Exodus 30:36
And you shall beat some of it very small, and put of it before the testimony in the tabernacle of the congregation, where I will meet with you: it shall be to you most holy.
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(36) Thou shalt . . . put it before the testimony.—Some pieces of the incense were to be continually before the ark of the covenant, either on the golden altar, or perhaps at its base ready for offering. This would symbolise the need of the perpetual offering of prayer.

30:22-38 Directions are here given for making the holy anointing oil, and the incense to be used in the service of the tabernacle. To show the excellency of holiness, there was this spiced oil in the tabernacle, which was grateful to the sight and to the smell. Christ's name is as ointment poured forth, So 1:3, and the good name of Christians is like precious ointment, Ec 7:1. The incense burned upon the golden altar was prepared of sweet spices. When it was used, it was to be beaten very small; thus it pleased the Lord to bruise the Redeemer, when he offered himself for a sacrifice of a sweet-smelling savour. The like should not be made for any common use. Thus God would keep in the people's minds reverence for his own services, and teach us not to profane or abuse any thing whereby God makes himself known. It is a great affront to God to jest with sacred things, and to make sport with his word and ordinances. It is most dangerous and fatal to use professions of the gospel of Christ to forward wordly interests.See Exodus 30:6.34-38. the Lord said unto Moses, Take unto thee sweet spices—These were:

stacte—the finest myrrh;

onycha—supposed to be an odoriferous shell;

galbanum—a gum resin from an umbelliferous plant.

frankincense—a dry, resinous, aromatic gum, of a yellow color, which comes from a tree in Arabia, and is obtained by incision of the bark. This incense was placed within the sanctuary, to be at hand when the priest required to burn on the altar. The art of compounding unguents and perfumes was well known in Egypt, where sweet-scented spices were extensively used not only in common life, but in the ritual of the temples. Most of the ingredients here mentioned have been found on minute examination of mummies and other Egyptian relics; and the Israelites, therefore, would have the best opportunities of acquiring in that country the skill in pounding and mixing them which they were called to exercise in the service of the tabernacle. But the recipe for the incense as well as for the oil in the tabernacle, though it receives illustration from the customs of Egypt, was peculiar, and being prescribed by divine authority, was to be applied to no common or inferior purpose.

Some of it; so much as is sufficient for the daily incense. And thou shall beat some of it very small,.... Or every one of the spices; for this does not seem to respect any different usage of some part of the incense from the rest; but it was all to be beat very small, that it might mix together the better, and be easier spread upon the coals, and the smoke thereof go up the sooner:

and put of it before the testimony in the tabernacle of the congregation; that is, upon the altar of incense, which was placed there, Exodus 30:6 and here it was to be put in order to be burnt, not to be kept, either to be looked at, or smelled to:

where I will meet with thee; See Gill on Exodus 30:6.

it shall be unto you most holy; reckoned by them most sacred, and not to be put to any private or profane uses.

And thou shalt beat some of it very small, and put of it before the testimony in the tabernacle of the congregation, where I will meet with thee: it shall be unto you most holy.
36. beat some of it very small] cf. Leviticus 16:12 ‘incense beaten small.’ The ingredients named in v. 34 were mixed together, and then apparently melted down into a solid mass: small portions of this were broken off, from time to time, and beaten into a powder, which was then placed ready for use, every morning and evening (v. 7), outside the veil, near the altar of incense. Or (Di.) ‘put’ may mean, put upon the altar and burn.

before the testimony] i.e. before the ark, as Exodus 16:34 : see on Exodus 25:16.

meet with thee] See on Exodus 25:22.

most holy] See on Exodus 29:37. The anointing oil, not being brought into such close proximity to Jehovah, was only ‘holy’ (v. 32).Verse 36. - Thou shalt beat some of it very small. This is against Knobel's rendering of malakh, which would imply that all was broken into small pieces. A certain portion only was to be thus prepared from time to time and placed ready for offering. It was to be put before the testimony - i.e., opposite the m-k, but outside the vail. This near vicinity to the Divine Presence rendered it most holy. (see at Leviticus 8:10.). This anointing oil was holy, either because it was made from the four fragrant substances according to the proportions commanded by Jehovah, or because God declared this kind of mixture and preparation holy (cf. Exodus 30:32), and forbade for all time, on pain of death (Exodus 30:31), not only the use of ointment so prepared for any ordinary anointings, but even an imitation of it. "Upon man's flesh shall it not be poured," i.e., it is not to be used for the ordinary practice of anointing the human body (Exodus 30:32). "Man," i.e., the ordinary man in distinction from the priests. בּמתכּנתּו according to its measure, i.e., according to the proportions prescribed for its manufacture. זר (Exodus 30:33) a stranger, is not only the non-Israelite, but laymen or non-priests in general. On the expression, "cut off from his people," see at Genesis 17:14.
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