Leviticus 3 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Leviticus 3)

Verse 1

[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.

A peace-offering — This was an offering for peace and prosperity, and the blessing of God, either, 1. obtained, and so it was a thank-offering, or, 2. desired; and so it was a kind of supplication to God.

A female — Which were allowed here, tho' not in burnt-offerings, because those principally respected the honour of God, who is to be served with the best; but the peace-offerings did primarily respect the benefit of the offerer, and therefore the choice was left to himself. Burnt-offerings had regard to God, as in himself the best of beings, and therefore were wholly burned. But peace-offerings had regard to God as a benefactor to his creatures, and therefore were divided between the altar, the priest, and the offerer.

Verse 2

[2] And he shall lay his hand upon the head of his offering, and kill it at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and Aaron's sons the priests shall sprinkle the blood upon the altar round about.

At the door — Not on the north-side of the altar, where the burnt-offering was killed, as also the sin-offering, and the trespass-offering, but in the very entrance of the court where the brazen altar stood, which place was not so holy as the other; as appears both because it was more remote from the holy of holies, and because the ashes of the sacrifices were to be laid here. And the reason of this difference is not obscure, both because part of this sacrifice was to be waved by the hands of the offerer, Leviticus 7:30, who might not come into the court; and because this offering was not so holy as the others, which were to be eaten only by the priest, whereas part of these were eaten by the offerer.

Verse 5

[5] And Aaron's sons shall burn it on the altar upon the burnt sacrifice, which is upon the wood that is on the fire: it is an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.

Upon the burnt sacrifice — Either, 1. Upon the remainders of it, which were yet burning; or rather, 2. After it; for the daily burnt-offering was first to be offered, both as more eminently respecting God's honour; and as the most solemn and stated sacrifice, which should take place of all occasional oblations, and as a sacrifice of an higher nature, being for atonement, without which no peace could be obtained, nor peace offering offered with acceptance.

Verse 9

[9] And he shall offer of the sacrifice of the peace offering an offering made by fire unto the LORD; 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,

The rump — Which in sheep is fat, and sweet, and in these parts was very much larger and better than ours.

Verse 11

[11] And the priest shall burn it upon the altar: it is the food of the offering made by fire unto the LORD.

Burnt it — The parts now mentioned; the rest fell to the priest, Leviticus 7:31.

The food — That is, the fuel of the fire, or the matter of the offering. It is called food, Heb. bread, to note God's acceptance of it, and delight in it; as men delight in their food.

Verse 16

[16] And the priest shall burn them upon the altar: it is the food of the offering made by fire for a sweet savour: all the fat is the LORD's.

Shall burn them — The parts mentioned, among which the tail is not one, as it was in the sheep. because that in goats is a refuse part.

All the fat — This is to be limited, 1. To those beasts, which were offered or offerable in sacrifice, as it is explained, Leviticus 7:23,25. 2. To that kind of fat which is above-mentioned, and required to be offered, which was separated, or easily separable from the flesh for the fat which was here and there mixed with the flesh they might eat.

Verse 17

[17] It shall be a perpetual statute for your generations throughout all your dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor blood.

All your dwellings — Not only at or near the tabernacle, not only of those beasts which you actually sacrifice, but also in your several dwellings, and of all that kind of beasts.

Fat — Was forbidden, 1. To preserve the reverence of the holy rites and sacrifices. 2. That they might be taught hereby to acknowledge God as their Lord, and the Lord of all the creatures, who might reserve what he pleased to himself. 3. To exercise them in obedience to God, and self-denial and mortification of their appetites, even in those things which probably many of them would much desire.

Blood — Was forbidden partly to maintain reverence to God and his worship; partly out of opposition to idolaters, who used to drink the blood of their sacrifices; partly with respect to Christ's Blood, thereby manifestly signified. God would not permit the very shadows of this to be used as a common thing. Nor will he allow us, tho' we have the comfort of the atonement made, to assume to ourselves any share in the honour of making it.