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The Consecration of Aaron and His Sons

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Take Aaron and his sons with him, and the garments [which are symbols of their office], and the anointing oil, and the bull for the sin offering, and the two rams, and the basket of unleavened bread; and assemble the entire congregation at the doorway of the Tent of Meeting.” Moses did as the Lord commanded him, and the congregation was assembled at the doorway of the Tent of Meeting. Moses said to the congregation, “This is what the Lord has commanded us to do.”

Then Moses brought Aaron and his sons and washed them with water. He put the undertunic on Aaron, tied the sash around him, clothed him in the robe, and put the [a]ephod (an upper vestment) on him. He tied the [skillfully woven] band of the ephod around him, with which he secured it to Aaron. Moses then put the breastpiece on Aaron, and he put in the breastpiece the Urim and the Thummim [the sacred articles the high priest used when seeking God’s will concerning the nation]. He also put the turban on Aaron’s head, and on it, in the front, Moses placed the golden plate, the holy crown, just as the Lord had commanded him.

10 Then Moses took the anointing oil and anointed the tabernacle and all that was in it, and consecrated them. 11 He sprinkled some of the oil on the altar seven times and anointed the altar and all its utensils, and the basin and its stand, to consecrate them. 12 Then he poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron’s head and anointed him, to consecrate him. 13 Next Moses brought Aaron’s sons forward, put undertunics on them, belted them with sashes, and bound caps on them, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.

14 Then he brought the bull for the sin offering, and Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the bull. 15 Next Moses killed it and took the blood and with his finger put some of it around on the horns of the altar and purified it [from sin]. Then he poured out the rest of the blood at the base of the altar and consecrated it, to make atonement for it. 16 He took all the fat that was on the entrails, and the lobe of the liver, and the two kidneys with their fat, and Moses offered them up in smoke on the altar. 17 But the bull (the sin offering) and its hide, its meat, and its refuse he burned in the fire outside the camp, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.

18 He brought the ram for the burnt offering, and Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the ram. 19 Moses killed it and sprinkled the blood around on the altar. 20 When he had cut the ram into pieces, Moses offered up the head, the pieces, and the fat in smoke. 21 After he had washed the entrails and the legs in water, Moses offered up the whole ram in smoke on the altar. It was a burnt offering for a sweet and soothing aroma, an offering by fire to the Lord, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.

22 Then he brought the second ram, the ram of consecration (ordination), and Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the ram. 23 Moses killed it and 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. 24 He also brought Aaron’s sons forward and put some of the blood on the lobes of their right ears, and the thumbs of their right hands, and the big toes of their right feet; and Moses sprinkled the rest of the blood around on the altar. 25 He took the fat, the fat tail, all the fat that was on the entrails, the lobe of the liver, and the two kidneys and their fat, and the right thigh; 26 and from the basket of unleavened bread that was before the Lord, he took one unleavened cake, a cake of oiled bread, and one wafer and put them on the fat and on the right thigh; 27 and he put all these things in Aaron’s hands and his sons’ hands and presented them as a wave offering before the Lord. 28 Then Moses took these things from their hands and offered them up in smoke on the altar with the burnt offering. They were a consecration (ordination) offering for a sweet and soothing aroma, an offering by fire to the Lord. 29 Moses also took the breast and presented it as a wave offering before the Lord; it was Moses’ portion of the ram of consecration (ordination), just as the Lord had commanded Moses.

30 So Moses took some of the anointing oil and some of the blood which was on the altar and sprinkled it on Aaron and his garments, and also on his sons and their garments with him; so Moses consecrated Aaron and his garments, and his sons and his sons’ garments with him.

31 Then Moses said to Aaron and to his sons, “Boil the meat at the doorway of the Tent of Meeting and eat it there together with the bread that is in the basket of the consecration (ordination) offering, just as I commanded, saying, ‘Aaron and his sons shall eat it.’ 32 And what remains of the meat and of the bread you shall burn in the fire. 33 You shall not go outside the doorway of the Tent of Meeting for seven days, until the days of your consecration (ordination) are ended; for it will take seven days to consecrate you. 34 As has been done this day, so the Lord has commanded to do for your atonement. 35 You shall remain day and night for seven days at the doorway of the Tent of Meeting, doing what the Lord has required you to do, so that you will not die; for so I (Moses) have been commanded.” 36 So Aaron and his sons did all the things which the Lord had commanded through Moses.

Aaron Offers Sacrifices

And it happened on the eighth day that Moses called Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel; and he said to Aaron, “Take a bull calf as a sin offering and a ram as a burnt offering, [each] without blemish, and offer both before the Lord.(A) Then say to the Israelites, ‘Take a male goat as a sin offering, and a calf and a lamb, both one year old, without blemish, as a burnt offering, and a bull and a ram as peace offerings to sacrifice before the Lord, and a grain offering mixed with [olive] oil, for today the Lord will appear to you.’” So they took what Moses had commanded to the front of the Tent of Meeting, and all the congregation approached and stood before the Lord. Moses said, “This is the thing which the Lord has commanded you to do, so that the glory of the Lord may appear to you.” Moses said to Aaron, “Approach the altar and present your sin offering and your burnt offering and make atonement for yourself and for the people; and present the offering of the people and make atonement for them, just as the Lord has commanded.”(B)

So Aaron approached the altar and killed the calf as the sin offering, which was designated for himself. The sons of Aaron presented the blood to him; he dipped his finger in the blood and put some of it on the horns of the altar, and poured out the rest of the blood at the altar’s base; 10 but the fat, the kidneys, and the lobe of the liver from the sin offering he offered up in smoke on the altar, just as the Lord had commanded Moses. 11 And Aaron burned the meat and the hide in the fire outside the camp.

12 Then he killed the burnt offering; and Aaron’s sons handed the blood to him and he sprinkled it around on the altar. 13 They brought the burnt offering to him piece by piece, with the head, and Aaron offered them up in smoke on the altar. 14 He also washed the entrails and the legs, and offered them up in smoke with the burnt offering on the altar.

15 Then Aaron presented the people’s offering. He took the goat for the sin offering of the people, and killed it and offered it for sin, as he did the first.(C) 16 He also presented the burnt offering and offered it according to the ordinance. 17 Next Aaron presented the grain offering and took a handful of it and offered it up in smoke on the altar in addition to the burnt offering of the morning.

18 He also killed the bull and the ram, the sacrifice of peace offerings which was for the people; and Aaron’s sons handed the blood to him and he sprinkled it around on the altar, 19 As for the portions of fat from the bull and from the ram—the fat tail, and the fat covering the internal organs, and the kidneys, and the lobe of the liver— 20 they now put the portions of fat on the breasts; and Aaron offered the fat up in smoke on the altar. 21 But the breasts and the right thigh Aaron presented as a wave offering before the Lord, just as Moses had commanded.

22 Then Aaron lifted his hands toward the people and blessed them, and came down [from the altar of burnt offering] after presenting the sin offering, the burnt offering, and the peace offerings. 23 Moses and Aaron went into the Tent of Meeting, and when they came out they blessed the people, and the glory and brilliance of the Lord [the Shekinah cloud] appeared to all the people [as promised].(D) 24 Then fire came out from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the portions of fat on the altar; and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell face downward [in awe and worship].

The Sin of Nadab and Abihu

10 Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective [ceremonial] censers, put fire in them, placed incense on it and offered [b]strange (unauthorized, unacceptable) fire before the Lord, [an act] which He had not commanded them to do. And fire came out from the presence of the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord. Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord said:

‘I will be treated as holy by those who approach Me,
And before all the people I will be honored.’”

So Aaron, therefore, said nothing.

Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of Uzziel who was Aaron’s uncle, and said to them, “Come here, carry your relatives away from the front of the sanctuary and take them outside the camp.” So they came forward and carried them, still in their undertunics, outside the camp, as Moses had said. Then Moses said to Aaron and to his [younger] sons Eleazar and Ithamar, “Do not [c]uncover your heads nor let your hair hang loose nor tear your clothes [as expressions of mourning], so that you will not die [also] and so that He will not express His wrath and anger toward all the congregation. But your relatives, the whole house of Israel, may mourn the burning which the Lord has brought about. You shall not even go out of the doorway of the Tent of Meeting, or you will die; for the Lord’s anointing oil is upon you.” So they did [everything] according to the word of Moses.

Then the Lord spoke to Aaron, saying, [d]Do not drink wine or intoxicating drink, neither you nor your sons with you, when you come into the Tent of Meeting, so that you will not die—it is a permanent statute throughout your generations— 10 and to make a distinction and recognize a difference between the holy (sacred) and the common (profane), and between the [ceremonially] unclean and the clean;(E) 11 and you are to teach the Israelites all the statutes which the Lord has spoken to them [e]through Moses.”

12 Then Moses said to Aaron, and to his surviving sons, Eleazar and Ithamar, “Take the grain offering that is left over from the offerings by fire to the Lord, and eat it unleavened beside the altar, for it is most holy. 13 You shall eat it in a holy place, because it is your portion and your sons’ portion, from the offerings by fire to the Lord; for so I have been commanded. 14 But the breast of the wave offering and the thigh of the heave offering you may eat in a clean place, you and your sons and daughters with you; for the breast and the thigh are your portion and your sons’ portion, given out of the sacrifices of the peace offerings of the Israelites. 15 They shall bring the thigh presented by lifting up and the breast presented by waving, along with the offerings by fire of the fat, to present as a wave offering before the Lord. This shall be yours and your sons’ with you, as your perpetual portion, just as the Lord has commanded.”

16 But Moses diligently tried to find the goat [that had been offered] as the sin offering, and discovered that it had been burned up [as waste, not eaten]! So he was angry with Aaron’s surviving sons Eleazar and Ithamar, saying, 17 “Why did you not eat the sin offering in the holy place? For it is most holy; and God gave it to you to remove the guilt of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the Lord. 18 Behold, its blood was not brought into the Holy Place; you certainly should have eaten the goat in the sanctuary, just as I commanded.” 19 Then Aaron said to Moses, “This very day they have [obediently] presented their sin offering and their burnt offering before the Lord, but [such terrible things] as these have happened to me [and to them]; if I [and my sons] had eaten a sin offering today would it have been acceptable and pleasing in the sight of the Lord?”(F) 20 When Moses heard that, he was satisfied.

Footnotes

  1. Leviticus 8:7 See Ex 28:6-8.
  2. Leviticus 10:1 What made the fire “strange” cannot be determined. They may have taken the fire from an unauthorized source, or used incense that did not meet the divine specifications. In any case, God’s laws and requirements are not subject to modification by man.
  3. Leviticus 10:6 Lit unbind.
  4. Leviticus 10:9 This prohibition may imply that intoxication precipitated the irreverent behavior that resulted in the death of Aaron’s two older sons.
  5. Leviticus 10:11 Lit by the hand of.

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