Exodus 30:6
And thou shalt put it before the vail that is by the ark of the testimony, before the mercy seat that is over the testimony, where I will meet with thee.
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(6) Before the vail.—The ark was behind the vail (Exodus 26:33; Exodus 40:3), the altar of incense directly in front of it, nearer to the vail than either the golden candlestick or the table of shewbread. Hence the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews speaks of it as belonging, in a certain sense, to the Holy of Holies (Hebrews 9:4; see Kay, in Speaker’s Commentary). The “vail that is by the ark of the testimony” is distinguished here from the vail, or curtain, at the entrance to the holy place.

Before the mercy seat.—The altar bore a close relation to the mercy seat. It was the instrument by which the “mercy” there enthroned was made available to the penitent sinner.

Where I will meet with thee.—Comp. Exodus 25:22; Exodus 29:42-43.

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.The place for the altar of incense was outside the veil, opposite to the ark of the covenant and between the candlestick on the south side and the showbread table on the north Exodus 40:22-24. It appears to have been regarded as having a more intimate connection with the holy of holies than the other things in the holy place; and the mention of the mercy-seat in this verse, if we associate with it the significance of incense as figuring the prayers of the Lord's people Psalm 141:2; Revelation 5:8; Revelation 8:3-4, seems to furnish additional pound for an inference that the incense altar took precedence of the table of showbread and the candlestick.6. thou shalt put it before the veil that is by the ark of the testimony—which separated the holy from the most holy place. The altar was in the middle between the table of showbread and the candlestick next the holy of holies, at equal distances from the north and south walls; in other words, it occupied a spot on the outside of the great partition veil, but directly in front of the mercy seat, which was within that sacred enclosure; so that although the priest who ministered at this altar could not behold the mercy seat, he was to look towards it, and present his incense in that direction. This was a special arrangement, and it was designed to teach the important lesson that, though we cannot with the eye of sense, see the throne of grace, we must "direct our prayer to it and look up" [Ps 5:3] (compare 2Co 3:14; Heb 10:20; Re 4:1). Before the veil; before the second veil, in the holy place, and near to the holy of holies, and consequently to the ark and mercy-seat.

Thou shalt put it before the vail,.... That divides between the holy and the most holy place; not within the vail in the holy of holies, but before it at the holy place, for there the altar of incense stood: Josephus (o) says, between the candlestick and the table, i.e. of shewbread, stood the altar of incense; now the candlestick and shewbread were in the holy place; and with this account the Talmudists (p) agree, who say, that the table was in the north, distant from the wall two cubits and a half, and the candlestick on the south, distant from the wall two cubits and a half, and the altar was in the middle, and stood between them: and Maimonides (q) gives the like account of its situation, which is here further described:

that is by the ark of the testimony; which vail was by it, before which the altar was placed; the ark of the testimony was the chest or coffer in which the law was put, and which was the testimony of the will of God, from whence it had this name; and it stood in the most holy place; and not by it in the same place, but over against it, in the holy place stood the altar of incense:

before the mercy seat, that is over the testimony; the mercy seat that was over the ark, a lid or cover to it, where the testimony was; and towards this, before the face of it, was the altar of incense, where the priest officiating, looked directly towards it; having that in view for the acceptance of the people's prayers to God through Christ, which they were making while he was burning the incense:

where I will meet thee; as he had before promised, Exodus 25:22.

(o) Antiqu. l. 3. c. 6. sect. 8. (p) T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 33. 2.((q) Hilchot Beth. Habechirah, c. 1. sect. 7.

And thou shalt put it {c} before the vail that is by the ark of the testimony, before the mercy seat that is over the testimony, where I will meet with thee.

(c) That is, in the sanctuary, and not in the holiest of all.

6. the veil, &c.] See Exodus 26:31; Exodus 26:33.

by] before (as Exodus 27:21 for the same Heb.) would be clearer: in front of might then be used instead of ‘before’ (twice).

the testimony] i.e. the commandments written on the two tables of stone: see on Exodus 25:16.

meet with thee] cf. Exo Exodus 25:22, Exo Exodus 29:42.

Verse 6. - Thou shalt put it before the vail. It might have been doubtful from what is said here, which side of the veil the altar was to be placed. The doubt is precluded by the narrative of what Moses actually did in Exodus 40:21-29, which makes it clear that the altar was placed with the golden candlestick and the table of shew-bread, outside the veil, in the "holy place," and not within the "holy of holies." Where I will meet with thee. See above, Exodus 25:22. Exodus 30:6The Altar of Incense and Incense-Offering bring the directions concerning the sanctuary to a close. What follows, from Exodus 30:11-31:17, is shown to be merely supplementary to the larger whole by the formula "and Jehovah spake unto Moses," with which every separate command is introduced (cf. Exodus 30:11, Exodus 30:17, Exodus 30:22, Exodus 30:24, Exodus 31:1, Exodus 31:12).

Exodus 30:1-6

(cf. Exodus 37:25-28). Moses was directed to make an altar of burning of incense (lit., incensing of incense), of acacia-wood, one cubit long and one broad, four-cornered, two cubits high, furnished with horns like the altar of burnt-offering (Exodus 27:1-2), and to plate it with pure gold, the roof (גּג) thereof (i.e., its upper side or surface, which was also made of wood), and its walls round about, and its horns; so that it was covered with gold quite down to the ground upon which it stood, and for this reason is often called the golden altar (Exodus 39:38; Exodus 40:5, Exodus 40:26; Numbers 4:11). Moreover it was to be ornamented with a golden wreath, and furnished with golden rings at the corners for the carrying-poles, as the ark of the covenant and the table of shew-bread were (Exodus 25:11., Exodus 25:25.); and its place was to be in front of the curtain, which concealed the ark of the covenant (Exodus 26:31), "before the capporeth" (Exodus 40:5), so that, although it really stood in the holy place between the candlestick on the south side and the table on the north (Exodus 26:35; Exodus 40:22, Exodus 40:24), it was placed in the closest relation to the capporeth, and for this reason is not only connected with the most holy place in 1 Kings 6:22, but is reckoned in Hebrews 9:4 as part of the furniture of the most holy place (see Delitzsch on Hebrews 9:4).

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