9:1-24 Verses 6 and 23 are the only ones in Leviticus that include the word “glory.” The purpose of the inaugural act of worship was to recognize the presence of the Lord among his people, symbolized by the fiery glory of the Lord in the tent of meeting. This exhibition gave the congregation assurance of his favor. Christians can have confidence in the acceptance of their worship through the certainty of Christ’s cleansing blood that makes full atonement. The call to worship (vv. 1-6) was followed by the ritual cleansing of the priests (vv. 7-14) and of the people (vv. 15-21). The conclusion was the act of worship (vv. 22-24).
9:1 On the eighth day after the seven days of ordination (8:33; Ex 29:35), the divine call to worship began a new creative act. All the events of this first communal service occurred on this one day. Worship begins at the initiation of the Lord, who directs the proper protocol for acceptable worship. The elders represented the congregation, although the entire congregation approached the tent of meeting (v. 5).
9:2 Aaron and his sons had to present a sin offering (4:1-5:13) and a burnt offering (1:3-17), although they had undergone seven days of consecration. This demonstrated their constant need for atonement before they officiated as mediators.
9:3-5 Aaron’s giving directions to the congregation elevated him in their eyes. Four of the five offerings described in chaps. 1-7 were called for; the exception, the guilt offering, involved restitution and was a private, individual ceremony. The purpose of the instructions was to prepare for the appearance of the “glory of the Lord” (v. 6). The word appear (Hb ra’ah) occurs three times (vv. 4,6,23); the “appearance” was a visible manifestation of the presence of the Lord. This theophany, an outward manifestation of the invisible God, involved a light or fire (Ex 3:2). The fiery presence of the Lord was an echo of God’s coming to Moses at Sinai (Ex 19:18), making the portable tent another “Sinai.” Christians look to Jesus’s incarnation as the presence of the Lord (Jn 1:14). Through his atonement they receive the glory of the Lord by faith (Jn 17:22-24; Rm 8:30; 1Pt 1:7).
|Hebrew pronunciation||[oh LAH]|
|CSB translation||burnt offering|
|Uses in Leviticus||62|
|Uses in the OT||288|
|Focus passage||Leviticus 8:18|
‘Olah always signifies burnt offering and is the first kind of Israelite offering described in detail (Lv 1:3-17). ‘Olah could be a participle of the verb rise up (‘alah), and speculation occurs whether what rises is the smoke and fire, the aroma, or the animal onto the altar. However, the verb in a causative form (“to offer up”) regularly has ‘olah as object, suggesting an offering of sacrifice to God (Gn 8:20; 22:2). Its burning was a form of presentation. The ‘olah was unique in being entirely consumed by altar fire, yet its preparation involved removing the animal’s skin, which the officiating priest could keep (Lv 7:8). The offerer put his hand on the victim in apparent identification with it. The ‘olah could express joy (1Sm 6:14-15), accompany petition (Jr 14:12), or seek atonement (Lv 1:4). God permitted poor people to present birds as burnt offerings (Lv 5:7; 12:8).
9:6 The fullest disclosure of the Lord was the human incarnation of Jesus Christ, whose death and resurrection demonstrated the glory of the Lord (Rm 6:4; Heb 2:9). Christians participate in the glory of the Lord (2Co 4:17; 1Pt 5:10).
9:7-14 After the gathering of the elements of worship, the priests first received the rites of cleansing and dedication.
9:8-11 When Aaron went outside the camp, this was the first time he had left the sanctuary since his seven-day ordination. The incineration of the sacrificial animal demonstrated that the officiating priest could not benefit from the offering made for his own sins (8:17). Another variation from the regular sin offering was that the blood was not taken inside the tent.
9:17-21 The priests continued to represent the entire community by carrying out the grain and fellowship offerings that were typically offered by an individual Israelite. For the procedures of the two offerings, see chaps. 2-3.
9:22 When Aaron lifted up his hands, it showed that he invoked the Lord (1Kg 8:22; Ps 28:2). Prayer for blessing was the duty of the priestly order (Dt 10:8; 21:5). On the traditional priestly blessing, see Nm 6:24-26 and notes there.
9:23 The entrance into the tent by Moses and Aaron confirmed the legitimacy of the newly ordained Aaron, who would enter the holy place every day from then on (Ex 29:42-44; 30:7-8). Moses entered the cloud when God descended on Mount Sinai (Ex 24:18; cp. Lk 9:34). His entrance now signaled the imminent presence of the Lord. Christians receive and declare the imminent relationship with God through Christ (2Co 5:18-20; Col 1:20).
9:24 The fiery blast probably came out of the tent from the most holy place and incinerated the remains of the smoldering offerings. The God who revealed himself at Sinai was now the God of the tent who dwelt in their midst (Ex 24:17; 2Ch 7:3). The Hebrew words for saw (wayyar’) and shouted (wayyaronnu) may be a pun on “appeared” (wayyera’; v. 23). The response of the people exhibited their joy and humility (cp. 2Ch 7:1-3). “Shouted” (Hb ranan) means to give a ringing cry aloud (Jr 31:7), and fell facedown (Hb naphal) also describes later reactions to the fiery demonstrations of the Lord (Jdg 13:20; 2Ch 7:3; cp. Nm 16:22; 20:6; Mt 17:6).