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Shew-bread, Ex. 25:30; 35:13; 39:36, etc., literally “bread of the face” or “faces.” Shew-bread was unleavened bread placed upon a table which stood in the sanctuary together with the seven-branched candlestick and the altar of incense. See Ex. 25:23–30 for description of this table. Every Sabbath twelve newly-baked loaves, representing the twelve tribes of Israel, were put on it in two rows, six in each, and sprinkled with incense, where they remained till the following Sabbath. Then they were replaced by twelve new ones, the incense was burned, and they were eaten by the priests in the holy place, out of which they might not be removed. The title “bread of the face” seems to indicate that bread through which God is seen, that is, with the participation of which the seeing of God is bound up, or through the participation of which man attains the sight of God; whence it follows that we have not to think of bread merely as such, as the means of nourishing the bodily life, but as spiritual food, as a means of appropriating and retaining that life which consists in seeing the face of God.


Table of Shew-bread.