Every sabbath he shall set it in order before the LORD continually, being taken from the children of Israel by an everlasting covenant.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Every sabbath he shall set it in order.—That is, Aaron is to carry out these instructions in the first instance, as we are told in Leviticus 24:3, and after him, or together with him, the priests are sacredly to attend to this duty every sabbath throughout the year. Of the manner in which the shewbread, or the “bread of His Presence,” was renewed every Sabbath during the second Temple, we have a minute account. “Four priests entered the holy place, two of them carried in their hands the two piles of the cakes, and two carried in their hands the two incense cups, four priests having gone in before them, two to take off the two old piles, and two to take off the two incense cups. Those who brought in the new stood at the north side with their faces to the south, and those who took away the old stood at the south side with their faces to the north. As soon as the one party lifted up the old, the others put down the new, so that their hands were exactly over against each other, because it is written, before my Presence continually” (Exodus 25:30). The authorities during the second Temple took the expression “continually” to denote that the cakes were not to be absent for one moment. Hence the simultaneous action of the two sets of priests, one lifting up the old, and the other at once putting down the new shewbread.
Being taken from the children of Israel.—Like the daily sacrifices, the offerings for the congregation, the salt for the sacrifices, the wood for the altar, the incense, the omer (see Leviticus 23:10-11), the two wave-loaves (Leviticus 23:17), the scapegoat (Leviticus 16:5, &c.), the red heifer (Numbers 19:1-22), &c., the shewbread, or the “bread of His Presence,” according to the canon that obtained during the second Temple, were purchased with the people’s half-shekels, which every Israelite had to contribute annually toward the maintenance of the service in the sanctuary. (See Exodus 30:11-16.)Leviticus 24:8. Being taken from the children of Israel — At whose charge they were provided, Nehemiah 10:32; by an everlasting covenant — By a law which they had all agreed to observe, (Exodus 24:3,) and which was to continue as long as that dispensation remained.
two tenth deals—that is, of an ephah—thirteen and a half pounds weight each; and on each row or pile of cakes some frankincense was strewed, which, being burnt, led to the showbread being called "an offering made by fire." Every Sabbath a fresh supply was furnished; hot loaves were placed on the altar instead of the stale ones, which, having lain a week, were removed, and eaten only by the priests, except in cases of necessity (1Sa 21:3-6; also Lu 6:3, 4).Before the Lord, whence it was called the shew-bread, Heb. the bread of faces, or of presence, i.e. the bread which was put upon the table in the Lord’s presence.
Being taken; such supplements are not unusual. Thus in the floor, 1 Kings 22:10, is put for sitting in the floor, 2 Chronicles 18:9; and burdens, 2 Chronicles 2:18, for carrying burdens, 1 Kings 5:15. And these cakes are said to be received from or offered by
the children of Israel, because they were bought with the money which they contributed, as may be seen Nehemiah 10:32,33; as Judas is said to purchase the field, Acts 1:18, which was purchased by his money, Matthew 27:7. By an everlasting covenant; by virtue of that compact made between me and them, by which they are obliged to keep this amongst other commands, and, they so doing, I am obliged to be their God, and to bless them. And this may be here called
an everlasting covenant, not only because it was to endure as long as the Jewish religion and polity stood, but also because this was to stand there everlastingly, or continually, as is here said, and therefore the new cakes were first brought before the old were taken away. Exodus 25:30 (h); that is, at the same time the hands of the one were employed in taking away, the hands of the other were employed in setting on; so that there was always bread upon the table:
being taken from the children of Israel by an everlasting covenant; God requiring it of them, and they agreeing to give it, as they did, either in meal or in money; for this was at the expense of the community.Every sabbath he shall set it in order before the LORD continually, being taken from the children of Israel by an everlasting covenant.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Leviticus 24:1-4) and the preparation of the shew-bread (Leviticus 24:5-9) lose the appearance of an interpolation, when we consider and rightly understand on the one hand the manner in which the two are introduced in Leviticus 24:2, and on the other their significance in relation to the worship of God. The introductory formula, "Command the children of Israel that they fetch (bring)," shows that the command relates to an offering on the part of the congregation, a sacrificial gift, with which Israel was to serve the Lord continually. This service consisted in the fact, that in the oil of the lamps of the seven-branched candlestick, which burned before Jehovah, the nation of Israel manifested itself as a congregation which caused its light to shine in the darkness of this world; and that in the shew-bread it offered the fruits of its labour in the field of the kingdom of God, as a spiritual sacrifice to Jehovah. The offering of oil, therefore, for the preparation of the candlestick, and that of fine flour for making the loaves to be placed before Jehovah, formed part of the service in which Israel sanctified its life and labour to the Lord its God, not only at the appointed festal periods, but every day; and the law is very appropriately appended to the sanctification of the Sabbaths and feast-days, prescribed in ch. 23. The first instructions in Leviticus 24:2-4 are a verbal repetition of Exodus 27:20-21, and have been explained already. Their execution by Aaron is recorded at Numbers 8:1-4; and the candlestick itself was set in order by Moses at the consecration of the tabernacle (Exodus 40:25).
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