Thursday, February 10, 2011

Exodus 30:1-10 - The Golden Altar of Incense, its Copper Censer and its Twelve Golden Spoons

Since this week is the end for the Tetzaveh Torah portion reading, I would like to provide you with a better review of the Altar of Incense, its Copper Censer, its Twelve Golden Incense Spoons and its basic operation procedure. Let's take a look:

Exodus 30:1-6 describes the Altar itself. The Altar was essentially a hollow gold plated wooden box with an open bottom, 1x1x2 cubits. It had four "horns" coming out of its four top corners (Exodus 30:2), a golden crown (Exodus 30:3), two golden rings (Exodus 30:4) and two gold plated Staves to transport it (Exodus 30:5). Here it is:

The Altar of Incense was set before the Inner Curtain (Vail) (Exodus 30:6) of the Tent of the Tabernacle (in the Holy Place section of the Tent), like so:

Now, let's take a look at the Altar of Incense up-close:

On the rendering above and below, you can see that on top of the Altar of Incense stood a Copper Censer of the serving Priest (High Priest most likely, a.k.a Aaron). And Twelve (12) Golden Spoons filled with Holy Incense (and for the Holy Incense), that were donated by the Princes of the Twelve Tribes of Israel (Numbers 7:86). Like so (one golden spoon is not visible here - sorry):

As Exodus 30:7-8 states, Aaron, or any other High Priest would burn Holy Incense upon the Altar. He would do so by opening up the Censer, like so:

Then, as say, Leviticus 16:12 specifies, he would go the Altar of Burnt Offering and fill the Censer with burning coals and place it back upon the Altar of Incense, like so:

Then, as say Leviticus 16:13 specifies, he would grab some Holy Incense from one of the Golden Spoons and pour it from his hand into the Censer, upon the burning coals, like so:

Which would result in relatively thick, steady and long lasting smoke flow from the Censer, like so:

Therefore, as you can see from all images above, the Altar of Incense and its service was one of the magnificent events in the Tabernacle service. Not to mention, that it would fill the Tent of the Tabernacle with pleasant smell that would enchance the grandeur of the Tabernacle even more.

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