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Bible: What Does Leviticus 5-8 Teach Us About Ceremonial Laws and Consecration?

Updated on September 15, 2016

The Tabernacle


Trespass Offering

Yahweh provides three or four situations in which an individual would need to make a trespass offering:

(1) being a silent witness (v. 1);

(2) touching unclean things (the carcass of a beast or any human “uncleanness”) [vv. 2-3]; and

(3) vowing thoughtlessly to do evil or to do well (v. 4).

Having become aware of his guilt, the person must confess that sin (v. 5) and bring a female lamb or kid as a sin offering to the priest (v. 6).

The poor Israelite, however, may bring turtledoves or pigeons, which the priest will kill and sacrifice “according to the prescribed manner,” first the sin offering, then the burnt (vv. 7-10).

One who cannot afford birds must bring a small portion of flour without oil or frankincense, and allow the priest to take a handful and burn it as atonement for sin (vv. 11-13).

With regard to unintentionally sinning against “holy things,” the individual must sacrifice an unblemished ram plus pay restitution of one-fifth the value of the ram to the priest (vv. 14-16).

People must offer an unblemished ram for committing any forbidden act, even though they are ignorant of their wrongdoing (vv. 17-19).

[Note the priest’s prominent role in making atonement for the people’s sins (cf. vv. 6, 10, 13, 16, 18)].

The Priesthood


Location for Ashes

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Leviticus 6

Situations calling for trespass offerings continue.

Lying to a neighbor about goods delivered for safekeeping, pledges, robberies, extortions, or found items requires the restoration of the stolen property plus one-fifth extra restitution (vv. 1-5).

In addition, the guilty party must also sacrifice an unblemished ram, and the priest will make atonement for him (vv. 6-7; see note at the end of chapter five).

Now the LORD delivers various laws regarding the different offerings (v. 8).

First, burnt offerings must remain burning on the hearth all night long (v. 9).

Second, the priest dressed in linen garments takes the ashes and puts them beside the altar (v. 10).

Third, he removes those garments, puts on other clothes, and takes the ashes outside the camp to a clean place (v. 11).

Fourth, he must keep the altar fire burning, laying wood on it every morning and burning fat from peace offerings on it (vv. 12-13).

Aaron and his sons offer their handful of grain offerings according to the prescribed manner, but eat the rest of it with unleavened bread in the prescribed location (vv. 14-16).

Yahweh stresses that the bread must be unleavened (v. 17), and that all male children of Aaron may eat it (v. 18).

Aaron and his sons must sacrifice a twice-daily grain offering; these pieces, baked with oil, must be completely burned up and not eaten (vv. 19-23).

The priest kills the sin offering in the same place as the burnt offering; he who offers the sacrifice eats it in the court of the tabernacle of meeting (vv. 24-26).

Only sanctified persons may touch this flesh; they must wash any garment spattered with its blood in a holy place (v. 27).

They must break any earthen vessel and scour any bronze pot in which they boil the meat (v. 28).

Any priest may eat it (v. 29), but not the sin offering from which any of the blood is brought into the tabernacle of meeting.

That one they must burn (v. 30).



Leviticus 7

Half of this chapter is comprised of two more laws of sacrifice: the trespass offering (vv. 1-10) and the peace offering (vv. 11-21).

The trespass offering is killed in the same location as the burnt offering; the priest disposes of the blood and fat in the prescribed manner (vv. 1-5).

Male priests (what other kind is there?) eat the holy flesh in a holy place (vv. 6-7), and keep the animal’s skin; the leftover grain offering, whether mixed with oil or dry, belongs to them also (vv. 8-10).

The peace offering expresses thanks for God’s blessing.

The text does not specify which animal or bird to sacrifice, but it is clear that people offer and eat animal flesh along with unleavened cakes, wafers, cakes with blended flour, and leavened bread (vv. 11-13, 15a).

One cake from each offering belongs to the officiating priest (v. 14).

No flesh must remain overnight, but must be eaten all on one day (v. 15).

They can take up to three days to eat a sacrifice given voluntarily or as a vow, but on the third day they must burn what remains (vv. 16-17).

Anyone eating its flesh on that day is guilty of trespass (v. 18).

If the flesh comes into contact with anything unclean, they must burn it up; the clean may eat clean flesh (v. 19).

Any unclean person, or anyone who touches anything unclean, who then eats the flesh of the peace offering set apart for the LORD, is “cut off” from his people (vv. 20-21).

Substances Not Permitted for Consumption

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The LORD next reiterates His prohibitions against eating fat and blood; however, the people can use these substances for purposes other than dietary (vv. 23-24).

Anyone disobeying this command suffers the ultimate temporal punishment (vv. 25-27).

Anyone bringing peace offerings to the LORD must bring them by himself (vv. 28-30).

After the worshiper presents the breast as a wave offering, the officiating priest burns the fat, and Aaron and his sons eat the breast meat (v. 31).

This procedure holds true for the right thigh also; it belongs to the priest who offers the blood and fat of the peace offering (vv. 32-33).

Both parts—the breast and the right thigh—are the consecrated portions that the LORD gave to Aaron and his sons (vv. 34-36).

Verses 37-38 conclude the section summarizing which offering laws were discussed.

The Priestly Breastplate


Leviticus 8

Now the LORD tells Moses how to consecrate Aaron and his sons to their priestly office.

Moses, the officiating leader, obediently takes certain essentials with him to the service— the priestly garments, anointing oil, a bull for a sin offering, two rams for ordination purposes, and a basket of unleavened bread—and announces the LORD’s command to the whole congregation, which also comes to the door of the tabernacle of meeting (vv. 1-5).

[Probably only representatives from the tribes come].

First, Moses washes Aaron and his sons (v. 6), and then puts several articles of clothing on his brother (tunic, sash, robe, ephod, band of the ephod, breastplate, Urim and Thummim, turban, crown/golden plate) [vv. 7-9].

Next, he anoints the tabernacle, then its altar and utensils seven times, and the laver (vv. 10-11).

Afterwards, he pours some oil on Aaron’s head (v. 12).

Finally, in this part of the ritual, Moses dresses Aaron’s sons in their tunics, sashes, and headpieces (v. 13).

After Aaron and his sons identify themselves with the bull (the sin offering), Moses kills it, takes its blood, and follows the normal prescription (i.e., puts blood on the horns and pours out the rest at the base of the altar) [vv. 14-15].

There he burns the fat and kidneys, but the remaining portions he takes outside the camp (vv. 16-17).

Moses then sacrifices the first entire ram as the burnt offering, piece by piece, after sprinkling its blood (vv. 18-21).

Complete Consecration

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Aaron and his sons identify themselves with the second ram, the ram of ordination/consecration, and Moses kills it too (vv. 22-23a).

With somber symbolism, he shows the head-to-toe consecration of the priests (vv. 23b-24).

Then taking fat from the animal’s various body parts, the right thigh, and a cake of unleavened bread, he gives them all to Aaron as a wave offering (vv. 25-27).

Finally, Moses sacrifices their wave offering (v. 28) and the ram’s breast as his part of the offering (v. 29).

The service concludes as Moses sprinkles Aaron and his sons with a blood and oil mixture (v. 30), and tells them to eat the meat and bread at the door of the tabernacle of meeting (v. 31).

Leftover food, however, they must burn (v. 32).

For an entire week, Aaron and his sons remain at the door until they complete their consecration in obedience to the LORD’s command (vv. 33-36).

© 2014 glynch1


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    • glynch1 profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago

      As foreign as the sacrificial system is to our Westernized ways, I think that it has received a "bad rap"; properly understood, it gives us a fresh appreciation of how Christians are to be holy because He is holy.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Interesting to learn about the trespass offering for unintentional misdeeds and the peace offering as an expression of thanks to God for His mercies. What system!

    • glynch1 profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago

      In what way interesting?

    • dialogue profile image


      4 years ago

      Interesting hub :)


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