Leviticus 23:18 (KJV)

18 And ye shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish of the first year, and one young bullock, and two rams: they shall be for a burnt offering unto the LORD, with their meat offering, and their drink offerings, even an offering made by fire, of sweet savour unto the LORD.

According to the above text all sons of Israel were supposed to bring a sacrifice of seven lambs,one bullock & two rams for burnt offering during the festival of weeks which lasted one day.

It is interesting that when king David took a census(1 Chronicles 21:5) there about one million one hundred thousand men,so if all men were to bring their sacrifices this will translate to around eleven million animals.

How were they able to sacrifice all these animals on an altar measuring 2.3m*2.3m*1.4m(Exodus 7;1)in one day?


1 Answer 1


Leviticus 23:18 commands us to sacrifice ten animals only. The command is a collective command on the descendants of Israel to fulfill as a nation. The command is not on each individual separately.

The language of Leviticus 23:2-36, which deals with the holidays, is plural imperative. A priori, this form could be interpreted either as commandments whose fulfillment is upon each individual separately, or as commandments whose fulfillment is on the nation as a collective. There are several indications that make it clear that the intent is collective.

  1. Commands whose fulfillment is incumbent on the individual are usually in third person singular, for example, Leviticus 21:13 regarding a virgin bride, or are indicated by כל, "every", as in verse 42
  2. The personal expense of the animals is not reasonable if interpreted individually
  3. The logistics of the numbers is prohibitive if interpreted individually
  4. Verses 29 and 30, which addresses the case of the individual who does not fast or who works on the Day of Atonement contrasts with the form of the previous and following verses
  5. The command of עצרת in verse 36 is a commandment of assembly or congregation, which is a collective act
  6. In the following section, verse 42 commands the collective, followed by the individual, to live in a tabernacle on the feast of Tabernacles. This hints that the rest of the text is collective.
  7. The bracketing verses 2 and 44 indicate that Moses related these commandments to the descendants of Israel collectively
  • Yeah. This is obviously not a command on each individual, it is a collective one. I was looking at this question and asking What in the world is he asking?? Thank you Abu munir for saving the day!
    – bach
    Commented Apr 10, 2017 at 13:44
  • 2
    @Bach Yes, it is so obvious, but proving the obvious is not always easy. In this case, the OP raises (obliquely) a good point about how we know if a commandment is collective or personal or both. For example, using the logic of my answer, the לולב in verse 40 would be a collective command. But historically it was interpreted as personal. So it's not so simple.
    – user17080
    Commented Apr 10, 2017 at 14:29
  • @Abu Munir Ibn Ibrahim It is interesting that the same holiday is mentioned in( Deuteronomy 16:16-17) commanding EVERY man not to appear before the Lord empty handed,but to give as he is able. Commented Apr 11, 2017 at 8:33
  • 1
    @collenndhlovu Yes, Deut 16:16-17is with respect to the pilgrimage obligation which is individual, (uses the every כל format of command) and in addition to the collective obligation mentioned here. In this chapter in Leviticus, that pilgrimage obligation is possibly referred to indirectly in verse 38.
    – user17080
    Commented Apr 11, 2017 at 17:20

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.