Numbers 18:7 MEANING

Numbers 18:7
(7) And within the vail.--i.e., the vail which separated the holy place from the most holy. The word which is employed in this place (parocheth) is used only of the second vail. (See Leviticus 16:12.) When the outer vail or hanging is designed to be understood, the word used is masak. The reference appears to be to the whole of the priestly duties which were discharged by Aaron and his sons, from those connected with the altar of burnt offering to those which were performed in the most holy place.

Verse 7. - Shall keep your priests' office for everything of the altar, and within the vail. That the Levites were made over to Aaron and his sons to relieve them of a great part of the mere routine and drudgery of their service was to be with them an additional and powerful motive for doing their priestly work so reverently and watchfully as to leave no excuse for sacrilegious intrusion. The altar (of burnt offering) and "that within the vail (cf. Hebrews 6:19) were the two points between which the exclusive duties of the priesthood lay, including the service of the holy place. A service of gift. A service which was not to be regarded as a burden, or a misfortune, or as a natural heritage and accident of birth, but to be received and cherished as a favour accorded to them by the goodness of God.

18:1-7 The people complained of their difficulty and peril in drawing near to God. God here gives them to understand, that the priests should come near for them. Aaron would see reason not to be proud of his preferment, when he considered the great care and charge upon him. Be not high-minded, but fear. The greater the trust of work and power that is committed to us, the greater danger there is of betraying that trust. This is a good reason why we should neither envy others' honours, nor desire high places.Therefore thou and thy sons with thee shall keep your priest's office,.... Observe all the duties of it, and keep out others from intruding into it:

for everything of the altar: both of incense and of burnt offering with respect to burning incense on the one, and offering sacrifices on the other; both were to be done by priests, and by no other:

and within the vail; in the most holy place, where the high priest entered but once a year, and he only with incense, and the blood of sacrifices, see Hebrews 9:7,

and ye shall serve; do all the business that is to be done at either altar, whether in the court, or in the holy place, and whatsoever is to be done in the most holy place within the vail:

I have given your priest's office unto you as a service of gift; it was not what they had taken to themselves of their own will, or had thrust themselves into, but what the Lord had called them to, and had freely invested them with, see Hebrews 5:4,

and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death; any common person, as the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan; any Israelite, one that is a stranger from the priests, though a Levite, as Aben Ezra; such an one might not come either to the altar of burnt offering to offer any sacrifice upon it, or the altar of incense, to burn incense on that, or trim the lamps, or put the shewbread in order, or to do anything peculiar to the priest's office.

Courtesy of Open Bible