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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Leviticus 8

 

 

Verses 1-36

Leviticus 8-9. The Consecration and Induction of Priests, to which Leviticus 10 is an appendix. Leviticus 8 properly follows Exodus 40. Exodus 29 gives the law of consecrations. Exodus 30-40 the building of the Tabernacle, and Leviticus 8 describes the actual performance of the rite ordained in Exodus 29.

Leviticus 8. Consecration of Aaron and his Sons.—The actual stages in the process are as follows Leviticus 8:1-5, assemblage of the persons and materials; Leviticus 8:6-13, washing, anointing, and clothing of the priests; Leviticus 8:14-17, sacrifice of the bullock (here Aaron acts as the offerer, Moses as the priest); Leviticus 8:18-21, sacrifice of the first ram; Leviticus 8:22-32, sacrifice of the second ram, "of consecration," which constitutes the "differentia" of the whole ceremony; Leviticus 8:33-36, the continuance of the ceremony for a week. For notes on the details, see on Exodus 29. The definite articles refer back to Ex. 292f., Exodus 29:5, etc. Neither the "congregation" nor the Urim and Thummim (Exodus 28:30, pp. 100f.) are mentioned in Exodus 29.The insignia and the anointing suggest actual royalty. The anointing of the tabernacle and the altar is not in Exodus 29, nor the sanctification of the altar and the "atoning for it" by means of the bullock's blood (cf. the more detailed ritual in Leviticus 4:6), nor the anointing of Aaron's garments (Leviticus 8:30). The special reference to the touching of the extremities (Leviticus 8:23 f.) is symbolical of the whole body. In Exodus 29:27, both the wave-breast" and the "heave-thigh" are mentioned, as in Leviticus 7:34; Moses (Leviticus 8:29) receives these as being the officiating priest; but it is curious that neither here nor in Exodus 29 does Moses actually receive the thigh; in view of Leviticus 8:34, this would have been more naturally mentioned than the breast: perhaps the latter, as Moses' special portion, is a later insertion. Exodus 29:36 states that a bullock is to be sacrificed on each of the eight days. "Consecrate" (Leviticus 8:33), lit. (mg.) "fill the hands (Exodus 29:9*, Numbers 3:3*, 1 Chronicles 29:5*). So in Leviticus 8:28, consecration is lit. "filling" (cf. Leviticus 8:27); in Ezekiel 43:26, the consecration of the aitar is spoken of as a filling the hands thereof (mg.). A similar phrase in Babylonian means "to confer office upon." (The words are also used in Ass. inscriptions about nations whom God entrusts to the victorious king. "Asshur fills the king's hands with them "; meaning little more than "he delivers them into the victor's hands.") It is noteworthy that here the action which gives its name to the whole proceeding is not the sprinkling of blood, but the holding of the offerings which are to be presented to Yahweh. Originally, it would seem, the main duty of the priest was to present the offering of the worshipper to the god. He is thus formally inducted into office by the placing of the offerings in his hands (cf. Hebrews 8:3). Noteworthy also is the reference to atonement (Leviticus 8:34). It was necessary to remove all trace of uncleanness, i.e. of whatever was not suitable to such special purposes, previous to the ceremony. For similar reasons the priests must not leave the special precincts of the shrine throughout the week. The whole intention is to emphasize the special dedication of both priest and altar, and it may be said to imply the thought of a covenant between Yahweh and the priests.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Leviticus 8:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/leviticus-8.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, December 12th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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