Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, June 16th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Leviticus 9

Dr. Constable's Expository NotesConstable's Expository Notes


2. The entrance of Aaron and his sons into their office ch. 9

This chapter explains how the priests carried out the duties associated with their induction into their office. The events recorded took place on the eighth day (Leviticus 9:1), the day after the seven days of consecration. After a week of cleansing, Aaron could now begin to offer sacrifices himself; he no longer had to rely on Moses to offer sacrifices for him.

As noted previously, the structure of chapter 9 is similar to that of chapter 8. Moses commanded Aaron and the "congregation" (Leviticus 9:1-4), and the "congregation" obeyed (Leviticus 9:5). Then Moses commanded Aaron (Leviticus 9:7), and Aaron obeyed (Leviticus 9:8-21). Finally fire from God fell symbolizing His acceptance of the sacrifices (Leviticus 9:22-24).

Verses 1-6

Moses’ commands to Aaron and the congregation and their obedience 9:1-6

Ironically the first sacrifice Aaron had to offer was a calf, as if to atone for making the golden calf (cf. Exodus 32). The sinfulness of man is clear in that Aaron had to offer many different offerings to cover his sins and the sins of the people. Aaron had to bring offerings in addition to all those that Moses had offered the previous seven days. This indicated again that the Levitical offerings did not provide a permanent covering for sin (cf. Hebrews 10:1). The purpose of these sacrifices was that the glory of the Lord might appear to His people (Leviticus 9:4; Leviticus 9:6; cf. Exodus 16:10). The glory of the Lord is His visible presence (in symbol) among His people (cf. Exodus 24:16-17).

Verses 7-21

Moses’ command to Aaron and his obedience 9:7-21

Aaron first offered a sin offering (Leviticus 9:8-11) and then a burnt offering for himself (Leviticus 9:12-14). By offering them he acknowledged publicly that he was a sinner and needed forgiveness. Then he presented four offerings for the Israelites (Leviticus 9:15-21): sin, burnt, meal, and peace. The variety of the sacrifices and sacrificial animals stands out more than their quantity. This probably indicates that the purpose of these sacrifices was not to atone for specific sins. It was rather for the general sinfulness of the people, to dedicate the people to the worship of Yahweh as He specified, and to pray for God’s blessing on them. [Note: Wenham, The Book . . ., p. 149.]

Verses 22-24

Fire from the Lord 9:22-24

After offering these sacrifices, Aaron blessed the people (Leviticus 9:22). He "stepped down" perhaps from a platform near the altar of burnt offerings on which he may have been standing to address the people. Probably Moses took Aaron into the holy place to present him to the Lord and to pray for God’s blessing with him (Leviticus 9:23).

"The appearance of the glory of Jehovah is probably to be regarded in this instance, and also in Numbers 16:19; Numbers 17:7 [sic 8]; and Leviticus 20:6, as the sudden flash of a miraculous light, which proceeded from the cloud that covered the tabernacle, probably also from the cloud in the most holy place, or as a sudden though very momentary change of the cloud, which enveloped the glory of the Lord, into a bright light, from which the fire proceeded in this instance in the form of lightening, and consumed the sacrifices on the altar [cf. Judges 6:20-24; Judges 13:15-23; 1 Kings 18:38-39; 1 Chronicles 21:26; 2 Chronicles 7:1-3]." [Note: Keil and Delitzsch, 2:348.]

The miracle that caused the strong reaction of the people (Leviticus 9:24) was not that fire fell on the sacrifices and ignited them. They were already burning. It was that the fire that fell consumed the sacrifices suddenly. In this way God manifested His satisfaction with this first sacrifice that the newly consecrated priests offered. The Hebrew word ranan, translated "shouted," means to shout for joy. This is the first occurrence of a word for "joy" in the Bible.

"This chapter brings out very clearly the purpose and character of OT worship. All the pomp and ceremony served one end: the appearance of the glory of God." [Note: Wenham, The Book . . ., p. 151.]

Essentially worship is communion with God. [Note: See Walter C. Kaiser Jr., "Leviticus," in The Interpreter’s Bible, 1:1067.]

"The pattern was hereby established: by means of the priests’ proper entry into the tabernacle, the nation was blessed. The next chapter (Leviticus 10) gives a negative lesson of the same truth in the example of Nadab and Abihu: the blessing of God’s people will come only through obedience to the divine pattern." [Note: Sailhamer, p. 330.]

"The high priest’s sacrificial atonement and effectual intercession assure the worshiper of a blessing in God’s presence, now by faith, but in the future in glory by sight." [Note: Ross, p. 227.]

Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Leviticus 9". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/leviticus-9.html. 2012.
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