“You are to take fine flour and use it to bake twelve loaves, one gallon per loaf. Arrange them in two rows, six in a row, on the pure table before Adonai. Put frankincense with each row to be an offering made by fire to Adonai in place of the bread and as a reminder of it. Regularly, every Shabbat, he is to arrange them before Adonai ; they are from the people of Isra’el, as a covenant forever. They will belong to Aharon and his sons; and they are to eat them in a holy place; because for him they are, of the offerings for Adonai made by fire, especially holy. This is a permanent law.”-Leviticus 24:5-9
We’ve finished talking about the MENORAH and now we’re going to move to the next set of verses (5-9) dealing with what is normally called the Shewbread.
The Shewbread were 12 large loaves of leavened bread that sat on a table inside the Holy Place and were placed into two rows.
We know that the loaves had to have been stacked on top of each other because we know the approximate dimensions of the table they sat on which was a tad bit over 2 feet square.
Now when I said these loaves of bread were large, I meant it.
Each loaf was made with about 2 and a quarter liters or about 5 pints of semolina flour and each loaf weighed in at an even 4 pounds.
That’s a huge loaf of bread!!!
What’s interesting to note is that the practice of laying out bread or other food in a temple as food for the gods was actually quite common in ancient Middle Eastern society.
But the God of Israel made it clear to His priests that the food was NOT for Him but for them.
The Shewbread was to be the priest’s portion of food.
The Shewbread being divided into two rows or two stacks corresponded to the two large stones that were attached to the High Priest’s Ephod.
Recall that engraved on each of these stones were the names of the 12 tribes of Israel, 6 names on each stone.
There is some interesting prophetic significance here that we would be remiss to overlook.
The 12 loaves are divided into two groups and there are 2 stones with the 12 names of Israel also divided with 6 names being written on each stone.
I believe this symbolizes in the near future that Israel would be split up into 2 TWO houses.
Of course, I’m pretty sure Moses nor the Israelites had any clue this would ever happen.
The Shewbread was replaced with fresh loaves once every week with the priests receiving the left-overs.