The Second Book of Moses, Called Exodus

Chapter 27

The altar of burnt offering with the vessels thereof, 1-8. The court of the tabernacle enclosed with hangings and pillars, 9-17. The measure of the court and the furniture of brass, 18, 19. The oil for the lamp, 20, 21.

1 "And you shall make an altar of shittim wood five cubits long and five cubits broad. The altar shall be square, and its height shall be three cubits. 2 And you shall make its horns upon the four corners thereof. Its horns shall be of the same, and you shall overlay it with brass. 3 And you shall make its pans to receive its ashes, its shovels, its basins, its flesh-hooks, and its fire-pans. All its vessels you shall make of brass. 4 And you shall make for it a grate of net-work of brass, and upon the net you shall make four brazen rings in its four corners. 5 And you shall put it under the compass of the altar beneath so that the net may be even to the midst of the altar. 6 And you shall make staffs for the altar, staffs of shittim wood, and overlay them with brass. 7 And the staffs shall be put into the rings, and the staffs shall be upon the two sides of the altar to bear it. 8 You shall make it hollow with boards. As it was shown to you on the mountain, so they shall make it.

9 "And you shall make the court of the tabernacle. For the south side southward there shall be hangings for the court of fine twined linen of one hundred cubits long for one side. 10 And its twenty pillars and their twenty sockets shall be of brass. The hooks of the pillars and their fillets shall be of silver. 11 And likewise for the north side in length there shall be hangings of one hundred cubits long, and its twenty pillars and their twenty sockets of brass. The hooks of the pillars and their fillets shall be of silver. 12 And for the breadth of the court on the west side shall be hangings of fifty cubits with their ten pillars and their ten sockets. 13 And the breadth of the court on the east side eastward shall be fifty cubits. 14 The hangings of one side of the gate shall be fifteen cubits with their three pillars and their three sockets. 15 And on the other side shall be hangings, fifteen cubits, with their three pillars and their three sockets. 16 And for the gate of the court there shall be a hanging of twenty cubits of blue, purple, scarlet, and fine twined linen, wrought with needle-work, with their four pillars and their four sockets. 17 All the pillars around the court shall be filleted with silver with their hooks of silver and their sockets of brass. 18 The length of the court shall be one hundred cubits, the breadth fifty everywhere, and the height five cubits of fine twined linen, and their sockets of brass. 19 All the vessels of the tabernacle in all the service thereof, all the pins thereof, and all the pins of the court, shall be of brass.

20 "And you shall command the children of Israel that they bring the pure olive-oil beaten for the light to cause the lamp to always burn. 21 In the Tabernacle of the Congregation outside the veil, which is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall order it from evening to morning before the LORD. It shall be a statute forever to their generations on the behalf of the children of Israel."


Matthew Henry Commentary - Exodus, Chapter 27[➚]


[v.1] - "an altar of shittim wood" - From John Gill's Exposition: "This is a different altar from that made of earth before the tabernacle was built (Exodus 20:24), and from the altar of incense (Exodus 30:1), this was to offer burnt offerings on, and was placed at the door of the tabernacle, in the court of the people, where they brought their sacrifices to the priests to offer for them: it stood in the open air, as it was proper it should, that the smoke of the sacrifices might ascend up and scatter. This altar was not typical of the altar of the heart; though indeed all the saints are priests, and every sacrifice of theirs should come from the heart, and particularly love, which is more than all burnt offerings; but the heart is not this altar of brass to bear the fire of divine wrath, which none can endure; nor does it sanctify the gift, it being itself impure: nor of the Lord’s table, or the table on which the Lord’s supper is set; that is a table, and not an altar, a feast, and not a sacrifice; is not greater than the gift, nor does it sanctify: nor of the cross of Christ, on which he died, bore the sins or his people, and sanctified them by his blood; but [this altar is typical] of Christ himself, who by his office as a priest, his human nature is the sacrifice, and his divine nature the altar; and he is that altar believers in him have a right to eat of (Hebrews 13:10), his divine nature is greater than the human, is the support of it, which sanctifies and gives it virtue as a sacrifice, and which makes the sacrifices of all his people acceptable to God. This altar of burnt offering is said to be made of 'shittim wood', a wood incorruptible and durable; Christ, as God, is from everlasting to everlasting; as man, though he once died, he now lives for evermore, and never did or will see corruption; his priesthood is an unchangeable priesthood, and passes not from one to another, and particularly his sacrifice is of a continual virtue and efficacy."

[v.2] - "its horns" - From John Gill's Exposition: "Which were either for ornament, or for keeping what was laid upon the altar from falling off, or for the fastening of the sacrifice to them (Psalm 118:27), and were what criminals fled to for refuge, and laid hold on (see 1st Kings 1:50, 2:28); and may denote the power of Christ, who is the horn of salvation (Psalm 18:2; Luke 1:69) to preserve his people from a final falling away, and from ruin and destruction, and his protection of those that fly to him for refuge; and these horns being at the corners of the altar may respect the four parts of the world, from whence souls come to Christ for everlasting salvation."

[v.8] - Reference, Hebrews 8:5.

[v.9a] - "the court" - The court was the place of worship (Psalm 100:4). From John Gill's Exposition: "[This court] was typical of the visible church of God on earth, which, though an enclosure, and is separated from the world, yet consists of professors, good and bad, of real saints and hypocrites."

[v.9b] - Reference, Psalm 84:10, 92:13.

[v.20a] - "the pure olive-oil beaten for the light" - From Robert Hawker's Commentary: "Is not this a lively type of the Holy Spirit in his gifts and graces bestowed upon the church? Who but the Spirit can enlighten the mind of a poor darkened sinner, to give him the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ?"

[v.20b] - "the lamp" - From John Gill's Exposition: "This points at the word of God, which shines as a light in a dark place, and is a lamp to the feet, and a light to the path (Psalm 119:105), and to the constant application of Gospel ministers in preaching it, in order to enlighten men in all ages to the end of the world." Reference, 2nd Samuel 22:29; Proverbs 6:23; Isaiah 62:1.

[v.21] - From Matthew Henry's Commentary: "The priests were to light the lamps, and to tend them; it was part of their daily service to cause the lamp to burn always, night and day; thus it is the work of ministers, by the preaching and expounding of the Scriptures (which are as a lamp), to enlighten the church, God's tabernacle upon the earth, and to direct the spiritual priests in his service. This is to be a statute for ever, that the lamps of the word be lighted as duly as the incense of prayer and praise is offered."