THE INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE UPREARING OF THE TABERNACLE.
(1-8) Though the work was now complete, and all the parts of the Tabernacle made ready, Moses did not at once proceed to erect it. As when he first went up into Sinai (Exodus 24:16), so now, he waited for a Divine summons, a distinct command fixing the time for him to do that which he knew that he had to do. There is an importance and a fitness in “times and seasons,” which the Great Father often reserves it to Himself to determine (Acts 1:7). Moses felt this, and waited, till after a time the summons came. God fixed for the erection “the first day of the first month” (Exodus 40:2)—i.e., the New Year’s Day of the first year of freedom. At the same time He gave directions fixing the order in which all should be done, and determining the position of the various articles of furniture which the Tabernacle and its court were to contain (Exodus 40:4-8).
The tabernacle of the tent of the congregation.—Rather, the tabernacle, the tent of meeting. The words mishhan and ‘ohel are in apposition, not in regimen. (So also in Exodus 40:6.)
And set in order the things . . . —The twelve loaves are the “things” specially intended (see Exodus 40:23). Whether the frankincense also is glanced at (Leviticus 24:7) may be doubted. It was perhaps an addition to the earliest ritual.
The candlestick.—See Exodus 25:31-37.
And light the lamps.—Not necessarily at once, but at the close of the day. (See Exodus 30:8.)
The hanging of the door—i.e., the curtain at the entrance to the Tabernacle (Exodus 26:36; Exodus 36:37, &c.).
Exodus 40:9And 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.THE INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE CONSECRATION OF THE TABERNACLE AND THE PRIESTS.
(9-15) Instructions for the consecration of the Tabernacle, its furniture and its vessels, by anointing, and for the consecration of Aaron and his sons by ablution, anointing, and investiture, were attached to those given concerning the setting up of the Tabernacle, and are here recorded, although their execution appears to have been delayed to a later date. (See Leviticus 8:1-13.) Moses perhaps found that there was not time for the completion of the ceremony on the day of the erection of the Tabernacle, and therefore deferred a part of it.
(9) The anointing oil.—Directions for the composition of the oil had been already given (Exodus 30:23-25); and at the same time it had been ordered that the Tabernacle, the ark, the table, the candlestick, the two altars, the laver, and the various vessels of the sanctuary, should be consecrated by anointing them (Exodus 30:26-29).
Their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood.—The Jewish commentators maintain that the one anointing of the sons of Aaron sufficed for all time, and was not repeated in the case of any subsequent priests, who became fully possessed of the sacerdotal office without it. Each high priest was, on the contrary, inducted into his office by anointing, whence the high priest came to be spoken of as “the anointed priest (Leviticus 4:3; Leviticus 4:5; Leviticus 4:16; Leviticus 21:12, &c.).
Exodus 40:17And 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 UPREARING OF THE TABERNACLE.
(17) On the first day of the month . . . the tabernacle was reared up.—The Tabernacle was so constructed as to be capable of being rapidly both put together and taken to pieces. The erection of the framework, and the stretching upon it of the fine linen and goats’-hair coverings, must have been the main difficulty. But the family of Abraham had been familiar with tent life from the time of its quitting Ur of the Chaldees to the descent into Egypt, and its location in Egypt on the borders of the desert, in close neighbourhood to various nomadic races, had kept up its familiarity with tents, their structure, and the most approved methods of pitching and striking them. Thus it is not surprisiug that the first erection was completed in less than a day.
Set up the boards.—When the sockets had been firmly fixed, the upright boards and tiie pillars were inserted into them by means of the “tenons” in which they terminated, and so stood erect. The coupling by “bars” rivetted the three walls into one firm and compact structure.
Put the covering . . . above upon it.—“The covering” (miksêh) is the outer protection of rams’ skins and seals’ skins. (See Exodus 26:14.)
Set the staves on the ark—i.e., placed them in the rings, ready for use. (See Exodus 25:14.)
And offered upon it the burnt offering and the meat offering.—Offered upon it, i.e., the first evening sacrifice—a lamb for a burnt offering, together with the prescribed meat offering. (See Exodus 29:40.)
Exodus 40:34Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.THE DESCENT OF THE GLOEY OF GOD UPON THE TABERNACLE.
(34) Then a cloud.—Heb., the cloud, i.e., the same cloud that had accompanied the host and directed their journeys from Succoth (Exodus 13:20-22).
Covered the tent.—The cloud rested on the tent outside; the “glory of God,”—some ineffably brilliant appearance—entered inside, and “filled” the entire dwelling. It pleased God thus to manifest His intention of making good His promise to go with the people in person (Exodus 33:17).
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Exodus 40:37But if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up.
Exodus 40:38For the cloud of the LORD was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.