And he brought the second ram, the ram of consecration. Then Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the ram, and Moses killed [it]. Also he took [some] of its blood and put it on the tip of Aaron's right ear, on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot. Then he brought Aaron's sons. And Moses put [some] of the blood on the tips of their right ears, on the thumbs of their right hands, and on the big toes of their right feet. And Moses sprinkled the blood all around on the altar. [Leviticus 8:22-24 NKJV]
The significance of Moses anointing Aaron’s and his son’s right earlobe, right thumb, and right big toe is unclear in historical documents; but there are some speculation as to why this was done.
The Nelson Study Bible speculates that it was to represent their extremities top to bottom to represent the total covering of their sins by the sacrificial blood. Blood offering had also been applied to the horns of the altar to signify the close connection between the altar and the priests who ministered before them. Though this may be true, it leaves many unanswered questions.
David Guzik’s Commentary believes that the consecrated priests that were stained by the blood sacrifice should hear differently because the blood was on their ear. They should work differently because the blood was on their thumb, and they should walk differently because the blood was on their big toe. 1
But why these extremities? You cannot hear without ears. You cannot work without thumbs, and you cannot walk without toes. The big toe is the one extremity that is first above all other toes, and that is the one that allows for balance to the rest of the body. It was done to the right side because this side was considered superior with more strength and skill. Probably because most people are right handed.
The Barnes Notes commentary goes a step further than Guzik’s and is probably the most accurate. He states that the consecration of the priests were performed with the blood of the Peace Offering to signify the readiness of the priest who is at peace with Jehovah to hear with the ear and to obey the divine word, to perform with the hand the sacred duties of the office, and to walk with the feet in a way of holiness. 2
How could you apply this principle today for the Gentile Christian? Leave a response in the comments below. I would like to see them.
- Guzik, D. “Study Guide for Leviticus 8 by David Guzik.” Blue Letter Bible. Last Modified 21 Feb, 2017. https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/guzik_david/StudyGuide2017-Lev/Lev-8.cfm
- Barnes, Albert. 2005. Leviticus 8:23, 24. Vol. 2, in Barnes Notes: Exodus to Ethster, by F.C. Cook, edited by F.C. Cook, 129. Grand Rapids, Michigan : Baker Books.
I like this. It echoes what James said when he was talking about being both hearers AND doers of the word. It also points to Jesus when he tells his disciples that anyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.
The sanctuary and its whole ministry pointed forward to Christ.
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