Leviticus 8:12
And he poured of the anointing oil upon Aaron's head, and anointed him, to sanctify him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) And he poured of the anointing oil upon Aaron’s head.—In the anointing of Aaron, the oil was poured upon his head. (See also Leviticus 21:10-12; Exodus 29:7; Psalm 133:2.) This profuse pouring of oil was repeated at the consecration of every successor to the high-priesthood, whilst the common priests were simply anointed, or were simply marked with the finger on the forehead on their first installation, and this anointing descended with them for all futurity. (See Leviticus 6:3.) Tradition informs us that during the second Temple, the person who anointed the high priest first threw the oil upon his head, and then drew with his finger the sign of the letter Caph, being the initial of Cohen, i.e., priest, between the eyebrows of the newly-consecrated pontiff.

Leviticus 8:12. He poured the oil upon Aaron’s head — In a plentiful manner, as appears from <19D302>Psalm 133:2, whereas other persons and things were only sprinkled with it; because his unction was to typify the anointing of Christ with the Spirit, which was not given by measure to him. A measure of the same anointing is given to all believers, to all the members of Christ’s mystical body, who, by virtue of their union with their living head, partake of those gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit which were in him. Reader, hast thou received a measure of them? Remember, If any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of his.

8:1-13 The consecration of Aaron and his sons had been delayed until the tabernacle had been prepared, and the laws of the sacrifices given. Aaron and his sons were washed with water, to signify that they ought to purify themselves from all sinful dispositions, and ever after to keep themselves pure. Christ washes those from their sins in his own blood whom he makes kings and priests to our God, Re 1:5,6; and those that draw near to God must be washed in pure water, Heb 10:22. The anointing of Aaron was to typify the anointing of Christ with the Spirit, which was not given by measure to him. All believers have received the anointing.As investing the priest with official garments was a recognition before men of the official position of the person (see Exodus 28:3 note), so the anointing him with oil was an acknowledgment that all fitness for his office, all the powers with which he would rightly fulfill its duties, must come from the Lord.

So, again, with the sanctification of the holy things. Each of them was intended by divine wisdom to convey a spiritual meaning to the mind of man. They were means of grace to the devout worshipper. The oil poured upon them was a recognition of this fact, and at the same time it made them holy and set them apart from all profane and ordinary uses. On kindred grounds, though to express another idea, the altar was to be sanctified also by blood. See Leviticus 8:15 note.

10-12. took the anointing oil, &c.—which was designed to intimate that persons who acted as leaders in the solemn services of worship should have the unction of the Holy One both in His gifts and graces. He poured of the anointing oil in a plentiful manner, as appears from Psalm 133:2, whereas other persons and things were only anointed or sprinkled with it.

And he poured of the anointing oil upon Aaron's head,.... Which ran down to his beard, and to the collar of his coat, the robe of the ephod, but not to the skirts of his garments, as we wrongly render it, Psalm 133:2. Jarchi says it was first poured on his head, and after that he put it between his eyebrows, and drew it with his finger here and there, or from one eyebrow to another: Maimonides (w) gives a like account, with some addition; he says, the oil was poured on his head, and he was anointed between the eyebrows, in the form of the Greek letter "chi": a greater profusion of oil was used in the anointing of Aaron than of the tabernacle, altar, and laver, and their vessels, he being so eminent a type of Christ, our high priest, anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows:

and anointed him to sanctify him; to signify that he was set apart and devoted to the sacred office of the priesthood. The Targum of Jonathan observes, that this anointing was after he had clothed him; though some have thought it was done before the mitre and holy crown were put on: but if they were put on to complete the investiture, they might be taken off while the ceremony of anointing was performed.

(w) In Misn. Ceritot, c. 1. sect. 1.

And he poured of the anointing oil upon Aaron's head, and anointed him, to sanctify him.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 12. - He poured of the anointing oil upon Aaron's head. The change of the verb poured for sprinkled, indicates that the amount of "the precious ointment" poured "upon the head, that ran down unto the beard, and went down to the skirts of his garments" (Psalm 133:2), was far greater than that with which the furniture of the tabernacle had been anointed. The oil sprinkled on the holy things sanctified them as means of grace. The oil poured upon Aaron represents the grace of the Holy Spirit, coming from without, but diffusing itself over and throughout the whole consecrated man. Leviticus 8:12According to the directions in Exodus 30:26-30 (cf. Lev Exo 40:9-11), the anointing was performed first of all upon "the tabernacle and everything in it," i.e., the ark of the covenant, the altar of incense, the candlestick, and table of shew-bread, and their furniture; and then upon the altar of burnt-offering and its furniture, and upon the laver and its pedestal; and after this, upon Aaron himself, by the pouring of the holy oil upon his head. This was followed by the robing and anointing of Aaron's sons, the former only of which is recorded in Leviticus 8:13 (according to Exodus 28:40), the anointing not being expressly mentioned, although it had not only been commanded, in Exodus 28:41 and Exodus 40:15, but the performance of it is taken for granted in Leviticus 7:36; Leviticus 10:7, and Numbers 3:3. According to the Jewish tradition, the anointing of Aaron (the high priest) was different from that of the sons of Aaron (the ordinary priests), the oil being poured upon the head of the former, whilst it was merely smeared with the finger upon the forehead in the case of the latter (cf. Relandi Antiqq. ss. ii. 1, 5, and 7, and Selden, de succ. in pontif. ii. 2). There appears to be some foundation for this, as a distinction is assumed between the anointing of the high priest and that of the ordinary priests, not only in the expression, "he poured of the anointing oil upon Aaron's head" (Leviticus 8:12, cf. Exodus 29:7; Psalm 133:2), which is applied to Aaron only, but also in Leviticus 21:10, Leviticus 21:12; although the further statement of the later Talmudists and Rabbins, that Aaron was also marked upon the forehead with the sign of a Hebrew כ (the initial letter of כהן), has no support in the law (vid., Selden, ii. 9; Vitringa, observv. ss. ii. c. 15, 9). - On the mode in which the tabernacle and its furniture were anointed, all that is stated is, that the altar of burnt-offering was anointed by being sprinkled seven times with the anointing oil; from which we may safely conclude, that the other portions and vessels of the sanctuary were anointed in the same way, but that the sprinkling was not performed more than once in their case. The reason why the altar was sprinkled seven times with the holy anointing oil, is to be sought for in its signification as the place of worship. The anointing, both of the sacred things and also of the priests, is called קדּשׁ "to sanctify," in Leviticus 8:10-12, as well as in Exodus 40:9-11 and Exodus 40:13; and in Exodus 40:10 the following stipulation is added with regard to the altar of burnt-offering: "and it shall be most holy," - a stipulation which is not extended to the dwelling and its furniture, although those portions of the sanctuary were most holy also, that the altar of burnt-offering, which was the holiest object in the court by virtue of its appointment as the place of expiation, might be specially guarded from being touched by unholy hands (see at Exodus 40:16). To impress upon it this highest grade of holiness, it was sprinkled even times with anointing oil; and in the number seven, the covenant number, the seal of the holiness of the covenant of reconciliation, to which it was to be subservient, was impressed upon it. To sanctify is not merely to separate to holy purposes, but to endow or fill with the powers of the sanctifying Spirit of God. Oil was a fitting symbol of the Spirit, or spiritual principle of life, by virtue of its power to sustain and fortify the vital energy; and the anointing oil, which was prepared according to divine instructions, was therefore a symbol of the Spirit of God, as the principle of spiritual life which proceeds from God and fills the natural being of the creature with the powers of divine life. The anointing with oil, therefore, was a symbol of endowment with the Spirit of God (1 Samuel 10:1, 1 Samuel 10:6; 1 Samuel 16:13-14; Isaiah 61:1) for the duties of the office to which a person was consecrated. The holy vessels also were not only consecrated, through the anointing, for the holy purposes to which they were to be devoted (Knobel), but were also furnished in a symbolical sense with powers of the divine Spirit, which were to pass from them to the people who came to the sanctuary. The anointing was not only to sanctify the priests as organs and mediators of the Spirit of God, but the vessels of the sanctuary also, as channels and vessels of the blessings of grace and salvation, which God as the Holy One would bestow upon His people, through the service of His priests, and in the holy vessels appointed by Him. On these grounds the consecration of the holy things was associated with the consecration of the priests. The notion that even vessels, and in fact inanimate things in general, can be endowed with divine and spiritual powers, was very widely spread in antiquity. We meet with it in the anointing of memorial stones (Genesis 28:17; Genesis 35:14), and it occurs again in the instructions concerning the expiation of the sanctuary on the annual day of atonement (ch. 16). It contains more truth than some modern views of the universe, which refuse to admit that any influence is exerted by the divine Spirit except upon animated beings, and thus leave a hopeless abyss between spirit and matter. According to Exodus 29:9, the clothing and anointing of Aaron and his sons were to be "a priesthood to them for a perpetual statute," i.e., to secure the priesthood to them for all ages; for the same thought is expressed thus in Exodus 40:15 : "their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations." When the Talmudists refer these words to the sons of Aaron or the ordinary priests, to the exclusion of Aaron or the high priest, this is opposed to the distinct context, according to which the sons of Aaron were to be anointed like their father Aaron. The utter want of foundation for the rabbinical assumption, that the anointing of the sons of Aaron, performed by Moses, availed not only for themselves, but for their successors also, and therefore for the priests of every age, is also the more indisputable, because the Talmudists themselves infer from Leviticus 6:15 (cf. Exodus 29:29), where the installation of Aaron's successor in his office is expressly designated an anointing, the necessity for every successor of Aaron in the high-priesthood to be anointed. The meaning of the words in question is no doubt the following: the anointing of Aaron and his sons was to stand as a perpetual statute for the priesthood, and to guarantee it to the sons of Aaron for all time; it being assumed as self-evident, according to Leviticus 6:15, that as every fresh generation entered upon office, the anointing would be repeated or renewed.
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