Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Come. From the consecration of the tabernacle, (Menochius) and of Aaron. — Israel. The princes of the tribes. (Calmet) — They were to offer sacrifice by the hands of their new priests.
Ver. 2. Calf. As they had formerly adored a calf, so now they sacrifice one to God. (St. Jerome in Jer. vii.)
Ver. 3. Children. Samaritan and Septuagint, “the ancients,” or princes of the people, for whom a he-goat is sacrificed. — Old. Not above, though they might be younger.
Ver. 4. Offering, &c. Hebrew simply, “and a flour-offering tempered with oil; for,” &c. (Haydock) — All these sacrifices were accompanied with an offering of this nature, as they were in imitation of a dinner presented to God. (Menochius) — You. By the cloud, resting upon the tabernacle, or by fire proceeding thence. God will manifest his presence by miracles, ver. 24.
Ver. 7. Thy sin. Christ needed not daily (as the other priests) to offer sacrifices, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s, Hebrews vii. 27.
Ver. 9. The altar of holocausts; as he is yet considered only as a private person; afterwards he touches the altar of perfumes. (Calmet)
Ver. 10. Burnt, or placed in order to be burnt by the fire sent by God, ver. 24. (Menochius)
Ver. 11. Camp. According to the prescriptions given, chap. iv. 12.
Ver. 14. Water. Hebrew adds, “he burnt them upon the holocaust, upon the altar.”
Ver. 15. And expiating the altar. Hebrew, “he offered it (the goat) for sin, as the first,” for himself, placing the parts of the victim upon his own holocaust. (Haydock) — The Chaldean says, “he expiated the altar with the blood of the he-goat, as he did before.”
Ver. 17. Holocaust. Which were religiously observed every day. The law respecting the libations was given already, though it be related, Numbers xv. 4. (Menochius)
Ver. 21. Elevating them. After which they were used by the priest, chap. vii. 31. (Calmet) — As. Samaritan and some Hebrew manuscripts read, “as the Lord had commanded Moses.” (Kennicott)
Ver. 22. Hands. Thus representing the form of a cross, on which Christ redeemed us; in memory of which we still make the same sign. (Worthington) — Them. The blessing is recorded, Numbers vi. 24. And the Lord bless thee, &c. (Menochius) — In blessing an individual, the priest laid his hands upon him; but he stretched them out towards the multitude, as a mark of superiority.
Ver. 23. Testimony. To offer incense, which always preceded the morning holocaust. — Glory; or fire, probably issuing from the tabernacle, and consuming the victims in a moment. Thus God was pleased to shew his approbation of the priests and victims, (Calmet) and at the same time, to impress a religious awe upon the minds of the spectators. (Haydock) — This fire was carefully preserved and nourished by the priests with wood; though the Rabbins say, this was done only to conceal the miracle of its perpetual continuance. A fire, of the same nature, came down upon the victims, when Solomon dedicated his temple, (2 Paralipomenon vii. 1,) and was kept burning till the captivity, when it was hidden in a cistern. Being found afterwards, like a muddy water, God kindled it again, (2 Machabees i. 18; ii. 10,) and it was not lost till the persecution of Epiphanes.
Ver. 24. The Lord: 2 Machabees ii. 10, explains this text. Fire came down from heaven, appearing like a flash of lightning, in the midst of the victims. (Josephus, Antiquities iii. 9.) (Calmet)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Aaron offereth sacrifice for himself and the people. Fire cometh from the Lord upon the altar.
1 And when* the eighth day was come, Moses called Aaron and his sons,** and the ancients of Israel, and said to Aaron:
2 Take of the herd a calf for sin, and a ram for a holocaust, both without blemish, and offer them before the Lord.
3 And to the children of Israel thou shalt say: Take ye a he-goat for sin, and a calf, and a lamb, both of a year old, and without blemish, for a holocaust,
4 Also a bullock and a ram for peace-offerings: and immolate them before the Lord, offering for the sacrifice of every one of them flour tempered with oil: for to-day the Lord will appear to you.
5 They brought therefore all things that Moses had commanded before the door of the tabernacle: where when all the multitude stood,
6 Moses said: This is the word which the Lord hath commanded: do it, and his glory will appear to you.
7 And he said to Aaron: Approach to the altar, and offer sacrifice for thy sin: offer the holocaust, and pray for thyself and for the people: and when thou hast slain the people’s victim, pray for them, as the Lord hath commanded.
8 And forthwith Aaron approaching to the altar, immolated the calf for his sin:
9 And his sons brought him the blood of it: and he dipped his finger therein, and touched the horns of the altar, and poured the rest at the foot thereof.
10 And the fat, and the little kidneys, and the caul of the liver, which are for sin, he burnt upon the altar, as the Lord had commanded Moses:
11 But the flesh and skins thereof he burnt with fire without the camp.
12 He immolated also the victim of holocaust: and his sons brought him the blood thereof, which he poured round about on the altar.
13 And the victim being cut into pieces, they brought to him the head and all the members, all which he burnt with fire upon the altar,
14 Having first washed the entrails and the feet with water.
15 Then offering for the sin of the people, he slew the he-goat: and expiating the altar,
16 He offered the holocaust:
17 Adding in the sacrifice the libations, which are offered withal, and burning them upon the altar, besides the ceremonies of the morning holocaust.
18 He immolated also the bullock and the ram, the peace-offerings of the people: and his sons brought him the blood, which he poured upon the altar round about.
19 The fat also of the bullock, and the rump of the ram, and the two little kidneys, with their fat, and the caul of the liver,
20 They put upon the breasts. And after the fat was burnt upon the altar,
21 Aaron separated their breasts, and the right shoulders, elevating them before the Lord, as Moses had commanded.
22 And stretching forth his hands to the people, he blessed them. And so the victims for sin, and the holocausts, and the peace-offerings, being finished, he came down.
23 And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the testimony, and afterwards came forth and blessed the people. *And the glory of the Lord appeared to all the multitude:
24 And behold a fire coming forth from the Lord, devoured the holocaust, and the fat that was upon the altar: which when the multitude saw, they praised the Lord, falling on their faces.
1: Year of the World 2514. — ** Exodus xxix. 1.
23: 2 Machabees ii. 10.