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The New Oxford Annotated Bible New Revised Standard Study Bible that provides essential scholarship and guidance for Bible readers.

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Commentary on Exodus

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Commentary spanning earlier chapters

28.1–29.42 : The priests.

28.1–43 :

The priests' vestments, special garments worn when acting in their official capacity (vv. 2,4,40,43; 39.1–31 ).

1–5 :

A hereditary office of priest is established to officiate at the tabernacle. Beginning with Aaron ( 6.16–25, esp. v. 23 ) there is to be one high priest in each generation, though the actual term does not appear here.

6–39 :

Aaron's vestments.

6–12 :

The ephod is a garment similar to an apron ( 26.1; 1 Sam 2.28 ) used in connection with the sacred lot (v. 30 ). The engraved stones on each shoulder‐piece (vv. 9–12 ) symbolize the high priest's intercessory role on behalf of the twelve tribes (v. 29 ).

15–30 :

Hanging from the shoulder‐pieces is the breastpiece of judgment, a pouch that contains the sacred lots, Urim and Thummim (v. 30 ), used to obtain oracular decisions (Lev 8.8; Num 27.21; Deut 33.8; 1 Sam 14.41–42; 23.6–13 ); it was about 22 cm (8.75 in) square. Like the ephod, the breastpiece also bears the names of the tribes for a continual remembrance before God (v. 29 ).

31–34 :

A short garment, the blue robe of the ephod, is worn under the ephod. The bells will identify the high priest so that he may not die when he enters or leaves the holy place (v. 35 ).

36–39 :

The turban, bearing an engraved rosette of pure gold, symbolizes the regal splendor of the high priest (Ezek 21.26; Zech 3.5 ) and his being set apart (holy) to God's service.

40–43 :

Vestments for all the priests.

42 :

20.26 .

29.1–37 : The ordination service for the priests

(Lev 8 ). Moses acts as priest throughout this ceremony until the first priests are installed.

1–9 :

All the priests are to be washed, clothed in the garments described in ch 28 , and ordained, but only Aaron, the high priest, is to be anointed on the head with oil (v. 7; Lev 16.32; Ps 133.2 ; the king will also be anointed, 1 Sam 24.6; Ps 2.2 ).

10–14 :

The sin (or purification) offering (Lev 4.1–12 ), the bull of v. 1 .

12 :

The horns of the altar ( 27.2n.; 30.10 ) are its most sacred parts (1 Kings 1.50; Am 3.14 ).

15–18 :

The burnt offering (Lev 1 ), one of the rams (v. 1 ). Pleasing odor, as God sees, hears, and speaks, so God smells the smoke (Gen 8.21; Lev 1.9 ).

19–34 :

The ordination sacrifice of the second ram is essentially an offering of well‐being (Lev 3 ).

20–21 :

Touching blood on the earlobe, thumb, and big toe consecrates the whole person for the office. Putting blood on both the priests and the altar (symbolizing God's presence) brings both parties together in this sacrifice celebrating the covenant relationship ( 24.6 ).

24 :

Putting these things in the hands of the priests signifies that they are authorized to receive their portions of the offerings. The phrase translated in Judg 17.5 and 1 Kings 13.33 as “install” or “consecrate” is literally “fill the hand,” in other words, invest with priestly prerogatives. The elevation offering (vv. 24,26–27; Lev 7.29–36 ) is the act of moving the sacrifice toward and away from the altar, to symbolize presenting the gift to God and receiving it back as the portion allotted to the priests.

35–37 :

The ordination ceremony lasts seven days.

29.38–41 : The regular burnt offering

to be offered every morning and evening (Num 28.3–8 ). One tenth of a measure, a tenth of an ephah (Num 15.2–10 ), about 2.3 l (2 qt). Hin, about 3.8 l (3.3 qt).

29.42–46 : The purpose of the entire story

—liberation from slavery, construction of the tabernacle and its furnishings, and consecration of the priests—is that God might dwell among the Israelites and be acknowledged as the LORD their God ( 3.14–15n.; 5.2n. ). This is reflected in the Heb term for the tabernacle, “mishkan,” the dwelling‐place (of God). These five verses state the point of the entire book of Exodus.

43 :

Glory, 16.6–7n.

45 :

6.7n.; 25.8; 40.34 .

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