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Leviticus: Chapter 8

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1The LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 2Take Aaron and his sons with him, the vestments, the anointing oil, the bull of sin offering, the two rams, and the basket of unleavened bread; 3and assemble the whole congregation at the entrance of the tent of meeting. 4And Moses did as the LORD commanded him. When the congregation was assembled at the entrance of the tent of meeting, 5Moses said to the congregation, “This is what the LORD has commanded to be done.”

6Then Moses brought Aaron and his sons forward, and washed them with water. 7He put the tunic on him, fastened the sash around him, clothed him with the robe, and put the ephod on him. He then put the decorated band of the ephod around him, tying the ephod to him with it. 8He placed the breastpiece on him, and in the breastpiece he put the Urim and the Thummim. 9And he set the turban on his head, and on the turban, in front, he set the golden ornament, the holy crown, as the LORD commanded Moses.

10Then Moses took the anointing oil and anointed the tabernacle and all that was in it, and consecrated them. 11He sprinkled some of it on the altar seven times, and anointed the altar and all its utensils, and the basin and its base, to consecrate them. 12He poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron's head and anointed him, to consecrate him. 13And Moses brought forward Aaron's sons, and clothed them with tunics, and fastened sashes around them, and tied headdresses on them, as the LORD commanded Moses.

14He led forward the bull of sin offering; and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the bull of sin offering, 15and it was slaughtered. Moses took the blood and with his finger put some on each of the horns of the altar, purifying the altar; then he poured out the blood at the base of the altar. Thus he consecrated it, to make atonement for it. 16Moses took all the fat that was around the entrails, and the appendage of the liver, and the two kidneys with their fat, and turned them into smoke on the altar. 17But the bull itself, its skin and flesh and its dung, he burned with fire outside the camp, as the LORD commanded Moses.

18Then he brought forward the ram of burnt offering. Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the ram, 19and it was slaughtered. Moses dashed the blood against all sides of the altar. 20The ram was cut into its parts, and Moses turned into smoke the head and the parts and the suet. 21And after the entrails and the legs were washed with water, Moses turned into smoke the whole ram on the altar; it was a burnt offering for a pleasing odor, an offering by fire to the LORD, as the LORD commanded Moses.

22Then he brought forward the second ram, the ram of ordination. Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the ram, 23and it was slaughtered. Moses took some of its blood and put it on the lobe of Aaron's right ear and on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot. 24After Aaron's sons were brought forward, Moses put some of the blood on the lobes of their right ears and on the thumbs of their right hands and on the big toes of their right feet; and Moses dashed the rest of the blood against all sides of the altar. 25He took the fat—the broad tail, all the fat that was around the entrails, the appendage of the liver, and the two kidneys with their fat—and the right thigh. 26From the basket of unleavened bread that was before the LORD, he took one cake of unleavened bread, one cake of bread with oil, and one wafer, and placed them on the fat and on the right thigh. 27He placed all these on the palms of Aaron and on the palms of his sons, and raised them as an elevation offering before the LORD. 28Then Moses took them from their hands and turned them into smoke on the altar with the burnt offering. This was an ordination offering for a pleasing odor, an offering by fire to the LORD. 29Moses took the breast and raised it as an elevation offering before the LORD; it was Moses' portion of the ram of ordination, as the LORD commanded Moses.

30Then Moses took some of the anointing oil and some of the blood that was on the altar and sprinkled them on Aaron and his vestments, and also on his sons and their vestments. Thus he consecrated Aaron and his vestments, and also his sons and their vestments.

31And Moses said to Aaron and his sons, “Boil the flesh at the entrance of the tent of meeting, and eat it there with the bread that is in the basket of ordination offerings, as I was commanded, ‘Aaron and his sons shall eat it’; 32and what remains of the flesh and the bread you shall burn with fire. 33You shall not go outside the entrance of the tent of meeting for seven days, until the day when your period of ordination is completed. For it will take seven days to ordain you; 34as has been done today, the LORD has commanded to be done to make atonement for you. 35You shall remain at the entrance of the tent of meeting day and night for seven days, keeping the LORD's charge so that you do not die; for so I am commanded.” 36Aaron and his sons did all the things that the LORD commanded through Moses.

Text Commentary view alone

8.1–36 : The consecration of the sanctuary and priests.

This chapter fulfills Ex 28–29; 30.26–30; 40.9–15 . In the flow of the narrative, it follows the setting up of the tent of meeting in Ex 40 . The sacrificial laws in Lev 1–7 intervene to provide the legal background for the initiation of worship at the sanctuary. Once initiated, the priests may begin to officiate at the sacrifices just outlined.

2 :

Vestments, Ex 39.1–31 ; anointing oil, Ex 30.22–31 ; bull, Lev 4.3; Ex 29.1 ; the two rams, and the basket of unleavened bread, Ex 29.1–3 .

3 :

Entrance of the tent of meeting, 1.3n.

6 :

The washing is for purification and prepares for the ensuing sanctification of the priests.

7–9,13 :

The high priest's clothing differs from that of regular priests (cf. v. 13; Ex 28; 39 ). It marks his higher ritual status and holiness. On the vestments, see notes to Ex 28 . The holy crown (v. 9 ) is mentioned in Ex 29.6 (“holy diadem”).

10–12 :

Anointing was used throughout the ancient Near Eastern world to change the status of a person or object, in this case, as part of a ritual making them holy. It was also used in Israel to change the status of a commoner to king (e.g., 1 Sam 10.1; 16.13 ). On Aaron's head, see Ps 133.2 .

14–17 :

4.1–12 .

18–21 :

1.10–13 .

21 :

Pleasing odor, see 1.9n.

22–32 :

The ordination offering (Ex 29.29–37 ) is in many respects similar to the well‐being offering: Its fat is elevated (Lev 8.25–27; cf. 7.30 ); the breast is given to the priestly officiant ( 8.29; cf. 7.31 ); the offerers may eat of the meat ( 8.32; cf. 7.15–18 ); and the right thigh is singled out for special attention ( 8.26–28; cf. 7.32–34 ). Though similar to the well‐being offering, it is probably to be considered most holy (see 1.3n. ).

23–24 :

Three basic acts sanctify the priests: clothing them (vv. 6–9,13 ), applying ordination offering blood to their extremities (vv. 23–24; cf. 14.14–17n. ), and sprinkling them with oil and blood from the altar (v. 30 ). A fourth act, pouring oil on the head, further sanctifies Aaron, the high priest (see vv. 10–12n. ).

25 :

Broad tail, see 3.9n.

33–35 :

The consecration rites are to be performed every day for seven days (cf. Ex 29.30,35–37 ), and so the priests must remain in the sanctuary.

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