Leviticus 9 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Leviticus 9)

Verse 1

[1] And it came to pass on the eighth day, that Moses called Aaron and his sons, and the elders of Israel;

On the eighth day — Namely, from the day of his consecration, or when the seven days of his consecration were ended. The eighth day is famous in scripture for the perfecting and purifying both of men and beasts. See Leviticus 12:2; 3; 15:13,14; 22:27.

And the elders of Israel — All the congregation were called to be witnesses of Aaron's installment into his office, to prevent their murmurings and contempt; which being done, the elders were now sufficient to be witnesses of his first execution of his office.

Verse 2

[2] 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.

For a sin-offering — For himself and his own sins, which was an evidence of the imperfection of that priesthood, and of the necessity of a better. The Jewish writers suggest, that a calf was appointed, to remind him of his sin in making the golden calf. Thereby he had rendered himself for ever unworthy of the honour of the priesthood: on which he had reason to reflect with sorrow and shame, in all the atonements he made.

Verse 3

[3] 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;

A sin-offering — For the people, for whose sin a young bullock was required, Leviticus 4:15, but that was for some particular sin; this was more general for all their sins. Besides, there being an eye here to the priest's consecration and entrance into his office, it is no wonder if there be some difference in these Sacrifices from those before prescribed.

Verse 4

[4] 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.

The Lord will appear — Heb. Hath appeared. He speaks of the thing to come as if it were past, which is frequent in scripture, to give them the more assurance of the thing.

Verse 5

[5] And they brought that which Moses commanded before the tabernacle of the congregation: and all the congregation drew near and stood before the LORD.

Before the tabernacle where God dwelt.

Verse 6

[6] 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.

The glory of the Lord — The glorious manifestation of God's powerful and gracious presence.

Verse 7

[7] 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.

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

For thyself and for the people — 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 how important it is that God's ministers should be in the favour of God themselves, that their ministrations may be acceptable to God, and profitable to the people.

Verse 9

[9] 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:

The altar — Of burnt-offering, of which alone he speaks both in the foregoing and following words; and the blood was poured out at the bottom of this altar only, not of the altar of incense, as appears from Leviticus 4:7, where indeed there is mention of putting some of the blood upon the horns of the altar of incense, in this case of the priest's sacrificing for his own sins. But there seems to be a double difference, 1. That sacrifice was offered for some particular sin, this for his sins indefinitely. 2. There he is supposed to be compleat in his office, and here he is but entering into his office, and therefore must prepare and sanctify himself by this offering upon the brazen altar in the court, before he can be admitted into the holy place where the altar of incense was. And the like is to be said for the difference between the sin-offering for the people here, and Leviticus 4:17,18.

Verse 10

[10] 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.

He burnt it — By ordinary fire, which was used until the fire came down from heaven, Leviticus 9:24, though afterwards it was forbidden. And if it had not been allowed otherwise, yet this being done by Aaron at the command of Moses, and consequently with God's approbation, it was unquestionably lawful. Add to this, that there is nothing said to be consumed by that heavenly fire, but the burnt-offering with the fat belonging to it, namely, that burnt-offering mentioned Leviticus 9:16, which therefore is not there said to be burnt, as it is said of the other burnt-offering, Leviticus 9:13, and of the rest of the sacrifices in their places.

Verse 16

[16] And he brought the burnt offering, and offered it according to the manner.

The burnt-offering — Which also was offered for the people, as the last mentioned sin-offering was.

Verse 17

[17] And he brought the meat offering, and took an handful thereof, and burnt it upon the altar, beside the burnt sacrifice of the morning.

Besides the burnt-sacrifice — Which was to be first offered every morning; for God will not have his ordinary and stated service swallowed up by extraordinary.

Verse 19

[19] 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:

That — Fat.

Which covereth the inwards — Or the Guts.

Verse 22

[22] 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.

Aaron lifted up his hands — Which was the usual rite of blessing. By this posture he signified both whence he expected the blessing, and his hearty desire of it for them.

And blessed them — In some such manner, as is related, Numbers 6:24, etc. though not in the same form, for it is not probable that he used it before God delivered it And this blessing was an act of his priestly office, no less than sacrificing. And herein be was a type of Christ, who came into the world to bless us, and when he was parting from his disciples, lifted up his hands and blessed them: yea, and in them his whole church, of which they were the elders and representatives.

And came down — From the altar; whence he is said to come down, either 1. Because the altar stood upon raised ground, or 2. Because it was nearer the holy place, which was the upper end.

Verse 23

[23] 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.

And Moses — Went in with Aaron to direct him, and to see him perform those parts of his office which were to be done in the holy place, about the lights, and the table of shew-bread, and the altar of incense, upon which part of the blood of the sacrifices now offered was to be sprinkled, Leviticus 4:7,16.

And blessed the people — Prayed to God for his blessing upon them, as this phrase is explained, Numbers 6:23, etc. and particularly for his gracious acceptation of these and all succeeding sacrifices, and for his signification thereof by some extraordinary token.

And the glory of the Lord — Either a miraculous brightness shining from the cloudy pillar, as Exodus 16:10, or a glorious and visible discovery of God's gracious presence and acceptance of the present service.

Verse 24

[24] 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.

And there came a fire — In token of God's approbation of the priesthood now instituted, and the sacrifices offered, and consequently of others of the like nature. And this fire now given was to be carefully kept, and not suffered to go out, Leviticus 6:13, and therefore was carried in a peculiar vessel in their journeys in the wilderness.

From before the Lord — Or, from the presence of the Lord, that is, from the place where God was in a special manner present, either from heaven or from the holy of holies.

They shouted — As wondering at, rejoicing in, and blessing God for this gracious discovery of himself, and his favour. This also was a figure of good things to come. Thus the Spirit descended in fire upon the apostles, so ratifying their commission, as this does that of the priests. And the descent of this holy fire into our souls, to kindle in them devout affections, and such an holy zeal as burns up all unholiness, is a certain token of God's gracious acceptance.