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Bible Commentaries
Leviticus 9

Calvin's Commentary on the BibleCalvin's Commentary

Verse 1

1.And it came to pass on the eighth day We have here related how Aaron and his sons, after the time of their consecration was fulfilled, began to execute their office. It was necessary that He should be his brother’s disciple, in order to follow the pattern laid down by God. And we must bear in mind that Moses, who was not appointed priest by a solemn rite, sanctified the others, in order that the authority and the efficacy of the outward sign should rest in God alone. This, therefore, is contained in the earlier portion of the chapter, how, after Aaron had been initiated in the priest’s office for seven days, He commenced the work entrusted to him by God’s command: the second part shews how the sacrifices were approved by a divine miracle, in ratification of the priesthood which God had instituted. But, first of all, He enumerates the ordinary kinds of sacrifice, viz., for sin, the burnt-offering; and for thanksgiving, the sacrifice with the meat-offering (minha) and the sprinkling: that in every respect Aaron might be accounted the lawful priest of God.

Verse 6

6.And Moses said, This is the thing which the Lord commanded He seems, indeed, to address himself to the whole people, to whom also the promise belonged; but in the word “do ye,” (413) He specially speaks to the sons of Aaron; and he promises what, at the end of the chapter, he will state to have been fulfilled, that the glory of God should be manifested in approbation of the priesthood, in order that they may set about their duties more cheerfully. For this was no common aid to their faith and assurance, that their office should be thus, as it were, sealed by God.

(413) “That ye should do.” — A. V.

Verse 7

7.And Moses said unto Aaron, Go unto the altar Here is repeated what was stated elsewhere, that the priest, as being himself a sinner, must first make entreaty for himself, before he propitiates God towards others. Hence the Apostle justly infers that the legal priesthood was weak and merely typical. (Hebrews 5:1.) For none can be a true peace-maker, except he, who, in reliance on his perfect innocence, presents himself before God to obtain pardon for others, and, being pure from every blemish, requires no expiation for himself. All else to the end of the chapter I pass over, because Moses only records how Aaron sacrificed according to God’s command and the legal ritual.

Verse 22

22.And Aaron lifted up his hand toward the people This was a kind of application of the sacrifice, in order that the people might know that God was reconciled to them through the priest as their mediator and surety. The form of benediction (414) has been already expoundled; at present let this one point suffice, that, when by the lifting up of their hands the priests testified of God’s paternal favor to the people, their commission was ratified and efficacious. Of this the sacred history presents to us a memorable instance, where it records, that

“the priests and Levites blessed the people, and their voice was heard, and their prayer came up to his holy dwelling-place, even unto heaven.” (2 Chronicles 30:27.)

The fulfilment of this type was at length manifested in Christ, who is not only the source and cause of blessing, but publishes it by the Gospel with effectual results; for He came to “preach peace to them which were afar off, and to them that were nigh,” (Ephesians 2:17;) and although He does not appear or speak in a visible form, yet we know what He says, viz., that

“whatsoever His disciples shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever they shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 18:18.)

(414) See ante on Numbers 6:22, vol. 2, p. 245 et seq.

Verse 23

23.And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle This is a repetition of the same statement, except that what had been said of Aaron only is now also ascribed to Moses, i.e., that he blessed the people, but for a different reason, for although he was God’s prophet, yet Aaron, in right of his office, was the only mediator. What follows, “the glory of the Lord appeared,” may be read separately, viz., that the majesty of God was manifested in some conspicuous sign; or else it is connected with the concluding verse, where it is said, that “there came a fire out from before the Lord, etc.” If we prefer the latter, the account of the consuming of the sacrifice was added expositively, as if it were said that God appeared when He sent forth the fire to consume the sacrifice. By this auspice, or rather miracle, God manifested that He was the Author of the legal priesthood, so that it should be held in reverence for ever. The same thing sometimes occurred afterwards, when in troubled circumstances, it had need of extraordinary confirmation: thus fire consumed the sacrifice of Manoah, (Judges 13:20;) or, when God’s service and pure religion required to be vindicated in opposition to superstitious counterfeits; thus the sacrifice of Elijah was utterly consumed and reduced to ashes without the application of fire. (1 Kings 18:38.) Or, lastly, when God would shew that He delighted in Mount Sion, which He had chosen for His resting-place and home: for which reason, the first sacrifice of Solomon was consumed by fire from heaven. (2 Chronicles 7:1.)

Lest posterity should doubt of this matter, as if it were not thoroughly certain, Moses says that the whole people was stirred up by the sight to praise God, “and fell on their faces.”

Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Leviticus 9". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cal/leviticus-9.html. 1840-57.
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