This chapter gives us an account of the solemn consecration of Aaron
and his sons to the priest's office.
I. It was done publicly, and the congregation was called together to be
witnesses of it,
II. It was done exactly according to God's appointment,
1. They were washed and dressed,
2. The tabernacle and the utensils of it were anointed, and then the
3. A sin-offering was offered for them,
4. A burnt-offering,
5. The ram of consecration,
6. The continuance of this solemnity for seven days,
|Consecration of Aaron and His Sons.
||B. C. 1490.|
1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Take Aaron and his sons with him, and the garments, and the
anointing oil, and a bullock for the sin offering, and two rams,
and a basket of unleavened bread;
3 And gather thou all the congregation together unto the door
of the tabernacle of the congregation.
4 And Moses did as the LORD commanded him; and the assembly was
gathered together unto the door of the tabernacle of the
5 And Moses said unto the congregation, This is the thing
which the LORD commanded to be done.
6 And Moses brought Aaron and his sons, and washed them with
7 And he put upon him the coat, and girded him with the girdle,
and clothed him with the robe, and put the ephod upon him, and he
girded him with the curious girdle of the ephod, and bound it
unto him therewith.
8 And he put the breastplate upon him: also he put in the
breastplate the Urim and the Thummim.
9 And he put the mitre upon his head; also upon the mitre,
even upon his forefront, did he put the golden plate, the holy
crown; as the LORD commanded Moses.
10 And Moses took the anointing oil, and anointed the
tabernacle and all that was therein, and sanctified them.
11 And he sprinkled thereof upon the altar seven times, and
anointed the altar and all his vessels, both the laver and his
foot, to sanctify them.
12 And he poured of the anointing oil upon Aaron's head, and
anointed him, to sanctify him.
13 And Moses brought Aaron's sons, and put coats upon them, and
girded them with girdles, and put bonnets upon them; as the LORD
God had given Moses orders to consecrate Aaron and his sons to the
priests' office, when he was with him the first time upon mount Sinai,
where we have also the particular instructions he had how to do it. Now
here we have,
I. The orders repeated. What was there commanded to be done is here
commanded to be done now,
The tabernacle was newly set up, which, without the priests, would be
as a candlestick without a candle; the law concerning sacrifices was
newly given, but could not be observed without priests; for, though
Aaron and his sons had been nominated to the office, they could not
officiate, till they were consecrated, which yet must not be done till
the place of their ministration was prepared, and the ordinances were
instituted, that they might apply themselves to work as soon as ever
they were consecrated, and might know that they were ordained, not only
to the honour and profit, but to the business of the priesthood. Aaron
and his sons were near relations to Moses, and therefore he would not
consecrate them till he had further orders, lest he should seem too
forward to bring honour into his family.
II. The congregation called together, at the door, that is, in
the court of the tabernacle,
The elders and principal men of the congregation, who represented the
body of the people, were summoned to attend; for the court would hold
but a few of the many thousands of Israel. It was done thus publicly,
1. Because it was a solemn transaction between God and Israel; the
priests were to be ordained for men in things pertaining to God,
for the maintaining of a settled correspondence, and the negotiating of
all affairs between the people and God; and therefore it was fit that
both sides should appear, to own the appointment, at the door of the
tabernacle of meeting.
2. The spectators of the solemnity could not but be possessed, by the
sight of it, with a great veneration for the priests and their office,
which was necessary among a people so wretchedly prone as these were to
envy and discontent. It was strange that any of those who were
witnesses of what was here done should afterwards say, as some of them
did, You take too much upon you, you sons of Levi; but what
would they have said if it had been done clandestinely? Note, It is
very fit, and of good use, that ministers should be ordained publicly,
plebe praesente--in the presence of the common people, according
to the usage of the primitive church.
III. The commission read,
Moses, who was God's representative in this solemnity, produced his
orders before the congregation: This is the thing which the Lord
commanded to be done. Though God had crowned him king in Jeshurun,
when he made his face to shine in the sight of all Israel, yet he did
not institute or appoint any thing in God's worship but what God
himself had commanded. The priesthood he delivered to them was that
which he had received from the Lord. Note, All that minister about holy
things must have an eye to God's command as their rule and warrant; for
it is only in the observance of this that they can expect to be owned
and accepted of God. Thus we must be able to say, in all acts of
religious worship, This is the thing which the Lord commanded to be
IV. The ceremony performed according to the divine ritual.
1. Aaron and his sons were washed with water
to signify that they ought now to purify themselves from all sinful
dispositions and inclinations, and ever after to keep themselves pure.
Christ washes those from their sins in his own blood whom he makes to
our God kings and priests
and those that draw near to God must be washed in pure water,
Though they were ever so clean before and no filth was to be seen upon
them, yet they must be washed, to signify their purification from sin,
with which their souls were polluted, how clean soever their bodies
2. They were clothed with the holy garments, Aaron with his
which typified the dignity of Christ our great high priest, and his
sons with theirs
which typified the decency of Christians, who are spiritual priests.
Christ wears the breast-plate of judgment and the holy crown; for the
church's high priest is her prophet and king. All believers are clothed
with the robe of righteousness, and girt with the girdle of truth,
resolution, and close application; and their heads are bound, as
the word here is, with the bonnet or diadem of beauty, the beauty of
3. The high priest was anointed, and, it should seem, the holy things
were anointed at the same time; some think that they were anointed
before, but that the anointing of them is mentioned here because Aaron
was anointed with the same oil with which they were anointed; but the
manner of relating it here makes it more than probable that it was done
at the same time, and that the seven days employed in consecrating the
altar were coincident with the seven days of the priests' consecration.
The tabernacle, and all its utensils, had some of the anointing oil put
upon them with Moses's finger
so had the altar
these were to sanctify the gold and the gift
and therefore must themselves be thus sanctified; but he poured it out
more plentifully upon the head of Aaron
so that it ran down to the skirts of his garments, because his
unction was to typify the anointing of Christ with the Spirit, which
was not given by measure to him. Yet all believers also have received
the anointing, which puts an indelible character upon them,
1 John 2:27.
14 And he brought the bullock for the sin offering: and Aaron
and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the bullock for
the sin offering.
15 And he slew it; and Moses took the blood, and put it
upon the horns of the altar round about with his finger, and
purified the altar, and poured the blood at the bottom of the
altar, and sanctified it, to make reconciliation upon it.
16 And he took all the fat that was upon the inwards, and the
caul above the liver, and the two kidneys, and their fat, and
Moses burned it upon the altar.
17 But the bullock, and his hide, his flesh, and his dung, he
burnt with fire without the camp; as the LORD commanded Moses.
18 And he brought the ram for the burnt offering: and Aaron and
his sons laid their hands upon the head of the ram.
19 And he killed it; and Moses sprinkled the blood upon the
altar round about.
20 And he cut the ram into pieces; and Moses burnt the head,
and the pieces, and the fat.
21 And he washed the inwards and the legs in water; and Moses
burnt the whole ram upon the altar: it was a burnt sacrifice
for a sweet savour, and an offering made by fire unto the LORD;
as the LORD commanded Moses.
22 And he brought the other ram, the ram of consecration: and
Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the ram.
23 And he slew it; and Moses took of the blood of it, and put
it upon the tip of Aaron's right ear, and upon the thumb of his
right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot.
24 And he brought Aaron's sons, and Moses put of the blood upon
the tip of their right ear, and upon the thumbs of their right
hands, and upon the great toes of their right feet: and Moses
sprinkled the blood upon the altar round about.
25 And he took the fat, and the rump, and all the fat that
was upon the inwards, and the caul above the liver, and the
two kidneys, and their fat, and the right shoulder:
26 And out of the basket of unleavened bread, that was before
the LORD, he took one unleavened cake, and a cake of oiled bread,
and one wafer, and put them on the fat, and upon the right
27 And he put all upon Aaron's hands, and upon his sons' hands,
and waved them for a wave offering before the LORD.
28 And Moses took them from off their hands, and burnt them
on the altar upon the burnt offering: they were consecrations
for a sweet savour: it is an offering made by fire unto the
29 And Moses took the breast, and waved it for a wave
offering before the LORD: for of the ram of consecration it was
Moses' part; as the LORD commanded Moses.
30 And Moses took of the anointing oil, and of the blood which
was upon the altar, and sprinkled it upon Aaron, and upon
his garments, and upon his sons, and upon his sons' garments with
him; and sanctified Aaron, and his garments, and his sons, and
his sons' garments with him.
The covenant of priesthood must be made by sacrifice, as well as other
And thus Christ was consecrated by the sacrifice of himself, once for
all. Sacrifices of each kind must be offered for the priests, that they
might with the more tenderness and concern offer the gifts and
sacrifices of the people, with compassion on the ignorant, and on
those that were out of the way, not insulting over those for
whom sacrifices were offered, remembering that they themselves had had
sacrifices offered for them, being compassed with infirmity.
1. A bullock, the largest sacrifice, was offered for a sin-offering
that hereby atonement might be made, and they might not bring any of
the guilt of the sins of their former state into the new character they
were now to put on. When Isaiah was sent to be a prophet, he was told
to his comfort, Thy iniquity is taken away,
Ministers, that are to declare the remission of sins to others, should
give diligence to get it made sure to themselves in the first place
that their own sins are pardoned. Those to whom is committed the
ministry of reconciliation must first be reconciled to God
themselves, that they may deal for the souls of others as for their
2. A ram was offered for a burnt-offering,
By this they gave to God the glory of this great honour which was now
put upon them, and returned him praise for it, as Paul thanked Christ
Jesus for putting him into the ministry,
1 Timothy 1:12.
They also signified the devoting of themselves and all their services
to the honour of God.
3. Another ram, called the ram of consecration, was offered for
&c. The blood of it was part put on the priests, on their ears, thumbs,
and toes, and part sprinkled upon the altar; and thus he did (as it
were) marry them to the altar, upon which they must all their days give
attendance. All the ceremonies about this offering, as those before,
were appointed by the express command of God; and, if we compare this
we shall find that the performance of the solemnity exactly agrees with
the precept there, and in nothing varies. Here, therefore, as in the
account we had of the tabernacle and its vessels, it is again and again
repeated, As the Lord commanded Moses. And thus Christ, when he
sanctified himself with his own blood, had an eye to his Father's will
in it. As the Father gave me commandment so I do,
x. 18; vi. 38.
31 And Moses said unto Aaron and to his sons, Boil the flesh
at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and there
eat it with the bread that is in the basket of consecrations,
as I commanded, saying, Aaron and his sons shall eat it.
32 And that which remaineth of the flesh and of the bread shall
ye burn with fire.
33 And ye shall not go out of the door of the tabernacle of the
congregation in seven days, until the days of your consecration
be at an end: for seven days shall he consecrate you.
34 As he hath done this day, so the LORD hath commanded to
do, to make an atonement for you.
35 Therefore shall ye abide at the door of the tabernacle of
the congregation day and night seven days, and keep the charge of
the LORD, that ye die not: for so I am commanded.
36 So Aaron and his sons did all things which the LORD
commanded by the hand of Moses.
Moses, having done his part of the ceremony, now leaves Aaron and his
sons to do theirs.
I. They must boil the flesh of their peace-offering, and eat it in the
court of the tabernacle, and what remained they must burn with fire,
This signified their thankful consent to the consecration: when God
gave Ezekiel his commission, he told him to eat the roll,
II. They must not stir out of the court of the tabernacle for seven
The priesthood being a good warfare, they must thus learn to endure
hardness, and to disentangle themselves from the affairs of this life,
2 Timothy 2:3,4.
Being consecrated to their service, they must give themselves wholly
to it, and attend continually to this very thing. Thus
Christ's apostles were appointed to wait for the promise of the
During this time appointed for their consecration, they were daily to
repeat the same sacrifices which were offered the first day,
This shows the imperfection of the legal sacrifices, which, because
they could not take away sin, were often repeated
but were here repeated seven times (a number of perfection), because
they typified that one offering, which perfected for ever those that
were sanctified. The work lasted seven days; for it was a kind of
creation: and this time was appointed in honour of the sabbath, which,
probably, was the last day of the seven, for which they were to prepare
during the six days. Thus the time of our life, like the six days, must
be our preparation for the perfection of our consecration to God in the
everlasting sabbath: they attended day and night
and so constant should we be in our meditation on God's law,
They attended to keep the charge of the Lord: we have every one
of us a charge to keep, an eternal God to glorify, an immortal soul to
provide for, needful duty to be done, our generation to serve; and it
must be our daily care to keep this charge, for it is the charge of the
Lord our Master, who will shortly call us to an account about it, and
it is at our utmost peril if we neglect it. Keep it that you die
not; it is death, eternal death, to betray the trust we are charged
with; by the consideration of this we must be kept in awe.
Lastly, We are told
that Aaron and his sons did all that was commanded. Thus their
consecration was completed; and thus they set an example before the
people of an exact obedience to the laws of sacrifices now newly given,
and then they could with the better grace teach them. Thus the
covenant of peace
of life and peace
was made with Aaron and his sons; but after all the ceremonies that
were used in their consecration there was one point of ratification
which was reserved to be the honour and establishment of Christ's
priesthood, which was this, that they were made priests without an
oath, but Christ with an oath
for neither such priests nor their priesthood could continue, but
Christ's is a perpetual and unchangeable priesthood.
Gospel ministers are compared to those who served at the altar, for
they minister about holy things
(1 Corinthians 9:13),
they are God's mouth to the people and the people's to God, the pastors
and teachers Christ has appointed to continue in the church to the end
of the world: they seem to be meant in that promise which points at
I will take of them for priests and for Levites. No man may take
this honour to himself, but he who upon trial is found to be clothed
and anointed by the Spirit of God with gifts and graces to qualify him
for it, and who with purpose of heart devotes himself entirely to the
service, and is then by the word and prayer (for so every thing
is sanctified), and the imposition of the hands of those that give
themselves to the word and prayer, set apart to the office, and
recommended to Christ as a servant and to the church as a steward and
guide. And those that are thus solemnly dedicated to God ought not to
depart from his service, but faithfully to abide in it all their days;
and those that do so, and continue labouring in the word and
doctrine, are to be accounted worthy of double honour,
double to that of the Old-Testament priests.