In this week’s Torah portion we begin to study the various vessels that were in the Tabernacle. In this short article the table will be studied. This table had a special bread placed upon it known literally as “bread of the face”. This bread was baked each Friday and stacked in two groups of six on the table on the Sabbath day. The parashah states,
“And you shall place upon the table showbread before Me always.” Exodus 25:30
Although more is said about this special bread known in English as “Showbread” in Leviticus 24:5-9, what I want to focus upon is the fact that the fore mentioned text states that this bread must always be before the Lord. The name showbread comes from the word “face” or “in front of” as in “before”. Why did this bread have to be in front of the Lord always? First of all, the table which the showbread was placed upon was outside the Holy of Holies in what was called the Holy place next to the menorah. In fact, in the Torah reading the table of showbread is mentioned just prior to the menorah, while in Leviticus 24 the menorah is mentioned prior to the table of showbread. Some scholars have derived from this that both of these vessels had equal significance.
The showbread was eaten by the priests only; hence the bread was a type of provision. It is clear that although the bread was eaten, each priest would only receive a small amount each day. Therefore, the eating of the showbread was symbolic in nature, but great in importance! The fact that the light of the menorah constantly shined upon the bread has caused some to assert that the showbread was not for physical nourishment, but spiritual enlightenment. In other words, the priests were to remember as they partook of the bread, that only through the true enlightenment, which comes from the Lord, could they faithfully serve Him.
Are you trying to serve God by means of your own intellect? Learn the lesson from the priests who, when they served before the Lord, were reminded daily that truth comes only from the Lord. Draw close to Him by means of the Holy Spirit and the Word and be prepared for God Himself to be your teacher.