|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
30:17-21 A large vessel of brass, holding water, was to be set near the door of the tabernacle. Aaron and his sons must wash their hands and feet at this laver, every time they went in to minister. This was to teach them purity in all their services, and to dread the pollution of sin. They must not only wash and be made clean, when first made priests, but must wash and be kept clean, whenever they went to minister. It teaches us daily to attend upon God, daily to renew our repentance for sin, and our looking to the blood of Christ for remission; for in many things we daily offend.
Verse 18 - A laver. It is remarkable that nothing is said respecting either the shape or the size of the laver. In 1 Kings we have an elaborate description of the "molten sea," which replaced it in Solomon's temple, as well as an almost equally elaborate one of ten other layers made by Hiram, Solomon's artist, at the same time. We may perhaps assume from these examples that the brazen laver of the tabernacle was a large bronze vase or basin, standing upon a stem, which was fixed into a base. It was probably fitted up with an apparatus of taps and cocks. Between the tabernacle .... and the altar. The Rabbinical commentators say that it was not exactly in the middle, but a little towards the south side.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and his foot also of brass, to wash withal,.... For Aaron, and his sons, and the priests in succession, to wash at before their entrance on their ministry; and denotes in general the necessity of purity, in order to minister in the priestly office; and which was in its perfection in Christ, who being holy and harmless, was an high priest becoming us, and suitable to us, qualified to offer himself without spot to God, and to take away sin; of which purity his baptism in water might be a symbol, which he submitted to before he entered publicly on the execution of his office as a prophet and priest; and as this may respect the ministers of the Gospel, it shows that they should be pure and holy in their lives and conversations, and be examples in purity of conversation to others: and as this may chiefly respect all the saints who are priests unto God; it may be either typical of the laver of regeneration, in which grace, comparable to water, is given, and in which a clean heart is created; and which has an influence on purity of life and conversation, and secures from death: or rather of the blood of Christ, the laver and fountain to wash in for sin and uncleanness; which is large and capacious for all the priests of the Lord, and stands open and uncovered for all to come unto; and as this was made of brass, and that brass the looking glasses of the women, Exodus 38:8 as it may respect the laver of regeneration, may denote the durableness of that grace, which is an immortal seed, a well of living water, springing up to everlasting life, and was a clear evidence of election of God, and redemption by Christ; and as it may be an emblem of the blood of Christ, it signifies the duration and continued virtue of that blood to cleanse from all sin; and that such who are washed in it, and cleansed by it, are not only beheld as clean and pure by the Lord, but in their own sight also, God having caused their iniquities to pass from them, and justified them from them by his blood:
and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar; that is, the altar of burnt offering, which was by the door of the tabernacle; and between that and the tabernacle or tent of the congregation stood the laver for the priests to wash in, just as they entered into the tabernacle, Exodus 40:29 it stood inclining to one of the sides, as Aben Ezra says; a little on the south side, as Jarchi observes:
and thou shall put water therein; or order it to be put in for the use next mentioned.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
18-21. Thou shalt … make a laver of brass—Though not actually forming a component part of the furniture of the tabernacle, this vase was closely connected with it; and though from standing at the entrance it would be a familiar object, it possessed great interest and importance from the baptismal purposes to which it was applied. No data are given by which its form and size can be ascertained; but it was probably a miniature pattern of Solomon's—a circular basin.
his foot—supposed not to be the pedestal on which it rested, but a trough or shallow receptacle below, into which the water, let out from a cock or spout, flowed; for the way in which all Eastern people wash their hands or feet is by pouring upon them the water which falls into a basin. This laver was provided for the priests alone. But in the Christian dispensation, all believers are priests, and hence the apostle exhorts them how to draw near to God (Joh 13:10; Heb 10:22).
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