God takes Moses through the ‘swearing in ceremony’ for Aaron and his sons. This is the anointing of them as priests before Him.
God is not waiting until after His house is built to instruct Moses on what is to take place there. He jumps into setting up the priesthood before He even finished describing the furnishings. I have to admit I’m a little curious as to why that is. He even references the anointing oil that He has not provided the recipe for yet. I’m sure He must have had some reason for His order. Maybe Moses or Joshua were getting bogged down in detail on the other pieces so He switched it up to give their minds a break.
One question that immediately popped into my head when reading this is; where are they going to get the ‘fine wheat flour” required for making the unleavened bread? The people have been out of Egypt for some time and they didn’t bring any stores with them when they left. God has been providing mana every day for them to use in their meal prep. There are no grocery stores where they can dash over and get what they lack. I recognize that it would take considerable time to complete the tabernacle (God’s home) so maybe they sent someone out to get what they lacked. Or did the Lord let them use the mana flour instead of wheat while they were in the wilderness? They were to make daily sacrifices and there is NO WAY they could keep “running to the store” for 40 years.
Ok. Let’s move on because I know God would NOT require something of them that was not possible to do; at least not with His help. I bet mana flour was far superior to wheat flour anyway.
Next God describes the articles and procedures for the sacrifices involved in consecrating Aaron and his sons. First He lists the “ingredients” necessary for this sacrifice. One bull, two rams, unleavened bread, unleavened cakes mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers smeared with oil. Oh, and don’t forget the requirement of what they are made of and that the animals were to be “without blemish.”
Moses probably thought this sounded reasonable. They had herds and this was an easily manageable demand. Also making bread, cake and wafers wasn’t that big of an issue IF they had the ingredients. So far so good.
Next God has Moses bring Aaron and his sons to the tent of meetings, His house, and prepare them for service. Moses would give them a sponge bath and dress them in their new robes. I’m curious how thorough this bath is and are they changing clothes in front of everyone, including putting on the undergarments? I don’t think they were inside concealed by the curtains yet. Were the people kept out of the courtyard while this took place? Ok. I give. I’m sure somehow God protected their modesty.
Something I noticed here when reading about the clothes Aaron would be dressed in is that it appears that the order of garments is not what I would think it was. It looks like the “coat” is the first layer, the “robe of the ephod” is the second, then the ephod and the breastpiece, and finally the sash or “skillfully woven band of the ephod” and the headgear. I thought an ephod was an under garment and the coat was an outer one. It makes more sense now that Aaron’s sons only got coats, sashes and headwear. This was the closest layer to their bodies and the extra adornment for Aaron was layered on top. But if this is so, why was Michal, David’s wife angry with him for dancing before the Lord in a linen ephod (2 Samuel 6:14-20)?
On to the next set of instructions. God then described how each animal and object was to be used in the consecration ceremony. God left nothing unspecified including what to do with the blood of each animal. He also addressed who would get to eat what.
I noticed that with the bull MOST of it is simply burned up outside the camp. The Native Americans would be appalled by this as it wastes most of the animal. “And you shall take all the fat that covers the entrails, and the long lobe of the liver, and the two kidneys with the fat that is on them, and burn them on the altar. But the flesh of the bull and its skin and its dung you shall burn with fire outside the camp it is a sin offering” (verses 13-14). This meat was contaminated by sin in God’s eyes. No one was to consume it. Only the portions God specified had a purpose. The rest of the bull would be cremated.
The first ram was next. ALL of it was used in the sacrifice, even the head. All of it was burnt on the altar. It too was cremated but it was a gift cremation instead of a disposal one.
The second ram’s blood was used directly on Aaron and his sons. They had a spot of blood on their right ear tip, thumb, and big toe. The rest of the blood was thrown against the altar THEN wiped back off and mixed with anointing oil and sprinkled on Aaron and his sons’ new clothes.
God gives specific instructions on how to present the sacrifices and on what is to be eaten. It looks to ME like the breast and the other leg of this second ram are what is eaten by those involved in this ceremony. Moses gets the breast and Aaron and his sons get the leg, from what I can tell. I hope Moses gets to share his portion as the breast sounds like a very large meal for one man. This meat and the bread are eaten as a group in the entrance of the tabernacle. What is left over is NOT shared with the rest of the people. Instead it is burned outside the camp.
Now this all sounds great and do able until God hits the point where He tells Moses that this is to occur for SEVEN days. Does that include the washing of Aaron and his sons and dressing them in their robes every day? Do they make the ordination and the food offerings for those seven days too? I know they are to make the sin offering every day for the seven days but does the daily offering of the lambs come in after day one or day seven?
I wish I understood more. I tried googling for answers but didn’t get the answers I was looking for. I’m going to keep looking and asking. When I get answers I will share them with you or if YOU have answers PLEASE share them with me!
Father God, there is so much I don’t understand because I wasn’t raised in that culture. I don’t know that it is vital for me to fully understand as this is not a part of what You require now, but I WANT to know everything about You that I can. I’m NO bible scholar and really don’t know how to go about an exhaustive study. But the bits and pieces You give me through Your Holy Spirit make my heart sing! They also keep me hungry and looking for more. Maybe that is why I don’t “have all the answers” because then I would stop searching.
Keep me looking and wondering Father. Thank You for the answered and unanswered questions. I trust You to know which ones to do what with and where to direct me for the answers I’m seeking. Thank You too for those who DO study all this and have a better handle on it.