Leviticus 2, Grain Offerings
Unlike the burnt offerings, these grain offerings were not totally consumed by the fire — the priests were allowed to eat it (minus the small portions offered up). “A grain offering is a sacrifice—that is, an offering to the Lord for his utilization—even though it involves no death or blood…”
These grain offerings served as a major food provision for the priests; remember, they did not own land as an inheritance on which they could grow their own crops. The first part (vv. 1-3) dealt with the uncooked grain offering and vv. 4-10 cover cooked grain offering. Most of the cooked grain offerings did not have yeast in them (some did, 7:13; 23:17). They are cooked in a stove or oven, griddle, pan, etc. One writer summarized it this way,
No leaven is to be added to the part presented to the Lord. Since leaven or yeast was a symbol for sin, it was never to be placed upon the altar. Neither was honey to be added because of the danger of fermentation. Salt was mixed into the grain offerings; because it was a preservative, it could arrest any undesirable feature that would be offensive to the Lord.
The “salt of the covenant” is mentioned in v. 13 and every offering presumably had salt in it. The salt of the covenant perhaps pointed to the sign and seal of the covenant between God and His people, as some have noted (cf. Currid; Num. 18:19; 2 Chron. 13:5). “Thus the covenant is made binding by the symbolic use of the salt in the ritual.” (Currid) Another commentator (Burge) suggested that since salt is a preservative, the “salt appropriately signifies the permanence of the covenant (Num. 18:19; 2 Chron. 13:5).”
A “memorial portion” is mentioned in verses 2, 9, and 16. “It may well signify both the worshiper’s remembering of God’s gracious character and gracious acts toward the worshiper and God’s remembering and blessing of the worshiper, for which he or she prayed in the act of offering.”
The last three verses deal in particular with the first fruits gathered during the harvest. Verses 1-3 explained the grain offering throughout the year and these verses deal with the first fruits of the harvest.
In summary, the animal sacrifices in ch. 1 highlighted God’s provision for their sins and these grain offerings highlighted God’s provisions for their sustenance. Note how it started in this chapter — “When anyone brings a grain offering as an offering to the Lord…” (v. 1) These were offered to honor the Lord for His provisions —it was an indication that God had provided for them. These grain offerings were devoted to the Lord from which the priests lived. These were simple yet profound acts because of what they symbolized — Israel recognized that these provisions came from the Lord.
- Prayer before our meals recognizes his care and provisions and our thanksgiving is our sacrifice of praise. Our free will offerings on a weekly basis also serves as a offering pleasing to the Lord — this is the way Paul recognized the gifts given to him for his ministry in Thessalonica — “a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.” (Phil. 4:18)
- As one commentator noted, the grain had to be harvested, turned into fine flour, baked, etc. It was not a simple sacrifice but one that cost them something. They had to prepare it so they could offer it. Let us spend some time preparing our sacrifices of prayer, praise and thanksgiving each and every day through the merit of our Lord Jesus Christ, especially on the Lord’s Day!