The Second Book of Moses, Called Exodus

Chapter 30

The altar of incense, 1-10. The ransom of souls, 11-16. The basin of brass, 17-21. The holy anointing oil, 22-33. The composition of the incense, 34-38.

1 "And you shall make an altar to burn incense upon. Of shittim wood you shall make it. 2 A cubit shall be its length and a cubit its breadth. It shall be square and two cubits shall be its height. Its horns shall be of the same. 3 And you shall overlay it with pure gold, its top and its sides all around and its horns, and you shall make for it a crown of gold all around. 4 And two golden rings you shall make for it under its crown by its two corners. Upon its two sides you shall make it and they shall be for places for the staffs to bear it with. 5 And you shall make the staffs of shittim wood and overlay them with gold. 6 And you shall put it before the veil that is by the ark of the testimony, before the mercy-seat that is over the testimony, where I will meet with you. 7 And Aaron shall burn upon it sweet incense every morning. When he dresses the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it. 8 And when Aaron lights the lamps at evening, he shall burn incense upon it, a perpetual incense before the LORD throughout your generations. 9 You shall offer no strange incense upon it, nor burnt-sacrifice, nor food-offering, neither shall you pour drink-offering upon it. 10 And Aaron shall make an atonement upon its horns once in a year with the blood of the sin-offering of atonements. Once in a year he shall make atonement upon it throughout your generations. It is most holy to the LORD."

11 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 12 "When you take the sum of the children of Israel after their number, they shall each give a ransom for his soul to the LORD when you number them so that there may be no plague among them when you number them. 13 This they shall give, everyone who passes among those who are numbered: half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary (a shekel is twenty gerahs). A half shekel shall be the offering of the LORD. 14 Everyone who passes among those who are numbered from twenty years old and above shall give an offering to the LORD. 15 The rich shall not give more and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel when they give an offering to the LORD to make an atonement for your souls. 16 And you shall take the atonement-money of the children of Israel and shall appoint it for the service of the Tabernacle of the Congregation so that it may be a memorial to the children of Israel before the LORD to make an atonement for your souls."

17 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 18 "You shall also make a basin of brass, and its foot also of brass, to wash in. And you shall put it between the Tabernacle of the Congregation and the altar, and you shall put water therein. 19 For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet in it. 20 When they go into the Tabernacle of the Congregation, they shall wash with water so that they do not die, or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn an offering made by fire to the LORD. 21 Thus they shall wash their hands and their feet so that they do not die. And it shall be a statute forever to them, even to him and to his offspring throughout their generations."

22 Moreover, the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 23 "Take also for yourself principal spices: of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, of sweet cinnamon half as much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels, 24 Of cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of olive-oil a hin. 25 And you shall make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the perfumer. It shall be a holy anointing oil. 26 And you shall anoint the Tabernacle of the Congregation with it, and also the ark of the testimony, 27 The table and all its vessels, the candlestick and its vessels, the altar of incense, 28 The altar of burnt-offering with all its vessels, and the basin and its foot. 29 And you shall sanctify them so that they may be most holy. Whatever touches them shall be holy. 30 And you shall anoint Aaron and his sons and consecrate them so that they may minister to me in the priest's office. 31 And you shall speak to the children of Israel, saying, 'This shall be a holy anointing oil to me throughout your generations. 32 Upon man's flesh it shall not be poured, neither shall you make any other like it after its composition. It is holy and it shall be holy to you. 33 Whoever compounds any like it, or whoever puts any of it upon a stranger, shall even be cut off from his people.'"

34 And the LORD said to Moses, "Take for yourself sweet spices: stacte, onycha, and galbanum, these sweet spices with pure frankincense (of each there shall be a similar weight). 35 And you shall make it a perfume, a confection after the art of the perfumer, tempered together, pure and holy. 36 And you shall beat some of it very small and put some of it before the testimony in the Tabernacle of the Congregation where I will meet with you. It shall be to you most holy. 37 And as for the perfume which you shall make, you shall not make for yourselves according to its composition. It shall be to you holy for the LORD. 38 Whoever makes any like it to be refreshed by it shall even be cut off from his people."


Matthew Henry Commentary - Exodus, Chapter 30[➚]


[v.5-6] - From Robert Hawker's Commentary: "Was not the design of putting the altar before the veil of the mercy-seat to show that Jesus is always appearing in the presence of God for his people? Hebrews 9:24-26."

[v.7] - "burn upon it sweet incense" - From John Gill's Exposition: "The burning of the sweet incense was typical of the mediation and intercession of Christ; the burning coals typified his sufferings, which were painful to his body, and in which he endured the wrath of God in his soul, and both must be very distressing to him: the incense put upon these shows that Christ's mediation and intercession proceeds upon his sufferings and death, his bloodshed, satisfaction, and sacrifice; which mediation of his, like the sweet incense, is frequent, is pure and holy, though made for transgressors, and there is none like it; there is but one Mediator between God and man: likewise this was typical of the prayers of the saints; and at the same time that the incense was burnt the people were at prayer, which was set before the Lord as incense (see Psalm 141:3; Luke 1:10), these go upward to God, and come up with acceptance to him, from off the golden altar, being offered up to him by Christ, with his much incense, through his blood and righteousness, and are pure, holy, fervent, and fragrant, and called odors (Revelation 5:8, 8:3-4)."

[v.10] - Reference, Leviticus 16:18-19, 29-30.

[v.12] - "a ransom for his soul to the LORD" - From John Gill's Exposition: "This was typical of the ransom of souls by Christ, who are not all the world, for they are ransomed out of it, but Israelites, the whole mystical Israel of God, and are a numbered people; their names are written in the book of life, they are sold into the hands of Christ, are exactly known by God and Christ; and these are many and even numberless to men." See also 1st Timothy 2:5-6.

[v.14-15] - From Robert Hawker's Commentary: "What a delightful evidence was here given, of the equal value of souls. Not that money was supposed to purchase the atonement, but only given as a token of love, in testimony, of having by sin forfeited their souls to God, and looking for redemption alone by the Lord Jesus Christ; this followed as an acknowledgment of so receiving and accepting it. See Psalm 49:7-8, 15; Proverbs 22:2."

[v.18] - "make a basin of brass" - From John Gill's Exposition: "For Aaron, and his sons, and the priests in succession, to wash at before their entrance on their ministry; and denotes in general the necessity of purity, in order to minister in the priestly office; and which was in its perfection in Christ, who being holy and harmless, was a high priest becoming us, and suitable to us, qualified to offer himself without spot to God, and to take away sin; of which purity his baptism in water might be a symbol, which he submitted to before he entered publicly on the execution of his office as a prophet and priest; and as this may respect the ministers of the Gospel, it shows that they should be pure and holy in their lives and conversations, and be examples in purity of conversation to others: and as this may chiefly respect all the saints who are priests to God; it may be either typical of the basin of regeneration, in which grace, comparable to water, is given, and in which a clean heart is created; and which has an influence on purity of life and conversation, and secures from death: or rather of the blood of Christ, the basin and fountain to wash in for sin and uncleanness; which is large and capacious for all the priests of the Lord, and stands open and uncovered for all to come to; and as this was made of brass, and that brass of the looking glasses of the women (Exodus 38:8), as it may respect the basin of regeneration, may denote the durableness of that grace, which is an immortal seed, a well of living water, springing up to everlasting life, and was a clear evidence of election of God, and redemption by Christ; and as it may be an emblem of the blood of Christ, it signifies the duration and continued virtue of that blood to cleanse from all sin; and that such who are washed in it, and cleansed by it, are not only beheld as clean and pure by the Lord, but in their own sight also, God having caused their iniquities to pass from them, and justified them from them by his blood."

[v.25] - "a holy anointing oil" - From John Gill's Exposition: "For the uses next mentioned (verses 26-31): it signified the Holy Spirit of God, and his graces, that oil of gladness with which Christ and his people are anointed; and is that anointing which teaches all things, (see Psalm 45:7; Isaiah 61:1-3; Acts 10:38; 1st John 2:20, 27) comparable to these several spices, and olive oil, for their sweet smell, cheering and reviving nature, and supplying quality, and for their valuableness and preciousness, and of which there was a certain weight and measure; for though Christ received this unction without measure, yet there is a certain measure of grace and gifts bestowed upon his people, and by which they are made holy and fit for their master's use."

[v.34-35] - From Robert Hawker's Commentary: "The fragrancy of those ingredients perhaps referred to the merits of the Lord Jesus. Song Of Solomon 1:3. And subordinately to this, it is said in scripture, that the name of believers is valuable like ointment. Ecclesiastes 7:1."