for a wave offering before the Lord. 28 And Moses took them fromoff their hands, and burnt them on the altar upon the burnt offering: they wereconsecrations for a sweet savour: it is an offering made by fire unto the Lord. 29And Moses took the breast, and waved it for a wave offering before the Lord: forof the ram of consecration it was Moses' part; as the Lord commanded Moses. 30And Moses took of the anointing oil, and of the blood which was upon the altar, andsprinkled it upon Aaron, and upon his garments, and upon his sons, and upon hissons' garments with him; and sanctified Aaron, and his garments, and his sons, andhis sons' garments with him.693Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)The covenant of priesthood must be made by sacrifice, as well as other covenants, Ps. l. 5. Andthus Christ was consecrated by the sacrifice of himself, once for all. Sacrifices of each kind mustbe offered for the priests, that they might with the more tenderness and concern offer the gifts andsacrifices of the people, with compassion on the ignorant, and on those that were out of the way,not insulting over those for whom sacrifices were offered, remembering that they themselves hadhad sacrifices offered for them, being compassed with infirmity. 1. A bullock, the largest sacrifice,was offered for a sin-offering (v. 14), that hereby atonement might be made, and they might notbring any of the guilt of the sins of their former state into the new character they were now to puton. When Isaiah was sent to be a prophet, he was told to his comfort, Thy iniquity is taken away,Isa. vi. 7. Ministers, that are to declare the remission of sins to others, should give diligence to getit made sure to themselves in the first place that their own sins are pardoned. Those to whom iscommitted the ministry of reconciliation must first be reconciled to God themselves, that they maydeal for the souls of others as for their own. 2. A ram was offered for a burnt-offering, v. 18-21.By this they gave to God the glory of this great honour which was now put upon them, and returnedhim praise for it, as Paul thanked Christ Jesus for putting him into the ministry, 1 Tim. i. 12. Theyalso signified the devoting of themselves and all their services to the honour of God. 3. Anotherram, called the ram of consecration, was offered for a peace-offering, v. 22, &c. The blood of itwas part put on the priests, on their ears, thumbs, and toes, and part sprinkled upon the altar; andthus he did (as it were) marry them to the altar, upon which they must all their days give attendance.All the ceremonies about this offering, as those before, were appointed by the express commandof God; and, if we compare this chapter with Exod. xxix, we shall find that the performance of thesolemnity exactly agrees with the precept there, and in nothing varies. Here, therefore, as in theaccount we had of the tabernacle and its vessels, it is again and again repeated, As the Lordcommanded Moses. And thus Christ, when he sanctified himself with his own blood, had an eyeto his Father's will in it. As the Father gave me commandment so I do, John xiv. 31; x. 18; vi. 38.31 And Moses said unto Aaron and to his sons, Boil the flesh at the door of thetabernacle of the congregation: and there eat it with the bread that is in the basketof consecrations, as I commanded, saying, Aaron and his sons shall eat it. 32 Andthat which remaineth of the flesh and of the bread shall ye burn with fire. 33 Andye shall not go out of the door of the tabernacle of the congregation in seven days,until the days of your consecration be at an end: for seven days shall he consecrateyou. 34 As he hath done this day, so the Lord hath commanded to do, to make anatonement for you. 35 Therefore shall ye abide at the door of the tabernacle of thecongregation day and night seven days, and keep the charge of the Lord, that ye dienot: for so I am commanded. 36 So Aaron and his sons did all things which theLord commanded by the hand of Moses.Moses, having done his part of the ceremony, now leaves Aaron and his sons to do theirs.I. They must boil the flesh of their peace-offering, and eat it in the court of the tabernacle, andwhat remained they must burn with fire, v. 31, 32. This signified their thankful consent to theconsecration: when God gave Ezekiel his commission, he told him to eat the roll, Ezek. iii. 1, 2.II. They must not stir out of the court of the tabernacle for seven days, v. 33. The priesthoodbeing a good warfare, they must thus learn to endure hardness, and to disentangle themselves from694Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)the affairs of this life, 2 Tim. ii. 3, 4. Being consecrated to their service, they must give themselveswholly to it, and attend continually to this very thing. Thus Christ's apostles were appointed to waitfor the promise of the Father, Acts i. 4. During this time appointed for their consecration, they weredaily to repeat the same sacrifices which were offered the first day, v. 34. This shows the imperfectionof the legal sacrifices, which, because they could not take away sin, were often repeated (Heb. x.1, 2), but were here repeated seven times (a number of perfection), because they typified that oneoffering, which perfected for ever those that were sanctified. The work lasted seven days; for it wasa kind of creation: and this time was appointed in honour of the sabbath, which, probably, was thelast day of the seven, for which they were to prepare during the six days. Thus the time of our life,like the six days, must be our preparation for the perfection of our consecration to God in theeverlasting sabbath: they attended day and night (v. 35), and so constant should we be in ourmeditation on God's law, Ps. i. 2. They attended to keep the charge of the Lord: we have every oneof us a charge to keep, an eternal God to glorify, an immortal soul to provide for, needful duty tobe done, our generation to serve; and it must be our daily care to keep this charge, for it is the chargeof the Lord our Master, who will shortly call us to an account about it, and it is at our utmost perilif we neglect it. Keep it that you die not; it is death, eternal death, to betray the trust we are chargedwith; by the consideration of this we must be kept in awe. Lastly, We are told (v. 36) that Aaronand his sons did all that was commanded. Thus their consecration was completed; and thus theyset an example before the people of an exact obedience to the laws of sacrifices now newly given,and then they could with the better grace teach them. Thus the covenant of peace (Num. xxv. 12),of life and peace (Mal. ii. 5), was made with Aaron and his sons; but after all the ceremonies thatwere used in their consecration there was one point of ratification which was reserved to be thehonour and establishment of Christ's priesthood, which was this, that they were made priests withoutan oath, but Christ with an oath (Hab. vii. 21), for neither such priests nor their priesthood couldcontinue, but Christ's is a perpetual and unchangeable priesthood.Gospel ministers are compared to those who served at the altar, for they minister about holythings (1 Cor. ix. 13), they are God's mouth to the people and the people's to God, the pastors andteachers Christ has appointed to continue in the church to the end of the world: they seem to bemeant in that promise which points at gospel times (Isa. lvi. 21), I will take of them for priests andfor Levites. No man may take this honour to himself, but he who upon trial is found to be clothedand anointed by the Spirit of God with gifts and graces to qualify him for it, and who with purposeof heart devotes himself entirely to the service, and is then by the word and prayer (for so everything is sanctified), and the imposition of the hands of those that give themselves to the word andprayer, set apart to the office, and recommended to Christ as a servant and to the church as a stewardand guide. And those that are thus solemnly dedicated to God ought not to depart from his service,but faithfully to abide in it all their days; and those that do so, and continue labouring in the wordand doctrine, are to be accounted worthy of double honour, double to that of the Old-Testamentpriests.L E V I T C U S695Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)CHAP. IX.Aaron and his sons, having been solemnly consecrated to the priesthood, are in this chapterentering upon the execution of their office, the very next day after their consecration was completed.I. Moses (no doubt by direction from God) appoints a meeting between God and his priests, as therepresentatives of his people, ordering them to attend him, and assuring them that he would appearto them, ver. 1-7. II. The meeting is held according to the appointment. 1. Aaron attends on Godby sacrifice, offering a sin-offering and burnt-offering for himself (ver. 8-14), and then the offeringsfor the people, whom he blessed in the name of the Lord, ver. 15-22. 2. God signifies his acceptance,(1.) Of their persons, by showing them his glory, ver. 23. (2.) Of their sacrifices, by consumingthem with fire from heaven, ver. 24.Aaron and His Sons Enter on Their Office. (b. c. 1490.)1 And it came to pass on the eighth day, that Moses called Aaron and his sons,and the elders of Israel; 2 And he said unto Aaron, Take thee a young calf for a sinoffering, and a ram for a burnt offering, without blemish, and offer them before theLord. 3 And unto the children of Israel thou shalt speak, saying, Take ye a kid ofthe goats for a sin offering; and a calf and a lamb, both of the first year, withoutblemish, for a burnt offering; 4 Also a bullock and a ram for peace offerings, tosacrifice before the Lord; and a meat offering mingled with oil: for to day the Lordwill appear unto you. 5 And they brought that which Moses commanded beforethe tabernacle of the congregation: and all the congregation drew near and stoodbefore the Lord. 6 And Moses said, This is the thing which the Lord commandedthat ye should do: and the glory of the Lord shall appear unto you. 7 And Mosessaid unto Aaron, Go unto the altar, and offer thy sin offering, and thy burnt offering,and make an atonement for thyself, and for the people: and offer the offering of thepeople, and make an atonement for them; as the Lord commanded.Orders are here given for another solemnity upon the eighth day; for the newly-ordained priestswere set to work immediately after the days of their consecration were finished, to let them knowthat they were not ordained to be idle: He that desires the office of a bishop desires a good work,which must be looked at with desire, more than the honour and benefit. The priests had not so muchas one day's respite from service allowed them, that they might divert themselves, and receive thecompliments of their friends upon their elevation, but were busily employed the very next day; fortheir consecration was the filling of their hands. God's spiritual priests have constant work cut outfor them, which the duty of every day requires; and those that would give up their account with joymust redeem time; see Ezek. xliii. 26, 27. Now, 1. Moses raises their expectation of a gloriousappearance of God to them this day (v. 4): "To day the Lord will appear to you that are the priests."And when all the congregation are gathered together, and stand before the Lord, he tells them (v.6), The glory of the Lord shall appear to you. Though they had reason enough to believe God'sacceptance of all that they had done according to his appointment, upon the general assurance wehave that he is the rewarder of those that diligently seek him (even if he had not given them any696Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)sensible token of it), yet that if possible they and theirs might be effectually obliged to the serviceand worship of God, and might never turn aside to idols, the glory of God appeared to them, andvisibly owned what they had done. We are not now to expect such appearances; we Christians walkmore by faith, and less by sight, than they did. But we may be sure that God draws nigh to thosewho draw nigh to him, and that the offerings of faith are really acceptable to him, though, thesacrifices being spiritual, the tokens of the acceptance are, as it is fit they should be, spirituallikewise. To those who are duly consecrated to God he will undoubtedly manifest himself. 2. Heputs both priests and people upon preparing to receive this favour which God designed them. Aaronand his sons, and the elders of Israel, are all summoned to attend, v. 1. Note, God will manifesthimself in the solemn assemblies of his people and ministers; and those that would have the benefitand comfort of God's appearances must in them give their attendance. (1.) Aaron is ordered toprepare his offerings: A young calf for a sin-offering, v. 2. The Jewish writers suggest that a calfwas appointed for a sin-offering to remind him of his sin in making the golden calf, by which hehad rendered himself for ever unworthy of the honour of the priesthood, and which he had reasonto reflect upon with sorrow and shame in all the atonements he made. (2.) Aaron must direct thepeople to get theirs ready. Hitherto Moses had told the people what they must do; but now Aaron,as high priest over the house of God, must be their teacher, in things pertaining to God: Unto thechildren of Israel thou shalt speak, v. 3. Now that he was to speak from them to God in the sacrifices(the language of which he that appointed them very well understood) he must speak from God tothem in the laws about the sacrifices. Thus Moses would engage the people's respect and obedienceto him, as one that was set over them in the Lord, to admonish them. (3.) Aaron must offer his ownfirst, and then the people's, v. 7. Aaron must now go to the altar, Moses having shown him the wayto it; and there, [1.] He must make an atonement for himself; for the high priest, being compassedwith infirmity, ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins (Heb. v. 2, 3), and forhimself first; for how can we expect to be accepted in our prayers for others, if we ourselves be notreconciled to God? Nor is any service pleasing to God till the guilt of sin be removed by our interestin the great propitiation. Those that have the care of the souls of others are also hereby taught tolook to their own in the first place; this charity must begin at home, though it must not end there.It is the charge to Timothy, to take care to save himself first, and then those that heard him, 1 Tim.iv. 16. The high priest made atonement for himself, as one that was joined with sinners; but wehave a high priest that was separated from sinners, and needed no atonement. When Messiah theprince was cut off as a sacrifice, it was not for himself; for he knew no sin. [2.] He must make anatonement for the people, by offering their sacrifices. Now that he was made a high priest he mustlay to heart the concerns of the people, and this as their great concern, their reconciliation to God,and the putting away of sin which had separated between them and God. He must make atonementas the Lord commanded. See here the wonderful condescension of the mercy of God, that he notonly allows an atonement to be made, but commands it; not only admits, but requires us to bereconciled to him. No room therefore is left to doubt but that the atonement which is commandedwill be accepted.8 Aaron therefore went unto the altar, and slew the calf of the sin offering, whichwas for himself. 9 And the sons of Aaron brought the blood unto him: and he dippedhis finger in the blood, and put it upon the horns of the altar, and poured out theblood at the bottom of the altar: 10 But the fat, and the kidneys, and the caul above697Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)the liver of the sin offering, he burnt upon the altar; as the Lord commanded Moses.11 And the flesh and the hide he burnt with fire without the camp. 12 And he slewthe burnt offering; and Aaron's sons presented unto him the blood, which he sprinkledround about upon the altar. 13 And they presented the burnt offering unto him,with the pieces thereof, and the head: and he burnt them upon the altar. 14 And hedid wash the inwards and the legs, and burnt them upon the burnt offering on thealtar. 15 And he brought the people's offering, and took the goat, which was thesin offering for the people, and slew it, and offered it for sin, as the first. 16 Andhe brought the burnt offering, and offered it according to the manner. 17 And hebrought the meat offering, and took an handful thereof, and burnt it upon the altar,beside the burnt sacrifice of the morning. 18 He slew also the bullock and the ramfor a sacrifice of peace offerings, which was for the people: and Aaron's sonspresented unto him the blood, which he sprinkled upon the altar round about, 19And the fat of the bullock and of the ram, the rump, and that which covereth theinwards, and the kidneys, and the caul above the liver: 20 And they put the fatupon the breasts, and he burnt the fat upon the altar: 21 And the breasts and theright shoulder Aaron waved for a wave offering before the Lord; as Mosescommanded. 22 And Aaron lifted up his hand toward the people, and blessed them,and came down from offering of the sin offering, and the burnt offering, and peaceofferings.These being the first offerings that ever were offered by the levitical priesthood, according tothe newly-enacted law of sacrifices, the manner of offering them is particularly related, that it mightappear how exactly they agreed with the institution. 1. Aaron with his own hands slew the offering(v. 8), and did the work of the inferior priests; for, great as he was, he must not think any servicebelow him which he could do for the honour of God: and, as Moses had shown him how to do thiswork decently and dexterously, so he showed his sons, that they might do likewise; for this is thebest way of teaching, and thus parents should instruct their children by example. Therefore as Mosesbefore, so Aaron now offered some of each of the several sorts of sacrifices that were appointed,whose rites differed, that they might be thoroughly furnished for every good work. 2. He offeredthese besides the burnt-sacrifice of the morning, which was every day offered first, v. 17. Note,Our accustomed devotions morning and evening, alone and in our families, must not be omittedupon any pretence whatsoever, no, not when extraordinary services are to be performed; whateveris added, these must not be diminished. 3. It is not clear whether, when it is said that he burnt suchand such parts of the sacrifices upon the altar (v. 10-20), the meaning is that he burnt themimmediately with ordinary fire, as formerly, or that he laid them upon the altar ready to be burntwith the fire from heaven which they expected (v. 24), or whether, as bishop Patrick thinks, heburnt the offerings for himself with ordinary fire, but when they were burnt out he laid the people'ssacrifices upon the altar, which were kindled and consumed by the fire of the Lord. I would ratherconjecture, because it is said of all these sacrifices that he burnt them (except the burnt-offeringfor the people, of which it is said that he offered it according to the manner, v. 16, which seems to698Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)be equivalent), that he did not kindle the fire to burn them, but that then the fire from the Lordfastened upon them, put out the fire that he had kindled (as we know a greater fire puts out a less),and suddenly consumed the remainder, which the fire he had kindled would have consumed slowly.4. When Aaron had done all that on his part was to be done about the sacrifices he lifted up hishand towards the people, and blessed them, v. 22. This was one part of the priest's work, in whichhe was a type of Christ, who came into the world to bless us, and when he was parted from hisdisciples, at his ascension, lifted up his hands and blessed them, and in them his whole church, ofwhich they were the elders and representatives, as the great high priest of our profession. Aaronlifted up his hands in blessing them, to intimate whence he desired and expected the blessing tocome, even from heaven, which is God's throne. Aaron could but crave a blessing, it is God'sprerogative to command it. Aaron, when he had blessed, came down; Christ, when he blessed, wentup.23 And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and cameout, and blessed the people: and the glory of the Lord appeared unto all the people.24 And there came a fire out from before the Lord, and consumed upon the altarthe burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fellon their faces.We are not told what Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle to do, v. 23. Some of theJewish writers say, "They went in to pray for the appearance of the divine glory;" most probablythey went in that Moses might instruct Aaron how to do the service that was to be done there—burnincense, light the lamps, set the show-bread, &c., that he might instruct his sons in it. But, whenthey came out, they both joined in blessing the people, who stood expecting the promised appearanceof the divine glory; and it was now (when Moses and Aaron concurred in praying) that they hadwhat they waited for. Note, God's manifestations of himself, of his glory and grace, are commonlygiven in answer to prayer. When Christ was praying the heavens were opened, Luke iii. 21. Theglory of God appeared, not while the sacrifices were in offering, but when the priests prayed (as 2Chron. v. 13), when they praised God, which intimates that the prayers and praises of God's spiritualpriests are more pleasing to God than all burnt-offerings and sacrifices.When the solemnity was finished, the blessing pronounced, and the congregation ready to bedismissed, in the close of the day, then God testified his acceptance, which gave them suchsatisfaction as was well worth waiting for.I. The glory of the Lord appeared unto all the people, v. 23. What the appearance of it was weare not told; no doubt it was such as carried its own evidence along with it. The glory which filledthe tabernacle (Exod. xl. 34) now showed itself at the door of the tabernacle to those who attendedthere, as a prince shows himself to the expecting crowd, to gratify them. God hereby testified oftheir gifts, and showed them that he was worthy for whom they should do all this. Note, Those thatdiligently attend upon God in the way he has appointed shall have such a sight of his glory as shallbe abundantly to their satisfaction. Those that dwell in God's house with an eye of faith may beholdthe beauty of the Lord.II. There came a fire out from before the Lord, and consumed the sacrifice, v. 24. Here thelearned bishop Patrick has a very probable conjecture, that Moses and Aaron staid in the tabernacletill it was time to offer the evening sacrifice, which Aaron did, but it is not mentioned, because itwas done of course, and it was this which the fire that came out from the Lord consumed. Whether699Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)this fire came from heaven, or out of the most holy place, or from that visible appearance of theglory of God which all the people saw, it was a manifest token of God's acceptance of their service,as, afterwards, of Solomon's sacrifice, 2 Chron. vii. 1, and Elijah's, 1 Kings xviii. 38.1. This fire did consume (or, as the word is, eat up) the present sacrifice. And two ways thiswas a testimony of acceptance:—(1.) It signified the turning away of God's wrath from them. God'swrath is a consuming fire; this fire might justly have fastened upon the people, and consumed themfor their sins; but its fastening upon the sacrifice, and consuming that, signified God's acceptanceof that as an atonement for the sinner. (2.) It signified God's entering into covenant and communionwith them: they ate their part of the sacrifice, and the fire of the Lord ate up his part; and thus hedid, as it were, sup with them, and they with him, Rev. iii. 20.2. This fire did, as it were, take possession of the altar. The fire was thus kindled in God'shouse, which was to continue as long as the house stood, as we read before, ch. vi. 13. This alsowas a figure of good things to come. The Spirit descended upon the apostles in fire (Acts ii. 3), soratifying their commission, as this spoken of here did the priests'. And the descent of this holy fireinto our souls to kindle in them pious and devout affections towards God, and such a holy zeal asburns up the flesh and the lusts of it, is a certain token of God's gracious acceptance of our personsand performances. That redounds to God's glory which is the work of his own grace in us. Herebywe know that we dwell in God, and God in us, because he hath thus given us of his Spirit, 1 Johniv. 13. Now henceforward, (1.) All their sacrifices and incense must be offered with this fire. Note,Nothing goes to God but what comes from him. We must have grace, that holy fire, from the Godof grace, else we cannot serve him acceptably, Heb. xii. 28. (2.) The priests must keep it burningwith a constant supply of fuel, and the fuel must be wood, the cleanest of fuel. Thus those to whomGod has given grace must take heed of quenching the Spirit.III. We are here told how the people were affected with this discovery of God's glory and grace;they received it, 1. With the highest joy: They shouted; so stirring up themselves and one anotherto a holy triumph, in the assurance now given them that they had God nigh unto them, which isspoken of the grandeur of their nation, Deut. iv. 7. 2. With the lowest reverence: They fell on theirfaces, humbly adoring the majesty of that God who vouchsafed thus to manifest himself to them.That is a sinful fear of God which drives us from him; a gracious fear makes us bow before him.Very good impressions were made upon their minds for the present, but they soon wore off, asthose commonly do which are made by that which is only sensible; while the influences of faithare durable.L E V I T C U SCHAP. X.The story of this chapter is as sad an interruption to the institutions of the levitical law as thatof the golden calf was to the account of the erecting of the tabernacle. Here is, I. The sin and deathof Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, ver. 1, 2. II. The quieting of Aaron under this sore affliction,ver. 3. III. Orders given and observed about the funeral and mourning, ver. 4-7. IV. A command700Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)to the priests not to drink wine when they went in to minister, ver. 8-11. V. The care Moses tookthat they should go on with their work, notwithstanding the agitation produced by this event, ver.12, &c.Death of Nadab and Abihu. (b. c. 1490.)1 And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, andput fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord,which he commanded them not. 2 And there went out fire from the Lord, anddevoured them, and they died before the Lord.Here is, I. The great sin that Nadab and Abihu were guilty of: and a great sin we must call it,how little soever it appears in our eye, because it is evident by the punishment of it that it washighly provoking to the God of heaven, whose judgment, we are sure, is according to truth. Butwhat was their sin? All the account here given of it is that they offered strange fire before the Lord,which he commanded them not (v. 1), and the same Num. iii. 4. 1. It does not appear the they hadany orders to burn incense at all at this time. It is true their consecration was completed the daybefore, and it was part of their work, as priests, to serve at the altar of incense; but, it should seem,the whole service of this solemn day of inauguration was to be performed by Aaron himself, forhe slew the sacrifices (ch. ix. 8, 15, 18), and his sons were only to attend him (v. 9, 12, 18); thereforeMoses and Aaron only went into the tabernacle, v. 23. But Nadab and Abihu were so proud of thehonour they were newly advanced to, and so ambitious of doing the highest and most honourablepart of their work immediately, that though the service of this day was extraordinary, and done byparticular direction from Moses, yet without receiving orders, or so much as asking leave fromhim, they took their censers, and they would enter into the tabernacle, at the door of which theythought they had attended long enough, and would burn incense. And then their offering strangefire is the same with offering strange incense, which is expressly forbidden, Exod. xxx. 9. Moses,we may suppose, had the custody of the incense which was prepared for this purpose (Exod. xxxix.38), and they, doing this without his leave, had none of the incense which should have been offered,but common incense, so that the smoke of their incense came from a strange fire. God had indeedrequired the priests to burn incense, but, at this time, it was what he commanded them not; and sotheir crime was like that of Uzziah the king, 2 Chron. xxvi. 16. The priests were to burn incenseonly when it was their lot (Luke i. 9), and, at this time, it was not theirs. 2. Presuming thus to burnincense of their own without order, no marvel that they made a further blunder, and instead oftaking of the fire from the altar, which was newly kindled from before the Lord and whichhenceforward must be used in offering both sacrifice and incense (Rev. viii. 5), they took commonfire, probably from that with which the flesh of the peace-offerings was boiled, and this they madeuse of in burning incense; not being holy fire, it is called strange fire; and, though not expresslyforbidden, it was crime enough that God commanded it not. For (as bishop Hall well observes here)"It is a dangerous thing, in the service of God, to decline from his own institutions; we have to dowith a God who is wise to prescribe his own worship, just to require what he has prescribed, andpowerful to revenge what he has not prescribed." 3. Incense was always to be burned by only onepriest at a time, but here they would both go in together to do it. 4. They did it rashly, and withprecipitation. They snatched their censers, so some read it, in a light careless way, without duereverence and seriousness: when all the people fell upon their faces, before the glory of the Lord,701Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)they thought the dignity of their office was such as to exempt them from such abasements. Thefamiliarity they were admitted to bred a contempt of the divine Majesty; and now that they werepriests they thought they might do what they pleased. 5. There is reason to suspect that they weredrunk when they did it, because of the law which was given upon this occasion, v. 8. They hadbeen feasting upon the peace-offerings, and the drink-offerings that attended them, and so theirheads were light, or, at least, their hearts were merry with wine; they drank and forgot the law(Prov. xxxi. 5) and were guilty of this fatal miscarriage. 6. No doubt it was done presumptuously;for, if it had been done through ignorance, they would have been allowed the benefit of the lawlately made, even for the priests, that they should bring a sin-offering, ch. iv. 2, 3. But the soul thatdoth aught presumptuously, and in contempt of God's majesty, authority, and justice, that soul shallbe cut of, Num. xv. 30.II. The dreadful punishment of this sin: There went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them,v. 2. This fire which consumed the sacrifices came the same way with that which had consumedthe sacrifices (ch. ix. 24), which showed what justice would have done to all the guilty people ifinfinite mercy had not found and accepted a ransom; and, if that fire struck such an awe upon thepeople, much more would this.1. Observe the severity of their punishment. (1.) They died. Might it not have sufficed if theyhad been only struck with a leprosy, as Uzziah, or struck dumb, as Zechariah, and both by the altarof incense? No; they were both struck dead. The wages of this sin was death. (2.) They died suddenly,in the very act of their sin, and had not time so much as to cry, "Lord, have mercy upon us!" ThoughGod is long-suffering to us-ward, yet sometimes he makes quick work with sinners; sentence isexecuted speedily: presumptuous sinners bring upon themselves a swift destruction, and are justlydenied even space to repent. (3.) They died before the Lord; that is, before the veil that coveredthe mercy-seat; for even mercy itself will not suffer its own glory to be affronted. Those that sinnedbefore the Lord died before him. Damned sinners are said to be tormented in the presence of theLamb, intimating that he does not interpose on their behalf, Rev. xiv. 10. (4.) They died by fire, asby fire they sinned. They slighted the fire that came from before the Lord to consume the sacrifices,and thought other fire would do every jot as well; and now God justly made them feel the powerof that fire which they did not reverence. Thus those that hate to be refined by the fire of divinegrace will undoubtedly be ruined by the fire of divine wrath. The fire did not burn them to ashes,as it had done the sacrifices, nor so much as singe their coats (v. 5), but, like lightning, struck themdead in an instant; by these different effects of the same fire God would show that it was no commonfire, but kindled by the breath of the Almighty, Isa. xxx. 23. (5.) It is twice taken notice of in scripturethat they died childless, Num. iii. 4, and 1 Chron. xxiv. 2. By their presumption they had reproachedGod's name, and God justly blotted out their names, and laid that honour in the dust which theywere proud of.2. But why did the Lord deal thus severely with them? Were they not the sons of Aaron, thesaint of the Lord, nephews to Moses, the great favourite of heaven? Was not the holy anointing oilsprinkled upon them, as men whom God had set apart for himself? Had they not diligently attendedduring the seven days of their consecration, and kept the charge of the Lord, and might not thatatone for this rashness? Would it not excuse them that they were young men, as yet unexperiencedin these services, that it was the first offence, and done in a transport of joy for their elevation? Andbesides, never could men be worse spared: a great deal of work was now lately cut out for thepriests to do, and the priesthood was confined to Aaron and his seed; he has but four sons; if two702Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)of them die, there will not be hands enough to do the service of the tabernacle; if they die childless,the house of Aaron will become weak and little, and the priesthood will be in danger of being lostfor want of heirs. But none of all these considerations shall serve either to excuse the offence orbring off the offenders. For, (1.) The sin was greatly aggravated. It was a manifest contempt ofMoses, and the divine law that was given by Moses. Hitherto it had been expressly observedconcerning every thing that was done that they did it as the Lord commanded Moses, in oppositionto which it is here said they did that which the Lord commanded them not, but they did it of theirown heads. God was now teaching his people obedience, and to do every thing by rule, as becomesservants; for priests therefore to break rules and disobey was such a provocation as must by nomeans go unpunished. Their character made their sin more exceedingly sinful. For the sons ofAaron, his eldest sons, whom God had chosen to be immediate attendants upon him, for them tobe guilty of such a piece of presumption, it cannot be suffered. There was in their sin a contemptof God's glory, which had now newly appeared in fire, as if that fire were needless, they had asgood of their own before. (2.) Their punishment was a piece of necessary justice, now at the firstsettling of the ceremonial institutions. It is often threatened in the law that such and such offendersshould be cut off from the people; and here God explained the threatening with a witness. Nowthat the laws concerning sacrifices were newly made, lest any should be tempted to think lightlyof them because they descended to many circumstances which seemed very minute, these that werethe first transgressors were thus punished, for warning to others, and to show how jealous God isin the matters of his worship. Thus he magnified the law and made it honourable; and let his priestsknow that the caution which so often occurs in the laws concerning them, that they must do so thatthey die not, was not a mere bugbear, but fair warning of their danger, if they did the work of theLord negligently. And no doubt this exemplary piece of justice at first prevented many irregularitiesafterwards. Thus Ananias and Sapphira were punished, when they presumed to lie to the HolyGhost, that newly-descended fire. (3.) As the people's falling into idolatry, presently after the morallaw was given, shows the weakness of the law and its insufficiency to take away sin, so the sin andpunishment of these priests show the imperfection of that priesthood from the very beginning, andits inability to shelter any from the fire of God's wrath otherwise than as it was typical of Christ'spriesthood, in the execution of which there never was, nor can be, any irregularity, or false steptaken.Mourning for Nadab and Abihu. (b. c. 1490.)3 Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the Lord spake, saying, I will besanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified.And Aaron held his peace. 4 And Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons ofUzziel the uncle of Aaron, and said unto them, Come near, carry your brethren frombefore the sanctuary out of the camp. 5 So they went near, and carried them in theircoats out of the camp; as Moses had said. 6 And Moses said unto Aaron, and untoEleazar and unto Ithamar, his sons, Uncover not your heads, neither rend your clothes;lest ye die, and lest wrath come upon all the people: but let your brethren, the wholehouse of Israel, bewail the burning which the Lord hath kindled. 7 And ye shall703Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)not go out from the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: for theanointing oil of the Lord is upon you. And they did according to the word of Moses.We may well think that when Nadab and Abihu were struck with death all about them werestruck with horror, and every face, as well as theirs, gathered blackness. Great consternation, nodoubt, seized them, and they were all full of confusion; but, whatever the rest were, Moses wascomposed, and knew what he said and did, not being displeased, as David was in a like case, 2Sam. vi. 8. But though it touched him in a very tender part, and was a dreadful damp to one of thegreatest joys he ever knew, yet he kept possession of his own soul, and took care to keep goodorder and a due decorum in the sanctuary.I. He endeavours to pacify Aaron, and to keep him in a good frame under this sad dispensation,v. 3. Moses was a brother that was born for adversity, and has taught us, by his example, withseasonable counsels and comforts to support the weak, and strengthen the feeble-minded. Observehere,1. What it was that Moses suggested to his poor brother upon this occasion: This is it that theLord spoke. Note, The most quieting considerations under affliction are those that are fetched fromthe word of God. So and so the Lord hath said, and it is not for us to gainsay it. Note, also, In allGod's providences it is good to observe the fulfilling of scripture, and to compare God's word andhis works together, which if we do we shall find an admirable harmony and agreement betweenthem, and that they mutually explain and illustrate each other. But, (1.) Where did God speak this?We do not find the very words; but to this purport he had said (Exod. xix. 22), Let the priests whocome near to the Lord sanctify themselves, lest the Lord break forth upon them. Indeed the wholescope and tenour of his law spoke this, that being a holy God, and a sovereign Lord, he must alwaysbe worshipped with holiness and reverence, and exactly according to his own appointment; and, ifany jest with him, it is at their peril. Much had been said to this purport, as Exod. xxix. 43, 44;xxxiv. 14; ch. viii. 35. (2.) What was it that God spoke? It was this (the Lord by his grace speak itto all our hearts!) I will be sanctified in those that come nigh me, whoever they are, and before allthe people I will be glorified. Note, First, Whenever we worship God, we come nigh unto him, asspiritual priests. This consideration ought to make us very reverent and serious in all acts of devotion,that in them we approach to God, and present ourselves before him. Secondly, It concerns us all,when we come nigh to God, to sanctify him, that is, to give him the praise of his holiness, to performevery religious exercise as those who believe that the God with whom we have to do is a holy God,a God of spotless purity and transcendent perfection, Isa. viii. 13. Thirdly, When we sanctify Godwe glorify him, for his holiness is his glory; and, when we sanctify him in our solemn assemblies,we glorify him before all the people, confessing our own belief of his glory and desiring that othersalso may be affected with it. Fourthly, If God be not sanctified and glorified by us, he will besanctified and glorified upon us. He will take vengeance on those that profane his sacred name bytrifling with him. If his rent be not paid, it shall be distrained for. (3.) But what was this to thepresent case? What was there in this to quiet Aaron? Two things:—[1.] This must silence him, thathis sons deserved their death; for they were thus cut off from their people because they did notsanctify and glorify God. The acts of necessary justice, how hard soever they may seem to bearupon the persons concerned, are not to be complained of, but submitted to. [2.] This must satisfyhim, that the death of his sons redounded to the honour of God, and his impartial justice would forit be adored throughout all ages.704Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)2. What good effects this had upon him: Aaron held his peace, that is, he patiently submittedto the holy will of God in this sad providence, was dumb, and opened not his mouth, because Goddid it. Something he was ready to say by way of complaint (as losers think they may have leave tospeak), but he wisely suppressed it, laid his hand upon his mouth, and said nothing, for fear lest heshould offend with his tongue, now that his heart was hot within him. Note, (1.) When God correctsus or ours for sin, it is our duty to be silent under the correction, not to quarrel with God, arraignhis justice, or charge him with folly, but to acquiesce in all that God does; not only bearing, butaccepting, the punishment of iniquity, and saying, as Eli, in a case not much unlike this, It is theLord, let him do what seemeth him good, 1 Sam. iii. 18. If our children have sinned against God(as Bildad puts the case, Job viii. 4), and he have cast them away for their transgression, thoughit must needs be grievous to think that the children of our love should be the children of God'swrath, yet we must awfully adore the divine justice, and make no exceptions against its processes.(2.) The most effectual arguments to quiet a gracious spirit under afflictions are those that arefetched from God's glory; this silenced Aaron. It is true he is a loser in his comforts by this severeexecution, but Moses has shown him that God is a gainer in his glory, and therefore he has not aword to say against it: if God be sanctified, Aaron is satisfied. Far be it form him that he shouldhonour his sons more than God, or wish that God's name, or house, or law, should be exposed toreproach or contempt for the preserving of the reputation of his family. No; now, as well as in thematter of the golden calf, Levi does not acknowledge his brethren, nor know his own children; andtherefore they shall teach Jacob thy judgments, and Israel thy law, Deut. xxxiii. 9, 10. Ministersand their families are sometimes exercised with sore trials that they may be examples to the believersof patience and resignation to God, and they may comfort others with that with which theythemselves have been comforted.II. Moses gives orders about the dead bodies. It was not fit that they should be left to lie wherethey fell; yet their own father and brethren, the amazed spectators of this dismal tragedy, durst notoffer to lift them up, no, not to see whether there was any life left in them; they must neither bediverted from nor unfitted for the great work that was now upon their hands. Let the dead burytheir dead, but they must go on with their service; that is, "Rather let the dead be unburied, if therebe nobody else to do it, than that work for God should be left undone by those whom he has calledto it." But Moses takes care of this matter, that though they died by the hand of justice in the actof sin, yet they should be decently buried, and they were so, v. 4, 5. 1. Some of their nearest relationswere employed in it, who were cousins-german to their father, and are here named, who wouldperform this office with tenderness and respect. They were Levites only, and might not have comeinto the sanctuary, no, not upon such an occasion as this, if they had not had a special commandfor it. 2. They carried them out of the camp to be burned, so far were they from burying them inthe place of worship, or the court of it, according to our modern usage, though they died there, thatthey did not bury them, nor any of their dead, within the lines of their camp; as afterwards theirburying places were out of their cities. The tabernacle was pitched in the midst of the camp, so thatthey could not carry these dead priests to their graves without carrying them through one of thesquadrons of the camp; and doubtless it was a very awful affecting sight to the people. The namesof Nadab and Abihu had become very great and honourable among them; none more talked of, normore expected to appear abroad after the days of their consecration, to receive the honours andcaresses of the crowd, whose manner it is to adore the rising sun; and next to Moses and Aaron,who were old and going off, Nadab and Abihu (who had been in the mount with God, Exod. xxiv.705Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)1) were looked upon as the great favourites of heaven, and the hopes of their people; and now ona sudden, when the tidings of the event had scarcely reached their ears, to see them both carriedout dead, with the visible marks of divine vengeance upon them, as sacrifices to the justice of God,they could not choose but cry out, Who is able to stand before this holy Lord God? 1 Sam. vi. 20.3. They carried them out (and probably buried them) in their coats, and the garments of theirpriesthood, which they had lately put on, and perhaps were too proud of. Thus the impartiality ofGod's justice was proclaimed, and all the people were made to know that even the priests' garmentswould not protect an offender from the wrath of God. And it was easy to argue, "If they escape notwhen they transgress, can we expect to go unpunished?" And the priests' clothes being so soonmade grave-clothes might intimate both that the law worketh death, and that in the process of timethat priesthood itself should be abolished and buried in the grave of the Lord Jesus.III. He gives directions about the mourning.1. That the priests must not mourn. Aaron and his two surviving sons, though sad in spirit,must not use any outward expressions of sorrow upon this sad occasion, nor so much as follow thecorpse one step from the door of the tabernacle, v. 7. It was afterwards forbidden to the high priestto use the ceremonies of mourning for the death of any friend whatsoever, though it were a fatheror mother (ch. xxi. 11); yet it was allowed at the same time to the inferior priests to mourn for theirnear relations, v. 2, 3. But here it was forbidden both to Aaron and his sons, because, (1.) Theywere now actually waiting, doing a great work, which must by no means cease (Neh. vi. 3); and itwas very much for the honour of God that their attendance on him should take place of their respectsto their nearest relations, and that all services should give way to those of their ministry. By thisthey must make it to appear that they had a greater value and affection for their God and their workthan for the best friend they had in the world; as Christ did, Matt. xii. 47, 48. And we are herebytaught, when we are serving God in holy duties, to keep out minds, as much as may be, intent andengaged, and not to suffer them to be diverted by any worldly thoughts, or cares, or passions. Letus always attend upon the Lord without distraction. (2.) Their brethren were cut off for theirtransgression by the immediate hand of God, and therefore they must not mourn for them lest theyshould seem to countenance the sin, or impeach the justice of God in the punishment. Instead oflamenting their own loss, they must be wholly taken up in applauding the sentence, and subscribingto the equity of it. Note, The public concerns of God's glory ought to lie nearer our hearts than anyprivate affections of our own. Observe, How Moses frightens them into this submission, and holdsthe rod over them to still their crying (v. 6): "Lest you die likewise, and lest wrath come upon allthe people, who may be in danger of suffering for your irreverence, and disobedience, andungoverned passions;" and again (v. 7), lest you die. See here what use we are to make of thejudgments of God upon others; we must double our guard over ourselves, lest we likewise perish.The death, especially the sudden death, of others, instead of moving our passion, should composeus into a holy reverence of God, a cautious separation from all sin, and a serious expectation of ourown death. The reason given them is because the anointing oil of your God is upon you, the honourof which must be carefully preserved by your doing the duty of your office with cheerfulness. Note,Those that through grace have received the anointing ought not to disturb themselves with thesorrow of the world, which worketh death. It was very hard, no doubt, for Aaron and his sons torestrain themselves upon such an extraordinary occasion from inordinate grief, but reason and gracemastered the passion, and they bore the affliction with an obedient patience: They did according706Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)to the word of Moses, because they knew it to be the word of God. Happy those who thus arethemselves under God's government, and have their passions under their own government.2. The people must mourn: Let the whole house of Israel bewail the burning which the Lordhas kindled. The congregation must lament, not only the loss of their priests, but especially thedispleasure of God which appeared in it. They must bewail the burning that was kindled, that itmight not burn further. Aaron and his sons were in danger of being too much affected with theprovidence, and therefore they are forbidden to mourn: the house of Israel were in danger of beingtoo little affected with it, and therefore they are commanded to lament. Thus nature must alwaysbe governed by grace, according as it needs to be either constrained or restrained.Cautions for the Priests. (b. c. 1490.)8 And the Lord spake unto Aaron, saying, 9 Do not drink wine nor strong drink,thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation,lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations: 10 And thatye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean;11 And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the Lord hathspoken unto them by the hand of Moses.Aaron having been very observant of what God said to him by Moses, now God does him thehonour to speak to him immediately (v. 8): The Lord spoke unto Aaron, and the rather becausewhat was now to be said Aaron might perhaps have taken amiss from Moses, as if he had suspectedhim to have been a gluttonous man and a wine-bibber, so apt are we to resent cautions as accusations;therefore God saith it himself to him, Do not drink wine, nor strong drink, when you go into thetabernacle, and this at their peril, lest you die, v. 9. Probably they had seen the ill effect of it inNadab and Abihu, and therefore must take warning by them. Observe here, 1. The prohibition itself:Do not drink wine nor strong drink. At other times they were allowed it (it was not expected thatevery priest should be a Nazarite), but during the time of their ministration they were forbidden it.This was one of the laws in Ezekiel's temple (Ezek. xliv. 21), and so it is required of gospel ministersthat they be not given to wine, 1 Tim. iii. 3. Note, Drunkenness is bad in any, but it is especiallyscandalous and pernicious in ministers, who of all men ought to have the clearest heads and thecleanest hearts. 2. The penalty annexed to the prohibition: Lest you die; lest you die when you arein drink, and so that day come upon you unawares, Luke xxi. 34. Or, "Lest you do that which willmake you liable to be cut off by the hand of God." The danger of death we are continually in shouldengage us to be sober, 1 Pet. iv. 7. It is a pity that it should ever be used for the support oflicentiousness, as it is by those who argue, Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die. 3. Thereasons assigned for this prohibition. They must needs to be sober, else they could not duly dischargetheir office; they will be in danger of erring through wine, Isa. xxviii. 7. They must be sure to keepsober, (1.) That they might themselves be able to distinguish, in their ministrations, between thatwhich was sacred and that which was common, and might never confound them, v. 10. It concernsthe Lord's ministers to put a difference between holy and unholy, both things and persons, that theymay separate between the precious and the vile, Jer. xv. 19. (2.) That they might be able to teachthe people (v. 11), for that was a part of the priests' work (Deut. xxxiii. 10); and those that areaddicted to drunkenness are very unfit to teach people God's statutes, both because those that live707Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)after the flesh can have no experimental acquaintance with the things of the Spirit, and becausesuch teachers pull down with one hand what they build up with the other.Moses Angry with Eleazar and Ithamar. (b. c. 1490.)12 And Moses spake unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar, his sonsthat were left, Take the meat offering that remaineth of the offerings of the Lordmade by fire, and eat it without leaven beside the altar: for it is most holy: 13 Andye shall eat it in the holy place, because it is thy due, and thy sons' due, of thesacrifices of the Lord made by fire: for so I am commanded. 14 And the wavebreast and heave shoulder shall ye eat in a clean place; thou, and thy sons, and thydaughters with thee: for they be thy due, and thy sons' due, which are given out ofthe sacrifices of peace offerings of the children of Israel. 15 The heave shoulderand the wave breast shall they bring with the offerings made by fire of the fat, towave it for a wave offering before the Lord; and it shall be thine, and thy sons' withthee, by a statute for ever; as the Lord hath commanded. 16 And Moses diligentlysought the goat of the sin offering, and, behold, it was burnt: and he was angry withEleazar and Ithamar, the sons of Aaron which were left alive, saying, 17 Whereforehave ye not eaten the sin offering in the holy place, seeing it is most holy, and Godhath given it you to bear the iniquity of the congregation, to make atonement forthem before the Lord? 18 Behold, the blood of it was not brought in within theholy place: ye should indeed have eaten it in the holy place, as I commanded. 19And Aaron said unto Moses, Behold, this day have they offered their sin offeringand their burnt offering before the Lord; and such things have befallen me: and if Ihad eaten the sin offering to day, should it have been accepted in the sight of theLord? 20 And when Moses heard that, he was content.Moses is here directing Aaron to go on with his service after this interruption. Afflictionsshould rather quicken us to our duty than take us off from it. Observe (v. 12), He spoke unto Aaronand to his sons that were left. The notice taken of their survivorship intimates, 1. That Aaron shouldtake comfort under the loss of two of his sons, from this consideration, that God had graciouslyspared him the other two, and that he had reason to be thankful for the remnant that was left, andall his sons were not dead, and, in token of his thankfulness to God, to go on cheerfully in his work.2. That God's sparing them should be an engagement upon them to proceed in his service, and notto fly off from it. Here were four priests consecrated together, two were taken away, and two left;therefore the two that were left should endeavour to fill up the places of those that were gone, bydouble care and diligence in the services of the priesthood. Now,I. Moses repeats the directions he had formerly given them about eating their share of thesacrifices, v. 12-14, 15. The priests must learn not only to put a difference between the holy andthe unholy, as they had been taught (v. 10), but also to distinguish between that which was mostholy and that which was only holy of the things that were to eat. That part of the meat-offeringwhich remained to the priest was most holy, and therefore must be eaten in the courts of the708Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)tabernacle, and by Aaron sons only (v. 12, 13); but the breast and shoulder of the peace-offeringsmight be eaten in any decent place out of the courts of the tabernacle, and by the daughters of theirfamilies. The meat-offerings, being annexed to the burnt-offerings, were intended only and whollyfor the glory of God; but the peace-offerings were ordained for the furtherance of men's joy andcomfort; the former therefore were the more sacred, and to be had more in veneration. This distinctionthe priests must carefully observe, and take heed of making any blunders. Moses does not pretendto give any reasons for this difference, but refers to his instructions: For so am I commanded, v.13. This was reason enough; he had received of the Lord all that he delivered unto them, 1 Cor. xi.23.II. He enquires concerning one deviation from the appointment, which it seems had happenedupon this occasion, which was this:—There was a goat to be sacrificed as a sin-offering or thepeople, ch. ix. 15. Now the law of the sin-offerings was that if the blood of them was brought intothe holy place, as that of the sin-offerings for the priest was, then the flesh was to be burnt withoutthe camp; otherwise it was to be eaten by the priest in the holy place, ch. vi. 30. The meaning ofthis is here explained (v. 17), that the priests did hereby bear the iniquity of the congregation, thatis, they were types of him who was to be made sin for us, and on whom God would lay the iniquityof us all. Now the blood of this goat was not brought into the holy place, and yet, it seems, it wasburnt without the camp. Now observe here, 1. The gentle reproof Moses gives to Aaron and hissons for this irregularity. Here again Aaron sons are said to be those that were left alive (v. 16),who therefore ought to have taken warning; and Moses was angry with them. Though he was themeekest man in the world, it seems he could be angry; and when he thought God was disobeyedand dishonoured, and the priesthood endangered, he would be angry. Yet observe how very mildlyhe deals with Aaron and his sons, considering their present affliction. He only tells them they shouldindeed have eaten it in the holy place, but is willing to hear what they have to say for themselves,being loth to speak to the grief of those whom God had wounded.2. The plausible excuse which Aaron makes for this mistake. Moses charged the fault uponEleazar and Ithamar (v. 16), but it is probable that what they did was by Aaron direction, andtherefore he apologized for it. He might have pleaded that this was a sin-offering for the congregation,and if it had been a bullock it must have been wholly burnt (ch. iv. 21), and therefore why not nowthat it was a goat? But it seems it was otherwise ordered at this time, and therefore he makes hisaffliction his excuse, v. 19. Observe, (1.) How he speaks of affliction: Such things have befallenme, such sad things, which could not but go near his heart, and make it very happy. He was a highpriest taken from among men, and could not put off natural affection when he put on the holygarments. He held his peace (v. 3), yet his sorrow was stirred, as David's, Ps. xxxix. 2. Note, Theremay be a deep sense of affliction even where there is a sincere resignation to the will of God in theaffliction. "Such things as never befel me before, and as I little expected now. My spirits cannotbut sink, when I see my family sinking; I must needs be heavy, when God is angry:" thus it is easyto say a great deal to aggravate an affliction, but it is better to say little. (2.) How he makes this anexcuse for his varying from the appointment about the sin-offering. He could not have eaten it butin his mourning, and with a sorrowful spirit; and would this have been accepted? He does not pleadthat his heart was so full of grief that he had no appetite for it, but that he feared it would not beaccepted. Note, [1.] Acceptance with God is the great thing we should desire and aim at in all ourreligious services, particularly in the Lord's supper, which is our eating of the sin-offering. [2.] Thesorrow of the world is a very great hindrance to our acceptable performance of holy duties, both709Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)as it is discomposing to ourselves, takes off our chariot-wheels and makes us drive heavily (1 Sam.i. 7, 8), and as it is displeasing to God, whose will it is that we should serve him cheerfully, Deut.xii. 7. Mourner's bread was polluted, Hos. ix. 4. See Mal. iii. 14.3. The acquiescence of Moses in this excuse: He was content, v. 20. Perhaps he thought itjustified what they had done. God had provided that what could not be eaten might be burnt. Ourunfitness for duty, when it is natural and not sinful, will have great allowances made for it; andGod will have mercy and not sacrifice. At least he thought it did very much extenuate the fault; thespirit indeed was willing, but the flesh was weak. God by Moses showed that he considered hisframe. It appeared that Aaron sincerely aimed at God's acceptance; and those that do so with anupright heart shall find he is not extreme to mark what they do amiss. Nor must we be severe inour animadversions upon every mistake, considering ourselves, lest we also be tempted.L E V I T C U SCHAP. XI.The ceremonial law is described by the apostle (Heb. ix. 9, 10) to consist, not only "in giftsand sacrifices," which hitherto have been treated of in this book, but "in meats, and drinks, anddivers washings" from ceremonial uncleanness, the laws concerning which begin with this chapter,which puts a difference between some sorts of flesh-meat and others, allowing some to be eaten asclean and forbidding others as unclean. "There is one kind of flesh of men." Nature startles at thethought of eating this, and none do it but such as have arrived at the highest degree of barbarity,and become but one remove from brutes; therefore there needed no law against it. But there is"another kind of flesh of beasts," concerning which the law directs here (ver. 1-8), "another offishes" (ver. 9-12), "another of birds" (ver. 13-19), and "another of creeping things," which aredistinguished into two sorts, flying creeping things (ver. 20-28) and creeping things upon the earth,ver. 29-43. And the law concludes with the general rule of holiness, and reasons for it, ver. 44, &c.Distinction of Meats. (b. c. 1490.)1 And the Lord spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying unto them, 2 Speak untothe children of Israel, saying, These are the beasts which ye shall eat among all thebeasts that are on the earth. 3 Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted,and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat. 4 Nevertheless these shallye not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: as the camel,because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. 5And the coney, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is uncleanunto you. 6 And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof;he is unclean unto you. 7 And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be710Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you. 8 Of their fleshshall ye not eat, and their carcase shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you.Now that Aaron was consecrated a high priest over the house of God, God spoke to him withMoses, and appointed them both as joint-commissioners to deliver his will to the people. He spokeboth to Moses and to Aaron about this matter; for it was particularly required of the priests thatthey should put a difference between clean and unclean, and teach the people to do so. After theflood, when God entered into covenant with Noah and his sons, he allowed them to eat flesh (Gen.ix. 13), whereas before they were confined to the productions of the earth. But the liberty allowedto the sons of Noah is here limited to the sons of Israel. They might eat flesh, but not all kinds offlesh; some they must look upon as unclean and forbidden to them, others as clean and allowedthem. The law in this matter is both very particular and very strict. But what reason can be givenfor this law? Why may not God's people have as free a use of all the creatures as other people? 1.It is reason enough that God would have it so: his will, as it is law sufficient, so it is reason sufficient;for his will is his wisdom. He saw good thus to try and exercise the obedience of his people, notonly in the solemnities of his altar, but in matters of daily occurrence at their own table, that theymight remember they were under authority. Thus God had tried the obedience of man in innocency,by forbidding him to eat of one particular tree. 2. Most of the meats forbidden as unclean are suchas were really unwholesome, and not fit to be eaten; and those of them that we think wholesomeenough, and use accordingly, as the rabbit, the hare, and the swine, perhaps in those countries, andto their bodies, might be hurtful. And then God in this law did by them but as a wise and lovingfather does by his children, whom he restrains from eating that which he knows will make themsick. Note, The Lord is for the body, and it is not only folly, but sin against God, to prejudice ourhealth for the pleasing of our appetite. 3. God would thus teach his people to distinguish themselvesfrom other people, not only in their religious worship, but in the common actions of life. Thus hewould show them that they must not be numbered among the nations. It should seem there hadbeen, before this, some difference between the Hebrews and other nations in their food, kept up bytradition; for the Egyptians and they would not eat together, Gen. xliii. 32. And even before theflood there was a distinction of beasts into clean and not clean (Gen. vii. 2), which distinction wasquite lost, with many other instances of religion, among the Gentiles. But by this law it is reducedto a certainty, and ordered to be kept up among the Jews, that thus, by having a diet peculiar tothemselves, they might be kept from familiar conversation with their idolatrous neighbours, andmight typify God's spiritual Israel, who not in these little things, but in the temper of their spirits,and the course of their lives, should be governed by a sober singularity, and not be conformed tothis world. The learned observe further, That most of the creatures which by this law were to beabominated as unclean were such as were had in high veneration among the heathen, not so muchfor food as for divination and sacrifice to their gods; and therefore those are here mentioned asunclean, and an abomination, which yet they would not be in any temptation to eat, that they mightkeep up a religious loathing of that for which the Gentiles had a superstitious value. The swine,with the later Gentiles, was sacred to Venus, the owl to Minerva, the eagle to Jupiter, the dog toHecate, &c., and all these are here made unclean. As to the beasts, there is a general rule laid down,that those which both part the hoof and chew the cud were clean, and those only: these areparticularly mentioned in the repetition of this law (Deut. xiv. 4, 5), where it appears that theIsraelites had variety enough allowed them, and needed not to complain of the confinement they711Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)were under. Those beasts that did not both chew the cud and divide the hoof were unclean, by whichrule the flesh of swine, and of hares, and of rabbits, was prohibited to them, though commonly usedamong us. Therefore, particularly at the eating of any of these, we should give thanks for the libertygranted us in this matter by the gospel, which teaches us that every creature of God is good, andwe are to call nothing common or unclean. Some observe a significancy in the rule here laid downfor them to distinguish by, or at least think it may be alluded to. Meditation, and other acts ofdevotion done by the hidden man of the heart, may be signified by the chewing of the cud, digestingour spiritual food; justice and charity towards men, and the acts of a good conversation, may besignified by the dividing of the hoof. Now either of these without the other will not serve torecommend us to God, but both must go together, good affections in the heart and good works inthe life: if either be wanting, we are not clean, surely we are not clean. Of all the creatures hereforbidden as unclean, none has been more dreaded and detested by the pious Jews than swine'sflesh. Many were put to death by Antiochus because they would not eat it. This, probably, theywere most in danger of being tempted to, and therefore possessed themselves and their childrenwith a particular antipathy to it, calling it not by its proper name, but a strange thing. It shouldseem the Gentiles used it superstitiously (Isa. lxv. 4), they eat swine's flesh; and therefore Godforbids all use of it to his people, lest they should learn of their neighbours to make that ill use ofit. Some suggest that the prohibition of these beasts as unclean was intended to be a caution to thepeople against the bad qualities of these creatures. We must not be filthy nor wallow in the mireas swine, nor be timorous and faint-hearted as hares, nor dwell in the earth as rabbits; let not manthat is in honour make himself like these beasts that perish. The law forbade, not only the eatingof them, but the very touching of them; for those that would be kept from any sin must be carefulto avoid all temptations to it, and every thing that looks towards it or leads to it.9 These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scalesin the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat. 10 And all that havenot fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, andof any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you:11 They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, butye shall have their carcases in abomination. 12 Whatsoever hath no fins nor scalesin the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you. 13 And these are they whichye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are anabomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray, 14 And the vulture, andthe kite after his kind; 15 Every raven after his kind; 16 And the owl, and thenight hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind, 17 And the little owl,and the cormorant, and the great owl, 18 And the swan, and the pelican, and thegier eagle, 19 And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat.Here is, 1. A general rule concerning fishes, which were clean and which not. All that had finsand scales they might eat, and only those odd sorts of water-animals that have not were forbidden,v. 9, 10. The ancients accounted fish the most delicate food (so far were they from allowing it onfasting-days, or making it an instance of mortification to eat fish); therefore God did not lay muchrestraint upon his people in them; for he is a Master that allows his servants not only for necessity712Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)but for delight. Concerning the prohibited fish it is said, They shall be an abomination to you (v.10-12), that is, "You shall count them unclean, and not only not eat of them, but keep at a distancefrom them." Note, Whatever is unclean should be to us an abomination; touch not the uncleanthing. But observe, It was to be an abomination only to Jews; the neighbouring nations were undernone of these obligations, nor are these things to be an abomination to us Christians. The Jews werehonoured with peculiar privileges, and therefore, lest they should be proud of those, Transeunt cumonere—They were likewise laid under peculiar restraints. Thus God's spiritual Israel, as they aredignified above others by the gospel-covenant of adoption and friendship, so they must be mortifiedmore than others by the gospel-commands of self-denial and bearing the cross. 2. Concerning fowlshere is no general rule given, but a particular enumeration of those fowls that they must abstainfrom as unclean, which implies an allowance of all others. The critics here have their hands full tofind out what is the true signification of the Hebrew words here used, some of which still remainuncertain, some sorts of fowls being peculiar to some countries. Were the law in force now, weshould be concerned to know with certainty what are prohibited by it; and perhaps if we did, andwere better acquainted with the nature of the fowls here mentioned, we should admire the knowledgeof Adam, in giving them names expressive of their natures, Gen. ii. 20. But the law being repealed,and the learning in a great measure lost, it is sufficient for us to observe that of the fowls hereforbidden, (1.) Some are birds of prey, as the eagle, vulture, &c., and God would have his peopleto abhor every thing that is barbarous and cruel, and not to live by blood and rapine. Doves thatare preyed upon were fit to be food for man and offerings to God; but kites and hawks that preyupon them must be looked upon as an abomination to God and man; for the condition of those thatare persecuted for righteousness' sake appears to an eye of faith every way better than that of theirpersecutors. (2.) Others of them are solitary birds, that abide in dark and desolate places, as the owland the pelican (Ps. cii. 6), and the cormorant and raven (Isa. xxxiv. 11); for God's Israel shouldnot be a melancholy people, nor affect sadness and constant solitude. (3.) Others of them feed uponthat which is impure, as the stork on serpents, others of them on worms; and we must not onlyabstain from all impurity ourselves, but from communion with those that allow themselves in it.(4.) Others of them were used by the Egyptians and other Gentiles in their divinations. Some birdswere reckoned fortunate, others ominous; and their soothsayers had great regard to the flights ofthese birds, all which therefore must be an abomination to God's people, who must not learn theway of the heathen.20 All fowls that creep, going upon all four, shall be an abomination unto you.21 Yet these may ye eat of every flying creeping thing that goeth upon all four,which have legs above their feet, to leap withal upon the earth; 22 Even these ofthem ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and thebeetle after his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind. 23 But all other flyingcreeping things, which have four feet, shall be an abomination unto you. 24 Andfor these ye shall be unclean: whosoever toucheth the carcase of them shall be uncleanuntil the even. 25 And whosoever beareth ought of the carcase of them shall washhis clothes, and be unclean until the even. 26 The carcases of every beast whichdivideth the hoof, and is not clovenfooted, nor cheweth the cud, are unclean untoyou: every one that toucheth them shall be unclean. 27 And whatsoever goeth upon713Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)his paws, among all manner of beasts that go on all four, those are unclean untoyou: whoso toucheth their carcase shall be unclean until the even. 28 And he thatbeareth the carcase of them shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even:they are unclean unto you. 29 These also shall be unclean unto you among thecreeping things that creep upon the earth; the weasel, and the mouse, and the tortoiseafter his kind, 30 And the ferret, and the chameleon, and the lizard, and the snail,and the mole. 31 These are unclean to you among all that creep: whosoever dothtouch them, when they be dead, shall be unclean until the even. 32 And uponwhatsoever any of them, when they are dead, doth fall, it shall be unclean; whetherit be any vessel of wood, or raiment, or skin, or sack, whatsoever vessel it be, whereinany work is done, it must be put into water, and it shall be unclean until the even;so it shall be cleansed. 33 And every earthen vessel, whereinto any of them falleth,whatsoever is in it shall be unclean; and ye shall break it. 34 Of all meat whichmay be eaten, that on which such water cometh shall be unclean: and all drink thatmay be drunk in every such vessel shall be unclean. 35 And every thing whereuponany part of their carcase falleth shall be unclean; whether it be oven, or ranges forpots, they shall be broken down: for they are unclean, and shall be unclean untoyou. 36 Nevertheless a fountain or pit, wherein there is plenty of water, shall beclean: but that which toucheth their carcase shall be unclean. 37 And if any partof their carcase fall upon any sowing seed which is to be sown, it shall be clean.38 But if any water be put upon the seed, and any part of their carcase fall thereon,it shall be unclean unto you. 39 And if any beast, of which ye may eat, die; he thattoucheth the carcase thereof shall be unclean until the even. 40 And he that eatethof the carcase of it shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: he also thatbeareth the carcase of it shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even. 41And every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth shall be an abomination; itshall not be eaten. 42 Whatsoever goeth upon the belly, and whatsoever goeth uponall four, or whatsoever hath more feet among all creeping things that creep upon theearth, them ye shall not eat; for they are an abomination.Here is the law, 1. Concerning flying insects, as flies, wasps, bees, &c.; these they might noteat (v. 20), nor indeed are they fit to be eaten; but there were several sorts of locusts which in thosecountries were very good meat, and much used: John Baptist lived upon them in the desert, andthey are here allowed them, v. 21, 22. 2. Concerning the creeping things on the earth; these wereall forbidden (v. 29, 30, and again, v. 41, 42); for it was the curse of the serpent that upon his bellyhe should go, and therefore between him and man there was an enmity put (Gen. iii. 15), whichwas preserved by this law. Dust is the meat of the creeping things, and therefore they are not fit tobe man's meat. 3. Concerning the dead carcasses of all these unclean animals. (1.) Every one thattouched them was to be unclean until the evening, v. 24-28. This law is often repeated, to possessthem with a dread of every thing that was prohibited, though no particular reason for the prohibition714Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)did appear, but only the will of the Law-maker. Not that they were to be looked upon as defilingto the conscience, or that it was a sin against God to touch them, unless done in contempt of thelaw: in many cases, somebody must of necessity touch them, to remove them; but it was a ceremonialuncleanness they contracted, which for the time forbade them to come into the tabernacle, or to eatof any of the holy things, or so much as to converse familiarly with their neighbours. But theuncleanness continued only till the evening, to signify that all ceremonial pollutions were to cometo an end by the death of Christ in the evening of the world. And we must learn, by daily renewingour repentance every night for the sins of the day, to cleanse ourselves from the pollution we contractby them, that we may not lie down in our uncleanness. Even unclean animals they might touchwhile they were alive without contracting any ceremonial uncleanness by it, as horses and dogs,because they were allowed to use them for service; but they might not touch them when they weredead, because they might not eat their flesh; and what must not be eaten must not be touched, Gen.iii. 3. (2.) Even the vessels, or other things they fell upon, were thereby made unclean until theevening (v. 32), and if they were earthen vessels they must be broken, v. 33. This taught themcarefully to avoid every thing that was polluting, even in their common actions. Not only the vesselsof the sanctuary, but every pot in Jerusalem and Judah, must be holiness to the Lord, Zech. xiv. 20,21. The laws in these cases are very critical, and the observance of them would be difficult, weshould think, if every thing that a dead mouse or rat, for instance, falls upon must be unclean; andif it were an oven, or ranges for pots, they must all be broken down, v. 35. The exceptions also arevery nice, v. 36, &c. All this was designed to exercise them to a constant care and exactness in theirobedience, and to teach us, who by Christ are delivered from these burdensome observances, notto be less circumspect in the more weighty matters of the law. We ought as industriously to preserveour precious souls from the pollutions of sin, and as speedily to cleanse them when they are polluted,as they were to preserve and cleanse their bodies and household goods from those ceremonialpollutions.43 Ye shall not make yourselves abominable with any creeping thing that creepeth,neither shall ye make yourselves unclean with them, that ye should be defiled thereby.44 For I am the Lord your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shallbe holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creepingthing that creepeth upon the earth. 45 For I am the Lord that bringeth you up outof the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy. 46This is the law of the beasts, and of the fowl, and of every living creature that movethin the waters, and of every creature that creepeth upon the earth: 47 To make adifference between the unclean and the clean, and between the beast that may beeaten and the beast that may not be eaten.Here is, I. The exposition of this law, or a key to let us into the meaning of it. It was not intendedmerely for a bill of fare, or as the directions of a physician about their diet, but God would herebyteach them to sanctify themselves and to be holy, v. 44. That is, 1. They must hereby learn to puta difference between good and evil, and to reckon that it could not be all alike what they did, whenit was not all alike what they ate. 2. To maintain a constant observance of the divine law, and togovern themselves by that in all their actions, even those that are common, which ought to beperformed after a godly sort, 3 John 6. Even eating and drinking must be by rule, and to the glory715Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)of God, 1 Cor. x. 31. 3. To distinguish themselves from all their neighbours, as a people set apartfor God, and obliged not to walk as the Gentiles: and all this is holiness. Thus these rudiments ofthe world were their tutors and governors (Gal. iv. 2, 3), to bring them to that which is the revivalof our first state in Adam and the earnest of our best state with Christ, that is, holiness, withoutwhich no man shall see the Lord. This is indeed the great design of all the ordinances, that by themwe may sanctify ourselves and learn to be holy. Even This law concerning their food, which seemedto stoop so very low, aimed thus high, for it was the statute-law of heaven, under the Old Testamentas well as the New, that without holiness no man shall see the Lord. The caution therefore (v. 43)is, You shall not make yourselves abominable. Note, By having fellowship with sin, which isabominable, we make ourselves abominable. That man is truly miserable who is in the sight of Godabominable; and none are so but those that make themselves so. The Jewish writers themselvessuggest that the intention of this law was to forbid them all communion by marriage, or otherwise,with the heathen, Deut. vii. 2, 3. And thus the moral of it is obligatory on us, forbidding us to havefellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness; and, without this real holiness of the heart andlife, he that offereth an oblation is as if he offered swine's blood (Isa. lxvi. 3); and, if it was such aprovocation for a man to eat swine's flesh himself, much more it must be so to offer swine's bloodat God's altar; see Prov. xv. 8.II. The reasons of this law; and they are all taken from the Law-maker himself, to whom wemust have respect in all acts of obedience. 1. I am the Lord your God, v. 44. "Therefore you arebound to do thus, in pure obedience." God's sovereignty over us, and propriety in us, oblige us todo whatever he commands us, how much soever it crosses our inclinations. 2. I am holy, v. 44, andagain, v. 45. If God be holy, we must be so, else we cannot expect to be accepted of him. Hisholiness is his glory (Exod. xv. 11), and therefore it becomes his house for ever, Ps. xciii. 5. Thisgreat precept, thus enforced, though it comes in here in the midst of abrogated laws, is quoted andstamped for a gospel precept, 1 Pet. i. 16, where it is intimated that all these ceremonial restraintswere designed to teach us that we must not fashion ourselves according to our former lusts in ourignorance, v. 14. 3. I am the Lord that bringeth you out of the land of Egypt, v. 45. This was areason why they should cheerfully submit to distinguishing laws, having of late been so wonderfullydignified with distinguishing favours. He that had done more for them than for any other peoplemight justly expect more from them.III. The conclusion of this statute: This is the law of the beasts, and of the fowl, &c., v. 46, 47.This law was to them a statute for ever, that is, as long as that economy lasted; but under the gospelwe find it expressly repealed by a voice from heaven to Peter (Acts x. 15), as it had before beenvirtually set aside by the death of Christ, with the other ordinances that perished in the using: Touchnot, taste not, handle not, Col. ii. 21, 22. And now we are sure that meat commends us not to God(1 Cor. viii. 8), and that nothing is unclean of itself (Rom. xiv. 14), nor does that defile a man whichgoes into his mouth, but that which comes out from the heart, Matt. xv. 11. Let us therefore, 1.Give thanks to God that we are not under this yoke, but that to us every creature of God is allowedas good, and nothing to be refused. 2. Stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free,and take heed of those doctrines which command to abstain from meats, and so would revive Mosesagain, 1 Tim. iv. 3, 4. 3. Be strictly and conscientiously temperate in the use of the good creaturesGod has allowed us. If God's law has given us liberty, let us lay restraints upon ourselves, and neverfeed ourselves without fear, lest our table be a snare. Set a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given716Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)to appetite; and be not desirous of dainties or varieties, Prov. xxiii. 2, 3. Nature is content withlittle, grace with less, but lust with nothing.L E V I T C U SCHAP. XII.After the laws concerning clean and unclean food come the laws concerning clean and uncleanpersons; and the first is in this chapter concerning the ceremonial uncleanness of women inchild-birth, ver. 1-5. And concerning their purification from that uncleanness, ver. 6, &c.Ceremonial Purification. (b. c. 1490.)1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Speak unto the children of Israel,saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall beunclean seven days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shallshe be unclean. 3 And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised.4 And she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days;she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of herpurifying be fulfilled. 5 But if she bear a maid child, then she shall be unclean twoweeks, as in her separation: and she shall continue in the blood of her purifyingthreescore and six days.The law here pronounces women lying-in ceremonially unclean. The Jews say, "The lawextended even to an abortion, if the child was so formed as that the sex was distinguishable." 1.There was some time of strict separation immediately after the birth, which continued seven daysfor a son and fourteen for a daughter, v. 2, 5. During these days she was separated from her husbandand friends, and those that necessarily attended her were ceremonially unclean, which was onereason why the males were not circumcised till the eighth day, because they participated in themother's pollution during the days of her separation. 2. There was also a longer time appointed fortheir purifying; thirty-three days more (forty in all) if the birth were a male, and double that timeif a female, v. 4, 5. During this time they were only separated from the sanctuary and forbidden toeat of the passover, or peace-offerings, or, if a priest's wife, to eat of any thing that was holy to theLord. Why the time of both those was double for a female to what it was for a male I can assignno reason but the will of the Law-maker; in Christ Jesus no difference is made of male and female,Gal. iii. 28; Col. iii. 11. But this ceremonial uncleanness which the law laid women in child-bedunder was to signify the pollution of sin which we are all conceived and born in, Ps. li. 5. For, ifthe root be impure, so is the branch, Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? If sin had notentered, nothing but purity and honour had attended all the productions of that great blessing, Befruitful and multiply; but now that the nature of man is degenerated the propagation of that natureis laid under these marks of disgrace, because of the sin and corruption that are propagated with it,and in remembrance of the curse upon the woman that was first in the transgression. That in sorrow717Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)(to which it is here further added in shame) she should bring forth children. And the exclusion ofthe woman for so many days from the sanctuary, and all participation of the holy things, signifiedthat our original corruption (that sinning sin which we brought into the world with us) would haveexcluded us for ever from the enjoyment of God and his favours if he had not graciously providedfor our purifying.6 And when the days of her purifying are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter,she shall bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon, ora turtledove, for a sin offering, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation,unto the priest: 7 Who shall offer it before the Lord, and make an atonement forher; and she shall be cleansed from the issue of her blood. This is the law for herthat hath born a male or a female. 8 And if she be not able to bring a lamb, thenshe shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons; the one for the burnt offering, andthe other for a sin offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for her, and sheshall be clean.A woman that had lain in, when the time set for her return to the sanctuary had come, was notto attend there empty, but must bring her offerings, v. 6. 1. A burnt-offering; a lamb if she wasable, if poor, a pigeon. This she was to offer in thankfulness to God for his mercy to her, in bringingher safely through the pains of child-bearing and all the perils of child-bed, and in desire and hopesof God's further favour both to her and to the child. When a child is born there is joy and there ishope, and therefore it was proper to bring this offering, which was of a general nature; for what werejoice in we must give thanks for, and what we are in hopes of we must pray for. But, besides this,2. She must offer a sin-offering, which must be the same for poor and rich, a turtle-dove or a youngpigeon; for, whatever difference there may be between rich and poor in the sacrifices ofacknowledgment, that of atonement is the same for both. This sin-offering was intended either, (1.)To complete her purification from that ceremonial uncleanness which, though it was not in itselfsinful, yet was typical of moral pollution; or, (2.) To make atonement for that which was really sin,either an inordinate desire of the blessing of children or discontent or impatience under the painsof child-bearing. It is only by Christ, the great sin-offering, that the corruption of our nature is doneaway, and to that it is owing that we are not for ever excluded by it from the sanctuary, and fromeating of the holy things. According to this law, we find that the mother of our blessed Lord, thoughhe was not conceived in sin as others, yet accomplished the days of purification, and then presentedher son to the Lord, being a first-born, and brought her own offering, a pair of turtle-doves, Lukeii. 22-24. So poor were Christ's parents that they were not able to bring a lamb for a burnt-offering;and so early was Christ made under the law, to redeem those that were under it. The morality ofthis law obliges those women that have received mercy from God in child-bearing with allthankfulness to own God's goodness to them, acknowledging themselves unworthy of it, and (whichis the best purification of women that have been saved in child-bearing, 1 Tim. ii. 15) to continuein faith, and charity, and holiness, with sobriety; for this shall please the Lord better than theturtle-doves or the young pigeons.718Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)L E V I T C U SCHAP. XIII.The next ceremonial uncleanness is that of the leprosy, concerning which the law was verylarge and particular; we have the discovery of it in this chapter, and the cleansing of the leper inthe next. Scarcely any one thing in all the levitical law takes up so much room as this. I. Rules arehere given by which the priest must judge whether the man had the leprosy or no, according as thesymptom was that appeared. 1. If it was a swelling, a scab, or a bright spot, ver. 1-17. 2. If it wasa bile, ver. 18-23. 3. If it was in inflammation, ver. 24-28. 4. If it was in the head or beard, ver.29-37. 5. If it was a bright spot, ver. 38, 39. 6. If it was in a bald head, ver. 40-44. II. Direction isgiven how the leper must be disposed of, ver. 45, 46. III. Concerning the leprosy in garments, ver.47, &c.The Law Concerning Leprosy. (b. c. 1490.)1 And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron, saying, 2 When a man shall havein the skin of his flesh a rising, a scab, or bright spot, and it be in the skin of his fleshlike the plague of leprosy; then he shall be brought unto Aaron the priest, or untoone of his sons the priests: 3 And the priest shall look on the plague in the skin ofthe flesh: and when the hair in the plague is turned white, and the plague in sight bedeeper than the skin of his flesh, it is a plague of leprosy: and the priest shall lookon him, and pronounce him unclean. 4 If the bright spot be white in the skin of hisflesh, and in sight be not deeper than the skin, and the hair thereof be not turnedwhite; then the priest shall shut up him that hath the plague seven days: 5 And thepriest shall look on him the seventh day: and, behold, if the plague in his sight be ata stay, and the plague spread not in the skin; then the priest shall shut him up sevendays more: 6 And the priest shall look on him again the seventh day: and, behold,if the plague be somewhat dark, and the plague spread not in the skin, the priestshall pronounce him clean: it is but a scab: and he shall wash his clothes, and beclean. 7 But if the scab spread much abroad in the skin, after that he hath been seenof the priest for his cleansing, he shall be seen of the priest again: 8 And if the priestsee that, behold, the scab spreadeth in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce himunclean: it is a leprosy. 9 When the plague of leprosy is in a man, then he shall bebrought unto the priest; 10 And the priest shall see him: and, behold, if the risingbe white in the skin, and it have turned the hair white, and there be quick raw fleshin the rising; 11 It is an old leprosy in the skin of his flesh, and the priest shallpronounce him unclean, and shall not shut him up: for he is unclean. 12 And if aleprosy break out abroad in the skin, and the leprosy cover all the skin of him thathath the plague from his head even to his foot, wheresoever the priest looketh; 13719Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)Then the priest shall consider: and, behold, if the leprosy have covered all his flesh,he shall pronounce him clean that hath the plague: it is all turned white: he is clean.14 But when raw flesh appeareth in him, he shall be unclean. 15 And the priestshall see the raw flesh, and pronounce him to be unclean: for the raw flesh is unclean:it is a leprosy. 16 Or if the raw flesh turn again, and be changed unto white, heshall come unto the priest; 17 And the priest shall see him: and, behold, if the plaguebe turned into white; then the priest shall pronounce him clean that hath the plague:he is clean.I. Concerning the plague of leprosy we may observe in general, 1. That it was rather anuncleanness than a disease; or, at least, so the law considered it, and therefore employed not thephysicians but the priests about it. Christ is said to cleanse lepers, not to cure them. We do not readof any that died of the leprosy, but it rather buried them alive, by rendering them unfit forconversation with any but such as were infected like themselves. Yet there is a tradition that Pharaoh,who sought to kill Moses, was the first that ever was struck with this disease, and that he died ofit. It is said to have begun first in Egypt, whence it spread into Syria. It was very well known toMoses, when he put his own hand into his bosom and took it out leprous. 2. That it was a plagueinflicted immediately by the hand of God, and came not from natural causes, as other diseases; andtherefore must be managed according to a divine law. Miriam's leprosy, and Gehazi's, and kingUzziah's, were all the punishments of particular sins: and, if generally it was so, no marvel therewas so much care taken to distinguish it from a common distemper, that none might be looked uponas lying under this extraordinary token of divine displeasure but those that really were so. 3. Thatit is a plague not now known in the world; what is commonly called the leprosy is of a quite differentnature. This seems to have been reserved as a particular scourge for the sinners of those times andplaces. The Jews retained the idolatrous customs they had learnt in Egypt, and therefore God justlycaused this with some others of the diseases of Egypt to follow them. Yet we read of Naaman theSyrian, who was a leper, 2 Kings v. 1. 4. That there were other breakings-out in the body whichdid very much resemble the leprosy, but were not it, which might make a man sore and loathsomeand yet not ceremonially unclean. Justly are our bodies called vile bodies, which have in them theseeds of so many diseases, by which the lives of so many are made bitter to them. 5. That thejudgment of it was referred to the priests. Lepers were looked upon as stigmatized by the justiceof God, and therefore it was left to his servants the priests, who might be presumed to know hismark best, to pronounce who were lepers and who were not. All the Jews say, "Any priest, thoughdisabled by a blemish to attend the sanctuary, might be a judge of the leprosy, provided the blemishwere not in his eye. And he might" (they say) "take a common person to assist him in the search,but the priest only must pronounce the judgment." 6. That it was a figure of the moral pollution ofmen's minds by sin, which is the leprosy of the soul, defiling to the conscience, and from whichChrist alone can cleanse us; for herein the power of his grace infinitely transcends that of the legalpriesthood, that the priest could only convict the leper (for by the law is the knowledge of sin), butChrist can cure the leper, he can take away sin. Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean, whichwas more than the priests could do, Matt. viii. 2. Some think that the leprosy signified, not so muchsin in general as a state of sin, by which men are separated from God (their spot not being the spotof God's children), and scandalous sin, for which men are to be shut out from the communion of720Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)the faithful. It is a work of great importance, but of great difficulty, to judge of our spiritual state:we have all cause to suspect ourselves, being conscious to ourselves of sores and spots, but whetherclean or unclean is the question. A man might have a scab (v. 6) and yet be clean: the best havetheir infirmities; but, as there were certain marks by which to know that it was a leprosy, so thereare characters of such as are in the gall of bitterness, and the work of ministers is to declare thejudgment of leprosy and to assist those that suspect themselves in the trial of their spiritual state,remitting or retaining sin. And hence the keys of the kingdom of heaven are said to be given tothem, because they are to separate between the precious and the vile, and to judge who are fit asclean to partake of the holy things and who as unclean must be debarred from them.II. Several rules are here laid down by which the judgment of the priest must be governed. 1.If the sore was but skin-deep, it was to be hoped it was not the leprosy, v. 4. But, if it was deeperthan the skin, the man must be pronounced unclean, v. 3. The infirmities that consist with grace donot sink deep into the soul, but the mind still serves the law of God, and the inward man delightsin it, Rom. vii. 22, 25. But if the matter be really worse than it shows, and the inwards be infected,the case is dangerous. 2. If the sore be at a stay, and do not spread, it is no leprosy, v. 4, 5. But ifit spread much abroad, and continue to do so after several inspections, the case is bad, v. 7, 8. Ifmen do not grow worse, but a stop be put to the course of their sins and their corruptions be checked,it is to be hoped they will grow better; but if sin get ground, and they become worse every day,they are going downhill. 3. If there was proud raw flesh in the rising, the priest needed not to waitany longer, it was certainly a leprosy, v. 10, 11. Nor is there any surer indication of the badness ofa man's spiritual state than the heart's rising in self-conceit, confidence in the flesh, and resistanceof the reproofs of the word and strivings of the Spirit. 4. If the eruption, whatever it was, coveredall the skin from head to foot, it was no leprosy (v. 12, 13); for it was an evidence that the vitalswere sound and strong, and nature hereby helped itself, throwing out what was burdensome andpernicious. There is hope in the small-pox when they come out well: so if men freely confess theirsins, and hide them not, there is no danger comparable to theirs that cover their sins. Some gatherthis from it, that there is more hope of the profane than of hypocrites. The publicans and harlotswent into the kingdom of heaven before scribes and Pharisees. In one respect, the suddenbreakings-out of passion, though bad enough, are not so dangerous as malice concealed. Othersgather this, that, if we judge ourselves, we shall not be judged; if we see and own that there is nohealth in us, no soundness in our flesh, by reason of sin, we shall find grace in the eyes of the Lord.5. The priest must take time in making his judgment, and not give it rashly. If the matter lookedsuspicious, he must shut up the patient seven days, and then seven days more, that his judgmentmight be according to truth. This teaches all, both ministers and people, not to be hasty in theircensures, nor to judge any thing before the time. If some men's sins go before unto judgment, thesins of others follow after, and so men's good works; therefore let nothing be done suddenly, 1 Tim.v. 22, 24, 25. 6. If the person suspected was found to be clean, yet he must wash his clothes (v. 6),because he had been under the suspicion, and there had been in him that which gave ground forthe suspicion. Even the prisoner that is acquitted must go down on his knees. We have need to bewashed in the blood of Christ from our spots, though they be not leprosy-spots; for who can say, Iam pure from sin? though there are those who through grace are innocent from the greattransgression.721Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)18 The flesh also, in which, even in the skin thereof, was a boil, and is healed,19 And in the place of the boil there be a white rising, or a bright spot, white, andsomewhat reddish, and it be showed to the priest; 20 And if, when the priest seethit, behold, it be in sight lower than the skin, and the hair thereof be turned white;the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it is a plague of leprosy broken out of theboil. 21 But if the priest look on it, and, behold, there be no white hairs therein,and if it be not lower than the skin, but be somewhat dark; then the priest shall shuthim up seven days: 22 And if it spread much abroad in the skin, then the priestshall pronounce him unclean: it is a plague. 23 But if the bright spot stay in hisplace, and spread not, it is a burning boil; and the priest shall pronounce him clean.24 Or if there be any flesh, in the skin whereof there is a hot burning, and the quickflesh that burneth have a white bright spot, somewhat reddish, or white; 25 Thenthe priest shall look upon it: and, behold, if the hair in the bright spot be turned white,and it be in sight deeper than the skin; it is a leprosy broken out of the burning:wherefore the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it is the plague of leprosy. 26But if the priest look on it, and, behold, there be no white hair in the bright spot,and it be no lower than the other skin, but be somewhat dark; then the priest shallshut him up seven days: 27 And the priest shall look upon him the seventh day:and if it be spread much abroad in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce himunclean: it is the plague of leprosy. 28 And if the bright spot stay in his place, andspread not in the skin, but it be somewhat dark; it is a rising of the burning, and thepriest shall pronounce him clean: for it is an inflammation of the burning. 29 If aman or woman have a plague upon the head or the beard; 30 Then the priest shallsee the plague: and, behold, if it be in sight deeper than the skin; and there be in ita yellow thin hair; then the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it is a dry scall, evena leprosy upon the head or beard. 31 And if the priest look on the plague of thescall, and, behold, it be not in sight deeper than the skin, and that there is no blackhair in it; then the priest shall shut up him that hath the plague of the scall sevendays: 32 And in the seventh day the priest shall look on the plague: and, behold,if the scall spread not, and there be in it no yellow hair, and the scall be not in sightdeeper than the skin; 33 He shall be shaven, but the scall shall he not shave; andthe priest shall shut up him that hath the scall seven days more: 34 And in theseventh day the priest shall look on the scall: and, behold, if the scall be not spreadin the skin, nor be in sight deeper than the skin; then the priest shall pronounce himclean: and he shall wash his clothes, and be clean. 35 But if the scall spread muchin the skin after his cleansing; 36 Then the priest shall look on him: and, behold,if the scall be spread in the skin, the priest shall not seek for yellow hair; he is722Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)unclean. 37 But if the scall be in his sight at a stay, and that there is black hairgrown up therein; the scall is healed, he is clean: and the priest shall pronounce himclean.The priest is here instructed what judgment to make if there was any appearance of a leprosy,either, 1. In an old ulcer, or bile, that has been healed, v. 18, &c. When old sores, that seemed tobe cured, break out again, it is to be feared there is a leprosy in them; such is the danger of thosewho, having escaped the pollutions of the world, are again entangled therein and overcome. Or, 2.In a burn by accident, for this seems to be meant, v. 24, &c. The burning of strife and contentionoften proves the occasion of the rising up and breaking out of that corruption which witnesses tomen's faces that they are unclean. 3. In a scall-head. And in this commonly the judgment turnedupon a very small matter. If the hair in the scall was black, it was a sign of soundness; if yellow, itwas an indication of a leprosy, v. 30-37. The other rules in these cases are the same with thosementioned before. In reading of these several sorts of ailments, it will be good for us, 1. To lamentthe calamitous state of human life, which lies exposed to so many grievances. What troops ofdiseases are we beset with on every side! and they all entered by sin. 2. To give thanks to God ifhe has never afflicted us with any of these sores: if the constitution is healthful, and the body livelyand easy, we are bound to glorify God with our bodies.38 If a man also or a woman have in the skin of their flesh bright spots, evenwhite bright spots; 39 Then the priest shall look: and, behold, if the bright spots inthe skin of their flesh be darkish white; it is a freckled spot that groweth in the skin;he is clean. 40 And the man whose hair is fallen off his head, he is bald; yet is heclean. 41 And he that hath his hair fallen off from the part of his head toward hisface, he is forehead bald: yet is he clean. 42 And if there be in the bald head, orbald forehead, a white reddish sore; it is a leprosy sprung up in his bald head, or hisbald forehead. 43 Then the priest shall look upon it: and, behold, if the rising ofthe sore be white reddish in his bald head, or in his bald forehead, as the leprosyappeareth in the skin of the flesh; 44 He is a leprous man, he is unclean: the priestshall pronounce him utterly unclean; his plague is in his head. 45 And the leper inwhom the plague is, his clothes shall be rent, and his head bare, and he shall put acovering upon his upper lip, and shall cry, Unclean, unclean. 46 All the days whereinthe plague shall be in him he shall be defiled; he is unclean: he shall dwell alone;without the camp shall his habitation be.We have here,I. Provisos that neither a freckled skin nor a bald head should be mistaken for a leprosy, v.38-41. Every deformity must not forthwith be made a ceremonial defilement. Elisha was jeered forhis bald head (2 Kings ii. 23); but it was the children of Bethel, that knew not the judgments oftheir God, who turned it to his reproach.II. A particular brand set upon the leprosy if at any time it did appear in a bald head: Theplague is in his head, he is utterly unclean, v. 44. If the leprosy of sin have seized the head, if thejudgment be corrupted, and wicked principles which countenance and support wicked practices,723Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)be embraced, it is an utter uncleanness, from which few are ever cleansed. Soundness in the faithkeeps the leprosy from the head, and saves conscience from being shipwrecked.III. Directions what must be done with the convicted leper. When the priest, upon maturedeliberation, had solemnly pronounced him unclean,1. He must pronounce himself so, v. 45. He must put himself into the posture of a mournerand cry, Unclean, unclean. The leprosy was not itself a sin, but it was a sad token of God'sdispleasure and a sore affliction to him that was under it. It was a reproach to his name, put a fullstop to his business in the world, cut him off from conversation with his friends and relations,condemned him to banishment till he was cleansed, shut him out from the sanctuary, and was, ineffect, the ruin of all the comfort he could have in this world. Heman, it would seem, either was aleper or alludes to the melancholy condition of a leper, Ps. lxxxviii. 8, &c. He must therefore, (1.)Humble himself under the mighty hand of God, not insisting upon his cleanness when the priesthad pronounced him unclean, but justifying God and accepting the punishment of his iniquity. Hemust signify this by rending his clothes, uncovering his head, and covering his upper lip, all tokensof shame and confusion of face, and very significant of that self-loathing and self-abasement whichshould fill the hearts of penitents, the language of which is self-judging. Thus must we take toourselves the shame that belongs to us, and with broken hearts call ourselves by our own name,Unclean, unclean—heart unclean, life unclean, unclean by original corruption, unclean by actualtransgression—unclean, and therefore worthy to be for ever excluded from communion with God,and all hope of happiness in him. We are all as an unclean thing (Isa. lxiv. 6)—unclean, andtherefore undone, if infinite mercy do not interpose. (2.) He must give warning to others to takeheed of coming near him. Wherever he went, he must cry to those he saw at a distance, "I amunclean, unclean, take heed of touching me." Not that the leprosy was catching, but by the touchof a leper ceremonial uncleanness was contracted. Every one therefore was concerned to avoid it;and the leper himself must give notice of the danger. And this was all that the law could do, in thatit was weak through the flesh; it taught the leper to cry, Unclean, unclean, but the gospel has putanother cry into the lepers' mouths, Luke xvii. 12, 13, where we find ten lepers crying with a loudvoice, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. The law only shows us our disease; the gospel shows usour help in Christ.2. He must then be shut out of the camp, and afterwards, when they came to Canaan, out ofthe city, town, or village, where he lived, and dwell alone (v. 46), associating with none but thosethat were lepers like himself. When king Uzziah became a leper, he was banished from his palace,and dwelt in a separate house, 2 Chron. xxvi. 21. And see 2 Kings vii. 3. This typified the puritywhich ought to be preserved in the gospel church, by the solemn and authoritative exclusion ofscandalous sinners, that hate to be reformed, from the communion of the faithful. Put away fromamong yourselves that wicked person, 1 Cor. v. 13.47 The garment also that the plague of leprosy is in, whether it be a woollengarment, or a linen garment; 48 Whether it be in the warp, or woof; of linen, or ofwoollen; whether in a skin, or in any thing made of skin; 49 And if the plague begreenish or reddish in the garment, or in the skin, either in the warp, or in the woof,or in any thing of skin; it is a plague of leprosy, and shall be showed unto the priest:50 And the priest shall look upon the plague, and shut up it that hath the plague724Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)seven days: 51 And he shall look on the plague on the seventh day: if the plaguebe spread in the garment, either in the warp, or in the woof, or in a skin, or in anywork that is made of skin; the plague is a fretting leprosy; it is unclean. 52 He shalltherefore burn that garment, whether warp or woof, in woollen or in linen, or anything of skin, wherein the plague is: for it is a fretting leprosy; it shall be burnt inthe fire. 53 And if the priest shall look, and, behold, the plague be not spread inthe garment, either in the warp, or in the woof, or in any thing of skin; 54 Then thepriest shall command that they wash the thing wherein the plague is, and he shallshut it up seven days more: 55 And the priest shall look on the plague, after that itis washed: and, behold, if the plague have not changed his colour, and the plaguebe not spread; it is unclean; thou shalt burn it in the fire; it is fret inward, whetherit be bare within or without. 56 And if the priest look, and, behold, the plague besomewhat dark after the washing of it; then he shall rend it out of the garment, orout of the skin, or out of the warp, or out of the woof: 57 And if it appear still inthe garment, either in the warp, or in the woof, or in any thing of skin; it is a spreadingplague: thou shalt burn that wherein the plague is with fire. 58 And the garment,either warp, or woof, or whatsoever thing of skin it be, which thou shalt wash, if theplague be departed from them, then it shall be washed the second time, and shall beclean. 59 This is the law of the plague of leprosy in a garment of woollen or linen,either in the warp, or woof, or any thing of skins, to pronounce it clean, or topronounce it unclean.This is the law concerning the plague of leprosy in a garment, whether linen or woollen. Aleprosy in a garment, with discernible indications of it, the colour changed by it, the garment fretted,the nap worn off, and this in some one particular part of the garment, and increasing when it wasshut up, and not to be got out by washing is a thing which to us now is altogether unaccountable.The learned confess that it was a sign and a miracle in Israel, an extraordinary punishment inflictedby the divine power, as a token of great displeasure against a person or family. 1. The process wasmuch the same with that concerning a leprous person. The garment suspected to be tainted was notto be burnt immediately, though, it may be, there would have been no great loss of it; for in no casemust sentence be given merely upon a surmise, but it must be shown to the priest. If, upon search,it was found that there was a leprous spot (the Jews say no bigger than a bean), it must be burnt,or at least that part of the garment in which the spot was, v. 52, 57. If the cause of the suspicionwas gone, it must be washed, and then might be used, v. 58. 2. The signification also was muchthe same, to intimate the great malignity there is in sin: it not only defiles the sinner's conscience,but it brings a stain upon all his employments and enjoyments, all he has and all he does. To thosethat are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure, Tit. i. 15. And we are taught hereby to hate eventhe garments spotted with the flesh, Jude 23. Those that make their clothes servants to their prideand lust may see them thereby tainted with a leprosy, and doomed to the fire, Isa. iii. 18-24. Butthe ornament of the hidden man of the heart is incorruptible, 1 Pet. iii. 4. The robes of righteousnessnever fret nor are moth-eaten.725Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)L E V I T C U SCHAP. XIV.The former chapter directed the priests how to convict a leper of ceremonial uncleanness. Noprescriptions are given for his cure; but, when God had cured him, the priests are in this chapterdirected how to cleanse him. The remedy here is only adapted to the ceremonial part of his disease;but the authority Christ gave to his ministers was to cure the lepers, and so to cleanse them. Wehave here, I. The solemn declaration of the leper's being clean, with the significant ceremonyattending it, ver. 1-9. II. The sacrifices which he was to offer to God eight days after, ver. 10-32.III. The management of a house in which appeared signs of a leprosy, ver. 33-53. And the conclusionand summary of this whole matter, ver. 54, &c.The Law Concerning Leprosy. (b. c. 1490.)1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 2 This shall be the law of the leperin the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought unto the priest: 3 And the priestshall go forth out of the camp; and the priest shall look, and, behold, if the plagueof leprosy be healed in the leper; 4 Then shall the priest command to take for himthat is to be cleansed two birds alive and clean, and cedar wood, and scarlet, andhyssop: 5 And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthenvessel over running water: 6 As for the living bird, he shall take it, and the cedarwood, and the scarlet, and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the living bird in theblood of the bird that was killed over the running water: 7 And he shall sprinkleupon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and shall pronouncehim clean, and shall let the living bird loose into the open field. 8 And he that isto be cleansed shall wash his clothes, and shave off all his hair, and wash himselfin water, that he may be clean: and after that he shall come into the camp, and shalltarry abroad out of his tent seven days. 9 But it shall be on the seventh day, that heshall shave all his hair off his head and his beard and his eyebrows, even all his hairhe shall shave off: and he shall wash his clothes, also he shall wash his flesh in water,and he shall be clean.Here, I. It is supposed that the plague of the leprosy was not an incurable disease. Uzziah'sindeed continued to the day of his death, and Gehazi's was entailed upon his seed; but Miriam'slasted only seven days: we may suppose that it often wore off in process of time. Though Godcontend long, he will not contend for ever.II. The judgment of the cure, as well as that of the disease, was referred to the priest. He mustgo out of the camp to the leper, to see whether his leprosy was healed, v. 3. And we may supposethe priest did not contract any ceremonial uncleanness by coming near the leper, as another personwould. It was in mercy to the poor lepers that the priests particularly had orders to attend them, forthe priests' lips should keep knowledge; and those in affliction have need to be instructed both how726Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)to bear their afflictions and how to reap benefit by them, have need of the word, in concurrencewith the rod, to bring them to repentance; therefore it is well for those that are sick if they havethese messengers of the Lord of hosts with them, these interpreters, to show unto them God'suprightness, Job xxxiii. 23. When the leper was shut out, and could not go to the priests, it waswell that the priests might come to him. Is any sick? Let him send for the elders, the ministers, Jam.v. 14. If we apply it to the spiritual leprosy of sin, it intimates that when we withdraw from thosewho walk disorderly, that they may be ashamed, we must not count them as enemies, but admonishthem as brethren, 2 Thess. iii. 15. And also that when God by his grace has brought those torepentance who were shut out of communion for scandal, they ought with tenderness, and joy, andsincere affection, to be received in again. Thus Paul orders concerning the excommunicatedCorinthian that when he had given evidences of his repentance they should forgive him, and comforthim, and confirm their love towards him, 2 Cor. ii. 7, 8. And ministers are entrusted by our Masterwith the declarative power of loosing as well as binding: both must be done with great caution anddeliberation, impartially and without respect of persons, with earnest prayer to God for directions,and a sincere regard to the edification of the body of Christ, due care being always taken that sinnersmay not be encouraged by an excess of lenity, nor penitents discouraged by an excess of severity.Wisdom and sincerity are profitable to direct in this case.III. If it was found that the leprosy was healed, the priest must declare it with a particularsolemnity. The leper or his friends were to get ready two birds caught for this purpose (any sort ofwild birds that were clean), and cedar-wood, and scarlet, and hyssop; for all these were to be usedin the ceremony. 1. A preparation was to be made of blood and water, with which the leper mustbe sprinkled. One of the birds (and the Jews say, if there was any difference, it must be the largerand better of the two) was to be killed over an earthen cup of spring water, so that the blood of thebird might discolour the water. This (as some other types) had its accomplishment in the death ofChrist, when out of his pierced side there came water and blood, John xix. 34. Thus Christ comesinto the soul for its cure and cleansing, not by water only, but by water and blood, 1 John v. 6. 2.The living bird, with a little scarlet wool, and a bunch of hyssop, must be fastened to a cedar stick,dipped in the water and blood, which must be so sprinkled upon him that was to be cleansed, v. 6,7. The cedar-wood signified the restoring of the leper to his strength and soundness, for that is asort of wood not apt to putrefy. The scarlet wool signified his recovering a florid colour again, forthe leprosy made him white as snow. And the hyssop intimated the removing of the disagreeablescent which commonly attended the leprosy. The cedar the stateliest plant, and hyssop the meanest,are here used together in this service (see 1 Kings iv. 33); for those of the lowest rank in the churchmay be of use in their place, as well as those that are most eminent, 1 Cor. xii. 2. Some make theslain bird to typify Christ dying for our sins, and the living bird Christ rising again for ourjustification. The dipping of the living bird in the blood of the slain bird intimated that the meritof Christ's death was that which made his resurrection effectual for our justification. He took hisblood with him into the holy place, and there appeared a lamb as it had been slain. The cedar, scarletwool, and hyssop, must all be dipped in the blood; for the word and ordinances, and all the operationsof the Spirit, receive their efficacy for our cleansing from the blood of Christ. The leper must besprinkled seven times, to signify a complete purification, in allusion to which David prays, Washme thoroughly, Ps. li. 2. Naaman was directed to wash seven times, 2 Kings v. 10. 3. The livingbird was then to be let loose in the open field, to signify that the leper, being cleansed, was now nolonger under restraint and confinement, but might take his liberty to go where he pleased. But this727Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)being signified by the flight of a bird towards heaven was an intimation to him henceforward toseek the things that are above, and not to spend this new life to which God had restored him merelyin the pursuit of earthly things. This typified that glorious liberty of the children of God to whichthose are advanced who through grace are sprinkled from an evil conscience. Those whose soulsbefore bowed down to the dust (Ps. xliv. 25), in grief and fear, now fly in the open firmament ofheaven, and soar upwards upon the wings of faith and hope, and holy love and joy. 4. The priestmust, upon this, pronounce him clean. It was requisite that this should be done with solemnity, thatthe leper might himself be the more affected with the mercy of God to him in his recovery, andthat others might be satisfied to converse with him. Christ is our priest, to whom the Father hascommitted all judgment, and particularly the judgment of the leprosy. By his definitive sentenceimpenitent sinners will have their everlasting portion assigned them with the unclean (Job xxxvi.14), out of the holy city; and all that by his grace are cured and cleansed shall be received into thecamp of the saints, into which no unclean thing shall enter. Those are clean indeed whom Christpronounces so, and they need not regard what men say of them. But, though Christ was the end ofthis law for righteousness, yet being in the days of his flesh made under the law, which as yet stoodunrepealed, he ordered those lepers whom he had cured miraculously to go and show themselvesto the priest, and offer for their cleansing according to the law, Matt. viii. 4; Luke xvii. 14. Thetype must be kept up till it was answered by its antitype. 5. When the leper was pronounced clean,he must wash his body and his clothes, and shave off all his hair (v. 8), must still tarry seven daysout of the camp, and on the seventh day must do it again, v. 9. The priest having pronounced himclean from the disease, he must make himself as clean as ever he could from all the remains of it,and from all other defilements, and he must take time to do this. Thus those who have the comfortof the remission of their sins, by the sprinkling of the blood of Christ upon their consciences, mustwith the utmost care and caution cleanse themselves from all filthiness both of flesh and spirit, andthoroughly purge themselves from their old sins; for every one that hath this hope in him will beconcerned to purify himself.10 And on the eighth day he shall take two he lambs without blemish, and oneewe lamb of the first year without blemish, and three tenth deals of fine flour for ameat offering, mingled with oil, and one log of oil. 11 And the priest that makethhim clean shall present the man that is to be made clean, and those things, beforethe Lord, at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: 12 And the priest shalltake one he lamb, and offer him for a trespass offering, and the log of oil, and wavethem for a wave offering before the Lord: 13 And he shall slay the lamb in theplace where he shall kill the sin offering and the burnt offering, in the holy place:for as the sin offering is the priest's, so is the trespass offering: it is most holy: 14And the priest shall take some of the blood of the trespass offering, and the priestshall put it upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon thethumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot: 15 And the priestshall take some of the log of oil, and pour it into the palm of his own left hand: 16And the priest shall dip his right finger in the oil that is in his left hand, and shallsprinkle of the oil with his finger seven times before the Lord: 17 And of the rest728Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)of the oil that is in his hand shall the priest put upon the tip of the right ear of himthat is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toeof his right foot, upon the blood of the trespass offering: 18 And the remnant ofthe oil that is in the priest's hand he shall pour upon the head of him that is to becleansed: and the priest shall make an atonement for him before the Lord. 19 Andthe priest shall offer the sin offering, and make an atonement for him that is to becleansed from his uncleanness; and afterward he shall kill the burnt offering: 20And the priest shall offer the burnt offering and the meat offering upon the altar:and the priest shall make an atonement for him, and he shall be clean.Observe, I. To complete the purification of the leper, on the eighth day, after the formersolemnity performed without the camp, and, as it should seem, before he returned to his ownhabitation, he was to attend at the door of the tabernacle, and was there to be presented to the Lord,with his offering, v. 11. Observe here, 1. That the mercies of God oblige us to present ourselves tohim, Rom. xii. 1. 2. When God has restored us to the liberty of ordinances again, after restraint bysickness, distance, or otherwise, we should take the first opportunity of testifying our respect toGod, and our affection to his sanctuary, by a diligent improvement of the liberty we are restoredto. When Christ had healed the impotent man, he soon after found him in the temple, John v. 14.When Hezekiah asks, What is the sign that I shall go up to the house of the Lord? he means, "Whatis the sign that I shall recover?" intimating that if God restored him his health, so that he should beable to go abroad, the house of the Lord should be the first place he would go to. 3. When we presentourselves before the Lord we must present our offerings, devoting to God with ourselves all wehave and can do. 4. Both we and our offerings must be presented before the Lord by the priest thatmade us clean, even our Lord Jesus, else neither we nor they can be accepted.II. Three lambs the cleansed leper was to bring, with a meat-offering, and a log of oil, whichwas about half a pint. Now, 1. Most of the ceremony peculiar to this case was about thetrespass-offering, the lamb for which was offered first, v. 12. And, besides the usual rites withwhich the trespass-offering was offered, some of the blood was to be put upon the ear, and thumb,and great toe, of the leper that was to be cleansed (v. 14), the very same ceremony that was usedin the consecration of the priests, ch. viii. 23, 24. It was a mortification to them to see the samepurification necessary for them that was for a leper. The Jews say that the leper stood without thegate of the tabernacle and the priest within, and thus the ceremony was performed through the gate,signifying that now he was admitted with other Israelites to attend in the courts of the Lord's houseagain, and was as welcome as ever; though he had been a leper, and though perhaps the name mightstick by him as long as he lived (as we read of one who probably was cleansed by our Lord Jesus,who yet afterwards is called Simon the leper, Matt. xxvi. 6), yet he was as freely admitted as everto communion with God and man. After the blood of the offering had been put with the priest'sfinger upon the extremities of the body, to include the whole, some of the oil that he brought, whichwas first waved and then sprinkled before the Lord, was in like manner put in the same places uponthe blood. "The blood" (says the learned bishop Patrick) "seems to have been a token of forgiveness,the oil of healing," for God first forgiveth our iniquities and then healeth our diseases, Ps. ciii. 3.See Isa. xxxviii. 17. Wherever the blood of Christ is applied for justification the oil of the Spirit isapplied for sanctification; for these two are inseparable and both necessary to our acceptance with729Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)God. Nor shall our former leprosy, if it be healed by repentance, be any bar to these gloriousprivileges. Cleansed lepers are as welcome to the blood and the oil as consecrated priests. Suchwere some of you, but you are washed. When the leper was sprinkled the water must have bloodin it (v. 5), when he was anointed the oil must have blood under it, to signify that all the graces andcomforts of the Spirit, all his purifying dignifying influences, are owing to the death of Christ: itis by his blood alone that we are sanctified. 2. Besides this there must be a sin-offering and aburnt-offering, a lamb for each, v. 19, 20. By each of these offerings, it is said, the priests shallmake atonement for him. (1.) His moral guilt shall be removed; the sin for which the leprosy wassent shall be pardoned, and all the sins he had been guilty of in his afflicted state. Note, The removalof any outward trouble is then doubly comfortable to us when at the same time God gives us someassurance of the forgiveness of our sins. If we receive the atonement, we have reason to rejoice,Rom. v. 11. (2.) His ceremonial pollution shall be removed, which had kept him from theparticipation of the holy things. And this is called making an atonement for him, because ourrestoration to the privileges of God's children, typified hereby, is owing purely to the greatpropitiation. When the atonement is made for him he shall be clean, both to his own satisfactionand to his reputation among his neighbours; he shall retrieve both his credit and his comfort, andboth these true penitents become entitled to, both ease and honour, by their interest in the atonement.The burnt-offering, besides the atonement that was made by it, was a thankful acknowledgment ofGod's mercy to him: and the more immediate the hand of God was both in the sickness and in thecure the more reason he had thus to give glory to him, and thus, as our Saviour speaks (Mark i. 44),to offer for his cleansing all those things which Moses commanded for a testimony unto them.21 And if he be poor, and cannot get so much; then he shall take one lamb for atrespass offering to be waved, to make an atonement for him, and one tenth deal offine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering, and a log of oil; 22 And twoturtledoves, or two young pigeons, such as he is able to get; and the one shall be asin offering, and the other a burnt offering. 23 And he shall bring them on the eighthday for his cleansing unto the priest, unto the door of the tabernacle of thecongregation, before the Lord. 24 And the priest shall take the lamb of the trespassoffering, and the log of oil, and the priest shall wave them for a wave offering beforethe Lord: 25 And he shall kill the lamb of the trespass offering, and the priest shalltake some of the blood of the trespass offering, and put it upon the tip of the rightear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and uponthe great toe of his right foot: 26 And the priest shall pour of the oil into the palmof his own left hand: 27 And the priest shall sprinkle with his right finger some ofthe oil that is in his left hand seven times before the Lord: 28 And the priest shallput of the oil that is in his hand upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to becleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his rightfoot, upon the place of the blood of the trespass offering: 29 And the rest of the oilthat is in the priest's hand he shall put upon the head of him that is to be cleansed,to make an atonement for him before the Lord. 30 And he shall offer the one of730Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)the turtledoves, or of the young pigeons, such as he can get; 31 Even such as he isable to get, the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering, with themeat offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for him that is to be cleansedbefore the Lord. 32 This is the law of him in whom is the plague of leprosy, whosehand is not able to get that which pertaineth to his cleansing.We have here the gracious provision which the law made for the cleansing of poor lepers. Ifthey were not able to bring three lambs, and three tenth-deals of flour, they must bring one lamb,and one tenth-deal of flour, and, instead of the other two lambs, two turtle-doves or two youngpigeons, v. 21, 22. Here see, 1. That the poverty of the person concerned would not excuse him ifhe brought no offering at all. Let none think that because they are poor God requires no servicefrom them, since he has considered them, and demands that which it is in the power of the poorestto give. "My son, give me thy heart, and with that the calves of thy lips shall be accepted instead ofthe calves of the stall." 2. That God expected from those who were poor only according to theirability; his commandments are not grievous, nor does he make us to serve with an offering. Thepoor are as welcome to God's altar as the rich; and, if there be first a willing mind and an honestheart, two pigeons, when they are the utmost a man is able to get, are as acceptable to God as twolambs; for he requires according to what a man has and not according to what he has not. But itis observable that though a meaner sacrifice was accepted from the poor, yet the very same ceremonywas used for them as was for the rich; for their souls are as precious and Christ and his gospel arethe same to both. Let not us therefore have the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ with respect of persons,Jam. ii. 1.33 And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, 34 When ye become into the land of Canaan, which I give to you for a possession, and I put theplague of leprosy in a house of the land of your possession; 35 And he that owneththe house shall come and tell the priest, saying, It seemeth to me there is as it werea plague in the house: 36 Then the priest shall command that they empty the house,before the priest go into it to see the plague, that all that is in the house be not madeunclean: and afterward the priest shall go in to see the house: 37 And he shall lookon the plague, and, behold, if the plague be in the walls of the house with hollowstrakes, greenish or reddish, which in sight are lower than the wall; 38 Then thepriest shall go out of the house to the door of the house, and shut up the house sevendays: 39 And the priest shall come again the seventh day, and shall look: and,behold, if the plague be spread in the walls of the house; 40 Then the priest shallcommand that they take away the stones in which the plague is, and they shall castthem into an unclean place without the city: 41 And he shall cause the house to bescraped within round about, and they shall pour out the dust that they scrape offwithout the city into an unclean place: 42 And they shall take other stones, and putthem in the place of those stones; and he shall take other mortar, and shall plasterthe house. 43 And if the plague come again, and break out in the house, after that731Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)he hath taken away the stones, and after he hath scraped the house, and after it isplastered; 44 Then the priest shall come and look, and, behold, if the plague bespread in the house, it is a fretting leprosy in the house: it is unclean. 45 And heshall break down the house, the stones of it, and the timber thereof, and all the mortarof the house; and he shall carry them forth out of the city into an unclean place. 46Moreover he that goeth into the house all the while that it is shut up shall be uncleanuntil the even. 47 And he that lieth in the house shall wash his clothes; and he thateateth in the house shall wash his clothes. 48 And if the priest shall come in, andlook upon it, and, behold, the plague hath not spread in the house, after the housewas plastered: then the priest shall pronounce the house clean, because the plagueis healed. 49 And he shall take to cleanse the house two birds, and cedar wood,and scarlet, and hyssop: 50 And he shall kill the one of the birds in an earthenvessel over running water: 51 And he shall take the cedar wood, and the hyssop,and the scarlet, and the living bird, and dip them in the blood of the slain bird, andin the running water, and sprinkle the house seven times: 52 And he shall cleansethe house with the blood of the bird, and with the running water, and with the livingbird, and with the cedar wood, and with the hyssop, and with the scarlet: 53 Buthe shall let go the living bird out of the city into the open fields, and make anatonement for the house: and it shall be clean.This is the law concerning the leprosy in a house. Now that they were in the wilderness theydwelt in tents, and had no houses, and therefore the law is made only an appendix to the formerlaws concerning the leprosy, because it related, not to their present state, but to their future settlement.The leprosy in a house is as unaccountable as the leprosy in a garment; but, if we see not whatnatural causes of it can be assigned, we may resolve it into the power of the God of nature, whohere says, I put the leprosy in a house (v. 34), as his curse is said to enter into a house, and consumeit with the timber and stones thereof, Zech. v. 4. Now, 1. It is supposed that even in Canaan itself,the land of promise, their houses might be infected with a leprosy. Though it was a holy land, thiswould not secure them from this plague, while the inhabitants were many of them so unholy. Thusa place and a name in the visible church will not secure wicked people from God's judgments. 2.It is likewise taken for granted that the owner of the house will make the priest acquainted with it,as soon as he sees the least cause to suspect the leprosy in his house: It seemeth to me there is asit were a plague in the house, v. 35. Sin, where that reigns in a house, is a plague there, as it is ina heart. And masters of families should be aware and afraid of the first appearance of gross sin intheir families, and put away the iniquity, whatever it is, far from their tabernacles, Job xxii. 23.They should be jealous with a godly jealousy concerning those under their charge, lest they bedrawn into sin, and take early advice, if it but seem that there is a plague in the house, lest thecontagion spread, and many be by it defiled and destroyed. 3. If the priest, upon search, found thatthe leprosy had got into the house, he must try to cure it, by taking gout that part of the buildingthat was infected, v. 40, 41. This was like cutting off a gangrened limb, for the preservation of therest of the body. Corruption should be purged out in time, before it spread; for a little leaven732Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)leaveneth the whole lump. If thy right hand offend thee, cut it off. 4. If yet it remained in the house,the whole house must be pulled down, and all the materials carried to the dunghill, v. 44, 45. Theowner had better be without a dwelling than live in one that was infected. Note, The leprosy of sin,if it be obstinate under the methods of cure, will at last be the ruin of families and churches. IfBabylon will not be healed, she shall be forsaken and abandoned, and (according to the law respectingthe leprous house), they shall not take of her a stone for a corner, nor a stone for foundations, Jer.li. 9, 26. The remainders of sin and corruption in our mortal bodies are like this leprosy in the house;after all our pains in scraping and plastering, we shall never be quite clear of it, till the earthly houseof this tabernacle be dissolved and taken down; when we are dead we shall be free from sin, andnot till then, Rom. vi. 7. 5. If the taking out the infected stones cured the house, and the leprosy didnot spread any further, then the house must be cleansed; not only aired, that it might be healthful,but purified from the ceremonial pollution, that it might be fit to be the habitation of an Israelite.The ceremony of its cleansing was much the same with that of cleansing a leprous person, v. 49,&c. This intimated that the house was smitten for the man's sake (as bishop Patrick expresses it),and he was to look upon himself as preserved by divine mercy. The houses of Israelites are said tobe dedicated (Deut. xx. 5), for they were a holy nation, and therefore they ought to keep their housespure from all ceremonial pollutions, that they might be fit for the service of that God to whom theywere devoted. And the same care should we take to reform whatever is amiss in our families, thatwe and our houses may serve the Lord; see Gen. xxxv. 2. Some have thought the leprosy in thehouse was typical of the idolatry of the Jewish church, which did strangely cleave to it; for, thoughsome of the reforming kings took away the infected stones, yet still it broke out again, till by thecaptivity of Babylon God took down the house, and carried it to an unclean land; and this provedan effectual cure of their inclination to idols and idolatrous worships.54 This is the law for all manner of plague of leprosy, and scall, 55 And for theleprosy of a garment, and of a house, 56 And for a rising, and for a scab, and fora bright spot: 57 To teach when it is unclean, and when it is clean: this is the lawof leprosy.This is the conclusion of this law concerning the leprosy. There is no repetition of it inDeuteronomy, only a general memorandum given (Deut. xxiv. 8), Take heed in the plague ofleprosy. We may see in this law, 1. The gracious care God took of his people Israel, for to themonly this law pertained, and not to the Gentiles. When Naaman the Syrian was cured of his leprosyhe was not bidden to show himself to the priest, though he was cured in Jordan, as the Jews thatwere cured by our Saviour were. Thus those who are entrusted with the key of discipline in thechurch judge those only that are within; but those that are without God judgeth, 1 Cor. v. 12, 13.2. The religious care we ought to take of ourselves, to keep our minds from the dominion of allsinful affections and dispositions, which are both their disease and their defilement, that we maybe fit for the service of God. We ought also to avoid all bad company, and, as much as may be, toavoid coming within the danger of being infected by it. Touch not the unclean thing, saith the Lord,and I will receive you, 2 Cor. vi. 17.733Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)L E V I T C U SCHAP. XV.In this chapter we have laws concerning other ceremonial uncleannesses contracted either bybodily disease like that of the leper, or some natural incidents, and this either, I. In men, ver. 1-18.Or, II. In women, ver. 19-33. We need not be at all curious in explaining these antiquated laws, itis enough if we observe the general intention; but we have need to be very cautious lest sin takeoccasion by the commandment to become more exceedingly sinful; and exceedingly sinful it iswhen lust is kindled by sparks of fire from God's altar. The case is bad with the soul when it isputrefied by that which should purify it.Ceremonial Purification. (b. c. 1490.)1 And the Lord spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying, 2 Speak unto the childrenof Israel, and say unto them, When any man hath a running issue out of his flesh,because of his issue he is unclean. 3 And this shall be his uncleanness in his issue:whether his flesh run with his issue, or his flesh be stopped from his issue, it is hisuncleanness. 4 Every bed, whereon he lieth that hath the issue, is unclean: andevery thing, whereon he sitteth, shall be unclean. 5 And whosoever toucheth hisbed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.6 And he that sitteth on any thing whereon he sat that hath the issue shall wash hisclothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. 7 And he thattoucheth the flesh of him that hath the issue shall wash his clothes, and bathe himselfin water, and be unclean until the even. 8 And if he that hath the issue spit uponhim that is clean; then he shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and beunclean until the even. 9 And what saddle soever he rideth upon that hath the issueshall be unclean. 10 And whosoever toucheth any thing that was under him shallbe unclean until the even: and he that beareth any of those things shall wash hisclothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. 11 Andwhomsoever he toucheth that hath the issue, and hath not rinsed his hands in water,he shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.12 And the vessel of earth, that he toucheth which hath the issue, shall be broken:and every vessel of wood shall be rinsed in water. 13 And when he that hath anissue is cleansed of his issue; then he shall number to himself seven days for hiscleansing, and wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in running water, and shall beclean. 14 And on the eighth day he shall take to him two turtledoves, or two youngpigeons, and come before the Lord unto the door of the tabernacle of thecongregation, and give them unto the priest: 15 And the priest shall offer them, the734Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering; and the priest shall makean atonement for him before the Lord for his issue. 16 And if any man's seed ofcopulation go out from him, then he shall wash all his flesh in water, and be uncleanuntil the even. 17 And every garment, and every skin, whereon is the seed ofcopulation, shall be washed with water, and be unclean until the even. 18 Thewoman also with whom man shall lie with seed of copulation, they shall both bathethemselves in water, and be unclean until the even.We have here the law concerning the ceremonial uncleanness that was contracted by runningissues in men. It is called in the margin (v. 2) the running of the reins: a very grievous and loathsomedisease, which was, usually the effect and consequent of wantonness and uncleanness, and a dissolutecourse of life, filling men's bones with the sins of their youth, and leaving them to mourn at thelast, when all the pleasures of their wickedness have vanished, and nothing remains but the painand anguish of a rotten carcase and a wounded conscience. And what fruit has the sinner then ofthose things whereof he has so much reason to be ashamed? Rom. vi. 21. As modesty is an ornamentof grace to the head and chains about the neck, so chastity is health to the navel and marrow tothe bones; but uncleanness is a wound and dishonour, the consumption of the flesh and the body,and a sin which is often its own punishment more than any other. It was also sometimes inflictedby the righteous hand of God for other sins, as appears by David's imprecation of a curse upon thefamily of Joab, for the murder of Abner. 2 Sam. iii. 29, Let there not fail from the house of Joabone that hath an issue, or is a leper. A vile disease for vile deserts. Now whoever had this diseaseupon him, 1. He was himself unclean, v. 2. He must not dare to come near the sanctuary, it was athis peril if he did, nor might he eat of the holy things. This signified the filthiness of sin, and of allthe productions of our corrupt nature, which render us odious to God's holiness, and utterly unfitfor communion with him. Out of a pure heart well kept are the issues of life (Prov. iv. 23), but outof an unclean heart comes that which is defiling, Matt. xii. 34, 35. 2. He made every person andthing unclean that he touched, or that touched him, v. 4-12. His bed, and his chair, and his saddle,and every thing that belonged to him, could not be touched without a ceremonial uncleannesscontracted, which a man must remain conscious to himself of till sunset, and from which he couldnot be cleansed without washing his clothes, and bathing his flesh in water. This signified thecontagion of sin, the danger we are in of being polluted by conversing with those that are polluted,and the need we have with the utmost circumspection to save ourselves from this untowardgeneration. 3. When he was cured of the disease, yet he could not be cleansed from the pollutionwithout a sacrifice, for which he was to prepare himself by seven days' expectation after he wasperfectly clear from his distemper, and by bathing in spring water, v. 13-15. This signified the greatgospel duties of faith and repentance, and the great gospel privileges of the application of Christ'sblood to our souls for our justification and his grace for our sanctification. God has promised tosprinkle clean water upon us, and to cleanse us from all our filthiness, and has appointed us byrepentance to wash and make ourselves clean: he has also provided a sacrifice of atonement, andrequires us by faith to interest ourselves in that sacrifice; for it is the blood of Christ his Son thatcleanses us from all sin, and by which atonement is made for us, that we may have admission intoGod's presence and may partake of his favour.735Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)19 And if a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shallbe put apart seven days: and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the even.20 And every thing that she lieth upon in her separation shall be unclean: everything also that she sitteth upon shall be unclean. 21 And whosoever toucheth herbed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.22 And whosoever toucheth any thing that she sat upon shall wash his clothes, andbathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. 23 And if it be on her bed,or on any thing whereon she sitteth, when he toucheth it, he shall be unclean untilthe even. 24 And if any man lie with her at all, and her flowers be upon him, heshall be unclean seven days; and all the bed whereon he lieth shall be unclean. 25And if a woman have an issue of her blood many days out of the time of herseparation, or if it run beyond the time of her separation; all the days of the issue ofher uncleanness shall be as the days of her separation: she shall be unclean. 26Every bed whereon she lieth all the days of her issue shall be unto her as the bed ofher separation: and whatsoever she sitteth upon shall be unclean, as the uncleannessof her separation. 27 And whosoever toucheth those things shall be unclean, andshall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.28 But if she be cleansed of her issue, then she shall number to herself seven days,and after that she shall be clean. 29 And on the eighth day she shall take unto hertwo turtles, or two young pigeons, and bring them unto the priest, to the door of thetabernacle of the congregation. 30 And the priest shall offer the one for a sinoffering, and the other for a burnt offering; and the priest shall make an atonementfor her before the Lord for the issue of her uncleanness. 31 Thus shall ye separatethe children of Israel from their uncleanness; that they die not in their uncleanness,when they defile my tabernacle that is among them. 32 This is the law of him thathath an issue, and of him whose seed goeth from him, and is defiled therewith; 33And of her that is sick of her flowers, and of him that hath an issue, of the man, andof the woman, and of him that lieth with her that is unclean.This is concerning the ceremonial uncleanness which women lay under from their issues, boththose that were regular and healthful, and according to the course of nature (v. 19-24), and thosethat were unseasonable, excessive, and the disease of the body; such was the bloody issue of thatpoor woman who was suddenly cured by touching the hem of Christ's garment, after she had laintwelve years under her distemper, and had spent her estate upon physicians and physic in vain. Thismade the woman that was afflicted with it unclean (v. 25) and every thing she touched unclean, v.26, 27. And if she was cured, and found by seven days' trial that she was perfectly free from herissue of blood, she was to be cleansed by the offering of two turtle-doves or two young pigeons,to make an atonement for her, v. 28, 29. All wicked courses, particularly idolatries, are comparedto the uncleanness of a removed woman (Ezek. xxxvi. 17), and, in allusion to this, it is said of736Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)Jerusalem (Lam. i. 9), Her filthiness is in her skirts, so that (as it follows, v. 17) she was shunnedas a menstruous woman.I. The reasons given for all these laws (which we are ready to think might very well have beenspared) we have, v. 31. 1. Thus shall you separate the children of Israel (for to them only and theirservants and proselytes these laws pertained) from their uncleanness; that is, (1.) By these lawsthey were taught their privilege and honour, that they were purified unto God a peculiar people,and were intended by the holy God for a kingdom of priests, a holy nation; for that was a defilementto them which was not so to others. (2.) They were also taught their duty, which was to preservethe honour of their purity, and to keep themselves from all sinful pollutions. It was easy for themto argue that if those pollutions which were natural, unavoidable, involuntary, their affliction andnot their sin, rendered them for the time so odious that they were not fit for communion either withGod or man, much more abominable and filthy were they if they sinned against the light and lawof nature, by drunkenness, adultery, fraud, and the like sins, which defile the very mind andconscience. And, if these ceremonial pollutions could not be done away but by sacrifice and offering,something greater and much more valuable must be expected and depended upon for the purifyingof the soul from the uncleanness of sin. 2. Thus their dying in their uncleanness by the hand ofGod's justice, if while they were under any of these defilements they should come near the sanctuary,would be prevented. Note, It is a dangerous thing to die in our uncleanness; and it is our own faultif we do, since we have not only fair warning given us, by God's law, against those things that willdefile us, but also such gracious provision made by his gospel for our cleansing if at any time webe defiled. 3. In all these laws there seems to be a special regard had to the honour of the tabernacle,to which none must approach in their uncleanness, that they defile not my tabernacle. InfiniteWisdom took this course to preserve in the minds of that careless people a continual dread of, andveneration for, the manifestations of God's glory and presence among them in his sanctuary. Nowthat the tabernacle of God was with men familiarity would be apt to breed contempt, and thereforethe law made so many things of frequent incidence to be ceremonial pollutions, and to involve anincapacity of drawing near to the sanctuary (making death the penalty), that so they might notapproach without great caution, and reverence, and serious preparation, and fear of being foundunfit. Thus they were taught never to draw near to God but with an awful humble sense of theirdistance and danger, and an exact observance of every thing that was required in order to theirsafety and acceptance.II. And what duty must we learn from all this? 1. Let us bless God that we are not under theyoke of these carnal ordinances, that, as nothing can destroy us, so nothing can defile us, but sin.Those may now partake of the Lord's supper who durst not then eat of the peace-offerings. Andthe defilement we contract by our sins of daily infirmity we may be cleansed from in secret by therenewed acts of repentance and faith, without bathing in water or bringing an offering to the doorof the tabernacle. 2. Let us carefully abstain from all sin, as defiling to the conscience, andparticularly from all fleshly lusts, possessing our vessel in sanctification and honour, and not inthe lusts of uncleanness, which not only pollute the soul, but war against it, and threaten its ruin.3. Let us all see how indispensably necessary real holiness is to our future happiness, and get ourhearts purified by faith, that we may see God. Perhaps it is in allusion to these laws which forbadethe unclean to approach the sanctuary that when it is asked, Who shall stand in God's holy place?it is answered, He that hath clean hands and a pure heart (Ps. xxxiv. 3, 4); for without holiness noman shall see the Lord.737Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)L E V I T C U SCHAP. XVI.In this chapter we have the institution of the annual solemnity of the day of atonement, orexpiation, which had as much gospel in it as perhaps any of the appointments of the ceremoniallaw, as appears by the reference the apostle makes to it, Heb. ix. 7, &c. We had before divers lawsconcerning sin-offerings for particular persons, and to be offered upon particular occasions; butthis is concerning the stated sacrifice, in which the whole nation was interested. The whole serviceof the day is committed to the high priest. I. He must never come into the most holy place but uponthis day, ver. 1, 2. II. He must come dressed in linen garments, ver. 4. III. He must bring asin-offering and a burnt-offering for himself (ver. 3), offer his sin-offering (ver. 6-11), then gowithin the veil with some of the blood of his sin-offering, burn incense, and sprinkle the bloodbefore the mercy-seat, ver. 12-14. IV. Two goats must be provided for the people, lots cast uponthem, and, 1. One of them must be a sin-offering for the people (ver. 5, 7-9), and the blood of itmust be sprinkled before the mercy-seat (ver. 15-17), and then some of the blood of both thesin-offerings must be sprinkled upon the altar, ver. 18, 19. 2. The other must be a scape-goat (ver.10), the sins of Israel must be confessed over him, and then he must be sent away into the wilderness(ver. 20-22), and he that brought him away must be ceremonially unclean, ver. 26. V. Theburnt-offerings were then to be offered, the fat of the sin-offerings burnt on the altar, and their fleshburnt without the camp, ver. 23-25, 27, 28. VI. The people were to observe the day religiously bya holy rest and holy mourning for sin; and this was to be a statute for ever, ver. 29, &c.The Great Day of Atonement. (b. c. 1490.)1 And the Lord spake unto Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, whenthey offered before the Lord, and died; 2 And the Lord said unto Moses, Speakunto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within thevail before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appearin the cloud upon the mercy seat. 3 Thus shall Aaron come into the holy place:with a young bullock for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering. 4 He shallput on the holy linen coat, and he shall have the linen breeches upon his flesh, andshall be girded with a linen girdle, and with the linen mitre shall he be attired: theseare holy garments; therefore shall he wash his flesh in water, and so put them on.Here is, I. The date of this law concerning the day of atonement: it was after the death of thetwo sons of Aaron (v. 1), which we read, ch. x. 1. 1. Lest Aaron should fear that any remainingguilt of that sin should cleave to his family, or (seeing the priests were so apt to offend) that someafter-sin of his other sons should be the ruin of his family, he is directed how to make atonementfor his house, that it might keep in with God; for the atonement for it would be the establishmentof it, and preserve the entail of the blessing upon it. 2. The priests being warned by the death ofNadab and Abihu to approach to God with reverence and godly fear (without which they came attheir peril), directions are here given how the nearest approach might be made, not only without738Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)peril, but to unspeakable advantage and comfort, if the directions were observed. When they werecut off for an undue approach, the rest must not say, "Then we will not draw near at all," but, "Thenwe will do it by rule." They died for their sin, therefore God graciously provides for the rest, thatthey die not. Thus God's judgments on some should be instructions to others.II. The design of this law. One intention of it was to preserve a veneration for the most holyplace, within the veil, where the Shechinah, or divine glory, was pleased to dwell between thecherubim: Speak unto Aaron, that he come not at all times into the holy place, v. 2. Before the veilsome of the priests came every day to burn incense upon the golden altar, but within the veil nonemust ever come but the high priest only, and he but on one day in the year, and with great ceremonyand caution. That place where God manifested his special presence must not be made common. Ifnone must come into the presence-chamber of an earthly king uncalled, no, not the queen herself,upon pain of death (Esth. iv. 11), was it not requisite that the same sacred respect should be paidto the Kings of kings? But see what a blessed change is made by the gospel of Christ; all goodChristians have now boldness to enter into the holiest, through the veil, every day (Heb. x. 19, 20);and we come boldly (not as Aaron must, with fear and trembling) to the throne of grace, ormercy-seat, Heb. iv. 16. While the manifestations of God's presence and grace were sensible, itwas requisite that they should thus be confined and upon reserve, because the objects of sense themore familiar they are made the less awful or delightful they become; but now that they are purelyspiritual it is otherwise, for the objects of faith the more they are conversed with the more do theymanifest of their greatness and goodness: now therefore we are welcome to come at all times intothe holy place not made with hands, for we are made to sit together with Christ in heavenly placesby faith, Eph. ii. 6. Then Aaron must not come near at all times, lest he die; we now must comenear at all times that we may live: it is distance only that is our death. Then God appeared in thecloud upon the mercy-seat, but now with open face we behold, not in a dark cloud, but in a clearglass, the glory of the Lord, 2 Cor. iii. 18.III. The person to whom the work of this day was committed, and that was the high priest only:Thus shall Aaron come into the holy place, v. 3. He was to do all himself upon the day of atonement:only there was a second provided to be his substitute or supporter, in case any thing should befalhim, either of sickness or ceremonial uncleanness, that he could not perform the service of the day.All Christians are spiritual priests, but Christ only is the high priest, and he alone it is that makesatonement, nor needed he either assistant or substitute.IV. The attire of the high priest in this service. He was not to be dressed up in his rich garmentsthat were peculiar to himself: he was not to put on the ephod, with the precious stones in it, butonly the linen clothes which he wore in common with the inferior priests, v. 4. That meaner dressdid best become him on this day of humiliation; and, being thinner and lighter, he would in it bemore expedite for the work or service of the day, which was all to go through his hands. Christ,our high priest, made atonement for sin in our nature; not in the robes of his own peculiar glory,but the linen garments of our mortality, clean indeed, but mean.5 And he shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of thegoats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering. 6 And Aaron shall offerhis bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make an atonement forhimself, and for his house. 7 And he shall take the two goats, and present thembefore the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. 8 And Aaron739Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for thescapegoat. 9 And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the Lord's lot fell, andoffer him for a sin offering. 10 But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat,shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make an atonement with him, and to lethim go for a scapegoat into the wilderness. 11 And Aaron shall bring the bullockof the sin offering, which is for himself, and shall make an atonement for himself,and for his house, and shall kill the bullock of the sin offering which is for himself:12 And he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar beforethe Lord, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within thevail: 13 And he shall put the incense upon the fire before the Lord, that the cloudof the incense may cover the mercy seat that is upon the testimony, that he die not:14 And he shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his fingerupon the mercy seat eastward; and before the mercy seat shall he sprinkle of theblood with his finger seven times.The Jewish writers say that for seven days before the day of expiation the high priest was toretire from his own house, and to dwell in a chamber of the temple, that he might prepare himselffor the service of this great day. During those seven days he himself did the work of the inferiorpriests about the sacrifices, incense, &c., that he might have his hand in for this day: he must havethe institution read to him again and again, that he might be fully apprised of the whole method. 1.He was to begin the service of the day very early with the usual morning sacrifice, after he had firstwashed his whole body before he dressed himself, and his hands and feet again afterwards. He thenburned the daily incense, dressed the lamps, and offered the extraordinary sacrifice appointed forthis day (not here, but Num. xxix. 8), a bullock, a ram, and seven lambs, all for burnt-offerings.This he is supposed to have done in his high priest's garments. 2. He must now put off his richrobes, bathe himself, put on the linen garments, and present unto the Lord his own bullock, whichwas to be a sin-offering for himself and his own house, v. 6. The bullock was set between the templeand the altar, and the offering of him mentioned in this verse was the making of a solemn confessionof his sins and the sins of his house, earnestly praying for the forgiveness of them, and this withhis hands on the head of the bullock. 3. He must then cast lots upon the two goats, which were tomake (both together) one sin-offering for the congregation. One of these goats must be slain, intoken of a satisfaction to be made to God's justice for sin, the other must be sent away, in token ofthe remission or dismission of sin by the mercy of God. Both must be presented together to God(v. 7) before the lot was cast upon them, and afterwards the scape-goat by itself, v. 10. Some thinkthat goats were chosen for the sin-offering because, by the disagreeableness of their smell, theoffensiveness of sin is represented: others think, because it was said that the demons which theheathens then worshipped often appeared to their worshippers in the form of goats, God thereforeobliged his people to sacrifice goats, that they might never be tempted to sacrifice to goats. 4. Thenext thing to be done was to kill the bullock for the sin-offering for himself and his house, v. 11."Now," say the Jews, "he must again put his hands on the head of the bullock, and repeat theconfession and supplication he had before made, and kill the bullock with his own hands, to makeatonement for himself first (for how could he make reconciliation for the sins of the people till he740Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)was himself first reconciled?) and for his house, not only his own family, but all the priests, whoare called the house of Aaron," Ps. cxxxv. 19. This charity must begin at home, though it must notend there. The bullock being killed, he left one of the priests to stir the blood, that it might notthicken, and then, 5. He took a censer of burning coals (that would not smoke) in one hand, and adish full of the sweet incense in the other, and then went into the holy of holies through the veil,and went up towards the ark, set the coals down upon the floor, and scattered the incense uponthem, so that the room was immediately filled with smoke. The Jews say that he was to go inside-ways, that he might not look directly upon the ark where the divine glory was, till it was coveredwith smoke; then he must come out backwards, out of reverence to the divine majesty; and, aftera short prayer, he was to hasten out of the sanctuary, to show himself to the people, that they mightnot suspect that he had misbehaved himself and died before the Lord. 6. He then fetched the bloodof the bullock from the priest whom he had left stirring it, and took that in with him the secondtime into the holy of holies, which was now filled with the smoke of the incense, and sprinkledwith his finger of that blood upon, or rather towards, the mercy-seat, once over against the top ofit and then seven times towards the lower part of it, v. 14. But the drops of blood (as the Jewsexpound it) all fell upon the ground, and none touched the mercy-seat. Having done this, he cameout of the most holy place, set the basin of blood down in the sanctuary, and went out.15 Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bringhis blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of thebullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat: 16 And heshall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the childrenof Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do forthe tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of theiruncleanness. 17 And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregationwhen he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he come out, andhave made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all thecongregation of Israel. 18 And he shall go out unto the altar that is before the Lord,and make an atonement for it; and shall take of the blood of the bullock, and of theblood of the goat, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about. 19 And heshall sprinkle of the blood upon it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it, andhallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel.When the priest had come out from the sprinkling the blood of the bullock before the mercy-seat,1. He must next kill the goat which was the sin-offering for the people (v. 15) and go the third timeinto the holy of holies, to sprinkle the blood of the goat, as he had done that of the bullock; andthus he was to make atonement for the holy place (v. 16); that is, whereas the people by their sinshad provoked God to take away those tokens of his favourable presence with them, and renderedeven that holy place unfit to be the habitation of the holy God, atonement was hereby made for sin,that God, being reconciled to them, might continue with them. 2. He must then do the same for theoutward part of the tabernacle that he had done for the inner room, by sprinkling the blood of thebullock first, and then that of the goat, without the veil, where the table and incense-altar stood,eight times each as before. The reason intimated is because the tabernacle remained among them741Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)in the midst of their uncleanness, v. 16. God would hereby show them how much their hearts neededto be purified, when even the tabernacle, only by standing in the midst of such an impure and sinfulpeople, needed this expiation; and also that even their devotions and religious performances hadmuch amiss in them, for which it was necessary that atonement should be made. During thissolemnity, none of the inferior priests must come into the tabernacle (v. 17), but, by standingwithout, must own themselves unworthy and unfit to minister there, because their follies, anddefects, and manifold impurities in their ministry, had made this expiation of the tabernaclenecessary. 3. He must then put some of the blood, both of the bullock and of the goat mixed together,upon the horns of the altar that is before the Lord, v. 18, 19. It is certain that the altar of incensehad this blood put upon it, for so it is expressly ordered (Exod. xxx. 10); but some think that thisdirects the high priest to the altar of burnt-offerings, for that also is here called the altar before theLord (v. 12), because he is said to go out to it, and because it may be presumed that that also hadneed of an expiation; for to that the gifts and offerings of the children of Israel were all brought,from whose uncleanness the altar is here said to be hallowed.20 And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and thetabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat: 21 AndAaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over himall the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins,putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of afit man into the wilderness: 22 And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquitiesunto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness. 23 AndAaron shall come into the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall put off the linengarments, which he put on when he went into the holy place, and shall leave themthere: 24 And he shall wash his flesh with water in the holy place, and put on hisgarments, and come forth, and offer his burnt offering, and the burnt offering of thepeople, and make an atonement for himself, and for the people. 25 And the fat ofthe sin offering shall he burn upon the altar. 26 And he that let go the goat for thescapegoat shall wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in water, and afterward comeinto the camp. 27 And the bullock for the sin offering, and the goat for the sinoffering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the holy place, shallone carry forth without the camp; and they shall burn in the fire their skins, and theirflesh, and their dung. 28 And he that burneth them shall wash his clothes, and bathehis flesh in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp.The high priest having presented unto the Lord the expiatory sacrifices, by the sprinkling oftheir blood, the remainder of which, it is probable, he poured out at the foot of the brazen altar, 1.He is next to confess the sins of Israel, with both his hands upon the head of the scape-goat (v. 20,21); and whenever hands were imposed upon the head of any sacrifice it was always done withconfession, according as the nature of the sacrifice was; and, this being a sin-offering, it must be aconfession of sin. In the latter and more degenerate ages of the Jewish church they had a set formof confession prepared for the high priest, but God here prescribed none; for it might be supposed742Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)that the high priest was so well acquainted with the state of the people, and had such a tenderconcern for them, that he needed not any form. The confession must be as particular as he couldmake it, not only of all the iniquities of the children of Israel, but all their transgressions in alltheir sins. In one sin there may be many transgressions, from the several aggravating circumstancesof it; and in our confessions we should take notice of them, and not only say, I have sinned, but,with Achan, "Thus and thus have I done." By this confession he must put the sins of Israel uponthe head of the goat; that is, exercising faith upon the divine appointment which constituted sucha translation, he must transfer the punishment incurred from the sinners to the sacrifice, whichwould have been but a jest, nay, an affront to God, if he himself had not ordained it. 2. The goatwas then to be sent away immediately by the hand of a fit person pitched upon for the purpose, intoa wilderness, a land not inhabited; and God allowed them to make this construction of it, that thesending away of the goat was the sending away of their sins, by a free and full remission: He shallbear upon him all their iniquities, v. 22. The losing of the goat was a sign to them that the sins ofIsrael should be sought for, and not found, Jer. l. 20. The later Jews had a custom to tie one shredof scarlet cloth to the horns of the goat and another to the gate of the temple, or to the top of therock where the goat was lost, and they concluded that if it turned white, as they say it usually did,the sins of Israel were forgiven, as it is written, Though your sins have been as scarlet, they shallbe as wool: and they add that for forty years before the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romansthe scarlet cloth never changed colour at all, which is a fair confession that, having rejected thesubstance, the shadow stood them in no stead. 3. The high priest must then put off his linen garmentsin the tabernacle, and leave them there, the Jews say never to be worn again by himself or anyother, for they made new ones every year; and he must bathe himself in water, put on his richclothes, and then offer both his own and the people's burnt-offerings, v. 23, 24. When we have thecomfort of our pardon God must have the glory of it. If we have the benefit of the sacrifice ofatonement, we must not grudge the sacrifices of acknowledgment. And, it should seem, the burningof the fat of the sin-offering was deferred till now (v. 25), that it might be consumed with theburnt-offerings. 4. The flesh of both those sin-offerings whose blood was taken within the veil wasto be all burnt, not upon the altar, but at a distance without the camp, to signify both our puttingaway sin by true repentance, and the spirit of burning, and God's putting it away by a full remission,so that it shall never rise up in judgment against us. 5. He that took the scape-goat into the wilderness,and those that burned the sin-offering, were to be looked upon as ceremonially unclean, and mustnot come into the camp till they had washed their clothes and bathed their flesh in water, whichsignified the defiling nature of sin; even the sacrifice which was but made sin was defiling: alsothe imperfection of the legal sacrifices; they were so far from taking away sin that even they leftsome stain upon those that touched them. 6. When all this was done, the high priest went again intothe most holy place to fetch his censer, and so returned to his own house with joy, because he haddone his duty, and died not.29 And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on thetenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether itbe one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you: 30 For onthat day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may beclean from all your sins before the Lord. 31 It shall be a sabbath of rest unto you,and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute for ever. 32 And the priest, whom he743Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)shall anoint, and whom he shall consecrate to minister in the priest's office in hisfather's stead, shall make the atonement, and shall put on the linen clothes, even theholy garments: 33 And he shall make an atonement for the holy sanctuary, and heshall make an atonement for the tabernacle of the congregation, and for the altar,and he shall make an atonement for the priests, and for all the people of thecongregation. 34 And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make anatonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year. And he did as theLord commanded Moses.I. We have here some additional directions in reference to this great solemnity, particularly,1. The day appointed for this solemnity. It must be observed yearly on the tenth day of theseventh month, v. 29. The seventh had been reckoned the first month, till God appointed that themonth in which the children of Israel came out of Egypt should thenceforward be accounted andcalled the first month. Some have fancied that this tenth day of the seventh month was the day ofthe year on which our first parents fell, and that it was kept as a fast in remembrance of their fall.Dr. Lightfoot computes that this was the day on which Moses came the last time down from themount, when he brought with him the renewed tables, and the assurances of God's being reconciledto Israel, and his face shone: that day must be a day of atonement throughout their generations; forthe remembrance of God's forgiving them their sin about the golden calf might encourage them tohope that, upon their repentance, he would forgive them all trespasses.2. The duty of the people on this day. (1.) They must rest from all their labours: It shall be asabbath of rest, v. 31. The work of the day was itself enough, and a good day's work if it was donewell; therefore they must do no other work at all. The work of humiliation for sin requires such aclose application of mind, and such a fixed engagement of the whole man, as will not allow us toturn aside to any other work. The day of atonement seems to be that sabbath spoken of by theprophet (Isa. lviii. 13), for it is the same with the fast spoken of in the verses before. (2.) They mustafflict their souls. They must refrain from all bodily refreshments and delights, in token of inwardhumiliation and contrition of soul for their sins. They all fasted on this day from food (except thesick and children), and laid aside their ornaments, and did not anoint themselves, as Daniel, ch. x.3, 12. David chastened his soul with fasting, Ps. xxxv. 13. And it signified the mortifying of sinand turning from it, loosing the bands of wickedness, Isa. lviii. 6, 7. The Jewish doctors advisedthat they should not on that day read those portions of scripture which were proper to affect themwith delight and joy, because it was a day to afflict their souls.3. The perpetuity of this institution: It shall be a statute for ever, v. 29, 34. It must not beintermitted any year, nor ever let fall till that constitution should be dissolved, and the type shouldbe superseded by the antitype. As long as we are continually sinning, we must be continuallyrepenting, and receiving the atonement. The law of afflicting our souls for sin is a statute for ever,which will continue in force till we arrive where all tears, even those of repentance, will be wipedfrom our eyes. The apostle observes it as an evidence of the insufficiency of the legal sacrifices totake away sin, and purge the conscience from it, that in them there was a remembrance made ofsin every year, upon the day of atonement, Heb. x. 1-3. The annual repetition of the sacrificesshowed that there was in them only a faint and feeble effort towards making atonement; it could744Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)be done effectually only by the offering up of the body of Christ once for all, and that once wassufficient; that sacrifice needed not to be repeated.II. Let us see what there was of gospel in all this.1. Here are typified the two great gospel privileges of the remission of sin and access to God,both which we owe to the mediation of our Lord Jesus. Here then let us see,(1.) The expiation of guilt which Christ made for us. He is himself both the maker and thematter of the atonement; for he is, [1.] The priest, the high priest, that makes reconciliation for thesins of the people, Heb. ii. 17. He, and he only, is par negotio—fit for the work and worthy of thehonour: he is appointed by the Father to do it, who sanctified him, and sent him into the world forthis purpose, that God might in him reconcile the world to himself. He undertook it, and for oursakes sanctified himself, and set himself apart for it, John xvii. 19. The high priest's frequentlybathing himself on this day, and performing the service of it in fine linen clean and white, signifiedthe holiness of the Lord Jesus, his perfect freedom from all sin, and his being beautified and adornedwith all grace. No man was to be with the high priest when he made atonement (v. 17); for ourLord Jesus was to tread the wine-press alone, and of the people there must be none with him (Isa.lxiii. 3); therefore, when he entered upon his sufferings, all his disciples forsook him and fled, forit any of them had been taken and put to death with him it would have looked as if they had assistedin making the atonement; none but thieves, concerning whom there could be no such suspicion,must suffer with him. And observe what the extent of the atonement was which the high priestmade: it was for the holy sanctuary, for the tabernacle, for the altar, for the priests, and for all thepeople, v. 33. Christ's satisfaction is that which atones for the sins both of ministers and people,the iniquities of our holy (and our unholy) things; the title we have to the privileges of ordinances,our comfort in them, and benefit by them, are all owing to the atonement Christ made. But, whereasthe atonement which the high priest made pertained only to the congregation of Israel, Christ is thepropitiation, not for their sins only, that are Jews, but for the sins of the whole Gentile world. Andin this also Christ infinitely excelled Aaron, that Aaron needed to offer sacrifice for his own sinfirst, of which he was to make confession upon the head of his sin-offering; but our Lord Jesus hadno sin of his own to answer for. Such a high priest became us, Heb. vii. 26. And therefore, whenhe was baptized in Jordan, whereas others stood in the water confessing their sins (Matt. iii. 6), hewent up straightway out of the water (v. 16), having no sins to confess. [2.] As he is the high priest,so he is the sacrifice with which atonement is made; for he is all in all in our reconciliation to God.Thus he was prefigured by the two goats, which both made one offering: the slain goat was a typeof Christ dying for our sins, the scape-goat a type of Christ rising again for our justification. It wasdirected by lot, the disposal whereof was of the Lord, which goat should be slain; for Christ wasdelivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God. First, The atonement is said tobe completed by putting the sins of Israel upon the head of the goat. They deserved to have beenabandoned and sent into a land of forgetfulness, but that punishment was here transferred to thegoat that bore their sins, with reference to which God is said to have laid upon our Lord Jesus (thesubstance of all these shadows) the iniquity of us all (Isa. liii. 6), and he is said to have borne oursins, even the punishment of them, in his own body upon the tree, 1 Pet. ii. 24. Thus was he madesin for us, that is, a sacrifice for sin, 2 Cor. v. 21. He suffered and died, not only for our good, butin our stead, and was forsaken, and seemed to be forgotten for a time, that we might not be forsakenand forgotten for ever. Some learned men have computed that our Lord Jesus was baptized of Johnin Jordan upon the tenth day of the seventh month, which was the very day of atonement. Then he745Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)entered upon his office as Mediator, and was immediately driven of the Spirit into the wilderness,a land not inhabited. Secondly, The consequence of this was that all the iniquities of Israel werecarried into a land of forgetfulness. Thus Christ, the Lamb of God, takes away the sin the of world,by taking it upon himself, John i. 29. And, when God forgives sin, he is said to remember it nomore (Heb. viii. 12), to cast it behind his back (Isa. xxxviii. 17), into the depths of the sea (Mic.vii. 19), and to separate it as far as the east is from the west, Ps. ciii. 12.(2.) The entrance into heaven which Christ made for us is here typified by the high priest'sentrance into the most holy place. This the apostle has expounded (Heb. ix. 7, &c.), and he shows,[1.] That heaven is the holiest of all, but not of that building, and that the way into it by faith, hope,and prayer, through a Mediator, was not then so clearly manifested as it is to us now by the gospel.[2.] That Christ our high priest entered into heaven at his ascension once for all, and as a publicperson, in the name of all his spiritual Israel, and through the veil of his flesh, which was rent forthat purpose, Heb. x. 20. [3.] That he entered by his own blood (Heb. ix. 12), taking with him toheaven the virtues of the sacrifice he offered on earth, and so sprinkling his blood, as it were, beforethe mercy-seat, where it speaks better things than the blood of bulls and goats could do. Hence heis said to appear in the midst of the throne as a lamb that had been slain, Rev. v. 6. And, thoughhe had no sin of his own to expiate, yet it was by his own merit that he obtained for himself arestoration to his own ancient glory (John xvii. 4, 5), as well as an eternal redemption for us, Heb.ix. 12. [4.] The high priest in the holy place burned incense, which typified the intercession thatChrist ever lives to make for us within the veil, in virtue of his satisfaction. And we could not expectto live, no, not before the mercy-seat, if it were not covered with the cloud of this incense. Meremercy itself will not save us, without the interposition of a Mediator. The intercession of Christ isthere set forth before God as incense, as this incense. And as the high priest interceded for himselffirst, then for his household, and then for all Israel, so our Lord Jesus, in the 17th of St. John (whichwas a specimen of the intercession he makes in heaven), recommended himself first to his Father,then his disciples who were his household, and then all that should believe on him through theirword, as all Israel; and, having thus adverted to the uses and intentions of his offering, he wasimmediately seized and crucified, pursuant to these intentions. [5.] Herein the entry Christ madefar exceeded Aaron's, that Aaron could not gain admission, no, not for his own sons, into the mostholy place; but our Lord Jesus has consecrated for us also a new and living way into the holiest, sothat we also have boldness to enter, Heb. x. 19, 20. [6.] The high priest was to come out again, butour Lord Jesus ever lives, making intercession, and always appears in the presence of God for us,whither as the forerunner he has for us entered, and where as agent he continues for us to reside.2. Here are likewise typified the two great gospel duties of faith and repentance, by which weare qualified for the atonement, and come to be entitled to the benefit of it. (1.) By faith we mustput our hands upon the head of the offering, relying on Christ as the Lord our Righteousness,pleading his satisfaction as that which was alone able to atone for our sins and procure us a pardon."Thou shalt answer, Lord, for me. This is all I have to say for myself, Christ has died, yea, ratherhas risen again; to his grace and government I entirely submit myself, and in him I receive theatonement," Rom. v. 11. (2.) By repentance we must afflict our souls; not only fasting for a timefrom the delights of the body, but inwardly sorrowing for our sins, and living a life of self-denialand mortification. We must also make a penitent confession of sin, and this with an eye to Christ,whom we have pierced, and mourning because of him; and with a hand of faith upon the atonement,746Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)assuring ourselves that, if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, andto cleanse us from all unrighteousness.Lastly, In the year of jubilee, the trumpet which proclaimed the liberty was ordered to besounded in the close of the day of atonement, ch. xxv. 9. For the remission of our debt, release fromour bondage, and our return to our inheritance, are all owing to the mediation and intercession ofJesus Christ. By the atonement we obtain rest for our souls, and all the glorious liberties of thechildren of God.L E V I T C U SCHAP. XVII.After the law concerning the atonement to be made for all Israel by the high priest, at thetabernacle, with the blood of bulls and goats, in this chapter we have two prohibitions necessaryfor the preservation of the honour of that atonement. I. That no sacrifice should be offered by anyother than the priests, nor any where but at the door of the tabernacle, and this upon pain of death,ver. 1-9. II. That no blood should be eaten, and this under the same penalty, ver. 10, &c.Directions Concerning Sacrifices. (b. c. 1490.)1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Speak unto Aaron, and unto hissons, and unto all the children of Israel, and say unto them; This is the thing whichthe Lord hath commanded, saying, 3 What man soever there be of the house ofIsrael, that killeth an ox, or lamb, or goat, in the camp, or that killeth it out of thecamp, 4 And bringeth it not unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, tooffer an offering unto the Lord before the tabernacle of the Lord; blood shall beimputed unto that man; he hath shed blood; and that man shall be cut off from amonghis people: 5 To the end that the children of Israel may bring their sacrifices, whichthey offer in the open field, even that they may bring them unto the Lord, unto thedoor of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest, and offer them for peaceofferings unto the Lord. 6 And the priest shall sprinkle the blood upon the altar ofthe Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and burn the fat for asweet savour unto the Lord. 7 And they shall no more offer their sacrifices untodevils, after whom they have gone a whoring. This shall be a statute for ever untothem throughout their generations. 8 And thou shalt say unto them, Whatsoeverman there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers which sojourn among you,that offereth a burnt offering or sacrifice, 9 And bringeth it not unto the door ofthe tabernacle of the congregation, to offer it unto the Lord; even that man shall becut off from among his people.747Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)This statute obliged all the people of Israel to bring all their sacrifices to God's altar, to beoffered there. And as to this matter we must consider,I. How it stood before. 1. It was allowed to all people to build altars, and offer sacrifices toGod, where they pleased. Wherever Abraham had a tent he built an altar, and every master of afamily was a priest to his own family, as Job i. 5. 2. This liberty had been an occasion of idolatry.When every man was his own priest, and had an altar of his own, by degrees, as they became vainin their imaginations, they invented gods of their own, and offered their sacrifices unto demons, v.7. The word signifies rough or hairy goats, because it is probable that in the shape the evil spiritsoften appeared to them, to invite their sacrifices and to signify their acceptance of them. For thedevil, ever since he became a revolter from God and a rebel against him, has set up for a rival withhim, and coveted to have divine honours paid him: he had the impudence to solicit our blessedSaviour to fall down and worship him. The Israelites themselves had learned in Egypt to sacrificeto demons. And some of them, it should seem, practised it even since the God of Israel had sogloriously appeared for them, and with them. They are said to go a whoring after these demons;for it was such a breach of their covenant with God as adultery is of the marriage covenant: andthey were as strongly addicted to their idolatrous worships, and as hard to be reclaimed from them,as those that have given themselves over to fornication, to work all uncleanness with greediness;and therefore it is with reference to this that God calls himself a jealous God.II. How this law settled it. 1. Some think that the children of Israel were by this law forbidden,while they were in the wilderness, to kill any beef, or mutton, or veal, or lamb, or goat, even fortheir common eating, but at the door of the tabernacle, where the blood and the fat were to beoffered to God upon the altar, and the flesh to be returned back to the offerer to be eaten as apeace-offering, according to the law. And the statute is so worded (v. 3, 4) as to favour this opinion,for it speaks generally of killing any ox, or lamb, or goat. The learned Dr. Cudworth puts this senseupon it, and thinks that while they had their tabernacle so near them in the midst of their camp theyate no flesh but what had first been offered to God, but that when they were entering Canaan thisconstitution was altered (Deut. xii. 21), and they were allowed to kill their beasts of the flock andherd at home, as well as the roebuck and the hart; only thrice a year they were to see God at histabernacle, and to eat and drink before him there. And it is probable that in the wilderness they didnot eat much flesh but that of their peace-offerings, preserving what cattle they had, for breed,against they came to Canaan; therefore they murmured for flesh, being weary of manna; and Moseson that occasion speaks as if they were very sparing of the flocks and the herds, Num. xi. 4, 22.Yet it is hard to construe this as a temporary law, when it is expressly said to be a statute for ever(v. 7); and therefore, 2. It should seem rather to forbid only the killing of beasts for sacrifice anywhere but at God's altar. They must not offer sacrifice, as they had done, in the open field (v. 5),no, not to the true God, but it must be brought to the priest, to be offered on the altar of the Lord:and the solemnity they had lately witnessed, of consecrating both the priests and the altar, wouldserve for a good reason why they should confine themselves to both these that God had so signallyappointed and owned. This law obliged not only the Israelites themselves, but the proselytes orstrangers that were circumcised and sojourned among them, who were in danger of retaining anaffection to their old ways of worship. If any should transgress this law, and offer sacrifice anywhere but at the tabernacle, (1.) The guilt was great: Blood shall be imputed to that man; he hathshed blood, v. 4. Though it was but a beast he had killed, yet, killing it otherwise than God hadappointed, he was looked upon as a murderer. It is by the divine grant that we have the liberty to748Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)kill the inferior creatures, to the benefit of which we are not entitled, unless we submit to thelimitations of it, which are that it be not done either with cruelty or with superstition, Gen. ix. 3, 4.Nor was there ever any greater abuse done to the inferior creatures than when they were made eitherfalse gods or sacrifices to false gods, to which the apostle perhaps has special reference when hespeaks of the vanity and bondage of corruption to which the creature was made subject, Rom. viii.20, 21, and compare ch. i. 23, 25. Idolatrous sacrifices were looked upon, not only as adultery, butas murder: he that offereth them is as if he slew a man, Isa. lxvi. 3. (2.) The punishment should besevere: That man shall be cut off from among his people. Either the magistrate must do it if it weremanifest and notorious, or, if not, God would take the work into his own hands, and the offendershould be cut off by some immediate stroke of divine justice. The reasons why God thus strictlyordered all their sacrifices to be offered at one place were, [1.] For the preventing of idolatry andsuperstition. That sacrifices might be offered to God, and according to the rule, and withoutinnovations, they must always be offered by the hands of the priests, who were servants in God'shouse, and under the eye of the high priest, who was ruler of the house, and took care to see everything done according to God's ordinance. [2.] For the securing of the honour of God's temple andaltar, the peculiar dignity of which would be endangered if they might offer their sacrifices anywhere else as well as there. [3.] For the preserving of unity and brotherly love among the Israelites,that meeting all at one altar, as all the children of the family meet daily at one table, they mightlive and love as brethren, and be as one man, of one mind in the Lord.III. How this law was observed. 1. While the Israelites kept their integrity they had a tenderand very jealous regard to this law, as appears by their zeal against the altar which was erected bythe two tribes and a half, which they would by no means have left standing if they had not beensatisfied that it was never designed, nor should ever be used, for sacrifice or offering, Josh. xxii.12, &c. 2. The breach of this law was for many ages the scandalous and incurable corruption ofthe Jewish church, witness that complaint which so often occurs in the history even of the goodkings, Howbeit the high places were not taken away; and it was an inlet to the grossest idolatries.3. Yet this law was, in extraordinary cases, dispensed with. Gideon's sacrifice (Judg. vi. 26),Manoah's (Judg. xiii. 19), Samuel's (1 Sam. vii. 9; ix. 13; xi. 15), David's (2 Sam. xxiv. 18), andElijah's (1 Kings xviii. 23), were accepted, though not offered at the usual place: but these were alleither ordered by angels or offered by prophets; and some think that after the desolation of Shiloh,and before the building of the temple, while the ark and altar were unsettled, it was more allowableto offer sacrifice elsewhere.IV. How the matter stands now, and what use we are to make of this law. 1. It is certain thatthe spiritual sacrifices we are now to offer are not confined to any one place. Our Saviour has madethis clear (John iv. 21), and the apostle (1 Tim. ii. 8), according to the prophecy, that in every placeincense should be offered, Mal. i. 11. We have now no temple nor altar that sanctifies the gift, nordoes the gospel unity lie in one place, but in one heart, and the unity of the spirit. 2. Christ is ouraltar, and the true tabernacle (Heb. viii. 2; xiii. 10); in him God dwells among us, and it is in himthat our sacrifices are acceptable to God, and in him only, 1 Pet. ii. 5. To set up other mediators,or other altars, or other expiatory sacrifices, is, in effect, to set up other gods. He is the centre ofunity, in whom all God's Israel meet. 3. Yet we are to have respect to the public worship of God,not forsaking the assemblies of his people, Heb. x. 25. The Lord loves the gates of Zion more thanall the dwellings of Jacob, and so should we; see Ezek. xx. 40. Though God will graciously acceptour family offerings, we must not therefore neglect the door of the tabernacle.749Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)The Eating of Blood Forbidden. (b. c. 1490.)10 And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers thatsojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face againstthat soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people. 11 For thelife of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make anatonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.12 Therefore I said unto the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood,neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood. 13 And whatsoeverman there be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you,which hunteth and catcheth any beast or fowl that may be eaten; he shall even pourout the blood thereof, and cover it with dust. 14 For it is the life of all flesh; theblood of it is for the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shalleat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof:whosoever eateth it shall be cut off. 15 And every soul that eateth that which diedof itself, or that which was torn with beasts, whether it be one of your own country,or a stranger, he shall both wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and beunclean until the even: then shall he be clean. 16 But if he wash them not, nor bathehis flesh; then he shall bear his iniquity.We have here, I. A repetition and confirmation of the law against eating blood. We have metwith this prohibition twice before in the levitical law (ch. iii. 17; vii. 26), besides the place it hadin the precepts of Noah, Gen. ix. 4. But here, 1. The prohibition is repeated again and again, andreference had to the former laws to this purport (v. 12): I said to the children of Israel, No soul ofyou shall eat blood; and again (v. 14), You shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh. A great stressis laid upon it, as a law which has more in it than at first view one would think. 2. It is made binding,not only on the house of Israel, but on the strangers that sojourned among them (v. 10), whichperhaps was one reason why it was thought advisable, for a time, to forbid blood to the Gentileconverts, Acts xv. 29. 3. The penalty annexed to this law is very severe (v. 10): I will even set myface against that soul that eateth blood, if he do it presumptuously, and will cut him off; and again(v. 14), He shall be cut off. Note, God's wrath will be the sinner's ruin. Write that man undone, forever undone, against whom God sets his face; for what creature is able to confront the Creator? 4.A reason is given for this law (v. 11): because it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul;and therefore it was appointed to make atonement with, because the life of the flesh is the blood.The sinner deserved to die; therefore the sacrifice must die. Now, the blood being so the life thatordinarily beasts were killed for man's use by the drawing out of all their blood, God appointed thesprinkling or pouring out of the blood of the sacrifice upon the altar to signify that the life of thesacrifice was given to God instead of the sinner's life, and as a ransom or counter-price for it;therefore without shedding of blood there was no remission, Heb. ix. 22. For this reason they musteat no blood, and, (1.) It was then a very good reason; for God would by this means preserve thehonour of that way of atonement which he had instituted, and keep up in the minds of the peoplea reverent regard to it. The blood of the covenant being then a sensible object, no blood must be750Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)either eaten or trodden under foot as a common thing, as they must have no ointment nor perfumelike that which God ordered them to make for himself. But, (2.) This reason is now superseded,which intimates that the law itself was ceremonial, and is now no longer in force: the blood ofChrist who has come (and we are to look for no other) is that alone which makes atonement for thesoul, and of which the blood of the sacrifices was an imperfect type: the coming of the substancesupersedes the shadow. The blood of beasts is no longer the ransom, but Christ's blood only; andtherefore there is not now that reason for abstaining from blood which there was then, and wecannot suppose it was the will of God that the law should survive the reason of it. The blood,provided it be so prepared as not to be unwholesome, is now allowed for the nourishment of ourbodies, because it is no longer appointed to make an atonement for the soul. (3.) Yet it has stilluseful significancy. The life is in the blood; it is the vehicle of the animal spirits, and God wouldhave his people to regard the life even of their beasts, and not to be cruel and hard-hearted, not totake delight in any thing that is barbarous. They must not be a blood-thirsty people. The blood thenmade atonement figuratively, now the blood of Christ makes atonement really and effectually; tothis therefore we must have a reverent regard, and not use it as a common thing, for he will set hisface against those that do so, and they shall be cut off, Heb. x. 29.II. Some other precepts are here given as appendages to this law, and hedges about it, 1. Theymust cover the blood of that which they took in hunting, v. 13. They must not only not eat it, butmust give it a decent burial, in token of some mystery which they must believe lay hidden in thisconstitution. The Jews look upon this as a very weighty precept and appoint that the blood shouldbe covered with these words, Blessed be he that hath sanctified us by his precepts, and commandedus to cover blood. 2. They must not eat that which died of itself or was torn of beasts (v. 15), forthe blood was either not at all, or not regularly, drawn out of them. God would have them to becurious in their diet, not with the curiosity that gratifies the sensual appetite, but with that whichchecks and restrains it. God would not have his children to eat every thing that came in their waywith greediness, but to consider diligently what was before them, that they might learn in otherthings to ask questions for conscience' sake. Those that flew upon the spoiled sinned, 1 Sam. xiv.32, 33. If a man did, through ignorance or inconsideration, eat the flesh of any beast not duly slain,he must wash himself and his clothes, else he bore his iniquity, v. 15, 16. The pollution wasceremonial, so was the purification from it; but if a man slighted the prescribed method of cleansing,or would not submit, he thereby contracted moral guilt. See the nature of a remedial law: he thatobeys it has the benefit of it; he that does not, not only remains under his former guilt, but adds tothat guilt of contemning the provisions made by divine grace for his relief, and sins against theremedy.L E V I T C U SCHAP. XVIII.751Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)Here is, I. A general law against all conformity to the corrupt usages of the heathen, ver. 1-5.II. Particular laws, 1. Against incest, ver. 6-18. 2. Against beastly lusts, and barbarous idolatries,ver. 19-23. III. The enforcement of these laws from the ruin of the Canaanites, ver. 24-30.Cautions against Idolatrous Practices. (b. c. 1490.)1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Speak unto the children of Israel,and say unto them, I am the Lord your God. 3 After the doings of the land of Egypt,wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do: and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whitherI bring you, shall ye not do: neither shall ye walk in their ordinances. 4 Ye shalldo my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am the Lord yourGod. 5 Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do,he shall live in them: I am the Lord.After divers ceremonial institutions, God here returns to the enforcement of moral precepts.The former are still of use to us as types, the latter still binding as laws. We have here, 1. The sacredauthority by which these laws are enacted: I am the Lord your God (v. 1, 4, 30), and I am the Lord,v. 5, 6, 21. "The Lord, who has a right to rule all; your God, who has a peculiar right to rule you."Jehovah is the fountain of being, and therefore the fountain of power, whose we are, whom we arebound to serve, and who is able to punish all disobedience. "Your God to whom you have consented,in whom you are happy, to whom you lie under the highest obligations imaginable, and to whomyou are accountable." 2. A strict caution to take heed of retaining the relics of the idolatries ofEgypt, where they had dwelt, and of receiving the infection of the idolatries of Canaan, whitherthey were now going, v. 3. Now that God was by Moses teaching them his ordinances there wasaliquid dediscendum—something to be unlearned, which they had sucked in with their milk inEgypt, a country noted for idolatry: You shall not do after the doings of the land of Egypt. It wouldbe the greatest absurdity in itself to retain such an affection for their house of bondage as to begoverned in their devotions by the usages of it, and the greatest ingratitude to God, who had sowonderfully and graciously delivered them. Nay, as if governed by a spirit of contradiction, theywould be in danger, even after they had received these ordinances of God, of admitting the wickedusages of the Canaanites and of inheriting their vices with their land. Of this danger they are herewarned, You shall not walk in their ordinances. Such a tyrant is custom that their practices arecalled ordinances, and they became rivals even with God's ordinances, and God's professing peoplewere in danger of receiving law from them. 3. A solemn charge to them to keep God's judgments,statutes, and ordinances, v. 4, 5. To this charge, and many similar ones, David seems to refer inthe many prayers and professions he makes relating to God's laws in the 119th Psalm. Observehere, (1.) The great rule of our obedience—God's statutes and judgments. These we must keep towalk therein. We must keep them in our books, and keep them in our hands, that we may practisethem in our hearts and lives. Remember God's commandments to do them, Ps. ciii. 18. We mustkeep in them as our way to travel in, keep to them as our rule to work by, keep them as our treasure,as the apple of our eye, with the utmost care and value. (2.) The great advantage of our obedience:Which if a man do, he shall live in them, that is, "he shall be happy here and hereafter." We havereason to thank God, [1.] That this is still in force as a promise, with a very favourable constructionof the condition. If we keep God's commandments in sincerity, though we come short of sinlessperfection, we shall find that the way of duty is the way of comfort, and will be the way to happiness.752Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)Godliness has the promise of life, 1 Tim. iv. 8. Wisdom has said, Keep my commandments and live:and if through the Spirit we mortify the deeds of the body (which are to us as the usages of Egyptwere to Israel) we shall live. [2.] That it is not so in force in the nature of a covenant as that theleast transgression shall for ever exclude us from this life. The apostle quotes this twice as oppositeto the faith which the gospel reveals. It is the description of the righteousness which is by the law,the man that doeth them shall live en autois—in them (Rom. x. 5), and is urged to prove that thelaw is not of faith, Gal. iii. 12. The alteration which the gospel has made is in the last word: stillthe man that does them shall live, but not live in them; for the law could not give life, because wecould not perfectly keep it; it was weak through the flesh, not in itself; but now the man that doesthem shall live by the faith of the Son of God. He shall owe his life to the grace of Christ, and notto the merit of his own works; see Gal. iii. 21, 22. The just shall live, but they shall live by faith,by virtue of their union with Christ, who is their life.Incest Defined and Forbidden; Against Marrying Near Relations. (b. c. 1490.)6 None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover theirnakedness: I am the Lord. 7 The nakedness of thy father, or the nakedness of thymother, shalt thou not uncover: she is thy mother; thou shalt not uncover hernakedness. 8 The nakedness of thy father's wife shalt thou not uncover: it is thyfather's nakedness. 9 The nakedness of thy sister, the daughter of thy father, ordaughter of thy mother, whether she be born at home, or born abroad, even theirnakedness thou shalt not uncover. 10 The nakedness of thy son's daughter, or ofthy daughter's daughter, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover: for theirs isthine own nakedness. 11 The nakedness of thy father's wife's daughter, begottenof thy father, she is thy sister, thou shalt not uncover her nakedness. 12 Thou shaltnot uncover the nakedness of thy father's sister: she is thy father's near kinswoman.13 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy mother's sister: for she is thymother's near kinswoman. 14 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father'sbrother, thou shalt not approach to his wife: she is thine aunt. 15 Thou shalt notuncover the nakedness of thy daughter in law: she is thy son's wife; thou shalt notuncover her nakedness. 16 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother'swife: it is thy brother's nakedness. 17 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of awoman and her daughter, neither shalt thou take her son's daughter, or her daughter'sdaughter, to uncover her nakedness; for they are her near kinswomen: it iswickedness. 18 Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister, to vex her, to uncoverher nakedness, beside the other in her life time.These laws relate to the seventh commandment, and, no doubt, are obligatory on us under thegospel, for they are consonant to the very light and law of nature: one of the articles, that of a man'shaving his father's wife, the apostle speaks of as a sin not so much as named among the Gentiles,1 Cor. v. 1. Though some of the incests here forbidden were practised by some particular persons753Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)among the heathen, yet they were disallowed and detested, unless among those nations who hadbecome barbarous, and were quite given up to vile affections. Observe,I. That which is forbidden as to the relations here specified is approaching to them to uncovertheir nakedness, v. 6.1. It is chiefly intended to forbid the marrying of any of these relations. Marriage is a divineinstitution; this and the sabbath, the eldest of all, of equal standing with man upon the earth: it isintended for the comfort of human life, and the decent and honourable propagation of the humanrace, such as became the dignity of man's nature above that of the beasts. It is honourable in all,and these laws are for the support of the honour of it. It was requisite that a divine ordinance shouldbe subject to divine rules and restraints, especially because it concerns a thing wherein the corruptnature of man is as apt as in any thing to be wilful and impetuous in its desires, and impatient ofcheck. Yet these prohibitions, besides their being enacted by an incontestable authority, are inthemselves highly reasonable and equitable. (1.) By marriage two were to become one flesh,therefore those that before were in a sense one flesh by nature could not, without the greatestabsurdity, become one flesh by institution; for the institution was designed to unite those who beforewere not united. (2.) Marriage puts an equality between husband and wife. "Is she not thy companiontaken out of thy side?" Therefore, if those who before were superior and inferior should intermarry(which is the case in most of the instances here laid down), the order of nature would be taken awayby a positive institution, which must by no means be allowed. The inequality between master andservant, noble and ignoble, is founded in consent and custom, and there is no harm done if that betaken away by the equality of marriage; but the inequality between parents and children, unclesand nieces, aunts and nephews, either by blood or marriage, is founded in nature, and is thereforeperpetual, and cannot without confusion be taken away by the equality of marriage, the institutionof which, though ancient, is subsequent to the order of nature. (3.) No relations that are equals areforbidden, except brothers and sisters, by the whole blood or half blood, or by marriage; and in thisthere is not the same natural absurdity as in the former, for Adam's sons must of necessity havemarried their own sisters; but it was requisite that it should be made by a positive law unlawful anddetestable, for the preventing of sinful familiarities between those that in the days of their youthare supposed to live in a house together, and yet cannot intermarry without defeating one of theintentions of marriage, which is the enlargement of friendship and interest. If every man marriedhis own sister (as they would be apt to do from generation to generation if it were lawful), eachfamily would be a world to itself, and it would be forgotten that we are members one of another.It is certain that this has always been looked upon by the more sober heathen as a most infamousand abominable thing; and those who had not this law yet were herein a law to themselves. Themaking use of the ordinance of marriage for the patronizing of incestuous mixtures is so far fromjustifying them, or extenuating their guilt, that it adds the guilt of profaning an ordinance of God,and prostituting that to the vilest of purposes which was instituted for the noblest ends. But,2. Uncleanness, committed with any of these relations out of marriage, is likewise, withoutdoubt, forbidden here, and no less intended than the former: as also all lascivious carriage, wantondalliance, and every thing that has the appearance of this evil. Relations must love one another,and are to have free and familiar converse with each other, but it must be with all purity; and theless it is suspected of evil by others the more care ought the persons themselves to take that Satando not get advantage against them, for he is a very subtle enemy, and seeks all occasions againstus.754Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)II. The relations forbidden are most of them plainly described; and it is generally laid downas a rule that what relations of a man's own he is bound up from marrying the same relations of hiswife he is likewise forbidden to marry, for they two are one. That law which forbids marrying abrother's wife (v. 16) had an exception peculiar to the Jewish state, that, if a man died without issue,his brother or next of kin should marry the widow, and raise up seed to the deceased (Deut. xxv.5), for reasons which held good only in that commonwealth; and therefore now that those reasonshave ceased the exception ceases, and the law is in force, that a man must in no case marry hisbrother's widow. That article (v. 18) which forbids a man to take a wife to her sister supposes aconnivance at polygamy, as some other laws then did (Exod. xxi. 10; Deut. xxi. 15), but forbids aman's marrying two sisters, as Jacob did, because between those who had before been equal therewould be apt to arise greater jealousies and animosities than between wives that were not so nearlyrelated. If the sister of the wife be taken for the concubine, or secondary wife, nothing can be morevexing in her life, or as long as she lives.Laws against Iniquity. (b. c. 1490.)19 Also thou shalt not approach unto a woman to uncover her nakedness, as longas she is put apart for her uncleanness. 20 Moreover thou shalt not lie carnally withthy neighbour's wife, to defile thyself with her. 21 And thou shalt not let any ofthy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thyGod: I am the Lord. 22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it isabomination. 23 Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith:neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion.24 Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations aredefiled which I cast out before you: 25 And the land is defiled: therefore I do visitthe iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants. 26 Yeshall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any ofthese abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojournethamong you: 27 (For all these abominations have the men of the land done, whichwere before you, and the land is defiled;) 28 That the land spue not you out also,when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you. 29 For whosoevershall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall becut off from among their people. 30 Therefore shall ye keep mine ordinance, thatye commit not any one of these abominable customs, which were committed beforeyou, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I am the Lord your God.Here is, I. A law to preserve the honour of the marriage-bed, that it should not be unseasonablyused (v. 19), nor invaded by an adulterer, v. 20.II. A law against that which was the most unnatural idolatry, causing their children to passthrough the fire to Moloch, v. 21. Moloch (as some think) was the idol in and by which theyworshipped the sun, that great fire of the world; and therefore in the worship of it they made theirown children either sacrifices to this idol, burning them to death before it, or devotees to it, causingthem to pass between two fires, as some think, or to be thrown through one, to the honour of this755Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)pretended deity, imagining that the consecrating of but one of their children in this manner toMoloch would procure good fortune for all the rest of their children. Did idolaters thus give theirown children to false gods, and shall we think any thing too dear to be dedicated to, or to be partedwith for, the true God? See how this sin of Israel (which they were afterwards guilty of,notwithstanding this law) is aggravated by the relation which they and their children stood in toGod. Ezek. xvi. 20, Thou hast taken thy sons and thy daughters, whom thou hast borne unto me,and these thou hast sacrificed. Therefore it is here called profaning the name of their God; for itlooked as if they thought they were under greater obligations to Moloch than to Jehovah; for tohim they offered their cattle only, but to Moloch their children.III. A law against unnatural lusts, sodomy and bestiality, sins not to be named nor thought ofwithout the utmost abhorrence imaginable, v. 22, 23. Other sins level men with the beasts, but thesesink them much lower. That ever there should have been occasion for the making of these laws,and that since they are published they should ever have been broken, is the perpetual reproach andscandal of human nature; and the giving of men up to these vile affections was frequently thepunishment of their idolatries; so the apostle shows, Rom. i. 24.IV. Arguments against these and the like abominable wickednesses. He that has an indisputableright to command us, yet because he will deal with us as men, and draw with the cords of a man,condescends to reason with us. 1. Sinners defile themselves with these abominations: Defile notyourselves in any of these things, v. 24. All sin is defiling to the conscience, but these are sins thathave a peculiar turpitude in them. Our heavenly Father, in kindness to us, requires of us that wekeep ourselves clean, and do not wallow in the dirt. 2. The souls that commit them shall be cut off,v. 29. And justly; for, if any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy, 1 Cor. iii. 17.Fleshly lusts war against the soul, and will certainly be the ruin of it if God's mercy and graceprevent not. 3. The land is defiled, v. 25. If such wickednesses as these be practised and connivedat, the land is thereby made unfit to have God's tabernacle in it, and the pure and holy God willwithdraw the tokens of his gracious presence from it. It is also rendered unwholesome to theinhabitants, who are hereby infected with sin and exposed to plagues and it is really nauseous andloathsome to all good men in it, as the wickedness of Sodom was to the soul of righteous Lot. 4.These have been the abominations of the former inhabitants, v. 24, 27. Therefore it was necessarythat these laws should be made, as antidotes and preservatives from the plague are necessary whenwe go into an infected place. And therefore they should not practise any such things, because thenations that had practised them now lay under the curse of God, and were shortly to fall by thesword of Israel. They could not but be sensible how odious those people had made themselves whowallowed in this mire, and how they stank in the nostrils of all good men; and shall a peoplesanctified and dignified as Israel was make themselves thus vile? When we observe how ill sinlooks in others we should use this as an argument with ourselves with the utmost care and cautionto preserve our purity. 5. For these and the like sins the Canaanites were to be destroyed; thesefilled the measure of the Amorites' iniquity (Gen. xv. 16), and brought down that destruction of somany populous kingdoms which the Israelites were now shortly to be not only the spectators, butthe instruments of: Therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, v. 25. Note, The tremendousjudgments of God, executed on those that are daringly profane and atheistical, are intended aswarnings to those who profess religion to take heed of every thing that has the least appearance of,or tendency towards, profaneness or atheism. Even the ruin of the Canaanites is an admonition tothe Israelites not to do like them. Nay, to show that not only the Creator is provoked, but the creation756Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)burdened, by such abominations as these, it is added (v. 25), The land itself vomiteth out herinhabitants. The very ground they went upon did, as it were, groan under them, and was sick ofthem, and not easy till it had discharged itself of these enemies of the Lord, Isa. i. 24. This bespeaksthe extreme loathsomeness of sin; sinful man indeed drinks in iniquity like water, but the harmlesspart of the creation even heaves at it, and rises against it. Many a house and many a town havespued out the wicked inhabitants, as it were, with abhorrence, Rev. iii. 16. Therefore take heed,saith God, that the land spue not you out also, v. 28. It was secured to them, and entailed uponthem, and yet they must expect that, if they made the vices of the Canaanites their own, with theirland their fate would be the same. Note, Wicked Israelites are as abominable to God as wickedCanaanites, and more so, and will be as soon spued out, or sooner. Such a warning as was heregiven to the Israelites is given by the apostle to the Gentile converts, with reference to the rejectedJews, in whose room they were substituted (Rom. xi. 19, &c.); they must take heed of falling afterthe same example of unbelief, Heb. iv. 11. Apply it more generally; and let it deter us effectuallyfrom all sinful courses to consider how many they have been the ruin of. Lay the ear of faith to thegates of the bottomless pit, and hear the doleful shrieks and outcries of damned sinners, whom earthhas spued out and hell has swallowed, that find themselves undone, for ever undone, by sin; andtremble lest this be your portion at last. God's threatenings and judgments should frighten us fromsin.V. The chapter concludes with a sovereign antidote against this infection: Therefore you shallkeep my ordinance that you commit not any one of these abominable customs, v. 30. This is theremedy prescribed. Note, 1. Sinful customs are abominable customs, and their being common andfashionable does not make them at all the less abominable nor should we the less abominate them,but the more; because the more customary they are the more dangerous they are. 2. It is of perniciousconsequence to admit and allow of any one sinful custom, because one will make way for many,Uno absurdo dato, mille sequuntur—Admit but a single absurdity, you invite a thousand. The wayof sin is downhill. 3. A close and constant adherence to God's ordinances is the most effectualpreservative from the infection of gross sin. The more we taste of the sweetness and feel of thepower of holy ordinances the less inclination we shall have to the forbidden pleasures of sinners'abominable customs. It is the grace of God only that will secure us, and that grace is to be expectedonly in the use of the means of grace. Nor does God ever leave any to their own hearts' lusts tillthey have first left him and his institutions.L E V I T C U SCHAP. XIX.Some ceremonial precepts there are in this chapter, but most of them are moral. One wouldwonder that when some of the lighter matters of the law are greatly enlarged upon (witness twolong chapters concerning the leprosy) many of the weightier matters are put into a little compass:divers of the single verses of this chapter contain whole laws concerning judgment and mercy; forthese are things which are manifest in every man's conscience; men's own thoughts are able to757Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)explain these, and to comment upon them. I. The laws of this chapter, which were peculiar to theJews, are, 1. Concerning their peace-offerings, ver. 5-8. 2. Concerning the gleanings of their fields,ver. 9, 10. 3. Against mixtures of their cattle, seed, and cloth, ver. 19. 4. Concerning their trees,ver. 23-25. 5. Against some superstitious usages, ver. 26-28. But, II. Most of these precepts arebinding on us, for they are expositions of most of the ten commandments. 1. Here is the preface tothe ten commandments, "I am the Lord," repeated fifteen times. 2. A sum of the ten commandments.All the first table in this, "Be you holy," ver. 2. All the second table in this, "Thou shalt love thyneighbour" (ver. 18), and an answer to the question, "Who is my neighbour?" ver. 33, 34. 3.Something of each commandment. (1.) The first commandment implied in that which is oftenrepeated here, "I am your God." And here is a prohibition of enchantment (ver. 26) and witchcraft(ver. 31), which make a god of the devil. (2.) Idolatry, against the second commandment, isforbidden, ver. 4. (3.) Profanation of God's name, against the third, ver. 12. (4.) Sabbath-sanctificationis pressed, ver. 3, 30. (5.) Children are required to honour their parents (ver. 3), and the aged, ver.32. (6.) Hatred and revenge are here forbidden, against the sixth commandment, ver. 17, 18. (7.)Adultery (ver. 20-22), and whoredom, ver. 29. (8.) Justice is here required in judgment (ver. 15),theft forbidden (ver. 11), fraud and withholding dues (ver. 13), and false weights, ver. 35, 36. (9.)Lying, ver. 11. Slandering, ver. 14. Tale-bearing, and false-witness bearing, ver. 16. (10.) The tenthcommandment laying a restraint upon the heart, so does that (ver. 17), "Thou shalt not hate thybrother in thy heart." And here is a solemn charge to observe all these statutes, ver. 37. Now theseare things which need not much help for the understanding of them, but require constant care andwatchfulness for the observing of them. "A good understanding have all those that do thesecommandments."Ceremonial and Moral Laws. (b. c. 1490.)1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Speak unto all the congregation ofthe children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the Lord your Godam holy. 3 Ye shall fear every man his mother, and his father, and keep my sabbaths:I am the Lord your God. 4 Turn ye not unto idols, nor make to yourselves moltengods: I am the Lord your God. 5 And if ye offer a sacrifice of peace offerings untothe Lord, ye shall offer it at your own will. 6 It shall be eaten the same day ye offerit, and on the morrow: and if ought remain until the third day, it shall be burnt inthe fire. 7 And if it be eaten at all on the third day, it is abominable; it shall not beaccepted. 8 Therefore every one that eateth it shall bear his iniquity, because hehath profaned the hallowed thing of the Lord: and that soul shall be cut off fromamong his people. 9 And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt notwholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thyharvest. 10 And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather everygrape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the Lordyour God.Moses is ordered to deliver the summary of the laws to all the congregation of the children ofIsrael (v. 2); not to Aaron and his sons only, but to all the people, for they were all concerned to758Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)know their duty. Even in the darker ages of the law, that religion could not be of God which boastedof ignorance as its mother. Moses must make known God's statutes to all the congregation, andproclaim them through the camp. These laws, it is probable, he delivered himself to as many of thepeople as could be within hearing at once, and so by degrees at several times to them all. Many ofthe precepts here given they had received before, but it was requisite that they should be repeated,that they might be remembered. Precept must be upon precept, and line upon line, and all littleenough. In these verses,I. It is required that Israel be a holy people, because the God of Israel is a holy God, v. 2. Theirbeing distinguished from all other people by peculiar laws and customs was intended to teach thema real separation from the world and the flesh, and an entire devotedness to God. And this is nowthe law of Christ (the Lord bring every thought within us into obedience to it!) You shall be holy,for I am holy, 1 Pet. i. 15, 16. We are the followers of the holy Jesus, and therefore must be, accordingto our capacity, consecrated to God's honour, and conformed to his nature and will. Israel wassanctified by the types and shadows (ch. xx. 8), but we are sanctified by the truth, or substance ofall those shadows, John xvii. 17; Tit. ii. 14.II. That children be obedient to their parents: "You shall fear every man his mother and hisfather, v. 3. 1. The fear here required is the same with the honour commanded by the fifthcommandment; see Mal. i. 6. It includes inward reverence and esteem, outward expressions ofrespect, obedience to the lawful commands of parents, care and endeavour to please them and makethem easy, and to avoid every thing that may offend and grieve them, and incur their displeasure.The Jewish doctors ask, "What is this fear that is owing to a father?" And they answer, "It is not tostand in his way nor to sit in his place, not to contradict what he says nor to carp at it, not to callhim by his name, either living or dead, but 'My Father,' or 'Sir;' it is to provide for him if he bepoor, and the like." 2. Children, when they grow up to be men, must not think themselves dischargedfrom this duty: every man, though he be a wise man, and a great man, yet must reverence his parents,because they are his parents. 3. The mother is put first, which is not usual, to show that the duty isequally owing to both; if the mother survive the father, still she must be reverenced and obeyed.4. It is added, and keep my sabbaths. If God provides by his law for the preserving of the honourof parents, parents must use their authority over their children for the preserving of the honour ofGod, particularly the honour of his sabbaths, the custody of which is very much committed toparents by the fourth commandment, Thou, and thy son, and thy daughter. The ruin of young peoplehas often been observed to begin in the contempt of their parents and the profanation of the sabbathday. Fitly therefore are these two precepts here put together in the beginning of this abridgment ofthe statutes: "You shall fear, every man, his mother and his father, and keep my sabbaths. Thoseare hopeful children, and likely to do well, that make conscience of honouring their parents andkeeping holy the sabbath day. 5. The reason added to both these precepts is, "I am the Lord yourGod; the Lord of the sabbath and the God of your parents."III. That God only be worshipped, and not by images (v. 4): "Turn you not to idols, to Elilim,to vanities, things of no power, no value, gods that are no gods. Turn not from the true God to falseones, from the mighty God to impotent ones, from the God that will make you holy and happy tothose that will deceive you, debauch you, ruin you, and make you for ever miserable. Turn not youreye to them, much less your heart. Make not to yourselves gods, the creatures of your own fancy,nor think to worship the Creator by molten gods. You are the work of God's hands, be not so absurd759Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)as to worship gods the work of your own hands." Molten gods are specified for the sake of themolten calf.IV. That the sacrifices of their peace-offerings should always be offered, and eaten, accordingto the law, v. 5-8. There was some particular reason, it is likely, for the repetition of this law ratherthan any other relating to the sacrifices. The eating of the peace-offerings was the people's part,and was done from under the eye of the priests, and perhaps some of them had kept the cold meatof their peace-offerings, as they had done the manna (Exod. xvi. 20), longer than was appointed,which occasioned this caution; see the law itself before, ch. vii. 16-18. God will have his own workdone in his own time. Though the sacrifice was offered according to the law, if it was not eatenaccording to the law, it was not accepted. Though ministers do their part, what the better if peopledo not theirs? There is work to be done after our spiritual sacrifices, in a due improvement of them;and, if this be neglected, all is in vain.V. That they should leave the gleanings of their harvest and vintage for the poor, v. 9, 10. Note,Works of piety must be always attended with works of charity, according as our ability is. Whenthey gathered in their corn, they must leave some standing in the corner of the field; the Jewishdoctors say, "It should be a sixtieth part of the field;" and they must also leave the gleanings andthe small clusters of their grapes, which at first were overlooked. This law, though not binding nowin the letter of it, yet teaches us, 1. That we must not be covetous and griping, and greedy of everything we can lay any claim to; nor insist upon our right in things small and trivial. 2. That we mustbe well pleased to see the poor supplied and refreshed with the fruit of our labours. We must notthink every thing lost that goes beside ourselves, nor any thing wasted that goes to the poor. 3. Thattimes of joy, such as harvest-time is, are proper times for charity; that, when we rejoice, the poormay rejoice with us, and when our hearts are blessing God their loins may bless us.11 Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another. 12 And yeshall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God:I am the Lord. 13 Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wagesof him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning. 14 Thoushalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind, but shalt fearthy God: I am the Lord. 15 Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shaltnot respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but inrighteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour. 16 Thou shalt not go up and downas a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thyneighbour: I am the Lord. 17 Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thoushalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him. 18 Thou shaltnot avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shaltlove thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord.We are taught here,I. To be honest and true in all our dealings, v. 11. God, who has appointed every man's propertyby his providence, forbids by his law the invading of that appointment, either by downright theft,You shall not steal, or by fraudulent dealing, "You shall not cheat, or deal falsely." Whatever wehave in the world, we must see to it that it be honestly come by, for we cannot be truly rich, nor760Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)long rich, with that which is not. The God of truth, who requires truth in the heart (Ps. li. 6), requiresit also in the tongue: Neither lie one to another, either in bargaining or common converse. This isone of the laws of Christianity (Col. iii. 9): Lie not one to another. Those that do not speak truthdo not deserve to be told truth; those that sin by lying justly suffer by it; therefore we are forbiddento lie one to another; for, if we lie to others, we teach them to lie to us.II. To maintain a very reverent regard to the sacred name of God (v. 12), and not to call himto be witness either, 1. To a lie: You shall not swear falsely. It is bad to tell a lie, but it is muchworse to swear it. Or, 2. To a trifle, and every impertinence: Neither shalt thou profane the nameof thy God, by alienating it to any other purpose than that for which it is to be religiously used.III. Neither to take nor keep any one's right from him, v. 13. We must not take that which isnone of our own, either by fraud or robbery; nor detain that which belongs to another, particularlythe wages of the hireling, let it not abide with thee all night. Let the day-labourer have his wagesas soon as he has done his day's work, if he desire it. It is a great sin to deny the payment of it, nay,to defer it, to his damage, a sin that cries to heaven for vengeance, Jam. v. 4.IV. To be particularly tender of the credit and safety of those that cannot help themselves, v.14. 1. The credit of the deaf: Thou shalt not curse the deaf; that is, not only those that are naturallydeaf, that cannot hear at all, but also those that are absent, and at present out of hearing of the curse,and so cannot show their resentment, return the affront, nor right themselves, and those that arepatient, that seem as if they heard not, and are not willing to take notice of it, as David, Ps. xxxviii.13. Do not injure any because they are unwilling, or unable, to avenge themselves, for God seesand hears, though they do not. 2. The safety of the blind we must likewise be tender of, and not puta stumbling-block before them; for this is to add affliction to the afflicted, and to make God'sprovidence a servant to our malice. This prohibition implies a precept to help the blind, and removestumbling-blocks out of their way. The Jewish writers, thinking it impossible that any should beso barbarous as to put a stumbling-block in the way of the blind, understood it figuratively, that itforbids giving bad counsel to those that are simple and easily imposed upon, by which they maybe led to do something to their own prejudice. We ought to take heed of doing any thing whichmay occasion our weak brother to fall, Rom. xiv. 13; 1 Cor. viii. 9. It is added, as a preservativefrom these sins, but fear thou God. "Thou dost not fear the deaf and blind, they cannot rightthemselves; but remember it is the glory of God to help the helpless, and he will plead their cause."Note, The fear of God will restrain us from doing that which will not expose us to men's resentments.V. Judges and all in authority are here commanded to give verdict and judgment withoutpartiality (v. 15); whether they were constituted judges by commission or made so in a particularcase by the consent of both parties, as referees or arbitrators, they must do no wrong to either side,but, to the utmost of their skill, must go according to the rules of equity, having respect purely tothe merits of the cause, and not to the characters of the person. Justice must never be perverted,either, 1. In pity to the poor: Thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, Exod. xxiii. 3. Whatevermay be given to a poor man as an alms, yet let nothing be awarded him as his right but what he islegally entitled to, nor let his poverty excuse him from any just punishment for a fault. Or, 2. Inveneration or fear of the mighty, in whose favour judges would be most frequently biased. TheJews say, "Judges were obliged by this law to be so impartial as not to let one of the contendingparties sit while the other stood, nor permit one to say what he pleased and bid the other be short;see James ii. 1-4.761Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)VI. We are all forbidden to do any thing injurious to our neighbour's good name (v. 16), either,1. In common conversation: Thou shalt not go up and down as a tale-bearer. It is as bad an officeas a man can put himself into to be the publisher of every man's faults, divulging what was secret,aggravating crimes, and making the worst of every thing that was amiss, with design to blast andruin men's reputation, and to sow discord among neighbours. The word used for a tale-bearersignifies a pedlar, or petty chapman, the interlopers of trade; for tale-bearers pick up ill-naturedstories at one house and utter them at another, and commonly barter slanders by way of exchange.See this sin condemned, Prov. xi. 13; xx. 19; Jer. ix. 4, 5; Ezek. xxii. 9. Or, 2, In witness-bearing:Neither shalt thou stand as a witness against the blood of thy neighbour, if his blood be innocent,nor join in confederacy with such bloody men as those described," Prov. i. 11, 12. The Jewishdoctors put this further sense upon it: "Thou shalt not stand by and see thy brother in danger, butthou shalt come in to his relief and succour, though it be with the peril of thy own life or limb;"they add, "He that can by his testimony clear one that is accused is obliged by this law to do it;"see Prov. xxiv. 11, 12.VII. We are commanded to rebuke our neighbour in love (v. 17): Thou shalt in any wise rebukethy neighbour. 1. Rather rebuke him than hate him for an injury done to thyself. If we apprehendthat our neighbour has any way wronged us, we must not conceive a secret grudge against him,and estrange ourselves from him, speaking to him neither bad nor good, as the manner of some is,who have the art of concealing their displeasure till they have an opportunity of a full revenge (2Sam. xiii. 22); but we must rather give vent to our resentments with the meekness of wisdom,endeavour to convince our brother of the injury, reason the case fairly with him, and so put an endto the disgust conceived: this is the rule our Saviour gives in this case, Luke xvii. 3. 2. Thereforerebuke him for his sin against God, because thou lovest him; endeavour to bring him to repentance,that his sin may be pardoned, and he may turn from it, and it may not be suffered to lie upon him.Note, Friendly reproof is a duty we owe to one another, and we ought both to give it and take it inlove. Let the righteous smite me, and it shall be a kindness, Ps. cxli. 5. Faithful and useful are thosewounds of a friend, Prov. xxvii. 5, 6. It is here strictly commanded, "Thou shalt in any wise do it,and not omit it under any pretence." Consider, (1.) The guilt we incur by not reproving: it is construedhere into a hating of our brother. We are ready to argue thus, "Such a one is a friend I love, thereforeI will not make him uneasy by telling him of his faults;" but we should rather say, "therefore I willdo him the kindness to tell him of them." Love covers sin from others, but not from the sinnerhimself. (2.) The mischief we do by not reproving: we suffer sin upon him. Must we help the assof an enemy that has fallen under his burden, and shall we not help the soul of a friend? Exod. xxiii.5. And by suffering sin upon him we are in danger of bearing sin for him, as the margin reads it. Ifwe reprove not the unfruitful works of darkness, we have fellowship with them, and becomeaccessaries ex post facto—after the fact, Eph. v. 11. It is thy brother, thy neighbour, that is concerned;and he was a Cain that said, Am I my brother's keeper?VIII. We are here required to put off all malice, and to put on brotherly love, v. 18. 1. We mustbe ill-affected to none: Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge; to the same purport with thatv. 17, Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thy heart; for malice is murder begun. If our brother hasdone us an injury, we must not return it upon him, that is avenging; we must not upon every occasionupbraid him with it, that is bearing a grudge; but we must both forgive it and forget it, for thus weare forgiven of God. It is a most ill-natured thing, and the bane of friendship, to retain the resentmentof affronts and injuries, and to let that word devour for ever. 2. We must be well-affected to all:762Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. We often wrong ourselves, but we soon forgive ourselvesthose wrongs, and they do not at all lessen our love to ourselves; and in like manner we should loveour neighbour. Our Saviour has made this the second great commandment of the law (Matt. xxii.39), and the apostle shows how it is the summary of all the laws of the second table, Rom. xiii. 9,10; Gal. v. 14. We must love our neighbour as truly as we love ourselves, and without dissimulation;we must evidence our love to our neighbour in the same way as that by which we evidence ourlove to ourselves, preventing his hurt, and procuring his good, to the utmost of our power. We mustdo to our neighbour as we would be done to ourselves (Matt. vii. 12), putting our souls into hissoul's stead, Job xvi. 4, 5. Nay, we must in many cases deny ourselves for the good of our neighbour,as Paul, 1 Cor. ix. 19, &c. Herein the gospel goes beyond even that excellent precept of the law;for Christ, by laying down his life for us, has taught us even to lay down our lives for the brethren,in some cases (1 John iii. 16), and so to love our neighbour better than ourselves.19 Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diversekind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingledof linen and woollen come upon thee. 20 And whosoever lieth carnally with awoman, that is a bondmaid, betrothed to an husband, and not at all redeemed, norfreedom given her; she shall be scourged; they shall not be put to death, because shewas not free. 21 And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the Lord, unto thedoor of the tabernacle of the congregation, even a ram for a trespass offering. 22And the priest shall make an atonement for him with the ram of the trespass offeringbefore the Lord for his sin which he hath done: and the sin which he hath done shallbe forgiven him. 23 And when ye shall come into the land, and shall have plantedall manner of trees for food, then ye shall count the fruit thereof as uncircumcised:three years shall it be as uncircumcised unto you: it shall not be eaten of. 24 Butin the fourth year all the fruit thereof shall be holy to praise the Lord withal. 25And in the fifth year shall ye eat of the fruit thereof, that it may yield unto you theincrease thereof: I am the Lord your God. 26 Ye shall not eat any thing with theblood: neither shall ye use enchantment, nor observe times. 27 Ye shall not roundthe corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard. 28 Yeshall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you:I am the Lord. 29 Do not prostitute thy daughter, to cause her to be a whore; lestthe land fall to whoredom, and the land become full of wickedness.Here is, I. A law against mixtures, v. 19. God in the beginning made the cattle after their kind(Gen. i. 25), and we must acquiesce in the order of nature God hath established, believing that isbest and sufficient, and not covet monsters. Add thou not unto his works, lest he reprove thee; forit is the excellency of the work of God that nothing can, without making it worse, be either put toit or taken from it, Eccl. iii. 14. As what God has joined we must not separate, so what he hasseparated we must not join. The sowing of mingled corn and the wearing of linsey-woolsey garmentsare forbidden, either as superstitious customs of the heathen or to intimate how careful they shouldbe not to mingle themselves with the heathen nor to weave any of the usages of the Gentiles into763Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)God's ordinances. Ainsworth suggests that it was to lead Israel to the simplicity and sincerity ofreligion, and to all the parts and doctrines of the law and gospel in their distinct kinds. As faith isnecessary, good works are necessary, but to mingle these together in the cause of our justificationbefore God is forbidden, Gal. ii. 16.II. A law for punishing adultery committed with one that was a bondmaid that was espoused,v. 20-22. If she had not been espoused, the law appointed no punishment at all; being espoused, ifshe had not been a bondmaid, the punishment had been no less than death: but, being as yet abondmaid (though before the completing of her espousals she must have been made free), the capitalpunishment is remitted, and they shall both be scourged; or, as some think, the woman only, andthe man was to bring a sacrifice. It was for the honour of marriage, though but begun by betrothing,that the crime should be punished; but it was for the honour of freedom that it should not be punishedas the debauching of a free woman was, so great was the difference then made between bond andfree (Gal. iv. 30); but the gospel of Christ knows no such distinction, Col. iii. 11.III. A law concerning fruit-trees, that for the first three years after they were planted, if theyshould happen to be so forward as to bear in that time, yet no use should be made of the fruit, v.23-25. It was therefore the practice of the Jews to pluck off the fruit, as soon as they perceived itknit, from their young trees, as gardeners do sometimes, because their early bearing hinders theirgrowing. If any did come to perfection, it was not to be used in the service either of God or man;but what they bore the fourth year was to be holy to the Lord, either given to the priests, or eatenbefore the Lord with joy, as their second tithe was, and thenceforward it was all their own. Now,1. Some think this taught them not to follow the custom of the heathen, who, they say, consecratedthe very first products of their fruit-trees to their idols, saying that otherwise all the fruits wouldbe blasted. 2. This law in the case of fruit-trees seems to be parallel with that in the case of animals,that no creature should be accepted as an offering till it was past eight days old, nor till that daywere children to be circumcised; see ch. xxii. 27. God would have the first-fruits of their trees, but,because for the first three years they were as inconsiderable as a lamb or a calf under eight daysold, therefore God would not have them, for it is fit he should have every thing at its best; and yethe would not allow them to be used, because his first-fruits were not as yet offered: they musttherefore be accounted as uncircumcised, that is, as an animal under eight days' old, not fit for anyuse. 3. We are hereby taught not to be over-hasty in catching at any comfort, but to be willing withpatience to wait the time for the enjoyment of it, and particularly to acknowledge ourselves unworthyof the increase of the earth, our right to the fruits of which was forfeited by our first parents eatingforbidden fruit, and we are restored to it only by the word of God and prayer, 1 Tim. iv. 5.IV. A law against the superstitious usages of the heathen, v. 26-28. 1. Eating upon the blood,as the Gentiles did, who gathered the blood of their sacrifices into a vessel for their demons (asthey fancied) to drink, and then sat about it, eating the flesh themselves, signifying their communionwith devils by their feasting with them. Let not this custom be used, for the blood of God's sacrificeswas to be sprinkled on the altar, and then poured at the foot of it, and conveyed away. 2. Enchantmentand divination, and a superstitious observation of the times, some days and hours lucky and othersunlucky. Curious arts of this kind, it is likely, had been of late invented by the Egyptian priests, toamuse the people, and support their own credit. The Israelites had seen them practised, but mustby no means imitate them. It would be unpardonable in those to whom were committed the oraclesof God to ask counsel of the devil, and yet worse in Christians, to whom the Son of God is manifested,who has destroyed the works of the devil. For Christians to have their nativities cast, and their764Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)fortunes told them, to use spells and charms for the cure of diseases and the driving away of evilspirits, to be affected with the falling of the salt, a hare crossing the way, cross days, or the like, isan intolerable affront to the Lord Jesus, a support of paganism and idolatry, and a reproach both tothemselves and to that worthy name by which they are called: and those must be grossly ignorant,both of the law and the gospel, that ask, "What harm is there in these things?" Is it no harm forthose that have fellowship with Christ to have fellowship with devils, or to learn the ways of thosethat have? Surely we have not so learned Christ. 3. There was a superstition even in trimmingthemselves used by the heathen, which must not be imitated by the people of God: You shall notround the corners of your heads. Those that worshipped the hosts of heaven, in honour of them,cut their hair so as that their heads might resemble the celestial globe; but, as the custom was foolishitself, so, being done with respect to their false gods, it was idolatrous. 4. The rites and ceremoniesby which they expressed their sorrow at their funerals must not be imitated, v. 28. They must notmake cuts or prints in their flesh for the dead; for the heathen did so to pacify the infernal deitiesthey dreamt of, and to render them propitious to their deceased friends. Christ by his sufferings hasaltered the property of death, and made it a true friend to every true Israelite; and now, as thereneeds nothing to make death propitious to us (for, if God be so, death is so of course), so we sorrownot as those that have no hope. Those whom the God of Israel had set apart for himself must notreceive the image and superscription of these dunghill deities. Lastly, The prostituting of theirdaughters to uncleanness, which is here forbidden (v. 29), seems to have been practised by theheathen in their idolatrous worships, for with such abominations those unclean spirits which theyworshipped were well pleased. And when lewdness obtained as a religious rite, and was committedin their temples, no marvel that the land became full of that wickedness, which, when it entered atthe temple-doors, overspread the land like a mighty torrent, and bore down all the fences of virtueand modesty. The devil himself could not have brought such abominations into their lives if he hadnot first brought them into their worships. And justly were those given up to vile affections whoforsook the holy God, and gave divine honours to impure spirits. Those that dishonour God arethus suffered to dishonour themselves and their families.Moral Laws. (b. c. 1490.)30 Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord. 31Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiledby them: I am the Lord your God. 32 Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, andhonour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the Lord. 33 And if a strangersojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him. 34 But the stranger that dwellethwith you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself;for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. 35 Ye shall dono unrighteousness in judgment, in meteyard, in weight, or in measure. 36 Justbalances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have: I am the Lord yourGod, which brought you out of the land of Egypt. 37 Therefore shall ye observeall my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: I am the Lord.Here is, I. A law for the preserving of the honour of the time and place appropriated to theservice of God, v. 30. This would be a means to secure them both from the idolatries and superstitions765Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)of the heathen and from all immoralities in conversation. 1. Sabbaths must be religiously observed,and not those times mentioned (v. 26) to which the heathen had a superstitious regard. 2. Thesanctuary must be reverenced: great care must be taken to approach the tabernacle with that purityand preparation which the law required, and to attend there with that humility, decency, and closenessof application which became them in the immediate presence of such an awful majesty. Thoughnow there is no place holy by divine institution, as the tabernacle and temple then were, yet thislaw obliges us to respect the solemn assemblies of Christians for religious worship, as being heldunder a promise of Christ's special presence in them, and to carry ourselves with a due decorumwhile in those assemblies we attend the administration of holy ordinances, Eccl. v. 1.II. A caution against all communion with witches, and those that were in league with familiarspirits: "Regard them not, seek not after them, be not in fear of any evil from them nor in hopes ofany good from them. Regard not their threatenings, or promises, or predictions; seek not to themfor discovery or advice, for, if you do, you are defiled by it, and rendered abominable both to Godand your own consciences." This was the sin that completed Saul's wickedness, for which he wasrejected of God, 1 Chron. x. 13.III. A charge to young people to show respect to the aged: Thou shall rise up before the hoaryhead, v. 32. Age is honourable, and he that is the Ancient of days requires that honour be paid toit. The hoary head is a crown of glory. Those whom God has honoured with the common blessingof long life we ought to honour with the distinguishing expressions of civility; and those who inage are wise and good are worthy of double honour: more respect is owing to such old men thanmerely to rise up before them; their credit and comfort must be carefully consulted, their experienceand observations improved, and their counsels asked and hearkened to, Job xxxii. 6, 7. Some, bythe old man whose face or presence is to be honoured, understand the elder in office, as by thehoary head the elder in age; both ought to be respected as fathers, and in the fear of God, who hasput some of his honour upon both. Note, Religion teaches good manners, and obliges us to givehonour to those to whom honour is due. It is an instance of great degeneracy and disorder in a landwhen the child behaves himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honourable,Isa. iii. 5; Job xxx. 1, 12. It becomes the aged to receive this honour, and the younger to give it; forit is the ornament as well as duty of their youth to order themselves lowly and reverently to all theirbetters.IV. A charge to the Israelites to be very tender of strangers, v. 33, 34. Both the law of God andhis providence had vastly dignified Israel above any other people, yet they must not therefore thinkthemselves authorized to trample upon all mankind but those of their own nation, and to insult themat their pleasure; no, "Thou shall not vex a stranger, but love him as thyself, and as one of thy ownpeople." It is supposed that this stranger was not an idolater, but a worshipper of the God of Israel,though not circumcised, a proselyte of the gate at least, though not a proselyte of righteousness: ifsuch a one sojourned among them, they must not vex him, nor oppress, nor over-reach him in abargain, taking advantage of his ignorance of their laws and customs; they must reckon it as greata sin to cheat a stranger as to cheat an Israelite; "nay" (say the Jewish doctors) "they must not somuch as upbraid him with his being a stranger, and his having been formerly an idolater." Strangersare God's particular care, as the widow and the fatherless are, because it is his honour to help thehelpless, Ps. cxlvi. 9. It is therefore at our peril if we do them any wrong, or put any hardships uponthem. Strangers shall be welcome to God's grace, and therefore we should do what we can to invitethem to it, and to recommend religion to their good opinion. It argues a generous disposition, and766Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)a pious regard to God, as a common Father, to be kind to strangers; for those of different countries,customs, and languages, are all made of one blood. But here is a reason added peculiar to the Jews:"For you were strangers in the land of Egypt. God then favoured you, therefore do you now favourthe strangers, and do to them as you then wished to be done to. You were strangers, and yet arenow thus highly advanced; therefore you know not what these strangers may come to, whom youare apt to despise."V. Justice in weights and measures is here commanded. That there should be no cheat in them,v. 35. That they should be very exact, v. 36. In weighing and measuring, we pretend a design togive all those their own whom we deal with; but, if the weights and measures be false, it is like acorruption in judgment, it cheats under colour of justice; and thus to deceive a man to his damageis worse than picking his pocket or robbing him on the highway. He that sells is bound to give thefull of the commodity, and he that buys the full of the price agreed upon, which cannot be donewithout just balances, weights, and measures. Let no man go beyond or defraud his brother, for,though it be hidden from man, it will be found that God is the avenger of all such.VI. The chapter concludes with a general command (v. 37): You shall observe all my statutes,and do them. Note, 1. We are not likely to do God's statutes, unless we observe them with greatcare and consideration. 2. Yet it is not enough barely to observe God's precepts, but we must makeconscience of obeying them. What will it avail us to be critical in our notions, if we be notconscientious in our conversations? 3. An upright heart has respect to all God's commandments,Ps. cxix. 6. Though in many instances the hand fails in doing what should be done, yet the eyeobserves all God's statutes. We are not allowed to pick and choose our duty, but must aim at standingcomplete in all the will of God.L E V I T C U SCHAP. XX.The laws which before were made are in this chapter repeated and penalties annexed to them,that those who would not be deterred from sin by the fear of God might be deterred from it by thefear of punishment. If we will not avoid such and such practices because the law has made themsin (and it is most acceptable when we go on that principle of religion), surely we shall avoid themwhen the law has made them death, from a principle of self-preservation. In this chapter we have,I. Many particular crimes that are made capital. I. Giving their children to Moloch, ver. 1-5. 2.Consulting witches, ver. 6, 27. 3. Cursing parents, ver. 9. 4. Adultery, ver. 10. 5. Incest, ver. 11,12, 14, 17, 19-21. 6. Unnatural lusts, ver. 13, 15, 16, 18. II. General commands given to be holy,ver. 7, 8, 22-26.Moral Laws. (b. c. 1490.)1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Again, thou shalt say to the childrenof Israel, Whosoever he be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojournin Israel, that giveth any of his seed unto Molech; he shall surely be put to death:767Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)the people of the land shall stone him with stones. 3 And I will set my face againstthat man, and will cut him off from among his people; because he hath given of hisseed unto Molech, to defile my sanctuary, and to profane my holy name. 4 And ifthe people of the land do any ways hide their eyes from the man, when he giveth ofhis seed unto Molech, and kill him not: 5 Then I will set my face against that man,and against his family, and will cut him off, and all that go a whoring after him, tocommit whoredom with Molech, from among their people. 6 And the soul thatturneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring afterthem, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among hispeople. 7 Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the Lord yourGod. 8 And ye shall keep my statutes, and do them: I am the Lord which sanctifyyou. 9 For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put todeath: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.Moses is here directed to say that again to the children of Israel which he had in effect saidbefore, v. 2. We are sure it was no vain repetition, but very necessary, that they might give the moreearnest heed to the things that were spoken, and might believe them to be of great consequence,being so often inculcated. God speaketh once, yea, twice, and what he orders to be said again wemust be willing to hear again, because for us it is safe, Phil. iii. 1.I. Three sins are in these verses threatened with death:—1. Parents abusing their children, by sacrificing them to Moloch, v. 2, 3. There is the grossestabsurdity that can be in all the rites of idolatry, and they are all a great reproach to men's reason;but none trampled upon all the honours of human nature as this did, the burning of children in thefire to the honour of a dunghill-god. It was a plain evidence that their gods were devils, who desiredand delighted in the misery and ruin of mankind, and that the worshippers were worse than thebeasts that perish, perfectly stripped, not only of reason, but of natural affection. Abraham's offeringIsaac could not give countenance, much less could it give rise to this barbarous practice, since,though that was commanded, it was immediately countermanded. Yet such was the power of thegod of this world over the children of disobedience that this monstrous piece of inhumanity wasgenerally practised; and even the Israelites were in danger of being drawn into it, which made itnecessary that this severe law should be made against it. It was not enough to tell them they mightspare their children (the fruit of their body should never be accepted for the sin of their soul), butthey must be told, (1.) That the criminal himself should be put to death as a murderer: The peopleof the land shall stone him with stones (v. 2), which was looked upon as the worst of capitalpunishments among the Jews. If the children were sacrificed to the malice of the devil, the parentsmust be sacrificed to the justice of God. And, if either the fact could not be proved or the magistratesdid not do their duty, God would take the work into his own hands: I will cut him off, v. 3. Note,Those that escape punishment from men, yet shall not escape the righteous judgments of God; sowretchedly do those deceive themselves that promise themselves impunity in sin. How can thoseescape against whom God sets his face, that is, whom he frowns upon, meets as an enemy, andfights against? The heinousness of the crime is here set forth to justify the doom: it defiles thesanctuary, and profanes the holy name of God, for the honour of both which he is jealous. Observe,768Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)The malignity of the sin is laid upon that in it which was peculiar to Israel. When the Gentilessacrificed their children they were guilty of murder and idolatry; but, if the Israelites did it, theyincurred the additional guilt of defiling the sanctuary (which they attended upon even when theylay under this guilt, as if there might be an agreement between the temple of God and idols), andof profaning the holy name of God, by which they were called, as if he allowed his worshippers todo such things, Rom. ii. 23, 24. (2.) That all his aiders and abetters should be cut off likewise bythe righteous hand of God. If his neighbours concealed him, and would not come in as witnessesagainst him,—if the magistrates connived at him, and would not pass sentence upon him, ratherpitying his folly than hating his impiety,—God himself would reckon with them, v. 4, 5. Misprisionof idolatry is a crime cognizable in the court of heaven, and which shall not go unpunished: I willset my face against that man (that magistrate, Jer. v. 1) and against his family. Note, [1.] Thewickedness of the master of a family often brings ruin upon a family; and he that should be thehouse-keeper proves the house-breaker. [2.] If magistrates will not do justice upon offenders, Godwill do justice upon them, because there is danger that many will go a whoring after those who dobut countenance sin by winking at it. And, if the sins of leaders be leading sins, it is fit that theirpunishments should be exemplary punishments.2. Children's abusing their parents, by cursing them, v. 9. If children should speak ill of theirparents, or wish ill to them, or carry it scornfully or spitefully towards them, it was an iniquity tobe punished by the judges, who were employed as conservators both of God's honour and of thepublic peace, which were both attacked by this unnatural insolence. See Prov. xxx. 17, The eye thatmocks at his father the ravens of the valley shall pick out, which intimates that such wicked childrenwere in a fair way to be not only hanged, but hanged in chains. This law of Moses Christ quotesand confirms (Matt. xv. 4), for it is as direct a breach of the fifth commandment as wilful murderis of the sixth. The same law which requires parents to be tender of their children requires childrento be respectful to their parents. He that despitefully uses his parents, the instruments of his being,flies in the face of God himself, the author of his being, who will not see the paternal dignity andauthority insulted and trampled upon.3. Persons abusing themselves by consulting such as have familiar spirits, v. 6. By this, asmuch as any thing, a man diminishes, disparages, and deceives himself, and so abuses himself.What greater madness can there be than for a man to go to a liar for information, and to an enemyfor advice? Those do so who turn after those that deal in the black art, and know the depths ofSatan. This is spiritual adultery as much as idolatry is, giving that honour to the devil which is dueto God only; and the jealous God will give a bill of divorce to those that thus go a whoring fromhim, and will cut them off, they having first cut themselves off from him.II. In the midst of these particular laws comes in that general charge, v. 7, 8, where we have,1. The duties required; and they are two:— (1.) That in our principles, affections, and aims,we be holy: Sanctify yourselves and be you holy. We must cleanse ourselves from all the pollutionsof sin, consecrate ourselves to the service and honour of God, and conform ourselves in every thingto his holy will and image: this is to sanctify ourselves. (2.) That in all our actions, and in the wholecourse of our conversation, we be obedient to the laws of God: You shall keep my statutes. By thisonly can we make it to appear that we have sanctified ourselves and are holy, even by our keepingGod's commandments; the tree is known by its fruit. Nor can we keep God's statutes, as we ought,unless we first sanctify ourselves, and be holy. Make the tree good, and the fruit will be good.769Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)2. The reasons to enforce these duties. (1.) "I am the Lord your God; therefore be holy, thatyou may resemble him whose people you are, and may be pleasing to him. Holiness becomes hishouse and household." (2.) I am the Lord who sanctifieth you. God sanctified them by peculiarprivileges, laws, and favours, which distinguished them from all other nations, and dignified themas a people set apart for God. He gave them his word and ordinances to be means of theirsanctification, and his good Spirit to instruct them; therefore they must be holy, else they receivedthe grace of God herein in vain. Note, [1.] God's people are, and must be, persons of distinction.God has distinguished them by his holy covenant, and therefore they ought to distinguish themselvesby their holy conversation. [2.] God's sanctifying us is a good reason why we should sanctifyourselves, that we may comply with the designs of his grace, and not walk contrary to them. If itbe the Lord that sanctifies us, we may hope the work shall be done, though it be difficult: the mannerof expression is like that, 2 Cor. v. 5, He that hath wrought us for the self-same thing is God. Andhis grace is so far from superseding our care and endeavour that it most strongly engages andencourages them. Work out your salvation, for it is God that worketh in you.10 And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he thatcommitteth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shallsurely be put to death. 11 And the man that lieth with his father's wife hathuncovered his father's nakedness: both of them shall surely be put to death; theirblood shall be upon them. 12 And if a man lie with his daughter in law, both ofthem shall surely be put to death: they have wrought confusion; their blood shall beupon them. 13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both ofthem have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their bloodshall be upon them. 14 And if a man take a wife and her mother, it is wickedness:they shall be burnt with fire, both he and they; that there be no wickedness amongyou. 15 And if a man lie with a beast, he shall surely be put to death: and ye shallslay the beast. 16 And if a woman approach unto any beast, and lie down thereto,thou shalt kill the woman, and the beast: they shall surely be put to death; their bloodshall be upon them. 17 And if a man shall take his sister, his father's daughter, orhis mother's daughter, and see her nakedness, and she see his nakedness; it is awicked thing; and they shall be cut off in the sight of their people: he hath uncoveredhis sister's nakedness; he shall bear his iniquity. 18 And if a man shall lie with awoman having her sickness, and shall uncover her nakedness; he hath discoveredher fountain, and she hath uncovered the fountain of her blood: and both of themshall be cut off from among their people. 19 And thou shalt not uncover thenakedness of thy mother's sister, nor of thy father's sister: for he uncovereth his nearkin: they shall bear their iniquity. 20 And if a man shall lie with his uncle's wife,he hath uncovered his uncle's nakedness: they shall bear their sin; they shall diechildless. 21 And if a man shall take his brother's wife, it is an unclean thing: hehath uncovered his brother's nakedness; they shall be childless.770Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)Sins against the seventh commandment are here ordered to be severely punished. These aresins which, of all others, fools are most apt to make a mock at; but God would teach those theheinousness of the guilt by the extremity of the punishment that would not otherwise be taught it.I. Lying with another man's wife was made a capital crime. The adulterer and the adulteressthat had joined in the sin must fall alike under the sentence: they shall both be put to death, v. 10.Long before this, even in Job's time, this was reputed a heinous crime and an iniquity to be punishedby the judges, Job xxxi. 11. It is a presumptuous contempt of an ordinance of God, and a violationof his covenant, Prov. ii. 17. It is an irreparable wrong to the injured husband, and debauches themind and conscience of both the offenders as much as any thing. It is a sin which headstrong andunbridled lusts hurry men violently to, and therefore it needs such a powerful restraint as this. It isa sin which defiles a land and brings down God's judgments upon it, which disquiets families, andtends to the ruin of all virtue and religion, and therefore is fit to be animadverted upon by theconservators of the public peace: but see John viii. 3-11.II. Incestuous connections, whether by marriage or not. 1. Some of them were to be punishedwith death, as a man's lying with his father's wife, v. 11. Reuben would have been put to death forhis crime (Gen. xxxv. 22) if this law had been then made. It was the sin of the incestuous Corinthian,for which he was to be delivered unto Satan, 1 Cor. v. 1, 5. A man's debauching his daughter-in-law,or his mother-in-law, or his sister, was likewise to be punished with death, v. 12, 14, 17. 2. Othersof them God would punish with the curse of barrenness, as a man's defiling his aunt, or his brother'swife (v. 19-21): They shall die childless. Those that keep not within the divine rules of marriageforfeit the blessings of marriage: They shall commit whoredom, and shall not increase, Hos. iv. 10.Nay it is said, They shall bear their iniquity, that is, though they be not immediately cut off by thehand either of God or man for this sin, yet the guilt of it shall lie upon them, to be reckoned foranother day, and not be purged with sacrifice or offering.III. The unnatural lusts of sodomy and bestiality (sins not to be mentioned without horror)were to be punished with death, as they are at this day by our law, v. 13, 15, 16. Even the beast thatwas thus abused was to be killed with the sinner, who was thereby openly put to the greater shame:and the villany was thus represented as in the highest degree execrable and abominable, all occasionsof the remembrance or mention of it being to be taken away. Even the unseasonable use of themarriage, if presumptuous, and in contempt of the law, would expose the offenders to the justjudgment of God: they shall be cut off, v. 18. For this is the will of God, that every man shouldpossess his vessel (and the wife is called the weaker vessel) in sanctification and honour, as becomessaints.22 Ye shall therefore keep all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them:that the land, whither I bring you to dwell therein, spue you not out. 23 And yeshall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you: for theycommitted all these things, and therefore I abhorred them. 24 But I have said untoyou, Ye shall inherit their land, and I will give it unto you to possess it, a land thatfloweth with milk and honey: I am the Lord your God, which have separated youfrom other people. 25 Ye shall therefore put difference between clean beasts andunclean, and between unclean fowls and clean: and ye shall not make your soulsabominable by beast, or by fowl, or by any manner of living thing that creepeth on771Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)the ground, which I have separated from you as unclean. 26 And ye shall be holyunto me: for I the Lord am holy, and have severed you from other people, that yeshould be mine. 27 A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is awizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their bloodshall be upon them.The last verse is a particular law, which comes in after the general conclusion, as if omitted inits proper place: it is for the putting of those to death that dealt with familiar spirits, v. 27. It wouldbe an affront to God and to his lively oracles, a scandal to the country, and a temptation to ignorantbad people, to consult them, if such were known and suffered to live among them. Those that arein league with the devil have in effect made a covenant with death and an agreement with hell, andso shall their doom be.The rest of these verses repeat and inculcate what had been said before; for to that unthinkingforgetful people it was requisite that there should be line upon line, and that general rules, withtheir reasons, should be frequently insisted on, for the enforcement of particular laws, and makingthem more effectual. Three things we are here reminded of:—I. Their dignity. 1. They had the Lord for their God, v. 24. They were his, his care, his choice,his treasure, his jewels, his kingdom of priests (v. 26): That you should be mine. Happy the people,and truly great, that are in such a case. 2. Their God was a holy God (v. 26), infinitely advancedabove all others. His holiness is his glory, and it was their honour to be related to him, while theirneighbours were the infamous worshippers of impure and filthy spirits. 3. The great God hadseparated them from other people (v. 24), and again, v. 26. Other nations were the common; theywere the enclosure, beautified and enriched with peculiar privileges, and designed for peculiarhonours; let them therefore value themselves accordingly, preserve their honour, and not lay it inthe dust, by walking in the way of the heathen.II. Their duty; this is inferred from their dignity. God had done more for them than for others,and therefore expected more from them than from others. And what is it that the Lord their Godrequires, in consideration of the great things done and designed? 1. You shall keep all my statutes(v. 22); and there was all the reason in the world that they should, for the statutes were their honour,and obedience to them would be their lasting comfort. 2. You shall not walk in the manners ofnations, v. 23. Being separated from them, they must not associate with them, nor learn their ways.The manners of the nations were bad enough in them, but would be much worse in God's people.3. You shall put a difference between clean and unclean, v. 25. This is holiness, to discern betweenthings that differ, not to live at large, as if we might say and do any thing, but to speak and act withcaution. 4. You shall not make your souls abominable, v. 25. Our constant care must be to preservethe honour, by preserving the purity, of our own souls, and never to do any thing to make themabominable to God and to our own consciences.III. Their danger. 1. They were going into an infected place (v. 24): You shall inherit theirland, a land flowing with milk and honey, which they would have the comfort of if they kept theirintegrity; but, withal, it was a land full of idols, idolatries, and superstitious usages, which theywould be apt to fall in love with, having brought from Egypt with them a strange disposition totake that infection. 2. If they took the infection, it would be of pernicious consequence to them.The Canaanites were to be expelled for these very sins: They committed all these things, thereforeI abhorred them, v. 23. See what an evil thing sin is; it provokes God to abhor his own creatures,772Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)whereas otherwise he delights in the work of his hands. And, if the Israelites trod in the steps oftheir impiety, they must expect that the land would spue them out (v. 22), as he had told thembefore, ch. xviii. 28. If God spared not the natural branches, but broke them off, neither would hespare those who were grafted in, if they degenerated. Thus the rejection of the Jews stands for awarning to all Christian churches to take heed lest the kingdom of God be taken from them. Thosethat sin like others must expect to smart like them; and their profession of relation to God will beno security to them.L E V I T C U SCHAP. XXI.This chapter might borrow its title from Mal. ii. 1, "And now, O you priests, this commandmentis for you." It is a law obliging priests with the utmost care and jealousy to preserve the dignity oftheir priesthood. I. The inferior priests are here charged both concerning their mourning andconcerning their marriages and their children, ver. 1-9. II. The high priest is restrained more thanany of them, ver. 10-15. III. Neither the one nor the other must have any blemish, ver. 16, &c.Laws Concerning the Priests. (b. c. 1490.)1 And the Lord said unto Moses, Speak unto the priests the sons of Aaron, andsay unto them, There shall none be defiled for the dead among his people: 2 Butfor his kin, that is near unto him, that is, for his mother, and for his father, and forhis son, and for his daughter, and for his brother, 3 And for his sister a virgin, thatis nigh unto him, which hath had no husband; for her may he be defiled. 4 But heshall not defile himself, being a chief man among his people, to profane himself.5 They shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off thecorner of their beard, nor make any cuttings in their flesh. 6 They shall be holyunto their God, and not profane the name of their God: for the offerings of the Lordmade by fire, and the bread of their God, they do offer: therefore they shall be holy.7 They shall not take a wife that is a whore, or profane; neither shall they take awoman put away from her husband: for he is holy unto his God. 8 Thou shaltsanctify him therefore; for he offereth the bread of thy God: he shall be holy untothee: for I the Lord, which sanctify you, am holy. 9 And the daughter of any priest,if she profane herself by playing the whore, she profaneth her father: she shall beburnt with fire.It was before appointed that the priests should teach the people the statutes God had givenconcerning the difference between clean and unclean, ch. x. 10, 11. Now here it is provided thatthey should themselves observe what they were to teach the people. Note, Those whose office it isto instruct must do it by example as well as precept, 1 Tim. iv. 12. The priests were to draw nearer773Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)to God than any of the people, and to be more intimately conversant with sacred things, and thereforeit was required of them that they should keep at a greater distance than others from every thing thatwas defiling and might diminish the honour of their priesthood.I. They must take care not to disparage themselves in their mourning for the dead. All thatmourned for the dead were supposed to come near the body, if not to touch it: and the Jews say,"It made a man ceremonially unclean to come within six feet of a dead corpse;" nay, it is declared(Num. xix. 14) that all who come into the tent where the dead body lies shall be unclean sevendays. Therefore all the mourners that attended the funeral could not but defile themselves, so asnot to be fit to come into the sanctuary for seven days: for this reason it is ordered, 1. That thepriests should never put themselves under this incapacity of coming into the sanctuary, unless itwere for one of their nearest relations, v. 1-3. A priest was permitted to do it for a parent or a child,for a brother or an unmarried sister, and therefore, no doubt (though this is not mentioned) for thewife of his bosom; for Ezekiel, a priest, would have mourned for his wife if he had not beenparticularly prohibited, Ezek. xxiv. 17. By this allowance God put an honour upon natural affection,and favoured it so far as to dispense with the attendance of his servants for seven days, while theyindulged themselves in their sorrow for the death of their dear relations; but, beyond this period,weeping must not hinder sowing, nor their affection to their relations take them off from the serviceof the sanctuary. Nor was it at all allowed for the death of any other, no, not of a chief man amongthe people, as some read it, v. 4. They must not defile themselves, no, nor for the high priest himself,unless thus akin to them. Though there is a friend that is nearer than a brother, yet the priests mustnot pay this respect to the best friend they had, except he were a relation, lest, if it were allowedfor one, others should expect it, and so they should be frequently taken off from their work: and itis hereby intimated that there is a particular affection to be reserved for those that are thus nearakin to us; and, when any such are removed by death, we ought to be affected with it, and lay it toheart, as the near approach of death to ourselves, and an alarm to us to prepare to follow. 2. Thatthey must not be extravagant in the expressions of their mourning, no, not for their dearest relations,v. 5. Their mourning must not be either, (1.) Superstitious, according to the manner of the heathen,who cut off their hair, and let out their blood, in honour of the imaginary deities which presided(as they thought) in the congregation of the dead, that they might engage them to be propitious totheir departed friends. Even the superstitious rites used of old at funerals are an indication of theancient belief of the immortality of the soul, and its existence in a separate state: and though therites themselves were forbidden by the divine law, because they were performed to false gods, yetthe decent respect which nature teaches and which the law allows to be paid to the remains of ourdeceased friends, shows that we are not to look upon them as lost. Nor, (2.) Must it be passionateor immoderate. Note, God's ministers must be examples to others of patience under affliction,particularly that which touches in a very tender part, the death of their near relations. They aresupposed to know more than others of the reasons why we must not sorrow as those that have nohope (1 Thess. iv. 13), and therefore they ought to be eminently calm and composed, that they maybe able to comfort others with the same comforts wherewith they are themselves comforted of God.The people were forbidden to mourn for the dead with superstitious rites (ch. xix. 27, 28), and whatwas unlawful to them was much more unlawful to the priest. The reason given for their peculiarcare not to defile themselves we have (v. 6): Because they offered the bread of their God, even theofferings of the Lord made by fire, which were the provisions of God's house and table. They arehighly honoured, and therefore must not stain their honour by making themselves slaves to their774Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)passions; they are continually employed in sacred service, and therefore must not be either divertedfrom or disfitted for the services they were called to. If they pollute themselves, they profane thename of their God on whom they attend: if the servants are rude and of ill behaviour, it is a reflectionupon the master, as if he kept a loose and disorderly house. Note, All that either offer or eat thebread of our God must be holy in all manner of conversation, or else they profane that name whichthey pretend to sanctify.II. They must take care not to degrade themselves in their marriage, v. 7. A priest must notmarry a woman of ill fame, that either had been guilty or was suspected to have been guilty ofuncleanness. He must not only not marry a harlot, though ever so great a penitent for her formerwhoredoms, but he must not marry one that was profane, that is, of a light carriage or indecentbehaviour. Nay, he must not marry one that was divorced, because there was reason to think it wasfor some fault she was divorced. The priests were forbidden to undervalue themselves by suchmarriages as these, which were allowed to others, 1. Lest it should bring a present reproach upontheir ministry, harden the profane in their profaneness, and grieve the hearts of serious people: theNew Testament gives laws to ministers' wives (1 Tim. iii. 11), that they be grave and sober, thatthe ministry be not blamed. 2. Lest it should entail a reproach upon their families; for the work andhonour of the priesthood were to descend as an inheritance to their children after them. Those donot consult the good of their posterity as they ought who do not take care to marry such as are ofgood report and character. He that would seek a godly seed (as the expression is, Mal. ii. 15) mustfirst seek a godly wife, and take heed of a corruption of blood. It is added here (v. 8), Thou shaltsanctify him, and he shall be holy unto thee. "Not only thou, O Moses, by taking care that theselaws be observed, but thou, O Israel, by all endeavours possible to keep up the reputation of thepriesthood, which the priests themselves must do nothing to expose or forfeit. He is holy to his God(v. 7), therefore he shall be holy unto thee." Note, We must honour those whom our God putshonour upon. Gospel ministers by this rule are to be esteemed very highly in love for their works'sake (1 Thess. v. 13), and every Christian must look upon himself as concerned to be the guardianof their honour.III. Their children must be afraid of doing any thing to disparage them (v. 9): If the daughterof any priest play the whore, her crime is great; she not only polluteth but profaneth herself: otherwomen have not that honour to lose that she has, who, as one of a priest's family, has eaten of theholy things, and is supposed to have been better educated than others. Nay, she profaneth her father;he is reflected upon, and every body will be ready to ask, "Why did not he teach her better?" Andthe sinners in Zion will insult and say, "Here is your priest's daughter." Her punishment there mustbe peculiar: She shall be burnt with fire, for a terror to all priests' daughters. Note, The children ofministers ought, of all others, to take heed of doing any thing that is scandalous, because in themit is doubly scandalous, and will be punished accordingly by him whose name is Jealous.10 And he that is the high priest among his brethren, upon whose head theanointing oil was poured, and that is consecrated to put on the garments, shall notuncover his head, nor rend his clothes; 11 Neither shall he go in to any dead body,nor defile himself for his father, or for his mother; 12 Neither shall he go out ofthe sanctuary, nor profane the sanctuary of his God; for the crown of the anointingoil of his God is upon him: I am the Lord. 13 And he shall take a wife in her775Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)virginity. 14 A widow, or a divorced woman, or profane, or an harlot, these shallhe not take: but he shall take a virgin of his own people to wife. 15 Neither shallhe profane his seed among his people: for I the Lord do sanctify him.More was expected from a priest than from other people, but more from the high priest thanfrom other priests, because upon his head the anointing oil was poured, and he was consecrated toput on the garments (v. 10), both which were typical of the anointing and adorning of the LordJesus, with all the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit, which he received without measure. It iscalled the crown of the anointing oil of his God (v. 12); for the anointing of the Spirit is, to all thathave it, a crown of glory, and a diadem of beauty. The high priest being thus dignified,I. He must not defile himself at all for the dead, no, nor for his nearest relations, his father orhis mother, much less his child or brother, v. 11. 1. He must not use the common expressions ofsorrow on those occasions, such as uncovering his head, and rending his clothes (v. 10), so perfectlyunconcerned must he show himself in all the crosses and comforts of this life: even his naturalaffection must be swallowed up in compassion to the ignorant, and a feeling of their infirmities,and a tender concern for the household of God, which he was made the ruler of. Thus being theholy one that was entrusted with the thummim and the urim he must not know father or mother,Deut. xxxiii. 8, 9. 2. He must not go in to any dead body, v. 11. If any of the inferior priests wereunder a ceremonial pollution, there were other priests that might supply their places; but, if the highpriest were defiled, there would be a greater want of him. And the forbidding of him to go to anyhouse of mourning, or attend any funeral, would be an indication to the people of the greatness ofthat dignity to which he was advanced. Our Lord Jesus, the great high priest of our profession,touched the dead body of Jairus's daughter, the bier of the widow's son, and the grave of Lazarus,to show that he came to altar the property of death, and to take off the terror of it, by breaking thepower of it. Now that it cannot destroy it does not defile. 3. He must not go out of the sanctuary(v. 12); that is, whenever he was attending or officiating in the sanctuary, where usually he tarriedin his own apartment all day, he must not go out upon any occasion whatsoever, nor cut short hisattendance on the living God, no, not to pay his last respects to a dying relation. It was a profanationof the sanctuary to leave it, while his presence was requisite there, upon any such occasion; forthereby he preferred some other business before the service of God and the business of his profession,to which he ought to make every thing else give place. Thus our Lord Jesus would not leave offpreaching to speak with his mother and brethren, Matt. xii. 48.II. He might not marry a widow (as other priests might), much less one divorced, or a harlot,v. 13, 14. The reason of this was to put a difference between him and other priests in this matter;and (as some suggest) that he might be a type of Christ, to whom the church was to be presenteda chaste virgin, 2 Cor. xi. 2. See Ezek. xliv. 22. Christ must have our first love, our pure love, ourentire love; thus the virgins love thee (Cant. i. 3), and such only are fit to follow the Lamb, Rev.xiv. 4.III. He might not profane his seed among his people, v. 15. Some understand it as forbiddinghim to marry any of an inferior rank, which would be a disparagement to his family. Jehoiadaindeed married of his own tribe, but then it was into the royal family, 2 Chron. xxii. 11. This wasnot to teach him to be proud, but to teach him to be pure, and to do nothing unbecoming his officeand the worthy name by which he was called. Or it may be a caution to him in disposing of his776Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)children; he must not profane his seed by marrying them unsuitably. Ministers' children are profanedif they be unequally yoked with unbelievers.16 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 17 Speak unto Aaron, saying,Whosoever he be of thy seed in their generations that hath any blemish, let him notapproach to offer the bread of his God. 18 For whatsoever man he be that hath ablemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose,or any thing superfluous, 19 Or a man that is brokenfooted, or brokenhanded, 20Or crookbackt, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed,or hath his stones broken; 21 No man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron thepriest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the Lord made by fire: he hath ablemish; he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of his God. 22 He shall eat thebread of his God, both of the most holy, and of the holy. 23 Only he shall not goin unto the vail, nor come nigh unto the altar, because he hath a blemish; that heprofane not my sanctuaries: for I the Lord do sanctify them. 24 And Moses told itunto Aaron, and to his sons, and unto all the children of Israel.The priesthood being confined to one particular family, and entailed upon all the male issueof that family throughout their generations, it was very likely that some or other in after-ages thatwere born to the priesthood would have natural blemishes and deformities: the honour of thepriesthood would not secure them from any of those calamities which are common to men. Diversblemishes are here specified; some that were ordinarily for life, as blindness; others that might befor a time, as a scurf or scab, and, when they were gone, the disability ceased. Now,I. The law concerning priests that had blemishes was, 1. That they might live upon the altar(v. 22): He shall eat of the sacrifices with the other priests, even the most holy things, such as theshow-bread and the sin-offerings, as well as the holy things, such as the tithes and first-fruits, andthe priests' share of the peace-offerings. The blemishes were such as they could not help, andtherefore, though they might not work, they must not starve. Note, None must be abused for theirnatural infirmities. Even the deformed child in the family must have its child's part. 2. Yet theymust not serve at the altar, at either of the altars, nor be admitted to attend or assist the other priestsin offering sacrifice or burning incense, v. 17, 21, 23. Great men choose to have such servants aboutthem as are sightly, and it was fit that the great God should have such in his house then, when hewas pleased to manifest his glory in external indications of it. But it was especially requisite thatcomely men should be chosen to minister about holy things, for the sake of the people, who wereapt to judge according to outward appearance, and to think meanly of the service, how honourablesoever it was made by the divine institution, of those that performed it looked despicably or wentabout it awkwardly. This provision God made for the preserving of the reputation of his altar, thatit might not at any time fall under contempt. It was for the credit of the sanctuary that none shouldappear there who were any way disfigured, either by nature or accident.II. Under the gospel, 1. Those that labour under any such blemishes as these have reason tothank God that they are not thereby excluded from offering spiritual sacrifices to God; nor, ifotherwise qualified for it, from the office of the ministry. There is many a healthful beautiful soullodged in a crazy deformed body. Yet, 2. We ought to infer hence how incapable those are to serve777Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)God acceptably whose minds are blemished and deformed by any reigning vice. Those are unworthyto be called Christians, and unfit to be employed as ministers, that are spiritually blind, and lame,and crooked, whose sins render them scandalous and deformed, so as that the offerings of the Lordare abhorred for their sakes. The deformities of Hophni and Phinehas were worse than any of theblemishes here mentioned. Let such therefore as are openly vicious be put out of the priesthood aspolluted persons; and let all that are made to our God spiritual priests be before him holy and withoutblemish, and comfort themselves with this, that, though in this imperfect state they have spots thatare the spots of God's children, yet they shall shortly appear before the throne of God without spot,or wrinkle, or any such thing.L E V I T C U SCHAP. XXII.In this chapter we have divers laws concerning the priests and sacrifices all for the preservingof the honour of the sanctuary. I. That the priests should not eat the holy things in their uncleanness,ver. 1-9. II. That no stranger who did not belong to some family of the priests should eat of theholy things (ver. 10-13), and, if he did it unwittingly, he must make restitution,, ver. 14-16. III.That the sacrifices which were offered must be without blemish, ver. 17-25. IV. That they must bemore than eight days old (ver. 26-28), and that the sacrifices of thanksgiving must be eaten thesame day they were offered, ver. 29, &c.Laws Concerning the Priests. (b. c. 1490.)1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Speak unto Aaron and to his sons,that they separate themselves from the holy things of the children of Israel, and thatthey profane not my holy name in those things which they hallow unto me: I am theLord. 3 Say unto them, Whosoever he be of all your seed among your generations,that goeth unto the holy things, which the children of Israel hallow unto the Lord,having his uncleanness upon him, that soul shall be cut off from my presence: I amthe Lord. 4 What man soever of the seed of Aaron is a leper, or hath a runningissue; he shall not eat of the holy things, until he be clean. And whoso toucheth anything that is unclean by the dead, or a man whose seed goeth from him; 5 Orwhosoever toucheth any creeping thing, whereby he may be made unclean, or a manof whom he may take uncleanness, whatsoever uncleanness he hath; 6 The soulwhich hath touched any such shall be unclean until even, and shall not eat of theholy things, unless he wash his flesh with water. 7 And when the sun is down, heshall be clean, and shall afterward eat of the holy things; because it is his food. 8That which dieth of itself, or is torn with beasts, he shall not eat to defile himself778Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)therewith: I am the Lord. 9 They shall therefore keep mine ordinance, lest theybear sin for it, and die therefore, if they profane it: I the Lord do sanctify them.Those that had a natural blemish, though they were forbidden to do the priests' work, were yetallowed to eat of the holy things: and the Jewish writers say that "to keep them from idleness theywere employed in the wood-room, to pick out that which was worm-eaten, that it might not be usedin the fire upon the altar; they might also be employed in the judgment of leprosy:" but,I. Those that were under any ceremonial uncleanness, which possibly they contracted by theirown fault, might no so much as eat of the holy things while they continued in their pollution. 1.Some pollutions were permanent, as a leprosy or a running issue, v. 4. These separated the peoplefrom the sanctuary, and God would show that they were so far from being more excusable thatreally they were more abominable in a priest. 2. Others were more transient, as the touching of adead body, or any thing else that was unclean, from which, after a certain time, a man was cleansedby bathing his flesh in water, v. 6. But whoever was thus defiled might not eat of the holy things,under pain of God's highest displeasure, who said, and ratified the saying, That soul shall be cutoff from my presence, v. 3. Our being in the presence of God, and attending upon him, will be sofar from securing us that it will but the more expose us to God's wrath, if we dare to draw nigh tohim in our uncleanness. The destruction shall come from the presence of the Lord (2 Thess. i. 9),as the fire by which Nadab and Abihu died came from before the Lord. Thus those who profanethe holy word of God will be cut off by that word which they make so light of; it shall condemnthem. They are again warned of their danger if they eat the holy thing in their uncleanness (v. 9),lest they bear sin, and die therefore. Note, (1.) Those contract great guilt who profane sacred things,by touching them with unhallowed hands. Eating the holy things signified an interest in theatonement; but, if they ate of them in their uncleanness, they were so far from lessening their guiltthat they increased it: They shall bear sin. (2.) Sin is a burden which, if infinite mercy prevent not,will certainly sink those that bear it: They shall die therefore. Even priests may be ruined by theirpollutions and presumptions.II. As to the design of this law we may observe, 1. This obliged the priests carefully to preservetheir purity, and to dread every thing that would defile them. The holy things were their livelihood;if they might not eat of them, how must they subsist? The more we have to lose of comfort andhonour by our defilement, the more careful we should be to preserve our purity. 2. This impressedthe people with a reverence for the holy things, when they saw the priests themselves separatedfrom them (as the expression is, v. 2) so long as they were in their uncleanness. He is doubtless aGod of infinite purity who kept his immediate attendants under so strict a discipline. 3. This teachesus carefully to watch against all moral pollutions, because by them we are unfitted to receive thecomfort of God's sanctuary. Though we labour not under habitual deformities, yet actual defilementsdeprive us of the pleasure of communion with God; and therefore he that is washed needeth towash his feet (John xiii. 10), to wash his hands, and so to compass the altar, Ps. xxvi. 6. Herein wehave need to be jealous over ourselves, lest (as it is observably expressed here) we profane God'sholy name in those things which we hallow unto him, v. 2. If we affront God in those veryperformances wherein we pretend to honour him, and provoke him instead of pleasing him, weshall make up but a bad account shortly; yet thus we do if we profane God's name, by doing thatin our uncleanness which pretends to be hallowed to him.779Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)10 There shall no stranger eat of the holy thing: a sojourner of the priest, or anhired servant, shall not eat of the holy thing. 11 But if the priest buy any soul withhis money, he shall eat of it, and he that is born in his house: they shall eat of hismeat. 12 If the priest's daughter also be married unto a stranger, she may not eatof an offering of the holy things. 13 But if the priest's daughter be a widow, ordivorced, and have no child, and is returned unto her father's house, as in her youth,she shall eat of her father's meat: but there shall no stranger eat thereof. 14 And ifa man eat of the holy thing unwittingly, then he shall put the fifth part thereof untoit, and shall give it unto the priest with the holy thing. 15 And they shall not profanethe holy things of the children of Israel, which they offer unto the Lord; 16 Orsuffer them to bear the iniquity of trespass, when they eat their holy things: for I theLord do sanctify them.The holy things were to be eaten by the priests and their families. Now,I. Here is a law that no stranger should eat of them, that is, no person whatsoever but the priestsonly, and those that pertained to them, v. 10. The priests are charged with this care, not to profanethe holy things by permitting the strangers to eat of them (v. 15) or suffer them to bear the iniquityof trespass (v. 16); that is, suffer them to bring guilt upon themselves, by meddling with that whichthey have no right to. Thus it is commonly understood. Note, We must not only be careful that wedo not bear iniquity ourselves, but we must do what we can to prevent others bearing it. We mustnot only not suffer sin to lie upon our brother, but, if we can help it, we must not suffer it to comeupon him. But perhaps there is another meaning of those words: the priests' eating the sin-offeringsis said to signify their bearing the iniquity of the congregation, to make an atonement for them, ch.x. 17. Let not a stranger therefore eat of that holy thing particularly, and so pretend to bear theiniquity of trespass; for it is daring presumption for any to do that, but such as are appointed to doit. Those that set up other mediators besides Christ our priest, to bear the iniquity of trespass,sacrilegiously rob Christ of his honour, and invade his rights. When we warn people not to trust totheir own righteousness, nor dare to appear before God in it, but to rely on Christ's righteousnessonly for peace and pardon, it is because we dare not suffer them to bear the iniquity of trespass, forwe know it is too heavy for them.II. Here is an explanation of the law, showing who were to be looked upon as belonging to thepriest's family, and who not. 1. Sojourners and hired servants abode not in the house for ever; theywere in the family, but not of it; and therefore they might not eat of the holy things (v. 10): but theservant that was born in the house or bought with money, being a heirloom to the family, thougha servant, yet might eat of the holy things, v. 11. Note, Those only are entitled to the comforts ofGod's house who make it their rest for ever, and resolve to dwell in it all the days of their life. Asfor those who for a time only believe, to serve a present turn. They are looked upon but as sojournersand mercenaries, and have no part nor lot in the matter. 2. As to the children of the family,concerning the sons there could be no dispute, they were themselves priests, but concerning thedaughters there was a distinction. While they continued in their father's house they might eat of theholy things; but, if they married such as were not priests, they lost their right (v. 12), for now theywere cut off from the family of the priests. Yet if a priest's daughter became a widow, and had nochildren in whom she might preserve a distinct family, and returned to her father's house again,780Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)being neither wife nor mother, she should again be looked upon as a daughter, and might eat of theholy things. If those whom Providence has made sorrowful widows, and who are dislodged fromthe rest they had in the house of a husband, yet find it again in a father's house, they have reasonto be thankful to the widows' God, who does not leave them comfortless. 3. Here is a demand ofrestitution to be made by him that had no right to the holy things, and yet should eat of themunwittingly, v. 14. If he did it presumptuously, and in contempt of the divine institution, he wasliable to be cut off by the hand of God, and to be beaten by the magistrate; but, if he did it throughweakness in inconsideration, he was to restore the value, adding a fifth part to it, besides which hewas to bring an offering to atone for the trespass; see ch. v. 15, 16.III. This law might be dispensed with in a case of necessity, as it was when David and his menate of the show-bread, 1 Sam. xxi. 6. And our Saviour justifies them, and gives a reason for it,which furnishes us with a lasting rule in all such cases, that God will have mercy and not sacrifice,Matt. xii. 3, 4, 7. Rituals must give way to morals.IV. It is an instruction to gospel ministers, who are stewards of the mysteries of God, not toadmit all, without distinction, to eat of the holy things, but to take out the precious from the vile.Those that are scandalously ignorant or profane are strangers and aliens to the family of the Lord'spriests; and it is not meet to take the children's bread and to cast it to such. Holy things are for holypersons, for those who are holy, at least, in profession, Matt. vii. 6.Laws Concerning Sacrifices. (b. c. 1490.)17 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 18 Speak unto Aaron, and to hissons, and unto all the children of Israel, and say unto them, Whatsoever he be of thehouse of Israel, or of the strangers in Israel, that will offer his oblation for all hisvows, and for all his freewill offerings, which they will offer unto the Lord for aburnt offering; 19 Ye shall offer at your own will a male without blemish, of thebeeves, of the sheep, or of the goats. 20 But whatsoever hath a blemish, that shallye not offer: for it shall not be acceptable for you. 21 And whosoever offereth asacrifice of peace offerings unto the Lord to accomplish his vow, or a freewill offeringin beeves or sheep, it shall be perfect to be accepted; there shall be no blemish therein.22 Blind, or broken, or maimed, or having a wen, or scurvy, or scabbed, ye shallnot offer these unto the Lord, nor make an offering by fire of them upon the altarunto the Lord. 23 Either a bullock or a lamb that hath any thing superfluous orlacking in his parts, that mayest thou offer for a freewill offering; but for a vow itshall not be accepted. 24 Ye shall not offer unto the Lord that which is bruised, orcrushed, or broken, or cut; neither shall ye make any offering thereof in your land.25 Neither from a stranger's hand shall ye offer the bread of your God of any ofthese; because their corruption is in them, and blemishes be in them: they shall notbe accepted for you. 26 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 27 When abullock, or a sheep, or a goat, is brought forth, then it shall be seven days under thedam; and from the eighth day and thenceforth it shall be accepted for an offering781Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)made by fire unto the Lord. 28 And whether it be cow or ewe, ye shall not kill itand her young both in one day. 29 And when ye will offer a sacrifice of thanksgivingunto the Lord, offer it at your own will. 30 On the same day it shall be eaten up;ye shall leave none of it until the morrow: I am the Lord. 31 Therefore shall yekeep my commandments, and do them: I am the Lord. 32 Neither shall ye profanemy holy name; but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel: I am the Lordwhich hallow you, 33 That brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God:I am the Lord.Here are four laws concerning sacrifices:—I. Whatever was offered in sacrifice to God should be without blemish, otherwise it should notbe accepted. This had often been mentioned in the particular institutions of the several sorts ofofferings. Now here they are told what was to be accounted a blemish which rendered a beast unfitfor sacrifice: if it was blind, or lame, had a wen, or the mange (v. 22),—if it was bruised, or crushed,or broken, or cut (v. 24), that is, as the Jewish writers understand it, if it was, in any of these ways,castrated, if bulls and rams were made into oxen and weathers, they might not be offered. Moreovera difference is made between what was brought as a free-will offering and what was brought as avow, v. 23. And, though none that had any of the forementioned blemishes might be brought foreither, yet if a beast had any thing superfluous or lacking (that is, as the Jews understand it, if therewas a disproportion or inequality between those parts that are pairs, when one eye, or ear, or leg,was bigger than it should be, or less than it should be)—if there was no other blemish than this, itmight be accepted for a free-will offering, to which a man had not before laid himself, nor had thedivine law laid him, under any particular obligation; but for a vow it might not be accepted. ThusGod would teach us to make conscience of performing our promises to him very exactly, and notafterwards to abate in quantity or value of what we had solemnly engaged to devote to him. Whatwas, before the vow, in our own power, as in the case of a free-will offering, afterwards is not, Actsv. 4. It is again and again declared that no sacrifice should be accepted if it was thus blemished, v.20, 21. According to this law great care was taken to search all the beasts that were brought to besacrificed, that there might, to a certainty, be no blemish in them. A blemished sacrifice might notbe accepted even from the hand of a stranger, though to such all possible encouragement shouldbe given to do honour to the God of Israel, v. 25. By this it appears that strangers were expectedto come to the house of God from a far country (1 Kings viii. 41, 42), and that they should bewelcome, and their offerings accepted, as those of Darius, Ezra vi. 9, 10; Isa. lvi. 6, 7. The heathenpriests were many of them not so strict in this matter, but would receive sacrifices for their godsthat were ever so scandalous; but let strangers know that the God of Israel would not be so served.Now, 1. This law was then necessary for the preserving of the honour of the sanctuary, and of theGod that was there worshipped. It was fit that every thing that was employed for his honour shouldbe the best of the kind; for, as he is the greatest and brightest, so he is the best of beings; and hethat is the best must have the best. See how greatly and justly displeasing the breach of this lawwas to the holy God, Mal. i. 8, 13, 14. 2. This law made all the legal sacrifices the fitter to be typesof Christ, the great sacrifice from which all these derived their virtue. In allusion to this law, he issaid to be a Lamb without blemish and without spot, 1 Pet. i. 19. As such a priest, so such a sacrifice,became us, who was harmless and undefiled. When Pilate declared, I find no fault in this man, he782Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)did thereby in effect pronounce the sacrifice without blemish. The Jews say it was the work of thesagan, or suffragan, high priest, to view the sacrifices, and see whether they were without blemishor no; when Christ suffered, Annas was in that office; but little did those who brought Christ toAnnas first, by whom he was sent bound to Caiaphas, as a sacrifice fit to be offered (John xviii.13, 24), think that they were answering the type of this law. 3. It is an instruction to us to offer toGod the best we have in our spiritual sacrifices. If our devotions are ignorant, and cold, and trifling,and full of distractions, we offer the blind, and the lame, and the sick, for sacrifice; but cursed bethe deceiver that does so, for, while he thinks to put a cheat upon God, he puts a damning cheatupon his own soul.II. That no beast should be offered in sacrifice before it was eight days old, v. 26, 27. It wasprovided before that the firstlings of their cattle, which were to be dedicated to God, should not bebrought to him till after the eighth day, Exod. xxii. 30. Here it is provided that no creature shouldbe offered in sacrifice till it was eight days old complete. Sooner than that it was not fit to be usedat men's tables, and therefore not a God's altar. The Jews say, "It was because the sabbath sanctifiesall things, and nothing should be offered to God till at least one sabbath had passed over it." It wasin conformity to the law of circumcision, which children were to receive on the eighth day. Christwas sacrificed for us, not in his infancy, though then Herod sought to slay him, but in the prime ofhis time.III. That the dam and her young should not both be killed in one day, whether in sacrifice orfor common use, v. 28. There is such a law as this concerning birds, Deut. xxii. 6. This was forbidden,not as evil in itself, but because it looked barbarous and cruel to the brute creatures; like the tyrannyof the king of Babylon, that slew Zedekiah's sons before his eyes, and then put out his eyes. Itlooked ill-natured towards the species to kill two generations at once, as if one designed the ruinof the kind.IV. That the flesh of their thank-offerings should be eaten on the same day that they weresacrificed, v. 29, 30. This is a repetition of what we had before, ch. vii. 15; xix. 6, 7. The chapterconcludes with such a general charge as we have often met with, to keep God's commandments,and not to profane his holy name, v. 31, 32. Those that profess God's name, if they do not makeconscience of keeping his commandments, do but profane his name. The general reasons are added:God's authority over them—I am the Lord; his interest in them—I am your God; the title he hadto them by redemption—"I brought you out of the land of Egypt, on purpose that I might be yourGod;" the designs of his grace concerning them—I am the Lord that hallow you; and the resolutionsof his justice, if he had not honour from them, to get himself honour upon them—I will be hallowedamong the children of Israel. God will be a loser in his glory by no man at last; but sooner or laterwill recover his right, either in the repentance of sinners or in their ruin.L E V I T C U SCHAP. XXIII.783Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)Hitherto the levitical law had been chiefly conversant about holy persons, holy things, andholy places; in this chapter we have the institution of holy times, many of which had been mentionedoccasionally before, but here they are all put together, only the new moons are not mentioned. Allthe rest of the feasts of the Lord are, I. The weekly feast of the sabbath, ver. 3. II. The yearly feasts,1. The passover, and the feast of unleavened bread (ver. 4-8), to which was annexed the offeringof the sheaf of firstfruits, ver. 9-14. 2. Pentecost, ver. 15-22. 3. The solemnities of the seventhmonth. The feast of trumpets on the first day (ver. 23-25), the day of atonement on the tenth day(ver. 26-32), and the feast of tabernacles on the fifteenth, ver. 33, &c.Sundry Feasts. (b. c. 1490.)1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Speak unto the children of Israel,and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim tobe holy convocations, even these are my feasts. 3 Six days shall work be done: butthe seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no worktherein: it is the sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings.Here is, I. A general account of the holy times which God appointed (v. 2), and it is only hisappointment that can make time holy; for he is the Lord of time, and as soon as ever he had set itswheels a-going it was he that sanctified and blessed one day above the rest, Gen. ii. 3. Man mayby his appointment make a good day (Esth. ix. 19), but it is God's prerogative to make a holy day;nor is any thing sanctified but by the stamp of his institution. As all inherent holiness comes fromhis special grace, so all adherent holiness from his special appointment. Now, concerning the holytimes here ordained, observe, 1. They are called feasts. The day of atonement, which was one ofthem, was a fast; yet, because most of them were appointed for joy and rejoicing, they are in thegeneral called feasts. Some read it, These are my assemblies, but that is co-incident withconvocations. I would rather read it, These are my solemnities; so the word here used is translated(Isa. xxxiii. 20), where Zion is called the city of our solemnities: and, reading it so here, the day ofatonement was as great a solemnity as any of them. 2. They are the feasts of the Lord (my feasts),observed to the honour of his name, and in obedience to his command. 3. They were proclaimed;for they were not to be observed by the priests only that attended the sanctuary, but by all the people.And this proclamation was the joyful sound concerning which we read, Blessed are the people thatknow it, Ps. lxxxix. 15. 4. They were to be sanctified and solemnized with holy convocations, thatthe services of these feasts might appear the more honourable and august, and the people the moreunanimous in the performance of them; it was for the honour of God and his institutions, whichsought not corners and the purity of which would be best preserved by the public administrationof them; it was also for the edification of the people in love that the feasts were to be observed asholy convocations.II. A repetition of the law of the sabbath in the first place. Though the annual feasts were mademore remarkable by the general attendance at the sanctuary, yet these must not eclipse the brightnessof the sabbath, v. 3. They are here told, 1. That on that day they must withdraw themselves fromall the affairs and business of the world. It is a sabbath of rest, typifying our spiritual rest from sin,and in God: You shall do no work therein. On other holy days they were forbidden to do any servilework (v. 7), but on the sabbath, and the day of atonement (which is also called a sabbath), theywere to do no work at all, no, not the dressing of meat. 2. On that day they must employ themselves784Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)in the service of God. (1.) It is a holy convocation; that is, "If it lie within your reach, you shallsanctify it in a religious assembly: let as many as can come to the door of the tabernacle, and letothers meet elsewhere for prayer, and praise, and the reading of the law," as in the schools of theprophets, while prophecy continued, and afterwards in the synagogues. Christ appointed theNew-Testament sabbath to be a holy convocation, by meeting his disciples once and again (andperhaps oftener) on the first day of the week. (2.) "Whether you have opportunity of sanctifying itin a holy convocation or not, yet let it be the sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings. Put adifference between that day and other days in your families. It is the sabbath of the Lord, the dayon which he rested from the work of creation, and on which he has appointed us to rest; let it beobserved in all your dwellings, even now that you dwell in tents." Note, God's sabbaths are to bereligiously observed in every private house, by every family apart, as well as by many familiestogether in holy convocations. The sabbath of the Lord in our dwellings will be their beauty, strength,and safety; it will sanctify, edify, and glorify them.4 These are the feasts of the Lord, even holy convocations, which ye shallproclaim in their seasons. 5 In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is theLord's passover. 6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast ofunleavened bread unto the Lord: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. 7 Inthe first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.8 But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord seven days: in the seventhday is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. 9 And the Lordspake unto Moses, saying, 10 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them,When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvestthereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest:11 And he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted for you: on themorrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. 12 And ye shall offer that daywhen ye wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burntoffering unto the Lord. 13 And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth dealsof fine flour mingled with oil, an offering made by fire unto the Lord for a sweetsavour: and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the fourth part of an hin.14 And ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsameday that ye have brought an offering unto your God: it shall be a statute for everthroughout your generations in all your dwellings.Here again the feasts are called the feasts of the Lord, because he appointed them. Jeroboam'sfeast, which he devised of his own heart (1 Kings xii. 33), was an affront to God, and a reproachupon the people. These feasts were to be proclaimed in their seasons (v. 4), and the seasons Godchose for them were in March, May and September (according to our present computation), not inwinter, because travelling would then be uncomfortable, when the days were short, and the waysfoul; not in the middle of summer, because then in those countries they were gathering in theirharvest and vintage, and could be ill spared from their country business. Thus graciously does Godconsult our comfort in his appointments, obliging us thereby religiously to regard his glory in our785Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)observance of them, and not to complain of them as a burden. The solemnities appointed themwere, 1. Many and returned frequently, which was intended to preserve in them a deep sense ofGod and religion, and to prevent their inclining to the superstitions of the heathen. God kept themfully employed in his service, that they might not have time to hearken to the temptations of theidolatrous neighbourhood they lived in. 2. They were most of them times of joy and rejoicing. Theweekly sabbath is so, and all their yearly solemnities, except the day of atonement. God would thusteach them that wisdom's ways are pleasantness, and engage them to his service by encouragingthem to be cheerful in it and to sing at their work. Seven days were days of strict rest and holyconvocations; the first day and the seventh of the feast of unleavened bread, the day of pentecost,the day of the feast of trumpets, the first day and the eighth of the feast of tabernacles, and the dayof atonement: here were six for holy joy and one only for holy mourning. We are commanded torejoice evermore, but not to be evermore weeping. Here is,I. A repetition of the law of the passover, which was to be observed on the fourteenth day ofthe first month, in remembrance of their deliverance out of Egypt and the distinguishing preservationof their first-born, mercies never to be forgotten. This feast was to begin with the killing of thepaschal lamb, v. 5. It was to continue seven days, during all which time they were to eat sad bread,that was unleavened (v. 6), and the first and last day of the seven were to be days of holy rest andholy convocations, v. 7, 8. They were not idle days spent in sport and recreation (as many that arecalled Christians spend their holy days), but offerings were made by fire unto the Lord at his altar;and we have reason to think that the people were taught to employ their time in prayer, and praise,and godly meditation.II. An order for the offering of a sheaf of the first-fruits, upon the second day of the feast ofunleavened bread; the first is called the sabbath, because it was observed as a sabbath (v. 11), and,on the morrow after, they had this solemnity. A sheaf or handful of new corn was brought to thepriest, who was to heave it up, in token of his presenting it to the God of Heaven, and to wave itto and fro before the Lord, as the Lord of the whole earth, and this should be accepted for them asa thankful acknowledgment of God's mercy to them in clothing their fields with corn, and of theirdependence upon God, and desire towards him, for the preserving of it to their use. For it was theexpression both of prayer and praise, v. 11. A lamb for a burnt-offering was to be offered with it,v. 12. As the sacrifice of animals was generally attended with meat-offerings, so this sacrifice ofcorn was attended with a burnt-offering, that bread and flesh might be set together on God's table.They are forbidden to eat of their new corn till this handful was offered to God; for it was fit, ifGod and Israel feast together, that he should be served first. And the offering of this sheaf offirst-fruits in the name of the whole congregation did, as it were, sanctify to them their wholeharvest, and give them a comfortable use of all the rest; for then we may eat our bread with joywhen we have, in some measure, performed our duty to God, and God has accepted our works, forthus all our enjoyments become clean to us. Now, 1. This law was given now, though there was nooccasion for putting it in execution till they came to Canaan: in the wilderness they sowed no corn;but God's feeding them there with bread from heaven obliged them hereafter not to grudge him hisshare of their bread out of the earth. We find that when they came into Canaan the manna ceasedupon the very day that the sheaf of first-fruits was offered; they had eaten of the old corn the daybefore (Josh. v. 11), and then on this day they offered the first-fruits, by which they became entitledto the new corn too (v. 12), so that there was no more occasion for manna. 1. This sheaf of first-fruitswas typical of our Lord Jesus, who has risen from the dead as the first-fruits of those that slept, 1786Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)Cor. xv. 20. That branch of the Lord (Isa. iv. 2) was then presented to him, in virtue of the sacrificeof himself, the Lamb of God, and it was accepted for us. It is very observable that our Lord Jesusrose from the dead on the very day that the first-fruits were offered, to show that he was the substanceof this shadow. 3. We are taught by this law to honour the Lord with our substance, and with thefirst-fruits of all our increase, Prov. iii. 9. They were not to eat of their new corn till God's part wasoffered to him out of it (v. 14), for we must always begin with God, begin our lives with him, beginevery day with him, begin every meal with him, begin every affair and business with him; seekfirst the kingdom of God.15 And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the daythat ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete:16 Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; andye shall offer a new meat offering unto the Lord. 17 Ye shall bring out of yourhabitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shallbe baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the Lord. 18 And ye shall offerwith the bread seven lambs without blemish of the first year, and one young bullock,and two rams: they shall be for a burnt offering unto the Lord, with their meatoffering, and their drink offerings, even an offering made by fire, of sweet savourunto the Lord. 19 Then ye shall sacrifice one kid of the goats for a sin offering,and two lambs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace offerings. 20 And the priestshall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits for a wave offering before the Lord,with the two lambs: they shall be holy to the Lord for the priest. 21 And ye shallproclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: ye shalldo no servile work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellingsthroughout your generations. 22 And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thoushalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neithershalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor,and to the stranger: I am the Lord your God.Here is the institution of the feast of pentecost, or weeks, as it is called (Deut. xvi. 9), becauseit was observed fifty days, or seven weeks, after the passover. It is also called the feast of harvest,Exod. xxiii. 16. For as the presenting of the sheaf of first-fruits was an introduction to the harvest,and gave them liberty to put in the sickle, so they solemnized the finishing of their corn-harvest atthis feast. 1. Then they offered a handful of ears of barley, now they offered two loaves of wheatenbread, v. 17. This was leavened. At the passover they ate unleavened bread, because it was inremembrance of the bread they ate when they came out of Egypt, which was unleavened; but nowat pentecost it was leavened, because it was an acknowledgment of God's goodness to them in theirordinary food, which was leavened. 2. With that sheaf of first-fruits they offered only one lamb fora burnt-offering, but with these loaves of first-fruits they offered seven lambs, two rams, and onebullock, all for a burnt-offering, so giving glory to God, as the Lord of their land and the Lord oftheir harvest, by whose favour they lived and to whose praise they ought to live. They offeredlikewise a kid for a sin-offering, so taking shame to themselves as unworthy of the bread they ate,787Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)and imploring pardon for their sins, by which they had forfeited their harvest-mercies, and whichthey had been guilty of in the receiving of them. And lastly, two lambs for a sacrifice ofpeace-offerings, to beg a blessing upon the corn they had gathered in, which would be neither surenor sweet to them without that blessing, Hag. i. 9. These were the only peace-offerings that wereoffered on the behalf of the whole congregation, and they were reckoned most holy offerings,whereas other peace-offerings were but holy. All these offerings are here appointed, v. 18-20. 3.That one day was to be kept with a holy convocation, v. 21. It was one of the days on which allIsrael was to meet God and one another, at the place which the Lord should choose. Some suggestthat whereas seven days were to make up the feast of unleavened bread there was only one dayappointed for the feast of pentecost, because this was a busy time of the year with them, and Godallowed them speedily to return to their work in the country. This annual feast was instituted inremembrance of the giving of the law upon mount Sinai, the fiftieth day after they came out ofEgypt. That was the feast which they were told in Egypt must be observed to God in the wilderness,as a memorial of which ever after they kept this feast. But the period and perfection of this feastwas the pouring out of the Spirit upon the apostles on the day of this feast (Acts ii. 1), in which thelaw of faith was given, fifty days after Christ our passover was sacrificed for us. And on that day(as bishop Patrick well expresses it) the apostles, having themselves received the first-fruits of theSpirit, begat three thousand souls, through the word of truth, and presented them, as the first-fruitsof the Christian church, to God and the Lamb.To the institution of the feast of pentecost is annexed a repetition of that law which we hadbefore (ch. xix. 9), by which they were required to leave the gleanings of their fields, and the cornthat grew on the ends of the butts, for the poor, v. 22. Probably it comes in here as a thing whichthe priests must take occasion to remind the people of, when they brought their first-fruits, intimatingto them that to obey even in this small matter was better than sacrifice, and that, unless they wereobedient, their offerings should not be accepted. It also taught them that the joy of harvest shouldexpress itself in charity to the poor, who must have their due out of what we have, as well as Godhis. Those that are truly sensible of the mercy they receive from God will without grudging showmercy to the poor.23 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 24 Speak unto the children of Israel,saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath,a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. 25 Ye shall do no servilework therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord. 26 And theLord spake unto Moses, saying, 27 Also on the tenth day of this seventh monththere shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and yeshall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord. 28 Andye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make anatonement for you before the Lord your God. 29 For whatsoever soul it be thatshall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people.30 And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soulwill I destroy from among his people. 31 Ye shall do no manner of work: it shallbe a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 32 It shall788Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of themonth at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.Here is, I. The institution of the feast of trumpets, on the first day of the seventh month, v. 24,25. That which was now the seventh month had been reckoned the first month, and the year ofjubilee was still to begin with this month (ch. xxv. 8), so that this was their new year's day. It wasto be as their other yearly sabbaths, a day of holy rest—You shall do no servile work therein; anda day of holy work—You shall offer an offering to the Lord; concerning these particular directionswere afterwards given, Num. xxix. 1. That which is here made peculiar to this festival is that it wasa memorial of blowing of trumpets. They blew the trumpet every new moon (Ps. lxxxi. 3), but inthe new moon of the seventh month it was to be done with more than ordinary solemnity; for theybegan to blow at sun-rise and continued till sun-set. Now, 1. This is here said to be a memorial,perhaps of the sound of the trumpet upon mount Sinai when the law was given, which must neverbe forgotten. Some think that it was a memorial of the creation of the world, which is supposed tohave been in autumn; for which reason this was, till now, the first month. The mighty word bywhich God made the world is called the voice of his thunder (Ps. civ. 7); fitly therefore was itcommemorated by blowing of trumpets, or a memorial of shouting, as the Chaldee renders it; for,when the foundations of the earth were fastened, all the sons of God shouted for joy, Job xxxviii.6, 7. 2. The Jewish writers suppose it to have a spiritual signification. Now at the beginning of theyear they were called by this sound of trumpet to shake off their spiritual drowsiness, to search andtry their ways, and to amend them: the day of atonement was the ninth day after this; and thus theywere awakened to prepare for that day, by sincere and serious repentance, that it might be indeedto them a day of atonement. And they say, "The devout Jews exercised themselves more in goodworks between the feast of trumpets and the day of expiation than at any other time of the year."3. It was typical of the preaching of the gospel, by which joyful sound souls were to be called into serve God and keep a spiritual feast to him. The conversion of the nations to the faith of Christis said to be by the blowing of a great trumpet, Isa. xxvii. 13.II. A repetition of the law of the day of atonement, that is, so much of it as concerned thepeople. 1. They must on this day rest from all manner of work, and not only from servile works ason other annual festivals; it must be as strict a rest as that of the weekly sabbath, v. 28, 30, 31. Thereason is: For it is a day of atonement. Note, The humbling of our souls for sin, and the making ofour peace with God, is work that requires the whole man, and the closest application of mindimaginable, and all little enough. He that would do the work of a day of atonement in its day, as itshould be done, had need lay aside the thoughts of every thing else. On that day God spoke peaceunto his people, and unto his saints; and therefore they must lay aside all their worldly business,that they might the more clearly and the more reverently hear that voice of joy and gladness. Fastingdays should be days of rest. 2. They must afflict their souls, and this upon pain of being cut off bythe hand of God, v. 27, 29, 32. They must mortify the body, and deny the appetites of it, in tokenof their sorrow for the sins they had committed, and the mortifying of their indwelling corruptions.Every soul must be afflicted, because every soul was polluted, and guilty before God; while nonehave fulfilled the law of innocency none are exempt from the law of repentance, besides that everyman must sigh and cry for the abominations of the land. 3. The entire day must be observed: Fromeven to even you shall afflict your souls (v. 32), that is, "You shall begin your fast, and theexpressions of your humiliation, in the ninth day of the month at even." They were to leave off all789Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)their worldly labour, and compose themselves to the work of the day approaching, some time beforesun-set on the ninth day, and not to take any food (except children and sick people) till after sun-seton the tenth day. Note, The eves of solemn days ought to be employed in solemn preparation. Whenwork for God and our souls is to be done, we should not straiten ourselves in time for the doing ofit; for how can we spend our time better? Of this sabbath the rule here given is to be understood:From even unto even shall you celebrate your sabbath.33 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 34 Speak unto the children of Israel,saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles forseven days unto the Lord. 35 On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shalldo no servile work therein. 36 Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fireunto the Lord: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shalloffer an offering made by fire unto the Lord: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shalldo no servile work therein. 37 These are the feasts of the Lord, which ye shallproclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord,a burnt offering, and a meat offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, every thingupon his day: 38 Beside the sabbaths of the Lord, and beside your gifts, and besideall your vows, and beside all your freewill offerings, which ye give unto the Lord.39 Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in thefruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days: on the first day shallbe a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath. 40 And ye shall take youon the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughsof thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the Lord yourGod seven days. 41 And ye shall keep it a feast unto the Lord seven days in theyear. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in theseventh month. 42 Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites bornshall dwell in booths: 43 That your generations may know that I made the childrenof Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am theLord your God. 44 And Moses declared unto the children of Israel the feasts of theLord.We have here, I. The institution of the feast of tabernacles, which was one of the three greatfeasts at which all the males were bound to attend, and celebrated with more expressions of joythan any of them.1. As to the directions for regulating this feast, observe, (1.) It was to be observed on thefifteenth day of the seventh month (v. 34), but five days after the day of atonement. We may suppose,though they were not all bound to attend on the day of atonement, as on the three great festivals,yet that many of the devout Jews came up so many days before the feast of tabernacles as to enjoythe opportunity of attending on the day of atonement. Now, [1.] The afflicting of their souls on theday of atonement prepared them for the joy of the feast of tabernacles. The more we are grievedand humbled for sin, the better qualified we are for the comforts of the Holy Ghost. [2.] The joyof this feast recompensed them for the sorrow of that fast; for those that sow in tears shall reap in790Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)joy. (2.) It was to continue eight days, the first and last of which were to be observed as sabbaths,days of holy rest and holy convocations, v. 35, 36, 39. The sacrifices to be offered on these eightdays we have a very large appointment of, Num. xxix. 12, &c. (3.) During the first seven days ofthis feast all the people were to leave their houses, and the women and children in them, and todwell in booths made of the boughs of thick trees, particularly palm trees, v. 40, 42. The Jews makethe taking of the branches to be a distinct ceremony from the making of the booths. It is said, indeed(Neh. viii. 15), that they made their booths of the branches of trees, which they might do, and yetuse that further expression of joy, the carrying of palm-branches in their hands, which appears tohave been a token of triumph upon other occasions (John xii. 13), and is alluded to, Rev. vii. 9.The eighth day some make a distinct feast of itself, but it is called (John vii. 37) that great day ofthe feast; it was the day on which they returned from their booths, to settle again in their ownhouses. (4.) They were to rejoice before the Lord God during all the time of this feast, v. 40. Thetradition of the Jews is that they were to express their joy by dancing, and singing hymns of praiseto God, with musical instruments: and not the common people only, but the wise men of Israel,and their elders, were to do it in the court of the sanctuary: for (say they) the joy with which a manrejoices in doing a commandment is really a great service.2. As to the design of this feast,(1.) It was to be kept in remembrance of their dwelling in tents in the wilderness. Thus it isexpounded here (v. 43): That your generations may know, not only by the written history, but bythis ocular tradition, that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths. Thus it kept in perpetualremembrance, [1.] The meanness of their beginning, and the low and desolate state out of whichGod advanced that people. Note, Those that are comfortably fixed ought often to call to mind theirformer unsettled state, when they were but little in their own eyes. [2.] The mercy of God to them,that, when they dwelt in tabernacles, God not only set up a tabernacle for himself among them, but,with the utmost care and tenderness imaginable, hung a canopy over them, even the cloud thatsheltered them from the heat of the sun. God's former mercies to us and our fathers ought to bekept in everlasting remembrance. The eighth day was the great day of this feast, because then theyreturned to their own houses again, and remembered how, after they had long dwelt in tents in thewilderness, at length they came to a happy settlement in the land of promise, where they dwelt ingoodly houses. And they would the more sensibly value and be thankful for the comforts andconveniences of their houses when they had been seven days dwelling in booths. It is good forthose that have ease and plenty sometimes to learn what it is to endure hardness.(2.) It was a feast of in-gathering, so it is called, Exod. xxiii. 16. When they had gathered inthe fruit of their land (v. 39), the vintage as well as the harvest, then they were to keep this feast inthankfulness to God for all the increase of the year; and some think that the eighth day of the feasthad special reference to this ground of the institution. Note, The joy of harvest ought to be improvedfor the furtherance of our joy in God. The earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof, and thereforewhatever we have the comfort of he must have the glory of, especially when any mercy is perfected.(3.) It was a typical feast. It is supposed by many that our blessed Saviour was born muchabout the time of this feast; then he left his mansions of light above to tabernacle among us (Johni. 14), and he dwelt in booths. And the worship of God under the New Testament is prophesied ofunder the notion of keeping the feast of tabernacles, Zech. xiv. 16. For, [1.] The gospel of Christteaches us to dwell in tabernacles, to sit loose to this world, as those that have here no continuingcity, but by faith, and hope and holy contempt of present things, to go out to Christ without the791Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)camp, Heb. xiii. 13, 14. [2.] It teaches us to rejoice before the Lord our God. Those are thecircumcision, Israelites indeed, that always rejoice in Christ Jesus, Phil. iii. 3. And the more weare taken off from this world the less liable we are to the interruption of our joys.II. The summary and conclusion of these institutions.1. God appointed these feasts (v. 37, 38), besides the sabbaths and your free-will offerings.This teaches us, (1.) That calls to extraordinary services will not excuse us from our constant statedperformances. Within the days of the feast of tabernacles there must fall at least one sabbath, whichmust be as strictly observed as any other. (2.) That God's institutions leave room for free-willofferings. Not that we may invent what he never instituted, but we may repeat what he has instituted,ordinarily, the oftener the better. God is well pleased with a willing people.2. Moses declared them to the children of Israel, v. 44. He let them know what God appointed,and neither more nor less. Thus Paul delivered to the churches what he had received from the Lord.We have reason to be thankful that the feasts of the Lord, declared unto us, are not so numerous,nor the observance of them so burdensome and costly, as theirs then were, but more spiritual andsignificant, and surer sweeter earnests of the everlasting feast, at the last in-gathering, which wehope to be celebrating to eternity.L E V I T C U SCHAP. XXIV.In this chapter we have, I. A repetition of the laws concerning the lamps and the show-bread,ver. 1-9. II. A violation of the law against blasphemy, with the imprisonment, trial, condemnation,and execution, of the blasphemer, ver. 10-14, with ver. 23. III. The law against blasphemy reinforced(ver. 15, 16), with sundry other laws, ver. 17, &c.Laws Concerning the Lamps. (b. c. 1490.)1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Command the children of Israel,that they bring unto thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamps toburn continually. 3 Without the vail of the testimony, in the tabernacle of thecongregation, shall Aaron order it from the evening unto the morning before theLord continually: it shall be a statute for ever in your generations. 4 He shall orderthe lamps upon the pure candlestick before the Lord continually. 5 And thou shalttake fine flour, and bake twelve cakes thereof: two tenth deals shall be in one cake.6 And thou shalt set them in two rows, six on a row, upon the pure table before theLord. 7 And thou shalt put pure frankincense upon each row, that it may be on thebread for a memorial, even an offering made by fire unto the Lord. 8 Every sabbathhe shall set it in order before the Lord continually, being taken from the children ofIsrael by an everlasting covenant. 9 And it shall be Aaron's and his sons'; and they792Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)shall eat it in the holy place: for it is most holy unto him of the offerings of the Lordmade by fire by a perpetual statute.Care is here taken, and orders are given, for the decent furnishing of the candlestick and tablein God's house.I. The lamps must always be kept burning. The law for this we had before, Exod. xxvii. 20,21. It is here repeated, probably because it now began to be put in execution, when other thingswere settled. 1. The people were to provide oil (v. 2), and this, as every thing else that was to beused in God's service, must be of the best, pure olive-oil, beaten, probably it was double-strained.This was to cause the lamps to burn; all our English copies read it lamps, but in the original it issingular in v. 2—to cause the lamp to burn; but plural in v. 4—he shall order the lamps. The sevenlamps made all one lamp, in allusion to which the blessed Spirit of grace is represented by sevenlamps of fire before the throne (Rev. iv. 5), for there are diversities of gifts, but one Spirit, 1 Cor.xii. 4. Ministers are as burning and shining lights in Christ's church, but it is the duty of people toprovide comfortably for them, as Israel for the lamps. Scandalous maintenance makes a scandalousministry. 2. The priests were to tend the lamps; they must snuff them, clean the candlestick, andsupply them with oil, morning and evening, v. 3, 4. Thus it is the work of the ministers of the gospelto hold forth that word of life, not to set up new lights, but, by expounding and preaching the word,to make the light of it more clear and extensive. This was the ordinary way of keeping the lampsburning; but, when the church was poor and in distress, we find its lamps fed constantly with oilfrom the good olives immediately, without the ministry of priest or people (Zech. iv. 2, 3); for,though God has tied us to means, he has not tied himself to them, but will take effectual care thathis lamp never go out in the world for want of oil.II. The table must always be kept spread. This was appointed before, Exod. xxv. 30. And herealso, 1. The table was furnished with bread; not dainties nor varieties to gratify a luxurious palate,but twelve loaves or cakes of bread, v. 5, 6. Where there is plenty of bread there is no famine; andwhere bread is not there is no feast. There was a loaf for every tribe, for in our Father's house thereis bread enough. They were all provided for by the divine bounty, and were all welcome to thedivine grace. Even after the revolt of the ten tribes this number of loaves was continued (2 Chron.xiii. 11), for the sake of those few of each tribe that retained their affection to the temple andcontinued their attendance on it. 2. A handful of frankincense was put in a golden saucer, upon orby each row, v. 7. When the bread was removed, and given to the priests, this frankincense wasburnt upon the golden altar (I suppose) over and above the daily incense: and this was for a memorialinstead of the bread, an offering made by fire, as the handful of the meat-offering which was burntupon the altar is called the memorial thereof, ch. ii. 2. Thus a little was accepted as a humbleacknowledgment, and all the loaves were consigned to the priests. All God's spiritual Israel, typifiedby the twelve loaves, are made through Christ a sweet savour to him, and their prayers are said tocome up before God for a memorial, Acts x. 4. The word is borrowed from the ceremonial law. 3.Every sabbath it was renewed. When the loaves had stood there a week, the priests had them to eatwith other holy things that were to be eaten in the holy place (v. 9), and new ones were providedat the public charge, and put in the room of them, v. 8. The Jews say, "The hands of those prieststhat put on were mixed with theirs that took off, that the table might be never empty, but the breadmight be before the Lord continually." God is never unprovided for the entertainment of those thatvisit him, as men often are, Luke xi. 5. Every one of those cakes contained two tenth-deals, that is,793Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)two omers of fine flour; just so much manna every Israelite gathered on the sixth day for the sabbath,Exod. xvi. 22. Hence some infer that this show-bread, which was set on the table on the sabbath,was intended as a memorial of the manna wherewith they were fed in the wilderness. Christ'sministers should provide new bread for his house every sabbath day, the production of their freshstudies in the scripture, that their proficiency may appear to all, 1 Tim. iv. 1, 5.The Blasphemy of Shelomith's Son; The Punishment of Shelomith's Son. (b. c. 1490.)10 And the son of an Israelitish woman, whose father was an Egyptian, went outamong the children of Israel: and this son of the Israelitish woman and a man ofIsrael strove together in the camp; 11 And the Israelitish woman's son blasphemedthe name of the Lord, and cursed. And they brought him unto Moses: (and hismother's name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan:) 12 Andthey put him in ward, that the mind of the Lord might be showed them. 13 And theLord spake unto Moses, saying, 14 Bring forth him that hath cursed without thecamp; and let all that heard him lay their hands upon his head, and let all thecongregation stone him. 15 And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying,Whosoever curseth his God shall bear his sin. 16 And he that blasphemeth thename of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shallcertainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when heblasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall be put to death. 17 And he that killeth anyman shall surely be put to death. 18 And he that killeth a beast shall make it good;beast for beast. 19 And if a man cause a blemish in his neighbour; as he hath done,so shall it be done to him; 20 Breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth: as hehath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him again. 21 And he thatkilleth a beast, he shall restore it: and he that killeth a man, he shall be put to death.22 Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of yourown country: for I am the Lord your God. 23 And Moses spake to the children ofIsrael, that they should bring forth him that had cursed out of the camp, and stonehim with stones. And the children of Israel did as the Lord commanded Moses.Evil manners, we say, beget good laws. We have here an account of the evil manners of acertain nameless mongrel Israelite, and the good laws occasioned thereby.I. The offender was the son of an Egyptian father and an Israelitish mother (v. 10); his motherwas of the tribe of Dan, v. 11. Neither he nor his father is named, but his mother only, who was anIsraelite. This notice is taken of his parentage either, 1. To intimate what occasioned the quarrel hewas engaged in. The Jews say, "He offered to set up his tent among the Danites in the right of hismother, but was justly opposed by some or other of that tribe, and informed that his father beingan Egyptian he had no part nor lot in the matter, but must look upon himself as a stranger." Or, 2.To show the common ill effect of such mixed marriages. When a daughter of Israel would marryan idolatrous malignant Egyptian, what could be the fruit of such a marriage but a blasphemer? For794Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)the children will be apt to take after the worse side, whichsoever it is, and will sooner learn of anEgyptian father to blaspheme than of an Israelitish mother to pray and praise.II. The occasion of the offence was contention: He strove with a man of Israel. The mixedmultitude of Egyptians that came up with Israel (Exod. xii. 38) were in many ways hurtful to them,and this was one, they were often the authors of strife. The way to preserve the peace of the churchis to preserve the purity of it. In this strife he broke out into ill language. Note, When quarrels beginwe know not what mischief they will make before they end, nor how treat a matter a little fire maykindle. When men's passion is up they are apt to forget both their reason and their religion, whichis a good reason why we should not be apt either to give or to resent provocation, but leave offstrife before it be meddled with, because the beginning of it is as the letting forth of water.III. The offence itself was blasphemy and cursing, v. 11. It is supposed that his cause came tobe heard before the judges, who determined that he had no right to the privileges of an Israelite,his father being an Egyptian, and that, being enraged at the sentence, 1. He blasphemed the nameof the Lord. He blasphemed the name, that is, he blasphemed God, who is known by his name only,not by his nature, or any similitude. Not as if God were a mere name, but his is a name above everyname. The translators add of the Lord, which is implied, but not expressed, in the original, for thegreater reverence of the divine Majesty: it is a shame that it should be found on record that the veryname of Jehovah should be blasphemed; tell it not in Gath. It is a fond conceit of the superstitiousJews that his blasphemy was in pronouncing the name of Jehovah, which they call ineffable: hethat made himself known by that name never forbade the calling of him by that name. It is probablethat finding himself aggrieved by the divine appointment, which separated between the Israelitesand strangers, he impudently reproached both the law and the Law-maker, and set him at defiance.2. He cursed either God himself (and then his cursing was the same with blaspheming) or the personwith whom he strove. Imprecations of mischief are the hellish language of hasty passion, as wellas of rooted malice. Or perhaps he cursed the judges that gave sentence against him; he flew in theface of the court, and ridiculed the processes of it; thus he added sin to sin.IV. The caution with which he was proceeded against for this sin. The witnesses or inferiorjudges brought him and his case (which was somewhat extraordinary) unto Moses (v. 11), accordingto the order settled (Exod. xviii. 22), and Moses himself would not give judgment hastily, butcommitted the offender into custody, till he had consulted the oracle in this case. Note, Judges mustdeliberate; both those that give the verdict and those that give the sentence must consider diligentlywhat they do, and do nothing rashly, for the judgment is God's (Deut. i. 17), and before him therewill be a rehearing of the cause. They waited to know what was the mind of the Lord, whether hewas to be put to death by the hand of the magistrate or to be left to the judgment of God: or, rather,they wanted to know whether he should be stoned, as those were to be that only cursed their parents(ch. xx. 9), or whether, the crime being so much greater, some sorer punishment should be inflictedon him. Note, Those that sit in judgment should sincerely desire, and by prayer and the use of allgood means should endeavour to know the mind of the Lord, because they judge for him (2 Chron.xix. 6) and to him they are accountable.V. Sentence passed upon this offender by the righteous Judge of heaven and earth himself: Letall the congregation stone him, v. 14. God could have cut him off by an immediate stroke fromheaven, but he would put this honour upon the institution of magistracy to make use of it for thesupporting and vindicating of his own glory in the world. Observe, 1. The place of executionappointed: Bring him forth without the camp. To signify their detestation of the crime, they must795Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)thus cast out the criminal as an abominable branch, and separate him from them as an unclean thingand unworthy a place in the camp of Israel. 2. The executioners: Let all the congregation do it, toshow their zeal for the honour of God's name. Every man should have a stone to throw at him thatblasphemes God, reckoning himself nearly concerned in the reproaches cast on God, Ps. lxix. 9.Thus also the greater terror would be cast upon the congregation; those that once helped to stonea blasphemer would ever after dread every thing that bordered upon blasphemy, that looked like itor looked towards it. 3. The solemnity of the execution; before the congregation stoned him, thewitnesses were to lay their hands upon his head. The Jews say that this was used in the executionof no criminals but blasphemers; and that it was done with words to this purport, "Thy blood beupon thy own head, for thou thyself hast occasioned it. Let no blame be laid on the law, judges,juries, or witnesses; if thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it."VI. A standing law made upon this occasion for the stoning of blasphemers, v. 15, 16.Magistrates are the guardians of both tables, and ought to be as jealous for the honour of God againstthose that speak contemptuously of his being and government as for the public peace and safetyagainst the disturbers of them. 1. A great stress is laid upon this law, as in no case to be dispensedwith: He shall surely be put to death; they shall certainly stone him. Those that lightly esteemedGod's honour might think it hard to make a man an offender for a word (words are but wind); butGod would let them know that they must not make light of such words as these, which come frommalice against God in the heart of him that speaks, and must occasion either great guilt or greatgrief to those that hear. 2. It is made to extend to the strangers that sojourned among them, as wellas those that were born in the land. God never made any law to compel strangers to be circumcisedand embrace the Jewish religion (proselytes made by force would be no honour to the God of Israel),but he made a law to restrain strangers from speaking evil of the God of Israel. 3. He that was putto death for blasphemy is said to bear his sin, in the punishment of it; no sacrifice being appointed,on the head of which the sin might be transferred, he himself was to bear it upon his own head, asa sacrifice to divine justice. So his own tongue fell upon him (Ps. lxiv. 8), and the tongue of ablasphemer will fall heavily.VII. A repetition of some other laws annexed to this new law. 1. That murder should be punishedwith death (v. 17, and again v. 21), according to an ancient law in Noah's time (Gen. ix. 6), and thevery law of nature, Gen. iv. 10. 2. That maimers should in like manner be punished by the law ofretaliation, v. 19, 20. Not that men might in these cases be their own avengers, but they might appealto the civil magistrate, who should award suffering to the injurious and satisfaction to the injuredas should be thought fit in proportion to the hurt done. This law we had before, Exod. xxii. 4, 5.And it was more agreeable to that dispensation, in which were revealed the rigour of the law andwhat sin deserved, than to the dispensation we are under, in which are revealed the grace of thegospel and the remission of sins: and therefore our Saviour has set aside this law (Matt. v. 38, 39),not to restrain magistrates from executing public justice, but to restrain us all from returning personalinjuries and to oblige us to forgive as we are and hope to be forgiven. 3. That hurt done wilfully toa neighbour's cattle should be punished by making good the damage, v. 18, 21. Thus the divine lawtook not only their lives, but their goods also under its protection. Those beasts which belonged tono particular person, but were, as our law speaks, ferae naturae—of a wild nature, it was lawfulfor them to kill; but not those which any man had a property in. Does God take care for oxen? Yes;for our sakes he does. 4. That strangers, as well as native Israelites, should be both entitled to thebenefit of this law, so as not to suffer wrong, and liable to the penalty of this law in case they did796Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)wrong. And, it should seem, this is it that brings in these laws here, to show how equitable it wasthat strangers as well as Israelites should be punished for blasphemy, because strangers as well asIsraelites were punishable for other crimes. And there may be this further reason for the recognitionof these laws here, God would hereby show what provision he had made for man's safety, inpunishing those that were injurious to him, which should be an argument with magistrates to bejealous for his honour, and to punish those that blasphemed his name. If God took care for theircomfort, they ought to take care for his glory.VIII. The execution of the blasphemer. Moses did, as it were, sign the warrant or it: He spokeunto the children of Israel to do it, and they did as the Lord commanded Moses, v. 23. This teachesthat death is the wages of sin, and that blasphemy in particular is an iniquity to be punished by thejudges. But, if those who thus profane the name of God escape punishment from men, yet the Lordour God will not suffer them to escape his righteous judgments. This blasphemer was the first thatdied by the law of Moses. Stephen, the first that died for the gospel, died by the abuse of this law;the martyr and the malefactor suffered the same death: but how vast the difference between them!L E V I T C U SCHAP. XXV.The law of this chapter concerns the lands and estates of the Israelites in Canaan, the occupyingand transferring of which were to be under the divine direction, as well as the management ofreligious worship; for, as the tabernacle was a holy house, so Canaan was a holy land; and uponthat account, as much as any thing, it was the glory of all lands. In token of a peculiar title whichGod had to this land, and a right to dispose of it, he appointed, I. That every seventh year shouldbe a year of rest from occupying the land, a sabbatical year, ver. 1-7. In this God expected fromthem extraordinary instances of faith and obedience, and they might expect from God extraordinaryinstances of power and goodness in providing for them, ver. 18-22. II. That every fiftieth yearshould be a year of jubilee, that is, 1. A year of release of debts and mortgages, and return to thepossession of their alienated lands, ver. 8-17. Particular directions are given, (1.) Concerning thesale and redemption of lands, ver. 23-28. (2.) Of houses in cities and villages, with a proviso forLevite-cities, ver. 29-34. 2. A year of release of servants and bond-slaves. (1.) Here is inserted alaw for the kind usage of poor debtors, ver. 35-38. (2.) Then comes the law for the discharge of allIsraelites that were sold for servants, in the year of jubilee, if they were not redeemed before. [1.]If they were sold to Israelites, ver. 39-46. And, [2.] If sold to proselytes, ver. 47-55. All theseappointments have something moral and of perpetual obligation in them, though in the letter ofthem they were not only peculiar to the Jews, but to them only while they were in Canaan.The Sabbatical Year. (b. c. 1490.)1 And the Lord spake unto Moses in mount Sinai, saying, 2 Speak unto thechildren of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land which I give you,then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the Lord. 3 Six years thou shalt sow thy797Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof; 4But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for theLord: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard. 5 That which growethof its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes of thyvine undressed: for it is a year of rest unto the land. 6 And the sabbath of the landshall be meat for you; for thee, and for thy servant, and for thy maid, and for thyhired servant, and for thy stranger that sojourneth with thee, 7 And for thy cattle,and for the beast that are in thy land, shall all the increase thereof be meat.The law of Moses laid a great deal of stress upon the sabbath, the sanctification of which wasthe earliest and most ancient of all divine institutions, designed for the keeping up of the knowledgeand worship of the Creator among men; that law not only revived the observance of the weeklysabbath, but, for the further advancement of the honour of them, added the institution of a sabbaticalyear: In the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, v. 4. And hence the Jews collectthat vulgar tradition that after the world has stood six thousand years (a thousand years being toGod as one day) it shall cease, and the eternal sabbath shall succeed—a weak foundation on whichto build the fixing of that day and hour which it is God's prerogative to know. This sabbatical yearbegan in September, at the end of harvest, the seventh month of their ecclesiastical year: and thelaw was, 1. That at the seed-time, which immediately followed the end of their in-gathering, theyshould sow no corn in their land, and that they should not in the spring dress their vineyards, andconsequently that they should not expect either harvest or vintage the next year. 2. That what theirground did produce of itself they should not claim any property or use in, otherwise than from handto mouth, but leave it for the poor, servants, strangers, and cattle, v. 5-7. It must be a sabbath ofrest to the land; they must neither do any work about it, nor expect any fruit from it; all annuallabours must be intermitted in the seventh year, as much as daily labours on the seventh day. TheJews say they "began not to reckon for the sabbatical year till they had completed the conquest ofCanaan, which was in the eighth year of Joshua; the seventh year after that was the first sabbaticalyear, and so the fiftieth year was the jubilee." This year there was to be a general release of debts(Deut. xv. 1, 2), and a public reading of the law in the feast (Deut. xxxi. 10, 11), to make it themore solemn. Now, (1.) God would hereby show them that he was their landlord, and that theywere tenants at will under him. Landlords are wont to stipulate with their tenants when they shallbreak up their ground, how long they shall till it, and when they shall let it rest: God would thusgive, grant, and convey, that good land to them, under such provisos and limitations as should letthem know that they were not proprietors, but dependents on their Lord. (2.) It was a kindness totheir land to let it rest sometimes, and would keep it in heart (as our husbandmen express it) forposterity, whose satisfaction God would have them to consult, and not to use the ground as if itwere designed only for one age. (3.) When they were thus for a whole year taken off from all countrybusiness, they would have the more leisure to attend the exercises of religion, and to get theknowledge of God and his law. (4.) They were hereby taught to be charitable and generous, andnot to engross all to themselves, but to be willing that others should share with them in the gifts ofGod's bounty, which the earth brought forth of itself. (5.) They were brought to live in a constantdependence upon the divine providence, finding that, as man lives not by bread alone, so he hasbread, not by his own industry alone, but, if God pleases, by the word of blessing from the mouth798Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)of God, without any care or pains of man, Matt. iv. 4. (6.) They were reminded of the easy life manlived in paradise, when he ate of every good thing, not, as since, in the sweat of his face. Labourand toil came in with sin. (7.) They were taught to consider how the poor lived, that did neithersow nor reap, even by the blessing of God upon a little. (8.) This year of rest typified the spiritualrest which all believers enter into through Christ, our true Noah, who giveth us comfort and restconcerning our work, and the toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed,Gen. v. 29. Through him we are eased of the burden of worldly care and labour, both being sanctifiedand sweetened to us, and we are enabled and encouraged to live by faith. And, as the fruits of thissabbath of the land were enjoyed in common, so the salvation wrought out by Christ is a commonsalvation; and this sabbatical year seems to have been revived in the Christian church, when thebelievers had all things common, Acts ii. 44.Institution of the Jubilee; the Year of the Jubilee. (b. c. 1490.)8 And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times sevenyears; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nineyears. 9 Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound on the tenth dayof the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet soundthroughout all your land. 10 And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaimliberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubileeunto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall returnevery man unto his family. 11 A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shallnot sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in itof thy vine undressed. 12 For it is the jubilee; it shall be holy unto you: ye shalleat the increase thereof out of the field. 13 In the year of this jubilee ye shall returnevery man unto his possession. 14 And if thou sell ought unto thy neighbour, orbuyest ought of thy neighbour's hand, ye shall not oppress one another: 15 Accordingto the number of years after the jubilee thou shalt buy of thy neighbour, and accordingunto the number of years of the fruits he shall sell unto thee: 16 According to themultitude of years thou shalt increase the price thereof, and according to the fewnessof years thou shalt diminish the price of it: for according to the number of the yearsof the fruits doth he sell unto thee. 17 Ye shall not therefore oppress one another;but thou shalt fear thy God: for I am the Lord your God. 18 Wherefore ye shall domy statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; and ye shall dwell in the land insafety. 19 And the land shall yield her fruit, and ye shall eat your fill, and dwelltherein in safety. 20 And if ye shall say, What shall we eat the seventh year? behold,we shall not sow, nor gather in our increase: 21 Then I will command my blessingupon you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth fruit for three years. 22 And yeshall sow the eighth year, and eat yet of old fruit until the ninth year; until her fruitscome in ye shall eat of the old store.799Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)Here is, I. The general institution of the jubilee, v. 8, &c.1. When it was to be observed: after seven sabbaths of years (v. 8), whether the forty-ninth orfiftieth is a great question among learned men: that it should be the seventh sabbatical year, thatis, the forty-ninth (which by a very common form of speech is called the fiftieth), seems to me mostprobable, and is, I think, made pretty clear and the objections removed by that learned chronologerCalvisius; but this is not a place for arguing the question. Seven sabbaths of weeks were reckonedfrom the passover to the feast of pentecost (or fiftieth day, for so pentecost signifies), and so sevensabbaths of years from one jubilee to another, and the seventh is called the fiftieth; and all thishonour is put upon the sevenths for the sake of God's resting the seventh day from the work ofcreation.2. How it was to be proclaimed, with sound of trumpet in all parts of the country (v. 5), bothto give notice to all persons of it, and to express their joy and triumph in it; and the word jobel, orjubilee, is supposed to signify some particular sound of the trumpet distinguishable from any other;for the trumpet that gives an uncertain sound is of little service, 1 Cor. xiv. 8. The trumpet wassounded in the close of the day of atonement; thence the jubilee commenced, and very fitly; whenthey had been humbling and afflicting their souls for sin, then they were made to hear this voiceof joy and gladness, Ps. xi. 8. When their peace was made with God, then liberty was proclaimed;for the removal of guilt is necessary to make way for the entrance of all true comfort, Rom. v. 1,2. In allusion to this solemn proclamation of the jubilee, it was foretold concerning our Lord Jesusthat he should preach the acceptable year of the Lord, Isa. lxi. 2. He sent his apostles to proclaimit with the trumpet of the everlasting gospel, which they were to preach to every creature. And itstands still foretold that at the last day the trumpet shall sound, which shall release the dead out ofthe bondage of the grave, and restore us to our possessions.3. What was to be done in that year extraordinary; besides the common rest of the land, whichwas observed every sabbatical year (v. 11, 12), and the release of personal debts (Deut. xv. 2, 3),there was to be the legal restoration of every Israelite to all the property, and all the liberty, whichhad been alienated from him since the last jubilee; so that never was any people so secured in theirliberty and property (those glories of a people) as Israel was. Effectual care was taken that whilethey kept close to God these should not only not be taken from them by the violence of others, butnot thrown away by their own folly.(1.) The property which every man had in his dividend of the land of Canaan could not bealienated any longer than till the year of jubilee, and then he or his should return to it, and have atitle to it as undisputed, and the possession of it as undisturbed, as ever (v. 10, 13): "You shall returnevery man to his possession; so that if a man had sold or mortgaged his estate, or any part of it, itshould then return to him or his heirs, free of all charge and encumbrance. Now this was no wrongto the purchaser, because the year of jubilee was fixed, and every man knew when it would come,and made his bargain accordingly. By our law indeed, if lands be granted to a man and his heirs,upon condition that he should never sell or alienate them, the grant is good, but the condition isvoid and repugnant: Iniquum est ingenuis hominibus (say the lawyers) non esse liberam rerumsuarum alienationem—It is unjust to prevent free men from alienating their own possessions. Yetit is agreed in the books that if the king grant lands to a man in fee upon condition he shall notalienate, the condition is good. Now God would show his people Israel that their land was his, andthey were his tenants; and therefore he ties them up that they shall not have power to sell, but onlyto make leases for any term of years, not going beyond the next jubilee. By this means it was800Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)provided, [1.] That their genealogies should be carefully preserved, which would be of use forclearing our Saviour's pedigree. [2.] That the distinction of tribes should be kept up; for, though aman might purchase lands in another tribe, yet he could not retain them longer than till the year ofjubilee, and then they would revert of course. [3.] That none should grow exorbitantly rich, bylaying house to house, and field to field (Isa. v. 8), but should rather apply themselves to thecultivating of what they had than the enlarging of their possessions. The wisdom of the Romancommonwealth sometimes provided that no man should be master of above 500 acres. [4.] Thatno family should be sunk and ruined, and condemned to perpetual poverty. This particular careGod took for the support of the honour of that people, and the preserving, not only of that goodland to the nation in general, but of every man's share to his family in particular, for a perpetualinheritance, that it might the better typify that good part which shall never be taken away fromthose that have it.(2.) The liberty which every man was born to, if it were sold or forfeited, should likewise returnat the year of jubilee: You shall return every man to his family, v. 10. Those that were sold intoother families thereby became strangers to their own; but in this year of redemption they were toreturn. This was typical of our redemption by Christ from the slavery of sin and Satan, and ourrestoration to the glorious liberty of the children of God. Some compute that the very year in whichChrist died was a year of jubilee, and the last that ever was kept. But, however that be, we are sureit is the Son that makes us free, and then we are free indeed.II. A law upon this occasion against oppression in buying and selling of land; neither the buyernor the seller must overreach, v. 14-17. In short, the buyer must not give less, nor the seller takemore, than the just value of the thing, considered as necessarily returning at the year of jubilee. Itmust be settled what the clear yearly value of the land was, and then how many years' purchase itwas worth till the year of jubilee. But they must reckon only the years of the fruits (v. 15), andtherefore must discount for the sabbatical years. It is easy to observe that the nearer the jubilee wasthe less must the value of the land be. According to the fewness of the years thou shalt diminish theprice. But we do not find it so easy practically to infer thence that the nearer the world comes toits period the less value we should put upon the things of it: because the time is short, and thefashion of the world passeth away, let those that buy be as though they possessed not. One wouldput little value on an old house, that is ready to drop down. All bargains ought to be made by thisrule, You shall not oppress one another, nor take advantage of one another's ignorance or necessity,but thou shalt fear thy God. Note, The fear of God reigning in the heart would effectually restrainus from doing any wrong to our neighbour in word or deed; for, though man be not, God is theavenger of those that go beyond or defraud their brethren, 1 Thess. iv. 6. Perhaps Nehemiah refersto this very law (ch. v. 15), where he tells us that he did not oppress those he had under his power,because of the fear of God.III. Assurance given them that they should be no losers, but great gainers, by observing theseyears of rest. It is promised, 1. That they should be safe: You shall dwell in the land in safety, v.18, and again, v. 19. The word signifies both outward safety and inward security and confidenceof spirit, that they should be quiet both from evil and from the fear of evil. 2. That they should berich: You shall eat your fill. Note, If we be careful to do our duty, we may cheerfully trust God withour comfort. 3. That they should not want food convenient that year in which they did neither sownor reap: I will command my blessing in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth fruit for three years,v. 21. This was, (1.) A standing miracle, that, whereas at other times one year did but serve to bring801Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)in another, the productions of the sixth year should serve to bring in the ninth. Note, The blessingof God upon our provision will make a little go a great way, and satisfy even the poor with bread,Ps. cxxxi. 15. (2.) A lasting memorial of the manna which was given double on the sixth day fortwo days. (3.) It was intended for an encouragement to all God's people, in all ages, to trust him inthe way of duty, and to cast their care upon him. There is nothing lost by faith and self-denial inour obedience.23 The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is mine; for ye are strangersand sojourners with me. 24 And in all the land of your possession ye shall grant aredemption for the land. 25 If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away someof his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem thatwhich his brother sold. 26 And if the man have none to redeem it, and himself beable to redeem it; 27 Then let him count the years of the sale thereof, and restorethe overplus unto the man to whom he sold it; that he may return unto his possession.28 But if he be not able to restore it to him, then that which is sold shall remain inthe hand of him that hath bought it until the year of jubilee: and in the jubilee it shallgo out, and he shall return unto his possession. 29 And if a man sell a dwellinghouse in a walled city, then he may redeem it within a whole year after it is sold;within a full year may he redeem it. 30 And if it be not redeemed within the spaceof a full year, then the house that is in the walled city shall be established for everto him that bought it throughout his generations: it shall not go out in the jubilee.31 But the houses of the villages which have no wall round about them shall becounted as the fields of the country: they may be redeemed, and they shall go outin the jubilee. 32 Notwithstanding the cities of the Levites, and the houses of thecities of their possession, may the Levites redeem at any time. 33 And if a manpurchase of the Levites, then the house that was sold, and the city of his possession,shall go out in the year of jubilee: for the houses of the cities of the Levites are theirpossession among the children of Israel. 34 But the field of the suburbs of theircities may not be sold; for it is their perpetual possession. 35 And if thy brother bewaxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee; then thou shalt relieve him: yea, thoughhe be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee. 36 Take thou no usuryof him, or increase: but fear thy God; that thy brother may live with thee. 37 Thoushalt not give him thy money upon usury, nor lend him thy victuals for increase.38 I am the Lord your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, togive you the land of Canaan, and to be your God.Here is, I. A law concerning the real estates of the Israelites in the land of Canaan, and thetransferring of them. 1. No land should be sold for ever from the family to whose lot it fell in thedivision of the land. And the reason given is, The land is mine, and you are strangers and sojournerswith me, v. 23. (1.) God having a particular propriety in this land, he would by this restraint keepthem sensible of it. The possessions of good people, who, having given up themselves to God, have802Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)therewith given up all they have to him, are in a particular manner at his disposal, and his disposalof them must be submitted to. (2.) They being strangers and sojourners with him in that land, andhaving his tabernacle among them, to alienate their part of that land would be in effect to cutthemselves off from their fellowship and communion with God, of which that was a token andsymbol, for which reason Naboth would rather incur the wrath of a king than part with the inheritanceof his fathers, 1 Kings xxi. 3. 2. If a man was constrained through poverty to sell his land for thesubsistence of his family, yet, if afterwards he was able, he might redeem it before the year ofjubilee (v. 24, 26, 27), and the price must be settled according to the number of years since the saleand before the jubilee. 3. If the person himself was not able to redeem it, his next kinsman might(v. 25): The redeemer thereof, he that is near unto him, shall come and shall redeem, so it mightbe read. The kinsman is called Goel, the redeemer (Num. v. 8; Ruth iii. 9), to whom belonged theright of redeeming the land. And this typified Christ, who assumed our nature, that he might be ourkinsman, bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh, and, being the only kinsman we have that is ableto do it, to him belonged the right of redemption. As for all our other kinsmen, their shoe must beplucked off (Ruth iv. 6, 7); they cannot redeem. But Christ can and hath redeemed the inheritancewhich we by sin had forfeited and alienated, and made a new settlement of it upon all that by faithbecome allied to him. We know that this Redeemer liveth, Job xix. 25. And some make this dutyof the kinsman to signify the brotherly love that should be among Christians, inclining them torecover those that are fallen, and to restore them with the spirit of meekness. 4. If the land was notredeemed before the year of jubilee, then it should return of course to him that had sold or mortgagedit: In the jubilee it shall go out, v. 28. This was a figure of the free grace of God towards us inChrist, by which, and not by any price or merit of our own, we are restored to the favour of God,and become entitled to paradise, from which our first parents, and we in them, were expelled fordisobedience. 5. A difference was made between houses in walled cities, and lands in the country,or houses in country villages. Houses in walled cities were more the fruits of their own industrythan land in the country, which was the immediate gift of God's bounty; and therefore, if a mansold a house in a city, he might redeem it any time within a year after the sale, but otherwise it wasconfirmed to the purchaser for ever, and should not return, no, not at the year of the jubilee, v. 29,30. This provision was made to encourage strangers and proselytes to come and settle among them.Though they could not purchase land in Canaan to them and their heirs, yet they might purchasehouses in walled cities, which would be most convenient for those who were supposed to live bytrade. But country houses could be disposed of no otherwise than as lands might. 6. A clause isadded in favour of the Levites, by way of exception from these rules. (1.) Dwelling houses in thecities of the Levites might be redeemed at any time, and, if not redeemed, should revert in the yearof jubilee (v. 32, 33), because the Levites had no other possessions than cities and their suburbs,and God would show that the Levites were his peculiar care; and it was for the interest of the publicthat they should not be impoverished, or wormed out of their inheritances. (2.) The fields adjoiningto their cities (Num. xxxv. 4, 5) might not be sold at any time, for they belonged, not to particularLevites, but to the city of the Levites, as a corporation, who could not alienate without a wrong totheir tribe; therefore, if any of those fields were sold, the bargain was void, v. 34. Even the Egyptianstook care to preserve the land of the priests, Gen. xlvii. 22. And there is no less reason for the takingof the maintenance of the gospel ministry under the special protection of Christian governments.II. A law for the relief of the poor, and the tender usage of poor debtors, and these are of moregeneral and perpetual obligation than the former.803Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)1. The poor must be relieved, v. 35. Here is, (1.) Our brother's poverty and distress supposed:If thy brother be waxen poor; not only thy brother by nation as a Jew, but thy brother by nature asa man, for it follows, though he be a stranger or a sojourner. All men are to be looked upon andtreated as brethren, for we have all one Father, Mal. ii. 10. Though he is poor, yet still he is thybrother, and is to be loved and owned as a brother. Poverty does not destroy the relation. Thougha son of Abraham, yet he may wax poor and fall into decay. Note, Poverty and decay are greatgrievances, and very common: The poor you have always with you. (2.) Our duty enjoined: Thoushalt relieve him. By sympathy, pitying the poor; by service, doing for them; and by supply, givingto them according to their necessity and thy ability.2. Poor debtors must not be oppressed: If thy brother be waxen poor, and have occasion toborrow money of thee for the necessary support of his family, take thou no usury of him, either formoney or victuals, v. 36, 37. And thus far this law binds still, but could never be thought bindingwhere money is borrowed for purchase of lands, trade, or other improvements; for there it isreasonable that the lender share with the borrower in the profit. The law here is plainly intendedfor the relief of the poor, to whom it is sometimes as great a charity to lend freely as to give. Observethe arguments here used against extortion. (1.) God patronizes the poor: "Fear thy God, who willreckon with thee for all injuries done to the poor: thou fearest not them, but fear him." (2.) Relievethe poor, that they may live with thee, and some way or other they may be serviceable to thee. Therich can as ill spare the hands of the poor as the poor can the purses of the rich. (3.) The sameargument is used to enforce this precept that prefaces all the ten commandments: I am the Lordyour God which brought you out of Egypt, v. 38. Note, It becomes those that have received mercyto show mercy. If God has been gracious to us, we ought not to be rigorous with our brethren.Oppression of Brethren Forbidden. (b. c. 1490.)39 And if thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee;thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bondservant: 40 But as an hired servant,and as a sojourner, he shall be with thee, and shall serve thee unto the year of jubilee:41 And then shall he depart from thee, both he and his children with him, and shallreturn unto his own family, and unto the possession of his fathers shall he return.42 For they are my servants, which I brought forth out of the land of Egypt: theyshall not be sold as bondmen. 43 Thou shalt not rule over him with rigour; but shaltfear thy God. 44 Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have,shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen andbondmaids. 45 Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn amongyou, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begatin your land: and they shall be your possession. 46 And ye shall take them as aninheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shallbe your bondmen for ever: but over your brethren the children of Israel, ye shall notrule one over another with rigour. 47 And if a sojourner or stranger wax rich bythee, and thy brother that dwelleth by him wax poor, and sell himself unto the strangeror sojourner by thee, or to the stock of the stranger's family: 48 After that he is804Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)sold he may be redeemed again; one of his brethren may redeem him: 49 Eitherhis uncle, or his uncle's son, may redeem him, or any that is nigh of kin unto him ofhis family may redeem him; or if he be able, he may redeem himself. 50 And heshall reckon with him that bought him from the year that he was sold to him untothe year of jubilee: and the price of his sale shall be according unto the number ofyears, according to the time of an hired servant shall it be with him. 51 If there beyet many years behind, according unto them he shall give again the price of hisredemption out of the money that he was bought for. 52 And if there remain butfew years unto the year of jubilee, then he shall count with him, and according untohis years shall he give him again the price of his redemption. 53 And as a yearlyhired servant shall he be with him: and the other shall not rule with rigour over himin thy sight. 54 And if he be not redeemed in these years, then he shall go out inthe year of jubilee, both he, and his children with him. 55 For unto me the childrenof Israel are servants; they are my servants whom I brought forth out of the land ofEgypt: I am the Lord your God.We have here the laws concerning servitude, designed to preserve the honour of the Jewishnation as a free people, and rescued by a divine power out of the house of bondage, into the gloriousliberty of God's sons, his first-born. Now the law is,I. That a native Israelite should never be made a bondman for perpetuity. If he was sold fordebt, or for a crime, by the house of judgment, he was to serve but six years, and to go out theseventh; this was appointed, Exod. xxi. 2. But if he sold himself through extreme poverty, havingnothing at all left him to preserve his life, and if it was to one of his own nation that he sold himself,in such a case it is here provided, 1. That he should not serve as a bond-servant (v. 39), nor be soldwith the sale of a bondman (v. 42); that is, "it must not be looked upon that his master that boughthim had as absolute a property in him as in a captive taken in war, that might be used, sold, andbequeathed, at pleasure, as much as a man's cattle; no, he shall serve thee as a hired servant, whomthe master has the use of only, but not a despotic power over." And the reason is, They are myservants, v. 42. God does not make his servants slaves, and therefore their brethren must not. Godhad redeemed them out of Egypt, and therefore they must never be exposed to sale as bondmen.The apostle applies this spiritually (1 Cor. vii. 23), You are bought with a price, be not the servantsof men, that is, "of the lusts of men, no, nor of your own lusts;" for, having become the servants ofGod, we must not let sin reign in our mortal bodies, Rom. vi. 12, 22. 2. That while he did serve heshould not be ruled with rigour, as the Israelites were in Egypt, v. 43. Both his work and his usagemust be such as were fitting for a son of Abraham. Masters are still required to give to their servantsthat which is just and equal, Col. iv. 1. They may be used, but must not be abused. Those mastersthat are always hectoring and domineering over their servants, taunting them and trampling uponthem, that are unreasonable in exacting work and giving rebukes, and that rule them with a highhand, forget that their Master is in heaven; and what will they do when he rises up? as holy Jobreasons with himself, Job xxxi. 13, 14. 3. That at the year of jubilee he should go out free, he andhis children, and should return to his own family, v. 41. This typified our redemption from theservice of sin and Satan by the grace of God in Christ, whose truth makes us free, John vii. 32. The805Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)Jewish writers say that, for ten days before the jubilee-trumpet sounded, the servants that were tobe discharged by it did express their great joy by feasting, and wearing garlands on their heads: itis therefore called the joyful sound, Ps. lxxxix. 15. And we are thus to rejoice in the liberty we haveby Christ.II. That they might purchase bondmen of the heathen nations that were round about them, orof those strangers that sojourned among them (except of those seven nations that were to bedestroyed); and might claim a dominion over them, and entail them upon their families as aninheritance, for the year of jubilee should give no discharge to them, v. 44, 46. Thus in our Englishplantations the negroes only are used as slaves; how much to the credit of Christianity I shall notsay. Now, 1. This authority which they had over the bondmen whom they purchased from theneighbouring nations was in pursuance of the blessing of Jacob, Gen. xxvii. 29, Let people servethee. 2. It prefigured the bringing in of the Gentiles to the service of Christ and his church. Ask ofme, and I will give thee the heathen for thy inheritance, Ps. ii. 8. And it is promised (Isa. lxi. 5),Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your vine-dressers;see Rev. ii. 26, 27. The upright shall have the dominion in the morning, Ps. xlix. 14. 3. It intimatesthat none shall have the benefit of the gospel jubilee but those only that are Israelites indeed, andthe children of Abraham by faith: as for those that continue heathenish, they continue bondmen.See this turned upon the unbelieving Jews themselves, Gal. iv. 25, where Jerusalem, when she hadrejected Christ, is said to be in bondage with her children. Let me only add here that, though theyare not forbidden to rule their bondmen with rigour, yet the Jewish doctors say, "It is the propertyof mercy, and way of wisdom, that a man should be compassionate, and not make his yoke heavyupon any servant that he has."III. That if an Israelite sold himself for a servant to a wealthy proselyte that sojourned amongthem care should be taken that he should have the same advantages as if he had sold himself to anIsraelite, and in some respects greater. 1. That he should not serve as a bondman, but as a hiredservant, and not to be ruled with rigour (v. 53), in thy sight, which intimated that the Jewishmagistrates should particularly have an eye to him, and, if he were abused, should take cognizanceof it, and redress his grievances, though the injured servant did not himself complain. Also he wasto go free at the year of jubilee, v. 54. Though the sons of strangers might serve them for ever, yetthe sons of Israel might not serve strangers for ever; yet the servant here, having made himself aslave by his own act and deed, should not go out in the seventh year of release, but in the jubileeonly. 2. That he should have this further advantage that he might be redeemed again before the yearof jubilee, v. 48, 49. He that had sold himself to an Israelite might, if ever he was able, redeemhimself, but his relations had no right to redeem him. "But if a man sold himself to a stranger," theJews say, "his relations were urged to redeem him; if they did not, it was fit that he should beredeemed at the public charge," which we find done, Neh. v. 8. The price of his ransom was to becomputed according to the prospect of the year of jubilee (v. 50-52), as in the redemption of land,v. 15, 16. The learned bishop Patrick quotes one of the Jewish rabbin for an evangelical expositionof that appointment (v. 48), One of his brethren shall redeem him. "This Redeemer," says the rabbi,"is the Messiah, the Son of David." They expected this Messiah to be their Redeemer out of theircaptivity, and to restore them to their own land again; but we welcome him as the Redeemer whoshall come to Zion, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob, for he shall save his people fromtheir sins; and under this notion there were those that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.806Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)L E V I T C U SCHAP. XXVI.This chapter is a solemn conclusion of the main body of the levitical law. The precepts thatfollow in this and the following book either relate to some particular matters or are repetitions andexplications of the foregoing institutions. Now this chapter contains a general enforcement of allthose laws by promises of reward in case of obedience on the one hand, and threatenings ofpunishment for disobedience on the other hand, the former to work upon hope, the latter on fear,those two handles of the soul, by which it is taken hold of and managed. Here is, I. A repetition oftwo or three of the principal of the commandments, ver. 1, 2. II. An inviting promise of all goodthings, if they would but keep God's commandments, ver. 3-13. III. A terrible threatening of ruiningjudgments which would be brought upon them if they were refractory and disobedient, ver. 14-39.IV. A gracious promise of the return of mercy to those of them that would repent and reform, ver.40, &c. Deut. xxviii is parallel to this.Promises. (b. c. 1490.)1 Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standingimage, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it:for I am the Lord your God. 2 Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence mysanctuary: I am the Lord. 3 If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments,and do them; 4 Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield herincrease, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. 5 And your threshing shallreach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shalleat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely. 6 And I will give peace inthe land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evilbeasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land. 7 And ye shallchase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. 8 And five of youshall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: andyour enemies shall fall before you by the sword. 9 For I will have respect unto you,and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you. 10And ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new. 11 And Iwill set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you. 12 And I willwalk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people. 13 I am theLord your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that ye should notbe their bondmen; and I have broken the bands of your yoke, and made you goupright.Here is, I. The inculcating of those precepts of the law which were of the greatest consequence,and by which were of the greatest consequence, and by which especially their obedience would be807Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)tried, v. 1, 2. They are the abstract of the second and fourth commandments, which, as they are bymuch the largest in the decalogue, so they are most frequently insisted on in other parts of the law.As, when a master has given many things in charge to his servant, he concludes with the repetitionof those things which were of the greatest importance, and which the servant was most in dangerof neglecting, bidding him, whatever he did, be sure to remember those, so here God by Moses,after many precepts, closes all with a special charge to observe these two great commandments. 1."Be sure you never worship images, nor ever make any sort of images or pictures for a religioususe," v. 1. No sin was more provoking to God than this, and yet there was none that they were moreaddicted to, and which afterwards proved of more pernicious consequence to them. Next to God'sbeing, unity, and universal influence, it is necessary that we know and believe that he is an infiniteSpirit; and therefore to represent him by an image in the making of it, to confine him to an imagein the consecrating of it, and to worship him by an image in bowing down to it, changes his truthinto a lie and his glory into shame, as much as any thing. 2. "Be sure you keep up a great venerationfor sabbaths and religious assemblies," v. 2. As nothing tends more to corrupt religion than the useof images in devotion, so nothing contributes more to the support of it than keeping the sabbathsand reverencing the sanctuary. These make up very much of the instrumental part of religion, bywhich the essentials of it are kept up. Therefore we find in the prophets that, next to the sin ofidolatry, there is no sin for which the Jews are more frequently reproved and threatened than theprofanation of the sabbath day.II. Great encouragements given them to live in constant obedience to all God's commandments,largely and strongly assuring them that if they did so they should be a happy people, and shouldbe blessed with all the good things they could desire. Human governments enforce their laws withpenalties to be inflicted for the breach of them; but God will be known as the rewarder of thosethat seek and serve him. Let us take a view of these great and precious promises, which, thoughthey relate chiefly to the life which now is, and to the public national concerns of that people, weretypical of the spiritual blessings entailed by the covenant of grace upon all believers through Christ.1. Plenty and abundance of the fruits of the earth. They should have seasonable rain, neither toolittle nor too much, but what was requisite for their land, which was watered with the dew of heaven(Deut. xi. 10, 11), that it might yield its increase, v. 4. The dependence which the fruitfulness ofthe earth beneath has upon the influences of heaven above is a sensible intimation to us that everygood and perfect gift must be expected from above, from the Father of lights. It is promised thatthe earth should produce its fruits in such great abundance that they would be kept in fullemployment, during both the harvest and the vintage, to gather it in, v. 5. Before they had reapedtheir corn and threshed it, the vintage would be ready; and, before they had finished their vintage,it would be high time to begin their sowing. Long harvests are often with us the consequences ofbad weather, but with them they should be the effects of a great increase. This signified theabundance of grace which should be poured out in gospel times, when the ploughman shouldovertake the reaper (Amos ix. 13), and a great harvest of souls should be gathered in to Christ. Theplenty should be so great that they should bring forth the old to be given away to the poor becauseof the new, to make room for it in their barns, which yet they would not pull down to build greater,as that rich fool (Luke xii. 18), for God gave them this abundance to be laid out, not be hoarded upfrom one year to another. He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him, Prov. xi. 26. Thatpromise (Mal. iii. 10), I will pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receiveit, explains this, v. 10. And that which crowns this blessing of plenty is (v. 5), You shall eat your808Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)bread to the full, which intimates that they should have, not only abundance, but content andsatisfaction in it. They should have enough, and should know when they had enough. Thus themeek shall eat and be satisfied, Ps. xxii. 26. 2. Peace under the divine protection; "You shall dwellin your land safely (v. 5); both really save, and safe in your own apprehensions; you shall lie downto rest in the power and promise of God, and not only none shall hurt you, but none shall so muchas make you afraid," v. 6. See Ps. iv. 8. They should not be infested with wild beasts, these shouldbe rid out of the land, or, as it is promised (Job v. 23), should be at peace with them. Nor shouldthey be terrified with the alarms of war: Neither shall the sword go through your land. This holysecurity is promised to all the faithful, Ps. xci. 1, &c. Those must needs dwell in safety that dwellin God, Job ix. 18, 19. 3. Victory and success in their wars abroad, while they had peace andtranquility at home, v. 7, 8. They are assured that the hand of God should so signally appear withthem in their conquests that no disproportion of numbers should make against them: Five of youshall have courage to attack, and strength to chase and defeat, a hundred, as Jonathan did (1 Sam.xiv. 12), experiencing the truth of his own maxim (v. 6), that it is all one with the Lord to save bymany or by few. 4. The increase of their people: I will make you fruitful and multiply you, v. 9. Thusthe promise made to Abraham must be fulfilled, that his seed should be as the dust of the earth;and much more numerous they would have been if they had by their sin cut themselves short. It ispromised to the gospel church that it shall be fruitful, John xv. 16. 5. The favour of God, which isthe fountain of all good: I will have respect unto you, v. 9. If the eye of our faith be unto God, theeye of his favour will be unto us. More is implied than is expressed in that promise, My soul shallnot abhor you (v. 11), as there is in that threatening, My soul shall have no pleasure in him, Heb.x. 38. Though there was that among them which might justly have alienated him from them, yet,if they would closely adhere to his institutions, he would not abhor them. 6. Tokens of his presencein and by his ordinances: I will set my tabernacle among you, v. 11. It was their honour and advantagethat God's tabernacle was lately erected among them; but here he lets them know that the continuanceand establishment of it depended upon their good behaviour. The tabernacle that was now set shouldbe settled if they would be obedient, else not. Note, The way to have God's ordinances fixed amongus, as a nail in a sure place, is to cleave closely to the institution of them. It is added (v. 12), "I willwalk among you, with delight and satisfaction, as a man in his garden; I will keep up communionwith you as a man walking with his friend." This seems to be alluded to, Rev. ii. 1, where Christis said to walk in the midst of the golden candlesticks. 7. The grace of the covenant, as the fountainand foundation, the sweetness and security, of all these blessings: I will establish my covenant withyou, v. 9. Let them perform their part of the covenant, and God would not fail to perform his. Allcovenant-blessings are summed up in the covenant-relation (v. 12): I will be your God, and youshall be my people; and they are all grounded upon their redemption: I am your God, because Ibrought you forth out of the land of Egypt, v. 13. Having purchased them, he would own them, andnever cast them off till they cast him off. He broke their yoke, and made them go upright, that is,their deliverance out of Egypt put them in a state both of ease and honour, that, being delivered outof the hands of their enemies, they might serve God without fear, each walking in his uprightness.When Israel rejected Christ, and was therefore rejected by him, their back is said to be bowed downalways under the burden of their guilt, which was heavier than that of their bondage in Egypt, Rom.xi. 10.Threatenings. (b. c. 1490.)809Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)14 But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments;15 And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so thatye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant: 16 I also willdo this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burningague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow yourseed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. 17 And I will set my face against you,and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you;and ye shall flee when none pursueth you. 18 And if ye will not yet for all thishearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. 19 And Iwill break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and yourearth as brass: 20 And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall notyield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits. 21 And if yewalk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times moreplagues upon you according to your sins. 22 I will also send wild beasts amongyou, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle, and make youfew in number; and your high ways shall be desolate. 23 And if ye will not bereformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary unto me; 24 Then will Ialso walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins. 25And I will bring a sword upon you, that shall avenge the quarrel of my covenant:and when ye are gathered together within your cities, I will send the pestilence amongyou; and ye shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy. 26 And when I havebroken the staff of your bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, andthey shall deliver you your bread again by weight: and ye shall eat, and not besatisfied. 27 And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary untome; 28 Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastiseyou seven times for your sins. 29 And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and theflesh of your daughters shall ye eat. 30 And I will destroy your high places, andcut down your images, and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols, andmy soul shall abhor you. 31 And I will make your cities waste, and bring yoursanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours.32 And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell thereinshall be astonished at it. 33 And I will scatter you among the heathen, and willdraw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.34 Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be inyour enemies' land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths. 35 Aslong as it lieth desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your sabbaths, whenye dwelt upon it. 36 And upon them that are left alive of you I will send a faintness810Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; and the sound of a shaken leaf shallchase them; and they shall flee, as fleeing from a sword; and they shall fall whennone pursueth. 37 And they shall fall one upon another, as it were before a sword,when none pursueth: and ye shall have no power to stand before your enemies. 38And ye shall perish among the heathen, and the land of your enemies shall eat youup. 39 And they that are left of you shall pine away in their iniquity in your enemies'lands; and also in the iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away with them.After God had set the blessing before them (the life and good which would make them a happypeople if they would be obedient), he here sets the curse before them, the death and evil whichwould make them as miserable if they were disobedient. Let them not think themselves so deeplyrooted as that God's power could not ruin them, nor so highly favoured as that his justice wouldnot ruin them if they revolted from him and rebelled against him; no You only have I known,therefore I will punish you soonest and sorest. Amos iii. 2. Observe,I. How their sin is described, which would bring all this misery upon them. Not sins of ignoranceand infirmity; God had provided sacrifices for those. Not the sins they repented of and forsook; butthe sins that were presumptuously committed, and obstinately persisted in. Two things wouldcertainly bring this ruin upon them:—1. A contempt of God's commandments (v. 14): "If you will not hearken to me speaking to youby the law, nor do all these commandments, that is, desire and endeavour to do them, and, whereinyou miss it, make use of the prescribed remedies." Thus their sin is supposed to begin in merecarelessness, and neglect, and omission. These are bad enough, but they make way for worse; forthe people are brought in (v. 15) as, (1.) Despising God's statutes, both the duties enjoined and theauthority enjoining them, thinking meanly of the law and the Law-maker. Note, Those are hasteningapace to their own ruin who begin to think it below them to be religious. (2.) Abhorring hisjudgments, their very souls abhorring them. Note, Those that begin to despise religion will comeby degrees to loathe it; and mean thoughts of it will ripen into ill thoughts of it; those that turn fromit will turn against it, and their hearts will rise at it. (3.) Breaking his covenant. Though every breachof the commandment does not amount to a breach of the covenant (we were undone if it did), yet,when men have come to such a pitch of impiety as to despise and abhor the commandment, thenext step will be to disown God, and all relation to him. Those that reject the precept will come atlast to renounce the covenant. Observe, It is God's covenant which they break: he made it, but theybreak it. Note, If a covenant be made and kept between God and man, God must have all the honour;but, if ever it be broken, man must bear all the blame: on him shall this breach be.2. A contempt of his corrections. Even their disobedience would not have been their destructionif they had not been obstinate and impenitent in it, notwithstanding the methods God took to reclaimthem. Their contempt of God's word would not have brought them to ruin, if they had not addedto that a contempt of his rod, which should have brought them to repentance. Three ways this isexpressed:—(1.) "If you will not for all this hearken to me, v. 18, 21, 27. If you will not learnobedience by the things which you suffer, but be as deaf to the loud alarms of God's judgments asyou have been to the close reasonings of his word and the secret whispers of your own consciences,you are obstinate indeed." (2.) "If you walk contrary to me, v. 21, 23, 27. All sinners walk contraryto God, to his truths, laws, and counsels; but those especially that are incorrigible under his811Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)judgments. The design of the rod is to humble them, and soften them, and bring them to repentance;but, instead of this, their hearts are more hardened and exasperated against God, and in their distressthey trespass yet more against him, 2 Chron. xxviii. 22. This is walking contrary to God. Someread it, "If you walk at all adventures with me, carelessly and presumptuously, as if you heedednot either what you do, whether it be right or wrong, or what God does with you, whether it be foryou or against you, blundering on in wilful ignorance." (3.) If you will not be reformed by thesethings. God's design in punishing is to reform, by giving men sensible convictions of the evil ofsin, and obliging them to seek unto him for relief: this is the primary intention; but those that willnot be reformed by the judgments of God must expect to be ruined by them. Those have a greatdeal to answer for that have been long and often under God's correcting hand, and yet go on frowardlyin a sinful way; sick and in pain, and yet not reformed; crossed and impoverished, and yet notreformed; broken with breach upon breach, yet not returning to the Lord, Amos iv. 6, &c.II. How the misery is described which their sin would bring upon them, under two heads:—1. God himself would be against them; and this is the root and cause of all their misery. (1.) Iwill set my face against you (v. 17), that is, "I will set myself against you, set myself to ruin you."These proud sinners God will resist, and face those down that confront his authority. Or the faceis put for the anger: "I will show myself highly displeased at you." (2.) I will walk contrary to you(v. 24, 28); with the forward he will wrestle, Ps. xxviii. 26 [margin]. When God in his providencethwarts the designs of a people, which they thought well laid, crosses their purposes, breaks theirmeasures, blasts their endeavours, and disappoints their expectations, then he walks contrary tothem. Note, There is nothing got by striving with God Almighty, for he will break either the heartor the neck of those that contend with him, will bring them either to repentance or ruin. "I will walkat all adventures with you," so some read; "all covenant loving-kindness shall be forgotten, and Iwill leave you to common providence." Note, Those that cast off God deserve that he should castthem off. (3.) As they continued obstinate, the judgments should increase yet more upon them. Ifthe first sensible tokens of God's displeasures do not attain their end, to humble and reform them,then (v. 18), I will punish you seven times more, and again (v. 21), I will bring seven times moreplagues, and (v. 24), I will punish you yet seven times, and (v. 28), I, even I, will chastise you seventimes for your sins. Note, If less judgments do not do their work, God will send greater; for, whenhe judges, he will overcome. If true repentance do not stay process, it will go on till execution betaken out. Those that are obstinate and incorrigible, when they have weathered one storm mustexpect another more violent; and, how severely soever they are punished, till they are in hell theymust still say, "There is worse behind," unless they repent. If the founder have hitherto melted invain (Jer. vi. 29), the furnace will be heated seven times hotter (a proverbial expression, used Dan.iii. 19), and again and again seven times hotter; and who among us can dwell with such devouringfire? God does not begin with the sorest judgments, to show that he is patient, and delights not inthe death of sinners; but, if they repent not, he will proceed to the sorest, to show that he is righteous,and that he will not be mocked or set at defiance. (4.) Their misery is completed in that threatening:My soul shall abhor you, v. 30. That man is as miserable as he can be whom God abhors; for hisresentments are just and effective. Thus if any man draw back, as these are supposed to do, God'ssoul shall have no pleasure in him (Heb. x. 38), and he will spue them out of his mouth, Rev. iii.16. It is spoken of as strange, and yet too true, Hath thy soul loathed Zion? Jer. xiv. 19.2. The whole creation would be at war with them. All God's sore judgments would be sentagainst them; for he hath many arrows in his quiver. The threatenings here are very particular,812Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)because really they were prophecies, and he that foresaw all their rebellions knew they would proveso; see Deut. xxxi. 16, 29. This long roll of threatening shows that evil pursues sinners. We havehere,(1.) Temporal judgments threatened. [1.] Diseases of body, which should be epidemical: I willappoint over you, as task-masters, to rule you with rigour, terror, consumption, and the burningague, v. 16. What we translate terror, some think, signifies a particular disease, probably (says thelearned bishop Patrick) the falling sickness, which is terror indeed: all chronical diseases are includedin the consumption, and all acute diseases in the burning ague or fever. These consume the eyes,and cause sorrow both to those that are visited with them and to their friends and relations. Note,All diseases are God's servants; they do what he appoints them, and are often used as scourgeswherewith he chastises a provoking people. The pestilence is threatened (v. 25) to meet them, whenthey are gathered together in their cities for fear of the sword. The greater the concourse of peopleis, the greater desolation does the pestilence make; and, when it gets among the soldiers that shoulddefend a place, it is of most fatal consequence. [2.] Famine and scarcity of bread, which should bebrought upon them several ways; as, First, By plunder (v. 16): Your enemies shall eat it up, andcarry it off as the Midianites did, Judg. vi. 5, 6. Secondly, By unseasonable weather, especially thewant of rain (v. 19): I will make your heaven as iron, letting fall no rain, but reflecting heat, andthen the earth would of course be as dry and hard as brass, and their labour in ploughing and sowingwould be in vain (v. 20); for the increase of the earth depends upon God's good providence morethan upon man's good husbandry. This should be the breaking of the staff of bread (v. 26), whichlife leans upon, and is supported by, on which perhaps they had leaned more than upon God'sblessing. There should be so great a dearth of corn that, whereas every family used to fill an ovenof their own with household bread, now ten families should have to fill but one over, which wouldbring themselves and their children and servants to short allowance, so that they should eat andnot be satisfied. The less they had the more craving should their appetites be. Thirdly, By thebesieging of their cities, which would reduce them to such an extremity that they should eat theflesh of their sons and daughters, v. 29. [3.] War, and the prevailing of their enemies over them:"You shall be slain before your enemies, v. 17. Your choice men shall die in battle, and those thathate you shall reign over you, and justly, since you are not willing that the God that loved youshould reign over you;" 2 Chron. xii. 8. Miserable is that people whose enemies are their rulers andhave got dominion over them, or whose rulers have become their enemies and under-hand seek theruin of their interests. Thus God would break the pride of their power, v. 19. God had given thempower over the nations; but when they, instead of being thankful for that power, and improving itfor the service of God's kingdom, grew proud of it, and perverted the intentions of it, it was justwith God to break it. Thus God would bring a sword upon them to avenge the quarrel of hiscovenant, v. 25. Note, God has a just quarrel with those that break covenant with him, for he willnot be mocked by the treachery of perfidious men; and one way or other he will avenge this quarrelupon those that play at fast and loose with him. [4.] Wild beasts, lions, bears, and wolves, whichshould increase upon them, and tear in pieces all that come in their way (v. 22), as we read of twobears that in an instant killed forty-two children, 2 Kings ii. 24. This is one of the four sore judgmentsthreatened Ezek. xiv. 21, which plainly refers to this chapter. Man was made to have dominionover the creatures, and, though many of them are stronger than he, yet none of them could havehurt him, nay, all of them would have served him, if he had not first shaken off God's dominion,and so lost his own; and now the creatures are in rebellion against him that is in rebellion against813Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)his Maker, and, when the Lord of those hosts pleases, they are the executioners of his wrath andthe ministers of his justice. [5.] Captivity, or dispersion: I will scatter you among the heathen (v.33), in your enemies' land, v. 34. Never were any people so incorporated and united amongthemselves as they were; but for their sin God would scatter them, so that they should be lost amongthe heathen, from whom God had graciously distinguished them, but with whom they had wickedlymingled themselves. Yet, when they were scattered, divine justice had not done with them, butwould draw out a sword after them, which would find them out, and follow them wherever theywere. God's judgments, as they cannot be outfaced, so they cannot be outrun. [6.] The utter ruinand desolation of their land, which should be so remarkable that their very enemies themselves,who ha helped it forward, should in the review be astonished at it, v. 32. First, Their cities shouldbe waste, forsaken, uninhabited, and all the buildings destroyed; those that escaped the desolationsof war should fall to decay of themselves. Secondly, Their sanctuaries should be a desolation, thatis, their synagogues where they met for religious worship every sabbath, as well as their tabernaclewhere they met thrice a year. Thirdly, The country itself should be desolate, not tilled or husbanded(v. 34, 35); then the land should enjoy its sabbaths, because they had not religiously observed thesabbatical years which God appointed them. They tilled their ground when God would have themlet it rest; justly therefore were they driven out of it; and the expression intimates that the grounditself was pleased and easy when it was rid of the burden of such sinners, under which it had groaned,Rom. viii. 20, &c. The captivity in Babylon lasted seventy years, and so long the land enjoyed hersabbaths, as is said (2 Chron. xxxvi. 21) with reference to this. [7.] The destruction of their idols,though rather a mercy than a judgment, yet, being a necessary piece of justice, is here mentioned,to show what would be the sin that would bring all these miseries upon them: I will destroy yourhigh places, v. 30. Those that will not be parted from their sins by the commands of God shall beparted from them by his judgments; since they would not destroy their high places, God would.And, to upbraid them with the unreasonable fondness they had shown for their idols, it is foretoldthat their carcases should be cast upon the carcases of their idols. Those that are wedded to theirlusts will sooner or later have enough of them. Their idols would not be able to help either themselvesor their worshippers; but, those that made them being like them, they should both perish alike, andfall together as blind into the ditch.(2.) Spiritual judgments are here threatened. These should seize the mind; for he that made themind can, when he pleases, make his sword approach to it. It is here threatened, [1.] That theyshould find no acceptance with God: I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours, v. 31. Thoughthe judgments of God upon them did not separate them and their sins, yet they extorted incensefrom them; but in vain—even their incense was an abomination, Isa. i. 13. [2.] That they shouldhave no courage in their wars, but should be quite dispirited and disheartened. They should notonly fear and flee (v. 17), but fear and fall, when none pursued, v. 36. A guilty conscience wouldbe their continual terror, so that not only the sound of a trumpet, but the very sound of a leaf, shouldchase them. Note, Those that cast off the fear of God expose themselves to the fear of every thingelse, Prov. xxviii. 1. Their very fears should dash them one against another, v. 37, 38. And thosethat had increased one another's guilt would now increase one another's fears. [3.] That they shouldhave no hope of the forgiveness of their sins (v. 39): They shall pine away in their iniquity, andhow should they then live? Ezek. xxxiii. 10. Note, It is a righteous thing with God to leave thoseto despair of pardon that have presumed to sin; and it is owing to free grace if we are not abandonedto pine away in the iniquity we were born in and have lived in.814Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)Threatenings and Promises. (b. c. 1490.)40 If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with theirtrespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contraryunto me; 41 And that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have broughtthem into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled,and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: 42 Then will I remembermy covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenantwith Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land. 43 The land alsoshall be left of them, and shall enjoy her sabbaths, while she lieth desolate withoutthem: and they shall accept of the punishment of their iniquity: because, even becausethey despised my judgments, and because their soul abhorred my statutes. 44 Andyet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away,neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant withthem: for I am the Lord their God. 45 But I will for their sakes remember thecovenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in thesight of the heathen, that I might be their God: I am the Lord. 46 These are thestatutes and judgments and laws, which the Lord made between him and the childrenof Israel in mount Sinai by the hand of Moses.Here the chapter concludes with gracious promises of the return of God's favour to them upontheir repentance, that they might not (unless it were their own fault) pine away in their iniquity.Behold, with wonder, the riches of God's mercy to a people that had obstinately stood it out againstthe judgments of God, and would never think of surrendering till they were reduced to the lastextremity. Yet turn to strong-hold, you prisoners of hope, Zech. ix. 12. As bad as things are, theymay be mended. Yet there is hope in Israel. Observe,I. How the repentance which would qualify them for this mercy is described, v. 40, 41. Theinstances of it are three:—1. Confession, by which they must give glory to God, and take shameto themselves. There must be a confession of sin, their own and their fathers', which they mustlament the guilt of because they feel the smart of it; that thus they may cut off the entail of wrath.They must in their confession put sin under its worst character, as walking contrary to God; this isthe sinfulness of sin, the worst thing in it, and which in our repentance we should especially bewail.There must also be a confession of wrath; they must overlook the instruments of their trouble andthe second causes, and confess that God has walked contrary to them, and so dealt with themaccording to their sins. Such a confession as this we find made by Daniel just before the dawningof the day of their deliverance (ch. ix.), and the like, Ezra ix. and Neh. ix. 2. Remorse and godlysorrow for sin: If their uncircumcised heart be humbled. An impenitent, unbelieving, unhumbledheart, is called an uncircumcised heart, the heart of a Gentile that is a stranger to God, rather thanthe heart of an Israelite in covenant with him. True circumcision is of the heart (Rom. ii. 29), withoutwhich the circumcision of the flesh avails nothing, Jer. ix. 26. Now in repentance this uncircumcisedheart was humbled, that is, it was truly broken and contrite for sin. Note, A humble heart underhumbling providences prepares for deliverance and true comfort. 3. Submission to the justice of815Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)God in all his dealings; if they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity (v. 41 and again v.43), that is, if they justify God and condemn themselves, patiently bear the punishment as thatwhich they have well deserved, and carefully answer the ends o it as that which God has welldesigned, accept it as a kindness, take it as physic, and improve it, then they are penitents indeed.II. How the mercy which they should obtain upon their repentance is described. 1. They shouldnot be abandoned: Though they have despised my judgments, yet, for all that, I will not cast themaway, v. 43, 44. He speaks as a tender Father that cannot find in his heart to disinherit a son thathas been very provoking. How shall I do it? Hos. xi. 8, 9. Till he had laid the foundations of achurch for himself in the Gentile world, the Jewish church was not quite forsaken, nor cast away.2. They should be remembered: I will remember the land with favour, which is grounded upon thepromise before, I will remember my covenant (v. 42), which is repeated, v. 45. God is said toremember the covenant when he performs the promises of it, purely for his faithfulness' sake; notbecause there is any thing in us to recommend us to his favour, but because he will be as good ashis word. This is the church's plea. Ps. lxxiv. 20, Have respect unto the covenant. He will rememberthe constitution of the covenant, which is such as leaves room for repentance, and promises pardonupon repentance; and the Mediator of the covenant, who was promised to Abraham, Isaac, andJacob, and was sent, when the fulness of time came, in remembrance of that holy covenant. Theword covenant is thrice repeated, to intimate that God is ever mindful of it and would have us tobe so. The persons also with whom the covenant was made are mentioned in an unusual manner,per modum ascensus—in the ascending line, beginning with Jacob, to lead them gradually to themost ancient promise, which was made to the father of the faithful: thus (Mic. vii. 20) he is said toperform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham. He will for their sakes (v. 45), not theirmerit's sake, but their benefit's sake, remember the covenant of their ancestors, and upon that scoreshow kindness to them, though most unworthy; they are therefore said to be, as touching the election,beloved for the fathers' sake, Rom. xi. 28. Note, When those that have walked contrary to God ina way of sin return to him by sincere repentance, though he has walked contrary to them in a wayof judgment he will return to them in a way of special mercy, pursuant to the covenant of redemptionand grace. None are so ready to repent as God is to forgive upon repentance, through Christ, whois given for a covenant.Lastly, These are said to be the laws which the Lord made between him and the children ofIsrael, v. 46. His communion with his church is kept up by his law. He manifests not only hisdominion over them, but his favour to them, by giving them his law; and they manifest not onlytheir holy fear, but their holy love, by the observance of it; and thus it is made between them, ratheras a covenant than a law; for he draws with the cords of a man.L E V I T C U SCHAP. XXVII.The last verse of the foregoing chapter seemed to close up the statute-book; yet this chapter isadded as an appendix. Having given laws concerning instituted services, here he directs concerning816Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)vows and voluntary services, the free-will offerings of their mouth. Perhaps some devout seriouspeople among them might be so affected with what Moses had delivered to them in the foregoingchapter as in a pang of zeal to consecrate themselves, or their children, or estates to him: this,because honestly meant, God would accept; but, because men are apt to repent of such vows, heleaves room for the redemption of what had been so consecrated, at a certain rate. Here is, I. Thelaw concerning what was sanctified to God, persons (ver. 2-8), cattle, clean or unclean (ver. 9-13),houses and lands (ver. 15-25), with an exception of firstlings, ver. 26, 27. II. Concerning what wasdevoted, ver. 28, 29. III. Concerning tithes, ver. 30, &c.The Law Concerning Vows. (b. c. 1490.)1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Speak unto the children of Israel,and say unto them, When a man shall make a singular vow, the persons shall be forthe Lord by thy estimation. 3 And thy estimation shall be of the male from twentyyears old even unto sixty years old, even thy estimation shall be fifty shekels ofsilver, after the shekel of the sanctuary. 4 And if it be a female, then thy estimationshall be thirty shekels. 5 And if it be from five years old even unto twenty yearsold, then thy estimation shall be of the male twenty shekels, and for the female tenshekels. 6 And if it be from a month old even unto five years old, then thy estimationshall be of the male five shekels of silver, and for the female thy estimation shallbe three shekels of silver. 7 And if it be from sixty years old and above; if it be amale, then thy estimation shall be fifteen shekels, and for the female ten shekels.8 But if he be poorer than thy estimation, then he shall present himself before thepriest, and the priest shall value him; according to his ability that vowed shall thepriest value him. 9 And if it be a beast, whereof men bring an offering unto theLord, all that any man giveth of such unto the Lord shall be holy. 10 He shall notalter it, nor change it, a good for a bad, or a bad for a good: and if he shall at allchange beast for beast, then it and the exchange thereof shall be holy. 11 And if itbe any unclean beast, of which they do not offer a sacrifice unto the Lord, then heshall present the beast before the priest: 12 And the priest shall value it, whetherit be good or bad: as thou valuest it, who art the priest, so shall it be. 13 But if hewill at all redeem it, then he shall add a fifth part thereof unto thy estimation.This is part of the law concerning singular vows, extraordinary ones, which though God didnot expressly insist on, yet, if they were consistent with and conformable to the general precepts,he would be well pleased with. Note, We should not only ask, What must we do, but, What maywe do, for the glory and honour of God? As the liberal devises liberal things (Isa. xxxii. 8), so thepious devises pious things, and the enlarged heart would willingly do something extraordinary inthe service of so good a Master as God is. When we receive or expect some singular mercy it isgood to honour God with some singular vow.I. The case is here put of persons vowed to God by a singular vow, v. 2. If a man consecratedhimself, or a child, to the service of the tabernacle, to be employed there in some inferior office,817Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)as sweeping the floor, carrying out ashes, running of errands, or the like, the person so consecratedshall be for the Lord, that is, "God will graciously accept the good-will." Thou didst well that itwas in thy heart, 2 Chron. vi. 8. But forasmuch as he had no occasion to use their service about thetabernacle, a whole tribe being appropriated to the use of it, those that were thus vowed were to beredeemed, and the money paid for their redemption was employed for the repair of the sanctuary,or other uses of it, as appears by 2 Kings xii. 14, where it is called, in the margin, the money of thesouls of his estimation. A book of rates is accordingly provided, by which the priests were to go intheir estimation. Here is, 1. The rate of the middle-aged, between twenty and threescore, these werevalued highest, because most serviceable; a male fifty shekels, and a female thirty, v. 3, 4. Thefemales were then less esteemed, but not so in Christ; for in Christ Jesus there is neither male norfemale, Gal. iii. 28. Note, Those that are in the prime of their time must look upon themselves asobliged to do more in the service of God and their generation than can be expected either fromminors, that have not yet arrived to their usefulness, or from the aged, that have survived it. 2. Therate of the youth between five years old and twenty was less, because they were then less capableof doing service, v. 5. 3. Infants under five years old were capable of being vowed to God by theirparents, even before they were born, as Samuel was, but not to be presented and redeemed till amonth old, that, as one sabbath passed over them before they were circumcised, so one new moonmight pass over them before they were estimated; and their valuation was but small, v. 6. Samuel,who was thus vowed to God, was not redeemed, because he was a Levite, and a particular favourite,and therefore was employed in his childhood in the service of the tabernacle. 4. The aged are valuedless than youth, but more than children, v. 7. And the Hebrews observe that the rate of an agedwoman is two parts of three to that of an aged man, so that in that age the female came nearest tothe value of the male, which occasioned (as bishop Patrick quotes it here) this saying among them,That an old woman in a house is a treasure in a house. Paul sets a great value upon the aged women,when he makes them teachers of good things, Tit. ii. 3. 5. The poor shall be valued according totheir ability, v. 8. Something they must pay, that they might learn not to be rash in vowing to God,for he hath no pleasure in fools, Eccl. v. 4. Yet not more than their ability, but secundumtenementum—according to their possessions, that they might not ruin themselves and their familiesby their zeal. Note, God expects and requires from men according to what they have, and notaccording to what they have not, Luke xxi. 4.II. The case is put of beasts vowed to God, 1. If it was a clean beast, such as was offered insacrifice, it must not be redeemed, nor any equivalent given for it: It shall be holy, v. 9, 10. Afterit was vowed, it was not to be put to any common use, nor changed upon second thoughts; but itmust be either offered upon the altar, or, if through any blemish it was not meet to be offered, hethat vowed it should not take advantage of that, but the priests should have it for their own use (forthey were God's receivers), or it should be sold for the service of the sanctuary. This teaches cautionin making vows and constancy in keeping them when they are made; for it is a snare to a man todevour that which is holy, and after vows to make enquiry, Prov. xx. 25. And to this that rule ofcharity seems to allude (2 Cor. ix. 7), Every man, according as he purposeth in his heart, so lethim give. 2. If it was an unclean beast, it should go to the use of the priest at such a value; but hethat vowed it, upon paying that value in money, and adding a fifth part more to it, might redeem itif he pleased, v. 11-13. It was fit that men should smart for their inconstancy. God has let us knowhis mind concerning his service, and he is not pleased if we do not know our own. God expectsthat those that deal with him should be at a point, and way what they will stand to.818Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)Concerning Things Sanctified. (b. c. 1490.)14 And when a man shall sanctify his house to be holy unto the Lord, then thepriest shall estimate it, whether it be good or bad: as the priest shall estimate it, soshall it stand. 15 And if he that sanctified it will redeem his house, then he shalladd the fifth part of the money of thy estimation unto it, and it shall be his. 16 Andif a man shall sanctify unto the Lord some part of a field of his possession, then thyestimation shall be according to the seed thereof: an homer of barley seed shall bevalued at fifty shekels of silver. 17 If he sanctify his field from the year of jubilee,according to thy estimation it shall stand. 18 But if he sanctify his field after thejubilee, then the priest shall reckon unto him the money according to the years thatremain, even unto the year of the jubilee, and it shall be abated from thy estimation.19 And if he that sanctified the field will in any wise redeem it, then he shall addthe fifth part of the money of thy estimation unto it, and it shall be assured to him.20 And if he will not redeem the field, or if he have sold the field to another man,it shall not be redeemed any more. 21 But the field, when it goeth out in the jubilee,shall be holy unto the Lord, as a field devoted; the possession thereof shall be thepriest's. 22 And if a man sanctify unto the Lord a field which he hath bought, whichis not of the fields of his possession; 23 Then the priest shall reckon unto him theworth of thy estimation, even unto the year of the jubilee: and he shall give thineestimation in that day, as a holy thing unto the Lord. 24 In the year of the jubileethe field shall return unto him of whom it was bought, even to him to whom thepossession of the land did belong. 25 And all thy estimations shall be according tothe shekel of the sanctuary: twenty gerahs shall be the shekel.Here is the law concerning real estates dedicated to the service of God by a singular vow.I. Suppose a man, in his zeal for the honour of God, should sanctify his house to God (v. 14),the house must be valued by the priest, and the money got by the sale of it was to be converted tothe use of the sanctuary, which by degrees came to be greatly enriched with dedicated things, 1Kings xv. 15. But, if the owner be inclined to redeem it himself, he must not have it so cheap asanother, but must add a fifth part to the price, for he should have considered before he had vowedit, v. 15. To him that was necessitous God would abate the estimation (v. 8); but to him that wasfickle and humoursome, and whose second thoughts inclined more to the world and his secularinterest than his first, God would rise in the price. Blessed be God, there is a way of sanctifyingour houses to be holy unto the Lord, without either selling them or buying them. If we and ourhouses serve the Lord, if religion rule in them, and we put away iniquity far from them, and havea church in our house, holiness to the Lord is written upon it, it is his, and he will dwell with us init.II. Suppose a man should sanctify some part of his land to the Lord, giving it to pious uses,then a difference must be made between land that came to the donor by descent and that whichcame by purchase, and accordingly the case altered.819Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)1. If it was the inheritance of his fathers, here called the field of his possession, which pertainedto his family from the first division of Canaan, he might not give it all, no, not to the sanctuary;God would not admit such a degree of zeal as ruined a man's family. But he might sanctify ordedicate only some part of it, v. 16. And in that case, (1.) The land was to be valued (as ourcountrymen commonly compute land) by so many measures' sowing of barley. So much land aswould take a homer, or chomer, of barley, which contained ten ephahs, Ezek. xlv. 11 (not, as somehave here mistaken it, an omer, which was but a tenth part of an ephah, Exod. xvi. 36), was valuedat fifty shekels, a moderate price (v. 16), and that if it were sanctified immediately from the yearof jubilee, v. 17. But, if some years after, there was to be a discount accordingly, even of that price,v. 18. And, (2.) When the value was fixed, the donor might, if he pleased, redeem it for sixty shekelsthe homer's sowing, which was with the addition of a fifth part: the money then went to the sanctuary,and the land reverted to him that had sanctified it, v. 19. But if he would not redeem it, and thepriest sold it to another, then at the year of jubilee, beyond which the sale could not go, the landcame to the priests, and was theirs for ever, v. 20, 21. Note, What is given to the Lord ought not tobe given with a power of revocation; what is devoted to the Lord must be his for ever, by a perpetualcovenant.2. If the land was his own purchase, and came not to him from his ancestors, then not the landitself, but the value of it was to be given to the priests for pious uses, v. 22, 24. It was supposedthat those who, by the blessing of God, had grown so rich as to become purchasers would thinkthemselves obliged in gratitude to sanctify some part of their purchase, at least (and here they arenot limited, but they might, if they pleased, sanctify the whole), to the service of God. For we oughtto give as God prospers us, 1 Cor. xvi. 2. Purchasers are in a special manner bound to be charitable.Now, forasmuch as purchased lands were by a former law to return at the year of jubilee to thefamily from which they were purchased, God would not have that law and the intentions of itdefeated by making the lands corban, a gift, Mark vii. 11. But it was to be computed how muchthe land was worth for so many years as were from the vow to the jubilee; for only so long it washis own, and God hates robbery for burnt-offerings. We can never acceptably serve God with thatof which we have wronged our neighbour. And so much money he was to give for the present, andkeep the land in his own hands till the year of jubilee, when it was to return free of all encumbrances,even that of its being dedicated to him of whom it was bought. The value of the shekel by whichall these estimations were to be made is here ascertained (v. 25); it shall be twenty gerahs, andevery gerah was sixteen barley-corns. This was fixed before (Exod. xxx. 13); and, whereas therehad been some alterations, it is again fixed in the laws of Ezekiel's visionary temple (Ezek. xlv.12), to denote that the gospel should reduce things to their ancient standard.26 Only the firstling of the beasts, which should be the Lord's firstling, no manshall sanctify it; whether it be ox, or sheep: it is the Lord's. 27 And if it be of anunclean beast, then he shall redeem it according to thine estimation, and shall adda fifth part of it thereto: or if it be not redeemed, then it shall be sold according tothy estimation. 28 Notwithstanding no devoted thing, that a man shall devote untothe Lord of all that he hath, both of man and beast, and of the field of his possession,shall be sold or redeemed: every devoted thing is most holy unto the Lord. 29 Nonedevoted, which shall be devoted of men, shall be redeemed; but shall surely be put820Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)to death. 30 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of thefruit of the tree, is the Lord's: it is holy unto the Lord. 31 And if a man will at allredeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof. 32 Andconcerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth underthe rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord. 33 He shall not search whether it begood or bad, neither shall he change it: and if he change it at all, then both it and thechange thereof shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed. 34 These are thecommandments, which the Lord commanded Moses for the children of Israel inmount Sinai.Here is, I. A caution given that no man should make such a jest of sanctifying things to theLord as to sanctify any firstling to him, for that was his already by the law, v. 26. Though the matterof a general vow be that which we were before obliged to, as of our sacramental covenant, yet asingular vow should be of that which we were not, in such circumstances and proportions,antecedently bound to. The law concerning the firstlings of unclean beasts (v. 27) is the same withthat before, v. 11, 12.II. Things or persons devoted are here distinguished from things or persons that were onlysanctified. 1. Devoted things were most holy to the Lord, and could neither revert nor be alienated,v. 28. They were of the same nature with those sacrifices which were called most holy, which nonemight touch but only the priests themselves. The difference between these and other sanctifiedthings arose from the different expression of the vow. If a man dedicated any thing to God, bindinghimself with a solemn curse never to alienate it to any other purpose, then it was a thing devoted.2. Devoted persons were to be put to death, v. 29. Not that it was in the power of any parent ormaster thus to devote a child or a servant to death; but it must be meant of the public enemies ofIsrael, who, either by the appointment of God or by the sentence of the congregation, were devoted,as the seven nations with which they must make no league. The city of Jericho in particular wasthus devoted, Josh. vi. 17. The inhabitants of Jabesh-Gilead were put to death for violating the cursepronounced upon those who came not up to Mizpeh, Judg. xxi. 9, 10. Some think it was for wantof being rightly informed of the true intent and meaning of this law that Jephtha sacrificed hisdaughter as one devoted, who might not be redeemed.III. A law concerning tithes, which were paid for the service of God before the law, as appearsby Abraham's payment of them, (Gen. xiv. 20), and Jacob's promise of them, Gen. xxviii. 22. It ishere appointed, 1. That they should pay tithe of all their increase, their corn, trees, and cattle, v.30, 32. Whatsoever productions they had the benefit of God must be honoured with the tithe of, ifit were titheable. Thus they acknowledged God to be the owner of their land, the giver of its fruits,and themselves to be his tenants, and dependents upon him. Thus they gave him thanks for theplenty they enjoyed, and supplicated his favour in the continuance of it. And we are taught in generalto honour the Lord with our substance (Prov. iii. 9), and in particular to support and maintain hisministers, and to be ready to communicate to them, Gal. vi. 6; 1 Cor. ix. 11. And how this may bedone in a fitter and more equal proportion than that of the tenth, which God himself appointed ofold, I cannot see. 2. That which was once marked for tithe should not be altered, no, not for a better(v. 33), for Providence directed the rod that marked it. God would accept it though it were not thebest, and they must not grudge it though it were, for it was what passed under the rod. 3. That it821Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)should not be redeemed, unless the owner would give a fifth part more for its ransom, v. 31. If menhad the curiosity to prefer what was marked for tithe before any other part of their increase, it wasfit that they should pay for their curiosity.IV. The last verse seems to have reference to this whole book of which it is the conclusion:These are the commandments which the Lord commanded Moses, for the children of Israel. Manyof these commandments are moral, and of perpetual obligation; others of them, which wereceremonial and peculiar to the Jewish economy, have notwithstanding a spiritual significancy, andare instructive to us who are furnished with a key to let us into the mysteries contained in them;for unto us, by those institutions, is the gospel preached as well as unto them, Heb. iv. 2. Upon thewhole matter, we may see cause to bless God that we have not come to mount Sinai, Heb. xii. 18.1. That we are not under the dark shadows of the law, but enjoy the clear light of the gospel, whichshows us Christ the end of the law for righteousness, Rom. x. 4. The doctrine of our reconciliationto God by a Mediator is not clouded with the smoke of burning sacrifices, but cleared by theknowledge of Christ and him crucified. 2. That we are not under the heavy yoke of the law, and thecarnal ordinances of it (as the apostle calls them, Heb. ix. 10), imposed till the time of reformation,a yoke which neither they nor their fathers were able to bear (Acts xv. 10), but under the sweetand easy institutions of the gospel, which pronounces those the true worshippers that worship theFather in spirit and truth, by Christ only, and in his name, who is our priest, temple, altar, sacrifice,purification, and all. Let us not therefore think that because we are not tied to the ceremonialcleansings, feasts, and oblations, a little care, time, and expense, will serve to honour God with.No, but rather have our hearts more enlarge with free-will offerings to his praise, more inflamedwith holy love and joy, and more engaged in seriousness of thought and sincerity of intention.Having boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, let us draw near with a true heart,and full assurance of faith, worshipping God with so much the more cheerfulness and humbleconfidence, still saying, Blessed be God for Jesus Christ!822Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis to Matthew HenryDeuteronomy)





    GOLD DIVIDER WITH CROSS CENTER

    Cambridge Bible Commentary, Comprehensive;

    Jamieson, Fausset & Brown: Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein;

    "LEVTICUS 1"

    AN EXPOSITION, WITH PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS
    OF THE THIRD BOOK OF MOSES, CALLED LEVITICUS;



    Commentary by Robert Jamieson







      CHAPTER

        1

        Leviticus 1:1-17. Burnt Offerings of the Herd.

        1. the Lord … spake … out of the tabernacle—The laws that are contained in the previousrecord were delivered either to the people publicly from Sinai, or to Moses privately, on the summitof that mountain; but on the completion of the tabernacle, the remainder of the law was announcedto the Hebrew leader by an audible voice from the divine glory, which surmounted the mercy seat.2. Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them—If the subject of communicationwere of a temporal nature, the Levites were excluded; but if it were a spiritual matter, all the tribeswere comprehended under this name (Deuteronomy 27:12).If any man of you bring an offering unto the Lord—The directions given here relate solelyto voluntary or freewill offerings—those rendered over and above such, as being of standing anduniversal obligation, could not be dispensed with or commuted for any other kind of offering (Exodus29:38; Leviticus 23:37; Numbers 28:3, 11-27, &c.).bring your offering of the cattle, &c.—that is, those animals that were not only tame, innocentand gentle, but useful and adapted for food. This rule excluded horses, dogs, swine, camels, andasses, which were used in sacrifice by some heathen nations, beasts and birds of prey, as also haresand deers.3. a burnt sacrifice—so called from its being wholly consumed on the altar; no part of it waseaten either by the priests or the offerer. It was designed to propitiate the anger of God incurred byoriginal sin, or by particular transgressions; and its entire combustion indicated the self-dedicationof the offerer—his whole nature—his body and soul—as necessary to form a sacrifice acceptable165





      Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein

        to God (Romans 12:1; Philippians 1:20). This was the most ancient as well as the most conspicuous mode ofsacrifice.a male without blemish—No animal was allowed to be offered that had any deformity ordefect. Among the Egyptians, a minute inspection was made by the priest; and the bullock havingbeen declared perfect, a certificate to that effect being fastened to its horns with wax, was sealedwith his ring, and no other might be substituted. A similar process of examining the condition ofthe beasts brought as offerings, seems to have been adopted by the priests in Israel (John 6:27).at the door of the tabernacle—where stood the altar of burnt offering (Exodus 40:6). Every otherplace was forbidden, under the highest penalty (Leviticus 17:4).4. shall put his hand upon the head—This was a significant act which implied not only thatthe offerer devoted the animal to God, but that he confessed his consciousness of sin and prayedthat his guilt and its punishment might be transferred to the victim.and it shall be—rather, "that it may be an acceptable atonement."5. he shall kill the bullock—The animal should be killed by the offerer, not by the priest, forit was not his duty in case of voluntary sacrifices; in later times, however, the office was generallyperformed by Levites.before the Lord—on the spot where the hands had been laid upon the animal's head, on thenorth side of the altar.sprinkle the blood—This was to be done by the priests. The blood being considered the life,the effusion of it was the essential part of the sacrifice; and the sprinkling of it—the application ofthe atonement—made the person and services of the offerer acceptable to God. The skin havingbeen stripped off, and the carcass cut up, the various pieces were disposed on the altar in the mannerbest calculated to facilitate their being consumed by the fire.8. the fat—that about the kidneys especially, which is called "suet."9. but his inwards and his legs shall he wash in water, &c.—This part of the ceremony wassymbolical of the inward purity, and the holy walk, that became acceptable worshippers.a sweet savour unto the Lord—is an expression of the offerer's piety, but especially as asacrificial type of Christ.10-13. if his offering be of the flocks—Those who could not afford the expense of a bullockmight offer a ram or a he-goat, and the same ceremonies were to be observed in the act of offering.14-17. if the burnt sacrifice … be of fowls—The gentle nature and cleanly habits of the doveled to its selection, while all other fowls were rejected, either for the fierceness of their dispositionor the grossness of their taste; and in this case, there being from the smallness of the animal noblood for waste, the priest was directed to prepare it at the altar and sprinkle the blood. This wasthe offering appointed for the poor. The fowls were always offered in pairs, and the reason whyMoses ordered two turtledoves or two young pigeons, was not merely to suit the convenience ofthe offerer, but according as the latter was in season; for pigeons are sometimes quite hard and unfitfor eating, at which time turtledoves are very good in Egypt and Philestina-Canaan Land. The turtledoves are notrestricted to any age because they are always good when they appear in those countries, being birdsof passage; but the age of the pigeons is particularly marked that they might not be offered to Godat times when they are rejected by men [Harmer]. It is obvious, from the varying scale of thesevoluntary sacrifices, that the disposition of the offerer was the thing looked to—not the costlinessof his offering.166





      Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein







        CHAPTER

          2Leviticus 2:1-16. The Meat Offerings.1. when any will offer a meat offering—or gift—distinguishing a bloodless from a bloodysacrifice. The word "meat," however, is improper, as its meaning as now used is different from thatattached at the date of our English translation. It was then applied not to "flesh," but "food," generally,and here it is applied to the flour of wheat. The meat offerings were intended as a thankfulacknowledgment for the bounty of Providence; and hence, although meat offerings accompaniedsome of the appointed sacrifices, those here described being voluntary oblations, were offeredalone.pour oil upon it—Oil was used as butter is with us; symbolically it meant the influences ofthe Spirit, of which oil was the emblem, as incense was of prayer.2. shall burn the memorial—rather, "for a memorial"; that is, a part of it.3. the remnant of the meat offering shall be Aaron's and his sons'—The circumstance of aportion of it being appropriated to the use of the priests distinguishes this from a burnt offering.They alone were to partake of it within the sacred precincts, as among "the most holy things."4. if thou bring an oblation of a meat offering baken in the oven—generally a circular holeexcavated in the floor, from one to five feet deep, the sides of which are covered with hardenedplaster, on which cakes are baked of the form and thickness of pancakes. (See on Genesis 18:6). Theshape of Eastern ovens varies considerably according to the nomadic or settled habits of the people.5. baken in a pan—a thin plate, generally of copper or iron, placed on a slow fire, similar towhat the country people in Scotland called a "girdle" for baking oatmeal cakes.6. part it in pieces, and pour oil thereon—Pouring oil on bread is a common practice amongEastern people, who are fond of broken bread dipped in oil, butter, and milk. Oil only was used inthe meat offerings, and probably for a symbolic reason. It is evident that these meat offerings werepreviously prepared by the offerer, and when brought, the priest was to take it from his hands andburn a portion on the altar.11. ye shall burn no leaven, nor any honey, in any offering of the Lord—Nothing sweet orsour was to be offered. In the warm climates of the East leavened bread soon spoils, and hence itwas regarded as the emblem of hypocrisy or corruption. Some, however, think that the prohibitionwas that leaven and honey were used in the idolatrous rites of the heathen.12. the oblation of the first-fruits—voluntary offerings made by individuals out of theirincrease, and leaven and honey might be used with these (Leviticus 23:17; Numbers 15:20). Though presentedat the altar, they were not consumed, but assigned by God for the use of the priests.13. every … meat offering shalt thou season with salt—The same reasons which led to theprohibition of leaven, recommended the use of salt—if the one soon putrefies, the other possessesa strongly preservative property, and hence it became an emblem of incorruption and purity, aswell as of a perpetual covenant—a perfect reconciliation and lasting friendship. No injunction inthe whole law was more sacredly observed than this application of salt; for besides other uses ofit that will be noticed elsewhere, it had a typical meaning referred to by our Lord concerning theeffect of the Gospel on those who embrace it (Mark 9:49, 50); as when plentifully applied it preservesmeat from spoiling, so will the Gospel keep men from being corrupted by sin. And as salt wasindispensable to render sacrifices acceptable to God, so the Gospel, brought home to the hearts ofmen by the Holy Ghost, is indispensably requisite to their offering up of themselves as livingsacrifices [Brown].167





        Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein

          14. a meat offering of thy first-fruits—From the mention of "green ears," this seems to havebeen a voluntary offering before the harvest—the ears being prepared in the favorite way of Easternpeople, by parching them at the fire, and then beating them out for use. It was designed to be anearly tribute of pious thankfulness for the earth's increase, and it was offered according to the usualdirections.






        CHAPTER

          3Leviticus 3:1-17. The Peace Offering of the Herd.1. if his oblation be a sacrifice of peace offering—"Peace" being used in Scripture to denoteprosperity and happiness generally, a peace offering was a voluntary tribute of gratitude for healthor other benefits. In this view it was eucharistic, being a token of thanksgiving for benefits alreadyreceived, or it was sometimes votive, presented in prayer for benefits wished for in the future.of the herd—This kind of offering being of a festive character, either male or female, if withoutblemish, might be used, as both of them were equally good for food, and, if the circumstances ofthe offerer allowed it, it might be a calf.2. he shall lay his hand upon the head of his offering—Having performed this significantact, he killed it before the door of the tabernacle, and the priests sprinkled the blood round aboutupon the altar.3. he shall offer of the sacrifice of the peace offering—The peace offering differed from theoblations formerly mentioned in this respect: while the burnt offering was wholly consumed on thealtar, and the freewill offering was partly consumed and partly assigned to the priests; in this offeringthe fat alone was burnt; only a small part was allotted to the priests while the rest was granted tothe offerer and his friends, thus forming a sacred feast of which the Lord, His priests, and peopleconjointly partook, and which was symbolical of the spiritual feast, the sacred communion which,through Christ, the great peace offering, believers enjoy. (See further on Leviticus 19:5-8; 22:21).the fat that covereth the inwards—that is, the web work that presents itself first to the eyeon opening the belly of a cow.the fat … upon the inwards—adhering to the intestines, but easily removable from them; or,according to some, that which was next the ventricle.4-11. the two kidneys … of the flock … the whole rump—There is, in Eastern countries, aspecies of sheep the tails of which are not less than four feet and a half in length. These tails are ofa substance between fat and marrow. A sheep of this kind weighs sixty or seventy English poundsweight, of which the tail usually weighs fifteen pounds and upwards. This species is by far the mostnumerous in Arabia, Syria, and Philestina-Canaan Land, and, forming probably a large portion in the flocks ofthe Israelites, it seems to have been the kind that usually bled on the Jewish altars. The extraordinarysize and deliciousness of their tails give additional importance to this law. To command by anexpress law the tail of a certain sheep to be offered in sacrifice to God, might well surprise us; butthe wonder ceases, when we are told of those broad-tailed Eastern sheep, and of the extreme delicacyof that part which was so particularly specified in the statute [Paxton].12. if his offering be a goat—Whether this or any of the other two animals were chosen, thesame general directions were to be followed in the ceremony of offering.168





        Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein

          17. ye eat neither fat nor blood—The details given above distinctly define the fat in animalswhich was not to be eaten, so that all the rest, whatever adhered to other parts, or was intermixedwith them, might be used. The prohibition of blood rested on a different foundation, being intendedto preserve their reverence for the Messiah, who was to shed His blood as an stoning sacrifice forthe sins of the world [Brown].






        CHAPTER

          4Leviticus 4:1, 2. Sin Offering of Ignorance.2. If a soul shall sin through ignorance against any of the commandments of the Lord—asoul—an individual. All sins may be considered, in a certain sense, as committed "throughignorance," error, or misapprehension of one's true interests. The sins, however, referred to in thislaw were unintentional violations of the ceremonial laws,—breaches made through haste, orinadvertency of some negative precepts, which, if done knowingly and wilfully, would have involveda capital punishment.do against any of them—To bring out the meaning, it is necessary to supply, "he shall bringa sin offering."Leviticus 4:3-35. Sin Offering for the Priest.3. If the priest that is anointed do sin—that is, the high priest, in whom, considering hischaracter as typical mediator, and his exalted office, the people had the deepest interest; and whosetransgression of any part of the divine law, therefore, whether done unconsciously or heedlessly,was a very serious offense, both as regarded himself individually, and the influence of his example.He is the person principally meant, though the common order of the priesthood was included.according to the sin of the people—that is, bring guilt on the people. He was to take a youngbullock (the age and sex being expressly mentioned), and having killed it according to the formprescribed for the burnt offerings, he was to take it into the holy place and sprinkle the atoningblood seven times before the veil, and tip with the crimson fluid the horns of the golden altar ofincense, on his way to the court of the priests,—a solemn ceremonial appointed only for very graveand heinous offenses, and which betokened that his sin, though done in ignorance, had vitiated allhis services; nor could any official duty he engaged in be beneficial either to himself or the people,unless it were atoned for by blood.11. the skin of the bullock, and all his flesh—In ordinary circumstances, these were perquisitesof the priests. But in the expiation necessary for a sin of the high priest, after the fat of the sacrificewas offered on the altar, the carcass was carried without the camp [Leviticus 4:12], in order that the totalcombustion of it in the place of ashes might the more strikingly indicate the enormity of thetransgression, and the horror with which he regarded it (compare Hebrews 13:12, 13).13-21. if the whole congregation of Israel sin through ignorance—In consequence of someculpable neglect or misapprehension of the law, the people might contract national guilt, and thennational expiation was necessary. The same sacrifice was to be offered as in the former case, butwith this difference in the ceremonial, that the elders or heads of the tribes, as representing thepeople and being the principal aggressors in misleading the congregation, laid their hands on thehead of the victim. The priest then took the blood into the holy place, where, after dipping his fingerin it seven times, he sprinkled the drops seven times before the veil. This done, he returned to the169





        Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein

          court of the priests, and ascending the altar, put some portion upon its horns; then he poured it outat the foot of the altar. The fat was the only part of the animal which was offered on the altar; forthe carcass, with its appurtenances and offals, was carried without the camp, into the place wherethe ashes were deposited, and there consumed with fire.22-26. When a ruler hath sinned, and done somewhat through ignorance against any ofthe commandments—Whatever was the form of government, the king, judge, or subordinate, wasthe party concerned in this law. The trespass of such a civil functionary being less serious in itscharacter and consequences than that either of the high priest or the congregation, a sin offering ofinferior value was required—"a kid of the goats"; and neither was the blood carried into the sanctuary,but applied only to the altar of burnt offering; nor was the carcass taken without the camp; it waseaten by the priests-in-waiting.27-34. if any one of the common people sin through ignorance—In this case the expiatoryoffering appointed was a female kid, or a ewe-lamb without blemish; and the ceremonies wereexactly the same as those observed in the case of the offending ruler [Leviticus 4:22-26]. In these twolatter instances, the blood of the sin offering was applied to the altar of burnt offering—the placewhere bloody sacrifices were appointed to be immolated. But the transgression of a high priest, orof the whole congregation, entailing a general taint on the ritual of the tabernacle, and vitiating itsservices, required a further expiation; and therefore, in these cases, the blood of the sin offeringwas applied to the altar of incense [Leviticus 4:6, 17].35. it shall be forgiven him—None of these sacrifices possessed any intrinsic value sufficientto free the conscience of the sinner from the pollution of guilt, or to obtain his pardon from God;but they gave a formal deliverance from a secular penalty (Hebrews 9:13, 14); and they were figurativerepresentations of the full and perfect sin offering which was to be made by Christ.






        CHAPTER

          5Leviticus 5:1. Trespass Offerings for Concealing Knowledge.1. if a soul … hear the voice of swearing—or, according to some, "the words of adjuration."A proclamation was issued calling any one who could give information, to come before the courtand bear testimony to the guilt of a criminal; and the manner in which witnesses were interrogatedin the Jewish courts of justice was not by swearing them directly, but adjuring them by reading thewords of an oath: "the voice of swearing." The offense, then, for the expiation of which this lawprovides, was that of a person who neglected or avoided the opportunity of lodging the informationwhich it was in his power to communicate.Leviticus 5:2, 3. Touching Any Thing Unclean.2. if a soul touch any unclean thing—A person who, unknown to himself at the time, camein contact with any thing unclean, and either neglected the requisite ceremonies of purification orengaged in the services of religion while under the taint of ceremonial defilement, might beafterwards convinced that he had committed an offense.Leviticus 5:4-19. For Swearing.4. if a soul swear—a rash oath, without duly considering the nature and consequences of theoath, perhaps inconsiderately binding himself to do anything wrong, or neglecting to perform a170





        Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein

          vow to do something good. In all such cases a person might have transgressed one of the divinecommandments unwittingly, and have been afterwards brought to a sense of his delinquency.5. it shall be, when he shall be guilty … that he shall confess that he hath sinned in thatthing—make a voluntary acknowledgment of his sin from the impulse of his own conscience, andbefore it come to the knowledge of the world. A previous discovery might have subjected him tosome degree of punishment from which his spontaneous confession released him, but still he wasconsidered guilty of trespass, to expiate which he was obliged by the ceremonial law to go throughcertain observances.6-14. he shall bring his trespass offering unto the Lord for his sins which he hath sinned—Atrespass offering differed from a sin offering in the following respects: that it was appointed forpersons who had either done evil unwittingly, or were in doubt as to their own criminality; or feltthemselves in such a special situation as required sacrifices of that kind [Brown]. The trespass offeringappointed in such cases was a female lamb or kid; if unable to make such an offering, he mightbring a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons—the one to be offered for a sin offering, the otherfor a burnt offering; or if even that was beyond his ability, the law would be satisfied with the tenthpart of an ephah of fine flour without oil or frankincense.15, 16. sin through ignorance, in the holy things of the Lord, &c.—This is a case of sacrilegecommitted ignorantly, either in not paying the full due of tithes, first-fruits, and similar tribute ineating of meats, which belonged to the priests alone—or he was required, along with the restitutionin money, the amount of which was to be determined by the priest, to offer a ram for a trespassoffering, as soon as he came to the knowledge of his involuntary fraud.17-19. if a soul sin … though he wist it not, yet is he guilty—This also refers to holy things,and it differs from the preceding in being one of the doubtful cases,—that is, where consciencesuspects, though the understanding be in doubt whether criminality or sin has been committed. TheJewish rabbis give, as an example, the case of a person who, knowing that "the fat of the inwards"is not to be eaten, religiously abstained from the use of it; but should a dish happen to have beenat table in which he had reason to suspect some portion of that meat was intermingled, and he had,inadvertently, partaken of that unlawful viand, he was bound to bring a ram as a trespass offering[Leviticus 5:16]. These provisions were all designed to impress the conscience with the sense ofresponsibility to God and keep alive on the hearts of the people a salutary fear of doing any secretwrong.






        CHAPTER

          6Leviticus 6:1-7. Trespass Offering for Sins Done Wittingly.2-7. If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against the Lord—This law, the record of whichshould have been joined with the previous chapter, was given concerning things stolen, fraudulentlygotten, or wrongfully kept. The offender was enjoined to make restitution of the articles to therightful owner, along with a fifth part out of his own possessions. But it was not enough thus torepair the injury done to a neighbor and to society; he was required to bring a trespass offering, asa token of sorrow and penitence for having hurt the cause of religion and of God. That trespassoffering was a ram without blemish, which was to be made on the altar of burnt offerings, and theflesh belonged to the priests. This penalty was equivalent to a mitigated fine; but being associated171





        Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein

          with a sacred duty, the form in which the fine was inflicted served the important purpose of rousingattention to the claims and reviving a sense of responsibility to God.Leviticus 6:8-13. The Law of the Burnt Offering.9. Command Aaron and his sons, saying, This … law of the burnt offering—In this passageMoses received instructions to be delivered to the priests respecting their official duties, and firstthe burnt offering—Hebrew, "a sacrifice, which went up in smoke." The daily service consisted oftwo lambs, one offered in the morning at sunrise, the other in the evening, when the day began todecline. Both of them were consumed on the altar by means of a slow fire, before which the piecesof the sacrifice were so placed that they fed it all night. At all events, the observance of this dailysacrifice on the altar of burnt offering was a daily expression of national repentance and faith. Thefire that consumed these sacrifices had been kindled from heaven at the consecration of the tabernacle[Leviticus 9:24], and to keep it from being extinguished and the sacrifices from being burned with commonfire, strict injunctions are here given respecting not only the removal of the ashes [Leviticus 6:10, 11],but the approaching near to the fireplace in garments that were not officially "holy."Leviticus 6:14-18. The Law of the Meat Offering.14-18. this is the law of the meat offering—Though this was a provision for the priests andtheir families, it was to be regarded as "most holy"; and the way in which it was prepared was: onany meat offerings being presented, the priest carried them to the altar, and taking a handful fromeach of them as an oblation, he salted and burnt it on the altar; the residue became the property ofthe priests, and was the food of those whose duty it was to attend on the service. They themselvesas well as the vessels from which they ate were typically holy, and they were not at liberty to partakeof the meat offering while they labored under any ceremonial defilement.Leviticus 6:19-23. The High Priest's Meat Offering.20. This is the offering of Aaron, and of his sons—the daily meat offering of the high priest;for though his sons are mentioned along with him, it was probably only those of his descendantswho succeeded him in that high office that are meant. It was to be offered, one half of it in themorning and the other half in the evening—being daily laid by the ministering priest on the altarof burnt offering, where, being dedicated to God, it was wholly consumed. This was designed tokeep him and the other attendant priests in constant remembrance, that though they were typicallyexpiating the sins of the people, their own persons and services could meet with acceptance onlythrough faith, which required to be daily nourished and strengthened from above.Leviticus 6:21-30. The Law of the Sin Offering.25-28. This is the law of the sin offering—It was slain, and the fat and inwards, after beingwashed and salted, were burnt upon the altar. But the rest of the carcass belonged to the officiatingpriest. He and his family might feast upon it—only, however, within the precincts of the tabernacle;and none else were allowed to partake of it but the members of a priestly family—and not eventhey, if under any ceremonial defilement. The flesh on all occasions was boiled or sodden, withthe exception of the paschal lamb, which was roasted [Exodus 12:8, 9]; and if an earthen vessel hadbeen used, it being porous and likely to imbibe some of the liquid particles, it was to be broken; ifa metallic pan had been used it was to be scoured and washed with the greatest care, not becausethe vessels had been defiled, but the reverse—because the flesh of the sin offering having beenboiled in them, those vessels were now too sacred for ordinary use. The design of all these minuteceremonies was to impress the minds, both of priests and people, with a sense of the evil nature ofsin and the care they should take to prevent the least taint of its impurities clinging to them.172





        Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein







          CHAPTER

            7Leviticus 7:1-27. The Law of the Trespass Offering.1. Likewise this is the law of the trespass offering—This chapter is a continuation of the lawsthat were to regulate the duty of the priests respecting the trespass offerings. The same regulationsobtained in this case as in the burnt offerings—part was to be consumed on the altar, while theother part was a perquisite of the priests—some fell exclusively to the officiating minister, and wasthe fee for his services; others were the common share of all the priestly order, who lived uponthem as their provision, and whose meetings at a common table would tend to promote brotherlyharmony and friendship.8. the priest shall have to himself the skin of the burnt offering which he hath offered—Allthe flesh and the fat of the burnt offerings being consumed, nothing remained to the priest but theskin. It has been thought that this was a patriarchal usage, incorporated with the Mosaic law, andthat the right of the sacrificer to the skin of the victim was transmitted from the example of Adam(see on Genesis 3:21).11-14. this is the law of the sacrifice of peace offerings—Besides the usual accompanimentsof other sacrifices, leavened bread was offered with the peace offerings, as a thanksgiving, suchbread being common at feasts.15-17. the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offerings … shall be eaten the same day thatit is offered—The flesh of the sacrifices was eaten on the day of the offering or on the day following.But if any part of it remained till the third day, it was, instead of being made use of, to be burnedwith fire. In the East, butcher-meat is generally eaten the day it is killed, and it is rarely kept asecond day, so that as a prohibition was issued against any of the flesh in the peace offerings beingused on the third day, it has been thought, not without reason, that this injunction must have beengiven to prevent a superstitious notion arising that there was some virtue or holiness belonging toit.18. if any of the flesh of the sacrifice … be eaten at all on the third day, it shall not beaccepted, neither … imputed—The sacrifice will not be acceptable to God nor profitable to himthat offers it.20. cut off from his people—that is, excluded from the privileges of an Israelite—lie under asentence of excommunication.21. abominable unclean thing—Some copies of the Bible read, "any reptile."22-27. Ye shall eat no manner of fat—(See on Leviticus 3:17).Leviticus 7:28-38. The Priests' Portion.29-34. He that offereth the sacrifice of his peace offerings unto the Lord—In order to showthat the sacrifice was voluntary, the offerer was required to bring it with his own hands to the priest.The breast having been waved to and fro in a solemn manner as devoted to God, was given to thepriests; it was assigned to the use of their order generally, but the right shoulder was the perquisiteof the officiating priest.35-38. This is the portion of the anointing of Aaron—These verses contain a general summingup of the laws which regulate the privileges and duties of the priests. The word "anointing" is oftenused as synonymous with "office" or "dignity." So that the "portion of the anointing of Aaron"probably means the provision made for the maintenance of the high priest and the numerous bodyof functionaries which composed the sacerdotal order.173





          Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein

            in the day when he presented them to minister unto the Lord, &c.—that is, from the daythey approached the Lord in the duties of their ministry.






          CHAPTER

            8Leviticus 8:1-36. Moses Consecrates Aaron and His Sons.2. Take Aaron and his sons—The consecration of Aaron and his sons had been ordered longbefore (Exodus 29:1-46), but it is now described with all the details of the ceremonial, as it was gonethrough after the tabernacle was completed and the regulations for the various sacrifices enacted.3-5. gather thou all the congregation together, &c.—It was manifestly expedient for theIsraelitish people to be satisfied that Aaron's appointment to the high dignity of the priesthood wasnot a personal intrusion, nor a family arrangement between him and Moses; and nothing, therefore,could be a more prudent or necessary measure, for impressing a profound conviction of the divineorigin and authority of the priestly institution, than to summon a general assembly of the people,and in their presence perform the solemn ceremonies of inauguration, which had been prescribedby divine authority.6. Moses … washed them with water—At consecration they were subjected to entire ablution,though on ordinary occasions they were required, before entering on their duties, only to wash theirhands and feet. This symbolical ablution was designed to teach them the necessity of inward purity,and the imperative obligation on those who bore the vessels and conducted the services of thesanctuary to be holy.7-9. he put upon him the coat, and girded him with the girdle—The splendor of the officialvestments, together with the gorgeous tiara of the high priest, was intended, doubtless, in the firstinstance, to produce in the minds of the people a high respect for the ministers of religion; and inthe next, from the predominant use of linen, to inculcate upon Aaron and his sons the duty ofmaintaining unspotted righteousness in their characters and lives.10-12. took the anointing oil, &c.—which was designed to intimate that persons who actedas leaders in the solemn services of worship should have the unction of the Holy One both in Hisgifts and graces.14-17. brought the bullock for the sin offering, &c.—a timely expression of their sense ofunworthiness—a public and solemn confession of their personal sins and a transference of theirguilt to the typical victim.18-21. brought the ram, &c.—as a token of their entire dedication to the service of God.22-30. brought the other ram,—&c. After the sin offering and burnt offering had been presentedon their behalf, this was their peace offering, by which they declared the pleasure which they feltin entering upon the service of God and being brought into close communion with Him as theministers of His sanctuary, together with their confident reliance on His grace to help them in alltheir sacred duties.33. ye shall not go out of the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, &c.—After allthese preliminaries, they had still to undergo a week's probation in the court of the tabernacle beforethey obtained permission to enter into the interior of the sacred building. During the whole of thatperiod the same sacrificial rites were observed as on the first day, and they were expressly174





          Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein

            admonished that the smallest breach of any of the appointed observances would lead to the certainforfeiture of their lives [Leviticus 8:35].






          CHAPTER

            9Leviticus 9:1-24. The Priests' Entry into Office.1-7. Moses called … Take thee a young calf for a sin offering—The directions in these sacredthings were still given by Moses, the circumstances being extraordinary. But he was only themedium of communicating the divine will to the newly made priests. The first of their official actswas the sacrifice of another sin offering to atone for the defects of the inauguration services; andyet that sacrifice did not consist of a bullock—the sacrifice appointed for some particulartransgression, but of a calf, perhaps not without a significant reference to Aaron's sin in the goldencalf [Exodus 32:22-24]. Then followed a burnt offering, expressive of their voluntary and entireself-devotement to the divine service. The newly consecrated priests having done this on their ownaccount, they were called to offer a sin offering and burnt offering for the people, ending theceremonial by a peace offering, which was a sacred feast. This injunction, "to make atonement forhimself and for the people" (Septuagint, "for thy family"), at the commencement of his sacredfunctions, furnishes a striking evidence of the divine origin of the Jewish system of worship. In allfalse or corrupt forms of religion, the studied policy has been to inspire the people with an idea ofthe sanctity of the priesthood as in point of purity and favor with the Divinity far above the levelof other men. But among the Hebrews the priests were required to offer for the expiation of theirown sins as well as the humblest of the people. This imperfection of Aaron's priesthood, however,does not extend to the gospel dispensation: for our great High Priest, who has entered for us into"the true tabernacle," "knew no sin" (Hebrews 10:10, 11).8. Aaron … went unto the altar, and slew the calf of the sin offering—Whether it had beenenjoined the first time, or was unavoidable from the divisions of the priestly labor not being as yetcompletely arranged, Aaron, assisted by his sons, appears to have slain the victims with his ownhands, as well as gone through all the prescribed ritual at the altar.17-21. meat offering … wave offering—It is observable that there is no notice taken of thesein the offerings the priests made for themselves. They could not bear their own sins: and therefore,instead of eating any part of their own sin offering, as they were at liberty to do in the case of thepeople's offering, they had to carry the whole carcasses "without the camp and burn them with fire"[Exodus 29:14; Leviticus 4:12].22. Aaron lifted up his hand … and blessed them—The pronouncing of a benediction on thepeople assembled in the court was a necessary part of the high priest's duty, and the formula inwhich it was to be given is described (Numbers 6:23-27).came down from offering—The altar was elevated above the level of the floor, and the ascentwas by a gentle slope (Exodus 20:26).23. Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle—Moses, according to the divine instructionshe had received, accompanied Aaron and his sons to initiate them into their sacred duties. Theirprevious occupations had detained them at the altar, and they now entered in company into thesacred edifice to bear the blood of the offerings within the sanctuary.175





          Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein

            the glory of the Lord appeared unto all the people—perhaps in a resplendent effulgenceabove the tabernacle as a fresh token of the divine acceptance of that newly established seat of Hisworship.24. there came a fire out from … the Lord—A flame emanating from that resplendent lightthat filled the holy place flashed upon the brazen altar and kindled the sacrifices. This miraculousfire—for the descent of which the people had probably been prepared, and which the priests wereenjoined never to let go out (Leviticus 6:13)—was a sign, not only of the acceptance of the offerings andof the establishment of Aaron's authority, but of God's actual residence in that chosen dwelling-place.The moment the solemn though welcome spectacle was seen, a simultaneous shout of joy andgratitude burst from the assembled congregation, and in the attitude of profoundest reverence theyworshipped "a present Deity."






          CHAPTER

            10Leviticus 10:1-20. Nadab and Abihu Burnt.1. the sons of Aaron, &c.—If this incident occurred at the solemn period of the consecratingand dedicating the altar, these young men assumed an office which had been committed to Moses;or if it were some time after, it was an encroachment on duties which devolved on their father aloneas the high priest. But the offense was of a far more aggravated nature than such a mere informalitywould imply. It consisted not only in their venturing unauthorized to perform the incense service—thehighest and most solemn of the priestly offices—not only in their engaging together in a workwhich was the duty only of one, but in their presuming to intrude into the holy of holies, to whichaccess was denied to all but the high priest alone. In this respect, "they offered strange fire beforethe Lord"; they were guilty of a presumptuous and unwarranted intrusion into a sacred office whichdid not belong to them. But their offense was more aggravated still; for instead of taking the firewhich was put into their censers from the brazen altar, they seem to have been content with commonfire and thus perpetrated an act which, considering the descent of the miraculous fire they had sorecently witnessed and the solemn obligation under which they were laid to make use of that whichwas specially appropriated to the service of the altars, they betrayed a carelessness, an irreverence,a want of faith, most surprising and lamentable. A precedent of such evil tendency was dangerous,and it was imperatively necessary, therefore, as well for the priests themselves as for the sacredthings, that a marked expression of the divine displeasure should be given for doing that which"God commanded them not."2. there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them—rather, "killed them"; for itappears (Leviticus 10:5) that neither their bodies nor their robes were consumed. The expression, "fromthe Lord," indicates that this fire issued from the most holy place. In the destruction of these twoyoung priests by the infliction of an awful judgment, the wisdom of God observed the same course,in repressing the first instance of contempt for sacred things, as he did at the commencement of theChristian dispensation (Acts 5:1-11).3. Moses said … This is it that the Lord spoke … I will be sanctified in them that comenigh me—"They that come nigh me," points, in this passage, directly to the priests; and they hadreceived repeated and solemn warnings as to the cautious and reverent manner of their approachinto the divine presence (Exodus 19:22; 29:44; Leviticus 8:35).176





          Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein

            Aaron held his peace—The loss of two sons in so sudden and awful a manner was a calamityoverwhelming to parental feelings. But the pious priest indulged in no vehement ebullition ofcomplaint and gave vent to no murmur of discontent, but submitted in silent resignation to whathe saw was "the righteous judgment of God" [Romans 2:5].4, 5. Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan—The removal of the two corpses for burial withoutthe camp would spread the painful intelligence throughout all the congregation; and the remembranceof so appalling a judgment could not fail to strike a salutary fear into the hearts both of priests andpeople. The interment of the priestly vestments along with Nadab and Abihu, was a sign of theirbeing polluted by the sin of their irreligious wearers.6. Uncover not your heads—They who were ordered to carry out the two bodies, being engagedin their sacred duties, were forbidden to remove their turbans, in conformity with the usual customsof mourning; and the prohibition "neither rend your garments," was, in all probability, confinedalso to their official costume. For at other times the priests wore the ordinary dress of theircountrymen and, in common with their families, might indulge their private feelings by the usualsigns or expressions of grief.8-11. Do not drink wine nor strong drink—This prohibition, and the accompanyingadmonitions, following immediately the occurrence of so fatal a catastrophe [Leviticus 10:1, 2], has givenrise to an opinion entertained by many, that the two disobedient priests were under the influenceof intoxication when they committed the offense which was expiated only by their lives. But suchan idea, though the presumption is in its favor, is nothing more than conjecture.12-15. Moses spake unto Aaron, &c.—This was a timely and considerate rehearsal of the lawsthat regulated the conduct of the priests. Amid the distractions of their family bereavement, Aaronand his surviving sons might have forgotten or overlooked some of their duties.16-20. Moses diligently sought the goat of the sin offering, and, behold, it was burnt—Ina sacrifice presented, as that had been, on behalf of the people, it was the duty of the priests, astypically representing them and bearing their sins, to have eaten the flesh after the blood had beensprinkled upon the altar. Instead of using it, however, for a sacred feast, they had burnt it withoutthe camp; and Moses, who discovered this departure from the prescribed ritual, probably from adread of some further chastisements, challenged, not Aaron, whose heart was too much laceratedto bear a new cause of distress but his two surviving sons in the priesthood for the great irregularity.Their father, however, who heard the charge and by whose directions the error had been committed,hastened to give the explanation. The import of his apology is, that all the duty pertaining to thepresentation of the offering had been duly and sacredly performed, except the festive part of theobservance, which privately devolved upon the priest and his family. And that this had been omitted,either because his heart was too dejected to join in the celebration of a cheerful feast, or that hesupposed, from the appalling judgments that had been inflicted, that all the services of that occasionwere so vitiated that he did not complete them. Aaron was decidedly in the wrong. By the expresscommand of God, the sin offering was to be eaten in the holy place; and no fanciful view ofexpediency or propriety ought to have led him to dispense at discretion with a positive statute. Thelaw of God was clear and, where that is the case, it is sin to deviate a hair's breadth from the pathof duty. But Moses sympathized with his deeply afflicted brother and, having pointed out the error,said no more.177





          Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein







            CHAPTER

              11Leviticus 11:1-47. Beasts That May and May Not Be Eaten.1, 2. the Lord spake unto Moses and to Aaron—These laws, being addressed to both thecivil and ecclesiastical rulers in Israel, may serve to indicate the twofold view that is to be takenof them. Undoubtedly the first and strongest reason for instituting a distinction among meats wasto discourage the Israelites from spreading into other countries, and from general intercourse withthe world—to prevent them acquiring familiarity with the inhabitants of the countries borderingon Canaan, so as to fall into their idolatries or be contaminated with their vices: in short, to keepthem a distinct and peculiar people. To this purpose, no difference of creed, no system of polity,no diversity of language or manner, was so subservient as a distinction of meats founded on religion;and hence the Jews, who were taught by education to abhor many articles of food freely partakenof by other people, never, even during periods of great degeneracy, could amalgamate with thenations among which they were dispersed. But although this was the principal foundation of theselaws, dietetic reasons also had weight; for there is no doubt that the flesh of many of the animalshere ranked as unclean, is everywhere, but especially in warm climates, less wholesome and adaptedfor food than those which were allowed to be eaten. These laws, therefore, being subservient tosanitary as well as religious ends, were addressed both to Moses and Aaron.3-7. Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is cloven-footed, and cheweth the cud—Ruminatinganimals by the peculiar structure of their stomachs digest their food more fully than others. It isfound that in the act of chewing the cud, a large portion of the poisonous properties of noxiousplants eaten by them, passes off by the salivary glands. This power of secreting the poisonouseffects of vegetables, is said to be particularly remarkable in cows and goats, whose mouths areoften sore, and sometimes bleed, in consequence. Their flesh is therefore in a better state for food,as it contains more of the nutritious juices, is more easily digested in the human stomach, and isconsequently more easily assimilated. Animals which do not chew the cud, convert their food lessperfectly; their flesh is therefore unwholesome, from the gross animal juices with which theyabound, and is apt to produce scorbutic and scrofulous disorders. But the animals that may be eatenare those which "part the hoof as well as chew the cud," and this is another means of freeing theflesh of the animal from noxious substances. "In the case of animals with parted hoofs, when feedingin unfavorable situations a prodigious amount of foetid matter is discharged, and passes off betweenthe toes; while animals with undivided hoofs, feeding on the same ground, become severely affectedin the legs, from the poisonous plants among the pasture" [Whitlaw, Code of Health]. All experienceattests this, and accordingly the use of ruminating animals (that is, those which both chew the cudand part the hoof) has always obtained in most countries though it was observed most carefully bythe people who were favored with the promulgation of God's law.4. the camel—It does to a certain extent divide the hoof, for the foot consists of two large parts,but the division is not complete; the toes rest upon an elastic pad on which the animal goes; as abeast of burden its flesh is tough. An additional reason for its prohibition might be to keep theIsraelites apart from the descendants of Ishmael.5. the coney—not the rabbit, for it is not found in Philestina-Canaan Land or Arabia, but the hyrax, a littleanimal of the size and general shape of the rabbit, but differing from it in several essential features.It has no tail, singular, long hairs bristling like thorns among the fur on its back; its feet are bare,its nails flat and round, except those on each inner toe of the hind feet, which are sharp and projectlike an awl. It does not burrow in the ground but frequents the clefts of rocks.178





            Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein

              6. the hare—Two species of hare must have been pointed at: the Sinai hare, the hare of thedesert, small and generally brown; the other, the hare of Philestina-Canaan Land and Syria, about the size andappearance of that known in our own country. Neither the hare nor the coney are really ruminating.They only appear to be so from working the jaws on the grasses they live on. They are notcloven-footed; and besides, it is said that from the great quantity of down upon them, they are verymuch subject to vermin—that in order to expel these, they eat poisonous plants, and if used as foodwhile in that state, they are most deleterious [Whitlaw].7. the swine—It is a filthy, foul-feeding animal, and it lacks one of the natural provisions forpurifying the system, "it cheweth not the cud"; in hot climates indulgence in swine's flesh isparticularly liable to produce leprosy, scurvy, and various cutaneous eruptions. It was thereforestrictly avoided by the Israelites. Its prohibition was further necessary to prevent their adoptingmany of the grossest idolatries practised by neighboring nations.9. These shall ye eat … whatsoever hath fins and scales—"The fins and scales are the meansby which the excrescences of fish are carried off, the same as in animals by perspiration. I havenever known an instance of disease produced by eating such fish; but those that have no fins andscales cause, in hot climates, the most malignant disorders when eaten; in many cases they provea mortal poison" [Whitlaw].12. Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales, &c.—Under this classification frogs, eels, shellfishof all descriptions, were included as unclean; "many of the latter (shellfish) enjoy a reputation theydo not deserve, and have, when plentifully partaken of, produced effects which have led to asuspicion of their containing something of a poisonous nature."13-19. these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls—All birds ofprey are particularly ranked in the class unclean; all those which feed on flesh and carrion. No lessthan twenty species of birds, all probably then known, are mentioned under this category, and theinference follows that all which are not mentioned were allowed; that is, fowls which subsist onvegetable substances. From our imperfect knowledge of the natural history of Philestina-Canaan Land, Arabia,and the contiguous countries at that time, it is not easy to determine exactly what some of theprohibited birds were; although they must have been all well known among the people to whomthese laws were given.the ossifrage—Hebrew, "bone-breaker," rendered in the Septuagint "griffon," supposed to bethe Gypoetos barbatus, the Lammer Geyer of the Swiss—a bird of the eagle or vulture species,inhabiting the highest mountain ranges in Western Asia as well as Europe. It pursues as its preythe chamois, ibex, or marmot, among rugged cliffs, till it drives them over a precipice—thusobtaining the name of "bone-breaker."the ospray—the black eagle, among the smallest, but swiftest and strongest of its kind.14. the vulture—The word so rendered in our version means more probably "the kite" or"glede" and describes a varying but majestic flight, exactly that of the kite, which now darts forwardwith the rapidity of an arrow, now rests motionless on its expanded wings in the air. It feeds onsmall birds, insects, and fish.the kite—the vulture. In Egypt and perhaps in the adjoining countries also, the kite and vultureare often seen together flying in company, or busily pursuing their foul but important office ofdevouring the carrion and relics of putrefying flesh, which might otherwise pollute the atmosphere.after his kind—that is, the prohibition against eating it extended to the whole species.15. the raven—including the crow, the pie.179





            Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein

              16. the owl—It is generally supposed the ostrich is denoted by the original word.the nighthawk—a very small bird, with which, from its nocturnal habits, many superstitiousideas were associated.the cuckoo—Evidently some other bird is meant by the original term, from its being rangedamong rapacious birds. Dr. Shaw thinks it is the safsaf; but that, being a graminivorous and gregariousbird, is equally objectionable. Others think that the sea mew, or some of the small sea fowl, isintended.the hawk—The Hebrew word includes every variety of the falcon family—as the goshawk,the jerhawk, the sparrow hawk, &c. Several species of hawks are found in Western Asia and Egypt,where they find inexhaustible prey in the immense numbers of pigeons and turtledoves that aboundin those quarters. The hawk was held pre-eminently sacred among the Egyptians; and this, besidesits rapacious disposition and gross habits, might have been a strong reason for its prohibition as anarticle of food to the Israelites.17. the little owl—or horned owl, as some render it. The common barn owl, which is wellknown in the East. It is the only bird of its kind here referred to, although the word is thricementioned in our version.cormorant—supposed to be the gull. [See on Deuteronomy 14:17.]the great owl—according to some, the Ibis of the Egyptians. It was well known to the Israelites,and so rendered by the Septuagint (Deuteronomy 14:16; Isaiah 34:11): according to Parkhurst, the bittern, but notdetermined.18. the swan—found in great numbers in all the countries of the Levant. It frequents marshyplaces—the vicinity of rivers and lakes. It was held sacred by the Egyptians, and kept tame withinthe precincts of heathen temples. It was probably on this account chiefly that its use as food wasprohibited. Michaelis considers it the goose.the pelican—remarkable for the bag or pouch under its lower jaw which serves not only as anet to catch, but also as a receptacle of food. It is solitary in its habits and, like other large aquaticbirds, often flies to a great distance from its favorite haunts.the gier eagle—Being here associated with waterfowl, it has been questioned whether anyspecies of eagle is referred to. Some think, as the original name racham denotes "tenderness,""affection," the halcyon or kingfisher is intended [Calmet]. Others think that it is the bird now calledthe rachami, a kind of Egyptian vulture, abundant in the streets of Cairo and popularly called"Pharaoh's fowl." It is white in color, in size like a raven, and feeds on carrion; it is one of thefoulest and filthiest birds in the world. [See on Deuteronomy 14:17.]19. the stork—a bird of benevolent temper and held in the highest estimation in all Easterncountries; it was declared unclean, probably, from its feeding on serpents and other venomousreptiles, as well as rearing its young on the same food.the heron—The word so translated only occurs in the prohibited list of food and has beenvariously rendered—the crane, the plover, the woodcock, the parrot. In this great diversity of opinionnothing certain can be affirmed regarding it. Judging from the group with which it is classified, itmust be an aquatic bird that is meant. It may as well be the heron as any other bird, the moreespecially as herons abound in Egypt and in the Hauran of Philestina-Canaan Land.the lapwing—or hoopoe; found in warm regions, a very pretty but filthy species of bird. It wasconsidered unclean, probably from its feeding on insects, worms, and snails.the bat—the great or Ternat bat, known in the East, noted for its voracity and filthiness.180





            Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein

              20. All fowls that creep, &c.—By "fowls" here are to be understood all creatures with wingsand "going upon all fours," not a restriction to animals which have exactly four feet, because many"creeping things" have more than that number. The prohibition is regarded generally as extendingto insects, reptiles, and worms.21, 22. Yet these may ye eat of every flying creeping thing that goeth upon all four, whichhave legs above their feet—Nothing short of a scientific description could convey more accuratelythe nature "of the locust after its kind." They were allowed as lawful food to the Israelites, and theyare eaten by the Arabs, who fry them in olive oil. When sprinkled with salt, dried, smoked, andfried, they are said to taste not unlike red herrings.26. every beast … not cloven-footed—The prohibited animals under this description includenot only the beasts which have a single hoof, as horses and asses, but those also which divided thefoot into paws, as lions, tigers, &c.29. the weasel—rather, the mole.the mouse—From its diminutive size it is placed among the reptiles instead of the quadrupeds.the tortoise—a lizard, resembling very nearly in shape, and in the hard pointed scales of thetail, the shaketail.30. the ferret—the Hebrew word is thought by some to signify the newt or chameleon, byothers the frog.the chameleon—called by the Arabs the warral, a green lizard.the snail—a lizard which lives in the sand, and is called by the Arabs chulca, of an azure color.the mole—Another species of lizard is meant, probably the chameleon.31-35. whosoever doth touch them, when … dead, shall be unclean until the even—Theseregulations must have often caused annoyance by suddenly requiring the exclusion of people fromsociety, as well as the ordinances of religion. Nevertheless they were extremely useful and salutary,especially as enforcing attention to cleanliness. This is a matter of essential importance in the East,where venomous reptiles often creep into houses and are found lurking in boxes, vessels, or holesin the wall; and the carcass of one of them, or a dead mouse, mole, lizard, or other unclean animal,might be inadvertently touched by the hand, or fall on clothes, skin bottles, or any article of commondomestic use. By connecting, therefore, the touch of such creatures with ceremonial defilement,which required immediately to be removed, an effectual means was taken to prevent the bad effectsof venom and all unclean or noxious matter.47. make a difference between the unclean and the clean—that is, between animals usedand not used for food. It is probable that the laws contained in this chapter were not entirely new,but only gave the sanction of divine enactment to ancient usages. Some of the prohibited animalshave, on physiological grounds, been everywhere rejected by the general sense or experience ofmankind; while others may have been declared unclean from their unwholesomeness in warmcountries or from some reasons, which are now imperfectly known, connected with contemporaryidolatry.






            CHAPTER

              12Leviticus 12:1-8. Woman's Uncleanness by Childbirth.181





            Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein

              2. If a woman, &c.—The mother of a boy was ceremonially unclean for a week, at the end ofwhich the child was circumcised (Genesis 17:12; Romans 4:11-13); the mother of a girl for two weeks (Leviticus12:5)—a stigma on the sex (1 Timothy 2:14, 15) for sin, which was removed by Christ; everyone whocame near her during that time contracted a similar defilement. After these periods, visitors mightapproach her though she was still excluded from the public ordinances of religion [Leviticus 12:4].6-8. the days of her purifying—Though the occasion was of a festive character, yet the sacrificesappointed were not a peace offering, but a burnt offering and sin offering, in order to impress themind of the parent with recollections of the origin of sin, and that the child inherited a fallen andsinful nature. The offerings were to be presented the day after the period of her separation hadended—that is, forty-first for a boy, eighty-first for a girl.8. bring two turtles, &c.—(See on Leviticus 5:6). This was the offering made by Mary, the motherof Jesus, and it affords an incontestable proof of the poor and humble condition of the family (Luke2:22-24).






            CHAPTER

              13Leviticus 13:1-59. The Laws and Tokens in Discerning Leprosy.2. When a man shall have in the skin, &c.—The fact of the following rules for distinguishingthe plague of leprosy being incorporated with the Hebrew code of laws, proves the existence of theodious disease among that people. But a short time, little more than a year (if so long a period hadelapsed since the exodus) when symptoms of leprosy seem extensively to have appeared amongthem; and as they could not be very liable to such a cutaneous disorder amid their active journeyingsand in the dry open air of Arabia, the seeds of the disorder must have been laid in Egypt, where ithas always been endemic. There is every reason to believe that this was the case: that the leprosywas not a family complaint, hereditary among the Hebrews, but that they got it from intercoursewith the Egyptians and from the unfavorable circumstances of their condition in the house ofbondage. The great excitement and irritability of the skin in the hot and sandy regions of the Eastproduce a far greater predisposition to leprosy of all kinds than in cooler temperatures; and cracksor blotches, inflammations or even contusions of the skin, very often lead to these in Arabia andPhilestina-Canaan Land, to some extent, but particularly in Egypt. Besides, the subjugated and distressed state ofthe Hebrews in the latter country, and the nature of their employment, must have rendered themvery liable to this as well as to various other blemishes and misaffections of the skin; in theproduction of which there are no causes more active or powerful than a depressed state of bodyand mind, hard labor under a burning sun, the body constantly covered with the excoriating dustof brick fields, and an impoverished diet—to all of which the Israelites were exposed while underthe Egyptian bondage. It appears that, in consequence of these hardships, there was, even after theyhad left Egypt, a general predisposition among the Hebrews to the contagious forms of leprosy—sothat it often occurred as a consequence of various other affections of the skin. And hence allcutaneous blemishes or blains—especially such as had a tendency to terminate in leprosy—werewatched with a jealous eye from the first [Good, Study of Medicine]. A swelling, a pimple, or brightspot on the skin, created a strong ground of suspicion of a man's being attacked by the dreadeddisease.182





            Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein

              then he shall be brought unto Aaron the priest, &c.—Like the Egyptian priests, the Levitesunited the character of physician with that of the sacred office; and on the appearance of anysuspicious eruptions on the skin, the person having these was brought before the priest—not,however, to receive medical treatment, though it is not improbable that some purifying remediesmight be prescribed, but to be examined with a view to those sanitary precautions which it belongedto legislation to adopt.3-6. the priest shall look on the plague in the skin of the flesh, &c.—The leprosy, as coveringthe person with a white, scaly scurf, has always been accounted an offensive blemish rather thana serious malady in the East, unless when it assumed its less common and malignant forms. Whena Hebrew priest, after a careful inspection, discovered under the cutaneous blemish the distinctivesigns of contagious leprosy, the person was immediately pronounced unclean, and is supposed tohave been sent out of the camp to a lazaretto provided for that purpose. If the symptoms appearedto be doubtful, he ordered the person to be kept in domestic confinement for seven days, when hewas subjected to a second examination; and if during the previous week the eruption had subsidedor appeared to be harmless, he was instantly discharged. But if the eruption continued unabatedand still doubtful, he was put under surveillance another week; at the end of which the characterof the disorder never failed to manifest itself, and he was either doomed to perpetual exclusionfrom society or allowed to go at large. A person who had thus been detained on suspicion, whenat length set at liberty, was obliged to "wash his clothes," as having been tainted by ceremonialpollution; and the purification through which he was required to go was, in the spirit of the Mosaicdispensation, symbolical of that inward purity it was instituted to promote.7, 8. But if the scab spread much abroad in the skin—Those doubtful cases, when theyassumed a malignant character, appeared in one of two forms, apparently according to the particularconstitution of the skin or of the habit generally. The one was "somewhat dark" [Leviticus 13:6]—that is,the obscure or dusky leprosy, in which the natural color of the hair (which in Egypt and Philestina-Canaan Landis black) is not changed, as is repeatedly said in the sacred code, nor is there any depression in thedusky spot, while the patches, instead of keeping stationary to their first size, are perpetuallyenlarging their boundary. The patient laboring under this form was pronounced unclean by theHebrew priest or physician, and hereby sentenced to a separation from his family and friends—adecisive proof of its being contagious.9-37. if the rising be white—This BRIGHT WHITE leprosy is the most malignant and inveterateof all the varieties the disease exhibits, and it was marked by the following distinctive signs: Aglossy white and spreading scale, upon an elevated base, the elevation depressed in the middle, butwithout a change of color; the black hair on the patches participating in the whiteness, and the scalypatches themselves perpetually enlarging their boundary. Several of these characteristics, takenseparately, belong to other blemishes of the skin as well; so that none of them was to be taken alone,and it was only when the whole of them concurred that the Jewish priest, in his capacity of physician,was to pronounce the disease a malignant leprosy. If it spread over the entire frame without producingany ulceration, it lost its contagious power by degrees; or, in other words, it ran through its courseand exhausted itself. In that case, there being no longer any fear of further evil, either to the individualhimself or to the community, the patient was declared clean by the priest, while the dry scales wereyet upon him, and restored to society. If, on the contrary, the patches ulcerated and quick or fungousflesh sprang up in them, the purulent matter of which, if brought into contact with the skin of otherpersons, would be taken into the constitution by means of absorbent vessels, the priest was at once183





            Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein

              to pronounce it an inveterate leprosy. A temporary confinement was them declared to be totallyunnecessary, and he was regarded as unclean for life [Dr. Good]. Other skin affections, which had atendency to terminate in leprosy, though they were not decided symptoms when alone, were: "aboil" (Leviticus 13:18-23); "a hot burning,"—that is, a fiery inflammation or carbuncle (Leviticus 13:24-28);and "a dry scall" (Leviticus 13:29-37), when the leprosy was distinguished by being deeper than the skinand the hair became thin and yellow.38, 39. If a man … or a woman have in the skin of their flesh bright spots—This modificationof the leprosy is distinguished by a dull white color, and it is entirely a cutaneous disorder, neverinjuring the constitution. It is described as not penetrating below the skin of the flesh and as notrendering necessary an exclusion from society. It is evident, then, that this common form of leprosyis not contagious; otherwise Moses would have prescribed as strict a quarantine in this as in theother cases. And hereby we see the great superiority of the Mosaic law (which so accuratelydistinguished the characteristics of the leprosy and preserved to society the services of those whowere laboring under the uncontagious forms of the disease) over the customs and regulations ofEastern countries in the present day, where all lepers are indiscriminately proscribed and are avoidedas unfit for free intercourse with their fellow men.40, 41. bald … forehead bald—The falling off of the hair, when the baldness commences inthe back part of the head, is another symptom which creates a suspicion of leprosy. But it was notof itself a decisive sign unless taken in connection with other tokens, such as a "sore of a reddishwhite color" [Leviticus 13:43]. The Hebrews as well as other Orientals were accustomed to distinguishbetween the forehead baldness, which might be natural, and that baldness which might be theconsequence of disease.45. the leper in whom the plague is, his clothes shall be rent, &c.—The person who wasdeclared affected with the leprosy forthwith exhibited all the tokens of suffering from a heavycalamity. Rending garments and uncovering the head were common signs of mourning. As to "theputting a covering upon the upper lip," that means either wearing a moustache, as the Hebrewsused to shave the upper lip [Calmet], or simply keeping a hand over it. All these external marks ofgrief were intended to proclaim, in addition to his own exclamation "Unclean!" that the person wasa leper, whose company every one must shun.46. he shall dwell alone; without the camp—in a lazaretto by himself, or associated with otherlepers (2 Kings 7:3, 8).47-59. The garment … that the … leprosy is in—It is well known that infectious diseases,such as scarlet fever, measles, the plague, are latently imbibed and carried by the clothes. But thelanguage of this passage clearly indicates a disease to which clothes themselves were subject, andwhich was followed by effects on them analogous to those which malignant leprosy produces onthe human body—for similar regulations were made for the rigid inspection of suspected garmentsby a priest as for the examination of a leprous person. It has long been conjectured and recentlyascertained by the use of a lens, that the leprous condition of swine is produced by myriads ofminute insects engendered in their skin; and regarding all leprosy as of the same nature, it is thoughtthat this affords a sufficient reason for the injunction in the Mosaic law to destroy the clothes inwhich the disease, after careful observation, seemed to manifest itself. Clothes are sometimes seencontaminated by this disease in the West Indies and the southern parts of America [Whitlaw, Codeof Health]; and it may be presumed that, as the Hebrews were living in the desert where they hadnot the convenience of frequent changes and washing, the clothes they wore and the skin mats on184





            Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein

              which they lay, would be apt to breed infectious vermin, which, being settled in the stuff, wouldimperceptibly gnaw it and leave stains similar to those described by Moses. It is well known thatthe wool of sheep dying of disease, if it had not been shorn from the animal while living, and alsoskins, if not thoroughly prepared by scouring, are liable to the effects described in this passage.The stains are described as of a greenish or reddish color, according, perhaps, to the color or natureof the ingredients used in preparing them; for acids convert blue vegetable colors into red andalkalis change then into green [Brown]. It appears, then, that the leprosy, though sometimes inflictedas a miraculous judgment (Numbers 12:10; 2 Kings 5:27) was a natural disease, which is known in Easterncountries still; while the rules prescribed by the Hebrew legislator for distinguishing the truecharacter and varieties of the disease and which are far superior to the method of treatment nowfollowed in those regions, show the divine wisdom by which he was guided. Doubtless the originof the disease is owing to some latent causes in nature; and perhaps a more extended acquaintancewith the archæology of Egypt and the natural history of the adjacent countries, may confirm theopinion that leprosy results from noxious insects or a putrid fermentation. But whatever the originor cause of the disease, the laws enacted by divine authority regarding it, while they pointed in thefirst instance to sanitary ends, were at the same time intended, by stimulating to carefulness againstceremonial defilement, to foster a spirit of religious fear and inward purity.






            CHAPTER

              14Leviticus 14:1-57. The Rites and Sacrifices in Cleansing of the Leper.2, 3. law of the leper in the day of his cleansing—Though quite convalescent, a leper was notallowed to return to society immediately and at his own will. The malignant character of his diseaserendered the greatest precautions necessary to his re-admission among the people. One of the priestsmost skilled in the diagnostics of disease [Grotius], being deputed to attend such outcasts, the restoredleper appeared before this official, and when after examination a certificate of health was given,the ceremonies here described were forthwith observed outside the camp.4. two birds—literally, "sparrows." The Septuagint, however, renders the expression "littlebirds"; and it is evident that it is to be taken in this generic sense from their being specified as"clean"—a condition which would have been altogether superfluous to mention in reference tosparrows. In all the offerings prescribed in the law, Moses ordered only common and accessiblebirds; and hence we may presume that he points here to such birds as sparrows or pigeons, as inthe desert it might have been very difficult to procure wild birds alive.cedar-wood, and scarlet, and hyssop—The cedar here meant was certainly not the famoustree of Lebanon, and it is generally supposed to have been the juniper, as several varieties of thatshrub are found growing abundantly in the clefts and crevices of the Sinaitic mountains. A stick ofthis shrub was bound to a bunch of hyssop by a scarlet ribbon, and the living bird was to be soattached to it, that when they dipped the branches in the water, the tail of the bird might also bemoistened, but not the head nor the wings, that it might not be impeded in its flight when let loose.5-9. the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed … over running water—Asthe blood of a single bird would not have been sufficient to immerse the body of another bird, itwas mingled with spring water to increase the quantity necessary for the appointed sprinklings,which were to be repeated seven times, denoting a complete purification. (See 2 Kings 5:10; Psalms 51:2;185





            Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein

              Matthew 8:4; Luke 5:14). The living bird being then set free, in token of the leper's release from quarantine,the priest pronounced him clean; and this official declaration was made with all solemnity, in orderthat the mind of the leper might be duly impressed with a sense of the divine goodness, and thatothers might be satisfied they might safely hold intercourse with him. Several other purificationshad to be gone through during a series of seven days, and the whole process had to be repeated onthe seventh, ere he was allowed to re-enter the camp. The circumstance of a priest being employedseems to imply that instruction suitable to the newly recovered leper would be given, and that thesymbolical ceremonies used in the process of cleansing leprosy would be explained. How far theywere then understood we cannot tell. But we can trace some instructive analogies between theleprosy and the disease of sin, and between the rites observed in the process of cleansing leprosyand the provisions of the Gospel. The chief of these analogies is that as it was only when a leperexhibited a certain change of state that orders were given by the priest for a sacrifice, so a sinnermust be in the exercise of faith and penitence ere the benefits of the gospel remedy can be enjoyedby him. The slain bird and the bird let loose are supposed to typify, the one the death, and the otherthe resurrection of Christ; while the sprinklings on him that had been leprous typified therequirements which led a believer to cleanse himself from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, andto perfect his holiness in the fear of the Lord.10-20. on the eighth day he shall take two he lambs without blemish, and one ewe-lambof the first year without blemish—The purification of the leper was not completed till at the endof seven days, after the ceremonial of the birds [Leviticus 14:4-7] and during which, though permitted tocome into the camp, he had to tarry abroad out of his tent [Leviticus 14:8], from which he came daily toappear at the door of the tabernacle with the offerings required. He was presented before the Lordby the priest that made him clean. And hence it has always been reckoned among pious people thefirst duty of a patient newly restored from a long and dangerous sickness to repair to the church tooffer his thanksgiving, where his body and soul, in order to be an acceptable offering, must bepresented by our great Priest, whose blood alone makes any clean. The offering was to consist oftwo lambs, the one was to be a sin offering, and an ephah of fine flour (two pints equals one-tenth),and one log (half pint) of oil (Leviticus 2:1). One of the lambs was for a trespass offering, which wasnecessary from the inherent sin of his nature or from his defilement of the camp by his leprosyprevious to his expulsion; and it is remarkable that the blood of the trespass offering was appliedexactly in the same particular manner to the extremities of the restored leper, as that of the ram inthe consecration of the priests [Leviticus 8:23]. The parts sprinkled with this blood were then anointedwith oil—a ceremony which is supposed to have borne this spiritual import: that while the bloodwas a token of forgiveness, the oil was an emblem of healing—as the blood of Christ justifies, theinfluence of the Spirit sanctifies. Of the other two lambs the one was to be a sin offering and theother a burnt offering, which had also the character of a thank offering for God's mercy in hisrestoration. And this was considered to make atonement "for him"; that is, it removed that ceremonialpollution which had excluded him from the enjoyment of religious ordinances, just as the atonementof Christ restores all who are cleansed through faith in His sacrifice to the privileges of the childrenof God.21-32. if he be poor, and cannot get so much; then he shall take one lamb—a kind andconsiderate provision for an extension of the privilege to lepers of the poorer class. The blood oftheir smaller offering was to be applied in the same process of purification and they were as publiclyand completely cleansed as those who brought a costlier offering (Acts 10:34).186





            Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein

              34-48. leprosy in a house—This law was prospective, not to come into operation till thesettlement of the Israelites in Canaan. The words, "I put the leprosy," has led many to think thatthis plague was a judicial infliction from heaven for the sins of the owner; while others do notregard it in this light, it being common in Scripture to represent God as doing that which He onlypermits in His providence to be done. Assuming it to have been a natural disease, a new difficultyarises as to whether we are to consider that the house had become infected by the contagion ofleprous occupiers; or that the leprosy was in the house itself. It is evident that the latter was the truestate of the case, from the furniture being removed out of it on the first suspicion of disease on thewalls. Some have supposed that the name of leprosy was analogically applied to it by the Hebrews,as we speak of cancer in trees when they exhibit corrosive effects similar to what the disease sonamed produces on the human body; while others have pronounced it a mural efflorescence orspecies of mildew on the wall apt to be produced in very damp situations, and which was followedby effects so injurious to health as well as to the stability of a house, particularly in warm countries,as to demand the attention of a legislator. Moses enjoined the priests to follow the same course andduring the same period of time for ascertaining the true character of this disease as in human leprosy.If found leprous, the infected parts were to be removed. If afterwards there appeared a risk of thecontagion spreading, the house was to be destroyed altogether and the materials removed to adistance. The stones were probably rough, unhewn stones, built up without cement in the mannernow frequently used in fences and plastered over, or else laid in mortar. The oldest examples ofarchitecture are of this character. The very same thing has to be done still with houses infected withmural salt. The stones covered with the nitrous incrustation must be removed, and if the infectedwall is suffered to remain, it must be plastered all over anew.48-57. the priest shall pronounce the house clean, because the plague is healed—Theprecautions here described show that there is great danger in warm countries from the house leprosy,which was likely to be increased by the smallness and rude architecture of the houses in the earlyages of the Israelitish history. As a house could not contract any impurity in the sight of God, the"atonement" which the priest was to make for it must either have a reference to the sins of itsoccupants or to the ceremonial process appointed for its purification, the very same as that observedfor a leprous person. This solemn declaration that it was "clean," as well as the offering made onthe occasion, was admirably calculated to make known the fact, to remove apprehension from thepublic mind, as well as relieve the owner from the aching suspicion of dwelling in an infectedhouse.






            CHAPTER

              15Leviticus 15:1-18. Uncleanness of Men.2. When any man hath a running issue—This chapter describes other forms of uncleanness,the nature of which is sufficiently intelligible in the text without any explanatory comment. Beingthe effects of licentiousness, they properly come within the notice of the legislator, and the verystringent rules here prescribed, both for the separation of the person diseased and for avoidingcontamination from anything connected with him, were well calculated not only to prevent contagion,but to discourage the excesses of licentious indulgence.9. what saddle … he rideth upon that hath the issue shall be unclean—(See on Genesis 31:34).187





            Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein

              12. the vessel of earth, that he toucheth which hath the issue, shall be broken—It is thoughtthat the pottery of the Israelites, like the earthenware jars in which the Egyptians kept their water,was unglazed and consequently porous, and that it was its porousness which, rendering it extremelyliable to imbibe small particles of impure matter, was the reason why the vessel touched by anunclean person was ordered to be broken.13, 14. then he shall number to himself seven days for his cleansing—Like a leprous personhe underwent a week's probation, to make sure he was completely healed. Then with the sacrificesprescribed, the priest made an atonement for him, that is, offered the oblations necessary for theremoval of his ceremonial defilement, as well as the typical pardon of his sins.Leviticus 15:19-33. Uncleanness of Women.19. if a woman have an issue—Though this, like the leprosy, might be a natural affection, itwas anciently considered contagious and entailed a ceremonial defilement which typified a moralimpurity. This ceremonial defilement had to be removed by an appointed method of ceremonialexpiation, and the neglect of it subjected any one to the guilt of defiling the tabernacle, and to deathas the penalty of profane temerity.31-33. Thus shall ye separate the children of Israel from their uncleanness—The divinewisdom was manifested in inspiring the Israelites with a profound reverence for holy things; andnothing was more suited to this purpose than to debar from the tabernacle all who were pollutedby any kind of uncleanness, ceremonial as well as natural, mental as well as physical. The betterto mark out that people as His family, His servants and priests, dwelling in the camp as in a holyplace, consecrated by His presence and His tabernacle, He required of them complete purity, anddid not allow them to come before Him when defiled, even by involuntary or secret impurities, asa want of respect due to His majesty. And when we bear in mind that God was training a peopleto live in His presence in some measure as priests devoted to His service, we shall not considerthese rules for the maintenance of personal purity either too stringent or too minute (1 Thessalonians 4:4).






            CHAPTER

              16Leviticus 16:1-34. How the High Priest Must Enter into the Holy Place.1. after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered before the Lord, and died—Itis thought by some that this chapter has been transposed out of its right place in the sacred record,which was immediately after the narrative of the deaths of Nadab and Abihu [Leviticus 10:1-20]. Thatappalling catastrophe must have filled Aaron with painful apprehensions lest the guilt of these twosons might be entailed on his house, or that other members of his family might share the same fateby some irregularities or defects in the discharge of their sacred functions. And, therefore, this lawwas established, by the due observance of whose requirements the Aaronic order would be securelymaintained and accepted in the priesthood.2. Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place withinthe veil, &c.—Common priests went every day into the part of the sanctuary without the veil toburn incense on the golden altar. But none except the high priest was allowed to enter within theveil, and that only once a year with the greatest care and solemnity. This arrangement was evidentlydesigned to inspire a reverence for the most holy place, and the precaution was necessary at a time188





            Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein

              when the presence of God was indicated by sensible symbols, the impression of which might havebeen diminished or lost by daily and familiar observation.I will appear in the cloud—that is, the smoke of the incense which the high priest burnt onhis yearly entrance into the most holy place: and this was the cloud which at that time covered themercy seat.3, 4. Thus shall Aaron come into the holy place—As the duties of the great day of atonementled to the nearest and most solemn approach to God, the directions as to the proper course to befollowed were minute and special.with a young bullock … and a ram—These victims he brought alive, but they were not offeredin sacrifice till he had gone through the ceremonies described between Leviticus 16:3-11. He was not toattire himself on that occasion in the splendid robes that were proper to his sacred office, but in aplain dress of linen, like the common Levites, for, as he was then to make atonement for his ownsins, as well as for those of the people, he was to appear in the humble character of a suppliant.That plain dress was more in harmony with a season of humiliation (as well as lighter and moreconvenient for the duties which on that occasion he had singly to perform) than the gorgeous robesof the pontificate. It showed that when all appeared as sinners, the highest and lowest were thenon a level, and that there is no distinction of persons with God [Acts 10:34].5-10. shall take of the congregation … two kids of the goats … and one ram—The sacrificeswere to be offered by the high priest, respectively for himself and the other priests, as well as forthe people. The bullock (Leviticus 16:3) and the goats were for sin offerings and the rams for burntofferings. The goats, though used in different ways, constituted only one offering. They were bothpresented before the Lord, and the disposal of them determined by lot, which Jewish writers havethus described: The priest, placing one of the goats on his right hand and the other on his left, tookhis station by the altar, and cast into an urn two pieces of gold exactly similar, inscribed, the onewith the words "for the Lord," and the other for "Azazel" (the scapegoat). After having well shakenthem together, he put both his hands into the box and took up a lot in each: that in his right handhe put on the head of the goat which stood on his right, and that in his left he dropped on the other.In this manner the fate of each was decided.11-19. Aaron shall bring the bullock of the sin offering which is for himself, &c.—The firstpart of the service was designed to solemnize his own mind, as well as the minds of the people, byoffering the sacrifices for their sins. The sin offerings being slain had the sins of the offerer judiciallytransferred to them by the imputation of his hands on their head (Leviticus 4:4, 15, 24, 29, 33); and thusthe young bullock, which was to make atonement for himself and the other priests (called "hishouse," Psalms 135:19), was killed by the hands of the high priest. While the blood of the victim wasbeing received into a vessel, taking a censer of live coals in his right hand and a platter of sweetincense in his left, he, amid the solemn attention and the anxious prayers of the assembled multitude,crossed the porch and the holy place, opened the outer veil which led into the holy of holies andthen the inner veil. Standing before the ark, he deposited the censer of coals on the floor, emptiedthe plate of incense into his hand, poured it on the burning coals; and the apartment was filled withfragrant smoke, intended, according to Jewish writers, to prevent any presumptuous gazer pryingtoo curiously into the form of the mercy seat, which was the Lord's throne. The high priest havingdone this, perfumed the sanctuary, returned to the door, took the blood of the slain bullock, and,carrying it into the holy of holies, sprinkled it with his finger once upon the mercy seat"eastward"—that is, on the side next to himself; and seven times "before the mercy seat"—that is,189





            Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein

              on the front of the ark. Leaving the coals and the incense burning, he went out a second time, tosacrifice at the altar of burnt offering the goat which had been assigned as a sin offering for thepeople; and carrying its blood into the holy of holies, he made similar sprinklings as he had donebefore with the blood of the bullock. While the high priest was thus engaged in the most holy place,none of the ordinary priests were allowed to remain within the precincts of the tabernacle. Thesanctuary or holy place and the altar of burnt offering were in like manner sprinkled seven timeswith the blood of the bullock and the goat. The object of this solemn ceremonial was to impressthe minds of the Israelites with the conviction that the whole tabernacle was stained by the sins ofa guilty people, that by their sins they had forfeited the privileges of the divine presence and worship,and that an atonement had to be made as the condition of God's remaining with them. The sins andshortcomings of the past year having polluted the sacred edifice, the expiation required to be annuallyrenewed. The exclusion of the priests indicated their unworthiness and the impurities of their service.The mingled blood of the two victims being sprinkled on the horns of the altar indicated that thepriests and the people equally needed an atonement for their sins. But the sanctuary being thusceremonially purified, and the people of Israel reconciled by the blood of the consecrated victim,the Lord continued to dwell in the midst of them, and to honor them with His gracious presence.20-22. he shall bring the live goat—Having already been presented before the Lord (Leviticus 16:10),it was now brought forward to the high priest, who, placing his hands upon its head, and "havingconfessed over it all the iniquities of the people of Israel, and all their transgressions in all theirsins," transferred them by this act to the goat as their substitute. It was then delivered into the handsof a person, who was appointed to lead him away into a distant, solitary, and desert place, wherein early times he was let go, to escape for his life; but in the time of Christ, he was carried to a highrock twelve miles from Jerusalem, and there, being thrust over the precipice, he was killed.Commentators have differed widely in their opinions about the character and purpose of this partof the ceremonial; some considering the word "Azazel," with the Septuagint and our translators,to mean, "the scapegoat"; others, "a lofty, precipitous rock" [Bochart]; others, "a thing separated toGod" [Ewald, Tholuck]; while others think it designates Satan [Gesenius, Hengstenberg]. This last viewis grounded on the idea of both goats forming one and the same sacrifice of atonement, and it issupported by Zechariah 3:1-10, which presents a striking commentary on this passage. Whether therewas in this peculiar ceremony any reference to an Egyptian superstition about Typhon, the spiritof evil, inhabiting the wilderness, and the design was to ridicule it by sending a cursed animal intohis gloomy dominions, it is impossible to say. The subject is involved in much obscurity. But inany view there seems to be a typical reference to Christ who bore away our sins [Hebrews 10:4; 1 John3:5].23-28. Aaron shall come into the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall put off the linengarments—On the dismissal of the scapegoat, the high priest prepared for the important parts ofthe service which still remained; and for the performance of these he laid aside his plain linenclothes, and, having bathed himself in water, he assumed his pontifical dress. Thus gorgeouslyattired, he went to present the burnt offerings which were prescribed for himself and the people,consisting of the two rams which had been brought with the sin offerings, but reserved till now.The fat was ordered to be burnt upon the altar; the rest of the carcasses to be cut down and givento some priestly attendants to burn without the camp, in conformity with the general law for thesin offerings (Leviticus 4:8-12; 8:14-17). The persons employed in burning them, as well as the conductor190





            Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein

              of the scapegoat, were obliged to wash their clothes and bathe their flesh in water before they wereallowed to return into the camp.29-34. this shall be a statute for ever unto you, that in the seventh month ye shall afflictyour souls—This day of annual expiation for all the sins, irreverences, and impurities of all classesin Israel during the previous year, was to be observed as a solemn fast, in which "they were toafflict their souls"; it was reckoned a sabbath, kept as a season of "holy convocation," or, assemblingfor religious purposes. All persons who performed any labor were subject to the penalty of death[Exodus 31:14, 15; 35:2]. It took place on the tenth day of the seventh month, corresponding to our thirdof October; and this chapter, together with Leviticus 23:27-32, as containing special allusion to theobservances of the day, was publicly read. The rehearsal of these passages appointing the solemnceremonial was very appropriate, and the details of the successive parts of it (above all the spectacleof the public departure of the scapegoat under the care of its leader) must have produced salutaryimpressions both of sin and of duty that would not be soon effaced.






            CHAPTER

              17Leviticus 17:1-16. Blood of Beasts Must Be Offered at the Tabernacle Door.3, 4. What man … killeth an ox—The Israelites, like other people living in the desert, wouldnot make much use of animal food; and when they did kill a lamb or a kid for food, it would almostalways be, as in Abraham's entertainment of the angels [Genesis 18:7], an occasion of a feast, to be eatenin company. This was what was done with the peace offerings, and accordingly it is here enacted,that the same course shall be followed in slaughtering the animals as in the case of those offerings,namely, that they should be killed publicly, and after being devoted to God, partaken of by theofferers. This law, it is obvious, could only be observable in the wilderness while the people wereencamped within an accessible distance from the tabernacle. The reason for it is to be found in thestrong addictedness of the Israelites to idolatry at the time of their departure from Egypt; and as itwould have been easy for any by killing an animal to sacrifice privately to a favorite object ofworship, a strict prohibition was made against their slaughtering at home. (See on Deuteronomy 12:15).5. To the end that the children of Israel may bring their sacrifices, which they offer in theopen field—"They" is supposed by some commentators to refer to the Egyptians, so that the versewill stand thus: "the children of Israel may bring their sacrifices which they (the Egyptians) offerin the open field." The law is thought to have been directed against those whose Egyptian habitsled them to imitate this idolatrous practice.7. they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto devils—literally, "goats." The prohibitionevidently alludes to the worship of the hirei-footed kind, such as Pan, Faunus, and Saturn, whoserecognized symbol was a goat. This was a form of idolatry enthusiastically practised by theEgyptians, particularly in the nome or province of Mendes. Pan was supposed especially to presideover mountainous and desert regions, and it was while they were in the wilderness that the Israelitesseem to have been powerfully influenced by a feeling to propitiate this idol. Moreover, theceremonies observed in this idolatrous worship were extremely licentious and obscene, and thegross impurity of the rites gives great point and significance to the expression of Moses, "they havegone a-whoring."191





            Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein

              8, 9. Whatsoever man … offereth … And bringeth it not unto the door of thetabernacle—Before the promulgation of the law, men worshipped wherever they pleased or pitchedtheir tents. But after that event the rites of religion could be acceptably performed only at theappointed place of worship. This restriction with respect to place was necessary as a preventive ofidolatry; for it prohibited the Israelites, when at a distance, from repairing to the altars of the heathen,which were commonly in groves or fields.10. I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off fromamong his people—The face of God is often used in Scripture to denote His anger (Psalms 34:16; Re6:16; Ezekiel 38:18). The manner in which God's face would be set against such an offender was, thatif the crime were public and known, he was condemned to death; if it were secret, vengeance wouldovertake him. (See on Genesis 9:4). But the practice against which the law is here pointed was anidolatrous rite. The Zabians, or worshippers of the heavenly host, were accustomed, in sacrificinganimals, to pour out the blood and eat a part of the flesh at the place where the blood was pouredout (and sometimes the blood itself) believing that by means of it, friendship, brotherhood, andfamiliarity were contracted between the worshippers and the deities. They, moreover, supposedthat the blood was very beneficial in obtaining for them a vision of the demon during their sleep,and a revelation of future events. The prohibition against eating blood, viewed in the light of thishistoric commentary and unconnected with the peculiar terms in which it is expressed, seems tohave been levelled against idolatrous practices, as is still further evident from Ezekiel 33:25, 26; 1 Corinthians10:20, 21.11. the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to makean atonement for your souls—God, as the sovereign author and proprietor of nature, reserved theblood to Himself and allowed men only one use of it—in the way of sacrifices.13, 14. whatsoever man … hunteth—It was customary with heathen sportsmen, when theykilled any game or venison, to pour out the blood as a libation to the god of the chase. The Israelites,on the contrary, were enjoined, instead of leaving it exposed, to cover it with dust and, by thismeans, were effectually debarred from all the superstitious uses to which the heathen applied it.15, 16. every soul that eateth that which died of itself (Exodus 22:31; Leviticus 7:24; Acts 15:20),be unclean until the even—that is, from the moment of his discovering his fault until theevening. This law, however, was binding only on an Israelite. (See Deuteronomy 14:21).






            CHAPTER

              18Leviticus 18:1-30. Unlawful Marriages.2-4. I am the Lord your God—This renewed mention of the divine sovereignty over theIsraelites was intended to bear particularly on some laws that were widely different from the socialcustoms that obtained both in Egypt and Canaan; for the enormities, which the laws enumeratedin this chapter were intended to put down, were freely practised or publicly sanctioned in both ofthose countries; and, indeed, the extermination of the ancient Canaanites is described as owing tothe abominations with which they had polluted the land.5. Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall livein them—A special blessing was promised to the Israelites on condition of their obedience to thedivine law; and this promise was remarkably verified at particular eras of their history, when pure192





            Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein

              and undefiled religion prevailed among them, in the public prosperity and domestic happinessenjoyed by them as a people. Obedience to the divine law always, indeed, ensures temporaladvantages; and this, doubtless, was the primary meaning of the words, "which if a man do, heshall live in them." But that they had a higher reference to spiritual life is evident from the applicationmade of them by our Lord (Luke 10:28) and the apostle (Romans 10:2).6. None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him—Very great laxity prevailedamongst the Egyptians in their sentiments and practice about the conjugal relation, as they not onlyopenly sanctioned marriages between brothers and sisters, but even between parents and children.Such incestuous alliances Moses wisely prohibited, and his laws form the basis upon which themarriage regulations of this and other Christian nations are chiefly founded. This verse contains ageneral summary of all the particular prohibitions; and the forbidden intercourse is pointed out bythe phrase, "to approach to." In the specified prohibitions that follow, all of which are included inthis general summary, the prohibited familiarity is indicated by the phrases, to "uncover thenakedness" [Leviticus 18:12-17], to "take" [Leviticus 18:17, 18], and to "lie with" [Leviticus 18:22, 23]. The phrase inthis sixth verse, therefore, has the same identical meaning with each of the other three, and themarriages in reference to which it is used are those of consanguinity or too close affinity, amountingto incestuous connections.18. Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister, to vex her—The original is rendered in theMargin, "neither shalt thou take one wife to another to vex her," and two different and oppositeinterpretations have been put upon this passage. The marginal construction involves an expressprohibition of polygamy; and, indeed, there can be no doubt that the practice of having more wivesthan one is directly contrary to the divine will. It was prohibited by the original law of marriage,and no evidence of its lawfulness under the Levitical code can be discovered, although Moses—from"the hardness of their hearts" [Matthew 19:8; Mark 10:5]—tolerated it in the people of a rude and earlyage. The second interpretation forms the ground upon which the "vexed question" has been raisedin our times respecting the lawfulness of marriage with a deceased wife's sister. Whatever argumentsmay be used to prove the unlawfulness or inexpediency of such a matrimonial relation, the passageunder consideration cannot, on a sound basis of criticism, be enlisted in the service; for the crimeswith which it is here associated warrant the conclusion that it points not to marriage with a deceasedwife's sister, but with a sister in the wife's lifetime, a practice common among the ancient Egyptians,Chaldeans, and others.21. thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, &c.—Molech, orMoloch, which signifies "king," was the idol of the Ammonites. His statue was of brass, and restedon a pedestal or throne of the same metal. His head, resembling that of a calf, was adorned with acrown, and his arms were extended in the attitude of embracing those who approached him. Hisdevotees dedicated their children to him; and when this was to be done, they heated the statue to ahigh pitch of intensity by a fire within, and then the infants were either shaken over the flames, orpassed through the ignited arms, by way of lustration to ensure the favor of the pretended deity.The fire-worshippers asserted that all children who did not undergo this purifying process woulddie in infancy; and the influence of this Zabian superstition was still so extensively prevalent in thedays of Moses, that the divine lawgiver judged it necessary to prohibit it by an express statute.neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God—by giving it to false or pretended divinities;or, perhaps, from this precept standing in close connection with the worship of Molech, the meaningrather is, Do not, by devoting your children to him, give foreigners occasion to blaspheme the name193





            Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein

              of your God as a cruel and sanguinary deity, who demands the sacrifice of human victims, and whoencourages cruelty in his votaries.24. Defile not yourselves in any of these things—In the preceding verses seventeen expresscases of incest are enumerated; comprehending eleven of affinity [Leviticus 18:7-16], and six ofconsanguinity [Leviticus 18:17-20], together with some criminal enormities of an aggravated and unnaturalcharacter. In such prohibitions it was necessary for the instruction of a people low in the scale ofmoral perception, that the enumeration should be very specific as well as minute; and then, oncompleting it, the divine lawgiver announces his own views of these crimes, without any exceptionor modification, in the remarkable terms employed in this verse.in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you, &c.—Ancient history givesmany appalling proofs that the enormous vices described in this chapter were very prevalent, nay,were regularly practised from religious motives in the temples of Egypt and the groves of Canaan;and it was these gigantic social disorders that occasioned the expulsion, of which the Israeliteswere, in the hands of a righteous and retributive Providence, the appointed instruments (Genesis 15:16).The strongly figurative language of "the land itself vomiting out her inhabitants" [Leviticus 18:25], showsthe hopeless depth of their moral corruption.25. therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it; and the land itself vomiteth out herinhabitants—The Canaanites, as enormous and incorrigible sinners, were to be exterminated; andthis extermination was manifestly a judicial punishment inflicted by a ruler whose laws had beengrossly and perseveringly outraged. But before a law can be disobeyed, it must have been previouslyin existence; and hence a law, prohibiting all the horrid crimes enumerated above—a law obligatoryupon the Canaanites as well as other nations—was already known and in force before the Leviticallaw of incest was promulgated. Some general Iaw, then, prohibiting these crimes must have beenpublished to mankind at a very early period of the world's history; and that law must either havebeen the moral law, originally written on the human heart, or a law on the institution of marriagerevealed to Adam and known to the Canaanites and others by tradition or otherwise.29. the souls that commit them shall be cut off—This strong denunciatory language is appliedto all the crimes specified in the chapter without distinction: to incest as truly as to bestiality, andto the eleven cases of affinity [Leviticus 18:7-16], as fully as to the six of consanguinity [Leviticus 18:17-20].Death is the punishment sternly denounced against all of them. No language could be more explicitor universal; none could more strongly indicate intense loathing and abhorrence.30. Therefore shall ye keep mine ordinance, that ye commit not any one of these abominablecustoms—In giving the Israelites these particular institutions, God was only re-delivering the lawimprinted on the natural heart of man; for there is every reason to believe that the incestuous alliancesand unnatural crimes prohibited in this chapter were forbidden to all men by a law expressed orunderstood from the beginning of the world, or at least from the era of the flood, since God threatensto condemn and punish, in a manner so sternly severe, these atrocities in the practice of theCanaanites and their neighbors, who were not subject to the laws of the Hebrew nation.






            CHAPTER

              19Leviticus 19:1-37. A Repetition of Sundry Laws.194





            Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein

              2. Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel—Many of the laws enumeratedin this chapter had been previously announced. As they were, however, of a general application,not suited to particular classes, but to the nation at large, so Moses seems, according to divineinstructions, to have rehearsed them, perhaps on different occasions and to successive divisions ofthe people, till "all the congregation of the children of Israel" were taught to know them. The willof God in the Old as well as the New Testament Church was not locked up in the repositories ofan unknown tongue, but communicated plainly and openly to the people.Ye shall be holy: for I … am holy—Separated from the world, the people of God were requiredto be holy, for His character, His laws, and service were holy. (See 1 Peter 1:15).3. Ye shall fear every man his mother, and his father, and keep my sabbaths—The dutyof obedience to parents is placed in connection with the proper observance of the Sabbaths, bothof them lying at the foundation of practical religion.5-8. if ye offer a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the Lord, ye shall offer it at your ownwill—Those which included thank offerings, or offerings made for vows, were always freewillofferings. Except the portions which, being waved and heaved, became the property of the priests(see Leviticus 3:1-17), the rest of the victim was eaten by the offerer and his friend, under the followingregulations, however, that, if thank offerings, they were to be eaten on the day of their presentation;and if a freewill offering, although it might be eaten on the second day, yet if any remained of ittill the third day, it was to be burnt, or deep criminality was incurred by the person who then venturedto partake of it. The reason of this strict prohibition seems to have been to prevent any mysteriousvirtue being superstitiously attached to meat offered on the altar.9, 10. And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the cornersof thy field—The right of the poor in Israel to glean after reapers, as well as to the unreaped cornersof the field, was secured by a positive statute; and this, in addition to other enactments connectedwith the ceremonial law, formed a beneficial provision for their support. At the same time, proprietorswere not obliged to admit them into the field until the grain had been carried off the field; and theyseem also to have been left at liberty to choose the poor whom they deemed the most deserving orneedful (Ru 2:2, 8). This was the earliest law for the benefit of the poor that we read of in the codeof any people; and it combined in admirable union the obligation of a public duty with the exerciseof private and voluntary benevolence at a time when the hearts of the rich would be strongly inclinedto liberality.11-16. Ye shall not steal—A variety of social duties are inculcated in this passage, chiefly inreference to common and little-thought-of vices to which mankind are exceedingly prone; such ascommitting petty frauds, or not scrupling to violate truth in transactions of business, ridiculingbodily infirmities, or circulating stories to the prejudice of others. In opposition to these bad habits,a spirit of humanity and brotherly kindness is strongly enforced.17. thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour—Instead of cherishing latent feelings ofmalice or meditating purposes of revenge against a person who has committed an insult or injuryagainst them, God's people were taught to remonstrate with the offender and endeavor, by calmand kindly reason, to bring him to a sense of his fault.not suffer sin upon him—literally, "that ye may not participate in his sin."18. thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself—The word "neighbour" is used as synonymouswith "fellow creature." The Israelites in a later age restricted its meaning as applicable only to their195





            Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein

              own countrymen. This narrow interpretation was refuted by our Lord in a beautiful parable (Luke10:30-37).19. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind—This prohibition was probablyintended to discourage a practice which seemed to infringe upon the economy which God hasestablished in the animal kingdom.thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed—This also was directed against an idolatrouspractice, namely, that of the ancient Zabians, or fire-worshippers, who sowed different seeds,accompanying the act with magical rites and invocations; and commentators have generally thoughtthe design of this and the preceding law was to put an end to the unnatural lusts and foolishsuperstitions which were prevalent among the heathen. But the reason of the prohibition wasprobably deeper: for those who have studied the diseases of land and vegetables tell us, that thepractice of mingling seeds is injurious both to flowers and to grains. "If the various genera of thenatural order Gramineæ, which includes the grains and the grasses, should be sown in the samefield, and flower at the same time, so that the pollen of the two flowers mix, a spurious seed willbe the consequence, called by the farmers chess. It is always inferior and unlike either of the twograins that produced it, in size, flavor, and nutritious principles. Independently of contributing todisease the soil, they never fail to produce the same in animals and men that feed on them" [Whitlaw].neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee—Although thisprecept, like the other two with which it is associated, was in all probability designed to root outsome superstition, it seems to have had a further meaning. The law, it is to be observed, did notprohibit the Israelites wearing many different kinds of cloths together, but only the two specified;and the observations and researches of modern science have proved that "wool, when combinedwith linen, increases its power of passing off the electricity from the body. In hot climates, it bringson malignant fevers and exhausts the strength; and when passing off from the body, it meets withthe heated air, inflames and excoriates like a blister" [Whitlaw]. (See Ezekiel 44:17, 18).23-25. ye shall count the fruit thereof as uncircumcised; three years … it shall not be eatenof—"The wisdom of this law is very striking. Every gardener will teach us not to let fruit trees bearin their earliest years, but to pluck off the blossoms: and for this reason, that they will thus thrivethe better, and bear more abundantly afterwards. The very expression, 'to regard them asuncircumcised,' suggests the propriety of pinching them off; I do not say cutting them off, becauseit is generally the hand, and not a knife, that is employed in this operation" [Michaelis].26. shall not eat any thing with the blood—(See on Leviticus 17:10).neither … use enchantment, nor observe times—The former refers to divination byserpents—one of the earliest forms of enchantment, and the other means the observation, literally,of clouds, as a study of the appearance and motion of clouds was a common way of foretellinggood or bad fortune. Such absurd but deep-rooted superstitions often put a stop to the prosecutionof serious and important transactions, but they were forbidden especially as implying a want offaith in the being, or of reliance on the providence of God.27. Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, &c.—It seems probable that this fashionhad been learned by the Israelites in Egypt, for the ancient Egyptians had their dark locks croppedshort or shaved with great nicety, so that what remained on the crown appeared in the form of acircle surrounding the head, while the beard was dressed into a square form. This kind of coiffurehad a highly idolatrous meaning; and it was adopted, with some slight variations, by almost allidolaters in ancient times. (Jeremiah 9:25, 26; 25:23, where "in the utmost corners" means having the196





            Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein

              corners of their hair cut.) Frequently a lock or tuft of hair was left on the hinder part of the head,the rest being cut round in the form of a ring, as the Turks, Chinese, and Hindus do at the presentday.neither shalt thou mar, &c.—The Egyptians used to cut or shave off their whiskers, as maybe seen in the coffins of mummies, and the representations of divinities on the monuments. But theHebrews, in order to separate them from the neighboring nations, or perhaps to put a stop to someexisting superstition, were forbidden to imitate this practice. It may appear surprising that Mosesshould condescend to such minutiæ as that of regulating the fashion of the hair and thebeard—matters which do not usually occupy the attention of a legislator—and which appear widelyremote from the province either of government or of a religion. A strong presumption, therefore,arises that he had in mind by these regulations to combat some superstitious practices of theEgyptians.28. Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead—The practice of making deepgashes on the face and arms and legs, in time of bereavement, was universal among the heathen,and it was deemed a becoming mark of respect for the dead, as well as a sort of propitiatory offeringto the deities who presided over death and the grave. The Jews learned this custom in Egypt, andthough weaned from it, relapsed in a later and degenerate age into this old superstition (Isaiah 15:2;Jeremiah 16:6; 41:5).nor print any marks upon you—by tattooing, imprinting figures of flowers, leaves, stars, andother fanciful devices on various parts of their person. The impression was made sometimes bymeans of a hot iron, sometimes by ink or paint, as is done by the Arab females of the present dayand the different castes of the Hindus. It is probable that a strong propensity to adopt such marksin honor of some idol gave occasion to the prohibition in this verse; and they were wisely forbidden,for they were signs of apostasy; and, when once made, they were insuperable obstacles to a return.(See allusions to the practice, Isaiah 44:5; Re 13:17; 14:1).30. Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary—This precept is frequentlyrepeated along with the prohibition of idolatrous practices, and here it stands closely connectedwith the superstitions forbidden in the previous verses.31. Regard not them that have familiar spirits—The Hebrew word, rendered "familiar spirit,"signifies the belly, and sometimes a leathern bottle, from its similarity to the belly. It was appliedin the sense of this passage to ventriloquists, who pretended to have communication with theinvisible world. The Hebrews were strictly forbidden to consult them as the vain but high pretensionsof those impostors were derogatory to the honor of God and subversive of their covenant relationswith Him as His people.neither seek after wizards—fortunetellers, who pretended, as the Hebrew word indicates, toprognosticate by palmistry (or an inspection of the lines of the hand) the future fate of those whoapplied to them.33, 34. if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him—The Israeliteswere to hold out encouragement to strangers to settle among them, that they might be brought tothe knowledge and worship of the true God; and with this in view, they were enjoined to treat themnot as aliens, but as friends, on the ground that they themselves, who were strangers in Egypt, wereat first kindly and hospitably received in that country.37. I am the Lord—This solemn admonition, by which these various precepts are repeatedlysanctioned, is equivalent to "I, your Creator—your Deliverer from bondage, and your Sovereign,197





            Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein

              who have wisdom to establish laws, have power also to punish the violation of them." It was wellfitted to impress the minds of the Israelites with a sense of their duty and God's claims to obedience.






            CHAPTER

              20Leviticus 20:1-27. Giving One's Seed to Molech.2. Whosoever … giveth any of his seed unto Molech—(See on Leviticus 18:21).the people of the land shall stone him with stones, &c.—Criminals who were condemned tobe stoned were led, with their hands bound, without the gates to a small eminence, where was alarge stone placed at the bottom. When they had approached within ten cubits of the spot, they wereexhorted to confess, that, by faith and repentance, their souls might be saved. When led forward towithin four cubits, they were stripped almost naked, and received some stupefying draught, duringwhich the witnesses prepared, by laying aside their outer garments, to carry into execution thecapital sentence which the law bound them to do. The criminal, being placed on the edge of theprecipice, was then pushed backwards, so that he fell down the perpendicular height on the stonelying below: if not killed by the fall, the second witness dashed a large stone down upon his breast,and then the "people of the land," who were by-standers, rushed forward, and with stones completedthe work of death (Matthew 21:44; Acts 7:58).4. If the people of the land do any ways hide their eyes from the man, &c.—that is, conniveat their countrymen practising the horrid rites of Molech. Awful was it that any Hebrew parentscould so violate their national covenant, and no wonder that God denounced the severest penaltiesagainst them and their families.7-19. Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy—The minute specification of the incestuousand unnatural crimes here enumerated shows their sad prevalence amongst the idolatrous nationsaround, and the extreme proneness of the Israelites to follow the customs of their neighbors. It isto be understood, that, whenever mention is made that the offender was "to be put to death" withoutdescribing the mode, stoning is meant. The only instance of another form of capital punishmentoccurs in Leviticus 20:14, that of being burnt with fire; and yet it is probable that even here death wasfirst inflicted by stoning, and the body of the criminal afterwards consumed by fire (Joshua 7:15).20. they shall die childless—Either by the judgment of God they shall have no children, ortheir spurious offspring shall be denied by human authority the ordinary privileges of children inIsrael.24. I … have separated you from other people—Their selection from the rest of the nationswas for the all-important end of preserving the knowledge and worship of the true God amid theuniversal apostasy; and as the distinction of meats was one great means of completing that separation,the law about making a difference between clean and unclean beasts is here repeated with emphaticsolemnity.






            CHAPTER

              21Leviticus 21:1-24. Of the Priests' Mourning.1. There shall none be defiled for the dead among his people—The obvious design of theregulations contained in this chapter was to keep inviolate the purity and dignity of the sacred198





            Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein

              office. Contact with a corpse, or even contiguity to the place where it lay, entailing ceremonialdefilement (Numbers 19:14), all mourners were debarred from the tabernacle for a week; and as theexclusion of a priest during that period would have been attended with great inconvenience, thewhole order were enjoined to abstain from all approaches to the dead, except at the funerals ofrelatives, to whom affection or necessity might call them to perform the last offices. Thoseexceptional cases, which are specified, were strictly confined to the members of their own family,within the nearest degrees of kindred.4. But he shall not defile himself—"for any other," as the sense may be fully expressed. "Thepriest, in discharging his sacred functions, might well be regarded as a chief man among his people,and by these defilements might be said to profane himself" [Bishop Patrick]. The word rendered "chiefman" signifies also "a husband"; and the sense according to others is, "But he being a husband,shall not defile himself by the obsequies of a wife" (Ezekiel 44:25).5. They shall not make baldness upon their heads … nor … cuttings in their flesh—Thesuperstitious marks of sorrow, as well as the violent excesses in which the heathen indulged at thedeath of their friends, were forbidden by a general law to the Hebrew people (Leviticus 19:28). But thepriests were to be laid under a special injunction, not only that they might exhibit examples of pietyin the moderation of their grief, but also by the restraint of their passions, be the better qualified toadminister the consolations of religion to others, and show, by their faith in a blessed resurrection,the reasons for sorrowing not as those who have no hope.7-9. They shall not take a wife that is a whore, or profane—Private individuals might formseveral connections, which were forbidden as inexpedient or improper in priests. The respectabilityof their office, and the honor of religion, required unblemished sanctity in their families as well asthemselves, and departures from it in their case were visited with severer punishment than in thatof others.10-15. he that is the high priest among his brethren … shall not uncover his head, norrend his clothes—The indulgence in the excepted cases of family bereavement, mentioned above[Leviticus 21:2, 3], which was granted to the common priests, was denied to him; for his absence fromthe sanctuary for the removal of any contracted defilement could not have been dispensed with,neither could he have acted as intercessor for the people, unless ceremonially clean. Moreover, thehigh dignity of his office demanded a corresponding superiority in personal holiness, and stringentrules were prescribed for the purpose of upholding the suitable dignity of his station and family.The same rules are extended to the families of Christian ministers (1 Timothy 3:2; Tit 1:6).16-24. Whosoever he be … hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread ofhis God—As visible things exert a strong influence on the minds of men, any physical infirmityor malformation of body in the ministers of religion, which disturbs the associations or excitesridicule, tends to detract from the weight and authority of the sacred office. Priests laboring underany personal defect were not allowed to officiate in the public service; they might be employed insome inferior duties about the sanctuary but could not perform any sacred office. In all theseregulations for preserving the unsullied purity of the sacred character and office, there was a typicalreference to the priesthood of Christ (Hebrews 7:26).






            CHAPTER

              22199





            Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein

              Leviticus 22:1-9. The Priests in Their Uncleanness.2. Speak unto Aaron and to his sons, that they separate themselves from the holythings—"To separate" means, in the language of the Mosaic ritual, "to abstain"; and therefore theimport of this injunction is that the priests should abstain from eating that part of the sacrificeswhich, though belonging to their order, was to be partaken of only by such of them as were freefrom legal impurities.that they profane not my holy name in those things which they hallow unto me, &c.—thatis, let them not, by their want of due reverence, give occasion to profane my holy name. A carelessor irreverent use of things consecrated to God tends to dishonor the name and bring disrespect onthe worship of God.3. Whosoever he be … that goeth unto the holy things—The multitude of minute restrictionsto which the priests, from accidental defilement, were subjected, by keeping them constantly ontheir guard lest they should be unfit for the sacred service, tended to preserve in full exercise thefeeling of awe and submission to the authority of God. The ideas of sin and duty were awakenedin their breasts by every case to which either an interdict or an injunction was applied. But whyenact an express statute for priests disqualified by the leprosy or polluting touch of a carcass [Leviticus22:4], when a general law was already in force which excluded from society all persons in thatcondition? Because priests might be apt, from familiarity, to trifle with religion, and in committingirregularities or sins, to shelter themselves under the cloak of the sacred office. This law, therefore,was passed, specifying the chief forms of temporary defilement which excluded from the sanctuary,that priests might not deem themselves entitled to greater license than the rest of the people; andthat so far from being in any degree exempted from the sanctions of the law, they were under greaterobligations, by their priestly station, to observe it in its strict letter and its smallest enactments.4-6. wash his flesh with water—Any Israelite who had contracted a defilement of such a natureas debarred him from the enjoyment of his wonted privileges, and had been legally cleansed fromthe disqualifying impurity, was bound to indicate his state of recovery by the immersion of hiswhole person in water. Although all ceremonial impurity formed a ground of exclusion, there weredegrees of impurity which entailed a longer or shorter period of excommunication, and for theremoval of which different rites required to be observed according to the trivial or the malignantnature of the case. A person who came inadvertently into contact with an unclean animal wasrendered unclean for a specified period; and then, at the expiry of that term, he washed, in tokenof his recovered purity. But a leper was unclean so long as he remained subject to that disease, andon his convalescence, he also washed, not to cleanse himself, for the water was ineffectual for thatpurpose, but to signify that he was clean. Not a single case is recorded of a leper being restored tocommunion by the use of water; it served only as an outward and visible sign that such a restorationwas to be made. The Book of Leviticus abounds with examples which show that in all the ceremonialwashings, as uncleanness meant loss of privileges, so baptism with water indicated a restoration tothose privileges. There was no exemption; for as the unclean Israelite was exiled from thecongregation, so the unclean priest was disqualified from executing his sacred functions in thesanctuary; and in the case of both, the same observance was required—a formal intimation of theirbeing readmitted to forfeited privileges was intimated by the appointed rite of baptism. If any oneneglected or refused to perform the washing, he disobeyed a positive precept, and he remained inhis uncleanness; he forbore to avail himself of this privilege, and was therefore said to be "cut off"from the presence of the Lord.200





            Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein

              8. dieth of itself—The feelings of nature revolt against such food. It might have been left tothe discretion of the Hebrews, who it may be supposed (like the people of all civilized nations)would have abstained from the use of it without any positive interdict. But an express precept wasnecessary to show them that whatever died naturally or from disease, was prohibited to them bythe operation of that law which forbade them the use of any meat with its blood.Leviticus 22:10-16. Who of the Priests' House May Eat of Them.10-13. There shall no stranger eat the holy thing—The portion of the sacrifices assigned forthe support of the officiating priests was restricted to the exclusive use of his own family. Atemporary guest or a hired servant was not at liberty to eat of them; but an exception was made infavor of a bought or homeborn slave, because such was a stated member of his household. On thesame principle, his own daughter, who married a husband not a priest, could not eat of them.However, if a widow and childless, she was reinstated in the privileges of her father's house asbefore her marriage. But if she had become a mother, as her children had no right to the privilegesof the priesthood, she was under a necessity of finding support for them elsewhere than under herfather's roof.13. there shall no stranger eat thereof—The interdict recorded (Leviticus 22:10) is repeated to showits stringency. All the Hebrews, even the nearest neighbors of the priest, the members of his familyexcepted, were considered strangers in this respect, so that they had no right to eat of things offeredat the altar.14. if a man eat of the holy thing unwittingly—A common Israelite might unconsciouslypartake of what had been offered as tithes, first-fruits, &c., and on discovering his unintentionalerror, he was not only to restore as much as he had used, but be fined in a fifth part more for thepriests to carry into the sanctuary.15, 16. they shall not profane the holy things of the children of Israel—There is somedifficulty felt in determining to whom "they" refers. The subject of the preceding context beingoccupied about the priests, it is supposed by some that this relates to them also; and the meaningthen is that the whole people would incur guilt through the fault of the priests, if they should defilethe sacred offerings, which they would have done had they presented them while under anydefilement [Calvin]. According to others, "the children of Israel" is the nominative in the sentence;which thus signifies, the children of Israel shall not profane or defile their offerings, by touchingthem or reserving any part of them, lest they incur the guilt of eating what is divinely appointed tothe priests alone [Calmet].Leviticus 22:17-33. The Sacrifices Must Be without Blemish.19. Ye shall offer at your own will—rather, to your being accepted.a male without blemish—This law (Leviticus 1:3) is founded on a sense of natural propriety, whichrequired the greatest care to be taken in the selection of animals for sacrifice. The reason for thisextreme caution is found in the fact that sacrifices are either an expression of praise to God for Hisgoodness, or else they are the designed means of conciliating or retaining His favor. No victim thatwas not perfect in its kind could be deemed a fitting instrument for such purposes if we assumethat the significance of sacrifices is derived entirely from their relation to Jehovah. Sacrifices maybe likened to gifts made to a king by his subjects, and hence the reasonableness of God's strongremonstrance with the worldly-minded Jews (Malachi 1:8). If the tabernacle, and subsequently thetemple, were considered the palace of the great King, then the sacrifices would answer to presentsas offered to a monarch on various occasions by his subjects; and in this light they would be the201





            Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein

              appropriate expressions of their feelings towards their sovereign. When a subject wished to dohonor to his sovereign, to acknowledge allegiance, to appease his anger, to supplicate forgiveness,or to intercede for another, he brought a present; and all the ideas involved in sacrifices correspondto these sentiments—those of gratitude, of worship, of prayer, of confession and atonement [Bib.Sac.].23. that mayest thou offer, &c.—The passage should be rendered thus: "if thou offer it eitherfor a freewill offering, or for a vow, it shall not be accepted." This sacrifice being required to be"without blemish" [Leviticus 22:19], symbolically implied that the people of God were to dedicatethemselves wholly with sincere purposes of heart, and its being required to be "perfect to be accepted"[Leviticus 22:21], led them typically to Him without whom no sacrifice could be offered acceptable toGod.27, 28. it shall be seven days under the dam—Animals were not considered perfect nor goodfor food till the eighth day. As sacrifices are called the bread or food of God (Leviticus 22:25), to offerthem immediately after birth, when they were unfit to be eaten, would have indicated a contemptof religion; and besides, this prohibition, as well as that contained in Leviticus 22:28, inculcated a lessonof humanity or tenderness to the dam, as well as secured the sacrifices from all appearance ofunfeeling cruelty.






            CHAPTER

              23Leviticus 23:1-4. Of Sundry Feasts.2. Speak unto the children of Israel, … concerning the feasts of the Lord—literally, "thetimes of assembling, or solemnities" (Isaiah 33:20); and this is a preferable rendering, applicable toall sacred seasons mentioned in this chapter, even the day of atonement, which was observed as afast. They were appointed by the direct authority of God and announced by a public proclamation,which is called "the joyful sound" (Psalms 89:15). Those "holy convocations" were evidences of divinewisdom, and eminently subservient to the maintenance and diffusion of religious knowledge andpiety.3. Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest—(See on Exodus20:8). The Sabbath has the precedence given to it, and it was to be "a holy convocation," observedby families "in their dwellings"; where practicable, by the people repairing to the door of thetabernacle; at later periods, by meeting in the schools of the prophets, and in synagogues.4. These are the feasts of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons—Theirobservance took place in the parts of the year corresponding to our March, May, and September.Divine wisdom was manifested in fixing them at those periods; in winter, when the days were shortand the roads broken up, a long journey was impracticable; while in summer the harvest and vintagegave busy employment in the fields. Besides, another reason for the choice of those seasons probablywas to counteract the influence of Egyptian associations and habits. And God appointed moresacred festivals for the Israelites in the month of September than the people of Egypt had in honorof their idols. These institutions, however, were for the most part prospective, the observance beingnot binding on the Israelites during their wanderings in the wilderness, while the regular celebrationwas not to commence till their settlement in Canaan.Leviticus 23:5-8. The Passover.202





            Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein

              5. the Lord's passover—(See Exodus 12:2, 14, 18). The institution of the passover was intendedto be a perpetual memorial of the circumstances attending the redemption of the Israelites, whileit had a typical reference to a greater redemption to be effected for God's spiritual people. On thefirst and last days of this feast, the people were forbidden to work [Leviticus 23:7, 8]; but while on theSabbath they were not to do any work, on feast days they were permitted to dress meat—and hencethe prohibition is restricted to "no servile work." At the same time, those two days were devotedto "holy convocation"—special seasons of social devotion. In addition to the ordinary sacrifices ofevery day, there were to be "offerings by fire" on the altar (see Numbers 28:19), while unleavened breadwas to be eaten in families all the seven days (see 1 Corinthians 5:8).Leviticus 23:9-14. The Sheaf of First Fruits.10. ye shall bring a sheaf of the first-fruits of your harvest unto the priest—A sheaf, literally,an omer, of the first-fruits of the barley harvest. The barley being sooner ripe than the other grains,the reaping of it formed the commencement of the general harvest season. The offering describedin this passage was made on the sixteenth of the first month, the day following the first PassoverSabbath, which was on the fifteenth (corresponding to the beginning of our April); but it was reapedafter sunset on the previous evening by persons deputed to go with sickles and obtain samples fromdifferent fields. These, being laid together in a sheaf or loose bundle, were brought to the court ofthe temple, where the grain was winnowed, parched, and bruised in a mortar. Then, after someincense had been sprinkled on it, the priest waved the sheaf aloft before the Lord towards the fourdifferent points of the compass, took a part of it and threw it into the fire of the altar—all the restbeing reserved to himself. It was a proper and beautiful act, expressive of dependence on the Godof nature and providence—common among all people, but more especially becoming the Israelites,who owed their land itself as well as all it produced to the divine bounty. The offering of thewave-sheaf sanctified the whole harvest (Romans 11:16). At the same time, this feast had a typicalcharacter, and pre-intimated the resurrection of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:20), who rose from the dead on thevery day the first-fruits were offered.Leviticus 23:15-22. Feast of Pentecost.15. ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath—that is, after the first dayof the passover week, which was observed as a Sabbath.16. number fifty days—The forty-ninth day after the presentation of the first-fruits, or thefiftieth, including it, was the feast of Pentecost. (See also Exodus 23:16; Deuteronomy 16:9).17. Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals, &c.—Theseloaves were made of "fine" or wheaten flour, the quantity contained in them being somewhat morethan ten pounds in weight. As the wave-sheaf gave the signal for the commencement, the two loavessolemnized the termination of the harvest season. They were the first-fruits of that season, beingoffered unto the Lord by the priest in name of the whole nation. (See Exodus 34:22). The loaves usedat the Passover were unleavened; those presented at Pentecost were leavened—a difference whichis thus accounted for, that the one was a memorial of the bread hastily prepared at their departure,while the other was a tribute of gratitude to God for their daily food, which was leavened.21. ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you:ye shall do no servile work therein—Though it extended over a week, the first day only was heldas a Sabbath, both for the national offering of first-fruits and a memorial of the giving of the law.203





            Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein

              22. thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest,&c.—(See on Leviticus 19:9). The repetition of this law here probably arose from the priests remindingthe people, at the presentation of the first-fruits, to unite piety to God with charity to the poor.Leviticus 23:23-25. Feast of Trumpets.24. In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath—That wasthe first day of the ancient civil year.a memorial of blowing of trumpets—Jewish writers say that the trumpets were sounded thirtysuccessive times, and the reason for the institution was for the double purpose of announcing thecommencement of the new year, which was (Leviticus 23:25) to be religiously observed (see Numbers 29:3),and of preparing the people for the approaching solemn feast.27-32. there shall be a day of atonement … and ye shall afflict your souls—an unusualfestival, at which the sins of the whole year were expiated. (See Leviticus 16:29-34). It is here only statedthat the severest penalty was incurred by the violation of this day.34-44. the feast of tabernacles, for seven days unto the Lord—This festival, which wasinstituted in grateful commemoration of the Israelites having securely dwelt in booths or tabernaclesin the wilderness, was the third of the three great annual festivals, and, like the other two, it lasteda week. It began on the fifteenth day of the month, corresponding to the end of our September andbeginning of October, which was observed as a Sabbath; and it could be celebrated only at the placeof the sanctuary, offerings being made on the altar every day of its continuance. The Jews werecommanded during the whole period of the festival to dwell in booths, which were erected on theflat roofs of houses, in the streets or fields; and the trees made use of are by some stated to be thecitron, the palm, the myrtle, and the willow, while others maintain the people were allowed to takeany trees they could obtain that were distinguished for verdure and fragrance. While the solidbranches were reserved for the construction of the booths, the lighter branches were carried bymen, who marched in triumphal procession, singing psalms and crying "Hosanna!" which signifies,"Save, we beseech thee!" (Psalms 118:15, 25, 26). It was a season of great rejoicing. But the ceremonyof drawing water from the pool, which was done on the last day, seems to have been the introductionof a later period (John 7:37). That last day was the eighth, and, on account of the scene at Siloam,was called "the great day of the feast." The feast of ingathering, when the vintage was over, wascelebrated also on that day [Exodus 23:16; 34:22], and, as the conclusion of one of the great festivals,it was kept as a sabbath.






            CHAPTER

              24Leviticus 24:1-23. Oil for the Lamps.2. Command the children of Israel—This is the repetition of a law previously given (Exodus27:20, 21).pure oil olive beaten—or cold-drawn, which is always of great purity.3, 4. Aaron shall order it from the evening unto the morning—The daily presence of thepriests was necessary to superintend the cleaning and trimming.4. upon the pure candlestick—so called because of pure gold. This was symbolical of thelight which ministers are to diffuse through the Church.204





            Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein

              5-9. take fine flour, and bake twelve cakes—for the showbread, as previously appointed (Exodus25:30). Those cakes were baked by the Levites, the flour being furnished by the people (1 Chronicles 9:32;23:29), oil, wine, and salt being the other ingredients (Leviticus 2:13).two tenth deals—that is, of an ephah—thirteen and a half pounds weight each; and on eachrow or pile of cakes some frankincense was strewed, which, being burnt, led to the showbreadbeing called "an offering made by fire." Every Sabbath a fresh supply was furnished; hot loaveswere placed on the altar instead of the stale ones, which, having lain a week, were removed, andeaten only by the priests, except in cases of necessity (1 Samuel 21:3-6; also Luke 6:3, 4).10. the son of an Israelitish woman, &c.—This passage narrates the enactment of a new law,with a detail of the circumstances which gave rise to it. The "mixed multitude" [Exodus 12:38] thataccompanied the Israelites in their exodus from Egypt creates a presumption that marriageconnections of the kind described were not infrequent. And it was most natural, in the relativecircumstances of the two people, that the father should be an Egyptian and the mother an Israelite.11. And the Israelitish woman's son blasphemed the name of the Lord—A youth of thishalf-blood, having quarrelled with an Israelite [Leviticus 24:10], vented his rage in some horrid form ofimpiety. It was a common practice among the Egyptians to curse their idols when disappointed inobtaining the object of their petitions. The Egyptian mind of this youth thought the greatest insultto his opponent was to blaspheme the object of his religious reverence. He spoke disrespectfullyof One who sustained the double character of the King as well as the God of the Hebrew people;as the offense was a new one, he was put in ward till the mind of the Lord was ascertained as tohis disposal.14. Bring forth him that hath cursed without the camp—All executions took place withoutthe camp; and this arrangement probably originated in the idea that, as the Israelites were to be "aholy people" [Deuteronomy 7:6; 14:2, 21; 26:19; 28:9], all flagrant offenders should be thrust out of theirsociety.let all that heard him lay their hands upon his head, &c.—The imposition of hands formeda public and solemn testimony against the crime, and at the same time made the punishment legal.16. as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name ofthe Lord, shall be put to death—Although strangers were not obliged to be circumcised, yet byjoining the Israelitish camp, they became amenable to the law, especially that which related toblasphemy.17-22. he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death—These verses contain a repetitionof some other laws, relating to offenses of a social nature, the penalties for which were to be inflicted,not by the hand of private parties, but through the medium of the judges before whom the causewas brought.23. the children of Israel did as the Lord's commanded—The chapter closes with theexecution of Shelomith's son [Leviticus 24:14]—and stoning having afterwards become the establishedpunishment in all cases of blasphemy, it illustrates the fate of Stephen, who suffered under a falseimputation of that crime [Acts 7:58, 59].






            CHAPTER

              25Leviticus 25:1-7. Sabbath of the Seventh Year.205





            Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein

              2-4. When ye come into the land which I give you—It has been questioned on what year,after the occupation of Canaan, the sabbatic year began to be observed. Some think it was theseventh year after their entrance. But others, considering that as the first six years were spent inthe conquest and division of the land (Joshua 5:12), and that the sabbatical year was to be observedafter six years of agriculture, maintain that the observance did not commence till the fourteenthyear.the land keep a sabbath unto the Lord—This was a very peculiar arrangement. Not only allagricultural processes were to be intermitted every seventh year, but the cultivators had no right tothe soil. It lay entirely fallow, and its spontaneous produce was the common property of the poorand the stranger, the cattle and game. This year of rest was to invigorate the productive powers ofthe land, as the weekly Sabbath was a refreshment to men and cattle. It commenced immediatelyafter the feast of ingathering, and it was calculated to teach the people, in a remarkable manner,the reality of the presence and providential power of God.Leviticus 25:8-23. The Jubilee.8-11. thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years—This most extraordinary of all civilinstitutions, which received the name of "Jubilee" from a Hebrew word signifying a musicalinstrument, a horn or trumpet, began on the tenth day of the seventh month, or the great day ofatonement, when, by order of the public authorities, the sound of trumpets proclaimed the beginningof the universal redemption. All prisoners and captives obtained their liberties, slaves were declaredfree, and debtors were absolved. The land, as on the sabbatic year, was neither sowed nor reaped,but allowed to enjoy with its inhabitants a sabbath of repose; and its natural produce was the commonproperty of all. Moreover, every inheritance throughout the land of Judea was restored to its originalowner.10. ye shall hallow the fiftieth year—Much difference of opinion exists as to whether thejubilee was observed on the forty-ninth, or, in round numbers, it is called the fiftieth. The prevailingopinion, both in ancient and modern times, has been in favor of the latter.12. ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field, &c.—All that the ground yieldedspontaneously during that period might be eaten for their necessary subsistence, but no personswere at liberty to hoard or form a private stock in reserve.13. ye shall return every man unto his possession, &c.—Inheritances, from whatever cause,and how frequently soever they had been alienated, came back into the hands of the originalproprietors. This law of entail, by which the right heir could never be excluded, was a provision ofgreat wisdom for preserving families and tribes perfectly distinct, and their genealogies faithfullyrecorded, in order that all might have evidence to establish their right to the ancestral property.Hence the tribe and family of Christ were readily discovered at his birth.17. Ye shall not oppress one another, but thou shalt fear thy God—This, which is the sameas Leviticus 25:14, related to the sale or purchase of possessions and the duty of paying an honest andequitable regard, on both sides, to the limited period during which the bargain could stand. Theobject of the legislator was, as far as possible, to maintain the original order of families, and anequality of condition among the people.21, 22. I will command my blessing upon you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forthfruit for three years, &c.—A provision was made, by the special interposition of God, to supplythe deficiency of food which would otherwise have resulted from the suspension of all labor duringthe sabbatic year. The sixth year was to yield a miraculous supply for three continuous years. And206





            Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein

              the remark is applicable to the year of Jubilee as well as the sabbatic year. (See allusions to thisextraordinary provision in 2 Kings 19:29; Isaiah 37:30). None but a legislator who was conscious of actingunder divine authority would have staked his character on so singular an enactment as that of thesabbatic year; and none but a people who had witnessed the fulfilment of the divine promise wouldhave been induced to suspend their agricultural preparations on a recurrence of a periodical Jubilee.23-28. The land shall not be sold for ever—or, "be quite cut off," as the Margin better rendersit. The land was God's, and, in prosecution of an important design, He gave it to the people of Hischoice, dividing it among their tribes and families—who, however, held it of Him merely astenants-at-will and had no right or power of disposing of it to strangers. In necessitous circumstances,individuals might effect a temporary sale. But they possessed the right of redeeming it, at any time,on payment of an adequate compensation to the present holder; and by the enactments of the Jubileethey recovered it free—so that the land was rendered inalienable. (See an exception to this law, Leviticus27:20).29-31. if a man sell a dwelling house in a walled city, then he may redeem it within a wholeyear after it is sold—All sales of houses were subject to the same condition. But there was adifference between the houses of villages (which, being connected with agriculture, were treatedas parts of the land) and houses possessed by trading people or foreigners in walled towns, whichcould only be redeemed within the year after the sale; if not then redeemed, these did not revert tothe former owner at the Jubilee.32-34. Notwithstanding the cities of the Levites, &c.—The Levites, having no possessionsbut their towns and their houses, the law conferred on them the same privileges that were grantedto the lands of the other Israelites. A certain portion of the lands surrounding the Levitical citieswas appropriated to them for the pasturage of their cattle and flocks (Numbers 35:4, 5). This was apermanent endowment for the support of the ministry and could not be alienated for any time. TheLevites, however, were at liberty to make exchanges among themselves; and a priest might sell hishouse, garden, and right of pasture to another priest, but not to an Israelite of another tribe (Jeremiah41:7-9).35-38. if thy brother be waxen poor, … relieve him—This was a most benevolent provisionfor the poor and unfortunate, designed to aid them or alleviate the evils of their condition. Whethera native Israelite or a mere sojourner, his richer neighbor was required to give him food, lodging,and a supply of money without usury. Usury was severely condemned (Psalms 15:5; Ezekiel 18:8, 17), butthe prohibition cannot be considered as applicable to the modern practice of men in business,borrowing and lending at legal rates of interest.39-46. if thy brother … be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee, thou shalt not compel himto serve as a bond-servant—An Israelite might be compelled, through misfortune, not only tomortgage his inheritance, but himself. In the event of his being reduced to this distress, he was tobe treated not as a slave, but a hired servant whose engagement was temporary, and who might,through the friendly aid of a relative, be redeemed at any time before the Jubilee. The ransom moneywas determined on a most equitable principle. Taking account of the number of years from theproposal to redeem and the Jubilee, of the current wages of labor for that time, and multiplying theremaining years by that sum, the amount was to be paid to the master for his redemption. But if nosuch friendly interposition was made for a Hebrew slave, he continued in servitude till the year ofJubilee, when, as a matter of course, he regained his liberty, as well as his inheritance. Viewed inthe various aspects in which it is presented in this chapter, the Jubilee was an admirable institution,207





            Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein

              and subservient in an eminent degree to uphold the interests of religion, social order, and freedomamong the Israelites.






            CHAPTER

              26Leviticus 26:1, 2. Of Idolatry.1. Ye shall make you no idols—Idolatry had been previously forbidden (Exodus 20:4, 5), but thelaw was repeated here with reference to some particular forms of it that were very prevalent amongthe neighboring nations.a standing image—that is, "upright pillar."image of stone—that is, an obelisk, inscribed with hieroglyphical and superstitious characters;the former denoting the common and smaller pillars of the Syrians or Canaanites; the latter, pointingto the large and elaborate obelisks which the Egyptians worshipped as guardian divinities, or usedas stones of adoration to stimulate religious worship. The Israelites were enjoined to beware ofthem.2. Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary—Very frequently, in this Bookof the Law, the Sabbath and the sanctuary are mentioned as antidotes to idolatry.Leviticus 26:3-13. A Blessing to the Obedient.3. If ye walk in my statutes—In that covenant into which God graciously entered with thepeople of Israel, He promised to bestow upon them a variety of blessings, so long as they continuedobedient to Him as their Almighty Ruler; and in their subsequent history that people found everypromise amply fulfilled, in the enjoyment of plenty, peace, a populous country, and victory overall enemies.4. I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase—Rain seldomfell in Judea except at two seasons—the former rain at the end of autumn, the seedtime; and thelatter rain in spring, before the beginning of harvest (Jeremiah 5:24).5. your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowingtime, &c.—The barley harvest in Judea was about the middle of April; the wheat harvest about sixweeks after, or in the beginning of June. After the harvest came the vintage, and fruit gatheringtowards the latter end of July. Moses led the Hebrews to believe that, provided they were faithfulto God, there would be no idle time between the harvest and vintage, so great would be the increase.(See Am 9:13). This promise would be very animating to a people who had come from a countrywhere, for three months, they were pent up without being able to walk abroad because the fieldswere under water.10. ye shall eat old store—Their stock of old corn would be still unexhausted and large whenthe next harvest brought a new supply.13. I have broken the bands of your yoke, and made you go upright—a metaphoricalexpression to denote their emancipation from Egyptian slavery.Leviticus 26:14-39. A Curse to the Disobedient.14, 15. But if ye will not hearken unto me, &c.—In proportion to the great and manifoldprivileges bestowed upon the Israelites would be the extent of their national criminality and theseverity of their national punishments if they disobeyed.16. I will even appoint over you terror—the falling sickness [Patrick].208





            Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein

              consumption, and the burning ague—Some consider these as symptoms of the samedisease—consumption followed by the shivering, burning, and sweating fits that are the usualconcomitants of that malady. According to the Septuagint, "ague" is "the jaundice," which disordersthe eyes and produces great depression of spirits. Others, however, consider the word as referringto a scorching wind; no certain explanation can be given.18. if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven timesmore—that is, with far more severe and protracted calamities.19. I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass—No figures could have beenemployed to convey a better idea of severe and long-continued famine.22. I will also send wild beasts among you—This was one of the four judgments threatened(Ezekiel 14:21; see also 2 Kings 2:4).your highways shall be desolate—Trade and commerce will be destroyed—freedom and safetywill be gone—neither stranger nor native will be found on the roads (Isaiah 33:8). This is an exactpicture of the present state of the Holy Land, which has long lain in a state of desolation, broughton by the sins of the ancient Jews.26. ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, &c.—The bread used in families is usuallybaked by women, and at home. But sometimes also, in times of scarcity, it is baked in public ovensfor want of fuel; and the scarcity predicted here would be so great, that one oven would be sufficientto bake as much as ten women used in ordinary occasions to provide for family use; and even thisscanty portion of bread would be distributed by weight (Ezekiel 4:16).29. ye shall eat the flesh of your sons—The revolting picture was actually exhibited at thesiege of Samaria, at the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar (La 4:10), and at the destruction ofthat city by the Romans. (See on Deuteronomy 28:53).30. I will destroy your high places—Consecrated enclosures on the tops of mountains, or onlittle hillocks, raised for practising the rites of idolatry.cut down your images—According to some, those images were made in the form of chariots(2 Kings 23:11); according to others, they were of a conical form, like small pyramids. Reared in honorof the sun, they were usually placed on a very high situation, to enable the worshippers to have abetter view of the rising sun. They were forbidden to the Israelites, and when set up, ordered to bedestroyed.cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols, &c.—Like the statues of idols, which,when broken, lie neglected and contemned, the Jews during the sieges and subsequent captivityoften wanted the rites of sepulture.31. I will make your cities waste—This destruction of its numerous and flourishing cities,which was brought upon Judea through the sins of Israel, took place by the forced removal of thepeople during, and long after, the captivity. But it is realized to a far greater extent now.bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savour of your sweetodours—the tabernacle and temple, as is evident from the tenor of the subsequent clause, in whichGod announces that He will not accept or regard their sacrifices.33. I will scatter you among the heathen, &c.—as was done when the elite of the nation wereremoved into Assyria and placed in various parts of the kingdom.34. Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, &c.—A long arrearof sabbatic years had accumulated through the avarice and apostasy of the Israelites, who haddeprived their land of its appointed season of rest. The number of those sabbatic years seems to209





            Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein

              have been seventy, as determined by the duration of the captivity. This early prediction is veryremarkable, considering that the usual policy of the Assyrian conquerors was to send colonies tocultivate and inhabit their newly acquired provinces.38. the land of your enemies shall eat you up, &c.—On the removal of the ten tribes intocaptivity, they never returned, and all traces of them were lost.40-45. If they shall confess their iniquity, &c.—This passage holds out the gracious promiseof divine forgiveness and favor on their repentance, and their happy restoration to their land, inmemory of the covenant made with their fathers (Romans 2:1-29).46. These are the statutes and judgments and laws—It has been thought by some that thelast chapter was originally placed after the twenty-fifth [Adam Clarke], while others consider that thenext chapter was added as an appendix, in consequence of many people being influenced by thepromises and threats of the preceding one, to resolve that they would dedicate themselves and theirpossessions to the service of God [Calmet].







            CHAPTER

              27

              Leviticus 27:1-18. Concerning Vows.2-8. When a man shall make a singular vow, &c.—Persons have, at all times and in all places,been accustomed to present votive offerings, either from gratitude for benefits received, or in theevent of deliverance from apprehended evil. And Moses was empowered, by divine authority, toprescribe the conditions of this voluntary duty.the persons shall be for the Lord, &c.—better rendered thus:—"According to thy estimation,the persons shall be for the Lord." Persons might consecrate themselves or their children to thedivine service, in some inferior or servile kind of work about the sanctuary (1 Samuel 3:1). In the eventof any change, the persons so devoted had the privilege in their power of redeeming themselves;and this chapter specifies the amount of the redemption money, which the priest had the discretionarypower of reducing, as circumstances might seem to require. Those of mature age, between twentyand sixty, being capable of the greatest service, were rated highest; young people, from five tilltwenty, less, because not so serviceable; infants, though devotable by their parents before birth(1 Samuel 1:11), could not be offered nor redeemed till a month after birth; old people were valued belowthe young, but above children; and the poor—in no case freed from payment, in order to preventthe rash formation of vows—were rated according to their means.9-13. if it be a beast, whereof men bring an offering unto the Lord—a clean beast. After ithad been vowed, it could neither be employed in common purposes nor exchanged for anequivalent—it must be sacrificed—or if, through some discovered blemish, it was unsuitable forthe altar, it might be sold, and the money applied for the sacred service. If an unclean beast—suchas an ass or camel, for instance, had been vowed, it was to be appropriated to the use of the priestat the estimated value, or it might be redeemed by the person vowing on payment of that value,and the additional fine of a fifth more.14, 15. when a man shall sanctify his house to be holy unto the Lord, &c.—In this case, thehouse having been valued by the priest and sold, the proceeds of the sale were to be dedicated tothe sanctuary. But if the owner wished, on second thought, to redeem it, he might have it by addinga fifth part to the price.210





            Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise - Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein

              16-24. if a man shall sanctify unto the Lord some aprt of a field of his possession, &c.—Inthe case of acquired property in land, if not redeemed, it returned to the donor at the Jubilee; whereasthe part of a hereditary estate, which had been vowed, did not revert to the owner, but remainedattached in perpetuity to the sanctuary. The reason for this remarkable difference was to lay everyman under an obligation to redeem the property, or stimulate his nearest kinsman to do it, in orderto prevent a patrimonial inheritance going out from any family in Israel.26, 27. Only the firstling of the beasts—These, in the case of clean beasts, being consecratedto God by a universal and standing law (Exodus 13:12; 34:19), could not be devoted; and in that ofunclean beasts, were subject to the rule mentioned (Leviticus 27:11, 12).28, 29. no devoted thing, that a man shall devote unto the Lord of all that he hath, … shallbe sold or redeemed—This relates to vows of the most solemn kind—the devotee accompanyinghis vow with a solemn imprecation on himself not to fail in accomplishing his declared purpose.29. shall surely be put to death—This announcement imported not that the person was to besacrificed or doomed to a violent death; but only that he should remain till death unalterably in thedevoted condition. The preceding regulations were evidently designed to prevent rashness in vowing(Ecclesiastes 5:4) and to encourage serious and considerate reflection in all matters between God and thesoul (Luke 21:4).30-33. all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land—This law gave the sanctionof divine authority to an ancient usage (Genesis 14:20; 28:22). The whole produce of the land wassubjected to the tithe tribute—it was a yearly rent which the Israelites, as tenants, paid to God, theowner of the land, and a thank offering they rendered to Him for the bounties of His providence.(See Proverbs 3:9; 1 Corinthians 9:11; Galatians 6:6).32. whatsoever passeth under the rod, &c.—This alludes to the mode of taking the tithe ofcattle, which were made to pass singly through a narrow gateway, where a person with a rod, dippedin ochre, stood, and counting them, marked the back of every tenth beast, whether male or female,sound or unsound.34. These are the commandments, &c.—The laws contained in this book, for the most partceremonial, had an important spiritual bearing, the study of which is highly instructive (Romans 10:4;Hebrews 4:2; 12:18). They imposed a burdensome yoke (Acts 15:10), but yet in the infantine age of theChurch formed the necessary discipline of "a schoolmaster to Christ" [Galatians 3:24].







            GOLD DIVIDER WITH CROSS CENTER
            "God's Goals"

            For This World!

            Does God Achieve His Goals?
            OR, does Satan achieve his goals?

            (All Teaching- and Commentary is from "INSPIRED-INERRANT!" View of Scripture!)

            The most IMPORTANT "3-QUESTION QUIZ" you'll ever Take?


            The Adversary’s Goals:

              SCRIPTURE: "The ‘Devil’ ... walketh about seeking whom he may DEVOUR." I Pet 5:8

              SCRIPTURE: "The ‘Thief’ (Devil) cometh not but for to steal, to kill and to DESTROY." John 10:10

                QUESTION: Do you Believe Satan the Adversary ___Succeeds? Or ___Fails?


            God the Father’s Goals:

              SCRIPTURE: "For God sent NOT His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world though Him might be SAVED! See John 3:16 John 3:17

              SCRIPTURE: "Beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, ... The Lord is ... NOT willing that any should perish, but that ALL should come to repentance. II Pet 3:9

                QUESTION: Do you Believe God the Father ___Succeeds? Or ___ Fails?


            God the Son’s Goals:

              SCRIPTURE: "For the Son of Man is come to seek and to SAVE that which is lost!" Luk 19:10 "For I came NOT to judge the world, but to SAVE the world. John 12:47

              SCRIPTURE: "And I, if I be lifted up from the Earth, I WILL DRAW ALL men unto Me." Joh 12:32

                QUESTION: Do you Believe God the Son (Jesus Christ): ___Succeeds? Or ___ Fails?


            God the Spirit’s Goals:

              SCRIPTURE: Jesus declares: "'I WILL' send him (Holy Spirit) unto you, and when He is come 'He WILL' testify of Me: John 14:26

              SCRIPTURE: "He WILL reprove the world [convict, convince, correct] of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment: John 16:7

              SCRIPTURE: (1) Of sin, because they believe not on me; ... (2) Of righteousness, because I go to my Father; ...(3) Of judgment, because the 'Prince of this World' is judged.[A] John 16:8-10

                QUESTION: Do you think God the Spirit: ___Succeeds Or ___Fails?


                WHO ACHIEVES THEIR STATED GOALS? GOD or Satan?

                If you believe

                God the Father,





                COPYRIGHT (c) 1977 Cambridge Theological Seminary
                COPYRIGHT (c) 1965 Cambridge Bible Institute, NewtonStein



                *COPYRIGHT NOTICE**

                In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in the NewtonStein, Cambridge Theological Seminary is archived here under fair use without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in reviewing the included information for personal use, non-profit research, and educational purposes only.

                Ref. http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml




                flag divider

                "CHURCH USA!

                GOLD DIVIDER WITH CROSS CENTER

                Will You Take "THE BIBLE PLEDGE?"

                (Christians Sending a "Message" to ALL Elected Officials!)

                Many Thousands Already Have: And GOD is "Keeping Track!"!

                (Are you Afraid? Ashamed? Apathetic? Anti-Christ? Or Against God's Authority?)

                "BIBLE PLEDGE!"

                  "The BIBLE is the WORD of GOD!

                    *HIS ULTIMATE TRUTH!

                    *HOLY and UNCHANGING!

                    *HIGHEST AUTHORITY on Earth!

                  As I UNDERSTAND the BIBLE,

                    >> I will NEVER 'GO' against, 'VOTE' against, or 'SPEAK' Against,

                    >> The WORD of GOD,

                    >> So Help me GOD!

                  AMERICAN FLAG WAVING AMERICAN I am a 'CHRISTIAN AMERICAN'!" CHRISTIAN FLAG WAVING CHRISTIAN

                    Please "CLICK" the following to Affirm your Commitment as a CHRISTIAN AMERICAN to the Word of God upon the Earth!

                  This Christian American BELIEVES in the WORD OF GOD!

              GOLD DIVIDER WITH CROSS CENTER


              flag divider




              FROM: Cambridge Theological Seminary, TO: Dr. D. James Kennedy: Can you be as Bold as Him?


              FROM: Cambridge Theological Seminary, TO: Cambridge Theological Seminary Office, USA


              FROM: Cambridge Theological Seminary, TO: Free Ordination-1 by Cambridge Theological Seminary


              FROM: Cambridge Theological Seminary, TO: Religious Degrees, Bachelor's, Master's and Doctorate


              FROM: IAIA Accreditation, TO: A few Recent Ministry Partners


              FROM: Cambridge Theological Seminary,


              FROM: Cambridge Theological Seminary, TO: Ministers Main Page


              FROM: Cambridge Theological Seminary, TO: Home-Based-Ministry: Serve God, Make Money, Save Taxes


              FROM: Cambridge Theological Seminary, TO GENERAL HOME PAGE


              FROM: Cambridge Theological Seminary, TO MINISTERS HOME PAGE


              Most Important Questions You'll Ever Answer?

              Do you understand "Eternal Life as God's FREE GIFT" - Unearned and Undeserved?
              "Eternal Life as God's FREE GIFT!"

              Do you know FOR SURE that you have Eternal Life: Here & Now?

              "Eternal Life: Here & Now FOR SURE!"

              In 'VERY FEW MINUTES' ... you can Know for Certain if you're saved ... or not!
              In 'TWO MINUTES' - Know if you're Saved or not!

              Red-White-and-Blue In-God-We-Trust


              Search Web's Most Comprehensive Christian Site

              All-Things-Bible, Church, History, Leadership, Psychology, Politics, Science, Health,
              Sermon Resources, "Starters", Illustrations & Stories, Humor, Quotes, Sermons (Audio & Print)
              From Ancient Rome, Greece & Jewish History to Latest News Headlines!

              The Web Ministers-Best-Friend

              GOD BLESS AMERICA EAGLE

              flag divider

              Could you share your State of Salvation that we may better serve our readers?


              At this time, I do not believe Jesus is the Saviour!

              I do believe Jesus is the Saviour and I know I have eternal Life!

              I do not believe it is possible to 'Know in this life' if one has Eternal Life.

              god bless bar

              A Christian Family in Every House, in YOUR Community, in YOUR Lifetime!

              Worth Giving For? Worth Living For? Worth Working For?

              Please name "Ministers-Best-Friend.com" aloud in Prayer Daily? PLEASE?


              DOCTRINAL DISCLAIMER:

              Ministers-Best-Friend.com is an Absolute, Bible-Believing, Conservative Christian Ministry, seeking to serve the Ministers who serve the LORD JESUS. As such, we provides web-space to a number of Ministries, notably NewtonStein (a Creation-Science-Based Research Group), as well as AMERIPEDIA, BIBLIPEDIA, CHRISTIPEDIA, CATHOLIPEDIA, ISLAMIPEDIA, JUDAEOPEDIA, TEA-PARTY-UNITED, TALK-RADIO-REPUBLICANS, ETC., – seeking to be an outlet for many CHRISTIAN CONSERVATIVE VOICES who love the LORD JESUS CHRIST ABOVE ALL!

              Obviously, all phases of Christianity do not agree doctrinally or politically and sometimes even disagree on the actual facts concerning a particular leader, nation or situation, hence there are well over 10,000 denominations extant.

              We neither claim nor present ourselves as having perfect knowledge in all things. Thus views and articles posted on this website are those of their authors – who often insist their identities, denominational, and/or doctrinal persuasion be made known for various reasons – offered to you as wise people of God - Christian Patriots, whatever your nation - to discern for your own judgement and edification.

              In the NAME of Jesus Christ Our Lord and Saviour:

              Be Blessed!



              GOLD DIVIDER WITH CROSS CENTER






              Do You Qualify for
              An Honorary "Doctor of Divinity" from Cambridge Theological Seminary?
              If you believe God's Word as Stated Above:
              Probably!
              (Click for a Free Evaluation!)

              GOLD DIVIDER WITH CROSS CENTER


              rotating star  BRIGHT BLUE & RED rotating star

              "Christians-In-Action!"

              Please Visit TOP-TWENTY-FIVE AMERIPEDIA™ Pages

              flag divider

              [1] "AMERIPEDIA™" - "SARAH PALIN TOP-100 WEBPAGES!"

              [2] "AMERIPEDIA™" – Potential President Marsha Blackburn: TEA-PARTY SUPER-HERO!

              [3] "AMERIPEDIA™" - Ronald-Reagan Files: The Great Communicator

              [4] "AMERIPEDIA™" – Kristi Noem, The New TEA-PARTY-PRINCESS!

              [5] "AMERIPEDIA™" – REAGAN REPUBLICAN Michelle Bachmann for President: 2012 or 2020?

              [6] "AMERIPEDIA™" – “TEA PARTY PRINCESS” - KRISTI NOEM, BRIEF-BIO

              [7] "AMERIPEDIA™" - Barack Obama Files: His Muslim Connections

              [8] "AMERIPEDIA™" - TALK-RADIO-REPUBLICANS HOME PAGE

              [9] "AMERIPEDIA™" - TEA-PARTY HISTORY and BACKGROUND

              [10] "AMERIPEDIA™" - Conservative Activists: "Who's Who in Christian Conservative Politics?

              [11] "AMERIPEDIA™" - SARAH PALIN HOME PAGE: "Winning Big Winning Easy in 2012!"

              [12] "AMERIPEDIA™" - TALK-RADIO-CONSERVATIVES Home Page: For a Judaeo-Christian America

              [13] "AMERIPEDIA™" - The ALL-PRO-ISRAEL-BLOG

              [14] "AMERIPEDIA™" - Sarah Palin Blog: The Webs Largest "Pro Sarah Palin Site!"

              [15] "AMERIPEDIA™" - The "Rush-Recommended Republican Blueprint!"

              [16] "AMERIPEDIA™" - "Rush Limbaugh Quotes" on Christ and Christianity!

              [17] "AMERIPEDIA™" - PNN, "PALIN NEWS-NETWORK”: Her Book Sales Set Records!

              [18] "AMERIPEDIA™" - "TALK-RADIO REPUBLICANS, Michele Bachmann, BRIEF-BIO!"

              [19] "AMERIPEDIA™" - "TALK-RADIO REPUBLICANS, "Republican Power and Catholics!"

              [20] "AMERIPEDIA™" - "Hall of Faith Christian Activist Ministers, 2nd-half 20th Century "

              [21] "AMERIPEDIA™" - "TALK-RADIO REPUBLICANS, "American Bible Catholics!"

              [22] "AMERIPEDIA™" – RUSH REPUBLICANS, HOME-PAGE

              [23] "AMERIPEDIA™" - Reagan Republicans Home Page

              [24] "AMERIPEDIA™" - PRO-LIFE Page

              [25] "AMERIPEDIA™" - Michele-Bachmann, TEA PARTY DARLING Causing “Hysteria-on-the-Left!”


              flag divider


              "CHRISTIPEDIA™"





              "Fair Use" Notice:

              Contributions from the best scholars in numerous fields are added to Ministers-Best-Friend.com website daily. Such research papers and articles:

                * May not represent the views of Cambridge Theological Seminary;

                * Have not been peer-reviewed by Cambridge Theological Seminary;

                * Being a global ministry of huge proportions - yet of mostly retired volunteers (locally) - it is not possible to "verify" every piece that is submitted to us.

                * There is not - and never has been - any money, checking or savings account, or any other such fund associated with Ministers-Best-Friend.com or Cambridge Theological Seminary.

                * The 160,000-plus page archive (1-1-2011) of Ministers-Best-Friend.com may or may not contain a tiny amount copyrighted news/political reporting material whose use may or may not have been authorized by the copyright owners;

                * To the best of our knowledge we believe that this not-for-profit, educational use on the web constitutes a "fair use" of the copyrighted material (as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law).

                * If readers wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes that go beyond "fair use", you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

                * "Fair use" notwithstanding, we will immediately comply with any copyright owner who can show our use of such material is not in compliance with the fair Use law.

                Thank You for your part in the Global Ministry of Ministers-Best-Friend.com - as of 1-1-2011 - in nearly 200 nations, approaching 40,000 associated Bible Believing Ministers and over 30,000 Ministries.

                Editor: NewtonStein






              ASSOCIATION DISCLAIMER

              * Cambridge Theological Seminary USA & Global has no connection or relationship to Cambridge University in England, EXCEPT . . . we in the USA are carrying on their "Christian Values of Hundreds of Years" . . . as they have long since become secular humanists, agnostics and atheists: "Anti-Christ" in almost every way and contrary to every Scripture.

              flag divider

              JCSM's Top 1000 Christian Sites - Free Traffic Sharing Service! The BaptistTop1000.com

              TO FOOTNOTE-1 FOOTNOTE-1

              RETURN TO TEXT; Last term before footnote