Leviticus 7 Guilt Offerings and Peace Offerings

Mar 27, 2014  |  Leviticus, Old Testament  |  No Comments

The Law of the Guilt Offering

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The law of the guilt offering is the same as the law of the sin offering.  More details of what is burned for the LORD versus what is the priest’s to eat and use is described.  The fat and the organs (kidney, liver) are a burnt offering; the remainder of the animal, both it’s meat and it’s hide are given to the priest who made the offering.  If a grain offering is baked or cooked prior to being offered, that too goes to the priest making the offering, but if the grain offering is not cooked, it is shared equally among all the priests.  As I read through the descriptions of the offerings, I try to imagine what it must have been like in the tabernacle, and later, the temple.  It seems like it would have been a very busy place.  I wonder if there was too much to eat and if a great deal of meat was then burnt.  I also wonder if there were times when there weren’t enough sacrifices being made.  Thinking about the cycles of sacrifice makes it easier to imagine the resulting commerce that so angered Jesus.  I’m sure it must have been much more convenient to buy the animals to sacrifice in Jerusalem rather than trying to bring the sacrifices along on a long journey.  The implication is that the priests were making a significant profit with the transactions, to the point of thievery.  So, what angered Jesus?  Was it that the animals were available for purchase at the temple or that the priests were charging an outrageous amount or both?

 The Law of the Sacrifices of Peace Offerings

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Peace offerings are made either as a thanksgiving to God, a vow to God or as a freewill offering to God.  The type of offering has slightly different requirements.  The thanksgiving offering must include three types of bread offerings – unleavened loaves mixed with oil, unleavened wafers spread with oil and loaves of leavened bread.  The bread offerings belong to the priest presenting the offering to God.  The flesh of the sacrifice must be eaten the day of the sacrifice.  The freewill offering may be eaten both on the day of the sacrifice and on the next day, but the remainder must be burned.

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In this section, God gives prohibitions around the peace offerings, including the consequences of disobedience.

  • If the flesh of the sacrifice is eaten on the third day, the offering will not be accepted nor credited to the one giving it.  He will bear his own iniquity.
  • If the flesh touches any unclean thing, it must be burned.
  • If a person, while unclean, eats of the sacrifice, he will be cut off from his people.
  • If a person touches something unclean and then eats of the sacrifice, he will be cut off from his people.
  • Anyone who eats the fat or blood of an animal will be cut off from his people.

One question I have when reading this are the dietary implications for Christians.  Our tendency is to focus on the dietary freedom given as a result of Peter’s vision, but is it preferable to avoid animal fat, organs and blood?

The Wave Offering and Aaron’s Share

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This passage shows that the person offering the sacrifice has a physical, intimate tie to the offering.  They are to physically wave the breast and present the fat to the priest to be burned.  It also shows how God provides for the priests.  They are given the prized parts of these sacrifices – the breast and the right thigh.  During some periods, I think the amount of meat would be overwhelming.  If they were allowed to preserve the meat, there would never be any shortage, but God wants us to trust Him.  I don’t think He wanted his priests to be complacent by having an abundance of stored meat, but rather they would depend on Him and His moving of people to always have enough.

Summary of Offerings

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This summary of all the offering types reminds us that God commanded the Israelites to make all these types of offerings, and He provided clear instructions.  It also reinforces the covenant God has with the Israelites.

 

 

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