|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 7. - The Chrism or Anointing. Verse 7. - The anointing oil had been mentioned previously in Exodus 25:6, when "spices" had been required from the congregation to form a portion of it. Its composition is given in Exodus 30:23-25; a passage from which we gather that it was exceedingly rich and costly. And pour it upon his head. Compare Psalm 133:2. While ablution is a rite common to many religions, the religious use of unction is peculiar to the Mosaic and the Christian. In the Mosaic it was applied to initiate into their office the prophet, the priest, and the king. In Christianity it was originally a rite by which sick persons were miraculously cured (James 5:14, 15), from which use it was afterwards extended by ecclesiastical authority to other important ceremonies. The typical meaning under Christianity is clear; the oil represents the Holy Spirit, and the anointing the outpouring of that Spirit on those who are the objects of it. Christ himself obtained his title of Christ (or Messiah), because he was "anointed with the Holy Ghost and with power" (Acts 10:38). Under Mosaism this idea was, at most, latent. Unction was understood to mark
(1) Dignity, because the olive was the first of trees (Judges 9:9); and
(2) Continuance, because oil preserves things for a long time from corruption. Unction with the holy oil of the sanctuary no doubt further signified consecration to God's service. It was applied not only to the priests, but to the tabernacle, the ark, the table of shew-bread with its vessels, the seven branched candlestick, the altar of incense, the altar of burnt offering, and the laver, all of which thereupon became "most holy" (Exodus 30:26-29).
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Then thou shall take the anointing oil, After ordered to be made of principal spices, myrrh, cinnamon, calamus, cassia, and oil olive, Exodus 30:23.
and pour it upon his head, and anoint him; this was done, according to Jarchi, in the form of the letter "chi" as before; the oil was put upon his head and between his eyebrows, and he joined them with his finger: Aben Ezra thinks this was done before the mitre was put upon his head, for upon the head was the oil only poured; but Nachmanides was of opinion that the mitre was so folded about the head that the middle of the head was open, and upon that the oil was poured; and so the Talmudists say (x) that his (the high priest's) hair was seen between the plate of gold and the mitre; but however this was, it seems plain from the text that this anointing was after the mitre was put on, and the priest habited with all his garments; and it is also as clear a case, that the ointment was poured on his head, which ran down to his beard, Psalm 133:2, and I see no difficulty in supposing that the mitre and crown might be taken off again while the ceremony of anointing was performed. This unction denotes the investiture of Christ with his office in eternity, who is said to be anointed so early, Proverbs 8:22, and the donation of the Spirit to him in time, without measure; with which he is said to be anointed, both at his incarnation and at his baptism, and also at his ascension to heaven, and hence comes the name of the Messiah, which signifies anointed; and so his people, his priests, are anointed of God, with an unction from him, with the oil of grace, with the graces of the Spirit, which is necessary for their instruction, for the presentation of themselves to as an holy sacrifice, and to make them meet for the heavenly glory.
(x) T. Bab. Zebachim, fol. 19. 1.
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