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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Chapter 45

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1From Jacob's stock the Lord raised up a man of faith who won favour in the eyes of all: Moses of blessed memory, beloved by God and his people. 2The Lord made him equal in glory to the angels, giving him power to the terror of his enemies. 3He sent sign after sign at his request, so enhancing his reputation with the king. He gave him a commission to his people and revealed to him some part of his glory. 4For his loyalty and humility he consecrated him, choosing him above everyone else. 5He let him hear his voice and brought him into the dark cloud, where face to face he gave him the commandments, law which is the source of life and knowledge, so that he might teach his covenant to Jacob, his decrees to Israel.

6He raised up Aaron of the tribe of Levi, a holy man like his brother. 7He made an everlasting covenant with him, conferring on him the priesthood of the nation. He honoured and adorned him, clothing him in splendid vestments, 8robing him in full and proud array. He gave him the emblems of his station, the linen trousers, the mantle, and the tunic. 9Round his robe he put pomegranates and a circle of many golden bells to make music as he walked, ringing aloud throughout the temple as a reminder to his people. 10He gave him the sacred vestment adorned with embroidery, gold and violet and purple; the oracle of judgement with the tokens of truth a 45:10 the oracle … truth: or the breastpiece of judgement with the Urim and Thummim ( Exod. 28:30 ). ; 11the scarlet thread spun with a craftsman's art; the precious stones, engraved like signets, and mounted by the jeweller in a setting of gold, with inscriptions to serve as reminders, one for each of the tribes of Israel; 12the gold diadem upon his turban, engraved like a signet with ‘Holy to the Lord b 45:12 signet … Lord: cp. Exod. 28:36 ; lit. signet of holiness. ’. A proud adornment! A miracle of art! What rich decoration to delight the eyes! 13Before him there had not been such things of beauty. Only his family has ever worn them, throughout the ages only his sons and his descendants. 14Twice each day without fail they present his sacrifice, a complete offering.

15It was Moses who installed him and anointed him with sacred oil, to mark the everlasting covenant made with him and with his descendants as long as the heavens endure, that he should be the Lord's minister in the priestly office and bless his people in his name. 16The Lord chose him out of all mankind to bring offerings to him, incense and the fragrance of memorial sacrifice, to make expiation for the people. 17He entrusted to him his commandments, with authority to pronounce legal decisions, to teach Jacob his decrees and enlighten Israel about his law.

18Upstarts became envious of him and conspired against him in the wilderness: Dathan and Abiram with their supporters and Korah's men inflamed with anger. 19The Lord saw and was displeased; in the heat of his wrath he destroyed them; amid portents he consumed them with blazing fire. 20But he added to Aaron's glory and gave him a heritage by allotting to the priests the choicest firstfruits, thus ensuring that they above all should have bread in plenty; 21for they eat the sacrifices of the Lord, which he gave to Aaron and his descendants. 22But Aaron was to have no holding in the land of his people, no portion among them was allotted to him; the Lord himself is his portion and holding.

23Phinehas son of Eleazar ranks third in renown for being zealous in reverence towards the Lord, and for standing firm with noble courage when the people defected; by so doing he made expiation for Israel. 24Therefore a covenant was established with him, assuring him charge of the sanctuary and the people, conferring on him and on his descendants the high-priesthood for ever.

25As by a covenant with David son of Jesse of the tribe of Judah the royal succession should always pass from father to son, so the priestly succession was to pass from Aaron to his descendants. 26Now praise the Lord who is good and gives you a crown of glory! May he grant you a wise mind to judge his people with justice, so that their prosperity may never vanish and their glory may be passed on to future generations!

Notes:

a 45:10 the oracle … truth: or the breastpiece of judgement with the Urim and Thummim ( Exod. 28:30 ).

b 45:12 signet … Lord: cp. Exod. 28:36 ; lit. signet of holiness.

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