Leviticus 9

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Read Leviticus 9

The Priests Begin Their Ministry

On the eighth day Moses summoned Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel. He said to Aaron, “Take a bull calf for your sin offering and a ram for your burnt offering, both without defect, and present them before the Lord.Then say to the Israelites: ‘Take a male goat for a sin offering, a calf and a lamb—both a year old and without defect—for a burnt offering, and an oxand a ram for a fellowship offering to sacrifice before the Lord, together with a grain offering mixed with olive oil. For today the Lord will appear to you.’”

They took the things Moses commanded to the front of the tent of meeting, and the entire assembly came near and stood before the Lord.Then Moses said, “This is what the Lord has commanded you to do, so that the glory of the Lord may appear to you.”

Moses said to Aaron, “Come to the altar and sacrifice your sin offering and your burnt offering and make atonement for yourself and the people;sacrifice the offering that is for the people and make atonement for them, as the Lord has commanded.”

So Aaron came to the altar and slaughtered the calf as a sin offering for himself. His sons brought the blood to him, and he dipped his finger into the blood and put it on the horns of the altar; the rest of the blood he poured out at the base of the altar. 10 On the altar he burned the fat, the kidneys and the long lobe of the liver from the sin offering, as the Lord commanded Moses; 11 the flesh and the hide he burned up outside the camp.

12 Then he slaughtered the burnt offering. His sons handed him the blood,and he splashed it against the sides of the altar. 13 They handed him the burnt offering piece by piece, including the head, and he burned them on the altar. 14 He washed the internal organs and the legs and burned them on top of the burnt offering on the altar.

15 Aaron then brought the offering that was for the people. He took the goat for the people’s sin offering and slaughtered it and offered it for a sin offering as he did with the first one.

16 He brought the burnt offering and offered it in the prescribed way. 17 He also brought the grain offering, took a handful of it and burned it on the altar in addition to the morning’s burnt offering.

18 He slaughtered the ox and the ram as the fellowship offering for the people. His sons handed him the blood, and he splashed it against the sides of the altar. 19 But the fat portions of the ox and the ram—the fat tail, the layer of fat, the kidneys and the long lobe of the liver— 20 these they laid on the breasts, and then Aaron burned the fat on the altar. 21 Aaron waved the breasts and the right thigh before the Lord as a wave offering, as Moses commanded.

22 Then Aaron lifted his hands toward the people and blessed them. And having sacrificed the sin offering, the burnt offering and the fellowship offering, he stepped down.

23 Moses and Aaron then went into the tent of meeting. When they came out, they blessed the people; and the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people. 24 Fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the fat portions on the altar. And when all the people saw it, they shouted for joy and fell facedown.

Go Deeper

Leviticus 9 is one of the few narratively designed movements in Leviticus, and it details Aaron and his sons first working day in their role as priests. Many of us have probably started at a job without knowing what to expect, but Aaron and his sons’ experience here is on a whole different level. They are filling a role in an official capacity that has not ever been filled by humans, and they are filling it for a new kind of nation and community. This community would be one built on the laws and heart of God, designed to bless the world, just as God had promised Abraham that his descendants would. Aaron and his sons were to be the chief administrators and wardens of that blessing, ensuring that God’s people were in right relationship with Him, that they kept the covenant commands, and that they made atonement if they did otherwise. 

The chapter opens with another set of sacrifices, which is strange, because the only thing Aaron and his sons have been doing previously is sitting in the tabernacle with God. Even though Aaron and his sons had been doing the things of God in the presence of God, their consecration in Leviticus 8 had not made them perfect, and they still had sin they needed to atone for—sin significant enough that they need to offer two separate animals in atonement. Part of what God is trying to illustrate through this whole process of priesthood is that the men who serve as priests and the system that they administer will always need to do more. It will pale in comparison to the whole weight of Israel’s sin, and that they need a better way, a way that will remove the guilt-stain of sin for the people of Israel once and for all. As the author of Hebrews tells us, it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins (Hebrews 10:4). Once again, the Old Testament points clearly to a need for a Messiah that will stand in the gap and atone for his people where they have shown they themselves cannot. 

After Aaron and his sons atone, they lead the people of Israel in a similar process of atonement. In a display rare in the Old Testament, the people of Israel are unquestioningly compliant with the instructions they are given. After having done this, God sends fire from heaven to consume the sacrifices offered (a regular symbol in the Old Testament of God’s acceptance and presence in a sacrifice). After Aaron and his sons had dwelt in the presence of God, they turned around and led the people around them into God’s favor and presence as well, and upon seeing it, the people of Israel fell on their faces in worship. We, too, are a people consecrated as priests called to bring people into the blessing of God. As you dwell in the presence of God today, take up this mindset, and administer the blessing of the kingdom to those around you in inviting them to look and dwell with the Living God in fellowship.


  1. What did you notice about God in this chapter? What did you notice about humanity? 
  2. How can you be a part of administering the blessing of God to a wanting world today? Get specific with your answers. 
  3. Has there been a moment where you had an intense encounter with God, and then proceeded immediately afterward to sin?  

Did You Know?

There actually have been other priests in the Old Testament before Aaron (even one that seems to have fellowship with Yahweh): Melchizedek. That said, his presence is often considered to be a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus. For more on Melchizedek, check out this article from GotQuestions.org!  

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3 thoughts on “Leviticus 9”

  1. After so many detailed instructions given by Moses, it’s now time to put in the work, to respond in obedience to God’s very specific directives. A huge caveat for the people is found in v6, “When you have followed these instructions from the Lord, the glorious presence of the Lord will appear to you.” This is exactly what happened, as “fire blazed forth from heaven and consumed the offering”. How did the people respond? “They shouted with joy and fell face down on the ground” (V24). The real question we must ask ourselves is are we just looking for his glory without following his guidelines, or see his instructions as a daily means to connect with and honor Him. Often times through our obedience and faith, He quietly cones assuring of his deep love for us in the midst of our circumstances. Many times a day as I discern Him constantly at work around me, I turn my face to heaven and say, “Thank you, I know that was You.” That to me is supernatural!

  2. The Israelites had seen God show up for them continually. They had multiple and many But God moments. Then our sin nature is constantly pushing it’s way in leaving us feeling alone and defeated, right after we see the Glory of God show up. I am thankful to God for His son Jesus Christ. He gave it all so that I can go directly to the Father without all that ceremonialness. Romans 8:2 says for the law of the spirit of life (which is) in Christ Jesus ( the law of our new being) has freed me from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do [that is, overcome sin and remove its penalty, its power] being weakened by the flesh [man’s nature without the Holy Spirit], God did: He sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful man as an offering for sin. And He condemned sin in the flesh [subdued it and overcame it in the person of His own Son],(B) 4 so that the [righteous and just] requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us who do not live our lives in the ways of the flesh [guided by worldliness and our sinful nature], but [live our lives] in the ways of the Spirit [guided by His power]. This is when the But God moments happen. It is a constant turning away from the sinful world. But God has the answers and the directions to all questions and obstacles.
    God thank You for Your Son. Thank You for providing a way. Thank You for showing up and loving me. God my heart’s desire is to listen and obey continually. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit within me being louder than my flesh! God I give You glory honor thanksgiving gratitude and above all my love, in Jesus name amen

  3. A Holy, pure union-relationship between Moses and Aaron—Christian-bonded.
    Yes, I think the purification methods of using the main two organs, which remove toxicity from the body, that were used to be sacrificed are symbolic for us to remove toxic sins (relationships) from our lives to draw nearer to God. The relationship between Eve and Satan, we don’t really know how long that lasted. How long Satan slowly tempted Eve. M. Henry states, “Those that unite in wickedness will not unite long.” For just like Satan —wickedness receives a death sentence —a curse.
    God desires purification of ourselves. His desires from the beginning until present, to remove sin so we can hear and see Him more clearly. Until we, as individuals, work on the removal of toxins in our own lives, seek to have holy relationships within our village; building a healthy community of believers in a body is almost redundant. People will come, but our intent is for them to stay and join our village. They need to see the presence of God in our lives —just like the ones standing “outside” the tent.
    Great commentary! JP message yesterday touches on this!

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