Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. 4: Harmony of the Law, Part II, tr. by John King, [1847-50], at sacred-texts.com
1. And if his oblation be a sacrifice of peace offering, if he offer it of the herd; whether it be a male or female, he shall offer it without blemish before the LORD.
1. Quod si sacrificium prosperitatum fuerit oblatio ejus, si de bobus ipse offeret, sire masculum, sive foeminam offerat, immaculatum offeret eum in conspectu Jehovae.
2. And he shall lay his hand upon the head of his offering, and kill it at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and Aaron’s sons the priests shall sprinkle the blood upon the altar round about.
2. Et imponet manum suam super caput oblationis suae, et immolabit eum ad ostium tabernaculi conventionis: fundentque filii Aharon sacerdotes sanguinem super altare per circuitum.
3. And he shall offer of the sacrifice of the peace offering an offering made by fire unto the LORD; the fat that covereth the inwards, and all the fat that is upon the inwards,
3. Postea offeret de sacrificio prosperitatum oblationem ignitam Jehovae, adipem operientem intestina, et omnem adipem qui est super ilia.
4. And the two kidneys, and the fat that is on them, which is by the flanks, and the caul above the liver, with the kidneys, it shall he take away.
4. Et duos renes, adipemque qui est super ipsos, qui est super ilia, et fibram cum jecore, cum renibus removebit.
5. And Aaron’s sons shall burn it on the altar upon the burnt sacrifice, which is upon the wood that is on the fire: it is an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.
5. Adolebunt autem omne illud filii Aharon super altare, una cum holocausto quod erit super ligna superposita igni: oblatio ignita est odoris quietis Jehovae.
6. And if his offering for a sacrifice of peace offering unto the LORD be of the flock; male or female, he shall offer it without blemish.
6. Quod si de pecudibus fuerit oblatio ejus, in sacrificium prosperitatum Jehovae, masculum aut foeminam immaculatum offeret eum:
7. If he offer a lamb for his offering, then shall he offer it before the LORD.
7. Si vero agnum offerat oblationem suam, tum offeret illum in conspectu Jehovae:
8. And he shall lay his hand upon the head of his offering, and kill it before the tabernacle of the congregation: and Aaron’s sons shall sprinkle the blood thereof round about upon the altar.
8. Imponentque manum suam super caput oblationis sum, postea mactabit eum in conspectu tabernaculi conventionis: spargent filii Aharon sanguinem ejus, super altare per circuitum.
9. And he shall offer of the sacrifice of the peace offering an offering made by fire unto the LORD; the fat thereof, and the whole rump, it shall he take off hard by the backbone; and the fat that covereth the inwards, and all the fat that is upon the inwards,
9. Et offeret de sacrificio prosperitatum oblationem ignitam Jehovae, adipem ejus, caudam integrare, e regione spinae dorsi removebit eam, adipem quoque operientem intestina, atque omnem adipem qui est super ilia.
10. And the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, which is by the flanks, and the caul above the liver, with the kidneys, it shall he take away.
10. Et duos renes: et adipem qui est super illos, et qui est super ilia, et fibram qum est super jecur, cum renibus removebit.
11. And the priest shall burn it upon the altar: it is the food of the offering made by fire unto the LORD.
11. Adolebitque illud sacerdos super altare, cibus oblationis ignitm est jehovae.
12. And if his offering be a goat, then he shall offer it before the LORD.
12. Si vero capra fuerit oblatio ejus, tum offeret eam in conspectu Jehovae.
13. And he shall lay his hand upon the head of it, and kill it before the tabernacle of the congregation: and the sons of Aaron shall sprinkle the blood thereof upon the altar round about.
13. Ponetque manum snare super caput ejus, et maetabit eam coram tabernaculo conventionis, et spargent filii Aharon sanguinem ejus super altare per circuitum.
14. And he shall offer thereof his offering, even an offering made by fire unto the LORD; the fat that covereth the inwards, and all the fat that is upon the inwards,
14. Postea offeret ex ea oblationem suam, oblationem ignitam Jehovae, adipem operientem intestina: et omnem adipem qui est super ilia.
15. And the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, which is by the flanks, and the caul above the liver, with the kidneys, it shall he take away.
15. Et duos renes, et adipem qui est super illos: et qui est super ilia, et fibram qum est super jecur: eum renibus removebit.
16. And the priest shall burn them upon the altar: it is the food of the offering made by fire for a sweet savour: all the fat is the LORD’S.
16. Adolebitque eam sacerdos super altare, eibus oblationis ignitm est odoris quietis: et omnis adeps Jehovae est.
17. It shall be aperpetual statute for your generations throughout all your dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor blood.
17. Statutum perpetuum in generationibus vestris, in cunetis habitaculis vestris: omnem adipem et omnem sanguinem non comedetis.
1. And if his oblation be a sacrifice. He now proceeds to a different class, viz., to the sacrifices, which were testimonies of gratitude in celebration of God’s blessings; part of which was burnt with fire, part was claimed by the priests, and the rest remained to the offerers themselves. As to the word שלמים, shelomim, I have briefly given my opinion elsewhere; 253 the common translation of it is certainly unsuitable, “the sacrifices of peace-offerings:” and the statement of others is far-fetched, that they are called “sacrifices of perfections,” because it was unlawful for the unclean to touch them. Since, however, the Hebrews include in the word “peace,” safety, and all good success, I have thought that its plural number might aptly be translated “prosperities:” on which account, David calls the libation which used to be made in this sacrifice, “the cup of salvations:” (Ps 116:13,) nor do I doubt but that by this outward sign he designates thanksgiving. I admit indeed that this sacrifice was not only offered in acknowledgment of gratitude, but also when they sought of God peace and good success; yet still the epithet will always admirably suit it, because they confessed by it that God was the author of all good things, so as to attribute all their prosperity to Him. First, however, he commands all the sacrifices to be brought to the tabernacle, which is what he means by “the face of God;” 254 else would altars have been everywhere erected in their cities and villages, and by this license God’s service would have been mangled, and religion undermined. Wherefore, in order to keep the people in the unity of the faith, he bids them all be content with a single altar. But He would be worshipped and honored in that place, which He had dedicated to Himself, lest they should be scattered abroad after strange gods; and then He prescribes the mode of offering, whether the victim were of the herd or the flock. That such exact injunctions should be given as to trifles, might seem to be an unnecessary particularity, and even a superfluous repetition, inasmuch as the same thing is often inculcated, in precisely similar words: if it were not that this earnestness reminded the people that something higher was enwrapped in the ceremonies, whilst it restrained them from allowing themselves wantonly to add or change the smallest point. This very scrupulous observance, then, ought to have led them by the hand, as it were, to the things signified; so that under the external image the spiritual truth might meet their eyes; secondly, it ought to have held them bound, as it were, to the word of God, lest they should do anything in sacred matters from the dictates of their own reason. But now, since the use of sacrifices has ceased, we are first taught that God’s blessings are profaned, unless we diligently exercise ourselves in manifesting our religion, as His infinite and constant liberality towards us deserves; secondly, that unless our devotion is unmixed and paid to Him alone, we impiously defraud Him of His right; thirdly, that as we pray in Christ’s name, so our vows are to be paid, and our thanksgivings to be rendered, through His hand; and fourthly, that God’s loving-kindness is not to be celebrated in a negligent or perfunctory manner, but that we must labor to do so, as in a matter of the utmost importance, with no common zeal and attention.
16. And the priest shall burn them. He justly assigns to the priest the main duties of sacrificing, i.e., to sprinkle the blood, and to cast the fat into the fire, since he alone was competent to make atonement. Moreover, although there is a harsh metaphor contained in the word “food,” yet it admirably expresses what the Holy Spirit would teach, that the legal service pleased God, just as the food which we eat is pleasing to us; whilst it at the same time marks God’s familiar communion with His people, as if He sat at the same table with them. It is indeed sure that God, who breathes life into all, and borrows nothing from any, does not want food; but His incomparable kindness could not be better shewn forth, than by deigning to make Himself, as it were, the messmate of His worshippers. In the same figure of speech the ingratitude of the people is reproved by Malachi, when he says,
"The table of the Lord is polluted, and the fruit thereof, even his meat, is contemptible,” (Mal 1:12;)
not because God delighted in the fat of fed beasts, or in bread; but because it was a gross and intolerable act of impiety to neglect this extraordinary pledge of His grace. This similitude, however, ought to be referred to the truth it represents, viz., that the exercise of faith, and the proofs of our piety, are no less pleasing to God than as if He should be feasted delicately and sumptuously; wherefore we ought to take the greater care not to defraud Him of the things He takes delight in. It is not very clear to me why God claims for Himself the fat in all the sacrifices, and commands it to be burnt, unless that in this way He might accustom His servants to temperance. We have already seen that the fat is certainly accounted the most delicate part, where Moses applies this word to corn and wine; and this also is plain from Ps 63:5, “My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness.” And when God declares (Isa 1:11,) that He does not desire “the fat,” He signifies that He does not require for His own sake the choicest part of animals, but that the Israelites might remember that they should partake soberly of all their food, as if they had consecrated the best and first-fruits of it. If any one desire a more distinct exposition of this, the offering of the fat taught them to pay more honor to the service of God; and secondly, it instructed them in abstinence. The allegories, suited only to tickle men’s ears, must be sought from others. 255 Isychius, after having pretended that the fat represented spiritual affections, soon afterwards metamorphoses it into gross appetites. Others suppose that Christ was designed by it. Others understand by it that the grossness or fatness of our flesh must be refined by the fire of the Spirit, that it may be mortified unto God. This simple meaning satisfies me, that, when the Law permitted them to eat the sacred meats, an exception was added, which left the best portion in God’s hands; secondly, that the part which might have been most attractive to the greedy, was consumed in the fire as a restraint upon their gluttony. The eating of blood is here prohibited, as also elsewhere, because it was consecrated to God in order to make expiation; but there was another and higher reason why it was forbidden, of which mention was made in Genesis 9, and which must be again handled in our exposition of the Sixth Commandment.
Vide supra, p. 149, and note.
A.V., “before the Lord."
Abundance of these may be found collected by Lorinus. Bonar says, “Observe that all these portions of the animal are the richest; and also deep-seated, near the heart. In an offering of thanks and fellowship, nothing was more appropriate than to enjoin that the pieces presented should be those seated deep within.” The marginal deduction of Corn. a Lapide, is not very dissimilar: “Mystice, adeps est devotio et intentio, quae in omni opere ad Deum est dirigenda."