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Exodus 27:20--28:1

Context
Offering the Oil

27:20 “You are to command the Israelites that they bring 1  to you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, so that the lamps 2  will burn 3  regularly. 4  27:21 In the tent of meeting 5  outside the curtain that is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons are to arrange it from evening 6  to morning before the Lord. This is to be a lasting ordinance among the Israelites for generations to come. 7 

The Clothing of the Priests

28:1 8 “And you, bring near 9  to you your brother Aaron and his sons with him from among the Israelites, so that they may minister as my priests 10  – Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons.

1 tn The form is the imperfect tense with the vav showing a sequence with the first verb: “you will command…that they take.” The verb “take, receive” is used here as before for receiving an offering and bringing it to the sanctuary.

2 tn Heb “lamp,” which must be a collective singular here.

3 tn The verb is unusual; it is the Hiphil infinitive construct of עָלָה (’alah), with the sense here of “to set up” to burn, or “to fix on” as in Exod 25:37, or “to kindle” (U. Cassuto, Exodus, 370).

4 sn The word can mean “continually,” but in this context, as well as in the passages on the sacrifices, “regularly” is better, since each morning things were cleaned and restored.

5 tn The LXX has mistakenly rendered this name “the tent of the testimony.”

6 sn The lamps were to be removed in the morning so that the wicks could be trimmed and the oil replenished (30:7) and then lit every evening to burn through the night.

7 sn This is the first of several sections of priestly duties. The point is a simple one here: those who lead the worship use the offerings of the people to ensure that access to God is illumined regularly. The NT will make much of the symbolism of light.

8 sn Some modern scholars find this and the next chapter too elaborate for the wilderness experience. To most of them this reflects the later Zadokite priesthood of the writer’s (P’s) day that was referred to Mosaic legislation for authentication. But there is no compelling reason why this should be late; it is put late because it is assumed to be P, and that is assumed to be late. But both assumptions are unwarranted. This lengthy chapter could be divided this way: instructions for preparing the garments (1-5), details of the apparel (6-39), and a warning against deviating from these (40-43). The subject matter of the first part is that God requires that his chosen ministers reflect his holy nature; the point of the second part is that God requires his ministers to be prepared to fulfill the tasks of the ministry, and the subject matter of the third part is that God warns all his ministers to safeguard the holiness of their service.

9 tn The verb is the Hiphil imperative of the root קָרַב (qarav, “to draw near”). In the present stem the word has religious significance, namely, to present something to God, like an offering.

10 tn This entire clause is a translation of the Hebrew לְכַהֲנוֹ־לִי (lÿkhahano-li, “that he might be a priest to me”), but the form is unusual. The word means “to be a priest” or “to act as a priest.” The etymology of the word for priest, כֹּהֵן (kohen), is uncertain.



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