Leviticus 8-10: The Grand Opening

Part two of Leviticus is about the Grand Opening of the Tent of Meeting!

Chapter eight

This chapter details the ordination of Aaron and his sons. This is the first time all these offerings are done as God had commanded and with quite the audience. God commands that all the people be there, standing outside at the entrance.

I’ll be honest, I get annoyed with “at the entrance”. It sounds fairly straightforward but when you get into all the things happening in and around here, you remember that an entrance has two sides. The people assemble at the entrance, but later Aaron and his sons are to stay at the entrance but not to leave the tent.

Before the ordination begins, there is a “sin offering” that has to be done, which is a bull. It made sense to wipe the slate clean first.  Then the “burnt offering” which is a ram, and Moses throws the blood against the sides of the altar. Um, gross. I get that it’s a different time and the animal is also dissected and the parts burned in different turns, but it’s the throwing the blood that makes me cringe.

Next is the offering for the actual ordination, which is also a ram. This time the blood is also “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.” This is also done for the sons. Again, it wierds me out. Then there’s more blood on all the garments.

Aaron and the sons are to live on the ram, or so it sounds, for seven days without leaving the tent. Does this also mean their covered in blood all that time? And living in a room with blood thrown all over the place. Yeah, sounds like it.

Chapter nine

Now that Aaron and his sons are ordained, it is their turn to perform all these sacrifices on the whole of the Israelite people. The people choose one of every kind of sacrifice to be given at this point in the manner described in the first seven chapters.

Chapter ten 

Not sure what happened that the two sons decide to give an unauthorized offering but this chapter opens on an alarming note. They give the offering and are “consumed” by the fire that comes out of it. When Aaron begins to respond, or so it sounds, Moses has this message from God to give to him:

‘Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.’” And Aaron held his peace.

There’s a part of me that wonders how Aaron could take it so well, but it doesn’t really say that he did. It just says that he held his peace, which could be as simple as having a detached emotional response, but it could also be complicated. He could feel awful and torn about it but not speak out. He’s further instructed that he and his remaining sons can’t even mourn the loss, but to allow the rest of Israel to do so.  That had to be rough, I don’t care who you are.

That’s followed up by this:

And the LORD spoke to Aaron, saying, “Drink no wine or strong drink, you or your sons with you, when you go into the tent of meeting, lest you die. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations. You are to distinguish between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean, and you are to teach the people of Israel all the statutes that the LORD has spoken to them by Moses.”

This is where I’d like to agree that it makes total sense. It doesn’t sound like God is opposed to alcohol in general, just don’t do His work drunk. I don’t even think the “lest you die” part should have been necessary, especially given all the stuff they are to be doing. But He only says to not drink while in the tent of meeting, which sounds like they can drink whenever else they feel like it.

There’s also a bit about the thigh and breast of certain offerings being eaten by Aaron and his sons and his daughters in a clean place. What’s strange is that this is the only mention of daughters or women having anything to do with this stuff, but we know that there were women working at the entrance to the tent. Is this where the daughters were? Is this what the women did at the entrance?

Unfortunately, it is lost in history, or herstory.

The rest of the chapter is just about Moses rebuking Aaron and sons for some discrepancies with their sacrifices.

So there are my feelings and impressions on chapters 8-10 of Leviticus. Have you read it? What do you think?

Chapter links go to the ESV translations at Biblehub.com but I’m reading from the ESV Global Study Bible, which is available for free on the Kindle Reading App.


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