The altar of incense
1‘Make an altar of acacia wood for burning incense. 2It is to be square, a cubit long and a cubit wide, and two cubits high#That is, about 45 centimetres long and wide and 90 centimetres high – its horns of one piece with it. 3Overlay the top and all the sides and the horns with pure gold, and make a gold moulding around it. 4Make two gold rings for the altar below the moulding – two on each of the opposite sides – to hold the poles used to carry it. 5Make the poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. 6Put the altar in front of the curtain that shields the ark of the covenant law – before the atonement cover that is over the tablets of the covenant law – where I will meet with you.
7‘Aaron must burn fragrant incense on the altar every morning when he tends the lamps. 8He must burn incense again when he lights the lamps at twilight so that incense will burn regularly before the Lord for the generations to come. 9Do not offer on this altar any other incense or any burnt offering or grain offering, and do not pour a drink offering on it. 10Once a year Aaron shall make atonement on its horns. This annual atonement must be made with the blood of the atoning sin offering#Or purification offering for the generations to come. It is most holy to the Lord.’
11Then the Lord said to Moses, 12‘When you take a census of the Israelites to count them, each one must pay the Lord a ransom for his life at the time he is counted. Then no plague will come on them when you number them. 13Each one who crosses over to those already counted is to give a half shekel,#That is, about 5.8 grams; also in verse 15 according to the sanctuary shekel, which weighs twenty gerahs. This half shekel is an offering to the Lord. 14All who cross over, those twenty years old or more, are to give an offering to the Lord. 15The rich are not to give more than a half shekel and the poor are not to give less when you make the offering to the Lord to atone for your lives. 16Receive the atonement money from the Israelites and use it for the service of the tent of meeting. It will be a memorial for the Israelites before the Lord, making atonement for your lives.’
Basin for washing
17Then the Lord said to Moses, 18‘Make a bronze basin, with its bronze stand, for washing. Place it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and put water in it. 19Aaron and his sons are to wash their hands and feet with water from it. 20Whenever they enter the tent of meeting, they shall wash with water so that they will not die. Also, when they approach the altar to minister by presenting a food offering to the Lord, 21they shall wash their hands and feet so that they will not die. This is to be a lasting ordinance for Aaron and his descendants for the generations to come.’
22Then the Lord said to Moses, 23‘Take the following fine spices: 500 shekels#That is, about 5.8 kilograms; also in verse 24 of liquid myrrh, half as much (that is, 250 shekels) of fragrant cinnamon, 250 shekels#That is, about 2.9 kilograms of fragrant calamus, 24500 shekels of cassia – all according to the sanctuary shekel – and a hin#That is, probably about 3.8 litres of olive oil. 25Make these into a sacred anointing oil, a fragrant blend, the work of a perfumer. It will be the sacred anointing oil. 26Then use it to anoint the tent of meeting, the ark of the covenant law, 27the table and all its articles, the lampstand and its accessories, the altar of incense, 28the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, and the basin with its stand. 29You shall consecrate them so they will be most holy, and whatever touches them will be holy.
30‘Anoint Aaron and his sons and consecrate them so they may serve me as priests. 31Say to the Israelites, “This is to be my sacred anointing oil for the generations to come. 32Do not pour it on anyone else’s body and do not make any other oil using the same formula. It is sacred, and you are to consider it sacred. 33Whoever makes perfume like it and puts it on anyone other than a priest must be cut off from their people.” ’
34Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Take fragrant spices – gum resin, onycha and galbanum – and pure frankincense, all in equal amounts, 35and make a fragrant blend of incense, the work of a perfumer. It is to be salted and pure and sacred. 36Grind some of it to powder and place it in front of the ark of the covenant law in the tent of meeting, where I will meet with you. It shall be most holy to you. 37Do not make any incense with this formula for yourselves; consider it holy to the Lord. 38Whoever makes incense like it to enjoy its fragrance must be cut off from their people.’