The Five Offerings in the Old Testament

NAME ELEMENTS PURPOSE GOD'S PORTION PRIEST'S PORTION OFFERER'S PORTION
Burnt Offering
Lev 1; 6:8-13; 8:18-21; 16:24
Bull, ram or bird (dove or young pigeon for the poor); wholly consumed; no defect Voluntary act of worship; atonement for unintentional sin in general; expression of devotion, commitment and complete surrender to God Entire animal Skin (to be sold) Nothing
Grain Offering
Lev 2; 6:14-23
Grain, fine flour, olive oil, incense, baked bread (cakes or wafers), salt; no yeast or honey; accompanied burnt offering and peace offering (along with drink offering) Voluntary act of worship; recognition of God's goodness and provisions; devotion to God
1. Priest's own offering: Entire portion to God
2. Others: Memorial portion (a handful)
1. Priest's own offering: none (all the remainder to be burnt)
2. Others: all the remainder (had to be eaten within court of tabernacle)
Nothing
Peace Offering
Lev 3; 7:11-34
Any animal without defect from herd or flock; variety of breads Voluntary act of worship; thanksgiving and fellowship (it included a communal meal); included vow offerings, thanksgiving offerings and freewill offerings Fatty portions (fat covering inner parts; fat tail, kidneys, lobe of the liver) Breast given to High Priest (wave offering), right foreleg given to officiating priest (heave offering)
1. Thanksgiving offering: all the remainder (to be eaten the same day); no left over allowed
2. Vow or freewill offering: remainder (to be eaten the same day and the next day); any left over to be burnt on the 3rd day
Sin Offering
Lev 4; 5:1-13; 6:24-30; 8:14-17; 16:3-22
1. Young bull: for High Priest and whole congregation. The blood was to be sprinkled in front of the veil and put on the horns of the altar of incense (see notes)
2. Male goat: for leader. The blood was to be put on the horns of the altar of burnt offering
3. Female goat or lamb: for common person. The blood was to be put on the horns of the altar of burnt offering
4. Dove or pigeon: for the poor. The blood was to be put on the horns of the altar of burnt offering
5. 1/10 ephah of fine flour: for the very poor
Mandatory atonement for specific unintentional sin; confession of sin; forgiveness of sin; cleansing from defilement Fatty portions (fat covering inner parts; fat tail, kidneys, lobe of the liver)
1. Atonement for High Priest and congregation: none (all the remainder was to be burnt outside the camp where the ashes were thrown)
2. Atonement for others: all the remainder (had to be eaten within court of tabernacle)
Nothing
Trespass Offering
Lev 5:14-19; 6:1-7; 7:1-6
Ram Mandatory atonement for unintentional sin requiring restitution; cleansing from defilement; make restitution; pay 20% fine Fatty portions (fat covering inner parts; fat tail, kidneys, lobe of the liver) All the remainder (had to be eaten within court of tabernacle) Nothing

"When more than one kind of offering was presented (as in Numbers 6:16-17), the procedure was usually as follows:

  1. sin offering or trespass offering,
  2. burnt offering,
  3. peace offering and grain offering (along with a drink offering).

This sequence furnishes part of the spiritual significance of the sacrificial system. First, sin had to be dealt with (sin offering or trespass offering). Second, the worshiper committed himself completely to God (burnt offering and grain offering). Third, fellowship or communion between the Lord, the priest and the worshiper (peace offering) was established. To state it another way, there were sacrifices of expiation (sin offerings and trespass offerings), consecration (burnt offerings and grain offerings) and communion (peace offerings). " (A portion of the table and the above information are extracted from the NIV Study Bible.)

Offerings

Daily the priest offered 1 lamb in the morning service and 1 lamb in the evening service. On a Sabbath, 2 additional lambs were offered after the morning service.

Seven high days are designated in Leviticus 23 (verses 7, 8, 21, 25, 28, 30-32, 35-36). These high days are Sabbaths. They were to be treated like the seventh day Sabbath, even though they could occur on a day other than the seventh day (Saturday) of the week - which was the normal Jewish Sabbath. On a high day, besides the daily regular offerings, the priest offered 2 additional lambs after the morning service, and additional sacrifices for the day. These seven high days were:

  1. The 1st day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Nisan 15)
  2. The 7th day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Nisan 21)
  3. The Feast of Weeks (Sivan 6)
  4. The Feast of Trumpets (Tishri 1)
  5. The Day of Atonement (Tishri 10)
  6. The 1st day of the Feast of Tabernacles (Tishri 15)
  7. The Last Great Day (Tishri 22)

Besides the daily regular offerings, additional sacrifices were offered on special festivals:

Festival Burnt Offering Sin Offering
Bulls Rams Lambs Goat
New moon
2
1
7
1
Feast of Unleavened Bread
2
1
7
1
(7 days total)
(14)
(7)
(49)
(7)
Feast of Weeks
2*
1*
7
1
Feast of Trumpets
1
1
7
1
The Day of Atonement (see notes)
1
1
7
1
Feast of Tabernacles - Day 1
13
2
14
1
Feast of Tabernacles - Day 2
12
2
14
1
Feast of Tabernacles - Day 3
11
2
14
1
Feast of Tabernacles - Day 4
10
2
14
1
Feast of Tabernacles - Day 5
9
2
14
1
Feast of Tabernacles - Day 6
8
2
14
1
Feast of Tabernacles - Day 7
7
2
14
1
(7 days total)
(70)
(14)
(98)
(7)
The Last Great Day
1
1
7
1

The burnt offerings were offered along with their grain offerings and drink offerings.

* Feast of Weeks (Pentecost): Numbers 28:27 recorded 2 bulls and 1 ram, but Leviticus 23:18 recorded 1 bull and 2 rams.

Notes - Special Offering on The Day of Atonement

Normally a bull was offered as sin offering for the whole congregation (Leviticus 4:13-14). But once a year on the Day of Atonement, a goat was offered instead. And for the High Priest, a bull was offered as sin offering (Leviticus 16:14-15). Another live goat, or the scapegoat, was to be sent to the wilderness (Leviticus 16:20-22). These were the special offerings during the atonement ceremony.

Besides the regular daily offering and atonement sin offerings, one bull, one ram and seven lambs were also offered (Numbers 29:7-11).

Related Topics

The Jewish Calendar - Presents an overview of the Jewish Calendar and Festivals. Also provides links to online tools.