Exodus 30:2
A cubit shall be the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof; foursquare shall it be: and two cubits shall be the height thereof: the horns thereof shall be of the same.
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(2) Foursquare shall it be.Of the same shape with “the brazen altar” (Exodus 27:1), but much smaller—two cubits high instead of three cubits, and a cubit square at top instead of five cubits. This small space was ample for the burning of so precious a material, which could only be offered in small quantities.

The horns thereof.—Comp. Exodus 27:2, and Note 1, ad loc.

Shall be of the samei.e., of one piece with the altar, not made separately, and then attached to it.

30:1-10 The altar of incense represented the Son of God in his human nature, and the incense burned thereon typified his pleading for his people. The continual intercession of Christ was represented by the daily burning of incense thereon, morning and evening. Once every year the blood of the atonement was to be applied to it, denoting that the intercession of Christ has all its virtue from his sufferings on earth, and that we need no other sacrifice or intercessor but Christ alone.Exodus 37:25-28; Exodus 40:26-27. The altar of incense was to be a casing of boards of shittim wood Exodus 25:5, Exodus 25:18 inches square and three feet in height (taking the cubit as 18 inches), entirely covered with plates of gold. Four "horns" were to project upward at the corners like those of the altar of burnt-offering Exodus 27:2. A crown or moulding of gold was to run round the top. On each of two opposite sides there was to be a gold ring through which the staves were to be put when it was moved from place to place.2-4. foursquare—the meaning of which is not that it was to be entirely of a cubical form, but that upon its upper and under surface, it showed four equal sides. It was twice as high as it was broad, being twenty-one inches broad and three feet six inches high. It had "horns"; its top or flat surface was surmounted by an ornamental ledge or rim, called a crown, and it was furnished at the sides with rings for carriage. Its only accompanying piece of furniture was a golden censer or pan, in which the incense was set fire to upon the altar. Hence it was called the altar of incense, or the "golden altar" [Ex 39:38; 40:26], from the profuse degree in which it was gilded or overlaid with the precious metal. This splendor was adapted to the early age of the church, but in later times, when the worship was to be more spiritual, the altar of incense is prophetically described as not of gold but of wood, and double the size of that in the tabernacle, because the church should be vastly extended (Mal 1:11). See Exodus 27:2. Though these horns, as they were for another use, so they seem to be here of another form, and for ornament more than for service. A cubit shall be the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof, four square shall it be,.... It was one Jewish square cubit, which is in surface, according to Bishop Cumberland, three English square feet, and about forty seven square inches; which may denote the solidity, perfection, and extensiveness of Christ's priesthood, it being unchangeable, firm, and lasting; and which passes not from one to another, and the which makes something perfect, which the law and priesthood of Aaron could not, even perfects for ever them that are sanctified; and is very extensive; the virtue of it reaches to all the elect of God, from the beginning of the world to the end of it; not his sacrifice only, but his intercession, which is principally respected; that is made for all the people of God, in all places, and in all ages, and for all things for them, both for this life, and that which is to come:

and two cubits shall be the height thereof; so that it was as high again as it was long and broad: Christ, our interceding high priest, is made higher than the heavens:

the horns thereof shall be of the same; of the same wood the altar itself was made: these were a sort of spires that rose up at the four corners of the altar; and the Targum of Jonathan paraphrases the words,"and of it its horns shall be erect;''which were chiefly for decoration and ornament; and may denote the honour and glory of Christ, as well as his power and ability to save, to the uttermost, all that come to God by him, or lay hold upon him, since he ever lives to make intercession.

A cubit shall be the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof; foursquare shall it be: and two cubits shall be the height thereof: the horns thereof shall be {b} of the same.

(b) Of the same wood and matter.

2. the horns, &c.] see on Exodus 27:2; also, for of one piece with it, Exodus 25:31. The blood of the sin-offering was sprinkled upon the horns of this altar in the cases specified in Exodus 30:10, Leviticus 4:7; Leviticus 4:18.Verse 2. - Four square shall it be. Like the altar of burnt-offering. See the comment on Exodus 27:1. Two cubits shall be the height thereof. Altars of this small size are often represented on ancient vases and other remains. (See Dr. Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, pp. 117 and 1174.) The horns thereof. It seems to be assumed that an altar must have horns. Those of the altar of incense were to have the blood of certain sin-offerings smeared upon them (Leviticus 4:7, 18). Shall be of the same - i.e. "shall be of one piece with the top of the table" - not projections added to it. Compare Exodus 27:2. להּ is to be understood ad sensum as referring to עולה. The daily morning and evening sacrifices were to be "for a sweet savour, a firing unto Jehovah" (see at Leviticus 1:9). In these Israel was to consecrate its life daily unto the Lord (see at Leviticus 1 and 2). In order that the whole of the daily life might be included, it was to be offered continually every morning and evening for all future time ("throughout your generations" as at Exodus 12:14) at the door of the tabernacle, i.e., upon the altar erected there, before Jehovah, who would meet with the people and commune with them there (see Exodus 25:22). This promise is carried out still further in Exodus 29:43-46. First of all, for the purpose of elucidating and strengthening the words, "I will meet with you there" (Exodus 29:42), the presence and communion of God, which are attached to the ark of the covenant in Exodus 25:22, are ensured to the whole nation in the words, "And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and it (Israel) shall be sanctified through My glory." As the people were not allowed to approach the ark of the covenant, but only to draw near to the altar of burnt-offering in the sanctuary, it was important to declare that the Lord would manifest Himself to them even there, and sanctify them by His glory. Most of the commentators have taken the altar to be the subject of "shall be sanctified;" but this is certainly an error, not only because the altar is not mentioned in the previous clause, and only slightly hinted at in the להּ in Exodus 29:41, but principally because the sanctification of the altar is noticed by itself afterwards in Exodus 29:44. The correct exegesis is that adopted by Baumgarten and others, who supply the word Israel (viz., regarded as a nation), which they take from the expression "children of Israel" in the previous clause. In Exodus 29:44, the sanctification of the tabernacle and altar on the part of God is promised, also that of His servants, and finally, in Exodus 29:45, Exodus 29:46, the abode of God in the midst of the children of Israel, with an allusion to the blessings that would follow from Jehovah's dwelling in the midst of them as their God (Genesis 17:7).
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