When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they
shall wash with water
The laver standing near the door of the tabernacle, they washed at it as soon as they entered; and no man, we are told F3, entered into the court before he washed, even though he was clean; though he had contracted no filthiness, and even though he had washed his hands and feet at home, he was obliged to do it when he went into the tabernacle, before he attempted to perform any service. This intimates to us the necessity as of pure hearts, so of pure hands, in order to compass the altar of God, to attend public worship, and particularly prayer, in which holy hands should be lifted up, ( 1 Timothy 2:8 ) ( Psalms 26:6 ) :
that they die not:
sin exposes to death, eternal death; that is the wages of it, and it is only the blood of Christ, and being washed in that, that can secure from it:
or when they come near to the altar to minister;
to the altar of burnt offering to minister there, by laying on the wood and the pieces in order, and burning them on it, as follows:
to burn offering made by fire to the Lord;
no man was fit for this service, or might be admitted to it, until he was washed; and it was usual among other nations to wash before they entered on religious service F4; even in the East Indies, the priests do not sacrifice to their idols before they wash in water that is about the temple F5; which seems to be a satanical imitation of this practice among the Jews.
F3 Misn. Yoma, c. 3. sect. 3.
F4 Vid. Outram de Sacrificiis, l. 1. c. 6. sect. 14.
F5 Vartoman. Navigat. l. 5. c. 23.