Exodus 25:22
And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.
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(22) There will I meet with thee.—The place of the Shechinah, or visible manifestation of God’s presence, was to be between the two cherubim over the mercy seat. There God would meet His people, “to speak there unto them” (Exodus 29:42), either literally, as when He answered inquiries of the high priest by Urim and Thummim, or spiritually, as when He accepted incense, and the blood of offerings, and prayers, offered to Him by the people through their appointed representatives, the priests. It was for the purpose of thus “meeting” His people that the entire tabernacle was designed, and hence its ordinary name was “the Tent of Meeting,” unhappily rendered in the Authorised Version by the “tabernacle of the congregation.” (See Note on Exodus 27:21.)

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. 22. there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat—The Shekinah, or symbol of the Divine Presence, rested on the mercy seat, and was indicated by a cloud, from the midst of which responses were audibly given when God was consulted on behalf of His people. Hence God is described as "dwelling" or "sitting" between the cherubim. There I will meet with thee; there I will be in a special and gracious manner present with thee.

From between the cherubims, which spreading forth their wings formed a kind of seat, which the Divine Majesty was pleased to possess.

And there I will meet with thee,.... With Moses, and so with the high priest in later times, when he should enter into the holy of holies, and with the people of God as represented by him, when he should go in and inquire for them of the Lord:

and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim; converse with him and them about whatsoever they should apply unto him for, these being the symbols of the divine presence: hence the Lord is frequently described as "dwelling between the cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony"; that is, which cherubim are upon it, being on the mercy seat, which was the cover of it; or rather "which is upon" (s), which mercy seat is upon the ark of the testimony, as it properly was; and here the Lord promises to commune

of all things which I shall give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel: what they shall do, respecting those things which by Moses, or the high priest, they should inquire the mind and will of God about: this may signify that the way to communion with God lies through Christ, the mercy seat and propitiation, through his blood and righteousness, through the vail, that is to say, his flesh; and the encouragement to it is from him, our great high priest, and from his propitiatory sacrifice; and the enjoyment of it is through him; our fellowship is with the Father, and his Son Jesus Christ; God speaks to us by him, and reveals himself in him.

(s) "quod est", Vatablus.

And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.
22. And there I will meet with thee] An explanation (cf. Exodus 30:6; Exodus 30:36; also, with the people as the object, Exodus 29:42-43, Numbers 17:4) of the term ‘Tent of Meeting’ (see on Exodus 27:21), as signifying the appointed place where Jehovah met Moses for the purpose of speaking with him. Not the word used in Exodus 3:18, Exodus 5:3, which means to ‘meet by chance.’

commune] an archaism for converse, occurring 28 times in AV., and 22 times in RV. (e.g. Genesis 18:33; Genesis 34:6; Genesis 34:8; Genesis 34:20). The Heb. is the ordinary word for speak.

from above, &c.] Cf. Numbers 7:89.

23–30 (cf. Exodus 37:10-16). The table of Presence-bread. This was a table of acacia wood, overlaid with gold, 2 cubits (3 ft.) long, one cubit (1½ ft.) broad, and 1½ cubits (2 ft. 3 in.) high. The top,—to judge from that of the Table represented on the Arch of Titus,—was some 6 in. thick; and the sides and ends of this were each decorated with a solid gold moulding running round it, giving them the appearance of panels sunk into the table (see the left end of the top as represented in the fig.). The legs, according to Josephus, were square in the upper, and rounded in the lower half, terminating in claws: they were connected by cross-stays, or frames, about 3 in. broad, probably about half-way down (see fragments of these frames in the fig.), which also had golden mouldings upon them. On the four legs, close by the cross-stays, were four rings, through which poles of acacia wood, overlaid with gold, were passed, when the table had to be moved. For the service of the table, various dishes and other vessels were provided, all made of gold.

Verse 22. - And there I will meet with thee. The whole of the foregoing description has been subordinate to this. In all the arrange-meats for the tabernacle God was, primarily and mainly, providing a fit place where he might manifest himself to Moses and his successors. The theocracy was to be a government by God in reality, and not in name only. There was to be constant "communing" between God and the earthly ruler of the nation, and therefore a place of communing. Compare Exodus 29:42-45. The special seat of the Divine presence was to be the empty space above the mercy seat, between the two cherubim, and above the ark of the covenant.

CHAPTER 25:23-30 Exodus 25:22"And let the cherubs be stretching out wings on high, screening (סככים, συσκιάζοντες) with their wings above the capporeth, and their faces (turned) one to the other; towards the capporeth let the faces of the cherubs be." That is to say, the cherubs were to spread out their wings in such a manner as to form a screen over the capporeth, with their faces turned towards one another, but inclining or stooping towards the capporeth. The reason for this is given in Exodus 25:22. There - viz., above the capporeth that was placed upon the ark containing the testimony - Jehovah would present Himself to Moses (נועד, from יעד to appoint, to present one's self to a person at an appointed place, to meet with him), and talk with him "from above the capporeth, out from between the two cherubs upon the ark of testimony, all that I shall command thee for the sons of Israel" (cf. Exodus 29:42). Through this divine promise and the fulfilment of it (Exodus 40:35; Leviticus 1:1; Numbers 1:1; Numbers 16:19), the ark of the covenant together with the capporeth became the throne of Jehovah in the midst of His chosen people, the footstool of the God of Israel (1 Chronicles 28:2, cf. Psalm 132:7; Psalm 99:5; Lamentations 2:1). The ark, with the tables of the covenant as the self-attestation of God, formed the foundation of this throne, to show that the kingdom of grace which was established in Israel through the medium of the covenant, was founded in justice and righteousness (Psalm 89:15; Psalm 97:2). The gold plate upon the ark formed the footstool of the throne for Him, who caused His name, i.e., the real presence of His being, to dwell in a cloud between the two cherubim above their outspread wings; and there He not only made known His will to His people in laws and commandments, but revealed Himself as the jealous God who visited sin and showed mercy (Exodus 20:5-6; Exodus 34:6-7), - the latter more especially on the great day of atonement, when, through the medium of the blood of the sin-offering sprinkled upon and in front of the capporeth, He granted reconciliation to His people for all their transgressions in all their sin (Leviticus 16:14.). Thus the footstool of God became a throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16, cf. Exodus 9:5), which received its name capporeth or ἱλαστήριον from the fact that the highest and most perfect act of atonement under the Old Testament was performed upon it. Jehovah, who betrothed His people to Himself in grace and mercy for an everlasting covenant (Hosea 2:2), was enthroned upon it, above the wings of the two cherubim, which stood on either side of His throne; and hence He is represented as "dwelling (between) the cherubim" הכּרבים ישׁב (1 Samuel 4:4; 2 Samuel 6:2; Psalm 80:2, etc.). The cherubs were not combinations of animal forms, taken from man, the lion, the ox, and the eagle, as many have inferred from Ezekiel 1 and 10, for even the composite beings which Ezekiel saw with four faces had a human figure (Ezekiel 1:5); but they are to be regarded as figures made in a human form, and not in a kneeling posture, but, according to the analogy of 2 Chronicles 3:13, standing upright. Consequently, as the union of four faces in one cherub is peculiar to Ezekiel, and the cherubs of the ark of the covenant, like those of Solomon's temple, had but one face each, not only did the human type form the general basis of these figures, but in every respect, with the exception of the wings, they were made in the likeness of men. And this is the only form which would answer the purpose for which they were intended, viz., to represent the cherubim, or heavenly spirits, who were stationed to prevent the return of the first man to the garden of Eden after his expulsion thence, and keep the way to the tree of life. Standing upon the capporeth of the ark of the covenant, the typical foundation of the throne of Jehovah, which Ezekiel saw in the vision as רקיע דּמוּת רקי "the likeness of a firmament" (Ezekiel 1:22, Ezekiel 1:25), with their wings outspread and faces lowered, they represented the spirits of heaven, who surround Jehovah, the heavenly King, when seated upon His throne, as His most exalted servants and the witnesses of His sovereign and saving glory; so that Jehovah enthroned above the wings of the cherubim was set forth as the God of Hosts who is exalted above all the angels, surrounded by the assembly or council of the holy ones (Psalm 89:6-9), who bow their faces towards the capporeth, studying the secrets of the divine counsels of love (1 Peter 1:12), and worshipping Him that liveth for ever and ever (Revelation 4:10).
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