|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 19 Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet. Ablution by clear fresh water is so plain and simple a type of purity as to have been used in almost all religions. The hands and the feet would designate symbolically all a man's active doings, and even his whole walk in life - his "goings out" and his "comings in," in the phraseology of the Hebrews. There would also be a special practical need for such ablutions in the case of persons who were employed about bloody sacrifices, who slew the victims, sprinkled, the blood, and even dashed it against the base of the altar. On some rare occasions the priests were required to bathe their whole persons, and not their hands and feet only (see above, ch. 29:4; and below, Leviticus 16:4).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat. Not in it, but at it; the laver had mouths or spouts, as Ben Melech says, from whence the water flowed when the priests washed their hands and feet at it; and so Bartenora says (z) they did not wash out of the laver, but from water flowing out of it; it is said "out of it", not in it; it seems at first there were but two of these spouts; for it is said (a) Ben Katin made twelve spouts or cocks, which had but two before; so that twelve priests could wash their hands and feet at one time, and which they could do at once, presently, by putting the right hand on the top of the right foot, and the left hand upon the left foot, as both Jarchi and Ben Melech relate: and now the hands being the instruments of action, and the feet of walking, this shows that the actions of good men, the priests of the Lord, and their walk and conversation, are not without sin, and that these need washing in the laver of Christ's blood, to which there must be daily application, see Zechariah 13:1. Our Lord seems to have reference to this ceremony, John 13:10 the Egyptian priests washed twice every day in cold water, and twice every night (b).
(z) In Misn. Zebachim, c. 2. sect. 1.((a) Misn. Yoma. c. 3. sect. 10. (b) Herodot. Euterpe, sive, l. 2. c. 37.
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