Exodus 29:29-30

Verses covered in this passage:

  • Exodus 29:29
  • Exodus 29:30

The book of Exodus is the second book of the Torah (“law”). It continues the story of Genesis concerning the migration of the family of Jacob (the Israelites) to Egypt (Genesis 50). It describes the commissioning of Moses and Aaron as God’s representatives on earth to accomplish God’s deliverance of His people from slavery in Egypt and lead them to the Promised Land (the land of Canaan). It also relates the miraculous deliverance from Egypt beginning with the plagues on Egypt and the crossing of the Red Sea. It then describes the journey to Mount Sinai and the establishment of the Mosaic covenant with the Israelites. The last part of the book involves the specifications and building of the tabernacle – the place where the Lord Himself dwelt amongst His people.

In the book of Exodus, the focus shifts to the deliverance of God’s people.

Exodus 29 is a detailed account of what should occur in the ritual for ordaining the priests into their service to the LORD. It was to last seven days, and during that time the priests were washed, anointed, and sacrifices were made. The ceremony itself is recorded in Leviticus 8.

Exodus 29 can be outlined as follows:

  • The Ordination Ceremony of the Priests (29:1 – 35)
    • o Preparation for Ordination (29:1 – 3)
    • o Washing (29:4)
    • o Anointing (29:5 – 9)
    • o The Sin Offering (29:10 – 14)
    • o The Burnt Offering (29:15 – 18)
    • o The Peace Offering (29:19 – 26, 31 – 34)
    • o The Wave and Heave Offerings (29:27 – 30)
    • o The Ordination Ceremony’s Length (35)
  • The Consecration of the Altar (29:36 – 37)
  • The Dedication of the Daily Offerings (29:38 – 46)

The fact that the LORD described this ceremony in such detail shows how important it was to the nation. Israel was chosen by God to be in a special covenant relationship with Him, and Aaron and his sons were chosen to be the mediators of this covenant. Such a privileged position required a special ceremony to impress upon all of the people what the LORD required of them in terms of worship and service. It could also be a reminder to the people that they were called to serve as a priestly nation, serving as mediators to other nations (Exodus 19:5-6).

The LORD describes how the garments of the high priest were to be handed down to the designated replacement. This was to take place during an ordination ceremony that was to last seven days.

These two verses specify that the holy garments of Aaron were to be passed on to his sons after him, because the LORD required the future high priests to wear them when they were anointed and ordained. The Hebrew word for anointed (“mashkhah”) is the verb form of the Hebrew noun “meshiakh” or “messiah.” The high priest was to be the anointed one who came before the LORD and interceded on behalf of His people. The Hebrew for “ordained” is literally “fill their hands,” referring to the tasks required of them in serving in the LORD’s presence in the tabernacle. Jesus was the Messiah who was the “anointed one” to fulfill all that was spoken of Him, including being a High Priest who is of a higher order than Aaron and his sons after him, who are later called Levitical priests (Hebrews 7:11; 8:1-6).

The ordination ceremony was to last for seven days for the one of his sons who is priest in his stead. This new high priest was required to put them (the holy garments) on when he enters the tent of meeting to minister in the holy place. Presumably, the priests would take turns being “on duty.” But when the new high priest is anointed, he is to serve in the holy place for seven straight days. As the new high priest went into the holy place, he needed to wear the holy garments set aside for the high priest. The holy place was the place with the lamps that needed to be tended daily.

This ceremony could have had a number of applications. It could deter dispute over succession. It could also be symbolic of the high priest as a servant leader, doing the work himself trimming the lamps to begin his office, using the oil provided by all the people (Exodus 27:20). It could also be symbolic of the ministry of the high priest to serve as a light to the people.

Biblical Text

29 “The holy garments of Aaron shall be for his sons after him, that in them they may be anointed and ordained. 30 For seven days the one of his sons who is priest in his stead shall put them on when he enters the tent of meeting to minister in the holy place.

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