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Sacrifice (Old Testament)
See also Sacrifice
IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
I. TERMS AND DEFINITIONS
II. ORIGIN AND NATURE OF SACRIFICES
1. Theory of a Divine Revelation
2. Theories of a Human Origin
(1) The Gift-Theory
(2) The Magic Theory
(3) The Table-Bond Theory
(4) The Sacramental Communion Theory
(5) The Homage Theory
(6) The Piacular Theory
(7) Originating Religious Instincts
III. CLASSIFICATION OF SACRIFICES
2. W.R. Smith and Others
4. Paterson and Others
5. H.M. Wiener
IV. SACRIFICES IN THE PRE-MOSAIC AGE
1. In Egypt
2. In Babylonia
3. Nomads and Tribes of Arabia and Syria
4. The Offerings of Cain and Abel
5. Of Noah
6. Of Abraham
7. Of Job
8. Of Isaac
9. Of Jacob
10. Of Israel in Egypt
11. Of Jethro
12. Summary and Conclusions
V. THE MOSAIC SACRIFICIAL SYSTEM
1. The Covenant Sacrifice
2. The Common Altars
3. The Consecration of Aaron and His Sons
4. Sacrifices before the
5. The Law of the(`Olah)
(1) Ritual for the Offerer (Leviticus 1:3-17)
(2) Ritual for the Priest (Leviticus 1:3-17)
(3) General Laws for the Priest
(4) Laws in Deuteronomy 12:6,13,14,27; 27:6
6. The Law of the(Minchah)
(1) Ritual for the Offerer (Leviticus 2:1-16)
(2) Ritual for the Priest (Leviticus 2:1-16)
(3) General Laws for the Priest (Leviticus 6:14-18 (Hebrew 7-11), etc.)
7. The Law of the
(1) Ritual for the Offerer (Leviticus 3:1-17)
(2) Ritual for the Priest (Leviticus 3:1-17)
(3) General Laws for the Priest (Leviticus 6:12 (Hebrew 5); 7:1 ff)
8. The Law of the
(1) At the Consecration of Aaron and His Sons (Exodus 29:10 ff)
(2) The Law of the Sin Offering (Leviticus 4:1-35; 24-30, etc.)
(a) The Occasion and Meaning
(b) Ritual for the Offerer (Leviticus 4:1-5,13, etc.)
(c) Ritual for the Priest (Leviticus 4:1-5,13, etc.)
(d) General Laws for the Priest (Leviticus 6:24-30)
(e) Special Uses of the Sin Offering
(i) Consecration of Aaron and His Sons
(ii) Purifications from Uncleanness
(iii) On the
(iv) Other Special Instances
(1) The Ritual (Leviticus 5:14-6:7)
(2) Special Laws: Leper, Nazirite, etc.
12. Drink Offerings
13. Primitive Nature of the Cult
VI. SACRIFICES IN THE HISTORY OF ISRAEL
1. The Situation at Moses’ Death
2. In the Time of Joshua
3. The Period of the Judges
4. Times of Samuel and Saul
5. Days of David and Solomon
6. In the Northern Kingdom
7. In the Southern Kingdom to the Exile
8. In the Exilic and Post-exilic Periods
9. A Temple and Sacrifices at Elephantine
10. Human Sacrifices in Israel’s History
11. Certain Heathen Sacrifices
VII. THE PROPHETS AND SACRIFICES
VIII. SACRIFICE IN THE "WRITINGS"
2. The Psalms
IX. THE IDEA AND EFFICACY OF SACRIFICES
1. A Gift of Food to the Deity
2. Expression of Adoration and Devotion, etc.
3. Means of Purification from Uncleanness
4. Means of Consecration to Divine Service
5. Means of Establishing a Community of Life between Worshipper and God
6. View of Ritschl
7. The Sacramental View
8. Symbol or Expression of Prayer
9. View of Kautzsch
10. Vicarious Expiation Theory; Objections
11. Typology of Sacrifice
I. Terms and Definitions.
zebhach, "sacrifice"; `olah, "burnt offering"; chata’ah, chatta’th, "sin offering"; ’asham, "guilt" or "trespass offering": shelem, shelamim, "peace offerings"; minchah, "offering," "present"; zebhach shelamim, "sacrifice of peace offerings"; zebhach ha-todhah, "thank offerings"; zebhach nedhabhah, "free-will offerings"; zebhach nedher, "votive offerings"; tenuphah, "wave offering"; terumah, "heave offering"; qorban, "oblation," "gift"; ’ishsheh, "fire offering"; necekh, "drink offering"; kalil, "whole burnt offering"; chagh, "feast"; lebhonah, "frankincense"; qetorah, qetoreth, "odor," "incense"; melach, "salt"; shemen, "oil":
Zebhach: a "slaughtered animal," a "sacrifice," general term for animals used in sacrifice, including burnt offerings, peace offerings, thank offerings, and all sacrifices offered to the Deity and eaten at the festivals. More particularly it refers to the flesh eaten by the worshippers after the fat parts had been burned on the altar and the priest had received his portion.
`Olah: a "burnt offering," sometimes whole burnt offering. Derived from the verb `alah, "to go up." It may mean "that which goes up to the altar" (Knobel, Wellhausen, Nowack, etc.), or "that which goes up in smoke to the sky" (Bahr, Delitzsch, Dillmann, etc.); sometimes used synonymously with kalil (which see). The term applies to beast or fowl when entirely consumed upon the altar, the hide of the beast being taken by the priest. This was perhaps the most solemn of the sacrifices, and symbolized worship in the full sense, i.e. adoration, devotion, dedication, supplication, and at times expiation.
Chota’ah, chatta’th: a "sin offering," a special kind, first mentioned in the Mosaic legislation. It is essentially expiatory, intended to restore covenant relations with the Deity. The special features were:
(1) the blood must be sprinkled before the sanctuary, put upon the horns of the altar of incense and poured out at the base of the altar of burnt offering;
(2) the flesh was holy, not to be touched by worshipper, but eaten by the priest only. The special ritual of the Day of Atonement centers around the sin offering.
’Asham: "guilt offering," "trespass offering" (
Shelem, shelamim: "peace offering," generally used the plural, shelamim, only once shelem (
Minchah: "meal offering" (the Revised Version), "meat offering" (the King James Version), a gift or presentation, at first applied to both bloody and unbloody offerings (
Tenuphah: "wave offering," usually the breast, the priest’s share of the peace offerings, which was waved before the altar by both offerer and priest together (the exact motion is not certain), symbolic of its presentation to Deity and given back by Him to the offerer to be used in the priests’ service.
Terumah: "heave offering," something lifted up, or, properly, separated from the rest and given to the service of the Deity. Usually the right shoulder or thigh was thus separated for the priest. The term is applied to products of the soil, or portion of land separated unto the divine service, etc.
Qorban: "an oblation," or "offering"; another generic term for all kinds of offerings, animal, vegetable, or even gold and silver. Derived from the verb qarabh, "to draw near," it signifies what is drawn or brought near and given to God.
’Ishsheh: "fire offering," applied to offerings made by fire and usually bloody offerings, but at times to the minchah, the sacred bread and frankincense placed on the tables as a memorial, part of which was burned with the frankincense, the bulk, however, going to the priest. The gift was thus presented through fire to the Deity as a sort of etherealized food.
Necekh: "drink offering," or "libation," a liquid offering of wine, rarely water, sometimes of oil, and usually accompanying the `olah, but often with the peace offerings.
Kalil: "whole burnt offering," the entire animal being burned upon the altar. Sometimes used synonymously with `olah. A technical term among the Carthaginians.
Chagh: a "feast," used metaphorically for a sacrificial feast because the meat of the sacrifices constituted the material of the feast.
Lebhonah: "frankincense," "incense," used in combination with the meal offerings and burnt offerings and burned also upon the altar in the holy place.
Qetorah, qetoreth: "smoke," "odor of sacrifice," or incense ascending as a sweet savor and supposed to be pleasing and acceptable to God.
Melach: "salt," used in all sacrifices because of its purifying and preserving qualities.
Shemen: "oil," generally olive oil, used with the meal offerings of cakes and wafers, etc.
Sacrifice is thus a complex and comprehensive term. In its simplest form it may be defined as "a gift to God." It is a presentation to Deity of some material object, the possession of the offerer, as an act of worship. It may be to attain, restore, maintain or to celebrate friendly relations with the Deity. It is religion in action--in early times, almost the whole of religion--an inseparable accompaniment to all religious exercises. Few or many motives may actuate it. It may be wholly piacular and expiatory, or an Offering of food as a gift to God; it may be practically a bribe, or a prayer, an expression of dependence, obligation and thanksgiving. It may express repentance, faith, adoration, or all of these combined. It was the one and only way of approach to God. Theophrastus defines it as expressing homage, gratitude and need. Hubert and Mauss define it as "a religious act which by the consecration of the victim modifies the moral state of the sacrificer, or of certain material objects which he has in view, i.e., either confers sanctity or removes it and its analogue, impiety."
II. Origin and Nature of Sacrifices.
The beginnings of sacrifice are hidden in the mysteries of prehistoric life. The earliest narrative in Genesis records the fact, but gives no account of the origin and primary idea. The custom is sanctioned by the sacred writings, and later on the long-established custom was adopted and systematized in the Mosaic Law. The practice was almost universal. The Vedas have their elaborate rituals. Some Semitic peoples, Greeks, Romans, Africans, and Indians of Mexico offered human sacrifices. It is unknown in Australia, but even there something akin to it exists, for some natives offer a portion of a kind of honey, others offer a pebble or a spear to their god. For this practically universal habit of the race, several solutions are offered.
1. Theory of a Divine Revelation:
One view maintains that God Himself initiated the rite by divine order at the beginnings of human history. Such a theory implies a monotheistic faith on the part of primitive man. This theory was strongly held by many of the Reformed theologians, and was based mainly on the narrative in
2. Theories of a Human Origin:
(1) The Gift-Theory.
By this it is held that sacrifices were originally presents to the deity which the offerer took for granted would be received with pleasure and even gratitude. Good relations would thus be established with the god and favors would be secured. Such motives, while certainly true among many heathen people, were obviously based upon low conceptions of the deity. They were either. Nature-spirits, ancestral ghosts or fetishes which needed what was given, and of course the god was placed under obligations and his favor obtained. Or, the god may have been conceived of as a ruler, a king or chief, as was the custom in the East.
Cicero vouches for such a view when he says: "Let not the impious dare to appease the gods with gifts. Let them hearken to Plato, who warns them that there can be no doubt what God’s disposition to them will be, since even a good man will refuse to accept presents from the wicked" (HDB, IV, 331a). This view of sacrifice prevails in classical literature. Spencer therefore thinks it is self-evident that this was the idea of primitive man. Tylor and Herbert Spencer also find the origin of sacrifices in the idea of a gift, whether to the deity or to dead ancestors, food being placed for them, and this afterward comes to be regarded as a sacrifice. Such a view gives no account of the peculiar value attached to the blood, or to the burnt offerings. It may account for some heathen systems of sacrifice, but can help in no degree in understanding the Biblical sacrifices.
(2) The Magic Theory.
There are two slightly variant forms of this:
(a) that of R.C. Thompson (Semitic Magic, Its Origins and Developments, 175-218), who holds that a sacrificial animal serves as a substitute victim offered to a demon whose activity has brought the offerer into trouble; the aim of the priest is to entice or drive the malignant spirit out of the sick or sinful man into the sacrificial victim where it can be isolated or destroyed;
(b) that of L. Marillier, who holds that sacrifice in its origin is essentially a magical rite. The liberation of a magical force by the effusion of the victim’s blood will bend the god to the will of the man. From this arose under the "cult of the dead" the gift-theory of sacrifice. Men sought to ally themselves with the god in particular by purifying a victim and effecting communion with the god by the application of the blood to the altar, or by the sacrifice of the animal and the contact of the sacrificer with its blood. Such theories give no account of the burnt offerings, meal offerings and sin offerings, disconnect them entirely from any sense of sin or estrangement from God, and divest them of all piacular value. They may account for certain depraved and heathen systems, but not for the Biblical.
(3) The Table-Bond Theory.
Ably advocated by Wellhausen and W.R. Smith, this view holds that sacrifices were meals which the worshippers and the god shared, partaking of the same food and thus establishing a firmer bond of fellowship between them. Sykes (Nature of Sacrifices, 75) first advocated this, holding that the efficacy of sacrifices "is the fact that eating and drinking were the known and ordinary symbols of friendship and were the usual rites in engaging in covenants and leagues." Thus sacrifices are more than gifts; they are deeds of hospitality which knit god and worshipper together. W.R. Smith has expounded the idea into the notion that the common meal unites physically those who partake of it. Though this view may contain an element of truth in regard to certain Arabian customs, it does not help much to account for Bible sacrifices. As A.B. Davidson says, "It fails utterly to account for the burnt offering, which was one of the earliest, most solemn and at times the most important of all the sacrifices."
(4) The Sacramental Communion Theory.
This is a modification of the table-bond theory. The basis of it is the totemistic idea of reverencing an animal which is believed to share with man the divine nature. On certain solemn occasions this animal would be sacrificed to furnish a feast. At this meal, according to men’s savage notions, they literally "ate the god," and thus incorporated into themselves the physical, the intellectual and the moral qualities which characterized the animal. If the divine life dwelt in certain animals, then a part of that precious life would be distributed among all the people (RS2, 313). In some cases the blood is drunk by the worshippers, thus imbibing the life. Sometimes, as in the case of the sacred camel, they devoured the quivering flesh before the animal was really dead, and the entire carcass was eaten up before morning.
The brilliant work of W. R. Smith has not been universally accepted. L. Marillier has criticized it along several lines. It is by no means certain that totemism prevailed so largely among Semites and there is no evidence of its existence in Israel. Also, if an original bond of friendship existed between the god and the kin, there is no need to maintain it by such sacrificial rites. There is no clear instance of this having been done. If on the other hand there was no common bond between the god and the people but that of a common meal, it does not appear that the god is a totem god. There is no reason why the animal should have been a totem. In any case, this idea of sacrifice could hardly have been anything but a slow growth, and consequently not the origin of sacrifice. Hubert and Mauss also point out that W. R. Smith is far from having established the historical or the logical connection between the common meal and the other kinds of sacrifices. Under piacula he confuses purification, propitiation and expiations. His attempts to show that purifications of magical character are late and not sacrificial do not succeed. Smith’s theory is mainly the sacramental, though he does recognize the honorific and piacular element. The theory may be applicable to some of the heathen or savage feasts of the Arabs, but not to the practices of the Hebrews (see Encyclopedia Brit, XXIII, 981).
(5) The Homage Theory.
This has been advocated by Warburton and F. D. Maurice. The idea is that sacrifices were originally an expression of homage and dependence. Man naturally felt impelled to seek closer communion with God, not so much from a sense of guilt as from a sense of dependence and a desire to show homage and obedience. In giving expression to this, primitive man had recourse to acts rather than words and thoughts. Thus sacrifice was an acted prayer, rather than a prayer in words. It was an expression of his longings and aspirations, his reverence and submission. There is much truth in this view; the elements of prayer--dependence and submission--enter into some sacrifices, the burnt offerings in particular; but it does not account for all kinds of offerings.
(6) The Piacular Theory.
This holds that sacrifices are fundamentally expiatory or atoning, and the death of the beast is a vicarious expiation of the sins of the offerer. Hubert and Mauss admit that in all sacrifices there are some ideas of purchase or substitution, though these may not have issued from some primitive form. The unifying principle in all sacrifices is that the divine is put in communication with the profane by the intermediary--the victim--which may be piacular or honorific. It is thus a messenger, a means of divination, a means of alimenting the eternal life of the species, a source of magical energy which the rite diffuses over objects in its neighborhood. Westermarck (Origin of Moral Ideas) makes the original idea in sacrifice a piaculum, a substitute for the offerer.
This view is the most simple, the most natural, and the only one that can explain certain sacrifices. Man felt himself under liability to punishment or death. The animal was his, it had life, it was of value, and perchance the god would accept that life in place of his. He felt that it would be accepted, and thus the animal was sacrificed. The offerer in a sense gives up part of himself. The beast must be his own; no sacrifice can be made of another person’s property (
Objection is raised to this by A. B. Davidson (Theology), Paterson (HDB, IV, 331) and others, on the ground that such an origin represents too advanced a stage of ethical thought and reflection for primitive man. We question seriously whether this be an advanced stage of moral reflection. On the contrary, it represents a very simple and primitive stage. The feeling that sin of some kind is never absent from human life, and that its true penalty is death, has been inseparable from the human heart’s sense of sin. What could be more simple and natural than to take an innocent animal and offer it in place of himself, hoping that the Deity would accept it instead? Nor is there much force in Professor Paterson’s objection that sacrifices were preponderantly joyous in character and therefore could not be offered as an expiation. This joyous character belongs to such sacrifices as peace offerings and thank offerings, but does not belong to the `olah and others. In most cases the joyous feast followed the killing of the animal by which the expiation was accomplished, and the feast was joyous because atonement had been made. In fact, many sacrifices were of the most solemn character and represented the deepest and most serious emotions of the heart.
(7) Originating in Religious Instincts.
Neither theory of an objective divine revelation, nor of a human origin will account for the universality and variety of sacrifices. The truth lies in a proper combination of the two. The notion of offering a gift to the Deity arose out of the religious instincts of the human heart, which in an early period had a consciousness of something wrong between itself and God, and that this something would mean death sooner or later. Added to these true instincts was the Omnipresent Spirit to guide men in giving expression. What could be more simple and primitive than to offer something possessing life? Of course the notion originated in simple and childlike ideas of God, and its real motive was not to gratify God by sharing a meal with Him, or to gain His favor by a bribe, but to present Him with something that represented a part of the offerer which might be accepted in his stead. Thus sacrifices became the leading features of the religious life of primitive man. Naturally other ideas would be added, such as a gift of food by fire to the Deity, the peace offerings, etc., to celebrate the friendly relations with God, the thank offerings, the sin offerings, etc., all of which naturally and logically developed from the primitive idea. It might be expected that there would be many corruptions and abuses, that the sense of sin would be obscured or lost among some peoples, and the idea of sacrifice correspondingly degraded. Such has been the case, and as well might we try to understand man at his best by studying the aboriginal tribes of Africa and Australia, or the inmates of asylums and penitentiaries, as to attempt to understand the Bible ideas in sacrifices by studying the cults of those heathen and savage tribes of Semites, etc.
III. Classification of Sacrifices.
Maimonides was among the first to classify them, and he divided them into two kinds:
(1) Those on behalf of the whole congregation, fixed by statute, time, number and ritual being specified. This would include burnt, meal and peace offerings with their accompaniments. (2) Those on behalf of the individual, whether by virtue of his connection with the community or as a private person. These would be burnt offerings, sin offerings, and guilt offerings with their accompaniments.
2. W. R. Smith and Others:
Others, such as W. R. Smith, classify them as: (1) honorific, or designed to render homage, devotion, or adoration, such as burnt, meal and peace offerings; (2) piacular, designed to expiate or make atonement for the errors of the people, i.e. burnt offerings, sin offerings, and guilt offerings; (3) communistic, intended to establish the bond between the god and the worshipper, such as peace offerings.
Oehler divides them into two classes, namely: (1) those which assume that the covenant relation is undisturbed, such as peace offerings; (2) those intended to do away with any disturbance in the relation and to set it right, such as burnt, sin and guilt offerings.
4. Paterson and Others:
Professor Paterson and others divide them into three: (1) animal sacrifices, burnt offerings, peace offerings, sin offerings, and guilt offerings; (2) vegetable sacrifices, meal offerings, shewbread, etc.; (3) liquid and incense offerings; wine, oil, water, etc.
5. H. M. Wiener:
H. M. Wiener offers a more suggestive and scientific division (Essays on Pentateuchal Criticism, 200 f):
(1) customary lay offerings, such as had from time immemorial been offered on rude altars of earth or stone, without priest, used and regulated by Moses and in more or less general use until the exile, namely, burnt offerings, meal offerings, and peace offerings;
(2) statutory individual offerings, introduced by Moses, offered by laymen with priestly assistance and at the religious capital, i.e. burnt offerings, peace offerings, meal offerings, sin offerings, and guilt offerings;
(3) statutory national offerings introduced by Moses and offered by the priest at the religious capital, namely, burnt, meal, peace and sin offerings.
IV. Sacrifices in the Pre-Mosaic Age.
Out of the obscure period of origins emerged the dimly lighted period of ancient history. Everywhere sacrifices existed and sometimes abounded as an essential part of religion. The spade of the archaeologist, and the researches of scholars help us understand the pre-Mosaic period.
1. In Egypt:
In Egypt--probably from the beginning of the 4th millennium BC--there were sacrifices and sacrificial systems. Temples at Abydos, Thebes, On, etc., were great priestly centers with high priests, lower priests, rituals and sacrifices in abundance. Burnt, meal and peace offerings predominated. Oxen, wild goats, pigs, geese were the chief animals offered. Besides these, wine, oil, beer, milk, cakes, grain, ointment, flowers, fruit, vegetables were offered, but not human beings. In these offerings there were many resemblances to the Hebrew gifts, and many significant exceptions. Moses would be somewhat familiar with these practices though not with the details of the ritual. He would appreciate the unifying power of a national religious center. It is inconceivable that in such an age a national leader and organizer like Moses would not take special care to institute such a system.
2. In Babylonia:
In Babylonia, from the year 3000 BC or thereabouts, according to E. Meyer (Geschichte des Alterthums), there were many centers of worship such as Eridu, Nippur, Agade, Erech, Ur, Nisin, Larsa, Sippar, etc. These and others continued for centuries with elaborate systems of worship, sacrifices, temples, priesthoods, etc. Considerably over 100 temples and sanctuaries are mentioned on inscriptions, and several hundreds in the literature and tablets, so that Babylonia was studded with temples and edifices for the gods. At all these, sacrifices were constantly offered--animal and vegetable. A long list of the offerings of King Gudea includes oxen, sheep, goats, lambs, fish, birds (i.e. eagles and doves), dates, milk, greens (Jastrow, in HDB, V, 580 f, under the word). The sacrifices provided an income for the priests, as did the Mosaic system at a later time. It had long passed the stage when it was supposed to furnish a meal for the god. A sacrifice always accompanied a consultation with a priest, and was really an assessment for the services rendered. It was not a voluntary offering or ritualistic observance. The priests on their own behalf offered a daily sacrifice, as in the Mosaic Law, and likewise on special occasions, to insure the good will of the gods they served. It seems certain that in some of the larger centers of worship animals were offered up twice a day, morning and evening. At these sacrifices certain portions were consumed on the altar, the rest belonging to the priest. The similarity of much of this to the Mosaic institutions is obvious. That the culture and civilization of Babylon was known to Egypt and Israel with other nations is shown clearly by the Tell el-Amarna Letters. Special sacrifices on special occasions were offered in Babylonia as in Israel. As Jastrow says, "In the Hebrew codes, both as regards the purely legal portions and those sections dealing with religious ritual, Babylonian methods of legal procedure and of ritual developed in Babylonian temples must be taken into consideration as determining factors." We do not doubt that Moses made use of many elements found in the Egyptian and Babylonian systems, and added to or subtracted from or purified as occasion required. As sacrificial systems and ritual had been in use more than a millennium before Moses, there is absolutely no need to suppose that Israel’s ritual was a thousand years in developing, and was completed after the exile. To do so is to turn history upside down.
3. Nomads and Tribes of Arabia and Syria:
Among the nomads and tribes of Arabia and Syria, sacrifices had been common for millenniums before Moses. The researches of Wellhausen and W. R. Smith are valuable here, whatever one may think of their theories. The offerings were usually from the flocks and herds, sometimes from the spoils taken in war which had been appropriated as their own. The occasions were many and various, and the ritual was very simple. A rude altar of earth or stone, or one stone, a sacred spot, the offerer killing the victim and burning all, or perhaps certain parts and eating the remainder with the clan or family, constituted the customary details. Sometimes wild animals were offered. Babylonians, Phoenicians and Arabs offered gazelles, but the Hebrews did not. Arabs would sometimes sacrifice a captive youth, while the Carthaginians chose some of the fairest of the captives for offerings by night. Assyrian kings sometimes sacrificed captive kings. The Canaanites and others constantly sacrificed children, especially the firstborn.
4. The Offerings of Cain and Abel:
The account of the offerings of Cain and Abel (
5. Of Noah:
The sacrifices of Noah followed and celebrated the epochal and awe-inspiring event of leaving the ark and beginning life anew. He offered burnt offerings of all the clean animals (
6. Of Abraham:
Abraham lived at a time when sacrifices and religion were virtually identical. No mention is made of his offering at Ur or Charan, but on his arrival at Shechem he erected an altar (
7. Of Job:
Whatever may be the date of the writing of the, the saint himself is represented as living in the Patriarchal age. He constantly offered sacrifices on behalf of his children (1:5), "sanctifying" them. His purpose no doubt was to atone for possible sin. The sacrifices were mainly expiatory. This is true also of the sacrifices of his friends (42:7-9).
8. Of Isaac:
Isaac seems to have had a permanent altar at Beer-sheba and to have regularly offered sacrifices. Adoration, expiation and supplication would constitute his chief motives (
9. Of Jacob:
Jacob’s first recorded sacrifice was the pouring of the oil upon the stone at Beth-el (
10. Of Israel in Egypt:
While the Israelites were in Egypt they would be accustomed to spring sacrifices and spring feasts, for these had been common among the Arabs and Syrians, etc., for centuries. Nabatean inscriptions testify to this. Egyptian sacrifices have been mentioned (see above). At these spring festivals it was probably customary to offer the firstlings of the flocks (compare
The sacrifice of the Passover soon occurs (
11. Of Jethro:
As a priest of Midian, Jethro was an expert in sacrificing. On meeting Moses and the people he offered both `olah and zebhachim and made a feast (
12. Summary and Conclusions:
From the above it is evident that sacrifices were almost the substance of religion in that ancient world. From hilltops and temples innumerable, the smoke of sacrifices was constantly rising heavenward. Burnt offerings and peace offerings were well known. Moses, in establishing a religion, must have a sacrificial system. He had abundance of materials to choose from, and under divine guidance would adopt such rules and regulations as the pedagogic plans and purposes of God would require in preparing for better things.
V. The Mosaic Sacrificial System.
1. The Covenant Sacrifice:
The fundamental function of Moses’ work was to establish the covenant between Israel and God. This important transaction took place at Sinai and was accompanied by solemn sacrifices. The foundation principle was obedience, not sacrifices (
The covenant having been made, the terms and conditions are laid down by Moses and accepted by the people (
2. The Common Altars:
3. The Consecration of Aaron and His Sons:
4. Sacrifices before the Golden Calf:
When the golden calf was made an altar was erected, burnt offerings and peace offerings were presented. From the latter a feast was made, the people followed the usual habits at such festivals, went to excess and joined in revelry. Moses’ ear quickly detected the nature of the sounds. The covenant was now broken and no sacrifice was available for this sin. Vengeance was executed on 3,000 Israelites. Moses mightily interceded with God. A moral reaction was begun; new tables of the Law were made with more stringent laws against idols and idol worship (
5. The Law of the Burnt Offering (`Olah):
At the setting-up of the tabernacle burnt and meal offerings were sacrificed (
(1) Ritual for the Offerer (Leviticus 1:3-17).
This may have been from the herd or flock or fowls, brought to the tent of meeting; hands were laid (heavily) upon its head designating it as the offerer’s substitute, it was killed, flayed and cut in pieces. If of the flock, it was to be killed on the north side of the altar; if a fowl, the priest must kill it.
(2) Ritual for the Priest (Leviticus 1:3-17).
If a bullock or of the flock, the priest was to sprinkle the blood round about the altar, put on the fire, lay the wood and pieces of the carcass, wash the inwards, legs, etc., and burn it all as a sweet savor to God. If a fowl, he must wring the neck, drain out the blood on the side of the altar, cast the crop, filth, etc., among the ashes, rend the wings without dividing the bird and burn the carcass on the altar.
(3) General Laws for the Priest.
(4) Laws in Deuteronomy 12:6,13,14,27; 27:6.
Anticipating a central sanctuary in the future, the lawgiver counsels the people to bring their offerings there (
6. The Law of the Meal Offering (Minchah):
The term "meal offering" is here confined to offerings of flour or meal, etc. (the King James Version "meat-offering"), and was first used at the consecration of Aaron and his sons (
(1) Ritual for the Offerer (Leviticus 2:1-16).
It must be of fine flour, with oil and frankincense added, and brought to the priest; if baked in the oven, unleavened cakes mingled with oil, or wafers and oil; if of the baking pan, fine flour mingled with oil parted into pieces and oil thereon; if of the frying pan, the same ingredients. Leaven and honey must never be used as they quickly become corrupt. Every offering must be seasoned with salt. If of the first-fruits (bikkurim), it should consist of grain in the ear, parched with oil and frankincense upon it.
(2) Ritual for the Priest (Leviticus 2:1-16).
This required him to take out a handful with the oil and frankincense thereon and burn it as a memorial upon the altar. The remainder was holy and belonged to the priest. Of the cakes, after bringing them to the altar, he was to take a portion, burn it and appropriate the remainder; the same with the first-fruits.
(3) General Laws for the Priest (Leviticus 6:14-18 (Hebrew 7-11), etc.).
7. The Law of the Peace Offering:
The peace offerings indicated right relations with God, expressing good-fellowship, gratitude and obligation. The common altars were fitted for their use (
(1) Ritual for the Offerer (Leviticus 3:1-17).
The offering might be a bullock, a lamb, or a goat, either male or female, latitude being allowed in this case. The ritual was the same as in the case of the burnt offering (see above).
(2) Ritual for the Priest (Leviticus 3:1-17).
Blood must be sprinkled on the altar round about, the caul, the liver and the kidneys must be taken away and the fat parts burned on the altar; the fat tail of the lamb must also be burned. These portions were offerings of food by fire to the Deity. The ritual for a goat was the same as for a bullock.
(3) General Laws for the Priest (Leviticus 6:12 (Hebrew 5); 7:1 ff).
8. The Law of the Sin Offering:
The sin offering was a sacrifice of a special kind, doubtless peculiar to Israel and first mentioned at the consecration of Aaron and his sons. It is not then spoken of as an innovation. It was of special value as an expiatory sacrifice.
(1) At the Consecration of Aaron and His Sons (Exodus 29:10 ff).
A bullock was killed before the altar, some blood was put upon the horns of the altar by Moses, the rest was poured out at the base. The fat of the inwards was burned upon the altar, the flesh and skin were burned without the camp. Every day during the consecration this was done (
(2) The Law of the Sin Offering (Leviticus 4:1-35; 24-30, etc.).
(a) The Occasion and Meaning:
Specifically to atone for unwitting sins, sins of error (sheghaghah), mistakes or rash acts, unknown at the time, but afterward made known. There were gradations of these for several classes of offenders: the anointed priest (
(b) Ritual for the Offerer (Leviticus 4:1-5,13, etc.):
The anointed priest must offer a bullock at the tent of meeting, lay his hands upon it and slay it before Yahweh. The congregation was also required to bring a young bullock before the tent of meeting, the elders were to lay hands upon it and slay it before Yahweh. The ruler must bring a he-goat and do the same. One of the common people might bring a she-goat or lamb and present it in the same manner. If too poor for these, two turtledoves or young pigeons, one for a sin offering and one for burnt offering, would suffice. If too poor for these, the tenth part of an ephah of fine flour without oil or flankincense would suffice.
(c) Ritual for the Priest (Leviticus 4:1-5,13, etc.):
He must bring the bullock’s blood to the tent of meeting, dip his finger into it and sprinkle blood 7 times before the veil of the sanctuary, and put some on the horns of the altar of incense, but most of the blood must be poured out at the base of the altar. The fat must be burned upon the altar, all the rest of the carcass must be carried to a clean place without the camp and burned. In the case of the whole congregation, the ritual is the same. In the case of a ruler, the blood is to be put upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, not the altar of incense. In the case of one of the common people, the ritual is similar to that of the ruler. In both the latter cases the carcass belonged to the priest. If a bird, the priest must wring off its head, sprinkle some blood on the side of the altar and pour the rest at the base. Nothing is said of the disposal of the carcass. If of fine flour, the priest must take out a handful and burn it upon the altar, keeping the remainder for himself. The use of fine flour for an expiatory sacrifice is evidently exceptional and intended to be so. Though life was not given, yet necessity of life--that which represented life--was offered.
(d) General Laws for the Priest (Leviticus 6:24-30):
The sin offering was to be slain in the same place as the burnt offering. It was most holy, and the priest alone might eat what was left of the ram, pigeon or flour, in the holy place. Whatever touched it was to be holy, any garment sprinkled with the blood must be washed in a holy place, earthen vessels used must be broken, and brazen vessels thoroughly scoured and rinsed.
(e) Special Uses of the Sin Offering:
(i) Consecration of Aaron and His Sons:
(ii) Purifications from Uncleannesses:
Purifications from uncleannesses required after childbirth a young pigeon or turtledove (
(iii) On the Day of Atonement:
On the Day of Atonement (
(iv) Other Special Instances:
9. The Guilt Offering:
The guilt offering (the King James Version "trespass offering") (
(1) a trespass in the holy things done unwittingly;
(2) anything which the Law forbade depriving God or the priest of their due;
(3) dealing falsely, with a neighbor in a deposit, or pledge, or robbery, or oppression;
(4) swearing falsely regarding anything lost;
(5) seduction of a betrothed bondmaid (
The first two of these are unwitting sins, the others cannot be. The clear statement is made in another place that sins done with a "high hand," i.e. in rebellion against the covenant and its provisions, can have no sacrifice (
(1) The Ritual (Leviticus 5:14-6:7).
A ram proportionate in value to the offense and worth at least two shekels is required. The ritual is probably the same as that of the sin offering, though no mention is made of the laying on of hands, and the blood is not brought into the sanctuary, but sprinkled about the base of the altar, the fat and inside parts being burned, and the flesh eaten by the priests in a holy place.
(2) Special Laws: Leper, Nazirite, etc.
The leper, when cleansed, on the 8th day must bring a guilt offering of two he-lambs and one ewe-lamb; the priest must wave one he-lamb before Yahweh, kill it, and smear blood on the right ear, thumb and toe of the leper. The guilt offering belongs to the priest (
10. The Wave Offering:
11. The Heave Offering:
12. Drink Offerings:
13. Primitive Nature of the Cultus:
The cult is thoroughly in keeping with and adapted to the age, and yet an ideal system in many respects. The ethical side is in the background, the external has the emphasis. No sacrifices will avail for a breach of the covenant between God and the people. The people thoroughly believed in the efficacy of the blood. It secured atonement and forgiveness. Their religious life found expression in the sacrifices. God was fed and pleased by the offerings by fire. Many of the customs are ancient and crude, so that it is difficult to imagine how such a primitive system could have been arranged and accepted afterward by the people who had the lofty ethical teachings of the prophets in their hands.
VI. Sacrifices in the.
1. The Situation at Moses’ Death:
The tribes were outwardly consolidated, and a religious system was provided. Some of it was for the rulers, much for the people and much for the priests alone. The various laws were given in portions and afterward compiled. No one expected them to be observed until the nation had a capital and central sanctuary. Even then not every detail was always possible. They were not observed to any extent in the wilderness (
2. In the Time of Joshua:
Lay or common altars were in accordance With
3. The Period of the Judges:
4. Times of Samuel and Saul:
5. Days of David and Solomon:
6. In the Northern Kingdom:
The golden calf worship was carried on at Da and Beth-el, with priests, altars and ritual (
The high places were still in use and not denounced yet by the prophets (
7. In the Southern Kingdom to the Exile:
8. In the Exilic and Post-exilic Periods:
That the cult was entirely suspended in Jerusalem from 586 to 536 BC seems certain. There is no support for G. F. Moore’s statement (EB, IV) that an altar was soon rebuilt and sacrificing was carried on with scarcely a break. On the return of the exiles an altar was soon built and the continual burnt offerings began (
9. A Temple and Sacrifices at Elephantine:
At the time of Nehemiah and probably two or three centuries previous, there existed a temple on the island of Elephantine in the Nile. It was built by a Jewish military colony, and a system of sacrifices was observed. Just how far they copied the laws of Moses, and what were their ideas of a central sanctuary are uncertain.
Several Semitic tribes or nations practiced human sacrifices. It was common among the Canaanites, as is shown by the excavations at Gezer, Taanach, etc. They seemed to offer children in sacrifice at the laying of cornerstones of houses and other such occasions.
10. Human Sacrifices in Israel’s History:
11. Certain Heathen Sacrifices:
Heathen sacrifices are hinted at in the later books, such as swine, a mouse, a horse, a dog (
VII. The Prophets and Sacrifices.
The prophets were reformers, not innovators. Their emphasis was on the ethical, rather than the ritual. They based their teachings on the fundamentals of the covenant, not the incidentals. They accepted sacrifices as part of the religious life, but would give them their right place. They accepted the law regarding common altars, and Samuel, David and Elijah used these altars. They also endorsed the movement toward a central sanctuary, but it is the abuse of the cult that they condemned, rather than its use. They combated the heathenish idea that all God needed was gifts, lavish gifts, and would condone any sin if only they bestowed abundance of gifts. They demanded an inward religion, morality, justice, righteousness, in short, an ethical religion. They preached an ethical God, rather than the profane, debasing and almost blasphemous idea of God which prevailed in their times. They reminded the people of the covenant at Sinai, the foundation principle of which was obedience and loyalty to Yahweh. If Joe is early, the cult is in full practice, as he deplores the cutting-off of the meal offering, or minchah, and the netsekh or drink offering, through the devastation of the locusts. He does not mention the burnt offerings, etc., as these would not be cut off by the locusts (
Amos condemns the cult at Beth-el and Gilgal, and sarcastically bids them go on transgressing (4:4,5), mentions burnt offerings, peace offerings, thank offerings, and freewill offerings (4:4 f; 5:22), reminds them of the fact that they did not offer sacrifices in the wilderness (5:25), but demands rather righteousness and justice. There is nothing here against the Mosaic origin of the laws.
In Hosea’s time the hollow externalism of the cult had become worse, while vice, falsehood, murder, oppression, etc., were rampant. He utters an epoch-making sentence when he says, "I desire mercy, and not sacrifice," etc. (
Micah is as emphatic. The sacrifices were more costly in his day, in order the more surely to purchase the favor of the Deity. Human sacrifices were in vogue, but Micah says God requires them "to do justly, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with thy God" (6:8). This does not in the least affect sacrifices of the right kind and with the right spirit.
Isaiah faces the same situation. There are multitudes of sacrifices, burnt offerings, blood of bullocks and goats, oblations, sweet incense, beasts, etc., but no justice, morality, love, truth or goodness. Thus their sacrifices, etc., are an abomination, though right in themselves (1:11-17; 61:8). The same is true of all pious performances today. It is probable that Isaiah worshipped in the temple (6:1,6). In his eschatological vision there is freedom to offer sacrifices in Egypt (19:19,21). The people are to worship in the holy mountain (27:13). Ariel must let the feasts come around (29:1).
Jeremiah maintains the same attitude. Your "frankincense from Sheba, and the sweet cane," burnt offerings and sacrifices are not pleasing to God (6:20; 14:12). They made the temple a den of robbers, in the streets they baked cakes to the Queen of heaven, etc. He speaks sarcastically, saying, "Add your burnt-offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat ye flesh. For I spake not unto your fathers .... concerning .... sacrifices: but .... commanded .... saying, Hearken unto my voice," etc. (7:21-23). This was literally true, as we have seen above; the covenant was not based on sacrifices but on obedience. Such a statement does not deny the institution of sacrifices for those within the covenant who are obedient. It is no "subterfuge," as Kautzsch calls it, "to say that the prophets never polemize against sacrifice per se, but only against offerings presented hypocritically, without repentance and a right disposition, with blood-stained hands; against the opera operata of the carnally-minded, half-heathen mass of the people." This is exactly what they do, and they are in perfect harmony with the covenant constitution and with their own ethical and spiritual functions. Kautzsch can make such an extravagant assertion only by ignoring the fact that Jeremiah himself in predicting the future age of righteousness and blessedness makes sacrifice an important factor (33:11,18). Picturing possible prosperity and glory, Jeremiah speaks of burnt offerings and meal offerings, frankincense, thank offerings, etc., being brought into the house of Yahweh (17:26). (We are aware of the harsh and arbitrary transference of this passage to a later time.)
Ezekiel is called by Kautzsch "the founder of the Levitical system." He is said to have preserved the fragment of the ritual that was broken up in the exile. But his references to the burnt offerings, sin offerings, and trespass offerings presuppose familiarity with them (40:38-42).
He assigns the north and south chambers for the meal, sin and trespass offerings (
In the second part of Isaiah, God declares that He has not been honored by the people with burnt offerings and meal offerings, etc., and that He has not burdened them with such offerings, but that He is wearied with their sins (43:23 f). Those foreigners who respect the covenant shall offer acceptable sacrifices (56:7) in the blessed age to come. Theis to be a guilt offering (53:10) to expiate the sins of Israel. Sacrifice is here for the first time lifted out of the animal to the human sphere, thus forging the link between the Old Testament and the . In the glorious age to come there are to be priests and Levites, new moons, sabbaths and worship in Jerusalem (66:21,23).
Daniel speaks of the meal offering being caused to cease in the midst of the week (9:27).
Zechariah pictures the golden age to come when all nations shall go up to Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Tabernacles, which implies sacrifices. Pots are used, and all the worshippers shall use them in the ritual (14:16-21).
In Malachi’s age the ritual was in practice, but grossly abused. They offered polluted bread (1:7), blind, lame and sick animals (1:13 f). Yahweh has the same attitude toward these as toward those in the times of Amos, Hosea, and Isaiah (
A special use of the term "sacrifice" is made by Zephaniah (1:7 f), applying it to the destruction of Israel by Yahweh. Bozrah and Edom are to be victims (
In summing up the general attitude of the prophets toward sacrifices, even G. F. Moore in Encyclopedia Biblica admits: "It is not probable that the prophets distinctly entertained the idea of a religion without a cult, a purely spiritual worship. Sacrifice may well have seemed to them the natural expression of homage and gratitude." He might have added, "and of atonement for sin, and full fellowship with God."
VIII. Sacrifice in the "Writings."
Dates are very uncertain here. The Psalms and Proverbs extend from David and Solomon into the Persian period. The sages take the same attitude as the prophets. They enjoin the sacrifice of first-fruits (
2. The Psalms:
The Psalmist admonishes the faithful to offer the sacrifices of righteousness, i.e. sacrifices offered in the right spirit (
IX. The Idea and Efficacy of Sacrifices.
That the Hebrews thoroughly believed in the efficacy of sacrifices is without doubt. What ideas they entertained regarding them is not so clear. No single theory can account for all the facts. The unbloody sacrifices were regarded as food for the Deity, or a pleasant odor, in one instance, taking the place of a bloody offering (see above). The bloody offerings present some difficulties, and hence, many different views.
1. A Gift of Food to the Deity:
Included under the head of gifts of food to the Deity would be the meal and peace offerings, in so far as they were consumed by fire, the burnt offerings and the shewbread, etc. They were fire-food, the fire-distilled essence or etherealized food for God which gave Him pleasure and disposed Him favorably toward the offerer. They were intended either to appease wrath, to win favor, or to express thanks and gratitude for favors experienced. The earlier and more naive idea was probably to win the favor of the Deity by a gift. Later, other ideas were expressed in the offerings.
2. Expression of Adoration and Devotion, etc.:
The burnt offering best gave expression to the sentiments of adoration and devotion, though they may not be excluded from the meal and peace offerings. In other words, sacrifice meant worship, which is a complex exercise of the soul. Such was Abraham’s attempted sacrifice of Isaac. The daily burnt offerings were intended to represent an unbroken course of adoration and devotion, to keep the right relations with the Deity. On particular occasions, special offerings were made to insure this relation which was specially needed at that time.
3. Means of Purification from Uncleanness:
The burnt and sin offerings were the principal kinds used for the purpose of purification; water being used in case of uncleanness from contact with the dead. There were three classes of uncleanness:
(1) those inseparable from the sex functions of men and women;
(2) those resulting from contact with a corpse;
(3) the case of recovery from leprosy.
Purification ceremonies were the condition of such persons enjoying the social and religious life of the community. Why they should require a sin offering when most of them occurred in the regular course of nature and could not be guarded against, can be understood only as we consider that these offenses were the effects of sin, or the weaknesses of the fleshly nature, due to sin. Such uncleannesses made the subject unfit for society, and that unfitness was an offense to God and required a piacular offering.
4. Means of Consecration to Divine Service:
Consecration was of men and things. The ceremonies at the sealing of the covenant and the consecration of the Levites and of Aaron and his sons have been mentioned. The altar and furniture of the tabernacle were consecrated by the blood of the sin offering. This blood being the means of expiation, it cleansed from all defilement caused by human hands, etc. The sprinkling and smearing of the blood consecrated them to the service of God. The blood being holy, it sanctified all it touched (compare
5. Means of Establishing a Community of Life between Worshipper and God:
In other words, it is a kind of sacral communion. The blood is the sacred cement between man and God. This is possible only because it contains the life and is appropriated by God as a symbol of the communion into which He enters with the offerer. This blood "covers" all sin and defilement in man, permits him to enter God’s presence and attests the communion with Him. This is the view of Schultz, and partly that of Kautzsch, in regard to earlier ideas of sacrifice. Such a view may have been held by certain peoples in primitive times, but it does not do justice to the Levitical system.
6. View of Ritschl:
The view of Ritschl is that sacrifices served as a form of self-protection from God whose presence meant destruction to a weak creature. Thus, sacrifices have no moral value and no relation to sin and defilement. They have relation only to man’s creaturely weakness which is in danger of destruction as it approaches the presence of God. God’s presence necessarily meant death to the creature without reference to his holiness, etc. Such a view banishes all real sense of sin, all ethical values, and furnishes no proper motives. It gives a false idea of the character of God, and is entirely out of accord with the sacred record.
7. The Sacramental View:
That sacrifices were really a sacrament has been advocated by many. According to some theologians, the sacrifices were signs of spiritual realities, not only representing but sealing and applying spiritual blessings, and their efficacy was proportionate to the faith of the offerer. By some Roman Catholic theologians it is held that the Passover was especially of a sacramental character, corresponding to the. The purificatory rites corresponded to penance and the consecrating sacrifices to the sacrament of ordination. Bahr says that the acceptance of the sacrifice by Yahweh and His gift of sanctification to the worshippers give to the sacrifice the character of a sacramental act. Cave also speaks of them as having a sacramental significance, while refuting the position of Bahr. Though there may be a slight element of truth in some of these ideas, it is not the idea expressed in the cult, and seems to read into the ritual theology of theologians themselves. This view is closely allied to a phase of the following view (see Paterson, HDB, IV).
8. Symbol or Expression of Prayer:
That it is a symbol or expression of prayer is held by Maurice and to some extent by Schultz. Thus, the sacrifices are supposed to be symbols of the religious sentiment, which are the conditions of acceptance with God. The victim serves as an index of what is in the worshipper’s heart, and its virtue is exhausted when it is presented to God. Thus, it may express spiritual aspiration or supplication, hatred of sin and surrender to God with confession and supplication. Bahr holds that a valuable and unblemished victim is selected as symbolical of the excellence and purity to which the offerer aspires, the death is necessary to procure life which may be offered to God, and the sprinkling of the blood is the presentation to God of the life still resident in the blood. Schultz thinks that the sin offering was distinctively purifying. "Hence, the real ground of purification is that God accepts the sacrifice and thereby enters into communion with the sinner, granting him actual pardon, and that man in this offering enjoined by God as the embodied prayer of a penitent expresses his confession, his regrets and his petition for forgiveness." While there is an element of truth in this, and it is particularly applicable to the burnt offering, it does not embrace all the facts. It represents the views of the prophets and psalmists more than that of the Levitical code.
9. View of Kautzsch:
Kautzsch holds that the efficacy of sacrifices consists in this: "God has connected the accomplishment of atonement with the obedient discharge of the sacrificial prescriptions; whoever fulfils these and gets the priest to perform the atoning usages, is forgiven. The ritual, especially the presenting of the blood, is the indispensable condition of atonement, but it is not synonymous. Forgiveness of sin flows from the grace of God as taught by the prophets, only with them it is unnecessary, but with the Priestly Code it is necessary." Thus Kautzsch teaches a fundamental contradiction between the prophets and the Law, which is utterly wrong and is made necessary by first turning the history upside down and making the Priestly Code a hideous anachronism. He says, "That the process of atonement is connected with the presenting of blood, explains itself naturally as a powerful after-influence of primitive sacrificial usages, in which the presenting of blood had a different meaning. It is a symbolic (not real) satisfaction, as through the animal’s life symbolic expression is given to the fact that the sinner’s life is forfeited to God. But the main idea is that God has commanded it" (HDB, V, 721a). The half-truths in these statements will be obvious to most readers.
10. Vicarious Expiation Theory; Objections:
The theory that sacrifices were a vicarious expiation of sin and defilement, by a victim whose life is forfeited instead of the sinner’s, is the only one that will complete the Levitical idea of sacrifices. This of course applies especially to the sin offering. While there is an element of truth in the gift-theory, the prayer and sacramental theories and others, including that of Kautzsch, the idea of a vicarious suffering is necessary to complete the conception. Oehler recognizes the force of the prayer-theory, but advances to the idea that in sacrifices man places the life of a pure, innocent, sacrificial animal between himself and God, because he is unable to approach God on account of his sinfulness and impurity. Thus it becomes a kopher for him, to cover his sin. This is not a punishment inflicted on the animal, although in the case of uncertain homicide it is (
Objections have been raised by Dillmann, Kautzsch, and others on the ground that it could not have been vicarious because sacrifices were not allowed for sins which merited death, but only for venial transgressions (
That this view of a vicarious expiation was generally accepted is evident on every hand. There was no need of a theoretical explanation in the cult; it was self-evident; as Holtzmann says, "the most external indeed, but also the simplest and most generally intelligible and the readiest answer to the nature of expiation" (, I, 68). This view is amply corroborated by the researches of S. I. Curtiss in his Primitive Semitic Religion of Today. By searching questions he found that the fundamental idea of bloody sacrifices was that the victim took the place of the man, redeemed him, or atoned for him as a substitute. The "bursting forth of the blood" was the essential thing (see pp. 218 f).
11. Typology of Sacrifice:
The typology of sacrifice has been much discussed. There can be no question that, from the standpoint of the New Testament, many of the sacrifices were typical. They pre-figured, and designedly so, the great sacrifice of Christ. Thus they could not really take away sin; they were in that sense unreal. But the question is, were they typical to the people of Israel? Did Moses and the priests and prophets and people understand that they were merely figures, adumbrations of the true Sacrifice to come, which alone could take away sin? Did they understand that their Messiah was to be sacrificed, His blood shed, to make an atonement for them, and render their divinely-given means of atonement all unreal? The answer must be an emphatic "No." There is no hint that their minds were directed to think of the Coming One as their sacrifice, foreshadowed by their offerings. That was the one thing the nation could not and would not understand, and to this day the cross is their chief stumblingblock. The statement that the Servant is to be a guilt offering (
We prefer to regard the sacrificial system as great religious educational system, adapted to the capacity of the people at that age, intended to develop right conceptions of sin, proper appreciation of the holiness of God, correct ideas of how to approach God, a familiarity with the idea of sacrifice as the fundamental thing in redemption, life, and service to God and man.
Only a Selection Is Attempted:
Articles in Encyclopedia Brit, 11th edition; Encyclopedia Biblica (G. F. Moore); HDB (Paterson); RE and Sch-Herz (Orelli); Jewish Encyclopedia; McClintock and Strong, etc.; Murray’s Bible Dict.; Standard BD, etc. Kautzsch, Jastrow and Wiedermann in HDB; article on "" in Sch-Herz; Old Testament Theologies of Oehler, Dillmann, Smend, Schultz, Davidson, Koenig, etc.
On Sacrifices in General:
Wellhausen, Reste des arabischen Heidenthums; W. R. Smith, Religion of the Semites; J. G. Frazer, Golden Bough, II, III; E. B. Tylor, Primitive Culture; E. Westermarck, Origin of Moral Ideas; H. Hubert et Mauss, Annee sociologique, II; L. Marillier, Revue de l’histoire des religions, XXXVI, 208; S. I. Curtiss, Primitive Semitic Religion of Today.
F. Bahr, Symbolik des Mosdischen Kultus; J. H. Kurtz, Der alttestamentliche Opfercultus; A. Stewart, The Mosaic Sacrifices; J. G. Murphy, Sacrifice as Set Forth in Scripture; A. Cave, Scriptural Doctrine of Sacrifice; F. Maurice, The Doctrine of Sacrifice; J. M. P. Smith, Biblical Doctrine of Atonement. See also: Schultz, AJT, 1900, 257 ff; Smoller, Studien und Kritiken, 1891; Wiener, Essays in Pentateuchal Criticism; Pentateuchal Studies; Driver, ERE, VI.
J. J. Reeve