OFFERINGS. Among the Jews, under the Mosaic law, a variety of offerings of different kinds were appointed, which are accurately and fully described in the beginning of the book of Leviticus.
Burnt-offerings, or holocausts, sacrifices in which the victims were wholly consumed, were expiatory, and more ancient than any others, and were, for that reason, held in special honour. It was in consideration of these circumstances that Moses gave precepts in regard to this kind of sacrifices first, Le 1:3. Holocausts might be offered by means of the Hebrew priests, when brought by the Heathen, or those who had originated from another nation; such persons being unable to offer sin or trespass- offerings, since this sort of sacrifices had particular reference to some neglect or violation of the Mosaic law, by whose authority they did not acknowledge themselves bound. Holocausts were expiatory, and we accordingly find that they were offered sometimes for the whole people; for instance, the morning and the evening sacrifices; and sometimes by an individual for himself alone, either from the free impulse of his feelings, or in fulfilment of a vow, Ps 51:19; 66:13-14. They were required to be offered under certain combinations of circumstances pointed out in the Mosaic laws; namely, by a Nazarite, who had been unexpectedly rendered unclean, or who had completed the days of his separation, Nu 6:11-16; by those who had been healed of leprosy; and by women after child-birth, Le 12:6,8. The victims immolated at a holocaust were bullocks of three years old, goats and lambs of a year old, turtle doves, and young pigeons. Not only the parts which were expressly destined for the altar, but also the other parts of the victims, were burned. A libation of wine was poured out upon the altar. It was the practice among the Gentile nations, (an allusion to which occurs in Php 2:17, and 2Ti 4:6,) to pour the wine out between the horns of the victims which they immolated to their idols. The priest partially wrung or cut off the heads of the turtle doves and young pigeons, sprinkled the blood on the side of the altar, plucked out the feathers and the crop, and cast them to the east of the altar into the place for the reception of ashes, and placed the remainder, after having cleft or broken the wings, upon the fire, Le 1:3-17.
Drink-offerings. With a bullock, half a hin of wine, with three-tenth deals of flour, and half a hin of oil. With a ram, one-third of a hin of wine, with two-tenth deals of flour, and one-third of a hin oil. With a lamb or a kid of the goats, one quarter of a hin of wine, one-tenth deal of flour, and one quarter of a hin of oil. With a sheaf of the first-fruits, one quarter of a hin of wine, one-tenth deal of flour, with oil.
Meat-offerings. These, like the drink-offerings were appendages to the sacrifices. They were of thin cakes or wafers. In some instances they were offered alone.
Heave-offerings. So called from the sacrifice being lifted up toward heaven, in token of its being devoted to Jehovah.
Peace-offerings. Bullocks, heifers, goats, rams, and sheep, were the only animals sacrificed on these occasions, Le 3; 7:23-27. These sacrifices, which were offered as an indication of gratitude, were accompanied with unleavened cakes, covered with oil, by pouring it upon them; with thin cakes or wafers, likewise unleavened, and besmeared with oil; also with another kind of cakes, made of fine meal, and kneaded with oil. The priest, who sprinkled the blood, presented one of each of these kinds of cakes as an offering, Le 7:11-14,28-35. The remainder of the animal substance and of the cakes was convened by the person who made the offering into an entertainment, to which widows, orphans, the poor, slaves, and Levites, were invited. What was not eaten on the day of the offering might be reserved till the succeeding; but that which remained till the third was to be burned: a regulation which was made in order to prevent the omission or putting off of the season of this benevolence and joy, Le 7:15-21; De 12:18. This feast could be celebrated beyond the limits of the tabernacle, or temple, but not beyond the city.
Sin-offerings were for expiation of particular sins, or legal imperfections, called therefore sin-offerings: the first sort were for sins of ignorance or surprise, either from the high priest, or body of the community, from the rulers, or any one of the common people. The other sort of sin-offerings were for voluntary sins; but as to the more capital violations of the moral law, as murder, adultery, or the worship of idols, no expiatory sacrifice was admitted.
Trespass-offerings were not required of the people as a body. They were to be offered by individuals, who, through ignorance, mistake, or want of reflection, had neglected some of the ceremonial precepts of Moses, or some of those natural laws, which had been introduced into his code, and sanctioned with the penalty of death; and who were subsequently conscious of their error. The person who, being sworn as a witness, concealed the truth by keeping silent; the man who, having become contaminated without knowing it, had omitted purification, but had afterward become acquainted with the fact; the person who had rashly sworn to do a thing, and had not done it; all these delinquents offered a lamb or kid, or, in case of poverty, two doves or young pigeons, the one for a trespass, the other for a sin-offering. In case the person was unusually poor, he was required to offer merely the tenth part of an ephah of fine meal, without oil or frankincense, Le 3:1-16. Whoever appropriated to himself any thing consecrated, or any thing that was promised, or found, or stolen, or deposited in his possession for keeping; whoever swore falsely, or omitted to restore the goods that belonged to another, or injured him in any other way, presented for his trespass a ram, which had been submitted to the estimation of the priest, and not only made restitution, but allowed an additional amount of a fifth part by way of indemnification. He who had committed fornication with a betrothed handmaid, previously to her being redeemed from servitude, offered a ram for the trespass, Le 19:20-22. Nazarites, who had been unexpectedly rendered unclean, presented a lamb of a year old, Nu 6:11. Finally, lepers, when restored to health, and purified, sacrificed a ram, Le 14:10-14. The ceremonies were the same as in the sin-offerings.
Wave-offering. It was so called, because it was waved up and down, and toward the east, west, north, and south, to signify, that he to whom it was offered was Lord of the universe, the God who fills all space, and to whom all things of right belong. See SACRIFICES.