Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Leviticus
Book: Leviticus
Chapter: 1

The offerings. (1,2) From the herds. (3-9) From the flocks,
and of fowls. (10-17)

1,2 The Offering of sacrifices was an ordinance of true
religion, from the fall of Man unto the Coming of Christ. But
till the Israelites were in the Wilderness, No very particular
regulations seem to have been appointed. The general design of
these laws is Plain. The sacrifices typified Christ; they also
shadowed out the believer's duty, character, privilege, and
Communion with God. There is scarcely any thing spoken of the
Lord Jesus in Scripture which has not also a reference to his
people. This Book begins with the laws concerning sacrifices;
the most ancient were the burnt-offerings, about which God here
gives Moses directions. It is taken for granted that the people
would be willing to bring offerings to the Lord. The very Light
of nature directs Man, some way or other, to do honour to his
Maker, as his Lord. Immediately after the fall, sacrifices were

3-9 In the due performance of the Levitical ordinances, the
mysteries of the spiritual world are represented By
corresponding natural objects; and future events are exhibited
in these rites. Without this, the whole will seem unmeaning
ceremonies. There is in these things a Type of the sufferings of
the Son of God, who was to be a Sacrifice for the sins of the
whole world. The burning body of an Animal was but a faint
representation of that Everlasting misery, which we all have
deserved; and which our blessed Lord bore in his body and in his
soul, when he died under the load of our iniquities. Observe, 1.
The Beast to be offered must be without Blemish. This signified
the strength and purity that were in Christ, and the holy Life
that should be in his people. 2. The owner must offer it of his
own free will. What is done in religion, So as to please God,
must be done By Love. Christ willingly offered himself for us.
3. It must be offered at the door of the Tabernacle, where the
brazen Altar of burnt-offerings stood, which sanctified the
Gift: he must offer it at the door, as one unworthy to enter,
and acknowledging that a sinner can have No Communion with God,
but By Sacrifice. 4. The offerer must Put his Hand upon the head
of his Offering, signifying thereby, his desire and Hope that it
might be accepted from him, to make Atonement for him. 5. The
Sacrifice was to be killed before the Lord, in an orderly
manner, and to honour God. It signified also, that in Christians
the Flesh must be crucified with its corrupt affections and
Lust. 6. The priests were to sprinkle the Blood upon the Altar;
for the Blood being the Life, that was it which made Atonement.
This signified the pacifying and purifying of our consciences,
By the sprinkling of the Blood of Jesus Christ upon them By
Faith. 7. The Beast was to be divided into several Pieces, and
then to be burned upon the Altar. The burning of the Sacrifice
signified the sharp sufferings of Christ, and the devout
affections with which, as a holy Fire, Christians must offer up
themselves, their whole Spirit, soul, and body, unto God. 8.
This is said to be an Offering of a sweet savour. As an act of
obedience to a Divine command, and a Type of Christ, this was
Well-pleasing to God; and the spiritual sacrifices of Christians
are acceptable to God, through Christ, 1Pe 2:5.

10-17 Those who could not offer a Bullock, were to bring a
Sheep or a Goat; and those who were not able to do that, were
accepted of God, if they brought a Turtle-Dove, or a Pigeon.
Those creatures were Chosen for Sacrifice which were mild, and
gentle, and harmless; to show the innocence and Meekness that
were in Christ, and that should be in Christians. The Offering
of the Poor was as typical of Christ's Atonement as the more
costly sacrifices, and expressed as fully Repentance, Faith, and
devotedness to God. We have No excuse, if we refuse the pleasant
and reasonable service now required. But we can No more offer
the Sacrifice of a broken Heart, or of praise and thanksgiving,
than an Israelite could offer a Bullock or a Goat, except as God
hath first given to us. The more we do in the Lord's service,
the greater are our obligations to him, for the will, for the
ability, and opportunity. In many things God leaves us to fix
what shall be spent in his service, whether of our time or our
substance; yet where God's Providence has Put much into a Man's
power, scanty offerings will not be accepted, for they are not
proper expressions of a willing mind. Let us be devoted in body
and soul to his service, whatever he may Call us to give,
venture, do, or suffer for his sake.