The Tabernacle set up. — V.1. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, v.2. On the first day of the first month shalt thou set up the Tabernacle of the Tent of the Congregation. This was on the first of Nisan, or Abib, at the beginning of the second year after the children of Israel had left Egypt. The Tabernacle was to be in readiness for the first anniversary of the Passover Festival. V.3. And thou shalt put therein the Ark of the Testimony, where the Decalog, the testimony of the Lord to the people, was deposited, and cover the ark with the veil, hide it from the eyes of the people by the heavy curtain which screened the Most Holy Place. V.4. And thou shalt bring in the table of showbread, and set in order the things, literally, arrange the order, that are to be set in order upon it; and thou shalt bring in the candlestick, and light the lamps thereof. V.5. And thou shalt set the altar of gold for the incense before the Ark of the Testimony, that is, to the east of it, before the veil of the Sanctuary, and put the hanging of the door to the Tabernacle, the door-curtain before the Holy Place. V.6. And thou shalt set the altar of the burnt offering before the door of the Tabernacle of the Tent of the Congregation, out in the open court. V.7. And thou shalt set the laver between the Tent of the Congregation and the altar, and shalt. put water therein, since it was to serve for the ablutions of the priests, both before entering the Sanctuary and before going up to the altar of burnt offering. V.8. And thou shalt set up the court round about, both the posts and the curtains, and hang up the hanging at the court gate, the splendid variegated entrance curtain. V.9. And thou shalt take the anointing oil, and anoint the Tabernacle, and all that is therein, and shalt hallow it and all the vessels thereof; and it shall be holy, set aside for the worship of Jehovah. V.10. And thou shalt anoint the altar of the burnt offering and all his vessels, and sanctify the altar for the service of the Lord; and it shall be an altar most holy, literally, holiness of holiness, everybody and everything that touched it being thereby consecrated to the Lord. V.11. And thou shalt anoint the laver and his foot and sanctify it, set it apart for the sacred use for which it was intended. V.12. And thou shalt bring Aaron and his sons unto the door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, and wash them with water, chap. 29, 4. V.13. And thou shalt put upon Aaron the holy garments, and anoint him, and sanctify him, that he may minister unto Me in the priest’s office. V.14. And thou shalt bring his sons, and clothe them with coats, the white byssus garments which were the distinctive dress of the ordinary priests; v.15. and thou shalt anoint them, as thou didst anoint their father, that they may minister unto Me in the priest’s office; for their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations. The priesthood was hereditary among the sons of Aaron, but their consecration did not take place until the special ordinances of the sacrifices had been given. Cp. Lev. 8. V.16. Thus did Moses; according to all that the Lord commanded him, so did he.
The various appointments in place. — V.17. And it came to pass in the first month in the second year, on the first day of the month, that the Tabernacle was reared up, the great tent of worship was solemnly erected. V.18. And Moses reared up the Tabernacle, and fastened his sockets, the bases of the large planks, and set up the boards thereof, and put in the bars thereof, and reared up his pillars, those from which the two curtains were suspended. V.19. And he spread abroad the tent over the Tabernacle, first the splendid variegated curtain, and then the curtain of goats’ hair, and put the covering of the tent above upon it, the protective covering of rams’ skins and seacow leather, as the Lord commanded Moses. V.20. And he took and put the testimony into the ark, the stone tables with the Decalog, and set the staves on the ark, and put the mercy-seat above upon the ark. V.21. And he brought the ark into the Tabernacle, into the Most Holy Place, and set up the veil of the covering, and covered the Ark of the Testimony, shut it off from the gaze of all but the high priest on the great Day of Atonement, as the Lord commanded Moses. V.22. And he put the table of showbread in the Tent of the Congregation, in the Holy Place, upon the side of the Tabernacle northward, without the veil, on the right, or north, side of the altar of incense. V.23. And he set the bread in order upon it before the Lord, he arranged the showbread in the two heaps according to orders, as the Lord had commanded Moses. V.24. And he put the candlestick in the Tent of the Congregation over against the table, on the side opposite the table of showbread, on the side of the Tabernacle southward, to the left of the altar of incense. V.25. And he lighted the lamps before the Lord, as the Lord commanded Moses. V.26. And he put the golden altar of incense in the Tent of the Congregation, the Holy Place, before the veil; v.27. and he burned sweet incense thereon, as the Lord commanded Moses. V.28. And he set up the hanging at the door of the Tabernacle, suspending it from the pillars at the eastern entrance. V.29. And he put the altar of burnt offering by the door of the Tabernacle of the Tent of the Congregation, and offered upon it the burnt offering and the meat-offering, as the Lord commanded Moses. Both the burning of incense and the bringing of sacrifices at this time were extraordinary acts of Moses, and did not belong to the ordinary worship of the people, as it was done after the consecration of the Sanctuary. V.30. And he set the laver between the Tent of the Congregation and the altar, and put water there to wash withal. V.31. And Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet thereat; v.32. when they went into the Tent of the Congregation, and when they came near unto the altar, they washed, as the Lord commanded Moses. This signified that the Lord wanted not only clean hands, but clean hearts as well, in all those that were and are engaged in His worship. V.33. And he reared up the court round about the Tabernacle and the altar, and set up the hanging of the court gate. So Moses finished the work.
The cloud of God’s glory. — V.34. Then a cloud covered the Tent of the Congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle, shut off from the gaze of sinful men by the screen of cloud. So Jehovah Himself consecrated the Sanctuary by this manifestation of His glory in the sacred cloud, even before it was consecrated by the priesthood. V.35. And Moses was not able to enter into the Tent of the Congregation, not even he, the friend of Jehovah, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle. This shows that the people had now again received the full pardon of the Lord, since He once more dwelt in their midst with His gracious presence. V.36. And when the cloud was taken up from over the Tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys; v.37. but if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up. The people broke camp and moved onward only with the moving of the cloud. V.38. For the cloud of the Lord was upon the Tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight, before the eyes, of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys. Thus did the presence of the covenant God accompany them in all their journeyings, and the Tabernacle served to hold before the congregation the object of its calling and the certain fulfillment of the promises to the patriarchs.