Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar
Which some understand of the shewbread, mention being afterwards made of a "table", as Jerom; who observes that it was made of wheat, which the priests themselves sowed, reaped, ground, and baked, and so could take what they would out of it: as for their sowing it, it does not seem likely that they should be employed in such service, whatever may be said for their reaping; since the sheaf of the first fruits was reaped by persons deputed from the sanhedrim F23; though of the reaping of that for the shewbread, I find no mention made; but as for grinding, sifting, kneading, and making it into loaves, and baking it, and taking it out of the oven, and putting it upon the table of shewbread, all this was the work of the priests F24; and those of the house of Garmu F25 were appointed over that work: now, this bread might be said to be polluted, when they set upon the table such as was not made of fine wheat flour, and had not pure frankincense put upon or by each row, as the law required, ( Leviticus 24:5 Leviticus 24:7 ) nor is it any material objection to this sense, that it is an altar, and not a table, on which this bread was offered; since, as the altar is called a table, ( Ezekiel 41:22 ) , as this is in a following clause, the table may be called an altar; though it may be observed, that the shewbread is never said to be offered, but to be set, or put upon the table: indeed the burning of the frankincense set by it is called an offering made by fire unto the Lord, ( Leviticus 24:7 ) wherefore others interpret this of the daily meat offering, which went along with the daily sacrifice of the lambs, and part of which was burnt on the altar, ( Exodus 29:40-42 ) or rather this designs sacrifice in general, sometimes called "bread", ( Leviticus 3:11 Leviticus 3:16 ) ( 21:6 ) and so the Targum here,
``ye offer upon my altar an abominable offering;''such as had blemishes in them, were blind or lame, as after mentioned; and had not the requisites of a sacrifice in them; or were offered not in a right manner, or by bad men, and with a wicked mind: and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee?
thy bread offering or altar; as if their offerings were pure, and they themselves, and their consciences pure from sin. The answer is, In that ye say, The table of the Lord is contemptible;
either the shewbread table, which yet was covered with gold, and all the vessels of it made of gold; or the altar, as in ( Ezekiel 41:22 ) their actions spoke so loud, and declared that the table or altar of the Lord was a contemptible thing, since they cared not what was offered upon it: or the reason why it was had in contempt, as some think, was because there was not that holiness in the second temple as in the first: or, as Abarbinel and Kimchi say, because of the fat and the blood which were offered on the altar, which they esteemed contemptible things; not observing the end for which the Lord commanded them to be offered.
F23 Misn. Menachot, c. 10. sect. 3.
F24 Maimon. Hilchot Tamidin, c. 5. sect. 6.
F25 Misn. Shekalim, c. 5. sect. 1.