Leviticus iv, vi.
22 When a ruler hath sinned and somewhat through ignorance, against any of the commandments of the Lord his God concerning things which should not be done, and is guilty.
23 Or if his sin, wherein he hath sinned, come to his knowledge; he shall bring his offering, a kid of the goats, a male without blemish:
27 ¶ And if any one of the common people sin through ignorance, while he doeth somewhat against any of the commandments of the Lord concerning things which ought not to be done, and be guilty:
28 Then he shall bring his offering, a kid of the goats, a female without blemish, for his sin.
24 ¶ And this is the law of the meat offering: the sons of Aaron shall offer it before the Lord, before the altar.
15 And he shall take of it his handful, of the flour of the meat offering, and of the oil thereof, and all the frankincense which is upon the meat offering, and shall burn it upon the altar for a sweet savour, even the memorial of it, unto the Lord.
18 All the males among the children of Aaron shall eat of it. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations concerning the offerings of the Lord made by fire: every one that toucheth them shall be holy.
THERE seems to have been some distinction of sex even in the offerings of male and female animals. For rulers, priests and people of distinction male animals were required, but for the common people a female lamb or goat would do. There is a difference of opinion among writers as to the reason of this custom, some say because all female animals were considered unclean, others that the females were too valuable for wholesale slaughter. Farmers use the male fowls for the table because the hens are too valuable producing eggs and chickens. The fact has some significance, though Adam Clarke throws no light on it, he says -the whole sacrificial system in this book refers to the coming sacrifice of Christ; without this spiritual reference, the general reader can feel no spiritual interest in this book." For burnt offerings males were required, but for peace offerings and minor sins the female would answer.
As the idea of sacrifice to unknown gods, was the custom with all nations and religions, why should the Jewish have more significance than that of any other people. For swearing, an offence to ears polite, rather than eternal justice, a female creature or turtle dove might be offered.
The meat so delicately cooked by the priests, with wood and coals in the altar, in clean linen, no woman was permitted to taste, only the males among the children of Aaron. Seeing that the holy men were the cooks, it seems like a work of supererogation to direct them to clean themselves and their cooking utensils. Perhaps the daughters of Israel were utilized for that work.
It is clearly shown that child-bearing among the Jews was not considered a sacred office and that offerings to the Lord were necessary for their purification, and that double the time was necessary after the birth of a daughter.
In several of the following chapters the sins of men and women are treated on equal grounds, hence they need no special comments. In reading many of these chapters we wonder that an expurgated edition of these books was not issued long ago. We trust the volume we propose to issue may suggest to the next Revising Committee of gentlemen the propriety of omitting many texts that are gross and obscene, especially if the Bible is to be read in our public schools.
12 ¶ And Moses spake unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar, his sons that were left, Take the meat offering that remaineth of the offerings of the Lord made by fire, and eat it without leaven beside the altar: for it is most holy.
13 And ye shall eat it in the holy place, because it is thy due, and thy sons' due, of the sacrifices of the Lord made by fire: for so I am commanded.
14 And the wave breast and heave shoulder shall ye eat in a clean place; thou, and thy sons, and thy daughters with thee: for they be thy due, and thy sons' due, which are given out of the sacrifices of peace offerings of the children of Israel.
Why the daughters cannot eat with the sons in the thirteenth verse and may in the fourteenth we cannot conjecture. We notice, however, that where the sons eat alone is called a "holy place," where the daughters eat with them it is called simply a "clean place." We are thankful, however, that in the distribution
of meats the women come in occasionally for a substantial meal in a clean place.
All the directions given in the eighteenth chapter are for men and women alike, for all nations and all periods of human development. The social habits and sanitary conditions prescribed are equally good for our times as when given by Moses to the children of Israel. The virtue of cleanliness so sedulously taught cannot be too highly commended.
E. C. S.