Exodus 25:21
And you shall put the mercy seat above on the ark; and in the ark you shall put the testimony that I shall give you.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
25:10-22 The ark was a chest, overlaid with gold, in which the two tables of the law were to be kept. These tables are called the testimony; God in them testified his will. This law was a testimony to the Israelites, to direct them in their duty, and would be a testimony against them, if they transgressed. This ark was placed in the holy of holies; the blood of the sacrifices was sprinkled, and the incense burned, before it, by the high priest; and above it appeared the visible glory, which was the symbol of the Divine presence. This was a type of Christ in his sinless nature, which saw no corruption, in personal union with his Divine nature, atoning for our sins against it, by his death. The cherubim of gold looked one towards another, and both looked downward toward the ark. It denotes the angels' attendance on the Redeemer, their readiness to do his will, their presence in the assemblies of saints, and their desire to look into the mysteries of the gospel. It was covered with a covering of gold, called the mercy-seat. God is said to dwell, or sit between the cherubim, on the mercy-seat. There he would give his law, and hear supplicants, as a prince on his throne.The testimony - See Exodus 25:16 note. Compare Exodus 40:20. 18. two cherubim—The real meaning of these figures, as well as the shape or form of them, is not known with certainty—probably similar to what was afterwards introduced into the temple, and described in Eze 10:8-22. They stretched out their wings, and their faces were turned towards the mercy seat [Ex 25:20], probably in a bowing attitude. The prevailing opinion now is, that those splendid figures were symbolical not of angelic but of earthly and human beings—the members of the Church of God interested in the dispensation of grace, the redeemed in every age—and that these hieroglyphic forms symbolized the qualities of the true people of God—courage, patience, intelligence, and activity. Or, after thou shalt have put in the ark; for the ark was not to be opened after the covering was put upon it. The Hebrew particle vau oft signifies after that, as Jeremiah 43:13 51:60. And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark,.... Over it, as a covering for it: this situation of the mercy seat above the ark, where the law was, signifies, that there is no mercy but in a way of righteousness, or of satisfaction to the law of God, and in a consistence with the honour of it; and the cherubim over the mercy seat making a throne for the majesty of God, in which he sat, and the ark below a kind of footstool for him, shows that Christ, the mercy seat and propitiatory, stands between God and his law, and is the mediator between God, and men the transgressors of that law, and by fulfilling it has covered the sins of his people, which are violations of it; and being above it, and having magnified and made it honourable, is able to suppress its charges and accusations, and secure from its curse and condemnation:

and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee; or "after thou shalt put in the ark", &c. (r), as the particle "vau" is sometimes used; the sense is, that then the mercy seat should be put above, and upon the ark, as the covering of it, after the law, or the two tables of testimony, were put into it; for then it was covered, and not to be opened any more; see Exodus 40:20.

(r) "postquam in area", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Drusius. Vid. Nold. Concord Ebr. part. p. 290.

And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
21. Cf. Exodus 40:20.Verse 21. - Thou shalt put the mercy seat above the ark. Rather, "upon the ark" - "thou shalt cover the ark with it." This had not been expressed previously, though the dimensions (ver. 17), compared with those of the ark (ver. 10), would naturally have suggested the idea. In the ark thou shalt put the testimony. This is a mere repetition of verse 16, marking the special importance which attached to the provision. The Ark of the Covenant (cf. Exodus 37:1-9). - They were to make an ark (ארון) of acacia-wood, two cubits and a half long, one and a half broad, and one and a half high, and to plate it with pure gold both within and without. Round about it they were to construct a golden זר, i.e., probably a golden rim, encircling it like an ornamental wreath. They were also to cast four golden rings and fasten them to the four feet (פּעמת walking feet, feet bent as if for walking) of the ark, two on either side; and to cut four poles of acacia-wood and plate them with gold, and put them through the rings for carrying the ark. The poles were to remain in the rings, without moving from them, i.e., without being drawn out, that the bearers might not touch the ark itself (Numbers 4:15).
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