Read Leviticus 2
The Grain Offering
2 “‘When anyone brings a grain offering to the Lord, their offering is to be of the finest flour. They are to pour olive oil on it, put incense on it 2 and take it to Aaron’s sons the priests. The priest shall take a handful of the flour and oil, together with all the incense, and burn this as a memorial portion on the altar, a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the Lord. 3 The rest of the grain offering belongs to Aaron and his sons; it is a most holy part of the food offerings presented to the Lord.
4 “‘If you bring a grain offering baked in an oven, it is to consist of the finest flour: either thick loaves made without yeast and with olive oil mixed in or thin loaves made without yeast and brushed with olive oil. 5 If your grain offering is prepared on a griddle, it is to be made of the finest flour mixed with oil, and without yeast. 6 Crumble it and pour oil on it; it is a grain offering. 7 If your grain offering is cooked in a pan, it is to be made of the finest flour and some olive oil. 8 Bring the grain offering made of these things to the Lord; present it to the priest, who shall take it to the altar. 9 He shall take out the memorial portion from the grain offering and burn it on the altar as a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the Lord. 10 The rest of the grain offering belongs to Aaron and his sons; it is a most holy part of the food offerings presented to the Lord.
11 “‘Every grain offering you bring to the Lord must be made without yeast, for you are not to burn any yeast or honey in a food offering presented to the Lord. 12 You may bring them to the Lord as an offering of the firstfruits, but they are not to be offered on the altar as a pleasing aroma. 13 Season all your grain offerings with salt. Do not leave the salt of the covenant of your God out of your grain offerings; add salt to all your offerings.
14 “‘If you bring a grain offering of firstfruits to the Lord, offer crushed heads of new grain roasted in the fire. 15 Put oil and incense on it; it is a grain offering. 16 The priest shall burn the memorial portion of the crushed grain and the oil, together with all the incense, as a food offering presented to the Lord.
In Leviticus 2, we find God’s regulations regarding the grain offering. On its face, it looks relatively similar to the blood offering discussed in the prior chapter but digging deeper gives us fresh insight as to the significance behind the grain offering.
In our culture, finding a bag of finely sifted flour is as easy as checking a box online for grocery delivery. But let’s consider the setting within which this offering is occurring. In Leviticus, the Children of Israel are not living in the promised land (Canaan, the land flowing with milk and honey). They are in the midst of a 40-year stint in the wilderness and desert. A place so inhospitable to crops that God had to provide manna from Heaven daily as sustenance for his people to simply survive. And while it is understood that the Israelites left Egypt with herds of animals that they could graze throughout their journey, the opportunity to actually plow and sow a wheat field much less reap a harvest must have been almost non-existent. This, added to the wandering nature of God’s pillar of fire, made putting down literal and figurative roots a problem.
As such, a wheat or barley offering must have carried much more significance in how precious a commodity was being laid on the altar. In contrast to the sin sacrifice of the animal, there was not a stipulation on the grain offering as to how much should be offered. There was only a stipulation that it be finely ground. There was no transference of sin by the placing on of hands for atonement. In short, the grain offering was much more of a gesture of gratitude to God rather than a sacrifice for sin. It was not to cover over failures, but was, rather, to express thankfulness to God as a first-fruits gift from the heart. For it to be pleasing to God, it needed to be finely ground. Manually grinding wheat with a millstone was a laborious process. Five cups of flour could take up to an hour to grind by hand. It was an act of love, an act of service, a product of intention and care to honor a most holy God. It was a precious commodity crafted with diligent intention to lavish on a deserving God.
As we read Leviticus 2 through the lens of the Good News of Jesus, this all makes more sense. God knew how that painful crushing of an offering would foreshadow the redemption and reunification of God to man through Christ’s sacrifice.
- What most stuck out to you about this passage as you read it?
- In what ways is your giving to God dutiful instead of lavish?
- If you were to evaluate your driving force for sacrifice to Him, is it primarily driven by obedience or by gratitude?
By the Way
Read Isaiah 53 for a description of the suffering servant and look at the corollaries between our offering to God and His offering for us.
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6 thoughts on “Leviticus 2”
Some notes from Matthew Henry:
1) Leaven bread was forbidden because leaven meant grief and sadness of spirit, or because it was the way of the Gentiles—which was forbidden.
2) Salt was a symbol of friendship. Christianity is the salt of the world.
3) Frankincense; Holy love to God is the fire by which all offerings are to be made; else they are not of a sweet savor to God.
The repeated phrase “bring them to the Lord”, mostly started with the personal pronoun “you”(or anyone). To me, that phrase makes it very intimate and personal. No mention of the spouse, the children, an elder, a body of believers—“you”. Your salvation, and your obedience, and the giving of your first fruits, is personal and not dependent on others.
That’s so helpful! Thank you for sharing, Christi!
Noting that the grain was a precious commodity, so must the olive oil be. The desert probably did not make it easy for an olive tree to grow abundantly.
Very interesting notes about the yeast, salt, and frankincense. Thx for sharing notes from Matthew Henry.
Yes, Lisa! Henry commented that the oil was! Even today, it’s one of Israel’s highest agricultural commodity! ☺️
I like Ella’s viewpoint—the best we need to give!
When I read the specifics outlined by Moses in Leviticus regarding offerings, I’m struck with how it was a costly sacrifice to the people. We see words like first fruits and finest, no leftovers or rejects were acceptable. How often do we offer God our least instead of our best? The word sacrifice denotes something both costly & sacred. I’m guilty of checking the obligatory boxes disregarding the posture of my heart. Repenting and recommitting to loving God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength.