And it came to pass on the eighth day, that Moses called Aaron and his sons, and the elders of Israel;
Verses 1-6. - On the eighth day. The seven days of consecration being now over, Aaron for the first time offers a sin offering and burnt offering for himself, and a sin offering, a burnt offering, a peace offering, and a meat offering for the congregation. He is still instructed by Moses as to what he is to do, but it is through him that the command is given to the people to present their offerings, and it is he that slays the victims and offers their blood. His own sin offering is a young calf, or young bull calf, whereas the sin offering commanded for the high priest on ordinary occasions was a young bull, further advanced in age (Leviticus 4:3); and in presenting the blood he does not take it into the sanctuary according to the regulations in chapter Leviticus 4:6, but uses it as Moses had done in the sin offerings of the previous week, the purpose of the difference being to show that Aaron's full dignity had not yet devolved upon him. This did not take place until he had gone into the tabernacle with Moses (verse 23). A ram is again taken for the burnt offering, as had been the case in Moses' sacrifice of the previous week. The children of Israel now present a kid, the offering generally made by a prince, that for the congregation being a young bull. In the words for today the Lord will appear unto you, Moses promises the Divine appearance afterwards vouchsafed (verse 23).
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 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;
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.
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 Moses said, This is the thing which the LORD commanded that ye should do: and the glory of the LORD shall appear unto you.
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.
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.
Aaron therefore went unto the altar, and slew the calf of the sin offering, which was for himself.
Verses 8-14. - The high priest's sin offering and burnt offering for himself. The meat offering does not appear to have accompanied the burnt offering - the law having not yet been promulgated which ordered that the two sacrifices should always be presented together (Numbers 15:4). The burnt offering, with the pieces thereof, in verse 13, should rather be the burnt offering in its several pieces. The sinfulness of the Aaronic priesthood and the need of a perfect priest is indicated by this sacrifice (see Hebrews 7:24-27).
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:
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.
And the flesh and the hide he burnt with fire without the camp.
And he slew the burnt offering; and Aaron's sons presented unto him the blood, which he sprinkled round about upon the altar.
And they presented the burnt offering unto him, with the pieces thereof, and the head: and he burnt them upon the altar.
And he did wash the inwards and the legs, and burnt them upon the burnt offering on the altar.
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.
Verses 15-21. - The people's sin offering, burnt off, ring, meat offering, and peace offerings follow. The meat offering is said to have been burnt upon the altar, beside the burnt sacrifice of the morning. It is probable that, on this occasion, the people's burnt offering, which consisted of a calf and a lamb, took the place of the ordinary morning sacrifice of a lamb (Exodus 29:38). Aaron is said to have offered the burnt offering according to the manner, or, as it is given in the margin, ordinance, that is, he burnt the flesh on the altar (Leviticus 1:7-9); he also burnt the handful of the meat offering, and he burnt the fat of the peace offering, upon the altar. He had previously burnt the fat of his own sin offering, and the flesh of his burnt offering. Fire, therefore, was present upon the altar, and was used by Aaron, as by Moses, for sacrificial purposes before the fire came out from the Lord as described in verse 24.
And he brought the burnt offering, and offered it according to the manner.
And he brought the meat offering, and took an handful thereof, and burnt it upon the altar, beside the burnt sacrifice of the morning.
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,
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 they put the fat upon the breasts, and he burnt the fat upon the altar:
And the breasts and the right shoulder Aaron waved for a wave offering before the LORD; as Moses commanded.
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.
Verse 22. - And Aaron lifted up his hand or (according to the more probable reading) hands. This was the first priestly benediction by Aaron, given from the elevated standing-place which he occupied by the side of the altar.
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.
Verse 23. - Moses (for the last time) and Aaron (for the first time) went into the tabernacle in the character of priest. During this visit Moses committed to Aaron the care of the things within the tabernacle, as he had already given him the charge of all connected with the sacrifices of the court. Not till after this is Aaron fully initiated into his office. "No man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron" (Hebrews 5:4). On coming out from the tabernacle, Moses and Aaron, standing near the door, unite in blessing the congregation, in order to show the harmony between them and the capacity of blessing in the Name of the Lord enjoyed by Aaron as by Moses. The latter has now divested himself of that part of his office which made him the one mediator between God and his people, Aaron is henceforth a type of Christ as well as Moses. While giving the joint blessing, the glory of the Lord appeared unto all the people, proceeding from the ark, and enveloping the lawgiver and the priest as they stood together.
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.
Verse 24. - And there came a fire out from before the Lord. The sacrifices were already smouldering on the altar, a ram, a calf, and a lamb, besides the internal fat of a young bull, a kid, a bullock, and a ram, and a handful of flour. They would have continued smouldering all the day and the night, but a miraculous fire issued from the tabernacle, and consumed the whole in the sight of the people. So fire fell and consumed Solomon's sacrifice at the dedication of the temple. Jewish tradition reports that the fire was always kept alive until the reign of Manasseh, when it became extinguished. When the people saw this sight, they shouted, and fell on their faces. They had been standing in a state of intense expectation, awaiting the fulfillment of the promise that the Lord would appear unto them today, and watching the acts of the two brothers; and their feelings are now raised to the utmost enthusiasm and awe by the appearance of the glory of the Lord and the notion of the Divine fire. See 2 Chronicles 7:3.