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the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26
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Bible Commentaries
Leviticus 6

Coke's Commentary on the Holy BibleCoke's Commentary



The trespass-offering for sins done knowingly, the law of the burnt-offering, the offering at the consecration of a priest, and the law of the sin-offering, are enjoined.

Before Christ 1490.

Verse 2

Leviticus 6:2. Commit a trespass against the Lord Known and voluntary sins are considered in this chapter. Every sin which men commit, says Jameson from Calmet, is against God, the supreme Lawgiver and Judge; but especially such sins, as, being committed in secresy, or lying out of the reach of human jurisdiction, cannot be punished by men; or which are not very liable to be detected, unless by the conviction of men's consciences, and an awful regard to the majesty of God, who knows the secret thoughts of the heart. Now the trespasses here mentioned are of this kind; and, therefore, emphatically said to be committed against the Lord; see 1 Samuel 17:25. Or hath deceived his neighbour, at the close of this verse, we should rather read, hath defrauded his neighbour; see Malachi 3:5. Dr. Beaumont renders this verse thus; "A soul, when he shall sin and transgress a transgression against Jehovah, and falsely deny* unto his neighbour a thing deliveredhim to keep, or in puttingof the hand, or in a thing taken away by violence; or hath deceitfully oppressed his neighbour."

* "Falsely deny:—or lye: but the word meaneth lying by the denial of a thing; see Genesis 18:15."

"Delivered.—The apostle uses a word exactly to the same import, 2 Timothy 1:12."

"Putting of the hand. This may mean fellowship or partnership, or putting of a thing to one's care and fidelity, to 'employ for him; or it may imply the lending or borrowing of a thing."

Verse 3

Leviticus 6:3. In any of all these that a man doeth Houbigant renders this, in any one of these things wherein men are used to offend: in which he follows the Vulgate, and other versions, as well as the interpretation of Grotius. It was not peculiar to the Hebrew law, to account that man a thief, who detained any thing from the true owner that he had found. We are told of the Dyrbaans, who inhabited that tract which extends from Bactria to India, and were celebrated for justice among their neighbours, that in case they found any gold or silver, clothes, or any thing else, upon the road, they would by no means touch it. The inhabitants of Biblos, in the neighbourhood of Judea, had the same law. To the same purpose was that law of Solon, take not up what ye have not laid down; with which the decision of the Roman lawyers also agreed: and the case was the same with our Saxon ancestors in the days of Alfred. However, it is unquestionably lawful to use as our own what we have found, after all due inquiry has been made to discover the owner.

Verse 4

Leviticus 6:4. Because he hath sinned and is guilty Some render this, whenever he shall have thus sinned, and is sensible of his guilt, he shall restore, &c. It might perhaps be rendered as nearly to the Hebrew, it shall be, that he who shall have thus sinned, and become liable to punishment, shall restore, &c. The law, however, appears to refer to a voluntary acknowledgment of guilt; see Numbers 5:7.

REFLECTIONS.—A variety of trespasses against our neighbour are mentioned, which, though immediately affecting him, are yet sins against God, as being breaches of his law. These are either denying what was lent us; or defrauding our partners; or imposing upon others by unjust commendation of our wares; or not returning to the owner what we find; or disowning it, when we are charged with any of these things. In such cases, 1. Restitution must be made to the injured person, and a fifth part of the value added. 2. A trespass-offering must be brought to God. Note; (1.) All sacrifice for sin is vain, till, to the utmost of our power, restitution is made to man. (2.) When we have done all in our power to indemnify our neighbour, we are still debtors to the law, and must perish unless we plead the trespass-offering of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Verse 8

Leviticus 6:8. And the Lord spake unto Moses Here begins the 25th section of the law, according to the Jewish division; and the 6th chapter according to Junius and Tremellius: an alteration, which certainly is very just, as the sacred writer here enters upon a new subject.

Verse 9

Leviticus 6:9. This is the law of the burnt-offering The sacred writer, having finished what concerns the respective sacrifices of the people, now proceeds to direct the priests: and, first, concerning that burnt-offering, or that morning and evening sacrifice, which was wholly consumed upon the perpetual fire of God's altar. Houbigant renders this clause as follows: this shall be the law of the burnt-offering; the burnt-offering shall be upon the fire of the altar all night, even to the morning, &c. A translation which may be well justified, as there is no verb in the original, and as it is agreeable to the most ancient versions. We learn from Calmet and the other writers on the subject, that the priests watched all night, and put the sacrifice upon the altar, not entire, but piece by piece, consuming it by a slow and gentle fire: so that the sacrifice was burning on the altar from the evening, when the Jewish day began, till the morning. Then succeeded the morning sacrifice; which was in like manner kept consuming till the time of the evening sacrifice, unless there were other holocausts to come after; then it was consumed more quickly, in order to make room for these extraordinary burnt-offerings. When the sin-offerings, or peace-offerings, were offered, the fat and those parts of them which were appropriated to the altar, were laid upon the daily sacrifice, and consumed with it.

Verse 10

Leviticus 6:10. The ashes which the fire hath consumed with the burnt-offering Or, the ashes, when the fire hath consumed the burnt-offering. Houbigant renders it thus: after the fire of the altar hath consumed the burnt-offering, he shall take away the ashes.

Verse 13

Leviticus 6:13. The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar, &c.— This fire, which was kept perpetually burning, was at first kindled from heaven, as we shall find, ch. Lev 9:24 to which we refer for a further account of it. If it be asked, how this fire could be preserved, when both the tabernacle, and the altar whereon it burnt, were in motion, as they evidently were when the Israelites journeyed in the wilderness? there seems to be no reason why we may not suppose, that upon these occasions there might be a certain portable conservatory of this sacred fire, distinct from the altar: and that there was some such vessel made use of, seems manifest from the injunction, Num 4:13 that at such times the ashes should be removed from off the altar, and a purple cloth spread over it.

Hence learn, 1. That they who are above stooping to the meanest offices for God's glory, are unfit to minister before him. 2. As they attended the sacred fire upon the altar by night as well as by day, and never permitted it to go out: so if God has kindled the fire of divine love in our hearts, it becomes us day and night to feed it with the fuel of prayer and praise.

Verse 14

Leviticus 6:14. The law of the meat-offering Bread-offering and so wherever the word occurs; see ch. Leviticus 2:1-9.

Verse 16

Leviticus 6:16. With unleavened bread shall it be eaten Unleavened shall it be eaten. Houbigant. There is nothing for with in the original.

Verse 18

Leviticus 6:18. Every one that toucheth them shall be holy Whatsoever toucheth them, &c.; see Leviticus 6:27. The meaning of this, according to our version, is, Every one [of the priests] shall be holy, that is, free from all legal defilements, who toucheth, that is, eateth of these offerings; ch. Leviticus 22:6.—Note; Holiness of heart should always accompany the sacredness of office.

Verse 20

Leviticus 6:20. This is the offering of Aaron, and of his sons, &c.— The directions here given, are generally supposed to refer to the offering made by Aaron and his sons on the day of their consecration: but others imagine, that they refer to the daily meat-offering, which was to be offered by the priest, as long as he continued in his office: and, therefore; instead of in the day when he is anointed, they would read, from the day, &c. This latter opinion seems to be confirmed by the 22nd verse. Josephus tells us, that this perpetual bread-offering was at the charge of the high-priest. It was to be wholly consumed, Lev 6:23 rd. unlike the bread-offerings of the people; because, says Maimonides, as the priests themselves offered their oblation to God, had they applied it to their own use, it would have been all the same as offering nothing. The priests were hereby taught, that they themselves, no less than the people, stood in need of an expiation. "The priest's eating of the sin-offering," says Clarke, "figured his typical bearing of the sinner's iniquity; (ch. Leviticus 10:17.) but because no priest, being a sinner, could bear his own iniquity, or make atonement for himself, therefore, his meat-offering might not be eaten, but all burnt; to shew him to expect salvation, not by himself, but by Christ." Note; They whom God advances to his service, are bound to a particular and perpetual oblation of themselves to him.

Verse 27

Leviticus 6:27. And when there is sprinkled of the blood thereof, &c.— The moral and typical reasons of all these ablutions and purifications are obvious. Bishop Patrick observes, that, after the temple was built, there was an apartment called the chamber of the spring; out of which water was drawn for the use of the sanctuary; and here, it is probable, these garments, &c. were washed.

Verse 28

Leviticus 6:28. Earthen vessel—brasen pot These were such vessels as were employed by private persons in dressing their sacrifices; but which did not belong to the tabernacle; see 1 Samuel 2:13-14. These injunctions, respecting them, were designed to keep up a due veneration of the sacred offices, and a careful separation of all things used in religious services, from those employed in ordinary offices.

Verse 30

Leviticus 6:30. And no sin-offering But no sin-offering, Houbigant renders it, and justly. To reconcile withal, he renders for the expiation of sin; and Dr. Beaumont, to make atonement.

Note; 1. Every Christian, as a spiritual priest, is fed by the sacrifices he offers before the Lord. 2. They who draw near to the table of the Lord, have need to examine themselves, lest by their profane approach the blood of the covenant be found on their garments to condemn them, instead of on their conscience to comfort them.

Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Leviticus 6". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tcc/leviticus-6.html. 1801-1803.
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