In Leviticus 1:11, the author of Leviticus states,

and [he] must slaughter it on the north side of the altar before the Lord, and the sons of Aaron, the priests, will splash its blood against the altar’s sides.

This requirement is not given for burnt offerings of birds and for herd animals. What is the significance of the north side of the Altar, and why is slaughter in this location only required for animals from the flock?


Heaven's in the North

Psalms 48:2

> beautiful in elevation, is the joy of all the earth, Mount Zion, in the far north, the city of the great King.

Isaiah 14:13

> You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north;

על ירך המזבח צפנה, “at the north side of the altar.” The Tent opened to the east, the wash basin was on the west, and the ascent to the altar was to the south. Thus the north was the logical place for this activity. Noth suggests that the north side of the altar may have been the place for the smaller animals; the larger ones would have been prepared in front of the altar. The identification of the specific place accords with 4:24, 29, 33, which say that the purification offering (חטאת) is to be slaughtered where the whole offering is slaughtered. The remainder of the ritual is essentially the same as for the offering of cattle. (WBC)

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