|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
21:1-24 Laws concerning the priests. - As these priests were types of Christ, so all ministers must be followers of him, that their example may teach others to imitate the Saviour. Without blemish, and separate from sinners, He executed his priestly office on earth. What manner of persons then should his ministers be! But all are, if Christians, spiritual priests; the minister especially is called to set a good example, that the people may follow it. Our bodily infirmities, blessed be God, cannot now shut us out from his service, from these privileges, or from his heavenly glory. Many a healthful, beautiful soul is lodged in a feeble, deformed body. And those who may not be suited for the work of the ministry, may serve God with comfort in other duties in his church.
Verses 16-24. - Perfection of the body being typical of perfection of the mind and of the whole man, and symbolical perfection being required of the priest of God, none may be admitted to the priesthood with bodily defects, or excrescences, or grievous blemishes. The translation dwarf, in verse 20, is better than the marginal rendering "too slender," or withered. Being the descendants of Aaron, these priests, blemished as they were, were to be supported as the other priests were supported. He shall eat the bread of his God, both of the most holy, and of the holy; that is, the priests' portions of the meat offerings (Leviticus 2:3, 10; Leviticus 6:17), of the sin offerings (Leviticus 6:29), of the trespass offerings (Leviticus 7:1), of the shewbread (Leviticus 24:9), which were most holy, and of the heave offerings, wave offerings, firstfruit offerings, firstlings, and things devoted (Numbers 11:11-19), which were holy. They were also apparently employed in the less formal and conspicuous duties of the priests, such as examining lepers, and any other functions which did not bring them nigh unto the altar. But they were not to profane God's sanctuaries, by which is meant the holy of holies, the holy place, and the court in which the altar stood. To none of these is the blemished priest to be admitted for the purpose of officiating, though he might enter the court and probably the holy place for other purposes, and might eat the offerings of the priests in the accustomed place.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the Lord spake unto Moses,.... After he had spoken to him of the holiness of the priests, that they should not defile themselves, neither with the dead nor with impure marriages, he proceeded to add some things concerning blemishes in their bodies, which rendered them unfit for the service:
saying; as follows.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
16-24. Whosoever he be … hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God—As visible things exert a strong influence on the minds of men, any physical infirmity or malformation of body in the ministers of religion, which disturbs the associations or excites ridicule, tends to detract from the weight and authority of the sacred office. Priests laboring under any personal defect were not allowed to officiate in the public service; they might be employed in some inferior duties about the sanctuary but could not perform any sacred office. In all these regulations for preserving the unsullied purity of the sacred character and office, there was a typical reference to the priesthood of Christ (Heb 7:26).
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