Sunday, April 7, 2013

Leviticus 8:1-10:20


In the eighth chapter of Leviticus, Moses presides at the ordination of Aaron and his four sons as priests. The ceremony involves sacrifices of animals and grain, with lots of blood splashed, sprinkled, and smeared. The detail of blood being applied to the right ear, thumb, and big toe has always seemed odd to me. I don't have access to my personal library at the moment. Can anyone explain this to me?

When I read about Aaron being anointed I always flash on Psalm 133:

How very good and pleasant it is
when kindred live together in unity!
It is like the precious oil on the head,
running down upon the beard,
on the beard of Aaron,
running down over the collar of his robes.

The newly ordained priests stay in the Tabernacle for a full week before they assume their priestly functions.

In chapter 9 Aaron and his sons make sacrifices for themselves and for the people. Aaron promises the people that God will appear to them and God comes through. YHWH shows his glory to all the people and fire comes out from his presence to consume the offering on the altar.

Things go bad in chapter 10 Aaron's sons, Nadab and Abihu, are consumed by the same fire. It seems that these regulations about offerings are to be taken seriously. Nadab and Abihu's crime is offering "alien fire" whatever that means. It was some deviation from their instructions and they paid for it with their lives.

Moses' words in verse 3 are either a loose quote of Exodus 29:42 or an allusion to something not previously mentioned.

Aaron keeps silent.

Moses summons the sons of Aaron's uncle to dispose of Nadab and Abihu's charred remains. Wouldn't he also be Moses' uncle?

Moses tells Aaron not to mourn his sons. Others can mourn but Aaron has to keep calm and carry on in his role as priest. Moses also tells Aaron not to drink alcohol in the Tabernacle. Rabbis of old have suggested that Nadab and Abihu might have been drunk.

In verses 16 ff. Moses gets peavish because a goat offering was burnt entirely. Parts of it should have been consumed. Considering all that has gone before, Aaron seems to have lost his appetite. It is his only sign of mourning. Moses--and YHWH--are inclined to let it slide.

It is not always easy to trust, believe in, and serve God.

Next: Leviticus 11-13

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