Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. 4: Harmony of the Law, Part II, tr. by John King, [1847-50], at sacred-texts.com
8. And the LORD spake unto Aaron, Behold, I also have given thee the charge of mine heave offerings of all the hallowed things of the children of Israel; unto thee have I given them by reason of the anointing, and to thy sons, by an ordinance for ever.
8. Loquutus est Jehova ad Aharon, Ecce, ego dedi tibi custodiam oblationum incarum, omnes sanctificationes filiorum Israel dedi tibi propter unctionem, et filiis tuis in statutum perpetuum.
9. This shall be thine of the most holy things, reserved from the fire: every oblation of theirs, every meat offering of theirs, and every sin offering of theirs, and every trespass offering of theirs, which they shall render unto me, shall be most holy for thee and for thy sons.
9. Hoc erit tuum ex sanctitate sanctitatum, residua ab igni: onmis oblatio eorum, sire minha eorum sit, sire oblatio pro peccato eorum, sive oblatio pro delieto eorum quam reddent mihi, sanctitas sanetitatum tibi erit et filiis tuis.
10. In the most holy place shalt thou eat it; every male shall eat it: it shall be holy unto thee.
10. In sanctitate sanctitatum comedes eam, omnis masculus comedet eam: sanetitas erit tibi.
11. And this is thine; the heave offering of their gift, with all the wave offerings of the children of Israel: I have given them unto thee, and to thy sons and to thy daughters with thee, by a statute for ever: every one that is clean in thy house shall eat of it.
11. Hoc etiam tuum erit, levationem muneris eorum, omnes oblationes filiorum tibi dedi, et fillis tuis, et filiabus tuis tecum in statutum perpetuum: omnis mundus in domo tua comedet eam.
12. All the best of the oil, and all the best of the wine, and of the wheat, the firstfruits of them which they shall offer unto the LORD, them have I given thee.
12. Omnem pinguedinem olei, et omnem pinguedinem vini et frumenti, primitias eorum quas dabunt Jehovae, tibi dem.
13. And whatsoever is first ripe in the land, which they shall bring unto the LORD, shall be thine; every one that is clean in thine house shall eat of it.
13. Primitiae omnium qum in terra eorum, quas afferent Jehovae, tute erunt: omnis mundus in domo tua comedet eas.
14. Every thing devoted in Israel shall be thine.
14. Omne anathema in Israel tuum erit.
15. Every thing that openeth the matrix in all flesh, which they bring unto the LORD, whether it be of men or beasts, shall be thine: nevertheless the firstborn of man shalt thou surely redeem, and the firstling of unclean beasts shalt thou redeem.
15. Quicquid aperit vulvam in omni carne quod afferent Jehovae, tam de hominibus quam de animalibus, tuum erit: sed redimendum dabis primogenitum hominis, primogenitum quoque animalis immundi redimendum dabis.
16. And those that are to be redeemed from a month old shalt thou redeem, according to thine estimation, for the money of five shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs.
16. Redemptiones autem ejus a filio mensis redimendas dabis secundum aestimationem tuam, pecunia quinque siclorum, secundum siclum sanctuarii, qui viginti obolorum est.
17. But the firstling of a cow, or the firstling of a sheep, or the firstling of a goat, thou shalt not redeem; they are holy: thou shalt sprinkle their blood upon the altar, and shalt burn their fat for an offering made by fire, for a sweet savour unto the LORD.
17. Veruntamen primogenitum bovis, et primogenitum ovis, aut primogenitum caprae non dabis redimendum: sunt enim sanctificata: sanguinem eorum sparges ad altare, et adipem eorum adolebis: oblatio ignita in odorem quietis Jehovae.
18. And the flesh of them shall be thine, as the wave breast and as the right shoulder are thine.
18. Et caro eorum tua erit, ut pectus elevationis, et armus dexter, tua erit.
19. All the heave offerings of the holy things, which the children of Israel offer unto the LORD, have I given thee, and thy sons and thy daughters with thee, by a statute for ever: it is a covenant of salt for ever before the LORD unto thee and to thy seed with thee.
19. Omnes oblationes sanctificationum quas obtulerint filii Israel Jehovae, dedi tibi, et filiis tuis et filiabus tuis tecum in statutum perpetuum: pactum salis perpetuum est coram Jehova tibi et semini tuo tecum.
8. And the Lord spake unto Aaron. He now proceeds to state more fully what he had been lately adverting to, as to the rights of the priests with respect to the sacred oblations. We must, however, remember the contrast, which I spoke of, between the priests of the higher order and the Levites; for, whilst the family of Aaron is invested with peculiar honors, the other families of the tribe of Levi are abased. God, then, assigns to the priests alone all the offerings, in which was the greater consecration, called “the holy of holinesses.” 208 An exception will afterwards appear; viz., that the whole was to be deposited, by way of honor, with the priests, out of which they were to pay a part to the Levites, who were performing their office in the service of the sanctuary. He tells them that this privilege is given them “by reason of the anointing,” lest the priests should pride themselves or magnify themselves on this score; for God’s gratuitous liberality ought to instruct us in modesty and humility. It is by this argument that Paul corrects and represses all vain boasting: “Why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” (1Co 4:7.) Now, the sons of Aaron had obtained their anointing by no other right, than that God had been pleased to elect them to it. This is also indicated by their privilege being spoken of as “a gift:” but God thus more expressly commends His grace, for He makes mention of His gift for another reason, i.e., that none should enter into any dispute or controversy with the priests on this point.
9. This shall be thine. He enumerates certain kinds of sacrifices which He desired to come to the share of the priests; viz., all the residue of the burnt-offerings; secondly, the minha, or meat-offering; thirdly, what was consecrated of the sin and trespass-offerings; although the following clause, “which they shall restore unto me,” seems to be added by way of restriction, as if it only designated those sacrifices of which mention will be elsewhere made, 209 and by which they purged themselves from the guilt of theft, unless it may perhaps be preferred to read it as if to the sin and trespass-offerings this third were added, wherein people restored what did not belong to them, that they might be freed from the guilt of theft. After this He adds the free gifts, which the children of Israel vowed, and the first-fruits of oil, as well as of wine and corn. But this distinction was laid down, that God might more surely prevent jealousy and ill-will; for if there had been any ambiguity, many disputes would have straightway arisen, and thus the reverence due to sacred things would have been impaired. At the same time, however, God prescribes to the priests, that none but males should eat of the burnt-offerings, and nowhere else but in the sanctuary; for there would have been danger (as we said before) that the dignity of these holy offerings would have been lessened, if they had been carried away to private houses and mixed with ordinary meats; besides, God was unwilling to indulge the priests in sumptuous living, but by the very sight of the sanctuary induced them to be frugal and sober in their repasts. For this was a kind of military discipline to encourage abstinence, that they should go away from their wife and family to take their meal. But whatever was offered as a vow, and the first-fruits, He allows to be eaten of by the women, and in their houses, provided only that no unclean person should touch what had once been sacred.
15. Every thing that openeth the matrix. The same thing is now ordained as to the first-born, viz., that the priests should have them also for themselves; though at the same time a distinction is inserted, that the first-born of man should be redeemed. With regard to unclean beasts, the owners were free either to redeem or to kill them. But, since this matter is not professedly treated of here, God only briefly declares that He gives to the priests whatever profit may be made of the first-born. The command that the first-born should be redeemed according to the estimation of the priests, does not mean that the priests should themselves prescribe the value, as if they had the authority to do so; but that estimation is referred to by which they were bound according to God’s command, as we saw elsewhere; and this may be readily gathered from the context, because the price is presently added, which God Himself had fixed. As to the first-born of clean animals, another law is given, viz., that they should be killed at the altar, and their fat burned, whilst the flesh was to belong to the priests, like the breast and the right shoulder of the burnt-offerings. But, lest any of the Levites or of the people — since men are always eager for innovation — should ever attempt to violate this decree, all controversy is removed in future ages, when God declares that what He gave to the priests He would never have taken away from them. First, He uses the word edict or decree, 210 which others translate “statute:” and then adds the title “covenant,” 211 in order that its observation may be more sacred, and less exposed to contentions and quarrels; for nothing could be more indecent than that the priests should dispute regarding their rights and privileges. God, then, signifies that He shall be Himself outraged, if any one should trouble the priests. By the word “salt,” perpetuity is metaphorically expressed; in which, however, God appears to allude to the sacrifices, which it was not lawful to offer unless seasoned with salt; that the Israelites might learn that, by earthly and corruptible things, something greater was designated; for we know that salted meats do not so easily become corrupt. In a word, this metaphor implies inviolable stability.
A. V. “The most holy things:” “the holy of holies:” Ainsworth, whose note is, “Heb. ‘of the holiness of holinesses,’ i.e., of the most holy things; which the Greek translateth ‘of the hallowed (or sanctified) holy things.’ Some oblations in the sanctuary are called holy, and, by the Hebrew doctors, light holy things, some holy of holies, i.e., most holy things,” etc.
See Numbers 5:8, infra, p. 273.
חק from חקק describere, decernere, statuere. — Taylor’s Concordance.
Addition Fr. “voire, Paction de sel."