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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Exodus 29

Verse 1

And this is the thing that thou shalt do unto them to hallow them, to minister unto me in the priest's office: Take one young bullock, and two rams without blemish,

This is the thing that thou shalt do. Steps are taken at the beginning of a society which need not be repeated when the social machine is in full motion; and Moses, at the opening of the tabernacle, was employed to discharge functions which, in later periods, would have been regarded as sacrilege-laying an unhallowed hand on the ark-and punished with instant death. But he acted under the special directions of God. The ceremony of consecrating the priests is summarily described in the following verses.

Hallow them. The act of inaugurating the priests was accompanied by ceremonial solemnities well calculated not only to lead the people to entertain exalted views of the office, but to impress those functionaries themselves with a profound sense of its magnitude and importance. In short; they were taught to know that the service was for them as well as for the people; and every time they engaged in a new performance of their duties they were reminded of their personal interest in the worship, by being obliged to offer for themselves before they were qualified to offer as the representatives of the people.

Verses 2-3

And unleavened bread, and cakes unleavened tempered with oil, and wafers unleavened anointed with oil: of wheaten flour shalt thou make them.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 4

And Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shalt wash them with water.

Door of the tabernacle - as occupying the intermediate space between the court where the people stood and the dwelling-place of Israel's king, and therefore the fittest spot for the priests being duly prepared for entrance, and for the people witnessing the ceremony of inauguration.

Verse 5

And thou shalt take the garments, and put upon Aaron the coat, and the robe of the ephod, and the ephod, and the breastplate, and gird him with the curious girdle of the ephod:

Wash them with water, and ... take the garments. The manner in which these parts of the ceremonial was performed is minutely described; and in discovering their symbolical import, which, indeed, is sufficiently plain and obvious, we have inspired authority to guide us. Water was used as a sensible sign of transition from an unprivileged to a privileged state. It also signified the necessity and importance of moral purity or holiness; and accordingly, when Aaron and his sons were constituted priests, they were washed, that element importing that they were not only elevated from the condition of common Israelites to a holy office, but that they required to cultivate personal purity (Isaiah 52:11; John 13:10; 2 Corinthians 7:1; 1 Peter 3:21).

In like manner, the investiture with the holy garments signified their being clothed with righteousness (Revelation 19:8), and equipped as men active and well prepared for the service of God. The anointing the high priest with oil denoted that he was to be filled with the influences of the Spirit, for the edification and delight of the Church (Leviticus 10:7; Psalms 45:7; Isaiah 61:1; 1 John 2:27), and as he was officially a type of Christ (Hebrews 7:26; John 3:34; also Matthew 3:16; Matthew 11:29).

Verses 6-9

And thou shalt put the mitre upon his head, and put the holy crown upon the mitre.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 10

And thou shalt cause a bullock to be brought before the tabernacle of the congregation: and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands upon the head of the bullock.

Thou shalt cause a bullock. This part of the ceremonial consisted of three sacrifices-

(1) The sacrifice of a bullock as a sin offering; and in rendering it the priest was directed to put his hand upon the head of his sacrifice, expressing by that act a consciousness of personal guilt, and a wish that it might be accepted as a vicarious satisfaction. (2) The sacrifice of a ram as a burnt offering (Exodus 29:15-18). The ram was to be wholly burnt, in token of the priest's dedication of himself to God and his service. The sin offering was first to be presented, and then the burnt offering; because until guilt is removed, no acceptable service can be performed.

(3) There was to be a peace offering, called the ram of consecration (Exodus 29:19-22) [ kiy (H3588) 'eeyl (H352) milu'iym (H4394) huw' (H1931)], for it is a ram of fillings (see the note at Exodus 28:41); Septuagint, esti gar teleioosis hautee, for it is the ram of perfection.

This last offering constituted him a priest, and fitted him to appear before the Lord, and to minister with acceptance. And there was a marked peculiarity in the manner in which this other ram was to be disposed of. The former was for the glory of God, this was for the comfort of the priest himself; and as a sign of a mutual covenant being ratified, the blood of the sacrifice was divided-part sprinkled on the altar round about, and part upon the persons and garments of the priests. Nay, the blood was, by a singular act, directed to be put upon the extremities of the body, thereby signifying that the benefits of the atonement would be applied to the whole nature of man.

Moreover, the flesh of this sacrifice was to be divided, as it were, between God and the priest-part of it to be put into his hand to be waved up and down, in token of its being offered to God, and then it was to be burnt upon the altar; the other part was to be eaten by the priest at the door of the tabernacle-that feast being a symbol of communion or fellowship with God. These ceremonies, performed in the order described, showed the qualifications necessary for the priests. (See Hebrews 7:26-27; Hebrews 10:14.)

Verses 11-34

And thou shalt kill the bullock before the LORD, by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 35

And thus shalt thou do unto Aaron, and to his sons, according to all things which I have commanded thee: seven days shalt thou consecrate them.

Seven days. The renewal of these ceremonies on the return of every day in the seven, with the intervention of a Sabbath, was a wise preparatory arrangement, in order to afford a sufficient interval for calm and devout reflection (Hebrews 9:1; Hebrews 10:1).

Verse 36

And thou shalt offer every day a bullock for a sin offering for atonement: and thou shalt cleanse the altar, when thou hast made an atonement for it, and thou shalt anoint it, to sanctify it.

Thou shalt cleanse the altar. The phrase "when thou hast made an atonement for it," literally should be, upon it; and the purport of the direction is, that, during all the time they were engaged above, from day to day, in offering the appointed sacrifices, the greatest care was to be taken to keep the altar properly cleansed-to remove the ashes, and sprinkle it with the prescribed unction, that at the conclusion of the whole ceremonial the altar itself should be consecrated as much as the ministers who were to officiate at it (Matthew 23:19). But the altar itself, though incapable of sin, or of any moral pollution, was to be purified; because it was constructed of materials belonging to a world lying under a curse for man's sake, and therefore, as it was to be used for sacred purposes, there was needed an expiation for it. The very altar was unfit to be employed in God's service until an atonement had been made for it seven days. It was thenceforth sanctified, and itself, with all its appurtenances, associated with the services of religion.

Verse 37

Seven days thou shalt make an atonement for the altar, and sanctify it; and it shall be an altar most holy: whatsoever toucheth the altar shall be holy.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 38

Now this is that which thou shalt offer upon the altar; two lambs of the first year day by day continually.

Two lambs. The sacred preliminaries being completed, Moses was instructed in the end or design to which these preparations were subservient-namely the worship of God; and hence, the institution of the morning and evening sacrifice. The institution was so imperative, that in no circumstances was this daily oblation to be dispensed with; and the due observance of it would secure the oft-promised grace and blessing of their heavenly King.

Verse 39

The one lamb thou shalt offer in the morning; and the other lamb thou shalt offer at even:

Thou shalt offer at even, [ beeyn (H996) haa`arbaayim (H6153)] - between the evenings (cf. Exodus 29:41) [Septuagint, to deilinon (see the note at Exodus 12:6)].

Verse 40

And with the one lamb a tenth deal of flour mingled with the fourth part of an hin of beaten oil; and the fourth part of an hin of wine for a drink offering.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 41

And the other lamb thou shalt offer at even, and shalt do thereto according to the meat offering of the morning, and according to the drink offering thereof, for a sweet savour, an offering made by fire unto the LORD.

For a sweet savour, an offering made by fire unto the Lord, [ lªreeyach (H7381) niychoach (H5207)] - for an odour of delight. When accompanied with [ la-Yahweh (H3068)] unto Yahweh, as in the formula of precepts respecting the legal sacrifices, as here, joined to [ 'isheh (H801)], a sacrifice consumed by fire, the meaning is for a burnt offering, an odour acceptable to the Lord.

Verse 42

This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD: where I will meet you, to speak there unto thee.

This shall be a continual burnt offering, [ `owlat (H5769) taamiyd (H8548)] - an offering continued daily. The design of the burnt offerings was to make atonement to God for sins committed in general (Leviticus 1:4); and they were presented partly in the name of the whole nation, daily, every morning and evening (cf. Numbers 7:15-17; Numbers 8:12; Numbers 28:1-31), as also on special occasions.

At the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, [ 'ohel (H168) mow`eed (H4150)] - the tent of meeting; so called, either because God communed with Moses (Exodus 25:22; Num. 17:19 ), or because the assemblies of the people were held there, both for worship and for national purposes (Leviticus 6:2-3; Numbers 13:4) [Septuagint, teen skeeneen tou marturiou, the tabernacle of witness], but never within the sacred edifice.

Verse 43

And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory.

And the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory. The word "tabernacle" is a supplement by our translators; so that, as the verb has no proper nominative, we are at liberty to take the statement in the largest sense, as implying not only that the particular spot - "the door" - but everything-people, priest, altar-would be illustriously hallowed by the glory of the divine presence, the visible symbol of which would be seen in the shechinah enthroned in the most holy place. Since the glory of God is in a great measure identified with His tabernacle, in which it dwelt, the sanctifying virtue of the one was that of the other. But what would be sanctified by the glory of the Lord would also be sanctified to His glory.

Verse 44

And I will sanctify the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar: I will sanctify also both Aaron and his sons, to minister to me in the priest's office.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verses 45-46

And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God.

I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God. This was the high and special privilege of Israel, that God had chosen their land, their tabernacle (afterward their temple), as the place of His residence; and throughout the whole duration of their national existence, it was their grand distinction above the nations that Yahweh condescended to dwell among them by the material symbols of His glory-to dwell among them, and give unmistakeable proofs to the world, by His procedure toward Israel, that He was the only true God.

They themselves knew that 'He was the Lord their God.' 'The migratory tabernacle, as well as the elaborate temple on mount Moriah, was a pledge to the Israelites that God-no mere abstraction, but a present, living, reigning God-had entered into fellowship with His elect, and though the heaven and the heaven of heavens were His (Deuteronomy 10:14), had condescended to develop their religious sentiment by tabernacling in the midst of them. The sanctuary had thus for them the kind of meaning which the Incarnation now possesses for us-it was the index of God's kingdom upon earth-it brought the infinite within the limits of the finite-it was raised unto the meeting-place of human and divine, and so became the feeble prelude to the mightiest of all facts' (Hardwick, 2:, p. 331).

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Exodus 29". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/exodus-29.html. 1871-8.