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Old Testament Sacrifices



OT References



Burnt Offering

Lev 1; 6:8-13; 8:18-21; 16:24

Bull, ram or male 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

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 fellowship  offering (along with drink offering)

Voluntary act of worship; recognition of God’s goodness and provisions; devotion to God

Fellowship 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)

Sin Offering

Lev 4:1-5:13; 6:24-30; 8:14-17; 16:3-22

1.      Young bull: for high priest and congregation

2.      Male goat: for leader

3.      Female goat or lamb: for common person

4.      Dove or pigeon: for the poor

5.      Tenth of an ephah of fine flour: for the very poor

Mandatory atonement for specific unintentional sin; confession of sin; forgiveness of sin; cleansing from defilement

Guilt Offering

Lev 5:14-6:7;


Ram or lamb

Mandatory atonement for unintentional sin requiring restitution; cleansing from defilement; make restitution; pay 20% fine

When more than one kind of offering was presented (as in Num 7:16,17), the procedure was usually as follows: (1) sin offering or guilt offering, (2) burnt offering, (3) fellowship 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 guilt 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 (fellowship offering) was established. To state it another way, there were sacrifices of expiation )sin offerings and guilt offerings), consecration (burnt offerings and grain offerings) and communion (fellowship offerings – these included vow offerings, thank offerings and freewill offerings).


The NIV Study Bible, 10 th ed.  Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1995.  p. 149

I wish to note that I disagree with the editor's description of the purpose of the Guilt Offering as: "atonement for unintentional sin". I believe Leviticus 6:1-7 makes clear that the guilt offering applies to intentional sin against your neighbor. The guilt offering also includes unintentional sin against holy things, which is defined first.

Name in NIV Passage Name in KJV
Guilt offering Lev 5:14-6:7
Lev 7:1-10
Trespass offering
Burnt offering Lev 6:8-13 Burnt offering
Grain offering Lev 6:14-23 Meat offering
Sin offering Lev 6:24-30 Sin offering
Lev 7:11-34 Sacrifice of
Peace offering

Daniel & The Daily Sacrifice

Daniel 9:27 NIV  "... In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering."

Daniel 12:11 NIV  "From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and ..."

These two verses describe the same point in time, the middle of Daniel's 70th Week.

Hebrew Words that Describe the Thing Ended

Concord #
zebach H2077
(oblation KJV)
minchah H4503
daily sacrifice
burnt offering
tamiyd H8548

Definitions from Strong's Concordance

H2077 zebach:  The word properly is slaughter, that is, the flesh of an animal; by implication a sacrifice
(the victim or the act): -- offer(-ing), sacrifice.

H4503 minchah:  The word means to apportion, that is, bestow; a donation; euphemistically tribute;
specifically a sacrificial offering (usually bloodless and voluntary):
—gift, oblation, (meat) offering, present, sacrifice.

H8548 tamiyd:  From an unused root meaning to stretch; properly continuance (as indefinite extension);
 but used only (attributively as adjective) constant (or adverbially constantly);
 elliptically the regular (daily) sacrifice:
— alway (-s), continual (employment, -ly), daily, ([n-]) ever (-more), perpetual.

These 3 Hebrew terms: tamiyd, zebach and minchah appear together in Leviticus 6 & 7
where the sacrificial system is defined, as shown in the chart above.

Leviticus 6:13 KJV  "The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out."

The word tamiyd (daily sacrifice or continual burnt offering), here translated as “ever”, is a reference to the offering that was ever burning before the Lord God. The Burnt, Sin & Guilt offerings were burned in the same place.

Leviticus 7:37 KJV  "This is the law of the burnt offering, of the meat offering, and of the sin offering,
 and of the trespass offering, and of the consecrations, and of the sacrifice of the peace offerings;

The words zebach and minchah appear in the summary list of the different types of offerings.
The two words cover the animal sacrifice and the grain (aka "meat") offering which was voluntary.

Tamiyd is a reference to the ever burning fire that represented the continual presence of God.
It was attended daily by the priests and composed of the various animal sacrifices.
It was a reminder of sin and the goal to live without it and thereby be close to God.

Zebach and Minchah reflect the two main aspects of the sacrificial system:
Voluntary acts of praise and thanksgiving
Mandatory sacrifices for atonement


"Daily Sacrifice"
"Sacrifice and Offering"

are two short hand references to the whole sacrificial system.

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First Posted: 5/31/05
Last Updated: 11/15/07