Leviticus 9:1 ¶ And it came to pass on the eighth day, that Moses called Aaron and his sons, and the elders of Israel;
Leviticus 9:2 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.
Leviticus 9:3 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;
Leviticus 9:4 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.
Now that the seven days of consecration had been completed, Moses basically tells Aaron and his sons to get to work. Moses had acted as priest in the consecration of Aaron and his sons, but they were now to take up their priestly duties publicly before the elders and the people. Moses is still providing instruction from God to Aaron, but Aaron and his sons were to take charge in making the sacrifices and offerings and instructing the people regarding them. Moses first instructs Aaron to offer a sin offering and a burnt offering to the LORD (for himself we learn below). The CJB translation of verse 2 is much clearer: “He said to Aaron, ‘Take a bull calf for your sin offering and a ram for your burnt offering, both without defect, and present them before the LORD.’”
Aaron is also to tell the people that they are to provide a kid of the goats for a sin offering, a calf and lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, a bullock and ram for peace offerings and a meat offering mingled with oil to prepare for the LORD to manifest His presence among them that very day. I am reminded that the number eight in scripture represents new beginnings, and the people of Israel are marking a new beginning in their relationship with the LORD with the establishment of the sacrificial system that points to the coming of the Messiah and His atoning sacrifice on the cross.
David Guzik makes a point of noting that the priests had just spent a week of consecration in the tabernacle, yet there was still need for a sin sacrifice. I think it is another reminder of how sin does not have to be visible—it can also take place in the heart as so pointedly declared by Jesus in His “Sermon on the Mount” recorded in Matthew 5-7.
Matthew 5:28 “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”
Leviticus 9:5 And they brought that which Moses commanded before the tabernacle of the congregation: and all the congregation drew near and stood before the LORD.
Leviticus 9:6 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.
Record is made that all was done according to the instructions given by Moses, and the whole congregation came together before the tabernacle to hear him deliver God’s message to them. He informs them that these sacrifices were being made to prepare them to see the revelation of “the glory of the LORD.” This must have been a revelation that was greater than that of the cloud of His presence that led them through the wilderness.
Leviticus 9:7 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.
Leviticus 9:8 ¶ Aaron therefore went unto the altar, and slew the calf of the sin offering, which was for himself.
Leviticus 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:
Leviticus 9:10 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.
Leviticus 9:11 And the flesh and the hide he burnt with fire without the camp.
Leviticus 9:12 And he slew the burnt offering; and Aaron’s sons presented unto him the blood, which he sprinkled round about upon the altar.
Leviticus 9:13 And they presented the burnt offering unto him, with the pieces thereof, and the head: and he burnt them upon the altar.
Leviticus 9:14 And he did wash the inwards and the legs, and burnt them upon the burnt offering on the altar.
Moses is making sure the record is clear that Aaron had to make a sacrifice for himself before making sacrifices on behalf of the people. Through his obedience, Aaron was acknowledging that he was just as needy of God’s forgiveness and provision as were all other people. The fact that the sin offering was a calf must have struck at the heart of Aaron in light of his sin in making the golden calf. I’m sure he was very grateful and humbled just to be alive, let alone serving as God’s High Priest before the people.
To think that God loves me enough in spite of my sin to sacrifice His Son to redeem me is totally beyond my understanding and so very humbling.
Aaron made the offerings for himself and his sons in accordance with the instructions given in the previous chapters.
Leviticus 9:15 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.
Leviticus 9:16 And he brought the burnt offering, and offered it according to the manner.
Leviticus 9:17 And he brought the meat offering, and took an handful thereof, and burnt it upon the altar, beside the burnt sacrifice of the morning.
Leviticus 9:18 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,
Leviticus 9:19 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:
Leviticus 9:20 And they put the fat upon the breasts, and he burnt the fat upon the altar:
Leviticus 9:21 And the breasts and the right shoulder Aaron waved for a wave offering before the LORD; as Moses commanded.
Leviticus 9:22 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 next made the required offerings on behalf of the people. One commentary made note that the elders probably represented the people in partaking of the fellowship offering in light of Exodus 24.
Exodus 24:9–11 “Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.”
I liked the following observation from “The New Bible Commentary.” “The ministry of Israel’s priests enabled God’s glory to be seen and responded to. Similarly, God intended that through his people his glory would be seen in the world.”
Leviticus 9:23 ¶ 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.
Leviticus 9:24 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.
Upon completion of all the sacrifices Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle together; when they came out, they blessed the people and the glory of the LORD appeared to all the people. Then fire from before the LORD came and finished consuming all the meat and fat on the altar of burnt offering. This gave proof of God’s acceptance of the sacrifices made. The response from the people was to shout with joy and to fall on their faces in worship.
Some commentators indicated that the blessing was probably similar to that recorded in the book of Numbers, and I think that is certainly probable.
Numbers 6:23–27 “Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.”