"14 And this is the law of the meat offering: the sons of Aaron shall offer it before the LORD, before the altar. 15 And he shall take of it his handful, of the flour of the meat offering, and of the oil thereof, and all the frankincense which is upon the meat offering, and shall burn it upon the altar for a sweet savour, even the memorial of it, unto the LORD. 16 And the remainder thereof shall Aaron and his sons eat: with unleavened bread shall it be eaten in the holy place; in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation they shall eat it. 17 It shall not be baken with leaven. I have given it unto them for their portion of my offerings made by fire; it is most holy, as is the sin offering, and as the trespass offering. 18 All the males among the children of Aaron shall eat of it. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations concerning the offerings of the LORD made by fire: every one that toucheth them shall be holy. 19 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 20 This is the offering of Aaron and of his sons, which they shall offer unto the LORD in the day when he is anointed; the tenth part of an ephah of fine flour for a meat offering perpetual, half of it in the morning, and half thereof at night. 21 In a pan it shall be made with oil; and when it is baken, thou shalt bring it in: and the baken pieces of the meat offering shalt thou offer for a sweet savour unto the LORD. 22 And the priest of his sons that is anointed in his stead shall offer it: it is a statute for ever unto the LORD; it shall be wholly burnt. 23 For every meat offering for the priest shall be wholly burnt: it shall not be eaten. 24 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 25 Speak unto Aaron and to his sons, saying, This is the law of the sin offering: In the place where the burnt offering is killed shall the sin offering be killed before the LORD: it is most holy. 26 The priest that offereth it for sin shall eat it: in the holy place shall it be eaten, in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation. 27 Whatsoever shall touch the flesh thereof shall be holy: and when there is sprinkled of the blood thereof upon any garment, thou shalt wash that whereon it was sprinkled in the holy place. 28 But the earthen vessel wherein it is sodden shall be broken: and if it be sodden in a brasen pot, it shall be both scoured, and rinsed in water. 29 All the males among the priests shall eat thereof: it is most holy. 30 And no sin offering, whereof any of the blood is brought into the tabernacle of the congregation to reconcile withal in the holy place, shall be eaten: it shall be burnt in the fire." — Leviticus 6:14-30 KJV.
The meat offering — See Leviticus 2:1, note.
16. The remainder… shall Aaron and his sons eat — The reason of this requirement is “because it is most holy.” For a discussion of the question whether the priests were able to eat all the most holy things commanded them, see Concluding Note, chap. 7.
17. Not be baken with leaven — See Leviticus 2:4, note.
18. Statute for ever — Chap. 17, note. Every one that toucheth them shall be holy — This applies to persons and to things. The priest is forbidden to eat these oblations while ceremonially defiled, and the sacred utensils brought in contact with them must not be put to any secular use. Every layman who touched the most holy things became holy through contact, so that he must henceforth guard against defilement as scrupulously as the priests, but without their rights and prerogatives. This placed him in an awkward relation to secular things.
20. The offering of Aaron — Aaron, at his induction into the high priest’s office, and, according to Josephus, on every day of his continuance therein, and his successors, as we here interpret the words his sons, must offer three quarts of fine flour, half in the morning and half at night, as an oblation appropriate to the high priesthood. In the day — Some understand this to be only a consecratory oblation limited to one day; but those who credit the testimony of Josephus construe these words to signify from the day, or day by day.
21. In a pan… with oil — See Leviticus 2:5.
22. The priest of his sons — This justifies our note on verse 20, limiting the expression “his sons” to Aaron’s successors in the office of high priest as heads of the hierarchy. They had no technical designation in the Pentateuch — the word גָּד֨וֹל (gadhol), great, Leviticus 21:10, is not yet wholly technical — but were defined by the definite article the and the following relative clause. That is anointed — In the books subsequent to the Pentateuch we find the high priest indicated by the Hebrew words for great, or head. All the priests were anointed, but the high priest received a more copious unction. Leviticus 16:32; Psalm 133:1.
Wholly burnt… not be eaten — Since it was a thank offering to Jehovah it would be improper for the priest to eat it. To appropriate it to himself after presenting it to the Lord would destroy the vital element of sacrifice, self-denial. This law applies to all offerings of the priest, especially to his sin offering, the eating of which would imply that he could atone for his own sins, and that he had no need of a substitute prefiguring “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” The sin offering for a private individual or for a prince was to be eaten by the priesthood. That for the whole nation, since the priests were included, could not be eaten.
25. Sin offering — See Leviticus 4, notes. Before the Lord — See Leviticus 1:3, note. It is most holy — Literally, it is holiness of holinesses; a strong form of Hebrew superlative. See Leviticus 2:3, note.
26. The priest… shall eat — God required the priests to eat the flesh in order that they might “bear (away, or expiate) the iniquity of the congregation, to make atonement for them.” Leviticus 10:17. Eating symbolizes the complete reception of any thing. Jeremiah 15:16; John 6:51. Hence the priests, as God’s representatives, by their incorporation with the sin offering gave assurance of the completeness of the reconciliation, and demonstrated that the sacrifice which entirely removes guilt, is converted even into the nutriment of the holiest life. Jesus is both our propitiation and our bread of life. That offereth it for sin — Or expiates sin by it. The word expiates sin, in the Hebrew, is from the same radicals with sin offering. See 2 Corinthians 5:21.
27. Whatsoever shall touch the flesh thereof — Of this “most holy” sacrifice. No one but a consecrated person was knowingly allowed “to touch” or handle the offering. Shall be holy — Be deemed devoted to God’s service. When there is sprinkled upon any garment — Not intentionally, but accidentally, in the slaying of the sacrifice or otherwise. So sacred was the blood of the sin offering that not a drop was to be treated as common. Thou shalt wash… in the holy place — So that nothing connected with, or any wise belonging to, this holy service should be contaminated by contact with unsanctified persons or things. “As the sin offering in special sort figured Christ, who was made sin for us, (2 Corinthians 5:21,) so this ordinance taught a holy use of the mystery of our redemption.” The sacredness which was deemed to appertain to “the blood” of this most holy offering is strikingly typical of that most “precious blood” of our great sacrificial Victim of which Peter speaks in his epistle. 1 Peter 1:18, 19.
30. Blood… brought into the tabernacle — This refers to the sin offerings for the high priest and for the whole congregation, Leviticus 4:5, 16, the blood of which was brought into the tabernacle and the bodies burnt without the camp. The complete propitiation symbolized by the sprinkled blood and the flesh eaten by the priest could not be effected under the Levitical dispensation. When the flesh was eaten, the blood-sprinkling within the tabernacle was lacking; and when the blood was thus sacrificially treated, eating the flesh was prohibited. For the imperfection in the Old Testament remission of sins, see The Temporal and Spiritual Benefits of the Levitical Sacrifices. Jesus Christ made a complete atonement, having carried his blood into the holy place, “the true tabernacle,” and given his flesh to be the bread of eternal life to all believers. John 6:32-58.
(1.) Modern scepticism finds a difficulty in that portion of the ritual of the altar which requires that the priest should eat in the sanctuary those sacrifices pronounced “most holy.” They were of eight kinds: (1.) The flesh of the sin offering for private individuals and princes. Leviticus 6:25, 26. (2.) The flesh of the trespass offering. Leviticus 7:1-6. (3.) The peace offering of the whole congregation. Leviticus 23:19, 20. (4.) The remainder of the sheaf. Leviticus 23:10. (5.) The remnant of the meat offering. Leviticus 6:16. (6.) The two loaves. Leviticus 23:17. (7.) The show-bread. Leviticus 24:9. (8.) The log of oil offered by the leper. Leviticus 14:10. There were at least fifteen other sources of revenue; some to be eaten by the priest’s family and others which might be sold. The chief difficulty arises from the offerings to be eaten by the males only while they were very few in number, Aaron, his two sons, three in all, as Colenso assumes. The following considerations may throw some light upon this subject: (1.) In the natural order of events Aaron, the older brother of Moses, would have had grandsons when he was approaching ninety years. These, though not consecrated priests, were permitted to eat the most holy things. Leviticus 7:6. (2.) The sacrifices were probably very infrequent till after the conquest of Canaan. Some writers infer from Amos 5:25, 26, the omission of all legal sacrifices in the wilderness. (3.) There is positive proof that the Levites, numbering more than eight thousand, (Numbers 4:48,) did eat of the fire-sacrifices, by some broad construction of the law. Joshua 13:14. Possibly the tasting of each sacrifice by the priest, and its assignment to the Levites on guard about the tabernacle, was a constructive priestly eating of the offerings. (4.) It seems to have been overlooked by all the objectors that “the children of Israel eat not of the sinew which shrank,” (Genesis 32:32,) and that the modern Jews not knowing what sinew this was, nor even which thigh was dislocated, judge it obligatory upon them to abstain from both the hind-quarters, the largest portion of the animal. It is reasonable to suppose that the modern Israelites are copying the practice of their fathers in the days of Moses, which, by virtue of its traditional authority, did not need to be enforced by a positive statute. These suggestions, while they do not entirely remove all objections, very much alleviate the difficulties of this subject.
(2.) A careful study of the law of sacrifices, in which provisions so ample are made for those who minister about holy things, would enforce upon the Christian Church the duty of affording an adequate support to the Gospel ministry, in accordance with St. Paul’s argument in 1 Corinthians 9:7-14, showing that in this particular Judaism was an exemplar to Christianity.