Messianic Education Trust
(Lev 1:1 - 5:26(6:7))

Vayikra/Leviticus 1:14   ... he shall bring from the turtle-doves or from the young doves his offering

The first chapter of Vayikra deals with the burnt offering, that which goes up entirely in smoke to the L-rd, with neither the offerer or the priest having any benefit from it. Although the earlier verses talk of offerings from the flock or herd, this verse says that the offering may also be from the doves or pigeons. Who Is ...

Rashi: Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki (1040-1105 CE), French rabbi who wrote commentaries on the Torah, the Prophets and the Talmud, lived in Troyes where he founded a yeshiva in 1067; focuses on the plain meaning (p'shat) of the text, although sometimes quite cryptic in his brevity
Rashi suggests that in fact the offering could be as small as one single turtle-dove or young pigeon. Who Is ...

Abravanel: Don Isaac Abravanel (1437-1508 CE), Statesman and biblical commentator; born in Lisbon, died in Venice; wrote commentaries on the whole of the Hebrew Scriptures
Abravanel makes the comment to the start of the instructions in verse 2 that the Hebrew word order doesn't say "if any man of you bring an offering" but "if any man bring of you an offering", so that the text can be understood as saying that the offering is a sacrifice of oneself. He goes on, "if he brings it willingly before the L-rd - if he submits all his being and will before the L-rd. It thus speaks of the obligations to present oneself with all one's power and mental force, intellect and desires to serve G-d and cleave to Him." Hence this text: the size or the species is not important; anything that is accessible is allowed (Ramban) because it is the heart attitude of the giver in which G-d is most interested.

Some centuries later, G-d speaks to the people involved with the service in the first Temple: "I'm fed up with burnt offerings and rams and the fat of fattened animals! I get no pleasure from the blood of bulls, lambs and goats!" (Isaiah 1:11, CJB) Weren't these the regular morning and evening sacrifices that the L-rd had commanded through Moshe, the burnt sacrifices to be a pleasing aroma before Him? Why is G-d now rejecting them? The answer comes just a few verses later: "When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; no matter how much you pray, I won't be listening; because your hands are covered with blood" (Isaiah 1:15, CJB). G-d make it very clear that the offerings are unacceptable because the hearts of the people were wrong; the offerings were the result of oppression and injustice.

One day Yeshua was in the (second) Temple with His talmidim and they saw many people pouring money into the offering boxes - not an unusual sight or sound. But Yeshua "noticed a poor widow drop in two small coins. He said, 'I can guarantee this truth: this poor widow has given more than all the others. All of these people have given what they could spare. But she, in her poverty, have given everything she had to live on'" (Luke 21:2-3, GWT). The Master didn't say that any of the other, larger offerings were insufficient or inadequate in any way, He simply compared the givers - those who given much had done so from their plenty; the offering may have been exactly the 'right' amount or even more, but it was given from a position of wealth. Although the widow's offering was much smaller, it was just as acceptable and of greater value than the others because of her poverty and heart towards G-d.

Further Study: 2 Corinthians 9:6-13

Application: Do we wince when an offering is taken up or are we glad to contribute to G-d's work, even if we can give but a small amount compared to other people. G-d is more interested in us than our money and when we give ourselves that is more valuable to Him than the largest amounts of money.

© Jonathan Allen, 2005

Messianic Trust Home Page Join Weekly Email More Weekly Drashot
Last Week Support the work of producing this weekly commentary
Next Week
Last Year - 5764 Scripture Index Next Year - 5766