How to make a grain offering
Flour offering1If you want to bring an offering of grain, one way to do it is to grind the grain into fine flour. Then pour in some olive oil and frankincense. 2Take it to Aaron’s sons the priests. They’ll take a handful of the moistened flour and burn it on the altar—a sweet smell to God. 3The rest of the offering goes to Aaron and his sons. The LORD considers this part of the offering, used by the priests, as especially sacred.
Baked and fried grain offerings4If you want to bring a grain offering that’s baked, don’t use yeast. Bake it into yeast-free cakes or wafers made with the best flour and with olive oil. 5If you want to bring a grain offering fried like a pancake on the griddle, use the best flour. Mix in some with olive oil, but don’t use yeast. 6Tear your offering into pieces and pour olive oil on it. There you have it, a grain offering.
Cooked grain offering7If you want to bring a grain offering cooked in a pot, use the best flour and mix in some olive oil. 8When you make a grain offering like this for the LORD, bring it to the priest and he’ll take it to the altar for you. 9The priest will take just a representative sample of the offering and burn it on the altar. It will rise in smoke as an offering—a sweet smell to the LORD. 10The rest of the grain offering goes to Aaron and his sons. The LORD considers this part of the offering as especially sacred.
Add salt; no honey or yeast11Don’t use yeast in any grain offering you make to the LORD. You’re not allowed to burn yeast or honey in any offering to the LORD. 12You may bring yeast and honey in your first harvest offerings each year. But they don’t get burned into smoke as a sweet smell on the altar. 13Use salt in every grain offering you bring to the LORD. Salt is a preservative, and it’ll be a reminder that you have a never-ending agreement with God. So don’t forget to add it to your grain offering recipes.
Roasted grain offering14If you bring a grain offering of your first-ripened heads of grain, crush them into coarse kernels. Then roast the kernels and bring them to the priest. 15Sprinkle your roasted grain offering with oil and fragrant incense. There you have it, a grain offering. 16The priest will take a small sample of the offering—some of the crushed grain sprinkled with olive oil and incense—and burn it on the altar as an offering to the LORD.
Grain offerings were an expression of gratitude for a harvest and for the way God takes care of the Israelites. People offered the grain in several ways: ground to fine flour, presented as baked, fried, cooked, or roasted with olive oil.
Frankincense was one of the most exotic and expensive fragrances available, along with myrrh. Both come from sap of small trees and shrubs growing in what are now Saudi Arabia, northern Africa, and India. People would grind up the dried sap and put it in perfumes. They also burned it as a woody fragrance, and a sweet-smelling incense. They burned the incense in religious services. They also burned incense in homes as air fresheners in the days before soap and deodorants.
BY ROBERT V. HUBER
God says that adding frankincense to a grain offering and then burning it will send a sweet smell to God. But when Christians hear about frankincense their minds go the Christmas story, where Magi brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the infant Jesus. Do you think there might be a connection between the two passages?
The Passover meal reminds us how God freed the Israelites from slavery and led them to the Promised Land. In a similar way, according to Leviticus 2:13, salt added to a grain offering reminded the Israelites of their agreement with God. In biblical times legal agreements were often associated with salt. Why salt? Scholars are left guessing. We can guess, too.
The priests took large portions of the grain offerings for themselves, including the most sacred parts of the offering (Leviticus 2:10). That sounds like they got a lot of good meat and fine flour. How fair is that? It could even sound to some as though the priests were tweaking God’s laws to their favor. What do you think?
God tells Moses that no yeast (or honey) should be used in grain offerings that are to be burned (Leviticus 2:10–11). This reminds us that the Passover meal included bread with no yeast. Do you think there could be any connection between the two restrictions?
When someone makes an offering of his first-ripened heads of grain (the first fruits), he is instructed to crush them into coarse kernels, roast them, and bring them to the priest. Some Bible scholars see this crushing as foreshadowing the suffering of Jesus, who would be crushed and crucified to save us from our sins. Does that sound reasonable to you?