Numbers 4:14
And they shall put on it all the vessels thereof, with which they minister about it, even the censers, the meat hooks, and the shovels, and the basins, all the vessels of the altar; and they shall spread on it a covering of badgers' skins, and put to the staves of it.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(14) The censers.—Better, the fire-pans, as in Exodus 27:3.

4:4-20 The Kohathites were to carry the holy things of the tabernacle. All the holy things were to be covered; not only for security and respect, but to keep them from being seen. This not only marked the reverence due to holy things, but the mystery of the things signified by those types, and the darkness of the dispensation. But now, through Christ, the case is altered, and we are encouraged to come boldly to the throne of grace.wholly of blue - Compare Exodus 25:4 note. The third and external covering of the ark only was to be of this color. The table of showbread had Numbers 4:8 an outer wrapping of scarlet; the altar Numbers 4:13 one of purple.

Put in the staves - Probably, "put the staves in order." These were never taken out of the golden rings by which the ark was to be borne (see Exodus 25:14-15), but would need adjustment.

13. shall take away the ashes from the altar, &c.—The necessity of removing ashes from the altar plainly implies that sacrifices were offered in the wilderness (compare Ex 18:12; 24:4), though that rebellious race seems frequently to have neglected the duty (Am 5:25). No mention is made of the sacred fire; but as, by divine command, it was to be kept constantly burning, it must have been transferred to some pan or brazier under the covering, and borne by the appointed carriers. Amongst all these vessels here and above named there is no mention of the brazen laver though that be elsewhere. reckoned among the holy things, as Exodus 35:16 38:8 39:39 40:30, whereof possibly the reason may be because it was not covered, as not being capable of much hurt by the weather; though some ancient translations of the Bible do here add these words, They shall take a purple covering, and cover the laver, &c. And they shall put upon it all the vessels thereof,.... Upon the altar covered with a blue cloth; on that were to be put everything belonging to the altar:

wherewith they minister about it; the priests, when they offered sacrifice on it:

even the censers, the fleshhooks, and the shovels, and the basins,

all the vessels of the altar; of which see Exodus 27:3,

and they shall spread upon it a covering of badgers' skins: to prevent the rains falling upon them, which being all of brass, would be apt to tarnish:

and put to the staves of it; which were made to bear and carry it on such an occasion as this, Exodus 27:6. No mention is made of the laver, though there is both in the Septuagint and Samaritan versions, which add,"and they shall take a purple cloth and cover the layer, and its base, and shall put it into a covering of skin of a blue colour, and put it upon bearers:''but perhaps the reason why this is not mentioned is, because it was carried uncovered; the mystery of which, Ainsworth conjectures, was this, that it might be a lively representation of the grace of God in Christ, continuing and opened as an ever springing fountain, where always God's elect, having faith in him, may wash and purge themselves in the blood of Christ unto forgiveness of sin sanctification of the Spirit, and salvation; see Zechariah 13:1.

And they shall put upon it all the vessels thereof, wherewith they minister about it, even the censers, the fleshhooks, and the shovels, and the basins, all the vessels of the altar; and they shall spread upon it a covering of badgers' skins, and put to the staves of it.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Over the table of shew-bread (Exodus 25:23) they were to spread a hyacinth cloth, to place the plates, bowls, wine-pitchers, and drink-offering bowls (Exodus 25:29) upon the top of this, and to lay shew-bread thereon; and then to spread a crimson cloth over these vessels and the shew-bread, and cover this with a sea-cow skin, and lastly to put the bearing poles in their places.
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