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Entrance of Aaron and his Sons on their Office
1And it came to pass on the eighth day, that Moses called Aaron and his sons, and the elders1 of Israel; 2and he said unto Aaron, Take thee a young [bull2] calf for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering, without blemish, and offer them before the Lord. 3And unto the children1 of Israel thou shalt speak, saying, Take ye a kid [buck3] of the goats for a sin offering; and a calf and a lamb [sheep4] both of the first year, without blemish, for a burnt offering: 4also a bullock and a ram for peace offerings, to sacrifice before the Lord; and a meat offering [an oblation5] mingled with oil: for to-day the Lord will appear unto you.
5And they brought that which Moses commanded before6 the tabernacle of the congregation: and all the congregation drew near and stood before the Lord. 6And Moses said, This is the thing which the Lord commanded that ye should do: 7and the glory of the Lord shall appear unto you. 7And Moses said unto Aaron, Go unto the altar, and offer thy sin offering, and thy burnt offering, and make an atonement for thyself, and for the people:8 and offer the offering of the people, and make an atonement for them: as the Lord commanded.
8Aaron therefore went unto the altar, and slew the calf of the sin offering, which was for himself. 9And the sons of Aaron brought the blood unto him: and he dipped his finger in the blood, and put it upon the horns of the altar, and poured out the blood at the bottom of the altar: 10but the fat, and the kidneys, and the caul above the liver of the sin offering, he burnt upon the altar: as the Lord commanded Moses. 11And the flesh and the hide he burnt with fire without the camp. 12And he slew the burnt offering; and Aaron’s sons presented unto him the blood, which he sprinkled round about upon the altar. 13And they presented the burnt offering unto him, with [according to9] the pieces thereof and the head: and he burnt them upon10 the altar. 14And he did wash the inwards and the legs, and burnt them upon the burnt offering on the altar.
15And he brought the people’s offering, and took the goat, which was the sin offering for the people, and slew it, and offered it for sin [a sin offering11], as the first. 16And he brought the burnt offering, and offered it according to the manner [ordinance12]. 17And he brought the meat offering [oblation5], and took an handful thereof, and burnt it upon the altar, beside the burnt sacrifice of the morning. 18He slew also the bullock and the ram for a sacrifice of peace offerings, which was for the people: and Aaron’s sons presented unto him the blood, which he sprinkled upon the altar round about, 19and the fat of the bullock and of the ram, the rump [fat tail13], and that which covereth the inwards, and the kidneys, and the caul 20 above the liver: and they14 put the fat upon the breasts, and he burnt the fat upon the altar: 21and the breasts and the right shoulder Aaron waved for a wave offering before the Lord; as Moses15 commanded.
22And Aaron lifted up his hand [hands16] toward the people, and blessed them, and came down from offering of the sin offering, and the burnt offering, and peace offerings. 23And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the [om. the] congregation, and came out and blessed the people: and the glory of the Lord appeared unto all the people.
24And there came a fire out from before the Lord, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw,17 they shouted, and fell on their faces.
TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL
Leviticus 9:1. For זִקְנֵי the Sam. and LXX. read בְּנֵי, but change the reading in the opposite way in Leviticus 9:3. Rosenmüller considers these elders as the same with the עֵדָה and the קָהָל of Leviticus 8:0.
Leviticus 9:2. עֵגֶל בֶּן־בָּקָר, lit. calf son of a bull=a bull calf, or yearling bull.
Leviticus 9:3. שְׁעִיר עִזִּים. See note 21 on Leviticus 4:23.
Leviticus 9:3. See note 5 on Leviticus 2:7.
Leviticus 9:4. Oblation. See note 2 on Leviticus 2:1. The Vulg. adds in singulo sacrificiorum, for each of the sacrifices.
Leviticus 9:5. The A. V. more exactly expresses the Sam. לִפְנֵי (comp. Leviticus 9:2; Leviticus 9:4) than the Heb. אֶל־פְּנֵי.
Leviticus 9:6. Horsley would here change the punctuation and read--which the Lord commanded: Do it, and the glory, etc.; but this would require also the insertion of a pronoun.
Leviticus 9:7. For the people the LXX. reads τοῦ οἴκου σοῦ.
Leviticus 9:13. לִנְתָחֶיהָ=according to its pieces (into which the burnt offering was divided, Leviticus 1:6). So the Ancient Versions generally. So Knobel and Keil.
Leviticus 9:13. The preposition עַל is wanting in the Sam.
Leviticus 9:15. The word of course bears either sense; but the context here clearly requires that of sin-offering.
Leviticus 9:16. כַּמִּשְׁפָט. The margin is clearly better than the text of the A. V. The ordinance has been given in Leviticus 1:0
Leviticus 9:19. Fat tail. See note 7 on Leviticus 3:9.
Leviticus 9:20. The Sam. has the sing., he put.
Leviticus 9:21. The Sam., LXX., Targ. Onk. and 30 MSS. צִוָּה יְהוָֹה אֶת משֶׁה=as the Lord commanded Moses.
Leviticus 9:22. The k’ri has יָדָיו in the plural, according with the vowel points; so 20 MSS. and all the ancient versions except the Sam. The plural is probably correct.
Leviticus 9:24. The Heb. verb is singular; but the Sam. has the plural.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
It is noticed by Nicholas de Lyra, that this chapter has three essential parts: (1) the commands (Leviticus 9:1-7); (2) the execution of them (Leviticus 9:8-22); (3) the Divine approbation of what was done (Leviticus 9:23-24). The second part may be subdivided into Aaron’s offerings for himself, Leviticus 9:8-14; and his offerings for the people, Leviticus 9:15-21. Here begins a new Proper Lesson of the law for reading in the Synagogue extending through Leviticus 11:0; the parallel Proper Lesson from the Prophets being 2 Samuel 6:1 to 2 Samuel 7:17, which gives the account of David’s bringing up the ark to Mt. Zion and his purpose to build a temple for it there.
Leviticus 9:1. On the eighth day,viz., from the beginning of Aaron’s consecration. That had occupied seven days, and his entrance upon his office now immediately followed on the next day, there being no cause for delay, and every reason why the priesthoood should be in the active exercise of its duties at once. His priesthood was still somewhat inchoate, for he had yet discharged none of its functions, and had not entered into the sanctuary. This affects the character of the sacrifices prescribed. On the first day of the first month the tabernacle had been set up (Exodus 40:17), and the Passover was kept on the fourteenth day (Numbers 9:2; Numbers 9:5); the seven days’ consecration came between, and there remained therefore but a few days before the preparation for the Passover. We have no data for determining the day of the week. The elders of Israel are now summoned because they have to act officially in presenting the offerings for the people; but doubtless the mass of the people were also, as far as might be, witnesses of the entrance of Aaron upon his office (Leviticus 9:5, comp. Leviticus 9:24).
Leviticus 9:2. Take thee.—Aaron is to furnish his own victims at his own proper cost. The victim for the sin offering was to be a bull calf, or quite young bullock, an inferior offering to that prescribed for the high-priest in Leviticus 4:3. For this various reasons have been assigned: as that this was not for any particular sin, but for general sinfulness (Poole and others); that it had reference to Aaron and the people’s sin in the golden calf (Exodus 32:0), and was designed to remind him and them of it (Maimonides, Patrick, Nich. de Lyra, and others); that the greater sin offering was unnecessary, as Aaron and his sons had spent the whole previous week in services of atonement and of holiness; but the more important reason is that given by Kalisch, “Not even on the eighth day had Aaron’s dignity reached its full independence and glory; it still remained, to a certain degree, under the control of Moses, who gave commands to his brother, as he had received them from God. Therefore Aaron was not permitted to pass beyond the court; he was not yet qualified to appear in the immediate presence of God.” In a word, the inchoateness of his priesthood was marked in the victim and its ritual. A ram for a burnt offering.—Any male sacrificial animal was allowed for a burnt offering, but here the most impressive kind is not chosen for the reason just given. No peace offering is prescribed for the priests, because their share in the offerings of the people was quite enough for so small a company, and sufficed for the common feast of communion with God. The order of the offerings, the sin offering first, the peace offering last, has been noticed in the previous chapter.
Leviticus 9:3. Thou shalt speak.—Moses now passes over to Aaron the duty of directing the people in their sacrifices as their appointed and consecrated high-priest. The offerings for the people are: first, the sin offering, which is not that prescribed for the sin of the whole people (Leviticus 4:14), but for the sin of a prince (Leviticus 4:23), the reason for which generally given is that this was not for a particular sin, but only for general sinfulness; but it seems fit that this sin offering should have been reduced in proportion to Aaron’s, and for the same reason. Second, the burnt offering, which was to consist of two victims, and yet was much less than on occasions of special solemnity (Numbers 28:11; Numbers 28:27, etc.). Third, the peace offering, which was just enough for the purpose of the symbolical sacrificial feast, but yet too small for any considerable festivity in view of the solemn manifestation to follow (Leviticus 9:4; Leviticus 9:6; Leviticus 9:24).
Leviticus 9:6. Moses, as before, explains what is to be done that thus the people may be intelligent witnesses. He announces beforehand the appearance of the glory of the LORD (see Leviticus 9:23), showing that he did all this by appointment, and when it appeared it thus established his authority; and also that the people, by these sacrifices, might be prepared for this manifestation. “The crown of this typical worship was to consist in this: To-day the LORD will appear to you; and again, this is the thing which the LORD hath commanded that ye should do, and the glory of the Lord shall appear to you.” Lange.
Leviticus 9:7. Go unto the altar.—Aaron is now to enter upon his office, and for the first time ascend the slope of the altar. Make an atonement for thyself and for the people.—This is distinct from the atonement for the people in the sacrifice of their sin offering, mentioned in the next clause, and finds its explanation in that guilt brought upon the people by the sin of the high-priest (Leviticus 4:3). So Keil rightly. For this Aaron was to atone in making his own atonement, and then afterwards to offer for their own sins. Lange says, “The subsequent command in regard to these offerings has this import: with his especial sacrifice Aaron should atone for himself and for the people as a whole (הָעָם), but with the sacrifice of the congregation, he should atone for each single member of the congregation.”
Leviticus 9:8-11. Aaron first offers his own sin offering, his sons assisting him in those duties which were afterwards assigned to the Levites. The ritual is the same as that provided in Leviticus 4:0, except that the blood is not brought into the Sanctuary (into which Aaron had not yet entered, comp. Leviticus 9:23), for the reasons given under Leviticus 9:2; but the flesh and hide is nevertheless burnt without the camp as required in Leviticus 4:11-12, the victim is slain by Aaron,—either by himself, or by his assistants,—(Leviticus 9:8) as in the other high-priestly sin offerings (Leviticus 4:1-2; Leviticus 4:4) and the blood is put with his finger upon the horns of the altar as in case of the other regular sin offerings (Leviticus 4:25; Leviticus 4:30; Leviticus 4:34).
Leviticus 9:12-14. The burnt offering for Aaron and his sons was offered in the regular way according to the ordinance of Leviticus 1:0. After being divided the pieces were presented to Aaron, one by one, by his sons to be laid upon the altar. No mention is made of an oblation with this sacrifice, either because it is supposed as of course, or else because it actually was not brought, the law of Numbers 15:4 not having yet been given.
Leviticus 9:15-21. The sacrifices for the people follow in the same order. In regard to all the previous offerings it is expressly said that Aaron burnt them; the same thing is also said (Leviticus 9:20) of the parts of the peace offering that were destined for the altar, and it is clearly implied in regard to the others by the expression as the first (Leviticus 9:15) in regard to the sin offering; and in regard to the burnt offering, both by the statement of Leviticus 9:16, and by the mention of the burning of the accompanying oblation in Leviticus 9:17. These were all therefore burned at first by fire kindled by ordinary means. It would, however, thus have taken many hours to consume them in the ordinary way, and the miracle of Leviticus 9:24 refers to their being immediately consumed by the “fire from before the Lord.“ The LXX., however, in Leviticus 9:13; Leviticus 9:17, instead of burnt renders laid, and this seems to have been in the mind of Lange when he says “Aaron has laid all the pieces rightly upon the altar of burnt offering, and blessed the people from the elevated position of the steps (stiege) of the altar. The sacrifice is ready, this is the part of the priestly body; but the fire must come from the Lord.” In regard to the burning instead of eating the flesh of the sin offering, see Leviticus 10:16-20.
Leviticus 9:17. The burnt sacrifice of the morning.—Was this the regular morning sacrifice of the lamb offered by Aaron after the sacrifices for himself and before those for the people, but not otherwise mentioned because it was of course? Or is it identical with the lamb of the burnt offering for the people, so that the morning sacrifice to be offered ever after is here inaugurated, as is argued by Murphy? The former view seems the more probable both because the offering of the morning sacrifice had already been begun by Moses (Exodus 40:29) upon the first erection of the tabernacle and before Aaron’s consecration; and because the lamb of this offering is evidently spoken of (Leviticus 9:3) as a part of the special burnt offering for the people on this occasion.
Leviticus 9:22. Lifted up his hands.—In pronouncing a blessing upon an individual it was customary to lay the hands upon his head (Genesis 48:14, etc.); but this being impossible in the case of a multitude, the custom was to lift the hands, as was also often done in other prayers, and this custom has been most scrupulously preserved in the Jewish usages to the present day. Hands rather than hand is the more probable reading, and is also accordant, with the Jewish tradition. No command had been given for this act, but it was a natural sequence of the entrance of Aaron upon his office, a part of which was to bless the people in the name of the Lord. The blessing was pronounced while Aaron stood upon the elevated slope (not steps, Exodus 20:26) of the altar. In the following words, came down from offering, we have a further evidence that the victims had been actually laid upon the fire.
Leviticus 9:23. Went into the tabernacle.—Moses enters, not as priest, but to complete the initiation of Aaron into his duties; for the latter had not yet entered the sanctuary. Much of the priestly duty, the burning of incense, the trimming of the sacred lamps, the ordering of the shew-bread, etc., was hereafter to be within the tabernacle, and it was necessary that Aaron should be exactly instructed in all these matters. According to the Targum of Jonathan, they went in to pray for the promised manifestation of the glory of the Lord; and it is not unlikely that the two brothers, the one the leader and lawgiver of Israel, now entering the sanctuary for the last time, and the other the appointed high-priest now entering for the first time, should then have united in solemn prayer for God’s blessing upon the people. On their return, Moses laying down his temporary priestly functions, and Aaron taking up his permanent office, jointly blessed the people. (Comp. 2 Chronicles 6:3). In Numbers 6:24-26 is prescribed the exact form of priestly benediction used ever afterwards; but there is no evidence that this form was now employed. One tradition makes the form like that of Psalms 90:17; the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem give the following: “The Word of the Lord receive your offering with good pleasure, and may He overlook and pardon your sins.”
And the glory of the Lord appeared.—This is sometimes considered as included in the fire of the following verse, but more generally and more probably is looked upon as some glorious manifestation in the cloud which covered the tabernacle (comp. Exodus 40:34-35), out of which came forth the fire. So Lange.
Leviticus 9:24. There came a fire.—Similarly was the Divine approbation of sacrifices several times expressed in after ages, in the fire from the rock consuming Gideon’s sacrifice; in the fire which fell upon the sacrifice of Elijah (1 Kings 18:38); in the answer to David’s prayer at the threshing floor of Ornan by fire from heaven upon his altar (1 Chronicles 21:26); and in the like fire consuming the sacrifices at Solomon’s dedication of the temple (2 Chronicles 7:1). According to Jewish tradition the fire thus kindled was kept ever burning (whether by natural or supernatural means, the Rabbis differ) until the temple was built; then again kindled in the same way, it continued to burn until the reign of Manasseh. But it is to be remembered that the fire was not now first kindled upon the altar, but had already been burning there more than a week. However fully therefore it expressed the Divine approbation, and however reasonably the Israelites might wish to perpetuate such a fire, there is yet, as Keil justly remarks, no analogy between this and the legends of the heathen about altar fires kindled by the gods themselves. See the references in Knobel: Serv. ad Œn. 12, 200; Solin. 5, 23; Pausan. 5, 27, 3; Sueton. Lib. 14; Amm. Marc. 23, 6, 34. It is possible that this coming forth of the fire may have had a further object. In the Pantheistic philosophies of the East, fire was regarded as the universal principle of the Cosmos, and as inherent in all things. It is not likely that the Israelites, at this stage of their history, were brought into contact with this philosophy; but by this act they were taught that fire itself was sent from the Lord, and were thus guarded beforehand against these Panthetheistic notions, which at a later period they must encounter.
Consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat.—Patrick argues that this must have been at the time of the evening sacrifice, at which time also he shows that all the other instances of fire from heaven upon the sacrifice probably occurred, and that the burnt offering consumed was the lamb of the evening sacrifice. But the phraseology, the burnt offering and the fat, seems unmistakably to point to the burnt offering for the people and the fat of the peace offering already burning upon the altar. With the evening sacrifice there was no offering of fat apart from the lamb itself.
They shouted in wonder, thanksgiving and praise, and fell on their faces to worship with joyful awe as in 2 Chronicles 7:3.
The views of Lange upon this verse are expressed in the following extract: “And now comes Fire from the Lord, that is, still out of the tabernacle of the Covenant, and blazes upon the altar and consumes the offering. So speaks the primitive energetic faith, in which the medium of the Divine operation merges itself in the operation of God. It is the essential thing in the hierarchical, literal faith that every medium should be supposed to be away. Hence is the stone of the first tables of the law and the immediate writing of God; and we come on the path of priestly tradition down to the Easter fire in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem. On the other hand, the medium is everything to the critical, negative, literal faith: for it, the matter is legend. But the primitive, religiously-inclined people, saw in the shining figures of Moses and Aaron, who came back out of the Sanctuary, and in the flaming up of the sacrificial fire, the glory of the Lord whose appearance from the Holy of Holies Moses and Aaron had besought. It was the first lifting up of the highly significant fire flame in their worship, whose typical prefiguration should be fulfilled in the atoning fiery operation over the cross of Christ, and—not frightened—but joyously, all the people fell on their faces.”
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
I. In Aaron’s sin offering for himself and his sons, immediately after his consecration, and as his first priestly act, is shown most strikingly the imperfection of the Levitical priesthood. “This offering was probably regarded not so much a sacrifice for his own actual sins, as a typical acknowledgment of his sinful nature and of his future duty to offer for his own sins and those of the people” (Clark). “The law maketh men high-priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated forever-more.” Hebrews 7:28.
II. If this was true of the high-priest, à fortiori, it was true of all other provisions of the Levitical law. “If, according to this, even after the manifold expiation and consecration which Aaron had received through Moses during the seven days, he had still to enter upon his service with a sin offering and a burnt offering, this fact clearly showed that the offerings of the law could not ensure perfection (Hebrews 10:1 sqq.).” Keil.
III. The commentary upon this chapter bringing out its doctrinal significance, is to be found especially in the Ep. to the Heb. As other points are there brought out strikingly, so is this: “And no man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. So also Christ glorified not Himself to be made an high-priest.” Hebrews 5:4-5.
IV. In the appointment, in the consecration, and in the entrance of Aaron upon his official duties, his mediatorial functions are everywhere distinctly recognized. Thus is the necessity set forth of a Mediator between God and man, and as distinctly as was possible under a typical system is foreshadowed the office of Him who came to be man’s true mediator with God.
V. In every possible way, by dress, by ablutions, by inscriptions on Aaron’s frontlet, by varied sacrifice, the necessity of holiness in man’s approach to God is declared. Yet this could only be typically attained by sinful man. Very plainly therefore did Aaron and his office point forward to that Seed of the woman who should bruise the serpent’s head, and obtain the final victory in man’s long struggle with the power of evil.
VI. In the order of the offerings of Aaron both for himself and the people is clearly expressed the order of the steps of approach to God; first, the forgiveness of sin, then the consecration completely to God, and after this communion with Him, and blessing from Him.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
Moses, the great leader and law-giver of Israel, retires from his temporary priestly functions, and delivers them over to Aaron without a murmur, content to fulfil the Divine will. So John the Baptist found his joy fulfilled in that he must decrease while his Master increased (John 3:30). Moses did not seek to retain an office to which God had not called him, comp. Numbers 16:0; Acts 19:13-15; Hebrews 5:4; Judges 11:0.
The “glory of the Lord” appeared, and was also manifested in Solomon’s temple; the second temple was without it, and yet it was promised (Haggai 2:9) that the glory of the latter temple should be greater than of the former. This was fulfilled when He whose glory was “as of the Only Begotten of the Father” appeared in His temple. And again, after the consecration of the Great High-Priest on Calvary, and His entrance by His ascension into the true sanctuary, the glory of the Lord was manifested at Pentecost. Wordsworth.
As Aaron after the sacrifice blessed the people before entering the sanctuary; so Christ, after His sacrifice upon the cross, blessed His disciples (Luke 24:50) before passing into the heavens to continue there our Priest and Intercessor forevermore.
The glory appeared and the fire came forth after the consecration of the high-priest, and after his sacrifice, and after he had entered the sanctuary; even as the fire of Pentecost came after Christ’s consecration in His sacrifice of Himself, and after He had passed into the heavens. And as the fire in the tabernacle showed the Divine approbation of the Levitical system, so that of Pentecost expressed His good pleasure in the Christian.
Leviticus 9:1; Leviticus 9:1. For זִקְנֵי the Sam. and LXX. read בְּנֵי, but change the reading in the opposite way in Leviticus 9:3. Rosenmüller considers these elders as the same with the עֵדָה and the קָהָל of Leviticus 8:0.
Leviticus 9:2; Leviticus 9:2. עֵגֶל בֶּן־בָּקָר, lit. calf son of a bull=a bull calf, or yearling bull.
Leviticus 9:3; Leviticus 9:3. שְׁעִיר עִזִּים. See note 21 on Leviticus 4:23.
Leviticus 9:3; Leviticus 9:3. See note 5 on Leviticus 2:7.
Leviticus 9:4; Leviticus 9:4. Oblation. See note 2 on Leviticus 2:1. The Vulg. adds in singulo sacrificiorum, for each of the sacrifices.
Leviticus 9:5; Leviticus 9:5. The A. V. more exactly expresses the Sam. לִפְנֵי (comp. Leviticus 9:2; Leviticus 9:4) than the Heb. אֶל־פְּנֵי.
Leviticus 9:6; Leviticus 9:6. Horsley would here change the punctuation and read--which the Lord commanded: Do it, and the glory, etc.; but this would require also the insertion of a pronoun.
Leviticus 9:7; Leviticus 9:7. For the people the LXX. reads τοῦ οἴκου σοῦ.
Leviticus 9:13; Leviticus 9:13. לִנְתָחֶיהָ=according to its pieces (into which the burnt offering was divided, Leviticus 1:6). So the Ancient Versions generally. So Knobel and Keil.
Leviticus 9:13; Leviticus 9:13. The preposition עַל is wanting in the Sam.
Leviticus 9:15; Leviticus 9:15. The word of course bears either sense; but the context here clearly requires that of sin-offering.
Leviticus 9:16; Leviticus 9:16. כַּמִּשְׁפָט. The margin is clearly better than the text of the A. V. The ordinance has been given in Leviticus 1:0
Leviticus 9:19; Leviticus 9:19. Fat tail. See note 7 on Leviticus 3:9.
Leviticus 9:20; Leviticus 9:20. The Sam. has the sing., he put.
Leviticus 9:21; Leviticus 9:21. The Sam., LXX., Targ. Onk. and 30 MSS. צִוָּה יְהוָֹה אֶת משֶׁה=as the Lord commanded Moses.
Leviticus 9:22; Leviticus 9:22. The k’ri has יָדָיו in the plural, according with the vowel points; so 20 MSS. and all the ancient versions except the Sam. The plural is probably correct.
Leviticus 9:24; Leviticus 9:24. The Heb. verb is singular; but the Sam. has the plural.
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Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Leviticus 9". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29