Discover more from The Bereans
Leviticus 8 - Priests ordained
In Leviticus 1-7 we saw the five ritual sacrifices…
The whole burnt offering [Leviticus 1]
Not about forgiveness of sin but to initiate contact with YHWH. God’s holiness is dangerous.
The grain offering [Leviticus 2]
A fistful of grain was made into dough with frankincense, olive oil and salt added. Yeast and honey were forbidden. The rest was eaten by the priests and their families.
[A] memorial act for the offerer and for God to remember the binding covenant relationship that they entered into at Sinai (which includes all of the baggage that comes with it—the blessings and the cursings). This is built into the system to remind Israel of what the relationship that they were a part of was supposed to be.
The peace (wellbeing) offering [Leviticus 3]
The offerer is giving thanks to God for their relationship with YHWH and that all is well.
The sin offering [Leviticus 4:1-5:13]
Atonement, or “covering”, for unintentional sin.
In the case of premeditated sins, Old Testament law dealt directly with the offender imposing real punishments to prevent recurrences or recurring restitution where loss or injury to another person had occurred. Ritual expiation was restricted to situations where a reasonable doubt existed as to the intentionality of the sin or the offense. The mistaken notion that ritual worship could atone for criminality or intentional religious desecration was persistently attacked by the prophets of Israel who considered it a major threat to the entire covenantal relationship between Israel and God.
The guilt offering [Leviticus 5:14-19]
Might be better translated the “reparation offering” or the “restitution offering”3. This deals with unintentional sin regarding YHWH’s holy things.
Repetitions [Leviticus 5:20-7:38]
Installing the priests
1 Then YHWH spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Take Aaron and his sons with him, and the garments and the anointing [miš·ḥā(h)] oil and the bull of the sin offering and the two rams and the basket of the unleavened bread, 3 and summon all of the community to the entrance to the tent of assembly.” 4 So Moses did just as YHWH commanded him, and the community gathered by the entrance tod the tent of assembly.
5 Then Moses said to the community, “This is the word that YHWH has commanded to be done.”
Why are all the community present? Hint: what is the function of the priests?
6 So Moses brought Aaron and his sons near, and he washed them with water. 7 Then he put the tunic on him and tied the sash around him; then he clothed him with the robe and put the ephod on him; then he tied the ephod’s waistband around him and fastened the ephod to him with it. 8 Then he placed the breastpiece on him and put the Urim and the Thummim into the breastpiece; 9 and he placed the turban on his head, and on the front of the turban he placed the gold rosette, the holy diadem, just as YHWH had commanded Moses.
What were the Urim and the Thummin [Exodus 28:30; Numbers 27:21; Deuteronomy 33:8; 1 Samuel 28:6; Ezra 2:63; Nehemiah 7:65]? Is divination forbidden [Leviticus 19:26, 20:27; Acts 26; Proverbs 16:33, 18:18]?
What was the ephod [Exodus 25:7, 28:6, 8, 12, 31, 35:9, 27; 39:2, 5]? Why all the opulence [Ezekiel 28:13]? How did Gideon cause the people to sin in making an Ephod [Judges 8:26-27]?
10 Then Moses took the anointing [miš·ḥā(h)] oil and anointed [mā·šǎḥ]the tabernacle and all that was in it, and he consecrated them. 11 And he spattered part of it on the altar seven times—thus he anointed [mā·šǎḥ] the altar and all of its utensils, and the basin and its stand, to consecrate them. 12 Then he poured out part of the anointing [miš·ḥā(h)] oil on Aaron’s head—thus he anointed [mā·šǎḥ] him in order to consecrate him. 13 Then Moses brought Aaron’s sons near and clothed them with tunics and tied a sash around each one, and he bound headbands on them, just as YHWH had commanded Moses.
What does anointing mean? The word for “oil” literally means “choice, high value oil”4.
The Offerings for Consecration
14 Then he brought forth the bull of the sin offering, and Aaron and his sons placed their hands on the head of the bull of the sin offering, 15 and he slaughtered it, and Moses took the blood and put it with his finger on the altar’s horns all around and purified the altar; then he poured the blood out on the altar’s base—thus he consecrated it in order to make atonement for it. 16 Then he took all the fat that was on the inner parts and the lobe on the liver and the two kidneys and their fat, and Moses turned them into smoke on the altar, 17 but he burned the bull and its skin and its meat and its offal in the fire outside the camp just as YHWH had commanded Moses.
Hopefully we are beginning to understand the symbolism!
What does the placing hands on an animal or person do? Why is the bull atoned for? Has it sinned?
18 Then he brought the ram of the burnt offering near, and Aaron and his sons placed their hands on the ram’s head, 19 and he slaughtered it. Then Moses sprinkled the blood on the altar all around. 20 Then he cut the ram into pieces, and Moses turned into smoke the head and the pieces and the suet, 21 but he washed the inner parts and the lower leg bones with water, and Moses turned into smoke all of the ram on the altar; it was a burnt offering as an appeasing fragrance, an offering made by fire for YHWH, just as YHWH had commanded Moses.
What do “consecrate” and “atone” mean? What is the ritual function of the blood? And the fat? Why is the altar unclean?
22 Then he brought the second ram near, the ram of the consecration, and Aaron and his sons placed their hands on the ram’s head, 23 and he slaughtered it. Then Moses took some of its blood and put it on Aaron’s right ear lobe and on his right hand’s thumb and on his right foot’s big toe. 24 Then he brought Aaron’s sons near, and Moses put some of the blood on their right ear lobe and on their right hand’s thumb and on their right foot’s big toe, and Moses sprinkled the blood on the altar all around.
Right ear lobe, right thumb and right big toe? What’s happening? Hint: Could a priest be literally covered with blood?
25 Then he took the fat and the fat tail and all of the fat that was on the inner parts and the lobe of the liver and the two kidneys and their fat and the right upper thigh; 26 and from the basket of the unleavened bread that was before YHWH he took one ring-shaped unleavened bread and one ring-shaped bread with oil and one wafer, and he placed them on the fat parts and on the right upper thigh. 27 Then he put all of these on Aaron’s palms and on his sons’ palms, and he waved them as a wave offering before YHWH. 28 Then Moses took them from upon their palms, and he turned them into smoke upon the burnt offering on the altar; they were a consecration offering as an appeasing fragrance—it was an offering made by fire for YHWH. 29 Then Moses took the breast section, and he waved it as a wave offering before YHWH from the ram of the consecration offering; it was Moses’ share, just as YHWH had commanded Moses.
Anointing the Priests and Their Garments
30 Then Moses took some of the anointing oil and some of the blood that was on the altar, and he spattered them on Aaron, on his garments, and on Aaron’s sons and on his sons’ garments with him—thus he consecrated Aaron, his garments, and his sons and his sons’ garments with him.
Why more blood on the priests who are already, symbolically, covered with blood?
31 Then Moses said to Aaron and to his sons, “Boil the meat in the entrance too the tent of assembly, and there you must eat it and the bread that is in the basket of the consecration offering, just as I have commanded, saying, ‘Aaron and his sons must eat it,’ 32 but the remainder of the meat and the bread you must burn in the fire. 33 And you must not go out from the entrance tor the tent of assembly for seven days, until the day of fulfilling the days of yours consecration, because it will take seven days to ordain you. 34 Just as was done on this day, YHWH commanded to be done in order to make atonement for you. 35 And you must stay at the entrance toy the tent of assembly day and night for seven days, and you shall keep the obligation from YHWH, so you might not die, for thus I have been commanded.” 36 So Aaron and his sons did all the things that YHWH had commanded through Moses.
What might the seven days be a reference to? Any there any other links in the passage to support your answer?
S. Heiser, Michael. Notes on Leviticus: from the Naked Bible Podcast (p. 51). BlindSpot Press. Kindle Edition.
Baruch A. Levine, Leviticus, The JPS Torah Commentary, 1989, 3
S. Heiser, Michael. Notes on Leviticus: from the Naked Bible Podcast (p. 76). BlindSpot Press. Kindle Edition.
שֶׁמֶן (šě·měn) in James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).