Harmony Of The Law Volume 2 by Jean Calvin
Leviticus 22:27. When a bullock or a sheep. God forbids the young to be taken from the womb to the altar
Leviticus 22:27. When a bullock or a sheep. God forbids the young to be taken from the womb to the altar, not only because this bad example was likely to be transferred from the sacrifices to the ordinary food, but also because the offering would have been a fraudulent one. We have seen that the sacrifices were called the bread of God, in order that men should be more liberal with respect to them, and not offer meagre victims; but to kill a young animal fresh from the womb would have been a sign of contempt; although regard was also had to humanity, lest, by eating of such sacrifices, they should grow accustomed to cruelty. The eighth day is appointed, on which the lawfulness of the offering should commence. I am afraid that the reason which some assign for this is too subtle, viz., that an animal is made perfect in seven days, because God completed the work of creation in seven days. Besides, on this ground the seventh day would be the fittest for sacrifice, because in six days God completed all His work, and the seventh was hallowed for His service It is enough for me that regard was had to maturity of age, just as in the case of circumcision. 28. And whether it be a cow or ewe. Though cruelty was indeed condemned in this precept, still I make no doubt but that Moses speaks primarily of the sacrifices. I confess the word scht, shachat, which he uses, is a general one; but since throughout the chapter he is professedly treating of the sacrifices, and in connection with these words adds the conclusion respecting the hallowing of His holy name, ver.32, the context requires that we should consider it to be an inculcation of purity in God's service. If any prefer to extend it further, I will not contest the point; and thus this sentence will be a supplement to the Sixth Commandment. I have, however, followed what appears most probable, and the reader of sound judgment will, I hope, agree with me. Meanwhile, I confess that all barbarity and cruelty was thus prohibited in the sacrifices, and in them the rule was laid down, that men should not be cruel in reference to their daily food. It is a sight by no means pleasant to gentle minds to see the dam killed together with her young; and, if it were a common custom, men would easily grow callous as to blood-shedding in general. God would therefore not have the exercises of religion disconnected from the duties of humanity; and the tendency of the precept is, that God's altar should not be a Cyclopean slaughter-house.