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Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. 4: Harmony of the Law, Part II, tr. by John King, [1847-50], at

Leviticus 6

Leviticus 6:16-18, 26-29

16. And the remainder thereof shall Aaron and his sons eat: with unleavened bread shall it be eaten in the holy place; in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation they shall eat it.

16. Quod superfuerit ex minha, comedent Aharon et filii ejus: azymum comedetur in loco sancto, in atrio tabernaculi conventionis, comedent illud.

17. It shall not be baken with leaven. I have given it unto them for their portion of my offerings made by fire; it is most holy, as is the sin offering, and as the trespass offering.

17. Non coquetur fermentatum: portionem eorum dedi illud ex oblationibus meis ignitis: sanctitas sanctitatum est, sicut oblatio pro peccato, et sicut oblatio pro delicto.

18. All the males among the children of Aaron shall eat of it. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations concerning the offerings of the LORD made by fire: every one that toucheth them shall be holy.

18. Omnis masculus in filiis Aharon comedet illud, statutum perpetuum est satatibus vestris de oblationibus ignitis jehovae: qui tetigerit eas sanctificabitur.

26. The priest that offereth it for sin shall eat it: in the holy place shall it be eaten, in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation.

26. Sacerdos oblationem pro peccato comedet, in loco sancto comedetur, in atrio tabernaculi conventionis.

27. Whatsoever shall touch the flesh thereof shall be holy: and when there is sprinkled of the blood thereof upon any garment, thou shalt wash that whereon it was sprinkled in the holy place.

27. Qui tetigerit carnem ejus sanetificabitur, et si defluxerit de sanguine ejus super vestera, illud super quod defiuxerit lavabis in loco sancto.

28. But the earthen vessel wherein it is sodden shall be broken: and if it be sodden in a brazen pot, it shall be both scoured, and rinsed in water.

28. Et vas testaceum in quo coquetur, confringetur: quod si in vase aeneo cotta fuerit, defricabitur et lavabitur aqua.

29. All the males among the priests shall eat thereof: it is most holy.

29. Omnis masculus in sacerdotibus comedet illam: sanctitas sanctitatum est.


16. And the remainder thereof. He repeats what we have seen just before, that the residue of those oblations, in which there was peculiar holiness, should belong to the priests; but upon condition that they should be eaten nowhere except in the sanctuary. A special precept is also given as to the minha, (meat-offering,) that it should not be made into leavened bread; for thus the meal, which had been already dedicated to God, would be changed into common food, which could not be done without profanation. Since, then, God admits the priests, as it were, to His own table, the dignity of their office is not a little heightened by this privilege; yet in such a manner as that by their liberty the reverence due to God’s service may not be impaired. Afterwards Moses confirms in general terms that right, which had been before assigned to them, that they should take what remained of the burnt-offerings, on condition that it should be eaten by males only, and in the sacred place; in order that God’s presence may not only act as a restraint on their luxury and intemperance, but, also instruct them in the sobriety due from His servants, and, in a word, accustom them to exceeding purity, whilst they reflect that they are separated from all others. At the end of Le 6:18, some translate it in the neuter gender, “every thing that shall have touched them shall be holy:” but in this passage Moses seems to me to prescribe that none but the priests should touch the minha. It was said elsewhere of the altar and its vessels, that by virtue of their anointing they sanctified whatever was placed upon them; but we now see that ordinary men are prohibited from touching sacred things, that their sanctity may be inviolate. For we know that the sons of Aaron were anointed with this object, that they alone might be allowed to touch whatever was consecrated to God. Therefore the verb in the future tense is put for the imperative. So also it is soon afterwards said of the victims, Le 6:27, “Whosoever shall touch the flesh thereof shall be holy:”  212 because Moses enacts this special law for the priests, that they alone should handle the sacrifices. Nor does what immediately follows contradict this, “when there is sprinkled of the blood thereof on any garment,” etc.; for he does not mean to say that the garments or any vessels would be consecrated by the mere touch; but it is an argument from the less to the greater; if it were not lawful to take a garment sprinkled with the blood, or the pots in which the flesh was dressed, out of the tabernacle, unless the garment were washed, or the pots broken or rinsed, much more were they to beware lest any of the ordinary people should meddle with it. For how shall a mortal man dare to lay a hand upon that holy thing (sanctitati) which could not even cleave to the garment; of a priest without atonement? The sum is that a thing so holy should not be mixed with unhallowed things.



A. V., “Whatsoever,” following the V. and not LXX.

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