|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
29:1-37 Aaron and his sons were to be set apart for the priest's office, with ceremony and solemnity. Our Lord Jesus is the great High Priest of our profession, called of God to be so; anointed with the Spirit, whence he is called Messiah, the Christ; clothed with glory and beauty; sanctified by his own blood; made perfect, or consecrated through sufferings, Heb 2:10. All believers are spiritual priests, to offer spiritual sacrifices,
Verse 4. - The Ablution. Verse 4. - Unto the door of the tabernacle. The great laver was to be placed between the entrance to the tabernacle and the altar of burnt-offering (Exodus 30:18). It was to this probably that Aaron and his sons were to be brought. Its main purpose was to be a lustral vessel, placed ready for the various ablutions which the law required (ib, 19-21). Thou .... shalt wash them with water. Ablutions were an important part of the ceremonial of almost all ancient religions. In Egypt, the priests were compelled to wash themselves from head to foot in cold water twice every day, and twice every night (Herod. 2:37). In the religion of Zoroaster frequent washing with water was prescribed for many kinds of impurity (Zendavesta, 8. p. 271, et seq.). The Greeks were particularly addicted to ceremonies of which ablution formed a part; and it is to Rome that we are indebted both for the word and for the idea of "lustration." It is a true instinct which has taught men the analogy between physical and moral purity, and led them to typify the removal of spiritual, by the cleansing from physical, defilement. The religion given at Sinai set a stamp of approval in many points on what may be called "the religion of nature;" and among them on this. Ablutions were required of the priests, not only at consecration, but every time that they entered the tabernacle, or sacrificed on the altar of burnt-offering (Exodus 30:20). Washing was a main feature in the cleansing of leprosy (Leviticus 13:54, 58) and of the leper. (Leviticus 14:8). It was also employed for the purification of many minor defilements (Leviticus 11:25; Leviticus 15:5; Leviticus 17:15, etc.). At what date it first came into use in the admission of proselytes is uncertain. Whether the washing of consecration extended to the whole body, or was limited to the hands and feet, is also a point on which critics have disagreed, but one of no great importance. (See John 13:9, 10.)
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation,.... That is, order and direct them to come thither; for it cannot be thought he was to carry them in his arms or on his shoulders, or have them thither by force, whether they would or not; but he was to declare to them that it was the will of the Lord they should appear there:
and shalt wash them with water; out of the laver after mentioned, which stood between the door of the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar: the Targum of Jonathan says, this washing was performed in forty seahs of living or spring water, which was sufficient for the immersion of the whole body, which it is highly probable was the case; and so Jarchi interprets it of the dipping of the whole body, and which seems to have been necessary, upon their entrance on their office, to denote their complete purity and holiness, though afterwards, when they entered on service, they only washed their hands and feet, see Exodus 30:18 to which our Lord seems to allude, John 13:10 this washing shows what purity and holiness were necessary to the priests of the Lord, and that they ought to be clean that bear the vessels of his house, or minister in his sanctuary, and which were in Christ in their full perfection; and such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, and undefiled, and so could offer himself without spot, and was a fit person to take away sin by sacrifice, and to be an advocate for his people: this may also point at his baptism, which he submitted to before he entered on his office in a public manner, and which was performed by immersion; and in this way ought all his priests, his saints, to be washed, as well as with the washing of regeneration, and with the blood of Christ; and which is necessary to their officiating as priests, or drawing nigh to God, and requisite to their communion with God and Christ.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
4-9. Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle—as occupying the intermediate space between the court where the people stood, and the dwelling-place of Israel's king, and therefore the fittest spot for the priests being duly prepared for entrance, and the people witnessing the ceremony of inauguration.
wash them with water. And … take the garments—The manner in which these parts of the ceremonial were performed is minutely described, and in discovering their symbolical import, which indeed, is sufficiently plain and obvious, we have inspired authority to guide us. It signified the necessity and importance of moral purity or holiness (Isa 52:11; Joh 13:10; 2Co 7:1; 1Pe 3:21). In like manner, the investiture with the holy garments signified their being clothed with righteousness (Re 19:8) and equipped as men active and well-prepared for the service of God; the anointing the high priest with oil denoted that he was to be filled with the influences of the Spirit, for the edification and delight of the church (Le 10:7; Ps 45:7; Isa 61:1; 1Jo 2:27), and as he was officially a type of Christ (Heb 7:26; Joh 3:34; also Mt 3:16; 11:29).
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