וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר 40:1
Exod. 40:1 And the Lord spoke to Moses saying,
בְּיֹום־הַחֹדֶשׁ הָרִאשֹׁון בְּאֶחָד לַחֹדֶשׁ תָּקִים אֶת־מִשְׁכַּן אֹהֶל מֹועֵד 40:2
Exod. 40:2 “On a day of the first month, the month’s first, you shall erect the Tabernacle, the tent of meeting.” [Return to Exod. 39:36]
The time was precisely two weeks before the first anniversary of the Exodus.
וְשַׂמְתָּ שָׁם אֵת אֲרֹון הָעֵדוּת וְסַכֹּתָ עַל־הָאָרֹן אֶת־הַפָּרֹכֶת 40:3
Exod. 40:3 “And you shall put the ark of the testimony there, and with the veil you shall screen about the ark.”
וְהֵבֵאתָ אֶת־הַשֻּׁלְחָן וְעָרַכְתָּ אֶת־עֶרְכֹּו וְהֵבֵאתָ אֶת־הַמְּנֹרָה וְהַעֲלֵיתָ אֶת־נֵרֹתֶיהָ 40:4
Exod. 40:4 “And you shall bring in the table and arrange its things. And you shall bring in the lamp stand and light its lamps.”
וְנָתַתָּה אֶת־מִזְבַּח הַזָּהָב לִקְטֹרֶת לִפְנֵי אֲרֹון הָעֵדֻת וְשַׂמְתָּ אֶת־מָסַךְ הַפֶּתַח לַמִּשְׁכָּן 40:5
Exod. 40:5 “And you shall place the altar of gold for incense before the ark of the testimony, and put on the covering of the entrance to the Tabernacle.”
וְנָתַתָּה אֵת מִזְבַּח הָעֹלָה לִפְנֵי פֶּתַח מִשְׁכַּן אֹהֶל־מֹועֵד 40:6
Exod. 40:6 “And you shall set the altar of the burnt offering before the entrance of the Tabernacle, the tent of meeting.”
וְנָתַתָּ אֶת־הַכִּיֹּר בֵּין־אֹהֶל מֹועֵד וּבֵין הַמִּזְבֵּחַ וְנָתַתָּ שָׁם מָיִם 40:7
Exod. 40:7 “And you shall set the laver between the tent of meeting and the altar and put water there.”
וְשַׂמְתָּ אֶת־הֶחָצֵר סָבִיב וְנָתַתָּ אֶת־מָסַךְ שַׁעַר הֶחָצֵר 40:8
Exod. 40:8 “And you shall set up the court all around, and put up the screen of the entrance of the court.”
וְלָקַחְתָּ אֶת־שֶׁמֶן הַמִּשְׁחָה וּמָשַׁחְתָּ אֶת־הַמִּשְׁכָּן וְאֶת־כָּל־אֲשֶׁר־בֹּו וְקִדַּשְׁתָּ אֹתֹו וְאֶת־כָּל־כֵּלָיו 40:9
Exod. 40:9 “And you shall take the oil of anointing and anoint the Tabernacle and all that is in it and hallow it and all of its articles, that it shall be holy.”
וּמָשַׁחְתָּ אֶת־מִזְבַּח הָעֹלָה וְאֶת־כָּל־כֵּלָיו וְקִדַּשְׁתָּ אֶת־הַמִּזְבֵּחַ וְהָיָה הַמִּזְבֵּחַ קֹדֶשׁ קָדָשִׁים 40:10
Exod. 40:10 “So you shall anoint the altar of the burnt offering and all its articles and sanctify the altar, and the altar shall be holiest of holy things.”
God calls the space inside the veil surrounding the ark the Holiest of Holy Places, according to my translation (see, for instance, Exod. 26:33). Here He uses the same Hebrew term to describe the altar of the burnt offering. Obviously the two can’t both be the Holiest of Holy Places. Therefore, I translated the term as shown above, the holiest of holy things. To me this means that the altar is holier than the Tabernacle walls, the table, the lamp stand, the incense altar, the laver, or the court. In the world exterior to the Holiest of Holy Places, the altar of the burnt offering was the holiest.
וּמָשַׁחְתָּ אֶת־הַכִּיֹּר וְאֶת־כַּנֹּו וְקִדַּשְׁתָּ אֹתֹו 40:11
Exod. 40:11 “And you shall anoint the laver and its base and sanctify it.”
וְהִקְרַבְתָּ אֶת־אַהֲרֹן וְאֶת־בָּנָיו אֶל־פֶּתַח אֹהֶל מֹועֵד וְרָחַצְתָּ אֹתָם בַּמָּיִם 40:12
Exod. 40:12 “And you shall bring Aaron and his sons close to the entrance of the tent of meeting and wash them with water.” [Return to Levi. 8:4]
וְהִלְבַּשְׁתָּ אֶת־אַהֲרֹן אֵת בִּגְדֵי הַקֹּדֶשׁ וּמָשַׁחְתָּ אֹתֹו וְקִדַּשְׁתָּ אֹתֹו וְכִהֵן לִי 40:13
Exod. 40:13 “And you shall clothe Aaron with the garments of holiness and anoint him and sanctify him so he may be a priest to Me.”
וְאֶת־בָּנָיו תַּקְרִיב וְהִלְבַּשְׁתָּ אֹתָם כֻּתֳּנֹת 40:14
Exod. 40:14 “And you shall bring his sons near and put tunics on them.”
וּמָשַׁחְתָּ אֹתָם כַּאֲשֶׁר מָשַׁחְתָּ אֶת־אֲבִיהֶם וְכִהֲנוּ לִי וְהָיְתָה לִהְיֹת לָהֶם מָשְׁחָתָם לִכְהֻנַּת עֹולָם 40:15
Exod. 40:15 “And you shall anoint them as you anointed their father so they may act as priests to Me and their anointing shall be established to be theirs for a everlasting priesthood for their generations.”
וַיַּעַשׂ מֹשֶׁה כְּכֹל אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְהוָה אֹתֹו כֵּן עָשָׂה 40:16
Exod. 40:16 Then Moses acted. According to all that the Lord had commanded him, so he did.
וַיְהִי בַּחֹדֶשׁ הָרִאשֹׁון בַּשָּׁנָה הַשֵּׁנִית בְּאֶחָד לַחֹדֶשׁ הוּקַם הַמִּשְׁכָּן 40:17
Exod. 40:17 And it was in the first month in the second year on the first of the month, that the Tabernacle was erected.
From this verse we learn that the work of the Tabernacle was completed in about nine months.
[Return to Numb. 1:1]
וַיָּקֶם מֹשֶׁה אֶת־הַמִּשְׁכָּן וַיִּתֵּן אֶת־אֲדָנָיו וַיָּשֶׂם אֶת־קְרָשָׁיו וַיִּתֵּן אֶת־בְּרִיחָיו וַיָּקֶם אֶת־עַמּוּדָיו 40:18
Exod. 40:18 And Moses erected the Tabernacle, and he laid down its sockets and put up its boards and inserted its bars and reared up its columns.
וַיִּפְרֹשׂ אֶת־הָאֹהֶל עַל־הַמִּשְׁכָּן וַיָּשֶׂם אֶת־מִכְסֵה הָאֹהֶל עָלָיו מִלְמָעְלָה כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְהוָה 40:19
Exod. 40:19 And he spread the tent over the Tabernacle and put the covering of the tent over it from above, as the Lord had commanded Moses.
וַיִּקַּח וַיִּתֵּן אֶת־הָעֵדֻת אֶל־הָאָרֹן וַיָּשֶׂם אֶת־הַבַּדִּים עַל־הָאָרֹן וַיִּתֵּן אֶת־הַכַּפֹּרֶת עַל־הָאָרֹן מִלְמָעְלָה 40:20
Exod. 40:20 And he took and delivered the testimony to the ark and set the staves on the ark and put the ark cover on the ark from above.
וַיָּבֵא אֶת־הָאָרֹן אֶל־הַמִּשְׁכָּן וַיָּשֶׂם אֵת פָּרֹכֶת הַמָּסָךְ וַיָּסֶךְ עַל אֲרֹון הָעֵדוּת כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְהוָה אֶת־ 40:21
Exod. 40:21 And he brought the ark to the Tabernacle and put up the veil screen and shut in the ark of the testimony, as the Lord had commanded Moses.
The wording of these two verses, 40:20 and 21, raises intriguing questions. First, how did Moses put the ark cover on the ark? It had to be pretty heavy, so he would most likely have needed help to lift it. Second, how did Moses bring the ark into the Tabernacle? He couldn’t have carried it alone. It would have taken at least four men to carry it. Who might have helped him? Once the testimony was in the ark, the ark was holy and untouchable by anyone but Moses, and later, Aaron, after he was consecrated. Anyone else who touched the ark would have died. Either this is a serious error on the part of the scribe, or we have here previously unrecognized miracles.
וַיִּתֵּן אֶת־הַשֻּׁלְחָן בְּאֹהֶל מֹועֵד עַל יֶרֶךְ הַמִּשְׁכָּן צָפֹנָה מִחוּץ לַפָּרֹכֶת 40:22
Exod. 40:22 And he put the table in the tent of meeting on the northern side of the Tabernacle outside of the veil,
וַיַּעֲרֹךְ עָלָיו עֵרֶךְ לֶחֶם לִפְנֵי יְהוָה כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְהוָה אֶת־מֹשֶׁה 40:23
Exod. 40:23 and arranged a row of bread on it before the Lord, as the Lord had commanded Moses.
וַיָּשֶׂם אֶת־הַמְּנֹרָה בְּאֹהֶל מֹועֵד נֹכַח הַשֻּׁלְחָן עַל יֶרֶךְ הַמִּשְׁכָּן נֶגְבָּה 40:24
Exod. 40:24 And he put the lamp stand in the tent of meeting opposite the table on the southern side of the Tabernacle. [Return to Ezek. 41:14]
וַיַּעַל הַנֵּרֹת לִפְנֵי יְהוָה כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְהוָה אֶת־מֹשֶׁה 40:25
Exod. 40:25 And he lit the lamps before the Lord, as the Lord had commanded Moses.
וַיָּשֶׂם אֶת־מִזְבַּח הַזָּהָב בְּאֹהֶל מֹועֵד לִפְנֵי הַפָּרֹכֶת 40:26
Exod. 40:26 And he put the altar of gold in the tent of meeting in front of the veil,
וַיַּקְטֵר עָלָיו קְטֹרֶת סַמִּים כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְהוָה אֶת־מֹשֶׁה 40:27
Exod. 40:27 and burned incense of sweet spices on it, as the Lord had commanded Moses.
וַיָּשֶׂם אֶת־מָסַךְ הַפֶּתַח לַמִּשְׁכָּן 40:28
Exod. 40:28 And he put on the covering of the entrance to the Tabernacle.
וְאֵת מִזְבַּח הָעֹלָה שָׂם פֶּתַח מִשְׁכַּן אֹהֶל־מֹועֵד וַיַּעַל עָלָיו אֶת־הָעֹלָה וְאֶת־הַמִּנְחָה כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה 40:29
Exod. 40:29 And he set up the altar of burnt offering at the entrance of the Tabernacle, the tent of meeting, and offered the burnt offering and the meal offering on it, as the Lord had commanded Moses.
וַיָּשֶׂם אֶת־הַכִּיֹּר בֵּין־אֹהֶל מֹועֵד וּבֵין הַמִּזְבֵּחַ וַיִּתֵּן שָׁמָּה מַיִם לְרָחְצָה 40:30
Exod. 40:30 And he set the laver between the tent of meeting and the altar and put water there for washing,
וְרָחֲצוּ מִמֶּנּוּ מֹשֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן וּבָנָיו אֶת־יְדֵיהֶם וְאֶת־רַגְלֵיהֶם 40:31
Exod. 40:31 so Moses and Aaron and his sons might wash their hands and their feet from it.
בְּבֹאָם אֶל־אֹהֶל מֹועֵד וּבְקָרְבָתָם אֶל־הַמִּזְבֵּחַ יִרְחָצוּ כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְהוָה אֶת־מֹשֶׁה 40:32
Exod. 40:32 On their coming in to the tent of meeting and on their coming close to the altar, they should wash, as the Lord had commanded Moses.
I presume that only the high priest, at this time that was Aaron, was to enter the Tabernacle. Only he has been spoken of as doing the ministry inside the Tabernacle. Then in future generations, it would be the eldest son of the high priest who would succeed him and continue this ministry.
וַיָּקֶם אֶת־הֶחָצֵר סָבִיב לַמִּשְׁכָּן וְלַמִּזְבֵּחַ וַיִּתֵּן אֶת־מָסַךְ שַׁעַר הֶחָצֵר וַיְכַל מֹשֶׁה אֶת־הַמְּלָאכָה 40:33
Exod. 40:33 And he raised up the court on every side of the Tabernacle and the altar, and set up the screen of the gate of the court. Thus Moses completed the work.
וַיְכַס הֶעָןָן אֶת־אֹהֶל מֹועֵד וּכְבֹוד יְהוָה מָלֵא אֶת־הַמִּשְׁכָּן 40:34
Exod. 40:34 Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle.
לֹא־יָכֹל מֹשֶׁה לָבֹוא אֶל־אֹהֶל מֹועֵד כִּי־שָׁכַן עָלָיו הֶעָןָן וּכְבֹוד יְהוָה מָלֵא אֶת־הַמִּשְׁכָּן 40:35
Exod. 40:35 And Moses was not able to go in to the tent of meeting because the cloud settled over it as the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle.
One can only imagine how the glory of the Lord appeared, but I certainly wish I could have seen it. I suppose that the cloud over the tent of meeting prevented the glory of the Lord from being seen from outside, at least during the day. Even Moses could not be a witness to it. Only the cloud could be seen. But I wonder if it looked to Moses and the others like a brilliant fiery glow, the fire mentioned in v. 40:38 below. That would help explain why Moses was unable to go in, although he was intimate with the Lord.
We will learn later in Leviticus Chapter 7 (from Levi. 7:37 and 7:38) that the remaining verses of this chapter are primarily a summary by the scribe of future ongoing events, not necessarily something that happened immediately after v. 40:35. Leviticus Chapter 8, excluding the first three verses, is actually a continuation from this verse.
[Return to Levi. 7:38]
וּבְהֵעָלֹות הֶעָןָן מֵעַל הַמִּשְׁכָּן יִסְעוּ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּכֹל מַסְעֵיהֶם 40:36
Exod. 40:36 And whenever the cloud would be lifted from over the Tabernacle, the children of Israel would go forth in all their journeys.
וְאִם־לֹא יֵעָלֶה הֶעָןָן וְלֹא יִסְעוּ עַד־יֹום הֵעָלֹתֹו 40:37
Exod. 40:37 And if the cloud would not be lifted up, then they would not pull out until the day of its being lifted.
כִּי עֲןַן יְהוָה עַל־הַמִּשְׁכָּן יֹוםָם וְאֵשׁ תִּהְיֶה לַיְלָה בֹּו לְעֵינֵי כָל־בֵּית־יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּכָל־מַסְעֵיהֶם 40:38
Exod. 40:38 For the cloud of the Lord would be on the Tabernacle by day and the fire would be on it by night, for the eyes of the whole house of Israel in all their journeys.
[Return to Numb. 9:23]
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