Exodus 29
Benson Commentary
And this is the thing that thou shalt do unto them to hallow them, to minister unto me in the priest's office: Take one young bullock, and two rams without blemish,
Exodus 29:1. To hallow them, to minister to me — We come now to the directions given to Moses about the ceremonies of consecrating Aaron and his sons to the priests’ office. These were to be performed in a solemn manner, thereby to strike both them and the people with a still deeper sense of the dignity and sacredness of that function. They were chiefly to consist of three sacrifices, which, though distinguished from each other, were all of the expiatory kind, as appears from this, that the priests laid their hands on the two former, (Exodus 29:10; Exodus 29:15,) and were sprinkled with the blood of the last. Take one young bullock — This is mentioned first as the chief part of the ceremony, though several things were to be done previously to it, as washing them with water, (Exodus 29:4,) robing them in their sacerdotal garments, (Exodus 29:5,) anointing them with oil, (Exodus 29:7,) then the ceremony was to be completed by peculiar sacrifices, (Exodus 29:10-11;) all which things are described as put in execution, Leviticus 8:2.

And unleavened bread, and cakes unleavened tempered with oil, and wafers unleavened anointed with oil: of wheaten flour shalt thou make them.
Exodus 29:2. Unleavened bread — To signify that both themselves and their services must be sincere, and free from all hypocrisy and wickedness. Cakes tempered with oil — Denoting that all their oblations and services must be under the influence of divine grace. Wheaten flour — The best part of the principal grain, to show that God must be served with the best.

And thou shalt put them into one basket, and bring them in the basket, with the bullock and the two rams.
And Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shalt wash them with water.
Exodus 29:4. Unto the door of the tabernacle — God was pleased to dwell in the tabernacle, the people attending in the courts, so that the door between the court and the tabernacle was the fittest place for them to be consecrated in who were to mediate between God and man, to stand between both, and, as it were, lay their hands on both. Thou shalt wash them with water — To signify that they must be clean who bear the vessels of the Lord, Psalm 50:16; Isaiah 52:11. Ablution was an ancient rite in all acts of worship, as a proper emblem of sanctifying grace, and internal purity, without which external oblations and services are of little signification before God. As this was the first thing that was done for hallowing the priests, (Leviticus 8.,) it is probable their whole bodies were now washed, in token of the necessity of their being washed from all their sins by pardon and regeneration, and thoroughly renewed in heart and life, that they might begin their services aright: but afterward they were appointed to wash only their hands and their feet before they entered the tabernacle, (Exodus 30:19, &c.,) to remind them of those daily imperfections from which even such as are regenerated and created anew have need to be cleansed by a daily application of pardoning mercy, through the blood of atonement. Thus the Lord Jesus, “He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit.”

And thou shalt take the garments, and put upon Aaron the coat, and the robe of the ephod, and the ephod, and the breastplate, and gird him with the curious girdle of the ephod:
Exodus 29:5. They shalt take the garments, &c. — This was to signify that it was not sufficient for them to put away the pollutions of sin, but that they must put on divine graces, and be clothed with righteousness, Psalm 132:10. They must also be girded, as men prepared and strengthened for their work, and they must be robed and crowned, as men that counted their work and office their true honour.

And thou shalt put the mitre upon his head, and put the holy crown upon the mitre.
Then shalt thou take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his head, and anoint him.
Exodus 29:7. Thou shalt take the anointing oil — Emblematical of the Holy Spirit, Isaiah 61:1; and pour it upon his head — In token of the pouring out of that Spirit upon him to qualify him for his work, that the church might be filled with the sweet savour of his ministrations.

And thou shalt bring his sons, and put coats upon them.
And thou shalt gird them with girdles, Aaron and his sons, and put the bonnets on them: and the priest's office shall be theirs for a perpetual statute: and thou shalt consecrate Aaron and his sons.
And thou shalt cause a bullock to be brought before the tabernacle of the congregation: and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands upon the head of the bullock.
Exodus 29:10. There must be a sin-offering to make atonement for them. The law made them priests that had infirmity; and therefore they must first offer for their own sins, before they could make atonement for the people, Hebrews 7:27-28. They were to put their hand on the head of their sacrifice; confessing that they deserved to die for their own sins, and desiring that the killing of the beast might be accepted as a vicarious satisfaction. It was used as other sin-offerings were; only, whereas the flesh of other sin-offerings was eaten by the priests, in token of the priests taking away the sins of the people, this was appointed to be all burned without the camp, to signify the imperfection of the legal dispensation, for the sins of the priests themselves could not be taken away by those sacrifices, but they must expect a better high-priest, and a better sacrifice.

And thou shalt kill the bullock before the LORD, by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
And thou shalt take of the blood of the bullock, and put it upon the horns of the altar with thy finger, and pour all the blood beside the bottom of the altar.
And thou shalt take all the fat that covereth the inwards, and the caul that is above the liver, and the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, and burn them upon the altar.
But the flesh of the bullock, and his skin, and his dung, shalt thou burn with fire without the camp: it is a sin offering.
Thou shalt also take one ram; and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands upon the head of the ram.
Exodus 29:15. There must be a burnt-offering, a ram wholly burned, in token of the dedication of themselves wholly to God, as living sacrifices, kindled with the fire, and ascending in the flame of holy love. The sin-offering must first be offered, and then the burnt-offering, for till guilt be removed no acceptable service can be performed.

And thou shalt slay the ram, and thou shalt take his blood, and sprinkle it round about upon the altar.
And thou shalt cut the ram in pieces, and wash the inwards of him, and his legs, and put them unto his pieces, and unto his head.
And thou shalt burn the whole ram upon the altar: it is a burnt offering unto the LORD: it is a sweet savour, an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
And thou shalt take the other ram; and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands upon the head of the ram.
Exodus 29:19. There must be a peace-offering; it is called the ram of consecration, because there was more in this, peculiar to the occasion, than in the other two. In the burnt-offering, God had the glory of their priesthood, in this they had the comfort of it. And in token of a mutual covenant between God and them, the blood of this sacrifice was divided between God and them, part of the blood was sprinkled upon the altar round about, and part upon them, upon their bodies, and upon their garments. Thus the benefit of the expiation made by the sacrifice was applied and assured to them, and their whole selves, from head to foot, sanctified to the service of God. The blood was put upon the extreme parts of the body, to signify that it was all, as it were, enclosed and taken in for God, the tip of the ear and the great toe not excepted. And the blood and oil signified the blood of Christ, and the graces of the Spirit, which constitute and complete the beauty of holiness, and recommend us to God. The flesh of the sacrifice, with the meat-offering annexed to it, was likewise divided between God and them, that (to speak with reverence) God and they might feast together, in token of friendship and fellowship.

Then shalt thou kill the ram, and take of his blood, and put it upon the tip of the right ear of Aaron, and upon the tip of the right ear of his sons, and upon the thumb of their right hand, and upon the great toe of their right foot, and sprinkle the blood upon the altar round about.
And thou shalt take of the blood that is upon the altar, and of the anointing oil, and sprinkle it upon Aaron, and upon his garments, and upon his sons, and upon the garments of his sons with him: and he shall be hallowed, and his garments, and his sons, and his sons' garments with him.
Also thou shalt take of the ram the fat and the rump, and the fat that covereth the inwards, and the caul above the liver, and the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, and the right shoulder; for it is a ram of consecration:
And one loaf of bread, and one cake of oiled bread, and one wafer out of the basket of the unleavened bread that is before the LORD:
And thou shalt put all in the hands of Aaron, and in the hands of his sons; and shalt wave them for a wave offering before the LORD.
And thou shalt receive them of their hands, and burn them upon the altar for a burnt offering, for a sweet savour before the LORD: it is an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
And thou shalt take the breast of the ram of Aaron's consecration, and wave it for a wave offering before the LORD: and it shall be thy part.
And thou shalt sanctify the breast of the wave offering, and the shoulder of the heave offering, which is waved, and which is heaved up, of the ram of the consecration, even of that which is for Aaron, and of that which is for his sons:
And it shall be Aaron's and his sons' by a statute for ever from the children of Israel: for it is an heave offering: and it shall be an heave offering from the children of Israel of the sacrifice of their peace offerings, even their heave offering unto the LORD.
And the holy garments of Aaron shall be his sons' after him, to be anointed therein, and to be consecrated in them.
And that son that is priest in his stead shall put them on seven days, when he cometh into the tabernacle of the congregation to minister in the holy place.
And thou shalt take the ram of the consecration, and seethe his flesh in the holy place.
And Aaron and his sons shall eat the flesh of the ram, and the bread that is in the basket, by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
And they shall eat those things wherewith the atonement was made, to consecrate and to sanctify them: but a stranger shall not eat thereof, because they are holy.
And if ought of the flesh of the consecrations, or of the bread, remain unto the morning, then thou shalt burn the remainder with fire: it shall not be eaten, because it is holy.
And thus shalt thou do unto Aaron, and to his sons, according to all things which I have commanded thee: seven days shalt thou consecrate them.
Exodus 29:35. Seven days shalt thou consecrate them — Though all the ceremonies were performed on the first day, yet they were not to look upon their consecration as completed till the seven days’ end, which put a solemnity upon their admission, and a distance between this and their former state, and obliged them to enter upon their work with a pause, giving them time to consider the weight of it. This was to be observed in after ages: he that was to succeed Aaron in the high-priesthood, must put on the holy garments seven days together, in token of a deliberate advance into his office, and that one sabbath might pass over him in his consecration. Every day of the seven, in this first consecrations, a bullock was to be offered for a sin-offering, which was to intimate, 1st, That though atonement was made, yet they must still keep up a penitent sense of sin, and often repeat the confession of it. 2d, That those sacrifices which were thus offered day by day, could not make the comers thereunto perfect, for then they would have ceased to be offered, Hebrews 10:1-2. They must therefore expect the bringing in of a better hope. Now this consecration of the priests was a shadow of good things to come. 1st, Our Lord Jesus is the great High-Priest of our profession, called of God to be so consecrated for evermore, anointed with the Spirit above his fellows, clothed with the holy garments, even with glory and beauty, sanctified by his own blood, not that of bullocks and rams. 2d, All believers are spiritual priests, to offer spiritual sacrifices, (1 Peter 2:5,) washed in the blood of Christ, and so made to our God priests, Revelation 1:5-6. They also are clothed with the beauty of holiness, and have received the anointing, 1 John 2:27. 3d, It is likewise here intimated that gospel ministers are to be solemnly set apart to the work of the ministry with great deliberation and seriousness, both in the ordainers and in the ordained, as those that are employed in a great work, and intrusted with a great charge.

And thou shalt offer every day a bullock for a sin offering for atonement: and thou shalt cleanse the altar, when thou hast made an atonement for it, and thou shalt anoint it, to sanctify it.
Exodus 29:36-37. The consecration of the altar seems to have been coincident with that of the priests; and the sin-offerings, which were offered every day for seven days together, had reference to the altar as well as the priests. An atonement was made for the altar — The altar was also sanctified; not only set apart itself to a sacred use, but made so holy as to sanctify the gifts that were offered upon it, Matthew 23:19. Christ is our altar, for our sakes he sanctified himself, that we and our performances might be sanctified and recommended to God, John 17:19.

Seven days thou shalt make an atonement for the altar, and sanctify it; and it shall be an altar most holy: whatsoever toucheth the altar shall be holy.
Now this is that which thou shalt offer upon the altar; two lambs of the first year day by day continually.
Exodus 29:38. Two lambs day by day continually — This daily service, a lamb offered upon the altar every morning, and also every evening, typified the continual intercession which Christ ever lives to make, in the virtue of his satisfaction, for the continual sanctification of his church: though he offered himself once for all, yet that one offering thus becomes a continual offering. And this teaches us to offer up to God the spiritual sacrifices of prayer and praise every day, morning and evening, in humble acknowledgment of our dependance upon him, and our obligations to him.

The one lamb thou shalt offer in the morning; and the other lamb thou shalt offer at even:
And with the one lamb a tenth deal of flour mingled with the fourth part of an hin of beaten oil; and the fourth part of an hin of wine for a drink offering.
Exodus 29:40. A tenth-deal, or tenth part of an ephah, is about three quarts. A hin is five quarts.

And the other lamb thou shalt offer at even, and shalt do thereto according to the meat offering of the morning, and according to the drink offering thereof, for a sweet savour, an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD: where I will meet you, to speak there unto thee.
And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory.
Exodus 29:43-44. There I will meet with the children of Israel — I will make this tabernacle the seat of my cloud of glory, which will be the symbol of my divine presence, and from thence I will give frequent discoveries of my will, and tokens of my favour toward them. The tabernacle of the congregation — אהל מועדohel mogned, the tabernacle of meeting, so called because there God and his people met together. I will sanctify Aaron and his sons — God sanctified, set them apart, and marked them out to be his priests in a solemn manner by the appearance of his glory at their first sacrifice, and by sending fire from heaven to consume their burnt-offering, Leviticus 9:23-24.

And I will sanctify the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar: I will sanctify also both Aaron and his sons, to minister to me in the priest's office.
And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God.
Exodus 29:45. I will dwell among the children of Israel — As a proof of this the Shechinah, or symbol of his peculiar presence was among them. I will be their God — I will watch over them as a nation, by a peculiar providence, and show myself to be, indeed, that all-powerful and merciful God who delivered them in so miraculous a manner from Egyptian bondage.

And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them: I am the LORD their God.
Benson Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

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