Aaron’s sons (Num 3:1-3:4)

“This is the lineage of Aaron and Moses at the time when Yahweh spoke with Moses on Mount Sinai.   These are the names of the sons of Aaron: Nadab the first-born, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.  These are the names of the sons of Aaron, the anointed priests, whom he ordained to minister as priests.  Nadab and Abihu died before Yahweh when they offered unholy fire before Yahweh in the wilderness of Sinai.  They had no children.  Eleazar and Ithamar served as priests in the lifetime of their father Aaron.

Aaron had four sons.  Two died, Nadab and Abihu, without children when they presented unholy fire before Yahweh as mentioned in Leviticus, chapter 10.  However, the other two, Eleazar and Ithamar, served as priests with their father Aaron.  There is no mention of Moses’ sons.

Sacrificial animals (Lev 22:17-22:30)

“Yahweh spoke to Moses.  Speak to Aaron and his sons and all the people of Israel, and say to them, ‘When anyone of the house of Israel or of the aliens residing in Israel presents an offering, whether in payment of a vow or as a freewill offering that is offered to Yahweh as a burnt offering, to be acceptable on your behalf, it shall be a male without blemish, of the cattle, or the sheep, or the goats. You shall not offer anything that has a blemish, for it will not be acceptable in your behalf.’”

Once again, Yahweh spoke to Moses to tell Aaron, but not directly to Aaron.  The burnt offering sacrificial animal must be a male without blemish, whether bull, sheep, or goat.

“When anyone offers a sacrifice of well-being to Yahweh, in fulfillment of a vow or as a freewill offering, from the herd or from the flock, to be accepted it must be perfect.  There shall be no blemish in it.  Anything blind, injured, maimed, or having a discharge or an itch or scabs, you shall not offer to Yahweh or put any of them on the altar as offering by fire to Yahweh.  An ox or a lamb that has a limb too long or too short you may present for a freewill offering.  But it will not be accepted for a vow.  Any animal which has its testicles bruised, crushed, torn, or cut, you shall not offer to Yahweh.  Such you shall not do within your land.  Nor shall you accept any such animals from a foreigner to offer as food to your God.  Since there are mutilated, with a blemish in them, they shall not be accepted in your behalf.”

Here is the list of unacceptable animals. Those with blemishes, blind, injured, maimed, or with a discharge, itch, or scab cannot be accepted.  An ox or lamb whose legs are too short or too long can be a freewill offering, but not a vow offering.  Any animal with bruised, crushed, torn or cut testicles is not acceptable.

“Yahweh spoke to Moses.  ‘When an ox, a sheep, or a goat is born, it shall remain seven days with its mother.  From the eighth day on, it shall be acceptable as Yahweh’s offering by fire.  But you shall not slaughter, from the herd or the flock, an animal with its young on the same day.   When you sacrifice a thanksgiving offering to Yahweh, you shall sacrifice it so that it may be accepted on your behalf.  It shall be eaten on the same day.  You shall not leave any of it until morning.  I am Yahweh.’”

All animals must be at least eight days old to be acceptable.  However, you cannot slaughter a mother animal with its young on the same day.  You have to eat the animal on the same day and not the next day.

 

The holiness of the sacred priests (Lev 22:1-22:9)

“Yahweh spoke to Moses.  ‘Direct Aaron and his sons to deal carefully with the sacred donations of the people of Israel, which they dedicate to me, so that they may not profane my holy name.  I am Yahweh. Say to them. `If anyone among all your offspring throughout your generations comes near the sacred donations, which the people of Israel dedicate to Yahweh, while he is in a state of uncleanness, that person shall be cut off from my presence.  I am Yahweh.’  No one of Aaron’s offspring, who has a leprous disease or suffers a discharge, may eat of the sacred donations until he is clean. Whoever touches anything made unclean by a corpse or a man who has had an emission of semen, that person who touches any such shall be unclean until the evening.  He shall not eat of the sacred donations unless he has washed his body in water.  Whoever touches any swarming thing, by which he may be made unclean, or any human being by whom he may be made unclean, whatever his uncleanness may be, that person who touches any such shall be unclean until the evening. He shall not eat of the sacred donations unless he has washed his body in water.  When the sun sets he shall be clean.  Afterward he may eat of the sacred donations, for they are his food. That which died or was torn by wild animals he shall not eat, becoming unclean by it.  I am Yahweh.  They shall keep my charge so that they may not incur guilt and die in the sanctuary for having profaned it.  I am Yahweh.  I sanctify them.’”

Once again Yahweh speaks to Moses to tell Aaron, rather than to both of them.  Aaron and his sons are not to profane the holy name of Yahweh, by not dealing carefully with Israel’s sacred donations.  The sacred donations are the burnt offerings and grain offerings to Yahweh.  If anyone comes near the sacred donations, while they are unclean, that person shall be cut off from Yahweh. If any of Aaron’s descendents has a leprous disease, suffers a discharge, touches a corpse, has an emission of semen, or touches a swarming thing, they are unclean until the evening, the mild punishment. They cannot eat the sacred donations until they are clean. They only have to wash their body and wait until evening. Of course, they cannot eat anything that died or was torn by wild animals because that is unclean.  Yahweh alone sanctifies them.

Problems with the sin offering (Lev 10:16-10:20)

“Then Moses made inquiry about the goat of the sin offering.  It had already been burned!   Moses was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s remaining sons and said, ‘Why did you not eat the sin offering in the sacred area?  It is most holy.  God has given it to you that you may remove the guilt of the congregation, to make atonement on their behalf before Yahweh.  Its blood was not brought into the inner part of the sanctuary.  You should certainly have eaten it in the sanctuary, as I commanded.’  Aaron spoke to Moses. ‘See, today they offered their sin offering and their burnt offering before Yahweh.  Yet such things as these have befallen me!   If I had eaten the sin offering today, would it have been acceptable to Yahweh?’  When Moses heard that, he agreed.”

Moses was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar because they did not eat the sin offering of the goat in the sacred area.  They did not bring the blood into the inner part of the sanctuary.  Aaron responded that it was a bad day since so much had happened to him.  They were afraid that it would not be agreeable to Yahweh.  When Moses heard this, he agreed.

Priests and the offerings (Lev 10:12-10:15)

“Moses spoke to Aaron and to his remaining sons Eleazar and Ithamar.  ‘Take the grain offering that is left from Yahweh’s offerings by fire, and eat it unleavened beside the altar, for it is most holy.  You shall eat it in a holy place because it is your due and your son’s due, from the offerings by fire to Yahweh.  So I am commanded.   But the breast that is elevated and the thigh that is raised, you and your sons and daughters as well may eat in any clean place.   They have been assigned to you and your children from the sacrifices of the offering of well-being of the people of Israel.  The thigh that is raised and the breast that is elevated they shall bring, together with the offerings by fire of the fat, to raise for an elevation offering before Yahweh.  They are to be your due and that of your children forever, as Yahweh has commanded.”

Moses then spoke to Aaron and his remaining sons.  He told them that they were to eat the holy unleavened bread because it was their due.  However, the breast and the thigh may be eaten in any clean place by their families because it is due to them and their families.  This is the first mention of family or extended family of the priests, indicating that they could take this meat or flesh out of the tent into their homes.

The well-being offering (Lev 3:1-3:17)

“If the offering is a sacrifice of well-being, if you offer an animal of the herd, whether male or female, you shall offer one without blemish before Yahweh.  You shall lay your hand on the head of the offering and slaughter it at the entrance of the tent of meeting.  Aaron’s sons, the priests shall dash the blood against all sides of the altar.  You shall offer the sacrifice of well-being as an offering by fire to Yahweh.   You shall offer the fat that covers the entrails and all the fat that is around the entrails, the two kidneys with the fat that is on them at the loins, and the appendage of the liver, which he shall remove with the kidneys.  Then Aaron’s sons shall turn these into smoke on the altar with the burnt offering that is on the wood on the fire.  It is an offering by fire of a pleasing odor to Yahweh.”

The communal meal of well-being was a common ancient practice.  The animal could be male or female, but without blemish.  This offering does not have to use only a male animal only.  Like the holocaust offering, you lay your hand on its head and then bring it to the entrance of the tent where the priests kill the animal.  He then dashes the blood against all sides of the holocaust altar at the entrance to the tent.  This offering by fire is also a pleasing odor to Yahweh. This offering is from the fat that covers the entrails, the kidneys, and the liver.  

 “If your offering for a sacrifice of well-being to Yahweh is from the flock, male or female, you shall offer one without blemish.  If you present a sheep as your offering, you he shall bring it before Yahweh and lay your hand on the head of the offering.  It shall be slaughtered before the tent of meeting.  Aaron’s sons shall dash its blood against all sides of the altar. You shall present its fat from the sacrifice of well-being, as an offering by fire to Yahweh.  You offer the whole broad tail, which shall be removed close to the backbone, the fat that covers the entrails, all the fat that is around the entrails, the two kidneys with the fat that is on them at the loins, and the appendage of the liver, which you shall remove with the kidneys.   Then the priest shall turn these into smoke on the altar as a food offering by fire to Yahweh.  If your offering is a goat, you he shall offer it before Yahweh.  Lay your hand on its head.  It shall be slaughtered before the tent of meeting.  The sons of Aaron shall dash its blood against all sides of the altar.  You shall present as your offering by fire to Yahweh, the fat covering the entrails, and all the fat that is around the entrails.  You shall offer the two kidneys with the fat that is on them at the loins, and the appendage of the liver which you shall remove with the kidneys.   Then the priest shall turn these into smoke on the altar as a food offering by fire for a pleasing odor.   All fat is Yahweh’s.  It shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations, in all your settlements.  You must not eat fat or any blood.”

The same procedure goes for a sheep or a goat.  You can eat these animals, but not the fat or the blood, because all the fat belongs to Yahweh.  He just loves the smell of burning fat.  This is a perpetual statue throughout all generations to come.

Consecration of the altar of holocausts (Ex 29:35-29:37)

“Thus you shall do to Aaron and to his sons, just as I have commanded you.  Through seven days you shall ordain them.  Every day you shall offer a bull as a sin offering for atonement.  Also you shall offer a sin offering for the altar, when you make atonement for it.  You shall anoint it to consecrate it.  Seven days you shall make atonement for the altar, and consecrate it.  The altar shall be most holy.  Whatever touches the altar shall become holy.”

Everything takes 7 days, an important number.  Every day you take a bull and sacrifice it so that the altar itself can become holy, anointed, and consecrated.  Anointing is important in that is what consecrates it.  Who or whatever touches the altar shall become holy like the altar.

Sacred meal (Ex 29:31-29:34)

“You shall take the ram of ordination, and boil its flesh in a holy place.  Aaron and his sons shall eat the flesh of the ram and the bread that is in the basket, at the entrance of the tent of meeting.   They themselves shall eat the food by which atonement is made, to ordain and consecrate them, but no one else shall eat of them, because they are holy.  If any of the flesh for the ordination, or of the bread, remain until the morning, then you shall burn the remainder with fire.  It shall not be eaten, because it is holy.”

Now they eat the ram of ordination after it is boiled in a holy place.  They eat the bread and the meat of the ram at the entrance of the tent of meeting.  However, only Aaron and his sons eat this offering, no one else.  If any holy offerings remain until morning it is burnt.

Investiture of priests (Ex 29:22-29:30)

“You shall also take the fat of the ram, the fat tail, the fat that covers the entrails, and the appendage of the liver, the two kidneys with the fat that is on them and the right thigh because this is a ram of ordination.  You shall take one loaf of bread, one cake of bread made with oil, and one wafer, out of the basket of unleavened bread that is before Yahweh.  You shall place all these on the palms of Aaron and on the palms of his sons as an elevation offering before Yahweh.  Then you shall take them from their hands, and turn them into smoke on the altar on top of the brunt offering of pleasing odor before Yahweh.  It is an offering by fire to Yahweh.”

This second ram, as a ram of ordination, takes on a major role in this priestly tradition.  You take all the fat of this ram, plus it liver, two kidneys, and right thigh with a loaf of bread, a cake of bread made with oil, and a wafer, from the basket of unleavened bread.   All this you put on the palms of Aaron and his sons.  Then you take it from their hands, and turn them into smoke on the altar as a pleasing brunt offering for Yahweh.  This is a very elaborate ordination ceremony with the use of this second ram.

“You shall take the breast of the ram of Aaron’s ordination and raise it for an elevation offering before Yahweh.  It shall be your portion. You shall consecrate the breast that was raised as an elevation offering, and the thigh that was raised as an elevation offering from the ram of ordination, from that which belonged to Aaron and his sons.   These things shall be a perpetual ordinance for Aaron and his sons from the Israelites, for this is an offering.  It shall be an offering by the Israelites from their sacrifice of offerings of well-being, their offering to Yahweh.  The sacred vestments of Aaron shall be passed on to his sons after him.  They shall be anointed in them and ordained in them.  The son who is priest in his place shall wear them seven days, when he comes into the tent of meeting to minister in the holy place.”

Then the breast and the thigh of the ram are offered up as an elevation offering. Once again, this is a perpetual ordinance.  The sacred vestments of Aaron shall be passed on to his sons.  When they would be anointed and ordained they are to wear these vestments for seven days.

Washing, clothing and anointing of Aaron and his sons (Ex 29:4-29:9)

“You shall bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance of the tent of meeting and wash them with water.  Then you shall take the vestments, and put on Aaron the tunic and the robe of the ephod, and the ephod, and the breastplate, and gird him with the decorated band of the ephod.  You shall set the turban on his head, and put the holy diadem crown upon the turban. You shall take the anointing oil, and pour it on his head and anoint him.  Then you shall bring his sons, and put tunics on them.  You shall gird them with sashes and tie headdresses on them.  The priesthood shall be theirs by a perpetual ordinance.  You shall then ordain Aaron and his sons.”

This action takes place at the entrance of the tent of meeting.  Aaron and his sons are washed and then receive their vestments, a tunic, a robe, the ephod, the breastplate, and the turban with a crown.  They are then anointed with oil on their heads and then ordained.  This is a perpetual ordinance.  Apparently Aaron is first and the sons come next.