Setting Up the Sanctuary
1#sn All of Exod 39:32-40:38 could be taken as a unit. The first section (39:32-43) shows that the Israelites had carefully and accurately completed the preparation and brought everything they had made to Moses: The work of the Lord builds on the faithful obedience of the people. In the second section are the instruction and the implementation (40:1-33): The work of the Lord progresses through the unifying of the work. The last part (40:34-38) may take the most attention: When the work was completed, the glory filled the tabernacle: By his glorious presence, the Lord blesses and directs his people in their worship. Then the Lord spoke to Moses:#tn Heb “and Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying.” 2 “On the first day of the first month you are to set up#tn Heb “you will raise,” an imperfect of instruction. the tabernacle, the tent of meeting. 3 You are to place the ark of the testimony in it and shield the ark with the special curtain. 4 You are to bring in the table and set out the things that belong on it;#tn Heb “and you will set in order its setting” or “arrange its arrangement.” See 25:29-30 for items that belonged on the table. then you are to bring in the lampstand and set up its lamps. 5 You are to put#tn Heb “give” (also four additional times in vv. 6-8). the gold altar for incense in front of the ark of the testimony and put the curtain at the entrance to the tabernacle. 6 You are to put the altar for the burnt offering in front of the entrance to the tabernacle, the tent of meeting. 7 You are to put the large basin between the tent of meeting and the altar and put water in it.#tn Heb “there.” 8 You are to set up the courtyard around it and put the curtain at the gate of the courtyard. 9 And take#tn Heb “you will take” (perfect with vav, ו). the anointing oil, and anoint#tn Heb “and you will anoint” (perfect with vav, ו). the tabernacle and all that is in it, and sanctify#tn Heb “and you will sanctify” (perfect with vav, ו). it and all its furnishings, and it will be holy. 10 Then you are to anoint the altar for the burnt offering with#tn Heb “and.” all its utensils; you are to sanctify the altar, and it will be the most holy altar. 11 You must also anoint the large basin and its pedestal, and you are to sanctify it.#sn U. Cassuto (Exodus, 480) notes that the items inside the tent did not need to be enumerated since they were already holy, but items in the courtyard needed special attention. People needed to know that items outside the tent were just as holy.
12 “You are to bring#tn The verb is “bring near,” or “present,” to Yahweh. Aaron and his sons to the entrance of the tent of meeting and wash them with water. 13 Then you are to clothe Aaron with the holy garments and anoint him and sanctify him so that he may minister as my priest. 14 You are to bring#tn The verb is also “bring near” or “present.” his sons and clothe them with tunics 15 and anoint them just as you anointed their father, so that they may minister as my priests; their anointing will make them a priesthood that will continue throughout their generations.” 16 This is what Moses did, according to all the Lord had commanded him – so he did.
17 So the tabernacle was set up on the first day of the first month, in the second year. 18 When Moses set up the tabernacle and put its bases in place, he set up its frames, attached its bars, and set up its posts. 19 Then he spread the tent over the tabernacle and put the covering of the tent over it, as the Lord had commanded Moses. 20 He took the testimony and put it in the ark, attached the poles to the ark, and then put the atonement lid on the ark. 21 And he brought the ark into the tabernacle, hung#tn Heb “set up,” if it includes more than the curtain. the protecting curtain,#tn Or “shielding” (NIV); Heb “the veil of the covering” (cf. KJV). and shielded the ark of the testimony from view, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.
22 And he put the table in the tent of meeting, on the north side of the tabernacle, outside the curtain. 23 And he set the bread in order on it#tn Heb uses a cognate accusative construction, “he arranged the arrangement.” before the Lord, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.
24 And he put the lampstand in the tent of meeting opposite the table, on the south side of the tabernacle. 25 Then he set up the lamps before the Lord, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.
26 And he put the gold altar in the tent of meeting in front of the curtain, 27 and he burned fragrant incense on it, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.
28 Then he put the curtain at the entrance to the tabernacle. 29 He also put the altar for the burnt offering by the entrance to the tabernacle, the tent of meeting, and offered on it the burnt offering and the meal offering, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.
30 Then he put the large basin between the tent of meeting and the altar and put water in it#tn Heb “there.” for washing. 31 Moses and Aaron and his sons would wash their hands and their feet from it. 32 Whenever they entered#tn The construction is the infinitive construct with the temporal preposition and the suffixed subjective genitive. This temporal clause indicates that the verb in the preceding verse was frequentative. the tent of meeting, and whenever they approached#tn This is another infinitive construct in a temporal clause. the altar, they would wash,#tn In this explanatory verse the verb is a customary imperfect. just as the Lord had commanded Moses.
33 And he set up the courtyard around the tabernacle and the altar, and put the curtain at the gate of the courtyard. So Moses finished the work.
34 Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 35 Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 36 But when the cloud was lifted up#tn The construction uses the Niphal infinitive construct to form the temporal clause. from the tabernacle, the Israelites would set out#tn The imperfect tense in this context describes a customary action. on all their journeys; 37 but if the cloud was not lifted up, then they would not journey further until the day it was lifted up.#tn The clause uses the Niphal infinitive construct in the temporal clause: “until the day of its being taken up.” 38 For the cloud of the Lord was on the tabernacle by day, but fire would be#tn Here is another imperfect tense of the customary nuance. on it at night, in plain view#tn Heb “to the eyes of all”; KJV, ASV, NASB “in the sight of all”; NRSV “before the eyes of all.” of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.