And Moses diligently sought the goat of the sin offering, and, behold, it was burnt: and he was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar…
Part of this goat being a sin offering, should have been eaten — I mean the shoulder and breast allotted to the priest — but it was all burned contrary to the law, for which Moses was justly offended, having seen so lately God's wrath upon the other fault. The answer of Aaron you have in verse 19, in effect and sense as if he should have said, "I confess and acknowledge the ordinance of God is to be kept, and we are to eat with joy of the parts allotted unto us of the sacrifice for sin; the blood was not brought into the Tabernacle of the testimony. But how could I eat with joy in so heavy and woful a case of my children? Compelled, therefore, with the greatness of my grief, I did what I did," &c. At which answer, saith our chapter, Moses was content, so bearing with his infirmity, considering his great sorrow, but not leaving an example to forgive them that maliciously transgress the commandment of God. And as Moses is said to have stayed his anger, so you see the Lord Himself did, not punishing again this fault. It layeth open unto us the great kindness of our gracious God, of whom the psalm saith, "He is full of compassion and mercy, long suffering and of great goodness. He will not always be chiding, neither keepeth He His anger for ever. He dealeth not with us after our sins, neither rewardeth us according to our wickedness," &c. Secondly, you may see here how these ceremonial laws gave place to necessity, as David also in necessity did eat the shewbread, which was otherwise unlawful for him to do; and Hezekiah admitted to the Passover those that were not cleansed. But for moral laws there is no dispensation for corporal necessity, but a constant course must be held in obeying them. For it is not necessary that I should live; but it is ever necessary that I should live righteously. Lastly, in that Moses admitted a reasonable excuse, we may learn to abhor pride and to do the like; pride, I say, which scorneth to hear what may be said against the conceit we have once harboured. A modest man or woman doth not thus; but even for his servant or his maid holy Job had an ear, and did not despise their judgment, their complaint, or grief, when they thought themselves evil entreated by him. The example of God Himself is instead of a thousand, who both heard and accepted of Abimelech his excuse for taking away Abraham's wife, "I know," saith He, "that thou didst it even with an upright mind, and therefore I kept thee also that thou shouldest not sin against Me," &c. Shall the Lord be thus sweet, and we so dogged, so churlish, so stern and sour, that no excuse may serve for a thing done amiss if once we have taken notice of it? Beware, beware, and remember your own frailty well. A stubborn frowardness hath hurt many, sweet gentleness and courtesy never any; but though wicked men were unthankful, yet our gracious God was pleased.
Parallel VersesKJV: And Moses diligently sought the goat of the sin offering, and, behold, it was burnt: and he was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, the sons of Aaron which were left alive, saying,