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Bible Commentaries

Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Exodus 27

Verses 1-8

Hollow with boards - Slabs, or planks, rather than boards. The word is that which is used for the stone tables of the law Exodus 24:12; Exodus 31:18, not that applied to the boards of the tabernacle Exodus 26:15.

The brazen altar was a hollow casing, formed of stout acacia planks covered with plates of bronze, seven feet six in length and width and four feet six in height. Jewish as well as Christian authorities have supposed that, when it was fixed for use, it was filled up with earth or rough stones. If we connect this suggestion with the old rule regarding the altar of earth and the altar of stone given in Exodus 20:24-25, the woodwork might in fact be regarded merely as the case of the altar on which the victims were actually burned. The shelf round the sides Exodus 27:5 was required as a stage for the priests to enable them to carry on their work conveniently on the top of the altar. Hence, it is said of Aaron that he came down from the altar Leviticus 9:22. According to rabbinical tradition, there was a slope of earth at the south side banked up for the priest to ascend to the stage (compare Exodus 20:26).

Verses 9-19

All the vessels ... - All the tools of the tabernacle used in all its workmanship, and all its tent-pins, and all the tent-pins of the court, shall be of bronze. The working tools of the sanctuary were most probably such things as axes, knives, hammers, etc. that were employed in making, repairing, setting up and taking down the structure. Compare Numbers 3:36.

The tabernacle - The word is here to be taken as including both the משׁכן mı̂shkân and the tent, as in Numbers 1:51, Numbers 1:53, etc. (see Exodus 26:1 note).

The pins - tent-pins.

Verse 20

Pure oil olive beaten - The oil was to be of the best kind. It is called beaten, because it was obtained by merely bruising the olives in a mortar or mill, without the application of heat. The finest oil is now thus obtained from young fruit freshly gathered. The inferior kind is pressed from unselected fruit under stronger pressure, and with the application of heat.

The lamp - i. e. the lamps of the golden candlestick. (See Exodus 25:37.)

To burn - See the margin “to ascend up.” It should be observed that the word does not properly mean to burn in the sense of to consume, but is the word regularly used to express the action of fire upon what was offered to Yahweh (see Leviticus 1:9).

Always - i. e. every night “from evening until morning.” Compare Exodus 30:8.

Verse 21

The tabernacle of the congregation - More literally, the tent of meeting. This is the first occurrence of this designation of the tabernacle, and the idea connected with it is that of Yahweh meeting with either Moses, or the priests, or (in a few cases) with the people gathered into a congregation at the entrance of the tent.

Without the rail, which is before the testimony - i. e. the holy place (see Exodus 25:16).

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Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Exodus 27". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnb/exodus-27.html. 1870.