The Showbread Table



Wednesday 03/21/18 

Message – The Showbread Table

Series: Thru the Bible – Exodus

***Video is HERE***



[NOTE: The image of the Showbread table above in our featured image is being used by the contribution and courtesy of Ori229 a user and contributor to Wikimedia Commons. Use of this picture is by permission and DOES NOT imply agreement with this message and/or associated article.]


The Showbread Table

Timna Tabernacle Table of Showbread

By Ori229 (Own work)

Exod. 25:23-30,  “(23) You shall also make a table of acacia wood;  3.5’ shall be its length, 1.5’ its width, and a 2.5’ its height.  (24) And you shall overlay it with pure gold, and make a molding of gold all around.  (25)  You shall make for it a frame of a handbreadth all around, and you shall make a gold molding for the frame all around.  (26) And you shall make for it four rings of gold, and put the rings on the four corners that are at its four legs.  (27) The rings shall be close to the frame, as holders for the poles to bear the table.  (28) And you shall make the poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold, that the table may be carried with them.  (29) You shall make its dishes, its pans, its pitchers, and its bowls for pouring. You shall make them of pure gold.  (30)  And you shall set the showbread on the table before Me always.[2Chron. 2:4“the continual showbread”.”


The Work & Rituals:

Preparing the bread, oil and other furnishings:

1Chorn. 9:28-34, “(28) Now some of them were in charge of the serving vessels, for they brought them in and took them out by count.  (29) Some of them were appointed over the furnishings and over all the implements of the sanctuary, and over the fine flour and the wine and the oil and the incense and the spices.  (30) And some of the sons of the priests made the ointment of the spices. (31) Mattithiah of the Levites, the firstborn of Shallum the Korahite, had the trusted office over the things that were baked in the pans.  (32) And some of their brethren of the sons of the Kohathites were in charge of preparing the showbread for every Sabbath. (33) These are the singers, heads of the fathers’ houses of the Levites, who lodged in the chambers, and were free from other duties; for they were employed in that work day and night.  (34) These heads of the fathers’ houses of the Levites were heads throughout their generations. They dwelt at Jerusalem.”

1Sam. 21:6, “(6) So the priest gave him holy bread; for there was no bread there but the showbread which had been taken from before the LORD, in order to put hot bread in its place on the day when it was taken away.”

Lev. 24:5-9 describes the bread as one for each tribe, sprinkled with frankincense. Was made fresh weekly. Only the priest could eat the week old bread once it was replaced by the new.

Lev. 24:5-9,  “(5) And you shall take fine flour and bake twelve cakes with it. Two-tenths of an ephah shall be in each cake.  (6) You shall set them in two rows, six in a row, on the pure gold table before the LORD.  (7)  And you shall put pure frankincense on each row, that it may be on the bread for a memorial, an offering made by fire to the LORD.  (8) Every Sabbath he shall set it in order before the LORD continually, being taken from the children of Israel by an everlasting covenant.  (9) And it shall be for Aaron and his sons, and they shall eat it in the holy place; for it is most holy to him from the offerings of the LORD made by fire, by a perpetual statute.”

Like most meal-offerings, it also was made of semolina. The talmudic halakhah prescribes that these loaves were to be of un-leavened bread (Men. 5a; cf. Jos., Ant., 3:255), although this is not explicitly mentioned in the text, which likewise makes no reference to their being seasoned with salt, but the Septuagint version of this same verse (Lev. 24:7) adds Καῖ “αλας (“and salt”), and according to the halakhah the frankincense was to be salted before being burned on the altar (Men. 20a) so these would seem to agree. As in the case of most meal-offerings, the shewbread was to be eaten by males among the priests in the holy place.

The word “memorial” is the Hebrew word Azkarah and represents a memorial portion offering. It is the portion of the meal offering that was burned (Lev. 2:2, 9).

Lev. 2:1-11, “(1)  ‘When anyone offers a grain offering to the LORD, his offering shall be of fine flour. And he shall pour oil on it, and put frankincense on it.  (2) He shall bring it to Aaron’s sons, the priests, one of whom shall take from it his handful of fine flour and oil with all the frankincense. And the priest shall burn it as a memorial on the altar, an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the LORD.  (3) The rest of the grain offering shall be Aaron’s and his sons’. It is most holy of the offerings to the LORD made by fire. (4) ‘And if you bring as an offering a grain offering baked in the oven, it shall be unleavened cakes of fine flour mixed with oil, or unleavened wafers anointed with oil.  (5) But if your offering is a grain offering baked in a pan, it shall be of fine flour, unleavened, mixed with oil. (6) You shall break it in pieces and pour oil on it; it is a grain offering. (7) ‘If your offering is a grain offering baked in a covered pan, it shall be made of fine flour with oil.  (8) You shall bring the grain offering that is made of these things to the LORD. And when it is presented to the priest, he shall bring it to the altar. (9) Then the priest shall take from the grain offering a memorial portion, and burn it on the altar. It is an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the LORD.  (10) And what is left of the grain offering shall be Aaron’s and his sons’. It is most holy of the offerings to the LORD made by fire. (11) ‘No grain offering which you bring to the LORD shall be made with leaven, for you shall burn no leaven nor any honey in any offering to the LORD made by fire.”

It is thought that his “memorial” was to either to remind the Lord of His lovingkindness to His people, and of His covenant with them, and promises to them, (which Psa. 20:3 alludes to) or to as an offering of praise showing the Lord that the offerer has the Lord’s lovingkindness, faithfulness to His covenant and promises to Israel in mind…probably both.

When this passage says the frankincense was place UPON each row. The word “Upon” can mean either upon OR by it. That it probably means “BY” the bread seems clear since it is the frankincense which is later offered by fire to the Lord – not the bread, for the bread was given to the priests to eat.

So if this is the correct understanding if the passage then, before fresh bread was placed on the table on the Sabbath of every week, the week old bread would be taken up and given to the priests to eat before the Lord, and the Frankincense which had been laid beside that bread would be taken up to be burnt upon the altar as a burnt offering before the Lord. Then all would be replaced with new bread and new Frankincense. This in effect would make the priests one with the offering to the Lord. The Frankincense would be one with the bread, but the frankincense would be offered to the Lord by fire while the bread would be offered to the Priest by ingestion.

Also, some translations say that Aaron and his sons were to eat the week old bread in A holy place rather than THE holy place but I can find no specific justification for this way of translating the words.


Gill says,

“And it shall be Aaron’s and his sons’,…. The twelve cakes of the old bread, when taken off the shewbread table; these were divided between the courses of the priests that carried in and brought out; and the high priest had half from each course, so that the half was for Aaron or the high priest, and the other half for his sons, or the priests that ministered (i):

and they shall eat it in the holy place; in the tabernacle or some court of it, and not in their own houses: it is said the shewbread was not eaten sooner than the ninth day, nor after the eleventh; how? it was baked on the evening of the sabbath, and it was eaten on the sabbath, the ninth day; if a feast day happened to be on the eve of the sabbath, it was eaten on the tenth; if the two feast days of the beginning of the year so fell, it was eaten on the eleventh day (k): the reason why it was only eaten in the holy place is:

for it is most holy unto him; it was one of the most holy things, which were only to be eaten by males, and in the sanctuary not as the light holy things, which were eaten in the houses and families of the priests, and by their wives and daughters also:

of the offerings of the Lord made by fire, by a perpetual statute; not that the bread was a burnt offering, but the frankincense upon it, or by it, and so having a connection with it, the whole is said to be an offering by fire: the one was given to the priests of the Lord to eat, and the other was consumed on the altar; and both were an offering to the Lord; and the frankincense being offered by fire unto the Lord, instead of the bread it was reckoned as if that was so offered.”

Other Passages include: Exod. 35:13; 39:36; Num. 4:7; 1 Sam. 21:6; 1 Kings 7:48; 1 Chorn. 9:32; 23:29; 28:16; 2Chron. 2:4; 4:19; 13:11; 29:18; Neh. 10:33; Matt. 12:4; Mark 2:26; Luke 6:4; Heb. 9:2.



What did the showbread mean?

Why would God have a bakery rack in the tabernacle?

The importance and meaning of the showbread is found in its name.

Literally, showbread means “bread of faces.” or “bread of the presence” which makes sense since it was to be placed all week and then finally eated before the face of God in the Holy Place.

The fact that there are 12 loaves seem to correspond to the tribes of Israel indicating that in the priest, the tribes were represented as having and maintaining a continual communion with God – one that is face to face.

To eat the showbread was to eat God’s bread in God’s house as a friend and a guest of the LORD, enjoying His hospitality. In that culture, eating together formed a bond of friendship that was permanent and sacred. Eating the showbread was a powerful way of saying, “LORD I love You and I seek Your face. I’m in Your presence and I want to be transformed by seeing Your face.”

Guzik says,

This bread of the tabernacle speaks of fellowship and communion with God – a symbolic “breaking bread” with God, and speaks of the continual fellowship God wanted with Israel.

This bread is called showbread in Exod. 25:30, which literally means “bread of the face” in the sense of it being eaten in the presence or before the face of God.

Significantly, God wanted the fellowship fresh. He didn’t want a stale communion with His people, but a fresh, new relationship.

It is noteworthy that this bread was once eaten by David and his men – who were neither ritualistically clean, nor priests nor did they go into the Holy Place to eat it.


Let’s read the account…it is found in 1Sam. 21:1-6,

“(1) David went to Ahimelech the priest at Nob. Ahimelech was afraid to meet David, so he said to him, “Why are you alone and no one is with you?”  (2) David answered Ahimelech the priest, “The king gave me a mission, but he told me, ‘Don’t let anyone know anything about the mission I’m sending you on or what I have ordered you to do.’ I have stationed my young men at a certain place.  (3) Now what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread or whatever can be found.” (4) The priest told him, “There is no ordinary bread on hand. However, there is consecrated bread, but the young men may eat it only if they have kept themselves from women.” [Not that women in themselves were considered unclean, but Ahimelech being moved with compassion and mercy was doing what was right in honoring the need of David and his men, but he would NOT set aside the honor of God to do it. IF David and his men were to eat the holy bread, they themselves had to be holy or consecrated which according to the law required that they had not engaged in sexual activity or that if they had they had offered the appropriate sacrifice for ritualistic purity outlined in Lev. 15:1-33. In most of the cases, the status of being “unclean” was just until evening. David makes it clear that he and his men had not been with a woman for at least 3 days – so they were clean. Incidentally, this is why the writer of Hebrews lets us know that under the New Covenant – all who are in Christ are themselves sanctified and therefore the marriage bed is holy. – Heb. 13:4] (5)  David answered him, “I swear that women are being kept from us, as always when I go out to battle. The young men’s bodies are consecrated even on an ordinary mission, so of course their bodies are consecrated today.”  (6) So the priest gave him the consecrated bread, for there was no bread there except the bread of the Presence that had been removed from before the LORD. When the bread was removed, it had been replaced with warm bread.”

Mercy rather than sacrifice:

Once when, Jesus was accosted by the Pharisees for picking grain and eating it on the Sabbath – to justify their actions according to the law, Jesus made reference back to this occurrence with David and his men.

Let’s look at Matt. 12:1-8,

“(1) At that time Jesus passed through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick and eat some heads of grain.  (2) But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath!” (3) He said to them, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and those who were with him were hungry– (4)  how he entered the house of God, and they ate the sacred bread, which is not lawful for him or for those with him to eat, but only for the priests? (5) Or haven’t you read in the Law that on Sabbath days the priests in the temple violate the Sabbath and are innocent? (6)  But I tell you that something greater than the temple is here! (7) If you had known what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the innocent. (8) For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”


Also Mark 2:25-28, “(25) He said to them, “Have you never read what David and those who were with him did when he was in need and hungry– (26)  how he entered the house of God in the time of Abiathar the high priest and ate the sacred bread–which is not lawful for anyone to eat except the priests–and also gave some to his companions?” (27)  Then He told them, “The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath. (28) Therefore the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

Just as the man was not made for the Sabbath but the Sabbath for the man, even so, these types and symbols served a REAL purpose FOR man, but they were not OF THEMSELVES more important than man. Here Jesus reveals that mercy, compassion and giving to the need of the righteous is prefered to observing ceremonial rituals.

In closing let’s look at Rev. 3:14-20 where Jesus addresses the church of Laodicea in her state of broken communion with Him. he appeals to her, to repent and open her heart wide to Christ – that He may come in and break the bread of communion with her once more.

Rev. 3:14-20,  “(14) And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God:  (15) “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. (16) So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.  (17) Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— (18) I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.  (19) As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. (20) Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”

I stand at the door and knock . . . If anyone hears My voice and opens the door:

This statement of Jesus reveals the integrity, honor & nobility of our Lord. The heart He is knocking on is one of His Own – members of His body, sheep of His pasture – yet He finds Himself OUTSIDE!

Guzik asks,

Why does He knock? Why does He wait until someone opens the door? Doesn’t He have every right to break down the door, or enter some other way on His own accord? But He doesn’t. The sovereign, omnipotent Jesus has condescended to work out His eternal plan by wooing the cooperation of the human heart.

The believer must open the door – which involves repenting. The human heart can only allow one TYPE of influence at a time. That may be godly or ungodly, but for one to enter – the other must leave. Jesus gave the illustration of a man who was set free from demonic spirits but who did not invite the Lord into that heart. He said, that the evil spirit returned later – finding it EMPTY and so brought 7 other demons worse than himself to commune in that heart and the latter end was worse than before he had been delivered. While a believer cannot be “possessed” so to speak, their heart CAN be  placed under another allegiance.

Jesus not only knocks but He cries out to His Own. he waits long at the door to be let in. It is a mystery beyond telling that God so desires communion with mankind.

Guzik says,

“The key to opening the door is to first hear His voice. When we give attention to what Jesus says, then we can be rescued from our own lukewarmness and enter into a “zealous” relationship with Him.”

He says that  Jesus’ coming to the door of the heart of a believer is like Solomon who can to the door of his lover in Song of Solomon 5:2 who when she finally heard his voice said, It is the voice of my beloved! He knocks, saying, ‘open for me, my sister, my love.

The promise is I will come into him: How amazing and glorious is this! If we but open the door, He will come in!

How backwards this seems to the way it should be – how backward it is to what we believe actually happens.

When a believers comes to the end of themselves and repents, they often invision running to God and seeking His forgiveness…and there is a way in which such notions are appropriate – but here we see the reality is that He never left the door of the heart, but remains faithful – knocking and requesting entrance – if we only will.

Jesus – being like His Father (our Father) in all things -does not come in, plop himself down on the throne, grab the remote and scold you for your duplicitous heart and delay in letting Him in. He would be well within His rights to do so – but it is not the way of this Glorious king!

He promises to come in, and dine with with us.

Even the most educated believer only has a fleeting notion of the meaning and depth of this gesture.

When Jesus says dine with him, He speaks of a specific meal known as the deipnon.

This meal was special and carried with it a depth of meaning both in what it was and how it was carried out.

Morris says that, “The deipnon was the main meal of the day and was a leisurely affair, not a hurried snack.” So the meal Jesus prepares for us upon entering is one to sit down at and commune over. There is in it NO HINT of hurrying which implies that all those present are void of anxiety and share a deep sense of belonging.

The meal speaks of fellowship and a depth of relationship.

It not only lets us know that in the place of fellowship with Him is where He want us – it is also where He desires to be.

Spurgeon says, “Notice that Jesus give the call to individuals. He didn’t say “If any church,” but if anyone. It must be done by individuals: the church will only get right by each man getting right.”


We will begin to discuss the Holies of Holies with the Ark of the Testimony, what it was and some ways in which it serves as a type and shadow of today under the New Covenant…next week!

There is more information in the audio/video of the actual message. I hope you listen, learn and enjoy!



I hope this teaching will challenge you and encourage you to place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

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Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keeps authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provide teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!