Numbers 4:8
And they shall spread on them a cloth of scarlet, and cover the same with a covering of badgers' skins, and shall put in the staves thereof.
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(8) And cover the same.—Better, and cover it (the table).

4:4-20 The Kohathites were to carry the holy things of the tabernacle. All the holy things were to be covered; not only for security and respect, but to keep them from being seen. This not only marked the reverence due to holy things, but the mystery of the things signified by those types, and the darkness of the dispensation. But now, through Christ, the case is altered, and we are encouraged to come boldly to the throne of grace.wholly of blue - Compare Exodus 25:4 note. The third and external covering of the ark only was to be of this color. The table of showbread had Numbers 4:8 an outer wrapping of scarlet; the altar Numbers 4:13 one of purple.

Put in the staves - Probably, "put the staves in order." These were never taken out of the golden rings by which the ark was to be borne (see Exodus 25:14-15), but would need adjustment.

7. continual showbread—Though the people were in the wilderness fed upon manna, the sacred loaves were constantly made of corn, which was probably raised in small quantities from the verdant patches of the desert. No text from Poole on this verse. And they shall spread upon them a cloth of scarlet,.... Upon the dishes and other vessels belonging to the shewbread table, and on the shewbread itself:

and cover the same with a covering of badgers' skins; this was clearly the outward covering, and seems to confirm the observation made in Numbers 4:6; that the same sort of covering was the outermost covering of the ark:

and shall put in the staves thereof; which belonged to the table, and were made to carry it with on occasion, from place to place; see Exodus 25:27; and the same phrase being used as here of the staves of the ark in Numbers 4:6; seems to confirm the sense of them there, that they were taken out and put in upon this occasion, though otherwise fixed.

And they shall spread upon them a cloth of scarlet, and cover the same with a covering of badgers' skins, and shall put in the staves thereof.
Verse 8. - Shall put in the staves thereof. This formula is repeated alike with reference to the ark, the table, and the two altars. It would therefore be natural to suppose that the staves had all been taken out while the various coverings were put on. On the other hand, it is expressly directed in Exodus 25:15 that the staves of the ark shall "not be taken from it." Two explanations are possible. Either the former command does not contemplate the necessity of wrapping up the ark, and only applies to all times when it was at rest, or in movement; or else the latter direction only means, in the case of the ark, that the staves should be adjusted for the purpose of bearing. Service of the Kohathites, and the number qualified for service. - Numbers 4:2, Numbers 4:3. "Take the sum of the sons of Kohath from among the sons of Levi:" i.e., by raising them out of the sum total of the Levites, by numbering them first and specially, viz., the men from 30 to 50 years of age, "every one who comes to the service," i.e., who has to enter upon service "to do work at the tabernacle." צבא (Angl. 'host') signifies military service, and is used here with special reference to the service of the Levites as the militia sacra of Jehovah.
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