|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
25:10-22 The ark was a chest, overlaid with gold, in which the two tables of the law were to be kept. These tables are called the testimony; God in them testified his will. This law was a testimony to the Israelites, to direct them in their duty, and would be a testimony against them, if they transgressed. This ark was placed in the holy of holies; the blood of the sacrifices was sprinkled, and the incense burned, before it, by the high priest; and above it appeared the visible glory, which was the symbol of the Divine presence. This was a type of Christ in his sinless nature, which saw no corruption, in personal union with his Divine nature, atoning for our sins against it, by his death. The cherubim of gold looked one towards another, and both looked downward toward the ark. It denotes the angels' attendance on the Redeemer, their readiness to do his will, their presence in the assemblies of saints, and their desire to look into the mysteries of the gospel. It was covered with a covering of gold, called the mercy-seat. God is said to dwell, or sit between the cherubim, on the mercy-seat. There he would give his law, and hear supplicants, as a prince on his throne.
Verse 21. - Thou shalt put the mercy seat above the ark. Rather, "upon the ark" - "thou shalt cover the ark with it." This had not been expressed previously, though the dimensions (ver. 17), compared with those of the ark (ver. 10), would naturally have suggested the idea. In the ark thou shalt put the testimony. This is a mere repetition of verse 16, marking the special importance which attached to the provision.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark,.... Over it, as a covering for it: this situation of the mercy seat above the ark, where the law was, signifies, that there is no mercy but in a way of righteousness, or of satisfaction to the law of God, and in a consistence with the honour of it; and the cherubim over the mercy seat making a throne for the majesty of God, in which he sat, and the ark below a kind of footstool for him, shows that Christ, the mercy seat and propitiatory, stands between God and his law, and is the mediator between God, and men the transgressors of that law, and by fulfilling it has covered the sins of his people, which are violations of it; and being above it, and having magnified and made it honourable, is able to suppress its charges and accusations, and secure from its curse and condemnation:
and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee; or "after thou shalt put in the ark", &c. (r), as the particle "vau" is sometimes used; the sense is, that then the mercy seat should be put above, and upon the ark, as the covering of it, after the law, or the two tables of testimony, were put into it; for then it was covered, and not to be opened any more; see Exodus 40:20.
(r) "postquam in area", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Drusius. Vid. Nold. Concord Ebr. part. p. 290.
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