Exodus Chapter 29  PDF  MSWord

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Go to Bible: Exodus 29
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Exo 29:13

“burn them into smoke.” The phrase “burn them into smoke” is the translation of the Hebrew verb qatar (#06999 מֻקְטָר), a verb that can refer to smoke, smell, or steam. The verb can mean “to make a sacrifice, burn a sacrifice, burn a sacrifice into smoke, burn incense or burn incense into smoke (thus, offer incense), fill something with fragrance” (HALOT; Holladay Hebrew and Aramaic lexicon). The exact translation in any given verse is determined by the context. The verb was used in a cultic context to refer to burning a sacrifice or burning it all the way into smoke, or to burning incense. For example, here in Exodus 29:13, the Common English Bible uses the phrase “burn them up in smoke” (cp. CJB; JPS; NASB; NRSV).

The smoke was a sweet smell to God. It is not that God likes the smell of smoke, but rather that the smoke of the sacrifice was supposed to represent the love and commitment of the person doing the sacrifice, and from God’s perspective the sacrifice also looked forward to the sacrifice of His Son for the sins of humankind. Given that, in some contexts, the translation of the verb qatar could be expanded in a paraphrased or amplified Bible to “turn them into sweet smoke,” which is the reading in the margin of the NET First Edition Bible. The same Hebrew verb, qatar, was used for burning incense which produced a sweet smell (cp. Exod. 30:7). The smell of the burning is called a “soothing aroma to Yahweh” (cp. Lev. 1:9, 13,17; 3:16; 4:31; etc.). Given that the smoke was to be a soothing aroma to God and in that it was similar to the smoke of incense, here in Exodus 29:13, the YLT has that the priest made “perfume on the altar,” and Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible says, “burn as incense on the altar.”

That the smoke of the sacrifice or the smoke and smell of the incense was a blessing to God was based on the obedience and heart of love of the person doing the offering. When God’s people were disobedient, arrogant, sinful, and worshiped idols, the smell of the sacrifices and of the incense offended God (Isa. 1:11-13). [For more information about the sacrifices of wicked people being of no value, see commentary on Amos 5:22].

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Exo 29:18

“You are to burn the whole ram into smoke on the altar.” The burnt offering was to be completely burnt up except for the skin of the animal, which was given to the priests (Lev. 7:8). This was different from the other animal sacrifices such as the sin offering or fellowship offering because the person who offered that sacrifice got to eat some of the meat.

[For more on “burn...into smoke,” see commentary on Exodus 29:13.]

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“into smoke.” See commentary on Exodus 29:13.

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