This Book is called LEVITICUS, because it treats of the Offices, Ministries, Rites and Ceremonies of the Priests and Levites. The Hebrews call it VAICRA, from the word with which it begins.
Of holocausts or burnt offerings.
1:1. And the Lord called Moses, and spoke to him from the tabernacle of the testimony, saying:
1:2. Speak to the children of Israel, and thou shalt say to them: The man among you that shall offer to the Lord a sacrifice of the cattle, that is, offering victims of oxen and sheep:
1:3. If his offering be a holocaust, and of the herd, he shall offer a male without blemish, at the door of the testimony, to make the Lord favourable to him.
A holocaust. . .That is, a whole burnt offering (olokauston), so called, because the whole victim was consumed with fire; and given in such manner to God as wholly to evaporate, as it were, for his honour and glory; without having any part of it reserved for the use of man. The other sacrifices in the Old Testament were either offerings for sin, or peace offerings: and these latter again were either offered in thanksgiving for blessings received; or by way of prayer for new favours or graces. So that sacrifices were then offered to God for four different ends or intentions, answerable to the different obligations which man has to God: 1. By way of adoration, homage, praise, and glory due to his divine majesty. 2. By way of thanksgiving for all benefits received from him. 3. By way of confessing and craving pardon for sins. 4. By way of prayer and petition for grace and relief in all necessities. In the New Law we have but one sacrifice, viz., that of the body and blood of Christ: but this one sacrifice of the New Testament perfectly answers all these four ends; and both priest and people, as often as it is celebrated, ought to join in offering it up for these four ends.
1:4. And he shall put his hand upon the head of the victim: and it shall be acceptable, and help to its expiation.
1:5. And he shall immolate the calf before the Lord: and the priests the sons of Aaron shall offer the blood thereof, pouring it round about the altar, which is before the door of the tabernacle.
1:6. And when they have flayed the victim, they shall cut the joints into pieces:
1:7. And shall put fire on the altar, having before laid in order a pile of wood.
1:8. And they shall lay the parts that are cut out in order thereupon: to wit, the head, and all things that cleave to the liver;