Exodus 29


Ceremonies to be used in consecrating Aaron and his sons, 1-3.

They are to be washed, 4.

Aaron is to be clothed with the holy vestments, 5, 6;

to be anointed, 7.

His sons to be clothed and girded, 8, 9.

They are to offer a bullock for a sin-offering, 10-14;

and a ram for a burnt-offering, 15-18;

and a second ram for a consecration-offering, 19-22.

A loaf, a cake, and a wafer or thin cake, for a

wave-offering, 23-25.

The breast of the wave-offering and the shoulder of the

heave-offering to be sanctified, 26-28.

Aaron's vestments to descend to his son, who shall succeed

him, 29, 30.

Aaron and his sons to eat the flesh of the ram of

consecration, 31, 32.

No stranger to eat of it, 33.

Nothing of it to be left till the morning, but to be burnt with

fire, 34.

Seven days to be employed in consecrating Aaron and his sons, 35-37.

Two lambs, one for the morning and the other for the evening

sacrifice, to be offered continually, 38-42.

God promises to sanctify Israel with his glory, and to dwell

among them, 43-46.


Verse 1. Take one young bullock] This consecration did not

take place till after the erection of the tabernacle. See

Le 8:9-14.

Verse 2. Unleavened bread] Three kinds of bread as to its form

are mentioned here, but all unleavened: 1. matstsoth,

unleavened bread, no matter in what shape. See Ex 12:8. 2.

challoth, cakes, pricked or perforated, as the root implies. 3.

rekikey, an exceeding thin cake, from rak, to

be attenuated, properly enough translated wafer. The manner in

which these were prepared is sufficiently plain from the text, and

probably these were the principal forms in which flour was

prepared for household use during their stay in the wilderness.

These were all waved before the Lord, Ex 29:24, as an

acknowledgment that the bread that sustains the body, as well as

the mercy which saves the soul, comes from God alone.

Verse 4. Thou-shalt wash them] This was done emblematically, to

signify that they were to put away all filthiness of the flesh and

spirit, and perfect holiness in the fear of God; 2Co 7:1.

Verse 5. Thou shalt take the garments] As most offices of

spiritual and secular dignity had appropriate habits and insignia,

hence, when a person was appointed to an office and habited for

the purpose, he was said to be invested with that office, from in,

used intensively, and vestio, I clothe, because he was then

clothed with the vestments peculiar to that office.

Verse 7. Then shalt thou take the anointing oil] It appears,

from Isa 61:1, that

anointing with oil, in consecrating a person to any important

office, whether civil or religious, was considered as an emblem of

the communication of the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit.

This ceremony was used on three occasions, viz., the installation

of prophets, priests, and kings, into their respective offices.

But why should such an anointing be deemed necessary? Because the

common sense of men taught them that all good, whether spiritual

or secular, must come from God, its origin and cause. Hence it

was taken for granted, 1. That no man could foretell events unless

inspired by the Spirit of God. And therefore the prophet was

anointed, to signify the communication of the Spirit of wisdom and

knowledge. 2. That no person could offer an acceptable sacrifice

to God for the sins of men, or profitably minister in holy things,

unless enlightened, influenced, and directed by the Spirit of

grace and holiness. Hence the priest was anointed, to signify his

being Divinely qualified for the due performance of his sacred

functions. 3. That no man could enact just and equitable laws,

which should have the prosperity of the community and the welfare

of the individual continually in view, or could use the power

confided to him only for the suppression of vice and the

encouragement of virtue, but that man who was ever under the

inspiration of the Almighty. Hence kings were inaugurated by

anointing with oil. Two of these officers only exist in all

civilized nations, the sacerdotal and regal; and in some countries

the priest and king are still consecrated by anointing. In the

Hebrew language mashach signifies to anoint, and

mashiach, the anointed person. But as no man was ever dignified

by holding the three offices, so no person ever had the title

mashiach, the anointed one, but Jesus the Christ. He alone is

King of kings and Lord of lords: the king who governs the

universe, and rules in the hearts of his followers; the prophet,

to instruct men in the way wherein they should go; and the great

high priest, to make atonement for their sins. Hence he is

called the Messias, a corruption of the word hammashiach,

THE anointed ONE, in Hebrew; which gave birth to οχριστος, ho

Christos, which has precisely the same signification in Greek. Of

him, Melchizedek, Abraham, Aaron, David, and others were

illustrious types. But none of these had the title of THE

MESSIAH, or THE ANOINTED of GOD. This does, and ever will, belong

exclusively to JESUS the CHRIST.

Verse 10. Shall put their hands upon the head of the bullock.]

By this rite the animal was consecrated to God, and was then

proper to be offered in sacrifice. Imposition of hands also

signified that they offered the life of this animal as an

atonement for their sins, and to redeem their lives from that

death which, through their sinfulness, they had deserved. In the

case of the sin-offering and trespass-offering, the person who

brought the sacrifice placed his hands on the head of the animal

between the horns, and confessed his sin over the sin-offering,

and his trespass over the trespass-offering, saying, "I have

sinned, I have done iniquity; I have trespassed, and have done

thus and thus; and do return by repentance before thee, and with

this I make atonement." Then the animal was considered as

vicariously bearing the sins of the person who brought it.

Verse 14. It is a sin-offering.]

See Clarke on Ge 4:7; "Ge 13:13"; "Le 7:1", &c.

Verse 18. It is a burnt-offering] See Clarke on Le 7:1,


Verse 19. The other ram] There were two rams brought on this

occasion: one was for a burnt-offering, and was to be entirely

consumed; the other was the ram of consecration, Ex 29:22,

eil milluim, the ram of filling up, because when a

person was dedicated or consecrated to God, his hands were filled

with some particular offering proper for the occasion, which he

presented to God. Hence the word consecration signifies the

filling up or filling the hands, some part of the sacrifice

being put into the hands of such persons, denoting thereby that

they had now a right to offer sacrifices and oblations to God. It

seems in reference to this ancient mode of consecration, that in

the Church of England, when a person is ordained priest, a Bible

is put into his hands with these words, "Take thou authority to

preach the word of God," &c. The filling the hands refers also to

the presents which, in the eastern countries, every inferior was

obliged to bring when brought into the presence of a superior.

Thus the sacrifice was considered, not only as an atonement for

sin, but also as a means of approach and as a present to Jehovah.

Verse 20. Take of his blood] The putting the blood of the

sacrifice on the tip of the right ear, the thumb of the

right hand, and the great toe of the right foot, was

doubtless intended to signify that they should dedicate all their

faculties and powers to the service of God; their ears to the

hearing and study of his law, their hands to diligence

in the sacred ministry and to all acts of obedience, and their

feet to walking in the way of God's precepts. And this

sprinkling appears to have been used to teach them that they

could neither hear, work, nor walk profitably, uprightly, and

well-pleasing in the sight of God, without this application of the

blood of the sacrifice. And as the blood of rams, bulls, and

goats, could never take away sin, does not this prove to us that

something infinitely better is shadowed out, and that we can do

nothing holy and pure in the sight of a just and holy God, but

through the blood of atonement? See Clarke on Ex 30:20.

Verse 22. The fat and the rump] The rump or tail of some of

the eastern sheep is the best part of the animal, and is counted a

great delicacy. They are also very large, some of them weighing

from twelve to forty pounds' weight; "so that the owners," says

Mr. Ludolf, in his History of Ethiopia, "are obliged to tie a

little cart behind them, whereon they put the tail of the sheep,

as well for the convenience of carriage, and to ease the poor

creature, as to preserve the wool from dirt, and the tail from

being torn among the bushes and stones." An engraving of this

kind of sheep, his tall, cart, &c., may be seen at p. 53 of the

above work.

Verse 23. And one loaf of bread] The bread of different kinds,

(See Clarke on Ex 29:2,) in this offering, seems to have been

intended as a minchah, or offering of grateful acknowledgment for

providential blessings. The essence of worship consisted in

acknowledging God, 1. As the Creator, Governor, and Preserver of

all things, and the Dispenser of every good and perfect gift. 2.

As the Judge of men, the Punisher of sin, and he who alone could

pardon it. The minchahs, heave-offerings, wave-offerings, and

thank-offerings, referred to the first point. The burnt-offerings,

sin-offerings, and sacrifices in general, referred to the second.

Verse 24. For a wave-offering] See Clarke on Le 7:1 &c.,

where an ample account of all the offerings, sacrifices, &c.,

under the Mosaic dispensation, and the reference they bore to the

great sacrifice offered by Christ, is given in detail.

Verse 25. Thou shalt receive them of their hands] Aaron and his

sons are here considered merely as any common persons bringing an

offering to God, and not having, as yet, any authority to present

it themselves, but through the medium of a priest. Moses,

therefore, was now to Aaron and his sons what they were afterwards

to the children of Israel; and as the minister of God he now

consecrates them to the sacred office, and presents their

offerings to Jehovah.

Verse 27. The breast of the wave-offering, and the shoulder of

the heave-offering] As the wave-offering was agitated to and

fro, and the heave-offering up and down, some have conceived that

this twofold action represented the figure of the cross, on which

the great Peace-offering between God and man was offered in the

personal sacrifice of our blessed Redeemer. Had we authority for

this conjecture, it would certainly cast much light on the meaning

and intention of these offerings; and when the intelligent reader

is informed that one of the most judicious critics in the whole

republic of letters is the author of this conjecture, viz.,

Houbigant, he will treat it with respect. I shall here produce

his own words on this verse: Hic distinguuntur, et ,

ut ejusdem oblationis caeremoniae duae. In significatur,

moveri oblatam victimam huc et illuc, ad dextram et ad

sinistram. In sursum tolli, et sublatam rursus

deprimi; nam pluribus vicibus id fiebat. Rem sic interpretantur

Judaei; et Christianos docent, quanquam id non agentes, sic

adumbrari eam crucem, in quam generis humani victima illa

pacifica sublata est, quam veteres victimae omnes praenunciabant.

"The heave-offering and wave-offering, as two ceremonies in the

same oblation, are here distinguished. The wave-offering implies

that the victim was moved hither and thither, to the right hand

and to the left; the heave-offering was lifted up and down, and

this was done several times. In this way the Jews explain these

things, and teach the Christians, that by these acts the cross was

adumbrated, upon which that Peace-offering of the human race was

lifted up which was prefigured by all the ancient victims."

The breast and the shoulder, thus waved and heaved, were by this

consecration appointed to be the priests' portion for ever; and

this, as Mr. Ainsworth piously remarks, "taught the priests how,

with all their heart and all their strength, they should give

themselves unto the service of the Lord in his Church." Moses, as

priest, received on this occasion the breast and the shoulder,

which became afterwards the portion of the priests; see Ex 29:28,

and Le 7:34. It is worthy of remark, that although Moses himself

had no consecration to the sacerdotal office, yet he acts here as

high priest, consecrates a high priest, and receives the breast

and the shoulder, which were the priests' portion! But Moses was

an extraordinary messenger, and derived his authority, without the

medium of rites or ceremonies, immediately from God himself. It

does not appear that Christ either baptized the twelve apostles,

or ordained them by imposition of hands; yet, from his own

infinite sufficiency, he gave them authority both to baptize, and

to lay on hands, in appointing others to the work of the sacred


Verse 29. The holy garments-shall be his son's after him] These

garments were to descend from father to son, and no new garments

were to be made.

Verse 30. Seven days] The priest in his consecration was to

abide seven days and nights at the door of the tabernacle, keeping

the Lord's watch. See Le 8:33, &c. The number

seven is what is called among the Hebrews a number of

perfection; and it is often used to denote the completion,

accomplishment, fulness, or perfection of a thing, as this period

contained the whole course of that time in which God created the

world, and appointed the day of rest. As this act of consecration

lasted seven days, it signified a perfect consecration: and

intimated to the priest that his whole body and soul, his time and

talents, should be devoted to the service of God and his people.

The number seven, which was a sacred number among the Hebrews,

was conveyed from them down to the Greeks by means of the Egyptian

philosophy, from which they borrowed most of their mysteries; and

it is most likely that the opinion which the Greeks give is the

same that the original framers of the idea had. That there was

some mystical idea attached to it, is evident from its being made

the number of perfection among the Hebrews. Philo and Josephus

say that the Essenes, an ancient sect of the Jews, held it sacred

"because it results from the side of a square added to those of a

triangle." But what meaning does this convey? A triangle, or

triad, according to the Pythagoreans, who borrowed their systems

from the Egyptians, who borrowed from the Jews, was the emblem of

wisdom, as consisting of beginning (Monad,) middle (Duad,) and

end (Triad itself;) so wisdom consists of three parts-

experience of the past, attention to the present, and judgment

of the future. It is also the most penetrating of all forms, as

being the shape of the wedge; and indestructibility is essential

to it, as a triangle can never be destroyed. From those three

properties it was the emblem of spirit. The square, solid, and

tetrad, by the same system were interchangeable signs. Now a

square is the representation of a solid or matter, and thus the

number seven contains within itself the properties of both the

triangle or solid, and the square or tetrad, i.e., is all

emblem of body and spirit; comprehends both the intellectual and

natural world; embraces the idea of GOD, the chief of spirits or

essences; and all nature, the result of his power; thus a very fit

emblem of perfection. It is perhaps in this way that we must

explain what CICERO, Tusc. Quest., lib. i., cap. 10, says of the

number seven, where he calls it the knot and cement of all things;

as being that by which the natural and spiritual world are

comprehended in one idea. Thus the ancient philosophers spoke of

numbers, themselves being the best judges of their own meaning.

Verse 33. But a stranger shall not eat thereof] That is, no

person who was not of the family of Aaron-no Israelite, and not

even a Levite.

Verse 34. Burn the remainder with fire] Common, voluntary, and

peace-offerings, might be eaten even on the second day; see

Le 7:16; 19:5, 6. But this being a

peculiar consecration, in order to qualify a person to offer

sacrifices for sin, like that great sacrifice, the paschal lamb,

that typified the atonement made by Christ, none of it was to be

left till the morning lest putrefaction should commence, which

would be utterly improper in a sacrifice that was to make

expiation for sin, and bring the soul into a state of holiness and

perfection with God. See Clarke on Ex 12:10.

Verse 36. Thou shalt cleanse the altar] The altar was to be

sanctified for seven days; and it is likely that on each day,

previously to the consecration service, the altar was wiped clean,

and the former day's ashes, &c., removed.

Verse 37. Whatsoever touches the altar shall be holy.] To this

our Lord refers Mt 23:19, where he says the altar sanctifies the

gift; and this may be understood as implying that whatever was

laid on the altar became the Lord's property, and must be wholly

devoted to sacred uses, for in no other sense could such things be

sanctified by touching the altar.

Verse 39. One lamb thou shalt offer in the morning] These two

lambs, one in the morning, and the other in the evening, were

generally termed the morning and evening daily sacrifices, and

were offered from the time of their settlement in the promised

land to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. The use of

these sacrifices according to the Jews was this: "The morning

sacrifice made atonement for the sins committed in the night, and

the evening sacrifice expiated the sins committed during the day."

Verse 40. A tenth deal of flour] Deal signifies a part, from

the Anglo-Saxon [Anglo-Saxon], to divide; hence [Anglo-Saxon], a

part, a portion taken from the whole. From Nu 28:5 we learn

that this tenth deal was the tenth part of an ephah, which

constituted what is called an omer. See Ex 16:36; and

See Clarke on Ex 16:16 of the same chapter, where an

account is given of different measures of capacity among the

Hebrews. The omer contained about three quarts English.

The fourth part of a hin] The hin contained one gallon

and two pints. The fourth part of this was about one quart and

a half of a pint.

Drink-offering.] A libation poured out before the Lord. See

its meaning, Le 7:1, &c.

Verse 43. There I will meet with the children of Israel]

See Clarke on Ex 25:22.

Verse 44. I will sanctify-both Aaron and his sons] So we find

the sanctification by Moses according to the Divine institution

was only symbolical; and that Aaron and his sons must be

sanctified, i.e., made holy, by God himself before they could

officiate in holy things. From this, as well as from many other

things mentioned in the sacred writings, we may safely infer that

no designation by man only is sufficient to qualify any person to

fill the office of a minister of the sanctuary. The approbation

and consecration of man have both their propriety and use, but

must never be made substitutes for the unction and inspiration

of the Almighty. Let holy men ordain, but let God sanctify; then

we may expect that his Church shall be built up on its most holy


Verse 45. I will dwell among the children of Israel] This is

the great charter of the people of God, both under the Old and New

Testaments; see Ex 25:8; Le 26:11,12; 2Co 6:16; Re 21:3. God

dwells AMONG them: he is ever to be found in his Church to

enlighten, quicken, comfort, and support it; to dispense the light

of life by the preaching of his word, and the influences of his

Spirit for the conviction and conversion of sinners. And he

dwells IN those who believe; and this is the very tenor of the New

Covenant which God promised to make with the house of Israel; see

Jer 31:31-34; Eze 37:24-28; Heb 8:7-12; and 2Co 6:16. And

because God had promised to dwell in all his genuine followers,

hence the frequent reference to this covenant and its privileges

in the New Testament. And hence it is so frequently and strongly

asserted that every believer is a habitation of God through the

Spirit, Eph 2:22. That the Spirit of God witnesses with their

spirits that they are the children of God, Ro 8:16. That the

Spirit of Christ in their hearts enables them to call God their

Father, Ga 4:6. And that if any man have not this Spirit, he is

none of his, Ro 8:9, &c. And hence St. Paul states this to be the

sum and substance of apostolical preaching, and the riches of the

glory of the mystery of the Gospel among the Gentiles, viz.,

Christ IN you the hope of glory; whom, says he, we preach,

warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we

may present every man perfect IN Christ Jesus; Col 1:27, 28.

Verse 46. And they shall know that I am the Lord their God]

That is, They shall acknowledge God, and their infinite

obligations to him. In a multitude of places in Scripture the

word know should be thus understood.

That I may dwell among them] For without this acknowledgment

and consequent dependence on and gratitude and obedience to God,

they could not expect him to dwell among them.

BY dwelling among the people God shows that he would be a

continual resident in their houses and in their hearts; that he

would be their God-the sole object of their religious worship, to

whom they should turn and on whom they should trust in all

difficulties and distresses; and that he would be to them all that

the Creator could be to his creatures. That in consequence they

should have a full conviction of his presence and blessing, and a

consciousness that HE was their God, and that they were his

people. Thus then God dwells among men that they may know him;

and they must know him that he may continue to dwell among them.

He who does not experimentally know God, cannot have him as an

indwelling Saviour; and he who does not continue to know-to

acknowledge, love, and obey him, cannot retain him as his

Preserver and Sanctifier. From the beginning of the world, the

salvation of the souls of men necessarily implied the indwelling

influences of God. Reader, hast thou this salvation? This alone

will support thee in all thy travels in this wilderness, comfort

thee in death, and give thee boldness in the day of judgment.

"He," says an old writer, "who has pardon may look his judge in

the face."

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