Leviticus 22:23 Commentary - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)
(23) Either a bullock or a lamb.—Better, And bullock and one of the flock.
That hath any thing superfluous.—That is one member of the animal being more elongated or contracted than the other, being out of proportion. The same blemish also unfitted the priest for performing sacerdotal functions (see Lev. 21:18).
Or lacking in his parts.—This, according to the authorities during the second Temple, denotes contracted hoofs, or undivided hoofs, making them resemble those of an ass or horse.
That mayest thou offer for a freewill offering.—Better, that thou mayest make a freewill offering. As Lev. 22:18-20 most emphatically declare that an animal with any blemish whatsoever must not be offered “for any manner of freewill offering,” it is hardly conceivable that the lawgiver would contradict this enactment within the space of three verses, and say “that the animals with those serious organic defects enumerated in the verse before us, thou mayest offer for a freewill offering.” Hence, during the second Temple, the passage before us was interpreted to mean that the animals in question were only allowed to be consecrated for the maintenance and repair of the sanctuary, but not to be offered as a sacrifice on the altar. They were sold, or the offerer paid the value himself, and the money was applied to these sacred purposes. The opinion that a freewill offering was of less importance than a vow, and that therefore the lawgiver allows animals with the two kinds of defects here described to be offered for a freewill offering but not for a vow, is contrary to the regulations laid down in Lev. 22:18-20, and is against the practice during the second Temple (see Lev. 7:16). It is far more probable that the text is disarranged, and that it originally was, “that thou mayest not offer for a freewill offering, and for a vow it shall not be accepted.”
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Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)
Charles John Ellicott (1819 - 1905) was a distinguished English Christian theologian, academic and churchman. He briefly served as Dean of Exeter, then Bishop of the united see of Gloucester and Bristol.
His works include:
- An Old Testament Commentary for English Readers, 1897. (Editor)
- A New Testament Commentary for English Readers, 1878.