|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.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Only he shall not go in unto the vail,.... So far as to the vail, which divided between the holy and the holy of holies; that is, he shall not go into the holy place which was before the vail; not to set the shewbread upon the table there, nor to light and him the lamps in the candlestick, nor to offer incense on the altar of incense, which stood in it: some render it "within the vail" (h), where only the high priest might enter once a year; but if he had any blemish on him he might not, nor might such an one be an high priest; Aben Ezra seems to have some respect to this in his note,"to the vail he shall not come, that he may be an high priest:"
nor come nigh unto the altar; as not to the altar of incense in the holy place, so neither to the altar of burnt offering in the court of the tabernacle, that is, so as to officiate there: but though they might not be employed in such sacred service, the Jews in later times have found business for them to employ them in, and that was worming the wood, or searching the wood for worms, which was used in the burning of the sacrifices; for we are told (i), that at the northeast corner (of the court of the women) was the wood room, where the priests that had blemishes wormed the wood; and whatsoever wood in which a worm was found, was rejected from being laid upon the altar: the reason why he might not go into either place before mentioned is repeated:
because he hath a blemish; either fixed or transient; one of those particularly expressed, or any other; for the Jews suppose there are others implied besides those expressed, which disqualified for service:
that he profane not my sanctuaries; if an high priest, the holy of holies, if a common priest, the holy place, and the court of the tabernacle:
for I the Lord do sanctify them; the vail, to which blemished priests might not go: and the altar, to which they might not come nigh: or rather, the sanctuaries or holy places, where they might not officiate, which God had separated and devoted for sacred uses, and were not to be defiled by any; though Ben Gersom observes, that this has no respect to the sanctuary, for if it had it would have been said, "I am the Lord, that sanctify it"; but since a plural word is used before, I see not but that with great propriety it is expressed, and with reference thereunto, "sanctify them"; which he would have understood of holy things, but what he means is not easy to say, unless the holy things such persons might eat of, Leviticus 21:22, which is fetched.
(h) "intra velum", V. L. (i) Misn. Middot, c. 2. sect. 5.
Leviticus 21:23 Parallel Commentaries
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