Some Thoughts On Leviticus 7:8

The text reads:

And the priest who offers any man’s burn offering shall have for himself the skin of the burnt offering that he has offered.

Leviticus 7:8 ESV

This is the only time the hide of the animal is mentioned as being gifted in the text of Scripture.

For me, this has stood out for a few weeks, and I have been pondering why the skin of the burnt offering?

What is being done here?

The whole offering is being offered to the L-rd, so why is the skin so special here to be singled out as a gift.

Skins turn to leather, which has a boatload of uses. Perosnally I love the smell of tanned leather.

So, let’s grab some commentators and see what they have to say.

Roy Gane mentions nothing about the skins (NIV Application Commentary). Richard Hess only mentions the fact of the skins transferring to the priest with no exposition as to why (Expositor’s Bible Commentary). Allen Ross, author of “Holiness to the L-rd: A Guide to the Exposition of the Book of Leviticus) mentions the L-rd took care of the practical needs of the priest in the offering. “Not only did they eat the meat, but they also received the skins. In addition to providing clothing for the families of the priests, no doubt a lively trade could have been sustained from the skins taken from the sacrifices. G-d takes care of those who minister thorugh the giving of worshipers.” There, in the sacrificial system instituted by Moses, is found “spiritual satisfaction [for] the worshiper and practical needs [for] the priest in service” (Ross, 176).

And finally, Jacob Milgrom says nothing as to the purpose of the hides, though he does mention it is passing, and talking about the volume of hides produced from personal burnt offerings, he menitons these all belong to the priests.

So What?

What is the purpose of the hides from the burnt offering.

Being left to speculate with my gut based on the rest of the text. I will note that the L-rd covered the first man and his bride with skins from a sin offering:

And the L-RD G-d made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.

Genesis 3:21 ESV

I wonder if the L-rd’s assignment of hides from the burnt offering to the priests was designed to be a perpetual reminder of his mercy to the first couple in the garden, a memorial of His mercy. And as we hand Him everything in that portion called the burnt offering in recognition of all He has done, as the children of Israel handed the L-rd the whole of the burnt offerings in regonition of His transplanting and sustaining the nation of Israel in Mizraim, perhaps it ws a reminder of the extent of His mercy in making sure the priests, and we by extension, as members of a royal priesthood, are covered, regadless of our behavior, perpetually by His mercy. The burnt offering is also the only offering that has to be executed morning and evening regardless of the state of Israel. The other offerings are only executed WHEN an event happens. The burnt offering, however, is mandated without respect to event. Therefore, baked into the process of the burnt offering is a picture of Father’s unfailing love toward us.

This is speculation, but it is speculation that makes sense.

Consider this today as you read the text, that His mercy and his love must always burn, and there is never a time when that fire does not burn out (Leviticus 6:13), and that fire is powered by the never-faiing burnt offering, morning and evening.

On Joseph, Israel and the Adopting of Ephraim and Manasseh

Genesis 48 has always provided me with some nagging questions. One in particular.

Why would Israel perform what appears to be an adoption of Jacob’s sons and what further could be taken by some to imply a disinheriting of Joseph?

How does this fold into the Genesis 49 blessing given to Joseph?

I would like to suggest the possibility, for the purpose of discussion, and I accept I could be wrong.

But one of my guidestars in dealing with the text of Scripture is that I endeavor to be a student WITH others, and to learn from those who are scholars of the Scripture, as well as those who are not. I have, in teaching have always preferred the round table to the lectern or the pulpit, not that I mind standing behind something.

But I like to sleuth with other believes about the possibilities in the text.

Some have put forth the idea that, because of the discussion of the silver cup of divination (Genesis 44:1-5) showed Joseph left the faith of Adonai.

While I don’t necessarily buy that idea, given the fact Joseph mentions the L-rd later on, and given some of the other interactions they have, I have to say that the adoption of Ephraim and Manasseh can do one of a number of things.

1) Show a replacement of Joseph with two others.

2) Show a intensification of blessing upon Joseph.

3) Show Joseph as defined by the twin realities of Ephraim and Manasseh.

4) I would also be willing to entertain the possibility that the variety and length of trauma was strong enough to create a part in Joseph, that is, a divided identity (along the spectrum of DID).

What tells against the idea of Joseph being disinherited are the statements, “am I in the place of G-d” (Gen 50:19), “you meant evil against me, but G-d meant it for good” (Gen 50:20), and the statements from Israel in 48:21-22 that G-d will be with Joseph and that Israel was passing to Joseph the slope he got from defeating the Amorites.

What seems to tell for the disinheritance of Joseph is the silver cup of divination.

What seems to tell for Ephraim and Manasseh’s adoption alongside Joseph is the statement in 48:5-6 that Ephraim and Manasseh are sons of Israel.

Just some thoughts.

There could also be something I am missing, which, I would love to hear your thoughts on.

Why Some of Us Are Tired of the Popular Tripe Regarding the Angelic Realm: From The Desk of Michael Heiser

Dr Heiser writes,

This is some of the most solid work on the topic of angels. Dr. Heiser’s book on angels adds a welcome weight of obsession with the canon of biblical text that counterpoints our touchy-feels, charismatic foolishness.

Indeed, what is needed is more of an understanding of the fullness of what Scripture is saying, not less, and not necessarily more merely of what the traditions of Christianity and Judaism are saying apart from the informing plumb line of the canon.

Mike Heiser is precisely the exegetical breath of fresh air on a number of topics that we need.