Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible, by John Wesley, [1754-65], at sacred-texts.com
lev 9:1On the eighth day - Namely, from the day of his consecration, or when the seven days of his consecration were ended. The eighth day is famous in scripture for the perfecting and purifying both of men and beasts. See Lev 12:2-3 Lev 14:8-10, Lev 15:13-14, Lev 22:27. And the elders of Israel - All the congregation were called to be witnesses of Aaron's installment into his office, to prevent their murmurings and contempt; which being done, the elders were now sufficient to be witnesses of his first execution of his office.
lev 9:2For a sin - offering - For himself and his own sins, which was an evidence of the imperfection of that priesthood, and of the necessity of a better. The Jewish writers suggest, that a calf was appointed, to remind him of his sin in making the golden calf. Thereby he had rendered himself for ever unworthy of the honour of the priesthood: on which he had reason to reflect with sorrow and shame, in all the atonements he made.
lev 9:3A sin - offering - For the people, for whose sin a young bullock was required, Lev 4:15, but that was for some particular sin; this was more general for all their sins. Besides, there being an eye here to the priest's consecration and entrance into his office, it is no wonder if there be some difference in these Sacrifices from those before prescribed.
lev 9:4The Lord will appear - Heb. Hath appeared. He speaks of the thing to come as if it were past, which is frequent in scripture, to give them the more assurance of the thing.
lev 9:5Before the tabernacle where God dwelt.
lev 9:6The glory of the Lord - The glorious manifestation of God's powerful and gracious presence.
lev 9:7Go and offer - Moses had hitherto sacrificed, but now he resigns his work to Aaron, and actually gives him that commission which from God he had received for him. For thyself and for the people - The order is very observable, first for thyself, otherwise thou art unfit to do it for the people. Hereby God would teach us, both the deficiency of this priesthood, and how important it is that God's ministers should be in the favour of God themselves, that their ministrations may be acceptable to God, and profitable to the people.
lev 9:9The altar - Of burnt - offering, of which alone he speaks both in the foregoing and following words; and the blood was poured out at the bottom of this altar only, not of the altar of incense, as appears from Lev 4:7, where indeed there is mention of putting some of the blood upon the horns of the altar of incense, in this case of the priest's sacrificing for his own sins. But there seems to be a double difference, That sacrifice was offered for some particular sin, this for his sins indefinitely. There he is supposed to be compleat in his office, and here he is but entering into his office, and therefore must prepare and sanctify himself by this offering upon the brazen altar in the court, before he can be admitted into the holy place where the altar of incense was. And the like is to be said for the difference between the sin - offering for the people here, and Lev 4:17-18.
lev 9:10He burnt it - By ordinary fire, which was used until the fire came down from heaven, Lev 9:24, though afterwards it was forbidden. And if it had not been allowed otherwise, yet this being done by Aaron at the command of Moses, and consequently with God's approbation, it was unquestionably lawful. Add to this, that there is nothing said to be consumed by that heavenly fire, but the burnt - offering with the fat belonging to it, namely, that burnt - offering mentioned Lev 9:16, which therefore is not there said to be burnt, as it is said of the other burnt - offering, Lev 9:13, and of the rest of the sacrifices in their places.
lev 9:16The burnt - offering - Which also was offered for the people, as the last mentioned sin - offering was.
lev 9:17Besides the burnt - sacrifice - Which was to be first offered every morning; for God will not have his ordinary and stated service swallowed up by extraordinary.
lev 9:19That - Fat. Which covereth the inwards - Or the Guts.
lev 9:22Aaron lifted up his hands - Which was the usual rite of blessing. By this posture he signified both whence he expected the blessing, and his hearty desire of it for them. And blessed them - In some such manner, as is related, Num 6:24, &c. though not in the same form, for it is not probable that he used it before God delivered it And this blessing was an act of his priestly office, no less than sacrificing. And herein be was a type of Christ, who came into the world to bless us, and when he was parting from his disciples, lifted up his hands and blessed them: yea, and in them his whole church, of which they were the elders and representatives. And came down - From the altar; whence he is said to come down, either Because the altar stood upon raised ground, or Because it was nearer the holy place, which was the upper end.
lev 9:23And Moses - Went in with Aaron to direct him, and to see him perform those parts of his office which were to be done in the holy place, about the lights, and the table of shew - bread, and the altar of incense, upon which part of the blood of the sacrifices now offered was to be sprinkled, Lev 4:7, Lev 4:16. And blessed the people - Prayed to God for his blessing upon them, as this phrase is explained, Num 6:23, &c. and particularly for his gracious acceptation of these and all succeeding sacrifices, and for his signification thereof by some extraordinary token. And the glory of the Lord - Either a miraculous brightness shining from the cloudy pillar, as Exo 16:10, or a glorious and visible discovery of God's gracious presence and acceptance of the present service.
lev 9:24And there came a fire - In token of God's approbation of the priesthood now instituted, and the sacrifices offered, and consequently of others of the like nature. And this fire now given was to be carefully kept, and not suffered to go out, Lev 6:13, and therefore was carried in a peculiar vessel in their journeys in the wilderness. From before the Lord - Or, from the presence of the Lord, that is, from the place where God was in a special manner present, either from heaven or from the holy of holies. They shouted - As wondering at, rejoicing in, and blessing God for this gracious discovery of himself, and his favour. This also was a figure of good things to come. Thus the Spirit descended in fire upon the apostles, so ratifying their commission, as this does that of the priests. And the descent of this holy fire into our souls, to kindle in them devout affections, and such an holy zeal as burns up all unholiness, is a certain token of God's gracious acceptance.