Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Men. Pharao, Jethro, and the whole nation of the Hebrews, whom he governed as a father, being the mildest of men, Numbers xii. 23.[3.?] His life was a continued miracle, and he was honoured more than any prophet, (ibid. vi.[Numbers xii. 7.?], and Acts vii.; Calmet) seeing God’s works more clearly, but not his substance, Exodus xxxiii. (Worthington)
Ver. 2. Saints, patriarchs or angels, as he saw God face to face. — Enemies. The Egyptians, Amalecites, and all who rebelled against God. — Cease. Removing the scourges which he had inflicted. His serpent devoured those of the magicians, who were confounded before him.
Ver. 3. Kings. Pharao, Og, &c. — Glory, when he had passed by, Exodus xxxiii. 22.
Ver. 4. Meekness, giving him these necessary qualifications to rule a rebellious people, ver. 1.
Ver. 5. Heard. Greek, “made him hear his voice.”
Ver. 6. Face, familiarly. — Life, by observing which, the Hebrews might live. Thus the trees of life and of knowledge were a sort of remedy against death and ignorance, Genesis ii. 9. (Calmet)
Ver. 7. His. Greek, “holy, like to himself his brother of the,” &c. (Haydock) (Psalm cv. 16.) — He was the interpreter of Moses, and honoured with the high priesthood. Aaron and his posterity were bound to be faithful to the law, ver. 19. (Calmet) — Their priesthood was to last till Christ appeared, a priest forever of the order of Melchisedech.
Ver. 9. Robe. Literally, “stole,” (Haydock) which was a long robe, used in the East by both sexes. — Crowned. Greek, “confirmed” him in his dignity. (Calmet)
Ver. 10. To the. Greek, “enclosing his legs, (Haydock; breeches, Calmet) and the robe hanging down to the feet, (podere) and the garment over the shoulders,” (Haydock, ephod) which met at the breast, where the rational was fixed. See Exodus xxviii. (Calmet) — Many. Greek, “spheres, (Haydock; or pomegranates, Exodus xxviii. 23.; Calmet) with many little bells,” (Haydock) to admonish the people of his coming.
Ver. 12. Man. Beseleel, who made the greatest part. (Calmet) — Greek, “of an embroiderer, with the rational of judgment, and the signs (manifestation. Calmet) of truth. (Haydock) — Thus the Septuagint commonly describe the Urim and Thummim, Exodus xxviii. 6. (Calmet)
Ver. 13. Tribes. Greek, “sons.” (Haydock) — Their names were engraven on 12 stones.
Ver. 14. Holiness, or “holy to the Lord,” Exodus xxviii. (Calmet) — Work. Greek, “works very rich.” (Haydock) — This regards all his attire. The high priest only used it in the temple, on grand festivals. (Calmet)
Ver. 17. His. Complutensian Greek, “their.” (Haydock) — Some of the ordinary priests offered the daily holocausts.
Ver. 18. Filled. Consecrated, Leviticus viii. 26.
Ver. 19. Testament. It prefigured that of Christ, which lasts for ever, Hebrews vii. (Calmet) — Execute. Greek, “serve him, both by executing the priestly office, and by blessing the people,” &c. (Haydock) — This was one of the high priest’s functions, Numbers vi. 23. The rest might offer sacrifice and incense, except on the day of expiation, (Leviticus xvi.) and on solemn festivals, though the Scripture is silent on the latter head.
Ver. 21. Law. The most important causes were to be tried before the high priest, who, with his brethren, were the interpreters of the law, Matthew ii. 6.
Ver. 24. Fire. Thus consuming 250 men, Numbers xvi. 30.
Ver. 26. Eat. The skin of holocausts was alone given to the priests.
Ver. 27. People. Having only 2,000 cubits round their cities, Numbers xxxv. The priests were thus interested to keep the people to their duty, as their own subsistence depended on the devotion and gifts of the latter. (Calmet) — They had no distinct territory, like the rest of the tribes. (Worthington)
Ver. 28. Imitating. Greek, “by shewing a zeal in the fear of the Lord,” Numbers xxv. 11.
Ver. 31. That he. Or so he made a covenant with Aaron, that he, &c. (Calmet) — Greek, “and (Grabe puts according to) the covenant made to David….that the king’s son successively should alone inherit, the inheritance of Aaron was for his posterity. May he impart wisdom to your heart,” &c. — He made. Greek, “glory during their age.” (Haydock) — The sacred writer pours forth this prayer for God’s ministers, (Calmet) that their good things and glory may never end, as long as the Jewish dispensation should last. He is equally solicitous for the priesthood as for the sceptre of David. In both the families of Aaron and of David children succeeded to their father’s dignity, and God had made a covenant for that purpose. (Haydock) — David assisted the priests, and greatly advanced God’s service, 1 Paralipomenon xxiii. (Worthington) — His eulogy is given [in] chap. xlvii.; and he is here only mentioned (Calmet) as a comparison. (Haydock)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
The praises of Moses, of Aaron, and of Phinees.
1 Moses *was beloved of God, and men: whose memory is in benediction.
2 He made him like the saints in glory, and magnified him in the fear of his enemies, and with his words he made prodigies to cease.
3 *He glorified him in the sight of kings, and gave him commandments in the sight of his people, and shewed him his glory.
4 *He sanctified him in his faith and meekness, and chose him out of all flesh.
5 For he heard him, and his voice, and brought him into a cloud.
6 And he gave him commandments before his face, and a law of life and instruction, that he might teach Jacob his covenant, and Israel his judgments.
7 He exalted Aaron, his brother, and like to himself of the tribe of Levi:
8 He made an everlasting covenant with him, and gave him the priesthood of the nation, and made him blessed in glory,
9 And he girded him about with a glorious girdle, and clothed him with a robe of glory, and crowned him with majestic attire.
10 He put upon him a garment to the feet, and breeches, and an ephod, and he compassed him with many little bells of gold all round about,
11 *That as he went there might be a sound, and a noise made that might be heard in the temple, for a memorial to the children of his people.
12 He gave him a holy robe of gold, and blue, and purple, a woven work, of a wise man, endued with judgment and truth:
13 Of twisted scarlet, the work of an artist, with precious stones cut and set in gold, and graven by the work of a lapidary, for a memorial, according to the number of the tribes of Israel.
14 And a crown of gold upon his mitre, wherein was engraved Holiness, an ornament of honour: a work of power, and delightful to the eyes for its beauty.
15 Before him there were none so beautiful, even from the beginning.
16 No stranger was ever clothed with them, but only his children alone, and his grand-children for ever.
17 His sacrifices were consumed with fire every day.
18 *Moses filled his hands, and anointed him with holy oil.
19 This was made to him for an everlasting testament, and to his seed as the days of heaven, to execute the office of the priesthood, and to have praise, and to glorify his people in his name.
20 He chose him out of all men living, to offer sacrifice to God, incense, and a good savour, for a memorial to make reconciliation for his people:
21 And he gave him power in his commandments, in the covenants of his judgments, that he should teach Jacob his testimonies, and give light to Israel in his law.
22 *And strangers stood up against him, and through envy, the men that were with Dathan and Abiron, compassed him about in the wilderness, and the congregation of Core, in their wrath.
23 The Lord God saw, and it pleased him not, and they were consumed in his wrathful indignation.
24 He wrought wonders upon them, and consumed them with a flame of fire.
25 And he added glory to Aaron, and gave him an inheritance, and divided unto him the first-fruits of the increase of the earth.
26 He prepared them bread in the first place unto fulness: for the sacrifices also of the Lord they shall eat, which he gave to him, and to his seed.
27 But he shall not inherit among the people in the land, and he hath no portion among the people: for he himself is his portion and inheritance.
28 *Phinees, the son of Eleazar, is the third in glory, by imitating him in the fear of the Lord:
29 And he stood up in the shameful fall of the people: in the goodness and readiness of his soul, he appeased God for Israel.
30 Therefore he made to him a covenant of peace, to be the prince of the sanctuary, and of his people, that the dignity of priesthood should be to him and to his seed for ever.
31 And a covenant to David, the king, the son of Jesse, of the tribe of Juda, an inheritance to him and to his seed, that he might give wisdom into our heart to judge his people in justice, that their good things might not be abolished, and he made their glory in their nation everlasting.
1: Exodus xi. 3.
3: Exodus vi. 7. and 8.
4: Numbers xii. 3. and 7.; Hebrews iii. 2. and 5.
11: Exodus xxviii. 35.
18: Leviticus viii. 12.
22: Numbers xvi. 1. and 3.
28: Numbers xxv. 7.; 1 Machabees ii. 26. and 54.