Leviticus 1-4

Today’s reading begins with the LORD giving Moses the requirements for burnt offerings and concludes with instructions for sin offerings.

Every time that I’ve read through the Levitical law, I’ve noticed something new. Although the book of Leviticus can be a little bit difficult to read because it’s somewhat uneventful and mostly prescriptive, some things stand out. In today’s reading what I’d like to focus is how comprehensively the offerings are described.

From bulls to goats to birds, each offering is described in detail, from the method of killing the animal, to the usage of various portions of the animal, to the disposal of the unused and unwanted portions. For each offering the description ends with the phrase “a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the LORD.”

When the sin offerings are described at the end of today’s reading there’s something interesting to note: the required offering for commission of sin depends on each person’s position and wealth. The anointed priest because of his position is obligated to offer a bull. When the entire assembly of Israel commits a sin, again a bull is the required sin offering. If a leader of the people sins, the required sin offering is a male goat without blemish. If a member of the people of Israel at large commit a sin, the required sin offering is a female goat or lamb without blemish.

Each of these sin offerings was for the commission of “sins unintentionally in doing any one of the things that by the LORD’s commandments ought not to be done, and realizes his guilt, or the sin which he has committed is made known to him”.

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