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Leviticus 1:6-9

Context
1:6 Next, the one presenting the offering 1  must skin the burnt offering and cut it into parts, 1:7 and the sons of Aaron, the priest, 2  must put fire on the altar and arrange wood on the fire. 1:8 Then the sons of Aaron, the priests, must arrange the parts with the head and the suet 3  on the wood that is in the fire on the altar. 4  1:9 Finally, the one presenting the offering 5  must wash its entrails and its legs in water and the priest must offer all of it up in smoke on the altar 6  – it is 7  a burnt offering, a gift 8  of a soothing aroma to the Lord.

1 tn Heb “Then he”; the referent (the offerer) has been specified in the translation for clarity. The LXX and Smr have “they” rather than “he” in both halves of this verse, suggesting that the priests, not the offerer, were to skin and cut the carcass of the bull into pieces (cf. the notes on vv. 5a and 9a).

2 tc A few medieval Hebrew mss, Smr, LXX, Syriac, and Tg. Onq. have plural “priests” here (cf. 1:5, 8) rather than the MT singular “priest” (cf. NAB). The singular “priest” would mean (1) Aaron, the (high) priest, or (2) the officiating priest, as in Lev 1:9 (cf. 6:10 [3 HT], etc.). “The sons of Aaron” is probably a textual corruption caused by conflation with Lev 1:5, 8 (cf. the remarks in J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 13).

3 tc A few Hebrew mss, Smr, LXX, Syriac, and Tg. Onq. have the conjunction “and” before “the head,” which would suggest the rendering “and the head and the suet” rather than the rendering of the MT here, “with the head and the suet.”

sn “Suet” is the specific term used for the hard, fatty tissues found around the kidneys of sheep and cattle. A number of modern English versions have simplified this to “fat” (e.g., NIV, NCV, TEV, CEV, NLT).

4 tn Heb “on the wood, which is on the fire, which is on the altar.” Cf. NIV “on the burning wood”; NLT “on the wood fire.”

5 tn Heb “Finally, he”; the referent (the offerer) has been specified in the translation for clarity. Once again, the MT assigns the preparation of the offering (here the entrails and legs) to the offerer because it did not bring him into direct contact with the altar, but reserves the actual placing of the sacrifice on the altar for the officiating priest (cf. the notes on vv. 5a and 6a).

6 tn Heb “toward the altar,” but the so-called locative ה (hey) attached to the word for “altar” can indicate the place where something is or happens (GKC 250 §90.d and GKC 373-74 §118.g; cf. also J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:161). This is a standard way of expressing “on/at the altar” with the verb “to offer up in smoke” (Hiphil of קָטַר [qatar]; cf. also Exod 29:13, 18, 25; Lev 1:9, 13, 15, 17; 2:2, etc.).

7 tc A few Hebrew mss and possibly the Leningrad B19a ms itself (the basis of the BHS Hebrew text of the MT), under an apparent erasure, plus Smr, LXX, Syriac, and Tg. Ps.-J. suggest that Hebrew הוּא (hu’, translated as “it is”) should be added here as in vv. 13 and 17. Whether or not the text should be changed, the meaning is the same as in vv. 13 and 17, so it has been included in the translation here.

8 sn The standard English translation of “gift” (אִשֶּׁה, ’isheh) is “an offering [made] by fire” (cf. KJV, ASV). It is based on a supposed etymological relationship to the Hebrew word for “fire” (אֵשׁ, ’esh) and is still maintained in many versions (e.g., NIV, RSV, NRSV, NLT; B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 7-8). For various reasons, including the fact that some offerings referred to by this term are not burned on the altar (see, e.g., Lev 24:9), it is probably better to understand the term to mean “gift” (J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 22) or “food gift” (“food offering” in NEB and TEV; J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:161-62). See R. E. Averbeck, NIDOTTE 1:540-49 for a complete discussion.



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