Leviticus 10:12
And Moses spoke to Aaron, and to Eleazar and to Ithamar, his sons that were left, Take the meat offering that remains of the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and eat it without leaven beside the altar: for it is most holy:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) And Moses spake unto Aaron.—This communication, which refers to the sacrifices offered on the eighth day, or the day after the consecration was finished, Moses made to Aaron and his two surviving sons immediately after the calamity that had befallen them. As Aaron lost his two eldest sons in consequence of their having violated the sacrificial regulations, Moses is most anxious to guard him and his two younger sons against transgressing any other part of the ritual connected with the same sacrifices, lest they also should incur a similar punishment.

Take the meat offering that remaineth of the offerings.—The meat offering which was offered by the nation the day after the consecration, when the calamity happened (see Leviticus 9:17), and which was not as yet eaten. With the exception of the handful which was burnt on the altar, all belonged to the priests. (See Leviticus 2:1-3; Leviticus 6:14-18.)

And eat it without leaven beside the altar.—That is, in the court of the tent of meeting, where the altar of burnt offering stood. (See Leviticus 6:16.)

For it is most holy.—Hence it could only be eaten by the male members of the families of the priests within the court of the sanctuary. (See Leviticus 6:18.)

Leviticus 10:12-14. Moses spake unto Aaron — Moses, being apprehensive that Aaron, in the confusion of his grief for the loss of his two sons, might forget or omit some part of his duty, here puts him in mind of it, repeating to him the order about eating the remains of the meat or meal-offering, (Leviticus 6:16-17,) and about the shoulder and breast, Leviticus 7:31. The former of which the priests alone might eat, and that only in the holy place, or court of the tabernacle. The other might be eaten in any clean place, that is, in any of their dwellings, or in any place in the camp which was decent, and kept clean from all ceremonial defilement; and where the women as well as the men might come; for the daughters of the priests might eat these as well as their sons, if they were maids, or widows, or divorced, Leviticus 2:11-13.10:12-20 Afflictions should rather quicken us to our duty, than take us from it. But our unfitness for duty, when it is natural and not sinful, will have great allowances made for it; God will have mercy, and not sacrifice. Let us profit by the solemn warning this history conveys. When professing worshippers come with zeal without knowledge, carnal affections, earthly, light, vain, trifling thoughts, the devices of will-worship, instead of the offering of soul and spirit; then the incense is kindled by a flame which never came down from heaven, which the Spirit of a holy God never sent within their hearts.The argument is, that as such meals were appointed in honor of Yahweh Himself, they ought to be conducted with due reverence and discretion.

Leviticus 10:12

Beside the altar - What is called "the holy place" in Leviticus 10:13, Leviticus 10:17 : it should be rather, a holy place, any part of the holy precinct, as distinguished from a merely "clean place" Leviticus 10:14, either within or without the court of the tabernacle.

12-15. Moses spake unto Aaron, &c.—This was a timely and considerate rehearsal of the laws that regulated the conduct of the priests. Amid the distractions of their family bereavement, Aaron and his surviving sons might have forgotten or overlooked some of their duties. Moses repeateth and re-enforceth the former command, partly lest their great loss and grief should cause them to forget or neglect their meat prescribed them by God, which abstinence would have been both a signification of their sorrow, which God had forbidden them, and a new transgression of a Divine precept; and partly to encourage them to go on in their holy services, and not to be dejected for the late severity, as if God would no more accept them or their sacrifices. And Moses spake unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar, and unto Ithamar, his sons that were left,.... Of the burning, as the Targum of Jonathan; who survived his other two sons that were burnt, who remained alive, not being concerned with them in their sin, and so shared not in their punishment:

take the meat offering that remaineth of the offerings of the Lord made by fire; for all but the handful that was burnt of that kind of offerings belonged to the priests, see Leviticus 6:14 this meat offering, according to Jarchi, was the meat offering of the eighth day, that is, of the consecration, or the day after it was finished, on which the above awful case happened, Leviticus 9:17 and also the meat offering of Nahshon the son of Amminadab, of the tribe of Judah, who offered his offering first at the dedication of the altar, on the day the tabernacle was set up, which he supposes was on this day, see Numbers 7:1, now these meat offerings were not as yet eaten, and which may be true of the first of them, wherefore Aaron and his sons, notwithstanding their mourning, are bid to take it:

and eat it without leaven beside the altar: the altar of burnt offering in the court of the tabernacle, as directed See Gill on Leviticus 6:16,

for it is most holy: and so might be eaten by none but holy persons, such as were devoted to sacred services, and only in the holy place, as follows; within hangings, where the most holy things were eaten, as Jarchi, that is, within the court of the tabernacle, which was made of hangings.

And Moses spake unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar, his sons that were left, Take the meat offering that remaineth of the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and eat it without leaven beside the altar: for it is most holy:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verses 12-20. - Moses takes care that the remaining part of the ritual of the day shall be carried out in spite of the terrible interruption that has occurred. Under his instructions, Aaron and Eleazar and Ithamar eat the remainder of the meat offering (Leviticus 9:17), in the court of the tabernacle, and reserve the wave breast and heave shoulder to eat in a clean place, that is, not necessarily within the court; but he finds that the sin offerings (Leviticus 9:15), which ought to be eaten by the priests, had been burnt. The rule was that, when the blood was presented in the tabernacle, the flesh was burned; when it was not, the flesh was eaten by the priests. In the present case, the blood had not been brought within the holy place, and yet the flesh had been burned instead of being eaten. Moses was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, and demanded an explanation. Aaron's plea of defense was twofold.

1. His sons had fulfilled aright the ritual of their own sin offering and burnt offering, that is, the offerings made for the priests, and it had been rather his duty than theirs to see that the ritual of the sin offering of the congregation had been properly carried out.

2. The state of distress in which he was, and the near escape that he had had from ceremonial defilement, and the sense of sin brought home to him by his children's death, had made him unfit and unable to eat the sin offering of the people, as he should have done under other circumstances. With this plea Moses was content. It was true that the letter of the Law had been broken, but there was a sufficient cause for it (see Hosea 6:6; Matthew 12:7). It appears from hence that the expiation wrought by the sin offering was not complete until the whole ceremony was accomplished, the last act of which was the eating of the flesh by the priests in one class of sin offering, and the burning the flesh outside the camp in the other. It has been questioned, what is the full meaning of the expression, God hath given it you - the flesh of the sin offering - to bear the iniquity of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the Lord. Archdeacon Freeman expresses the view of A Lapide, Keil, and many others when he says that, by eating the flesh of the offering, the priests "in a deep mystery neutralized, through the holiness vested in them by their consecration, the sin which the offerer had laid upon the victim and upon them" ('Principles of Divine Service,' part 2). Oehler, on the other hand (Herzog's 'Cyclop.,' 10), maintains that the priests did no more by this act than declare the removal of the sin already taken away; with which accords Philo's explanation ('De Vict.,' 13, quoted by Edersheim, 'Temple Service,' chapter 6.) that the object of the sacrificial meal was to carry assurance of acceptance to the offerer, "since God would never have allowed his servants to partake of it had there not been a complete removal and forgetting of the sin atoned for." Neither of these explanations seems to be altogether satisfactory. The former attributes more meaning to the expression bear the iniquity than it appears to have elsewhere; e.g. Exodus 28:38 and Numbers 18:1, where Aaron is said to bear the iniquity of the holy things and of the sanctuary; and Ezekiel 4:4-6, where the prophet is said to bear the iniquity of Israel and Judah. The latter interpretation appears too much to evacuate the meaning of the words. It is quite certain that the part of the ceremony by which the atonement was wrought (if it was wrought by any one part) was the offering of the blood for the covering of the offerer's sins, but yet this action of the priests in eating the flesh of the victim was in some way also connected with the atonement, not only with the assurance of its having been wrought; but in what way this was effected we are not told, and cannot pronounce. The words bear the iniquity are equivalent to making atonement for by taking the sin in some sense upon themselves (cf. Isaiah 53:11, "He shall bear their iniquities," and John 1:29, "Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away [or beareth] the sin of the world'). Accordingly, Bishop Patrick comments: "The very eating of the people's sin offering argued the sins of the people were, in some sort, laid upon the priests, to be taken away by them. From whence the sacrifice of Christ may be explained, who is said to bear our iniquity (as the priest is here said to do), all our sins being laid on him, who took upon him to make an expiation for them by the sacrifice of himself. For the priest, hereby eating of the sin offering, receiving the guilt upon himself, may well be thought to prefigure One who should be both Priest and Sacrifice for sin; which was accomplished in Christ" (on Leviticus 10:17).



Moses prohibited Aaron and his remaining sons from showing any sign of mourning on account of this fatal calamity. "Uncover not your heads," i.e., do not go about with your hair dishevelled, or flowing free and in disorder (Leviticus 13:45). ראשׁ פּרע does not signify merely uncovering the head by taking off the head-band (lxx, Vulg., Kimchi, etc.), or by shaving off the hair (Ges. and others; see on the other hand Knobel on Leviticus 21:10), but is to be taken in a similar sense ראשׁו שׂער פּרע, the free growth of the hair, not cut short with scissors (Numbers 6:5; Ezekiel 44:20). It is derived from פּרע, to let loose from anything (Proverbs 1:25; Proverbs 4:5, etc.), to let a people loose, equivalent to giving them the reins (Exodus 32:25), and signifies solvere crines, capellos, to leave the hair in disorder, which certainly implies the laying aside of the head-dress in the case of the priest, though without consisting in this alone. On this sign of mourning among the Roman and other nations, see M. Geier de Ebraeorum luctu viii. 2. The Jews observe the same custom still, and in times of deep mourning neither wash themselves, nor cut their hair, nor pare their nails (see Buxtorf, Synog. jud. p. 706). They were also not to rend their clothes, i.e., not to make a rent in the clothes in front of the breast-a very natural expression of grief, by which the sorrow of the heart was to be laid bare, and one which was not only common among the Israelites (Genesis 37:29; Genesis 44:13; 2 Samuel 1:11; 2 Samuel 3:31; 2 Samuel 13:31), but was very widely spread among the other nations of antiquity (cf. Geier l.c. xxii. 9). פּרם, to rend, occurs, in addition to this passage, in Leviticus 13:45; Leviticus 21:10; in other places פרע, to tear in pieces, is used. Aaron and his sons were to abstain from these expressions of sorrow, "lest they should die and wrath come upon all the people." Accordingly, we are not to seek the reason for this prohibition merely in the fact, that they would defile themselves by contact with the corpses, a reason which afterwards led to this prohibition being raised into a general law for the high priest (Leviticus 21:10-11). The reason was simply this, that any manifestation of grief on account of the death that had occurred, would have indicated dissatisfaction with the judgment of God; and Aaron and his sons would thereby not only have fallen into mortal sin themselves, but have brought down upon the congregation the wrath of God, which fell upon it through every act of sin committed by the high priest in his official position (Leviticus 4:3). "Your brethren, (namely) the whole house of Israel, may bewail this burning" (the burning of the wrath of Jehovah). Mourning was permitted to the nation, as an expression of sorrow on account of the calamity which had befallen the whole nation in the consecrated priests. For the nation generally did not stand in such close fellowship with Jehovah as the priests, who had been consecrated by anointing.
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