The Meaning of Exodus 30:20 Explained

Exodus 30:20

KJV: When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto the LORD:

YLT: in their going in unto the tent of meeting they wash with water, and die not; or in their drawing nigh unto the altar to minister, to perfume a fire-offering to Jehovah,

Darby: When they go into the tent of meeting, they shall wash with water, that they may not die; or when they come near to the altar to serve, to burn an offering by fire to Jehovah.

ASV: when they go into the tent of meeting, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn an offering made by fire unto Jehovah.

What does Exodus 30:20 Mean?

Context Summary

Exodus 30:11-21 - The Atonement Money And The Laver
The atonement money was paid by all alike, to remind them that they were a redeemed race, and that so far as their value was concerned, neither rank, nor age, nor money made any difference. See Romans 3:22-24; Romans 10:12-13. The rich might not give more, lest he be made proud; the poor must not give less, so that he might be leveled up by the common mercy of God.
The laver reminds us of our need of daily washing. See John 13:1-38. It is very necessary to our peace and strength to repair constantly to Christ with confession and prayer. See 1 John 1:6-7. The laver was made out of the looking-glasses of the women. See Exodus 38:8. It was a good use for them, and was altogether appropriate, for the Word of God is compared to a mirror for its revealing qualities, and to water for cleansing. See James 1:23; Ephesians 5:26. [source]

Chapter Summary: Exodus 30

1  The altar of incense
11  The ransom of souls
17  The bronze basin
22  The holy anointing oil
34  The composition of the incense

What do the individual words in Exodus 30:20 mean?

When they go into the tabernacle of meeting they shall wash with water and lest they die or when they come near unto the altar to minister to burn an offering made by fire to Yahweh
בְּבֹאָ֞ם אֶל־ אֹ֧הֶל מוֹעֵ֛ד יִרְחֲצוּ־ מַ֖יִם וְלֹ֣א יָמֻ֑תוּ א֣וֹ בְגִשְׁתָּ֤ם אֶל־ הַמִּזְבֵּ֙חַ֙ לְשָׁרֵ֔ת לְהַקְטִ֥יר אִשֶּׁ֖ה לַֽיהוָֽה

בְּבֹאָ֞ם  When  they  go 
Parse: Preposition-b, Verb, Qal, Infinitive construct, third person masculine plural
Root: בֹּוא 
Sense: to go in, enter, come, go, come in.
אֶל־  into 
Parse: Preposition
Root: אֶל  
Sense: to, toward, unto (of motion).
אֹ֧הֶל  the  tabernacle 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular construct
Root: אֹהֶל  
Sense: tent.
מוֹעֵ֛ד  of  meeting 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular
Root: מֹועֵד  
Sense: appointed place, appointed time, meeting.
יִרְחֲצוּ־  they  shall  wash 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Imperfect, third person masculine plural
Root: רָחַץ  
Sense: to wash, wash off, wash away, bathe.
מַ֖יִם  with  water 
Parse: Noun, masculine plural
Root: מַיִם  
Sense: water, waters.
וְלֹ֣א  and  lest 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Adverb, Negative particle
Root: הֲלֹא 
Sense: not, no.
יָמֻ֑תוּ  they  die 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Imperfect, third person masculine plural
Root: מוּת  
Sense: to die, kill, have one executed.
בְגִשְׁתָּ֤ם  when  they  come  near 
Parse: Preposition-b, Verb, Qal, Infinitive construct, third person masculine plural
Root: נָגַשׁ  
Sense: to draw near, approach.
אֶל־  unto 
Parse: Preposition
Root: אֶל  
Sense: to, toward, unto (of motion).
הַמִּזְבֵּ֙חַ֙  the  altar 
Parse: Article, Noun, masculine singular
Root: מִזְבֵּחַ  
Sense: altar.
לְשָׁרֵ֔ת  to  minister 
Parse: Preposition-l, Verb, Piel, Infinitive construct
Root: שָׁרַת  
Sense: (Piel) to minister, serve, minister to.
לְהַקְטִ֥יר  to  burn 
Parse: Preposition-l, Verb, Hifil, Infinitive construct
Root: מֻקְטָר 
Sense: .
אִשֶּׁ֖ה  an  offering  made  by  fire 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular
Root: אִשֶּׁה  
Sense: burnt-offering, offering made by fire, fire offering.
לַֽיהוָֽה  to  Yahweh 
Parse: Preposition-l, Proper Noun, masculine singular
Root: יהוה 
Sense: the proper name of the one true God.