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Exodus 30:6. Before the veil. This altar, formed like the ark, of the incorruptible wood covered over with pure gold, represented the Son of God in human nature; and the incense typified his intercession. The former was placed within the sanctuary, the latter in the court without; for his sacrifice was offered on earth, his intercession is in heaven. But it was not fixed within the most holy place; because the continual intercession of Christ was to be represented by the daily burning of incense, morning and evening, by the other priests, as well as the highpriest. Such situation would therefore have interfered with the solemn institution of the annual entrance of the highpriest alone within the veil, on the day of atonement, which had a very important signification.
Exodus 30:8. Perpetual incense. Christ’s one offering has its efficacy every day, from the beginning to the end of the world: his intercession is unremitting and perpetual, which is thus represented. Their dressing and lighting the lamps prefigured the preaching of the word, which could only be rendered effectual by the intercession of Christ, conferring the blessing in answer to prayer.
Exodus 30:9-10 . Make an atonement upon it. The application of the blood of atonement to the altar of incense, designated that the intercession of Christ derives all its efficacy from his sufferings; and therefore they must confine that altar to its prescribed use; for we need no sacrifice but Christ alone.
Exodus 30:13. A shekel is twenty gerahs. Rabbi Ramban, who died about the year 1260, procured a silver shekel at Ancona, of the time of the kings of Judah, weight about half an ounce, having a branch of the almond tree on one side, and an urn on the obverse. The letters were written in the Samaritan character, Shekels of Shekels, on the side of the urn, and Holy Jerusalem on the other. Some shekels have been found, having around the almond branch, Shekel of Israel. Their value is about half a crown of English money. Half a shekel is the offering of the Lord. The LXX read το ημισυ του διδραχμου , half of the half shekel. This sum, paid yearly, was employed in forming the silver sockets for the sanctuary, Exodus 38:25-27; but more frequently, it is believed, in purchasing sacrifices and other requisites for public worship. This seems to have been the tribute that was demanded of Christ. Matthew 17:24. Other contributions were voluntary, according to the ability or liberality of the offerer; but this was the ransom of their souls, and was to be the same sum for all above twenty years of age, whether rich or poor. Those who refused to pay it could have no interest in the sacrifice, and might expect to be visited with the plague, Exodus 30:12. The souls of all are of equal value, equally forfeited by sin, and equally need a ransom. Christ is equally the near kinsman, the Goel or Redeemer of men; and the sprinkling of his atoning blood is freely dispersed on all the people.
Exodus 30:18-21 . Laver for Aaron and his sons. The laver of brass was a large cistern, in which was continually kept a quantity of water; and perhaps the foot was a bason which received the water out of the cistern by a cock, or some other contrivance, for their immediate use. For the priests, though washed at their consecration, were to wash their hands and feet every time they officiated, on pain of death; intimating the continual guilt they contracted in their daily employments, and converse with the world. John 13:11.
Exodus 30:23-25 . Holy anointing oil, compounded of the most valuable ingredients, with which the priests, the altar, and almost every thing in the sanctuary were to be anointed. It was likewise poured upon kings, judges, and prophets, on their being appointed to office. This unction was emblematical of the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit, without which we cannot profitably attend on any divine ordinance, or officiate with acceptance in any sacred service. It is Christ who anoints and seals his ministers and people, to whom is given an unction from the Holy One, the odour of which is grateful to men, and wellpleasing to God. The anointing oil which Moses was commanded to make, according to a given prescription, was not to be used for common purposes, nor was any one allowed to imitate it; still greater is the sin of hypocrisy, and the guilt of despising the gracious operations of the Holy Spirit, which these anointings prefigured.
Exodus 30:34-38 . Take sweet spices. This was the incense burnt upon the golden altar: they who take occasion from the doctrine of Christ’s intercession and grace to indulge in sin, and they who make intercessors of saints and angels, alike violate the spirit of the restriction here annexed.
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Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Exodus 30". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://studylight.org/
the Fifth Sunday after Epiphany