Exodus 27:4
And thou shalt make for it a grate of network of brass; and upon the net shalt thou make four brasen rings in the four corners thereof.
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(4) A grate of network.—Rather, a grating of network. The position of the grating is doubtful. According to one view, it reached from the middle of the altar to its base, and protected the sides of the altar from the feet of the ministering priests. According to another, it surrounded the upper part of the altar, and was intended to catch any portions of the victims that accidentally fell off. There are no sufficient data to enable us to determine between these views.

Upon the net shalt thou make four brasen rings.—The brazen altar, like the ark and the table of shewbread, was to be carried by the priests when the Israelites changed their camping-ground. It therefore required “rings,” like them (Exodus 25:12; Exodus 25:26). These were, in the case of the altar, to be attached to the network, which must have been of a very solid and substantial character.

Exodus 27:4. Thou shalt make for it a grate of net-work — This was the principal part of the altar. It was let into the hollow about the middle of it, and here the fire was kept, and the sacrifice burned. It was a broad plate of brass full of holes, like a net or sieve, and partly hollow that the fire might burn the better, and the ashes might fall through to the bottom of the altar, where there was a door on the east side to open and take out the ashes.

Now this brazen altar was a type of Christ dying to make atonement for our sins. Christ sanctified himself for his church as their altar, (John 17:19,) and by his mediation sanctifies the daily services of his people. To the horns of this altar poor sinners flee for refuge, and are safe in virtue of the sacrifice there offered.

27:1-8 In the court before the tabernacle, where the people attended, was an altar, to which they must bring their sacrifices, and on which their priests must offer them to God. It was of wood overlaid with brass. A grate of brass was let into the hollow of the altar, about the middle of which the fire was kept, and the sacrifice burnt. It was made of net-work like a sieve, and hung hollow, that the ashes might fall through. This brazen altar was a type of Christ dying to make atonement for our sins. The wood had been consumed by the fire from heaven, if it had not been secured by the brass: nor could the human nature of Christ have borne the wrath of God, if it had not been supported by Divine power.Pans - Rather pots as in Exodus 38:3; 1 Kings 7:45. On the use to which these pots were put in disposing of the ashes of the altar, see Leviticus 1:16.

Basons - Vessels used for receiving the blood of the victims and casting it upon the altar (see Exodus 24:6; Leviticus 1:5; etc.).

Fleshhooks - These were for adjusting the pieces of the victims upon the altar (compare 1 Samuel 2:13).

Firepans - The same word is rendered snuffdishes, Exodus 25:38; Exodus 37:23 : censers, Leviticus 10:1; Leviticus 16:12; Numbers 4:14; Numbers 16:6, etc. These utensils appear to have been shallow metal vessels which were employed merely to carry burning embers from the brazen altar to the altar of incense.

4. a grate of network of brass—sunk latticework to support the fire.

four brazen rings—by which the grating might be lifted and taken away as occasion required from the body of the altar.

A grate of net-work, which was competently strong and thick, this being as it were the hearth of the altar, upon which they laid both the wood and the sacrifices, and it was full of holes, through which the blood and ashes might fall down into the place appointed for them.

Upon the net, or rather at, or beside, or under the net, for so the rings were placed, as their use shows, and the Hebrew preposition al is oft so used.

Four brazen rings, which were either,

1. Peculiar to the grate, which by these was carried apart from the altar, having the perpetual fire kept in it; for had it been carried with the altar, the cloth wherewith the altar was covered, Numbers 4:13, would have been endangered by the fire. Or,

2. Common to the altar, to which these were fixed on the outside, as on the inside to the grate, that by them the grate might be both kept even and upright, and also carried together with the altar, and that with such caution that the fire included might not hurt the covering-cloth, which was not difficult to do.

And thou shalt, make for it a grate of network of brass,.... Or "sieve", as in Amos 9:9, it was a plate of brass with holes in it, to let through either the blood that drained from the parts of the sacrifice, or the ashes of it; for this was the focus or hearth, on which the sacrifice and the wood were laid and burnt: this, according to the Targum of Jonathan on Exodus 38:4 was to receive the coals and bones which fell from the altar: and so may denote the purity of Christ's sacrifice, which was offered up without spot to God, and the use of him as the altar to sanctify our gifts, and take away the sins of our holy things:

and upon the net shalt thou make four brazen rings in the four corners thereof; by which, with chains put into them, the grate was fastened to the four horns of the altar, and the use of them was to let it down and hang in the middle of the altar, and to take it up when there was occasion for it; though some think these rings were not "in" the grate, but "by" it, as the particle may be rendered, a little lower than that, on the sides of the altar; into which the staves after mentioned were put, and with which the altar was carried when removed from place to place.

And thou shalt make for it a grate of network of brass; and upon the net shalt thou make four brazen rings in the four corners thereof.
4. a grating] Exodus 35:16, Exodus 38:4-5; Exodus 38:30, Exodus 39:39†. This formed a vertical support for the ‘ledge’ (v. 5), resting on the ground, and supporting it at its outer edge.

Verse 4. - Thou shalt make for it a grate. Rather, "a grating." This was probably a protection for the lower part of the altar, and prevented it from being touched by the feet of the ministrant priests. It was outside the altar, and had the rings attached to it, by which the altar was carried when the Israelites journeyed. Exodus 27:4The altar was to have מכבּר a grating, רשׂת מעשׂה net-work, i.e., a covering of brass made in the form of a net, of larger dimensions that the sides of the altar, for this grating was to be under the "compass" (כּרכּב) of the altar from beneath, and to reach to the half of it (half-way up, Exodus 27:5); and in it, i.e., at the four ends (or corners) of it, four brass rings were to be fastened, for the poles to carry it with. כּרכּב (from כּרכּב circumdedit) only occurs here and in Exodus 38:4, and signifies a border (סבבא Targums), i.e., a projecting framework or bench running round the four sides of the altar, about half a cubit or a cubit broad, nailed to the walls (of the altar) on the outside, and fastened more firmly to them by the copper covering which was common to both. The copper grating was below this bench, and on the outside. The bench rested upon it, or rather it hung from the outer edge of the bench and rested upon the ground, like the inner chest, which it surrounded on all four sides, and in which there were no perforations. It formed with the bench or carcob a projecting footing, which caused the lower half of the altar to look broader than the upper on every side. The priest stood upon this carcob or bench when offering sacrifice, or when placing the wood, or doing anything else upon the altar. This explains Aaron's coming down (ירד) from the altar (Leviticus 9:22); and there is no necessity to suppose that there were steps to the altar, as Knobel does in opposition to Exodus 20:26. For even if the height of the altar, viz., three cubits, would be so great that a bench half-way up would be too high for any one to step up to, the earth could be slightly raised on one side so as to make the ascent perfectly easy; and when the priest was standing upon the bench, he could perform all that was necessary upon the top of the altar without any difficulty.
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