The sacrifice offering (Lk 2:24-2:24)

“They offered

A sacrifice,

According to

What is stated

In the law

Of the Lord.

‘A pair of turtledoves,

Or two young pigeons.’”


καὶ τοῦ δοῦναι θυσίαν κατὰ τὸ εἰρημένον ἐν τῷ νόμῳ Κυρίου, ζεῦγος τρυγόνων ἢ δύο νοσσοὺς περιστερῶν.


Luke said that Mary and Joseph offered a sacrifice (καὶ τοῦ δοῦναι θυσίαν), according to what was stated in the law of the Lord (κατὰ τὸ εἰρημένον ἐν τῷ νόμῳ Κυρίου).  They were offering a pair of turtledoves (ζεῦγος τρυγόνων) or 2 young pigeons (ἢ δύο νοσσοὺς περιστερῶν.).  Leviticus, chapter 12:5-8, said that when the days of purification were completed, the new mother had to bring a lamb and a pigeon to the entrance of the tent of meeting for a sin offering and a burnt offering.  If she could not afford a lamb, she could bring two pigeons or two turtledoves, which was the case here, since Mary was giving the offering of a poor person.  The priest then made atonement on her behalf to make her clean.  Thus, the unclean mother’s birth had to become clean with a burnt and sin offering, since childbirth was considered an unclean action.  Her period of uncleanness was much longer than merely touching a dead unclean animal.

Peaceful times (Isa 65:24-65:25)

“‘Before they call,

I will answer.

While they are yet speaking,

I will hear.

The wolf shall feed together

With the lamb.

The lion shall eat straw

Like the ox.

But the serpent’s food shall be dust.

They shall not hurt.

They shall not destroy anyone

On my holy mountain.’

Says Yahweh.”

Everything will be wonderful in the New Jerusalem. Yahweh, in the first person singular, says that he will answer before they call. He will hear them while they are still speaking. The wolf and the lamb would eat together, while the lions would eat straw like oxen. However, the food for the serpent would be dust. They will not hurt or destroy anyone on his holy mountain.

The silent sufferings of the servant of Yahweh (Isa 53:7-53:9)

“He was oppressed.

He was afflicted.

Yet he did not open his mouth.

He was

Like a lamb

That is led to the slaughter.

He was

Like a sheep

That before its shearers is silent.

Thus he did not open his mouth.

By a perversion of justice

He was taken away.

Who could have imagined his future?

He was cut off

From the land of the living.

He was stricken

For the transgression of my people.

They made his grave

With the wicked.

His tomb was with the rich.

He had done no violence.

There was no deceit in his mouth.”

This suffering servant does not open his mouth to complain, unlike Job and others. Even though he was oppressed and afflicted, he was like a lamb led to slaughter or a sheep about to have his wool sheared, since he never opened his mouth. Although there was a perversion of justice against him, no one knew about his future. He was cut off from the land of the living for the transgressions of his people, indicating that this was an Israelite person. He had a grave with the wicked, but somehow he ended up in the tomb of a rich man. He had done no violence nor was there any deceit in his mouth. Once again, who is this silent suffering servant? Is this an Israelite prophet? Is it Isaiah? Obviously, many of these thoughts about the silent suffering innocent servant, who was oppressed, were later applied to Jesus Christ.

The perfect future time (Isa 11:6-11:9)

“The wolf shall live

With the lamb.

The leopard shall lie down

With the kid goat.

The calf shall be with the lion.

The lion and the fatling shall be together.

A little child shall lead them.

The cow and the bear shall graze together.

Their young shall lie down together.

The lion shall eat straw

Like the ox.

The nursing child shall play

Over the hole of the asp.

The weaned child shall put his hand

On the adder’s den.

But they will not get hurt.

They will not destroy

All my holy mountains.

The earth shall be full

Of the knowledge of Yahweh,

Just as the waters cover the sea.”

Isaiah points out that this future messianic king will be Davidic, with the Spirit of Yahweh, just, and live in an ideal perfect time, where all disagreements would disappear. All our problems would be solved in this idyllic perfect age to come, like the paradise that was lost. The wolf and the lamb would get along. So too, the leopard and the kid goat would be fine together. Calves, lions, and feed animals would all be as one. The cow and the bear would graze on the same field. A little child would be able to lead them, since they are so tame. Lions would eat grass and straw, just like oxen. Little nursing children would play by an asp nest or put their hands into adder’s den, and still not get hurt. No one will hurt the holy mountains. The whole earth would be filled with the knowledge of Yahweh, the Lord, just as there is the right amount of water in the seas.

Stay with your own kind (Sir 13:15-13:20)

“Every creature loves its like.

Every person loves his neighbor.

All living beings associate

With their own kind.

People stick close to those

Like themselves.

What does a wolf have in common

With a lamb?

No more has a sinner anything in common

With the devout.

What peace is there

Between a hyena and a dog?

What peace is there

Between the rich and the poor?

Wild asses in the wilderness

Are the prey of lions.

Likewise the poor

Are feeding grounds for the rich.

Humility is an abomination

To the proud.

Likewise the poor are an abomination

To the rich.”

Sirach tells us that people and creatures like to stick with their own kind. There is a natural born prejudice to stay with your own kind of people. Everybody usually loves their neighbors. Why else would they live there? A wolf and a lamb have nothing in common, just like the sinner and the devout do not have anything in common. There can never be peace between hyenas and dogs, so too the animosity between rich and poor cannot be bridged. Wild donkeys are the prey of lions, so too are the poor the feeding grounds of the rich. The rich take advantage of the poor. The proud hate the humble, just like the rich hate the poor.

The Feast of the First Harvest (Lev 23:9-23:14)

“Yahweh spoke to Moses.  Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, when you enter the land that I am giving you and you reap its harvest, you shall bring the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest.  He shall raise the sheaf before Yahweh, that you may find acceptance.  On the day after the Sabbath the priest shall raise it.  On the day when you raise the sheaf, you shall offer a lamb a year old without blemish as a burnt offering to Yahweh.  The grain offering with it shall be two-tenths of an ephah of choice flour mixed with oil, to be offered by fire as a pleasing odor to Yahweh.  The drink offering with it shall be of wine, one-fourth of a hin.   You shall eat no bread, parched grain, or fresh ears until that very day, until you have brought the offering to your God.  It is a statute forever throughout your generations in all your settlements.”

The next festival is the first harvest.  This is clearly for the time when you enter the land that Yahweh was giving them, not now.  You have to bring the first fruits of your harvest to the priest.  This would be after the feast of the unleavened bread, probably the barley harvest.  At that time you present a burnt offering of a year old lamb without blemish and the grain offering of 20% of a bushel of choice flour.  A bushel is about the same as an ephah.  You also bring a drink offering of wine, a quarter of a hin. This is the first mention of wine as a gift offering.  A hin is about 8 quarts so that this would be about 2 quarts of wine.  You do not eat anything until you have brought the offering to God.  This is once again a statute forever in all your settlements.

Daily holocausts (Ex 29:38-29:46)

“Now this is what you shall offer on the altar, two lambs a year old regularly each day.  One lamb you shall offer in the morning and the other lamb you shall offer in the evening.  With the first lamb one-tenth of a measure of choice flour mixed with one-fourth of a hin of beaten oil, and one-fourth of a hin of wine for a drink offering.   The other lamb you shall offer in the evening, and shall offer with it a grain offering and its drink offering, as in the morning, for a pleasing odor, an offering by fire to Yahweh.  It shall be a regular burnt offering throughout your generations at the entrance of the tent of meeting before Yahweh, where I will meet with you, to speak to you there.  I will meet with the Israelites there, and it shall be sanctified by my glory.  I will consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar.  Aaron also and his sons I will consecrate, to serve me as priests.  I will dwell among the Israelites, and I will be their God.  They shall know that I am Yahweh their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt that I might dwell among them.  I am Yahweh their God.”

Every day, you will offer up two one year old lambs on the altar, one in the morning and the other in the evening.  The morning lamb has one-tenth of a measure of choice flour mixed with one-fourth of a hin of beaten oil, and one-fourth of a hin of wine for a drink offering.  A hin is about five liters, so that that you are talking about a quart of oil and wine.  You have the same mixture with the evening lamb. All this takes place at the entrance of the meeting tent, where Yahweh will meet and speak.  Yahweh wants to dwell among the Israelites and be their God.   Two lambs a day means that you need a large flock of lambs.

The Feast of Passover (Ex 12:1-12:14)

“Yahweh said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, ‘This month shall mark for you the beginning of months.  It shall be the first month of the year for you.  Tell the whole congregation of Israel that on the tenth of this month, they are to take a lamb for each family, a lamb for each household.”

Here we have the priestly tradition of Passover.  Yahweh said to both Moses and Aaron that this month would be the first month of the year. On the tenth of this month, each family would take a lamb.  This assumes a settled society.

“If a household is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join its closest neighbor in obtaining one.  The lamb shall be divided in proportion to the number of persons who eat of it.  Your lamb shall be without blemish, a year-old male.  You may also take it from the sheep or from the goats.  You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month.  Then the whole assembled congregation of Israel shall slaughter it at twilight.  They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it.  They shall eat the lamb that same night.  They shall eat it roasted over the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.  Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted over the fire, with its head, legs, and inner organs.  You shall let none of it remain until the morning.  Anything that remains until the morning you shall burn.  This is how you shall eat it.  Your loins girded and your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand.  You shall eat it hurriedly.”

You also could join other families if your family was too small. You gathered on the tenth of the month but cook and eat it on the fourteenth day of this month at twilight.  The lamb should be a one-year old unblemished male lamb.  However, a sheep or goat may due.  It is to be roasted, not boiled, and eaten the same night with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.  Anything left over should be burned.  You have to be ready to go.  You have to put blood on the door posts to the house.

“It is the Passover of Yahweh.  For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every first-born in the land of Egypt, both human beings and animals.  On all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments.  I am Yahweh.  The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live.  When I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.  This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to Yahweh.  Throughout your generations you shall observe it as a perpetual ordinance.”

The Passover rules are very explicit, with no exceptions.  Yahweh will pass over all the houses with the blood on the door posts.  This Passover becomes the central perpetual memorial sacrificial feast for the Israelites because they became the unique people that they were becoming, the chosen ones.