Opening Prayer

Almighty God, thank you for choosing me to be your own, for calling me to serve you, and for giving me all that I need to proclaim your excellence in this world of darkness.


The Ordination of Aaron and His Sons

8 The Lord said to Moses, “Bring Aaron and his sons, their garments, the anointing oil, the bull for the sin offering,[a] the two rams and the basket containing bread made without yeast, and gather the entire assembly at the entrance to the tent of meeting.” Moses did as the Lord commanded him, and the assembly gathered at the entrance to the tent of meeting.

Moses said to the assembly, “This is what the Lord has commanded to be done.” Then Moses brought Aaron and his sons forward and washed them with water. He put the tunic on Aaron, tied the sash around him, clothed him with the robe and put the ephod on him. He also fastened the ephod with a decorative waistband, which he tied around him. He placed the breastpiece on him and put the Urim and Thummim in the breastpiece. Then he placed the turban on Aaron’s head and set the gold plate, the sacred emblem, on the front of it, as the Lord commanded Moses.

10 Then Moses took the anointing oil and anointed the tabernacle and everything in it, and so consecrated them. 11 He sprinkled some of the oil on the altar seven times, anointing the altar and all its utensils and the basin with its stand, to consecrate them. 12 He poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron’s head and anointed him to consecrate him. 13 Then he brought Aaron’s sons forward, put tunics on them, tied sashes around them and fastened caps on them, as the Lord commanded Moses.

14 He then presented the bull for the sin offering, and Aaron and his sons laid their hands on its head. 15 Moses slaughtered the bull and took some of the blood, and with his finger he put it on all the horns of the altar to purify the altar. He poured out the rest of the blood at the base of the altar. So he consecrated it to make atonement for it. 16 Moses also took all the fat around the internal organs, the long lobe of the liver, and both kidneys and their fat, and burned it on the altar. 17 But the bull with its hide and its flesh and its intestines he burned up outside the camp, as the Lord commanded Moses.

18 He then presented the ram for the burnt offering, and Aaron and his sons laid their hands on its head. 19 Then Moses slaughtered the ram and splashed the blood against the sides of the altar. 20 He cut the ram into pieces and burned the head, the pieces and the fat. 21 He washed the internal organs and the legs with water and burned the whole ram on the altar. It was a burnt offering, a pleasing aroma, a food offering presented to the Lord, as the Lord commanded Moses.

22 He then presented the other ram, the ram for the ordination, and Aaron and his sons laid their hands on its head. 23 Moses slaughtered the ram and took some of its blood and put it on the lobe of Aaron’s right ear, on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot. 24 Moses also brought Aaron’s sons forward and put some of the blood on the lobes of their right ears, on the thumbs of their right hands and on the big toes of their right feet. Then he splashed blood against the sides of the altar. 25 After that, he took the fat, the fat tail, all the fat around the internal organs, the long lobe of the liver, both kidneys and their fat and the right thigh. 26 And from the basket of bread made without yeast, which was before the Lord, he took one thick loaf, one thick loaf with olive oil mixed in, and one thin loaf, and he put these on the fat portions and on the right thigh. 27 He put all these in the hands of Aaron and his sons, and they waved them before the Lord as a wave offering. 28 Then Moses took them from their hands and burned them on the altar on top of the burnt offering as an ordination offering, a pleasing aroma, a food offering presented to the Lord. 29 Moses also took the breast, which was his share of the ordination ram, and waved it before the Lord as a wave offering, as the Lord commanded Moses.

30 Then Moses took some of the anointing oil and some of the blood from the altar and sprinkled them on Aaron and his garments and on his sons and their garments. So he consecrated Aaron and his garments and his sons and their garments.

31 Moses then said to Aaron and his sons, “Cook the meat at the entrance to the tent of meeting and eat it there with the bread from the basket of ordination offerings, as I was commanded: ‘Aaron and his sons are to eat it.’ 32 Then burn up the rest of the meat and the bread. 33 Do not leave the entrance to the tent of meeting for seven days, until the days of your ordination are completed, for your ordination will last seven days. 34 What has been done today was commanded by the Lord to make atonement for you. 35 You must stay at the entrance to the tent of meeting day and night for seven days and do what the Lord requires, so you will not die; for that is what I have been commanded.”

36 So Aaron and his sons did everything the Lord commanded through Moses.


  1. Leviticus 8:2 Or purification offering; also in verse 14

New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


‘He has covered me with the robe of righteousness.’1 What does that mean to you?

Think Further

The first seven chapters of Leviticus describe the different sacrifices and how they were offered. This chapter tells us of the consecration of priests responsible for presenting them to God. Moses took due care to do what God ordained and in the manner God prescribed. It was all full of symbols with deep and far-reaching spiritual significance.

Aaron and his sons were brought before God and the entire assembly of the people of Israel. Before anything else, they were washed with water (v. 6). Jesus Christ was later to make the point that such a washing was an indication of the full cleansing which enables sinful people to become acceptable to our impeccably holy God.2 After this, they had their everyday clothes replaced with ornate priestly ceremonial garments (vv. 7–9,13). Zechariah’s vision helps us to understand the import of this symbol in the spiritual realm.3 Even more significant are Paul’s words that when we are washed with the water of baptism, we are clothed ‘with Christ’!4

Then, there were the sacrifices, starting with the bull on whose head Aaron and his sons laid their hands before it was slaughtered (vv. 14–16). The blood and different parts of the carcass were variously treated ‘as the Lord commanded Moses’ (v. 17). Then came the ram, which was consumed entirely by fire as a whole burnt offering devoted to the Lord. Together, they all point to Jesus Christ the Lamb of God, who was sacrificed to atone for our sin. Finally, there was the anointing with oil for consecration, a solemn dedication for sacred purpose and service. Today we have a much more sacred anointing. It is not made of vegetable oil and dispensed with the hands of a priest. Our anointing is God’s Holy Spirit conferred on us by God himself.5


What light does Hebrews 9 throw on this passage for us?

Closing prayer

Lord Jesus, my high priest, thank you for your blood that was shed for me; through the power of your Spirit, I have been saved, sealed, and sanctified. Show me how to live in ways that others may see you and believe.

Last Updated on January 25, 2024 by kingstar

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