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The Lord Accepts Aaron's Offering

1On the eighth day Moses called Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel, 2and he said to Aaron, “Take for yourself a bull calf for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering, both without blemish, and offer them before the Lord. 3And say to the people of Israel, ‘Take a male goat for a sin offering, and a calf and a lamb, both a year old without blemish, for a burnt offering, 4and an ox and a ram for peace offerings, to sacrifice before the Lord, and a grain offering mixed with oil, for today the Lord will appear to you.’” 5And they brought what Moses commanded in front of the tent of meeting, and all the congregation drew near and stood before the Lord. 6And Moses said, “This is the thing that the Lord commanded you to do, that the glory of the Lord may appear to you.” 7Then Moses said to Aaron, “Draw near to the altar and offer your sin offering and your burnt offering and make atonement for yourself and for the people, and bring the offering of the people and make atonement for them, as the Lord has commanded.”

8So Aaron drew near to the altar and killed the calf of the sin offering, which was for himself. 9And the sons of Aaron presented the blood to him, and he dipped his finger in the blood and put it on the horns of the altar and poured out the blood at the base of the altar. 10But the fat and the kidneys and the long lobe of the liver from the sin offering he burned on the altar, as the Lord commanded Moses. 11The flesh and the skin he burned up with fire outside the camp.

12Then he killed the burnt offering, and Aaron's sons handed him the blood, and he threw it against the sides of the altar. 13And they handed the burnt offering to him, piece by piece, and the head, and he burned them on the altar. 14And he washed the entrails and the legs and burned them with the burnt offering on the altar.

15Then he presented the people's offering and took the goat of the sin offering that was for the people and killed it and offered it as a sin offering, like the first one. 16And he presented the burnt offering and offered it according to the rule. 17And he presented the grain offering, took a handful of it, and burned it on the altar, besides the burnt offering of the morning.

18Then he killed the ox and the ram, the sacrifice of peace offerings for the people. And Aaron's sons handed him the blood, and he threw it against the sides of the altar. 19But the fat pieces of the ox and of the ram, the fat tail and that which covers the entrails and the kidneys and the long lobe of the liver— 20they put the fat pieces on the breasts, and he burned the fat pieces on the altar, 21but the breasts and the right thigh Aaron waved for a wave offering before the Lord, as Moses commanded.

22Then Aaron lifted up his hands toward the people and blessed them, and he came down from offering the sin offering and the burnt offering and the peace offerings. 23And Moses and Aaron went into the tent of meeting, and when they came out they blessed the people, and the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people. 24And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the pieces of fat on the altar, and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.

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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.

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,” 413413     “That ye should do.” — A. V. 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.

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.

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 414414     See ante on Numbers 6:22-27, vol. 2, p. 245 et seq. 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.)

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.”