The Altar for Burning Incense
1“Make an altar from acacia wood. You will use this altar for burning incense. 2You must make the altar square—1 cubit#30:2 cubit 20 5/8" (51.83 cm). long and 1 cubit wide. It must be 2 cubits#30:2 2 cubits 3' 4 13/16" (104 cm). high. There will be horns at the four corners. These horns must be made as one piece with the altar. 3Cover the top, the horns, and all four sides of the altar with pure gold. Then put gold trim all around the altar. 4Below this trim there should be two gold rings. There should be two gold rings on opposite sides of the altar. These gold rings will be used with poles to carry the altar. 5Make the poles from acacia wood and cover them with gold. 6Put the altar just outside the special curtain that hangs in front of the Box of the Agreement. So the altar will be in front of the mercy-cover that is above the Agreement. This is the place where I will meet with you.
7“Aaron must burn sweet-smelling incense on the altar every morning. He will do this when he comes to care for the lamps. 8He must burn incense again when he checks the lamps in the evening so that incense will be burned before the Lord every day forever. 9Don’t use this altar for offering any other kind of incense or burnt offering or for any kind of grain offering or drink offering.
10“Once a year Aaron must make a special sacrifice. He will use the blood of the sin offering to erase the sins of the people. He will do this at the horns of this altar. This day will be called the Day of Atonement, and it will be a very special day for the Lord.”
The Temple Tax
11The Lord said to Moses, 12“Count the Israelites so that you will know how many people there are. Every time this is done, each man must make a payment for himself to the Lord so that nothing terrible will happen to the people. 13Each man who is counted must pay 1/2 shekel of silver. (That is 1/2 shekel by the official measure. This shekel weighs 20 gerahs.#30:13 gerahs 1/50 of an ounce (.6 g).) This half shekel is an offering to the Lord. 14Every man who is at least 20 years old must be counted. And every man who is counted must give the Lord this offering. 15The rich must not give more than 1/2 shekel, and the poor must not give less than 1/2 shekel. All people will make the same offering to the Lord. This will be a payment for your life. 16Gather this money from the Israelites. Use the money for the service in the Meeting Tent. This payment will be a way for the Lord to remember his people. They will be paying for their own lives.”
The Washing Bowl
17The Lord said to Moses, 18“Make a bronze bowl and put it on a bronze base. You will use this for washing. Put the bowl between the Meeting Tent and the altar. Fill the bowl with water. 19Aaron and his sons must wash their hands and feet with the water from this bowl. 20Every time they enter the Meeting Tent, they must wash with that water so that they will not die. They must also wash every time they come near the altar to burn incense or to offer gifts to the Lord. 21They must wash their hands and their feet so that they will not die. This will be a law that continues forever for Aaron and his people who will live in the future.”
The Anointing Oil
22Then the Lord said to Moses, 23“Find the finest spices. Get 12 pounds#30:23 12 pounds Literally, “500 measures” (5.75 kg). of liquid myrrh, half that amount (that is, 6 pounds#30:23 6 pounds Literally, “250 measures” (2.9 kg).) of sweet-smelling cinnamon, and 12 pounds of sweet-smelling cane, 24and 12 pounds of cassia. Use the official measure to measure all these things. Also get 1 gallon#30:24 gallon Literally, “a hin” (3.2 l). of olive oil.
25“Mix all these things to make a special sweet-smelling anointing oil. 26Pour this oil on the Meeting Tent and on the Box of the Agreement. This will show that these things have a special purpose. 27Pour the oil on the table and on all the dishes on the table. And pour this oil on the lamp and on all its tools. Pour the oil on the incense altar. 28Also, pour the oil on the altar for burning offerings to God. Pour this oil on everything on that altar. Pour this oil on the bowl and on the base under the bowl. 29You will make all these things holy. They will be very special to the Lord. Anything that touches these things will also become holy.
30“Pour the oil on Aaron and his sons to show that they are separated from the rest of the people to serve as priests. 31Tell the Israelites that the anointing oil is holy—it must always be used only for me. 32This oil is holy and you must treat it as something special. Don’t use the same formula for making perfume and don’t let people use this oil like an ordinary perfume. 33Whoever makes a perfume like that and puts it on anyone except a priest#30:33 priest Literally, “stranger.” must be separated from the people.”
34Then the Lord said to Moses, “Get these sweet-smelling spices: resin, onycha, galbanum, and pure frankincense. Be sure that you have equal amounts of these spices. 35Mix the spices together to make a sweet-smelling incense. Do this the same as a perfume maker would do it. Also mix salt with this incense. This will make it pure and special. 36Grind some of the incense until it becomes a fine powder. Put the powder in front of the Holy Box that holds the Agreement#30:36 Holy Box that holds the Agreement Literally, “Testimony.” See “Agreement” in the Word List. in the Meeting Tent. This is the place where I meet with you. You must use this incense powder only for its very special purpose. 37You must use it only in this special way for the Lord. You must also make it in a special way. Don’t make any other incense in this way. 38There may be people who will want to make some of this incense for themselves so that they can enjoy the smell. But whoever does this must be separated from their people.”