Exodus 30:19
For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat:
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(19) Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet.—Washing the hands symbolised purity in act; washing the feet, holiness in all their walk and conversation.

30:17-21 A large vessel of brass, holding water, was to be set near the door of the tabernacle. Aaron and his sons must wash their hands and feet at this laver, every time they went in to minister. This was to teach them purity in all their services, and to dread the pollution of sin. They must not only wash and be made clean, when first made priests, but must wash and be kept clean, whenever they went to minister. It teaches us daily to attend upon God, daily to renew our repentance for sin, and our looking to the blood of Christ for remission; for in many things we daily offend.Wash their hands and their feet - On certain solemn occasions he was required to bathe his whole person Exodus 29:4; Leviticus 16:4. The laver must also have furnished the water for washing those parts of the victims that needed cleansing Leviticus 1:9.18-21. Thou shalt … make a laver of brass—Though not actually forming a component part of the furniture of the tabernacle, this vase was closely connected with it; and though from standing at the entrance it would be a familiar object, it possessed great interest and importance from the baptismal purposes to which it was applied. No data are given by which its form and size can be ascertained; but it was probably a miniature pattern of Solomon's—a circular basin.

his foot—supposed not to be the pedestal on which it rested, but a trough or shallow receptacle below, into which the water, let out from a cock or spout, flowed; for the way in which all Eastern people wash their hands or feet is by pouring upon them the water which falls into a basin. This laver was provided for the priests alone. But in the Christian dispensation, all believers are priests, and hence the apostle exhorts them how to draw near to God (Joh 13:10; Heb 10:22).

To signify their natural impurity and unworthiness, either to handle holy things, or to come into the holy place, and their need of washing with the blood and Spirit of Christ, which was typified by this washing.

For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat. Not in it, but at it; the laver had mouths or spouts, as Ben Melech says, from whence the water flowed when the priests washed their hands and feet at it; and so Bartenora says (z) they did not wash out of the laver, but from water flowing out of it; it is said "out of it", not in it; it seems at first there were but two of these spouts; for it is said (a) Ben Katin made twelve spouts or cocks, which had but two before; so that twelve priests could wash their hands and feet at one time, and which they could do at once, presently, by putting the right hand on the top of the right foot, and the left hand upon the left foot, as both Jarchi and Ben Melech relate: and now the hands being the instruments of action, and the feet of walking, this shows that the actions of good men, the priests of the Lord, and their walk and conversation, are not without sin, and that these need washing in the laver of Christ's blood, to which there must be daily application, see Zechariah 13:1. Our Lord seems to have reference to this ceremony, John 13:10 the Egyptian priests washed twice every day in cold water, and twice every night (b).

(z) In Misn. Zebachim, c. 2. sect. 1.((a) Misn. Yoma. c. 3. sect. 10. (b) Herodot. Euterpe, sive, l. 2. c. 37.

For Aaron and his sons shall {k} wash their hands and their feet thereat:

(k) Signifying that he that comes to God must be washed from all sin and corruption.

Verse 19 Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet. Ablution by clear fresh water is so plain and simple a type of purity as to have been used in almost all religions. The hands and the feet would designate symbolically all a man's active doings, and even his whole walk in life - his "goings out" and his "comings in," in the phraseology of the Hebrews. There would also be a special practical need for such ablutions in the case of persons who were employed about bloody sacrifices, who slew the victims, sprinkled, the blood, and even dashed it against the base of the altar. On some rare occasions the priests were required to bathe their whole persons, and not their hands and feet only (see above, ch. 29:4; and below, Leviticus 16:4). Exodus 30:19(cf. Exodus 38:8). The Brazen Laver, and its use. - The making of this vessel is not only mentioned in a supplementary manner, but no description is given of it because of the subordinate position which it occupied, and from the fact that it was not directly connected with the sanctuary, but was only used by the priests to cleanse themselves for the performance of their duties. כּיּור: a basin, a round, caldron-shaped vessel. כּגּו (its support): by this we are not to understand the pedestal of the caldron, but something separate from the basin, which was no doubt used for drawing off as much water as was required for washing the officiating priests. For although כּן belongs to כּיּור, the fact that it is always specially mentioned in connection with the basin necessarily leads to the conclusion, that it had a certain kind of independence (cf. Exodus 31:9; Exodus 35:16; Exodus 39:39; Exodus 40:11; Leviticus 8:11). These two vessels were to be made of brass or copper, like the other things in the court; and, according to Exodus 38:8, they were made of the brass of the mirrors of the women who served before the door of the tabernacle. הצּבאת בּמראת does not mean either "provided with mirrors of the women" (Bhr, i. pp. 485-6), or ornamented "with forms, figures of women, as they were accustomed to appear at the sanctuary" (Knobel). But these views are overthrown by the fact, that ב never signifies with in the sense of an outward addition, but always denotes the means, "not an independent object, but something accompanying and contributing to the action referred to" (Ewald, 217, f. 3). In this case ב can only apply to the material used, whether we connect it with ויּעשׂ as in Exodus 31:4, or, what seems decidedly more correct, with נחשׁת as a more precise definition; so that ב would denote that particular quality which distinguished the brass of which the basin was made (Ewald, 217f.), - apart altogether from the fact, that neither the mirrors of women, nor the figures of women, would form a fitting ornament for the basin, as the priests did not require to look at themselves when they washed their hands and feet; and there is still less ground for Knobel's fiction, that Levitical women went to the sanctuary at particular times, forming a certain procession, and taking things with them for the purpose of washing, cleaning, and polishing. The true meaning is given by the Septuagint, ἐκ τῶν κατόπτρων. According to 1 Samuel 2:22, the צבאת were women, though not washer-women, but women who dedicated their lives to the service of Jehovah, and spent them in religious exercises, in fasting and in prayer, like Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, mentioned in Luke 2:37.

(Note: Knobel's objection to this explanation, viz., that "at a time when the sanctuary was not yet erected, the author could not speak of women as coming to the door of the sanctuary, or performing religious service there," would contain its own refutation, if there were any ground for it at all. For before the sanctuary was erected, the author could not speak of Levitical women as coming at particular times to the sanctuary, and bringing things with them for the purpose of washing and cleaning. But the participle צבאת does not imply that they had served there before the erection of the sanctuary, but only that from that time forward, they did perform service there.)

צבא denotes spiritual warfare, and is accordingly rendered by the lxx νηστεύειν, by Onkelos, orare, with which the Rabbins agree. The mirrors of the women had been used for the purpose of earthly adorning. But now the pious Israelites renounced this earthly adorning, and offered it to the Lord as a heave-offering to make the purifying laver in front of the sanctuary, in order that "what had hitherto served as a means of procuring applause in the world might henceforth be the means of procuring the approbation of God" (Hengstenberg, Dissert. vol. ii.). - The laver was to be placed between the tabernacle, i.e., the dwelling, and the altar in the court (Exodus 30:18), probably not in a straight line with the door of the dwelling and the altar of burnt-offering, but more sideways, so as to be convenient for the use of the priests, whether they were going into the tabernacle, or going up to the altar for service, to kindle a firing for Jehovah, i.e., to offer sacrifice upon the altar. They were to wash their hands, with which they touched the holy things, and their feet, with which they trod the holy ground (see Exodus 3:5), "that they might not die," as is again emphatically stated in Exodus 30:20 and Exodus 30:21. For touching holy things with unclean hands, and treading upon the floor of the sanctuary with dirty feet, would have been a sin against Jehovah, the Holy One of Israel, deserving of death. These directions do not imply "that, notwithstanding all their consecration, they were regarded as still defiled by natural uncleanness" (Baumgarten), but rather that consecration did not stamp them with a character indelebilis, or protect them from the impurities of the sinful nation in the midst of which they lived, or of their own nature, which was still affected with mortal corruption and sin.

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