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9. The Priests Begin Ministry

And it came to pass on the eighth day, that Moses called Aaron and his sons, and the elders of Israel; 2And he said unto Aaron, Take thee a young calf for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering, without blemish, and offer them before the Lord. 3And unto the children of Israel thou shalt speak, saying, Take ye a kid of the goats for a sin offering; and a calf and a lamb, 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 mingled with oil: for to day the Lord will appear unto you.

5And they brought that which Moses commanded before 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: and 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: 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 the pieces thereof, and the head: and he burnt them upon 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, as the first. 16And he brought the burnt offering, and offered it according to the manner. 17And he brought the meat offering, 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, and that which covereth the inwards, and the kidneys, and the caul above the liver: 20And they 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 Moses commanded. 22And Aaron lifted up his hand 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 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, they shouted, and fell on their faces.

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.”


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