|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
30:1-10 The altar of incense represented the Son of God in his human nature, and the incense burned thereon typified his pleading for his people. The continual intercession of Christ was represented by the daily burning of incense thereon, morning and evening. Once every year the blood of the atonement was to be applied to it, denoting that the intercession of Christ has all its virtue from his sufferings on earth, and that we need no other sacrifice or intercessor but Christ alone.
Verses 1-10. - THE ALTAR OF INCENSE. This chapter has the appearance of being one in which accidental omissions are supplied. The natural place for a description of the altar of incense - part of the furniture of the holy place (ver. 6) - would seem to have been Exodus 25:10-40, where we have the descriptions of the ark, the mercy-seat, the table of shew-bread, and the candlestick; the natural place for "the ransom of souls," the earlier part of the same chapter (ver. 3), where the silver is required which was to be collected in this way; the natural place for an account of the bronze laver, ch. 27, where the bronze altar, near which it stood, is described; the natural place for the composition of the holy oil, ch. 29, where its use is commanded (vers. 7, 21); and the natural place for a description of the perfume the same as for the altar on which it was to be offered. Whether Moses made the omissions in writing his record, and afterwards supplied them in the present chapter, or whether Divine wisdom saw fit to give the directions in the order in which we now have them, cannot be determined. Hitherto certainly no sufficient reason has been shown for the existing order, which hence appears accidental. The altar of incense was to be in many respects similar to the altar of burnt-offering, but of smaller size and richer material. Both were to be "four-square," and both of shittim wood cased with metal; but the former was to be taller, the latter shorter, than it was broad; and while the latter was to be cased with bronze, the former was to have a covering of gold. The place for the altar of incense was the main chamber of the tabernacle, a little in front of the veil; and its purpose was, as the name implied, the offering of incense to almighty God. This was to be done by the officiating priest, twice a day, morning and evening, and in practice was performed before the morning, and after the evening sacrifice. Verse 1 - An altar to burn incense upon. The offering of incense was an element in the religious worship of most ancient nations. In Egypt frankincense was especially used in the festivals of the god Ammon (Records of the Past, vol. 10. pp. 18, 19);. and on one occasion an Egyptian sovereign sent a naval expedition to Arabia for the express purpose of bringing frankincense and frankincense trees to Egypt, in connection with the Ammon feasts (Brugsch, History of Egypt, vol. 1. pp. 305-311). The Babylonians burnt a thousand talents' weight of frankincense every year at the great festival of Bal (Herod. 1:183). The Greeks and Romans offered frankincense, as a rule, with every offering; and in the early ages of Christianity it was made the test of a Christian whether he would do this or no. What exactly the religious notion was which underlay these acts, or whether it was the same everywhere, may be questioned. In the Mosaic religion, however, there can be little doubt that, in the main, incense symbolised prayer. (See Psalm 141:2; Luke 1:10.) Of shittim wood. Compare above, Exodus 27:1.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And thou shalt make an altar to burn incense upon,.... The Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan call it incense of spices, properly enough, for it was made of various spices; of which see Exodus 30:34 and this was necessary on a natural and civil account, to remove those ill smells from the sanctuary, occasioned by the number of beasts continually slain in it; but chiefly on a religions account, to denote the acceptableness of the service of the sanctuary to God:
of shittim wood shall thou make it: of the same that the altar of burnt offering was made, which was covered with brass, but this with gold, as after related; of this sort of wood; see Gill on Exodus 25:5 as this altar was a type of Christ, the shittim wood may respect his human nature; which wood, though it sprung out of the earth, was not common, but choice and excellent, and very strong durable, and incorruptible; and so Christ, though he was man made of an earthly woman in his human nature, yet was chosen out of the people, is the chiefest among ten thousand, and excellent as the cedars, the man of God's right hand, whom he made strong for himself; and though he died in it, he saw no corruption, he now lives, and will live for evermore; in which nature he acts the part of a Mediator, and intercedes for his people, and offers up their prayers, perfumed with the much incense of his mediation, to which this altar has a special respect.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Ex 30:1-38. The Altar of Incense.
1. thou shalt make an altar to burn incense upon, &c.—Its material was to be like that of the ark of the testimony, but its dimensions very small [Ex 25:10].
Exodus 30:1 Parallel Commentaries
Exodus 30:1 NIV
Exodus 30:1 NLT
Exodus 30:1 ESV
Exodus 30:1 NASB
Exodus 30:1 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible