“Adonai said to Moshe, “This is the offering for Adonai that Aharon and his sons are to offer on the day he is anointed: two quarts of fine flour, half of it in the morning and half in the evening, as a grain offering from then on. It is to be well mixed with olive oil and fried on a griddle; then bring it in, break it in pieces and offer the grain offering as a fragrant aroma for Adonai. The anointed cohen who will take Aharon’s place from among his descendants will offer it; it is a perpetual obligation. It must be entirely made to go up in smoke for Adonai; every grain offering of the cohen is to be entirely made to go up in smoke — it is not to be eaten.”-Leviticus 6:12-16
Verse 12 of Leviticus 6 begins by telling us that this is the “offering” (or KORBAN in Hebrew) that the priests are to present.
Let’s not forget that only the PRIESTS are allowed to offer up sacrifices.
And the ONLY LEGITIMATE PRIESTLY FAMILY among the many families of the Levites is restricted to Aaron’s bloodline.
Let’s take a look at the following part of verse 13.
“This is the offering for Adonai that Aharon and his sons are to offer on the day he is anointed“.
Many folks misunderstand this verse and assume it means that there are regular times when priests are anointed with oil, and that the ritual that begins from verse 13 is one of those times.
This is NOT the case!
You need to keep in mind that when these instructions were given, it was still early on in the Exodus.
This is just a continuation of the instructions concerning the construction of the Wilderness Tabernacle and the rituals and laws connected to it.
The instructions we’re reading about here in Chapter 6 of Leviticus were given BEFORE the Tabernacle was constructed and BEFORE Aaron and his sons were consecrated to be priests before the Lord.
So the nuance of verse 13 is “on that day in the future when Aaron and his sons are anointed to be priests”.
Aaron and his sons being anointed to be priests is a one-time event.
Let’s move on.
Next, we are provided specific details about the set amount of flour (semolina) that is to be used for the MINCHAH or Grain Offering.
We’re told 2 quarts, one quart in the morning and one quart in the evening are to be offered up as a Grain Offering.
The MINCHAH was offered up together with the OLAH which consisted of one ram in the morning and one ram in the evening.
Now there is one part of these instructions concerning the MINCHAH that seems to contradict what was said earlier.
“It must be entirely made to go up in smoke for Adonai; every grain offering of the cohen is to be entirely made to go up in smoke — it is not to be eaten.”-Leviticus 6:15-16
However, earlier on in Leviticus chapter 6, we are told the following:
“This is the law for the grain offering: the sons of Aharon are to offer it before Adonai in front of the altar. He is to take from the grain offering a handful of its fine flour, some of its olive oil and all of the frankincense which is on the grain offering; and he is to make this reminder portion of it go up in smoke on the altar as a fragrant aroma for Adonai. The rest of it Aharon and his sons are to eat; it is to be eaten without leaven in a holy place — they are to eat it in the courtyard of the tent of meeting.“-Leviticus 6:7-9
Both of these excerpts from Leviticus Chapter 6 are talking about the same sacrifice, the MINCHAH!
So what gives?
Do we have a contradiction here?
Okay, here we’re brought face to face with another Biblical principle that we might as well learn right now.
The MINCHAH offered up by the priests was forbidden to be eaten.
It had to be completely burned up on the Brazen Altar.
However, when an offering is brought by a common worshipper, in most cases, a majority portion of that offering can be eaten.
I think some of the confusion is due to the fact that even when the sacrifice is brought by a common person, it is still always the priest who officiates by putting the offering on top of the altar.
Here’s another interesting point.
Recall that there are many different ways the MINCHAH could be prepared.
It could be cooked or uncooked, fried up on a griddle or baked in an oven or made into bread or wafers.
However, for the priests, there was only ONLY acceptable way to present the MINCHAH or Grain Offering.
It had to be heated on a griddle and the dough had to to be “well mixed with olive oil”.
In other words, the priestly MINCHAH had to be more on the wet side than the dry side.
Again, notice verse 14 which repeats a common theme.
“…offer the grain offering as a fragrant aroma for Adonai.”
So, again, the whole purpose of burning things up is to create smoke that will in turn produce a pleasant odor that will please the Lord.
As primitive as it sounds, I think it’s important to keep in mind that the Lord had spiritual reasons for these rituals that the ancient Israelite mind could not yet grasp.
In those days, it was common understanding that their God and the gods of other nations were like a race of super human beings who had ears and eyes, feet and arms and noses that could smell.
And they believed their God named YHVH lived up in the sky.
So that’s why smoke had to be created, so it could trickle up into the sky and tickle the nostrils of HASHEM.
Finally, verse 15 reinforces another important theme we touched on earlier.
It is that the animals, grain, and even the libation offering (the wine) are all sacrifices FOR THE LORD.
They are the Lord’s Holy Property.
This is a very crucial point, the importance of which will become clearer, especially when we begin talking about Holy War protocol.
So the biggest takeaway for today is that the Priests are not allowed to benefit from (in other words eat) the offerings that they themselves bring before the Lord.
They can only benefit or eat the offerings brought by the common folk.