Consecration of the Priesthood[a]
Priestly Consecration. 1 The Lord spoke to Moses saying, 2 “Bring Aaron and his sons together with their garments,[c] the oil of anointing, a young bull for a sin offering, two rams, and a basket of unleavened bread 3 and gather the whole assembly together at the entrance to the tent of meeting.” 4 Moses did as the Lord had commanded and the community was gathered together at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 5 Moses said to the community, “This is what the Lord has commanded.”
6 Moses had Aaron and his sons draw near and he washed them with water. 7 Then he put his coat on him and bound him with his sash. He put the ephod on him and bound him in the skillfully woven band of the ephod, wrapping it around him. 8 He put his breastplate on him, and in the breastplate he placed the Urim and the Thummim. 9 Then he placed the turban on his head, and on the front of the turban he placed the golden plate, the holy crown, as the Lord had commanded Moses.
10 Then Moses then took the oil of anointing, and he anointed and consecrated the tabernacle and everything that was in it. 11 He sprinkled some of it upon the altar seven times, anointing the altar and all of its accessories, as well as the basin and its base, to consecrate them. 12 He poured the oil of anointing on the head of Aaron and anointed Aaron, consecrating him. 13 Then Moses had the sons of Aaron draw near and he clothed them in their tunics. He bound them with their sashes and put their caps on their heads, as the Lord had commanded Moses.
14 The Sin Offering. He then had the young bull of the sin offering brought to him, and he had Aaron and his sons place their hands on the head of the young bull of the sin offering. 15 Moses slew it, took some of its blood, and with his finger put some of it on the horns around the altar to purify it. He poured the rest of the blood at the base of the altar and consecrated it, making atonement for it.
16 He took all of the fat that was around the entrails, the lobe of the liver, the two kidneys with their fat, and Moses burned all of them upon the altar. 17 But the young bull, its skin, its meat, and its manure were burned in a fire outside of the camp, as the Lord had commanded Moses.
18 The Burnt Offering. He brought the ram for the burnt offering and he had Aaron and his sons place their hands on the head of the ram. 19 Moses slew it and sprinkled its blood around the altar. 20 He cut the ram into pieces and he burned the head, its pieces, and the fat. 21 After he had washed its entrails and its legs with water, he burned the entire ram upon the altar, a burnt offering making a pleasant fragrance, a sacrifice by fire in honor of the Lord, as the Lord had commanded Moses.
22 The Ram of Consecration. Then he brought the second ram, the ram of consecration. Aaron and his sons placed their hands on the head of the ram. 23 Moses slew it and took its blood and placed it on the right ear lobe of Aaron and the thumb of his right hand and the big toe of his right foot.[d] 24 Moses had the sons of Aaron approach him and he put some of the blood on their right ear lobes, on the thumbs of their right hands, and on the big toes of their right feet. He poured the rest of the blood around the altar. 25 He took the fat, the tail, the fat around its entrails, the lobe of the liver, the kidneys with their fat, and the right thigh. 26 He took an unleavened bread, a cake of bread with oil, and a wafer from the basket of unleavened bread that was before the Lord. He placed them on the fat and the right thigh. 27 He placed all of these things in the hands of Aaron and in the hands of his sons and they waved this wave offering before the Lord. 28 Moses took them out of their hands and burned them on the altar upon the burnt offerings. This is the sacrifice of consecration, a pleasant fragrance, a sacrifice consumed by fire in honor of the Lord. 29 Then Moses took the breast of the ram and waved it as a wave offering before the Lord. It was Moses’ portion of the ram of consecration, as the Lord had commanded Moses.
30 Moses took the oil of anointing and some of the blood that was on the altar and he sprinkled them upon Aaron and his clothes, and upon his sons and their clothes. Thus he consecrated Aaron and his clothes and his sons and their clothes. 31 Moses said to Aaron and his sons, “Cook the meat at the entrance to the meeting tent and eat it with the bread that is in the basket of consecration, as I commanded saying, ‘Aaron and his sons will eat it.’ 32 Whatever is left over from the meat and the bread is to be burned in a fire. 33 [e]You are not to go out from the entrance of the tent of meeting for seven days, until the days of your consecration are complete, for it will take seven days to consecrate you. 34 What was done today was what the Lord commanded so that an atonement might be made for you. 35 You shall remain for seven days at the entrance to the tent of meeting, day and night, observing the commandment of the Lord, lest you die, for thus I was commanded.” 36 Aaron and his sons did what the Lord had commanded through Moses.
- Leviticus 8:1 It was thought that the liturgy of the temple faithfully reproduced the forms of worship celebrated in the wilderness in the tent of meeting. That is why the prescriptions of this ritual (chs. 8–10) were directly linked to the origin of Israelite worship at the foot of Sinai. These prescriptions highlight the importance of the priesthood, of which the people became conscious through the offering of sacrifices, and also the authority exercised by the Aaronic priesthood.
- Leviticus 8:1 The candidates, who had been chosen by the Lord, were vested in their sacred robes and anointed with oil. Then three different sacrifices were offered: a sacrifice for sin, a burnt offering, an investiture sacrifice. This last rite was a real priestly consecration of Aaron and his sons for the carrying out of their ministry, although this consecration did not confer any supernatural power, as it does in the priesthood of Christ.
- Leviticus 8:2 Their garments: a detailed description of the priest’s clothing is given, including the ephod—an apron-like garment of fine linen and gold thread—worn by Aaron, the high priest. Simpler garments were worn by other priests.
- Leviticus 8:23 In consecrating Aaron, Moses places some of the blood on his extremities to indicate his total consecration to God.
- Leviticus 8:33 Strict rules regulated the consecration of the priests, who are not to leave the sanctuary for seven days under penalty of death. This follows the rites described in Ex 29:30, 35-37.