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Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. 5: Harmony of the Law, Part III, tr. by John King, [1847-50], at

A fuller Explication of the same thing

Leviticus 8

Leviticus 8:4-36

4. And Moses did as the Lord commanded him; and the assembly was gathered together unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

4. Et fecit Moses quemadmodum praecperat ei Jehova. Et congregatus est coetus ad ostium tabernaculi conventionis.

5. And Moses said unto the congregation, This is the thing which the Lord commanded to be done.

5. Tunc dixit Moses ad congregaionem, Hoc est verbum quod praecepit Jehova facere.

6. And Moses brought Aaron and his sons, and washed them with water.

6. Et accedere fecit Moses Aharon et filios ejus, quos lavit aqua.

7. And he put upon him the coat, and girded him with the girdle, and clothed him with the robe, and put the ephod upon him, and he girded him with the curious girdle of the ephod, and bound it unto him therewith.

7. Postea induit eum tunica, et cinxit baltheo, et pallio induit eum, et superimposuit ephod, et cinxit eum cingulo ephod: cinxit inquam illo.

8. And he put the breastplate upon him: also he put in the breastplate the Urim and the Thummim.

8. Et superimposuit ei pectorale, et reposuit in pectorali Urim et Thummim.

9. And he put the mitre upon his head; also upon the mitre, even upon his fore-front, did he put the golden plate, the holy crown; as the Lord commanded Moses.

9. Deinde cidarim imposuit capiti ejus, ponens super cidarim ante faciem ejus laminam auream, coronam sanetam, sicut praceperat Jehova Mosi.

10. And Moses took the anointing oil, and anointed the tabernacle, and all that was therein, and sanctified them.

10. Accepit quoque Moses oleum unctionis, et unxit tabernaculum, et quaecunque erant in eo: et consecravit ilia.

11. And he sprinkled thereof upon the altar seven times, and anointed the altar, and all his vessels, both the laver and his foot, to sanctify them.

11. Et aspersit ex eo super altare septera vicibus, unxitque altare atque omnis vasa ejus, et concham et basim ejus, ut consecraret ea.

12. And he poured of the anoint oil upon Aaron’s head, and anointed him, to sanctify him.

12. Fudit etiam ex oleo unctionis super caput Aharon, unxitque eum ut consecraret eum.

13. And Moses brought Aaron’s sons, and put coats upon them, and girded them with girdles, and put bonnets upon them; as the Lord commanded Moses.

13. Fecit praeterea Moses accedere filios Aharon, induitque filius tunicis, et cinxit filius baltheo, atque alligavit eis mitras, quemadmodum praeceperat Jehova ipsi Mosi.

14. And he brought the bullock for the sin-offering: and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the bullock for the sin-offering.

14. Adduxit quoque juvencum in hostium pro peccato, imposuitque Aharon et filii ejus manus suas super caput juvenci hostiae pro peccato.

15. And he slew it; and Moses took the blood, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about with his finger, and purified the altar, and poured the blood at the bottom of the altar, and sanctified it, to make reconciliation upon it.

15. Et mactavit, tulitque Moses sanguinem, posuitque super cornua altaris per circuitum digito suo, et expiavit altare: reliquum vero sanguinem fudit ad basim altaris, et sanctificavit illud ad expiandum illud.

16. And he took all the fat that was upon the inwards, and the caul above the liver, and the two kidneys, and their fat, and Moses burned it upon the altar.

16. Tulit praeterea totum adipem qui erat super intestina, et fibram jecoris et duos renes, adipemque eorum, adolevitque ea Moses super altare.

17. But the bullock and his hide, his flesh and his dung, he burnt with fire without the camp; as the Lord commanded Moses.

17. Juvencum vero et pellem ejus, et carnero ejus, et fimum ejus combussit igni extra castra, quemadmodum praeceperat Jehova ipsi Mosi.

18. And he brought the ram for the burnt-offering: and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the ram.

18. Post haec adduxit arietem holocausti, et admoverunt Aharon et filii ejus marius suas super caput arietis.

19. And he killed it; and Moses sprinkled the blood upon the altar round about.

19. Et mactavit, sparsitque Moses sanguinem super altare per circuitum.

20. And he cut the ram into pieces; and Moses burnt the head, and the pieces, and the fat.

20. Arietem quoque concidit in frusta sua, adolevitque Moses caput, et frusta et adipem.

21. And he washed the inwards and the legs in water; and Moses burnt the whole ram upon the altar: it was a burnt sacrifice for a sweet savor, and an offering made by fire unto the Lord; as the Lord commanded Moses.

21. Intestina vero et crura lavit aqua, et adolevit Moses totum arietem super altare: holocaustum est in odorem quietis: oblatio est ignita Jehova, quemadmodum praeceperat Jehova Mosi.

22. And he brought the other ram, the ram of consecration: and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the ram.

22. Accedere fecit et arietem secundum, arietem consecrationum: posueruntque Ahaxon et filii ejus marius super caput arietis.

23. And he slew it; and Moses took of the blood of it, and put it upon the tip of Aaron’s right ear, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot.

23. Et mactavit, tulitque Moses de sanguine ejus, et posuit super tenerum auris Aharon dextrae, et super pollicem manus ejus dextrae et super pollicem petits ejus dextri.

24. And he brought Aaron’s sons, and Moses put of the blood upon the tip of their right ear, and upon the thumbs of their right hands, and upon the great toes of their right feet; and Moses sprinkled the blood upon the altar round about.

24. Adduxit et filius Aharon, posuitque Moses de sanguine super tenerum auris eorum dextrae, et super pollicem marius eorum dextrae, et super pollicem pedis eorum dextri: sparsitque Moses sanguinem super altare per circuitum.

25. And he took the fat, and the rump, and all the fat that was upon the inwards, and the caul above the liver, and the two kidneys, and their fat, and the right shoulder:

25. Tulit deinde adipem, et caudam: totumque adipem qui erat super intestina, et fibram jecoris, duosque renes, et adipem eorum, et armum dextrum.

26. And out of the basket of unleavened bread that was before the Lord he took one unleavened cake, and a cake of oiled bread, and one wafer, and put them on the fat, and upon the right shoulder:

26. De canistro quoque infermentatorum quae erant coram Jehova, tulit tortam infermentatam unam, et tortam panis oleati unam, et laganum unum, posuitque cum adipe et cum armo dextro.

27. And he put all upon Aaron’s hands, and upon his sons’ hands, and waved them. for a wave-offering before the Lord.

27. Et posuit omnia haec in manibus Aharon, et in manibus filiorum ejus, et ea agitate fecit agitatione coram Jehova.

28. And Moses took them from off their hands, and burnt them on the altar upon the burnt-offering: they were consecrations for a sweet savor; it is an offering made by fire unto the Lord.

28. Dein accepit Moses ilia ex manibus eorum, adolevitque super altare in holocaustum, consecrationes enim sunt in odorem quietis, oblatio ignita est Jehovae.

29. And Moses took the breast, and waved it for a wave-offering before the Lord: for of the ram of consecration it was Moses’ part; as the Lord commanded Moses.

29. Tulitque Moses pectus, et agitavit illud agitatione coram Jehova: et ex ariete consecrationum ipsi Most fuit in partera, quemadmodum praeceperat Jehova ipsi Most.

30. And Moses took of the anointing oil, and of the blood which was upon the altar, and sprinkled it upon Aaron, and upon his garments, and upon his sons, and upon his sons’ garments with him; and sanctified Aaron, and his garments, and his sons, and his sons’ garments with him.

30. Tulit etiam Moses ex oleo unctionis, et de sanguine qui erat super altare, aspersitque super Aharon, super vestes ejus, et super filios ejus, et super vestes filiorum ejus cum eo: consecravitque Aharonem, et vestes ejus, et filios ejus, et vestes filiorum ejus cum eo.

31. And Moses said unto Aaron and to his sons, Boil the flesh at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation; and there eat it with the bread that is in the basket of consecrations, as I commanded, saying, Aaron and his sons shall eat it.

31. Et dixit Moses ad Aharon et ad filios ejus, Coquite carnes ad ostium tabernaculi conventionis, ibi deniqne comedite eam, et panem qui est in canistro consecrationum, quemadmodum praecepi, dicendo, Aharon et filii ejus comedent eam.

32. And that which remaineth of the flesh and of the bread shall ye burn with fire.

32. Quod vero superfuerit de carne et pane, igni comburetis.

33. And ye shall not go out of the door of the tabernacle of the congregation in seven days, until the days of your consecration be at an end: for seven days shall he consecrate you.

33. Et ex ostio tabernaculi conventionis non egrediemini septem diebus, usque ad diem qua completi fuerint dies consecrationum vestrarum: septem enim diebus consecrabit manum vestram.

34. As he hath done this day, so the Lord hath commanded to do, to make an atonement for you.

34. quemadmodum fecit in die hac, praecepit Jehova facere ad expiandum vos.

35. Therefore shall ye abide at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation day and night seven days, and keep the charge of the Lord, that ye die not: for so I am commanded.

35. Et ad ostium tabernaculi conventionis manebitis die et nocte, septem diebus, observabitisque observationem eoram Jehova, et non moriemini: sic enim jussus sum.

36. So Aaron and his sons did all things which the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses.

36. Fecit itaque Aharon et filii eius omnia verba quae praeceperat Jehova per manum Mosis.


4. And Moses did as the Lord commanded him Although these things relate to the priesthood, the authority and nature of which I expounded under the Second Commandment, yet, inasmuch as they are historical, it is not without reason that I have thought fit to defer them till this place: for, if I had referred to them in connection with the Commandment, unpractised readers would not have easily taken notice of their time. This distinction, however, will be of great assistance to them, that after the doctrine which was properly contained in the Decalogue has been set forth, they will now see how faithfully Moses fulfilled whatever he was commanded, and will be able to compare his obedience with the injunction, as they have done in the whole of the making and dedication of the tabernacle. Besides, there is no question but that the narrative must be thus connected; for it may be readily inferred from many passages, that the priests were anointed on the same day that the tabernacle was consecrated. I will now hastily run through the words. Moses says that he brought near Aaron and his sons, i.e., to set them before God and the people; and then that he “washed them with water,” to make it manifest that they did not bring from their homes the purity which befitted the sanctity of their office, and, inasmuch as they were men, that they could not be clean before God, unless their impurity was washed off. A description of their apparel afterwards follows, which I pass over, lest I should weary my readers by twice repeating the same thing.

10. And Moses took the anointing oil I have stated why God commanded that the priest himself, as well as all the vessels, should be consecrated with oil, viz., because, without the influence of the Spirit, all the sacrifices would be unsavory. And it is by the operation of the same Spirit that Christ was made the peace-maker between God and men; because this dignity would not otherwise belong to flesh and human nature. Aaron was therefore anointed, together with his sons, before he was admitted to the priestly office; for it is afterwards added, that “the bullock for sin”  405 was brought, upon which Aaron laid his hands. Now, although even then he began to discharge his office, yet Moses still occupied the first place, and performed, as it were, the final act. Hence it was that he sprinkled the horns of the altar with the blood; poured the residue at its base for expiation; and burned the sacrifice upon the altar. Now, the imposition of hands in the sacrifices was not only a symbol of presentation, but also a testimony of guilt transferred to the victim. Since, however, this last statement may be obscure on account of its brevity, I will explain it a little more clearly. If any private person offered a victim, the imposition of hands signified that he cast the guilt of his sin upon the victim. Hence the name of piaculum;  406 because it sustained the curse of God, and was substituted in the sinner’s stead, who disburdens himself upon it of whatever exposed him to the judgment of God. But, inasmuch as common hands were unworthy to consecrate a victim to God, the sacerdotal office interposed. This is the reason why Aaron and his sons put their hands on each of the sacrifices, in order that this kind of atonement (piaculi) might be the beginning of their consecration, which was completed in the second ram, with the blood of which Moses stained their right ears, the thumbs of their right hands, and the great toes of their right feet. A multitude of questions here arises: Why only one side of the priests was consecrated, as if their left side remained polluted? Why consecration was not also imparted to their eyes, and especially to their mouth, which was to be the organ of the Holy Spirit? But this warning must be always borne in mind, that we should be soberly wise in those points, the certain knowledge of which cannot be elicited from Scripture; for our curiosity is not only frivolous, but also perverse and injurious, when we desire to know more than God has revealed. The conjecture, however, is probable, that the whole body was consecrated in the right side. We have already seen elsewhere,  407 that by the hands and feet the whole life and actions of men are designated. In which view the cleanness of the heart and the purity of the hands comprehend all that is internal and external in man, as the root and the fruit. As to the feet, the metaphor of walking is notorious; and the feet are said to run to evil, and to be swift to shed blood, when the wicked and the despisers of God betake themselves to evil deeds. Besides, since this consecration was not to the office of teaching, but to that of intercession, the ear rather than the tongue is stained with blood; because the chief virtue, which obtains grace in the sacrifices, is obedience. To this the passage in Ps 40:6, refers, “Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou bored:”  408 to which the words of Jeremiah correspond,

“Did I command anything respecting sacrifices, and not rather that your fathers should obey my voice?”  409
(Jer. 7:22, 23.)

And hence Moses commenced the consecration at the ear, in order to devote the priest to God unto obedience. Paul shews how this was fulfilled in Christ, where he celebrates His obedience in the sacrifice of His death, in order to reconcile His Father to us. (Ro 5:19.) I have spoken elsewhere of the kind of wave-offering which they called tnupha.  410

31. And Moses said unto Aaron and his sons, Boil the flesh This is the universal rule, as we have seen elsewhere.  411 One thing only is special, that God kept them in the tabernacle seven days, that they might learn to subordinate all their domestic cares and worldly business to their sacred duties. It has been elsewhere said, also,  412 that perfection is denoted by the number seven, which this passage confirms, for by the seven days they were reminded that they were no longer their own masters for the rest of their life.



“For the sin-offering.” — A. V.


“Et voyla pourquoy les bestes ont porte le nom d’offense;” and behold wherefore the beasts bore the name of offence.Fr.Piaculum; sacrum piaculare, et quicquid ad piandum et purgandum pertinet. Metonymice, ipsa res, qum piaculi causa adhibetur; sic AEn. 6:153.

Duc nigos pecudes: ea prima piacula sunto.” — Facciolati.


See ante, vol. 2, p. 211.


A. V., “Mine ears hast thou opened.” Margin, “Heb., digged.” See C.’s translation and note. Cal. Soc. edit., vol. 2, p. 99.


This quotation is much abbreviated. C.’s exposition of the passage, (Cal. Soc. edit., vol. 1, p. 393,) and Mr. Owen’s note, are worthy of consultation.


Heb., תנופה, thenuphah. See ante, vol. 2, p. 132, and note


See ante, vol. 2, p. 133.


Ibid., p.26.

Next: Leviticus 9:1-24