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Bible Commentaries

Smith's Bible Commentary

Exodus 30

Verses 1-38

And thou shalt make an altar to burn incense upon: of acacia wood shalt thou make it. It's to be eighteen by eighteen, and forty-five inches high ( Exodus 30:1 ).

This is a little altar that was set in the holy place, before the veil that separated the holy place from the Holy of Holies.

Overlay it with pure gold, the top thereof, and the sides round about, and the horns thereof; [So it's a little altar only of gold, and it's to burn incense, a sweet smelling savour again before God.] And the rings in it so that they can carry it with the golden staves that are through it. And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning; when he dresses the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it. And when Aaron lights the lamps in the evening, he shall burn incense upon it, a perpetual incense before the Lord throughout your generations ( Exodus 30:3-8 ).

So along with the putting of the oil in the lamp stands to keep them burning morning and evening, there was also the putting of the incense on this little altar. So in this Holy of Holies there was always this sweet smell of incense burning and the lamps that were burning. It was just unto the Lord, there perpetually.

And ye shall offer no strange incense thereon, nor burnt sacrifice, nor meat offering; neither shall you pour drink offerings thereon. [It was just a little incense altar, nothing else on it.] And Aaron shall make an atonement [or a covering] upon the horns of it once a year with the blood of the sin offering of the atonements: once in the year shall he make atonement upon it [Yom Kippur actually, the day of atonement.] throughout your generations: it is the most holy unto the Lord. The Lord spake unto Moses, saying, When you take the census of the children of Israel after their number, then shall you give every man a ransom for his soul unto the Lord, when you're numbering them; that there be no plague among them, when you number them. This they shall give, every one that passes among them that are numbered, a half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary: (a shekel is twenty gerahs:) and a half shekel shall be the offering of the Lord. And every one that passes among them that are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto the Lord. The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than a half a shekel, when they give an offering unto the Lord, thou shalt make a covering for your souls. And thou shalt take the atonement [or covering] money for the children of Israel, appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; that it may be a memorial unto the children of Israel before the Lord, to make a covering for your souls ( Exodus 30:10-16 ).

So they did not actually take a census, as such; they were forbidden by God to number the people. But once a year, every man above twenty years old had to give a half shekel. So they'd count the half shekels and they'd know how many people there were, but no census because that was forbidden, but this was the way of taking the census actually. Every man gave a half of a shekel, which was to actually purchase the land from the offering, and to keep things, you know, functioning there. The rich were not to give more; the poor were not to give less. It was a half shekel for everybody. No favoritism because a person was rich, just everyone giving the same amount.

And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and his foot also of brass, to wash: and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water in it ( Exodus 30:17-18 ).

So this big bathtub, a brass tub for the washing of the priests. And that was before the-as they'd come into the gate of this little enclosure, the first thing was this little brass tub to wash in. Then next a brass altar, and then the tabernacle itself where they would go in.

For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet: And when they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto the Lord ( Exodus 30:19-20 ):

So here again is an occupational hazard; if they forget to wash before they go in, they get wiped out. Now this could be what happened to Aaron's sons. It could be that they just got excited when they saw the fire of God, and ran in there without washing and got wiped out. Or it could be that they had been drinking some wine and were under false stimulus, because later on after they died God said to Moses, "Tell Aaron that neither he, nor his sons should drink any strong drink when they offer the Lord, lest they die" ( Leviticus 10:9 ). So a very hazardous job being a priest in those days.

So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not: and it shall be a statute for ever, Moreover the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, [Now this is the anointing oil and how they were to make it.] Thou shalt also take thee principal spices, myrrh five hundred shekels, sweet cinnamon, two hundred fifty shekels, and sweet calamus two hundred fifty shekels, Cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil an hin: [A hin is about six quarts, and a shekel is about sixty-five cents worth. So sixty-five cents worth of myrrh, or sixty-five times five hundred.] Thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compounded after the art of the apothecary: [the druggist] it shall be a holy anointing oil. And thou shalt anoint the tabernacle of the congregation with it, and the ark of testimony, And the table and all the vessels, the candlesticks, and all the vessels, the altar of incense, The altar of burnt offering with vessels, and the laver and his foot. And thou shalt sanctify them, that they may be most holy: and whatsoever touches them shall be holy. And thou shall anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office. And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, This shall be a holy anointing oil unto me throughout all your generations. Upon man's flesh shall it not be poured, neither shall you make any other like it, after the composition of it: it is holy, and it shall be holy unto you. Whosoever will compound anything like it, or whosoever puts any of it upon a stranger, shall even be cut off from his people ( Exodus 30:21-33 ).

Now as I was first reading through the Bible and I was reading of this oil and all, I thought, "Oh, that would be interesting to go ahead and put together these spices and make some of this oil," until I got down to the verse thirty-two and then I decided not to do it.

And the Lord said unto Moses, Take unto thee sweet spices, [I'm not gonna even try their names.] and make a perfume after the art of the apothecary, tempered together, pure and holy: And thou shalt beat some of it very small, and put it in before the testimony in the tabernacle of the congregation, where I will meet with thee: and it shall be unto you most holy. As for the perfume which thou shalt make, ye shall not make to yourselves according to the composition thereof: it shall be unto thee holy for the Lord. [So a separate oil, a separate perfume only to be used for God.] Whosoever shall make anything like unto the smell of it, shall be cut off from his people ( Exodus 30:34-38 ).

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Copyright Statement
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Exodus 30". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/exodus-30.html. 2014.