Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. 4: Harmony of the Law, Part II, tr. by John King, [1847-50], at sacred-texts.com
1. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
1. Loquutus est Jehova ad Mosen, dicendo:
2. Speak unto Aaron, and unto his sons, and unto all the children of Israel, and say unto them; This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded, saying,
2. Loquere ad Aharon, et ad filios ejus, et ad omnes filios Israel, et dic illis, Hoc est verbum quod praecepit Jehova, dicendo:
3. What man soever there be of the house of Israel, that killeth an ox, or lamb, or goat, in the camp, or that killeth it out of the camp,
3. Quicunque de domo Israel mactaverit bovem, ant agnum, aut capram in castris, aut qui mactaverit extra castra.
4. And bringeth it not unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, to offer an offering unto the LORD before the tabernacle of the LORD; blood shall be imputed unto that man; he hath shed blood; and that man shall be cut off from among his people:
4. Et ad ostium tabernaculi conventionis non adduxerit eum, ut offerat oblationem Jehovae coram tabernaculo Jehovae: sanguis imputabitur viro illi: ipse sanguinem fudit, excideturque vir ille e medio populi sui.
5. To the end that the children of Israel may bring their sacrifices, which they offer in the open field, even that they may bring them unto the LORD, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest, and offer them for peace offerings unto the LORD.
5. Ut afferant filii Israel sacrificia sua quae mactaturi sunt in superficie agri: ut afterant inquam illa Jehovae ad ostium tabernaculi conventionis ad sacerdotem, et sacrificent ilia sacrificia prosperitatum Jehovae.
6. And the priest shall sprinkle the blood upon the altar of the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and burn the fat for a sweet savour unto the LORD.
6. Spargetque sacerdos sanguinem ad altare Jehovae, ad ostium tabernaculi conventionis, et adolebit adipem in odorem quietis Jehovae.
7. And they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto devils, after whom they have gone a whoring. This shall be a statute for ever unto them throughout their generations.
7. Et non sacrificabunt ultra sacrificia sua daemonibus cum quibus fornicantur: statutum perpetuum erit hoc illis ill generationibus eorum.
8. And thou shalt say unto them, Whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers which sojourn among you, that offereth a burnt offering or sacrifice,
8. Dices praeterea illis, Quicunque e domo Israel, aut de peregrinis qui peregrinantur in medio vestri, obtulerit holocaustum, aut sacrificium:
9. And bringeth it not unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, to offer it unto the LORD; even that man shall be cut off from among his people.
9. Et ad ostium tabernaculi conventionis non adduxerit illud Jehovae: tunc excidetur vir ille e populis suis.
1. And the Lord spake unto Moses. In this, and similar passages, God appoints the priests to offer the sacrifices; for although they were common to all the people, nevertheless He would have them offered to Him by the hand of one person, and in a particular place: first, because, if they had been allowed to build altars everywhere, His pure and genuine worship would have been corrupted by this variety; and secondly, that He might direct the people to the Mediator, because this principle was ever to be held fast by believers, that no offerings could be legitimate except by His grace. The same doctrine will often occur hereafter, where the sacrifices are treated of; but, since we are here discussing the priests’ office, let it be sufficient to have said once for all that it was not lawful for private persons to offer anything to God, except by the hands of the priest, to whom this duty was enjoined. But, since in this point vain glory is marvelously apt to affect men’s minds, He threatens His severe vengeance against whosoever shall have attempted it. It has already been explained why God chose a single sanctuary. He now declares that, unless the victims are brought thither, this profanation will be equivalent to the murder of a man. He therefore commands that all the victims should be brought before the altar, even although those who offer them may be far away; for “the surface of the field” 204 means a distant place, lest any one should excuse himself by the inconvenience of the journey. He expressly names the peace-offerings, because that was the kind of sacrifice whereby private individuals were accustomed to testify their piety. God declares, then, that their service would be acceptable to Him, if the priest should intervene to make the oblation in right of the charge committed to him. Finally, this law is ratified unto all generations, that its abrogation may never be attempted. The reason for this is stated, which has been elsewhere more fully explained, i.e., that a single place had been ordained at which they were to assemble; and again, that a priest was appointed who might observe the ceremonies enjoined by the Law, in order that they might worship God in purity; and pollute not nor adulterate His sacrifices by strange superstitions. For we have stated that the ancient people were tied to the sanctuary, lest religion should be twisted and altered according to men’s fancies, and lest any inventions should creep in whereby they might easily decline into idolatry. The commandment which He gave, then, that the priest only should offer the victims, is recommended on the score of its great usefulness; viz., because it would restrain the people from prostituting themselves to devils. Hence a profitable doctrine is gathered, that men cannot be restrained from turning away to idolatry, except by seeking from God’s mouth the one simple rule of piety.
8. And thou shalt say unto them. The law is now extended to strangers, not those who were heathens, but those who, springing originally from other nations, had devoted themselves to pure religion. For, if more had been allowed to them than to the genuine children of Abraham, the corruption would, according to their wont, have soon spread more widely. God, then, would not have His sanctuary defiled by foreigners, lest their liberty might make its way amongst the whole people. From this latter portion we may gather that the word “kill” 205 which is elsewhere taken in a sense, is here confined to the sacrifices; since permission is elsewhere given to the people to eat (meat) in all their cities and villages, provided they abstain from blood. We must remember, therefore, that the question is not here as to their ordinary food, but only as to the victims, which were never to be offered except at the tabernacle.
“The open field,” A. V.
In these verses (Lev. 27:8, 9) the offering of a burnt-offering, or sacrifices, is only spoken of, from whence C. appears justly to conclude that the word “kill” in Le 27:3, referred merely to animals killed in sacrifice.