Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. 4: Harmony of the Law, Part II, tr. by John King, [1847-50], at sacred-texts.com
22. Moreover, the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
22. Loquutus est etiam Jehova ad Mosen, dicendo:
23. Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels,
23. Tu sume tibi aromata optima: myrrhae fluidae ad quingentos siclos, cinnamomi aromatici dimidium ipsius, ducentos et quinquaginta: et calami atomatici ducentos et quinquaginta:
24. And of cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil-olive an hin:
24. Casiae vero quingentos siclos, pondere sanctuarii: et olei olivae hin:
25. And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil.
25. Et facies ex ea oleum unctionis sanctitatis, unguentum unguenti, opus unguentarii; oleum unctionis sanctitatis erit.
26. And thou shalt anoint the tabernacle of the congregation therewith, and the ark of the testimony,
26. Unges eo tabernaculum conventionis, et arcam testimonii,
27. And the table and all his vessels, and the candlestick and his vessels, and the altar of incense,
27. Et mensam onmiaque vasa ipsius, et candelabrum omniaque vasa ipsius, et altare suffimenti:
28. And the altar of burnt offering with all his vessels, and the laver and his foot.
28. Altare quoque holocausti et omnia vasa ipsius, et concham et basin ejus.
29. And thou shalt sanctify them, that they may be most holy: whatsoever toucheth them shall be holy.
29. Ita sanctificabis ea, erunt sanctitas sanctitatum: quicquid tetigerit ea, sanctificabitur.
30. And thou shalt anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office.
30. Aharon praeterea et filios ejus unges, et sanctificabis eos, ut sacerdotio fungantur mihi.
31. And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, This shall be an holy anointing oil unto me throughout your generations.
31. Ad filios autem Israel loqueris, dicendo, Oleum unctionis sanctitatis erit hoc mihi per generationes vestras.
32. Upon man’s flesh shall it not be poured; neither shall ye make any other like it, after the composition of it: it is holy, and it shall be holy unto you.
32. Super carnem hominis non ungent: neque compositioni ejus facietis similes: sanctum est, sanctum erit vobis.
33. Whosoever compoundeth any like it, or whosoever putteth any of it upon a stranger, shall even be cut off from his people.
33. Quisquis confecerit unguentum simile, et qui posuerit ex eo super extraneum, succidetur e populis suis.
23. Take thou also unto thee principal spices. Although the oil here treated of was not only destined for the anointing of the priests, but also of the tabernacle, the ark of the covenant, the altars, and all the vessels, yet no fitter place occurs for discussing the sacred unction, than by connecting it with the priesthood, on which it depends. First of all its composition is described, exquisite both in expensiveness and odor; that by its very excellence and costliness the Israelites may learn that no ordinary thing is represented by it; for we have already often seen that there had been set before this rude people a splendor in sacred symbols, which might affect their external senses, so as to uplift them as it were by steps to the knowledge of spiritual things. We must now see why the priest as well as all the vessels and the other parts of the tabernacle had need of anointing. I conclude that without controversy this oil mixed with precious perfumes was a type of the Holy Spirit; for the metaphor of anointing is everywhere met with, when the prophets would commend the power, the effects, and the gifts of the Spirit. Nor is there any doubt but that God, by anointing kings, testified that He would endow them with the spirit of prudence, fortitude, clemency, and justice. Hence it is easily gathered that the tabernacle was sprinkled with oil, that the Israelites might learn that all the exercises of piety profited nothing without the secret operation of the Spirit. Nay, something more was shewn forth, viz., that the efficacy and grace of the Spirit existed and reigned in the truth of the shadows itself; and that whatever good was derived from them was applied by the gift of the same Spirit for the use of believers. In the altar, reconciliation was to be sought, that God might be propitious to them; but, as the Apostle testifies, the sacrifice of Christ’s death would not otherwise have been efficacious to appease God, if He had not suffered by the Spirit, (Heb 9:14;) and how does its fruit now reach us, except because the same Spirit washes our souls with the blood, which once was shed, as Peter teaches us? (1Pe 1:2.) Who now consecrates our prayers but the Spirit, who dictates the groans which cannot be uttered; and by whom we cry, Abba, Father? (Rom. 8:15, 26.) Nay, whence comes the faith which admits us to a participation in the benefits of Christ, but from the same Spirit?
But we were especially to consider the anointing of the priest, who was sanctified by the Spirit of God for the performance of his office; thus, as Isaiah, in the person of Jesus Christ, declares that he was anointed with the spirit of prophecy, (Isa 61:1;) and David affirms the same of the royal spirit, (Ps 45:7;) so Daniel is our best interpreter and witness how the sacerdotal unction was at length manifested (in Him 181 ), for when he says that the time, when by the death of Christ the prophecy shall be sealed up, was determined upon “to anoint the holy of holies,” he plainly reminds us that the spiritual pattern, which answers to the visible sanctuary, is in Christ; so that believers may really feel that these shadows were not mere empty things. (Da 9:24.) We now perceive why Aaron was anointed, viz., because Christ was consecrated by the Holy Spirit to be the Mediator between God and man; and why the tabernacle and its vessels were sprinkled with the same oil, viz., because we are only made partakers of the holiness of Christ by the gift and operation of the Spirit. 182 Some translate it in the masculine gender, where of the vessels it is said, “whatsoever toucheth them shall be holy;” Ex 30:29: as if they were not to be touched by any but the priests; but it appears to me to be rather spoken for another reason, viz., that they may embue the oblations with their own sanctity.
25. And thou shalt take it an oil of holy ointment. Although the genitive is put in the place of an epithet, as if Moses had said “a holy oil;” yet it is so called from its effect, because without it nothing is accounted pure. And assuredly the Spirit of God sanctifies ourselves and all that is ours, because without Him we are unholy, and all that belongs to us corrupt. He enjoins the use of the ceremony throughout all the generations of the ancient people, Ex 30:31. In these words there is an implied contrast with the new Church, which wants no shadows since the manifestation of the substance; and justly does the only begotten Son of God possess the name of Christ, since by His coming He has abolished these figures. And Simeon, when he took Him in his arms, and called Him “the Lord’s Christ,” 183 taught that the external use of the legal oil had ceased. So much the sillier is the superstition of the Papacy, when in imitation of the Jews it anoints its priests, and altars, and other toys: 184 as if they desired to bury Christ again with their ointments; wherefore let us hold this invention in detestation as blasphemous, because it overthrows the limits prescribed by God.
In order that the Jews may hold this mystery in just reverence, he forbids similar ointment to be made. We know that ointments were then among the luxuries of a fine banquet; but it is accounted profanation if they make use of this kind; and we must mark the reason, that what is holy, may be holy unto them, Ex 30:32, i.e., that they may reverently observe what is peculiarly devoted to their salvation. For although the sacred things divinely instituted always retain their nature, and cannot be either corrupted or made void by our vices, yet may we by our filthiness, by our impure use or neglect of them, pollute them as far as in us lies.
Added from Fr.
“Ou il est dit, Que tout ce que, etc., aucuns mettent legendre masculin, Celuy qui les sanctifiera;” where it is said, “Whatsoever,” etc., some put the masculine gender, “He who shall sanctify them.” This is the translation of LXX. and V.
The reference here is to Lu 2:28. It does not, however, appear that Simeon actually called Him “the Lord’s Christ,” though the Evangelist states, Lu 2:26, that “it was revealed to him by the Holy Ghost that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ."
Lat., “Nugas;” Fr, “L’autel avec tout leur bagage.” “Now that your oil came not from the Apostles, your own doctor Panormitane is witness; for thus he writeth: ‘The Apostles in old time gave the Holy Ghost only by laying on of hands; but now-a-days, because bishops be not so holy, order hath been taken that they should give this sacrament with chrism.’” — Jewel’s Defence of the Apology, Parker Society’s edition, p. 178.
"Transtulerunt item sua haec olea, cure ad homines moribundos, tum etiam ad parietes, altaria, and campanas: necnon calices et alia hujusmodi, qum videmus, κακοβηλίᾳ improbanda ex veteri Judaismo esse traducta. Excusat ille Innocentius, (Decret. Greg., lib. 1, tit. 15, de Sacra Unctione.) Ecclesiam haec faciendo non Judaizare,” etc. — Petr. Mart. Loci Com., Cl. 4, cap. 1:21.