Leviticus 1


וַיִּקְרָא אֶל־מֹשֶׁה וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה אֵלָיו מֵאֹהֶל מֹועֵד לֵאמֹר   1:1

Levi. 1:1    And the Lord called to Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting saying,

דַּבֵּר אֶל־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם אָדָם כִּי־יַקְרִיב םִכֶּם קָרְבָּן לַיהוָה מִן־הַבְּהֵמָה מִן־הַבָּקָר וּמִן־   1:2

הַצֹּאן תַּקְרִיבוּ אֶת־קָרְבַּנְכֶם

Levi. 1:2    “Speak to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘Any one from you[p] who would bring an offering to the Lord, you[p] shall bring your[p] offering from the cattle, from the herd, or from the flock.’

In this verse, the two instances of the word you and the one of the word your are all plural.  According to my interpretation of this, Moses will be addressing the individual members of the house of Israel.  I have marked the plural pronouns with [p] to keep the distinction clear.

אִם־עֹלָה קָרְבָּנֹו מִן־הַבָּקָר זָכָר תָּמִים יַקְרִיבֶנּוּ אֶל־פֶּתַח אֹהֶל מֹועֵד יַקְרִיב אֹתֹו לִרְצֹנֹו לִפְנֵי יְהוָה    1:3

Levi. 1:3    ‘If his offering is a burnt offering from the herd, a male without blemish, he shall bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting; he shall bring it for his favor before the Lord.’

We will continue to encounter the command for an animal without blemish for the sacrifice.  There will be many examples of this in the coming chapters.  The need for a perfect sacrifice seems to have a great deal of significance.  We shall explore what that significance may be later.  For now, just notice how often the need for perfection is required.  However, we will learn in Deuteronomy that without blemish doesn’t necessarily mean perfect.                                                                                                               [Return to Levi. 2:4]

וְסָמַךְ יָדֹו עַל רֹאשׁ הָעֹלָה וְנִרְצָה לֹו לְכַפֵּר עָלָיו   1:4

Levi. 1:4    “And he shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering and it shall be acceptable for him to make atonement by it.”

The word for burnt offering is feminine in gender, even though the animal itself is a male.  As a result, the pronouns referring to it may be of either gender.  In this verse the two pronouns are both masculine.  In v. 1:6 below, the two pronouns referring to the offering are both feminine.  This qualifies as another example of how the scribe(s) tends not to repeat himself in identical words.

וְשָׁחַט אֶת־בֶּן הַבָּקָר לִפְנֵי יְהוָה וְהִקְרִיבוּ בְּנֵי אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֲנִים אֶת־הַדָּם וְזָרְקוּ אֶת־הַדָּם עַל־הַמִּזְבֵּחַ   1:5

סָבִיב אֲשֶׁר־פֶּתַח אֹהֶל מֹועֵד

Levi. 1:5    “And he shall slaughter the calf before the Lord, and the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall bring the blood and scatter the blood against the altar that is at the entrance of the tent of meeting, all around.”

It’s rather interesting that the individual bringing the sacrifice is required to slaughter it himself.  Presumably, everyone in the congregation had the expertise to be a butcher.  See the next verse.

וְהִפְשִׁיט אֶת־הָעֹלָה וְנִתַּח אֹתָהּ לִנְתָחֶיהָ   1:6

Levi. 1:6    “And he shall flay the burnt offering and cut it up into its pieces.”

וְנָתְנוּ בְּנֵי אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֵן אֵשׁ עַל־הַמִּזְבֵּחַ וְעָרְכוּ עֵצִים עַל־הָאֵשׁ   1:7

Levi. 1:7    “And the sons of Aaron, the priest, shall put fire on the altar and set logs on the fire.”

Notice that in this verse, the appellation after Aaron’s name, the priest, is singular.  Thus it appears to refer to Aaron himself.  In v. 1:5 (as in v. 1:8), the same is plural, the priests.  There it refers to Aaron’s sons.

וְעָרְכוּ בְּנֵי אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֲנִים אֵת הַנְּתָחִים אֶת־הָרֹאשׁ וְאֶת־הַפָּדֶר עַל־הָעֵצִים אֲשֶׁר עַל־הָאֵשׁ אֲשֶׁר   1:8


Levi. 1:8    “And the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall set the pieces in order, the head and the fat, on the logs that are on the fire that is on the altar.”

וְקִרְבֹּו וּכְרָעָיו יִרְחַץ בַּמָּיִם וְהִקְטִיר הַכֹּהֵן אֶת־הַכֹּל הַמִּזְבֵּחָה עֹלָה אִשֵּׁה רֵיחַ־נִיחֹוחַ לַיהוָה   1:9

Levi. 1:9    “And he shall wash its innards and its legs in water, and the priest shall make the whole thing smoke on the altar, a burnt offering by fire, a sweet scent to the Lord.”

The Lord is now again talking at the beginning of the verse about the one who will have brought the offering.  Because there is no water mentioned being anywhere in the courtyard other than in the priests’ laver (which was for the priests), I might presume that the offering individual had to leave the courtyard to get the water.  However, as the sacrifice was now holy (and would not remain holy outside), I must assume that water was to be brought in for the washing.  But then, how does the water become holy?  The scribe offers no hint about this.

וְאִם־מִן־הַצֹּאן קָרְבָּנֹו מִן־הַכְּשָׂבִים אֹו מִן־הָעִזִּים לְעֹלָה זָכָר תָּמִים יַקְרִיבֶנּוּ   1:10

Levi. 1:10  “And whether his offering is from the flock, from the rams, or from the goats for a burnt offering, he shall offer a male without blemish.”

That the Lord does not allow a sacrificial animal exhibiting a blemish would have to be of great significance to all the sages and biblical scholars.  In fact, for Christian scholars this verse relates to the perfection and gender of Jesus, as the ultimate sacrifice.  I find it rather easy to refute this claim for two simple reasons:  One, if they are right, the gender and perfection of the sacrifice would have been introduced with the sin offering (Chapter 4) rather than here for the burnt offering.  Two, a female animal is also commanded for a peace offering in chapter 3 and for a sin offering in Chapter 4.  Now I’m not familiar with what talmudic or other Jewish scholars have to say about this gender and perfection requirement, but for me, it seems that the Lord is telling us that no imperfection can be considered holy or be made holy.  And, since most, if not all of us possess imperfections, none of us can be truly holy in the Lord’s “eyes.”  But the Lord forgives our imperfections and considers us nonetheless capable of holiness, at least in our behavior.                                                                        [Return to Levi. 2:4]

וְשָׁחַט אֹתֹו עַל יֶרֶךְ הַמִּזְבֵּחַ צָפֹנָה לִפְנֵי יְהוָה וְזָרְקוּ בְּנֵי אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֲנִים אֶת־דָּמֹו עַל־הַמִּזְבֵּחַ סָבִיב  1:11

Levi. 1:11  “And he shall slaughter it on the side of the altar on the north before the Lord, and the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall dash its blood against the altar all around.”

This verse would be a repeat of v. 1:4, except that it adds the detail of where the slaughter shall occur, and that it applies now in v. 1:11 to a different type of animal.

וְנִתַּח אֹתֹו לִנְתָחָיו וְאֶת־רֹאשֹׁו וְאֶת־פִּדְרֹו וְעָרַךְ הַכֹּהֵן אֹתָם עַל־הָעֵצִים אֲשֶׁר עַל־הָאֵשׁ אֲשֶׁר עַל־   1:12


Levi. 1:12  “And he shall cut it into its pieces, and its head, and its fat, and the priest shall arrange them in order on the logs that are on the fire that is on the altar.”

וְהַקֶּרֶב וְהַכְּרָעַיִם יִרְחַץ בַּמָּיִם וְהִקְרִיב הַכֹּהֵן אֶת־הַכֹּל וְהִקְטִיר הַמִּזְבֵּחָה עֹלָה הוּא אִשֵּׁה רֵיחַ   1:13

נִיחֹחַ לַיהוָה

Levi. 1:13  “And he shall wash the innards and the legs in water, and the priest shall offer all and make the altar smoke; it is a burnt offering by fire, a sweet scent to the Lord.”

Notice the subtle differences between v. 1:9 and this verse.  The scribe apparently didn’t want to repeat himself word for word. 

וְאִם מִן־הָעֹוף עֹלָה קָרְבָּנֹו לַיהוָה וְהִקְרִיב מִן־הַתֹּרִים אֹו מִן־בְּנֵי הַיֹּונָה אֶת־קָרְבָּנֹו   1:14

Levi. 1:14  “And if his offering to the Lord is a burnt offering from the fowl, then he shall bring his offering from the turtle doves or from the young pigeons.”

וְהִקְרִיבֹו הַכֹּהֵן אֶל־הַמִּזְבֵּחַ וּמָלַק אֶת־רֹאשֹׁו וְהִקְטִיר הַמִּזְבֵּחָה וְנִמְצָה דָמֹו עַל קִיר הַמִּזְבֵּחַ   1:15

Levi. 1:15  “And the priest shall bring it to the altar and wring off its head and make the altar smoke, but its blood shall be drained on the side of the altar.”

It seems clear from the next two verses, that it is the head and the body, with head feathers removed, that are to make the altar smoke.  Notice also that this time it’s the priest who does the slaughtering.

וְהֵסִיר אֶת־מֻרְאָתֹו בְּנֹצָתָהּ וְהִשְׁלִיךְ אֹתָהּ אֵצֶל הַמִּזְבֵּחַ קֵדְמָה אֶל־מְקֹום הַדָּשֶׁן   1:16

Levi. 1:16  “And he shall remove its crop with its feathers and cast it beside the altar east to the place of ashes.”

As for the directions denoted in v. 1:11 and here, north of the altar is to its right side, and east is in front of it away from the direction of the Tabernacle.

וְשִׁסַּע אֹתֹו בִכְנָפָיו לֹא יַבְדִּיל וְהִקְטִיר אֹתֹו הַכֹּהֵן הַמִּזְבֵּחָה עַל־הָעֵצִים אֲשֶׁר עַל־הָאֵשׁ עֹלָה הוּא   1:17

אִשֵּׁה רֵיחַ נִיחֹחַ לַיהוָה

Levi. 1:17  “And he shall rend, not divide, it by its wings, and the priest shall make it smoke on the altar on the logs that are on the fire; it is a burnt offering of fire, a sweet scent to the Lord.”

Torah Commandments in this Chapter

117. The procedures for a burnt offering shall be followed.    V. 1:3 - 1:17


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