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Bible Commentaries
Exodus 29

Benson's Commentary of the Old and New TestamentsBenson's Commentary


A.M. 2513. B.C. 1491.

Orders are given in this chapter,

( 1,) Concerning the consecration of the priests, and the sanctification of the altar, Exodus 29:1-37 .

(2,) Concerning the daily sacrifice, Exodus 29:38-41 . To which gracious promises are annexed, Exodus 29:42-46 .

Verse 1

Exodus 29:1. To hallow them, to minister to me We come now to the directions given to Moses about the ceremonies of consecrating Aaron and his sons to the priests’ office. These were to be performed in a solemn manner, thereby to strike both them and the people with a still deeper sense of the dignity and sacredness of that function. They were chiefly to consist of three sacrifices, which, though distinguished from each other, were all of the expiatory kind, as appears from this, that the priests laid their hands on the two former, (Exodus 29:10; Exodus 29:15,) and were sprinkled with the blood of the last. Take one young bullock This is mentioned first as the chief part of the ceremony, though several things were to be done previously to it, as washing them with water, (Exodus 29:4,) robing them in their sacerdotal garments, (Exodus 29:5,) anointing them with oil, (Exodus 29:7,) then the ceremony was to be completed by peculiar sacrifices, (Exodus 29:10-11;) all which things are described as put in execution, Leviticus 8:2.

Verse 2

Exodus 29:2. Unleavened bread To signify that both themselves and their services must be sincere, and free from all hypocrisy and wickedness. Cakes tempered with oil Denoting that all their oblations and services must be under the influence of divine grace. Wheaten flour The best part of the principal grain, to show that God must be served with the best.

Verse 4

Exodus 29:4. Unto the door of the tabernacle God was pleased to dwell in the tabernacle, the people attending in the courts, so that the door between the court and the tabernacle was the fittest place for them to be consecrated in who were to mediate between God and man, to stand between both, and, as it were, lay their hands on both. Thou shalt wash them with water To signify that they must be clean who bear the vessels of the Lord, Psalms 50:16; Isaiah 52:11. Ablution was an ancient rite in all acts of worship, as a proper emblem of sanctifying grace, and internal purity, without which external oblations and services are of little signification before God. As this was the first thing that was done for hallowing the priests, (Leviticus 8:0.,) it is probable their whole bodies were now washed, in token of the necessity of their being washed from all their sins by pardon and regeneration, and thoroughly renewed in heart and life, that they might begin their services aright: but afterward they were appointed to wash only their hands and their feet before they entered the tabernacle, (Exodus 30:19, &c.,) to remind them of those daily imperfections from which even such as are regenerated and created anew have need to be cleansed by a daily application of pardoning mercy, through the blood of atonement. Thus the Lord Jesus, “He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit.”

Verse 5

Exodus 29:5. They shalt take the garments, &c. This was to signify that it was not sufficient for them to put away the pollutions of sin, but that they must put on divine graces, and be clothed with righteousness, Psalms 132:10. They must also be girded, as men prepared and strengthened for their work, and they must be robed and crowned, as men that counted their work and office their true honour.

Verse 7

Exodus 29:7. Thou shalt take the anointing oil Emblematical of the Holy Spirit, Isaiah 61:1; and pour it upon his head In token of the pouring out of that Spirit upon him to qualify him for his work, that the church might be filled with the sweet savour of his ministrations.

Verse 10

Exodus 29:10. There must be a sin-offering to make atonement for them. The law made them priests that had infirmity; and therefore they must first offer for their own sins, before they could make atonement for the people, Hebrews 7:27-28. They were to put their hand on the head of their sacrifice; confessing that they deserved to die for their own sins, and desiring that the killing of the beast might be accepted as a vicarious satisfaction. It was used as other sin-offerings were; only, whereas the flesh of other sin-offerings was eaten by the priests, in token of the priests taking away the sins of the people, this was appointed to be all burned without the camp, to signify the imperfection of the legal dispensation, for the sins of the priests themselves could not be taken away by those sacrifices, but they must expect a better high-priest, and a better sacrifice.

Verse 15

Exodus 29:15. There must be a burnt-offering, a ram wholly burned, in token of the dedication of themselves wholly to God, as living sacrifices, kindled with the fire, and ascending in the flame of holy love. The sin-offering must first be offered, and then the burnt-offering, for till guilt be removed no acceptable service can be performed.

Verse 19

Exodus 29:19. There must be a peace-offering; it is called the ram of consecration, because there was more in this, peculiar to the occasion, than in the other two. In the burnt-offering, God had the glory of their priesthood, in this they had the comfort of it. And in token of a mutual covenant between God and them, the blood of this sacrifice was divided between God and them, part of the blood was sprinkled upon the altar round about, and part upon them, upon their bodies, and upon their garments. Thus the benefit of the expiation made by the sacrifice was applied and assured to them, and their whole selves, from head to foot, sanctified to the service of God. The blood was put upon the extreme parts of the body, to signify that it was all, as it were, enclosed and taken in for God, the tip of the ear and the great toe not excepted. And the blood and oil signified the blood of Christ, and the graces of the Spirit, which constitute and complete the beauty of holiness, and recommend us to God. The flesh of the sacrifice, with the meat-offering annexed to it, was likewise divided between God and them, that (to speak with reverence) God and they might feast together, in token of friendship and fellowship.

Verse 35

Exodus 29:35. Seven days shalt thou consecrate them Though all the ceremonies were performed on the first day, yet they were not to look upon their consecration as completed till the seven days’ end, which put a solemnity upon their admission, and a distance between this and their former state, and obliged them to enter upon their work with a pause, giving them time to consider the weight of it. This was to be observed in after ages: he that was to succeed Aaron in the high-priesthood, must put on the holy garments seven days together, in token of a deliberate advance into his office, and that one sabbath might pass over him in his consecration. Every day of the seven, in this first consecrations, a bullock was to be offered for a sin-offering, which was to intimate, 1st, That though atonement was made, yet they must still keep up a penitent sense of sin, and often repeat the confession of it. 2d, That those sacrifices which were thus offered day by day, could not make the comers thereunto perfect, for then they would have ceased to be offered, Hebrews 10:1-2. They must therefore expect the bringing in of a better hope. Now this consecration of the priests was a shadow of good things to come. 1st, Our Lord Jesus is the great High-Priest of our profession, called of God to be so consecrated for evermore, anointed with the Spirit above his fellows, clothed with the holy garments, even with glory and beauty, sanctified by his own blood, not that of bullocks and rams. 2d, All believers are spiritual priests, to offer spiritual sacrifices, (1 Peter 2:5,) washed in the blood of Christ, and so made to our God priests, Revelation 1:5-6. They also are clothed with the beauty of holiness, and have received the anointing, 1 John 2:27. 3d, It is likewise here intimated that gospel ministers are to be solemnly set apart to the work of the ministry with great deliberation and seriousness, both in the ordainers and in the ordained, as those that are employed in a great work, and intrusted with a great charge.

Verses 36-37

Exodus 29:36-37. The consecration of the altar seems to have been coincident with that of the priests; and the sin-offerings, which were offered every day for seven days together, had reference to the altar as well as the priests. An atonement was made for the altar The altar was also sanctified; not only set apart itself to a sacred use, but made so holy as to sanctify the gifts that were offered upon it, Matthew 23:19. Christ is our altar, for our sakes he sanctified himself, that we and our performances might be sanctified and recommended to God, John 17:19.

Verse 38

Exodus 29:38. Two lambs day by day continually This daily service, a lamb offered upon the altar every morning, and also every evening, typified the continual intercession which Christ ever lives to make, in the virtue of his satisfaction, for the continual sanctification of his church: though he offered himself once for all, yet that one offering thus becomes a continual offering. And this teaches us to offer up to God the spiritual sacrifices of prayer and praise every day, morning and evening, in humble acknowledgment of our dependance upon him, and our obligations to him.

Verse 40

Exodus 29:40. A tenth-deal, or tenth part of an ephah, is about three quarts. A hin is five quarts.

Verses 43-44

Exodus 29:43-44. There I will meet with the children of Israel I will make this tabernacle the seat of my cloud of glory, which will be the symbol of my divine presence, and from thence I will give frequent discoveries of my will, and tokens of my favour toward them. The tabernacle of the congregation אהל מועד ohel mogned, the tabernacle of meeting, so called because there God and his people met together. I will sanctify Aaron and his sons God sanctified, set them apart, and marked them out to be his priests in a solemn manner by the appearance of his glory at their first sacrifice, and by sending fire from heaven to consume their burnt-offering, Leviticus 9:23-24.

Verse 45

Exodus 29:45. I will dwell among the children of Israel As a proof of this the Shechinah, or symbol of his peculiar presence was among them. I will be their God I will watch over them as a nation, by a peculiar providence, and show myself to be, indeed, that all-powerful and merciful God who delivered them in so miraculous a manner from Egyptian bondage.

Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Exodus 29". Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rbc/exodus-29.html. 1857.
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