Against the Temple worship (Am 5:21-5:24)

“I hate your festivals!

I despise your festivals!

I take no delight

In your solemn assemblies!

Even though you offer me

Your burnt offerings,

Your grain offerings,

I will not accept them.

I will not look upon

The peace offerings

Of your fatted animals.

Take away from me

The noise of your songs.

I will not listen

To the melody

Of your harps.

But let justice

Roll down

Like water.

Let righteousness be

Like an ever-flowing stream.”

Amos has Yahweh reject the Temple cultic worship side of Israelite life in very strong terms. Yahweh hated and despised the religious festivals that were part of Temple worship. Neither did Yahweh take any delight in their solemn assemblies. Yahweh was not going to accept their burnt offerings and grain offerings. He was not going to even look at their peace offerings of fat animals. He wanted them to take away the noise of their chants and songs, since he was not going to listen to their melodic harps. Instead, he wanted justice to roll down from the hills like gushing water. He wanted righteousness to be like a continual flowing stream. Justice not worship was his cry, a theme that Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr, (1929-1968) often mentioned, as he wanted justice to roll down from the hills like running water.

The role of the prince in these offerings (Ezek 45:16-45:17)

“All the people

Of the land

Shall join

With the prince in Israel,

In making this offering.

But this shall be

The obligation

Of the prince


The burnt offerings,

The grain offerings,

The drink offerings,

At the festivals,

The new moons,

The Sabbath,

All the appointed festivals

Of the house of Israel.

He shall provide

The sin offerings,

The grain offerings,

The burnt offerings,

The peace offerings,

To make atonement

For the house of Israel.”

The prince in Israel would be responsible for providing the animals and grains for the sacrifices and sin offerings at the various festivals. All the people of the land would join with the prince for these offerings. However, it was the obligation of the prince to make sure that there were animals, grains, and oils available for these burnt offerings, grain offerings, and the drink offerings at all these religious festivals, including the new moons and the Sabbath. The prince was to provide for these various offerings, including the peace offerings, in order to make atonement for the house of Israel.

Money for temple worship offerings (Bar 1:10-1:10)

“They said.

‘Here we send you


So buy

With this money

Burnt offerings,

Sin offerings,

With incense.


A grain offering.

Offer them

On the altar

Of the Lord

Our God!’”

The people with Baruch wanted to take up a collection and send money to the people in Jerusalem. With this money, the Jerusalem Judeans were to buy burnt offerings, sin offerings, incense, and grain offerings. All these were to be presented at the altar of the Lord God. However, there are some problems since the Temple and its altars were all destroyed. Was there a temporary temple in Jerusalem during the exile? How many people were left in Jerusalem?

Eighty pilgrim worshippers arrive at Mizpah (Jer 41:4-41:5)

“On the day after

The murder of Governor Gedaliah,

Before anyone knew of it,

Eighty men arrived

From Shechem,

From Shiloh,

From Samaria.

Their beards were shaved.

Their clothes were torn.

Their bodies were gashed.

They were bringing

Grain offerings

With incense

To present

At the temple of Yahweh.”

The day after the death of Judean governor, 80 pilgrims from the northern areas of Shechem, Shiloh, and Samaria came by. As Mizpah was near Jerusalem, they would want to stop there. Obviously, they knew nothing about the death of Governor Gedaliah the day before, but they might have heard about the good times at Mizpah. These pilgrims had shaved beards, torn clothes, and gashes on their bodies, typical signs of mourning. They may have been on their way to mourn the passing of the Temple in Jerusalem with their grain offerings and incense. However, they might also be on the way to celebrate the feast of Tents.

Levitical priests (Jer 33:18-3:18)

“The Levitical priests

Shall never lack

A man in my presence

To offer burnt offerings,

To make grain offerings,

To make sacrifices forever.”

Now Yahweh indicates, via this oracle, that they would never lack Levitical priests. These priests would offer burnt offerings, grain offerings, and other sacrifices to Yahweh forever.

The consecration of the court (2 Chr 7:7-7:7)

“King Solomon consecrated the middle of the court that was in front of the house of Yahweh. There he offered the burnt offerings and the fat of the well-being offerings, because the bronze altar King Solomon had made could not hold the burnt offerings, the grain offerings, and the fat parts.”

Once again, we are back almost word for word from 1 Kings, chapter 8. Solomon consecrated the court before the temple with all the burnt offerings.   Obviously the bronze sacrificial altar was not able to contain all these offerings.

Worship regulations (Num 15:1-15:16)

“Yahweh spoke to Moses.  ‘Speak to the Israelites and say to them.  When you come into the land you are to inhabit, which I am giving you,  and you make an offering by fire to Yahweh from the herd or from the flock, whether a burnt offering or a sacrifice, to fulfill a vow or as a freewill offering or at your appointed festivals it must make a pleasing odor for Yahweh.  Whoever presents such an offering to Yahweh shall present also a grain offering of one-tenth of an ephah of choice flour, mixed with one-fourth of a hin of oil.  Moreover, you shall offer one-fourth of a hin of wine as a drink offering with the burnt offering or the sacrifice, for each lamb.   For a ram, you shall offer a grain offering of two-tenths of an ephah of choice flour mixed with one-third of a hin of oil.   As a the drink offering you shall offer one-third of a hin of wine, a pleasing odor to Yahweh   When you offer a bull as a burnt offering or a sacrifice, to fulfill a vow, or as offering of well-being to Yahweh.  Then you shall offer with the bull a grain offering of three-tenths of an ephah of choice flour, mixed with half a hin of oil.  You shall offer as a drink offering half a hin of wine, as an offering by fire, a pleasing odor to Yahweh.”

This is a return to the priestly tradition about worship regulations, especially about additions to the various offerings.  This reads like a cooking book for the various sacrifices.  Once again, Yahweh was speaking to Moses about what they were to do when they came into the land that they were to inhabit.  This is not about what they are to do in the desert.  Any offering of any kind had to have a pleasing odor for Yahweh.  Once again, emphasizing the nostrils of Yahweh.  Therefore, a grain offering needed a 1/10th of a bushel of choice flour, mixed with 4 liters of oil.  There was 4 liters of wine for the drink offering with the lamb.   With the ram, you need 2/10th of a bushel of choice flour mixed with 6 liters of oil.  For the drink offering you needed 6 liters of wine. When you prepare a bull for a burnt offering, you needed 3/10th of a bushel of choice flour, mixed with 8 liters of oil.   The drink offering with that would be 8 liters of wine.  Obviously, they could not have wine offerings in the wilderness.

“Thus it shall be done for each ox or ram, or for each of the male lambs or the kids.  According to the number that you prepare, so you shall do with each and every one.   Every native Israelite shall do these things in this way, in presenting an offering by fire, a pleasing odor to Yahweh.   An alien who lives with you, or who takes permanent residence among you, and wishes to offer an offering by fire, a pleasing odor to Yahweh, shall do as you do.  As for the assembly, there shall be for both you and the resident alien a single statute, a perpetual statute throughout your generations.  You and the alien shall be alike before Yahweh.  You and the alien who resides with you shall have the same law and the same ordinance.”

Now if a stranger is with you and wishes to make an offering that would be pleasing to Yahweh he shall do as you do.  Any resident permanent or not shall follow the same statutes.   Both the native Israelite and the alien shall be alike before Yahweh.  You both have the same law and the same ordinances.  This is the same as in Exodus, chapter 12.  The stranger is as good as you are and treat him well.  Obviously in the desert there are no aliens.