Bible Society of South Africa

To The Word – Day 21

Exodus 26–32

Bible text(s)

The Tent of the LORD's Presence

(Ex 36.8–38)

1“Make the interior of the sacred Tent, the Tent of my presence, out of ten pieces of fine linen woven with blue, purple, and red wool. Embroider them with figures of winged creatures. 2Make each piece the same size, twelve metres long and two metres wide. 3Sew five of them together in one set, and do the same with the other five. 4Make loops of blue cloth on the edge of the outside piece in each set. 5Put fifty loops on the first piece of the first set and fifty loops matching them on the last piece of the second set. 6Make fifty gold hooks with which to join the two sets into one piece.

7“Make a cover for the Tent out of eleven pieces of cloth made of goats' hair. 8Make them all the same size, thirteen metres long and two metres wide. 9Sew five of them together in one set, and the other six in another set. Fold the sixth piece double over the front of the Tent. 10Put fifty loops on the edge of the last piece of one set, and fifty loops on the edge of the other set. 11Make fifty bronze hooks and put them in the loops to join the two sets so as to form one cover. 12Hang the extra half-piece over the back of the Tent. 13The extra fifty centimetres on each side of the length is to hang over the sides of the Tent to cover it.

14“Make two more coverings, one of rams' skin dyed red and the other of fine leather, to serve as the outer cover.

15“Make upright frames for the Tent out of acacia wood. 16Each frame is to be four metres long and 66 centimetres wide, 17with two matching projections, so that the frames can be joined together. All the frames are to have these projections. 18Make twenty frames for the south side 19and forty silver bases to go under them, two bases under each frame to hold its two projections. 20Make twenty frames for the north side of the Tent 21and forty silver bases, two under each frame. 22For the back of the Tent on the west, make six frames, 23and two frames for the corners. 24These corner frames are to be joined at the bottom and connected all the way to the top. The two frames that form the two corners are to be made in this way. 25So there will be eight frames with their sixteen silver bases, two under each frame.

26“Make fifteen crossbars of acacia wood, five for the frames on one side of the Tent, 27five for the frames on the other side, and five for the frames on the west end, at the back. 28The middle crossbar, set halfway up the frames, is to extend from one end of the Tent to the other. 29Cover the frames with gold and fit them with gold rings to hold the crossbars, which are also to be covered with gold. 30Set up the Tent according to the plan that I showed you on the mountain.

31“Make a curtain of fine linen woven with blue, purple, and red wool. Embroider it with figures of winged creatures. 32Hang it on four posts of acacia wood covered with gold, fitted with hooks, and set in four silver bases. 33Place the curtain under the row of hooks in the roof of the Tent, and behind the curtain put the Covenant Box containing the two stone tablets. The curtain will separate the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. 34Put the lid on the Covenant Box. 35Outside the Most Holy Place put the table against the north side of the Tent and the lampstand against the south side.

36“For the entrance of the Tent make a curtain of fine linen woven with blue, purple, and red wool and decorated with embroidery. 37For this curtain make five posts of acacia wood covered with gold and fitted with gold hooks; make five bronze bases for these posts.

The Altar

(Ex 38.1–7)

1“Make an altar out of acacia wood. It is to be square, 2.2 metres long and 2.2 metres wide, and it is to be 1.3 metres high. 2Make projections at the top of the four corners. They are to form one piece with the altar, and the whole is to be covered with bronze. 3Make pans for the greasy ashes, and make shovels, bowls, hooks, and firepans. All this equipment is to be made of bronze. 4Make a bronze grating and put four bronze carrying rings on its corners. 5Put the grating under the rim of the altar, so that it reaches halfway up the altar. 6Make carrying poles of acacia wood, cover them with bronze, 7and put them in the rings on each side of the altar when it is carried. 8Make the altar out of boards and leave it hollow, according to the plan that I showed you on the mountain.

The Enclosure for the Tent of the LORD's Presence

(Ex 38.9–20)

9“For the Tent of my presence make an enclosure out of fine linen curtains. On the south side the curtains are to be 44 metres long, 10supported by twenty bronze posts in twenty bronze bases, with hooks and rods made of silver. 11The same is to be done on the north side of the enclosure. 12On the west side there are to be curtains 22 metres long, with ten posts and ten bases. 13On the east side, where the entrance is, the enclosure is also to be 22 metres wide. 14-15On each side of the entrance there are to be 6.6 metres of curtains, with three posts and three bases. 16For the entrance itself there is to be a curtain nine metres long made of fine linen woven with blue, purple, and red wool, and decorated with embroidery. It is to be supported by four posts in four bases. 17All the posts round the enclosure are to be connected with silver rods, and their hooks are to be made of silver and their bases of bronze. 18The enclosure is to be 44 metres long, 22 metres wide, and 2.2 metres high. The curtains are to be made of fine linen and the bases of bronze. 19All the equipment that is used in the Tent and all the pegs for the Tent and for the enclosure are to be made of bronze.

Taking Care of the Lamp

(Lev 24.1–4)

20“Command the people of Israel to bring you the best olive oil for the lamp, so that it can be lit each evening. 21Aaron and his sons are to set up the lamp in the Tent of my presence outside the curtain which is in front of the Covenant Box. There in my presence it is to burn from evening until morning. This command is to be kept for ever by the Israelites and their descendants.

Garments for the Priests

(Ex 39.1–7)

1“Summon your brother Aaron and his sons, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. Separate them from the people of Israel, so that they may serve me as priests. 2Make priestly garments for your brother Aaron, to provide him with dignity and beauty. 3Call all the skilled workers to whom I have given ability, and tell them to make Aaron's clothes, so that he may be dedicated as a priest in my service. 4Tell them to make a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, an embroidered shirt, a turban, and a sash. They are to make these priestly garments for your brother Aaron and his sons, so that they can serve me as priests. 5The skilled workers are to use blue, purple, and red wool, gold thread, and fine linen.

6“They are to make the ephod of blue, purple, and red wool, gold thread, and fine linen, decorated with embroidery. 7Two shoulder straps, by which it can be fastened, are to be attached to the sides. 8A finely woven belt made of the same materials is to be attached to the ephod so as to form one piece with it. 9Take two carnelian stones and engrave on them the names of the twelve sons of Jacob, 10in the order of their birth, with six on one stone and six on the other. 11Get a skilful jeweller to engrave on the two stones the names of the sons of Jacob, and mount the stones in gold settings. 12Put them on the shoulder straps of the ephod to represent the twelve tribes of Israel. In this way Aaron will carry their names on his shoulders, so that I, the LORD, will always remember my people. 13Make two gold settings 14and two chains of pure gold twisted like cords, and attach them to the settings.

The Breastpiece

(Ex 39.8–21)

15“Make a breastpiece for the High Priest to use in determining God's will. It is to be made of the same materials as the ephod and with similar embroidery. 16It is to be square and folded double, 22 centimetres long and 22 centimetres wide. 17Mount four rows of precious stones on it; in the first row mount a ruby, a topaz, and a garnet; 18in the second row, an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond; 19in the third row, a turquoise, an agate, and an amethyst; 20and in the fourth row, a beryl, a carnelian, and a jasper. These are to be mounted in gold settings. 21Each of these twelve stones is to have engraved on it the name of one of the sons of Jacob, to represent the tribes of Israel. 22For the breastpiece make chains of pure gold, twisted like cords. 23Make two gold rings and attach them to the upper corners of the breastpiece, 24and fasten the two gold cords to the two rings. 25Fasten the other two ends of the cords to the two settings, and in this way attach them in front to the shoulder straps of the ephod. 26Then make two rings of gold and attach them to the lower corners of the breastpiece on the inside edge next to the ephod. 27Make two more gold rings and attach them to the lower part of the front of the two shoulder straps of the ephod near the seam and above the finely woven belt. 28Tie the rings of the breastpiece to the rings of the ephod with a blue cord, so that the breastpiece rests above the belt and does not come loose.

29“When Aaron enters the Holy Place, he will wear this breastpiece engraved with the names of the tribes of Israel, so that I, the LORD, will always remember my people. 30Put the Urim and Thummim in the breastpiece, so that Aaron will carry them when he comes into my holy presence. At such times he must always wear this breastpiece, so that he can determine my will for the people of Israel.

The Other Priestly Garments

(Ex 39.22–31)

31“The robe that goes under the ephod is to be made entirely of blue wool. 32It is to have a hole for the head, and this hole is to be reinforced with a woven binding to keep it from tearing. 33-34All round its lower hem put pomegranates of blue, purple, and red wool, alternating with gold bells. 35Aaron is to wear this robe when he serves as priest. When he comes into my presence in the Holy Place or when he leaves it, the sound of the bells will be heard, and he will not be killed.

36“Make an ornament of pure gold and engrave on it ‘Dedicated to the LORD’. 37Tie it to the front of the turban with a blue cord. 38Aaron is to wear it on his forehead, so that I, the LORD, will accept all the offerings that the Israelites dedicate to me, even if the people commit some error in offering them.

39“Weave Aaron's shirt of fine linen and make a turban of fine linen and also a sash decorated with embroidery.

40“Make shirts, sashes, and caps for Aaron's sons, to provide them with dignity and beauty. 41Put these clothes on your brother Aaron and his sons. Then ordain them and dedicate them by anointing them with olive oil, so that they may serve me as priests. 42Make linen shorts for them, reaching from the waist to the thighs, so that they will not expose themselves. 43Aaron and his sons must always wear them when they go into the Tent of my presence or approach the altar to serve as priests in the Holy Place, so that they will not be killed for exposing themselves. This is a permanent rule for Aaron and his descendants.

Instructions for Ordaining Aaron and his Sons as Priests

(Lev 8.1–36)

1“This is what you are to do to Aaron and his sons to dedicate them as priests in my service. Take one young bull and two rams without any defects. 2Use the best wheat flour, but no yeast, and make some bread with olive oil, some without it, and some in the form of biscuits brushed with oil. 3Put them in a basket and offer them to me when you sacrifice the bull and the two rams.

4“Bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance of the Tent of my presence, and tell them to take a ritual bath. 5Then dress Aaron in the priestly garments — the shirt, the robe that goes under the ephod, the ephod, the breastpiece, and the belt. 6Put the turban on him and tie on it the sacred sign of dedication engraved ‘Dedicated to the LORD’. 7Then take the anointing oil, pour it on his head, and anoint him.

8“Bring his sons and put shirts on them; 9put sashes round their waists and tie caps on their heads. That is how you are to ordain Aaron and his sons. They and their descendants are to serve me as priests for ever.

10“Bring the bull to the front of the Tent of my presence and tell Aaron and his sons to put their hands on its head. 11Kill the bull there in my holy presence at the entrance of the Tent. 12Take some of the bull's blood and with your finger put it on the projections of the altar. Then pour out the rest of the blood at the base of the altar. 13Next, take all the fat which covers the internal organs, the best part of the liver, and the two kidneys with the fat on them and burn them on the altar as an offering to me. 14But burn the bull's flesh, its skin, and its intestines outside the camp. This is an offering to take away the sins of the priests.

15“Take one of the rams and tell Aaron and his sons to put their hands on its head. 16Kill it, and take its blood and throw it against all four sides of the altar. 17Cut the ram in pieces; wash its internal organs and its hind legs, and put them on top of the head and the other pieces. 18Burn the whole ram on the altar as a food offering. The odour of this offering pleases me.

19“Take the other ram — the ram used for dedication — and tell Aaron and his sons to put their hands on its head. 20Kill it, and take some of its blood and put it on the lobes of the right ears of Aaron and his sons, on the thumbs of their right hands and on the big toes of their right feet. Throw the rest of the blood against all four sides of the altar. 21Take some of the blood that is on the altar and some of the anointing oil, and sprinkle it on Aaron and his clothes and on his sons and their clothes. He, his sons, and their clothes will then be dedicated to me.

22“Cut away the ram's fat, the fat tail, the fat covering the internal organs, the best part of the liver, the two kidneys with the fat on them, and the right thigh. 23From the basket of bread which has been offered to me, take one loaf of each kind: one loaf made with olive oil and one made without it and one biscuit. 24Put all this food in the hands of Aaron and his sons and tell them to dedicate it to me as a special gift. 25Then take it from them and burn it on the altar, on top of the burnt offering, as a food offering to me. The odour of this offering pleases me.

26“Take the breast of this ram and dedicate it to me as a special gift. This part of the animal will be yours.

27“When a priest is ordained, the breast and the thigh of the ram being used for the ordination are to be dedicated to me as a special gift and set aside for the priests. 28It is my unchanging decision that when my people make their fellowship offerings, the breast and the thigh of the animal belong to the priests. This is the people's gift to me, the LORD.

29“Aaron's priestly garments are to be handed on to his sons after his death, for them to wear when they are ordained. 30The son of Aaron who succeeds him as priest and who goes into the Tent of my presence to serve in the Holy Place is to wear these garments for seven days.

31“Take the meat of the ram used for the ordination of Aaron and his sons and boil it in a holy place. 32At the entrance of the Tent of my presence they are to eat it along with the bread left in the basket. 33They shall eat what was used in the ritual of forgiveness at their ordination. Only priests may eat this food, because it is sacred. 34If some of the meat or some of the bread is not eaten by morning, it is to be burnt; it is not to be eaten, for it is sacred.

35“Perform the rites of ordination for Aaron and his sons for seven days exactly as I have commanded you. 36Each day you must offer a bull as a sacrifice, so that sin may be forgiven. This will purify the altar. Then anoint it with olive oil to make it holy. 37Do this every day for seven days. Then the altar will be completely holy, and anyone or anything that touches it will be harmed by the power of its holiness.

The Daily Offerings

(Num 28.1–8)

38“Every day for all time to come, sacrifice on the altar two one-year-old lambs. 39Sacrifice one of the lambs in the morning and the other in the evening. 40With the first lamb offer one kilogramme of fine wheat flour mixed with one litre of pure olive oil. Pour out one litre of wine as an offering. 41Sacrifice the second lamb in the evening, and offer with it the same amounts of flour, olive oil, and wine as in the morning. This is a food offering to me, the LORD, and its odour pleases me. 42For all time to come, this burnt offering is to be offered in my presence at the entrance of the Tent of my presence. That is where I will meet my people and speak to you. 43There I will meet the people of Israel, and the dazzling light of my presence will make the place holy. 44I will make the Tent and the altar holy, and I will set Aaron and his sons apart to serve me as priests. 45I will live among the people of Israel, and I will be their God. 46They will know that I am the LORD their God who brought them out of Egypt so that I could live among them. I am the LORD their God.

The Altar for Burning Incense

(Ex 37.25–28)

1“Make an altar out of acacia wood, for burning incense. 2It is to be square, 45 centimetres long and 45 centimetres wide, and it is to be ninety centimetres high. Its projections at the four corners are to form one piece with it. 3Cover its top, all four sides, and its projections with pure gold, and put a gold border round it. 4Make two gold carrying rings for it and attach them below the border on two sides to hold the poles with which it is to be carried. 5Make these poles of acacia wood and cover them with gold. 6Put this altar outside the curtain which hangs in front of the Covenant Box. That is the place where I will meet you. 7Every morning when Aaron comes to get the lamps ready, he is to burn sweet-smelling incense on it. 8He must do the same when he lights the lamps in the evening. This offering of incense is to continue without interruption for all time to come. 9Do not offer on this altar any forbidden incense, any animal offering, or any grain offering, and do not pour out any wine offering on it. 10Once a year Aaron is to perform the ritual for purifying the altar by putting on its four projections the blood of the animal sacrificed for sin. This is to be done every year for all time to come. This altar is to be completely holy, dedicated to me, the LORD.”

The Tax for the Tent of the LORD's Presence

11The LORD said to Moses, 12“When you take a census of the people of Israel, each man is to pay me a price for his life, so that no disaster will come on him while the census is being taken. 13Everyone included in the census must pay the required amount of money, weighed according to the official standard. Everyone must pay this as an offering to me. 14Everyone being counted in the census, that is, every man twenty years old or older, is to pay me this amount. 15The rich man is not to pay more, nor the poor man less, when they pay this amount for their lives. 16Collect this money from the people of Israel and spend it for the upkeep of the Tent of my presence. This tax will be the payment for their lives, and I will remember to protect them.”

The Bronze Basin

17The LORD said to Moses, 18“Make a bronze basin with a bronze base. Place it between the Tent and the altar, and put water in it. 19Aaron and his sons are to use the water to wash their hands and feet 20before they go into the Tent or approach the altar to offer the food offering. Then they will not be killed. 21They must wash their hands and feet, so that they will not die. This is a rule which they and their descendants are to observe for ever.”

The Anointing Oil

22The LORD said to Moses, 23“Take the finest spices — six kilogrammes of liquid myrrh, three kilogrammes of sweet-smelling cinnamon, three kilogrammes of sweet-smelling cane, 24and six kilogrammes of cassia (all weighed according to the official standard). Add four litres of olive oil, 25and make a sacred anointing oil, mixed like perfume. 26Use it to anoint the Tent of my presence, the Covenant Box, 27the table and all its equipment, the lampstand and its equipment, the altar for burning incense, 28the altar for burning offerings, together with all its equipment, and the washbasin with its base. 29Dedicate these things in this way, and they will be completely holy, and anyone or anything that touches them will be harmed by the power of their holiness. 30Then anoint Aaron and his sons, and ordain them as priests in my service. 31Say to the people of Israel, ‘This holy anointing oil is to be used in my service for all time to come. 32It must not be poured on ordinary men, and you must not use the same formula to make any mixture like it. It is holy, and you must treat it as holy. 33Whoever makes any like it or uses any of it on anyone who is not a priest will no longer be considered one of my people.’ ”

The Incense

34The LORD said to Moses, “Take an equal part of each of the following sweet spices — stacte, onycha, galbanum, and pure frankincense. 35Use them to make incense, mixed like perfume. Add salt to keep it pure and holy. 36Beat part of it into a fine powder, take it into the Tent of my presence, and sprinkle it in front of the Covenant Box. Treat this incense as completely holy. 37Do not use the same formula to make any incense like it for yourselves. Treat it as a holy thing dedicated to me. 38If anyone makes any like it for use as perfume, he will no longer be considered one of my people.”

Workers to make the Tent of the LORD's Presence

(Ex 35.30—36.1)

1The LORD said to Moses, 2“I have chosen Bezalel, the son of Uri and grandson of Hur, from the tribe of Judah, 3and I have filled him with my power. I have given him understanding, skill, and ability for every kind of artistic work — 4for planning skilful designs and working them in gold, silver, and bronze; 5for cutting jewels to be set; for carving wood; and for every other kind of artistic work. 6I have also selected Oholiab son of Ahisamach, from the tribe of Dan, to work with him. I have also given great ability to all the other skilled workers, so that they can make everything I have commanded to be made: 7the Tent of my presence, the Covenant Box and its lid, all the furnishings of the Tent, 8the table and its equipment, the lampstand of pure gold and all its equipment, the altar for burning incense, 9the altar for burnt offerings and all its equipment, the washbasin and its base, 10the magnificent priestly garments for Aaron and his sons to use when they serve as priests, 11the anointing oil, and the sweet-smelling incense for the Holy Place. In making all these things, they are to do exactly as I have commanded you.”

Sabbath, the Day of Rest

12The LORD commanded Moses 13to say to the people of Israel, “Keep the Sabbath, my day of rest, because it is a sign between you and me for all time to come, to show that I, the LORD, have made you my own people. 14You must keep the day of rest, because it is sacred. Whoever does not keep it, but works on that day, is to be put to death. 15You have six days in which to do your work, but the seventh day is a solemn day of rest dedicated to me. Whoever does any work on that day is to be put to death. 16The people of Israel are to keep this day as a sign of the covenant. 17It is a permanent sign between the people of Israel and me, because I, the LORD, made heaven and earth in six days, and on the seventh day I stopped working and rested.”

18When God had finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two stone tablets on which God himself had written the commandments.

The Gold Bull Calf

(Deut 9.6–29)

1When the people saw that Moses had not come down from the mountain but was staying there a long time, they gathered round Aaron and said to him, “We do not know what has happened to this man Moses, who led us out of Egypt; so make us a god to lead us.”

2Aaron said to them, “Take off the gold earrings which your wives, your sons, and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.” 3So all the people took off their gold earrings and brought them to Aaron. 4He took the earrings, melted them, poured the gold into a mould, and made a gold bull calf.

The people said, “Israel, this is our god, who led us out of Egypt!”

5Then Aaron built an altar in front of the gold bull calf and announced, “Tomorrow there will be a festival to honour the LORD.” 6Early the next morning they brought some animals to burn as sacrifices and others to eat as fellowship offerings. The people sat down to a feast, which turned into an orgy of drinking and sex.

7The LORD said to Moses, “Go back down at once, because your people, whom you led out of Egypt, have sinned and rejected me. 8They have already left the way that I commanded them to follow; they have made a bull calf out of melted gold and have worshipped it and offered sacrifices to it. They are saying that this is their god, who led them out of Egypt. 9I know how stubborn these people are. 10Now, don't try to stop me. I am angry with them, and I am going to destroy them. Then I will make you and your descendants into a great nation.”

11But Moses pleaded with the LORD his God and said, “LORD, why should you be so angry with your people, whom you rescued from Egypt with great might and power? 12Why should the Egyptians be able to say that you led your people out of Egypt, planning to kill them in the mountains and destroy them completely? Stop being angry; change your mind and do not bring this disaster on your people. 13Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Remember the solemn promise you made to them to give them as many descendants as there are stars in the sky and to give their descendants all that land you promised would be their possession for ever.” 14So the LORD changed his mind and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.

15Moses went back down the mountain, carrying the two stone tablets with the commandments written on both sides. 16God himself had made the tablets and had engraved the commandments on them.

17Joshua heard the people shouting and said to Moses, “I hear the sound of battle in the camp.”

18Moses said, “That doesn't sound like a shout of victory or a cry of defeat; it's the sound of singing.”

19When Moses came close enough to the camp to see the bull calf and to see the people dancing, he was furious. There at the foot of the mountain, he threw down the tablets he was carrying and broke them. 20He took the bull calf which they had made, melted it, ground it into fine powder, and mixed it with water. Then he made the people of Israel drink it. 21He said to Aaron, “What did these people do to you, that you have made them commit such a terrible sin?”

22Aaron answered, “Don't be angry with me; you know how determined these people are to do evil. 23They said to me, ‘We don't know what has happened to this man Moses, who brought us out of Egypt; so make us a god to lead us.’ 24I asked them to bring me their gold ornaments, and those who had any took them off and gave them to me. I threw the ornaments into the fire and out came this bull calf!”

25Moses saw that Aaron had let the people get out of control and make fools of themselves in front of their enemies. 26So he stood at the gate of the camp and shouted, “Everyone who is on the LORD's side come over here!” So all the Levites gathered round him, 27and he said to them, “The LORD God of Israel commands every one of you to put on his sword and go through the camp from this gate to the other and kill his brothers, his friends, and his neighbours.” 28The Levites obeyed, and killed about 3,000 men that day. 29Moses said to the Levites, “Today you have consecrated yourselves as priests in the service of the LORD by killing your sons and brothers, so the LORD has given you his blessing.”

30The next day Moses said to the people, “You have committed a terrible sin. But now I will again go up the mountain to the LORD; perhaps I can obtain forgiveness for your sin.” 31Moses then returned to the LORD and said, “These people have committed a terrible sin. They have made a god out of gold and worshipped it. 32Please forgive their sin; but if you won't, then remove my name from the book in which you have written the names of your people.”

33The LORD answered, “It is those who have sinned against me whose names I will remove from my book. 34Now go, lead the people to the place I told you about. Remember that my angel will guide you, but the time is coming when I will punish these people for their sin.”

35So the LORD sent a disease on the people, because they had caused Aaron to make the gold bull calf.

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