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Verses 1-16

Altar of incense; tabernacle tax (30:1-16)

The altar of incense was made of wood overlaid with gold. It was much smaller than the altar of burnt offering, was located in a different place and was designed for a different purpose. It was not used for sacrifices, but only for the burning of incense, offered each morning and evening. Incense was a substance produced by grinding and blending certain spices (see v. 34-38 below), and when burnt gave off thick white smoke and a strong smell. Its ceremonial burning seems to have symbolized the offering of prayers and homage to God (30:1-10).Whenever there was a national census, the people were to pay a special tax, which was then used for the maintenance of the tabernacle. This tax was equal for all, but small enough for even the poorest to pay, indicating that before God the rich had no advantage over the poor. The lives of all were preserved on the same basis, the mercy of God. All had an equal share in the maintenance of the tabernacle and its services (11-16).

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