Harmony Of The Law Volume 2 by Jean Calvin
Leviticus 7:11. And this is the law of the sacrifice. I have elsewhere stated my reasons for calling this kind of sacrifice |the sacrifice of prosperities.| That they were offered not only in token of gratitude
Leviticus 7:11. And this is the law of the sacrifice. I have elsewhere stated my reasons for calling this kind of sacrifice |the sacrifice of prosperities.| That they were offered not only in token of gratitude, but when God's aid was implored, is plain both from this and other passages; yet in all cases the Jews thus testified that they acknowledged God as the author of all good things, whether they returned thanks for some notable blessing, or sought by His aid to be delivered from dangers, or whether they professed in general their piety, or paid the vows which they had made simply and without condition; for the payment of a conditional vow was an act of thanksgiving. At any rate, since in all they honored God with His due service, they gave proof of their gratitude. Hence this name was justly given to these sacrifices, because in them they either besought good success of Him, or acknowledged that what they had already obtained was owing to His grace, or asked for relief in adversity, or congratulated themselves on their welfare and safety. Moses, however, distinguishes one kind, as it were, from the others:, i.e., the sacrifice of thanksgiving, whereby they professedly returned thanks for some notable deliverance, which was not; always offered. In this case he commands unleavened cakes fried in oil, wafers seasoned with oil, and fine flour fried to be offered, together with leavened bread; and also commands that the flesh of the sacrifice should be eaten on the day of the oblation, so that none should be left. In vows and free-will-offerings greater liberty is conceded, viz., that they might eat the residue on the next day, provided they kept nothing till the third day. In the passage which I have inserted from chapter 22, the words I have translated |unto your acceptance,| might also be rendered |unto His good-will,| (in beneplacitum,) for the gratuitous favor of God is called rtsvn, ratson. The meaning therefore is, if you would have your sacrifice accepted by God, take care that none of the flesh should remain to the following day. Others, however, understand it of man's good-will, as if it were said, |at your own will,| or |as it shall please you.| And I admit, indeed, that the word rtsvn, ratson, is sometimes used in this sense; but since in the same chapter it can only be taken for God's favor or acceptance, I have preferred avoiding a variation; yet I make no objection if any one likes the other reading better. But if my readers weigh well the antithesis, when it is presently added, that if the flesh should remain beyond the proper time the sacrifice would not be pleasing to God, they will agree with me. There is, indeed, an apparent discrepancy here, since in this way Moses would command the voluntary sacrifice to be eaten on the same day, which, however, he does not do. If we prefer understanding it of the liberal feelings of men, he will exhort the people cheerfully to offer their victims in thanksgiving. I have, however, shewn the meaning which I approve of, and thus it will be easy to reconcile these things, for God's goodwill does not require this similarity, nor is it necessary to observe the same mode of offering that they may be grateful; but they are said to offer |unto their acceptance,| when they intermix no corruption, but offer purely and duly. If the cause of this distinction is asked, it is no clearer to me than is the variety between the bread and wafers or cakes. It is certain, indeed, that God had a reason for dealing more strictly or more indulgently; but to inquire now-a-days as to things unknown, and which conduce not at all to piety, is neither right nor expedient. 16. But if the sacrifice of his offering. I have observed a little above that it is not a conditional but a simple vow which is here meant; because, if a person were under the obligation of a vow, his payment was an act of thanksgiving, and thus his sacrifice was comprised under the first head. But it would not be without absurdity that similar things should be distinguished as if they differed. But inasmuch as many made gratuitous vows, Moses combines this kind of sacrifice with the free-will-offering, as standing in the same rank. It has also been stated that the consecrated meats were not kept too long, lest they should become tainted or putrified, and thus religion should fall into contempt. Perhaps, too, vainglory was thus provided against; for if it had been allowable to eat the meats salted, many would have made ostentatious offerings without expense. God, therefore, imposed a restraint, that they might offer their sacrifices more sparingly and reverently. The penalty is added, that; the sacrifice would not be acceptable to God, but rather abominable; and hence all who ate of them would be guilty. Moreover, when Moses says that polluted sacrifices would not be |imputed,| we may infer that those which are duly offered come into account before God, so that He reckons them as things expended for Himself. Still we must not, imagine them to be merits which lay Him under obligation; but because He deigns to deal so liberally with us, that no duty which we pay Him is useless.