Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, If any man of you bring an offering to the LORD…
It is a little surprising, upon first view, that God should appoint or sanction rites and services of worship, the observance of which would make His sanctuary look so much like a solemn slaughter-house. But where sin is stayed and quenched, there must be blood. Blood is the substance of life; and as sin involves the forfeiture of life,! "without shedding of blood there is no remission." Hence "almost all things are by the law purged with blood." These bloody rites, however, did not originate with "the law." It is a question with learned men how they did originate. Some refer them to some primitive enactment of God, and others regard them as the natural outgrowth of man's consciousness of sin, and his desire to appease the Divine anger felt to attend upon it. It is certain that they are nearly as old as man. They date back to Noah, to Abel, to Adam Himself. They have been found among nearly all nations. And when God gave commandment to Moses concerning them, they already formed a part of the common religion of the world. They are not here spoken of as a new institution, now for the first time introduced, but are referred to rather as an ancient and well-known element of man's worship, to which the Divine Legislator meant only to affix a more specific ritual. That offerings would, and ought to be made, seems to be taken for granted, whilst these new commands relate only to the manner in which they were to be made. "If," that is, in the ordinary course of things already familiar, or, "when any man of you shall bring an offering to the Lord, ye shall bring" so and so. There is a worship, at least a disposition to worship, which has descended upon all serious men from the very beginning. There is a theology even in Nature, and a faculty of worship or religiousness which is somehow natural unto man. Revelation does not deny this, but takes it for granted, and often appeals to it, and proceeds upon it as its original groundwork. It does not propose to engraft a religious department on man's constitution, but recognises such a department as already in existence, and proposes merely to assist, and guide, and guard it against falsehood, idolatry, and superstition. "Nature, left to herself, and unassisted by Divine teachings, certainly wanders into mazes of perplexity, involves herself in error and blindness, and becomes the victim of folly, full of all sorts of superstition." So said the knowing leader of the glorious Reformation; and all the records of time attest the truth of his statement. Man needs to hear a voice from heaven — a supernatural word — to guide him successfully to the true God, and to the right worship of that God. Nature may dispose him to make offerings, and a common religious consciousness may approve and sanction them; but it yet remains for God to say what sort of offerings are proper, and how they are to be acceptably presented.
(J. A. Seiss, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man of you bring an offering unto the LORD, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock.