Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 2. Bread. This basket stood near the altar of holocausts, in the court. Most part of this chapter has been already explained, Exodus xxix.
Ver. 7. Garment, subucula, which is styled a strait tunic, Exodus xxviii. This was girded close, while the upper garment (máil) was fastened by the ephod, contrary to what Josephus and others have asserted. (Calmet) — Truth. When the ephod and rational were joined together, God gave his oracles, 1 Kings xxiii. 9. No woman could wear the ornaments, which were made by divine wisdom. (St. Cyril, in Lev. xiii. 6.) (Worthington)
Ver. 9. Sanctification. Having these words engraven on it, Holiness to the Lord.
Ver. 12. Head. To shew that he was the fountain of the priesthood, and that power was derived from him.
Ver. 13. Linen. Aquila translates “inward.” It was next to the skin. — Mitres, caps, Exodus xxviii. 4. These were the garments of priests. Those of the Levites are not particularized. About six years before the destruction of the temple by Titus, the Levites obtained of Agrippa leave to wear the linen tunic, which was deemed a great innovation, seldom left unpunished. (Josephus, Antiquities xx. 8.)
Ver. 14. Calf. This ceremony was repeated for seven days, ver. 33. (Calmet) — At the same time, Moses consecrated the altars and all the furniture of the tabernacle, ver. 10.
Ver. 23. Foot. The whole person was thus sensibly consecrated to God’s service. (Haydock) — The pagan high priest, among the Romans, was adorned in silk and ribbands, with a crown of gold. Being conducted under ground, the blood of an ox, which had been sacrificed, came upon his head, ears, and other parts of his body, through little holes, made in a board; and thus besmeared, he was recognized by the people. (Prudent. hym. S. Romani, Saumaise. &c.)
Ver. 27. Who having. Moses supported and directed the hands of the priests.
Ver. 30. Vestments. It is a maxim among the Rabbins, that a priest without his vestments, is not considered as such; and he is put to death, if he should dare to approach the altar in that condition. When the priests lay aside their sacred robes, they are looked upon as laymen. (Calmet) — The high priest was consecrated by the unction on the head; (ver. 12,) those of an inferior condition, were sprinkled with ointment mixed with blood, &c. (Menochius)
Ver. 33. Finished. During this time, some say they were allowed to go our for a short time, to satisfy the calls of nature; while others say they were to continue always in the tabernacle, or in the court. Afterwards the priests on duty continued all the time in the temple, adorned with their sacred robes. The high priest could not wear his on other occasions, except some very urgent affair required it, as was the case when Jaddus went to meet Alexander. (Calmet)
Ver. 34. Done….so. The Hebrew adds, “the Lord hath commanded to do, to make atonement for you.” (Haydock)
Ver. 35. Watches. They might be permitted to take a little sleep during part of this week. (Tirinus) — In: Hebrew, “at the door of the tabernacle of the assembly, attentive to the ordinances of the Lord.” (Haydock) — Die, as Nadab did afterwards. Moses officiated as the consecrating priest. One of the most venerable of the order, consecrated the successors of Aaron. Some assert, that they only invested him with the pontifical robes. (Numbers xx. 25.; 1 Machabees x. 21.) (Calmet) — The power of Moses was extraordinary; that of Aaron was ordinary, designed to continue in after ages. (St. Augustine, q. 23.) None must presume to take this office of priest, but such as are called by God, Hebrews v. Those of the old law, were initiated by sacred rites or sacraments, which signified the grace of God, requisite to perform their duties well. They were chosen from among men, to be more holy; of which their washing was a sign, as their splendid robes were to remind them of their sublime dignity and authority over the people. The high priest had seven special ornaments: 1. white linen, to denote purity; 2. a curious girdle, intimating that he must use discretion in all things; 3. the long tunic of various colours, with bells, &c., signifying heavenly conversation upon earth, union and harmony in faith and morals; 4. an ephod, with two precious stones on the shoulders, teaching him to support the failings of the multitude; 5. the rational, with its ornaments, shew that the pontiff should be solicitous to teach sound and profitable doctrine; 6. the mitre indicates, that all his actions should be referred to God above; and lastly, the plate of gold denotes that he should have God always in view, and never forget that consummate holiness which He requireth. See St. Jerome, ep. ad Fabiol. — The three ornaments of the priests, put them in mind of purity, discretion, and a right intention, to be observed in all their conduct. On this occasion, a change was introduced in the priesthood, as the law was new; the first-born being obliged to give place to Aaron’s family. Thus, when these were deprived of the exclusive privilege, and people from any family were chosen by Christ, the law of Moses ceased to exist, Hebrews vii. The ordination of the former was a figure of that sacrament, by which Christian priests still receive grace and power. (2 Timothy i.; Theodoret, q. 48. Num.; St. Augustine, de bono conj. 24.) (Worthington)
Bible Text & Cross-references:Moses consecrateth Aaron and his sons.
1 And the Lord spoke to Moses, *saying:
2 *Take Aaron with his sons, their vestments, and the oil of unction, a calf for sin, two rams, a basket with unleavened bread,
3 And thou shalt gather together all the congregation to the door of the tabernacle.
4 And Moses did as the Lord had commanded. And all the multitude being gathered together before the door of the tabernacle,
5 He said: This is the word that the Lord hath commanded to be done.
6 And immediately he offered Aaron and his sons: and when he had washed them,
7 He vested the high priest with the strait linen garment, girding him with the girdle, and putting on him the violet tunic, and over it he put the ephod,
8 And binding it with the girdle, he fitted it to the rational, in which was Doctrine and Truth.
9 He put also the mitre upon his head: and upon the mitre over the forehead, he put the plate of gold consecrated with sanctification, as the Lord had commanded him.
10 He took also the oil of unction, with which he anointed the tabernacle, with all the furniture thereof.
11 And when he had sanctified and sprinkled the altar seven times, he anointed it, and all the vessels thereof, and the laver with the foot thereof he sanctified with the oil.
12 *And he poured it upon Aaron’s head, and he anointed and consecrated him:
13 And after he had offered his sons, he vested them with linen tunics, and girded them with girdles, and put mitres on them, as the Lord had commanded.
14 He offered also the calf for sin: and when Aaron and his sons had put their hands upon the head thereof,
15 He immolated it: and took the blood, and dipping his finger in it, he touched the horns of the altar round about. Which being expiated, and sanctified, he poured the rest of the blood at the bottom thereof.
16 But the fat that was upon the entrails, and the caul of the liver, and the two little kidneys, with their fat, he burnt upon the altar:
17 And the calf with the skin, and the flesh, and the dung, he burnt without the camp, as the Lord had commanded.
18 He offered also a ram for a holocaust: and when Aaron and his sons had put their hands upon its head,
19 He immolated it, and poured the blood thereof round about upon the altar.
20 And cutting the ram into pieces, the head thereof, and the joints, and the fat he burnt in the fire,
21 Having first washed the entrails, and the feet; and the whole ram together, he burnt upon the altar, because it was a holocaust of most sweet odour to the Lord, as he had commanded him.
22 He offered also the second ram, in the consecration of priests: and Aaron, and his sons put their hands upon the head thereof:
23 And when Moses had immolated it, he took of the blood thereof, and touched the tip of Aaron’s right ear, and the thumb of his right hand, and in like manner also the great toe of his right foot.
24 He offered also the sons of Aaron: and when with the blood of the ram that was immolated, he had touched the tip of the right ear of every one of them, and the thumbs of their right hands, and the great toes of their right feet, the rest he poured on the altar round about:
25 But the fat, and the rump, and all the fat that covereth the entrails, and the caul of the liver, and the two kidneys with their fat, and with the right shoulder, he separated.
26 And taking out of the basket of unleavened bread, which was before the Lord, a loaf without leaven, and a cake tempered with oil, and a wafer, he put them upon the fat, and the right shoulder,
27 Delivering all to Aaron, and to his sons: who having lifted them up before the Lord,
28 He took them again from their hands, and burnt them upon the altar of holocaust, because it was the oblation of consecration, for a sweet odour of sacrifice to the Lord.
29 And he took of the ram of consecration, the breast for his portion, elevating it before the Lord, as the Lord had commanded him.
30 And taking the ointment, and the blood that was upon the altar, he sprinkled Aaron, and his vestments, and his sons, and their vestments with it.
31 And when he had sanctified them in their vestments, he commanded them, saying: Boil the flesh before the door of the tabernacle, and there eat it. Eat ye also the loaves of consecration, that are laid in the basket, as the Lord commanded me, saying: *Aaron and his sons shall eat them:
32 And whatsoever shall be left of the flesh and the loaves, shall be consumed with fire.
33 And you shall not go out of the door of the tabernacle for seven days, until the day wherein the time of your consecration shall be expired. For in seven days the consecration is finished:
34 As at this present it hath been done, that the rite of the sacrifice might be accomplished.
35 Day and night shall you remain in the tabernacle, observing the watches of the Lord, lest you die: for so it hath been commanded me.
36 And Aaron and his sons did all things which the Lord spoke by the hand of Moses.
1: Year of the World 2514, Year before Christ 1490.
2: Exodus xxix. 35. and xl. 13.
12: Ecclesiasticus xlv. 18.
31: Exodus xxix. 31. and xxx. 22. and xl. 9.; Leviticus xxiv. 9.