And when any will offer a meat offering unto the LORD, his offering shall be of fine flour; and he shall pour oil upon it, and put frankincense thereon:
Verse 1. - And when any will offer a meat offering unto the Lord. The word used in the original for "meat offering" (minchah), means, like its Greek equivalent, δῶρον, a gift made by an inferior to a superior. Thus the sacrifices of Cain and Abel were their "minchah" to God (Genesis 4:3, 4), the present sent to Esau by Jacob was his "minchah" (Genesis 32:13), and the present to Joseph was his brethren's "minchah" (Genesis 43:11). It is therefore equivalent to a gift of homage, which recognizes the superiority of him to whom it is offered, and ceremonially promises loyal obedience to him. Owing to its use in this passage, it came gradually to be confined in its signification to vegetable gifts, - unbloody sacrifices, as they are called sometimes, in contrast to animal sacrifices - while the word "corban" crone to be used in the wider acceptation which once belonged to "minchah." The conditions to be fulfilled by the Israelite who offered a meat offering were the following.
1. He must offer either
(1) uncooked flour, with oil, salt, and frankincense, or
(2) flour made into an unleavened cake (whether of the nature of biscuit or pancake), with oil, salt, and frankincense; or
(3) roasted grains, with oil, salt, and frankincense.
2. He must bring his offering to the court of the tabernacle, and give to the priests at least as much as one omer (that is, nearly a gallon), and not more than sixty-one omers. The priest receiving it from him must:
1. Take a handful of the flour, oil, and salt, or a proportionate part of the cake (each omer generally made ten cakes) in place of the flour, and burn it with all the frankincense as a memorial upon the altar of burnt offering.
2. With his brother priests he must eat the remainder within the precincts of the tabernacle. Here the essentials of the sacrifice are the presentation made by the offerer, and the burning of the memorial on the altar, followed by the consumption of the remainder by the priests. The moral lesson taught to the Israelite completed that of the burnt offering. As the burnt offering taught self-surrender, so the meat offering taught recognition of God's supremacy and submission to it, the first by the surrender of a living creature substituted for the offerer, the second by the gift of a part of the good things bestowed by God on man for the preservation of life which, being given back to God, serve as a recognition of his supremacy. Spiritually the lesson taught the Jew was that of the necessity of a loyal service to God; and mystically he may have learnt a lesson
(1) as to the force of prayer rising up to heaven as the incense which had to be offered with each form of the meat offering;
(2) as to the need of purity and incorruption, symbolized by the prohibition of leaven and honey, and the command to use salt. The supplemental character of the meat offering accounts for the order in which it here stands, not arbitrarily interposed between two animal sacrifices, but naturally following on the burnt offering, as an adjunct to it and the complement of its teaching. So close was the union between the two sacrifices, that the burnt offering was never offered without the accompaniment of the meat offering (Numbers 15:4). It has been also maintained that the meat offering, like the drink offering, was never made independently of the animal sacrifice; but this cannot be proved. On the contrary, the manner in which laws regulating it are here laid down, lead to the inference that it might be offered, when any willed it, by itself. The close connection between the sacrifice of an animal and the offering of cakes of flour, and of wine, is noticeable in heathen sacrifices likewise. The very word, immolare, translated "to sacrifice," is derived from the mola or salt-cake offered with the animal; and the other word ordinarily used in Latin for "sacrifice," that is, mactare, is derived from the victim being enriched (magis auctus) with the libation of wine. Thus we see that the offering of the fruits of the earth was regarded, elsewhere as well as in Judaea, as the natural concomitant of an animal sacrifice, and not only that, but as so essential a part of the latter as to have given a name to the whole ceremony, and not only to the whole ceremony, but to the specific act of the slaughter of the victim. The thought of the heathen in offering the fruits of the earth was probably not much different from that of the Israelites. It was his gift to the superhuman power, to which he thus acknowledged that he owed submission. We may further notice that salt was enjoined in the heathen as in the Jewish sacrifices as indispensable. Pliny says that the importance of salt is seen especially in sacrifices, none of which are completed without the salt-cake ('Hist. Nat.,' 31, 7) The now obsolete use of the word "meat" in the sense of "food," in contrast to "flesh," creates some confusion of thought. "Fruit offering" would be a better title, were it not that the signification of "fruit" is going through a similar change to that which "meat" has undergone. "Flour offering" might be used, but an alteration in the rendering is not imperative.
And he shall bring it to Aaron's sons the priests: and he shall take thereout his handful of the flour thereof, and of the oil thereof, with all the frankincense thereof; and the priest shall burn the memorial of it upon the altar, to be an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD:
Verse 2. - He shall take there out his handful. This was the task of the priest. The handful that he took and burnt upon the altar has the technical and significative name of the memorial. It acted as a memorial before God, in the same way as Cornelius's prayers and alms - "Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God" (Acts 10:4) - being something which should cause God to think graciously of the offerer. The frankincense is not mixed with the flour and the oil and the salt, as a constituent element of the offering, but is placed upon them, and is all of it burnt in "the memorial," symbolizing the need of adding prayer to sacrifice, that the latter may be acceptable to God.
And the remnant of the meat offering shall be Aaron's and his sons': it is a thing most holy of the offerings of the LORD made by fire.
Verse 3. - The remnant of the meat offering shall be Aaron's and his sons'. The meat offerings must have gone far to supply the priests with farinaceous food, as, for every handful of flour burnt on the altar, nearly a gallon went to the priests. They had to eat it within the precincts of the tabernacle, as was the case with all meats that were most holy, viz. the minchahs, the shew-bread, and the flesh of the sin offering and of the trespass offering (Leviticus 10:12). Other meats assigned to the priests might be eaten in any clean place (Leviticus 10:14). The priests' own meat offerings were wholly burnt (Leviticus 6:23).
And if thou bring an oblation of a meat offering baken in the oven, it shall be unleavened cakes of fine flour mingled with oil, or unleavened wafers anointed with oil.
Verses 4-11. - The second form of meat offering, when the flour and oil were made up into four varieties of cakes. The ritual of offering is not different from that of the first form. The frankincense is not mentioned, but doubtless is understood. The rabbinical rule, that meat offerings, when following upon burnt offerings or peace offerings, had no frankincense burnt with them, rests on no solid foundation.
And if thy oblation be a meat offering baken in a pan, it shall be of fine flour unleavened, mingled with oil.
Thou shalt part it in pieces, and pour oil thereon: it is a meat offering.
And if thy oblation be a meat offering baken in the fryingpan, it shall be made of fine flour with oil.
And thou shalt bring the meat offering that is made of these things unto the LORD: and when it is presented unto the priest, he shall bring it unto the altar.
And the priest shall take from the meat offering a memorial thereof, and shall burn it upon the altar: it is an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.
And that which is left of the meat offering shall be Aaron's and his sons': it is a thing most holy of the offerings of the LORD made by fire.
No meat offering, which ye shall bring unto the LORD, shall be made with leaven: for ye shall burn no leaven, nor any honey, in any offering of the LORD made by fire.
Verses 11, 12. - Ye shall burn no leaven nor any honey, in any offering of the Lord made by fire. Leaven and honey are not forbidden to be offered to the Lord; on the contrary, in the next verse they are commanded to be offered. The prohibition only extends to their being burnt on the altar, owing, no doubt, to the effect of fire upon them in making them swell and froth, thus creating a repulsive appearance which, as we shall see, throughout the Mosaic legislation, represents moral evil. The firstfruits of honey are to be offered (cf. Exodus 22:29), and leaven is to be used in the two wave loaves offered at the Feast of Pentecost as firstfruits (Leviticus 23:17). the words translated, As for the oblation of the firstfruits, ye shall offer them unto the Lord, should be rendered, As an oblation of firstfruits ye shall offer them (that is, leaven and honey), but they shall not be burnt on the altar. The mark in A.V. denoting a new paragraph at the beginning of verse 12, should be removed.
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.
And every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt.
Verse 13. - Every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt. Salt is commanded as symbolizing in things spiritual, because preserving in things physical, incorruption (cf. Matthew 5:13; Mark 9:49; Luke 14:34; Colossians 4:6). It is an emblem of an established and enduring covenant, such as God's covenant with his people, which is never to wax old and be destroyed, and it is therefore termed the salt of the covenant of thy God. Hence "a covenant of salt" came to mean a covenant that should not be broken (Numbers 18:19; 2 Chronicles 13:5). The use of salt is not confined to the meat offering. With all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt. Accordingly we find in Ezekiel 43:24, "The priest shall cast salt upon them, and they shall offer them up for a burnt offering."
And if thou offer a meat offering of thy firstfruits unto the LORD, thou shalt offer for the meat offering of thy firstfruits green ears of corn dried by the fire, even corn beaten out of full ears.
Verses 14-16. - The third form of meat offering, parched grains of corn, with oil, salt, and frankincense. The mark of a new paragraph should be transferred from verse 12 to the beginning of verse 14.
And thou shalt put oil upon it, and lay frankincense thereon: it is a meat offering.
And the priest shall burn the memorial of it, part of the beaten corn thereof, and part of the oil thereof, with all the frankincense thereof: it is an offering made by fire unto the LORD.