Another Supplement
as to the Shutting. up of the Leprous 11     Heading added from the Fr. “Autre dependence de forclorre les lepreux."

Deuteronomy 24

Deuteronomy 24:8, 9

8. Take heed in the plague of leprosy, that thou observe diligently, and do according to all that the priests the Levites shall teach you: as I commanded them, so ye shall observe to do.

8. Observa in plaga leprae, ad observandum diligenter et faciendum secundum omnia quae docuerint vos sacerdotes Levitae: sicuti praecepi eis, ita observabitis ad faciendum.

9. Remember what the Lord thy God did unto Miriam by the way, after that ye were come forth out of Egypt.

9. Recordare quid fecerit Jehova Deus tuus Mariae in itinere, quum egressi estis ex Aegypto.


8. Take heed in the plague of leprosy. I am aware how greatly interpreters differ from each other and how variously they twist whatever Moses has written about Leprosy. Some are too eagerly devoted to allegories; some think that God, as a prudent Legislator, merely gave a commandment of a sanitary, nature, in order that a contagious disease should not, spread among the people. This notion, however, is very. poor, and almost unmeaning; and is briefly. refuted by Moses himself, both where he recounts the history of Miriam’s leprosy, and also where he assigns the cause why lepers should be put out of the camp, viz that they might not defile the camp in which God dwelt, whilst he ranks them with those that have an issue, and that they are defiled by the dead. Wherefore, I have thought it well, previous to attempting the full elucidation of the matter, to adduce two passages, by way of preface, from whence the design of God may more fully appear. When, in this passage from Deuteronomy, He commands the people to “take heed” and “observe diligently” the plague of leprosy, there can be no question but that He thus ratifies what He had before set forth at greater length in Leviticus. And, first of all, He refers the judgment of the matter to the priests, that what they pronounce should be firm and unalterable; and secondly, He would have the priests, lest they should pronounce rashly, and according to their own wishes, to follow simply what He prescribed to them, so that they may only be the ministers, or heralds; whilst, as to the sovereign authority, He alone should be the Judge. He confirms the law which He imposes by a special example; because He had cast out Miriam, the sister of Moses, for a time, lest her uncleanness during her leprosy should defile the camp. For the view which some take, that He exhorts the people lest, through sin, they should bring upon themselves the same evil as Miriam, is not to the purpose. But that which I have stated makes excellent sense, viz., that God’s command, whereby He prohibited Miriam from entering the camp, was to have the force and weight of a perpetual law; because He thus ordained what He would always have done.

Numbers 5

Numbers 5:1-3

1. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

1. Et loquutus est Jehova ad Mosen, dicendo:

2. Command the children of Israel, that they put out of the camp every leper, and every one that hath an issue, and whosoever is defiled by the dead:

2. Praecipe filiis Israel ut ejiciant e castris omnem leprosum, omnem seminifluum, et omnem immundum super anima.

3. Both male and female shall ye put out, without the camp shall ye put them; that they defile not their camps, in the midst whereof I dwell.

3. Tam masculum quam faeminam ejicietis: extra castra ejicietis eos, ne contaminent castra sua, quia ego habito in medio eorum.


2. Command the children of Israel. This passage clearly shews that God, in desiring the lepers to be put out of the camp, was not acting as a physician by any means, and merely consulting the health of the people: but that by this external rite and ceremony He exercised them in the pursuit of purity; for, by joining with the lepers those who had an issue, 22     SeminifiuosLat. and who were defiled by the dead, He instructs the people simply to keep away from all uncleanness. The reason, which follows, confirms this, — “that they defile not their camps, in the midst whereof He dwells.” It is just as if He had said, that all the habitations of His elect people were parts of His sanctuary, which it was a shame to defile with any pollution. For we know what license men give themselves in corrupting 33     Brouiller et abastardlirFr. the service of God, by mixing, as the proverb says, sacred things with profane. Thus we see that the very worst of men boast themselves to be anything but the least zealous of His worshipers, and spare not to lift up polluted hands, although God so sternly repudiates them. It was, then, profitable that the ancient people should be reminded by this visible proof, that all those who are defiled cannot duly serve God, but that they rather pollute. with their filthiness what is otherwise holy, and thus grossly abuse religious exercises; and again, that they ought not tobe tolerated in the holy congregation, lest their infection should spread to others. Let us now briefly examine Leviticus 13

Leviticus 13

Leviticus 13:1-59

1. And the Lord spake untoMoses and Aaron, saying,

1. Et loquutus est Jehova ad Mosen et Aharon, dicendo:

2. When a man shall have in the skin of his flesh a rising, a scab, or bright spot, and it be in the skin of his flesh like the plague of leprosy; then he shall be brought unto Aaron the priest, or unto one of his sons the priests.

2. Homo quum fuerit in cute carnis ejus tumor, vel scabies, vel alba macula, et in cute carnis ejus fuerit plaga leprae, ducetur ad Aharon sacerdotem, vel ad unum e filiis ejus sacerdotibus.

3. And the priest shall look on the plague in the skin of the flesh: and when the hair in the plague is turned white, and the plague in sight be deeper than the skin of his flesh, it is a plague of leprosy: and the priest shall look on him, and pronounce him unclean.

3. Tune videbit sacerdos plagam in cute carnis: quod si pilus in plaga versus fuerit in albedinem, et superficies plagae profundior fuerit cute carnis ejus, plaga leprae est, et postquam viderit eum sacerdos judicabit illum contaminatum, (vel, contaminabit illum.)

4. If the bright spot be white in the skin of his flesh, and in sight be not deeper than the skin, and the hair thereof be not turned white; then the priest shall shut up him that hath the plague seven days:

4. Quod si macula alba fuerit in cute carnis ejus, et profundior non fuerit aspectus ejus cute, nec pilus ejus versus fuerit in albedinem, includet sacerdos plagam septem diebus.

5. And the priest shall look on him the seventh day: and, behold, if the plague in his sight be at a stay, and the plague spread not in the skin; then the priest shall shut him up seven days more:

5. Postea videbit eum sacerdos die septimo et si plaga fuerit aequalis coram oculis ejus, nee creverit plaga in cute, includet eum sacerdos septem diebus secundo.

6. And the priest shall look on him again the seventh day: and, behold,if the plague be somewhat dark, and the prague spread not in the skin, the priest shall pronounce him clean: it is but a scab: and he shall wash his clothes, and be clean.

6. Tune inspiciet sacerdos ipsum die septimo iterum, et si subnigra futerit plaga, (vel, obscurius contracta,) nec creverit plaga in cute, tune mundum declarabit (vel, mundabit) eum sacerdos: scabies est: et lavabit vir vestimenta sua, et mundus erit.

7. But if the scab spread much abroad in the skin, after that he hath been seen of the priest for his cleansing, he shall be seen of the priest again:

7. Quod si crescendo creverit scabies in cute postquam ostensus fuerit sacerdoti in purgatione ejus, inspi-cietur secundo a sacerdote.

8. And if the priest see that, behold, the scab spreadeth in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it is a leprosy.

8. Ubi autem viderit sacerdos; crescere scabiem in cute, immundum judicabit cum sacerdos, lepra est judicabit cum sacerdos, lepra est.

9. When the plague of leprosy is in a man, then he shall be brought unto the priest;

9. Quoties plaga lepre fuerit in homine adducetur ad sacerdotem;

10. And the priest shall see him: and, behold, if the rising be white in the skin, and it have turned the hair white, and there be quick raw flesh in the rising;

10. Et aspiciet sacerdos, et si tumor albus fuerit in cute, et mutaverit pilum in albedinem, et ailmentum carnis vivae in tumore,

11. It is an old leprosy in the skin of his flesh, and the priest shall pronounce him unclean, and shall not shut him up: for he is unclean.

11. Lepra inveterate, est in cute carnis ejus: ideoque contaminabit eum sacerdos, quia immundus est.

12. And if a leprosy break out abroad in the skin, and the leprosy cover all the skin of him that hath the plague from his head even to his foot, wheresoever the priest looketh;

12. Sin germinando germinaverit lepra in cute, et operuerit lepra totam cutem plagae, a capite ejus, et totum aspectuum oculorum sacerdotis:

13. Then the priest shall consider: and, behold, if the leprosy have covered all his flesh, he shall pronounce him clean that hath the plague: it is all turned white: he is clean.

13. Tunc inspiciet sacerdos, et si operuerit lepra totam carnem ejus, tunc mundam judicabit plagam: ubi tota versa est in albedinem, munda est, (vel, mundus.)

14. But when raw flesh appeareth in him, he shall be unclean.

14. Quo autem die visa fuerit in eo cato viva, immundus erit.

15. And the priest shall see the raw flesh, and pronounce him to be unclean: for the raw flesh is unclean: it is a leprosy.

15. Et ubi viderit sacerdos carnem vivam, immundum judicabit ipsum, caro viva immunda est, lepra est.

16. Or if the raw flesh turn again, and be changed unto white, he shall come unto the priest;

16. Vel si reversa fuerit caro viva, et conversa in albedinem, tunc veniet ad sacerdotem:

17. And the priest shall see him: and, behold, if the plague be turned into white; then the priest shall pronounce him clean that hath the plague: he is clean.

17. Et inspiciet sacerdos: et si versa fuerit plaga in albedinem, mundam judicabit sacerdos plagam illam: munda est.

18. The flesh also, in which, even in the skin thereof, was a boil, and is healed,

18. Et si fuerit in cute carnis alicujus ulcus, (vel, pustula ardens,) et illud sanatum fuerit.

19. And in the place of the boil there be a white rising, or a bright spot, white, and somewhat reddish, and it be shewed to the priest;

19. Et extiterit in loco ulceris tumor albus, aut macula alba subrufa, ostendetur sacerdoti:

20. And if, when the priest seeth it, behold, it be in sight lower than the skin, and the hair thereof be turned white, the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it is a plague of leprosy broken out of the boil.

20. Et quum inspexerit sacerdos, si pilus profundior fuerit cute, et pilus conversus fuerit in albedinem, contaminabit eum sacerdos: quia plaga leprae est ex ulcere germinans.

21. But if the priest look on it, and, behold, there be no white hairs therein, and if it be not lower than the skin, but be somewhat dark; then the priest shall shut him up seven days:

21. Et si viderit cam sacerdos, et non fuerit in ea pilus albus, nec fuerit profundior cute, sed fuerit subobscura, tunc includet eum sacerdos septem diebus.

22. And if it spread much abroad in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it is a plague.

22. Si vero crescendo creverit per cutem, immundum judicabit eum sacerdos: plaga est.

23. But if the bright spot stay in his place, and spread not, it is a burning boil; and the priest shall pronounce him clean.

23. Si vero suo loco constiterit macula alba, nec ereverit, adustio ulceris est: mundum (vel, mundam) judicabit eum sacerdos.

24. Or if there be any flesh, in the skin whereof there is a hot burning, and the quick flesh that burneth have a white bright spot, somewhat reddish, or white;

24. Quum fuerit caro in cujus cute erit adustio ignis, et in viva carne adustionis macula alba subrufa, vel alba.

25. Then the priest shall look upon it: and, behold, if the hair in the bright spot be turned white, and it be in sight deeper than the skin, it is a leprosy broken out of the burning: wherefore the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it is the plague of leprosy.

25. Inspiciet eum sacerdos: et, si versus fuerit pilus in albedinem in macula illa, et superficies ejus fuerit profundior cute, lepra est in adustione germinans: ideo immundam judicabit eam sacerdos, plaga leprae est.

26. But if the priest look on it, and, behold, there be no white hair in the bright spot, and it be no lower than the other skin, but be somewhat dark; then the priest shall shut him up seven days:

26. Quod si inspexerit eam sacerdos, et non fuerit in macula pilus albus, nec profundior cute, sed fuerit subnigra, includet eum sacerdos septem diebus.

27. And the priest shall look upon him the seventh day: and if it be spread much abroad in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it is the plague of leprosy.

27. Postea inspiciet eum sacerdos die septimo: et si crescendo creverit in cute, immundam judicabit eam sacerdos, plaga leprae est.

28. And if the bright spot stay in his place, and spread not in the skin, but it be somewhat dark; it is a rising of the burning, and the priest shall pronounce him clean: for it is an inflammation of the burning.

28. Quod si in loco suo steterit macula, nec creverit per cutem, et eadem fuerit contracta, (vel, subnigra,) tumor adustionis est: ideoque mundum judicabit eum sacerdos: quia ardor exustionis est.

29. If a man or woman have a plague upon the head or the beard;

29. Si viro aut mulieri exorta fuerit plaga in capite, aut in barba.

30. Then the priest shall see the plague: and, behold, if it be in sight deeper than the skin; and there be in it a yellow thin hair; then the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it is a dry scall, even a leprosy upon the head or beard.

30. Tune inspiciet sacerdos plagam: et si superficies ejus profundior erit cute, et fuerit in ea pilus flavus et tenuis, immundum judicabit sacerdos: macula nigra est, lepra capitis aut barbae est.

31. And if the priest look on the plague of the scall, and, behold, it be not in sight deeper than the skin, and that there is no black hair in it; then the priest shall shut up him that hath the plague of the scall seven days:

31. Si autem inspexerit sacerdos plagam maculae nigrae, et superficies ejus non fuerit profundior cute, nec pilus niger in ea, includet sacerdos plagam maculae nigrae septem diebus.

32. And in the seventh day the priest shall look on the plague: and, behold, if the scall spread not, and there be in it no yellow hair, and the scall be not in sight deeper than the skin;

32. Et quum inspexerit sacerdos die septima, si non creverit macula illa nigra, nec in ea fuerit pilus, et aspectus maculae nigrae non fuerit profundior cute:

33. He shall be shaven, but the scall shall he not shave; and the priest shall shut up him that hath the scall seven days more:

33. Tune radetur, sed maculam nigram non radet, includetque sacerdos maculam nigram septem diebus secundo.

34. And in the seventh day the priest shall look on the scall: and, behold, if the scall be not spread in the skin, nor be in sight deeper than the skin; then the priest shall pronounce him clean: and he shall wash his clothes, and be clean.

34. Postea, inspiciet sacerdos maculam nigram die septima: et, si non creverit macula nigra in cute, nec superfides ejus profundior fuerit cute, mundum judicabit eum sacerdos: lavabitque vestimenta sua, et mundus erit.

35. But if the scall spread much in the skin after his cleansing;

35. Si autem crescendo creverit macula per cutera post purificationem suam,

36. Then the priest shall look on him: and, behold, if the scall be spread in the skin, the priest shall not seek for yellow hair; he is unclean.

36. Tune inspiciet eam sacerdos: et, si creverit macula illa in cute, non requiret ad examen sacerdos pilum flavum: immundus est.

37. But if the scall be in his sight at a stay, and that there is black hair grown up therein; the scall is healed, he is clean: and the priest shall pronounce him clean.

37. Quod si in oculis ejus constiterit macula, et pilus niger fuerit in ea, sanata est macula illa, mundus est, et mundum judicabit eum sacerdos.

38. If a man also or a woman have in the skin of their flesh bright spots, even white bright spots;

38. Quum in cute carnis viri aut mulieris fuerint maculae, maculm inquam albae.

39. Then the priest shall look: and, behold, if the bright spots in the skin of their flesh be darkish white; it is a freckled spot that groweth in the skin; he is clean.

39. Inspiciet sacerdos, et, si in cute carnis corum fuerint maculae albae, subnigrae (vel, contractae,) macula alba est quod floret in cute, mundus est.

40. And the man whose hair is fallen off his head, he is bald; yet is he clean.

40. Vir quum depilatum fuerit caput ejus, calvus est, mundus est.

41. And he that hath his hair fallen off from the part of his head toward his face, he is forehead bald: yet is he clean.

41. Quod si ex parte faciei suae caput habuerit depilatum, recalvaster est, mundus est.

42. And if there be in the bald head, or bald forehead, a white reddish sore, it is a leprosy sprung up in his bald head, or his bald forehead.

42. Quod si in calvitio ejus aut parte depilata fuerit plaga alba, subrufa, lepra germinans est in calvitie, vel parte ejus depilata.

43. Then the priest shall look upon it: and, behold, if the rising of the sore be white reddish in his bald head, or in his bald forehead, as the leprosy appeareth in the skin of the flesh;

43. Aspiciet ergo eum sacerdos: et, si tumor plagae albus, rufus in calvitio ejus aut parte depilata, sicut species leprae in cute carnis,

44. He is a leprous man, he is unclean: the priest shall pronounce him utterly unclean; his plague is in his head.

44. Vir leprosus est, immundus est: contaminando contaminabit illum sacerdos: in capite ejus est plaga ejus.

45. And the leper in whom the plague is, his clothes shall be rent, and his head bare, and he shall put a covering upon his upper lip, and shall cry, Unclean, unclean.

45. Leprosi autem in quo fuerit plaga illa, vestimenta erunt scissa, et caput ejus nudum, et pilum labri operiet, et Immundus, immundus sum clamabit.

46. All the days wherein the plague shall be in him he shall be defiled; he is unclean: he shall dwell alone; without the camp shall his habitation be.

46. Cunctis diebus quibus fuerit plaga in eo, contaminabitur, immudus est: seorsum habitabit: extra castra mansio ejus erit.

47. The garment also that the plague of leprosy is in, whether it be a woollen garment, or a linen garment;

47. Si in veste fnerit plaga leprae, in veste lanea, aut in veste linea,

48. Whether it be in the warp, or woof; of linen, or of woollen; whether in a skin, or in any thing made of skin;

48. Aut in stamine, aut in subtegmine ex lino, aut ex lana, aut in pelle, aut in quovis opere pelliceo:

49. And if the plague be greenish or reddish in the garment, or in the skin, either in the warp, or in the woof, or in any thing of skin; it is a plague of leprosy, and shall be shewed unto the priest:

49. Et fuerit plaga illa viridis aut rufa in veste, aut in stamine, vel in subtegmine, vel in quovis opere pelliceo, plaga leprae est, ostendetur sacerdoti.

50. And the priest shall look upon the plague, and shut up it that hath the plague seven days:

50. Et inspiciet sacerdos plagam, includetque plagam illam septera diebus.

51. And he shall look on the plague on the seventh day: if the plague be spread in the garment, either in the warp, or in the woof, or in a skin, or in any work that is made of skin; the plague is a fretting leprosy; it is unclean.

51. Postea inspiciet plagam illam die septimo: si creverlt plaga illa per vestera, vel per subtegmen, vel pellem in omni opere pelliceo, lepra corodentis plagae est, immunda est.

52. He shall therefore burn that garment, whether warp or woof, in woollen or in linen, or any thing of skin, wherein the plague is: for it is a fretting leprosy; it shall be burnt in the fire.

52. Comburetque vestem, vel stamen, vel subtegmen ex lana, vel ex lino, vel quovis opus pelliceum in quo fuerit plaga illa: quia lepra corrodens est, igni comburetur.

53. And if the priest shall look, and, behold, the plague be not spread in the garment, either in the warp, or in the woof, or in any thing of skin;

53. Quod si, ubi inspexerit sacerdos, ecce non creverit plaga illa in veste, vel in stamine, vel in subtegmine, vel in quovis opere pelliceo.

54. Then the priest shall command that they wash the thing wherein the plague is, and he shall shut it up seven days more:

54. Tune praecipiet sacerdos, et lavabunt id in quo est plaga: et recludet illud septem diebus secundo.

55. And the priest shall look on the plague, after that it is washed: and, behold, if the plague have not changed his colour, and the plague be not spread; it is unclean; thou shalt burn it in the fire; it is fret inward, whether it be bare within or without.

55. Inspiciet vero sacerdos, postquam lotum fuerit, plagam illam: et, si non mutaverit plaga illa colorem suum, nec plaga creverit, immunda est, igni combures illud: corrosio est in calvitio ejus vel in parte ejus depilata.

56. And if the priest look, and, behold, the plague be somewhat dark after the washing of it; then he shall rend it out of the garment, or out of the skin, or out of the warp, or out of the woof:

56. Quod sidum inspexerit sacerdos, ecce, subobscura fuerit plaga postquam lota fuit, abscindet eam e veste, vel epelle, vel e stamine, vel e subtegmine

57. And if it appear still in the garment, either in the warp, or in the woof, or in any thing of skin; it is a spreading plague: thou shalt burn that wherein the plague is with fire.

57. Quod si comspecta fureit ultra in veste, vel in stamine, vel in subtegmine, vel in quovis opere pelliceo lepra germinans est, igni combures illud in quo fuerit, lavabitur secundo, et mundum erit.

58. And the garment, either warp or woof, or whatsoever thing of skin it be, which thou shalt wash, if the plague be departed from them, then it shall be washed the second time, and shall be clean.

58. Vestis autem, sive stamen, sive, subtegmen, aut quoivis opus pelliceum quod laveris, si recesserit ab eis plagra, lavabitur secundo, et mundum erit.

59. This is the law of the plague of leprosy in a garment of woollen or linen, either in the warp, or woof, or any thing of skins, to pronounce it clean, or to pronounce it unclean.

59. Haec est lex leprae vestimenti lanei, vel linei, vel staminis, vel subtegminis, vel cujusvis operis pellicei ad judicandum illud mundum vel immundum.


2. When a man shall have in the skin. Since every eruption was not the leprosy, and did not render a man unclean, when God appoints the priests to be the judges, He distinguishes by certain marks a common eruption from the leprosy; and then subjoins the difference between the various kinds of leprosy. For the disease was not always incurable; but, only when the blood was altogether corrupted, so that the skin itself had become hardened by its corrosion, or swollen by its diseased state. This, then, must be observed in the first place, that the Greek and Latin word lepra, and the Hebrew צרעת tzaragmath, extend further than to the incurable disease, which medical men call elephantiasis 44     LadrerieFr. both on account of the hardness of the skin, and also its mottled color; not, however, that there is an entire agreement between the thickness of the man’s skin and that of an elephant, but because this disease produces insensibility of the skin. This the Greeks call Ψώρα, and if it be not a kind of leprosy, it is nearly allied to it. Thus we see that there was a distinction between the scab and leprosy; just as now-a-days, if it were necessary to judge respecting the itch, (which is commonly called the disease of St. Menanus, 55     St. Mehan — Fr. C. probably wrote Melanus. St. Mean, or Melanus, was a Welshman, who founded the monastery of Gael, now called St. Meen’s, of which he became abbot, and where he died. At his tomb wonderful cures were effected, chiefly of cutaneous diseases, especially “itch and scab, to which a mineral well, which bears the name of the saint, and in which the patient bathes, seems greatly to contribute,” quoth honest Alban Butler. the marks must be observed, which distinguish it from leprosy. But, as to the various kinds of leprosy, I confess that I am not a physician, so as to discuss them accurately, and I purposely abstain from close inquiry about them, because I am persuaded that the disease here treated of affected the Israelites in an extraordinary manner, which we are now unacquainted with; for what do we now know of a leprous house? Indeed it is probable that, since heathen writers knew that the Jewish people suffered from this disease, they laid hold of it as the ground of their falsehood, that all the descendants of Abraham were infected with the itch, and were driven away from Egypt, lest others should catch it from them. That 66     The reference here, I think, ought to be Josephus, Jewish Antiq., Book 3. ch. 11. Section 4. See also, “Against Apion,” Book 1. Section 25, et seq. Tacitus, Hist. v. 3. Justin, 36. 2. this was an ancient calumny appears from Josephus, both in the ninth book of his Antiquities, and in his Treatise against Apion; and it is repeated both by C. Tacitus and Justin. Yet I make no doubt that the Egyptians, a very proud nation, in order to efface the memory of their own disgrace, and of the vengeance inflicted upon them by God, invented this lie, and thus grossly turned against this innocent people what had happened to themselves, when they were smitten with boils and blains. But we shall see hereafter, amongst God’s curses, that He chastised His people with the same plagues as He had inflicted on the Egyptians:

"The Lord will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scab,” etc. (Deuteronomy 28:27.)

Whence it may be probably inferred, that God avenged the crimes of His ancient people with special judgments, which are now unknown to us; just as afterwards new diseases arose, from which those in old times were free. At any rate, Josephus, by clear and solid arguments, exposes the absurdity of this accusation, that Moses was driven from Egypt with a crowd of exiles, lest they should infect the country with their disease; because, if they had been universally affected with this malady, he never would have imposed such severe laws for separating the lepers from general society.

God first commands that, whenever a suspicion of leprosy arose, the man was to present himself to the priest; if any symptom of leprosy appeared, He commands him to be shut up for a period of seven days, until it should appear from the progress of the disease that it was incurable leprosy. That God should have appointed the priests to be judges, and those, too, only of the highest order, is a proof that His spiritual service was rather regarded than mere bodily health. If any shall inquire whether leprosy is not a contagious disease, and whether it be not therefore expedient that all who were affected by it should be removed from intercourse with others, I admit, indeed, that such is the case, but I deny that this was the main object in view. For, in process of time, physicians would have been better able to decide by their art and skill: whereas God enjoined this decision upon the priests alone, and gave them the rule whereby they were to judge. Nor did He appoint the Levites indiscriminately, but only the sons of Aaron, who were the highest order, in order that the authority of the decision might be greater. It was, then, by a gross error, or rather impudence, that the Papal priests (sacrifici) assumed to themselves this jurisdiction. It was (they say) the office of the chief priests under the Law to distinguish between the kinds of leprosy; and, therefore, the same right is transferred to the bishops. But they carry the mockery still further: the official 77     Monsieur I’official, etc. — Fr. the bishop’s representative, sits as the legitimate judge; he calls in physicians and surgeons, from whose answers he pronounces what he confesses he is ignorant of himself. Behold how cleverly they accommodate a legal rite to our times! The mockery, however, is still more disgusting, when in another sense they extend to the whole tribe of priests what they have said to belong solely to the bishops; for, since the sin under which all labor is a spiritual leprosy, they thence infer that all are excluded from the congregation of the faithful until they shall have been purged and received by absolution, which they hold to be the common office of all the priests. They afterwards add, that judgment cannot be pronounced till the cause is heard, and so conclude that confession is necessary. But, if they choose to have recourse to subtleties, reason would rather conduct us to the opposite conclusion; for God did not desire the priests to take cognizance of a hidden disease, but only after the manifest symptoms had appeared: hence it will follow, that it is preposterous to bring secret sins to judgment, and that wretched men are dragged to their confession contrary to all law and justice. But, setting aside all these absurdities, an analogy must be observed between us and God’s ancient people. He of old forbade the external uncleanness of the flesh to be tolerated in His people. By Christ’s coming, the typical. figure has ceased; but we are taught that all uncleanness, whereby the purity of His services is defiled, is not to be cherished, or borne with amongst us. And surely excommunication answers to this ceremony; since by it the Church is purified, lest corruptions should everywhere assail it, if wicked and guilty persons occupied a place in it promiscuously with the good. The command of God that, whilst the disease was obscure and questionable, the infected person should be shut up for seven days, recommends moderation to us, lest any, who is still curable, should be condemned before his time. In fact, this medium is to be observed, that the judge should not be too remiss and hasty in pardoning, and still that he should temper severity by justice; and especially that he should not be too precipitate in his judgment. What we translate “shall pronounce him clean, or unclean,” is in Hebrew, “shall clean, or unclean him;” thus the dignity of the judgment is more fully established, as though it had proceeded from God Himself; and assuredly no medical skill could declare on the seventh day a leprosy to be incurable, respecting which there was doubt so short a time before, unless God should in some special manner discover the uncleanness, and guide the eyes of the priests by His Spirit.

29 If a man or woman. What is here spoken of is not the baldness which so often occurs in old age; but that loss of hair, which is the consequence of leprosy, is distinguished from any other, the cause of which may be some indisposition, and which yet does not pollute a man. But, inasmuch as some kinds of baldness do not so greatly differ at first sight from leprosy, — such, for instance, as ophiasis and alopecia 88     “Ophiasis, (ὀφιασις Gr.,) a disease, in which the hair grows thin, and falls off, leaving the parts smooth and winding like the folds of a serpent.”
   "Alopecia, (ἀλωπεκια of ἀλωπηξ, a fox, Gr., the fox-evil,) a disease called the scurf, when the hairs fall from the head by the roots.” — Bailey’s Dictionary.

   "These regulations will be better understood from the fact, that the Orientals distinguish two sorts of baldness. The first is that which begins from the forehead, and the other that which begins from behind. The Hebrew has a distinct name for each of these. By the Arabian poets also, the former is distinguished as the ‘noble baldness,’ because it generally proceeded from the wearing of a helmet; whilst the latter was stigmatized as ‘servile baldness.’ With this understanding, let us read the terms ‘bald’ קרח, (kareach) in verse 40, and ‘forehead-bald’ גבח (gibeach) in verse 41. (See Michaelis, iii. 285.)Illustrated Comment., in loco.
— it is therefore necessary to distinguish them.

44. He is a leprous man, he is unclean. In the first part of the verse he says that the leprous man must be counted unclean; but, in the latter part, he commands the priest to give sentence against this uncleanness, lest it should be carried into the congregation. On this ground he says, “his plague is upon his head,” which is as much as to say, that he is sentenced to just ignominy, for Moses takes it for granted that God holds up to public infamy whomsoever He smites with leprosy, and thence reminds them that they justly and deservedly bear this punishment.

The two following verses contain the form in which the sentence is executed, viz., that the man should wear a rent in his garment, which is to be the mark of his disgrace, that he should walk with his head bare, and with his mouth covered, (for this I take to be the meaning of the covering of his lip;) and besides this, that he is to be the proclaimer of his own pollution; finally, that he must dwell without the camp, as if banished from communication with men. Moses here 99     Add. Fr., “en parlant de l’oster du camp;” in speaking of putting him out of the camp. refers to the existing state of the people, as long as they sojourned in the desert; for after they began to inhabit the land, the lepers were driven out of the towns and villages to dwell by themselves. I know not whether the opinion of some is a sound one, that they were enjoined to cover the mouth or lip, lest by the infection of their breath they should injure others. My own view is rather, that because they were civilly dead, they also bore the symbol of death in having the face covered — as their separation deprived them of the ordinary life of men. Where we translate “shall cry, Unclean, unclean,” some, taking the verb, יקרא yikra, 1010     יקרא. He shall cry, or call out. Had it been passive it would have been יקרא There is, therefore, no ambiguity as to the voice, except to such as deny the authority of the points, or read Hebrew without them. — W indefinitely, construe it passively, “shall be called,:” and I admit that in many passages it has the same force as if it were in the plural number. But, because the repetition of the word “unclean” is emphatic, it is probable that the word is not to be taken simply for “to call,” (vocare;) and therefore, I rather incline to the opinion that, by the command of the Law, they warned all with their own mouth not to approach them, lest any one should incautiously pollute himself by touching them; although their uncleanness was perhaps proclaimed publicly, so that all might mutually exhort each other to beware And Jeremiah seems to allude to this passage, where, speaking 1111     Fr., “en parlant des pollutions de la ville de Jerusalem, il dit que tous pourront bien crier, ‘Souillez, retirez vous, retirez vous,’” in the speaking of the pollutions of the city of Jerusalem, he says, that all might well cry, “Ye polluted, depart ye, depart ye.” A. V. “It is unclean, (or Margin, ye polluted,) depart, depart,” etc. of the defilements of the city, he says that all men cried

"Unclean; fly ye, fly ye.” (Lamentations 4:15)

58. And the garment. This kind of disease, God, in his infinite clemency, has willed to be unknown to us. He has indeed subjected woolen garments and furs to the ravages of the moth, and vessels of various kinds to rust, and other corruptions; in fact, has surrounded the human race with rottenness, in order that everywhere our eyes should light on the punishment of sin; but what the leprosy of garments may be, is unknown. But its expiation under the Law admonished his ancient people that the must carefully beware of even external uncleanness, so as to cleanse themselves “from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit.” It has appeared to me sufficient to touch upon the sum of the matter, because it would be almost superfluous labor to insist upon the words, although I should be unwilling to condemn the diligence of those who examine these points also; but it is not my purpose to perform the office of the grammarian.

Of the Purifying of the Lepers 1212     Heading added from Fr., “De la purgation des lepreux."

Leviticus 14

Leviticus 14:1-57

1. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

1. Et loquuntus est Jehova ad Mosen, dicendo:

2. This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought unto the priest:

2. Hace erit lex leprosi die pugationis suae, nempe adducetur ad sacerdotem.

3. And the priest shall go forth out of the camp: and the priest shall look, and, behold, if the plague of leprosy be healed in the leper;

3. Et egredietur sacerdos foras extra castra, et inspiciet sacerdos: et su sanata fuerit lepra a leproso;

4. Then shall the priest command to take for him that is to be cleansed two birds alive and clean, and cedar-wood, and scarlet, and hyssop:

4. Tunc praecipiet sacrdos ut tollantur ei qui mundatur dae aves vivae, mundae, et lignum cedrinum, et coccus vermiculi, et hyssopus.

5. And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water:

5. Et praecipiet sacerdos ut mactetur avis una super vas fictile super aquas vivas.

6. As for the living bird, he shall take it, and the cedar-wood, and the scarlet, and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water:

6. Avem vivam tollet, et lignum cedrinum, et cuccum vermiculi, et hyssopum: et tinget illa, et avem vivam in sanguine avis mactatae super aquas vivas.

7. And he shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose into the open field.

7. Et sparget super eum qui mundatur a lepra septem vicibus, mundabitque emu: et emitet avem vivam in superficiem agri.

8. And he that is to be cleansed shall wash his clothes, and shave off all his hair, and wash himself in water, that he may be clean: and after that he shall come into the camp, and shall tarry abroad out of his tent seven days.

8. Et lavabit qui emundatur vestimenta sua, et radet omnem ilum suum, lavabitque se aqua, et mundus erit: postea ingredietur castra, habitabitque extra tabernaculum suum septem diebus.

9. But it shall be on the seventh day, that he shall shave all his hair off his head, and his beard and his eyebrows, even all his hair he shall shave off: and he shall wash his cloathes, also he shall wash his flesh in water, and he shall be clean.

9. Die autem septimo radet omnem pilum suum, caput suum, et barbam suam, et supercilia oculorum suorum, atque omnem reliquum pilum summ radet: lavbit quoque vestimenta sua, postquam laverit carnem suam aqua, et purificabit se.

10. And on the eighth day he shall take two he-lambs without blemish, and one ewe-lamb of the first year without blemish, and three tenth-deals of fine flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, and one log of oil.

10. Die autem octavo tallet duos agnos immaculatos, et agnam unam anniculam immaculatam, et tres decimas mixturae minha mixta oleao, et sextarium unum olei.

11. And the priest that maketh him clean shall present the man that is to be made clean, and those things, before the Lord, at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation:

11. Statuetque sacerdos qui mundat virum mundandum, et illa coram Jehova ad ostium tabernaculi conventionis.

12. And the priest shall take one he-lamb, and offer him for a trespass-offering, and the log of oil, and wave them for a wave offering before the Lord:

12. Tolletque sacerdos agnum unum quem offert in sacrificium pro delicto, et sextarium olei, et agitabit ea agitatione coram Jehova.

13. And he shall slay the lamb in the place where he shall kill the sin-offering and the burnt offering, in the holy place: for as the sin-offering is the priest’s, so is the trespass offering: it is most holy:

13. Mactabitque agnum in loco in quo mactare solet oblationem pro peccato, et holocaustum nempe in loco sanctitatis: quia sicut hostia pro peccato, ita oblatio pro delicto, est sacerdotis, sanctitas sanctitatum est.

14. And the priest shall take some of the blood of the trespass offering, and the priest shall put it upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot:

14. Accipietque sacerdos de sanguine oblationis pro delicto, et ponet super tenerum auris mundandi dextrae, et super pollicem manus ejus dextrae, et super pollicem pedis ejus dextri.

15. And the priest shall take some of the log of oil, and pour it into the palm of his own left hand:

15. Accipiet praeterea sacerdos de sextario olei, et fundet in manum suam sinistram.

16. And the priest shall dip his right finger in the oil that is in his left hand, and shall sprinkle of the oil with his finger seven times before the Lord:

16. Tingetque ipse digitum suum dextrum in oleum quod est in manu sua sinistra, spargetque de oleo digito suo septem vicibus coram Jehova.

17. And of the rest of the oil that is in his hand shall the priest put upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot, upon the blood of the trespass offering:

17. De residuo vero olei quod in manu sua ponet sacerdos super tenerum auris mundandi dextrae, et super pollicem manus ejus dextrae, et super pollicem pedis ejus dextri, ultra sanguinem oblationis pro delicto.

18. And the remnant of the oil that is in the priest’s hand he shall pour upon the head of him that is to be cleansed: and the priest shall make an atonement for him before the Lord.

18. Quod autem superest de oleo quod est in manu ejus, ponet super caput mundandi: expiabitque eum sacerdos coram Jehova.

19. And the priest shall offer the sin offering, and make an atonement for him that is to be cleansed from his uncleanness; and afterward he shall kill the burnt offering:

19. Faciet item sacerdos oblationem pro peccato, emundabitque mundandum ab immunditia sua, et postea mactabit holocaustum.

20. And the priest shall offer the burnt offering and the meat offering upon the altar: and the priest shall make an atonement for him, and he shall be clean.

20. Et ascendere faciet sacerdos holocaustum et minham super altare expiabitque eum sacerdos, et mundus erit.

21. And if he be poor, and cannot get so much; then he shall take one lamb for a trespass offering to be waved, to make an atonement for him, and one tenth-deal of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering, and a log of oil;

21. Si autem pauper fuerit, et manus ejus non possit assequi, tum accipiet agnum unum in hostiam pro delicto in elevationem ad expiandum illum, et decimam partem similae unam permistam oleo pro minha, sextariumque olei.

22. And two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, such as he is able to get; and the one shall be a sin offering, and the other a burnt offering.

22. Duos praeterea turtures, aut duos filios columbae, quodcunque apprehendere poterit manus ejus: eritque unus in hostiam pro pecccato, et alter pro holocausto.

23. And he shall bring them on the eighth day for his cleansing unto the priest, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, before the Lord.

23. Afferetque ea octavo die purificationis suae ad sacerdotem, ad ostium tabernaculi conventionis coram Jehova.

24. And the priest shall take the lamb of the trespass offering, and the log of oil, and the priest shall wave them for a wave offering before the Lord:

24. Suscipietque sacerdos agnum oblationis pro delicto, et sextarium olei, atque agitabit ea sacerdos elevationem coram Jehova.

25. And he shall kill the lamb of the trespass offering, and the priest shall take some of the blood of the trespass offering, and put it upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot:

25. Mactabitque agnum oblationis pro delicto, ac tollet sacerdos de sanguine oblationis pro delicto, ponetque super tenerum auris mundandi dextrin, et super pollicem manus ejus dextrae, et super pollicem pedis ejus dextri.

26. And the priest shall pour of the oil into the palm of his own left hand:

26. De oleo quoque fundet sacerdos in manum suam sinistram.

27. And the priest shall sprinkle with his right finger some of the oil that is in his left hand seven times before the Lord:

27. Spargetque sacerdos digito suo dextro de oleo quod est in manu sua sinistra septem vicibus coram Jehova.

28. And the priest shall put of the oil that is in his hand upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot, upon the place of the blood of the trespass offering:

28. Ponet quoque sacerdos de oleo quod est in manu sua super tenerum auris emundandi dextrae, et super pollicem manus ejus dextrae, et super pollicem pedis ejus dextri, in loco sanguinis oblationis pro delicto.

29. And the rest of the oil that is in the priest’s hand he shall put upon the head of him that is to be cleansed, to make an atonement for him before the Lord.

29. Quod autem superest de oleo quod est in manu sacerdotis, ponet super caput emundandi ad emundandum illum coram Jehova.

30. And he shall offer the one of the turtledoves, or of the young pigeons, such as he can get;

30. Faciet item unum de turturibus, vel ex pullis columbarum, ex iis quae apprehenderit manus ejus.

31. Even such as he is able to get, the one for a sin offering, and the other. for a burnt offering, with the meat offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for him that is to be cleansed before the Lord.

31. Quod inquam apprehenderit manus ejus, faciet unum pro peccato, et alterum in holocaustum cum minha, emundabitque sacerdos mundaudum coram Jehova.

32. This is the law of him in whom is the plague of leprosy, whose hand is not able to get that which pertaineth to his cleansing.

32. Ita est lex ejus in quo fuerat plaga leprae, cujus manus non poterat apprehendere mundationem sui.

33. And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,

33. Et loquutus est Jehova ad Mosen et Aharon, dicendo:

34. When ye be come into the land of Canaan, which I give to you for a possession, and I put the plague of leprosy in a house of the land of your possession;

34. Quum ingressi fueritis terram Chanaan, quam ego do vobis in possessionem, et posuero plagam leprae in domo terrae possessionis vestrae:

35. And he that owneth the house shall come and tell the priest, saying, It seemeth to me there is as it were a plague in the house:

35. Veniet ille cujus erit domus, renuuntiabitque sacerdoti, dicendo,. Tanquam plaga leprae visa est mihi in domo.

36. Then the priest shall command that they empty the house, before the priest go into it to see the plague, that all that is in the house be not made unclean: and afterward the priest shall go in to see the house:

36. Tunc praecipiet sacerdos, et expurgabunt domum antequam ingrediatur sacerdos, ut dispiciat plagam, ne polluatur quicquam quod sit in ea domo: et postea ingredietur sacerdos ad contemplandam domum

37. And he shall look on the plague, and, behold, if the plague be in the walls of the house with hollow strakes, greenish or reddish, which in sight are lower than the wall;

37. Tunc considerabit plagam ipsam: et siquidem in plaga quae est in parietibus domus, fuerint nigredines, flavedines, vel rubedines: et aspectus eorum fuerit depressior reliquo pariete:

38. Then the priest shall go out of the house to the door of the house, and shut up the house seven days:

38. Egredietur sacerdos e domo ad ostium domus, et claudet domum septem diebus.

39. And the priest shall come again the seventh day, and shall look: and, behold, if the plague be spread in the walls of the house;

39. Postea revertetur sacerdos die septimo, et contemplabitur: et siquidem creverit plaga in parietibus domus,

40. Then the priest shall command that they take away the stones in which the plague is, and they shall cast them into an unclean place without the city:

40. Tunc praecipiet sacerdos, et eruent lapides in quibus fuerit plaga illa, projicientque illos extra civitatem in locum immundum:

41. And he shall cause the house to be scraped within round about, and they shall pour out the dust that they scrape off without the city into an unclean place:

41. Domum autem radere jubebit intrinsecus per circuitum, et effundent pulveremquem abraserint extra civitatem in locum immundum.

42. And they shall take other stones, and put them in the place of those stones; and he shall take other morter, and shall plaister the house.

42. Et accipient lapides altos quos reponent loco lapidum illorum, et latum aliud capient, et complanabunt domum.

43. And if the plague come again, and break out in the house, after that he hath taken away the stones, and after he hath scraped the house, and after it is plaistered;

43. Quod si reversa fuerit plaga, et effloreat in illa domo postquam erui fecit lapides, et abradi domum, et posteaquam obducta fuit:

44. Then the priest shall come and look, and, behold, if the plague be spread in the house, it is a fretting leprosy in the house: it is unclean.

44. Tunc ingredietur sacerdos, et considerabit: et siquidem creverit plaga in domo, lepra corrodens est ipsa in domo, immunda est.

45. And he shall break down the house, the stones of it, and the timber thereof, and all the morter of the house; and he shall carry them forth out of the city into an unclean place.

45. Destruetque domum, et lapides ejus, et ligna ejus, atque universum lutum domus, educetque extra civitatem in locum immundum.

46. Moreover he that goeth into the house all the while that it is shut up shall be unclean until the even.

46. Qui autem ingressus fuerit domum illam omnibus diebus quibus jusserit eam claudi, immundus erit usque ad vesperam.

47. And he that lieth in the house shall wash his clothes; and he that eateth in the house shall wash his clothes.

47. Et qui dormierit in ea domo, lavabit vestimenta sua: quique comederit in domo, lavabit vestimenta sua.

48. And if the priest shall come in, and look upon it, and, behold, the plague hath not spread in the house, after the house was plaistered: then the priest shall pronounce the house clean, because the plague is healed.

48. Si autem ingrediendo ingressus fuerit sacerdos: contemplatusque viderit non crevisse plagam in ipsa domo, postquam ipsa obducta fuit: mundam judicabit sacerdos domum, quia sanata sit plaga illa.

49. And he shall take to cleanse the house two birds, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop:

49. Tollet itaque ad purificandam domum duos passeres, et lignum cedrinum, et coccum vermiculi, ct hyssopum.

50. And he shall kill the one of the birds in an earthen vessel over running water:

50. Mactabitque passerera unum super vas fictile, super aquas vivas.

51. And he shall take the cedar wood, and the hyssop, and the scarlet, and the living bird, and dip them in the blood of the slain bird, and in the running water, and sprinkle the house seven times:

51. Capietque lignum cedrinum, et hyssopum, et coccum vermiculi, et passerem vivum, et tinget illa in sanguine passeris mactati, et in aqua vivente: aspergetque domum septem vicibus.

52. And he shall cleanse the house with the blood of the bird, and with the running water, and with the living bird, and with the cedar wood, and with the hyssop, and with the scarlet:

52. Purificabitque domum illam sanguine passeris, et aqua viva, et passere vivo, lignoque cedrino, et hyssopo, et cocco vermiculi.

53. But he shall let go the living bird out of the city into the open fields, and make an atonement for the house: and it shall be clean.

53. Postea dimittet passerem vivum extra civitatem super faciem agri, purgabitque domum, et munda erit.

54. This is the law for all manner of plague of leprosy, and scall,

54. Ista est lex omnis plagae leprae, et maculae nigrae,

55. And for the leprosy of a garment, and of a house,

55. Et leprae vestis, et domus,

56. And for a rising, and for a scab, and for a bright spot:

56. Et tumoris, et scabiei, et candentis maculae:

57. To teach when it is unclean, and when it is clean: this is the law of leprosy.

57. Ad docendum quid agendum, quo die immundus et quo die mundus declarandus est.


2 This shall be the law of the leper. Moses now treats of the manner in which those who were cured of leprosy were to be cleansed and restored. Thus far he had shewn whom the priest was to admit into the holy congregation, and account to be clean; he now prescribes the rite of expiation, whereby the people might learn how greatly God abominates the uncleanness, which He commands to be purified by a solemn propitiation; and also that he who is healed may acknowledge that he is rescued from death by God’s special blessing, and may in future be more diligent in seeking to be pure. For there were two parts in the sacrifice here demanded-purification and thanksgiving. But we must ever keep in view the object which I have stated in the last chapter, that the Israelites were instructed by this ceremony to serve God in chastity and purity, and to keep far away from those defilements, whereby religion would be profaned. Since, then, leprosy was a kind of pollution, God was unwilling that those who were cured of it should be received into the holy congregation, 1313     “Rentrassent au rang de ses enfans;” should be restored to the rank of His children. — Fr. except after the offering of a sacrifice; as if the priest reconciled them after excommunication. It will now be well to discuss the points which are worthy of consideration. The office of cleansing is imposed on the priest; yet he is at the same time forbidden to cleanse any except those who were already pure and clean. In this, on the one hand, God claims for Himself the honor of the cure, lest men should assume it; and also establishes the discipline which He would have to reign in His Church. To make the matter clearer, it belongs to God only to forgive sins; what, then, remains to man, except to be the witness and herald of the grace which He confers? God’s minister can, therefore, absolve none whom God has not before absolved. In sum, absolution is not in the power or will of man: the minister only sustains an inferior part, to endorse God’s judgment, or rather to proclaim God’s sentence. Hence that remarkable expression of Isaiah, “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions, O Israel, and none but me.1414     The words in italics seem to be added paraphrastically by C. (Isaiah 43:25.) In which sense, too, God everywhere promises by the prophets that the people shall be clean, when He shall have cleansed them. Meanwhile, however, this does not prevent those who are called to the office of teaching from purging the uncleanness of the people in a certain peculiar way. For, since faith alone purifies the heart, in so far as it receives the testimony which God proffers by the mouth of man, the minister who testifies that we are reconciled to God, is justly reckoned to take away our pollution. This expiation is still in force, though the ceremony has long ceased to be in use. But, since the spiritual healing, which we receive by faith, proceeds from the mere grace of God, the ministry of man does not at all detract from His glory. Let us, then, remember that these two things are perfectly consistent with each other, that God is the sole author of our purity; and yet that the method, which He uses for our justification, must not on that account be neglected. And this is properly referred to discipline, that whosoever has been once cast out of the holy congregation by public authority, must not be received again except upon professing penitence and a new life. We must observe, too, that this jurisdiction was given to the priests not only on the ground that they represented Christ, but also in respect to the ministry, which we have in common with them.

3 And the priest shall go forth. This is the examination, which was more fully treated of in the last chapter, without which it was not lawful to receive him who had been once rejected. The priest’s command, which is mentioned immediately afterwards, I refer to the Levites, some one of whom probably accompanied the priest to prepare the sacrifice, that thus the priests might only discharge the principal duty. The sum of the rite respecting the two birds tends to this, that the cleansing from leprosy was a kind of resurrection Two birds were placed before their eyes; the liberty of one was purchased by the blood of the other; because the former was not let go until it had been first dipped in the blood and the water; and thus the matter of sprinkling was prepared for the man’s purification. The sevenfold repetition was intended to impress more deeply on men’s memories a continual meditation on God’s grace; for we know that by this number perfection is often expressed in Scripture. With the same object, he who had been cured shaved his hair, and washed in water. Yet he did not return home on the first day, but on the eighth. Meantime, on the seventh day he shaved his beard, and his eyebrows, and all the hair of his head; he washed himself and his garments, and then proceeded to the sacrifice. So difficult is it to accustom men to a serious acknowledgment of the two points, to hold their vice in detestation, and worthily to estimate the grace of God whereby they are delivered.

10. And on the eighth. As infants on the eighth day after they were cleansed from the uncleanness which they had brought from the womb, were grafted into the Church, and made members of it; so now the eighth day is prescribed for the restoration of those who, in the cure that they have received, are as it were born again; for they are accounted dead whom the leprosy had banished from the holy congregation. A sacrifice is therefore appointed which may renew the circumcision that had been in some measure effaced. Now, the meaning of all the things here mentioned is not clear to myself, and I would not have my readers too curious respecting them. Some may be probably accounted for; the right ear, the thumb of the right hand, and the great toe of the right foot, were sprinkled with the blood of the offering, because the leper was restored to the ordinary habits and customs of life, so as to have freedom of walk and action, and free conversational intercourse; for in the ear there is a mutual correspondence between speaking and hearing. The head is anointed, or cleansed with the oil, that nothing impure should remain in his whole body 1515     Addition in French, “mais d’esplucher tout par le menu, je ne l’oserois entrependre, et ne voundrois;” but I dare not, and would not undertake to explain the whole in detail. God spare the poor and lowly, and does not compel them to offer the two lambs, lest they should be burdened beyond their means; whence it appears, that sacrifices are not estimated according to their intrinsic value, but according to the pious feeling which disposes each on liberally to offer in proportion to what is given him.

34. When ye be come into the land. Another sort of leprosy is here treated of, as to which we may not unreasonably rejoice that it is now unknown to us. But, as God had honored that people with extraordinary privileges, so it was consistent that their ingratitude should be punished by more severe penalties, if they defiled the gifts in which they excelled. It is not to be wondered at, therefore, that punishments were inflicted upon them, which it fills us with surprise and horror to hear of. It was a sad sight to behold the leprosy invading the human body; but there was something portentous to perceive it affecting their houses also, and driving out the owners and their families; for if they wittingly and voluntarily remained there, the contagion spread to themselves and all their furniture. But, since God marked with public ignominy those whose houses were struck with leprosy, He commands them to confess their guilt, and not only when the evil had made much advance, but when any suspicion of it had begun to exist. It appears, too, from the Law, that some were but lightly chastised: for, if after the priest’s inspection, in seven days the plague did not increase on the scraped walls, the possessor returned to his house. God punished others more severely, and it was necessary that the building should be utterly destroyed, because the pollution was incurable. But, although these were tokens of God’s wrath, yet, inexpiating the uncleanness, He exercised His people in the study of purity; for it was just as if He drove away from approaching His sanctuary those who came from an unclean house. The sense, then, was that. they should each of them diligently endeavor to keep their houses pure, and chaste, and free from every stain. But if, through God’s mercy, the plague ceased, a sacrifice of thanksgiving was to be offered, as for the human beings (who had been healed.) The next chapter, in which general pollutions and their purifications are not treated of, but only one kind of pollution is glanced at, which has reference to fleshly lust, would perhaps be suitably introduced under the Seventh Commandment; but it will presently appear from the context that it must be brought under this head.

Of the Pollutions which arise from Issues 1616     Heading added from Fr., “Des pollutions qui adviennent par flux."

Leviticus 15

Leviticus 15:1-33

1. And the LORD spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying,

1. Loquutus est autem Jehova ad Mosen et Aharon, dicendo,

2. Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When any man hath a running issue out of his flesh, because of his issue he is unclean.

2. Loquimini ad filios Israel, et dicite eis, Unusquisque quum semen ejus defluet de carne sua, immundus est.

3. And this shall be his uncleanness in his issue: whether his flesh run with his issue, or his flesh be stopped from his issue, it is his uncleanness.

3. Haec vero erit immunditia ejus in semine ipsius, si emittat caro ejus semen suum, vel clauserit carnem suam semine suo, immunditia ejus est.

4. Every bed whereon he lieth that hath the issue is unclean: and every thing whereon he sitteth, shall be unclean.

4. Omne stratum in quo jacuerit qui patitur fluxum seminis, immundum erit: et omne id super quo sederit, immundum erit.

5. And whosoever toucheth his bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.

5. Quicunque item tetigerit lectum ejus, lavabit vestimenta sua, posteaquam laverit sese aqua: eritque immundus usque ad vesperam.

6. And he that sitteth on any thing whereon he sat that hath the issue shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.

6. Et qui sederit super alquid super quo sederit seminifluus, lavabit vestimenta sua, posteaquam laverit se aqua: eritque immundus usque ad vesperam.

7. And he that toucheth the flesh of him that hath the issue shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.

7. Qui vero tetigerit carnem seminiflui, lavabit vestimenta sua, posteaquam laverit sese aqua: eritque immundus usque ad vesperam.

8. And if he that hath the issue spit upon him that is clean; then he shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be uncleau until the even.

8. Et si despuerit seminifluussuper mundum, lavabit vestimenta sua posteaquam laverit se aqua: eritque immundus usque ad vesperam.

9. And what saddle soever he rideth upon that hath the issue shall be unclean.

9. Et omne sagma super quo equitaverit seminifluus, immundum erit.

10. And whosoever toucheth any thing that was under him shall be unclean until the even: and he that beareth any of those things shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.

10. Atque omnis qui tetigerit omne quitquid fuerit subter eum, immundus erit usque ad vesperam et qui portaverit ea, lavabit vestimenta sua, posteaquam laverit sese aqua: eritque immundus usque ad vesperam.

11. And whomsoever he toucheth that hath the issue, and hath not rinsed his hands in water, he shalt wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.

11. Omnis autem quem tetigerit seminifluus, et manus suas non abluerit aqua, lavabit vestimenta sua: posteaquam laverit sese aqua: eritque immundus usque ad vesperam.

12. And the vessel of earth that he toucheth which hath the issue, shall be broken: and every vessel of wood shall be rinsed in water.

12. Et vas fictile quod tetigerit seminifluus, confringetur: onme auterum vas ligneum lavabitur aqua.

13. And when he that hath an issue is cleansed of his issue; then he shall number to himself seven days for his cleansing, and wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in running water, and shall be clean.

13. Quum autem mundatus fuerit seminifluus a fluxusuo, numerabit sibi septem dies ab emundatione sua, lavabitque vestimenta sua, posteaquam laverit quoque carnem suam aqua viva: et mundus erit.

14. And on the eighth day he shall take to him two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, and come before the LORD unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and give them unto the priest:

14. Die vero octava capiet sibi duos turtures, aut duos pullos columbinos, venietque coram Jehova ad ostium tabernaculi conventionis, et tradet eos sacerdoti.

15. And the priest shall offer them, the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for him before the LORD for his issue.

15. Quos sacrificabit sacerdos, unum pro peccato, et alterum in holocaustum: et emundabit illum sacerdos coram Jehova a fluxu ipsius.

16. And if any man’s seed of copulation go out from him, then he shall wash all his flesh in water, and be unclean until the even.

16. Quum autem ex aliquo egressa fuerit effusio seminis, lavabit aqua totam carnem suam: immundusque erit usque ad vesperam.

17. And every garment, and every skin, whereon is the seed of copulation, shall be washed with water, and be unclean until the even.

17. Et omnis vestis, omnisque pellis super quam fuerit aliquid de effusione seminis, lavabitur aqua et immunda erit usque ad vesperam.

18. The woman also with whom man shall lie with seed of copulation, they shall both bathe themselves in water, and be unclean until the even.

18. Mulier quoque cum quo dormierit vir patiens effusionem seminis, lavabitur aqua et immunda erit usque ad vesperam.

19. And if a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the even.

19. Mulier autem quum fuerit fluens sanguine, et erit fluxus ejus per carnem ejus, septem diebus erit in separatione sua: et omnis qui tetigerit eam, immundus erit usque ad vesperam.

20. And every thing that she lieth upon in her separation shall be unclean: every thing also that she sitteth upon shall be unclean.

20. Et omne super quo jacuerit separatione sua, immundum erit: omne quoque super quo sederit, immundum erit.

21. And whosoever toucheth her bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe hinself in water, and be unclean until the even.

21. Omnis praeterea qui tetigerit lectum ejus, lavabit vestimenta sua, et lavabit sese aqua: immundusque erit usque ad vesperam.

22. And whosoever toucheth any thing that she sat upon shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.

22. Omnis etiam qui tetigerit quamcunque sedem super quam sederit, lavabit vestimenta sua, posteaquam laverit sese aqua: immundusque erit usque ad vesperam.

23. And if it be on her bed, or on any thing whereon she sitteth, when he toucheth it, he shall be unclean until the even.

23. Quod si instrumentum aliquod fuerit super stratum ipsum, vel super sellam super quam sederit: quum tetigerit illud aliquis, immundus erit usque ad vesperam.

24. And if any man lie with her at all, and her flowers be upon him, he shall be unclean seven days; and all the bed whereon he lieth shall be unclean.

24. Quod si dormiendo dormierit quis cum ea, et fuerit immunditia ejus super eum, immundus erit septem diebus: et omne stratum super quo dormierit, immundum erit.

25. And if a woman have an issue of her blood many days out of the time of her separation, or if it run beyond the time of her separation; all the days of the issue of her uncleanness shall be as the days of her separation: she shall be unclean.

25. Mulier autem, quum fluet fluxum sanguinis ultra menses suos: cunctis diebus fluxus immunditiae suae erit sicut diebus menstrui sui, immunda est.

26. Every bed whereon she lieth all the days of her issue shall be unto her as the bed of her separation: and whatsoever she sitteth upon shall be unclean, as the uncleanness of her separation.

26. Omne stratum in quo dormierit cunctis diebus fluxus sui, sicut stratum menstrui sui erit, et omnis sedes super qua sederit, immunda erit secundum immunditiam menstrui sui.

27. And whosoever toucheth those things shall be unclean, and shall wash his clothes, and bathe himseIf in water, and be unclean until the even.

27. Quicunque tetigerit cam immundus erit, lavabitque vestimenta sua, et lavabit se aqua, immundusque erit usque ad vesperam.

28. But if she be cleansed of her issue, then she shall number to herself seven days, and after that she shall be clean.

28. Quod si mundata fuerit a fluxu suo, tunc numerabit sibi septem dies, et postea mundabitur.

29. And on the eighth day she shall take unto her two turtles, or two young pigeons, and bring them unto the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

29. Die autem octava tollet sibi duos turtures, aut duos pullos columbinos: afferetque illos ad sacerdotem ad ostium tabernaculi conventionis.

30. And the priest shall offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for her before the LORD for the issue of her uncleanness.

30. Et faciet sacerdos unum in hostiam pro peccato, et alterum in holocaustum: emundabitque illam sacerdos coram Jehova a fluxu immunditiae suae.

31. Thus shall ye separate the children of Israel from their uncleanness; that they die not in their uncleanness, when they defile my tabernacle that is among them.

31. Separabitque filios Israel ab imnmnditias suas, ne moriantur propter immunditias suas, dum polluertint tabernaculum, quod est in medio eorum.

32. This is the law of him that hath an issue, and of him whose seed goeth from him, and is defiled therewith;

32. lsta est lex patientis fluxum seminis, et ejus ex quo egreditur effusio seminis, ut sit immundus propter illam.

33. And of her that is sick of her flowers, and of him that hath an issue, of the man, and of the woman, and of him that lieth with her that is unclean.

33. Et aegrotantis in fluxu suo, et ejus qui profundit fluxum suum, sive sit masculus, sive foemina, et viri qui dormierit cum immunda.


2 When any man hath a running issue. He here alludes to other species of contamination, for which a solemn purification is required. And, first, he teaches that men are defiled by the flow of the seminal fluid, which occurs in two ways, either when it involuntarily bursts out in sleep, or when it escapes gradually in the disease, which the Greeks call γονόρ᾿ῥοια This Supplement might, as I have said, be appended to the Seventh Commandment, because every 1717     “Toute intemperance de la chair et lubricite, qu’on appelle.” — Fr. The negative is here added from the Fr indisposition arising from lust appears here to be condemned; but, if we look more closely, we shall perceive that it is a general law for the cultivation of purity, and which must not be confined to chastity alone. For this flux, arising from disease and debility, unless it be contracted from immoderate venery, has nothing in common with venereal lust. Besides, what is immediately after added concerning the menstruation of women, is connected with other forms of uncleanness and defilement. The sum then is, that the seminal-flux is reckoned among the pollutions which prevented the Israelites from entering the tabernacle, and from the external service of God; and thence the rule must always be borne in mind, that whatever proceeds from an unclean man is corrupt, and that no one can duly offer either himself, or what he possesses, to God, except he who is pure and perfect in soul and body. Thus Paul explains the end and object of this ceremony, when he exhorts believers that, being received as God’s peculiar people, they should cleanse themselves

"from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit.”
(2 Corinthians 7:1.)

But Moses further declares, that uncleanness is contracted, not only when the seed is emitted, but when it is retained; and that not only is the man himself rendered unclean, but whatever he may have touched — his bed, his seat, his saddle, his clothes; and that the contagion extends to others also, if any should have lain on the same bed, or ridden on the same saddle. Thus did God desire to impress them with horror, that they might be more accustomed to fly from all impurity. Nor would the crime have been detestable: in itself, had not spiritual purity been set forth under this external exercise and symbol. Thus, too, in (Psalm 24:3, 4), the truth of this figure is described:

"Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in His holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart."

Therefore he who was conscious of no sin in the seminal-flux, still must be reminded by this sign of the corruption of his nature; and at the same time be an example to others, that all should diligently take heed to themselves, because corruption cleaves to the whole human race. In the ablution the remedy of the evil was proposed, since the mark of ignominy induced them to repentance. It is expedient that whosoever is infected with any stain should be brought to shame, so as to be displeased with himself; but the acknowledgment of the evil would produce despair, unless the hope of pardon were associated with it. Therefore, those to whom purification was necessary, are always sent to water; and, whenever water is mentioned, the passage in St. John should be brought to mind, that Christ came “by water and blood,” to purge and expiate all uncleanness. (1 John 5:6.) Besides the water, a sacrifice of turtle doves, or two young pigeons is added; and this has reference to the same thing; viz., that purification for the unclean must be sought for elsewhere, which we have at length obtained by the sacrifice of Christ.

19. And if a woman have an issue. Women are now spoken of who suffer under a twofold issue of blood; for with almost all it occurs every month, (whence it is called menses, or menstruation,) and some labor under a constant hemorrhage. He declares both to be unclean; and, after menstruation, a certain period of separation is appointed, during which the law prohibited their cohabitation with men; but, if the blood flowed beyond the usual time, the time of purification is postponed until it ceased. Whence it appears, that in every shameful thing the Jews were reminded of their uncleanness, that thus they might be accustomed to modesty and seek after purity. And this still more clearly appears at the end of the chapter, where it is said, (v. 3l,) “Thus shall ye separate the children of Israel from their uncleanness; that they die not — when they defile my tabernacle.” God, I say, briefly sets forth His intention that He would drive away all profanation far from His people; because he desires sincerity to prevail amongst his worshippers, and cannot bear his tabernacle to be polluted by any stain.

Of other Defects which exclude
Men from Tabernacle 1818     Heading added from Fr., “D’autres vices qui excluent les hommes du Tabernacle."

Deuteronomy 23

Deuteronomy 23:1, 2

1. He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD.

1. Non ingredietur qui contusione fractos aut abscissos habet testiculos, in congregationem Jehovae

2. A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the LORD.

2. Non ingredietur spurius congregationem Jehovae: etiam genereatione decima non ingredietur congregationem Jehovae


1 He that is wounded. What is here delivered respecting those who are mutilated, and who are bastards, has a similar object; lest the Church of God should be onctaminate by foul stains, and thus religion should lose its honor. Moses rejects from the congregation of the faithful two sorts of men, viz, eunuchs and bastards. But, before we treat of the subject itself, the definition of the words is to be considered. The first question is, that it is to enter into the congregation; the second, what it is to be wounded in the stones; the third, who are the ממזרים, mamzerim, which we have translated bastards, (spurios). Many understand that both are rejected from the church, lest they should undertake any public office in it; others, lest they should marry wives of the seed of Abraham; because it would not be fair that women should be thrown away upon bastards, (Lat, mamzeris;) and it would be absurd that those who were created to multiply God’s people, should marry impotent persons, (effoeminatis). But both these opinions appear to me to be tame. For what is afterwards added respecting certain foreign nations cannot be so taken, that no government or dignity should be entrusted to them; besides, by “the congregation of the Lord,” the purity and holiness of religion is sufficiently expressed. I do not doubt, then, but that Moses prohibits those who are defiled by these two stains from communicating in the sacrifices. For although they were circumcised as well as the rest of the chosen people, still God would have them bear this mark of their disgrace, that they might be an example to others, and that the people might be more diligent in preserving themselves from all pollution. This, then, is to be concluded that the privilege which was peculiar to the legitimate Israelites, was to be denied them of being participators and associates 1919     “Et d’entrer au parvis pour faire service solennel a Dieu;” and to enter into the court to perform solemn service to God — Fr. in the sacrifices. As to the wounded testicles, the Jews dispute more curiously, in my opinion, that the subject warrants, and after all miss the right meaning. For God intended nothing else than to exclude from the congregation of His people, wherever holy assemblies were held, those who were mutilated or defective in the genital organs; although by synecdoche, He comprehends more than are specified. Finally, by condemning this external bodily defect He commends the excellency of His people that they may remember themselves to be His chosen property, not that they should pride themselves upon it 2020     “Mais afin de se maintenir en sa grace par sainetete de vie;” but that they might keep themselves in His favor by holiness of life—Fr. but that the holiness of their life may correspond with such high nobility.

2. A bastard shall not enter. All agree that by the word ממזר, mamzer, a bastard is signified, who is born of an uncertain father; but they take it in different ways, For some extend it to all bastards who spring from fornication, whilst others imagine that it refers to those only whose origin is doubtful, and who are called vulgo geniti; viz, whose mothers, in their base and common prostitution of themselves, have brought it about by their gross licentiousness, that their children should be born from this monstrous medley, as it were. This second opinion I approve of most. But, by this symbol God would admonish the seed of Abraham how exalted was its dignity, as being separate from the polluted heathen. Meanwhile, He would not altogether exclude these unhappy persons from the hope of salvation, although, by no fault of their own, they were unable to give the name of their father; but He only humbled them by a temporal punishment, and desired that their example should be profitable to others.

Another Supplement as to
the general Purification of the People 2121     Added from Fr., “Autre dependence de la purgation generale du peuple."

Numbers 19

Numbers 19:1-22

1. And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,

1. Loquutus est insuper Jehova ad Mosen et Aharon, dicendo:

2. This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke:

2. Hoc est statutum Legis quod praecepit Jehova, dicendo, Alloquere filios Israel, ut afferant ad te vaccam rufam perfectam, in qua non sit macula, super quam non ascenderit jugum.

3. And ye shall give her unto Eleazar the priest, that he may bring her forth without the camp, and one shall slay her before his face:

3. Et dabitis eam Eleazar sacerdoti, qui educet eam extra castra, et mactandam curabit ante se.

4. And Eleazar the priest shall take of her blood with his finger, and sprinkle of her blood directly before the tabernacle of the congregation seven times:

4. Capietque Eleazar sacerdos de sanguine ejus digito suo, et sparget e regione faciei tabernaculi conventionis de sanguine ejus septera vicibus.

5. And one shall burn the heifer in his sight; her skin, and her flesh, and her blood, with her dung, shall he burn:

5. Postea comburendam curabit vaccam in oculis suis: pellem ejus, ct carnem ejus, et sanguinem ejus una cum fimo ejus comburet.

6. And the priest shall take cedar wood, and hyssop, and scarlet, and cast it into the midst of the burning of the heifer.

6. Tunc accipiet sacerdos lignum cedrinum, et hyssopum, et coccum vermiculi, projicietque in medium combustionis vaccae.

7. Then the priest shall wash his clothes, and he shall bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp, and the priest shall be unclean until the even.

7. Et lavabit vestes suas sacerdos, lavabit quoque carnem suam aqua, et postea ingredietur castra, immundusque erit sacerdos usque ad vesperam.

8. And he that burneth her shall wash his clothes in water, and bathe his flesh in water, and shall be unclean until the even.

8. Ille quoque qui combusserit eam, lavabit vestimenta sua aqua, lavabit et carnem suam aqua, immundusque erit usque ad vesperam.

9. And a man that is clean shall gather up the ashes of’ the heifer, and lay them up without the camp in a clean place, and it shall be kept for the congregation of the children of Israel for a water of separation: it is a purification for sin.

9. Colliget autem vir mundus cinerem illius vaccae, et ponet illum extra castra in loco mundo: eritque congregationi filiorum Israel in custodiam in aquam separationis: nam expiatio est.

10. And he that gathereth the ashes of the heifer shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: and it shall be unto the children of Israel, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among them, for a statute for ever.

10. Et lavabit qui collegerit cinerem vaccae vestimenta sua, immundusque erit usque ad vesperam: et erit filiis Israel et peregrino qui pere-grinatur in medio eorum, in statutum perpetuum.

11. He that toucheth the dead body of any man shall be unclean seven days.

11. Qui tetigerit cadaver omnis animae hominis, immundus erit septem diebus.

12. He shall purify himself with it on the third day, and on the seventh day he shall be clean: but if he purify not himself the third day, then the seventh day he shall not be clean.

12. Ipse purificabitur eo die tertia, et die septima mundus erit: quod si non purificatus fuerit die tertia, die septima non erit mundus.

13. Whosoever toucheth the dead body of any man that is dead, and purifieth not himself, defileth the tabernacle of the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from Israel: because the water of separation was not sprinkled upon him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness is yet upon him.

13. Quicunque tetigerit mortuum, animam hominis qui mortuus fuerit, et non fuerit purificatus, tabernaculum Jehovae polluit: et excidetur anima illa ex Israel: quia aqua separationis non fuit aspersa super eum, immundus erit, adhuc immunditia ejus erit in ipso

14. This is the law, when a man dieth in a tent: All that come into the tent, and all that is in the tent, shall be unclean seven days.

14. Haec est lex, Quum quis mortuus fuerit in tabernaculo, quicunque ingressus fuerit tabernaculum, et quicquid fuerit tabernaculo, immundum erit septem diebus.

15. And every open vessel, which hath no covering bound upon it, is unclean.

15. Omne item vas apertum super quo non fuerit operculum adjectum, immundum est.

16. And whosoever toucheth one that is slain with a sword in the open fields, or a dead body, or a bone of a man, or a grave, shall be unclean seven days.

16. Quicunque praeterea tetigerit in superficie agri occisum gladio, aut mortuum, aut os hominis, aut sepul-chrum, immundus erit septem diebus.

17. And for an unclean person they shall take of the ashes of the burnt heifer of purification for sin, and running water shall be put thereto in a vessel:

17. Tollentque pro immundo de pulvere combustionis oblationis pro peccato, et ponent super eum aquam vlvam in vase.

18. And a clean person shall take hyssop, and dip it in the water, and sprinkle it upon the tent, and upon all the vessels, and upon the persons that were there, and upon him that touched a bone, or one slain, or one dead, or a grave:

18. Capiet item hyssopum, et intinget in aquam vir mundus, et sparget super tabernaculum, et super omnem supellectilem, et super animas quae fuerint ibi, ac super eum qui tetigit os illud, vel occisum, vel mortuum, vel sepulchrum.

19. And the clean person shall sprinkle upon the unclean on the third day, and on the seventh day: and on the seventh day he shall purify himself, and wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and shall be clean at even.

19. Asperget, inquam, mundus super immundum die tertia, et die septima, et mundabit eum die septima: postea lavabit vestimenta sua: lavabit quoque sese aqua, et mundus erit in vespera.

20. But the man that shall be unclean, and shall not purify himself, that soul shall be cut off from among the congregation, because he hath defiled the sanctuary of the LORD: the water of separation hath not been sprinkled upon him; he is unclean.

20. Vir autem qui immundus fuerit, et non purificaverit se, excidetur anima illa medio congregationis, quia sanctuarium Jehovae polluit: aqua separationis non est aspersa super eum immundus est.

21. And it shall be a perpetual statute unto them, that he that sprinkleth the water of separation shall wash his clothes; and he that toucheth the water of separation shall be unclean until even.

21. Et erit els in statutum perpetuum: et qui sparserit aquam separationis, lavabit vestimenta sua: quique tetigerit aquam separationis, immundus erit usque ad vesperam.

22. And whatsoever the unclean person toucheth shall be unclean; and the soul that toucheth it shall be unclean until even.

22. Et quicquid tetigerit immundus, immundum erit: et anima quae tetigerit ipsum, immunda erit usque ad vesperam.


2 This is the ordinance of the law. Because it could not but occur that, whilst the faithful were engaged in the world, they should often contract some pollution by their contact with its many impurities, the composition of the water is here described, by the sprinkling of which they might wash away, and expiate their uncleanness: and then certain kinds of pollution are specified, whereof the purification is required. God commands that a red heifer should be slain, which had never been subjected to the yoke; and that it should be burnt without the camp, together with its skin and dung; that the ashes should be gathered by a man that was clean, and laid up without the camp for the common use of the people. But, in order that the water, which was mixed with these ashes, should have the power of reconciliation, God at the same time commands that the blood should be sprinkled seven times before the altar by the finger of the priest. The object of this ceremony was twofold: for God would awaken the attention of the people to reflect more closely upon their impurity; and, although they might be pure within, still would have them carefully look around them, lest they should be polluted from without; and also taught them that, as often as they were infected by any pollution, expiation was to be sought for from elsewhere, viz., from sacrifice and sprinkling; and thus admonish them that men inquire in vain in themselves for the remedies demanded for their purification, because purity can only proceed from the sanctuary. Those, who speculate subtilty on the details, advance some questionable matters. I leave them, therefore, to the enjoyment of their conceits; let it suffice for us to consider generally what God referred to in this ceremony, and what advantage accrued from it to the people. By the red color, they suppose that sin is signified. Meanwhile, lest they should run into a manifest contradiction, they are obliged absurdly to interpret what follows, that He required a heifer perfect and without blemish, as if it were said that there should be no difference of color in her hair; whereas God demands the same thing as in the other sacrifices, which were rejected as faulty if any mark of deformity existed in them. And in this sense it is added that she should never have borne a yoke. Therefore I make no doubt but that God enjoined that a pure heifer, neither mutilated nor lame, should be chosen; and, that her perfectness might be more apparent, as yet unbroken to the yoke. What, then, is the meaning of the red color? First of all, I prefer confessing my ignorance to advancing anything doubtful; but it may be conjectured that a common and ordinary color was rather chosen, lest it should be too conspicuous, as it would have been, if either white or black. But this should be deemed sure, that a perfect heifer, and one free from every blemish, was to be offered, and one too, which had not been broken to bear the yoke by the hands of men, that the purification might have nothing of humanity about it.: But the command to offer her was given to the whole people; because, in order that we may be partakers of ablution, it is necessary that each of us should offer Christ to the Father. For, although He only, and that but once, has offered Himself, still a daily offering of Him, which is effected by faith and prayers, is enjoined to us, not such as 2222     See the dogmatical statement of this notion in the Creed of Pius iv.
   Art: V. — “I profess, likewise, that in the Mass there is offered to God a true, proper, and propitiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead; and that in the most holy Sacrament of the Eucharist there are truly, really, and substantially the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ,” etc.
the Papists have invented, by whom in their impiety and perverseness, the Lord’s Supper has been mistakenly turned into a sacrifice, because they imagined that Christ must be daily slain, in order that His death might profit us. The offering, however, of faith and prayers, of which I speak, is very different, and by it alone we apply to ourselves the virtue and fruit of Christ’s death.

3 And ye shall give her unto Eleazar. A clear distinction is here made between two offerings; for the people are not permitted to kill the heifer, but this is the peculiar office of the priest. Thus the people offered vicariously by the hand of the priest; and in this way also at present, although we set Christ before God’s face in order to propitiate Him, still it is necessary that Christ Himself should interpose, and exercise the office of a priest. Again, the heifer was to be taken outside the camp, as a sign that it was accursed, since it was an atonement. On which account, too, the atoning victims, whose blood was carried into the Holy of Holies, were burnt without the camp; the truth of which figure was accomplished in Christ, who therefore suffered outside the gates of the city, as the Apostle testifies. (Hebrews 13:11-12.) But, because this was a species of rejection, lest the heifer should be less accounted of, or lest the Israelites should think her polluted by the curse, God shews that her blood was sacred and of a sweet savor, by commanding that it should be sprinkled seven times upon the altar, which might not be profaned by anything unclean. The same thing is most clearly seen in Christ; for although He was made a curse for us, and is called “sin,” because by bearing our accursed sins upon the cross, He was our atoning victim, yet nothing was thereby taken from His purity, so as to prevent His holiness from being the sanctification of the whole world. For He offered Himself through the Spirit, and by His own blood entered into the holy place, and His death is elsewhere called by Paul, “a sacrifice for a sweet-smelling savor.” (Hebrews 9:11-12; Ephesians 5:2; Philippians 4:18).

6 And the priest shall take cedar-wood. That the sprinkling of the blood might be conjoined with that of the water, the cedar-wood, and hyssop, and scarlet, thread, with which the sprinkling was wont to be made, were cast into the fire; for, unless the Israelites had been admonished by this visible sign, they would not have so clearly known that they were not only washed with the water, but that by the offering of the sacrifice also their uncleanness was removed. But it was not enough that the blood should be poured forth, unless, as has been already seen, they were purified by its aspersion. But, for as much as the scent of cedar-wood is precious, and in hyssop there is a cleansing property, we gather from hence also that the victim was pure, although it bore their sins together with the curse and expiation. Peter teaches us how we are sprinkled with the blood of Christ, viz., through the Spirit, (1 Peter 1:2;) nay, John shews us in his Canonical Epistle, that we find all the parts of this ceremony in Christ, where he writes that Christ “came by water and blood,” and “it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.” (1 John 5:6.)

7 Then the priest shall wash his clothes. At first sight there seems to be a discrepancy in the facts, that the heifer was sacred to God, and pure, and still that the priest was polluted by touching it; yet they accord very well with each other. But that both the priest as well as the minister who made the burning, were unclean until the evening, ought to have forcibly struck the people, and taught them the more to abominate sin. And, since it was not permitted to any but a man that was clean to gather the ashes, not that they should be laid anywhere but in a clean place, it was manifested by this sign that there was no impurity in the sacrifice itself, but that from an extraneous and adventitious pollution; because it was destined to purge away uncleanness, it was accounted in a certain sense unclean. Whence too the water, into which the ashes were thrown, was called the water of separation, as well as the expiation 2323     “Nam expiatio est.” — Lat, v. 9. “It is a purification for sin.” — A.V. For this translation which I have given is the right one; and others improperly render it “for waters of separation, and for expiation.” The old interpreter has not given the sense amiss, as far as regards this word, “because the heifer is burnt for sin.” But since in Hebrew the word,חטאה chateah 2424     למי נדה חטאת הוא ́̔Υδωρ ῥαντισμᾶ ἅγνισμά ἐστι·LXX. In aqua aspersionis; quia pro peccato vacca combusta est. — V. This last is what C. means by “the old interpreter.” The translation which he condemns he had seen in S.M. — W. means not only wickedness or sin, but also the sacrifice on which the curse is imposed; what Moses intended to convey is better expressed by the word “expiation.” But the expression “separation” has reference to the men, whose personal uncleanness excluded them from the holy congregation. But the question arises, why this ordinance is pronounced to be common to the strangers who sojourned in the land of Israel, as well as to the natives; because it was by no means reasonable that the uncircumcised should be purified. The reply is easy, that such strangers are not adverted to as were altogether aliens from the people, but those who, although born of heathen parentage, had embraced the Law. These God equalizes with the children of Abraham in the sacrifices and other religious services; for if their condition were different, the-church, into the body of which they were ingrafted, would be rent asunder.

11. He that toucheth the dead body. He now recites certain forms of pollution in which the washing was necessary; all of them, however, come to the point, that men are defiled by the touch of a corpse or, bones, or a grave. Nor is there here any distinction between the body of a person who is slain, or of one who has died in bed; whence it follows that death is here set forth as a mirror of God’s curse: And assuredly, if we consider its origin and cause, the corruption of nature, whereby the image of God is defaced, presents itself in every, dead man; for, unless we were altogether corrupt, we should not be born to perish But God also taught His people by another mode of signifying it, that uncleanness is contracted by our communication with the unfruitful works of darkness. For the Apostle (Hebrews 6:1) calls them “dead works,” either from their consequences, or because, as faith is the life of the soul, so unbelief keeps it in death. Since, then, the corpse the bones, the grave, designate whatever we bring from the womb, because, until we are born again, and God quickens us by His Spirit and faith, we are dead while we live; there is no question but that the children of Israel were reminded, that in order to keep themselves pure before God, they must abstain from all corruption; inasmuch as, if they were rendered unclean by their contact with a dead man, they must immediately have recourse to ablution. In fine, the ceremony had no other object than that they should serve God in pureness from the sins of the flesh; and exercise themselves in constant thoughts of repentance, whilst, if they fell from their purity, they should labor to obtain reconciliation with God, by means of sacrifice and ablution.

13. Whosoever toucheth the dead body. The severity of. the capital punishment shews how very pleasing to God is purity. If any one bad forgotten to sprinkle himself on the third or the seventh day, he might redeem his negligence by a prolongation of the term, because he only postponed his purification to another day; but it was a capital crime to enter the sanctuary in his uncleanness, since thus holy and profane things would be mixed together, nay, the altar would have been polluted as well as the whole service of God. But indeed the act of touching a dead body was of slight importance, nor was it to be deemed an atrocious crime; but here the external defilement is not regarded in itself, as if God were wroth on account of a stain contracted by the performance of a pious duty. 2525     “Pour ensevelir son pere;” by burying his father — Fr. Rather must the object of the ceremony be considered, for God designed by these rudiments to teach the Israelites, like children, that if any one should pollute sacred things by his impurity, he would by no means be tolerated in this audacity. In this then consisted the religious import of the transaction, that the worship of God was too precious for the Israelites to be permitted to contaminate it with impunity. Whence we gather that the punishment was denounced as against sacrilege. In sum, it comes to this, that God is not duly worshipped except with a sincere heart and pure hands; and that if any pollution be contracted, there is need of expiation before a free access is re-opened to holy things. But it must be remarked as to the contact, that it was accounted the same thing, whether the corpse lay in a field or a house; whilst, if any one died in a tent, men were polluted by merely entering it, and likewise vessels without covers thus became unclean.

22. And whatsoever the unclean person toucheth. Others translate it, — “Whosoever toucheth an unclean thing shall be unclean.” for, since the Hebrew is without a neuter gender, 2626     S.M. had used the words cited by C. “Quicunque tetigerit immundum;” but C. appears to have overlooked his note upon this clause, viz., “Hoc est, qui tetigerit hominem, qui super mortuo est immundus;” or else he would have seen that immundum was not meant for a neuter. — W. the relative אשר, asher, and the noun הטמא, hattame, may be either masculine or neuter; and either sense would not be unsuitable; except that we gather from the second clause, that reference is rather made here to the contagion with which unclean persons infect either men or garments, or other articles. For those who had touched a dead body, or bones, or a grave, were not only unclean until the evening, but for seven entire days. But it appears that this was added in conclusion, lest the Jews should murmur at the severity of the punishment, as if God would inflict the penalty of death for a trifling sin. In this way, then, Moses shews how great is the guilt incurred by those who, being unclean, intrude into the sanctuary; because, as far as in them lies, they pollute the holiness of God, and not without intolerable impertinence. Hence appears to be taken the reproof of the Prophet, when he reproaches the Jews with having done nothing but defile the worship of God with their sacrifices; for he proposes this question to the priests, — “If one bear holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt do touch bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any meat, shall it be holy?” After they have replied in the negative, he asks again, “If one that is unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean?” and they answer, “It shall be unclean.” Whence the Prophet infers:

"So is this people, and so is this nation before me, saith the Lord, and so is the work of their hands; and that which they offer there is unclean.” (Haggai 2:12-14.)

This passage shews us the legitimate use of the ceremony, that corrupt and perverse worshippers 2727     “Ceux qui servent a Dieu sans droite affection, and par hypocrisie;” those who serve God without right affections, and in hypocrisy. — Fr. bring disgrace rather than honor on God, whilst they mix up His holy name with their profanations.

Another Supplement as to keeping themselves clean by the concealment of their impurities 2828     Added from Fr., “Autre dependence de se tenir nettement en cachant ses pouretez."

Deuteronomy 23

Deuteronomy 23:9-14

9. When the host goeth forth against thine enemies, then keep thee from every wicked thing.

9. Quum egressus fueris in exercitu contra hostes tuos, cave ab omni re mala.

10. If there be among you any man, that is not clean by reason of uncleanness that chanceth him by night, then shall he go abroad out of the camp, he shall not come within the camp:

10. Si fuerit in te quispiam non mundus casu nocturno, egredietur extra castra, nec ingredietur in medium castrorum

11. But it shall be, when evening cometh on, he shall wash himself with water: and when the sun is down, he shall come into the camp again.

11. quum autem aspexerit vesperum, lavabit se aqua: et quum occubuerit sol, ingredietur castra.

12. Thou shalt have a place also without the camp, whither thou shalt go forth abroad:

12. Locus etiam erit tibi extra castra, egredierisque illuc foras.

13. And thou shalt have a paddle upon thy weapon; and it shall be, when thou wilt ease thyself abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shalt turn back and cover that which cometh from thee:

13. Paxillus item erit tibi inter vasa tua, et quando desidebis extra, fodies ipso, et conversus operies excrementa tua.

14. For the LORD thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy: that he see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee.

14. Jehova enim Deus ambulat per medium castrorum tuorum, ut eripiat te, et tradat inimicos tuos coram te. Sit igitur in castris tuis sanctitas, ne videat in te turpitudinem aliquam, et avertatur abs te.


9. When the host goeth forth. What he had taught with respect to the preservation of purity at home, and in time of peace, he now extends to times of war also, so that they might keep themselves clean from all defilement even in the midst of the clang of arms. We know how greatly laws are disregarded during war, when all things are under the control of violence rather than reason; and we know that much license is wont to be given to soldiers, which would be by no means tolerated in peace. God would remedy this evil by requiring the Israelites to aim at the same purity in war as in peace; for this is a special law which forbids their being dissolute and unruly in war-time, as He has before condemned all impurity in general, as if He had said, that under no pretext would they be excusable, if they neglect the duty of cultivating habits of purity. For He does not command them to be cautious in the army and in the camp, as if they might sin with impunity when at home, but admonishes them that God would by no means excuse them although they should allege the necessity of war. Much more would the crime be aggravated, if they should pollute themselves in peace and when their minds were calm. Whence we gather that it is vain to catch at empty excuses for the violation of God’s commands in any respect; for, however difficult the performance of duty may be, still God never resigns His rights. Now, if war, which seems to dispense with laws, does not excuse crime, much greater, as I have said, shall their guilt be accounted, who in a tranquil condition of life are licentiously carried away by sin.

10. If there be among you. He enumerates two kinds of pollution, whereby the Israelites may know what is meant by their keeping from the “wicked thing.” First, He pronounces to be unclean, and casts out of the camp those who may have had a filthy dream, until they shall have washed themselves in the evening. Secondly, He forbids them to defile the camp with what passes from the bowels; and not only this, but, even when they have gone outside the camp, He commands them to bury their excrement beneath the earth, lest any filthiness should appear. Yet it is probable that, by synecdoche, everything is referred to which rendered men unclean and polluted. But Moses, speaking as to soldiers, considered it sufficient to tell them briefly, that although they might be occupied with war, cleanliness must still be attended to. By “what chanceth at night,” all are agreed in understanding a flow of semen; from whence we infer how greatly impurity defiles a man, since uncleanness is contracted even from foul dreams. As to the second part, some desire to appear quick and clever by attacking Moses, because he has introduced among the precepts of holiness, that none should relieve his bowels in the camp. Forsooth, they say, the smell might offend the nostrils of God! But their silly petulance is easily rebutted; for God would by such rudiments keep His ancient people in the way of duty, lest liberty even in the most trifling things should lead them onwards to audacity. If they had been permitted to defile every part of the camp, the people would presently have been hardened against filthiness of every sort. Thus they were held back by this rein, that they might more earnestly apply their minds to spiritual integrity. They also are mistaken who suppose that this was a sanitary precaution, lest the smell should produce diseases, and be injurious to their bodily health. For Moses plainly declares that he not only had regard to what was wholesome, or even to what was decent in the eyes of men; but rather that he would accustom the people to abhor uncleanness, and to keep themselves pure and unpolluted — for he adds, that God presided in the camp, to protect them from the power and assaults of their enemies; and that they should fear, lest, if they should contaminate the camp, He would be offended with their filthiness and forsake them. The sum is, that when they have need of God’s assistance, and are engaged in war against their enemies, the pursuit of holiness must not be omitted or neglected even in the midst of arms.

Another Supplement 2929     Heading in French, “Autre dependence de se tenir nettement en Cachant ses pouretez."

Deuteronomy 22

Deuteronomy 22:9-11

9. Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds: lest the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard, be defiled.

9. Non seres vineam tuam diversis speciebus seminum, ne forte pollatur fructus seminis quod sevisti, et fruetus vineae.

10. Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together.

10. Non arabis cum bove et asino pariter.

11. Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woolien and linen together.

11. Non indues te diversa specie, lana et lino pariter.


Deuteronomy 14

Deuteronomy 14:1, 2

1. Ye are the children of the LORD your God: ye shall not cut yourselves, nor make any baldness between your eyes for the dead.

1. Filii estis Jehovae Dei vestri. Non vos incidetis, nec facietis calvitium super mortuo.

2. For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.

2. Quoniam populus sanctus es Jehovae Deo tuo, qui te elegit ut sis ei in populum peculiarem e cunctis gentibus quae sunt in superficie terrae.


Deuteronomy 22:9. Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard. These four precepts, which all condemn strange medleys, I doubt not to be supplements of the First Commandment; and the reason, which is subjoined in Deuteronomy, directs us to this, where God declares that the produce of the seed and of the vineyard is polluted, if there be divers mixtures. Whence it appears that nothing else is demanded but that they should cultivate purity. The word indeed, which Moses uses, means to “sanctify,קדש kadesh; but, by antiphrasis, it is taken for to “contaminate.” To the same effect is what follows, that they should not plough with an ox and an ass together; for this diversity is forbidden on no other account, but because men contract some defilement as soon as they depart from simplicity. Yet, if any one thinks otherwise, I shall not strongly contend with him. It might indeed be objected, that when God forbids animals to be used promiscuously, so that those of different kinds should not be mixed together, He has regard to chastity, 3030     “Au septieme commandement de la Loy, qui est d’observer chastet;” to the Seventh Commandment of the Law, which is to observe chastity. — Fr. and that, by forbidding the fields to be sown with divers seeds, and garments to be woven of divers materials, He would prevent frauds. But the more simple explanation is, that the people were thus retained in purity, lest they should accustom themselves to corrupt habits, and lest they should bring in strange rites from various quarters, or seek, with depraved curiosity, for mixtures which might at length invade the worship of God. For if animals of different species are joined together, the integrity of nature is corrupted, and an adulterine offspring is produced, which degenerates from the institution of God; but, if various kinds of seed should be mixed together, or if a garment should be woven of linen and wool, there would be no danger of deception or fraud in so manifest a matter. It is probable, therefore, that the end which, as I have said, was proposed by God was, that, by cultivating natural and simple habits all their life through, they should keep themselves pure and uncorrupted from every strange vice. On this account Scripture compares strange doctrines to leaven, since by their additions or curtailings they corrupt the pure word of God. (Matthew 16:11.) And this was by no means a useless discipline; when, in trifles, and almost things of nought, the rein was applied to them, so that they should not decline from purity in the very least degree. It was a small matter to interweave a thin thread with a thicker one, and perchance such a process would have been profitable for their general advantage; in some fields, too, a better crop is grown, if the seed is compounded of pure wheat, and some other sort of grain (siligine), as also the union of the horse and ass has been approved of, since thus mules are produced. But God would not allow these things amongst His ancient people, lest, sinking by degrees to greater license, they should at length addict themselves to the practice and customs of the heathen. He therefore uses this preface: “Ye shall keep my statutes,” (Leviticus 19:19;) from whence we gather that the people were surrounded with fixed barriers, lest they should defile themselves with foreign vices, and imitate the nations, from which they had been separated. Wherefore this is the sum, that they should abide in God’s statutes.

Leviticus 19

Leviticus 19:19, 23-25, 27, 28

19. Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee.

19. Statuta mea observabitis. Animal tuum non facies coire cum altero semine. Agrum tuum non seres diverso semine, et vestis contexta ex lana et lino non ascendet super te.

23. And when ye shall come into the land, and shall have planted all manner of trees for food, then ye shall count the fruit thereof as uncircumcised: three years shall it be as uncircumcised unto you: it shall not be eaten of.

23. Quum ingressi fueritis terram, et plantaveritis omnis generis arborem fructiferam, tune praeputia-tum ducetis praeputium ejus, fructum ejus: tribus annis erit vobis incircumcisa: non comedetis ejus fructus.

24. But in the fourth year all the fruit thereof shall be holy to praise the LORD withal.

24. Quarto autem anno erit omnis fructus ejus sanctitas laudum Jehovae.

25. And in the fifth year shall ye eat of the fruit thereof, that it may yield unto you the increase thereof: I am the LORD your God.

25. Anno vero quinto comedetis fructum ejus, ut multiplicet vobis fructum suum. Ego Jehova Deus vester.

27. Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.

27. Non attondebitis cornare capitis vestri in circuitu, nec radetis extrema barbie.

28. Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.

28. Incisionera pro mortuo non facietis in carne vestra, neque sculpturam notse tacietis in vobis: ego Jehova.


23. And when ye shall come. There seems to me no question but that the circumcision of trees as well as of men appertains to the First Commandment, not only that the Jews might see a symbol of their own adoption in the very trees, but that they might learn that it was permitted to none but the children of God to feed on their fruit; and also that whatsoever the earth produces is in a manner profane, until it is purified. For surely by this ceremony was set forth what Paul teaches, that all things are “sanctified by the word of God, and prayer,” (1 Timothy 4:5;) not that anything is in itself impure, but because the earth has contracted pollution from the corruption of man, it is just, as regards us, that the harmless fruits also should be accounted to be in uncircumcision. In sum, God would raise up a wall whereby He might separate His people from the Gentiles, and at the same time admonish them that a legitimate use of those things which the earth produced could not be made by the sons of Adam, except by special privilege. But the similitude of uncircumcision, until the year appointed for their being circumcised, was a very appropriate one, that they might acknowledge the fruits of their trees to be pure for them by the same right whereby they were consecrated as God’s peculiar people. But, lest the three years’ unproductiveness should press heavily upon them, he promises them compensation from the future blessing of God; for, if they should abstain from eating the unclean fruit, a larger produce was to be expected in future.

27. Ye shall not round the corners. It clearly appears that God had no other object than by the interposition of this obstacle to sever His people from heathen nations. For there is nothing to which men are more prone than to conform themselves to the customs of others; and hence it arises, that they mutually communicate each other’s vices. Wherefore care was especially to be taken lest the people of Israel should adopt foreign habits, and by this pliableness should fall away from the true worship of God; from whence too the ordinary phrase has arisen, that the word “common” should be used for “unclean.” God then strictly forbids them from declining to the habits of the Gentiles, and confounding the distinction which He had Himself placed between them. There is no doubt but that it was usual for the Gentiles, out of superstition, to cut marks 3131     “Most of the barbarous nations lately discovered have their faces, arms:, breasts, etc., curiously carved or tattooed, probably for superstitious purposes. Ancient writers abound with accounts of marks made on the faces, arms, etc., in honor of different idols; and to this the inspired penman alludes, (Revelation 13:16-17; 14:9-11, etc.), where false worshippers are represented as receiving in their hands, and in their forehead, the marks of the beast. These were called στίγματα among the Greeks, and to these St. Paul refers when he says, “I bear about in my body the marks (στίγματα) of the Lord Jesus.".(Galatians 6:17}
   "All the castes of the Hindoos bear on their foreheads, or elsewhere, what are called sectarian marks, which not only distinguish them in a civil, but in a religious point of view, from each other."

   "Herodotus observes that the Arabs shave, or cut their hair round, in honor of Bacchus; (lib. 3. ch. 8). He says, also, that the Macians, a people of Lybia, cut their hair round, so as to leave a tuft on the top of the head; (lib. 4. ch. 175."

   "That the ancients were very violent in their grief, tearing the hair and face, beating the breast, etc., is well known. Virgil represents the sister of Dido: — Unguibus ora — foedans, et pectora pugnis. AEn. iv. 672.” — Adam Clarke, in loco.
upon their faces, to trim the hair in certain steps or circles, and in their mourning to lacerate their flesh, or to disfigure it with marks. It is well known that the priests of Cybele 3232     The authorities for this practice of the Galli, or Priests of Cybele, are too numerous to mention. The following extract from a curious description given by Apuleius, of the religious dance of her worshippers, may suffice: “Die sequenti variis coloribus indusiati, et deformiter quisque formarti, facie coenoso pigmento delita, et oculis obunctis graphice, prodeunt; mitellis, et crocotis, et carbasinis, et bombycinis injecti. Quidam tunicas albas, in modum lanciolarum quoquoversum fluente purpura depictas, cingulo subligati, pedes luteis induti calceis, Deamque serico contectam amiculo mihi gerendam imponunt: brachiisque suis humero tenus renudatis, attollentes immanes gladios ac secures, evantes exsiliunt, incitante tibiae cantu lymphaticum tripudium.
   "Nec paucis pererratis casulis, ad quandam villam possessoris beati perveniunt, et ab ingressu primo statim absonis ululatibus constrepentes, fanatice pervolant. Diuque capite demisso, cervices lubricis intorquentes motibus, crinesque pendulos rotantes in circulum, et nonnunquam morsibus suos incursantes musculos, ad postremum ancipiti ferro, quod gerebant, sua quisque brachia dissecant.” — Metam. (lib. 8, Edit). (Bipont. 1. 184-185)
made gashes in their flesh with knives and razors, and covered themselves all over with wounds, for the sake of shewing their zeal. The same thing was also commonly practiced by others; inasmuch as the world is easily deceived by external ceremonies. But though this were a thing in itself indifferent, yet God would not allow His people to be at liberty to practice it, that, like children, they might learn from these slight rudiments, that they would not be acceptable with God, unless they were altogether different from uncircumcised foreigners, and as far as possible from following their examples; and especially that they should avoid all ceremonies whereby their religion was testified. For experience teaches how greatly the true worship of God is obscured by anything adscititious, and how easily foul superstitions creep in, when the comments of men are tacked on to the word of God. Doubtless that part, “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead,” etc., might be expounded as a correction of immoderate grief; because we know how intemperately men set themselves against God when they give the reins to their sorrow; but since the object of the Gentiles was to pay what was due to the dead, and to celebrate their funeral obsequies 3333     “Et user de satisfactions pour racheter leurs ames;” and to offer satisfactions for the redemption of their souls. — Fr. as a kind of propitiation, it is probable, and more suitable, that by the whole context those preposterous gestures are condemned, which were proofs of piety among the Gentiles, but which would have been defilements to the people of God.

The same thing appears more clearly from the passage in Deuteronomy, which next follows, wherein Moses condemns cutting themselves, and making themselves bald for the dead in connection with each other, as if they were one thing; and confirms the law by a general argument, that they might withdraw themselves from every pollution as the children of God; since they were chosen to be His peculiar people; as much as to say, that God’s grace would be altogether frustrated, if they did not differ at all from foreign nations. As to his saying that they were chosen out of all the nations, it does not a little illustrate the gratuitous mercy of God, wherewith He honored them alone, by calling them to the hope of eternal salvation, and passing by the Gentiles; for there was no nobility found in them, nor did they exceed others either in number or in any other superiority, on account of which He should prefer them to the whole world. But the design of Moses in magnifying the extraordinary goodness of God, was that they might the more abhor that impure cornmixture, which, by bringing them on a par with the Gentiles, degraded them from this high honor.

Another Supplement touching
the Clean and Unclean Beasts 3434     Heading added from the Fr., “Autre dependance, touchant les bestes pures ou impures."

Leviticus 20

Leviticus 20:25, 26

25. Ye shall therefore put difference between clean beasts and unclean, and between unclean fowls and clean: and ye shall not make your souls abominable by beast, or by fowl, or by any manner of living thing that creepeth on the ground, which I have separated from you as unclean.

25. Vos quoque discrimen facite inter animal mundum et immundum, et inter avem immundam et mundam, et ne abominabiles reddatis animas vestras in animalibus et volatilibus, atque in omni quod reptat in terra: quae separavi vobis ad immunditiam.

26. And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.

26. Eritis autem sancti mihi: quia sanctus sum ego Jehova, et separavi vosa populis, ut essetis mei.


Deuteronomy 14

Deuteronomy 14:3-20

3. Thou shalt not eat any abominable thing.

3. Non comedes ullam abominationem.

4. These are the beasts which ye shall eat: The ox, the sheep, and the goat,

4. Haec sunt animalia quae comedetis: bovem, agnum ovium, et hoedum caprarum,

5. The hart, and the roebuck, and the fallow deer, and the wild goat, and the pygarg, and the wild ox, and the chamois.

5. Cervum, et capream, et bubalum, et hircum sylvestrem, et damam, et bovem sylvestrem, et capram rupicolam.

6. And every beast that parteth the hoof, and cleaveth the cleft into two claws, and cheweth the cud among the beasts, that ye shall eat.

6. Omne animal findens ungulam, et findens fissuram duarum ungularum, ruminans inter animalia, illud comedetis.

7. Nevertheless these ye shall not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the cloven hoof; as the camel, and the hare, and the coney: for they chew the cud, but divide not the hoof; therefore they are unclean unto you.

7. Veruntamen hoe non comedetis ex ruminantibus et ex findentibus ungulam divisam, camelum, et leporem, et cuniculum: quia ruminant, et ungulam non dividunt, immunda sunt vobis.

8. And the swine, because it divideth the hoof, yet cheweth not the cud, it is unclean unto you: ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcase.

8. Et porcum, quia findit ungulam, et non ruminat, immundus est vobis: de carne eorum non comedetis, et cadavera eorum non contingetis.

9. These ye shall eat of all that are in the waters: all that have fins and scales shall ye eat:

9. Hoc comedetis ex omnibus quae sunt in aqua, quicquid habet pinnulam et squamam, comedetis.

10. And whatsoever hath not fins and scales ye may not eat; it is unclean unto you.

10. Quicquid vero non habet pinnulam et squamam, non comedetis: immundum est vobis.

11. Of all clean birds ye shall eat.

11. Omnem autem mundam comedetis.

12. But these are they of which ye shall not eat: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray,

12. Hae autem sunt ex quibus non comedetis, aquila, et gryphus, et haliaeetus,

13. And the glede, and the kite, and the vulture after his kind,

13. Et ixus, et vultur, et milvus secundum speciem suam.

14. And every raven after his kind,

14. Et omnis corvus. secundum speciem suam.

15. And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind,

15. Et filia struthionis, et noctua, et larus, et accipiter secundum speciem suam.

16. The little owl, and the great owl, and the swan,

16. Et herodius, et ibis, et cygnus,

17. And the pelican, and the gier-eagle, and the cormorant,

17. Et pellicanus, et porphyrio, et mergulus,

18. And the stork, and the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat.

18. Et ciconia, et charadrius secundum speciem suam: et upupa et vespertilio.

19. And every creeping thing that flieth is unclean unto you: they shall not be eaten.

19. Et omne reptile alatum immundum est vobis, non comedetur.

20. But of all clean fowls ye may eat.

20. Omnem avem mundam cometis


Leviticus 20:25. Ye shall therefore put difference. I have no doubt but that this sentence depends on the end of the foregoing verse; for although that verse contains a reason to deter them from incest, of which he had been speaking, still it refers also to the doctrine before us, and stands in the shape of preface to it. In a word, it connects two things, for God here briefly declares His will, not only with respect to unlawful and improper intercourse, but also why He forbids His people to eat of unclean animals. Therefore He says, “I am the Lord your God, which have separated you from other people.” Whence it follows, that for no other reason were they prohibited from eating those animals, except that they thence may learn to take more diligent heed, and to withdraw themselves far from all the pollutions of the Gentiles. He had before recommended purity by various symbols, and now extends it even to the very animals. And this reason must be carefully marked, that the distinction between meats is propounded to them in order that they may study purity. For there would be something unmeaning in what is here said, if we did not know that this interdiction was imposed with this object, that they should not mix themselves promiscuously with the Gentiles. Therefore it is again repeated, that they were severed, that they might be God’s inheritance; and hence it is inferred, that holiness was to be cultivated by them, that they might conform themselves to the example of their God. Now it cannot be questioned, that the distinction of meats which is prescribed, is a supplement to the First Commandment, wherein the rule for worshipping God duly and purely is laid down; and thus religion is rescued from all admixtures of superstition.

Leviticus 11

Leviticus 11:1-47

1. And the LORD spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying unto them,

1. Et loquutus est Jehova ad Mosen et Aharon, dicendo ad eos:

2. Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, These are the beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth.

2. Loquimini ad filios Israel, dicendo, Haec sunt animalia quae comedetis ex omnibus animalibus quae sunt super terram:

3. Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat.

3. Omne dividens ungulam et findens fissuram ungularum, et ruminans inter animalia, illud comedetis.

4. Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.

4. Veruntamen hoc non comedetis ex his quae ruminant, et ex his quae dividunt ungulam, camelum, quia ruminat, et ungulam ipse non dividit: immundus erit vobis.

5. And the coney, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.

5. Et cuniculum: quia ruminat, et ungulam non dividit, immundus erit vobis.

6. And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.

6. Et leporem: quia ruminat, et ungulam non dividit, imnmndus erit vobis.

7. And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you.

7. Suem quoque: quia dividit ungulam, et findit fissuram ungulae, ipse vero non ruminat, immundus erit vobis.

8. Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcase shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you.

8. De carne eorum non comedetis, neque cadaver eorum tangetis: immunda erunt vobis.

9. These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: Whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat.

9. Hoe autem comedetis ex omnibus quae sunt in aquis: onmia quibus sunt pinnae et squamae in aquis maris, et in fluminibus, illa comedetis.

10. And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you:

10. Omnia vero quibus non sunt pinnae et squamae in mari, et in fluminibus, tam de omni reptili aquatili, quam de omni anima vivente quae est in aquis: abominatio erunt vobis.

11. They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination.

11. Abominatio, inquam, erunt vobis: de carne eorum non comedetis, et cadaver eorum abominabimini.

12. Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.

12. Quicquid non habet pinnas et squamas in aquis, abominatio erit vobis.

13. And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray,

13. Haec autem abominabimini ex volatilibus, (non comedetur: quia abominatio sunt:) aquilam, et gryphum, et haliaeetum,

14. And the vulture, and the kite after his kind;

14. Et vulturem, et milvum secundum speciem suam.

15. Every raven after his kind;

15. Et omnem corvum secundum speciem suam.

16. And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind,

16. Et filiam struthionis, et noctuam, et larum: et accipitrem secundum speciem suam.

17. And the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl,

17. Et nycticoracem, et mergulum, et ibin,

18. And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier-eagle,

18. Et porphyrionem, et pellicanum, et cygnum,

19. And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat.

19. Et ciconiam, charadrium secundum speciem suam, et upupam, et vespertilionem.

20. All fowls that creep, going upon all four, shall be an abomination unto you.

20. Omne reptile alatum ambulans super quatuor pedes, abominatio erit vobis.

21. Yet these may ye eat of every flying creeping thing that goeth upon all four, which have legs above their feet, to leap withal upon the earth;

21. Veruntamen hoc comedetis ex omni reptili alato quod gradietur super quatuor pedes, cui sunt crura super pedes suos, quibus saliant super terram.

22. Even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind.

22. Haec ex illis comedetis, locustam juxta speciem suam, et attacum juxta speciem suam, et ophiomacum secundum speciem suam, et bruchum secundum speciem suam.

23. But all other flying creeping things, which have four feet, shall be an abomination unto you.

23. Omne autem reliquum reptile alatum cui sunt quatuor pedes, abominatio erit vobis.

24. And for these ye shall be unclean: whosoever toucheth the carcase of them shall be unclean until the even.

24. Et his polluetis vos: quicunque tetigerit cadaver eorum, immundus erit usque ad vesperam

25. And whosoever beareth ought of the carcase of them shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even.

25. Et quicunque portaverit cadavera, lavabit vestimenta sua, et immundus erit usque advesperam.

26. The carcases of every beast which divideth the hoof, and is not clovenfooted, nor cheweth the cud, are unclean unto you: every one that toucheth them shall be unclean.

26. Omne animal quod dividit ungulam, et fissuram non findit., et non ruminat, immunda erunt vobis: quicunque tetigerit ea, immundus erit.

27. And whatsoever goeth upon his paws, among all manner of beasts that go on all four, those are unclean unto you: whoso toucheth their carcase shall be unclean until the even.

27. Et quicquid graditur super volas suas inter omnes feras quae gradiuntur super quatuor pedes, immunda erunt vobis: quicunque tetigerit cadavera eorum, immundus erit usque ad vesperam.

28. And he that beareth the carcase of them shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: they are unclean unto you.

28. Et qui portaverit cadavera eorum, lavabit vestimenta, immundusque erit usque ad vesperam: immunda erunt vobis.

29. These also shall be unclean unto you among the creeping things that creep upon the earth; the weasel, and the mouse, and the tortoise after his kind,

29. Et haec vobis immunda erunt inter reptilia quae reptant super terram, mustella, et mus, et rubeta secundum speciem suam.

30. And the ferret, and the chameleon, and the lizard, and the snail, and the mole.

30. Et mygale, et chameleon, et stellio, et lacerta, et talpa.

31. These are unclean to you among all that creep: whosoever doth touch them, when they be dead, shall be unclean until the even.

31. Ista immunda sunt vobis inter omnia reptilia: quicunque tetigerit illa postquam mortua fuerit, im-mundus erit usqne ad vesperam.

32. And upon whatsoever any of them, when they are dead, doth fall, it shall be unclean; whether it be any vessel of wood, or raiment, or skin, or sack, whatsoever vessel it be, wherein any work is done, it must be put into water, and it shall be unclean until the even; so it shall be cleansed.

32. Et omne super quod tetigerit aliquid ex eis postquam mortua fuerint, immudum erit, tam vas lineum quam vestis, aut pellis, aut saccus: omne vas in quo fieri solet opus, in aquam mittetur, et immundum erit usque ad vesperam, et mundabitur.

33. And every earthen vessel, whereinto any of them falleth, whatsoever is in it shall be unclean; and ye shall break it.

33. Omne praeterea vas testaceum intra quod occiderit aliquid ex eis, quicquid erit in illo immundum erit, et ipsum confringetis.

34. Of all meat which may be eaten, that on which such water cometh shall be unclean: and all drink that may be drunk in every such vessel shall be unclean.

34. Omnis cibus qui comeditur, super quem venerit aqua, immundus erit, et omnis potus qui potatur in omni vase impuro, immundus erit.

35. And every thing whereupon any part of their carcase falleth shall be unclean; whether it be oven, or ranges for pots, they shall be broken down: for they are unclean, and shall be unclean unto you.

35. Et omne super quo ceciderit quicquam de cadavere eorum, imundum erit: clibanus et chytropodes diruentur, immunda sunt, et immunda erunt vobis.

36. Nevertheless a fountain or pit, wherein there is plenty of water, shall be clean: but that which toucheth their carcase shall be unclean.

36. Veruntamen fons et cisterna congregationis aquarum erit munda: at quod tetigerit cadaver eorum, immundum erit.

37. And if any part of their carcase fall upon any sowing-seed which is to be sown, it shall be clean.

37. Praeterea si ceciderit quicquam de cadavere eorum super aliquod semen satum, quod seminabitur, mundum erit.

38. But if any water be put upon the seed, and any part of their carcase fall thereon, it shall be unclean unto you.

38. At quum fusa fuerit aqua super semen, et ceciderit quicquam de cadavere eorum super illud, immundum erit vobis.

39. And if any beast of which ye may eat, die; he that toucheth the carcase thereof shall be unclean until the even.

39. Quum autem mortuum fuerit aliquod animal quod sit vobis in cibum, qui tetigerit cadaver ejus, immundus erit usque ad vesperam.

40. And he that eateth of the carcase of it shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: he also that beareth the carcase of it shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even.

40. Et qui comederit de cadavere ejus, lavabit vestimenta sua, immundusque erit usque ad vesperam: is quoque qui extulerit cadaver, lavabit vestimenta sua, atque immundus erit usque ad vesperam.

41. And every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth shall be an abomination; it shall not be eaten.

41. Et omne reptile reptans super terram, abominatio est, non comedetur.

42. Whatsoever goeth upon the belly, and whatsoever goeth upon all four, or whatsoever hath more feet among all creeping things that creep upon the earth, them ye shall not eat; for they are an abomination.

42. Quicquid item graditur super pectus, et quicquid incedit super quatuor aut plures pedes inter omnia reptilia quae reptant super terram, non comedetis: quia abominatio sunt.

43. Ye shall not make yourselves abominable with any creeping thing that creepeth, neither shall ye make yourselves unclean with them, that ye should be defiled thereby.

43. Ne impuras reddatis animas vestras in omni reptili quod reptat, nec polluatis vos in eis, neque coinquinetis vos per ea.

44. For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

44. Quia ego Jehova Deus vester, sanctificate ergo vos, et estote sancti, quia sanctus sum: et ne polluatis animas vestras per aliqua reptilia quae reptant super terram.

45. For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.

45. Ego enim sum Jehova, qui eduxi vos e terra AEgypti, ut essem vobis in Deum, et essetis sancti, quia sanctus sum.

46. This is the law of the beasts, and of the fowl, and of every living creature that moveth in the waters, and of every creature that creepeth upon the earth:

46. Haec est lex animalium terrestrium, et volatilium, atque omnium animalium viventium qae reptant, et omnium animantium reptantium super terram.

47. To make a difference between the unclean and the clean, and between the beast that may be eaten and the beast that may not be eaten.

47. Ad distinguendum inter immundum et mundum, et inter bestias qum comedi possunt, et bestias qum comedi non possunt.


2. These are the beasts which ye shall eat. The holy fathers, before the birth of Moses, knew what animals were unclean; of which fact Noah afforded a manifest proof, when, by God’s command, he took into the ark seven pairs of the clean animals, and offered of them his sacrifice of thanksgiving to God. Certainly he could not have obeyed the command of God, unless he had either been taught by secret inspiration, or unless this tradition had descended to him from his forefathers. But there is nothing absurd in the notion that God, desiring to confirm the traditional distinction, appointed certain marks of difference whereby its observation might be more scrupulously attended to, and lest any transgression of it should creep in through ignorance. For God also consecrated the Sabbath to Himself from the creation of the world, and desired it to be observed by the people before the promulgation of the Law; and yet afterwards the peculiar holiness of the day was more distinctly expressed. Besides, the clean animals are here distinguished from the unclean, by name as well as by signs. The proper names, which are recited, are of little service to us now-a-days; because many species which are common in the East, are unknown elsewhere; and it was therefore easy for Jews 3535     “Rabins Juifs.” — Fr. who were born and had lived in distant countries, to fall into error about them; whilst, on the other hand, the more bold they are in their conjectures, the less are they to be trusted. As to many of them, I acknowledge that there is no ambiguity, especially as to the tame animals, or those that are to be found everywhere, or that have plain descriptions of them given in the Bible. A positive knowledge then is only to be sought from the signs which are here laid down; viz., that the animals which have cloven hoofs, and which ruminate, are clean: and that those are unclean in which either of these two things is wanting; that either sea or river fish, which have fins and scales, are clean. No such distinction as to birds is given, but only the unclean are named, which it was sinful to eat. Lastly, mention is made of reptiles. As to details, if there be anything worthy of observation, the place to consider them will be further on; let us now remember, in general, what I have before touched upon, viz., that whilst the Gentiles might eat every kind of food, many were forbidden to the Jews, in order that they might learn in their very food to cultivate purity; and this was the object of their separation from ordinary customs. Hence it arose that they use the word חלל, chalal 3636     חול is rendered by A.V. unholy, Leviticus 10:10; common, 1 Samuel 21:5; profane, Ezekiel 22:26, and Ezekiel 42:20, in which last instance common, or public, would have been more suitable. — W both for “to make common,” and to “contaminate;” and the word, חול, chol, signifies “polluted,” because it is opposed to anything holy or set apart. It is true, indeed, that the Gentiles, by natural instinct, have regarded with the utmost horror the eating of some of the animals which are here forbidden; still, God would surround His people with barriers, which must separate them from their neighbors.

Those who imagine that God here had regard to their health, as if discharging the office of a Physician, pervert by their vain speculation the whole force and utility of this law. I allow, indeed, that the meats which God permits to be eaten are wholesome, and best adapted for food; but, both from the preface, — in which God admonished them that holiness was to be cultivated by the people whom He had chosen, — as also from the (subsequent) abolition of this law, it is sufficiently plain that this distinction of meats was a part of that elementary instruction 3737     “Pedagogiae.” — Lat. “La doctrine puerile.” — Fr. under which God kept His ancient people.

"Let no man therefore judge you (says Paul) in meat or in drink, which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” (Colossians 2:16-17.)

By which expressions he means, that what was spiritual had been shadowed forth in the external rite of abstaining from meats. To the same effect he elsewhere says, (Romans 14:14) that he knows and is persuaded, 3838     Vide C. in loco, (Calvin Society Translation,) and Owen’s note. C. evidently does not understand the words in the sense of our translation; “I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus,” — but rather as I have given them in the text, supposing the Apostle to speak of Christ, not as the author of his persuasion, but as the remover of the uncleanness referred to. The Fr. is “il sait, et est persuade qu’il n’y a rien impur a ceux, qui croyent en Jesus Christ; “he knows and is persuaded that there is nothing unclean to them that believe in Jesus Christ. that in the Lord Jesus Christ there is nothing unclean; viz., because Christ by his death has redeemed His people from slavish subjection. Hence it follows, that the prohibition of meats must be counted among the ceremonies, which were exercises in the worship of God. But here a question arises, how it is reconcilable that, even from the days of Noah, certain animals were unclean, and yet that all without exception were allowed to be eaten? I cannot agree with some in thinking that the distinction originally made by God grew obsolete by degrees; for God, in excepting the eating of blood only, makes a grant of whatsoever moves upon the earth as the food of the posterity of Noah. I therefore restrict to the sacrifices that uncleanness, with the knowledge of which the hearts of the Patriarchs were then inspired, nor do I doubt but that it was as lawful for Abraham, as well as for them, to eat swine’s flesh as the flesh of oxen. Afterwards, when God imposed the yoke of the Law to repress the licentiousness of the people, He somewhat curtailed this general permission, not because He repented of His liberality; but because it was useful to compel in this way to obedience these almost rude and uncivilized people. But, since before the Law the condition of the saints was the same as our own, it must be remembered, as I said before, that, agreeably to the dictates of nature, they spontaneously avoided certain foods, just as at present no one will hunt wolves or lions for food, nor desire to eat serpents and other venomous animals. But the object of this ordinance was different, viz., lest they who were God’s sacred and peculiar people, should freely and promiscuously communicate with the Gentiles.

3 Whatsoever parteth the hoof. Whilst I fear that but little confidence can be placed in the allegories, in which many have taken delight; so I do not find any fault with, nor even refuse that which has been handed down from the ancients, 3939     Fr. “les Docteurs anciens.” “Ungulam dividunt, qui secundum duo testamenta firmo se gradu innocentiae et justiciae statuunt. Judaei ruminant verba legis: sed ungulam non findunt, quia duo testamenta non recipiunt; nec in Patrem et Filium credunt: fidei gressum dividunt: heretici ungulam findunt, in Patrem et Filium credentes; seal doctrinam veritatis non ruminant.” — Glossa ordinaria, in loco viz., that by the cleaving of the hoof is signified prudence in distinguishing the mysteries of Scripture, and by the chewing of the cud serious meditation on its heavenly doctrines; although I cannot approve of the subtlety 4040     “Toutefois ils gastent tout a la fin par une subtilite frivole, etc;” nevertheless they spoil all by a frivolous subtlety. — Fr. which they add, viz., that those “rightly divide the word” who have known how to elicit mystical senses from its letter; because hence it has come to pass that they have allowed themselves in all sorts of imaginations. I therefore embrace the more simple notion, that they who only have a taste for the carnal sense, do not divide the hoof; for, as Paul says, only “he that is spiritual discerneth all things.” (1 Corinthians 2:15, margin.) The chewing of the cud ought to follow, duly to prepare and digest the spiritual food; for many gulp down Scripture without profit, because they neither sincerely desire to profit by it, nor seek to refresh their souls by it, as their nourishment; but satisfied with the empty delights of knowledge, make no efforts to conform their life to it. In the first clause, then, brutal stupidity is condemned; in the other, the ambition and levity of curious men. 4141     Addition in Fr. “qui ne prenent nulle refection de la doctrine de salut:” who receive no refreshment from the doctrine of salvation. God, indeed, set before Peter, in the vision, unclean animals as images and figures of the Gentiles, (Acts 10:12;) and therefore it is lawful, by probable analogy, to transfer to men what is said about the animals. But why God should have appointed the cloven hoof and rumination as signs, is no more clear to me than why He should have forbidden their eating swine’s flesh; unless, perchance, because the solid hoof is a sign of wildness; whilst the animals which do not ruminate feed for the most part on filth and excrement. We know that on this point there was much contention immediately after the promulgation of the Gospel, because some of the Jews, in their excessive devotion to the Law, and considering that the distinction of meats was not to be reckoned among the, ceremonial enactments, desired that the new Church should be bound by the same trammels as had been imposed upon the ancient people. At length, by the decree of the Apostles, permission was given to the Gentiles to eat all kinds of meat, except only blood and things strangled, and that only for a time, for the sake of avoiding offense, since the Jews would not otherwise have been propitiated. Now, after what God Himself had ordained respecting the distinction of meats had been abrogated, it was an act of diabolical audacity to oblige men’s consciences by human laws, and to prevent them from enjoying the liberty obtained by Christ.

Another question remains, how God should pronounce anything which He has created to be unclean; for, if an animal be rejected on account of its uncleanness, part of the reproach redounds to the Author Himself. Besides, this rejection seems also to be opposed to the first declaration of God, when, considering all things which He had made, He acknowledged them to be “very good.” The solution is, that no animal was ever unclean in itself; but that this merely refers to its use. Thus in the tree of the knowledge of good and evil there was naturally neither fault nor harm, so that it should infect man by its pollution, yet he contracted death from it on account of God’s prohibition. Wherefore, also, in this passage, God does not condemn His work in the animals, but, as to their being eaten, He would have them accounted unclean, that the people may abominate that which is forbidden them. In a word, it is only transgression which defiles: for the animals have never changed their nature; but it was in God’s power to determine what He would have to be lawful or unlawful. Thus another objection is removed. Christ declares that

"not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man ”
(Matthew 10:11.)

If any one should thence infer that harmless animals are improperly condemned, we must reply that they are not accounted unclean in themselves, but that the prohibition had a different object. For that doctrine was always true, that

"the kingdom of God is not meat and drink,”
(Romans 14:17;)

but, when God forbade the Israelites to eat this or that kind of food, they were admonished by this ceremonial precept how abominable is the inward corruption of the heart. But by such elementary teaching they were prepared and led onwards to spiritual doctrine, that they might know that nothing defiles a man except what comes out of his mouth. Now-a-days the condition of believers is different. for liberty is obtained for them, since Christ, having abrogated the Law, has nailed

"the handwriting of ordinances to his cross.”
(Colossians 2:14.)

4 Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of. He more clearly expresses what he had previously glanced at, viz., that an animal, although it may ruminate, shall not be clean unless it also cleaves the hoof; and, on the other hand, that the cloven hoof will not be sufficient unless combined with rumination. In these words Moses taught that partial and imperfect purity must not be obtruded upon God. If any choose to think that rumination is the symbol of internal purity, and the cloven hoof of external, his opinion will be a probable one. Since this distinction has occurred to my mind, although I have no taste for subtle speculations, I have thought it well to mention it, yet leaving it free for any one to accept it or not. Meanwhile we must hold it as certain, as I have lately said, that God demands perfect cleanliness, undefiled by any admixture. But the prohibition was most onerous to the Jews with respect to swine’s flesh, because it is very well adapted for food, not only as being a pleasant accompaniment of other meats, but because the working-classes are fed upon it at a smaller cost. In this point, therefore, the religion of the Jewish people was especially proved. For, when the soldiers of Antiochus desired to force the people to an entire renunciation of the Law, they only urged them to eat swine’s flesh 4242     There is allusion to this in 1 Macc. 1:47, and 62-63. “Howbeit, many in Israel were fully resolved and confirmed in themselves, not to eat any unclean thing; wherefore they chose rather to die, that they might not be defiled with meats, and that they might not profane the holy covenant, so then they died." And hence the famous witticism of Augustus, “I would rather be Herod’s pig than his son;” 4343     Macrob., Saturnalia, 2 4. because, whilst he abstained from pork, he was the murderer of his children. But, in order that the Jews might observe this prohibition more strictly, the very touch was also forbidden them; so that it was not only wicked to taste swine’s flesh, but even to touch it with their hands after the animal was killed. The same rule did not apply to beef or mutton; for it is necessary to handle the meat which is appointed for our food.

9 These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters. Here, also, some who know little of religion, plausibly contend that God is acting the physician’s part, and distinguishing wholesome from unwholesome food. But although their opinion is sufficiently refuted by medical men themselves, yet, even if I should admit what they desire, they reason badly. For the purpose of God was other than to provide for the people’s health; and, because He had to do with a rude people, He chose common marks, being admonished by which they might gradually ascend to higher things. It would be useless to follow the allegories which Isychius has invented 4444     “Hesychius, observing that no proper names are given here or elsewhere in Scripture, as I have said, to fishes, interprets it of the Gentiles gathered into the Church, whose names she does not desire to be written on earth, but in another generation, and in heaven; that these are born again in the waters of baptism; that they have fins, in the meditation of the law, which corresponds with the sublime and heavenly life; and scales, which may be easily removed, as also they may easily lay aside their ignorance, even as scales are said to have fallen from the eyes of Paul when he was converted. He declares that the adulterer, the covetous man, the drunkard, and the calumniator, have not fins, since their life is sordid and unclean; and says that the worshipper of idols cannot be counted among those who have scales, since he seems to be possessed of a hard and shellfish-like, and incurable ignorance of divine things.” Lorinus, in loco. and I would willingly bury in oblivion these triflings, except that many have such a leaning to subtleties, that sober views would scarcely please them, until the folly of these allegories shall have been convicted. I will say nothing of the scales and fins. If at first sight any should approve of what he says as to the names of the fish being omitted, because the Church seeks not. a name upon earth, and that the Church is signified by the fish, — let them consider whether it is consistent that the Church should only exist in the water; and, again, that the birds, which are nearer heaven, should be excluded from this honor; thirdly, that the clean animals should be rejected, as if they did not belong to the Church; lastly, that those who by their contagion pollute the Church should be counted amongst the elect, whose names are written in heaven; for certainly many of the fish are unclean. Those who will not acquiesce in these perspicuous reasons, I will allow to wander in their labyrinth. This simple view will satisfy the moderate and teachable, that the fish are not named, because the greater part of them were unknown to the Jews, whose country did not produce many of the river-fish, since it scarcely had any river besides the Jordan, whilst the sea-fish only visited the neighboring shores.

13. And these are they which ye shall have in abomination. The species of birds and reptiles which are forbidden, are such as common feeling almost naturally repudiates. And assuredly God dealt with great indulgence towards His people, so as not to weigh them down with too heavy burdens. But because man’s greediness sometimes delights in monstrous food, He desired even in minor matters to put the rein upon them, lest they should rush with heathen nations into intemperance, whereby they would be polluted. For there was danger lest, by devouring filthy animals, they should harden themselves to join in various other corruptions. Another law is added, that they should not only abstain from eating these unclean animals, but, if any such should be killed, that they should not defile themselves by touching its carcase; nay, that if any vessels should have come in contact with them, those made of earth should be broken, and others should be washed. It seems to be a trifling matter to enjoin, that if a mouse should have been drowned in a vessel of water, the vessel itself should be unclean; and the strictness appears excessive, that the Jews should be commanded, 4545     “De contraindre les poures gens;to constrain the poor people. — Fr. if any such animal had fallen into a vessel of wine, and had died there, not only to pour away the wine, but also to destroy the vessel; and if it had been smothered in an oven, or had lain in the hearth, to break down both of them; as if spiritual infection reached even to things without life. But we must always consider the intention of God: from whence we shall learn that He was not so severe and exacting in unimportant things as to tie His people to the observation of (superfluous) 4646     This word is added from the Fr. matters; but that these were acts of discipline whereby He might accustom them to study purity, which is so generally neglected and omitted among men. Now-a-days, also, we are commanded by the mouth of Paul,

"whether we eat, or drink, or whatsoever we do, to do all to the glory of God,” (1 Corinthians 10:31;)

but in this respect we differ from the ancient people, that, being delivered from childish rudiments, we are directed only to what is spiritual, viz., that meat and drink are supplied to us by God, that we may serve in purity the Author of our life. But it was necessary to stimulate the Jews in various ways that they might be more attentive to this object; whilst God commanded them to keep their houses free from all uncleanness, and to be diligent in watching over the purity of their water, and all their vessels; that He might constantly set before their eyes how diligently He would have them to labor after true cleanliness; as follows in the end of the chapter.

43 Ye shall not make yourselves abominable. He does not invite them to take care of their health, nor warn them of the danger of contracting’ diseases, but bids them beware of defiling themselves. And a clearer explanation is subjoined, “For I am the Lord your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves; for I am holy.” Lest they should imagine that the main part of religion was contained in external ceremonies, they were to consider the nature of God; for, inasmuch as He is a Spirit, He would be worshipped only spiritually. Thus holiness is only connected instrumentally with the distinction of meats; since their abstinence had no other object than that they should consecrate themselves to God. Therefore the superstition of the Jews was inexcusable, when they satisfied themselves with trifling observances; 4747     “Quand ils se sont arrestez a l’observation une et simple de choses frivoles; comme si quelqu’un apprenoit 1’ a, b, c, et qu’il ne luy chalust puis apres d’accoupler les lettres pour lire;” when they stopped at the bare and simple observation of frivolous things; as if one should learn the a, b, c, and cared not afterwards to join the letters together so as to read.—Fr. as if one should learn the letters of the alphabet without applying them to their use, and reading what is written. From their example we perceive how eagerly men lay hold of everything they can to sustain them in their hypocrisy, for they not only wrested to their earthly notions the things which were profitable in the pursuit of true integrity of heart; but, not content, with this, they heaped to themselves many supererogatory rites; 4848     Addition in Fr., “Comme si la religion eust este enclose en choses de neant;” as if religion had been comprised in things of nought. hence the water of expiation, or lustration always in use, even when they were unconscious of any pollution: hence their anxious labor in washing cups and platters, that it might readily appear how constantly the perversity of man abuses what God has appointed for the best of reasons.

Another Supplement touching Things
Accidentally Unclean 4949     Heading added from Fr., “Autre dependence des choses impures par accident."

Deuteronomy 14

Deuteronomy 14:21

21. Ye shall not eat of any thing that dieth of itself: thou shalt give it unto the stranger that is in thy gates, that he may eat it; or thou mayest sell it unto an alien: for thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God.

21. Non comedetis ullum cadaver: peregrino qui est intra portas tuas dabis illud, et comedet illud, aut vendes alienigenae: populus enim sanctus es Jehovae Deo tuo.


Exodus 22

Exodus 22:31

31. And ye shall be holy men unto me: neither shall ye eat any flesh that is torn of beasts in the field; ye shall cast it to the dogs.

31. Viri sancti eritis mihi: carnem in agro raptam non comedetis, cani projicietis eam.


Leviticus 17

Leviticus 17:15, 16

15. And every soul that eateth that which died of itself, or that which was torn with beasts, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger, he shall both wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even: then shall he be clean.

15. Onmis anima quae comederit cadaver, aut raptum, tam de indigenis quam de peregrinis, lavabit vestimenta sua, ubi laverit se aqua: eritque immundus usque ad vesperam, deinde mundus erit.

16. But if he wash them not, nor bathe his flesh; then he shall bear his iniquity.

16. Quod si non laverit vestes, et carnem non laverit, portabit iniquitatem suam.


Deuteronomy 14:21. Ye shall not eat of any thing that dieth of itself. The eating of any carcase, or of flesh torn by wild beasts, is reckoned among the causes of defilement; but we must understand it to be the carcase of an animal which has died of hunger or disease, for, from the nature of its death, it contracted impurity, although in itself it were otherwise pure. The end of the precept is gathered from the reason which is immediately subjoined, “for thou art a holy people unto the Lord thy God,” and from the ablution which is prescribed in the passage from Leviticus. The same thing is, secondly, enjoined respecting flesh that has been torn, as before with regard to the carcase, for the deformity of its laceration is counted as uncleanness. The holiness of the people is again referred to, that they may more diligently beware of defilements. Hence it follows that those were contaminated who should eat of torn flesh. Therefore, in the third passage, he confirms it that the Jews were to abstain, and were prohibited from the eating of a carcase or the flesh of an animal torn by beasts, lest they should pollute themselves. Nor is it an objection that the eating of carrion and of blood are here prohibited in conjunction with each other; for we know that Moses does not always arrange his precepts in order, but promiscuously adduces such as appertain to different classes. Therefore, I have thought it well to separate these two prohibitions which have distinct objects, and whose dissimilarity manifestly appears from the difference of their punishment. He who shall have eaten blood shall be cut off from the people; whereas he who shall have eaten carrion, shall wash himself and be unclean till the evening. A question might again arise respecting torn or lacerated flesh; but it seems in my judgment to be plain enough from the context, that flesh torn by beasts is counted amongst unclean meats; for the reason of the law is expressed, viz., because those who were chosen to be a holy people should keep themselves pure and incorrupt. Nor would God command that meat intended for man should be thrown to dogs, unless it were infected with a contagion, which would pollute His holy ones. As to the command, in the first passage, to give it to a stranger, or to sell it to an alien, that he might eat it, it does not appear reasonable, since that would be to supply the materials for sin, as though one should offer a sword to a madman, or transfer illicit goods to others. But the solution of this difficulty is easy: for the Gentiles were permitted to eat indifferently of all sorts of food, since no distinctions were placed between them; but the prohibition of certain meats was a mark of separation between them and the elect people of God. A more difficult question arises from a kind of contradiction, because Moses in another passage binds both the stranger and the home-born by the same law, and declares them to be alike unclean if they shall have tasted of carrion. But we must bear in mind that he sometimes calls those strangers who, although born of heathen parents, had embraced the Law. Circumcision, therefore, connected them with God, just as if they had derived their origin from Abraham; whilst there were other strangers, whom uncircumcision separated from the children of Abraham as profane and excomnmnicate. The sum is, that whosoever allege God’s name, and boast themselves to be His people, are called to cultivate holiness, and to keep themselves pure from every stain.

Another Supplement
as to Marriage with Unbelievers 5050     Heading added from French, “Autre dependence de se marier avec les incredules."

Deuteronomy 21

Deuteronomy 21:10-13

10. When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the LORD thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive,

10. Quum egressus fueris ad bellum contra inimicos tuos, et dederit eos Jehova Deus tuus in manum tuam, et ex eis captivos abduxeris:

11. And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife;

11. Videris autem in captivitate mulierem pulchram forma, et deamaris eam, et acceperis tibi in uxorem.

12. Then thou shalt bring her home to thine house; and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails;

12. Introduces eam domum tuam: et radet caput suum, ac praecidet ungues suos:

13. And she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife.

13. Deponetque vestimentum captivitatis suae a se, et manebit in domo tua, ae flebit patrem suum, et matrem suam mensem integrum: et postea ingredieris ad eam, erisque maritus ejus, et erit tibi uxor.


10. When thou goest forth to war. The same thing is now commanded respecting wives as above respecting meats. As regarded the Canaanites, who were destined and devoted to destruction, we have seen that the Israelites were prohibited from taking their women to wife, lest this connection should be an enticement to sin; but Moses now goes further, viz., that the Israelites, having obtained a victory over other nations, should not marry any of the captive women, unless purified by a solemn rite. This, then, is the sum, that the Israelites should not defile themselves by profane marriages, but in this point also should keep themselves pure and uncorrupt, because they were separated from other people, to be the peculiar people of God. It was better, indeed, that they should altogether abstain from such marriages; yet it was difficult so to restrain their lust as that they should not decline from chastity in the least, degree; and hence we learn how much license conquerors allow themselves in war, so that there is no room for perfect purity in them. Wherefore God so tempers His indulgence as that the Israelites, remembering the adoption wherewith He had honored them, should not disgrace themselves, but in the very fervor of their lust should retain some religious affection. But the question here is not of unlawful ravishment, but Moses only speaks of women who have been made captives by the right of war, for we know that conquerors have abused them with impunity, because they had them under their power and dominion. But since many are led astray by the blandishments of their wives, God applies a remedy, viz., that the abjuration of their former life should precede their marriage; and that none should be allowed to marry a foreign wife until she shall have first renounced her own nation. To this refers the ceremony, that the woman should shave her head, and cut her nails, and change her garments, and lament her father and her family for an entire month, viz., that she may renounce her former life, and pass over to another people. Some of the rabbins twist the words to a different meaning, as if God would extinguish love in the minds of the husbands by disfiguring the women; for the shaving of the head greatly detracts from female beauty and elegance; and “to make the nails,” for so the words literally mean, they understand as to let them grow; and the prolongation of the nails has a disgusting appearance. But their gloss is refuted by the context, in which she is commanded to put off the raiment of her captivity.: But I have no doubt but that their month of mourning, their shaven head, and the other signs, are intended by God for their renewal, so that they may accustom themselves to different habits. And with the same object they are commanded to bewail their parents as if dead, that they may bid farewell to their own people. To this the Prophet seems to allude in Psalm 45:10, when he says, “Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house;” for he intimates that otherwise the marriage of a foreign woman with Solomon would not be pure and legitimate, unless she should relinquish her superstitions, and devote herself to God’s service. Nor was it needless that God should require the Israelites diligently to beware lest they should take wives as yet aliens from the study of true religion, since experience most abundantly shows how fatal a snare it is. But although we are not now bound to this observance, yet the rule still holds good that men should not rashly ally themselves with women still devoted to wicked superstitions. 5151     Addition in Fr., “Pour s’envelopper en leur impiete."

Judicial Supplements

Deuteronomy 18

Deuteronomy 18:19

19. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.

19. Erit autem ut si quis non audierit verba mea quae loquetur Propheta in nomine meo, ego re-quiram ab eo.


Thus far I have reviewed The Supplements To The First Commandment, which relate to the Ancient Types and Legal Worship. The Commandment itself will always remain in force, even to the end of the world; and is given not only to the Jews, but likewise to us also. But God formerly made use of the ceremonies as temporary aids, of which, although the use has ceased, the utility still remains; because from them it more clearly appears how God is to be duly served; and the spirit of religion shines forth in them. Therefore the whole substance is contained in the precept, but in the external exercise, as it were, the form to which God bound none but His ancient people. Now follow The Political Supplements, 5252     Les dependences, qui concernent la justice et la police Fr. whereby God commands the punishments to be inflicted, if His religion shall have been violated. For political laws are not only enacted with reference to earthly affairs, in order that men should maintain mutual equity with each other, and should follow and observe what is right, but that they should exercise themselves in the veneration of God. For Plato also begins from hence, when he lays down the legitimate constitution of a republic, and calls the fear of God the preface of all laws; nor has any profane author ever existed who has not confessed that this is the principal part of a well-constituted state, that all with one consent should reverence and worship God. In this respect, indeed, the wisdom of men was at fault, that they deemed that any religion which they might prefer was to be sanctioned by laws and by punishments; yet the principle was a just one, that the whole system of law is perverted if the cultivation of piety is ignored by it.

But, whilst God commends the care and study of religion to the judge, and commands that the contempt of it should be publicly avenged, He at the same time provides against a common error, that they should not rush into severity with rash and inconsiderate zeal. For, inasmuch as the several nations, cities, and kingdoms foolishly invent their own gods, He propounds His own Law, from the regulation of which it is sinful to decline. It has been wisely forbidden by human legislators, that men should make to themselves private gods; but all this is vain unless the knowledge of the true God enlightens and directs them. Justly, therefore, does God recall His people to that doctrine which He has delivered, to the end that whosoever shall have contumaciously despised it should be punished. But, since it would be insufficient that they should be once instructed in the proper worship of God by a written law, unless daily preaching were subjoined, God expressly furnishes His prophets with authority, and denounces the punishment to be inflicted if any should violate it. He had previously said that He would raise up prophets, that the condition of His chosen people should not be worse than that of other nations; since, therefore, He had deposited with them the treasure of true religion, that they might be, as it were, its guardians, He now threatens with destruction whosoever shall refuse to obey their commands. It is plain, however, from the expression “in my name,” that He does not speak of all who may usurp the name of prophet, for it is as much as to say that they came from Him, and advanced nothing without His command. For, although many may falsely present themselves in God’s name, this honorable distinction does not belong to them unless God should ratify it; but this is truly the characteristic of faithful and approved teachers, that they speak in the name of God. Thus, when Christ promises that

"where two or three are gathered in His name, there is He in the midst of them,” (Matthew 18:20,)

He does not dignify with such great honor hypocrites, who with sacrilegious audacity usurp His name; but He speaks of the reality, as will also appear more clearly from the reverse law, which follows.

Deuteronomy 13

Deuteronomy 13:5

5. And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.

5. Propheta antem falsus aut somniator interficietur, eo quod defectionem loquutus sit contra Jehovam Deum vestrum, qui eduxit tee e terra AEgypti, et redemit tee domo servorum, ut te depelleret a via quam princaepit tibi Jehova Deus tuus, ut ambules in ea: et exterminabit malam e medio tui.


5. And that prophet. Since the ministers of Satan deceive men by their plausible exterior, when they vaunt themselves to be the prophets of God, Moses had already admonished them, that all. teachers were not to be listened to indifferently, but that the true were to be distinguished from the false, and that, after judgment had, those should obtain credit who deserved it. He now subjoins the punishment of such as should creep in under the name of a prophet to draw away the people into rebellion. For he does not condemn to capital punishment those who may have spread false doctrine, only on account of some particular or trifling error, but those who are the authors of apostasy, and so who pluck up religion by the roots. Observe, again, that the season of this severity would not be until a positive religion should be established; and, therefore, the grossness of the impiety is expressly named, “if they should have tried to turn the people away from the worship of the true God.” Moreover, that all excuse might be obviated, Moses says that it is sufficiently manifested who God is, and how He is to be worshipped, both by the wonderful blessing of their redemption, as well as by the doctrine of the Law. Therefore, in order that God may shew that so heavy a punishment is justly inflicted upon apostates, He declares the certainty of that religion which should exist among the Israelites; as much as to say, that no pardon could be granted to such impious contempt, since God had abundantly proved the glory of His Godhead by the miracle of their redemption, and had manifested His will in the Law.

It must then be remembered, that the crime of impiety would not otherwise merit punishment, unless the religion had not only been received by public consent and the suffrages of the people, but, being supported also by sure and indisputable proofs, should place its truth above the reach of doubt. Thus, whilst their severity is preposterous who defend superstitions with the sword, so also in a well constituted polity, profane men are by no means to be tolerated, by whom religion is subverted. 5353     It is impossible not to be here reminded of Calvin’s acquiescence in the punishment of Servetus. In the principle he lays down, we have, as it were, his final apology for the part he took in that matter. Any discussion of the much-vexed question would here be out of place, but it may not be altogether amiss to introduce the few following calm reflections from the pen of a very able modern historian, M. de Felice — “1. Servetus was not an ordinary heretic; he was audaciously Pantheistic, and outraged the doctrine of all the great Christian communions, by saying that God in three persons was a Cerberus — a monster with three heads. 2. He had already been condemned to death by the (Roman) Catholic Doctors at Vienna in Dauphine. 3. The matter was adjudicated, not by Calvin, but by the magistrates of Geneva; and, if it be objected that his opinion must have influenced their decision, it must be remembered that the Councils of the other Reformed Cantons of Switzerland unanimously approved of the sentence. 4. It was of supreme importance that the Reformation should clearly separate its cause from that of an Infidel like Servetus. The (Roman) Catholic Church, which now-a-days accuses Calvin of having participated in his condemnation, would, in the sixteenth century, have much more harshly accused him, if he had sought for his acquittal.” — Hist, des Protestants de France. Liv. 1., Section 5. Thus they are unable to endure, who desire to be at liberty to make disturbances with impunity; and therefore they call those sanguinary who teach that the errors by which religion is undermined and thence destroyed, should be restrained by public authority. But what will they gain by openly raving against God? God commands the false prophets to be put to death, who pluck up the foundations of religion, and are the authors and leaders of rebellion. Some scoundrel or other gainsays this, and sets himself against the author of life and death. What insolence is this! 5454     “Quant a ce qui tels babouins alleguent,” etc. — Fr. As to their denial that the truth of God stands in need of such support, it is very true; but what is the meaning of this madness, in imposing a law upon God, that He should not make use of the obedience of magistrates in this respect? And what avails it to question about the necessity of this, since so it pleases God? God might, indeed, do without the assistance of the sword in defending religion; but such is not His will. And what wonder if God should command magistrates to be the avengers of His glory, when He neither wills nor suffers that thefts, fornications, and drunkenness should be exempt from punishment. In minor offenses it shall not be lawful for the judge to hesitate; and when the worship of God and the whole of religion is violated, shall so great a crime be fostered by his dissimulation? Capital punishment shall be decreed against adulterers; but shall the despisers of God be permitted with impunity to adulterate the doctrines of salvation, and to draw away wretched souls from the faith? Pardon shall never be extended to poisoners, by whom the body alone is injured; and shall it be sport to deliver souls to eternal destruction? Finally, the magistracy, if its own authority be assailed, shall take severe vengeance upon that contempt; and shall it suffer the profanation of God’s holy name to be unavenged? What can be more monstrous! But it is superfluous to contend by argument, when God has once pronounced what is His will, for we must needs abide by His inviolable decree

But it is questioned whether the law pertains to the kingdom of Christ, which is spiritual and distinct from all earthly dominion; and there are some men, not otherwise ill-disposed, to whom it appears that our condition under the Gospel is different from that of the ancient people under the law; not only because the kingdom of Christ is not of this world, but because Christ was unwilling that the beginnings of His kingdom should be aided by the sword. But, when human judges consecrate their work to the promotion of Christ’s kingdom, I deny that on that account its nature is changed. For, although it was Christ’s will that His Gospel should be proclaimed by His disciples in opposition to the power of the whole world, and He exposed them armed with the Word alone like sheep amongst wolves, He did not impose on Himself an eternal law that He should never bring kings under His subjection, nor tame their violence, nor change them from being cruel persecutors into the patrons and guardians of His Church. Magistrates at first exercised tyranny against the Church, because the time had not yet come when they should “kiss the Son” of God, and, laying aside their violence, should become the nursing fathers of the Church, which they had assailed according to Isaiah’s prophecy, that undoubtedly refers to the coming of Christ. (Isaiah 49:6-23.) Nor was it causelessly that Paul, when he enjoins prayers to be made for kings and other worldly rulers, added the reason that under them

"we may lead a quiet and peaceable life
in all godliness and honesty.” (1 Timothy 2:2.)

Christ, indeed as He is meek, would also, I confess, have us to be imitators of His gentleness, but that does not prevent pious magistrates from providing for the tranquillity and safety of the Church by their defense of godliness; since to neglect this part of their duty, would be the greatest perfidy and cruelty. And assuredly nothing can be more base than, when we see wretched souls drawn away to eternal destruction by reason of the impunity conceded to impious, wicked, and perverse impostors, to count the salvation of those souls for nothing. But, if under this pretext the superstitious have dared to shed innocent blood, I reply that what God has once commanded must not be brought to nought on account of any abuse or corruption of men. For, if the cause alone abundantly distinguishes the martyrs of Christ from malefactors, though their punishment may be identical, so the Papal executioners will not bring it to pass by their unjust cruelty that the zeal of pious magistrates in punishing false and noxious teachers should be otherwise than pleasing to God. And this is admirably expressed in the words of Moses, when he reminds them that judgment must be passed according to the law of God. I have already said that. this severity must not be extended to particular errors, but where impiety breaks forth even into rebellion. When it is added, “to thrust thee out of the way, which the Lord thy God commanded thee,” we gather from it that none are to be given over to punishment, but those who shall have been convicted by the plain word of God, lest men should judge them arbitrarily. Whence it also appears that zeal will err in hastily drawing the sword, unless a lawful examination shall have been previously instituted.

Deuteronomy 17

Deuteronomy 17:12, 13

12. And the man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the priest that standeth to minister there before the LORD thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die: and thou shalt put away the evil from Israel.

12. Vir autem qui egerit in superbia ut non audiat sacerdotem qui stat ut illic ministret Jehovae Deo, tuo, aut judicem, morietur vir ille, et exterminabis malum ex Israele

13. And all the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptuously.

13. Atque omnes e populo audi ant, ut timeant, neque in posterurn superbiant.


He pronounces a similar punishment on those who shall have contumaciously rejected the judgment of the priests. We have already seen that the prophetical office was united with the priesthood; since, according to Malachi 2:4, the covenant of God was with Levi, that his descendants might be the guardians of His knowledge, and the interpreters of His law: yet God often punished the laxity of the priests, by setting other teachers over his people. At any rate, both were ambassadors for Him. Since, therefore, the authority of the prophets had been sanctioned above, the same rights are now conferred upon the priests; nor is this surprising, for it was no trifling crime to despise God, the appointer of this order. Yet we must remember what I have elsewhere stated, that the priests were not armed with tyrannical authority, so that it was sinful to reject whatever they might have decreed according to their own fancy. For neither did God dethrone Himself when He appointed them, nor did He bind men’s consciences to obey their ordinances without distinction, but only would put reins on the audacity of those who have no scruple in undervaluing the government of the Church. For this must be considered, that foul and horrible would be the disorder, if men were promiscuously permitted to reject whatever the rulers of the Church may have appointed; and it would be ridiculous that persons should be called to govern, to whom no dignity should be accorded; and, therefore, natural reason itself shews and dictates, that the reverence, which is here demanded, is due to all lawful commands. God was the author of the priesthood: He, too, ordained judges. What could be more absurd than that they should be despised and laughed at with impunity, who presided in the name and by the command of God? But He has never exalted a mortal man so high as to abdicate His own rights; nay, it was often necessary boldly to reject what the priests had commanded. Urijah the priest built a profane altar in the fashion of that at Damascus, which Ahaz had sent, and offered a sacrifice thereon, 5555     “Ce vilein traistre Urie y offroit;” that vile traitor Urijah offered on it. — Fr. (2 Kings 16:12,) was it necessary that Isaiah should acquiesce in this? Nay, detestable was the adulation of all who assented to the decree of a wicked and perfidious priest. Moreover, we see that the prophets were very often so far from agreeing with the priests, that they waged open war with them. But the whole of this matter is decided by the words of Moses, for he does not unreservedly condemn all who should not obey, but restricts his law by the addition of a special mark, viz., if the contempt should arise from presumption or arrogance. Therefore it was not else a capital crime to disobey the priest or the judge, unless any one should insolently and proudly oppose himself to the ordinance established by God. Otherwise this exception would have been interposed without reason. In fine, the priests of old were to be obeyed, as far as it concerned the public peace that the pastors ordained by God should be reverently honored; yet so as that there should be no departure from God Himself, the one Head and Prince of all pastors. We have elsewhere seen how foolishly the Papists take this to themselves 5656     “Combien les Papistes sont sots et badins, voulant faire leur profit de ce passage;” how silly and trifling the Papists are, in seeking to make their profit of this passage. — Fr.

13. And all the people. He shews from the object of the enactment why the proud despisers (of the priests) were not to be spared; for punishments have reference to common example, whilst, on the other hand, impunity is a bait to sin, and the nurse of unbridled licentiousness. And, assuredly, when He commands that the whole people should be inspired with terror, it is a hint that, unless presumption should be corrected, and the bold and wicked should be restrained by severe discipline, the door would be opened to them to destroy the Church.

Deuteronomy 13

Deuteronomy 13:6-11

6. If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers;

6. Si incitaverit te frater tuus, filius matris tuae, aut filia tua, aut filia tua, aut uxor complexus tui, aut amicus tuus qui sit sicut anima tua, clam dicendo, Eamus et colamus deos alienos quos non noveris neque tu, neque patres tui:

7. Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth;

7. E diis populorum qui sunt in circuitu vestro, sive propinqui sint, sive remoti a te, ab extremo regionis usque ad extremum ejus:

8. Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him:

8. Non acquiesces ei, neque obedies ei, nec parcet ei oculus tuus, neque misereberis, neque occultabis eum:

9. But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.

9. Sed occidendo occides eum: manus tua erit in eum prima ad ipsum interficiendum, deinde manus universi populi.

10. And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

10. Et lapidabis eum lapidibus et morietur: quia quaesivit te abstrahere a Jehova Deo tuo, qui eduxit te e terra AEgypti, e domo servorum

11. And all Israel shall hear, and fear, and shall do no more any such wickedness as this is among you.

11. Ut totus Israel audiant et timeant, nec addant facere quicquam simile huic rei pravae in medio tui


6 If thy brother, the son of thy mother. The punishment which he had commanded to be inflicted on false teachers, is now extended to each one of the people. For although it is a lighter offense in a private individual to draw others with him into error, both because his ignorance is excusable, and the profession of a teacher does not increase his responsibility, yet a falling away from religion, from whencesoever it arises, is intolerable to God. Only, those two points, to which we have already adverted, are to be kept in remembrance, viz., that this judgment can have no place except where religion is duly constituted; and, also, that all are not to be put to death indifferently, who may have erred in some particular, but that this severity is only to be exercised against apostates, who pluck up religion by the roots, so that the worship of God is adulterated, or pure doctrine abolished. Nor indeed does God enjoin that the slipperiness of the tongue is to be capitally punished, if it shall have inconsiderately let fall something amiss, but rather 5757     “Une malice deliberee, et conceue de longue main;” deliberate malice, and aforethought. — Fr. the wicked design of altering the true religion, as the words clearly express the matter. It is worth while remarking with what particularity God enforces upon us the duty of fostering and upholding religion: for, because general laws are usually eluded by various exceptions, He expressly says that neither brother, nor son, nor wife, nor intimate friend is to be spared. 5858     Addition in Fr, “Quand ils tomberont en ceste malheurete de vouloir attirer quelqu’un en idolatrie;” when they shall fall into this iniquity of wishing to tempt any one to idolatry. The eye is said to pity, because the very look is of great power in awakening the affections on both sides; therefore it is not without reason that God requires 5959     Addition in Fr., “En celuy qui se voudra monstrer bon zelateur de la religion;” in him, who would shew himself to be duly zealous in religion. such courage as may be moved to pity neither by tears, nor blandishments, nor the sadness of the spectacle. The phrases, too, are emphatic, “thy brother, who proceeded from the same womb;” “the wife who sleeps in thy bosom or embrace;” “the friend whom you love as yourself;” in order that pure zeal, when it sees God’s sacred name profaned, may not give way to any human affection. Christ says that no one is worthy to be acknowledged as His disciple, but he who shall neglect his father, and mother, and children, when necessary. So now God declares that all our tenderest affections, which are implanted in us by nature, and in which all the best persons sometimes indulge, are sinful, if they hinder us from vindicating His glory.

It is pious and praiseworthy to love our wives and children as our own bowels; nor is there any reason which forbids us from regarding our brother and our friend with similar love; only let God be preferred to all, for it is too preposterous to betray His glory for the sake of man. For to plead the love due to our wives, or anything of the same kind, what is this but to set our affections against God and His precepts? Wherefore the desire to mitigate that severity to which He would harden us, betrays an effeminacy which He will not endure. Now, there are two most just grounds for the heaviness of the punishment; first, because we are almost all of us slack when we ought to be very zealous in avenging the insults which God may receive; and, secondly, because more severe remedies are applied to perilous diseases, so it is right that so noxious, and altogether deadly pestilence as this should be met with extraordinary means. And to this refers the expression “secretly.” For although it might seem cruel to betray such as have not publicly transgressed, yet, inasmuch as sectaries fly from the light, and creep in by clandestine and deceitful arts, it is necessary to prevent them from fraudulently infecting individual houses with their poison, as always is the case with them. Therefore God would have their insidious endeavors checked betimes, lest the contagion should spread.

7 Namely, of the gods of the people. The sum of the matter is to this effect, that we should so acquiesce in the known truth, as that our ears may be closed to all the falsehoods by which it is opposed. Men’s neighborhood to each other commonly produces, by their intercommunication, a conformity of habits. Thus errors pass from one to the other; 6060     “Trottent ca et la, ct ont la vogue.” — Fr. and since we are generally prone to evil, the worse pervert the better. Since, then, the people of Israel were everywhere surrounded by idolaters, they might have easily been enticed to imitate them, unless measures were taken to prevent it. But the expression “round about” is used, because a pretext for yielding might have been taken from the fact, that the Israelites differed in religion not from a single nation only, but from all who surrounded them on every side. For to whatever quarter they looked, examples presented themselves to their eyes, whereby they were attracted to a new and strange form of religion. He afterwards amplifies this, by adding, even if those nations “be far off from thee;” for the Israelites were not divided from their neighbors only, but severed also from the whole human race. But this was no slight temptation, that they found no companions in the whole world, nor any nation, which agreed with them. Besides, distance itself sometimes causes us to have respect for those who are unknown to us; since the curiosity of men is volatile, and traverses in its levity sea and land, in order to procure for itself pestiferous monsters for the sake of their novelty. Meanwhile, God exalts the faith which is founded on His Word, in comparison with the manners, institutions, rites, and customs of all nations; for none has made any true proficiency in religion unless he abominates whatever is opposed to it.

9 But thou shalt surely kill him. He would not that every one should privately execute vengeance without a public trial; but he referred to the ordinary custom, that the witnesses should throw the first stone at condemned criminals, as we shall see elsewhere. For it was an admirable provision, that God would have those who had denounced the crime, to be the executors of its punishment, in order that they should be more cautious and moderate in giving their testimony. The reason, which is added at the end, “because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the Lord thy God, who brought thee out,” etc., again exaggerates the crime on the score of its ingratitude; which was detestable in proportion to the inestimable blessing of their deliverance. It was an act of gross wickedness to rebel against God after they had known Him; but it was still more gross to undervalue their Deliverer. Finally, the advantage and fruit of this severity is subjoined; for, whilst punishment was inflicted on one man’s crime, all others were inspired with terror; and thus the death of one is a wholesome discipline for all, in the way of example.

Deuteronomy 13

Deuteronomy 13:12-17

12. If thou shalt hear say in one of thy cities, which the Lord thy God hath given thee to dwell there, saying,

12. Si audieris de una urbium tuarum quas Jehova Deus tuus dat tibi ut habites ibi, aliquem dicen-tem:

13. Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known;

13. Egressi sunt quidam homines filii impietatis e medio tui, qui impulerunt habitatores urbis suae, dicendo, Eamus et colamus deos alienos quos non nostis.

14. Then shalt thou enquire, and make search, and ask diligently; and, behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought among you;

14. Tunc inquires, et investigabis diligenter: et siquidem veritas sit et rumor verus, quod facta sit abominatio ista in medio tui:

15. Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword.

15. Percutiendo percuties habitatores urbis illius acie gladii, perdendo eam, et quicquid in ea fuerit, et jumenta ejus acie gladii.

16. And thou shalt gather all the spoil of it into the midst of the street thereof, and shalt burn with fire the city, and all the spoil thereof every whit, for the LORD thy God: and it shall be an heap for ever; it shall not be built again.

16. Atque omnia spolia ejus congregabis in medio plateae ejus, et combures igni urbem ipsam et omnia spolia ejus prorsus Jehovae Deo tuo, eritque tumulus perpetuus, non aedificabitur.

17. And there shall cleave nought of the cursed thing to thine hand: that the LORD may turn from the fierceness of his anger, and shew thee mercy, and have compassion upon thee, and multiply thee, as he hath sworn unto thy fathers;

17. Neque adhaerebit manui tuae quicquam de anathemate, ut avertatur Jehova ab ira furoris sui, et det tibi misericordias, misereaturque tui, ac te multiplicet quemadmodum juravit patribus tuis.


12. If thou shalt hear say. If impiety and rebellion should more widely prevail, Moses declares that whole cities, together with their inhabitants, should rather be destroyed, than that so great a crime should remain unpunished. Hence we may better infer how unholy is the tenderness of those who would have no punishment inflicted for the violation of the religion of God. If any sedition may have arisen in an army or nation, and the contagion may have spread through the whole multitude, the severity of a just and moderate ruler does not usually proceed further than to punish the ringleaders; when, therefore, God commands all without exception to be destroyed, the great atrocity of the crime is made apparent. Hence, too, we are admonished, that zeal for God’s glory is but cold among us, unless true religion is held to be of more value than the preservation of a single city or people. But if so many together are to be dragged to death in crowds, their impudence is more than detestable, and their pity cruelty itself, who would take no account of God’s injured majesty, so that one man may be spared. And since we are created to no other end, and live for no other cause than that God may be glorified in us, it is better that the whole world should perish, than that men should enjoy the fruits of the earth in order that they may contaminate it with their blasphemies. If those who first professed Christ’s name had been inspired with such zeal as this, true religion would never have been overwhelmed, and almost extinguished by so many corruptions. But we must always bear in mind what I have already said, that this severity must not be resorted to except when the religion is suffering, which is not only received by public authority and general opinion, but which is proved on solid grounds to be true; so that it may clearly appear that we are the avengers of God against the wicked.

13. Certain men, the children of Belial. Moses puts a case, which very often is wont to occur. For all do not break forth into impiety together at the same moment, but Satan stirs up some who are like fans to excite others; and by their instigations the multitude is led to imitate them. Moses calls such as these “children of Belial;” 6161     בליעל, Belial. If the authority of the points be conceded, this word must be considered as composed of בלי, without, and יעל, use, or profit, so as to correspond with our expression good-for-nothing; but, if the points be disregarded, it might be considered as made up of בלי, and על, without yoke; insubmissive, rebellious. S.M.’s note says, “Without the yoke of the Divine Law.” — W. by which word some think that rebellious (proefractos) men are pointed out, and expound it “without yoke.” Their opinion, however, seems to be more correct, who interpret it “men of nothing,” men in whom nothing good or praiseworthy is found; and literally translate it “those who are worthless.” 6262     “Ausquels il ne se trouve pas une seule goutte de bien.” — Fr. The Lat., “Eos, qui non ascendunt,” appears to be a misprint; possibly for qui non assis sunt? This expression is invariably applied to the wicked (sceleratis, improbis, et nequam;) and therefore Paul, contrasting Christ with Belial, designates by it Satan the chief of all the wicked. (2 Corinthians 6:15.) He uses the words “gone out,” as if they had dared to come forward, and openly to parade their impiety. But, though the evil may have originated with a few authors, he does not mean that punishment should stop with them; as if the instigation of others availed as an excuse for the multitude. And he enjoins diligent inquiry to be made, for two reasons: viz., lest they should connive at the iniquity, and be lax, and careless about it, or lest they should be too hasty and precipitate in their judgment; because, on the one hand, whilst we are never equitable, nor decide rightly in precipitation and anger, so on the other it betrays base indifference, and something like disloyalty, to overlook so great a crime. Thus both activity and moderation are commended, so that the judge may neither be lax, nor make any decision until the matter shall be carefully inquired into.

15 Thou shalt surely smite. Lest the severity of the punishment should occasion surprise, let us first observe that the error was unpardonable, because its authors, being educated in the doctrines of the Law, could not be deceived involuntarily, nor unless they had grown weary of religion, and set their hearts on the impostures of the devil. On this account God, in the Book of Jeremiah, in order to inveigh more heavily against the inconstancy of the Jews, refers them to distant isles and nations: “Passover (He says) and consider,” etc., “Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit. Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this,” etc. (Jeremiah 2:10-12.) For justly must their instability be accounted monstrous, that they should have voluntarily forsaken the fountain of life, and have been carried away to vanity by their preposterous love of novelty. If any should object that the little children at least were innocent, I reply that, since all are condemned by the judgment of God from the least to the greatest, we contend against Him in vain, even though He should destroy the very infants as yet in their mothers’ womb. When Sodom and the neighboring cities were swallowed up, we doubt not but that in the mighty multitude many infants and pregnant women also perished; and whilst our reason struggles against this, it is better rather to look up reverently to the Divine tribunal, than to subject it to our own laws. The same may be said of the destruction of Babylon; for when the Prophet exclaims: “Happy shall he be that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones,” he assuredly eulogizes the just vengeance of God. (Psalm 137:9.) So also in this passage, if it does not appear to us agreeable to reason that the whole race of evil-doers should be exterminated, let us understand that God is defrauded of His rights, whensoever we measure His infinite greatness, which the angels themselves admiringly adore, by our own feelings. Although we must recollect that God would never have suffered any infants to be destroyed, except those which He had already reprobated and condemned to eternal death. But if we admit God’s right to deprive of the hope of salvation whomsoever He sees fit, why should the temporal punishment, which is much lighter, be found fault with? Rather let us learn from the severity of this Law, how detestable is the crime of setting up false and spurious modes of worship, since it contaminates not only the infants, whose age prevents them from being conscious of it, 6363     “Lesquels n’en sont point coulpables.” — Fr. but even the cattle and flocks, and the very houses and walls. For he proceeds immediately afterwards to say,

16. And thou shalt gather all the spoil of it. They are commanded to burn all the furniture, and whatever is found in the city; and the reason is subjoined, because it is accursed (anathema) If any city was taken in war, all that God here commands to be burnt was to be counted as spoil, for the Jews would pollute themselves by its very touch. It might be indeed that God’s intention was to obviate covetousness, lest the Jews should mix up their zeal with rapine; but the principal reason was that which Moses expresses, that the people might be more accustomed to detest the crime, which they saw to be so cruelly punished by God. The word חרם, cherem, which the Greeks have translated anathema, 6464     “Execration.” — Fr. properly means destruction, or abolition; but that which God would have annihilated, because He cannot bear the sight of it, is called חרם, before Him. Therefore it is said, “Thou shalt burn it to the Lord thy God;” for the translation which some give, “for (propter) the Lord,” is not quite literal. The sum is to this effect, that if they fear God’s vengeance for themselves, and desire to propitiate His favor, they must hold in execration the houses and property of those who have rebelled against the Law. Moreover, it is implied by the words “mercy” and “compassion,” that if God should deal with absolute justice, the wickedness of one city would suffice to destroy a whole country. Whence we gather, that a kind of expiation is demanded to propitiate God, when they are commanded utterly to destroy the city, and to cast every remnant of it into the fire.

Exodus 22

Exodus 22:18

18. Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.

18. Maleficam non pateris vivere.


18. Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. In these passages the punishment of those is appointed who should in any respect violate the worship of God. We have lately seen how severely God avenged apostasy from the faith; but now He touches upon certain particular points when religion is not professedly forsaken, but some corruption is introduced, whereby its purity is affected. The first passage denounces capital punishment upon witches; by which name Moses means enchantresses, or sorceresses, who devote themselves to magic arts, either to injure persons by their fascinations, or to seek revelations from the devil; such as she was whom Saul consulted, although she might be called by a different name 6565     It is said of the woman, (1 Samuel 18:7,) that “she had a familiar spirit,” (אוב See vol. 1, p. 428; the word here used is מכשפהfrom כשף, praestigiis uti. Taylor’s Concordance. Since such illusions carry with them a wicked renunciation of God, no wonder that He would have them punished with death. But since this pestilent crime would be no more tolerable in a man than a woman, it has been probably supposed that the law was directed against women, because their sex is more disposed to superstition. Certainly the same enactment is made respecting males in Deuteronomy 18:1, 6666     See ante, vol. 1, p. 426, on Deuteronomy 18:10. only the punishment is not there denounced, but God merely prohibits any of the people from being an enchanter or a witch. Now it is clear that all the kinds which are there recited, are here included under one; so that God would condemn to capital punishment all augurs, and magicians, and consulters with familiar spirits, and necromancers and followers of magic arts, as well as enchanters. And this will appear more plainly from the second and third passages, in which God declares that He “will set. His face against all, that shall turn after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards,” so as to cut them off from His people; and then commands that they should be destroyed by stoning. Wherefore, since it is not just that men should escape with impunity, when the infirmity of women is not spared, nor that dissimilar sentences should be pronounced in similar cases, the same punishment which was decreed against witches and enchantresses, is now extended to either sex, and to all magical superstitions. In the words also “that turneth to go a whoring,” the atrocity of the crime is again expressed, the similitude being taken from immodest women, who seek with wandering glances for the indulgence of their lust. Moses, therefore, signifies that, as soon as we begin to cast our eyes this way and that, and do not keep them fixed on God alone so as to be content with Him, that sacred union 6767     “Le mariage spirituel."—Fr. is violated wherein He has bound us to Himself.

Numbers 15

Numbers 15:30, 31

30. But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people.

30. Anima quae fecerit in manu excelsa, tam civis quam peregrinus, ut Jehovam contumelia afficiat, ex-cidetur anima illa e medio populi sui.

31. Because he hath despised the word of the LORD, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him.

31. Quia sermonem Jehovae contempsit, et praeceptum ejus irritum fecit: excidendo excidetur anima illa: iniquitas ejus in ea.


30. But the soul that doeth ought. This verse is variously translated. For some read it thus 6868     Vide A.V., and margin. “The soul that doeth ought with a high hand, the same reproacheth the Lord, and, therefore, shall be cut off;” thus there would be two propositions. We have followed another opinion, reading it connectedly, “The soul, who shall have raised a high hand to the reproach of God, shall be cut off ” Literally, it is, “The soul, who shall have dealt with a high hand, whether born in the land, or a stranger, himself blaspheming God, and that soul shall be plucked up from the midst of his people.” But, since either version is probable, and makes no difference in substance, I have allowed myself freely to choose that which expressed the meaning more clearly. “To deal with a high hand” is nothing more than to attempt, or undertake proudly, what is not lawful: for our hands ought to be guided, and, as it were, restrained by God’s word, lest they should lift themselves up. But although men’s hands are used in various acts of audacity and wantonness, yet here there is especial mention of the profanation of God’s true and legitimate worship, when anything is invented inconsistent with its purity: for the punishment is not decreed against thefts, or murders, or other similar crimes, but against the perverse imaginations, which tend to the corruption of religion. The reason is afterwards added: “Because he hath despised the word of the Lord, and hath broken His commandment.” For it is no light offense to transgress the bounds which God hath placed. Now, it is certain that all self-invented services betray an impious contempt of God, as if men designedly despised Him, and spurned at His commands. Whence we infer, that nothing is more opposed to perfect and sincere religion than that temerity which induces men to follow whatever course they please. The clause, “his iniquity shall be upon him,” may be explained in two ways, either as a confirmation by Moses of the justice of this punishment, and of its merited infliction, or as an admonition, that the impiety should be corrected betimes, before it has advanced too far. There is no objection to either.

Leviticus 20

Leviticus 20:1-6, 27

1. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

1. Loquutus est Jehova ad Mosen, dicendo:

2. Again, thou shalt say to the children of Israel, Whosoever he be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that giveth any of his seed unto Molech; he shall surely be put to death: the people of the land shall stone him with stones.

2. Filiis Israel dices, Quicunque e filiis Israel, et e peregrinis qui peregrinantur in Israel, dederit e semine suo Moloch, moriendo morietur: populus terrae lapidibus lapidabit eum.

3. And I will set my face against that man, and will cut him off from among his people; because he hath given of his seed unto Molech, to defile my sanctuary, and to profane my holy name.

3. Ego etiam ponam faciem meam contra virum illum, et exterminabo eum e medio populi sui, eo quod de-derit e semine suo Moloch, ut contaminaret sanctuarium meum, et profanaret nomen sanctitatis meae.

4. And if the people of the land do any ways hide their eyes from the man, when he giveth of his seed unto Molech, and kill him not:

4. Quod si abscondendo absconderit populus terrae oculos suos a viro illo quando dabit ex semine suo Moloch, non interficiendo illum;

5. Then I will set my face against that man, and against his family, and will cut him off, and all that go a whoring after him, to commit whoredom with Molech, from among their people.

5. Tunc ponam ego faciem meam in virum illum, et in familiam ejus, et succidam eum et omnes qui scor-tantur post ipsum, ut scortentur post Moloch, e medio populi sui.

6. And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people.

6. Anima quae respexerit ad Pythones et ariolos, ad fornicandum post eos, ponam faciem meam contra animam illam, et exterminabo e medio populi sui.

27. A man also or woman that hath a familar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.

27. Vir sive muleir in quibus fuerit Python, vel aruspicum spiritus, moriendo morietur: lapidando lapidabunt eos: sanguis eorum super eos.


1. And the Lord spake. The prohibition of this superstition was previously expounded in its proper place. God here commands the punishment to be inflicted, if any one should have polluted himself with it. And surely it was a detestable sacrilege to enslave to idols that offspring, which was begotten to God, and which He had adopted in the loins of Abraham, since in this way they not only despoiled God of His right, but, so far as they could, blotted out the grace of adoption. What He had then generally pronounced, He now specially applies, viz., that they should be stoned who offered their seed to Molech; for otherwise they would have tried to escape on the pretense that they had no intention of revolting to other gods. Just as now-a-days, under the Papacy, whatever is alleged from Scripture against their impious and corrupt worship, is coldly and contemptuously received; because they varnish over their idolatries, and so indulge themselves in them in security. But after God has commanded His judges to punish this crime severely, He at the same time declares that, if perchance they should connive at it, and encourage it by their lenity, He Himself will avenge it, so as to punish much more heavily those who may have escaped from the hands of men; and not only so, but that He would implicate all those who might have been aware of it in the same con-detonation.

Exodus 12

Exodus 12:15, 19

15. ... Whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.

15. Quicunque comederit fermentatum a die primo usque ad diem septimum, excidetur anima illa ex Israel.

19. ... Whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land.

19. Quicunque comederit fermentatum, exterminabitur anima illa e coetu Israel: tam peregrinus quam indigena terre.


15. Whosoever eateth leavened bread. This law specially refers to the keeping of the Passover. God had before forbidden the use of leaven; and He now enacts the punishment to be inflicted, if any should neglect the prohibition, and mingle leaven with the Paschal feast. But it is not without reason that we have postponed to this place what Moses has joined together with the institution of the Passover; for the plan proposed by us demands that the political laws, which sanction God’s worship by the denunciation of punishments, should occupy their peculiar place. From the punishment it appears that, although it may be in itself a trifling matter to abstain from leaven, (as Paul teaches that “bodily exercise profiteth little,” 1 Timothy 4:8,) yet, inasmuch as in this ceremony the redemption of the people was kept in memory, it was a very gross crime not to observe whatever God had prescribed, for we must estimate the importance of the rites of the law from their object. 6969     “Selon leur fin, et leur verite.” — Fr.

Deuteronomy 17

Deuteronomy 17:14-20

14. When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me;

14. Quum ingressus fueris terrain quam Jehova Deus tuus dat tibi, et possederis eam, et habitaveris in ea, ac dixeris, Constituam super me regem sicut omnes gentes quae sunt per circuitus meos.

15. Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother.

15. Constituendo constitues super te regem quem elegerit Jehova Deus tuus: e medio fratrum tuorum constitues super te regem: non poteris constituere super te virum alienigenam, qui non sit frater tuus.

16. But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the LORD hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way.

16. Verum non multiplicabit sibi equos, neque reducet populum in Aegyptum ad multiplicandos equos: quum Jehova dixerit vobis, Non adjicietis reverti per hanc viam amplius.

17. Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.

17. Neque multiplicabit sibi uxores, neque avertetur cor ejus, neque plurimum argentum et aurum sibi cumulabit.

18. And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shalt write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites:

18. Verum quum sederit super solium regni sui, tunc describet sibi exemplar legis hujus in volumine; a conspectu sacerdotum et Levitarum.

19. And it shalt be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them:

19. Eritque apud eum, et leget in eo cunctis diebus vitae suae: ut scilicet discat timere Jehovam Deum suum: et observare omnia verba legis hujus, atque statuta haec, ut faciat ea.

20. That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.

20. Ne elevetur cor ejus super fratres ipsius, neque declinet a praecepto ad dextram aut ad sinistram, ut proroget dies in regno suo: ipsc et filii ejus in medio Israelis.


14. When thou art come unto the land. In this passage God sets forth the merits of that sacerdotal kingdom, of which mention is made elsewhere; for, since the splendor of the royal name might dazzle their eyes, so that they should forget that God retained the sovereignty over them, they are thus early admonished how unjust it would be if the majesty of God should be diminished by the rule of a mortal man. In sum, the power of kings is here put beneath that of God; and kings themselves are consecrated unto obedience to Him, lest the people should ever turn to ungodliness, whatever change of government might take place. But although under the judges religion was often subverted, yet it was not without a cause that a special law was enacted with respect to kings, because nothing is more likely than that earthly pomps should draw men away from piety. Now we understand the design of God in this matter, let us proceed to examine its several parts. He passes over (as I have said) all the intermediate time until the beginning of the kingdom, because this new state of things brought with it an increase of danger: for as long as the judges were in power, their different form of government separated the Jews from heathen nations. All the surrounding neighbors were subject to kings; and God always retained the preeminence, whilst He raised up judges from amongst the people; but when they began to choose kings for themselves, they were so mixed up with the Gentiles, that it was easy for them to fall into other corruptions. For the very similarity (of their governments) united them more closely; wherefore, it is expressly said, When thou shalt set a king over thee “like as all the nations that are about” thee. For God signifies that the example of the nations would be an evil snare to them, that they should desire to have a king, and thus their condition would in future be identical, though by divine decree it had been distinct. In short, their rebellion is here indirectly condemned, when God foretells that they would wantonly shake off their yoke; as indeed actually took place, when they rejected Samuel, and tumultuously required a king. On which point God elsewhere complains that He was despised. But the question arises, how these two things can be reconciled, that kings should reign over them from the lust or foolish desire of the people, and yet that the kingdom was the chief glory of the people, a special pledge of God’s favor, and consequently of their welfare and full felicity. The prophecy of Jacob is well known,

"The scepter shall not depart from Judah, — until Shiloh come.” (Genesis 49:10.)

Whence it appears that a king was promised to the children of Abraham as an inestimable blessing. Why, then, does not God declare Himself its author? I reply that, although it was God’s design from the beginning to set up David as a type of Christ, yet, because their unseemly haste disturbed the order of things, the commencement of the kingdom is ascribed to the people’s fault, when they were impelled by their perverse emulation to wish to be like the Gentiles. God appears then to have designedly censured their wilfulness, as if He had said, “Although by appointing a king, you approach more nearly to the Gentiles, beware lest your perverse desire should altogether turn you away from true religion.

15. Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee. First of all, God maintains His own supremacy in the appointment of a king, and does not consign the matter to the people’s own suffrages; that thus He may chastise their audacity in demanding a king in accordance with a hasty impulse. Secondly, He commands that he should be taken from the people themselves, and excludes foreigners, because, if they had been admitted, a door was opened to apostasy; for each would have tried to force upon them his native gods, and true religion would have been persecuted by the force and threatenings of the royal power. Behold why God would not suffer a king to be sought elsewhere but from the bosom of His Church; in order that he might cherish and maintain that pure worship which he had imbibed from his childhood.

16 But he shall not multiply horses. The royal power is here circumscribed within certain limits, lest it should exalt itself too much in reliance on the glory of its dignity, 7070     Addition in Fr,Et face du cheval eschappe;” and act like a runaway horse For we know how insatiable are the desires of kings, inasmuch as they imagine that all things are lawful to them. Therefore, although the royal dignity may be splendid, God would not have it to be the pretext of unrestrained power, but restricts and limits it to legal bounds. 7171     “Le mot que nous avons translate au reste ” In the Latin, verum; A. V., but. רק, rak, is an adversative particle which some construe only; almost with the same meaning, because this exception was added to restrain the passions of their kings. The first prohibition is, that he should not collect for himself a multitude of horses; but, since it is twice repeated, we must consider why it is so. Many thus translate it, “He shall not multiply horses, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to multiply horses;” but this manner of speaking is harsh and obscure. Now, since the particle למען lemagnan, signifies “for the sake of (propter), it may be properly translated to the letter, “for the sake of multiplying horses,” (propter multiplicare, vel propter ad multiplicandum.) I have no doubt, then, but that God condemns an immoderate number of horses from the consequences which might ensue; because it might excite the minds of the kings rashly to undertake expeditions against the Egyptians. This, therefore, I consider to be the genuine meaning, that the king should not provide himself with horses in too great numbers, lest, when he was in possession of many horses, he should lead his army into Egypt. Thus, amongst other evils which might arise from a multitude of horses, Moses mentions this, that the king’s mind will be puffed up with pride, so as to invade Egypt with an army of horse. Now, the question is, why God forbade His people to return by that way? Some explain it, that the horses would be brought contrary to God’s command, who had forbidden them to trade (with that people;) 7272     Addition from Fr. but this does not seem appropriate. Others think that the people were prohibited from passing the desert, lest in their curiosity they should be ungrateful to God; but this, too, is far-farfetched. To me it seems probable, that this journey was prohibited them, in order that, being mindful of their deliverance, they should be content with their own boundaries. They had been rescued from a thousand deaths: if they had voluntarily gone thither to provoke an adversary, their confidence would have been a sign of their despising and forgetting God’s grace. Therefore, in order that the recollection of their redemption should be deeply impressed upon their minds, God would have the honor put upon His miracles, that they should avoid those regions like the abysses of death. Unless perhaps this reason may be preferred, that a handle for those wicked alliances was cut off, which we see were audaciously contracted, because the kings of Israel gloried in the abundance of their cavalry. But the former explanation is most suitable. This law, however, was not obeyed by their best kings; and hence it appears that the wilfulness and pride of their kings could scarcely be repressed by any restraints.

17 Neither shall he multiply wives to himself. Polygamy at that time had generally prevailed, so that the very humblest of the people violated the marriage vow with impunity; and therefore it was necessary that the kings should be bound with closer restrictions, lest by their example they should give greater countenance to incontinency. And thus their ignorance is easily refuted who conclude that what was specially interdicted to the kings was permitted to private individuals, whereas the law of chastity was imposed upon the former, because without this remedy there would be no bounds to their lasciviousness. Besides, the people would have been subjected to great expense on their account, since such is the ambition of women, that they would all have desired to receive royal treatment, and would have even vied with each other in finery, as actually came to pass. David transgressed this law, and in some degree excusably on account of his repudiation by Michal; still it appears that lust had more power over him than the continency prescribed by God. What follows is so connected by some as if it were the reason of the foregoing sentence, in this way, “that kings were not to multiply wives to themselves, lest their heart should turn away from what was right,” as was the case with Solomon; for, from being too devoted to his wives, and being deceived by the snares of women, he fell into idolatry. And assuredly it can scarcely fail to happen, that when many wives beset a man, they must render his mind effeminate, and stifle in him all his manly good sense. Yet I prefer taking the clause separately, that kings must beware lest the splendor of their dignity should affect the soundness of their judgment, for nothing is more difficult than for one in great power to continue disposed to temperance. Therefore God does not in vain enjoin that they should constantly persevere in their duty, and not lose their understanding. Moreover, He forbids kings to heap up treasures, because it cannot be done without rapine and violent exactions; whilst, at the same time, wealth encourages them audaciously to undertake unjust wars, incites them to gross dissipation, and at length hurries them forward to tyrannical excesses. First, therefore, God would have kings beware, lest in their pursuit of riches they should exhaust the blood of the people, and lest they should lavish their ill-gotten money in superfluous expenses, and be extravagant with what belongs to others; and lastly, lest they should be tempted by the pride of wealth to attempt unlawful things.

18. And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne. It would not be enough to correct their errors unless kings were also instructed in the fear of God, and properly taught their duty; now, therefore, a system of discipline is added, whereby it was profitable for them to be grounded in the study of religion and justice, viz., that they should take the Law from the priests and Levites, which was to be the rule of all their actions. Because the demonstrative pronoun is used, 7373     “Pource qu’il dit, de ceste loy;” because he says, of this law.Fr. The LXX. translation is, Καὶ γράψει ἑαυτῷ τὸ Δευτερονόμιον τῦτο εἰς βιβλίον παρὰ τῶν ἱερέων τῶν Λευιτῶν C. seems to overlook the command that it should be transcribed by the king himself, of which, notwithstanding the opinion of some ancient commentators, the words appear to leave no doubt. some think that only the book of Deuteronomy is referred to, but without good reason. I make no doubt but that the whole sum of doctrine is included, which is delivered both here and in Exodus and Leviticus. But although it was without exception to be common to all, yet in order that kings might be more assiduously attentive in reading it, God would have a copy peculiarly dedicated to their use by the priests and Levites, and given into their hands in a solemn ceremony; that kings might know that they required greater wisdom and counsel for ruling the people than private persons. When, therefore, the priests and Levites presented them with this book, it was as if God deposited this treasure with the king. He then enjoins that they should exercise themselves in the doctrine of the Law through the whole course of their lives, because kings are usually supplied with books only out of ostentation and pomp, and when they have tasted of what is taught in them, straightway grow tired and cease to read them. Finally, the object of their reading is subjoined: first of all, in general, that they may learn to fear God and keep His statutes; and, secondly, lest, being lifted up with pride and vanity, they should despise and oppress their brethren. And the word brethren is used designedly, lest they should imagine that the law of brotherhood was abolished, because they were set over the whole people; but rather that they should study to cherish all as members (of themselves.) Again, it is afterwards repeated, lest they should “turn aside to the right hand or the left;” because, when men have much liberty of action, their lusts can never be sufficiently restrained. But, lest it should be grievous to them to be thus reduced to order, finally God reminds them that this moderation would be useful to them, for that they thus would prolong their reigns; whereas the tyranny of kings is often their destruction; as the Lacedemonian king replied, when his wife was annoyed that the Ephori were appointed to restrain him, “that he should indeed leave less power to his children, but that it would be the more lasting. 7474     This anecdote of Theopompus is mentioned by Aristotle, Pol. v. 11; Plutarch, in vita Lycurgi, Section 7; and Valerius Max., lib. 4. cap. 1. Section 8. But, here a long succession is promised by God’s favor, if they were willing to guide themselves aright.

Deuteronomy 20

Deuteronomy 20:1-4

1. When thou goest out to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots, and a people more than thou, be not afraid of them: for the LORD thy God is with thee, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

1. Quum egressus fueris ad praelium contra hostes tuos ac videris equitatum, currus, et populum majorem te, non metues ab illis: quia Jehova Dens tuus tecum est, qui te eduxit e terra AEgypti.

2. And it shall be, when ye are come nigh untothe battle, that the priest shall approach and speak unto the people,

2. Et quum occurreritis ad praelium, accedet sacerdos ad populum,

3. And shall say unto them, Hear, O Israel; ye approach this day unto battle against your enemies: let not your hearts faint; fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them;

3. Ac dicet illis, Audi Israel, vos occurretis hodie ad praeliandum cum hostibus vestris: ne mollescat cor vestrum, neque timeatis, neque terreamini, neque paveatis a facie eorum:

4. For the LORD your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.

4. Quoniam Jehova Deus vester incredit vobiscum ad praeliandum pro vobis contra hostes vestros, et ad servandum vos.


1 When thou goest out to battle. This law also, which concerns their political government, is a Supplement to the First Commandment, enacting that they should carry on their wars under the auspices of God, and, trusting in His help, should follow Him as their leader. For it behoved them to give this proof of their piety, so as to look to God not less in war than in peace, and not to rest their hopes of safety on anything but the invocation of His name. Whence we gather that the worship of God should be by no means passed over in civil and earthly government; for, although its direct object is to preserve mutual equity between men, yet religion always ought to hold the first, place. The sum, therefore, is that, amidst the very clang of arms, they must not be in such confusion as not to recognize that they are under the guardianship of God, or to lose the confidence they will be safe in reliance on His power. He does not, however, encourage them rashly to engage in war, but takes it for granted that there is a legitimate cause for it; because this would be a gross abuse of God’s name, to seek a prosperous issue from Him, when we are engaged in anything contrary to His command. But He forbids them to fear, although the enemy should be superior in horses, in multitude, and in all their warlike array; and in these words He reminds them that they would not be liable to suffer defeat, because they were not supplied with abundance of chariots and horses; for we have lately seen that not even their kings were permitted to collect the forces in which the Gentile nations gloried; and therefore, lest the consciousness of their weakness should make them afraid, God declares that His strength would be a sufficient safeguard to them. And without question that passage in Psalm 20:7, is taken from hence, “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.” On which score Isaiah reproves the people, because, refusing the waters of Shiloah, they long for great and rapid rivers; viz., as he elsewhere explains it, because they trust in the horsemen of Egypt. (Isaiah 8:6; 31:1.) But we must observe upon what their security is to be founded, viz., because the people ought to hope that the same Divine power would be with them to the end, which their fathers had experienced when they were redeemed from Egypt.

2 And it shall be, when ye are come nigh. God commits the duty of exhortation to the priests, when the time of the conflict shall have arrived. But we gather from the expressions used that this passage is supplementary to the First Commandment, for it contains no more than that the priest should encourage the Israelites to confidence, the ground of which is declared to be the help of God in preserving and constantly protecting the Church, which He has once redeemed. Moreover, He forbids their fears not in one word only, but heaps many together, “let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified.” By this we are reminded how difficult it is to cure that evil — fear, which in so many different ways assails and disturbs our minds, that they should not rest in God. And surely we all experience that we are troubled by such various besetments, that we have need of manifold remedies for the establishment of our faith. We must observe, too, the familiar representation of the presence of God, that He should go together with His people, to save them, viz., if they should be exposed to danger not by their own fault, but by the unjust aggression of their enemies.

Numbers 10

Numbers 10:1-10

1. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

1. Et loquutus est Jehova ad Mosen, dicendo:

2. Make thee two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shalt thou make them: that thou mayest use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps.

2. Fac tibi duas tubas argenteas: opere ductili facies illas: quae sint tibi ad convocationem coetus, et ad castra movenda.

3. And when they shall blow with them, all the assembly shall assemble themselves to thee at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

3. Quum clangent illis, congregabuntur ad te omnes coetus ad ostium tabernaculi testimonii.

4. And if they blow but with one trumpet, then the princes, which are heads of the thousands of Israel, shall gather themselves unto thee.

4. Si vero una clanxerint, congregabuntur ad te principes, capita millium Israelis.

5. When ye blow an alarm, then the camps that lie on the east parts shall go forward.

5. Si vero clanxeritis cum jubilatione, proficiscentur castra eorum qui castrametantur ad Orientem.

6. When ye blow an alarm the second time, then the camps that lie on the south side shall take their journey: they shall blow an alarm for their journeys.

6. Quum autem clanxeritis cum jubilatione secundo, tum proficiscentur castra eorum qui castrametantur ad meridiem; cum jubilatione clangent in profectionibus suis.

7. But when the congregation is to be gathered together, ye shall blow, but ye shall not sound an alarm.

7. Quando vero congregabitis coetum, clangetis, sed absque jubila.tione.

8. And the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow with the trumpets; and they shall be to you for an ordinance for ever throughout your generations.

8. Filii autem Aharon sacerdotes clangent tubis illis, eruntque vobis in statutum perpetuum per aetates vestras.

9. And if you go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresseth you, then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the LORD your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies.

9. Et quando venietis ad praelium in terra vestra contra hostem vestrum qui vos affliget, cum jubilatione clangetis tubis illis: et recordatio vestri erit coram Jehova Deo vestro, ut servemini ab hostibus vestris.

10. Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God.

10. Die quoque laetitiae vestrae, et in solennitatibus vestris, et in principiis mensium vestrorum clangetis tubis illis super holocausta, et super sacrificia prosperitatum vestrarum, ut sint vobis in recordationem coram Deo vestro: ego Jehova Deus vester.


2 Make thee two trumpets of silver. This passage respecting the silver trumpets, which gave the gathering-signal, so that the people should always be attentive to the voice and will of God, is properly annexed to the First Commandment. For God would have the Israelites set in motion by their sound, whithersoever they were to go, so that they should not dare to commence anything either in war or in peace, except under His guidance and auspices, as it were. But their use was threefold, viz., to gather the people or the rulers to public assemblies; to arm them against their enemies; and, thirdly, to announce the sacrifices and festivals. It might seem absurd, and somewhat indecorous, to appoint the priests to be trumpeters, since there was no splendor or dignity in this office; but God would in this way awaken greater reverence in the minds of the people, that the authority of the priests should precede all their actions. For this office, to which they were appointed, was no servile one, as that they should blow the trumpets at the command of others; but rather did God thus set them over public affairs, that the people might not tumultuously call their assemblies in the blindness and precipitation of passion, but rather that modesty, gravity, and moderation should be observed in them. We know how often in earthly affairs God is not regarded, but counsels are confidently discussed without reference to His word. He testified, therefore, by this employment of the priests, that all assemblies, except those in which He should preside, were accursed. Profane nations also had their ceremonies, such as auguries, supplications, soothsayings, victims, 7575     “Comme d’espier le vol des oiseaux, ou de regarder les entrailles des sacrifices, et meme sacrifier, et faire prieres solennelles;” such as observing the flight of birds or examining the entrails of sacrifices, and even sacrificing and offering solemn prayers. — Fr. because natural reason dictated that nothing could be engaged in successfully without Divine assistance; but God would have His people bound to Him in another way, so that, when called by the sound of the sacred trumpets as by a voice from heaven, they should assemble to holy and pious deliberations. The circumstance of the place also has the same object. The door of the Tabernacle was to them, as if they placed themselves in the sight; of God. We will speak of the wordמועד , mogned 7676     “Le mot Hebrieu, que nons avons translate convenance.” — Fr. An heemantic from יעד, to give previous notice, to summon together. W. elsewhere. Although it signifies an appointed time, or place, and also an assembly of the people, I prefer translating it convention, because God there in a solemn manner, as if before His sacred tribunal, called the people to witness, or, according to appointment, proceeded to make a covenant with them.

He was also unwilling that wars should be undertaken precipitately, or with the desire of vengeance, but that the priests should perform the office of heralds, (feciales,) in order that he might be the originator of them himself. But it was honorable for the priests to be the proclaimers of the festivals, and to cite the people to the sanctuary. Now, since we understand the intention of the Legislator, let us briefly touch upon the words. We have said that the priests, when they sounded, were, as it were, the organs or interpreters of God, that the Israelites might depend upon His voice and commandment. If the princes or heads of thousands only were to be called, they sounded only once; if it was a convocation of the whole people, they doubled the sound. A similar distinction was observed in war, that a different signal should be given, according as the camps of either side were to advance. Some use the fictitious word taratantara, 7777     Thus Malvenda in Poole’s Syn., “et clangetis taratantara ” The word is used by Ennius “At tuba terribili sonitu taratantara dixit.” — Serv. in, AEn, 4. A.V., “an alarm." in place of what I have translated “with jubilation:” it is probable that it was a louder and more protracted sound, but blown with intervals. We must, however, observe the promise, which is inserted, that the Israelites “should be remembered before the Lord,” that He should put their enemies to flight; not as if the safety or deliverance of the people was attached to the trumpets, but because they did not go to the battle except in reliance on God’s aid. For the reality itself is conjoined with the external symbol, viz., that they should fight under God, should follow Him as their Leader, and should account all their strength to be in His grace. And that all the saints were guided by this rule appears from Psalm 20:7, —

"Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God:"

and again, “There is no king saved by the multitude of an host; a mighty man is not delivered by much strength. Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy.” (Psalm 33:16-18)

10. Also in the day of your gladness. This was as if God should make it manifest that He approved of no festivals, and that no sacrifices pleased Him, except His command should go before them; for it was not lawful for the people to choose this or that day, but the authority for prescribing them was in the hands of the ministers of sacred things. And, indeed, God Himself had appointed the New-moons (Neomenias, vel novilunia) and the other solemnities; but, lest any change should occur, since men are ever daring in their innovations, He would have their lawful observation sanctioned by the sound of the trumpets; as if, by the mouth of the priests, He Himself published the holy assemblies. The sacrifices, which others have translated “of your peace-offerings,” 7878     So A.V שלמיכם, Pacificorum vestrorum, is the rendering of SM. To justify rendering this form of the word your prosperities, the vowel-points should be different. Your sacrifices of thanksgiving, is the ordinary interpretation of the lexicographers. — W I translate, and not without reason, “of your prosperities.” For this is what שלמיכם, shalmecem, properly means; and it was the name they gave to their supplications and testimonies of thanksgiving, when they had been delivered from some great danger, or were visited by some extraordinary blessing from God. But Moses says that the trumpets were to be “for a memorial before their God;” because when they should have assembled at His command, He would look upon them, and honor them with His paternal favor.

The Second Commandment

Exodus 20

Exodus 20:4-6

4. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:

4. Non facies tibi sculptlie, neque ullam imaginem eorum quae sunt in coelo sursum, neque eorum qae in terra deorsum, neque eorum quae in aquis sunt subter terram.

5. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

5. Non adorabis ea, neque coles ea, ego enim Jehova Deus tuus, Deus zelotes, visitans iniquitatem patrum super filios, in tertiam et quartam generationem in his qui me oderunt:

6. And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

6. Et faciens misericordiam: in mille diligentibus me, et custodientibus praecepta mea.


4. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image. In the First Commandment, after He had taught who was the true God, He commanded that He alone should e worshipped; and now He defines what is His Legitimate Worship. Now, since these are two distinct things, we conclude that the commandments are also distinct, in which different things are treated of. The former indeed precedes in order, viz., that believers are to be contented with one God; but it would not be sufficient for us to be instructed to worship him alone, unless we also knew the manner in which He would be worshipped. The sum is, that the worship of God must be spiritual, in order that it may correspond with His nature. For although Moses only speaks of idolatry, yet there is no doubt but that by synecdoche, as in all the rest of the Law, he condemns all fictitious services which men in their ingenuity have invented. For hence have arisen the carnal mixtures whereby God’s worship has been profaned, that they estimate Him according to their own reason, and thus in a manner metamorphose Him. It is necessary, then, to remember what God is, lest we should form any gross or earthly ideas respecting Him. The words simply express that it is wrong 7979     “C’est une folie et perversite.” — Fr. for men to seek the presence of God in any visible image, because He cannot be represented to our eyes. The command that they should not make any likeness, either of any thing which is in heaven, or in the earth, or in the waters under the earth, is derived from the evil custom which had everywhere prevailed; for, since superstition is never uniform, but is drawn aside in various directions, some thought that God was represented under the form of fishes, others under that of birds, others in that of brutes; and history especially recounts by what shameless delusions Egypt was led astray. And hence too the vanity of men is declared, since, whithersoever they turn their eyes, they everywhere lay hold of the materials of error, notwithstanding that God’s glory shines on every side, and whatever is seen above or below, invites us to the true God.

Since, therefore, men are thus deluded, so as to frame for themselves the materials of error from all things they behold, Moses now elevates them above the whole fabric and elements of the world; for by the things that are “in heaven above,” he designates not only the birds, but the sun, and the moon, and all the stars also; as will soon be seen. He declares, then, that a true image of God is not to be found in all the world; and hence that His glory is defiled, and His truth corrupted by the lie, whenever He is set before our eyes in a visible form. Now we must remark, that there are two parts in the Commandment — the first forbids the erection of a graven image, or any likeness; the second prohibits the transferring of the worship which God claims for Himself alone, to any of these phantoms or delusive shows. Therefore, to devise any image of God, is in itself impious; because by this corruption His Majesty is adulterated, and He is figured to be other than He is. There is no need of refuting the foolish fancy of some, that all sculptures and pictures are here condemned by Moses, for he had no other object than to rescue God’s glory from all the imaginations which tend to corrupt it. And assuredly it is a most gross indecency to make God like a stock or a stone. Some expound the words, “Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven image, which thou mayest adore;” 8080     “All such images, or likenesses, are forbidden by this commandment, as are made to be adored and served; according to that which immediately follows, thou shalt not adore them nor serve them. That is, all such as are designed for idols or image-gods, or are worshipped with divine honor. But otherwise, images, pictures or representations, even in the house of God, and in the very sanctuary, so far from being forbidden, are expressly authorized by the Word of God. See Exodus 25:15, etc.; 38:7; Numbers 21:8-9; 1 Chronicles 28:18-19; 2 Chronicles 3:10.” — Note to Douay Version. Dublin, 1825; by authority. as if it were allowable to make a visible image of God, provided it be not adored; but the expositions which will follow will easily refute their error. Meanwhile, I do not deny that these things are to be taken connectedly, since superstitious worship is hardly ever separated from the preceding error; for as soon as any one has permitted himself to devise an image of God, he immediately falls into false worship. And surely whosoever reverently and soberly feels and thinks about God Himself, is far from this absurdity; nor does any desire or presumption to metamorphose God ever creep in, except when coarse and carnal imaginations occupy our minds. Hence it comes to pass, that those, who frame for themselves gods of corruptible materials, superstitiously adore the work of their own hands. I will then readily allow these two things, which are inseparable, to be joined together; only let us recollect that God is insulted, not only when His worship is transferred to idols, but when we try to represent Him by any outward similitude.


Deuteronomy 5

Deuteronomy 5:8-10

8. Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth:

8. Non facies tibi sculptile, vel ullam imaginem eorum quae sunt in coelo sursum, nec eorum quae sunt in terra deorsum, nec eorum quae sunt in aquis sub terra.

9. Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me,

9. Non adorabis ea, neque coles: ego enim Jehova Deus tuus, Deus zelotes, visitans iniquitatem patrum super filios, in tertiam et quartam generationem in his qui me oderunt.

10. And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

10. Faciens autem misericordiam in millia diligentibus me, et custodientibus praecepta mea.


9 Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them. Idolaters in vain endeavor to elude this second point by their foolish cavils; as amongst the Papists that trifling distinction is commonly advanced, that only λατρέια, 8181     The Fr. will sufficiently explain this distinction in: “Que l’honneur est bien defendu, mais non pas le serviceSee C.’s Institutes, book i. chap. xii. sec. 2 and 3; and C. on the Psalms: — (Calvin Society’s Translation) Vol. 2, pp. 272-273. and not δελέια is prohibited. For Moses, first of all, comprehends generally all the Forms And Ceremonies Of Worship; and then adds immediately afterwards the word עבד, gnabad, which means properly to serve. Hence we conclude that they make a childish endeavor at evasion, when they pay only the honor of service to pictures and statues. But if we grant them what they desire, not even so will they escape; because the prohibition is equivalent to God’s declaring that He will not be worshipped in wood and stone, or in any other likeness. For unbelievers have never been carried away to such an extent of folly as to adore mere statues or pictures; they have always alleged the same pretext which now-a-days is rife in the mouths of the Papists, viz., that not the image itself was actually worshipped, but that which it represented. But the Spirit everywhere reproves them for worshipping gods of wood and stone, since God rejects that carnal worship which unbelievers offer before stocks and stones. If any one should ask them, whom they have it in their mind to worship, they will immediately reply, that they offer to God that honor which they pay to pictures and statues. But this frivolous excuse comes to nothing; because to erect the idol before which they prostrate themselves, is really to deny the true God; and, therefore, no wonder that He should declare that unbelievers worship wood and stone, when they worship in that wood and stone phantoms of their own imagination. And we have already said, that all rites which do not accord with the spiritual worship of God, are here forbidden: and this is enough, and more than enough to put to flight all such misty notions, (nebulas.)

For I the Lord thy God. He partly terrifies them by threats, and partly attracts them by sweet promises, in order to keep them in the way of duty. In the earlier expressions He convicts them of ingratitude, if they prostitute themselves to idolatry, when they had been chosen to be a peculiar and holy people. He afterwards inspires them with terror, by the denunciation of punishment; and, finally, allures them with the hope of reward, if they obediently abide in the pure worship of God. Nor does He affirm that He will be severe or kind to individuals only, but extends both to their posterity, although, as we shall afterwards see, not equally. I have indeed assigned another place to the promises and threatenings, whereby the authority of the whole Law is sanctioned; but since this clause is annexed to a particular Commandment, it could not be conveniently separated from it. The word אל, el, some translate appellatively, mighty; but since God is so called from His might, I have preferred following this meaning, 8282     i.e., as the Fr. explains it, “De le prendre pour un nomme propre;” to take it as a proper name. which is more suitable here. Yet I do not think that Moses used various names without reason; for when he had first employed the name אלהים, elohim, he soon afterwards honors God by another title, and magnifies His power, that He may be feared. And for this reason he also calls Him the Rival, 8383     קנא AEmulator, says C. after S.M., who explains himself as meaning thereby, Qui aequo animo ferre non potest, ut ab eo divellamur, et alium quaeramus amatorem. The L.V. has Zelotes. The perplexity of the translation into the Latin tongue does not seem to have arisen from any ambiguity in the Hebrew, but from the want of an equivalent in classical Latin. — W or, as some not inaptly translate it, the jealous; for to give the name of “the envious” (obtrectatoris) to God, as somebody has done, is not only silly, but monstrous. This is the word by which Cicero renders ζηλοτυπίαν, 8484     “Obtrectatio autem est ea, quam intelligi zelotypiam volo, aegritudo ex eo, quod alter quoque potiatur eo, quod ipse concupiverit."— Tusc. Quaest. iv. expressing by it the sin of guilty rivalry, when one person envies the superiority of another. But God is here set before us in the character of a husband, who suffers no rival; or if it be preferred to extend the meaning of the word, He is called the assertor of His rights; since His rivalry is nothing more than retaining what is His own, and thus excluding all the rivals of His honor. Because mention has lately been made of His sacred covenant with the Jews, Moses seems to allude to the violation of this spiritual marriage. But although he begins with threatening, still, far preferring mercy to His severity, He rather gently allures them, than compels them by fear, to allegiance; for He declares that He will be merciful even to a thousand generations; whilst He only denounces punishment on the thirds and fourths, (for thus it is literally expressed,) i.e., on their grandsons and great-grandsons. In order, therefore, to encourage His worshippers to earnest piety, He declares that He will be kind, not only to themselves, but to their posterity, even for a thousand generations. But this is the proof of His inestimable kindness, and even indulgence, that He deigns to bind Himself to His servants, to whom He owes nothing, so far as to acknowledge, in His favor towards them, their seed also for His people. For hence it appears, that it is wrong to infer merit from the promised reward, because He does not say that He will be faithful or just towards the keepers of His Law, but merciful. Let then the most perfect come forward, and he can require nothing better of God than that He should be favorable to him on the grounds of His gratuitous liberality. For חסד, chesed, is equivalent to kindness, or beneficence; but when it is applied to God, it generally signifies mercy, or paternal favor, and the blessings which flow from it.

Since, then, He here promises that He will shew mercy, it is as much as to say that He will be beneficent, or will deal with clemency. Hence it follows, that the main source of reward is that. gratuitous beneficence wherewith He liberally blesses His people. Now, when it is said, “unto them that love me,” 8585     La source de toute vertu, et de toutes bonnes oeuvres. — Fr. the fountain and origin of true righteousness is expressed; for the external observation of the Law would be of no avail unless it flowed from hence. And praise is given to love rather than to fear, because God is delighted with none but voluntary obedience, but He rejects that which is forced and servile, as we shall again see elsewhere. But because hypocrites also boast that they love God, whilst their life corresponds not with the profession of their lips, the two things are here distinctly connected; viz., that the true servants of God love Him, and keep His commandments, i.e., make effectual proof of their piety. But here a difficult question arises, for the history of all ages shews that a great proportion of the progeny of the holy have been rejected and condemned; and that God has inflicted upon them weightier manifestations of His curse and vengeance, than upon strangers. We must, however, observe, that in these words grace is not promised severally to all the posterity of the saints, as if God were bound to each individual who may derive their race and original from them. There were many degenerate children of Abraham, to whom it profited nothing that they were called the offspring of the holy patriarch; nor indeed is the promise restricted to individuals, for many who are children after the flesh, are not counted for the seed — but God in His free election adopts whom He will, yet so governs His judgments, as that His paternal favor should always abide with the race of believers. Besides, the fruits of this promised grace are manifested in temporal blessings; and thus although God severely avenged the sins of the children of Abraham, and at length when their impiety shewed itself to be desperate, renounced them, yet did He not fail to be kind to them for a thousand generations. For again, God fulfills and performs what He here promised by the outward testimonies of His favor, although they turn to the destruction of the reprobate. Thus He was merciful to the race of Abraham, as long as he saw fit to leave them the Law, the Prophets, the Temple, and other exercises of religion. 8686     Addition in Fr.,Combien qu’ils n’en fissent point leur profit;” although they did not profit by them. Now, again, it will be well for us to consider how far even the holiest fall short of the perfect keeping of the Law, and perfect love of God; and therefore we need not wonder if they experience in many respects the failure of this grace, and only enjoy some slight taste of it. In any case, the goodness of God ever superabounds, so that His grace, if it does not shine with full splendor, still appears in bright sparks unto a thousand generations. As to the opposite clause, wherein God limits His vengeance to the third or fourth generation, we see how He prefers to attract men to duty by gentle invitations, than by terrifying threatenings to extort from them more than they are willing to do; inasmuch as He extends His mercy further than the severity of His judgment. We must also observe that the transgressors of the Law are called the enemies and haters of God. It is surely horrible, and almost monstrous impiety to hate God; and scarcely would any one be found so wicked as openly to declare Him to be his enemy; yet it is not without a cause that God pronounces thus harshly respecting their impiety; for since He cannot be separated from His justice, a contempt of the Law convicts men of this hatred; for it is impossible that they should not wish to deprive Him of His dominion, who endure Him not as a Lawgiver and a Judge.

"To visit iniquities,” is equivalent to inquiring into them, or taking cognizance of them, in order that punishment should be inflicted in proportion to the crime; for as long as God spares men and suspends His judgment, He seems to connive at them, or to pay no attention to them. Therefore, when men shall think that their sin is buried, He declares that He will bear it in memory. But it may be asked, how it is consistent for God to exact punishment from the children or grandchildren on account of the sins of their fathers? for nothing is more unreasonable than that the innocent and guilty should be involved in the same punishment; and the declaration of the Prophet is well known,

"The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son; but the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” (Ezekiel 18:20.)

The difficulty, which arises from the words of the Prophet, is easily solved, for God therein refutes the wicked expostulation of the people, that their children, who were not in fault, were unjustly and cruelly exposed to punishment. The proverb was generally rife, that “the fathers had eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth were set on edge;” but God replies, that not one of those with whom He was angry and severe was free from crime; and, therefore, that their complaint was false, since each of them received the recompense of his own iniquity. And this is most true, that God’s severity never assails the innocent; and however the world may murmur against His judgments, that He will always be clear in condemning this person or that 8787     The Latin is “fore victorem quoties hunc vel illum damnaverit,” with evident allusion to Psalm 61:4, which the V. renders “et vincas cum judicaris;” to which passage there is a reference in the Fr.

But when God declares that He will cast back the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of the children, He does not mean that He will take vengeance on poor wretches who have never deserved anything of the sort; but that He is at liberty to punish the crimes of the fathers upon their children and descendants, with the proviso that they too may be justly punished, as being the imitators of their fathers. If any should object, that this is nothing more than to repay every one according to his works, we must remember that, — whenever God blinds the children of the ungodly, casts them into a state of reprobation, (conjicit in sesum reprobum), and smites them with a spirit of madness or folly, so that they give themselves up to foul desires, and hasten to their final destruction, — in this way the iniquity of the fathers is visited on their children. But suppose other punishments are added, all are under condemnation (convicti,) so that they have no ground for murmuring against God; and even then also God still proceeds to execute the vengeance which He here denounces; for, when He would direct one work to various objects, He uses wonderful and secret expedients. When He commanded the people of Canaan to be destroyed, it is certain that those, who then were living, were worthy of this punishment; yet, inasmuch as God foretold 8888     Vide Genesis 15:16. that their iniquities were not yet full, we infer that He then inflicted the punishment upon them which He had deferred for 400 years. On this ground, Christ declares that the Jews of His time were guilty of all the blood that had been shed from that of Abel to the blood of Zacharias, the son of Barachias, (Matthew 23:35.) But if it be not agreeable to our judgment that God should repay every one according to his deserts, and yet that He at the same time requires the sins of their fathers of the children, we should remember that His judgments are a great depth; and, therefore, if anything in His dealings is incomprehensible to us, we must bow to it with sobriety and reverence. But since this doctrine will recur elsewhere, I have thought fit only to touch upon it lightly here. One question remains, how we can reconcile the statement of Paul, that the fifth commandment is the first with promise, (Ephesians 6:2,) whereas a promise is annexed to this second. The solution of this is easy; for if you duly consider, this promise, which we have now explained, is not peculiarly annexed to any single commandment, but is common to the whole first Table of the Law, and these refer to the whole service of God; but when it is said, “honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long,” the keeping of that commandment is particularly and specially sanctioned.

Exposition of the Second Commandment

Exodus 34

Exodus 34:17

17. Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.

17. Deos conflatiles non facies tibi.


Leviticus 19

Leviticus 19:4

4. Turn ye not unto idols, nor make to yourselves molten gods: I am the Lord your God.

4. Ne vertatis vos ad idola, neque deos conflatiles faciatis vobis: ego Jehova Deus vester.


Leviticus 26

Leviticus 26:1

1. Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for: I am the LORD your God.

1. Non facietis vobis idolum, et sculptile: statuam non erigetis vobis, nec lapidem politum ponetis in terra vestra, ut vos incurvetis coram eo: quia ego Jehova Deus rester.


Exodus 20

Exodus 20:22, 23

22. And the Lord said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven.

22. Et ait Jehova ad Mosen, Sic dices filiis Israel, Vos vidistis quod e coelis loquutus sum vobiscum.

23. Ye shall not make with me gods of silver, neither shall ye make unto you gods of gold.

23. Non facietis mecum deos ar- gentcos, neque deos aureos fadetis vobis.


Exodus 34:17. Thou shalt make thee no molten gods. When he calls graven things, statues, and pictures, by the name of gods, he shews the object and sum of the Second Commandment, viz., that God is insulted when He is clothed in a corporeal image. Moreover, the name of God is transferred to idols, according to common parlance, and the corrupt opinion of the Gentiles; not that unbelievers thought that the Deity was included in the corruptible material, but because they imagined that it was nearer to them, if some earthly symbol of its presence were standing before their eyes. In this sense, they called the images of the gods their gods; because they thought they could not ascend to the heights in which the Deity dwelt, unless they mounted by these earthly aids. There is no doubt but that he comprehends by synecdoche, all kinds of images, when he forbids the making of molten gods; because metal is no more abominated by God than wood, or stone, or any other material, out of which idols are usually made; but, inasmuch as the insane zeal of superstition is the more inflamed by the value of the material or the beauty of the workmanship, Moses especially condemned molten gods. All question on this point is removed by the fourth passage here cited, wherein the Israelites are forbidden to make gods of silver or gold, viz., because idolaters indulge themselves more fully in their worship of very precious idols, by the external splendor of which all their senses are ravished. To the same effect is the third passage, in which mention is not, only made of graven images, but there is also added the name of a statue 8989     A.V. “a standing image.” Margin, “pillar:” or “image of stone.” Margin, “figured stone, Heb. a stone of picture." or figured stone; for, although some expound these words as referring to a pavement, yet I have no doubt but that all monuments are included in them, wherein foolish men think that they have God in some measure visible, and therefore that they express all sculptures and pictures by which the spiritual worship of God is corrupted. For the object of Moses is to restrain the rashness of men, lest they should travesty God’s glory by their imaginations; for another clause is immediately added, “I am the Lord your God,” in which God reminds them that He is despoiled of His due honor, whenever men devise anything earthly or carnal respecting Him. The word מצבה, 9090     The same word occurs in Genesis 28:18 and 22, where the AV. has pillar, and where the narrative shews that no idolatry was meant. — W. matsebah, is sometimes used in a good sense; whence it follows, that no other statues are here condemned, except those which are erected as representations of God. The same also is the case as to the polished stone, 9191     משכית C polished. S.M., figured. AV, image of stone, and in. the margin, figured, stone. V, insignem. S.M quotes Rabbinical interpreters, who explain the root שכה as meaning to imagine; and the noun as somewhat painted, or fashioned after an imagination. The root does not occur in Hebrew, but is preserved in Arabic, where it means to form an obscure resemblance. Hence in Simon’s Lexicon, the words אבן משכית, are interpreted as meaning such a stone as an Egyptian obelisk, with its hieroglyphics. — W. viz., when it receives a consecration, which may attract men’s minds to regard it in a religious light, so as to worship God in the stone. But both in the second and third passages, Moses teaches men that as soon as they imagine anything gross or terrestrial in the deity, they altogether depart from the true God. And this is also expressed in the word אלילים, elilim, which embraces in it statues, stones, and graven images, as well as molten gods. Some think that this word is compounded of אל, al 9292     So S.M. says “Some think this word compounded of אל, not, and אל, God, as much as to say, those who are not gods; but others interpret it to mean an empty thing, and that which profiteth not.” Lexicographers observe that the same word occurs in Syriac, in which language it means weak either in body or mind, and is therefore a fit epithet for designating idols. — W the negative particle, and אל, el, God. Others translate it “a thing of nought;” the Greeks and Latins have rendered itidols.” It is plain, that the false representations, which travesty God, are so called to mark them with disgrace and ignominy. But, since the superstitious cease not to gloss over their errors with cavils, God is not content with this opprobrious name, but adds others also, respecting which their pretext was more specious; that we may know that whatsoever withdraws us from His spiritual service, or whatsoever men introduce alien from His nature, is repudiated by Him. In the fourth passage, the antithesis must be noted, which will presently be explained more fully, viz., when God forbids them to make gods of corruptible materials, since He has “spoken from heaven;” in which words He signifies that all are doing wrong, who, when they ought to look up to heaven, tie down their own minds as well as Him to earthly elements.

Deuteronomy 4

Deuteronomy 4:12-19, 23, 24

12. And the LORD spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice.

12. Tunc loquutus est Jehova ad vos e medio ignis: vocem verborum audistis, at formam non vidistis praeter vocem.

13. And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone.

13. Et exposuit vobis pactum suum quod praecepit vobis ut faceretis: nempe decem verba, quae scrip-sit super duas tabulas lapideas.

14. And the Lord commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go over to possess it.

14. Mihi praecepit Jehova tempore illo ut docerem vos statuta et judicia, quae faceretis in terra, ad quam transitis possidendam.

15. Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the LORD spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire:

15. Itaque custodiatis vos valde super animabus vestris: (quoniam non vidistis ullam formam illo die, quo loquutus est Jehova vobiscum in Horeb e medio ignis:)

16. Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female,

16. Ne forte corrumpamini, et faciatis vobis sculptile, formam ullius simulachri, effigiem masculi aut foeminae.

17. The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air,

17. Effigiem cujusque animalis quod est in terra: effigiem cujuscunque volucris alatae quae volat per coelos:

18. The likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth:

18. Effigiem cujuscunque repentis in terra: effigiem cujuscunque piscis qui est in aquis sub terra.

19. And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.

19. Neve attollas oculos tuos in coelum: et quum videris solem, lunam, et stellas cum universo exercitu coelorum, impellaris ut adores atque colas ea, quae distribuit Jehova Deus tuus omnibus populis sub universo coelo.

23. Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the LORD thy God hath forbidden thee.

23. Custodite vos, ne forte obliviscamini foederis Jehovae Dei vestri, quod percussit vobiscum, et faciatis vobis sculptlie, quamcunque simili-tudinem, sicut praecepit Jehova Deus tuus.

24. For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.

24. Nam Jehova Deus tuus, ignis consumens est, et Deus zelotes.


Exodus 34

Exodus 34:14

14. For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:

14. Non incurvabis te Deo alieno. Nam Jehova zelotes nomen ejus, Deus zelotes est.


Deuteronomy 8

Deuteronomy 8:19, 20

19. And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish.

19. Si obliviscendo oblitus fueris Jehovae Dei tui, et ambulaveris post deos alienos, et colueris eos, et te in-curvaveris illis, testificor vobis hodie quod pereundi sitis perituri.

20. As the nations which the LORD destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the LORD your God.

20. Sicut gentes quas Jehova disperdit a facie vestra, sic peribitis: eo quod non obediveris voci Jehovec Dei vestri.


Deuteronomy 4:12. And the Lord spake unto you. It is a confirmation of the Second Commandment, that God manifested Himself to the Israelites by a voice, and not in a bodily form; whence it follows that those who are not contented with His voice, but seek His visible form, substitute imaginations and phantoms in His place. But here arises a difficult question, for God made Himself known to the patriarchs in other ways besides by His voice alone; thus Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob knew Him not only by hearing, but by sight. Moses himself saw Him in the midst of the burning bush; and He also manifested Himself to the Prophets under visible figures. Since it would be superfluous to heap together many citations, let the remarkable vision of Isaiah suffice, which is related in (Isaiah 6), and those of Ezekiel, which we read of in (Ezekiel 1 and Ezekiel 10) And yet God was not forgetful of Himself, when He thus presented Himself to the sight of His servants. Wherefore, this argument does not appear to be valid and good, that it is sinful to represent God in a visible image, because His voice was once heard without His being seen; when, on the other side, it is easy to object that visible forms have often been exhibited, wherein He testified His presence. The solution is twofold: first, that, although God may have invested Himself in certain forms for the purpose of manifesting Himself, this must be accounted as a peculiar circumstance, and not be taken as a general rule; secondly, that the visions shewn to the patriarchs were testimonies of His invisible glory, rather to elevate men’s minds to things above than to keep them entangled amongst earthly elements. In the promulgation of His Law, God first prescribed what believers must follow; because He saw that this was the best method (compendium) for retaining the minds of His people in true religion, and at the same time the best remedy for idolatry. Unless we submit to this counsel of God, we shall not only betray a licentious spirit of contention, but shall run directly against God, like butting bulls. For it was not in vain that Moses laid down this principle, that when God collected to Himself a Church, and handed down a certain and inviolable rule for holy living, He had not invested Himself in a bodily shape, but had exhibited the living image of His glory in the doctrine itself. Hence we may conclude that all those who seek for God in a visible figure, not only decline, but actually revolt, from the true study of piety.

If any one should object that God is not inconsistent with Himself, and yet, as has been said, that He has more than once taken upon Himself a visible form, the reply is simple and easy, that, whenever He appeared to the patriarchs in a visible form, He gave a temporary sign, which still was by no means contradictory of this commandment. Isaiah saw the Lord of hosts sitting on His throne; yet he boldly cries out as from the mouth of God, “To whom will ye liken me?” (Isaiah 40:25.) Nor need I repeat how constantly he speaks against idolaters; certainly he inveighs more strongly than any of the prophets against the folly, nay, the madness of those who make to themselves any image of God; because they thus turn truth into falsehood; and finally he assumes the same principle as that of Moses, that the true nature of God is corrupted by tricks and delusions if a corruptible thing be called His image. But what was His vision itself? The seraphim, who surrounded God’s throne, sufficiently shewed by their covering their faces with their wings that the sight of Him could not be borne by mortals. As to what Ezekiel relates, no painter could represent it; for God has always appeared distinguished from the shape of any creature by those marks which surpass man’s apprehension. This conclusion, therefore, always remains sure, that no image is suitable to God, because He would not be perceived by His people otherwise than in a voice. But then also fire was a symbol of His presence, yet He testified by it that His glory is incomprehensible, and thus would prevent men from idol-making. We have elsewhere explained what it is “to guard themselves as to their souls.” 9393     See Lat. of ver. 15. The explanation to which he alludes is probably that given on Deuteronomy 8:11. Vol. 1 p. 397. But we infer, from his anxious exhortations, that they should take heed, how great is the leaning of the human soul to idolatry. This is the tendency of that attestation against them, which I have inserted from (Deuteronomy 8); for Moses not only threatens them, but, as if summoning witnesses according to the custom of solemn trials, denounces that they shall perish, in order to inspire them with greater fear by this earnest mode of address. Whence it appears that this insane lust (of idolatry) is not to be repressed by ordinary means. With the same object he says that they are “corrupted, or corrupt themselves,” who make any similitude of God. Thus Paul also declares that in this way the truth is changed into a lie, (Romans 1:25;) and Jeremiah and Habakkuk condemn images for their falsehood. (Jeremiah 10:14; Habakkuk 2:18.) No wonder, then, that an idol should be called the “corruption” of men, since it adulterates the worship of God; and it is a most just recompense to those who pollute the pure and perfect knowledge of God, that they should be thence infected with a rottenness which consumes their souls. Hence, also, the stupid ignorance of the Papists is confuted who confine this prohibition to the ancient people, as if it were now permitted to paint or to sculpture (images of God) 9494     Added from Fr. as if they had been Jews whom Paul was addressing, when he reasoned from the common origin of our nature: “Forasmuch as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold or silver,” or corruptible matter. (Acts 17:29) 9595     Addition in Fr., “Or, c’estoit aux Payens qu’il parloit ainsi;” Now, they were heathens whom he thus addressed. There is no necessity for entering into details; but the Spirit declares no less plainly now that we must keep ourselves from idols, (1 John 5:21,) than He of old forbade their being made. Moreover, it was an act of diabolical madness to make away with one of the Ten Commandments, in order that they might rush into this foul and detestable extravagance with impunity. They pretend that the Jews were formerly prohibited from idolatry with greater strictness, because they were too much disposed to it, as if they were not themselves much worse in this respect. But, setting aside this, who does not see that the vice of superstition, which is natural to the human mind, was corrected by this remedy? Until, therefore, men have laid aside their nature, we infer that this Commandment is necessary for them.

19. And lest thou lift up thine eyes. Moses proceeds further, lest the Jews should imagine any divinity in the sun, and moon, and stars; nor does he only recall them from the error with which many were imbued, 9696     See Job 31:26-27. Any discussion on the history of Sabaism would be superfluous here. Dr. Layard, (Nineveh and its Remains, vol. 2, p. 446,) points out, that “representations of the heavenly bodies, as sacred symbols, are of constant occurrence in the most ancient sculptures;” whilst the “one symbol” of the supreme Deity is “a winged figure in a circle,” sometimes assuming the form of “a winged globe, wheel, or disc,” resembling the Egyptian representation of the sun, and the Persian Ormuzd. thinking that these were so many gods; but also anticipates another superstition, lest, being ravished by the brightness of the stars, they should conceive them to be images of God. And to this the expression, to “be driven,” refers. For since God represents His glory in the heavenly host, so also Satan, under this pretext, confuses and stupefies men’s minds by a wily artifice, in order that they may worship God in these luminaries, and thus stumble at the very threshold. Therefore, that the Israelites may the better acknowledge how absurd it is to seek for God in earthly things, or in the elements of the world, or in corruptible matter, he expressly declares that they must not even lean 9797     Lat. “subsistendum.” Fr. “s’amuser." on heavenly creatures; since God’s majesty is superior to the sun, and moon, and all the stars. Besides, he reproves the absurdity of transferring the worship of God to the stars, which, by God’s appointment, are to minister to us; for when he says that “God hath divided them unto all nations,” it implies subjection; as if he had said that the sun was our minister, and the moon, together with all the stars, our handmaid. Still, by the word “divided,” God’s admirable providence is fitly commended in respect to their varied position, and course, and different offices; for the sun does not enlighten and warm all lands at the same moment; and, again, it now retires from us, and now approaches us more closely; the moon has her circuits; the stars rise and set as the heaven revolves. I pass over the slower movement of the planets; but, according to the aspect of the stars, one climate is moister, another drier; one feels more heat, another more cold. This variety is aptly called by Moses “dividing ” Yet it aggravates the sin of superstition, if the Jews give themselves to the service of the stars, which minister also to heathen nations; for what can be more unworthy than for the children of God to worship the sun, which is the servant of all the world? whence again it follows, that in proportion to the dignity and excellence of the creatures themselves, so is the ingratitude of men towards God all the more base, if they adorn with His worship as with spoils, those creatures which He has appointed to minister to their advantage. The silly notion in which some of the Rabbins delight themselves, 9898     S.M. says, “Rabbi Aben-Ezra, and the author of the ‘Bundle of Myrrh,’ foolishly think that the Gentiles were under the dominion of decrees emanating from the stars; but that the Jews were free, because the Lord turneth aside their noxious influences. But this text teaches us, that the functions of the stars are distributed among the nations, inasmuch as they afford light and heat, and temper the cold to all men.” — W. is unworthy of mention, viz., that God has divided the stars to the Gentiles, since they are subject to their influences, from which by special privilege the Jews are free; as if the condition of the human race had not been the same from the beginning. But the reason which I have adduced plainly shews, that they depart most widely from the meaning of Moses, and therefore pervert his intention; viz., that the creatures which are destined for our use, are by no means to be worshipped as God.

23. Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget. There is no contradiction in the sense, that he should first of all altogether forbid that idols should be made; and, secondly, speak only of worshipping and adoring them; for it is already in itself a wicked error to attribute any image to God; and another superstition always accompanies it, that God is always improperly worshipped in this visible symbol. There is a strong confirmation here of what I have previously stated, that whatever holds down and confines our senses to the earth, is contrary to the covenant of God; in which, inviting us to Himself, He permits us to think of nothing but what is spiritual, and therefore sets His voice against all the imaginations, whereby heathen nations have always been deceived; because they have been deprived of the light of that doctrine which would direct them to the heavenly greatness of God Himself. But those who have been taught by God’s Law, not only that He alone is to be worshipped, but that He may not be represented by any visible effigy, are justly accounted covenant-breakers, if they do not confine themselves within these bounds; for they violate that Second Commandment (caput) by which they are commanded to worship God spiritually; and consequently are forbidden to make to themselves likenesses, or images, whereby they would deface and pollute His glory. At the end of the verse, which some translate “the likeness, which your God hath forbidden,9999     So the V. which is followed by A.V. and S.M. Our expositor seems to mean that אשר is here equivalent to even as, and connects the last with the first clause of the verse; so that it should be rendered as follows, “Take heed to yourselves, etc., even as the Lord your God commanded you.” —W. The Fr. thus abbreviates the Latin text: “La ou j’ay translate, Ce que l’Eternel vostre Dieu vous a defendu, vaut autant que s’il estoit dit Comme ou Selon." the proper rendering is, “hath commanded, or enjoined:” and hence the relative אור, asher, must be taken, as in many other places, as an adverb of comparison. The meaning of Moses is indeed by no means obscure; viz., that we must simply obey God’s word; and that we must not dispute whether what He has forbidden is lawful or not; and that no other rule of right is to be sought for, except that we should follow what He has prescribed. Let the Papists dispute as they please, that images are not to be removed because they are useful for the people’s instruction; but let this be our wisdom, to acquiesce in what God has chosen to decree in this matter. Although the threat which is subjoined might have been placed amongst the sanctions, which we shall hereafter consider in their proper place, yet I have been unwilling to separate it from the Second Commandment, to which it is annexed. A confirmation is added in Deuteronomy; viz., that God, who has not spared foreign nations, will much less pardon His people; inasnmch as it is a greater crime, and fouler ingratitude to forsake God when once He is known, and to cast aside the teaching of His Law, than to follow errors handed down from our forefathers. I have already explained in what sense He is called a “jealous God;” but in Exodus 34:14, Moses has not deemed it sufficient simply to honor God with this title; but, in amplification, he has added that this is His name, in order that we may know that He can no more bear a companion, or a rival, to be compared with Him, than He can cast away His Godhead, or deny Himself. He compares Him to fire, to increase our terror of Him. We know how audaciously the world indulges itself in superstitions; so that, as if in very sport, it metamorphoses God just as fancy leads. Wherefore, in order to incline men’s minds to reverence, he sets before us in this figure God’s fearful vengeance; as though He would instantly consume them, just as fire consumes stubble, if they shall have dared to think of God otherwise than is right.

Deuteronomy 11

Deuteronomy 11:16, 17

16. Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them;

16. Cavete ergo vobis ne seducatur cor vestrum, et recedatis, colatisque deos alienos, et vos incurvetis coram eis.

17. And then the LORD’S wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the LORD giveth you.

17. Unde excandescat ira Jehovae in vos, et claudat coelos ne sit pluvia, ac ne det terra fructum suum: pere-atisque celeriter e terra bona quam Jehova dat vobis.


16 Take heed to yourselves. By often inculcating the same thing, viz., that they should diligently take heed, he indirectly arraigns man’s proneness to superstition; and this too is again expressed in the words, “that your heart be not deceived;” for by them he signifies, that unless they take diligent heed to themselves, nothing will be more easy than for them to fall into the snares of Satan. Wherefore the impudence of the Papists is the less excusable, who intoxicate their own and others’ minds with security, when God constantly exhorts them to solicitude. Let us learn, then, that since many impostures and deceits besiege us on every side, we shall in the vanity of our nature be liable immediately to fall into them, unless we carefully guard ourselves. By the expression “turn aside,” he implies what has been before said, that whosoever declines to corrupted worship, impiously falls away from the true God. Unbelievers but little think so, for with them it is a light transgression to exceed in this respect; and they would wilfully blind the eyes of God with their inventions (commentis), nay, there is nothing too silly for them to desire to be approved of, and sanctioned by God. But if it be objected that obedience is better than sacrifice, they shield themselves under the cover of their good intention, as if God were not at liberty to repudiate what they foolishly obtrude upon Him. At any rate, they so pertinaciously indulge themselves in their inconsiderate zeal, that they will hardly acknowledge the slightest fault in it. But, on the other side, God declares that all are apostates who do not confine themselves to the simplicity of the Law. A threat is again added, that God will avenge the violation of His worship, and will curse their land, until He shall destroy them by dearth and famine; and, finally, He pronounces that they shall perish off that land which God had promised them to the end that He might be there purely worshipped.

Deuteronomy 16

Deuteronomy 16:22

22. Neither shalt thou set thee up any image; which the LORD thy God hateth.

22. Non eriges tibi statuam: quod odio habet Jehova Deus tuus.


22. Neither shalt thou set thee up. Hence also it more clearly appears what is the meaning and tendency of the Second Commandment. God elsewhere commands, 100100     Deuteronomy 27:2-3. See vol. 1, p. 369. (as we have seen,) that statues 101101     A.V, image. Margin, statue, or pillar. should be erected on the borders of the land, on which the sum of the Law should be inscribed. At first sight this prohibition seems to be contradictory; and indeed it would be so, unless you understand “statue” to be a false image of God, in which men set Him before them in bodily form; and, therefore, it is added, that He hates such statues. But I have preferred translating 102102     C makes the relative refer, not to the image set up, but to the act of setting it up. So also V. and Dathe, though the relative is plural with them. the relative in the neuter gender, that the sentence might be fuller; i.e., that the erecting of statues is an abomination to the Lord; because in this way His glory is dishonored, when He is transfigured into a body, or when anything corporeal is mixed with His spiritual nature.

Exodus 23

Exodus 23:24

24. Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: ...

24. Non adorabis deos eorum, neque coles eos, neque facies secundum opera eorum.


24. Thou shalt not bow down to their gods. Moses repeats what had been before said, that the worship of God must be separated from all the superstitions of the Gentiles; for this error has been everywhere rife, that unbelievers would rather draw down God to themselves on earth, than ascend above to seek for Him. And in this sense we have said that idols are called gods; because it is impossible but that he who would represent God by wood and stone, should associate Him with corruptible matter. Experience also teaches us, that all the wicked are so attached to their idols, that they gain nothing by their subterfuge, when they allege that this is a necessary help to their ignorance. The following clause, “nor do after their works,” sufficiently proves that all corrupt worship is comprehended under the term idolatry.

Deuteronomy 12

Deuteronomy 12:4-14, 17, 18, 26, 27

4. Ye shall not do so unto the LORD your God.

4. Non facietis sic Jehovae Deo vestro.

5. But unto the place which the LORD your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there, even unto his habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shalt come:

5. Sed locum quem elegerit Jehova Deus vester e cunctis tribubus vestris, ut ponat illic nomen suum ad habitandum, quaretis, veniesque illuc.

6. And thither ye shall bring your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, and your tithes, and heave offerings of your hand, and your vows, and your freewill offerings, and the firstlings of your herds and of your flocks:

6. Et afferetis illuc holocausta vestra, sacrificia vestra, decimas vestras, levationem manus vestrae, vota vestra, spontaneas oblationes vestras, primogenita armentorum vestrorum, et pecudum vestrarum.

7. And there ye shall eat before the LORD your God, and ye shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand unto, ye and your households, wherein the LORD thy God hath blessed thee.

7. Comedetisque in conspectu Jehovae Dei vestri, et laetabimini in omni applicatione manus vestrae, vos et domus vestrae quibus benedixerit Jehova Deus tuus.

8. Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes.

8. Non facietis secundum omnia quae nos hodie hic facimus, unusquisque quod rectum est in oculis suis.

9. For ye are not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance which the LORD your God giveth you.

9. Quia non venistis adhuc ad requiem et haereditatem quam Jehova Deus tuus dat tibi.

10. But when ye go over Jordan, and dwell in the land which the LORD your God giveth you to inherit, and when he giveth you rest from all your enemies round about, so that ye dwell in safety;

10. Quum vero transieritis Jordanem, et habitabitis in terra quam Jehova Deus tuus dat tibi possiden-dam, et requiem dederit vobis ab omnibus inimicis vestris in cireuitu, et habitabitis secure.

11. Then there shall be a place which the LORD your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there; thither shall ye bring all that I command you; your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which ye vow unto the LORD:

11. Tune ad locum quem elegerit Jehova Deus vester, ut in eo habitare faciat nomen suum, adducetis omnia quae ego praecipio vobis, holo-causta vestra, sacrificia vestra, decimas vestras, elevationem manus vestrae, et omnem delectum votorum vestrorum quae vovebitis.

12. And ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God, ye, and your sons, and your daughters, and your menservants, and your maidservants, and the Levite that is within your gates; forasmuch as he hath no part nor inheritance with you.

12. Et laetabimini coram Jehova Deo vestro, vos et filii vestri, et filiae vestrae, servi vestri et ancillae vestrae: Levita quoque qui erit intra portas vestras: quia non habebit partem et haereditatem vobis-cum.

13. Take heed to thyself that thou offer not thy burnt offerings in every place that thou seest:

13. Cave tibi ne forte offeras holocausta tua in quovis loco quem conspexeris:

14. But in the place which the LORD shall choose in one of thy tribes, there thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, and there thou shalt do all that I command thee.

14. Sed in loco quem elegerit Jehova in una tribuum tuarum, illic offeres holocausta tua, et illic facies quae ego praecipio tibi.

17. Thou mayest not eat within thy gates the tithe of thy corn, or of thy wine, or of thy oil, or the firstlings of thy herds or of thy flock, nor any of thy vows which thou vowest, nor thy freewill offerings, or heave offering of thine hand:

17. Non poteris comedere in portis tuis decimam frumenti tui, vini tui, et olei tui, neque primogenita armentorum tuorum et pecudum tuarum, et onmia vota tua quae voveris, et spontanea tua, et elevationem manus tuae.

18. But thou must eat them before the LORD thy God in the place which the LORD thy God shall choose, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite that is within thy gates: and thou shalt rejoice before the LORD thy God in all that thou puttest thine hands unto.

18. Sed coram Jehova Deo tuo comedes illa in loco quem elegerit Jehova Deus tuus, tu et filius tuus, et filia tua, servus tuus, et ancilla tua, et Levita qui erit intra portas tuas: laetaberisque coram Jehova Deo tuo in omni applicatione manuum tuarum.

26. Only thy holy things which thou hast, and thy vows, thou shalt take, and go unto the place which the LORD shall choose.

26. Sanctificata tua quae fuerint tibi et vota tua tolles, ut venias ad locum quem elegerit Jehova:

27. And thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, the flesh and the blood, upon the altar of the LORD thy God: and the blood of thy sacrifices shall be poured out upon the altar of the LORD thy God, and thou shalt eat the flesh.

27. Et facies holocausta tua ex carne et sanguine super altare Jehovae Dei tui, sanguis autem sacrificiorum tuorum fundetur super altare Dei tui, carnes vero comedes.


4 Ye shall not do so unto the Lord your God. The principal distinction, as far as regards the external exercises of devotion, is here laid down between the legitimate worship of God, and all the fictitious rites which the Gentiles have invented; viz., that God would have but one sanctuary and one altar, which might be a symbol of the difference between Himself and all idols; and thus that true religion should have no affinity to superstitions. To this refers the prohibition, that the Israelites should not conduct themselves towards God as the Gentiles did towards their idols; but that a barrier should be raised, which would separate 103103     Fr. “l’Eglise." them from the whole world. The whole external profession of God’s worship is fitly annexed to the Second Commandment, because upon that it depends, and has no other object than its due observation. But when I begin to speak of the tabernacle, the priesthood, and the sacrifices, I am entering on a deep and vast ocean, in which many interpreters, whilst indulging their curiosity, have pursued a wild and wandering course. Admonished, therefore, by their example, I will take in my sails, and only touch upon a few points which tend to edification in the faith. But my readers must now be requested, not only to pardon me for abstaining from subtle speculations, but also themselves willingly to keep within the bounds of simplicity. Many have itching ears; and in our natural vanity, most men are more delighted by foolish allegories, than by solid erudition. But let those who shall desire to profit in God’s school, learn to restrain this perverse desire of knowing more than is good for them, although it may tickle their minds. Now let us consider the words of Moses.

5 But unto the place which the Lord your God shall choose. It is asked why God would have sacrifices offered to Him only on one altar? Besides the reason which I have lately advanced, it is not to be doubted but that He in this way had regard to believers, that He might cherish in them an agreement in the unity of the faith. This place, then, was like a standard to gather together the people, lest their religion should be torn by divisions, and lest any diversities should insinuate themselves. Moreover, God, by claiming His right and authority to choose the place, commends obedience, on which also the purity of worship depends. But, again, another question arises; because, before the time of David, the Ark had nowhere a fixed resting-place, but traveled about, as it were, to various lodgings, therefore, if the chosen place is understood to be Mount Zion, the people were free in the intermediate time to perform the sacrifices wherever they pleased. I reply, that the place was not, chosen until the Ark was placed in Zion; for not till then was fulfilled what is said in the Psalm,

"I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord;
our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem,”
(Psalm 122:1-2;)

in which words the Prophet intimates that there was before no resting-place, because God had not yet pointed out the place in which He would be worshipped. Therefore it is expressly said, “out of all your tribes,” or “in one of your tribes,” whereby a special privilege is referred to, which was to be conferred on one of their tribes, to the exclusion of the others. And to this relates what is said in another Psalm,

"Moreover he refused the tabernacle of Joseph, and chose not the tribe of Ephraim, but chose the tribe of Judah, the Mount Zion which he loved: and he built his sanctuary like high palaces, like the earth, which he hath established for ever.”
(Psalm 78:67-69 )

To the same effect the faithful elsewhere congratulate themselves, after the Ark was deposited with David, “We will go into his tabernacles, we will worship at his footstool;” and, on the other hand, the Spirit declares,

"The Lord hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it ” (Psalm 132:13-14.)

Similar statements everywhere occur, confirming the opinion that the Ark never rested in its true home until it was deposited on Zion; and God, in my judgment, in order that He might keep the hope of His people in suspense, promised, although the Ark changed its place from time to time, that He had still determined on a perpetual abode in which it should rest. Yet it does not therefore follow that, up to that period, a free permission was given to the people to sacrifice wherever they would. For, wherever the sanctuary was, there was also a temporary choice of the place, until the legitimate resting-place was shewn them. Therefore God, chastising by Jeremiah the foolish confidence by which the Jews were puffed up, said,

"Go ye now unto my place, which was in Shiloh,
and see what I did to it,” etc., (Jeremiah 7:12;)

in which words he implies that Shiloh had been highly honored for a season, but had now been deprived of its honor, because the sacrifices had there been unworthily polluted.

Although, then, there is a special promise here concerning Zion, still there is no doubt but that God in the meantime confines the Jews to His sanctuary, lest any one should erect a private altar for himself, or build for himself other cities and other temples. The phrase is worthy of observation, “to put his name there;” and again, “his habitation.” The gross imaginations of men are thus obviated, lest the people should enclose God within walls, as they are wont to circumscribe His infinite essence, or to draw Him down from heaven, and to place Him beneath the elements of the world. But God’s name is said to inhabit a place, not in His own nature, but with reference to man; whilst, in deference to their ignorance, He sets before their eyes a visible symbol of His presence. Thus He is often said to “come down,” not as if He, who fills heaven and earth, actually moved, but because the familiar knowledge of Him brings Him near to men. But although He allows Himself to be invoked on earth, yet He would not have the minds of men rest there, but rather lifts them up on high as if by steps. Therefore, by Isaiah, He harshly chides them, because, although enwrapped in their sins, they still thought that He was under obligation to them because His temple was in their sight, (Isaiah 66:1,) whereas it is our business to approach Him by faith and with serious feelings when He extends His hand to us. The Ark of the Covenant indeed is often called “His face;” but, lest men should form any gross or earthly conceptions of Him, the sanctuary is also called “His footstool."

The various kinds of oblations which are here enumerated will be hereafter more clearly explained. I will only briefly remind you that the burnt-offerings are included in the sacrifices, as a part is taken for the whole. The Hebrew word, which we have translated “the elevating of the hand,” is, תרומה, therumah, 104104     תרומה, the heaving or elevating; תנופה, the heaving or vibrating. C.’s translation of the first word is that of S.M.; and his note on both is extracted from a note of S.M. on Exodus 25:2, where תרומה occurs, and is rendered offering in the text of A.V., but heave-offering in its margin. — W to which another word, תנופה, thenuphah, is often added; but, although both are derived from the act of elevating, still they seem to differ, and those skilled in the language thus distinguish them, viz., that תרומה, therumah, is to be lifted up, and then brought down; and, תנופה, thanuphah, to be turned at the same time to the right and left, although others think it means to be turned round to the four quarters of the globe. There is a difference between vows and freewill-offerings; for although a vow is at first freely made, yet we may offer things which we have not vowed. I have already spoken of the firstlings.

7 And there shall ye eat. We see that the sanctuary in which God manifested Himself is called His face; 105105     לפני, Heb.; in conspectu, Lat; before, A.V for, although believers are taught that always, wherever they dwell, they walk before God; yet they placed themselves nearer, and in some special manner in His sight, when they approached His sanctuary. By this mode of speaking God also stimulates the laziness or tardiness of the people, lest it should be irksome to them to come to the Ark of the Covenant for the purpose of sacrificing, inasmuch as this inestimable benefit would compensate for the labor and expense of the journey. I have elsewhere shewn that, when men are said to feast before the Lord, sacred feasts are thus distinguished from our daily meals. For this was as it were an accessory to the sacrifices, to eat what remained of the victims; and in this way the guests were made partakers of the offering, which custom even heathen nations imitated, though improperly. Again, God kindly invites them when He says, “ye shall rejoice in all that thou puttest thine hands unto,” for which some translate it, “in everything to which you shall have sent your hand;” literally it is, “in the sending forth of the land.” There is no ambiguity in the sense, for it refers to those works which require the motion and application of the hands. A little below, where I have translated it, “which he hath blessed,” (quibus benedixerit,) some insert the proposition in, and supply the pronoun you, (i.e., in which he hath blessed you;) but it is quite appropriate to say, that God blesses their works, although it may be understood of their families also. As to the command that the tithes should be eaten in the holy place, I do not extend it to tithes in general, 106106     “Ne s’estend pas en general a la nourriture des Levites;” does not extend generally to the maintenance of the Levites. — Fr. for it was hardly probable that the food of those who were dispersed through various cities should be transferred to another place, so that they would perish (at home) 107107     Added from Fr. from hunger; but I understand it of the second tithes, which the Levites separated to be a special and peculiar oblation; for we shall see elsewhere that what remained over passed into the nature of ordinary produce, as if the Levites ate of the fruits of their own possessions.

8 Ye shall not do after all. Even then they observed the rite of sacrifice handed down to them from the fathers; but since as yet they were wandering in the desert, it was lawful for them to build altars anywhere, until an end should be put to their journeyings. And this Moses expressly declares, adding the reason, viz., that they had not yet entered into the rest which the Lord had promised them. He shews them, then, that when they shall have attained the tranquil possession of the land, there would be no further room for excuse if they should sacrifice wheresoever it pleased them. When, therefore, it is said that they then did “every man whatsoever was right in his own eyes,” it does not extend to any of the inventions which men devise for themselves in the worship of God, but only points out a freer system and form in the exercise of devotion, before the place was shewn them in which they must stay their foot. 108108     “Ou seroit le sanctuaire;” where the sanctuary should be. — Fr.

10. But when ye go over Jordan. This verse confirms what I have before said, that the Jews were constrained to a certain rule as soon as they should have reached the promised land; and yet that the place in which the Ark was perpetually to rest, would not be immediately manifested to them; for what is declared at the end of the verse, that God would give them rest round about, so that they should dwell in safety, was not in fact perfectly exhibited before the time of David. Still God would have them, as soon as they were in enjoyment of the land, come together even from their remotest boundaries to the sanctuary. He omits certain kinds of offerings of which he had lately spoken, and puts, instead of “vows,109109     A.V., Your choice vows; margin, the choice of your vows. Ainsworth in loco, “i.e., the best, or fairest, as the Chaldee translateth." “the choice vows,” which some translate “very choice vows,” or “the chief things in your vows.” I do not reject this; but the other sense is more simple, that all the vows were comprised which every one had made of his own free judgment and choice. Soon afterwards he more fully expresses his meaning, when he prohibits them from offering sacrifices of their own accord in any places that might please them; for, “to see a place,” here, is equivalent to being carried away by the sight, so as to connect religion and holiness with elegance and beauty.

26 Only thy holy things. This passage more clearly explains what was meant by the foregoing precepts, viz., that but one place was set apart for the performance of their sacred rites, lest, if each should offer wherever it pleased him, religion should be corrupted, and by degrees the various altars should beget as many gods. He therefore commands that all the victims should be sacrificed on one altar, with a provision that the blood should be poured out.

Deuteronomy 14

Deuteronomy 14:23-26

23. And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always.

23. Et comedes coram Jehova Deo tuo in loco quem elegerit ut habitare faciat nomen suum ibi, decimam frumenti tui, vini tui, et olei tui, et primogenita boum tuorum, et pecudum tuarum: ut discas timere Jehovam Deum tuum omnibus diebus.

24. And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the LORD thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the LORD thy God hath blessed thee:

24. Quod si longior fuerit via quam ut per eam ferre possis illas, quod distet a te locus ille quem elegerit Jehova Deus tuus ut ponat nomen suum ibi, quum benedixerit tibi Jehova Deus tuus:

25. Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose:

25. Tunc dabis pro pecunia, et colligabis pecuniam in manu tua, et ibis ad locum quem elegerit Jehova Deus tuus:

26. And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,

26. Et dabis pecuniam pro omni eo quod desiderat anima tua, pro bobus, et pro ovibus, et pro vino, et pro sicera, et pro cunctis denique quae postulaverit a te anima tua: et comedes ibi coram Jehova Deo tuo, et laetaberis tu et domus tua.


23. And thou shalt eat before the Lord. He again commands the victims to be brought into the place of the sanctuary; although by the place which God shall choose, he designates Jerusalem, as has been said in the above commentary on chap. 12; for the Ark of the Covenant had no settled resting-place until the time of David, but was received as it were in temporary lodgings. Moses, therefore, now commands, that when God shall have so greatly honored a particular place, and shall have chosen a perpetual rest, in which His name shall dwell, thither are the offerings to be brought. But we know that this place was Jerusalem; and all the oblations were restricted to this one place, lest any corruption should creep in to destroy the unity of the faith. For all strange inventions, as has already been sufficiently seen, are so many profanations of God’s worship. But, whereas in chap. 12, Moses had promiscuously joined the tithes with the firstlings, and had made the same appointment with respect to both, he now relaxes the stringency of that law, by adding an exception, viz, that if the way should be too long, a commutation might be made, and money might be paid instead of corn. He does not, indeed, speak only of the tithes, but unites with them the vows and free-gifts; nay, he refers properly to these alone. But, since as to the latter there is no question, let us only consider whether it was consistent that the tithes should be paid in one place alone. They were given to the Levites for their maintenance, who, as is well known, were dispersed throughout the whole land; either then their residence must have been fixed at Jerusalem, or they must not be deprived of their subsistence, wherever they might dwell. The command, therefore, appears to be absurd, that all the tithes of the whole land should be brought to Jerusalem, for that would have amounted to nothing less than to destroy the poor Levites by famine. This absurdity has compelled the commentators to fabricate a doubtful conjecture; viz., that the people voluntarily set apart certain tithes, which they might carry to Jerusalem at the festivals; but it is not probable that so heavy a burden was imposed upon them, 110110     “De redoubler ainsi les dismes les unes sur les autres;” thus to redouble their tithes one upon another. — Fr. as that they should only keep at home what remained of the fifth part. But a nearer approach to probability would be, that the tithes of the neighboring country, as convenience offered, were carried to Jerusalem; whilst those which were collected in more distant places were set aside there; but that they were accounted for at Jerusalem, so that upon a calculation of the number of their families, an equal distribution might be made to the Levites. Certainly it is by no means probable that the respective tillers of the soil carried up to Jerusalem what the Levites, having received there, were compelled to take back again for the maintenance of their families; for what would have been the advantage of all this expense and trouble of carrying them backwards and forwards? Besides, it would have been useless to command the Levites, and that too with the addition of severe threats, to pay the priests faithfully, if the tithes had been first deposited with the priests themselves, who might easily have provided against all deception, since they had the whole quantity of corn in their own hands. I have, therefore, no doubt but that the Levites collected the tithes each in their own neighborhood, but that another tithing, of which mention will be made presently, was carried up to the sanctuary as a sacred offering, and a profession of service to God. For we have lately seen, that after that part had been withdrawn, the nine parts which remained were assigned to the Levites, as if they had been grown on their own ground. But because it was a subject which might cause complaints, that the first-fruits and other tithes should be collected into one place, God would anticipate this by showing the advantage of it to the whole people, in that there might be food enough for all who should come to the celebration of the festivals; for this is the meaning of the words, “thou shalt eat before the Lord thy God;” as if it had been said, that the place should be sacred to God, to which the worshippers of God might come from the whole land. Yet He commands, in the meanwhile, the pure observation of His worship; lest a diversity of places might draw away the people in various directions to false superstitions.

24 And if the way be too long. I am prevented from understanding this restriction as having reference to the tithes, by the ordinance which is elsewhere made, that whosoever would redeem them by a money-payment, (Leviticus 27:31,) should add a fifth part, and this is omitted here; and, again, by the explanation which is soon after added, that they should bring money with them instead of their offerings, and buy with it oxen and sheep, wine, and strong drink, as they pleased. The sum is, that if it were too burdensome for them to bring from their distant homes victims and other gifts, they were permitted to buy at Jerusalem whatever they chose to offer, provided they made no offerings elsewhere.

Exodus 20

Exodus 20:24, 25

24. An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee.

24. Altare terreum facies mihi, et sacrificabis super illud holocausta tua, et sacrificia prosperitatum tuarum, pecudes tuas, et armenta tua: in onmi loco in quo memoriam posuero nominis mei, veniam ad te, et benedicam tibi.

25. And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it.

25. Quod si altare ex lapidibus feceris mihi, non aedificabis eos excisos, si gladium tuum elevaveris super illos, pollues.


24. An altar of earth thou shalt make. This precept differs from the other, which I have just explained; because although it refers to the choice of a place, 111111     “D’autant qu’il ne traitte pas expressement du lieu mais de la matiere, et forme de l’autel;” because it does not treat expressly of the place, but of the matter and form of the altar. — Fr. yet the mention of a place is omitted, and it only touches upon the material and form of the altar. God, therefore, commands that an altar should be built to Him, either of earth or of a heap of stones, which had not been artificially polished. But I understand this of the altars, which either in the desert or elsewhere should be built, before the choice of the perpetual place had been manifested to them. God would have them built of earth, that they might fall down of themselves, and that no trace of them might remain after the departure of the people; but if stones were used, He forbade their being fitted together in a permanent structure, but would have them thrown rough and unpolished into a heap, lest their appearance should entice posterity to superstition. I am surprised that commentators 112112     In the Gloss. Ord, there is an exposition from Gregory, that “to make an altar of earth is to found our hopes upon the Incarnation of Christ; for our offering is then accepted by God, when our humility bases our works upon faith in the incarnation of our Lord;” and from Isidore, that “hewn stones are those who break the unity of the Church, and sever themselves from the society of their brethren. These Christ does not receive into His body, which the construction of the altar represents," etc. should here put themselves to the pains of inventing allegories; since God had no other object than to remove stumbling-blocks, whereby the Israelites might be turned away from the sanctuary; for we know how antiquity, and the example of our forefathers, is apt to attract the minds of the vulgar. If anything in the shape of an altar had remained, immediately religious notions would have been associated with it, that, God could nowhere be more solemnly or better worshipped, than in the place already dedicated of old by their fathers. Thus degenerate modes of worship would have sprung up, and the dignity of the sanctuary would have been brought into contempt. Wherefore this evil is anticipated when He forbids altars to be built which might exist for any length of time; and only allows them to be adapted for present use, being made of earth, or of an unfashioned heap of stones. As to “the sacrifices of prosperities,". I have elsewhere stated why I so translate the word שלומים, shelumim, 113113     שלמיך A.V., peace-offerings. C. says rightly that the word שלומים comprehends every kind of prosperity and happy result; but the word in the text is the pl. of שלם. — W. See Note on Numbers 10:10, ante, p. 105. which signifies all prosperous and happy results; for the rendering of others, viz., peaceful things, (pacifica), is very unsuitable. The latter part of the verse, “in all places, where I record my name, I will come unto thee,” has been ignorantly perverted by commentators, and hence has afforded a ground of error; for they have read it in connection with the former part, as if God had forbidden such an altar to be made in Mount Sion also; whereas He rather anticipates a doubt, which might have otherwise perplexed the minds of the people; Will not God be favorable to us where He heard the prayers of our fathers? He replies, I say, to this by the promise, that they will pray to Him well and duly, if they only obey His command, and seek no other place except that which He shall choose. On this score it is said, that wheresoever it shall please God that sacrifices should be offered, there He will descend to you, to be favorable unto you.

Deuteronomy 27

Deuteronomy 27:5-7

5. And there shalt thou build an altar unto the LORD thy God, an altar of stones: thou shalt not lift up any iron tool upon them.

5. AEdificabis in monte Ebal altare ex lapidibus Jehovae Deo tuo: non levabis super eos ferrum.

6. Thou shalt build the altar of the LORD thy God of whole stones; and thou shalt offer burnt offerings thereon unto the LORD thy God:

6. E lapidibus integris aedificabis altare Jehovae Dei tui: et offeres super illud holocausta Jehovae Deo tuo:

7. And thou shalt offer peace offerings, and shalt eat there, and rejoice before the LORD thy God.

7. Et offeres sacrificia prosperiratum, comedesque illic, ac laetaberis coram Jehova Deo tuo.


5 And there shalt thou build an altar. At their first entrance into the land, God commands that a sacrifice of thanksgiving should be offered to Him; and this Joshua performed, as is related in Joshua 8:30-31

"Then Joshua built an altar unto the Lord God of Israel in Mount Ebal;
as Moses the servant of the Lord commanded the children of Israel,
an altar of whole stones, over which no man hath lift up any iron."

First of all, then, this testimony of their gratitude is required, that the children of Israel, as soon as they have begun to set foot in the land of Canaan, might celebrate the praises of the Lord; secondly, he forbids all artificial work, because, if the altar had been permanent, it would have been an occasion of superstition, and this exceptional instance would have been more regarded than the perpetual Law of God. Hence the nine tribes and half were so greatly wroth against the two tribes of Reuben and Gad, and half Manasseh, on account of the altar which was built on the bank of Jordan, (Joshua 22,) insomuch that they determined utterly to destroy their brethren, until they had cleared themselves by alleging that they had only built it as a memorial of their brotherly union, and not for sacrifice. Assuredly they were good expounders of the Law who accounted it an inexpiable crime, that an altar should be left for posterity, to withdraw the people from the one sanctuary, and thus to destroy the unity of faith.

Exodus 25

Exodus 25:1-22

1. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

1. Et loquutus est Jehova ad Mosen, dicendo:

2. Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering.

2. Alloquere filios Israel ut tollant mihi levationem: ab omni viro cujus cor voluntarie dederit illam, sumetis levationem meam.

3. And this is the offering which ye shall take of them; gold, and silver, and brass,

3. Ista autem est oblatio quam capietis ab eis, aurum et argentum, et aes,

4. And blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats’ hair,

4. Et hyacinthum, et purpuram, et vermiculum cocci, et byssum, et pilos caprarum,

5. And rams’ skins dyed red, and badgers’ skins, and shittim-wood,

5. Et pelles arietum rubricatas, et pelles taxorum, et ligna sittim.

6. Oil for the light, spices for anointing oil, and for sweet incense,

6. Oleum pro luminari, aromata pro oleo unctionis et pro thymiamate aromatum:

7. Onyx-stones, and stones to be set in the ephod, and in the breastplate.

7. Lapides onychinos, et lapides plenitudinum pro ephod et pro pectorali.

8. And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.

8. Et facient mihi sanctuarium, ut habitem in medio eorum.

9. According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.

9. Omnino ut ego ostendam tibi similitudinem habitaculi, et similitudinem omnium vasorum ejus, sic facietis.

10. And they shall make an ark of shittim wood: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof.

10. Facient etiam arcam e lignis sittim: duorum cubitorum et semis erit longitudo ejus, cubitus vero et semis latitudo ejus, cubiti item et semis altitudo ejus.

11. And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, within and without shalt thou overlay it; and shalt make upon it a crown of gold round about.

11. Operiesque eam auro puro, intrinsecus et extrinsecus, operies inquam, eam, faciesque super eam coronam auream in circuitu.

12. And thou shalt cast four rings of gold for it, and put them in the four corners thereof; and two rings shall be in the one side of it, and two rings in the other side of it.

12. Fundes quoque ei quatuor annulos aureos, quos pones ad quatuor angulos ejus: duos videlicet annulos in latere ejus uno, et duos annulos in latere ejus altero.

13. And thou shalt make staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold.

13. Facies praeterea vectes ex lignis sittim, quos cooperies auro.

14. And thou shalt put the staves into the rings by the sides of the ark, that the ark may be borne with them.

14. Inducesque vectes in annulos qui erunt in lateribus illius arcrae, ut illis deferetur area.

15. The staves shall be in the rings of the ark: they shall not be taken from it.

15. In annulis illius arcae erunt vectes, non removebuntur ab ea.

16. And thou shalt put into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee.

16. Ponesque in arca testimonium quod dabo tibi.

17. And thou shalt make a mercy seat of pure gold: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof.

17. Facies et operculum ex auro mundo: duorum cubitorum et dimidii erit longitudo ejus, cubiti vero et dimidii latitudo ejus.

18. And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat.

18. Facies etiam duos cherubim aureos: ductiles facies eos in duabus extremitatibus propitiatorii.

19. And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubims on the two ends thereof.

19. Facies autem cherub unum in extremo hinc, et cherub alterum in extremo inde: ex propitiatorio facietis cherubim, duabus extremitatibus ejus.

20. And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be.

20. Expandentque cherubim duas alas superne tegentes alis suis propitiatorium, et se mutuo aspicient: ad propitiatorium erunt facies cherubim.

21. And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee.

21. Pones autem propitiatorium super arcam superne, et in arca pones testimonium quod dabo tibi.

22. And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.

22. Conveniamque tecum illuc, et loquar tecum e propitiatorio inter duos cherubim quod erit super arcama testimonii, quaecunque praecipiam tibi ad filios Israel.


2. Speak unto the children of Israel. If any caviller should raise a question as to the time in which I have thought fit to introduce this history, 114114     Calvine here hath a singular opinion by himself concerning the time of erecting the tabernacle, with the parts and members thereof, which begin here to be described; for he thinketh that the tabernacle was built and set up before Moses had brought the first tables; and his reasons are these: — 1. There is mention made of the tabernacle, 33-7, immediately after Moses was come down with the tables in his hand, which he broke; and therefore the tabernacle being presently after spoken of, must be made before. Answer. This was not the great tabernacle which was afterwards made for God’s service, for that tabernacle was not set without the Host, as this was, but in the midst: Lippoman. But it was Moses’s tabernacle, whither the people had access to consult with God. Jun. 2. In this chapter it is said, verse 16, ‘Thou shalt put in the ark the testimony, which I shall give thee;’ therefore he received the testament before he made the ark, wherein he was to put it. Answer. This followeth not, that the ark was therefore made first, but that the form thereof was described first how it should be made, which was in the Mount; after which form it was made after that Moses had received the tables of the testimony. 3. When Moses cometh to exhort the people to build the tabernacle, he maketh no mention at all of their apostasy and idolatry; therefore it is evident, that they were yet sound, they had not yet committed that sin, seeing they do so cheerfully consecrate their best things to the Lord.
   "Answer. — l. The people had already received correction for their fault; and Moses, in sign of God’s indignation against them, had removed his tent from among them, 33-7; therefore it cannot be said that no mention is made of their falling away. 2. The people, such especially as were touched with remorse for their sin, did so much the more shew themselves cheerful in God’s service, as a sign of true repentance. 3. And Moses having entreated the Lord for His people, would not be still harping upon the same string, in upbraiding them with their fault, lest he might altogether have discouraged them.

   "Wherefore, it is very clear that the tabernacle was not erected and set up before the receiving of the tables, but after; for these reasons: — 1. Because Moses is here bidden to make the tabernacle according to all which the Lord should show him in the Mount; but the form thereof was first showed him in the Mount, when he continued there forty days and nights, in the end whereof he received the tables, Deut. 9:10; therefore the tabernacle could not be made before the fashion thereof was shewed to Moses. Calvine here answereth that divers times before this Moses was in the Mount with God, when the fashion of the tabernacle might be shewed him. But it is evident, 24:18, that this was done in the forty days and nights, when Moses was entered into the cloud, and there so long continued. 2. It is expressly said that the tabernacle was reared up in the second year, and the first month, the first day, xl. 17. It was not then dedicated and set in order only, as Calvine answereth, but then first set up. And in the second year, in the second month, upon the twentieth day, they removed from Sinai, which was about a month and a half after; but if the tabernacle were built before Moses received the tables, he after the finishing thereof was twice with the Lord, each time forty days; which could not be, seeing about forty or fifty days after the tabernacle was erected, the whole camp removed, as is said. 3. Besides, by this means a great part of Exodus shall be transposed; all that followeth from chap. 35. to the end, concerning the making and setting up of the tabernacle, should be in order placed before the 32, 33, and 34, chapters; this being admitted, that the tabernacle was first erected, before Moses had the tables delivered to him. Therefore, rather the order of the story is this: first, there is the description of the tabernacle to chap. 30; then followeth the let and impediment to the building of it, the people’s trans- gression, chap. 32-33; thirdly, the execution of God’s commandment, and framing of the tabernacle, chap. 35:40; fourthly, the erection and setting of it up, chap. xl Lyranus.” — Willet’s Hexapla, in loco.
although I would not pertinaciously contend with him, still I have not only a probable, but a sure reason for my opinion. For it appears to me that I clearly gather from Exodus 33, that the tabernacle was already built before Moses brought down the first tables from the Mount; for it is there said, that in token of their divorce, in order that the people might know that they were repudiated by God, Moses took the tabernacle and pitched it separately for himself without the camp; not for his own peculiar use, because it is expressly said that he did not dwell there, but that he went out of the camp as often as he desired to consult God; whilst Joshua was its keeper and guardian, (aedituus.) But there is no doubt but that this took place previous to his second ascent to bring down new tables from the Lord; it is, therefore, clear that the tabernacle was already erected. If any object that it was not set up till the end of the second year, the reply is easy, that it was placed anew in its proper position, so that being everywhere surrounded by the children of Israel, it might have all its guards, according to the twelve tribes encamped in their due order; and again, that the tables were then actually deposited in the Ark of the Covenant, and by them God represented Himself, so that without them the tabernacle was in a manner empty; finally, that the solemn dedication is there treated of, for which the due season had not arrived, until in testimony of God’s presence the covenant was deposited in the Ark, by way of pledge. In order the better to remove all ambiguity, we must briefly calculate the time. In the third month from their exodus the people reached Mount Sinai. On what day the Law was given is nowhere stated, unless we may probably conjecture that it was promulgated about the end of that month. Thus there will be eight months to be computed until the day on which the tabernacle was dedicated, and the tables deposited in the Ark of the Covenant, as Moses expressly says in the last chapter of Exodus; but, in the Book of Numbers, he relates that in the second month of that year the people removed the camp from that place, and departed to Kibroth-Hattaavah. 115115     “Sepulchra concupiscentiae.” — Lat. Now, since between the dedication of the tabernacle and their departure only one month intervened, we must admit that the two ascents into the mountain had preceded in order of time.

Now, the question is, whether he was called to receive the first tables in the beginning of the fourth month? If this be allowed, he could scarcely have prescribed the building of the sanctuary before the end of the eighth month; for it would have been absurd to give 116116     “Les tables comme instrument de la faveur paternelle de Dieu.” — Fr. the tables of God’s paternal favor between the two ascents, while the separation of the tabernacle was testifying of their divorce from Him. Thus, then, I establish the fact, that four whole months were employed in this long and difficult work. And surely it was wonderful that so short a time should suffice; had not incredible activity surpassed all men’s expectation, whilst they all emulously devoted themselves with unwearied labor to hasten the work. And it is probable, that after God had established His covenant, He immediately delivered the ordinances respecting the tabernacle and its adjuncts; lest the people should be without the external exercises of religion, which we have seen to be so very necessary. But after the completion of the work, Moses was again commanded to come nigh to God with Nadab, Abihu, and the seventy elders; and after the offering of sacrifices, he was taken up into the cloud to hold familiar communion with God, where he passed about a month and a half. Having returned, and being made aware of the rebellion of the people, the slaughter of the three thousand took place, and he commanded the people to mourn. How long he remained we know not, but it is probable that at least a month passed before he was recalled We have now more than nine months; and if we add the month and a half during which he was kept in the mount, we shall not be far from the end of the year. God then reconciled Himself to the people, and thus the legitimate dedication of the tabernacle soon followed, which took place in the second year at the beginning of the first month. The Passover having been celebrated, the sign of removal was given in the second month.

If any disagree with me, I would now have them answer me, how it is consistent that Moses, having detected the people’s transgression, should then have begun to exhort them to the building of the sanctuary, whereas in his whole address there is no mention made of idolatry? Surely, all things well considered, we must be ready to confess that the people were still loyal when they so heartily consecrated their property to God. But the whole question is sufficiently settled by what I have alleged on the testimony of Moses, viz., that before he came down with the first tables the tabernacle was already in being, unless, perhaps, it be objected that it was another tabernacle, and different from that which was afterwards set up by God’s command. But this is a very foolish cavil, for Moses had no authority to make an earthly dwelling-place for God, and to impose on it the sacred name whereby the sanctuary is always honored; and he expressly relates that God’s glory appeared in it, in order that the people might more surely know that they were separated from God for their uncleanness, of which matter we shall again speak in its proper place. Again, the word לקח, lakach, 117117     לקח, the verb (to take,) whose future, יקח, occurs Exodus 33:7. — W implies that Moses took the tabernacle out of the camp, to transfer it to another place. If any one should now object that the tabernacle was arranged according to the pattern which Moses saw in the mount, the reply is easy, that Moses was not then first in the mountain instructed in the true worship of God and heavenly mysteries, when he was kept there forty days, but already before the promulgation of the Law; nor is there any doubt but that the same things were then shewn to him which he had learned before, in order that the people might be more disposed to diligent meditation on the Law. For, from the length of time, they might acknowledge that nothing was omitted which it would be useful for them to know; since, although God might have so instructed His servant in a moment that nothing should have been wanting, still He chose gradually, and as if at His ease, to form for Himself a perfect teacher; and this concession was made to the infirmity of the people. For thus we read in Exodus 19:9,

"Behold I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever."

And again, Exodus 20:21,

"And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness, where God was."

From whence it is plain that there is no absurdity in saying that he had already seen the pattern of the tabernacle wherein God would be worshipped.

But lest any should object that I rest upon conjectures only, Moses himself plainly shews that, before he received the tables, God gave him instructions respecting the making of the tabernacle; for twice in chapter 25 it is said, “Thou shalt put in the Ark the testimony which I shall give thee,” verses 16 and 21; from whence it is clear that the tables were not yet given, when from God’s command he described the whole structure; and thence we again infer that, when the tabernacle was set up, he went up into the mount to bring down the tables which were to be placed in the Ark. But, before he begins to treat of the construction of the tabernacle, he imposes a tribute upon the people, that each, according to his means, should contribute materials both for the tabernacle itself and for all its furniture. The heaving, or, תרומה, therumah, 118118     A.V., an offering; margin, heave-offering. See note on Deuteronomy 12:6, ante, p. 132. is here put simply for an offering; and is not, as in other passages, distinguished from another kind of sacrifice, which is called תנופה, thenuphah. But the Israelites are simply commanded to bestow from their abundance what may suffice for the worship of God. It is indeed certain that all we have is God’s, and that all He bountifully gives us is polluted unless we devote it to His glory. Still in His indulgence He permits us the free use of all, if only we testify that it remains under His power, and are ready to expend it as He shall command. Thus we duly offer alms, as sacrifices of, sweet-smelling savor; although the rich may not exhaust himself to poverty, but, whilst he relieves the poor, enjoys the goods which he possesses. In sum, whatever we offer to God is like the first-fruits, whereby we testify that all we have is consecrated to His glory. Now, although He required no assistance from the people for the building and adorning of His tabernacle, since it was He who, for the maintenance of them all, daily rained down manna from heaven; yet he would have every one, from the very least to the greatest, bring together, in testimony of their piety, whatever was necessary for the sacred work. But what He then would have spent on the visible sanctuary, He now requires for the building of His spiritual temple. Properly speaking, it is He alone that builds His Church; yet He uses the work of men, and will have many builders associated with Him, that the edifice of His Church may arise in some measure by the labor of men; as also He ascribes the praise of its prosperity and success to them. Meanwhile we offer nothing which He Himself has not bestowed; just as the Israelites gave nothing but what had been derived from his bounty alone. Therefore, He distributes the gifts of His Spirit in certain measures, (1 Corinthians 12:7;) that, as each has received more or less, he may employ it on the building of the Church. But this should be the best incentive to activity, that none is so poor or humble but that his offering is acceptable and pleasing, however small it may be, and almost worthless in the eyes of men. Moreover, it must be observed, that the tribute is not demanded authoritatively, but it is declared that each should freely offer what he pleased; for, from the beginning, Paul’s word was true, that “God loveth a cheerful giver,” (2 Corinthians 4:7;) and all Scripture teaches us that no obedience is pleasing to God except what is voluntary; for, although the word ידבנו, yidbenu, 119119     The third person singular masculine future of נדב, with the pronoun affix נו, it. The verb signifies to do, or give, anything with a cheerful readiness. - W is variously rendered by the translators, the sum comes to this, that the gift of each would be pleasing to God according to the cheerful alacrity of his mind. The old interpreter (i.e., the Vulgate) has it “qui offert ultroneus,” (he who offers voluntarily;) but this is rather paraphrastic than literal. 120120     The concluding sentence omitted in Fr. Others differ from each other: some understand the relative as referring to the offering, and translate it, “whose heart shall have voluntarily given it;” others, “He who shall have shewn his heart liberal, or willing.” The second rendering is the right one.

3 And this is the offering. Hence, what I have before said is more fully continued, viz., that what the poor offer of their little will not be eclipsed by the abundance of the rich, since God deigns to reckon goats’ hair among the sacred offerings not less than gold, purple, and precious stones. Again, by the varied and manifold contributions, He would shew, as in a glass, that a variety of gifts are necessary to the building of the spiritual temple, as Paul sets forth in Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12. The liberality of the rich was indeed more splendid; but, as they did not scruple to mix their gold and silver, blue, purple, and precious stones, with brass, iron, and other common materials, so also, now-a-days, those who aid the edification of the Church by their more excellent gifts, admit, without contempt or dislike, into fellowship poor brethren, to whom it is not given to equal them.

8 And let them make me a sanctuary. By first setting before them an inestimable recompense, God stirs up the people to give largely; for, although liberality is praised by all as a most excellent virtue, yet no one willingly deprives himself of his own to bestow it upon others, since all think that it is so much lost to themselves, unless they have some compensation in view. Wherefore, that they may expend cheerfully, God promises that He will dwell among them, than which nothing is more desirable. But we must beware of imagining anything inconsistent with the nature of God, for He who sits above the heavens, and whose footstool is the earth, could not be enclosed in the tabernacle; but, because in His indulgence for the infirmities of an ignorant people, He desired to testify the presence of His grace and help by a visible symbol, the earthly sanctuary is called His dwelling amongst men, inasmuch as there He was not worshipped in vain. And we must bear in memory what we have lately seen, that it was not the infinite essence of God, but His name, or the record of His name, that dwelt there. This was the object of the expressions; that the Israelites ought not to be slow or lazy in setting up the tabernacle, because by these means they would obtain for themselves an inestimable advantage. Another clause follows, that the artificers should copy the pattern shewn to Moses, and not dare to invent anything, since it would be a profanation to mix up anything human with the commands of God; on which matter we shall treat more diffusely when we speak generally of the types. Now is described the form of the Ark and its covering: for the composition of the tabernacle, and its various parts, which Moses now only slightly adverts to, will be presently repeated at greater length in chapter 32. But, although the tabernacle was called God’s house, yet there was a more express image of His glory in the Ark of the Covenant; because the Law, whereby God bound the people to Himself, was there deposited. The material was shittim-wood, covered or overlaid with plates of gold. As to the species of the tree, 121121     “This was perhaps the acacia horrida, a kind of mimosa, a native of Arabia, since the Arabic word resembles the Hebrew. The thorns are twinned, and nearly equal to the leaves in length. The leaves are repeatedly winged. The spikes, of white flowers, proceed from the bosom of the leaves. The wood is of an excellent quality, whence it deserves the name given by the Greek translators, ξύλα ἄσηπτα, wood that never decays.” — Illustrated Comment., in loco. “The most important material, the wood for the tent, is just that which is found here most plentifully, while Palestine is deficient in acacia trees.” — Comp. Theophrast., Hist. P1. 4 3. Prosper Alpinus, de Plant. AEg., 100. 1., “Acaciae arbores copiosissime in montibus Sinai penes Rubrum Mare positis proveniunt.” Hieron. ad Joel, 4., “Quae ligna in locis cultis, et in Romano solo absque Arabiae solitudine non inveniuntur. Forskal. Flora AEg. Arab., p. 56.” Havernick, Introd. Pent., p. 284. not even the Hebrews are agreed among themselves, although we may conjecture that it was beautiful and costly; yet God would have gold over its whole surface, and even shining on its staves, that the dignity of the Law might be enhanced But here a question may arise, which introduces many others with it, how the sumptuous splendor both of the Ark, as well as the tabernacle and all its utensils, contributed to the worship of God? for it is certain that God would never be worshipped except agreeably to His nature; whence it follows, that His true worship was always spiritual, and therefore by no means comprised in external pomp.

But the great number and intricacy of the ceremonies were so far from awakening piety, that they were even the occasion of superstition, or era foolish and perverse confidence. Again, so many and such various rites seem to have had no other tendency than to feed curiosity. It will be therefore worth while briefly to premise something respecting this point. They are, in my judgment, at fault, who think that the eyes of the people were captivated by these magnificent sights, lest their religion, being stripped of all ornament, should become dishonored, when amongst the Gentiles their false worship was splendid even to a miracle; and thus a depraved rivalry might affect their minds, 122122     “Et fussent induits a essayer de faire plus qu’eux;” and they might be induced to try to do more than they.Fr. if the beauty of the tabernacle did not at least equal the pomp of others, as though the God they worshipped were inferior to idols. On the same grounds they imagine that the Jews were burdened with many observances; lest, if God had only sparingly and slightly exercised them, they would in their natural curiosity, have sought in all directions after profane trifles. They tell part of the truth, but not the whole; for I admit that this was given to the ancient people, in order that, when they saw the tabernacle so brilliantly ornamented, they might be inspired with greater reverence. I also admit that, by God’s command, they were engrossed with many ceremonies, that they might not seek after strange ones; but if this had been the only object proposed in them, the whole legal service would have only availed for ostentation in its shadows and histrionic pomps. But it is most absurd to think that God so trifled with His people. We see, too, how honorably David and the Prophets speak of these exercises. 123123     Hengstenberg,. Dissertations on the Pentateuch, vol. 2, pp. 504-505, briefly, but most satisfactorily, enumerates the objects of the Ceremonial Law in reply to the deistical writers, who, like De Wette, “can find out no rational basis for it,” and can form no other notion of these pedantic regulations, this gnat-straining, as he calls it, than as the production of a later priestcraft. “The best apology Hengstenberg says of the Ceremonial Law lies in pointing out its objects, and these, therefore, we present to refute the charges brought against it: — First, It served to cherish the religious sentiment. The Israelite was reminded by it in all his relations, even the most insignificant and external, of God; the thought of God was introduced into the very midst of the popular life. Secondly, It required the recognition of sin, and thus called forth the first thing essential for the reception of redemption, a sense of the need of redemption. The people must be burdened and heavy-laden, in order that the Lord might say to them, Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy, laden, and I will give you rest. The Law was, and was intended to be, a heavy yoke, and therefore would awaken a longing after the Redeemer. Everywhere it proclaimed, Touch not, taste not, handle not! and thus was a perpetual remembrancer of sin. Thirdly, It served to separate Israel from the heathen; it erected between the two a wall of separation, by which communication was prevented. Compare Ephesians 2:14. Not yet strong enough to conquer heathenism, the people were, so to speak, shut up, to be withdrawn from its influence, to preserve them for the time in which, armed with power from on high, they might commence an offensive war against it. The preliminary limitation effected by the Ceremonial Law served as the means of the future illimitedness. Fourthly, Many things in the Ceremonial Law served, by impressions on the senses, to awaken reverence for holy things among a sensual people. The bad consequence of denying this is, that it will then be necessary to impose a symbolic meaning on institutions, in which evidently nothing of the kind is to be found. Fifthly, One principal object of the Ceremonial Law lay in its symbolic meaning. The people, enthralled in visible objects, were not yet capable of vitally appropriating supersensual truth in words, the form most suited to their nature. It was needful for the truth to condescend, to come down to their power of apprehension, to prepare itself a body from visible things, in order to free the people from the bondage of the visible. This form was common to the Israelitish religion with that of the heathen, and therein lies its best apology. Would we rather not speak at all to the dumb than make use of signs? The Ceremonial Law was not the opposite to the worship of God in spirit and in truth, but only an imperfect form of the same, a necessary preparation for it. The accommodation was only formal, one which did not alter the essence, but only presented it in large capital letters to children who could not yet read a small running-hand.” - Ryland’s Translation, Edinburgh, 1847. It is, therefore, impiety to suppose that the legal rites were like farces composed in imitation of the Gentiles. In order, then, to preserve their honor and dignity, we must remember the principle to which we have lately alluded, viz., that all of them were arranged according to the spiritual pattern which had been shewn to Moses in the mount. (Exodus 25:40.) And this both Stephen, and the Apostle in the Epistle to the Hebrews, wisely observed, when they would reprove the gross follies of the people who continued to be wrapped up in the external ceremonies, as if religion were comprised in them. (Acts 7:44; Hebrews 8:5.) Stephen and the Apostle, therefore, are our best expositors, that the tabernacle, the altar, the table, the Ark of the Covenant, were of no importance except in so far as they referred to the heavenly pattern, of which they were the shadows and images. Thence their entire utility, and even their legitimate use, depended on the truth, (which they represented.) 124124     Added from Fr For the slaughter of an ox profits nothing in itself, nay, it is but an unimportant thing; and so all the sacrifices, except that they were types, would have been thought nothing of. Whence we gather that there is the greatest difference between the ceremonies of the Law and the profane rites of the Gentiles, for they differ from each other not only inasmuch as God is the author of the one, and that the temerity of men has foolishly invented the other, but because among the Gentiles their religion was entirely comprised in these bare and empty pomps; whilst God, by these rudiments, which He gave to His people, elevated pious minds, as it were by steps, to higher things. Thus the Gentiles seemed to themselves duly to propitiate (their gods) when they offered victims; whilst the sacrifices of the Jews were acceptable to God, because they were exercises of repentance and faith. So the Law instructed the Jews in the spiritual worship of God, and in nothing else, though it were clothed in ceremonies agreeably to the requirements of the age. For, before the truth was fully made known, the childhood of the Church was to be directed by earthly elements, and thus, though there was great affinity and likeness between the Jews and Gentiles as regarded the external form of their religious service, yet its end was widely different. Moreover, when we would seek the body or substance of the ancient shadows, and the truth of the figures, we may learn them, not only from the Apostles, but also from the Prophets, who everywhere draw the attention of believers to the kingdom of Christ; yet their clearer explanation must be sought in the Gospel, where Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, shining forth, shews that their fulfillment exists in Himself alone. But, although by His coming He abolished these typical ceremonies as regards their use, yet at the same time He established the reverence justly due to them; since they have no claim to be held in esteem on any other grounds, except that their completion is found in Him; for, if they are separated from Him, it is plain that they are mere farces, 125125     Lat., “lusorias.” Fr., “frivoles et comme badinages." since neither the blood of animals, nor the sweetness of fat, nor aromatic odors, nor candles, nor anything of that sort, have any power to propitiate God. This indeed must be remembered, that the Jews did not pay attention to the legal sacrifices in vain, since the promises were annexed to them; as often, therefore, as these sentences occur, “your iniquity shall be blotted out,” — “ye shall appear before my face,” — “I will hear you from the sanctuary,” we are reminded that all the ancient figures were sure testimonies of God’s grace and of eternal salvation; and thus Christ was represented in them, since all the promises are in Him, yea, and amen. (2 Corinthians 1:20.) Yet it by no means follows from hence that there were mysteries hidden in all their details, since some, with mistaken acuteness, pass over no point, however trifling, without an allegorical exposition; as, in this passage, for instance, the dimensions of the ark afford them matter of speculation. 126126     “Rupertus thus collecteth, that as the Ark is described to be two cubits and a half in length, equal to the stature of a man, so God hath appeared on earth, and shewed himself unto the capacity of men ” — Willet, Hexapla, in loco. But it will be enough for the sound and sober-minded to know that God would have His Law deposited in a handsome vessel, in order that its majesty should be recognized. He commanded that the ark itself should be carried with staves, that the hands of the Levites might not touch it, and thus that its sanctity might be the greater

16. And thou shalt put into the ark the testimony. The title of “the testimony,” which is often given to the law, indicates that something more is contained in it than the rule of a just and holy life; viz., the compact whereby God bound Himself to His people, and His people to Himself; therefore the words “the table of the covenant,” are afterwards used instead of “the testimony.” Thus the word עדת, 127127     “A testimony, or public evidence,” from עוד, to affirm, or testify. — W gneduth, in this passage, and similar ones, is equivalent to a contract, which is commonly called a convention In this sense the Prophet in Psalm 114 calls by the name of testimonies, not only the Commandments, but whatever God hath delivered by the hand of Moses for the salvation of His people. In Psalm 14:7, the word testimony is added as if in explanation of the word law: “The law of the Lord is perfect; the testimony of the Lord is sure;” as in Isaiah 8:20, where it is said, “To the law and to the testimony,” it is not that two different things are referred to, but the utility of the law is commended, because it contains all that God would have testified to His people.

17 And thou shalt make a mercy-seat. The primary root of the verb כפר, caphar, from whence this noun is derived, 128128     כפרת C. has not derived his explanation of the verb כפר from his usual guide in Hebrew, viz., S.M.; but his remark, that it signifies to smear over with bitumen, or pitch, agrees with its generally acknowledged meaning in Genesis 6:14. It is in the Pihel conjugation, — the effect of which is frequently the same as that proper to the Hiphil, — that the verb means to expiate. The noun, as C. observes, properly signifies a covering. — W. is used for “to smear with pitch,” but in the Hiphil conjugation, it signifies either to expiate, or to purge, or to receive into favor; whence כפר, copher, is expiation, as we have seen elsewhere; and כפרת, caphoreth, a covering or lid. Yet I doubt not but that Moses alludes in this word to a metaphorical meaning, for the law requires a covering to conceal our transgressions. And it is probable that, when Paul calls Christ ἱλαστήριον, (Romans 3:25,) and John ἱλασμὸν, (1 John 2:2,) they both refer to this figure, because God was propitiated towards believers by the covering of the Law, so as to shew Himself favorable to them by hearing their vows and prayers. For as long as the law stands forth before God’s face it subjects us to His wrath and curse; and hence it is necessary that the blotting out of our guilt should be interposed, so that God may be reconciled with us. Nor is it without reason that David exclaims, after he has proclaimed the righteousness of the law, “Who can understand his errors?” (Psalm 19:12.) Whence we gather that, without a propitiation, the law does not bring us near to God, but accuses us before Him. And assuredly, when I consider all things, it seems to me a tame explanation, that Moses spoke literally of the cover, when he 129129     Addition in Fr., “quand il le magnifie tant, et." would have the Cherubim turn their faces toward it, and God promises that He will give His answers from it. By these honorable distinctions it is exalted above the Ark.

18 And thou shalt make two cherubims. I have stated in my commentary on Genesis and elsewhere, 130130     See Commentary on Genesis 3:23. Calvin Society Translation, vol. 1, p. 186. The fanciful derivation to which C. objects, he had found in S. M., who states it as popular with the Rabbis, But as untenable. — W. that there are various opinions respecting the word cherub; but that those approach most nearly to the truth who make the כ, caph, not a servile, but a radical letter, and take it generally for any image; for those who suppose the כto be a note of similitude, render it “like a boy;” which in itself is forced, and besides it is refuted by the words of Ezekiel, (Ezekiel 1:10, and Ezekiel 10:1,) who calls the forms of a calf, a lion, and an eagle by this name, as well as the human form. It is enough for me that the images were winged, which represented angels. Therefore, when Moses speaks of the angels, who were placed as guards to keep man away from approaching paradise, he calls them cherubim; not so much in reference to that time, as to keep the people in the doctrine of the Law 131131     “Que pour donner goust au peuple de la doctrine de la Loy, et l’accoustumer aux ceremonies;” as to give the people a taste for the doctrine of the Law, and to accustom them to its ceremonies — Fr. But God appointed angels, by whom He exercises His dominion, and who are the ministers of His blessings, to be a symbol of His presence; for as often as He manifested Himself to believers by angels, He in a manner extended His hand to them. On this ground, David, and other Prophets, in order to encourage themselves to confidence in prayer, often speak of God as “dwelling between the cherubims,” (Psalm 80:1; 64:1; Isaiah 37:16;) as much as to say, that He conversed familiarly with His people, since His virtue exercises itself by His angels. That they covered the lid of the ark with their extended wings, I do not imagine to have been done to hide it, but to mark the readiness of their obedience, for the extension of their wings is equivalent to their being prepared for the performance of whatever God might command. Thus they are said to turn their faces towards the mercy-seat, because they are attentive to the will of God. Moreover, because the fullness of the Godhead resides in Christ, He justly declares that, in His descent upon earth, the heavens were opened that the angels might ascend and descend. Their looking towards each other indicates that harmony in which the angels are united for performing the commands of God. It is indeed a plausible conceit, 132132     Gregorius in Gloss. Ord. “The two cherubim are the two Testaments. One of them stands on one end of the mercy-seat, and the other on the other; because what the Old Testament begins to promise in prophecy respecting the Incarnation of Christ, the New relates to be perfectly fulfilled. They are made of very pure gold, because both Testaments are written with pure and simple truth.They stretch out their wings and cover the oracles; because we (who are God’s oracles) are protected from imminent errors by the study of sacred Scripture; and whilst we earnestly look at it, we are covered by its wings from the mistakes of ignorance. They look towards one another with their faces turned to the mercy-seat, because the Testaments differ in nothing, and look mutually to each other; for what the one promises the other exhibits. And they see the mercy-seat, i.e., the Mediator between God and men, placed between them; for they would turn away their faces from each other, if the one promised what the other denied.” — See also Bede in Gloss. Ord., and Augustin Qoest. in Ex. 105. that the two cherubim were the Old and New Testaments, which look from one to the other, and surround the mercy-seat, inasmuch as Christ is their common object; but this notion vanishes before the contradiction of many passages of Scripture.

Exodus 35

Exodus 35:4-19

4. And Moses spake unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, This is the thing which the LORD commanded, saying,

4. Dixitque Moses ad universam synagogam filiorum Israel, his verbis, Hoc est verbum quod praecepit Jehova, dicendo:

5. Take ye from among you an offering unto the LORD: whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it, an offering of the LORD; gold, and silver, and brass,

5. Accipite a vobis oblationem Jehovae: omnis spontaneus corde suo afferet eam oblationem Jehovae, aurum, argentum, et aes:

6. And blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats’ hair,

6. Et hyacinthum, et purpuram, et vermiculum cocci, et byssum, et caprarum pilos:

7. And rams’ skins dyed red, and badgers’ skins, and shittim wood,

7. Et pelles arietum rubricatas, et pelles taxorum, et ligna sittim.

8. And oil for the light, and spices for anointing oil, and for the sweet incense,

8. Et oleum pro luminari, et aromata pro oleo unctionis, et ad suffimentum aromaticum.

9. And onyx stones, and stones to be set for the ephod, and for the breastplate.

9. Et lapides onychinos, et lapides pro ephod et pro pectorali.

10. And every wise hearted among you shall come, and make all that the LORD hath commanded;

10. Et omnes sapientes corde in vobis venient, et facient quaecunque praecepit Jehova:

11. The tabernacle, his tent, and his covering, his taches, and his boards, his bars, his pillars, and his sockets,

11. Tabernaculum, tentorium ejus, et operimentum ejus, et circulos ejus, et tabulas ejus, vestes ejus, columnas ejus et bases ejus:

12. The ark, and the staves thereof, with the mercy seat, and the vail of the covering,

12. Arcam et vectes ejus, propitiatorium, et velum tentorii.

13. The table, and his staves, and all his vessels, and the shewbread,

13. Mensam, et vectes ipsius, et omnia vasa ejus, et panem facierum:

14. The candlestick also for the light, and his furniture, and his lamps, with the oil for the light,

14. Et candelabrum luminaris et vasa ejus, et lucernas ejus, et oleum luminaris:

15. And the incense altar, and his staves, and the anointing oil, and the sweet incense, and the hanging for the door at the entering in of the tabernacle,

15. Et altare suffimenti et vectes ejus, et oleum unctionis, et suffimentum aromaticum, et aulaeum ostii pro ostio tabernaculi:

16. The altar of burnt offering, with his brasen grate, his staves, and all his vessels, the laver and his foot,

16. Altare holocausti, et cribrum ejus aeneum, et vectes ejus, et omnia vasa ejus, et concham et basin ejus:

17. The hangings of the court, his pillars, and their sockets, and the hanging for the door of the court,

17. Cortinas ipsius atrii, columnas ejus, et bases ejus, et aulaeum portae atrii,

18. The pins of the tabernacle, and the pins of the court, and their cords,

18. Paxillos tabernaculi, et paxillos atrii, et funiculos eorum,

19. The cloths of service, to do service in the holy place, the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons, to minister in the priest’s office.

19. Vestes ministerii ad ministrandum in sanctuario, et vestes sanctas Aharonis sacerdotis, et vestes filiorum ejus ad fungendum sacerdotio.


5. Take ye from among you an offering. I have introduced a passage from chapter 35, wherein Moses again requires what he had before prescribed; but he goes more into detail, and treats at greater length of the parts of the tabernacle. In the former passage he employed a verb, where he here uses a noun, “willing or voluntary of heart.” There is, however, no ambiguity in the meaning; since in both places God requires a cheerful zeal, so that they may not only contribute abundantly, but willingly. He will afterwards use a different form of expression, viz., that they did their duty, whose heart roused, or stirred them up, so as to distinguish them from the indifferent and slow. — 5:21.

10. And every wise-hearted among you. Thus he denominates the artificers, who excelled in shrewdness of intellect, and so, after having commanded them severally of their private means to supply the materials, he now exhorts others to contribute their industry for shaping and joining them together. He then briefly enumerates the parts of the Tabernacle, a longer explanation of which will be seen in chapter 26. This is, therefore, a kind of epitome of all those things, of which he before spoke more in full, since it was necessary to spur them on afresh to the performance of what they had been clearly instructed in. For we know that instruction is very often coldly received without the addition of exhortations. It might indeed seem strange, 133133     "Particular stress is laid on the contrast, which the condition of the Israelitish nation at that time presents to the splendor and speedy completion of the tent. That tent was certainly splendid, but, in point of fact, exceedingly simple in its construction. If we compare it with the monuments of Egyptian architecture, its relative simplicity must strike us in a much greater degree. As to the materials that were required for it, it admits of proof that the Israelites might well have been possessed of them at that time. The wilderness even might supply them with many of these things. With respect to other things, the metals, precious stones, etc, we must keep in view the condition of a people that had just come out of Egypt. History describes that country as having mercantile transactions with Asia, even from the earliest times. The people had acquired property, in part at least, in Egypt; the description in Exodus 32, leaves us no doubt as to the possessions, and even wealth, that they had gained there. They had not gone out of Egypt empty-handed, but richly provided with silver and gold, 12:36. — “Havernick, Introd. to Pentat. Edin., 1850, pp. 284-285. how so much wealth could be possessed by a miserably pillaged people, and long driven to servile work; unless it may be inferred from the abundance which is here described, that they were incredibly enriched at their departure from Egypt by the booty which God gave them. The kingdom of Egypt was very wealthy; and its people, as we know, had always been devoted to pleasures and luxuries. What, then, they had accumulated by their rapacity in many years, flowed away from them by the secret influence of God, when they were suddenly made prodigal. But, just as He had blinded the Egyptians, that they should profusely give all they had, so He now directed the minds and hearts of His people, that, mindful of so great a benefit, they should willingly expend, at His command, what they had obtained of His mere grace.

Exodus 25

Exodus 25:23-30

23. Thou shalt also make a table of shittim wood: two cubits shall be the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof, and a cubit and half the height thereof.

23. Facies quoque mensam ex lignis sittim: duorum cubitorum erit longitudo ejus, et cubiti latitudo ejus, cubiti vero et dimidii alitudo ejus.

24. And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, and make thereto a crown of gold round about.

24. Et teges eam auro puro, faciesque ei coronam auream in circuitu.

25. And thou shalt make unto it a border of an hand breadth round about, and thou shalt make a golden crown to the border thereof round about.

25. Facies quoque ei clausuram latam quatuor digitos in circuitu: faciesque coronam auream clausurae illi in circuitu.

26. And thou shalt make for it four rings of gold, and put the rings in the four corners that are on the four feet thereof.

26. Facies insuper ei quatuor annulos aureos, quos pones in quatuor angulis qui sunt in quatuor pedibus ejus.

27. Over against the border shall the rings be for places of the staves to bear the table.

27. E regione illius clausurae erunt annuli per quos trajicientur vectes ad portandum mensam:

28. And thou shalt make the staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold, that the table may be borne with them.

28. Faciesque vectes illos e lignis sittim: et operies eos auro, et feretur illis mensa.

29. And thou shalt make the dishes thereof, and spoons thereof, and covers thereof, and bowls thereof, to cover withal: of pure gold shalt thou make them.

29. Facies etiam scutellas ejus, et cochlearia ejus, et opercula ejus, et crateres ejus quibus libabitur: ex auro mundo facies ca.

30. And thou shalt set upon the table shewbread before me alway.

30. Et pones super mensam illam panem facierum coram me jugiter.


23. Thou shalt also make a table. The sentiment of a certain ancient bishop 134134     This was Acacius, bishop of Amida, who sold the treasures of the Church for the redemption of 7000 Persian slaves, who were perishing by famine in the hands of some Roman soldiers. Vide Socrates, lib. 7-121, quoted in Bingham, book 5-100; 6-6 ̔Ο Θεός ἡμῶν ὔτε δίσκων ὄυτε ποτηρίων χρὠβει· οὔτε γὰρ ἐσθίει, ὔτε πίνει, ἐπεὶ μὴ προσδεής ἐστιν, seem to be the words referred to by C is deservedly praised, who, when he sold the sacred vessels in the time of a famine, to relieve the distress of the poor, thus excused himself to the Church: “Our God, who does not eat or drink, has no need of patens and chalices;” and yet this seems little in accordance with this His command, that bread should be offered to Him. I answer, that if, under that pretext, the bishop had stripped the sacred table of its ornaments under the Law, he would have spoken unseasonably, what, under the Gospel, he spoke piously and wisely; because at the coming of Christ the shadows of the Law ceased. But God would then have the loaves, which were offered to Him, deposited among the golden dishes and censers, and spoons placed with them, not that He had need of meat and drink, but that He might prescribe the duty of temperance to His people, by deigning to have His table among them; for, when they ate of the same wheat, of which the sacred loaves were made, they were reminded by that symbol that their meat and drink was to be taken, as if they sat before God, and were His guests. Finally, they were taught that the food, by which man’s life is sustained, is in a manner sacred to God; that thus they might be contented with simple and sober food, and might not profane the things which were dedicated to His service. Although, therefore, this offering might appear to be gross and rude, yet it had a just object, i.e., that believers might acknowledge that God presided over their tables, because the loaves were presented in the temple before God in the name of all the people. The same was the intention of the first-fruits, in which the produce of the whole year was consecrated; that even in their feasts they might cherish a recollection of God, who fed them as a father does his children. They are called “the bread of faces” 135135     A.V., shew-bread. “In Hebrew called bread of faces or presence; because they were to be set before the face, or in the presence of God continually. The Hebrew doctors give also another reason, because every cake was made square, and so had as it were many faces.” — Ainsworth, in loco. by Moses, because they always appeared before God, in which sense the Greeks called them the bread προθέσεως, because they were always in His presence; for it was not permitted them to remove the precious offering, until others were substituted in their place. I now pass over many points, because what I now omit will soon have to be treated of.

Exodus 25

Exodus 25:31-40

31. And thou shalt make a candlestick of pure gold: of beaten work shall the candlestick be made: his shaft, and his branches, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers, shall be of the same.

31. Facies item candelabrum ex auro puro: ductile fiet candelabrum illud: ­restile ejus, et calamus ejus scyphi ejus, sphaerulae ejus, et flores ejus ex ipso erunt.

32. And six branches shall come out of the sides of it; three branches of the candlestick out of the one side, and three branches of the candlestick out of the other side:

32. Et sex calami egredientur a lateribus ejus: tres calami candelabri ex latere ejus uno, et tres calami candelabri ex latere ejus altero.

33. Three bowls made like unto almonds, with a knop and a flower in one branch; and three bowls made like almonds in the other branch, with a knop and a flower: so in the six branches that come out of the candlestick.

33. Tres calices in speciem nucis amygdalinae deformati erunt in calamo uno, spaerula, et flos, et tres calices in speciem nucis amygdalinae deformati in calamo altero, sphaerula et flos: sic de sex calamis egredientibus e candelabro.

34. And in the candlestick shall be four bowls made like unto almonds, with their knops and their flowers.

34. Et in candelabro erunt quatuor calices in speciem nucis amygdalinae deformaft, sphaerulae ejus, et flores ejus.

35. And there shall be a knop under two branches of the same, and a knop under two branches of the same, and a knop under two branches of the same, according to the six branches that proceed out of the candlestick.

35. Eritque sphaerula sub duobus calamis ex ipso, sphaerula item sub duobus calamis ex ipso, et sphaerula sub duobus calamis ex ipso: sic de sex calamis egredientibus e candelabro.

36. Their knops and their branches shall be of the same: all of it shall be one beaten work of pure gold.

36. Sphaerulae eorum et calami eorum ex ipso erunt: totum ipsum ductile unum, ex auro puro.

37. And thou shalt make the seven lamps thereof: and they shall light the lamps thereof, that they may give light over against it.

37. Facies quoque lucernas ejus septem, quas collocabis in sublimi, ut luceant ad latus faciei ejus.

38. And the tongs thereof, and the snuffdishes thereof, shall be of pure gold.

38. Et forcipes ipsius, et receptacula ejus ex auro puro.

39. Of a talent of pure gold shall he make it, with all these vessels.

39. Talento auri puri facies illud, et omnia vasa ista.

40. And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount.

40. Vide autem ut facias juxta similitudinem suam, quae tibi ostensa est in monte.


31. And thou shalt make a candlestick. God would have seven bright lamps burning day and night in the Tabernacle: first, that the people might know that they were directed by God Himself as to how they were to worship Him aright, and that a light was set before their eyes which might disperse all the darkness of error; and, secondly, lest they should obscure the very worship of God with their gross inventions, but that, intent on the instruction of the Law, they might with a pure and enlightened mind seek after God in all the ceremonies. Let us, therefore, remark a distinction here set forth between the rule of true religion and the superstitions of the Gentiles; because the Gentiles were carried away by their foolish and blind devotions, as they call them, into circuitous and erring ways, so that nothing was straight in them; for unless we have divine teaching to enlighten us, our own reason will beget nothing but mere vanity. But it was not enough for the Israelites that the right way should be pointed out, unless their eyes were open to direct them, since men sometimes are blind in the very midst of light. And this occurred to themselves not only when they went astray into strange and adulterous worships, for though they held fast the external form of the Law, they were, nevertheless, degenerate; and religion was corrupted among them by foul superstitions, when, in obedience to their carnal reason, they conceived that religion consisted in ceremonies. For when God is not worshipped spiritually according to His nature, this is to travesty Him. Hence there was so much security in the hypocrites, that they proudly despised all the reproofs of the Prophets, nay, that they broke out into open fury whenever their empty pomps were condemned. But the candlestick, shining with its seven lights, reminded the people that, in their worship of God, they should look attentively to the light of heavenly doctrine.

But, for the understanding of this type, the vision of Zechariah will be no slight assistance to us, since the truth of this symbol is there set forth. (Zechariah 4:2.) God there promises that the power of His Spirit will alone avail, and more than avail, for the preservation of His Church, although it may be destitute of all other aid. To awaken confidence in this, He represents the same image of a candlestick which is here described, with the addition of some other circumstances, whereby He reminds us that the shining lights were no vain show like stage plays, but that in the candlestick was represented what believers would really experience to take place. But, that the comparison may be made clearer, we must say a little respecting this passage. The material of the candlestick is pure gold, whereby the excellency of the thing signified is denoted. But, when we have spoken somewhat of its form, the application of Zechariah’s prophecy will be more manifest. Some parts of it were merely for ornament, that its dignity might be increased by its very appearance, such as the flowers and the balls or knops; others for use, as the bowls or receptacles, to prevent the sacred oil from falling on the ground. The lamps were placed at the top, that the Israelites might know that men are surrounded with darkness on earth, if God did not enlighten His Church from on high, and that by day and by night. Thus Isaiah, describing the kingdom of Christ, in which the reality of this sign was at length exhibited, says, — “Behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.” And again,

"Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the Lord shall be thy everlasting light.”
(Isaiah 60:2-20.)

Now, since God is called the Father of lights, the grace of illumination resides in the Spirit; and since a variety of gifts are distributed by the Spirit, there were seven lamps which visibly represented what Paul says, —

"The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: but all these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” (1 Corinthians 12:7-11.)

Some, however, have gratuitously invented a mystery in the number seven, whence the common notion 136136     The seven gifts of the Holy Ghost are represented in Roman Catholic Catechisms to be, — 1. Wisdom; 2. Understanding; 3. Counsel; 4. Fortitude; 5. Knowledge; 6. Godliness; 7. The fear of the Lord: founded, of course, on Isaiah 11:2. Augustin says, Sermo 8, (Edit. Ben., tom. 5, p. 46,) speaking of the Holy Spirit, “Ipse requiescit super humilem et quietum, tanquam in Sabbato suo. Ad hoc septenarius numerus etiam Sancto Spiritui deputatur, hoc Scripturae nostrae satis indicant. Viderint meliora meliores, et majora majores; et de isto septenario numero subtilius aliquid et divinius aliquid dicant et explicent: ego tamen, quod in presenti sat est, illud video, illud vos ad videndum commemoro, septenariam istam rationem inveniri proprie Sancto Spiritui deputatam; quia; septimo die sonat sanctificatio,” etc. among the Papists about the sevenfold grace of the Spirit, which is refuted both by the above-cited passage of St. Paul and the eleventh chapter of Isaiah, where a greater number of gifts are enumerated. I suppose rather that perfection is denoted by the seven lamps according to the ordinary and acknowledged use (of the figure); as if God thus declared that nothing would be wanting for the full enlightenment of believers, who should seek it from its one and only source; secondly, that the Spirit presides over all religious rites when He shines forth to the Church in His gifts. Now, the Prophet, (Zechariah 4:2,) desiring to teach that what had been shewn forth in this visible symbol would be fulfilled in the restoration of the Church, adds to the lamps seven pipes and two olive-trees, from whence oil would continually flow, so that there was no fear of want or failure. Thus he signifies that God is possessed of a manifold abundance of blessings for the enrichment of the Church; and so that the virtue which flows down from heaven is sufficient for its preservation, according to what is added in connection,

"Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,
saith the Lord of hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6.)

For although God uses the ministry of men and earthly means at His discretion for the protection and maintenance of the Church, yet He would have, as is just, all the praise ascribed to Himself; whilst He would also have believers to be contented under His guardianship, and not to be discouraged although they should find no ground of confidence in the world.

40 And look that thou make them. He again inculcates, what we have already seen, that Moses should take care that all things were exactly modeled according to the original or pattern seen in the mount. But it is certain that it is not any mere vision which is here in question, but that the external ornaments of the sanctuary have reference to their spiritual object, as is plain from the explanation of Stephen and the Apostle. Wherefore we need not wonder that Zechariah should say that God would make manifest, and that by certain proof, under the reign of Christ, that it was no empty spectacle which God had set before His people under the Law.

Deuteronomy 27

Deuteronomy 27:5-7

5. And there shalt thou build an altar unto the LORD thy God, an altar of stones: thou shalt not lift up any iron tool upon them.

5. AEdificabis in monte Ebal altare ex lapidibus Jehovae Deo tuo: non levabis super eos ferrum.

6. Thou shalt build the altar of the LORD thy God of whole stones: and thou shalt offer burnt offerings thereon unto the LORD thy God:

6. E lapidibus integris aedificabis altare Jehovae Dei tui: et offeres super illud holocausta Jehovae Deo tuo:

7. And thou shalt offer peace offerings, and shalt eat there, and rejoice before the LORD thy God.

7. Et offeres sacrificia prosperiratum, comedesque illic, ac laetaberis coram Jehova Deo tuo.


Leviticus 24

Leviticus 24:1-4

1. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

1. Loquutus est autem Jehova ad Mosen, dicendo:

2. Command the children of Israel, that they bring unto thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamps to burn continually.

2. Praecipe filiis Israel ut afferant tibi oleum olivae purum, contusum pro luminari, ad accendendas lucernas semper.

3 Without the vail of the testimony, in the tabernacle of the congregation, shall Aaron order it from the evening unto the morning before the LORD continually: it shall be a statute for ever in your generations.

3. Extra velum testimonii in tabernaculo conventionis disponet eas Aharon a vespera usque ad mane, coram Jehova semper: statutum per-perpetuum erit in generationibus vestris.

4. He shall order the lamps upon the pure candlestick before the LORD continually.

4. Super candelabrum mundum disponet lucernas coram Jehova semper.


Exodus 27:20 And thou shalt command the children of Israel. I have transferred these two passages from elsewhere, since they relate to the service of the tabernacle; for the children of Israel are commanded to contribute as much oil as may be sufficient for the seven lamps. Now, since Divine illumination and the grace of the Holy Spirit were, as we have seen, the truth of this symbol, God requires pure oil, i.e., not muddy, or mixed with lees, for, had it been in any respect faulty, so much would have been detracted from the dignity of the mystery. Its purity, then, shewed that nothing mean or common was signified by it; that the Israelites also might bring with them pure minds, and duly prepared and disposed to consider the spiritual light. He again repeats, that the oil must be supplied seasonably at its proper hours, so that the lamps may be always burning; that thus the children of Israel might learn that nothing is more opposed to the worship of God than obscurity and darkness; and that it is not to be interrupted at intervals, 137137     “Et que ce n’est point assez d’estre eselaire par bouffees;” and that it is not enough to be enlightened by puffs. — Fr. but that the direction of the Spirit should shine from heaven in a perpetual flow. Thus, in the second passage cited, He thrice reiterates the word “continually,” to shew that the true light should never be put out in any respect. This office God enjoins upon the priests, because they ought to be ministers of light when they are interpreting the Law, which David calls “the lamp of our feet, and the light of our paths.” (Psalm 119:105.) But what is the meaning of the offering (of the oil) by the people, since men are possessed of no power for the spiritual enlightening of their own minds? I reply that, in the types of the Law, the several parts are not to be so scrupulously forced to the rule, as if there were nothing in the outward sign with which the reality did not correspond; and again, that although men having nothing of their own and of themselves to bring, yet, that they may more diligently exert themselves in their endeavors to serve God, they are justly required to dedicate themselves and all that they have to God. At the end, where the words “a statute for ever” are added, understand them to mean, until the real manifestation of those things, of which the candlestick and its lamps were a type. This point I have discussed in Genesis 138138     “Au dix-septieme chapitre de Genese ” — Fr. It is called “a statute from the 139139     מאת, from the. A. V., on the behalf of. C. adheres to S.M., and in so doing he has kept close to the Hebrew. — W. children of Israel,” (a filiis Israel,) since God requires its observance from them; unless it be preferred to translate it with Jerome, “Before (coram) the children of Israel.” The exposition of others, “among (apud) the children of Israel,” or from the fathers to the children, is harsher, and altogether forced.

Numbers 8

Numbers 8:1-4

1. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

1. Et loquutus est Jehova ad Mosen, dicendo:

2. Speak unto Aaron, and say unto him, When thou lightest the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light over against the candlestick.

2. Loquere ad Aharon, et dicas illi, Quando accendes lucernam, contra faciem candelabri lucebunt septem lucernae.

3. And Aaron did so: he lighted the lamps thereof over against the candlestick, as the LORD commanded Moses.

3. Fecitque ita Aharon: contra faciem candelabri accendit lucernas ejus, quemadmodum praeceperat Jehova ipsi Mosi.

4. And this work of the candlestick was of beaten gold, unto the shaft thereof, unto the flowers thereof, was beaten work: according unto the pattern which the LORD had shewed Moses, so he made the candlestick.

4. Et hoc est opus candelabri, ductile aureum usque ad hastile suum, usque ad flores suos ductile erat, juxta exemplar quod ostenderat Jehova ipsi Mosi, sic fecit candelabrum.


2 When thou lightest the lamps. This precept, like many others, is not inserted in its proper place. Moses again declares what was the use of the candlestick, and how the lamps should be arranged, so that their light might be spread through the sanctuary, and that the brightness of the gold might shine over against them; for this was the reason why God would have the lamps lighted against the face of, or opposite to, the candlestick, that the very stand of the light might retain its beauty. Moreover, it is expressly stated that Aaron obeyed God’s command, as if in no despicable matter, as he had received it from Moses. To this also refers what immediately follows, that it was made “according unto the pattern” which Moses had seen in the mount; and this was, as I have before explained it, that God is the Father of lights, who illuminates His Church by His Spirit, that it may not wander in darkness; and so, whilst darkness covers the whole earth, He is as an everlasting light to believers instead of the sun and moon, as says Isaiah 60:19

Exodus 26

Exodus 26:1-37

1. Moreover thou shalt make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twined linen, and blue, and purpl e, and scarlet: with cherubims of cunning work shalt thou make them.

1. Tabernaculum vero facies e decem cortinis e bysso retorta, et hyacintho et purpura, et vermiculo cocci: cherubin opere phrygionico facies.

2. The length of one curtain shall be eight and twenty cubits, and the breadth of one curtain four cubits: and every one of the curtains shall have one measure.

2. Longitudo cortinae unius erit octo et viginti cubitorum: et latitudo cortinae unius, quatuor cubitorum: mensura, una erit omnibus cortinis.

3. The five curtains shall be coupled together one to another; and other five curtains shall be coupled one to another.

3. Quinque cortiae erunt con junctae altera eum altera, et quinque aliae cortinae conjunctae altera cum altera.

4. And thou shalt make loops of blue upon the edge of the one curtain from the selvedge in the coupling; and likewise shalt thou make in the uttermost edge of another curtain, in the coupling of the second.

4. Facies quoque, laqueolos hya cinthinos in ora cortinae unius in extremo in conjunetione: et sic facies in ora cortinae extrema in conjunctione secunda.

5. Fifty loops shalt thou make in the one curtain, and fifty loops shalt thou make in the edge of the curtain that is in the coupling of the second, that the loops may take hold one of another.

5. Quinquaginta laqueolos facies in cortina una, et quinquaginta laqueolos facies in extremo cortintae quae est in conjunctione secunda: oppositi erunt laqueoli alter alteri.

6. And thou shalt make fifty taches of gold, and couple the curtains together with the taches: and it shall be one tabernacle.

6. Facies item quinquaginta uncinos aureos, et ita conjunges cortinas alteram cum altera per uncinos: atque ita fiet tabernaculum unum.

7. And thou shalt make curtains of goats’ hair to be a covering upon the tabernacle: eleven curtains shalt thou make.

7. Facies insuper cortinas e pilis caprarum in tentorium super tabernaculum: undecim cortinas facies eas.

8. The length of one curtain shall be thirty cubits, and the breadth of one curtain four cubits: and the eleven curtains shall be all of one measure.

8. Longitudo cortinae unius, triginta cubitorum: et latitudo cortinae unius, quatuor cubitorum: mensura una erit undecim cortinis:

9. And thou shalt couple five curtains by themselves, and six curtains by themselves, and shalt double the sixth curtain in the forefront of the tabernacle.

9. Et conjunges quinque cortinas seorsum: et sex cortinas seorsum: et conduplicabis cortinam sextam e regione faciei tentorii.

10. And thou shalt make fifty loops on the edge of the one curtain that is outmost in the coupling, and fifty loops in the edge of the curtain which coupleth the second.

10. Facies autem quinquaginta laqueolos in ora cortinae unius in extremo in conjunctione, et quinquaginta laqueolos in ora cortinae con-junctionis secundae.

11. And thou shalt make fifty taches of brass, and put the taches into the loops, and couple the tent together, that it may be one.

11. Facies item uncinos aereos quinquaginta, quos induces in laqueolos, et conjunges tentorium, et erit unum.

12. And the remnant that remaineth of the curtains of the tent, the half-curtain that remaineth, shall hang over the backside of the tabernacle.

12. Superfluitas autem quae redundat in cortinis tentorii, nempe dimidium cortinae redundantis, su-perfluet a tergo tabernaculi.

13. And a cubit on the one side, and a cubit on the other side, of that which remaineth in the length of the curtains of the tent, it shall hang over the sides of the tabernacle on this side and on that side, to cover it.

13. Cubitusque hinc, et cubitus illinc, qui redundat in longitudine cortinarum tentorii, redundabit super latera tabernaculi hinc et inde, ut tegat illud.

14. And thou shalt make a covering for the tent of rams’ skins dyed red, and a covering above of badgers’ skins.

14. Facies item operimentum tentorio e pellibus arietum rubifactis: operimentum item e pellibus taxorum superne.

15. And thou shalt make boards for the tabernacle of shittim wood standing up.

15. Facies et tabulas tabernaculo e lignis sittim stantes.

16. Ten cubits shall be the length of a board, and a cubit and a half shall be the breadth of one board.

16. Decem cubitorum longitudo tabulae: cubiti vero et dimidii latitudo tabulae unius.

17. Two tenons shall there be in one board, set in order one against another: thus shalt thou make for all the boards of the tabernacle.

17. Duo cardines erunt tabulae uni, instar graduum sealae dispositi, alter e regione alterius, sic facies omnibus tabulis tabernaculi.

18. And thou shalt make the boards for the tabernacle, twenty boards on the south side southward.

18. Facies autem tabulas tabernaculo, viginti tabulas ad latus meridianum ad austrum.

19. And thou shalt make forty sockets of silver under the twenty boards: two sockets under one board for his two tenons, and two sockets under another board for his two tenons.

19. Et quadraginta bases argenteas facies sub viginti tabulis, duas bases sub una tabula, pro duobus cardinibus ejus: et duas bases sub tabula altera, pro duobus cardinibus ejus.

20. And for the second side of the tabernacle, on the north side, there shall be twenty boards:

20. In latere vero tabernaculi secundo ad plagam Aquilonis, viginti tabulas.

21. And their forty sockets of silver; two sockets under one board, and two sockets under another board

21. Et quadraginta bases earum argenteas, duas bases sub una tabula, et duas bases sub tabula altera.

22. And for the sides of the tabernacle westward thou shalt make six boards.

22. Porro in latere tabernaculi ad occidentem facies sex tabulas.

23. And two boards shalt thou make for the corners of the tabernacle in the two sides.

23. Et duas tabulas facies angulis tabernaculi in latere occidentali:

24. And they shall be coupled together beneath, and they shall be coupled together above the head of it unto one ring: thus shall it be for them both; they shall be for the two corners.

24. Quae erunt quasi gemellae inferne, et simul erunt quasi gemellae in fastigio ejus in circulum unum: sic erit de duabus illis: in duobus angulis erunt.

25. And they shall be eight boards, and their sockets of silver, sixteen sockets; two sockets under one board, and two sockets under another board.

25. Erunt igitur octo tabulae, et bases earum argenteae, sexdecim bases: duae bases erunt sub tabula una, et duae bases sub tabula altera.

26. And thou shalt make bars of shittim wood; five for the boards of the one side of the tabernacle,

26. Facies etiam vectes e lignis sittim, quinque tabulis pro latere tabernaculi uno.

27. And five bars for the boards of the other side of the tabernacle, and five bars for the boards of the side of the tabernacle, for the two sides westward.

27. Et quinque vectes tabulis pro latere tabernaculi altero: et quinque vectes tabulis pro latere tabernaeuli, pro latere inquam vergente ad occi- dentem.

28. And the middle bar in the midst of the boards shall reach from end to end.

28. Vectis autem medius per medium tabularum transibit ab extremo ad extremum.

29. And thou shalt overlay the boards with gold, and make their rings of gold for places for the bars: and thou shalt overlay the bars with gold.

29. Tabulas vero teges auro, atque annulos earum facies ex auro, per quos trajicientur vectes, coope-riesque vectes ipso auro.

30. And thou shalt rear up the tabernacle according to the fashion thereof which was shewed thee in the mount.

30. Et ita eriges tabernaculum secundum dispositionem ejus, quae tibi ostensa est in monte.

31. And thou shalt make a vail of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen of cunning work: with cherubims shall it be made:

31. Facies et velum ex hyacintho, et purpura, et vermiculo cocci, et bysso retorta, opere phrygionico facies illud cum figuris cherubin.

32. And thou shalt hang it upon four pillars of shittim wood overlaid with gold: their hooks shall be of gold, upon the four sockets of silver.

32. Et pones illud super quatuor columnas sittim obductas auro (un-cini earum aurei) super quatuor bases argenteas.

33. And thou shalt hang up the vail under the taches, that thou mayest bring in thither within the vail the ark of the testimony: and the vail shall divide unto you between the holy place and the most holy.

33. Ponesque velum sub uncinis, et introduces illuc intra velum arcam testimonii, dividetque velum illud vobis inter sanctum et sanctum sanctorum.

34. And thou shalt put the mercy seat upon the ark of the testimony in the most holy place.

34. Pones insuper propitiatorium super arcata testimonii in sancto sanctorum.

35. And thou shalt set the table without the vail, and the candlestick over against the table on the side of the tabernacle toward the south: and thou shalt put the table on the north side.

35. Pones quoque mensam illam extra velum, et candelabrum e regione mensae in latere tabernaculi ad meridiem, et mensam pones in latere aquilonis.

36. And thou shalt make an hanging for the door of the tent, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, wrought with needlework.

36. Et facies velum ad ostium tabernaculi ex hyacintho, et purpura, et vermiculo cocci, et bysso retorta opere acupictoris.

37. And thou shalt make for the hanging five pillars of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold, and their hooks shall be of gold: and thou shalt cast five sockets of brass for them.

37. Velo autem facies quinque columnas ex sittim, quas teges auro, et uncini earum aurei, fundesque els quinque bases aereas.


1. Moreover, thou shalt make the tabernacle. In the whole construction of the tabernacle we must remember what we have already seen, that the Israelites were instructed by external figures how precious a thing is the worship of God, and therefore that they must diligently beware lest it should be polluted by any meanness. For all this richness and magnificence of ornament was the very contrast to meanness. They were also reminded that, if they would be accounted pure worshippers of God, they must avoid all uncleanness, for the tabernacle was the type of the Church. Thus it is certain that by its external ornaments the excellency of spiritual gifts was designated. On this ground Isaiah, discoursing of the perfect glory of the Church as it would be under the reign of Christ, says,

"I will lay thy stones with fair colors, and lay thy foundations with sapphires; and I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones,”
(Isaiah 54:11, 12;)

by which words he plainly signifies that the Church would be adorned with heavenly beauty, since all kinds of graces shone forth in her But the chief excellency of her adornment must be referred to the instruction which renews us into the image of God. Thus David, when he celebrates the beauty of God’s house, assigns this honor chiefly to the exercises of faith and piety:

"One thing have I desired of the Lord,” he says, “that will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.” (Psalm 27:4.)

Was this that he might feed his eyes with empty pictures, with its costly materials, and with the exquisite workmanship of it? Assuredly he does not speak of gazing inquisitively at it, but thus alludes to its visible workmanship, that with the spiritual eyes of faith he may consider the glory more excellent than the whole world, which was there represented. Nor indeed did anything magnificent appear in the tabernacle to delight men’s eyes, but rather was all its richness and excellence covered up with goats’ hair and paltry leather, in order that believers beneath that hidden beauty might reflect on something higher than the carnal sense.

It will suffice to have given these general hints; I now descend to particulars, in which let not my readers expect of me any conceits which may gratify their ears, since nothing is better than to contain ourselves within the limits of edification; and it would be puerile to make a collection of the minutiae wherewith some philosophize; since it was by no means the intention of God to include mysteries in every hook and loop; and even although no part were without a mystical meaning, which no one in his senses will admit, it is better to confess our ignorance than to indulge ourselves in frivolous conjectures. Of this sobriety, too, the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews is a fit master for us, who, although he professedly shews the analogy between the shadows of the Law and the truth manifested in Christ, yet sparingly touches upon some main points, and by this moderation restrains us from too curious disquisitions and deep speculations. In the first place, curtains are made of twilled linen, and blue, purple, and scarlet, which, when coupled together, made an inclosure of forty cubits; for they were ten in number, and the breadth of each was four cubits. By “cunning work,” commentators are agreed that embroidery is meant, especially when God commands that cherubim should be made in them. But some translate the word cherubim by the general name of pictures, 140140     S. M. is the translator who has here rendered cherubim, pictures. V. renders it, paraphrastically, “pulchra varietate contextum.” — W. which, although it is not grammatically incorrect, yet, since we have before seen that angels were designated by this word, it; is more probable that figures of angels were everywhere scattered over them; for, when the majesty of God is represented to the life by Daniel 7:10, “ten thousand times ten thousand” are said to stand around His judgment-seat, Ridiculous is it of the Papists 141141     See Institutes, vol. 1, p. 122, et seq.; see also Petr. Martyr, Loci. Com. Cl. Sec., cap. 5; and Becon, Catechism, Part 3; Parker Soc. Edit., pp. 61, 62. to infer from hence that churches would be empty and unsightly unless they are adorned with images; for in order that the similitude should hold good, they must needs hide their images under a triple covering, lest the people should be able to see them; and then, how would they be “the books of the unlearned” (idiotarum), as they call them? 142142     “Idcirco enim pictura in ecelesiis adhibetur, ut hi, qui literas nesciunt, saltem in parietibus videndo legant, quae legere in codicibus non valent.” — Greg. Magni, lib. 9, indict, 2, epist, 105, ad Serenum Massil. Episc.

Now, since the seraphim, of which Isaiah makes mention, (Isaiah 6:2,) signify the same as the cherubim, and are said “with twain of their wings to cover their faces, and with twain their feet,” their images must be veiled, in order to correspond with them. Besides, it is preposterous, as I have said, forcibly to transfer these rudiments, which God delivered only to His ancient; people, to the fullness of time, when the Church has grown up and has passed out of its childhood. But how far the Jews were from worshipping the cherubim, the heathen poets bear them witness; for Juvenal, speaking of them, said,

"Qui puras nubes, et coeli numen adorant;” 143143     The actual words of Juvenal, Sat. 14:97, are: —
   "Nil proeteter nubes, et coeli numen adorant;”
Nought but the clouds, and heaven’s God adore.

and God extorted these words from an impure and licentious man, that all might know that the Law of Moses lifted his disciples to things above. A threefold covering is then described, the inner one of goats’ hair, another of rams’ skins dyed red, and the outer one of badgers’ skins; a wooden frame is then added, to strengthen the tabernacle within by its firmness, since otherwise the curtains would have got out of place at the slightest motion. The boards were of shittim-wood, overlaid with gold, either only gilt or covered with gold plates; each of them was supported by two silver bases, 144144     A. V., “sockets." like feet, and they were joined together by bars, passed through rings of gold. In this space the whole tabernacle was contained, which then was distinguished into the outer sanctuary and the Holy of holies. Besides these there was the court in which the people were to stand, because it was not lawful for them to enter the sanctuary, to which the priests alone had access, and they only when clean. Thus David, after having exclaimed, “How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts,” immediately adds, “My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord;” and again, “for a day in thy courts is better than a thousand,” (Psalm 84:1, 2, 10;) and again, “Worship the Lord in his holy court.” 145145     C. quotes the translation of the V., “in atrio sancto ejus.” See note on Psalm 29:2, in C. Society’s Commentary, vol. 1, p. 476. (Psalm 29:2.) But on so plain a matter there is no need of the abundant proofs which he furnishes. The disposition of the tabernacle is said again, in ver. 30, to have been shewn in the mount, that the people should not rest their attention on the visible tabernacle, but with the understanding of faith should penetrate to heaven, and direct their minds to the spiritual pattern, the shadows and types of which they beheld. Neither here must we philosophize too curiously. The allegory will please the ears of many, that by the two bases are meant the Old and New Testament, or the two natures of Christ, because believers rest on these two supports. But with no less probability we might say, that two bases were placed beneath each of the boards; either because godliness hath the promise of this life and of that which is to come; or because we must resist on both sides the temptations which assail us from the right and from the left; or because faith must not limp nor turn to the right or left: thus there would be no bounds to trifling. They allegorically explain that the covering of the tabernacle was made of rams’ skins, 146146     Arietes rubricati, Christus sanguine passionis cruentatus; significantur etiam martyres, etc. — Gloss. Ord. because the Church is protected by the blood of Christ, who is the spotless lamb; but I ask, what do the badgers’ skins, which were above, mean? Why was the covering of goats’ hair put below? Wherefore, sobriety is our best course.

31. And thou shalt make a vail. The inner shrine or recess was covered by one vail; the sanctuary was divided from the court by another. By both the people were admonished how reverently God’s majesty must be regarded, and with what seriousness holy things are to be engaged in, so that they might not approach God’s presence without fear, nor boldly break in upon the mysteries of things sacred. But by the vail the obscurity of the shadows of the Law was principally denoted, that the Israelites might know that the time of full revelation had not yet come, but that the spiritual worship of God was as yet enshrouded in a vail; and thus might extend their faith to their promised Messiah, at whose coming the truth would be discovered and laid bare. Wherefore, when Christ rose again from the dead, “the vail of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom,” (Matthew 27:51;) and an end was put to the ceremonies of the Law, because God then presented Himself in His living and express image, and the perfect reality of all the ceremonies was manifested. Now, therefore, in the light of the gospel, we behold “face to face,” what was then shewn afar off to the ancient people under coverings. (2 Corinthians 3:14.) Yet, although there is now no vail to prevent us from openly and familiarly looking upon Christ, let us learn from this figure that the manifestation of God in the flesh is a hidden and incomprehensible mystery. (1 Timothy 3:16.) It is not without reason that Christ Himself compares His body to the temple, because the fullness of the Godhead dwells in it. (John 2:19.) Let us then know assuredly that the Father is in the Son, and the Son in the Father, (John 17:21;) but if it be asked in what manner, this is ineffable, except that the eternal Son of God, who, before the creation of the world, possessed the same glory with the Father, (John 17:5,) that even He is now man, that “He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Romans 8:29.)

Exodus 27

Exodus 27:1-8

1. And thou shalt make an altar ofshittim wood, five cubits long, and five cubits broad; the altar shall be foursquare: and the height thereof shall be three cubits.

1. Facies etiam altare e lignis sittim: quinque cubitorum exit longitudo: et quinque cubitorum latitudo: quadrature erit altare: et trium cubitorum altitudo ejus.

2. And thou shalt make the horns of it upon the four corners thereof: his horns shall be of the same: and thou shalt overlay it with brass.

2. Huic facies cornua in quatuor angulis ejus: ex ipso erunt cornua ejus, tegesque illud aere.

3. And thou shalt make his pans to receive his ashes, and his shovels, and his basons, and his fleshhooks, and his firepans: all the vessels thereof thou shalt make of brass.

3. Facies deinde lebetes ejus: ad repurgandum cinerem ejus, et scopas (vel, forcipes) ejus, et crateras ejus, et fuscinulas ejus, et receptacula ejus: omnia vasa ejus facies ex aere.

4. And thou shalt make for it a grate of network of brass; and upon the net shalt thou make four brasen rings in the four corners thereof.

4. Facies etiam illi craticulam opere craticulato aeream, et ad rete quatuor annulos, in quatuor extremitatibus ejus.

5. And thou shalt put it under the compass of the altar beneath, that the net may be even to the midst of the altar.

5. Ponesque illud sub ambitu altaris inferne, et erit rete illud usque ad medium altaris.

6. And thou shalt make staves for the altar, staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with brass.

6. Facies praeterea vectes alta vectes e lignis sittim, et cooperies eos aere.

7. And the staves shall be put into the rings, and the staves shall be upon the two sides of the altar, to bear it.

7. Et inserentur vectes ejus in illos annulos: et erunt vectes in utroque latere altaris, dum portabitur illud.

8. Hollow with boards shalt thou make it: as it was shewed thee in the mount, so shall they make it.

8. Cavum tabulis facies illud: quemadmodum ostendi tibi in monte, sic facient.


1. And thou shalt make an altar. The altar of whole burnt-offerings (holocaustorum) is here described, which, however, it was called by synecdoche, for not only entire victims were burnt there, but also parts of them only, as we shall see in Leviticus. The burnt-offerings received their name from their ascending, 147147     C. alludes to their Hebrew name, עלה, the primary signification of which is mounting upwards. — W whereby the Israelites were reminded that they had need to be purified, that they might ascend to God; and at the same time were instructed that whatever corruption there might be in the flesh did not prevent the sacrifices from being acceptable and of a sweet savor to God. It is clear that from the first beginning of the human race there were burnt-sacrifices, suggested by the secret inspiration of God’s Spirit, since there was no written Law; nor can we doubt but that by this symbol they were taught that the flesh must be burnt by the Spirit, in order that men may duly offer themselves to God; and thus they acknowledged, under this type, that the flesh of Christ must receive this from the divine power, so as to become a perfect victim for the propitiation of God; thus, as the Apostle testifies, he offered himself through the Spirit. (Hebrews 9:14.) But fuller mention of this subject will be made elsewhere. The altar was so constructed that the sacrifices might be cast upon a grate placed within it, and thus they were covered by its external surface. The ashes were received into a pan, so that they should not fall about upon the ground and be trodden under foot, but that reverence might be inculcated even towards the very remnants of their holy things. 148148     “Mais que la sainctete des sacremens,” etc. — Fr. be an hundred cubits, and the breadth fifty every where, and the height five cubits of fine twined linen, and their sockets of brass. That the victims were bound to the four horns, which stood out from the four corners, is plain from the words of Psalm 118:27, “Bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.” And this also is the beginning of a proper offering of spiritual sacrifices, that all the lusts of the flesh should be subdued, and held captive as it were unto the obedience of God. Wherefore even Christ, although in Him there was nothing which was not duly regulated, was nevertheless bound, in order to prove His obedience; as He had said, “Not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matthew 26:39.) The altar was carried on staves, to obviate the necessity of having more than one; else there would have been danger of their being compelled, by the very difficulty of carrying it, to leave it behind after it was made, if they were setting about a long journey; and this would have been the seed or ground of superstition, whilst no other could be built which was not spurious.

Exodus 27

Exodus 27:9-19

9. And thou shalt make the court of the tabernacle: for the south side southward there shall be hangings for the court of fine twined linen of an hundred cubits long for one side:

9. Facies insuper atrium tabernaculi ad plugam meridianam australem: cortinae erunt atrio e bysso retorta: centum cubitorum erit longitudo angulo uni.

10. And the twentypillars thereof and their twenty sockets shall be of brass; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets shall be of silver.

10. Columnae autem ejus erunt viginti, et bases earum viginti aereae: capitella colunmarum et ilia earum argentea.

11. And likewise for the north side in length there shall be hangings of an hundred cubits long, and his twenty pillars and their twenty sockets of brass; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets of silver.

11. Et sic lateri aquilonari in longitudine erunt cortinae centum, et columnm ejus viginti, basesque earum viginti rerem: capitella columnarum, et fila earum argentea.

12. And for the breadth of the court on the west side shall be hangings of fifty cubits: their pillars ten, and their sockets ten.

12. Porro in latitudine atrii ad latus occidentale, erunt cortinae quinquaginta cubitorum: et columnae earum erunt decem, et bases earum decem.

13. And the breadth of the court on the east side eastward shall be fifty cubits.

13. In latitudine vero atrii in latere orientali ad orientem, quinquaginta cubiti erunt.

14. The hangings of one side of the gate shall be fifteen cubits: their pillars three, and their sockets three.

14. Qindecim autem cubitorum erunt tortinto lateri uni: columnae earum tres, basesque earum tres.

15. And on the other side shall be hangings fifteen cubits: their pillars three, and their sockets three.

15. Lateri vero secundo quindecim cortinae: columnae earum tres, et bases earum tres.

16. And for the gate of the court shall be an hanging of twenty cubits, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, wrought with needlework: and their pillars shall be four, and their sockets four.

16. Et portae atrii disponetur aulaeum viginti cubitorum ex hyacintho, et purpura, et vermiculo cocci, et bysso retorta, opere acupictoris: columnae ejus quatuor, basesque earum quatuor.

17. All the pillars round about the court shall be filleted with silver; their hooks shall be of silver, and their sockets of brass.

17. Omnes columnae atrii in circuitu cinctae erunt argento: capitella vero earum erunt argentea, et bases earum aerea.

18. The length of the court shall be an hundred cubits, and the breadth fifty every where, and the height five cubits of fine twined linen, and their sockets of brass.

18. Longitudo atrii erit centum cubitorum, et latitudo quinquaginta in quinquaginta: altitudo autem quinque cubitorum: ex bysso retorta et bases earum aereae.

19. All the vessels of the tabernacle, in all the service thereof, and all the pins thereof, and all the pins of the court, shall be of brass.

19. Omnia vasa tabernaculi in omni ministerio ejus, et omnes paxilli ejus, et omnes paxilli atrii, ex aeare.


9. And thou shalt make the court. There were two courts divided from the sanctuary, one for the priests, the other common to the whole people. To the first chambers were annexed, in which the Levites dwelt, who were the keepers of the tabernacle; and thus sometimes the courts are spoken of in the plural number, and especially in the Psalms, (Psalm 64:4; 84:2; 92:13; 96:8.) It is the court of the people which is here referred to, where they consecrated the victims, offered their prayers, and were reconciled to God. In this manner the condition of mankind was shewn to the Israelites, by their being forbidden to enter the Temple, whilst at the same time they were reminded that men, although unworthy outcasts, are received by God, if only they seek Him simply, and with due humility, mindful of their own unworthiness. Hence the consolation in which David gloried, 149149     It will be seen that he quotes Psalm 84:10, somewhat parathrastically. “I had rather dwell in the courts of the Lord, than in the splendid tents of the ungodly.” The court was formed by four curtains, two of which, on the north and south sides, were 100 cubits long, and supported by 20 pillars, whose bases were of brass, and their capitals 150150     A. V., hooks. and fillets of silver; on the east and west, each curtain was 50 cubits long, supported by 10 pillars. The length spoken of is not from the ground upwards, but from their opposite corners: for the court was twice as long as it was broad, as is said in ver. 18. There would be an appearance of contradiction in the fact that Moses afterwards speaks of two sides, and assigns fifteen cubits to each, if he did not immediately go on to mention the hanging or curtain, which covered the gate of the court, and which he sets at twenty cubits. Thus the measure will be correct, and the passage will be quite accordant; for, after he has said in ver. 13 that the curtain on the east side should consist of fifty cubits, he adds in explanation that there were two curtains at the sides of the door, and a third between them to cover the door, making up in all the fifty cubits. But the door was covered by the hanging, that the Israelites might reflect in themselves, whenever they went into the sanctuary, that it was no profane or common (promiscuum) place; but if they came thither in purity and chastity, they might be assuredly persuaded that they were safe under the protection of God. Finally also the majesty of holy things was shewn them in this type, in order that they might reverently approach the worship of God; and they were reminded of their own unworthiness, that they might humble themselves the more before God, and that fear might beget penitence, whilst moderation in the desire of knowledge was recommended to them, that they might not be unduly inquisitive. The religion of the Gentiles also had its secret shrines with the same object, but for very different causes; for it was a brutal religion, for which veneration was sought by darkness, and the disguise of ignorance; whereas God, whilst He retained His people in modesty and simplicity, at the same time set before them the Law, from which they might learn whatever it was right and useful for them to know.

Exodus 29

Exodus 29:36, 37

36. And thou shalt offer every day a bullock for a sin-offering for atonement: and thou shalt cleanse the altar, when thou hast made an atonement for it, and thou shalt anoint it, to sanctify it.

36. Juvencum pro peccato facies in singulos dies pro expiationibus: et expiabis altare expiando ipsum, ungesque illud ad ipsum sanctificandum.

37. Seven days thou shalt make an atonement for the altar, and sanctify it; and it shall be an altar most holy: whatsoever toucheth the altar shall be holy.

37. Septem diebus expiabis altare et sanctificabis illud: eritque sanctitas sanctitatum: quicquid tetigerit altare, sanctificabitur.


36. And thou shalt offer every day a bullock. Since the ancient altar was no less a type of Christ than the priest was, it may naturally be asked, what its expiation could mean, as if there were anything impure or polluted in Christ. But we must remember, what I before adverted to, that no similitude is identical (with the reality); for then the substance and reality of the shadows could not be represented in their perfection. Yet this was an apt similitude, shewing that God could only be propitiated towards the human race by an expiation made with blood. On this account not only was the altar to be cleansed, but; also dedicated to its use, that reconciliation might proceed from it; and this is expressed by the word “sanctify,” especially when it is added, “it shall be the holiness of holinesses,” 151151     A.V., “And it shall be an altar most holy.” Ainsworth, in loco, says: “Heb. holinesse of holinesses; i.e., most holy, not only sanctified itself, but sanctifying the gifts that were offered to God upon it." that it may sanctify whatever is put upon it. Others read it in the masculine gender: “Whosoever shall touch it, shall be holy;” and understand it of the priest, who by right of his anointing might approach the altar; but; it rather dignifies the consecration of the altar by its consequence, viz., because it sanctifies the victims themselves. The sum is that the body of Christ, inasmuch as it was offered as a sacrifice, and consecrated with blood, was acceptable to God; so that its holiness washes away and blots out all our uncleanness. We shall speak of the anointing a little further on.

Exodus 30

Exodus 30:1-10

1. And thou shalt make an altar to burn incense upon: of shittim wood shalt thou make it.

1. Facies et altare suffimenti suffitus, ex lignis Sittim facies illud.

2. A cubit shall be the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof; four-square shall it be: and two cubits shall be the height thereof; the horns thereof shall be of the same.

2. Cubitus longitudo ejus, et cubitus latitudo ejus, quadratum erit: et duo cubiti altitudo ejus: ex ipso cornua ejus.

3. And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, the top thereof, and the sides thereof round about, and the horns thereof; and thou shalt make unto it a crown of gold round about.

3. Teges illud auto puro, tectum ejus vel parietes ejus per circuitum, et cornua ejus: faciesque ei coronam auream per circuitum.

4. And two golden rings shalt thou make to it under the crown of it, by the two corners thereof, upon the two sides of it shalt thou make it; and they shall be for places for the staves to bear it withal.

4. Duos etiam annulos aureos facies ei infra coronam ejus, in duobus angulis ejus, in utroque latere ejus: et per illos trajicientur vectes ad illud cum ipsis portandum.

5. And thou shalt make the staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold.

5. Facies autem vectes illos ex lignis sittim, et teges eos auro.

6. And thou shalt put it before the vail that is by the ark of the testimony, before the mercy seat that is over the testimony, where I will meet with thee.

6. Et pones illud ante velum, quod erit juxta aream testimonii, ante propitiatorium, quod erit super testimonium, ubi conveniam tecum.

7. And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning: when he dresseth the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it.

7. Et adolebit super illud Aharon suffitum aromatum singulis matutinis, quando aptabit lucernas adolebit illum.

8. And when Aaron lighteth the lamps at even, he shall burn incense upon it, a perpetual incense before the LORD throughout your generations.

8. Et quando accendet Aharon lucernas inter duas vesperas, adolebit suffitum illum jugiter coram Jehova in generationibus vestris.

9. Ye shall offer no strange incense thereon, nor burnt sacrifice, nor meat offering; neither shall ye pour drink offering thereon.

9. Non offeretis super illud suffitum alium, neque holocaustum, neque minha: sed nec libamen libabitis super illud.

10. And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonements: once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations: it is most holy unto the LORD.

10. Et expiabit Aharon super cornua ejus semel in anno sanguine oblationis pro peccato expiationum: semel in anno expiabit super illud in generationibus vestris. Sanctitas sanctitatum est Jehovae.


1. And thou shalt make an altar. God now issues His commands respecting the altar of burnt incense, whereby the people were assured that the odor of the worship under the Law was sweet to Him. This ceremony indeed also prevailed among the Gentiles; whence there is frequent mention made by heathen authors of incense-burning; but what its object was they knew not themselves, nor did they care to reflect upon its proper intention, since they conceived themselves to have done all that was required of them, by the bare sign itself. In this way, however, God would encourage His believing people, by giving them to know that the worship which they offered at this command sent up to him a sweet savor. Meanwhile He admonished them diligently to beware lest any uncleanness should profane their sacrifices, but that they should come cleansed and pure into His sight. And David applies this type specially to prayer, when he says:

"Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense.”
(Psalm 131:2.)

Therefore, as the other altar of which we have been hearing, was devoted to the victims for the purpose of propitiating God, so also this altar perfumed the sacrifices with the odor of its incense, that they might be acceptable to God. Hence it was placed near the ark of the testimony, though with the vail between, that its savor might ascend directly to God without any let or hindrance. There is no ambiguity in the words, except that some think there is a repetition where it is said, “every morning,” and “between the two evens;” 152152     A. V., Margin, ver. 8. others suppose that there are two separate oblations, and this latter view is the more probable, i.e., that the incense was offered morning and evening. He afterwards forbids either the altar itself to be transferred to other uses, or any other kind of incense to be burnt upon it; of this he will speak elsewhere.

10. And Aaron shall make an atonement. We should observe here the correspondence between the two altars; for, as the Israelites were admonished that the sacrifices would not please God, unless all uncleanness were wiped away by pure and holy prayers, so also the altar of incense was purified by the sprinkling of blood, that they might learn that their prayers obtained acceptance through sacrifices. Although this was only done once a year, yet it was daily to be called to mind, in order that they might offer the death of Christ by faith and prayer, 153153     “Ut fide et precibus adolerent mortem Christi.” — Lat. “Afin qu’en appliquant a eux la vertu de la mort de Jesus Christ par foy et prieres;” in order that applying to themselves the virtue of the death of Jesus Christ by faith and prayers. — Fr. and yet might know that their prayers had no sweet savor, unless in so far as they were sprinkled with the blood of atonement.

Exodus 30:34-38

34. And the LORD said unto Moses, Take unto thee sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum; these sweet spices with pure frankincense: of each shall there be a like weight:

34. Et dixit Jehova ad Mosen, Accipe tibi aromata, stacten, et onychen, et galbanum, aromata, et thus purum: ut pondus ponderi respondeat.

35. And thou shalt make it a perfume, a confection after the art of the apothecary, tempered together, pure and holy:

35. Et facies ex eo suffimentum aromaticum, opus aromatarii, mistum, purum et sanctum.

36. And thou shalt beat some of it very small, and put of it before the testimony in the tabernacle of the congregation, where I will meet with thee: it shall be unto you most holy.

36. Et contundes ex eo comminuendo: ponesque ex eo coram testimonio in tabernaculo conventionis, in quo conveniam tecum: sanctitas sanctitatum erit vobis.

37. And as for the perfume which thou shalt make, ye shall not make to yourselves according to the composition thereof: it shall be unto thee holy for the LORD.

37. Suffimentum quod facies secundum compositionem ejus non facietis vobis: sanctitas tibi erit Jehovae.

38. Whosoever shall make like unto that, to smell thereto, shall even be cut off from his people.

38. Quisquis fecerit simile ad adolendum ilhd, excidetur e populis suis.


34. Take unto thee sweet spices. This oblation might have been noticed with the others, yet, since it merely describes the composition of the incense, which is connected with the altar of incense, and in fact is but an appendage to it, I have seen no reason why I should separate them. Let the curious subtilely discuss, if they please, the ingredients themselves; it is enough for me that they were chosen at God’s will to make a very sweet smell. For I know not whether it is likely, as some suppose, that galbanum 154154     “Not of strong and evil savor, as R. Salomom, for then it had been unfit to make a perfume of.” — Tostatus in Willet. “Dioscor. asserit galbanum esse gravis odoris, et Plinius ait galbanum foetere et castorem olere; quod forte intelligit de partibus galbani magis terrestribus — ideoque noster interpres addit τὸ bonis odoris;” (i.e., V., after LXX. Χαλβάνην ἡδυσμῦ·) Corn. a Lapide, in loco. is of a strong and disagreeable savor, and, since they only offer this conjecture in an unknown matter, they deserve little credit. My conviction is that it was sweet, which the words of Moses himself a little further on confirm, where he denounces the penalty of death upon those who should use such perfume for their private gratification; for this prohibition would have been absurd, unless its odor had been very agreeable. Besides, the analogy between the sign and the thing signified would not have held good, unless its sweet savor had testified that God is greatly pleased with the prayers of His people. Moreover, in order that the sacred symbol might be the more reverenced, it was not allowable to transfer this mixture to private use; for since men are rude and earthly-minded, there is nothing they are more prone to than to mix up heavenly things with those of earth. Therefore, to elevate their minds the more, it was necessary that the incense, in which there was a special holiness due to God alone, should be set apart from common use.

Exodus 30:17-21

17. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

17. Loquutus est etiam Jehova ad Mosen, dicendo:

18. Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and his foot also of brass, to wash withal: and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein.

18. Facies et concham aeneam, et basin ejus aeneam ad lavandum, ponesque illam inter tabernaculum conventionis et altare, et pones aquam ill ea.

19. For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat:

19. Lavabuntque ex ea Aharon et filii ejus manus suas et pedes suos.

20. When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto the LORD:

20. Quando ingredientur tabernaculum conventionis lavabunt se aqua, ut non moriantur: aut quum appropinquabunt ad altare, ut ministrent, ut incendant oblationem ignitam Jehovae.

21. So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not: and it shall be a statute for ever to them, even to him and to his seed throughout their generations.

21. Lavabunt inquam manus suas et pedes suos, ne moriantur: eritque illis statutum perpetuum, ei scilicet et semini ejus per generationes suas.


18. Thou shalt also make a laver of brass. Although this oblation was a sign of the purity which God required in His priests, yet, inasmuch as this hollow vessel (concha) or laver, which supplied the water, was a part or utensil of the sanctuary, I have thought it best to insert here what is ordained respecting it, not only as to its fashion, but also its use, which could not be well separated: for if bare mention had only been made of a laver or water-vessel, 155155     Addition in Fr., "Sans savoir pourquoy il estoit basti;” without knowing what it was made for. the reader would have received no profit from it. But, when God expressly commands that water should always be ready in this basin for the priests to wash their hands and feet, we gather from hence with what reverence and sanctity God would have His holy service performed. It was, indeed, a common proverb among the Gentiles that they were guilty of impiety who handled holy things with unwashen hands, and they testified in this ceremony that they could not worship God aright except when purified from all pollution and uncleanness. One in Virgil says: —

"——— donec me flumine vivo Abluero." 156156     AEn. 2:719, 720. They are among the words which AEneas reports himself to have spoken to Anchises, when about to bear him out of Troy:
   "Tu, genitor, cape sacra manu, patriosque Penates.
Me, bello e tanto digressum et caede recenti,
Adtrectare nefas; donec me flumine vivo Abluero

"Till in some living stream I cleanse the guilt
Of dire debate and blood in battle spilt.” — Dryden.

And such expressions are of constant occurrence. Sometimes they even seemed almost to hit the right point; as where the poet commands the ungodly and the criminal to depart from the sacrifices, lest they should contaminate them; 157157     Doering’s note on Hor. Carm. 3:1. 1. — “Odi profanum vulgus et arceo,” contains the following words: “He uses these formulas which the priests were accustomed to use at the commencement of their ceremonies, in order to drive away the profane, ἑκάς, βέβηλοι! or ἑκάς, ἑκάς, ὅστις ἀλιτρός· (Callim. Hymn., Ap. 2.) Procul o procul este, profani. (Virg. AEn. 6:258.)" but this was only a fleeting imagination, since no anxiety to repent had awakened in them a desire to propitiate God; and so, even whilst they were diligent in performing ablutions, their minds, darkened with error, knew not what it meant. But the Israelites were thus chiefly reminded how unworthy they were to offer sacrifices to God, since the impurity of the very priests, who were chosen to this once, prevented them from exercising it, until they were cleansed with water. The washing of the hands and feet denoted that all parts of the body were infected with uncleanness; for, since Scripture often uses the word “hands” for the actions of life, and compares the whole course of life to a way or journey, it is very suitable to say by synecdoche that all impurity is purged away by the washing of the hands and feet. The comparison with Christ now remains to be considered; but this we shall understand better a little beyond in reference to the sacrifices.

The Priesthood

Exodus 28

Exodus 28:1-43

1. And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office, even. Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons.

1. Tu vero accerse ad to Aharonem fratrem tuum et filios ejus eum co, e medio filiorum Israel: ut sacerdotio fungatur mihi Aharon, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, et Ithamar filii Aharon.

2. And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty.

2. Et facies vestes sacras Aharoni fratri tuo, in gloriam, et decorem.

3. And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.

3. Tu itaque alloqueris omnes sapientes corde quos replevi spiritu sapientiae, ut fadant vestes Aharon ad sanctificandum eum, ut sacerdotio fungatur mihi.

4. And these are the garments which they shall make; a breastplate, and an ephod, and a robe, and a broidered coat, a mitre, and a girdle: and they shall make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, and his sons, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.

4. Hae sunt omnes vestes quas facient, pectorale et ephod, et pallium et tunicam ocellatam, mitram et baltheum: facient inquam vestes has sacras Aharoni fratri tuo et filiis ejus, ut sacerdotio fungantur mihi.

5. And they shall take gold, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen.

5. Qui accipient aurum et hyacinthum, et purpuram, et vermiculum cocci, et byssum.

6. And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue, and of purple, of scarlet, and fine twined linen, with cunning work.

6. Facient autem ephod ex auro, hyacintho, et purpura, vermiculo cocci, et bysso retorta, opere phrygionico.

7. It shall have the two shoulderpieces thereof joined at the two edges thereof; and so it shall be joined together.

7. Duae orae junctae erunt in duabus extremitatibus ejus, et ita conjungetur.

8. And the curious girdle of the ephod, which is upon it, shall be of the same, according to the work thereof; even of gold, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen.

8. Cingulum autem ipsius ephod ejus quod in eo erit, simile erit texturae ipsius, in ipso erit, nempe ex auto, hyacintho, et purpura, et vermiculo cocci, et bysso retorta.

9. And thou shalt take two onyx stones, and grave on them the names of the children of Israel:

9. Accipies quoque duos lapides onychinos, et sculpes in eis nomina filiorum Israel.

10. Six of their names on one stone, and the other six names of the rest on the other stone, according to their birth.

10. Sex e nominibus eorum in lapide uno, et nomina sex reliqua in lapide altero, secundum generationes eorum.

11. With the work of an engraver in stone, like the engravings of a signet, shalt thou engrave the two stones with the names of the children of Israel: thou shalt make them to be set in ouches of gold.

11. Opere artificis lapidum et sculpturis annuli sculpes duos illos lapides nominibus filiorum Israel, circundatos palis aureis facies eos.

12. And thou shalt put the two stones upon the shoulders of the ephod for stones of memorial unto the children of Israel: and Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD upon his two shoulders for a memorial.

12. Ponesque duos illos lapides in lateribus ephod, lapides memoriae pro filiis Israel: et feret Aharon nomina eorum coram Jehova in duobus humeris suis ad memoriam.

13. And thou shalt make ouches of gold;

13. Facies itaque palas aureas:

14. And two chains of pure gold at the ends; of wreathen work shalt thou make them, and fasten the wreathen chains to the ouches.

14. Et duas catenas ex auro puro terminatas, facies opere plectili, inseresque catenas plectiles palis illis.

15. And thou shalt make the breastplate of judgment with cunning work; after the work of the ephod thou shalt make it; of gold, of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine twined linen, shalt thou make it.

15. Facies deinde pectorale judicii, opere phrygionico: sicut opus ephod facies illud, ex auro, et hyacintho, et purpura, et vermiculo cocci, et bysso retorta.

16. Foursquare it shall be beinq doubled; a span shall be the length thereof, and a span shall be the breadth thereof.

16. Quadratum erit et duplicatum: palmus erit longitudo ejus: et palmus latitudo ejus.

17. And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, even four rows of stones: the first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: this shall be the first row.

17. Et implebis in eo impletione lapidum quatuor ordines lapidum: ordo erit talis: sardius, topazius, et carbunculus, ordo primus.

18. And the second row shall be an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond.

18. Ordo vero secundus: smaragdus, sapphirus, et jaspis.

19. And the third row a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst.

19. Ordo praeterea tertius: lyncurius, achates, et amethystus.

20. And the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper: they shall be set in gold in their inclosings.

20. Postremo ordo quartus: chrysolithus, onychinus, et berillys: constricti auro erunt in plenitudinibus suis.

21. And the stones shall be with the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names, like the engravings of a signet; every one with his name shall they be according to the twelve tribes.

21. Porro lapides illi erunt juxta nomina filiorum Israel, duodecim, secundum nomina ipsorum, sculpturis annuli singuli juxta nomen suum, erunt duodecim tribubus.

22. And thou shalt make upon the breastplate chains at the ends of wreathen work of pure gold.

22. Facies et in pectorali catenas termini opere plectili ex auro puro.

23. And thou shalt make upon the breastplate two rings of gold, and shalt put the two rings on the two ends of the breastplate.

23. Facies etiam in pectorali duos arnnulos aureos, et illos duos annulos pones in duabus extremitatibus pectoralis.

24. And thou shalt put the two wreathen chains of gold in the two rings which are on the ends of the breastplate.

24. Pones item duas catenas aureas in duobus annulis in extremitatibus pectoralis.

25. And the other two ends of the two wreathen chains thou shalt fasten in the two ouches, and put them on the shoulder-pieces of the ephod before it.

25. Et duas extremitates duarum catenarum inseres duabus palis, et pones in lateribus ephod a fronte ipsius.

26. And thou shalt make two rings of gold, and thou shalt put them upon the two ends of the breastplate in the border thereof, which is in the side of the ephod inward.

26. Facies et duos annulos aureos, quos pones in duabus extremitatibus ipsius pectoralis in ora ejus, quse est in latere ipsius ephod intrinsecus.

27. And two other rings of gold thou shalt make, and shalt put them on the two sides of the ephod underneath, toward the forepart thereof, over against the other coupling thereof, above the curious girdle of the ephod.

27. Facies item duos altos annulos aureos, quos pones in duobus lateribus ipsius ephod inferne a fronte ejus, e regione conjunctionis ejus, supra baltheum ephod.

28. And they shall bind the breastplate by the rings thereof unto the rings of the ephod with a lace of blue, that it may be above the curious girdle of the ephod, and that the breastplate be not loosed from the ephod.

28. Ita jungent pectorale annulis suis ad annulos ipsius ephod filo hyacinthino, supra baltheum ipsius ephod, neque separetur pectorale ab ephod.

29. And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the LORD continually.

29. Itaque feret Aharon nomina filiorum Israel in pectorali judieii supra cor suum, quando ingredietur in sanctuarium in memoriam coram Jehova jugiter.

30. And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron’s heart, when he goeth in before the LORD: and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the LORD continually.

30. Pones autem in pectorali judicii Urim et Thummim, ut sint super cor Aharon quando ingredietur coram Jehova: gestabitque Aharon judicium filiorum Israel super cot suum coram Jehova semper.

31. And thou shalt make the robe of the ephod all of blue.

31. Facies et pallium ipsius ephod totum ex hyacintho.

32. And there shall be an hole in the top of it, in the midst thereof: it shall have a binding of woven work round about the hole of it, as it were the hole of an habergeon, that it be not rent.

32. Et erit foramen sumrose parris ejus in medio ejus: labrum erit foramini illius in circuitu opere textoris, sicut foramen loricae erit el, ne rumpatur.

33. And beneath upon the hem of it thou shalt make pomegranates of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, round about the hem thereof; and bells of gold between them round about:

33. Facies et in fimbriis ejus malogranata ex hyacintho, et purpura, et vermiculo cocci: in fimbriis, inquam, ejus per circuitum, et tintinnabula aurea in medio per circuitum.

34. A golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe round about.

34. Tintinnabulum aureum unum et malogranatum, tintinnabulum aureum alterum et malogranatum in fimbriis pallii per circuitum.

35. And it shall be upon Aaron to minister: and his sound shall be heard when he goeth in unto the holy place before the LORD, and when he cometh out, that he die not.

35. Erit autem Aharon ad ministrandum, et audietur sonus ejus quando ingredietur sanctuarium coram Jehova, et quando egredietur: et non morietur.

36. And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, Holiness To The Lord.

36. Facies insuper laminam ex auto puro, et sculpes in ea sculpturis annuli. Sanctitas ipsi Jehovae.

37. And thou shalt put it on a blue lace, that it may be upon the mitre; upon the forefront of the mitre it shall be.

37. Quam pones in filo hyacinthino, eritque super cidarim, ex adverso faciei cidaris erit.

38. And it shall be upon Aaron’s forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD.

38. Et erit supra frontem Aharon, feretque Aharon iniquitatem sanctificationum quas sanctificabunt filii Israel in omnibus muneribus sanctificationum suarum: erit inquam supra frontem ejus jugiter in beneplacitum els coram Jehova.

39. And thou shalt embroider the coat of fine linen, and thou shalt make the mitre of fine linen, and thou shalt make the girdle of needlework.

39. Et facies opere ocellato tunicam byssinam, facies item cidarim byssinam, cingulum quoque facies opere phrygionico.

40. And for Aaron’s sons thou shalt make coats, and thou shalt make for them girdles, and bonnets shalt thou make for them, for glory and for beauty.

40. Filiis autem Aharon facies tunicas, facies quoque illis cingula et pileos ad gloriam et decorum.

41. And thou shalt put them upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him; and shalt anoint them, and consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office.

41. Et vesties illis Aharon fratrem tuum, et filios ejus cure illo, atque unges illos: implebisque manum eorum, et sanctificabis cos, ut sacerdotio fungantur mihi.

42. And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach:

42. Fac eis et feminalia linea ad tegendam carnem turpitudinis: a lumbis usque ad femora erunt,

43. And they shall be upon Aaron, and upon his sons, when they come in unto the tabernacle of the congregation, or when they come near unto the altar to minister in the holy place; that they bear not iniquity, and die: it shall be a statute for ever unto him and his seed after him.

43. Eruntque super Aharon et super filios ejus quando ingredientur tabernaculum conventionis, aut quum accedent ad altare ut ministrent in sanctuario: et non ferent iniquitatem, neque morientur. Statutum perpetuum illi et semini ejus post eum.


We now arrive at the second part of the Legal Worship, i.e., the Priesthood; for we must bear in mind what I have said, that there are three things to be considered, —

1. The Tabernacle;

2. The Priestly Office; and

3. The Sacrifices.

And indeed all the splendor of the tabernacle, of which we have been speaking, would have been an empty parade without the priest, who so mediated as an intercessor, that he reconciled men to God, and in a manner united heaven to earth. Now it is unquestionable, that the Levitical priests were the representatives of Christ; since, with respect to their office, they were even better than the very angels; which would be by no means reasonable, unless they had been the type of Him, who is Himself the head of the angels. The heathen nations, it is true, had their priests, who presided over their religious services, but they were but empty phantoms; for there was no mention with them of the Mediator, so that the people might know that God cannot be duly appeased, and that our prayers cannot be heard by Him, unless a peace-maker interfere between us. But the nature of the Levitical priesthood was widely different; for the Israelites were instructed that all of them were unworthy to stand before God, and so that there was need of an Intercessor to propitiate Him. Now, since the general rule had been laid down, that all things should be rigidly referred to the pattern which had been shewn to Moses in the mount, their minds were necessarily drawn upwards; and this too they might easily have arrived at, for various reasons. The whole body of the people saw a man like themselves, who could not enter the sanctuary trusting in his own innocence, and whose dignity was conferred upon him by adventitious rites; i.e., by anointing, and by investiture. The full truth, therefore, did not shine forth in this, but only a figure to direct them to the truth; and of this they were doubtless admonished, lest they should rest in earthly things. Besides, its interpretation was added (by the prophets 158158     Supplied from Fr. ); because, as the Apostle wisely teaches us in the Epistle to Hebrews 7:18, the promise to appoint hereafter a priest after the order of Melchisedec would not hold good, unless it were applied to Christ; for it is plain that the Levitical priesthood is there brought into comparison by contrast with one of a different nature; and since the latter is eternal, it follows that the former is temporary; and, whilst the one is sanctioned by an oath, it clearly is superior to the other. There is no doubt, then, but that David, as a faithful interpreter of the Law, more manifestly shewed forth what there was obscurely shadowed.

Thus far my wish has been to teach that the Levitical priest was ordained, that he might be a type of the true Mediator. It will now be worth our while briefly to advert to the marks by which our perpetual and only Priest, the Son of God, is to be distinguished from those of old; for a fuller exposition will follow hereafter in its proper place. The first distinction I have already pointed out, viz., that the type was temporary; since perpetuity is only to be sought in the reality itself: whence we learn that the priestly office was not so instituted by Moses to last for ever, but to direct the people to a better hope. But what I have said as to the office, must be transferred also to the persons. There was only one high priest under the Law, who was afterwards succeeded by one of his race, since they were all mortal. None, then, was ever such a priest as became us, except Christ; because none other could be perpetual; and hence we arrive at the second distinction. The third arises from Christ’s divinity, which is proved by the fact, that the priest after the order of Melchisedec has no beginning; for we find nowhere the origin of Melchisedec; but he is only brought forward once and unexpectedly, as if be had come down from heaven. The fourth is the combination of the kingdom and the priesthood. Under the Law God would have some to be kings, and others to be priests; nor was it allowable to mix up the one office with the other; but He, of whom it is said that He should be a priest like Melchisedec, is honored with the title of king. The fifth is, that the legal priest only appeared before God in the visible and sanctuary, but Christ entered into heaven, to present us to His Father, not in the external symbols of (precious) stones, 159159     “Non pas en effigies exterieures de diamans et rubies.” — Fr. but in the reality itself; for in Him as our Head we are all gathered together unto God. The sixth lies in the perfect righteousness of Christ; for the legal priest, since he was one of us sinners, had need to seek pardon for himself; but Christ, being free from all guilt, awakens favor towards us by His own purity. The seventh is, that the priest borrowed from external figures what was truly and really shewn forth in Christ. The sacred garments, as we have lately said, denoted something more than human; the anointing, too, was a symbol of the Spirit which dwells in Christ; and He therefore was not consecrated with visible and corruptible oil, but with the fullness of all gifts. The priest of old abstained from intercourse with his wife when he went into the sanctuary; he was only allowed to marry a virgin; the perfect and spiritual purity of Christ was contented with its own perfection. The last distinction consisted in the sacrifices themselves, respecting which I abstain at present from speaking more fully, because they will have their proper place hereafter. This only we must now recollect, that Christ expiated the sins of the world, not with the blood of beasts, but with His own blood. Now we turn to the words of Moses.

1. And take thou unto thee Aaron. The calling of God is here alleged to prove the importance and dignity of the priesthood, and this too the Apostle has well weighed in the words:

"And no man taketh the honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.” (Hebrews 5:4.)

Among heathen nations the priests were appointed by popular election, so that ambition alone governed their appointment; but God would only have those accounted lawful priests whom He had selected at His own sole will; and surely the whole human race together had no power to obtrude any one on God, who should interpose himself to obtain pardon and peace; nay, not even Christ Himself would have been sufficient to propitiate God, unless He had undertaken the office by the decree and appointment of His Father. To which refers the famous oath, whereby His heavenly Father appointed Him to be priest; and so much the more vile and detestable was the sacrilege which afterwards prevailed in the Jewish nation, viz., that the successors of Aaron bought the priesthood! This unworthy traffic of the office, which Josephus relates, ought to awaken horror in us now, when we see that sacred honor profaned by the family which had been chosen by God to represent Christ. Nevertheless, however they may have violated all law and justice, still the counsel of God remained inviolable, that believers might know that the priesthood depended on His authority, just as reconciliation flows from His mere mercy. For in order that it should be lawful for men to establish a priest, it would be necessary that they should anticipate God by their own deservings; and from this they are very far distant. The case is different as to the election of the pastors of the Church; since, after Christ had instituted the order itself, He commanded that there should be chosen out of the Church those who by their doctrine and integrity of life were fitted to exercise the office. Still He does not thus resign His own right and power to men, for He does not cease through them to call those (by whom He would be served. 160160     Added from Fr. ) Wherefore, to shew that He is the sole author of the priesthood, God commands Aaron and his sons to be separated from among the others; and the performance of this He entrusts to Moses, whom, however, He does not elevate to the like honor. Moses consecrates Aaron, although he was never himself dedicated by anointing and investiture to the service of God; 161161     “Ad Dei cultum.” — Lat. “A sacrifier.” — Fr. whence we perceive that the sacraments have their power and effect not from the virtue of the minister, but only from the commandment of God; for Moses would not have given to others what he had not himself, if it had not so pleased God.

2. And thou shalt make holy garments. These external ornaments denoted the want of those which are true and spiritual; for if the priest had been absolutely and entirely perfect, these typical accessories would have been superfluous. But God would shew by this symbol the more than angelical brightness of all virtues which was to be exhibited in Christ. Aaron was defiled by his own corruption, and therefore unworthy to appear in the presence of God; in order, then, that he might be a fit peacemaker between God and man, he put off his ordinary garments, and stood forth as a new man. Hence the holy garments were, first of all, supposed to conceal his faults; and, secondly, to represent the incomparable adornment of all virtues. The latter may indeed be in some measure applied to the pastors of the Church; nor will the comparison be absurd, if we say that no others are worthy of so excellent an honor, except those in whom surpassing and extraordinary virtue brightly manifests itself. But we must chiefly recollect what I have said, viz., that in these garments the supreme purity and wondrous glory of Christ were represented; as if God should promise that the Mediator would be far more august than the condition of man could produce. He therefore declares that they shall be “for glory and for beauty.” We shall speak more fully hereafter, what I will touch upon now, as to the wisdom of the artificers, viz., that all who from the foundation of the world have invented arts useful to the human race, have been imbued with the Spirit of God; so that even heathen authors have been compelled to call them the inventions of the gods. But inasmuch as in this Divine work there was need of rare and unwonted skill, it is expressly spoken of as a peculiar gift of the Spirit.

4. And these are the garments. Here again I must remind my readers, that they should abandon all subtle speculations, and be contented with simplicity. I might repeat many plausible allegories, which perhaps would find more favor with some than a sound knowledge of facts. If any should delight in this kind of child’s play, let him only read what Jerome wrote to Fabiola; in which he collected almost everything that he possibly could from the writings of others; but nothing will be found except dull trifling, the folly of which it is painful even to report, much more to refute. Those who are conversant with my writings, are aware that I do not willingly find fault with the opinions of others; but when I reflect how dangerous are those itching ears, with which many are troubled, I am obliged to prescribe this remedy. Six principal parts of the dress are enumerated. What the Greeks call the λογεῖον, and the Latins the pectorale, was like a square breastplate attached by small chains, so as to be connected with the ephod. Inclosed in it were twelve stones to represent the tribes of Israel; and the Urim and Thummim were also annexed to it. But what its form might be, cannot be certainly declared from the words of Moses; and since even the Jews also differ among themselves, let us be satisfied with its comparison to a breastplate. I have no objection to the opinion, that its name 162162     The Hebrew name of the breastplate, viz., חשן, is a word whose root has not been preserved in the Heb. But in the Arabic its root signifies elegant, or adorned with beauty, according to Simon’s Lexicon. There is no discoverable reason for its signifying strength, or a treasure. W. was derived from strength, or a treasure. But this is worthy of the utmost attention, that the priest bore the sons of Abraham as it were upon his heart, not only that he might present them to God, but that he might be mindful of them, and anxious for their welfare. The twelve precious stones were by no means given to be symbols of the twelve tribes as a cause for awakening their pride, as if they were so highly esteemed on the score of their own dignity or excellence; but they were thus reminded that the whole value, in which believers are held by God, is derived from the sanctity of the priesthood. Therefore, let us learn from this figure, that:, however vile and abject we may be in ourselves, and so altogether worthless refuse, yet inasmuch as Christ deigned to ingraft us into this body, in Him we are precious stones. And to this Isaiah seems to allude in the passage before cited, where, speaking of the restoration of the Church, which was to take place under the reign of Christ, he says, “Behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colors, and lay thy foundations with sapphires; and I will make thy windows with carbuncles, and all thy borders with pleasant stones;” for immediately after the exposition follows, “And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord.” (Isaiah 54:11-13.) Therefore what was to be fulfilled in Christ, was typified by the external sign under the Law; viz., that though we sojourn in the world, yet are we united with Christ by faith, as if we were one with Him; and, besides, that He takes care for our welfare, as if He bore us enclosed in His heart; and, finally, that when our heavenly Father regards us in Him, He esteems us above all the wealth and splendor of the world.

As to the Urim and Thummim, it appears probable to me that they were two conspicuous marks on the breastplate, corresponding to these names; for the supposition of some of the Jews, 163163     “R. Salomon thinketh, that the Urim and Thummim was nothing else but the name of Jehovah, which was written in letters and put within the breastplate; which name some ancient Hebrews, even before Christ, did take to signifie the Trinitie. In this word, יהוה Jehovah, they would have the first letter yod, taken for the Father; he, for the Son, which letter is doubled to signifie his two natures, the humane and divine; and vau, which is a conjunctive copulative, signifieth the Holy Ghost. — Vatab. But between these words, Urim and Thummim, and the name Jehovah, there seemeth to be small affinitie.” — Willet in loco. that the ineffable name of God was placed beneath its texture, is not free from foolish and dangerous superstition. I pass over other fancies, which are equally frivolous; nor am I anxious to know what was the form of either of them; the fact itself is sufficient for me. By the Urim, therefore, or splendors, I doubt not but that the light of doctrine, wherewith the true Priest illuminates all believers, was represented; first, because He is the one “light of the world,” without which all things are full of darkness; and because in Him “are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (John 8:12; 9:5; Colossians 2:3.) Hence did Paul justly glory that he knew nothing but Jesus Christ, (1 Corinthians 2:2,) since His priesthood sufficiently and more than sufficiently enlightens us. As then the people were admonished that their eyes should be directed to the splendor of the priest, so now we must diligently remember what Christ Himself teaches, that “he that followeth him shall not walk in darkness.” (John 8:12.) On the other hand, the Thummim, which signifies perfections, was a symbol of the perfect and entire purity which is only to be sought in Christ; for He would not have been a meet high priest unless He had been perfect, free from every spot, and deficient in nothing which is required unto complete holiness. It is not, then, an improper distinction, that the Urim refers to the light of doctrine, and the Thummim to the life; and this is indeed in some measure applicable to the pastors of the Church, who ought to shine both in sound doctrine and in integrity of life. But it was God’s design to shew that neither of these things is to be sought anywhere except in Christ; since from Him we obtain both light and purity, when He deigns to make us partakers of them according to the measure of His free bounty. Whence it follows, that they who seek for the least spark of light or drop of purity out of Christ, plunge themselves into a labyrinth, where they wander in mortal darkness, and inhale the deadly fumes of false virtues unto their own destruction.

What the Scripture sometimes relates, as to the inquiries made by Urim and Thummim, it was a concession made by God to the rudeness of His ancient people. The true Priest had not yet appeared, the Angel of His Almighty counsel, by whose Spirit all the Prophets spoke, who, finally, is the fountain of all revelations, and the express image of the Father; in order then that the typical priest might be the messenger from God to man, it behooved him to be invested with the ornaments of Christ. Thus even then believers were taught in a figure, that Christ is the way by which we come to the Father, and that He also brings from the secret bosom of His Father whatever it is profitable for us to know unto salvation, hence that fiction of the Jews is contradicted, that the responses were given in this way: if a question was asked respecting a particular tribe, that the stone which represented it was lighted up; and that the colors of the stones were changed according as God refused or assented. For even if we allow that the Urim and Thummim were the rows of precious stones themselves, still this imagination is altogether unmeaning. But, as I have said, by the very form of the breastplate God would testify that the fulness of wisdom and integrity was contained in it; for which reason it is called “the breastplate of judgment,” i.e., of the most perfect rectitude, which left nothing to be desired; for the word משפט mishphot, often signifies in Scripture whatsoever is well and duly ordered. The interpretation which some give, that “judgment” means “inquiry,” because the priest only asked for responses when he had the breastplate on, is too restricted, and is even proved to be erroneous by sundry passages. Let this then be deemed settled, that this honorable appellation is meant to express a correct and infallible rule (ordinem.) Because the breastplate was, as it were, a part of the ephod, it is therefore sometimes comprehended in that word; in which it may be well also to observe, that this peculiar ephod of the high priest’s was different from the others, of which mention is made elsewhere; for all of the sacerdotal lineage wore an ephod in the performance of religious duties. (1 Samuel 14:3; 23:6.) Even David, when he danced before the Ark, wore his ephod, (2 Samuel 6:14;) and this custom is still retained by the Jews at their chief festivals. The rest I will introduce presently in their proper places.

9. And thou shalt take two onyx-stones. That the connection between the priest and the people might be made more plain, God not only placed on his breast the memorials of the twelve tribes, but also engraved their names on his shoulders. Thus all occasion of envy was removed, since the people would understand that this one man was not separated from the others for the sake of private advantage, but that in his one person they were all a kingdom of priests, which Peter teaches to have been at length really fulfilled in Christ, (1 Peter 2:5;) as Isaiah had foretold that there should be priests of God, and Levites brought from the Gentiles, (Isaiah 66:21;) to which John makes allusion in the Apocalypse, where he says that we are all priests in Christ, (Revelation 1:6.) But we must remember the reason why our High Priest is said to bear us on His shoulders, for we not only crawl on earth, but we are plunged in the lowest depths of death; how then should we be able to ascend to heaven, unless the Son of God should raise us up with Him; Now, since there is no ability in us unto eternal life, but all our powers of mind and body lie prostrate, we must be borne up by His strength alone. Hence then arises our confidence of ascending to heaven, because Christ raises us up with Him; as Paul says, we “sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus,” (Ephesians 2:6;) however weak then we may be in ourselves, herein is all our strength, that we are His burden. Therefore in this old type was prefigured what Paul teaches, that the Church is “his body,” and “the fullness of him,” (Ephesians 1:22.) It remains that each of us, conscious of our own weakness, should rest on Christ; for when in foolish arrogance we exalt ourselves, we do not suffer ourselves to be lifted up by Him, to be borne and sustained by His power. Let the proud then, by lifting themselves on high, fall down in ruin, whilst Christ supports us upon His shoulders. These stones are called “stones of memorial;” and again, “for a memorial” to the children of Israel; as is also afterwards repeated of the twelve stones; which some expound, that “God may be mindful of the children of Israel;” others, that “the priest himself may remember them;” others, that “the children of Israel may remember that God is reconciled to them for the sake of the one Mediator;” but I simply interpret it, that they were a monument of the mutual agreement between God and them; as if God would shew by a visible sign that He embraced them and received them into His sanctuary, as often as they were offered in this manner.

30. And thou shalt put in the breastplate. From these words some infer that the Urim and Thummim were distinct from the whole work, which is before described; others think that they were the twelve stones, because no mention will be made of them when Moses relates that the whole was completed. But nothing is more probable, as I have already said, than that on the breastplate itself some representation was given of light in doctrine, and of entire uprightness of life; and therefore after Moses has called it “the breastplate of judgment,” he also speaks of it as “the judgment of the children of Israel;” by which expression he means a certain and defined system, or an absolutely perfect rule, to which the children of Israel ought to direct and conform themselves.

31. And thou shalt make the robe. This robe was above the oblong coat between that and the ephod; and from its lower edge hung the bells and pomegranates alternately. Although there was no smell in the pomegranates, 164164     Lat., “in malogranatis, vel malts punicis;” the latter being the translation of the V. yet the type suggested this to the eyes; as if God required in that garment a sweet smell as well as a sound; and surely we who stink through the foulness of our sins, are only a sweet smell unto God as being covered with the garment of Christ. But God would have the bells give a sound; because the garment of Christ does not procure favor for us, except by the sound of the Gospel, which diffuses the sweet savor of the Head amongst all the members. In this allegory there is nothing too subtle or far-fetched; for the similitude of the smell and the sound naturally leads us to the honoring of grace, 165165     “Que la justice de Jesus Christ nous rend odoriferans par la predication de l’Evangile;” (leads us to this) that the righteousness of Jesus Christ makes us sweet through the preaching of the Gospel. — Fr. and to the preaching of the Gospel. By the pomegranates, therefore, which were attached to the hem of the garment, God testified that whatever was in the priest smelt sweetly, and was acceptable to Him, provided the sound accompanied it; the necessity of which is declared, when God denounces death against the priest if He should enter the sanctuary without the sound. And assuredly it was a general invitation which awakened the peoples’ minds to attention, whilst the sacred offices were performed. There is no absurdity in the fact, that the punishment which God threatens does not properly apply to Christ; because it was necessary to issue severe injunctions to the Levitical priests, lest they should omit these external exercises of piety, until the truth was manifested. The ancients do not unwisely make a spiritual application of this to the ministers of the Church; for the priest is worthy of death, says Gregory, 166166     Quoted in the Glossa Ordinaria in loco: “Quia tram contra se occulti Judicis provocat, si sine praedicationis sonitu incedit." from whom the voice of preaching is not heard; just as Isaiah reproves “the dumb dogs.” (Isaiah 56:10.) But this we must especially remember, that the garment of Christ is sonorous, since only faith, which cometh by hearing, clothes us with His righteousness.

36. And thou shalt make a plate. It is not without reason that this inscription is placed upon the priest’s forehead, that it may be conspicuous; for not only did God thus testify that the legal priesthood was approved of, and acceptable to Him, since He had consecrated it by His word, but also that holiness was not to be sought elsewhere. These two things, then, are to be observed, — first, that the priesthood of His own appointment is pleasing to God, and so, that all others, however magnificently they may be spoken of, are abominable to Him, and rejected by Him; and secondly, that out of Christ we are all corrupt, and all our worship faulty; and however excellent our actions may seem, that they are still unclean and polluted. Thus, therefore, let all our senses remain fixed on the forehead of our sole and perpetual Priest, that we may know that from Him alone purity flows throughout the whole Church. To this His words refer,

"For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.” (John 17:19;)

and the same thing is expressed in this passage of Moses, “that Aaron may hear the iniquity of the holy things,” etc. It is undoubtedly a remarkable passage, whereby, we are taught that nothing proceeds from us pleasing to God except through the intervention of the grace of the Mediator; for here there is no reference to manifest and gross sins, 167167     Addition in Fr., “Et qu’on puisse condamner par le sens commun;” and which even common sense must condemn. the pardon of which it is clear that we can only obtain through Christ; but the iniquity of the holy oblations was to be taken away and cleansed by the priest. That is but a poor exposition of it, that if any error were committed in the ceremonies, it was remitted in answer to the prayers of the priest; for we must look further, and understand that on this account the iniquity of the offerings must be purged by the priest, because no offering, in so far as it is of man, is altogether free from guilt. This is a harsh saying, and almost a paradox, that our very holinesses are so impure as to need pardon; but it must be borne in mind that nothing is so pure as not to contract some stain from us; just as water, which, although it may be drawn in purity from a limpid fountain, yet, if it passes over muddy ground, is tinged by it, and becomes somewhat turbid: thus nothing is so pure in itself as not to be polluted by the contagion of our flesh. Nothing is more excellent than the service of God; and yet the people could offer nothing, even although prescribed by the Law, except with the intervention of pardon, which none but the priest could obtain for them. There is now no sacrifice, nor was there ever, more pleasing to God than the invocation of His name, as He himself declares,

"Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me,” (Psalm 50:15;)

yet the Apostle teaches us that “the sacrifice of praise” only pleases God when it is offered in Christ. (Hebrews 13:15.) Let us learn, then, that our acts of obedience, when they come into God’s sight, are mingled with iniquity, which exposes us to His judgment, unless Christ should sanctify them. In sum, this passage teaches us that whatsoever good works we strive to present to God are so far from deserving reward, that they rather convict us of guilt, unless the holiness of Christ, whereby God is propitiated, obtains pardon for them. And this is again asserted immediately afterwards, where Moses says that by favor of the priest the sins of the sacred oblations are taken away 168168     Lat., “In beneplacitum.” A. V., “That they may be accepted.” The translation I have given is that of Ainsworth. “for favorable acceptation,” i.e., that the Israelites may be sure that God is reconciled and favorable to them. I have nothing to say of the tiara itself, which some call a mitre, (cidarim,) and others a cap; neither do I choose to philosophize too subtilely about the belt or girdle. 169169     This sentence is omitted in the Fr.

40. And for Aaron’s sons. The sons of Aaron also are separated not only from the body of the people, but likewise from the Levites; for a peculiar dignity was attached to that family, from whom his successor was afterwards to be taken. 170170     “Les successeurs de la souveraine sacrificature;” the successors in the sovereign priesthood. And since no single individual was able to perform all their offices, they were distributed amongst them. Hence it was that they were adorned with the coat, the girdle, and the bonnet, “for glory and for beauty.” We shall see as to their anointing in the next chapter. Their hands are said be filled, 171171     A.V., “consecrate,” v. 41. Margin, “fill their hand;” i.e., says Rosenmuller, in loco, “thou shalt deliver them the power of their office. Le Clerc suggests that the phrase is perhaps borrowed from some ancient oriental rite, in which the ensigns of office were put into the hands of those to whom it was entrusted. It appears also, from the following chapter, ver. 24, that all the sacred offerings were placed by Moses in the hands of the priests at their inauguration." when they are made fit for offering sacrifices, for as long as their hands are unconsecrated (profanae) they are accounted empty, even though they may be very full, since no gift is acceptable to God except in right of the priesthood; consequently their fullness arose from consecration, whereby it came that the oblations duly made had access to God. But we must observe that it is not their father Aaron, but Moses, who sanctifies them, that the power itself, or effect of their sanctification, may rest in God, and may not be transferred to His ministers. Perhaps, too, God would anticipate the calumnies of the ungodly, lest any should afterwards object that Aaron had fraudulently and unjustly extended the honor conferred upon himself alone to his sons also, and thus had unlawfully made it hereditary. He was protected against this reproach by the fact, that the sacerdotal dignity came to them from elsewhere. Besides, by these means the posterity of Moses was more certainly deprived of the hope they may have conceived in consideration of what their father was. Therefore Moses, by inaugurating the children of Aaron, reduced his own to their proper place, lest ally ambition should hereafter tempt them, or lest envy should possess them when they saw themselves put below others.

42. And thou shalt make them linen breeches. Since men, in their natural levity and frowardness, lay hold of the very slightest causes of offense to the disparagement of holy things, and so religion easily sinks into contempt, God here, as a precaution against such a danger, delivers a precept respecting an apparently trivial matter, viz., that the priests should cover their nakedness with breeches. The sum is, that they should conduct themselves chastely and modestly, lest, if anything improper or indecorous should appear in them, the majesty of holy things should be impaired. Some, therefore, thus explain the clause, “that they may minister in holiness,” 172172     “To minister in the holy place.” A. V. as if it were said, “that they may be pure from every stain, and may not desecrate God’s service.” In my opinion, however, the word קודש kodesh, should be taken for the sanctuary; and this is the more natural sense. A threat is added, that if they neglected this observance it would not be with impunity, since they would bring guilt upon themselves. Nor can we wonder at this, since all carelessness and negligence in the performance of sacred duties is closely connected with impiety and contempt of God. What immediately follows as to its being a perpetual law or statute, some, in my judgment improperly, restrict to the precept respecting the breeches, for it has a natural reference to the other ordinances of the priesthood. God therefore declares generally, that the Law which He gives is not for a little time, but that it may always remain in force as regards His elect people; whence we infer that the word עולם gnolam 173173     The primary signification of this word is hidden; hence a period of time, of which either the end or the beginning is hidden; and therefore frequently it is used for eternity, or as in the A. V., for ever. W. whenever the legal types are in question, attains its end in the advent of Christ; and assuredly this is the true perpetuity of the ceremonies, that they should rest in Christ, who is their full truth and substance. For, since in Christ was at length manifested what was then delineated in shadows, these figures are established, because their use has ceased after the manifestation of their reality. And this we have already seen was long ago foretold by David, when he substitutes for the Levitical priesthood another “after the order of Melchisedec,” (Psalm 110:4;) but the dignity being transferred, as the Apostle well reminds us, the Law and all the statutes must be of necessity transferred also. (Hebrews 7:12.) The ancient rites, therefore, are now at an end, because they do not accord with the spiritual priesthood of Christ; and herein the twofold sacrilege of the Papacy betrays itself, in that mortal men have dared to substitute another third priesthood for that of Christ, as if His were transitory; and also, in their foolish imitation of the Jews, have heaped together ceremonies which are directly opposed to the nature of Christ’s priesthood. They reply, indeed, that His priesthood remains entire, although they have innumerable sacrifices; but they vainly endeavor to escape by this subterfuge, for if it was unlawful to change, or to innovate anything in the legal priesthood, how much less is it lawful to corrupt the priesthood of Christ by strange inventions, when its integrity has been ratified by the inviolable oath of God? The Father says to the Son, “Thou art a priest for ever;” how, then, does it avail to make the silly assertion that nothing is taken away from Christ, when an innumerable multitude (of priests) are appointed? How do these things accord, that He was anointed to offer Himself by the Spirit, and yet that He is offered by others? that by one offering He completed His work unto our full justification, and yet that He is offered daily? Now, if there be now-a-days no lawful priest except such an one as possesses in himself what was foreshewn in the ancient types, let them bring forth priests adorned with angelic purity, and as it were separate from the ranks of men, otherwise we shall be at liberty to repudiate all who are defiled by the very slightest stain. Hence, too, has arisen their second sacrilege, viz., that they have dared to obscure the brightness of the gospel with a new Judaism. They were altogether without the means of proving their priesthood, and so their easiest plan was to envelop their vanity in an immense mass of ceremonies, and, as it were, to shut out the light by clouds. So much the more diligently, then, must believers beware of departing from the pure institution of Christ, if they desire to have Him for their one and eternal Mediator.

Exodus 29

Exodus 29:1-35

1. And this is the thing that thou shalt do unto them to hallow them, to minister unto me in the priest’s office: Take one young bullock, and two rams without blemish,

1. Hoc quoque facies eis ad sanctificandum eos, ut sacerdotio fungantur mihi: Tolle juvencum unum filium bovis, et arietes duos immaculatos.

2. And unleavened bread, and cakes unleavened tempered with oil, and wafers unleavened anointed with oil: of wheaten flour shalt thou make them.

2. Panes praeterea infermentatas, et placentas infermentatas mixtas oleo, et lagan infermentata uncta oleo: ex simila triticea facies ea.

3. And thou shalt put them into one basket, and bring them in the basket, with the bullock and the two rams.

3. Ponesque ea in canistrum unum, et offeres ea in canistro, una cum juveneo, et duobus arietibus.

4. And Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shalt wash them with water.

4. Tum Aharonem et filios ejus accedere fades ad ostium tabernaculi conventionis, et lavabis cos aqua.

5. And thou shalt take the garments, and put upon Aaron the coat, and the robe of the ephod, and the ephod, and the breastplate, and gird him with the curious girdle of the ephod:

5. Et accipies vestes, induesque Aharon tunicam, et pallium ephod, et ephod pectorale, cingesque cum baltheo ephod.

6. And thou shalt put the mitre upon his head, and put the holy crown upon the mitre.

6. Pones praeterea cidarim super caput ejus: coronam autem sanctitatis pones super cidarim.

7. Then shalt thou take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his head, and anoint him.

7. Postremo accipies oleum unctionis, et fundes super caput ejus, et unges eum.

8. And thou shalt bring his sons, and put coats upon them.

8. Post haec filios ejus accedere facies, et indues cos tunicas.

9. And thou shalt gird them with girdles, Aaron and his sons, and put the bonnets on them: and the priest’s office shall be theirs for a perpetual statute: and thou shalt consecrate Aaron and his sons.

9. Cingesque illos baltheo: Aharon et flios ejus, et aptabis eis pileos, et erit eis sacerdotium in statutum perpetuum, implebisque manum Aharon, et manum filiorum ejus.

10. And thou shalt cause a bullock to be brought before the tabernacle of the congregation: and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands upon the head of the bullock.

10. Et offeres juveneum coram tabernaculo conventionis, imponentque Aharon et filii ejus manus suas super caput juvenei.

11. And thou shalt kill the bullock before the LORD, by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

11. Tunc mactabis juveneum coram Jehova ad ostium tabernaculi conventionis.

12. And thou shalt take of the blood of the bullock, and put it upon the horns of the altar with thy finger, and pour all the blood beside the bottom of the altar.

12. Accipiesque e sanguine juvenci, et pones super cornua altaris digito tuo: reliquum autem sanguinem fundes ad fundamentum altaris.

13. And thou shalt take all the fat that covereth the inwards, and the caul that is above the liver, and the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, and burn them upon the altar.

13. Tollesque omnem adipem operientem intestina, et reticulum quod est super jecur, et duos renes, et adipem qui est super illos, et incendes ea super altare.

14. But the flesh of the bullock, and his skin, and his dung, shalt thou burn with fire without the camp: it is a sin offering.

14. At carnem juvenei, et pellem ejus, fimumque ejus combures igni extra castra: sacrificium pro peccato est.

15. Thou shalt also take one ram; and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands upon the head of the ram.

15. Arietem quoque alterum accipies, et imponent Aharon et filii ejus manus suas super caput arietis.

16. And thou shalt slay the ram, and thou shalt take his blood, and sprinkle it round about upon the altar.

16. Tunc mactabis arietem, accipiesque sanguinem ejus, et asperges super altare per circuitum.

17. And thou shalt cut the ram in pieces, and wash the inwards of him, and his legs, and put them unto his pieces, and unto his head.

17. Arietem autem concides ix, frusta sua, et lavabis intestina ejus, cruraque ejus, et pones super frusta ejus, et super caput ejus.

18. And thou shalt burn the whole ram upon the altar: it is a burnt offering unto the LORD: it is a sweet savour, an offering made by fire unto the LORD.

18. Incendes praeterea totum arietem super altare: nam holocaustum est Jehovae in odorem quietis: oblatio ignita Jehovae est.

19. And thou shalt take the other ram; and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands upon the head of the ram.

19. Accipies insuper arietem secundum, imponentque Aharon et filii ejus manus suas super caput arietis.

20. Then shalt thou kill the ram, and take of his blood, and put it upon the tip of the right ear of Aaron, and upon the tip of the right ear of his sons, and upon the thumb of their right hand, and upon the great toe of their right foot, and sprinkle the blood upon the altar round about.

20. Tunc mactabis arietem, accipiesque de sanguine ejus, et pones super tenerum antis Aharon, et super tenerum auris filiorum ejus dextrae, et super pollisem manus eorum dextrae, et super pollicem pedis corum dextri, aspergesque sanguinem super altare per circuitum.

21. And thou shalt take of the blood that is upon the altar, and of the anointing oil, and sprinkle it upon Aaron, and upon his garments, and upon his sons, and upon the garments of his sons with him: and he shall be hallowed, and his garments, and his sons, and his sons’ garments with him.

21. Tollesque de sanguine qui erit super altare, et de oleo unctionis: atque asperges super Aharon, et super vestes ejus, et super illlos ejus, et super vestes filiorum ejus cum eo.

22. Also thou shalt take of the ram the fat and the rump, and the fat that covereth the inwards, and the caul above the liver, and the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, and the right shoulder; for it is a ram of consecration:

22. Deinde tolles de ariete adipem, et caudam, et adipem operientem intestina, et reticulum jecoris, duosque renes, atque adipem qui est super eos, et armum dextrum: quia aries consecrationum est:

23. And one loaf of bread, and one cake of oiled bread, and one wafer out of the basket of the unleavened bread that is before the LORD:

23. Et tortam panis unam, et placentam panis ex oleo unam, et laganum unum e canistro infermentatorum qui est coram Jehova.

24. And thou shalt put all in the hands of Aaron, and in the hands of his sons; and shalt wave them for a wave offering before the LORD.

24. Ponesque omnia ilia in manibus Aharon, et in manibus filiorum ejus, exaltabisque ilia exaltationem coram Jehova.

25. And thou shalt receive them of their hands, and burn them upon the altar for a burnt offering, for a sweet savour before the LORD: it is an offering made by fire unto the LORD.

25. Accipies autem illa e manu eorum, et incendes super altare, ultra holocaustum in odorem quietis coram Jehova: oblatio ignita est Jehovae.

26. And thou shalt take the breast of the ram of Aaron’s consecration, and wave it for a wave offering before the LORD: and it shall be thy part.

26. Accipies item pectus arietis consecrationum quod est ipsi Aharon, et exaltabis illud exaltationem coram Jehova, eritque tibi in partem.

27. And thou shalt sanctify the breast of the wave offering, and the shoulder of the heave offering, which is waved, and which is heaved up, of the ram of the consecration, even of that which is for Aaron, and of that which is for his sons:

27. Sanctificabis itaque pectus exaltationis, et armum elevationis quod exaltatum est, et qui elevatus est de ariete consecrationum ipsius Aharon et filiorum ejus.

28. And it shall be Aaron’s and his sons’ by a statute for ever from the children of Israel: for it is an heave offering: and it shall be an heave offering from the children of Israel of the sacrifice of their peace offerings, even their heave offering unto the LORD.

28. Et erit ipsi Aharon et filiis ejus in statutum perpetuum a filiis Israel: quia exaltatio est: et exaltatio erit a filiis Israel de sacrificiis prosperitatum suarum, exaltatio inquam eorum erit Jehovae.

29. And the holy garments of Aaron shall be his sons’ after him, to be anointed therein, and to be consecrated in them.

29. Porro vestes sanctae quae sunt ipsius Aharon, erunt filiis ejus post eum ad ungendum cos cure eis, et ad consecrandum cum els manum eorum.

30. And that son that is priest in his stead shall put them on seven days, when he cometh into the tabernacle of the congregation to minister in the holy place.

30. Septem diebus induct eas sacerdos qui fuerit loco ipsius de filiis ejus, qui ingredietur tabernaculum conventionis ad ministrandum in sanctuario.

31. And thou shalt take the ram of the consecration, and seethe his flesh in the holy place.

31. Arietem autem consecrationum tolles, et coques carnem ejus in loco sanctitatis.

32. And Aaron and his sons shall eat the flesh of the ram, and the bread that is in the basket, by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

32. Comedetque Aharon et filii ejus carnem arietis, et panem qui est in canistro, ad ostium tabernaculi conventionis.

33. And they shall eat those things wherewith the atonement was made, to consecrate and to sanctify them: but a stranger shall not eat thereof, because they are holy.

33. Comedent inquam illa quibus expiatus fuit ad consecrandum manum earum, ad sanctificandum cos: et alienigena non comedet, quia sanctificatio sunt.

34. And if ought of the flesh of the consecrations, or of the bread, remain unto the morning, then thou shalt burn the remainder with fire: it shall not be eaten, because it is holy.

34. Quod si superfuerit de carne consecrationum, et de pane, usque mane, combures quod supcrest igni: non comedettur, quia sanctitas est.

35. And thus shalt thou do unto Aaron, and to his sons, according to all things which I have commanded thee: seven days shalt thou consecrate them.

35. Facies igitur ipsi Aharon et filiis ejus sic, juxta omnia quae praecepi tibi: septem diebus consecrabis manum eorum.


1. And this is the thing that thou shalt do unto them. Since I shall again repeat and more fully explain these things as they are written in Leviticus 9, in the history of the consecration of the tabernacle, it will be sufficient to give nothing more than a brief summary of them here; nor is it my custom to invent mysteries out of vague speculations, 174174     Probably the Fr., “de speculations volantes,” suggests the right reading of the Lat. here, viz., alatis for aliis such as may rather gratify than instruct my readers. First, since the whole human race is corrupt and infected with many impurities, so that his uncleanness prevents every single individual from having access to God, Moses, before he consecrates the priests, washes them by the sprinkling of water, in order that they may be no longer deemed to be of ordinary rank. Hence we gather that true purity and innocence, which was but typical in the Law, is found in Christ alone. “For such an high priest became us,” says the Apostle, “who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners,” to present Himself before God for us. (Hebrews 7:26.) After they had been washed, God commands that they should be invested with the sacerdotal dress, according to their respective ranks: that the high priest should wear the ephod with the Urim and Thummim, and the mitre with the golden plate, on which shone forth “holiness to Jehovah;” and in the third place, He adds the anointing. This preparation was for the purpose of initiating them, before they performed the office of sacrificing; but it must be observed that, as to this first sacrifice, the duties which were afterwards transferred to Aaron were imposed upon Moses, as if he were the only priest; and, in point of fact, the temporal dignity which he afterwards resigned to his brother, was still in his own hands. What Moses introduces about the division of the victim, we shall more conveniently explain elsewhere, in treating of the offerings, which we have stated to be the third part of the legal worship.

16. And thou shalt slay the ram. Moses had previously been commanded to take the parts of the victim from the hands of Aaron, to propitiate God with them, in order that he and his posterity might be able hereafter to perform the same office; but here a peculiar ceremony is described, that he should smear the right ear, the thumb of the right hand, and the toe of the right foot, both of Aaron and his sons, with the blood of a ram; and then that he should sprinkle them and their garments with the blood which was deposited upon the altar. What we must first observe here is, that the priest must be sprinkled with blood, in order that he may conciliate the favor of God towards himself for the purpose of intercession. Thus the priesthood of Christ was dedicated with blood, so that it might be efficacious to reconcile God with us. The question now arises, why only the right ear and the right thumb and toe were sprinkled with blood, as if the priests were consecrated and devoted to God only in half of their persons? I reply, that in this one part the other was comprehended; since both the ears, and both the hands and feet have the same object, and their offices are so connected, that what is said of one ear applies to the other. Again, it is asked, why the ear, and foot, and hand, were smeared rather than the breast and the tongue? and I do not doubt but that by the ear obedience was designated, and by the hands and feet all the actions and the whole course of life; for there is scarcely anything more common in Scripture than these metonymies, by which the cleanness of the hands is taken for the integrity of the whole life, and the way, or course, or walk for the direction, or manner of living. It is therefore very appropriate that man’s life should be consecrated by blood; and, inasmuch as the foundation of welldoing is obedience, which is preferred to all sacrifices, Moses is commanded to begin with the ear. And we know that the “odor of a sweet smell” in the sacrifice of Christ was obedience, (Philippians 4:18;) on which account, David, in the spirit of prophecy, introduces himself, saying, “Mine ears hast thou bored.” 175175     A. V., “mine ears hast thou opened.” Margin, “Heb., digged.” See C.’s own Commentary, in loco, with Mr. Anderson’s note. Calvin Translation Society’s edition, vol. 2, p. 99. (Psalm 40:6.) If any should object that the tongue is of no less importance, because the priest is the messenger of the Lord of hosts, I answer that the office of teaching is not here referred to, but only that of intercession; wherefore in these three members Moses embraced whatever related to atonement. But we must remember that what is said of the consecration of Christ does not apply to His own person, but refers to the profit of the whole Church; for neither was He anointed for His own sake, nor had He need to borrow 176176     “La grace de reconcilier.” — Fr. grace from the blood; but He had regard to His members, and devoted Himself altogether to their salvation, as He himself testifies, “For their sake I sanctify myself.” (John 17:19.)

28. And it shall be Aaron’s. Lest the dignity of the sacred offerings, which are called the holiness of the Lord, should be impaired, strangers are prohibited from partaking of them; for, if it had been permitted that every one should touch them and eat of them, there would have been no distinction between them and ordinary food. Of the priests’ portion some parts were common to all their families; but the holy parts were excepted, to the intent that by this particular instance the reverence due to all might be inculcated. The reference to place has the same object, for it was not lawful to eat what was holy within the walls of their houses, in order that it might be distinguished from their common and ordinary food. For the same reason, whatever remained of it was to be burnt, lest, if the flesh became rank, or the bread moldy, their ill savor and filthy appearance might somewhat detract from the dignity of the holy things; for the infirmity of the ancient people had need of childish rudiments, which might still have a tendency to elevate the minds of the pious to things above. This was the object of all these things, that no corruption should creep in which might pollute or render contemptible the service of God.

Leviticus 8

Leviticus 8:1-3

1. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

1. Loquutus est deinde Jehova ad Mosen, dicendo:

2. Take Aaron and his sons with him, and the garments, and the anointing oil, and a bullock for the sin offering, and two rams, and a basket of unleavened bread;

2. Tolle Aharon et filios ejus cure illo, et vestes, et oleum unctionis, et juvencum sacrificii pro peccato: et duos arietes, et canistrum azymorum.

3. And gather thou all the congregation together unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

3. Atque omnem coetum congrega ad ostium tabernaculi conventionis.


1. And the Lord spake. It is well known that in conjunction with the sacrifices there was an offering, which they call minha, but we shall elsewhere see that this was also used separately; for it was lawful without a victim to offer either plain meal, or cakes, or wafers seasoned with oil. Therefore, besides the sacrifice of consecration, of which Moses has already treated, this second offering is required from the priest, that he should present at his inauguration a cake fried in a pan, and cut in pieces. The reason of this appears to have been, that he might thence become the legitimate minister of all the people, and might duly offer in the name of others, when he had done what was right for himself. But a distinction is drawn between the demand upon the priest and that, upon the people, viz., that it should be “wholly burnt;” the reason for which, since it will be explained elsewhere, it will be now sufficient to advert to in a single word. The fact was that God was unwilling that the priests should indulge themselves in vain ostentation, which might have been easily the case, if the oblation had been preserved for their use, like the minha of the people which remained in their hands.

Numbers 8

Numbers 8:5-19, 23-26

5. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

5. Loquutusque est praeterea Jehova ipsi Mosi, dicendo:

6. Take the Levites from among the children of Israel, and cleanse them.

6. Cape Levitas e medio filiorum Israel, et purifices illos.

7. And thus shalt thou do unto them, to cleanse them: Sprinkle water of purifying upon them, and let them shave all their flesh, and let them wash their clothes, and so make themselves clean.

7. Sic autem facies illis ut purifices illos: sparge super eos aquam purificationis, et transire faciant novaculam super totam carnem suam, laventque vestimenta sua, et purificentur.

8. Then let them take a young bullock with his meat offering, even. fine flour mingled with oil, and another young bullock shalt thou take for a sin offering.

8. Postea capient juvencum filium bovis, et minham ejus similam conspersam oleo: et juvencum alterura filium bovis capies in sacrificium pro peccato.

9. And thou shalt bring the Levites before the tabernacle of the congregation: and thou shalt gather the whole assembly of the children of Israel together.

9. Tunc offeres Levitas coram tabernaculo conventionis: et congregabis omnem coetum filiorum Israel.

10. And thou shalt bring the Levites before the LORD: and the children of Israel shall put their hands upon the Levites:

10. Offeres inquam Levitas eoram Jehova, et conjungent filii Israel marius suas super Levitas.

11. And Aaron shall offer the Levites before the LORD for an offering of the children of Israel, that they may execute the service of the LORD.

11. Offeretque Aharon Levitas in oblationem coram Jehova a filiis Israel, et ministrabunt in ministerio Jehovae.

12. And the Levites shall lay their hands upon the heads of the bullocks: and thou shalt offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering, unto the LORD, to make an atonement for the Levites.

12. Levitae autem conjungent manus suas super caput juvencorum: postea facies unum pro peccato, et alterum in holocaustum Jehovae ad expiandum Levitas.

13. And thou shalt set the Levites before Aaron, and before his sons, and offer them for an offering unto the LORD.

13. Statuesque Levitas coram Aharon et coram fillis ejus, et offeres illos oblationem Jehovae.

14. Thus shalt thou separate the Levites from among the children of Israel: and the Levites shall be mine.

14. Ac segregabis Levitas e medio filiorum Israel: erunt mei Levitae.

15. And after that shall the Levites go in to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation: and thou shalt cleanse them, and offer them for an offering.

15. Posted autem venient Levitae ad ministrandum in tabernaculo conventionis, et expiabis illos, offeresque cos oblationem.

16. For they are wholly given unto me from among the children of Israel; instead of such as open every womb, even instead of the firstborn of all the children of Israel, have I taken them unto me.

16. Quid dati, dati inquam sunt mihi e medio filiorum Israel pro aperiente omnem vulvam, pro primogenito filiorum Israel accepi cos mihi.

17. For all the firstborn of the children of Israel are mine, both man and beast: on the day that I smote every firstborn in the land of Egypt I sanctified them for myself.

17. Meus est enim omnis primogenitus in filiis Israel tam hominum quam jumentorum: a die quo percussi omne primogenitum in terra AEgypti, sanctificavi illa mihi.

18. And I have taken the Levites for all the firstborn of the children of Israel.

18. Cepi autem Levitas pro onmi primogenito in filiis Israel.

19. And I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and to his sons from among the children of Israel, to do the service of the children of Israel in the tabernacle of the congregation, and to make an atonement for the children of Israel: that there be no plague among the children of Israel, when the children of Israel come nigh unto the sanctuary.

19. Et dedi Levitas dono datos Aharoni et filiis eius e medio filiorum Israeli, ut fungantur officio filiorum Israel in tabernaculo conventionis, et expient filios Israel: neque sit in filiis Israel plaga, quum ipsi appropinquaverint sanctuario.

23. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

23. Loquutns est autem Jehova ad Mosen, dicendo:

24. This is it that belongeth unto the Levites: from twenty and five years old and upward they shall go in to wait upon the service of the tabernacle of the congregation:

24. Hoc quoque est quod ad Levitas pertinet, vicesimo quinto anno et supra ingredientur militare militiara in cultu tabernaculi conventionis.

25. And from the age of fifty years they shall cease waiting upon the service thereof, and shall serve no more:

25. A quinquagesimo autem anno revertetur a militia cultus, nec ministrabit ultra:

26. But shall minister with their brethren in the tabernacle of the congregation, to keep the charge, and shall do no service. Thus shalt thou do unto the Levites touching their charge.

26. Sed ministrabit cum fratribus suis in tabernaculo conventionis, ut munere suo illi fungantur et ministerium non administrabit: sic facies de Levitis in custodiis eorum.


5. And the Lord spake unto Moses. Although the Levites were not allowed to go into the sanctuary, but were only the priests’ ministers, and chiefly employed in servile duties, yet, inasmuch as they carried the tabernacle and the sacred vessels, prepared the sacrifices, took away the ashes and other offscourings from the altar, God would have them consecrated to Himself by a solemn rite. For as all Israel, with respect to the Gentiles, was God’s peculiar people, so the house of Levi was chosen out of the people itself to be His own property, as it is here said. But, lest they should arrogate to themselves more than was right, God anticipates their presumption: first, by putting off their consecration for some time; secondly, by desiring that they should not be initiated by Moses, but by Aaron; and thirdly, by appointing a different ceremony for it. For, if they had been initiated at the same time as the priests, under this pretext they might have contended to be on an equality with them; therefore, although the priests were already separated from the common people, yet the Levites still remain unconsecrated, (privati,) in order that they may learn to reverence the priestly office. And again, since, if they had been dedicated likewise by Moses, there was a danger of their being puffed up with pride against all others, Aaron is appointed to preside over their consecration, that they may modestly submit themselves to his authority. Since, too, they were only purified by water, and sacrifice, and without the addition of anointing, the difference in the external rite reminded them that their degree of honor was not similar or the same.

6. Take the Levites from among. To take them from among the children of Israel, is equivalent to subtracting them from the number of the people, that they might not be included in the general census, and accounted to be one of the tribes. This separation, then, as he will more clearly express a little further on, devoted the Levites to God for the service of the sanctuary. That under this pretext the Papal clergy should claim immunity for themselves, so that they may live as they like in exemption from the laws, is not only an unsound deduction, but one full of impious mockery; for, since the ancient priesthood attained its end in Christ, the succession, which they allege, robs Christ of His right, as if the full truth had not been manifested in Him. Besides, inasmuch as all their privileges only depend on the primacy of the Pope, if they would have them ratified they must needs prove, first of all, that the Pope is appointed by God’s command to be the head of the whole Church, and therefore that he is the successor of Christ. As to Aaron, since he was the minister of their installation, in this way he was set over the Levites to rule them at his discretion. Meanwhile this ministry is thus entrusted to a man, in such a manner as not to stand in the way of God’s gratuitous good pleasure.

7. And thus shalt thou do unto them. Aaron is commanded first to sprinkle the water of purifying upon them, to cleanse them from their uncleanness; and not only so, but they are commanded to wash their clothes, that they may diligently beware of any impurity being anywhere about them, whereby their persons may be infected. Thirdly, they are commanded to shave their skin with a razor, that, putting off their flesh, they may begin to be new men. A sacrifice is afterwards added, and that twofold, to make an atonement for them. These things being completed, Aaron, in right and to the honor of the priesthood, is commanded to offer them just like the holy bread or incense. But the end of this was, that they might acknowledge that they were no longer their own masters, but devoted to God, that they might engage themselves in the service of the sanctuary. It was in testimony of alienation that some of the people were ordered at the same time to lay their hands upon them; as if by this ceremony all the tribes bore witness that with their consent the Levites passed over to be God’s peculiar property, that they might be a part or appendage of the sanctuary. For private individuals (as we shall see hereafter) were accustomed to lay their hands on their sacrifices, yet not with the same object as the priests. 177177     This last sentence omitted in Fr.

16. For they are wholly given. Lest the other tribes should complain that the number of the people was diminished, God declares that the Levites were alienated from the race of Abraham, since He had acquired them to Himself when He smote all the first-born of Egypt; for it is certain that the first-born of the people, as well as those of their animals, were miraculously rescued from the common destruction. Since, then, God delivered them by special privilege, He thus bound them to Himself by the blessing of their redemption. But this reason would seem no longer to hold good, when God, in demanding the price of redemption, set the first-born free, 178178     Vide Numbers 3:43-51. as was elsewhere stated; else He would require the same thing twice over, which would be unjust. The solution, however, of this is easy; when, in the first census, the first-born of the twelve tribes were counted, they were found to exceed the Levites in number. An exchange was then made, viz., that all the first-born of the twelve tribes, being 22,000 in number, should be free from the tribute, and that God should take the Levites in their place as His ministers. Only 273 were redeemed, because this was the excess of their number above that of the Levites. Thus was it brought to pass, that God was content with these just and equal terms, so as not to oppress the people by a heavy burden. But this compensation, which was only made on that one particular day, did not prevent the Israelites from owing their children, who were not then born, to God. Since, then, this obligation still lay upon them as regarded their posterity, the law was passed that they should redeem their first-born. If any should object that it was not fair for those who should be born of the Levites to be consecrated to God, — I reply, that on this point there was no unfairness, for of whatever tribe they might be descended, they were already His property, together with all their offspring; the condition of the people was not therefore made worse by the exchange; and hence, in all equity, God appointed for the future at what price the Israelites should redeem their first-born. In saying that they were “given” to Him, He means to assert that they were His by compact; 179179     “En disant qu’ils luy ont este donnez, il n’entend pas que ce soit de don gratuit, mais qu’ils luy appartienent comme de paction faite;” in saying that they were given to Him, He does not mean as a gratuitous gift, but that they belonged to Him as by agreement made. — Fr. and in this sense He declares that from the day in which He smote the first-born of Egypt, the first-born of Israel had become His; and then adds, that He then took the Levites; as much as to say, that He only dealt with his people with respect to the time past.

19. And I have given the Levites. He declares on what terms He desires to have them as His own, viz., that they may be directed by Aaron, and obey his commands; for by “a gift” is not to be understood such an act as that whereby a person resigns and cedes his own right to another; but, when He devotes them to the ministry of the sanctuary, He desires that they should have a leader and master. At the end of the verse, Moses teaches that this is done for the advantage and profit of the whole people: whence it follows, that there was no room for ill-will towards them, unless the people should perhaps be annoyed that God had taken measures for their welfare. A two-fold advantage is pointed out; first, because they were to be the intercessors or ministers of reconciliation, (for either sense would be appropriate;) secondly, because, whilst they would be the guardians of the sanctuary, they would prevent the Israelites from bringing destruction upon themselves, by their rash approach to it.

24. This is it, that belongeth to the Levites. The age is here prescribed when the Levites should begin and end the execution of their office. God commands them to commence in their 25th year and grants them their dismissal in their 50th; and for both these provisions there is very good reason. For, if they had been admitted in early youth, their levity might have greatly detracted from the reverence due to sacred things: not only because those, whose manhood is not yet mature, are generally given to pleasure and intemperance, but because either by negligence, or levity, or want of thought, or ignorance and error, they might have made many grievous mistakes in the service of God; and, whilst they were by no means fitted to exercise their charge until they should have attained prudence and gravity, so also, lest they should fail from old age, it was right that they should be seasonably dismissed; for as we have before said, their duties were laborious, and such as demanded bodily strength. If, however, any should choose to make an application of this to the pastoral office, it should be generally remembered, that none should be chosen to it except such as have already given proofs of their moderation, and float those who diligently devote themselves to it should not be unreasonably pressed upon, nor should more be required of them than their ability can bear; for some foolishly count their years, as if it were a sin to choose a pastor before his 24th year, although he might be otherwise fully provided with the necessary qualifications.

Numbers 3

Numbers 3:5-10

5. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

5. Loquutus est autem Jehova ad Mosen, dicendo:

6. Bring the tribe of Levi near, and present them before Aaron the priest, that they may minister unto him.

6. Appropinquare fac tribum Levi, et siste eam coram Aharone sacerdote, ut ministret ei.

7. And they shall keep his charge, and the charge of the whole congregation before the tabernacle of the congregation, to do the service of the tabernacle.

7. Et custodiant custodiam ejus, et custodiam universi coatus coram tabernaculo conventionis, ut exequantur cultum tabernaculi.

8. And they shall keep all the instruments of the tabernacle of the congregation, and the charge of the children of Israel, to do the service of the tabernacle.

8. Custodiant quoque omnia utensilia tabernaculi conventionis, custodiamque filiorum Israel, ut exequantur culture tabernaculi.

9. And thou shalt give the Levites unto Aaron and to his sons: they are wholly given unto him out of the children of Israel.

9. Da inquam Levitas ipsi Aharon, et filiis ejus: dati, dati namque sunt illi ex filiis Israel.

10. And thou shalt appoint Aaron and his sons, and they shall wait on their priest’s office: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death.

10. Aharon autem et filios ejus praeficies, custodientque sacerdotium suum: externus sane qui accesserit morietur.


5. And the Lord spake unto Moses. This passage contains two heads: first, That the Levites should be set apart for the ministry of the sanctuary and altar; and, secondly, That they should obey the chief priests of the family of Aaron, and do nothing except by their authority and command. But it has been already said, and we shall hereafter see again, that the tribe of Levi in general was divinely chosen to perform the sacred offices; so that the people might know that no one was worthy of so honorable a charge; but that it depended on the gratuitous calling of God, whose attribute it is to create all things out of nothing. In this way, not only was the temerity of those repressed who might be foolishly ambitious of the honor, but the whole Church was taught that, in order to worship God aright, there was need of extraneous aid. For, if the Levites had not stood between, the Law prohibited the rest of the people from having access to God, since it brought in the whole human race guilty of pollution. But, in order that they might be more certainly directed to the One Mediator, the high priesthood was exalted, and one priest was chosen to preside over all the rest: on this account God would have the Levites subject to the successors of Aaron. At the same time, He had regard to order, for a multitude, which is not governed by chiefs, will always be disorderly. Yet, it is unquestionable that the supreme power of Christ was represented in the person of Aaron; and hence the folly of the Papists is refuted, who transfer, or rather wrest, this example to the state of the Christian Church, 180180     “Lesquels partissent tellement l’ordre de leur Hierarchyie qu’en la fin ils parvienent a la primaute du Siege Romain;” who so divide the order of their Hierarchy, that at length they arrive at the primacy of the See of Rome — Fr. so as to set the bishops over the presbyters, and thus to fabricate the primacy of the Roman See. But if the true meaning of this figure be sought, it will be more appropriate to reason that, whatever ministers and pastors of the Church are now appointed, they are placed as it were under the hand of Christ, in order that they may usurp no dominion, but behave themselves modestly, as having to render an account to Him who is the Prince of pastors. (1 Peter 5:4.) Hence we conclude that the Papacy is only founded in wicked sacrilege; for Christ is unjustly deprived of His own, if any one else is feigned to be Aaron’s successor. Meanwhile, the political distinction of ranks is not to be repudiated, for natural reason itself dictates this in order to take away confusion; but that which shall have this object in view, will be so arranged that it may neither obscure Christ’s glory nor minister to ambition or tyranny, nor prevent all ministers from cultivating mutual fraternity with each other, with equal rights and liberties. Hence, too, was taken that declaration of the Apostle, that it is not lawful for any man to take this honor upon himself, but that they are the legitimate ministers of the Church who are “called” to be so. (Hebrews 5:4)

Exodus 30

Exodus 30:22-33

22. Moreover, the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

22. Loquutus est etiam Jehova ad Mosen, dicendo:

23. Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels,

23. Tu sume tibi aromata optima: myrrhae fluidae ad quingentos siclos, cinnamomi aromatici dimidium ipsius, ducentos et quinquaginta: et calami atomatici ducentos et quinquaginta:

24. And of cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil-olive an hin:

24. Casiae vero quingentos siclos, pondere sanctuarii: et olei olivae hin:

25. And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil.

25. Et facies ex ea oleum unctionis sanctitatis, unguentum unguenti, opus unguentarii; oleum unctionis sanctitatis erit.

26. And thou shalt anoint the tabernacle of the congregation therewith, and the ark of the testimony,

26. Unges eo tabernaculum conventionis, et arcam testimonii,

27. And the table and all his vessels, and the candlestick and his vessels, and the altar of incense,

27. Et mensam onmiaque vasa ipsius, et candelabrum omniaque vasa ipsius, et altare suffimenti:

28. And the altar of burnt offering with all his vessels, and the laver and his foot.

28. Altare quoque holocausti et omnia vasa ipsius, et concham et basin ejus.

29. And thou shalt sanctify them, that they may be most holy: whatsoever toucheth them shall be holy.

29. Ita sanctificabis ea, erunt sanctitas sanctitatum: quicquid tetigerit ea, sanctificabitur.

30. And thou shalt anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office.

30. Aharon praeterea et filios ejus unges, et sanctificabis eos, ut sacerdotio fungantur mihi.

31. And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, This shall be an holy anointing oil unto me throughout your generations.

31. Ad filios autem Israel loqueris, dicendo, Oleum unctionis sanctitatis erit hoc mihi per generationes vestras.

32. Upon man’s flesh shall it not be poured; neither shall ye make any other like it, after the composition of it: it is holy, and it shall be holy unto you.

32. Super carnem hominis non ungent: neque compositioni ejus facietis similes: sanctum est, sanctum erit vobis.

33. Whosoever compoundeth any like it, or whosoever putteth any of it upon a stranger, shall even be cut off from his people.

33. Quisquis confecerit unguentum simile, et qui posuerit ex eo super extraneum, succidetur e populis suis.


23. Take thou also unto thee principal spices. Although the oil here treated of was not only destined for the anointing of the priests, but also of the tabernacle, the ark of the covenant, the altars, and all the vessels, yet no fitter place occurs for discussing the sacred unction, than by connecting it with the priesthood, on which it depends. First of all its composition is described, exquisite both in expensiveness and odor; that by its very excellence and costliness the Israelites may learn that no ordinary thing is represented by it; for we have already often seen that there had been set before this rude people a splendor in sacred symbols, which might affect their external senses, so as to uplift them as it were by steps to the knowledge of spiritual things. We must now see why the priest as well as all the vessels and the other parts of the tabernacle had need of anointing. I conclude that without controversy this oil mixed with precious perfumes was a type of the Holy Spirit; for the metaphor of anointing is everywhere met with, when the prophets would commend the power, the effects, and the gifts of the Spirit. Nor is there any doubt but that God, by anointing kings, testified that He would endow them with the spirit of prudence, fortitude, clemency, and justice. Hence it is easily gathered that the tabernacle was sprinkled with oil, that the Israelites might learn that all the exercises of piety profited nothing without the secret operation of the Spirit. Nay, something more was shewn forth, viz., that the efficacy and grace of the Spirit existed and reigned in the truth of the shadows itself; and that whatever good was derived from them was applied by the gift of the same Spirit for the use of believers. In the altar, reconciliation was to be sought, that God might be propitious to them; but, as the Apostle testifies, the sacrifice of Christ’s death would not otherwise have been efficacious to appease God, if He had not suffered by the Spirit, (Hebrews 9:14;) and how does its fruit now reach us, except because the same Spirit washes our souls with the blood, which once was shed, as Peter teaches us? (1 Peter 1:2.) Who now consecrates our prayers but the Spirit, who dictates the groans which cannot be uttered; and by whom we cry, Abba, Father? (Romans 8:15, 26.) Nay, whence comes the faith which admits us to a participation in the benefits of Christ, but from the same Spirit?

But we were especially to consider the anointing of the priest, who was sanctified by the Spirit of God for the performance of his office; thus, as Isaiah, in the person of Jesus Christ, declares that he was anointed with the spirit of prophecy, (Isaiah 61:1;) and David affirms the same of the royal spirit, (Psalm 45:7;) so Daniel is our best interpreter and witness how the sacerdotal unction was at length manifested (in Him 181181     Added from Fr. ), for when he says that the time, when by the death of Christ the prophecy shall be sealed up, was determined upon “to anoint the holy of holies,” he plainly reminds us that the spiritual pattern, which answers to the visible sanctuary, is in Christ; so that believers may really feel that these shadows were not mere empty things. (Daniel 9:24.) We now perceive why Aaron was anointed, viz., because Christ was consecrated by the Holy Spirit to be the Mediator between God and man; and why the tabernacle and its vessels were sprinkled with the same oil, viz., because we are only made partakers of the holiness of Christ by the gift and operation of the Spirit. 182182     “Ou il est dit, Que tout ce que, etc., aucuns mettent legendre masculin, Celuy qui les sanctifiera;” where it is said, “Whatsoever,” etc., some put the masculine gender, “He who shall sanctify them.” This is the translation of LXX. and V. Some translate it in the masculine gender, where of the vessels it is said, “whatsoever toucheth them shall be holy;” ver. 29: as if they were not to be touched by any but the priests; but it appears to me to be rather spoken for another reason, viz., that they may embue the oblations with their own sanctity.

25. And thou shalt take it an oil of holy ointment. Although the genitive is put in the place of an epithet, as if Moses had said “a holy oil;” yet it is so called from its effect, because without it nothing is accounted pure. And assuredly the Spirit of God sanctifies ourselves and all that is ours, because without Him we are unholy, and all that belongs to us corrupt. He enjoins the use of the ceremony throughout all the generations of the ancient people, ver. 31. In these words there is an implied contrast with the new Church, which wants no shadows since the manifestation of the substance; and justly does the only begotten Son of God possess the name of Christ, since by His coming He has abolished these figures. And Simeon, when he took Him in his arms, and called Him “the Lord’s Christ,” 183183     The reference here is to Luke 2:28. It does not, however, appear that Simeon actually called Him “the Lord’s Christ,” though the Evangelist states, ver. 26, that “it was revealed to him by the Holy Ghost that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ." taught that the external use of the legal oil had ceased. So much the sillier is the superstition of the Papacy, when in imitation of the Jews it anoints its priests, and altars, and other toys: 184184     Lat., “Nugas;” Fr, “L’autel avec tout leur bagage.” “Now that your oil came not from the Apostles, your own doctor Panormitane is witness; for thus he writeth: ‘The Apostles in old time gave the Holy Ghost only by laying on of hands; but now-a-days, because bishops be not so holy, order hath been taken that they should give this sacrament with chrism.’” — Jewel’s Defence of the Apology, Parker Society’s edition, p. 178.
   "Transtulerunt item sua haec olea, cure ad homines moribundos, tum etiam ad parietes, altaria, and campanas: necnon calices et alia hujusmodi, qum videmus, κακοβηλίᾳ improbanda ex veteri Judaismo esse traducta. Excusat ille Innocentius, (Decret. Greg., lib. 1, tit. 15, de Sacra Unctione.) Ecclesiam haec faciendo non Judaizare,” etc. — Petr. Mart. Loci Com., Cl. 4, cap. 1:21.
as if they desired to bury Christ again with their ointments; wherefore let us hold this invention in detestation as blasphemous, because it overthrows the limits prescribed by God.

In order that the Jews may hold this mystery in just reverence, he forbids similar ointment to be made. We know that ointments were then among the luxuries of a fine banquet; but it is accounted profanation if they make use of this kind; and we must mark the reason, that what is holy, may be holy unto them, ver. 32, i.e., that they may reverently observe what is peculiarly devoted to their salvation. For although the sacred things divinely instituted always retain their nature, and cannot be either corrupted or made void by our vices, yet may we by our filthiness, by our impure use or neglect of them, pollute them as far as in us lies.

Leviticus 8

Leviticus 8:1-3

1. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

1. Loquutus est deinde Jehova ad Mosen, dicendo:

2. Take Aaron and his sons with him, and the garments, and the anointing oil, and a bullock for the sin offering, and two rams, and a basket of unleavened bread;

2. Tolle Aharon et filios ejus cure illo, et vestes, et oleum unctionis, et juvencum sacrificii pro peccato: et duos arietes, et canistrum azymorum.

3. And gather thou all the congregation together unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

3. Atque omnem coetum congrega ad ostium tabernaculi conventionis.


2. Take Aaron. He more clearly explains the mode of anointing and investing the priests, by appointing the place and the assistants; for he commands the congregation to be convoked at the sanctuary; and then that Aaron and his sons should be brought out before them to be inaugurated by God’s authority in their office; and that the whole people together may acknowledge that they are appointed and ordained by God. The execution of the command, which we find connected with it in the text of Moses, must be undoubtedly referred to another time; viz., when the solemn dedication of the tabernacle was made. I have therefore thought fit to transfer thither what is here related out of its place, that the history may proceed uninterruptedly; which will not a little facilitate its comprehension.

Leviticus 21

Leviticus 21:1-6, 10-12

1. And the LORD said unto Moses, Speak unto the priests the sons of Aaron, and say unto them, There shall none be defiled for the dead among his people:

1. Et dixit Jehova ad Mosen, Alloquere sacerdotes filios Aharon, et dicito eis, Super animam non contaminabit se quisquam vestrum it, populis suis:

2. But for his kin, that is near unto him, that is, for his mother, and for his father, and for his son, and for his daughter, and for his brother,

2. Sed super propinquo suo, propinquo sibi, nempe super matre sua, et super patre suo, et super filio suo, et super filia sua, et superfratre suo.,

3. And for his sister a virgin, that is nigh unto him, which hath had no husband; for her may he be defiled.

3. Et super sorore sua virgine propinqua sibi, quae non fuerit viro: super ea contaminabit se.

4. But he shall not defile himself, being a chief man among his people, to profane himself.

4. Non contaminabit se in principe in populis suis, ut polluat sese.

5. They shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard, nor make any cuttings in their flesh.

5. Non decalvabunt calvitium in capitc suo, et extremitatem barbae suse non radent, et in carne sua non incident ullam incisuram.

6. They shall be holy unto their God, and not profane the name of their God: for the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and the bread of their God, they do offer: therefore they shall be holy.

6. Sancti erunt Dco suo, neque polluent nomen Dei sui: quia oblationes ignitas Jehovoe, et panem Dei tui offerunt, proinde erunt sancti.

10. And he that is the high priest among his brethren, upon whose head the anointing oil was poured, and that is consecrated to put on the garments, shall not uncover his head, nor rend his clothes;

10. Sacerdos autem praecipuus inter fratres suos super cujus caput fusum fuerit oleum unctionis, et consecraverit manum suam ut induat vestes, caput suum non discooperiet, et vestes suas non scindet.

11. Neither shall he go in to any dead body, nor defile himself for his father, or for his mother;

11. Et ad omnes animas mortui non ingredietur, ne super patre quidem suo, ant matre sua, contaminabit se.

12. Neither shall he go out of the sanctuary, nor profane the sanctuary of his God; for the crown of the anointing oil of his God is upon him: I am the LORD.

12. Et de sanctuario non ingredietur, neque polluet sanctuarium Dei sui: quia corona olei unctionis Dei sui est super eum. Ego Jehova.


1. Speak unto the priests. All these things which follow tend to the same end, i.e., that the priests may differ from the rest of the people by notable marks, as if separated from ordinary men; for special purity became those who represented the person of Christ. It seems, indeed, as if God here gave precepts respecting small and unimportant things; but we have elsewhere said that the legal rites were as it were steps by which the Israelites might ascend to the study of true holiness. The declaration of Paul indeed was always true, that “bodily exercise profiteth little,” (1 Timothy 4:8;) but the use of the ancient shadows under the Law must be estimated by their end. Although, therefore, the observation of the things which are now treated of did not of itself greatly please God, yet inasmuch as it had a higher tendency, it was sinful to make light of it. Now though the priests were thus admonished that holiness was to be cultivated by them with peculiar diligence, as the sanctity of their office required; yet the principal design of God was to set forth the image of perfect holiness which was at length beheld in Christ. The first law contains a prohibition of mourning, absolutely and without exception as regarded the high priest, and as regarded the sons of Aaron with certain specified restrictions; for although God elsewhere forbids the people generally to imitate the custom of the Gentiles in excessive mourning, yet here he requires something more of the priests, viz., that they should abstain even from ordinary mourning, such as was permitted to others. This prohibition indeed was again repeated, as we shall see, arising from an actual occurrence; for when Nadab and Abihu, who had offered incense with strange fire, were consumed with fire from heaven, God allowed them to be mourned for by all the people, except the priests; 185185     Addition in Fr.,Qui estoyent neanmoins les plus prochains parens:” who were nevertheless the nearest relations. but on this occasion the general law was again ratified afresh, lest the priests should pollute themselves by mourning for the dead; except that there mourning was forbidden even for a domestic loss, that they might acquiesce in God’s judgment, however sad it might be. For by these means they were impeded in the discharge of their duties; because it was not lawful for mourners to enter the sanctuary. Therefore God threatens them with death, unless they should restrain their grief even for the death of a near relative But this (as is elsewhere said) is a rare virtue, so to repress our feelings when we are deprived of our brothers or friends, as that the bitterness of our grief should not overcome our resignation and composure of mind. In this way, therefore, the exemplary piety of the priests was put to the proof. Besides, abstinence from mourning manifests the hope of the blessed resurrection. Therefore the priests were forbidden to mourn for the dead, in order that the rest of the people might seek for consolation in their sorrow from them. 186186     The Fr. says, “De leur exemple." This was truly and amply fulfilled in Christ, who although He bore not only grief, but the extreme horror of death, yet was free from every stain, and gloriously triumphed over death; so that the very recollection of His cross wipes away our tears, and fills us with joy. Now when it is said, “They shall not profane the name of their God;” and in the case of the high priest, “neither shall he go out of the sanctuary;” this reason confirms what; I have just stated, that mourning was forbidden them, because it prevented them from the discharge of their duties; for their very squalidness would have in some sense defiled God’s sanctuary, in which nothing unseemly was to be seen; and being defiled too, they could not intercede as suppliants for the people. God then commands them to remain pure and clear from all defilement, lest they should be compelled to desert their office, and to leave the sanctuary, of which they were the keepers. Moreover, we learn that the fulfillment of this figure was in Christ, from the reason which is immediately added: viz., because the holy oil is on the head of the high priest; whereby God intimates that it is by no means right that His glory and dignity should be profaned by any pollution.

As to the words themselves; first, greater liberty is granted to the rest of the posterity of Aaron, than to the high priest; but only that they should mourn for their father, mother, children, their own brothers, and unmarried sisters. Lest ambition should carry them further, they are expressly forbidden to put on mourning even upon the death of a prince. Nor can we doubt but that the mourning was improper which God permitted to them out of indulgence; but regard was had to their weakness, lest immoderate strictness might drive them to passionate excess; yet God so spared them as still to distinguish them from the multitude. To “defile” one’s-self, (as we have elsewhere seen,) is equivalent to putting on mourning for the dead, celebrating the funeral rites, or going to the burial; because the curse of God proclaims itself in the death of man, so that a corpse infects with contagion those by whom it is touched; and again, because it must needs be that where lamentation is indulged, and as it were excited, the affection itself must burst out into impatience. As to the prohibition to make “baldness,” this was not allowed even to the rest of the people; but God expressly forbids it to the priests, in order to keep them under stricter restraint. With regard to the high priest, something greater seems to be decreed besides the exceptions, that he “shall not uncover his head, nor rend his clothes:” which is still enjoined elsewhere on the sons of Aaron. But here what would be allowable in others is condemned in the high priest; and it was surely reasonable that he should present a peculiar example of moderation and gravity; and therefore the dignity of his office, in which he was superior to others, is called to mind, that he may acknowledge his obligations to be so much the greater. This is indeed the sum, that since the priesthood is the holiness of God, it must not be mixed up with any defilements.

Deuteronomy 31

Deuteronomy 31:9

9. And Moses wrote this law, and delivered it unto the priests the sons of Levi, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and unto all the elders of Israel.

9. Scripsitque Moses Legem istam, et dedit eam sacerdotibus filiis Levi portantibus arcata foederis jehovae, et cunctis senioribus Israel.


9. And Moses wrote this law. It is unquestionable that Moses deposited the Book of the Law in the custody of the Levites, to enjoin upon them the duty of teaching; for although it is only related that they were commanded to recite the book before the people every seventh year, yet it is easy to gather that they were appointed the constant proclaimers of its doctrine. For it would have been absurd that the Law should lie buried for seven whole years, and that not a word should be heard of its instruction; besides, the difficulty of hearing in so great a multitude would be great, and the recollection of it would soon have vanished. In a word, very little would have been the use of the ceremony, if at all other times the Levites had been dumb, and nothing should have been heard throughout the land regarding the worship of God. This then was the object of the solemn promulgation of the Law, (Deuteronomy 31:10, etc.), which was made in the year of release, that the people should daily inquire the right way of serving God of the Levites, who were chosen to be as it were νομοφύλακες (guardians of the Law), that they might bring forward in due season whatever it was profitable to know. Here, then, is represented to us as in a mirror what Paul says, that the Church of God is “the pillar and ground of the truth,” (1 Timothy 3:15;) because purity of doctrine is preserved unimpaired in the world, and propagated by the ministry of pastors, whilst piety would soon decay if the living preaching of doctrine should cease. Therefore Paul also elsewhere commands that the sound doctrine, of which he was a minister, should be committed by Timothy

"to faithful men, who should be able to teach others also.”
(2 Timothy 2:2.)

First, then, we must remember, that the Book of the Law was given in trust, as it were, to the Levites, that the people might learn from them what was right. The addition of “the elders” is not superfluous; for although the office of teaching was not committed to them, yet were they given as coadjutors to the Levites, in order that they might uphold the doctrine of the Law, and not suffer it to be scorned. We know how great is the insolence of the people in rejecting pious teachers, unless they are restrained by those in authority; nor do the latter indeed duly fulfill their duty, if they do not keep their subjects to the study of religion, who would be otherwise too much disposed to impiety.

Moses in this passage calls by the name of “the Law,” not the Ten Commandments engraved on the two tables, but the interpretation of it contained in the four books. The circumstances took place thirty-nine years after God had spoken on Mount Sinai. What follows, that it was to be read every seven years, I have commented on elsewhere; 187187     Vide vol. 1, p. 370. but there will be no harm in repeating what may serve for the understanding of this passage. The seventh year was chosen for this purpose, because all, both males and females, might then assemble at Jerusalem without detriment to their private interests, for there was a cessation from all labor; they neither sowed, nor reaped, and agriculture was altogether at a stand-still. There was therefore no business to prevent them from celebrating that festival, whereby God represented to them in a lively manner, how miraculously He had preserved their fathers in the desert. Lest the recollection of so great a benefit should ever perish, the Law indeed commanded them, wherever they might be, to go forth from their houses every year, and to pass seven days under the boughs of trees; but in the Sabbatical Year, when all was at rest at home, it was more convenient for them to go up to Jerusalem from all quarters, that by their very multitude they might the better testify their gratitude. Therefore it is added, “when all Israel is come,” etc. And it must be observed, that in that assembly they were more solemnly pledged, one and all, to keep the Law, because they were mutually witnesses against each other if they should break the covenant thus publicly renewed. On this account it is added, “Gather the people together, men, women, and children.” But that it might not be a mere empty spectacle, it is expressly commanded that the book should be read “in their hearing:” by which words a recitation is expressed, from whence the hearers might receive profit, else it would have been a sham and ludicrous parade; just as in the Papacy, when they loudly bellow out the Scriptures in an unknown tongue, they do but profane God’s name. To this end, therefore, did God desire the doctrine of His Law to be heard; viz., that He might obtain disciples for Himself; not that He might fill their ears with a senseless and unprofitable clamour. And indeed when the Popish priests were a little ashamed of altogether driving the people away from hearing God’s word, they devised this foolish plan of shouting to the deaf, as if this silly formality would satisfy God’s command, when He ordains that all should be taught from the least to the greatest: for it is afterwards again expressed, “that they may hear, and that they may learn.” Hence we lay it down, that the legitimate use of Scripture is perverted when it is enunciated in an obscure manner such as no one can understand. But whilst no other mode of reading Scripture is approved by God, except such as may instruct the people, so also the fruit of understanding, i.e., that they may learn to fear God, is required in the hearers. But it is undoubted, that “the fear of God” comprehends faith, nay, that properly speaking it springs from faith; and by this expression Moses indicates that the Law was given for the purpose of instructing men in piety and the pure service of God. At the same time we may learn from this passage, that all the services which are paid to God in ignorance, are extravagant, and illegitimate. The beginning of wisdom is to fear God; and on this point all agree; but then each one slips away to his own imaginations and erroneous devotions, as they choose to call them. God, however, in order to restrain such audacity as this, declares that he is not duly worshipped, except He shall first have been listened to. As to “the strangers,” when their participation in sacred things is in question, I have elsewhere observed that all foreigners are not so called, but only those who, being Gentiles by origin, had devoted themselves to God, and having received circumcision, had been incorporated into the Church; otherwise it would not have been lawful to admit them into the congregation of the faithful; and this is confirmed by the additional words, “that is within thy gates:” which is as much as if Moses had said, inhabitants of your cities, and dwelling together with the people. Finally, when their children are mentioned, reference is made to the propagation of sound doctrine, that the pure worship of God may continually be maintained. He therefore commands that the Law should be recited, not in one generation only, but as long as the status of the people may last; and surely all God’s servants ought to take care, that they may transmit to posterity what they have learnt themselves. Yet we must remark, that all doctrine which may have been handed down from their ancestors, is not here promiscuously commended; but God rather claims for Himself the entire authority, both towards the fathers and the children.

Leviticus 10

Leviticus 10:8-11

8. And the LORD spake unto Aaron, saying,

8. Loquutus est etiam Jehova ad Aharon, dicendo:

9. Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations:

9. Vinum et siceram non bibes tu et filii tui tecum, quando intrabitis in tabernaculum conventionis, ne moriamini: statutum perpetuum est in generationibus vestris:

10. And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean;

10. Et ut discernatis inter sanctum et profanum, et inter immundum et mundum.

11. And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses.

11. Et ut doceatis filios Israel omnis statuta qum loquutus est Jehova ad eos per manum Mosis.


9. Do not drink wine, nor strong drink. The second cleanness required in the priests is that they should abstain from wine, and strong drink; 188188     Lat., “sicera.” Fr, “ce qui est nomme en Hebrieu Sechar.” Blunt, “The veracity of the Books of Moses, etc.,” art. 13, argues on the probability of Nadab and Abihu’s sin in the offering of strange fire having been the effect of intoxication, from the fact of its relation being immediately followed by this prohibition. — Edit., 1835. Pp. 113, et seq.
   Lorinus, however, in loco, refutes the notion from Tostatus, and so also Willet. It appears to have been of Jewish origin; and the principal arguments against it are, — 1. That it is not mentioned in the Scripture; and 2. That the offenders had been ministering from an early hour in the morning.
in which word Jerome says that everything intoxicating is included; and this I admit to be true; but the definition would be more correct, that all liquors espressed from fruits are denoted by it, in whose sweetness there is nearly as much to tempt men as in wine. Even in these days the Orientals compose of dates as well as of other fruits, liquors, which are exceedingly sweet and delicious. The same rule is, therefore, here prescribed for the priests, whilst in the performance of their duties, as for the Nazarites. Both were allowed freely to eat of all the richest foods; but God commanded them to be content with water, because abstinence in drinks very greatly conduces to frugality of living. For few are intemperate in eating, who do not also love wine; besides, an abundance of food generally satisfies the appetite, whilst there is no limit to drinking, where the love of wine prevails. Therefore, abstinence from wines was enjoined upon the priest, not only that they might beware of drunkenness, but that they might be temperate in eating, and not luxuriate in their abundance. But, inasmuch as sobriety is the main point in moderate living, God especially limited His priests in this respect, lest the rigor of their minds, and rectitude, and integrity of judgment, should be impaired by drinking. Hence it appears how great is man’s proneness to all defilements. Wine is very wholesome as one of our means of nutriment; but by the too free use of it many enervate their strength, becloud their understanding, and almost stupify all their senses so as to make themselves inactive. Some, too, degrade themselves into foul and brutish stupidity, or are driven by it to madness. Thus a pleasure, which ought to have incited them to give God thanks, is taken away from them on account of their vicious excess; and not without disgrace, because they know not how to enjoy God’s good gifts in moderation. He afterwards confirms the fact, that He interdicted wine to the priests when exercising their office, that they may distinguish “between clean and unclean,” and be sound and faithful interpreters of the Law. On this score it became them to be abstemious throughout their whole life, because they were always appointed to be masters to instruct the people; but lest immoderate strictness should tend to disgust them, so that they might be less disposed for the willing performance of the rest of their duty, God deemed it sufficient to admonish them by this temporary abstinence, that they should study to be sober at other times. Thus, then, it must be concluded that none are fit to teach who are given to gluttony, which corrupts the soundness of the mind, and destroys its rigor. The comment of Jerome is indeed a childish one, that “A fat belly does not engender a quick understanding:” for many corpulent men are of vigorous and active intellect, and indeed leanness is often the consequence of drinking too much. But those who stuff their bodies will never have sufficient activity of mind to execute the office of teaching. In conclusion, we gather from this passage, as Malachi says, (Malachi 2:7,) that the priests were interpreters of the Law, and messengers of the Lord of hosts, and not dumb masks For though the Law was written, yet God would ever have the living voice to resound in His Church, just as now-a-days preaching is inseparably united with Scripture.

Concerning the High Priest

Leviticus 21

Leviticus 21:1-6, 10-12

1. And the LORD said unto Moses, Speak unto the priests the sons of Aaron, and say unto them, There shall none be defiled for the dead among his people:

1. Et dixit Jehova ad Mosen, Alloquere sacerdotes filios Aharon, et dicito eis, Super animam non contaminabit se quisquam vestrum it, populis suis:

2. But for his kin that is near unto him, that is, for his mother, and for his father, and for his son, and for his daughter, and for his brother,

2. Sed super propinquo suo, propinquo sibi, nempe super matre sua, et super patre suo, et super filio suo, et super filia sua, et superfratre suo.,

3. And for his sister a virgin, that is nigh unto him, which hath had no husband; for her may he be defiled.

3. Et super sorore sua virgine propinqua sibi, quae non fuerit viro: super ea contaminabit se.

4. But he shall not defile himself, being a chief man among his people, to profane himself.

4. Non contaminabit se in principe in populis suis, ut polluat sese.

5. They shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard, nor make any cuttings in their flesh.

5. Non decalvabunt calvitium in capitc suo, et extremitatem barbae suse non radent, et in carne sua non incident ullam incisuram.

6. They shall be holy unto their God, and not profane the name of their God: for the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and the bread of their God, they do offer: therefore they shall be holy.

6. Sancti erunt Dco suo, neque polluent nomen Dei sui: quia oblationes ignitas Jehovoe, et panem Dei tui offerunt, proinde erunt sancti.

10. And he that is the high priest among his brethren, upon whose head the anointing oil was poured, and that is consecrated to put on the garments, shall not uncover his head, nor rend his clothes;

10. Sacerdos autem praecipuus inter fratres suos super cujus caput fusum fuerit oleum unctionis, et consecraverit manum suam ut induat vestes, caput suum non discooperiet, et vestes suas non scindet.

11. Neither shall he go in to any dead body, nor defile himself for his father, or for his mother;

11. Et ad omnes animas mortui non ingredietur, ne super patre quidem suo, ant matre sua, contaminabit se.

12. Neither shall he go out of the sanctuary, nor profane the sanctuary of his God; for the crown of the anointing oil of his God is upon him: I am the LORD.

12. Et de sanctuario non ingredietur, neque polluet sanctuarium Dei sui: quia corona olei unctionis Dei sui est super eum. Ego Jehova.


7. They shall not take a wife. The third kind of purity is in marriage itself, that the priests’ home may be chaste and free from all dishonor. At this time also God commands by the mouth of Paul, that pastors should be chosen, who rule well their own houses, whose wives are chaste and modest, and their children well-behaved. (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6.) The same cause for this existed under the Law, lest those appointed for the government of the Church should be despised and looked down upon on account of their domestic vices. But God most especially had regard to the priesthood of Christ, that it should not be exposed to contempt. It was indeed permitted that men should marry with impunity a woman divorced from her husband; though in the sight of God such an union was unlawful. No law forbade private individuals from marrying a deflowered woman; but what was permitted to the multitude God condemned in the priests, in order to withdraw them from every mark of infamy. And this reason is also expressed when he says that He would have the priests holy, because He has chosen them for Himself; for if the people had not reverenced them, all religion would have been contemptible. Therefore that their dignity might be preserved, He commands them to take diligent heed not to expose themselves to ignominy. Finally, still more highly to commend reverence to their holy office, He reminds them that it related to the welfare of the whole people: “I the Lord (He says) do sanctify him,” ver. 15. In these words He intimates that the grace of adoption, whereby they were chosen as His heritage, was based on the priesthood.

13. And he shall take a wife in her virginity. More is required in the high priest, viz., that he should not marry a widow, nor a woman of any other tribe than his own. A question may indeed arise as to the latter clause, whether the plural word ought to be restricted to one tribe, 189189     Ainsworth’s literal translation is “a virgin of his peoples.” Fr., “Ailleurs il se prend pour tout le corps de la lignee d’Abraham:” elsewhere it is taken for the whole body of the race of Abraham. whereas it is elsewhere applied to all. But, if we examine it more closely, it is plain that “his peoples” is equivalent to “of his people,” (populares.) But nothing peculiar will be here required of the priest, if his wife is to be taken only from the children of Abraham. I admit that the chief priests married wives of Other tribes, as Elizabeth, sprung of the tribe of Judah, married Zacharias; but, since the high priest is here distinguished from all others, I do not see how it would follow that a law or privilege referring to him should be observed by the whole posterity of Aaron. On this point, however, I will not contend, if any one thing is otherwise. But assuredly, since he presented the brightest type of Christ, it was right that superior and more perfect holiness should be beheld in him. 190190     It is surely strange that C., who here seems to draw out the Christology of the ordinances of the Law with unusual fullness and precision, should have omitted to mention “the mystical union which is between Christ and His Church,” as most luminously set forth in this type. Vide Song, passim. Psalm 95; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:27; Revelation 19:8, etc. For this was the tendency of the restriction, that his wife, not having known another man, should manifest the modesty worthy of her station and quality of sacred honor. If any should object that the marriage of, an old priest with a young girl was ridiculous and somewhat indecorous, as well as liable to many inconveniences; I answer, that special regulations should be so expounded as not to interfere with general principles. If a decrepit old man falls in love with a young girl, it is a base and shameful lust; besides he will defraud her if he marries her. Hence, too, will jealousy and wretched anxiety arise; or, by foolishly and dotingly seeking to preserve his wife’s love, he will cast away all regard for gravity. When God forbade the high priest to marry any but a virgin, he did not wish to violate this rule, which is dictated by nature and reason; but, regard being had to age, He desired that modesty and propriety should be maintained in the marriage, so that, if the priest were of advanced years, he should marry a virgin not too far from his own age: but, if he were failing and now but little fitted for marriage on account of his old age, the law that he should marry a virgin was rather an exhortation to celibacy, than that he should expose himself to many troubles and to general ridicule.

9. And the daughter of any priest. The moderation and chastity (required in the priest 191191     Added from Fr. ) is extended also to his daughter; and by synecdoche all that relates to good discipline is comprised under a single head; viz., that his children should be educated in the study of virtue, and in decent and pure morality. A heavy punishment is denounced against a priest’s daughter if she should play the harlot, because sacrilege would be combined with her disgraceful licentiousness. But it is no light crime to violate God’s sanctuary; and, if the priest had tolerated such an iniquity in his daughter, he would have been no severe avenger of the same turpitude in strangers; nay, he would not have been at liberty to punish crimes, unless he made a beginning in his own house.

Leviticus 21

Leviticus 21:16-24

16. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

16. Loquutus est Jehova ad Mosen, dicendo:

17. Speak unto Aaron, saying, Whosoever he be of thy seed in their generations that hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God.

17. Loquere ad Aharon, dicendo, Vir e semine tuo per aetates suas, in quo fuerit macula, non accedet ut offerat panem Dei sui.

18. For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or any thing superfluous,

18. Quippe nullus vir in quo fuerit macula, aecedet: vir crocus, vel claudus, aut diminutus, aut superfluus:

19. Or a man that is brokenfooted, or brokenhanded,

19. Aut vir in quo fuerit fractura pedis, vel fractura manus:

20. Or crookbackt, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken;

20. Aut gibbosus, aut lippus, aut qui habebit maeulam in oculo suo, aut cui fuerit scabies vel impetigo, aut qui contritus fuerit testiculo.

2l. No man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the LORD made by fire: he hath a blemish; he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of his God.

21. Omnis vir in quo fuerit macula, e semine Aharon sacerdotis, non accedet ad offerendum oblationes ignitas Jehovae: in quo fuertit macula, non accedet ad offerendum panem Dei sui.

22. He shall eat the bread of his God, both of the most holy, and of the holy.

22. Panem quidem Dei sui e sanctitatibus sanctitatum et e sanctis comedet.

23. Only he shall not go in unto thevail, nor come nigh unto the altar, because he hath a blemish; that he profane not my sanctuaries: for I the LORD do sanctify them.

23. Atqui intra velum non ingredietur, et ad altare non aceedet: quia macula est in eo, ne polluat sanctuaria mea: quoniam ego Jehova qui sanctifico vos.

24. And Moses told it unto Aaron, and to his sons, and unto all the children of Israel.

24. Loquutus est itaque Moses ad Aharon et filios ejus, et ad omnes filios Israel.


17. Speak unto Aaron, saying. Priests in whom there was any notable bodily defect are here forbidden from approaching the altar. I will not curiously inquire into the defects which Moses enumerates, since the same rule is here laid down, which is afterwards applied to the sacrifices, whereof none but perfect ones were to be offered. For God rejected whatever was defective or mutilated, in order that the Israelites might know that no victim would suffice for the expiation of sin, except such as possessed complete perfection; and this is justly required in a priest, who cannot be a mediator between God and men unless he is free from every spot. But the analogy must be kept in view between the external figures and the spiritual perfection which existed only in Christ. God could bear no defect in the priests; it follows, then, that a man of angelic purity was to be expected, who should reconcile God to the world. The bodily imperfections, then, which were here enumerated, must be transferred to the soul. The offering of bread comprehends by synecdoche the other offerings, and the whole legal service, which the priests were wont to perform in their course; and this the words of Moses immediately afterwards confirm, wherein he mentions all “the offerings made by fire,” besides the bread. We have seen elsewhere that any of the people wounded in the testicles were prohibited from entering the sanctuary; that they were, not even to set foot in the court; but there was a special reason for this as regarded the priests, lest they should pollute the sanctuary by their defects. Hence it appears how needful for us is the intercession of Christ; for, if his perfect cleanness did not wash away our impurity, no oblation could proceed from us except what would be foul and unsavory. Moreover, it is worthy of observation that the sanctuary of God is polluted by any defect or imperfection; and, consequently, that whatever of their own men obtrude upon God, is condemned as profane, so far are they from conciliating God’s favor by any merit.

22. He shall eat the bread of his God. He permits them indeed to eat of the sacrifices, because no uncleanness on account of their natural defects could prevent them from partaking of the sacred meals; 192192     “La nouristure assignee aux enfans d’Aaron.” — Fr. they are only forbidden to appear in God’s presence as mediators to propitiate Him. And here the imperfection of the legal service betrays itself; for nothing could be found among men which could fully represent the truth. Since then the defects of men rendered it necessary to separate the two connected things, viz., the honor and the burden, hence the Israelites were admonished that another priest was promised them, in whom nothing would be wanting for the consummation of all virtues and perfection. Finally, Moses relates that he delivered God’s commands not only to Aaron and his sons, but to all the people likewise; so that the humblest of them might be the censor of the priests 193193     “Peust contreroler, par maniere de dire, les Sacrificateurs:” might, so to say, control the priests. — Fr. if in anything they fell short.

Leviticus 22

Leviticus 22:1-16

1. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

1. Loquutus est insuper Jehova ad Mosen, dicendo:

2. Speak unto Aaron and to his sons, that they separate themselves from the holy things of the children of Israel, and that they profane not my holy name in those things which they hallow unto me: I am the LORD.

2. Loquere ad Aharon, et filios ejus ut separent sese a sanctificationibus filiorum Israel et ne polluant nomen sanctitatis mese in his quae ipsi sanctificant mihi: ego Jehova.

3. Say unto them, Whosoever he be of all your seed among your generations, that goeth unto the holy things, which the children of Israel hallow unto the LORD, having his uncleanness upon him, that soul shall be cut off from my presence: I am the LORD.

3. Dic illis, in generationibus vestris omnis vir qui accesserit ex omni semine vestro ad sanctificationes quae sanctificaverint filii Israel Jehovae, et immunditia sua fuerit super ipsum, excidetur anima ipsius a facie mea: ego Jehova.

4. What man soever of the seed of Aaron is a leper, or hath a running issue; he shall not eat of the holy things, until he be clean. And whoso toucheth any thing that is unclean by the dead, or a man whose seed goeth from him;

4. Quicunque e semine Aharon fuerit leprosus, vel seminifluus, de sanctificationibus non comedet donec mundet se: et qui tedgerit immundum super morticinio, ant virex quo egreditur effusio seminis,

5. Or whosoever toucheth any creeping thing, whereby he may be made unclean, or a man of whom he may take uncleanness, whatsoever uncleanness he hath;

5. Ant vir qui tetigerit quodcunque reptile per quod immundus erit, ant hominem propter quem immundus erit, secundum omnem immunditiam eius:

6. The soul which hath touched any such shall be unclean until even, and shall not eat of the holy things, unless he wash his flesh with water.

6. Anima inquam quae tetigerit illum, immunda erit usque ad vesperam: et non comedet de sanctificationibus nisi laverit carnem suam aqua.

7. And when the sun is down, he shall be clean, and shall afterward eat of the holy things; because it is his food.

7. Quum autem occubuerit sol, turn erit mundus, et postea comedet de sanctificationibus: quia cibus ejus est.

8. That which dieth of itself, or is torn with beasts, he shall not eat to defile himself therewith: I am the LORD.

8. Cadaver et rapture non comedet, et polluat se in eo: ego Jehova.

9. They shall therefore keep mine ordinance, lest they bear sin for it, and die therefore, if they profane it: I the LORD do sanctify them.

9. Et custodiant custodiam meam, et ne portent peccatum propter illud, et moriantur propter illud, quum polluerint illam: ego Jehova sanctificans eos.

10. There shall no stranger eat of the holy thing: a sojourner of the priest, or an hired servant, shall not eat of the holy thing.

10. Omnis autem alienigena non comedet sanctificationem: inquilinus sacerdotis, et mercenarius non comedet sanctificationem.

11. But if the priest buy any soul with his money, he shall eat of it, and he that is born in his house: they shall eat of his meat.

11. Quod si sacerdos emerit hominem emptione argenti sui: ipsc comedet ex ea, et vernaculus ejus: illi comedent de cibo ejus.

12. If the priest’s daughter also be married unto a stranger, she may not eat of an offering of the holy things.

12. Filia autem sacerdotis quum fuerit viro alieno: ipsa de oblatione sanctificationum non comedet.

13. But if the priest’s daughter be a widow, or divorced, and have no child, and is returned unto her father’s house, as in her youth, she shall eat of her father’s meat: but there shall no stranger eat thereof.

13. Filia vero sacerdotis quum fuerit vidua, ant repudiata, et semen non erit el, et reversa fuerit ad domran parris sui, sicut in pueritia sua, de eibo patris eomedet: onmis autem alienigena non comedet ex co.

14. And if a man eat of the holy thing unwittingly, then he shall put the fifth part thereof unto it, and shall give it unto the priest with the holy thing.

14. Quod si aliquis comederit sanctificationem per imprudentiam, addet quintam partem ejus, et dabit sacerdoti eum sanctificatione.

15. And they shall not profane the holy things of the children of Israel, which they offer unto the LORD;

15. Et non contaminabunt sanctificationes filiorum Israel, quas obtulerint Jehovae.

16. Or suffer them to bear the iniquity of trespass, when they eat their holy things: for I the LORD do sanctify them.

16. Neque portare facient cos iniquitatem delicti, dum comederint sanctificationes eorum: ego enim Jehova sanctificans eos.


1. And the Lord spake unto Moses. Moses here treats of the accidents whereby pollution is contracted, although a man may be by nature pure and sound. If any labored under natural defects, Moses prohibited them from exercising the sacerdotal office; now, if any extrinsic pollution may have affected a priest, he commands him to abstain from his duties until he shall have been purified. He had already commanded that any unclean person should be separated from the people lest their contagion should infect others; it may therefore seem superfluous to prescribe to the priests what had been universally enjoined. But since men placed in any position of honor are apt to abuse God’s favor as a pretext for sin, lest the sacerdotal dignity might be used as a covering for the indulgence or excuse of scandals, it was necessary to enact an express law, that the priests should not plead their privilege to eat in their uncleanness of the sacrifices which none but the clean might offer. And that their sacrilege might be the more detestable, he denounces death against any who should intrude their pollutions into the sacrifices; for it was necessary to arouse by the fear of punishment, and as it were to drive by violence to their duty those who would not have been otherwise restrained by any religious feeling from making God’s service contemptible. He then enumerates the particular kinds of pollution of which we have before spoken. Whence it appears, that the priests were brought into discipline by this law, lest they should think themselves more free than the rest of the people, thus might indulge themselves in security; and this is afterwards more clearly expressed where God admonishes them to “keep his ordinance,” 194194     Lat., “Custodiant custodiam meam.” Ainsworth, “Keep my charge." (ver. 9:) i.e., diligently to observe whatever He commanded; and the greater dignity He had honored them with, that the greater should be their study to persevere in the exercises of piety; for he shews them that so far from their sacerdotal rights conducing to the alleviation of their sin, they were more strongly bound by them to keep the Law.

10 There shall no stranger. It was also necessary to add this, that the majesty of sacred things might not be impaired; for if it had been promiscuously permitted to all to eat of the sacred bread and the other oblations, the people would have straightway inferred that they differed not from ordinary food. And unless the avarice of the priests had been thus anticipated, 195195     “Ils eussent ttenu foire et marche des viandes, qui leurs fussent demeurees de residu, ce qui n’eust pas este sans grand opprobre:” they would have kept fair and market of the meats which remained over to them, which could not have taken place without much scandal. — Fr. an unworthy trade would have prevailed; for banquets would have been see up for sale, and the priest’s house would have been a kind of provision-market. The prohibition, therefore, that the meats offered in sacrifice should be eaten by strangers, was not made so much with reference to them as to the priests, who would have else driven a profitable trade with the offerings, or, by gratifying their guests, would not have hesitated to bring disrepute on the whole service of God. The Law consequently prohibits that either a sojourner, or a hired servant, should eat of them; and only gives this permission to their slaves, and those who were incorporated into their families. Moreover, He counts the priests’ daughters who had married into another tribe as aliens. The sum has this tendency, that whatsoever depends on the service of God should obtain its due reverence; nor could this be the case, if what was offered in the temple were not distinguished from common food. Inasmuch as they were human beings, they were allowed to subsist in the ordinary manner; yet was this distinction necessary, which might savor of the sanctity of Christ. This was the cleanness of the priests as regarded food.

14. And if a man eat of the holy thing unwittingly. A question may here arise, why God would have satisfaction made to the priests, if any one should have eaten of the offerings; for they deserved punishment rather than reward, if they had suffered sacred things to be brought into contempt by their promiscuous use. But the error of those is here dealt with, who had not reserved for the priests their lawful share. A portion, as we shall see, was assigned by God, which they were to set aside before they tasted any part of the victim; those, therefore, who had sinned by inadvertency, are commanded by Him to expiate their fault, to restore so much to the priest, and to add a fifth part. And this was done with the object of which we have spoken, lest, if the things offered to God were exposed to common use, religion should be brought into contempt. What follows afterwards, “and they shall not profane the holy things,” I interpret as addressed to the priests themselves; for this sentence is connected with the previous one, in which the injunctions were directed to the priests alone; and this is further confirmed by the next verse, which declares that the whole people would be accomplices in the sin of the priests if they should have polluted the sacred oblations. For thus I take the words, “that they should not suffer the people to bear the iniquity,” or the punishment of the transgression, if the unclean should have touched things offered to God. For as the priest is the mediator of reconciliation to propitiate God towards men, so his impiety is a common iniquity, which brings guilt upon all. The translation which some give, “that they should not lade themselves,” 196196     As in margin of A. V. is further from the sense, and altogether wrested. Finally, God again declares that in proportion to the greatness of the honor which He had put upon them, would be the heaviness and inexcusableness of the crime, if they acted unworthily of their calling.

Exodus 20

Exodus 20:26

26. Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon.

26. Non ascendes per gradus ad altare meum, ne detegatur turpitude tua juxta illud.


26. Neither shalt thou go up. When God had prescribed modesty to the priests in their whole life, and in their private actions, no wonder that He should require especial care of decency and pro