Exodus 27:21
In the tabernacle of the congregation without the veil, which is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall order it from evening to morning before the LORD: it shall be a statute for ever to their generations on the behalf of the children of Israel.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(21) In the tabernacle of the congregation.—Heb., in the tent of meetingi.e., the place where God met the earthly ruler of His people. (See Exodus 25:22.)

Before the testimonyi.e., in front of the Ark which contained “the Testimony,” or “Two Tables.” (See Note on Exodus 16:34.)

Aaron and his sons.—The priestly character of Aaron and his descendants, laid down in the next chapter, is here anticipated.

From evening to morning.—See the second Note on Exodus 27:20.

27:20,21 The pure oil signified the gifts and graces of the Spirit, which all believers receive from Christ, the good Olive, and without which our light cannot shine before men. The priests were to light the lamps, and tend them. It is the work of ministers, by preaching and expounding the Scriptures, which are as a lamp, to enlighten the church, God's tabernacle upon earth. Blessed be God, this light is not now confined to the Jewish tabernacle, but is a light to lighten the gentiles, and for salvation unto the ends of the earth.The tabernacle of the congregation - More literally, the tent of meeting. This is the first occurrence of this designation of the tabernacle, and the idea connected with it is that of Yahweh meeting with either Moses, or the priests, or (in a few cases) with the people gathered into a congregation at the entrance of the tent.

Without the rail, which is before the testimony - i. e. the holy place (see Exodus 25:16).

21. shall order it from evening to morning—The tabernacle having no windows, the lamps required to be lighted during the day. Josephus says that in his time only three were lighted; but his were degenerate times, and there is no Scripture authority for this limitation. But although the priests were obliged from necessity to light them by day, they might have let them go out at night had it not been for this express ordinance. The tabernacle of the congregation was so called, because there the people used to meet not only one with another, but with God also. See Exodus 25:22 Numbers 17:4. Others render it, in the tabernacle of witness, because there God declared his mind and will, and man’s duty. Without the veil, to wit, the second veil, in the holy place.

Before the testimony; a short speech for before the ark of the testimony, as it is elsewhere more largely called: compare Exodus 25:16.

Shall order it, to wit, the lamp, or the lights, taking care that there be a constant supply of them, and that they burn well. In the tabernacle of the congregation,.... The reasons usually given for this name of the tabernacle are, either because the children of Israel gathered and met together here at certain times, or because here the Lord met with Moses, and his successors, as he had promised, Exodus 25:22, but neither of them will hold good; not the first, because the place where the candlestick was, and which Aaron and his sons are here said to order, was in the holy place, into which only the priests entered, and therefore could not be called the tabernacle of the congregation, from the people of Israel being gathered and assembling there; not the latter, because it was in the most holy place, where the Lord promised to meet with Moses, and commune with him, even from between the cherubim over the mercy seat there: indeed, at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation the children of Israel assembled, and there the Lord met them, and so the whole might be called from thence, and there seems to be no other reason for it, Exodus 29:42 and this place was

without the vail, which is before the testimony; that is, without the vail which divided between the holy and the most holy place, and which vail was before the ark, where the law or the testimony was put; for the candlestick was in that part of the tabernacle which was without the vail, or in the holy place: and here

Aaron and his sons shall order it from evening to morning before the Lord; that is, they were to take care that the lamps which went out might be lighted; and that they be kept clear and burning, they were to trim and snuff them, for which they had proper instruments provided for them, Exodus 25:37. This points at the word of God, which shines as a light in a dark place, and is a lamp to the feet, and a light to the path, and to the constant application of Gospel ministers in preaching it, in order to enlighten men in all ages unto the end of the world:

it shall be a statute for ever unto their generations, on the behalf of the children of Israel; on whom it was incumbent to provide oil for the lamps, as long as the tabernacle and temple service lasted; and figured out either the maintenance of Gospel ministers by the churches, or the grace and gifts of the Spirit, with which they are furnished by the head of the church, often signified by oil in Scripture.

In the tabernacle of the congregation without the vail, which is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall order it from evening to morning before the LORD: it shall be a statute for ever unto their generations on the behalf of the children of Israel.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
21. the tent of meeting] Heb. ’ôhel mô‘çd, i.e. the tent of appointed meeting (cf. Job 30:23 ‘the house of appointed meeting for all living,’ of Sheol), the tent appointed by Jehovah as the place where He will ‘meet’ Moses (see in P Exodus 25:22, Exodus 30:6; Exodus 30:36) and Israel (Exodus 29:42-43, Numbers 17:4), and communicate His will to them, or (OTJC.2[205] 246) the ‘tent of tryst’ (i.e. of appointment to meet). It is the oldest name of what we now commonly know as the ‘Tabernacle’ (see on Exodus 25:9), being first found in E (Exodus 33:7 : see the note), where it denotes the tent which Moses used to pitch outside the camp, to which everyone resorted who sought Jehovah, and whither Moses also used to repair in order that Jehovah might speak with him. It is mentioned besides in JE in Numbers 11:16; Numbers 12:4, Deuteronomy 31:14. The Tent of meeting, as described by P, is a much more elaborate structure than that can have been (see p. 257 f.). He mentions it some 130 times.

[205] W. R. Smith, Old Testament in the Jewish Church, ed. 2, 1892.

The rendering of AV. ‘tabernacle (i.e. tent: see on Exodus 25:9) of the congregation’ is based on a mistaken interpretation of mô‘çd, as though this word were a synonym of ‘çdâh, ‘congregation’ (Exodus 12:3 &c.). The LXX. render the expression by ἡ σκηνὴ τοῦ μαρτυρίου, ‘the tent of the testimony’ (whence Vulg. tabernaculum testimonii), treating ’ôhel mô‘çd incorrectly as a synonym of ’ôhel hâ‘çdûth (Numbers 9:15; Numbers 17:7-8, 2 Chronicles 24:6†), which does mean ‘the tent of the testimony’ (see on Exodus 25:16): cf. Acts 7:44, Revelation 15:5.

outside the veil, &c.] cf. Exodus 26:35; and on Exodus 25:21.

order] an archaism for set in order, arrange; so often in EVV., as Leviticus 24:4, Jdg 6:26, 1 Kings 20:14, Jeremiah 46:3 : cf. in the Communion Service, ‘when the priest hath so ordered the bread and wine,’ &c.; and in PBV. of Psalm 37:23; Psalm 40:2; Psalm 40:6 (cf. Job 13:18), Psalm 50:23. The meaning is, arrange the lamps on the stand.

from evening to morning] the lamps were to be removed every morning to be trimmed (Exodus 30:7), and to be lighted and replaced every evening to burn during the night (Exodus 30:8, 2 Chronicles 13:11). (The later usage was, however, different; see DB. iv. 664a, and Schürer, as cited.)

a due for ever from] ḥuḳḳâh may mean either a prescribed rule (i.e. a statute), or a prescribed portion (i.e. a due): so ḥôḳ, Exodus 29:28, Leviticus 7:34 b, Leviticus 7:36, Exodus 24:8 (AVm.); cf. Proverbs 30:8; Proverbs 31:15 (RVm.).Verse 21. The tabernacle of the congregation. Rather, "the tent of meeting" - the tent where God would meet the earthly ruler of the people (Exodus 25:22), and give him commands and directions - not the place of meeting for the people themselves, who might in no case go beyond the entrance to the structure. The testimony - i,e., the ark which contained the "testimony," or two tables of stone written with the finger of God. Aaron and his sons. Compare Exodus 24:1. The intention to confer the priesthood on the descendants of Aaron, first openly revealed in the next chapter (vers. 1-43), is tacitly assumed from time to time in the earlier narrative. Shall order it from evening to morning. See the comment on ver. 20. It is difficult to assign these words any distinct meaning unless we accept the view, that the lamp burnt during the night only. It shall be a statute for ever. This expression is not at all common. In Exodus it occurs only here and in four other places. In Leviticus it is met with some six or seven times. The portions of the law thus characterised must be regarded as of special importance. (See the homiletics on this verse.)



"As for the breadth of the court on the west side, (there shall be) curtains fifty cubits; their pillars twenty; and the breadth of the court towards the front, on the east side, fifty cubits." The front is divided in Exodus 27:14-16 into two כּתף, lit., shoulders, i.e., sides or side-pieces, each consisting of 15 cubits of hangings and three pillars with their sockets, and a doorway (שׁער), naturally in the middle, which was covered by a curtain (מסך) formed of the same material as the covering at the entrance to the dwelling, of 20 cubits in length, with four pillars and the same number of sockets. The pillars were therefore equidistant from one another, viz., 5 cubits apart. Their total number was 60 (not 56), which was the number required, at the distance mentioned, to surround a quadrangular space of 100 cubits long and 50 cubits broad.

(Note: Although any one may easily convince himself of the correctness of these numbers by drawing a figure, Knobel has revived Philo's erroneous statement about 56 pillars and the double reckoning of the pillars in the corner. And the statement in Exodus 27:14-16, that three pillars were to be made in front to carry the hangings on either side of the door, and four to carry the curtain which covered the entrance, may be easily shown to be correct, notwithstanding the fact that, as every drawing shows, four pillars would be required, and not three only, to carry 15 cubits of hangings, and five (not four) to carry a curtain 20 cubits broad, if the pillars were to be placed 5 cubits apart; for the corner pillars, as belonging to both sides, and the pillars which stood between the hangings and the curtain on either side, could only be reckoned as halves in connection with each side or each post; and in reckoning the number of pillars according to the method adopted in every other case, the pillar from which you start would not be reckoned at all. Now, if you count the pillars of the eastern side upon this principle (starting from a corner pillar, which is not reckoned, because it is the starting-point and is the last pillar of the side wall), you have 1, 2, 3, then 1, 2, 3, 4, and then again 1, 2, 3; that is to say, 3 pillars for each wing and 4 for the curtain, although the hangings of each wing would really be supported by 4 pillars, and the curtain in the middle by 5.)

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