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Barnes' Notes on the Bible
1And when any will offer a meat offering unto the LORD, his offering shall be of fine flour; and he shall pour oil upon it, and put frankincense thereon:
A meat offering - Better translated in Leviticus 2:4 an oblation of a meat offering קרבן qorbân, see Leviticus 1:2 מנחה mı̂nchāh. signifies literally a "gift"; and it appears to have been applied especially to what was given by an inferior to a superior Genesis 32:18-20; Genesis 43:11; Judges 3:15; 1 Samuel 10:27 : but in the technical language of the Law, it regularly denoted the vegetable offerings as distinguished from the animal offerings. Our translators have rendered it "meat-offering", applying the word "meat", according to old usage, as a general term for food. Vegetable-offering or meal-offering would be a more convenient rendering.
The meaning of the מנחה mı̂nchāh appears to be much more simple than that of the animal sacrifices. The מנחה mı̂nchāh, as a sacrifice, was something surrendered to God, which was of the greatest value to man as a means of living. It might thus seem to be merely eucharistic. But it should not be overlooked that the grain had been modified, and made useful, by man's own labor. Hence, it has been supposed that the מנחה mı̂nchāh expressed a confession that all our good works are performed in God and are due to Him.
The order in which the kinds of offering are named agrees with their development in order of time. The burnt-offering and the מנחה mı̂nchāh answer to the first two offerings on record Genesis 4:3-4; Amos 5:22.
Three kinds of מנחה mı̂nchāh are here mentioned; (1) Leviticus 2:1-3; (2) Leviticus 2:4-7; (3) Leviticus 2:14-16. Of each of them a small portion was burned on the altar "for a memorial," and the remainder was given to the priests. The offerings of flour belonged to the priests at large, but those of cakes and wafers to the officiating priests, Leviticus 7:9-10. Instructions to the priests are given in Leviticus 6:14-23.
Fine flour - finely bolted flour of wheat. It was probably always presented in a bowl, compare Numbers 7:13.
Oil - For the purpose of anointing and as food; in both senses a symbol of divine grace.
Frankincense - See the Exodus 30:34 note.
2And he shall bring it to Aaron's sons the priests: and he shall take thereout his handful of the flour thereof, and of the oil thereof, with all the frankincense thereof; and the priest shall burn the memorial of it upon the altar, to be an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD:
Better: "And he shall bring it to Aaron's sons, the priests; and the (officiating) priest shall take from it," etc.
Memorial - The regular name not only for the portion of the מנחה mı̂nchāh which was burned on the altar Leviticus 2:9, Leviticus 2:16; Leviticus 5:12; Leviticus 6:15; Numbers 5:26, but for the frankincense which was laid upon the showbread Leviticus 24:7. It is the word which is applied to the prayers and alms of Cornelius, Acts 10:4.
3And the remnant of the meat offering shall be Aaron's and his sons': it is a thing most holy of the offerings of the LORD made by fire.
A thing most holy - literally, a holy of holies. All offerings were holy, including the portions of the peace-offerings which were eaten by the laity; but that was "most holy" of which every part was devoted either to the altar, or to the use of the priests. Such were the minchaahs, the showbread, the incense, and the flesh of the sin-offerings and trespass-offerings. Compare the similar distinction between places Exodus 26:33. The most holy food was eaten in "the holy place," that is the precinct of the tabernacle, probably in the priests' lodgings; but the priests' portion of the peace-offerings might be eaten by the priests and their families in any "clean place" Leviticus 10:12-14.
4And if thou bring an oblation of a meat offering baken in the oven, it shall be unleavened cakes of fine flour mingled with oil, or unleavened wafers anointed with oil.
The four kinds of bread and the three cooking utensils which are mentioned in this section were probably such as were in common use in the daily life of the Israelites; and there appears no reason to doubt that they were such as are still used in the East. The variety of the offerings was most likely permitted to suit the different circumstances of the worshippers.
Oven - This was probably a portable vessel of earthenware; in shape a cone about 3 ft. 6 in. high, and 1 ft. 6 in. in diameter. Similar jars are now used for the same purpose by the Arabs. After the vessel has been thoroughly heated by a fire lighted in the inside, the cakes are placed within it, and the top is covered up until they are sufficiently baked. Meantime the outside of the vessel is turned to account. Dough rolled out very thin is spread over it, and a sort of wafer is produced considerably thinner than a Scotch oat-cake.
5And if thy oblation be a meat offering baken in a pan, it shall be of fine flour unleavened, mingled with oil.
A pan - Rather, as in the margin, a flat plate. It was probably of earthenware, like the oven.
6Thou shalt part it in pieces, and pour oil thereon: it is a meat offering.
Part it in pieces - Break, not cut. The Bedouins are in the habit of breaking up their cakes when warm and mixing the fragments with butter when that luxury can be obtained.
7And if thy oblation be a meat offering baken in the fryingpan, it shall be made of fine flour with oil.
Fryingpan - Rather, pan, commonly used for boiling. It is possible that the cakes here spoken of were boiled in oil. The "pan" and the "frying pan" Leviticus 2:5, Leviticus 2:7 may have been the common cooking implements of the poorest of the people.
8And thou shalt bring the meat offering that is made of these things unto the LORD: and when it is presented unto the priest, he shall bring it unto the altar.
9And the priest shall take from the meat offering a memorial thereof, and shall burn it upon the altar: it is an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.
10And that which is left of the meat offering shall be Aaron's and his sons': it is a thing most holy of the offerings of the LORD made by fire.
11No meat offering, which ye shall bring unto the LORD, shall be made with leaven: for ye shall burn no leaven, nor any honey, in any offering of the LORD made by fire.
As for the oblation of the firstfruits - Rather, As an oblation of firstfruits. The words refer to the leaven and honey mentioned in Leviticus 2:11 which might be offered among the firstfruits and tithes (Deuteronomy 26:2, Deuteronomy 26:12; compare 2 Chronicles 31:5). Honey, being used to produce fermentation, and leaven (or, a small piece of fermented dough) were excluded because fermentation was an apt symbol of the working of corruption in the human heart.
12As for the oblation of the firstfruits, ye shall offer them unto the LORD: but they shall not be burnt on the altar for a sweet savour.
13And every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt.
With all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt - Not only every מנחה mı̂nchāh, but every animal offering was to be accompanied by salt. It was the one symbol which was never absent from the altar of burnt-offering, showing the imperishablness of the love of Yahweh for His people. In its unalterable nature, it is the contrary of leaven (yeast). The Arabs are said to retain in common use the expression, "a covenant of salt;" and the respect they pay to bread and salt in their rites of hospitality is well known.
14And if thou offer a meat offering of thy firstfruits unto the LORD, thou shalt offer for the meat offering of thy firstfruits green ears of corn dried by the fire, even corn beaten out of full ears.
Green ears of corn - Rather, "fresh ears of corn;" that is, just-ripe grain, freshly gathered. Parched grain, such as is here spoken of, is a common article of food in Syria and Egypt, and was very generally eaten in ancient times.
Beaten out - Not rubbed out by the hands, as described in Luke 6:1, but bruised or crushed so as to form groats.
15And thou shalt put oil upon it, and lay frankincense thereon: it is a meat offering.
16And the priest shall burn the memorial of it, part of the beaten corn thereof, and part of the oil thereof, with all the frankincense thereof: it is an offering made by fire unto the LORD.