There is nothing historical in all this book of Leviticus except the account which it gives us of the consecration of the priesthood (Lev. 8:1-9:24), of the punishment of Nadab and Abihu, by the hand of God, for offering strange fire (Lev. 10:1-20), and of Shelomith’s son, by the hand of the magistrate, for blasphemy (Lev. 24:1-23). All the rest of the book is taken up with the laws, chiefly the ecclesiastical laws, which God gave to Israel by Moses, concerning their sacrifices and offerings, their meats and drinks, and divers washings, and the other peculiarities by which God set that people apart for himself, and distinguished them from other nations, all which were shadows of good things to come, which are realized and superseded by the gospel of Christ. We call the book Leviticus, from the Septuagint, because it contains the laws and ordinances of the levitical priesthood (as it is called, Heb. 7:11), 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, of the setting up of the tabernacle, which was to be the place of worship; and, as that was framed according 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 punctually observed. The remaining record of these abrogated laws is of use to us, for the strengthening of our faith in Jesus Christ, as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, and for the increase of our thankfulness to God, that by him we are freed from the yoke of the ceremonial law, and live in the times of reformation.
This book begins with the laws concerning sacrifices, of which the most ancient were the burnt-offerings, about which God gives Moses instructions in this chapter. Orders are here given how that sort of sacrifice must be managed. I. If it was a bullock out of the herd, Lev. 1:3-9. II. If it was a sheep or goat, a lamb or kid, out of the flock, Lev. 1:10-13. III. If it was a turtle-dove or a young pigeon, Lev. 1:14-17. And whether the offering was more or less valuable in itself, if it was offered with an upright heart, according to these laws, it was accepted of God.
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