Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Verse 1 (Leviticus 2:1)

Meat-offering - מנחה minchah . For an explanation of this word see Clarke's note on Genesis 4:3 , and Lev. vii. Calmet has remarked that there are five kinds of the minchah mentioned in this chapter.

  1. סלת soleth , simple flour or meal, Leviticus 2:1 .
  2. Cakes and wafers, or whatever was baked in the oven, Leviticus 2:4 .
  3. Cakes baked in the pan, Leviticus 2:5 .
  4. Cakes baked on the frying-pan, or probably, a gridiron, Leviticus 2:7 .
  5. Green ears of corn parched, Leviticus 2:14 .
All these were offered without honey or leaven, but accompanied with wine, oil, and frankincense. It is very likely that the minchah, in some or all of the above forms, was the earliest oblation offered to the Supreme Being, and probably was in use before sin entered into the world, and consequently before bloody sacrifices, or piacular victims, had been ordained. The minchah of green ears of corn dried by the fire, etc., was properly the gratitude-offering for a good seed time, and the prospect of a plentiful harvest. This appears to have been the offering brought by Cain, Genesis 4:3 ; see Clarke's note Genesis 4:3 . The flour, whether of wheat, rice, barley, rye, or any other grain used for aliment, was in all likelihood equally proper; for in Numbers 5:15 , we find the flour of barley, or barley meal, is called minchah. It is plain that in the institution of the minchah no animal was here included, though in other places it seems to include both kinds; but in general the minchah was not a bloody offering, nor used by way of atonement or expiation, but merely in a eucharistic way, expressing gratitude to God for the produce of the soil. It is such an offering as what is called natural religion might be reasonably expected to suggest: but alas! so far lost is man, that even thankfulness to God for the fruits of the earth must be taught by a Divine revelation; for in the heart of man even the seeds of gratitude are not found, till sown there by the hand of Divine grace. Offerings of different kinds of grain, flour, bread, fruits, etc., are the most ancient among the heathen nations; and even the people of God have had them from the beginning of the world. See this subject largely discussed on Exodus 23:29 ; (note), where several examples are given. Ovid intimates that these gratitude-offerings originated with agriculture. "In the most ancient times men lived by rapine, hunting, etc., for the sword was considered to be more honorable than the plough; but when they sowed their fields, they dedicated the first-fruits of their harvest to Ceres, to whom the ancients attributed the art of agriculture, and to whom burnt-offerings of corn were made, according to immemorial usages." The passage to which I refer, and of which I have given the substance, is the following: -

" Non habuit tellus doctos antiqua colonos:

Lassabant agiles aspera bella viros.

Plus erat in gladio quam curvo laudis aratro:

Neglectus domino pauca ferebat ager.

Farra tamen veteres jaciebant, farra metebant:

Primitias Cereri farra resecta dabant.

Usibus admoniti flammis torrenda dedere:

Multaque peccato damna tulere suo

- Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible