“The reason for this is so that the people of Isra’el will bring their sacrifices that they sacrifice out in the field — so that they will bring them to Adonai, to the entrance of the tent of meeting, to the cohen, and sacrifice them as peace offerings to Adonai.”-Leviticus 17:5
Do you recall the what the five basic categories of sacrifices we’ve learned so far are?
They are the…
OLAH (Burnt Offering)
MINCHAH (Grain Offering)
HATTA-AT (Purification Offering)
ASHAM (Reparation Offering)
ZEVAH SHELAMIM (Peace Offering).
As we studied in detail, each of these sacrifices had to be offered up for specific reasons for specific purposes in specific ways.
And all of these five categories of sacrifices were mandatory EXCEPT one?
Do you recall which one was NOT mandatory?
The answer is the ZEVAH SHELAMIM or the Peace Offering?
It’s interesting to note that in verse 5 the type of sacrifice being referred to is the ZEVAH SHELAMIM.
This little detail is significant for two reasons.
First, it is the one sacrifice that was voluntary.
The worshipper could decide for himself the timing and even if he was going to offer it to God.
Second, it was the one sacrifice that allowed the worshipper to keep the remainder of the animal.
The other offerings had to be completely burned up by fire or if there were remaining portions, they were given to the priests for their portion.
Not so with the ZEVAH.
Whenever the head of an Israelite household decided it was time for his family to eat meat, at his convenience he could decide to offer up a ZEVAH SHELAMIM secure in the knowledge that he could return home with the bulk of the animal on his shoulders.
It was for these reasons that the ZEVAH SHELAMIM was the most popular of the sacrifices while the Israelites dwelled out in the wilderness or even afterwards.