Leviticus 3: All Fat Is The Lord’s

Chapter 1 was burnt offerings. Chapter 2 was grain offerings. Chapter 3 is the slightly less self-explanatory “Fellowship Offering.” As best as I can tell, one would make this offering because they wanted to have a BBQ and invite all their friends over. That officially makes the fellowship offering my favorite offering of all the offerings. Offering. Offering. Offering.

Sorry, I got carried away.


Leviticus 3 is split up into three parts: Cows, sheep, and goats. Each one is an acceptable animal to use for the offering and there is a basic set of instructions that can be applied to all of them. I even made a chart to see if there were any significant differences.

There weren’t.

So what do I do with this? Three descriptions of essentially the same thing does not make for particularly exciting reading. I feel like I am reading an instruction booklet for something I will never do.

Well, when everything is the same, you have to look for the parts that are different. They tend to stick out like Mark Driscoll in the feminine hygiene aisle. And this chapter had a great one.

“All Fat Is The Lord’s”

'Fat Casual BBQ - Prime Rib' photo (c) 2011, Edsel Little - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Just don't eat that middle part!

Love it! That came out of nowhere! What does it mean?

I mean, I know it means that you put the fat on the altar and burn it, but what does it mean?

Why don’t we take a few guesses?

Option #1) People like to say that “all truth is God’s truth.” But can the same thing apply to fat? “All fat is God’s fat.” So any time you see fat, just know that it belongs to God.

Option #2) God is saving his people from obesity by taking their fat upon himself and imputing to them his righteous slimness.

Option #3) God just has a thing for the fatty parts. Let’s face it, low-fat sacrifice just doesn’t taste as good. Oh, you know it’s true!

Option #4) That whole “Kingdom of Priests” thing was actually a mistranslation. The original Hebrew reads more like “Kingdom of liposuctionists.”

Option #5) God was planning on giving the Israelites a military advantage by combining soap and all the fat from the sacrifices into a crude explosive a la “Fight Club.”

That’s all I got.

Why do you think God gets all the fat?

I bet you never thought you would ever get asked that question.

23 responses

  1. What Adrian said. The best cuts of meat are those that are said to be “well-marbled.” And marbling is a nice-sounding word for fat. So like Adrian said, God is getting the choicest pieces of the best cuts. Not because He necessarily needed them–see the verse about the cattle on a thousand hills–but because He wanted the people to give their best–something that cost them.

    • I would agree, but there is a lot of talk about the fat of the entrails and fat surrounding the kidneys. I’m not sure that is the fat I want to be eating. I think God is taking one for the team.

  2. haha! love this. “They tend to stick out like Mark Driscoll in the feminine hygiene aisle.”

    As for why God loves the fat, I have no clue! I can’t even eat meat that has fat on it. gross. It’s hard for me to believe I was made in his image!

  3. I was just studying this today, and believe me, there is not a lot of info out there on why God required the fat tail and all the rest of the fat. That is how I came across this blog. You are one of the few!

    My take on this is that since the fat was the “best” part, and since God gets it and we don’t, it seems like a good lesson in selflessness and crucifixion of the flesh. The fat was the delicacy of the meat, but God said to give it to Him always. As humans, we most often want the best part for ourselves. But over and over in the sacrifices, God gets the best part.

    We have to learn in our relationship with God that He is the Boss, the Leader, the Authority, and that we must obey what He says, no matter what WE want. So He gets the best part simply because He is in charge. It’s kind of like the tithe. He lends us 100% of what we have. Then He asks for 10% back. Not 100%, though it is still all His! Just 10% off the top, the best part. He gets 10% and we get 90% entrusted to our good stewardship. In the case of the fat, though it could weigh up to 60 pounds, it still was not ALL of the sacrifice. Just a part, the part He kept for Himself.

    • You should read my chapter on the tithe from Deuteronomy.

      Thanks for your thoughts! I get a surprising number of people here looking for some info about Leviticus 3.

  4. I think it might be the opposite. He is refining us and leaning us, reconciling us to Himself. Daniel 11:35 Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.
    It is the impurities that burn…leaving a pure substance.
    Heb. 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

    Maybe it is what is being thrown off, or hinders ( our vital organs) that when burned is a sweet fragrance. Because oh how good it is for sin to burn. Holy means set apart. the portion that is to be set apart is the portion without the fat(??).
    This is how I am understanding it…but I wish there was more commentary out there.
    Thanks for the forum.

  5. Fat in humans and animals is where toxins are stored…It is not healthy to eat. Like Shelly said, it represents sin and is to be burned on the altar. Just like sin is fun for a season, but the end of it is death; so eating fat and fatty meats may taste better, but the end of it is poor health. (Notice in Daniel how he refused to eat the kings meats but chose instead vegetables and was healthier than all the other young men). So sin should be purged on the altar and given to God. He alone can take care of it. Obviously, God doesn’t eat the offering, he burns it. God initially started the fire on the altar and the priests kept it going so it is God’s responsibility to burn the fat (take away sin). So “all the fat is the Lord’s” refers to the Lord’s responsibility to make provision for sin as only he can through Jesus. I hope this is helpful.

    • I believe that it has to do with anointing. Stick with me for a second-
      Offerings were to be burnt right? And when you burn (heat up) fat, you get oil. Now, some translations in the OT use oil to mean literally ‘fat’ or ‘to grow or be fat’.
      With the idea of oil that leads us to the anointing, since biblically the 2 go hand in hand. Anointing means to consecrate and consecrate means to set apart. This would be why it says that it is ‘set apart’ for the Lord.
      So now lets try to connect the dots- those whom are anointed are set apart for the Lord. Make sense?
      Well, that’s my take on it anyway. Thanks for hearing me out. Great question for a forum by the way. 🙂

  6. Oh my goodness, I just stumbled on this blog by searching for “All fat is the Lord’s”. Why did I search for that? Because I’m also reading the ‘whole dang thing’ and had the same reaction as you, wow.

    Will definitely be checking this all out in more depth. Love it so far!

  7. This verse is not referring to out physical bodies nor is it stating that we are not to eat the fat portions for our well being. What it means by “all fat belongs to the Lord” is the excess belongs to the Lord. When we work we are to give a tenth (tithe) of our earnings, but the excess (overtime) belongs to the Lord. The abundance belongs to the Lord. The fat is the excess of the animal. The flesh is the meaty portion, the excess (the fat) belongs to Him. Don’t rob yourself by taking the excess for yourself.

  8. Pingback: Chewing the Fat | Bar Torah

  9. Just woke up and had the phrase “fatness of the Lord” on my heart…any ideas? The announcing comment could make a lot of sense…been in a season of growth lately. Thanks for any addition as l insights.

  10. Pingback: Exodus 29: Consecration of the Priests | Bible Chapter Por Dia

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