Exodus 30:38
Whosoever shall make like unto that, to smell thereto, shall even be cut off from his people.
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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.Compare Exodus 30:32-33. 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.

No text from Poole on this verse.

Whosoever shall make like unto that, to smell thereto,.... A man might make a perfume of the same ingredients, and of the same weight, and exactly like it, but not to burn for his own delight and pleasure; but if he made it and sold it to the congregation, as Jarchi observes, he was not guilty; but if it was for his own private use and pleasure, then he

shall even be cut off from his people; See Gill on Exodus 30:33.

Whosoever shall make like unto that, to smell thereto, shall even be cut off from his people.
38. cut off from his father’s kin] See on v. 33.

The use of incense in religious ceremonies is very widespread, and many different substances have been used for the purpose—woods, barks, dried flowers, grasses, seeds, resins, gums (Enc. Brit. ed. 9, xii. 718). On Egyptian monuments the references to incense are numerous (Wilk.-B. iii. 398 f., with illustr. of censers,—bronze cups supported by long handles); large quantities of it were consumed in the temples (Erman, 300 f.,—with fabulous figures); and expeditions were constantly sent to the land of ‘Punt’ (Somali) to procure fragrant gums (ibid. 505–514). Plutarch (de Isid. et Osir. p. 383) describes the Eg. perfume called kyphi, which was used both for the toilet and as incense, consisting of sixteen ingredients (Erm. 232; Wilk.-B. iii. 398). There are also many references to incense (ḳuṭrinnu; cf. Heb. ḳeṭôreth) in Ass. and Bab. inscriptions. The use is also often alluded to by the classical writers. See further Incense in EB.; or, most fully, Atchley, Hist. of the use of Incense in Divine worship (1909), pp. 1–77 (on the pre- and non-Christian use of it).

The origin of this use of incense is uncertain. The Oriental has a partiality for aromatic odours: he enjoys them himself; he perfumes his person, his garments, and his house with them; and he offers them to guests and rulers whom he desires to honour (DB. ii. 468a; Lane, Mod. Eg. i. 175, 256: cf. Proverbs 7:17, Song of Solomon 3:6, Psalm 45:9). Men naturally believe that what is grateful to themselves is also pleasing to the deity. If, however, the use of incense originated in a primitive, or semi-primitive people, another motive may have contributed to its adoption: it may have been regarded as a means of driving away evil spirits (cf. Tob 6:7; Tob 8:2 f.) from the precincts of a sanctuary. Cf. Atchley, pp. 61–77. In Numbers 16:46 P (cf. Wis 18:21) an atoning efficacy is attributed to the burning of incense. And in later times incense, rising heavenwards in a cloud, came to be regarded as a spiritual symbol of prayer (Psalm 141:2; Revelation 8:3 f., Exodus 5:8).

Exodus 30:38There is the same prohibition against imitating or applying it to a strange use as in the case of the anointing oil (Exodus 30:32, Exodus 30:33). "To smell thereto," i.e., to enjoy the perfume of it.
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