INTRODUCTION TO Leviticus 9
Aaron and his sons, being consecrated to and invested with the priest's office, are called upon to the exercise of it, to offer a sin offering and a burnt offering for themselves, and all sorts of offerings, a sin offering, a burnt offering, peace offerings, and a meat offering, for the people; and a promise is made for their encouragement, that the glory of the Lord would appear to them, Leviticus 9:1 and which were in their course accordingly offered; first, Aaron's sin offering for himself, Leviticus 9:8 then his burnt offering, Leviticus 9:12 after that the several offerings of the people before mentioned, Leviticus 9:15 when Aaron and Moses blessed the people, the one as soon as he had done offering, and both together when they came out of the tabernacle, Leviticus 9:22 upon which a fire came forth from the Lord, and consumed the burnt offering upon the altar, Leviticus 9:24.
And it came to pass on the eighth day, that Moses called Aaron and his sons, and the elders of Israel;And it came to pass on the eighth day,.... When the seven days of consecration were ended, as Ben Gersom, the day following them, so soon was Aaron called to the execution of his office; and so both the Targum of Jonathan and Jarchi make it to be the eighth day of the consecration, or the day after the anointing of Aaron and his sons, and which they both say was the beginning, or first day of Nisan, the day the tabernacle was erected by Moses: but that seems to have been set up before the consecration; rather this was, as Aben Ezra says, the eighth day of the month Nisan or March, and was the eighth day of the consecration, which began at the first day, on which day the tabernacle was set up, Exodus 40:2,
that Moses, called Aaron and his sons, and the elders of Israel; Aaron and his sons to enter upon their office, by offering sacrifices for themselves, and for the people, and the elders to be witnesses thereof.
And 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.And he said unto Aaron,.... In the presence of the people of Israel:
take thee a young calf for a sin offering; one not exceeding a year old, as in Leviticus 9:3 but this was not for the sin of making the calf only, to which the Jewish writers restrain it, but for all other sins of his, which it was necessary should be expiated before he offered sacrifices for the sins of others:
and a ram for a burnt offering; being a strong and innocent creature, was a proper emblem of Christ, the Lamb of God, that takes away by his sacrifice the sins of men:
without blemish; this character belongs, as Aben Ezra observes, both to the calf and ram, which were both to be without spot, and so proper types of Christ the Lamb without spot and blemish, free both from original and actual sin:
and offer them before the Lord; on the altar of burnt offering, which stood in the court of the tabernacle near where Jehovah was, to whom every sacrifice for sin was to be offered, being committed against him, and whose justice must be satisfied for it.
And 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;And unto the children of Israel thou shalt speak,.... That is, Aaron should speak to them, for being now high priest, Moses had no more to do with the sacrifices of the people, but it was incumbent on Aaron to call upon them to bring them to him such as the Lord by this law required of them:
saying, take ye a kid of the goats for a sin offering; this creature fitly represented Christ as made sin, and an offering for sin, in the room of his people:
and a calf, and a lamb; both of them, as before observed, were proper emblems of Christ in his strength and innocence, sometimes called the fatted calf, and frequently the Lamb of God, Luke 15:23 John 1:29,
both of the first year, without blemish, for a burnt offering; denoting the tenderness of Christ, his spotless purity, and painful sufferings.
Also 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.Also a bullock and a ram for peace offerings, to sacrifice before the Lord,.... An offering being made for the atonement of sin, and the gift of a whole burnt offering accepted by the Lord upon that, peace offerings were to be sacrificed thereupon; one part of which belonged to the Lord, as the fat and the blood; another part to the priest, as the shoulder and the breast; and the rest to the owners to make a feast with, expressive of the peace and joy which arise from the expiation and atonement of sin, by the great sacrifice of Christ, in commemoration of which a feast is kept by the Lord's people:
and a meat offering mingled with oil; with oil olive; each of these offerings are treated of in the preceding chapters, where an account is given of them, and the mystery of them explained:
for today the Lord will appear unto you; or "and today", as in Leviticus 9:6 so Noldius (e); for this is not observed as a reason why the sacrifices were to be offered, but as a promise of the divine appearance, as an encouragement thereunto; and may have special respect to some visible splendour and lustre of the divine glory more than ordinary; and particularly to the fire that should come out from before the Lord, and consume the sacrifice, Leviticus 9:24 and so Ben Gersom interprets it. And this being on the eighth day of the consecration of the priests, may lead our thoughts to the day when our great High Priest rose from the dead, the day after the seventh, or the Jewish sabbath, even on the eighth day, or first day of the week, on which he made frequent appearances to his disciples; see Mark 16:9.
(e) P. 395, No. 1340.
And they brought that which Moses commanded before the tabernacle of the congregation: and all the congregation drew near and stood before the LORD.And they brought that which Moses commanded before the tabernacle of the congregation,.... That is, Aaron and his sons, and all the children of Israel, as the Targum of Jonathan paraphrases it. All the above sacrifices they brought into the court of the tabernacle to be offered up:
and all the congregation drew near, and stood before the Lord; that is, the elders of Israel, who were called together, Leviticus 9:1, the heads of the tribes who represented the people; as many as well could be admitted into the court no doubt were, to be spectators of Aaron and his sons officiating first in their new office, and to see their own sacrifices offered; and they stood over against where was the symbol of the divine Presence; and the Targum of Jonathan says, they stood with a perfect heart; and no doubt but they were heartily sincere and upright in their sacrifices, as they had been in their donations toward the building the tabernacle, and providing things belonging to it; and they stood with all humility, reverence, and devotion.
And Moses said, This is the thing which the LORD commanded that ye should do: and the glory of the LORD shall appear unto you.This is the thing which the Lord commanded that ye should do,.... Namely, what they had done, bring the creatures and things for sacrifice they had:
and the glory of the Lord shall appear unto you; either Christ, the brightness of his Father's glory, in an human form, as a presage of his future incarnation, as he frequently did; or some more than ordinary refulgence of glory breaking out of the holy of holies, where God had now taken up his dwelling between the cherubim; or, as Aben Ezra explains it, the fire that should go out from him, and consume the sacrifice, which would be a demonstration of his presence with them, and of his acceptance of the sacrifice.
And 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.And Moses said unto Aaron,.... This is only observed to show, that as Aaron did not take upon him this office of himself, but was called unto it, and invested with it, by the appointment of God, so neither did he enter upon it but through the call of God by Moses, in the sight of the congregation:
go unto the altar, and offer thy sin offering, and thy burnt offering; the young calf and ram:
and make an atonement for thyself and for the people; first for himself, and then for the people; for, as Aben Ezra says, a man cannot atone for another until he is pure from all sin; which is a character only to be found in Christ, our great High Priest, and so a proper person to atone for and take away the sins of others: hence the priests under the law, with their sacrifices, could never take away sin really, only typically; and this shows the imperfection of the Levitical priesthood, that the priests of that order were obliged to offer first for their own sins; this our high priest, of another order, needed not to do; see Hebrews 7:27.
and offer the offering of the people, and make atonement for them; typical of the true and full atonement made by Christ, when he offered himself without spot to God:
as the Lord commanded; Aaron to do, and as he commanded Christ, his Son and our surety, the antitype of Aaron, John 10:18.
Aaron therefore went unto the altar, and slew the calf of the sin offering, which was for himself.Aaron therefore went unto the altar,.... Of burnt offering, freely and cheerfully, at the direction and introduction of Moses, who acted in this affair in the name of the Lord:
and slew the calf of the sin offering, which was for himself; which was to be offered first, as it was proper it should, that, atonement being made for his sins, his after burnt offering might be accepted with God, and he be fit to offer the sacrifices of the people: the calf he slew on the north side of the altar, where all the sin offerings and burnt offerings were slain; see Leviticus 1:11.
And 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:And the sons of Aaron brought the blood unto him,.... The blood of the calf of the sin offering, which they had received in a basin when it was slain:
and he dipped his finger in the blood, and put it upon the horns of the altar; the four horns of it, as Moses had done at his consecration, which was an example to him, Leviticus 8:15. This was typical of the blood of Christ, to which persons may have recourse from the four quarters of the world for atonement and pardon:
and poured out the blood at the bottom of the altar; what remained after he had put what was proper on the horns of it.
But 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.But the fat, and the kidneys, and the caul above the liver of the sin offering, he burnt upon the altar,.... The Septuagint version is, "he offered them":
as the Lord commanded Moses; see Leviticus 4:8.
And the flesh and the hide he burnt with fire without the camp.And the flesh and the hide he burnt with fire without the camp. With common fire, for the fire from the Lord came only upon the altar, which perhaps may be the reason of this expression being used when anything was burnt without the camp, and not on the altar, see Exodus 29:14. Jarchi observes, that we do not find a sin offering burnt without the camp but this; which is a great mistake; see Leviticus 4:11.
And he slew the burnt offering; and Aaron's sons presented unto him the blood, which he sprinkled round about upon the altar.And he slew the burnt offering,.... The ram, which was for himself also; this he slew at the north side of the altar, Leviticus 1:11.
and Aaron's sons presented unto him the blood: which they had received into a basin, when it was slain:
which he sprinkled round about upon the altar; as he had seen Moses do before him, Leviticus 8:19.
And they presented the burnt offering unto him, with the pieces thereof, and the head: and he burnt them upon the altar.And they presented the burnt offering to him,.... After it was cut in pieces, as the ram of the burnt offering was by Moses, Leviticus 8:20 and so it was done to this, as appears by what follows:
with the pieces thereof, and the head, and he burnt them upon the altar; the Septuagint version is, "he put them on the altar".
And he did wash the inwards and the legs, and burnt them upon the burnt offering on the altar.And he did wash the inwards and the legs,.... As Moses also had done, Leviticus 8:21.
and burnt them upon the burnt offering on the altar; upon the pieces, and the head, before mentioned, said to be burnt, or "after" the burnt offering, after they were burnt: the Septuagint version is as before.
And 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.And he brought the people's offering,.... To the altar, having offered his own first:
and took the goat, which was the sin offering for the people, and slew it; where he had slain his own:
and offered it for sin, as the first: the first offering he offered for himself, which was of the same sort.
And he brought the burnt offering, and offered it according to the manner.And he brought the burnt offering,.... The calf and the lamb, Leviticus 9:3.
and offered it according to the manner; judgment, ordinance, and appointment of God respecting that sort of offerings; see Leviticus 1:1.
And he brought the meat offering, and took an handful thereof, and burnt it upon the altar, beside the burnt sacrifice of the morning.And he brought the meat offering,.... Made of fine flour, with oil and frankincense put upon it, see Leviticus 2:1.
and took a handful thereof, and burnt it upon the altar; see Leviticus 2:2.
beside the burnt sacrifice of the morning; the daily morning sacrifice, which was not to be omitted on account of these extraordinary sacrifices, both for the priest and for the people; or "after the burnt sacrifice of the morning"; for no sacrifice was offered up before that: so Jarchi.
He 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,He slew also the bullock and the ram, a sacrifice of peace offerings, which was for the people,.... That they might feast, rejoice, and be glad that atonement was made for their sins, and their gifts and sacrifices accepted of God, see Romans 5:11.
and Aaron's sons presented unto him the blood; of the peace offerings, the bullock and the ram, which they had received into a vessel as they were killing:
which he sprinkled upon the altar round about; as he did with the blood of his own burnt offering, Leviticus 9:12.
And 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:And the fat of the bullock, and of the ram,.... Which in all offerings was the Lord's, and was burnt, see Leviticus 3:16.
and that which covereth the inwards; called the "omentum":
and the kidneys, and the caul above the liver; and the fat that was upon each of these: Ben Gersom observes, that the kidneys and liver are mentioned last, to show that they were laid uppermost in waving (after directed to), that the owners might be stirred up, or moved by these things.
And they put the fat upon the breasts, and he burnt the fat upon the altar:And they put the fat upon the breasts,.... Both of the bullock and of the ram, while they were waving:
and he burnt the fat upon the altar; after having been waved.
And the breasts and the right shoulder Aaron waved for a wave offering before the LORD; as Moses commanded.And the breasts and the right shoulder,.... The breasts of the bullock and the ram, and the right shoulders of them both:
Aaron waved for a wave offering before the Lord; which was given to him as his part of the peace offerings, after they had been thus waved before the Lord; whereby an acknowledgment was made that he was Lord of all, and had a right to all they had; in token of which these parts were given to his priests towards their maintenance:
as Moses commanded; see Exodus 29:27.
And 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.And Aaron lifted up his hand towards the people, and blessed them,.... After he had offered the above sacrifices both for himself and them: the manner of the priests lifting up their hands when they blessed is thus described; in the provinces the priests lift up their hands to their shoulders, and in the sanctuary above their heads, excepting the high priest, who did not lift up his hands above the plate of gold: but R. Judah says, the high priest lift up his hands above the plate, as it is said Leviticus 9:22 (f); the modern Jews describe it thus (g), they lift up their hands to their shoulders, and they lift up the right hand somewhat higher than the left; then they stretch out their hands, and part their fingers, and frame them so as to make five airs; between two fingers and two fingers one air, and between the forefinger and the thumb, and between the two thumbs; they spread out their hands so, that the middle (or palm) of the hand may be towards the earth, and the back part of it towards heaven: Aaron lift his hands upwards, signifying from whence he implored the blessing, and towards the people on whom he desired it might descend; in this was a type of Christ, who, after he had offered himself a sacrifice for the sins of his people, when he was risen from the dead and about to ascend to heaven, blessed his disciples, Luke 24:50 in Christ the saints are blessed with all spiritual blessings; by him they are procured for them, through his blood, sacrifice, and satisfaction; and he ever lives to make intercession for the application of them to them, see Ephesians 1:3.
and came down from offering of the sin offering, and the burnt offering, and peace offerings; from the altar with joy, as the Targum of Jonathan; being glad he had done his service with acceptance; he is said to "come down", there being a rise or ascent to the altar, which, as Aben Ezra observes, was three cubits high, and therefore it is with propriety said he came down; which he did as soon as he had made an end of offering all the sacrifices.
(f) Misn. Sotah, c. 7. sect. 6. (g) Schulchan Aruch, par. 1. Orach Chayim, c. 128. sect. 12.
And 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.And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation,.... They went out of the court where the altar of burnt offering stood, and where Aaron had been offering the sacrifices; and they went into the holy place, where stood the altar of incense, the shewbread table, and the candlestick; and it is probable Moses went in with Aaron thither, to show him how to offer the incense, to order the shewbread on the table, and to light and trim the lamps of the candlestick; and so Jarchi observes, that he went in to teach him concerning the business of the incense; but it may be, it was also to pray for the people, as the Targum, and for the Lord's appearance to them, as was promised and expected, and that fire might descend on the sacrifices as a token of acceptance of them, as Aben Ezra notes:
and came out, and blessed the people; Aaron had blessed them before, but now both Moses and Aaron blessed them, atonement being made by the sacrifice of Christ, and law and justice thereby fully satisfied; Christ and the law agree together in the blessing of the Lord's people; way was hereby made for the communication of blessings to them, consistent with the law of God, and his holiness and justice, Galatians 3:10,
and the glory of the Lord appeared unto all the people: some visible signs of his glory, some very great splendour or lustre, or breaking forth of his glory; or Christ, the glory of the Father, appeared in an human form, as a pledge of his future incarnation, when all the above sacrifices, which were types of him, would have their accomplishment; and this being immediately upon the offering of them, may signify that the glory of God greatly appears in the sacrifice and satisfaction of Christ, and in the redemption and salvation of his people in that way, Psalm 21:4 and the glorious and gracious presence of God is enjoyed by his people, in consequence of the propitiatory sacrifice of Christ, which was signified by the mercy seat, from whence the Lord communed; and it is through Christ, his blood and sacrifice, saints have access to God, and fellowship with him, Ephesians 2:18.
And 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.And there came a fire out from before the Lord,.... Either from heaven, or from the holy of holies, where was the symbol of the divine Presence, and Jehovah had now took up his residence:
and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering, and the fat; according to Aben Ezra, the burnt offering of Aaron, and of the people, and of the daily sacrifice, for so it is written, besides the burnt offering of the morning, Leviticus 9:17 and the fat of the calf and ram of Aaron, and of the goat, ox, and ram of the people, which though they were laid upon the altar at the time of their offering, yet it is thought by some they were not burnt till now: it is a conjecture of Bishop Patrick's, that this burnt offering was the burnt offering of the evening sacrifice, which was consumed by the fire from the Lord; he supposes that the offering of the above sacrifices had taken up the whole day, from the time of the morning sacrifice until the evening; and that all the other sacrifices were burnt with common fire, but this with fire from the Lord; but then, what was the fat that was consumed? however, this was a token of acceptance; in like manner as it descended on the sacrifice of Abel, as is thought, Genesis 4:4 and on the sacrifices offered at the dedication of the temple, 2 Chronicles 7:1 and on the burnt sacrifice of Elijah, 1 Kings 18:38 testifying the divine approbation and acceptance of them: for though in the mystery, the fire may design the wrath of God as a consuming fire, which was very distressing to Christ, and brought him to the dust of death; yet, with respect to the persons for whom this sacrifice was offered, it denotes acceptance of it, that it was an offering by fire, and of a sweet smelling savour to God, his law and justice being satisfied, and having honour done them: concerning this fire, and the perpetual burning of it; see Gill on Leviticus 6:12, Leviticus 6:13. The Heathens, in imitation of this, have pretended to have fire come down also from heaven on their altars, as the Brahmans, among the Indians, taken notice of in the above note. And so Solinus (h) speaks of the Vulcanian hill in Sicily, where they that serve in sacred things lay wood of vines on the altar, but put no fire; and if God is present (and so the sacrifice is approved) the branches, though green, will take fire of themselves, and a flame is kindled by the deity sacrificed to, no one setting them on fire. And Servius says (i), that with the ancients fires on altars were not kindled, but they procured a divine fire by their prayers, which kindled on the altars; but these were mere pretences, and juggling tricks, in which they were assisted by Satan to vie with this wonderful appearance of God in the acceptation of the sacrifice of his people:
which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces; Aaron blessing them, and the appearance of the glory of God unto them, no doubt, gave them joy and pleasure, as the spiritual blessings by Christ, and the gracious presence of God do to his people, Psalm 103:1 but what filled them with joy unspeakable was the acceptance of their sacrifices, as typical of the sacrifice of Christ, and atonement by it, which made them shout, and the court to ring with it; and yet fell down on their faces with all reverence and humility, under a sense of the divine Majesty being so near unto them, in this sensible token of his presence.
(h) Polyhistor. c. 11. (i) In Virgil. Aeneid. l. 12. ver. 200.