28:38 It will be on Aaron’s forehead, and Aaron will bear the iniquity of the holy things, 1 which the Israelites are to sanctify by all their holy gifts; 2 it will always be on his forehead, for their acceptance 3 before the Lord.
28:43 These must be on Aaron and his sons when they enter 4 to the tent of meeting, or when they approach 5 the altar to minister in the Holy Place, so that they bear no iniquity and die. 6 It is to be a perpetual ordinance for him and for his descendants 7 after him. 8
1 tn The construction “the iniquity of the holy things” is difficult. “Holy things” is explained in the passage by all the gifts the people bring and consecrate to Yahweh. But there will inevitably be iniquity involved. U. Cassuto explains that Aaron “will atone for all the transgressions committed in connection with the order of the service, the purity of the consecrated things, or the use of the holy gifts, for the declaration engraved on the plate will prove that everything was intended to be holy to the Lord, and if aught was done irregularly, the intention at least was good” (Exodus, 385).
2 tn The clause reads: “according to/by all the gifts of their holiness.” The genitive is an attributive genitive, the suffix on it referring to the whole bound construction – “their holy gifts.” The idea of the line is that the people will consecrate as holy things gifts they bring to the sanctuary.
3 tn This clause is the infinitive construct with the lamed preposition, followed by the prepositional phrase: “for acceptance for them.” This infinitive provides the purpose or result of the act of wearing the dedicatory frontlet – that they will be acceptable.
4 tn The construction for this temporal clause is the infinitive construct with the temporal preposition bet (ב) and the suffixed subjective genitive.
5 tn This construction is also the temporal clause with the infinitive construct and the temporal preposition bet (ב) and the suffixed subjective genitive.
6 tn The text has וְלאֹ־יִשְׂאוּ עָוֹן וָמֵתוּ (vÿlo’-yis’u ’avon vametu). The imperfect tense here introduces a final clause, yielding a purpose or result translation (“in order that” or “so that”). The last verb is the perfect tense with the vav consecutive, and so it too is equal to a final imperfect – but it would show the result of bearing the iniquity. The idea is that if they approached the holy things with a lack of modesty, perhaps like the pagans who have nakedness and sexuality as part of the religious ritual, they would pollute the holy things, and it would be reckoned to them for iniquity and they would die.
7 tn Heb “seed.”
8 sn So the priests were to make intercession for the people, give decisions from God’s revealed will, enter his presence in purity, and represent holiness to Yahweh. The clothing of the priests provided for these functions, but in a way that brought honor and dignity. A priest was, therefore, to serve in purity, holiness, and fear (Malachi). There is much that can be derived from this chapter to form principles of spiritual leadership, but the overall point can be worded this way: Those whom God selects to minister to the congregation through intercessory prayer, divine counsel, and sacrificial worship, must always represent the holiness of Yahweh in their activities and demeanor.