Leviticus 9:7
And Moses said to Aaron, Go to the altar, and offer your sin offering, and your burnt offering, and make an atonement for yourself, and for the people: and offer the offering of the people, and make an atonement for them; as the LORD commanded.
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(7) And Moses said unto Aaron.—Though he was now the duly-installed high priest, yet he did not approach the altar till he was solemnly called upon by Moses to do it, thereby showing the authorised representatives of the people that Aaron did not take this honour to himself, but that it was the call of God by Moses. Hence, the remark of the Apostle, “And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron; so also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest, but he that said. unto him,” &c. (Hebrews 5:4-5.)

Make atonement for thyself and the people.—The fact that these sacrifices which the high priest is to bring are here described as designed to make atonement for himself and the people, goes far to confirm the ancient interpretation that reference is here made to the particular sin which Aaron and the people committed in common, and that it is the sin of the golden calf (see Leviticus 9:2), which is so emphatically described in the words “they made the calf which Aaron made” (Exodus 32:35). Hence, whilst their share of the sin is to be atoned by a special sacrifice (see Leviticus 9:15), they are yet to participate in the atoning virtue of Aaron’s sacrifice because they prevailed on him to make the calf (Exodus 32:1).

9:1-21 These many sacrifices, which were all done away by the death of Christ, teach us that our best services need washing in his blood, and that the guilt of our best sacrifices needs to be done away by one more pure and more noble than they. Let us be thankful that we have such a High Priest. The priests had not a day's respite from service allowed. God's spiritual priests have constant work, which the duty of every day requires; they that would give up their account with joy, must redeem time. The glory of God appeared in the sight of the people, and owned what they had done. We are not now to expect such appearances, but God draws nigh to those who draw nigh to him, and the offerings of faith are acceptable to him; though the sacrifices being spiritual, the tokens of the acceptance are spiritual likewise. When Aaron had done all that was to be done about the sacrifices, he lifted up his hands towards the people, and blessed them. Aaron could but crave a blessing, God alone can command it.It is to be remarked that Aaron offers no peace-offering for himself. It was enough that he should participate in the peace-offerings of the consecration Leviticus 8:31, and in the two peace-offerings about to be sacrificed for the people.

His sin-offering was probably regarded not so much as a sacrifice for his own actual sins as a typical acknowledgment of his sinful nature and of his future duty to offer for his own sins and those of the People. See marginal references. "The law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated (in the margin perfected, see Leviticus 8:22 note) forevermore, Hebrews 7:28.


Le 9:1-24. The Priests' Entry into Office.

1-7. Moses called … Take thee a young calf for a sin offering—The directions in these sacred things were still given by Moses, the circumstances being extraordinary. But he was only the medium of communicating the divine will to the newly made priests. The first of their official acts was the sacrifice of another sin offering to atone for the defects of the inauguration services; and yet that sacrifice did not consist of a bullock—the sacrifice appointed for some particular transgression, but of a calf, perhaps not without a significant reference to Aaron's sin in the golden calf [Ex 32:22-24]. Then followed a burnt offering, expressive of their voluntary and entire self-devotement to the divine service. The newly consecrated priests having done this on their own account, they were called to offer a sin offering and burnt offering for the people, ending the ceremonial by a peace offering, which was a sacred feast. This injunction, "to make atonement for himself and for the people" (Septuagint, "for thy family"), at the commencement of his sacred functions, furnishes a striking evidence of the divine origin of the Jewish system of worship. In all false or corrupt forms of religion, the studied policy has been to inspire the people with an idea of the sanctity of the priesthood as in point of purity and favor with the Divinity far above the level of other men. But among the Hebrews the priests were required to offer for the expiation of their own sins as well as the humblest of the people. This imperfection of Aaron's priesthood, however, does not extend to the gospel dispensation: for our great High Priest, who has entered for us into "the true tabernacle," "knew no sin" (Heb 10:10, 11).

Moses had hitherto sacrificed, but now he resigneth his work to Aaron, and actually gives him that commission which from God he had received for him.

The order is very observable, first for thyself, otherwise thou art unfit to do it for the people. Hereby God would teach us, both the deficiency of this priesthood, and the absolute necessity of a higher and better Priest, Hebrews 7:26,27, and how important and needful it is that God’s ministers should be in the grace and favour of God themselves, that their ministrations may be acceptable to God, and profitable to the people. 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.

And Moses said unto Aaron, Go unto the altar, and offer thy sin offering, and thy burnt offering, and make an atonement for {d} thyself, and for the people: and offer the offering of the people, and make an atonement for them; as the LORD commanded.

(d) Read for the understanding of this peace, He 4:5,7:27.

7. and for the people] LXX. has ‘and for thy house’ as in Leviticus 16:11; Leviticus 16:17. This seems right, as atonement for the people comes in the next clause.Verse 7. - Make an atonement for thyself, and for the people. By means of the sin offering for the high priest, whose sin brought guilt both on himself and upon the people (Leviticus 4:3). After he had (symbolically) purified himself and them of this guilt, he was to offer the offering of the people, which should purify them from the guilt contrasted by their own sins, and make an atonement for them. And it came to pass on the eighth day, that Moses called Aaron and his sons, and the elders of Israel; Entrance of Aaron and his Sons upon their Office. - Leviticus 9:1-7. On the eighth day, i.e., on the day after the seven days' consecration, Aaron and his sons entered upon their duties with a solemn sacrifice for themselves and the nation, to which the Lord had made Himself known by a special revelation of His glory, to bear solemn witness before the whole nation that their service at the altar was acceptable to Him, and to impress the divine seal of confirmation upon the consecration they had received. To this end Aaron and his sons were to bring to the front of the tabernacle a young calf as a sin-offering for themselves, and a ram for a burnt-offering; and the people were to bring through their elders a he-goat for a sin-offering, a yearling calf and yearling sheep for a burnt-offering, and an ox and ram for a peace-offering, together with a meat-offering of meal mixed with oil; and the congregation (in the persons of its elders) was to stand there before Jehovah, i.e., to assemble together at the sanctuary for the solemn transaction (Leviticus 9:1-5). If, according to this, even after the manifold expiation and consecration, which Aaron had received through Moses during the seven days, he had still to enter upon his service with a sin-offering and burnt-offering, this fact clearly showed that the offerings of the law could not ensure perfection (Hebrews 10:1.). It is true that on this occasion a young calf was sufficient for a sin-offering for the priests, not a mature ox as in Leviticus 8:14 and Leviticus 4:3; and so also for the burnt-offerings and peace-offerings of the people smaller sacrifices sufficed, either smaller in kind or fewer in number than at the leading feasts (Numbers 28:11.). Nevertheless, not one of the three sacrifices could be omitted; and if no special peace-offering was required of Aaron, this may be accounted for from the fact, that the whole of the sacrificial ceremony terminated with a national peace-offering, in which the priests took part, uniting in this instance with the rest of the nation in the celebration of a common sacrificial meal, to make known their oneness with them.
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