Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Exodus 27

Verse 1

And thou shalt make an altar of shittim wood, five cubits long, and five cubits broad; the altar shall be foursquare: and the height thereof shall be three cubits.

Altar of shittim wood. The dimensions of this altar, which was placed at the entrance of the sanctuary, were nearly three yards square, and a yard and a half in height. Under the brass-overlaid wooden frame of this chest-like altar there must have been a center of earth or stone sufficiently large enough to support the body of the sacrificial victim; and thus the precept which required the art of man to be enlisted in the construction of the altar of the tabernacle appears in perfect harmony with the prohibition against the use of the hammer or the chisel. The enclosing copper case served merely to keep the earth together (see Kurtz, 'History of the Old Covenant,' vol. 3:, p. 142). Each corner was to be terminated by "horns" [ qarnotaayw (Hebrew #7161) - its horns; Septuagint, ta kerata; Josephus ('Jewish War,' b. 5:, ch. 5:, sec. 6), gooniai keratoeideis] - angular projections, perpendicular or oblique, in the form of horns. The animals to be sacrificed were bound to these (Psalms 118:27), and part of the blood was applied to them (Exodus 29:12; Leviticus 4:25).

Verse 2

And thou shalt make the horns of it upon the four corners thereof: his horns shall be of the same: and thou shalt overlay it with brass.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 3

And thou shalt make his pans to receive his ashes, and his shovels, and his basons, and his fleshhooks, and his firepans: all the vessels thereof thou shalt make of brass.

Shovels - fire-shovels for scraping together any of the scattered ashes.

Basins - for receiving the blood of the sacrifice to be sprinkled on the people.

Flesh-hooks - curved three-pronged forks (1 Samuel 2:13-14).

Fire-pans - a censer, or large sort of vessel, wherein the sacred fire which came down from heaven (Leviticus 9:24) was kept burning, while they cleaned the altar and the grate from the coals and ashes, and while the altar was carried from one place to another in the wilderness (Spencer, Le Clerc), and in which fire was taken to kindle incense (Leviticus 16:12; Numbers 16:6; 1 Kings 7:50).

Verse 4

And thou shalt make for it a grate of network of brass; and upon the net shalt thou make four brasen rings in the four corners thereof.

A grate of network of brass - sunk lattice work to support the first four brasen rings-by which the grating might be lifted and taken away, as occasion required, from the body of the altar.

Verse 5

And thou shalt put it under the compass of the altar beneath, that the net may be even to the midst of the altar.

Put it - i:e., the grating in which they were carried to a clean place (Leviticus 4:12).

Verse 6-7

And thou shalt make staves for the altar, staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with brass.

Staves ... rings - those rings were placed at the side through which the poles were inserted on occasions of removal.

Verse 8

Hollow with boards shalt thou make it: as it was shewed thee in the mount, so shall they make it.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 9

And thou shalt make the court of the tabernacle: for the south side southward there shall be hangings for the court of fine twined linen of an hundred cubits long for one side:

The court of the tabernacle. The enclosure in which the edifice stood was a rectangular court, extending rather more than fifty yards in length, and half that space in breadth, and the enclosing parapet was about three yards, or half the height of the tabernacle. That parapet consisted of a connected series of curtains, made of fine twined linen yarn, woven into a kind of net-work, so that the people could see through; but that large curtain which overhung the entrance was of a different texture, being embroidered and dyed with variegated colours, and it was furnished with cords for pulling it up or drawing it aside when the priests had occasion to enter. The curtains of this enclosure were supported on sixty brasen pillars, which stood on pedestals of the same metal; but their capitals and fillets were of silver, and the hooks on which they were suspended were of silver also.

Verses 10-18

And the twenty pillars thereof and their twenty sockets shall be of brass; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets shall be of silver.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 19

All the vessels of the tabernacle in all the service thereof, and all the pins thereof, and all the pins of the court, shall be of brass.

Pins - were designed to hold down the curtains at the bottom, lest the wind should waft them aside (Exodus 27:12) [ pe'ah (Hebrew #6285) yaam (Hebrew #3220), the side of the sea-i.e, west (Exodus 27:13). Qeed

Verse 20

And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always.

Oil olive beaten - i:e., such as runs from the olives when bruised, and without the application of fire.

Verse 21

In the tabernacle of the congregation without the vail, which is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall order it from evening to morning before the LORD: it shall be a statute for ever unto their generations on the behalf of the children of Israel.

Aaron and his sons - were to take charge of lighting it in all time coming. 'It is clear that these regulations refer only to Aaron and his sons, who acted as priests in the time of Moses. As they stand here, they could not bear an immediate reference to the later temple service, but could be referred to it only by means of an accommodating interpretation, which would also require to define more exactly how much of this was applicable to the high priest, and how much to the other priests; for neither of these points is here distinctly defined' (Bleek, quoted by Havernick, 'Introduction to the Pentateuch,' p. 290).

Shall order it from evening to morning. The tabernacle having no windows, the lamps required to be lighted during the day. Josephus says that in his time only three were lighted; but his were degenerate times, and there is no Scripture authority for this limitation. But although the priests were obliged from necessity to light them by day, they might have let them go out at night, had it not been for this express ordinance.

It shall be a statute for ever. This expression, which occurs very frequently in the Mosaic books (Exodus 30:21; Leviticus 3:17; Leviticus 6:8; Leviticus 7:36; Leviticus 10:9; Leviticus 17:7; Leviticus 23:14; Leviticus 23:21; Leviticus 23:31; Leviticus 23:41), is not to be taken literally, as denoting a permanently fixed irrevocable law, but only an ordinance which was designed to continue in force until the course of time should require it to be modified or abrogated.

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Exodus 27". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/exodus-27.html. 1871-8.