The Tent of Meeting (Leviticus 1:1-3)


Verse 1 Then the LORD called to Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting, saying, Met him, as the phrase is rendered in Numbers 23:4. The word translated called, the last letter of it is written in a very small character, to show, as the Jews say, that he met him accidentally, and unawares to Moses: other mysteries they observe in it, as that it respects the modesty of Moses, who lessened himself, and got out of the way, that he might not have the government laid upon him, and therefore the Lord called him; or to denote the wonderful condescension of the Lord, whose throne is in heaven, and yet vouchsafed to dwell in the tabernacle, out of which he called to Moses, and from Mount Sinai, and out of the cloud. The word Lord is not in this clause, but the following, from whence it is supplied by our translators, as it is in the Syriac version, and as the word God; the Word of the Lord called to Moses, by an articulate voice, though it may be it was a still small one; and which some think is the reason of the smallness of the letter before mentioned; Moses heard it, but all Israel did not hear: and spoke unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation; from off the mercy seat, between the cherubim over the ark, where the glory of the Lord, or the divine Shechinah and Majesty took up its residence, and from whence the Lord promised to commune with Moses, Exodus 25:22, saying; what follows concerning sacrifices; which shows, that these were not human inventions, but of divine institution, and by the appointment of God.

Verse 2 “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When any man of you brings an offering to the LORD, you shall bring your offering of animals from the herd or the flock. For unto no other was the law of sacrifices given; not to the Gentiles, but to the children of Israel: if any man; or woman, for the word man, includes the whole species: of you; of you Israelites; and not of the apostates who worship idols. Yours, of your mammon or substance, what was their own property, and not what was stolen from another, Isaiah 61:8, bring an offering unto the Lord; called Korban of Karab, to draw nigh, because it was not only brought nigh to God, to the door of the tabernacle where he dwelt, but because by it they drew nigh to God, and presented themselves to him, and that for them; typical of believers under the Gospel dispensation drawing nigh to God through Christ, by whom their spiritual sacrifices are presented and accepted in virtue of his: ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock; that is, of oxen, and of sheep or goats. The Targum of Jonathan is, of a clean beast, of oxen, and of sheep, but not of wild beasts shall ye bring your offerings. These were appointed, for these two reasons, partly because the most excellent, and partly because most easy to be found and come at, as wild creatures are not: but the true reason is, because they were very fit to represent the great sacrifice Christ, which all sacrifices were typical of; the ox or bullock was a proper emblem of him for his strength and labor.

Verse 3 ‘If his offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he shall offer it, a male without defect; he shall offer it at the doorway of the tent of meeting, that he may be accepted before the LORD. So called, because consumed by fire, Leviticus 6:9 even all of it except the skin, and therefore its name with the Greeks is a whole burnt offering, as in Mark 12:33 its name in Hebrew is which comes from a word which signifies to ascend or go up, because not only it was carried up to the altar by the priest, which was common to other sacrifices, but being burnt upon it, it ascended upwards in smoke and vapor; it was typical of Christ's dolorous sufferings and death, who therein sustained the fire of divine wrath, and his strength was dried up like a potsherd with it. Leviticus 1:1, there were in the burnt offerings mysteries of future things: let him offer a male; and not a female, pointing at the Messiah's sex, and his strength and excellency, the child that was to be born, and the Son to be given, whose name should be Immanuel: without blemish; or perfect, having no part wanting, nor any part superfluous, nor any spot upon it, Leviticus 22:19 denoting the perfection of Christ as man, being in all things made like unto his brethren, and his having not the least stain or blemish of sin upon him, either original or actual, and so could, as he did, offer up himself without spot to God, Hebrews 2:17, and he shall offer it of his own voluntary will; not forced or compelled to it, or with any reluctancy, but as a pure freewill offering.

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