(1) And it came to pass on the eighth day.—That is, the day following the seven days of consecration. (See Leviticus 8:33) According to ancient tradition this was the first of the month Nisan, or March.
Moses called Aaron and his sons, and the elders.—That is, the same elders, the representatives of the people, who were called to attest the imposing ceremony of consecration (see Leviticus 8:3), are now also summoned to witness how the newly-installed priests entered upon the active duties of their ministrations. Like newly-born children who remain seven days in a state of uncleanness and enter into the covenant privileges of the congregation on the eighth day (see Leviticus 12:2-3), so the newly-created priests after a purging of seven days commenced their sacred duties and partook of their privileges on this symbolical day.
Before the Lord.—That is, before the door of the tent of meeting (see Leviticus 1:5; Leviticus 1:11), on the altar of burnt offering.
A kid of the goats . . . and a calf.—Better, a shaggy-haired he-goat. (See Leviticus 4:23, &c.)
A meat offering mingled with oil.—The oil was to be added, as, with the exception of the small portion offered to the Lord, the meat offering was the perquisite of the officiating priests who partook of it, together with their share of the victims, and the cakes had to be made palatable for the sacerdotal repast. (See Leviticus 2:1.)
For to-day the Lord will appear unto you.—That is, prepare and sanctify yourselves with these sacrifices, for the Lord is to manifest himself in an especial manner to signify his approval of the inauguration of Aaron and his family to the priesthood.
And all the congregation . . . —That is, the elders who represented the people, whom Moses summoned (see Leviticus 9:1), and as many of the people as could find room assembled before the sanctuary in the court-yard to witness the newly-installed priests officiating for the first time.
Make atonement for thyself and the people.—The fact that these sacrifices which the high priest is to bring are here described as designed to make atonement for himself and the people, goes far to confirm the ancient interpretation that reference is here made to the particular sin which Aaron and the people committed in common, and that it is the sin of the golden calf (see Leviticus 9:2), which is so emphatically described in the words “they made the calf which Aaron made” (Exodus 32:35). Hence, whilst their share of the sin is to be atoned by a special sacrifice (see Leviticus 9:15), they are yet to participate in the atoning virtue of Aaron’s sacrifice because they prevailed on him to make the calf (Exodus 32:1).
As the first.—The ritual in this sacrifice Aaron conducted in the same manner as in the foregoing one offered for himself. (See Leviticus 9:8.) He accordingly burnt the flesh without the camp, for which he was reproved by Moses.
Beside the burnt sacrifice of the morning.—That is, in addition to the lamb which was daily offered as a burnt sacrifice, and was accompanied by a meat offering (Exodus 29:30; Exodus 29:40). Accordingly Aaron began his priestly functions by first offering the daily morning sacrifice which took precedence of all other sacrifices, and which was never superseded by the extra offerings: then followed the other sacrifices here described.
And came down from offering.—That is, from the elevated standing-place by the side of the altar, which was ascended by a gently sloping dam of earth, since no steps were allowed (see Exodus 20:3), and which during the second Temple was three cubits high.
And came out, and blessed the people.—According to an ancient tradition embodied in the Chaldee Version of the Pentateuch, the blessing which Moses and Aaron unitedly bestowed upon the people on coming out of the sanctuary, was as follows :—“May the word of the Lord accept your sacrifice with favour, and remit and pardon your sins.”
And the glory of the Lord appeared.—To show his gracious acceptance of the institution of the priesthood, and of the whole service connected therewith, God manifested himself in the more luminous appearance of the cloudy pillar. This glorious appearance which, in a lesser degree, always filled the tabernacle, was now visible in greater effulgence to all the people who witnessed the installation. (Comp. Exodus 16:10; Exodus 40:34; 1 Kings 8:10-12.)
They shouted, and fell on their faces.—On seeing these visible tokens of the Divine acceptance of the services, the people expressed their thankfulness in the same manner as they showed it on a similar occasion. Thus we are told—“When all the sons of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord shone upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever” (2 Chronicles 27:3).