Leviticus 10:17
Why have you not eaten the sin offering in the holy place, seeing it is most holy, and God has given it you to bear the iniquity of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the LORD?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) Wherefore have ye not eaten? . . . —As enjoined in Leviticus 6:26.

God hath given it.—That is, He has given to you the flesh of the sin offering to cat. (See Leviticus 6:29.)

To bear the iniquity of the congregation.—Better, to remove the iniquity of the congregation, which the priests did by making atonement for them before the Lord, as is explained in the next clause. Accordingly the flesh of the sin offering is given to the priests, that by the act of eating it they may visibly show the offerer that God has graciously accepted the expiatory sacrifice, and that it is a most holy thing. The phrase “to bear iniquity” often signifies “to bear away, to remove, to forgive iniquity.” (Comp. Genesis 1:17; Exodus 32:32; Psalm 32:1; Psalm 32:5, &c.) Hence the most ancient Versions translate it here, “that ye may take away or remove” (LXX., the Chaldee, the Syriac, &c.). The rendering of the Authorised Version, however, is that of the Vulgate, which has been followed by the Reformers both in England and on the continent, as well as by several modern expositors. This is supported by the meaning of the phrase “to bear the iniquity” in Exodus 28:38; Numbers 18:1; Ezekiel 4:4-6. Those who follow this rendering take the passage to mean that the priest, by eating or incorporating the victim on which the offerer had laid his guilt, actually took away the sin, or neutralised it in a mysterious way, by virtue of the sanctifying power belonging to the sacerdotal office. Others, again, who also take the phrase to mean that the priest literally takes the sin upon himself, do not explain it, but simply say, that by eating the sin-laden victim the sins of the offerer were, in some sort, laid upon the priest to be taken away by him, thus prefiguring Christ, who should be both priest and sacrifice.

Leviticus 10:17. God hath given it you to bear the iniquity of the congregation — It was given them as an encouragement to, and a reward of the careful performance of that part of their duty, whereby they expiated, bore, and took away the sins of the people by offering those sacrifices, by which, as being typical of the sacrifice of the Messiah, God was reconciled to the penitent and believing offerers.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.To bear the iniquity - See Exodus 28:38 note. 16-20. Moses diligently sought the goat of the sin offering, and, behold, it was burnt—In a sacrifice presented, as that had been, on behalf of the people, it was the duty of the priests, as typically representing them and bearing their sins, to have eaten the flesh after the blood had been sprinkled upon the altar. Instead of using it, however, for a sacred feast, they had burnt it without the camp; and Moses, who discovered this departure from the prescribed ritual, probably from a dread of some further chastisements, challenged, not Aaron, whose heart was too much lacerated to bear a new cause of distress but his two surviving sons in the priesthood for the great irregularity. Their father, however, who heard the charge and by whose directions the error had been committed, hastened to give the explanation. The import of his apology is, that all the duty pertaining to the presentation of the offering had been duly and sacredly performed, except the festive part of the observance, which privately devolved upon the priest and his family. And that this had been omitted, either because his heart was too dejected to join in the celebration of a cheerful feast, or that he supposed, from the appalling judgments that had been inflicted, that all the services of that occasion were so vitiated that he did not complete them. Aaron was decidedly in the wrong. By the express command of God, the sin offering was to be eaten in the holy place; and no fanciful view of expediency or propriety ought to have led him to dispense at discretion with a positive statute. The law of God was clear and, where that is the case, it is sin to deviate a hair's breadth from the path of duty. But Moses sympathized with his deeply afflicted brother and, having pointed out the error, said no more. i.e. As a reward of your service and function, whereby you do expiate, bear, and take away their sins, by offering those sacrifices, and performing those rites, by which God through Christ is reconciled to the penitent and believing offerers. Wherefore have ye not eaten of the sin offering in the holy place, seeing it is most holy,.... The sin offering was one of the most holy things, and therefore to be eaten only in the sanctuary; though this was not the fault they are here charged with that they had eat it, but not in the holy place; for they had not eaten it at all, but burnt it, as appears from the preceding verse; this is what they are blamed for particularly, though they are reminded of the whole law concerning it, that it was to he eaten by them, that it was to be eaten in the holy place, the reason of which is given; but they had not eaten it any where:

and God hath given it to you, to bear the iniquity of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the Lord? for by eating the sin offering, or sin itself, as it is in the original text, see Hosea 4:8 they made the sins of the people, for whom the offering was, in some sense their own; and they bore them, and made a typical atonement for them; in which they were types of Christ, who was made sin for his people, took their sins upon him, and by imputation they were made his own, and he bore them in his own body on the tree, and made full satisfaction and atonement for them. Now since the eating of the sin offering of the people was of so great importance and consequence, the neglect of it by the priests was very blameworthy.

Wherefore have ye not eaten the sin offering in the holy place, seeing it is most holy, and God hath given it you to bear the iniquity of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the LORD?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
17. and he hath given it you to bear [mg. to take away] the iniquity of the congregation] Two interpretations of this clause have been proposed, (a) God has given the Sin-Offering for the purpose of taking away the iniquity of the congregation, (b) God has given to you the Sin-Offering (the part not burnt on the altar) to eat for the purpose of bearing (or taking away) the iniquity … The first is a general statement as to the efficacy of the Sin-Offering; the second attributes an atoning value to the eating by the priests, although not to this action apart from the ceremonial of which it formed a constituent portion. The acceptance of a sacrifice depends on the due observance of the whole appointed ritual, and each action as contributing towards the acceptance of the whole may be said to have an atoning value.And the Lord spake unto Aaron, saying, Jehovah still further commanded Aaron and his sons not to drink wine and strong drink when they entered the tabernacle to perform service there, on pain of death, as a perpetual statute for their generations (Exodus 12:17), that they might be able to distinguish between the holy and common, the clean and unclean, and also to instruct the children of Israel in all the laws which God had spoken to them through Moses (ו...ו, Leviticus 10:10 and Leviticus 10:11, et...et, both...and also). Shecar was an intoxicating drink made of barley and dates or honey. הל, profanus, common, is a wider or more comprehensive notion than טמא, unclean. Everything was common (profane) which was not fitted for the sanctuary, even what was allowable for daily use and enjoyment, and therefore was to be regarded as clean. The motive for laying down on this particular occasion a prohibition which was to hold good for all time, seems to lie in the event recorded in Leviticus 10:1, although we can hardly infer from this, as some commentators have done, that Nadab and Abihu offered the unlawful incense-offering in a state of intoxication. The connection between their act and this prohibition consisted simply in the rashness, which had lost the clear and calm reflection that is indispensable to right action.
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