The *covenant and the law
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Verses 1-2: The *Israelites had left Egypt two months earlier. In the third month, they left Rephidim. (The third month was Sivan, which is May to June). They set up camp in the Sinai *desert in front of *Mount Sinai.
The *Israelites left Rephidim at the time called the new moon. The new moon was the beginning of a new month. They had travelled for two weeks in the month Abib (Nisan) and 4 weeks in the month Ziv (Iyyar). This was the 7th week of their journey, at the start of the third month, Sivan. That day, they arrived in the *desert in front of *Mount Sinai.
What happened at *Mount Sinai (*Mount Horeb) is the subject of the rest of this book. Also, it is the subject of the whole of Leviticus and the subject of Numbers 1:1-10:10.
Verse 3: Moses had come back to the mountain where God had met him. (See Exodus 3:1.) Moses had brought the *LORD’s people from Egypt. The *LORD had told Moses that the *Israelites would *worship on this mountain. And that was happening. It proved that God had sent Moses. (See Exodus 3:12.)
Immediately, Moses went up the mountain to be with God. There, God spoke to him. Moses must tell the *Israelites everything that the *LORD would say.
Verse 4: The *LORD spoke about what he had done in Egypt. Moses had seen all the things that God had done there. The *LORD carried the *Israelites as an *eagle looks after its young birds.
The *eagle is a very large bird. It takes its young birds out of the nest. And it teaches them to fly. When they fall, it catches them on its wings. So, the *LORD was teaching *Israel how to live. As the *eagle looks after its young birds, so the *LORD looked after *Israel. As the *eagle protects its young birds, so the *LORD protected *Israel. The *LORD took *Israel out of Egypt and into the *desert. He supported them all the time that they were in the *desert. He brought them to that place, his holy mountain. It was his holy mountain because God was meeting them there.
Verses 5-6: The *LORD told Moses that the whole earth was his. Out of all the nations on earth, the *LORD had chosen *Israel. He had chosen them to be his special people. That was the *covenant that the *LORD had given to their *ancestors. The *Israelites should be a *kingdom of priests to serve the *LORD. He did not force the *Israelites to serve him. They should do that because of what he had done for them. They should obey all his commands.
Verses 7-8: Moses came down from the mountain and he returned to the camp. He called the leaders together. He told them what God had said. The leaders probably went to their people. All the people chose to agree to the *LORD’s proposal. They agreed that they would obey the *LORD. They would obey the *covenant and all the *LORD’s rules.
It seems that Moses climbed up the mountain again. He told the people’s answer to the *LORD. Their answer pleased the *LORD and he replied, ‘I have heard what the people said to you. Everything that they said was good.’ (See Deuteronomy 5:28.)
Verse 9: The *LORD said that he would come in a dense cloud. The people would be able to see the cloud. From it, the *LORD would speak to Moses. The people would hear what the *LORD would say. Because of that, the people would know that Moses was the *LORD’s agent. They would trust Moses always. Moses told the *LORD what the people had said.
Verses 10-11: The people must be ready on the third day to meet the *LORD. They must prepare themselves for that special event. In their preparation, they must wash their clothes. On the third day, the *LORD would come down on the mountain. All the people would see the cloud and the *signs that the *LORD was there.
A *Jewish tradition says that the third day was the 6th day of the week. It says that the *LORD gave the law to them on the day before the *Sabbath.
Verses 12-13: The people must not approach the mountain. There would be a boundary and they must not go beyond it. The mountain would become holy because the *LORD was there in a special way. Any person or animal that did not obey that rule must die. Nobody should touch that person or animal.
After the event, there would be a long loud signal on a *trumpet. Then they could go up to the mountain.
Verses 14-15: Moses went down to the people. He told them what the *LORD had said. During those days of preparation, they must not have sex.
Verses 16-19: On the third day, the *LORD came in a very impressive display of *thunder and lightning. There were very loud sounds like a *trumpet. There was thick cloud, fire and smoke. The smoke covered the mountain and it poured out from it. There was fire, darkness, shadow and storm. (See Hebrews 12:18.) The mountain shook. The land trembled. (See Psalm 77:18.)
The sights and sounds made all the people afraid, and they trembled. However, Moses led them from the camp to level ground near the mountain. He led them out to meet God.
The sound of the *trumpet grew louder and louder. It announced that the *LORD had come. Then Moses called out to the *LORD and he answered Moses. Even with the noise of the storm, the people could hear God’s voice.
Verse 20: The *LORD had come down to the top of *Mount Sinai. He told Moses to come up to him. Moses’ reaction to what he saw was fear. He even trembled. (See Hebrews 12:21.) But he obeyed God and he went up. We think that the people could not go up the mountain because of their *sin.
Verses 21-22: God told Moses to go down. And he told him to warn the people. They had their boundaries. If they crossed those boundaries, they would die. The people could not approach the *LORD.
When the priests served him, they could approach him. However, even they must obey strict rules before they approached the *LORD. They must be ready to serve the *LORD. And they must prepare themselves for that. They must wash in order to be clean. They must do that before they approached the *LORD. If they did not obey all the rules, the *LORD would be angry with them. And he would punish them.
The *LORD appointed priests from Aaron’s family later. At this time, the leaders or certain young men acted as priests.
Verse 23: Moses replied that the boundaries were there. The people knew that the mountain was holy. Already he had warned them.
Verses 24-25: Then the *LORD told Moses to go down. And he told him to bring Aaron up with him. Therefore, Moses went down and he warned the people again.
Verse 1: Moses had brought the people to the boundaries at the mountain. The storm with its *thunder had probably stopped. The people were ready to hear God’s voice. Then God spoke all the words in the verses that follow. He spoke these commands from the mountain to them all. He spoke to them from out of the fire, the cloud and the great darkness. (See Deuteronomy 5:22.)
Verse 2: This is more a statement than a command. It declares who God is. It says what he has done for the *Israelites. He is God of the whole world. However, he is the *LORD their God in a special way. He chose them and he rescued them. Therefore, they ought to *worship him with thanks and love.
Verse 3: This first *commandment means that God is the only real God. All other gods are false gods. God’s people must *worship only him. They cannot *worship God and another god. They must not have any other god.
The *Israelites had come out of Egypt. The *Egyptians *worshipped many gods. *Canaan was the country that God would give to the *Israelites. The people in that country *worshipped many gods. That would tempt the *Israelites to serve those foreign gods. However, they must serve only the *LORD their God.
Verses 4-6: This second *commandment is about how people *worship. People like to see an image. Then they can *worship something that they can see. But the *Israelites must not make an image to represent the *LORD. They must not use any image as they *worship the *LORD. God is spirit, and his *worshippers must *worship with their spirits. Then they can *worship him in a genuine manner. (See John 4:24.)
The *LORD God will not allow his people to have other gods. This really shows that he loves his people. He demands that his people *worship only him. He will not share his *glory with another god. He desires that his people love him. He will love all those people who love him. His love for them will include their *descendants if they too obey his *commandments. This first *commandment said that they must love the *LORD their God.
He is angry against everyone who opposes him. He will punish that person and all their *descendants who oppose him.
Verse 7: This is the third command. This command is about the name of God. The name means the person and the character. Therefore, God’s name means in effect God himself. Anyone who uses God’s name in a careless way forgets God’s character. Many people use the name of God and the name of Jesus Christ in that way. But it is a serious matter to speak the name of the *LORD God. And the same thing is true about Jesus Christ, who is God. It is wrong to use the *LORD’s name for a wrong purpose. It would be wrong to use the name of the *LORD for personal purposes. It is wrong to use the *LORD’s name in bad language.
The *LORD is holy and all people ought to respect his name. The *LORD would punish anyone who used his name in a wrong manner.
Verses 8-10: The 4th *commandment is about the *Sabbath. The word *Sabbath comes from a *Hebrew word. That word means ‘to rest’ or ‘to stop working’. The idea of the *Sabbath was already familiar to the *Israelites. (See Exodus 16:23.) This *commandment tells them to remember the *Sabbath. They must obey the rules for the *Sabbath every week on the 7th day. The *Jewish day started at sunset or about 6 in the evening. Therefore, the 7th day was from Friday evening to Saturday evening.
The *LORD told the *Israelites to make each 7th day special because it belonged to the *LORD. They must not do their normal work on that day. It was a day to rest and to *worship the *LORD. They must do all the work that they needed to do in 6 days. The rule about the *Sabbath was the same for all their family, their servants and their animals.
When the *Israelites were slaves in Egypt, they would not have had a day of rest. But after this time they must remember the *Sabbath because the *LORD brought them out of Egypt. (See Deuteronomy 5:15.)
Verse 11: God created the world in 6 days. He finished that work in those 6 days. (See Genesis 1:3-31.) He rested on the 7th day. (See Genesis 2:2-3.) For that reason, God made the *Sabbath day holy.
Verse 12: The first 4 *commandments were about duties toward God. The last 6 *commandments are about duties to other people.
In this 5th command, the *LORD tells the people to give honour to their parents. This is the first *commandment with a promise. The command means that people should respect their parents. The *LORD wants his people to obey their parents. And he wants them to look after them as necessary. If the *Israelites gave honour to their parents, they would live for a long time in the country. The country was *Canaan and the *LORD would give it to *Israel. However, they must obey the *LORD first.
In the *New-Testament, this promise is a bit different: The words are, ‘Always remember how important your father and your mother are. Then, as a result, you will be happy and you will live for a long time on the earth.’ (See Ephesians 6:2-3.)
Verse 13: The 6th *commandment forbids murder. God has made all men and women in his image. (See Genesis 1:26-27.) Every person is precious to God. Therefore, nobody should end a human life. Those who murder would be in danger of judgement and punishment. The punishment for a person who was guilty of murder was death. That was the law for those who murdered another person.
Verse 14: The 7th *commandment forbids sex except with one’s husband or wife. Sex in those circumstances is a gift from God. God intended one man and one woman to marry. And he intended them to be married for the rest of their lives. To have sex in any other circumstances would be *sin.
Verse 15: The 8th *commandment says, ‘Do not steal.’ People can steal in more than one way. A person may obtain something in a way that the law does not allow. That is also to steal. This *commandment includes more than just possessions. It is about the persons as well. It would be wrong to take a person. Somebody might take a person in order to make him or her a slave.
Verse 16: The 9th *commandment is about truth in all circumstances of life. To lie about another person is wrong. God is the God of truth. His words are true and he hates lies.
Verse 17: The last of the 10 commands is about what people desire. They must not want to have anything that belongs to another person. Even if the desire does not cause an act, the desire itself is wrong.
Verse 18: The whole mountain burned with fire. (See Deuteronomy 5:23.) There was a lot of smoke. There was the storm with *thunder and lightning. And the people heard the sound of the *trumpet. The effect frightened them. In terror, they went back, further away from the mountain.
Verse 19: The people had heard the *LORD’s voice as he gave the 10 *commandments to them. They heard his voice out of the fire. They were afraid to hear the voice of the *LORD again. They would die if they continued to hear the *LORD’s voice. They were sure about that. They were sure that they could not approach God. They needed someone to talk with God on their behalf. Moses must be their *prophet. He must hear what God said. Then Moses could speak to them and they promised to listen to him.
Verse 20: God had not come to kill the *Israelites. They should not be afraid about that. However, God had come to test them. The *LORD showed them that he was magnificent and great. (See Deuteronomy 5:24.) That should cause them to respect him. The result should make them careful not to *sin.
Verse 21: While the people stayed away, Moses approached the darkness. He went to meet God.
Verses 22-23: There are various regulations in the rest of the book. Those regulations explain the use of the 10 *commandments in certain situations.
The *LORD gave to Moses a message for the people. They had seen the thick cloud and they had heard the voice. However, they had not seen God. Therefore, they must not try to make an image of God. They must not make an image as a god. They must not *worship in front of any image even if they had made it out of silver or gold. The *LORD must be *Israel’s only God. They must *worship God without any images.
Verses 24-26: The *LORD ordered that the *Israelites should build *altars. They must build them at the places that he chose. They must build the *altars with earth. These would be temporary *altars. They may build *altars with stone. However, they must not use tools on the stones. The stones must be natural. If they used tools on the stones, the *LORD would not be happy with the *altar. The *altars must not be so high that they needed steps. In those days, they did not wear trousers. They wore long clothes that were like skirts. If there were steps, people could see up the skirt of the person on the steps.
These *altars were for people to make *sacrifices to the *LORD. The *sacrifices were *burnt-offerings and *friendship-gifts. The rules about *sacrifices and gifts would come later. The *sacrifices and gifts were sheep and cows. These gifts were an act of *worship to the *LORD. As they gave honour to the *LORD, the *LORD would do good things for them.
Verse 1: The *LORD continued to speak to Moses. Moses would tell the *Israelites what God said.
Verse 2: In those days, it was normal to have and to employ slaves. The rules in verses 2-11 were to protect slaves. They made sure that owners were good to their slaves in the customs of those times.
A *Hebrew slave must serve his master for 6 years. (See Exodus 21:2.) The master must consider that slave as if he were a servant. (See Leviticus 25:39-40.) The life of a servant would be better than that of a slave. Normally, a man would pay wages to a servant. In the 7th year, the master must free the slave. The slave did not have to pay for his freedom. The rule was that the master must be generous to the slave. There was no rule as to how much a master must give to the slave. He must give to the slave from his sheep, wine and corn. (See Deuteronomy 15:13-15.)
Verses 3-4: The slave may not have had a wife when he came to the master. Then he would go alone when the master freed him. If he had a wife at the start, she would go with him. If the master provided a wife for the slave, she would not go out with him. Also, their children would not go with him. The wife and the children would belong to the master. Probably a good master would free them with the male slave.
Verse 5: A *Hebrew slave might not want to leave his master. There might be several good reasons for his decision. He might love his master and his master’s family. Maybe he did not want to leave without his wife and children. Maybe he was afraid of his future and he preferred security with his master. It seems that the master had to agree with the slave’s decision.
Verse 6: The master must take the slave to God’s judges. It is possible to understand the *Hebrew text as ‘the master must bring him to God’. Perhaps the slave had to declare his decision in front of God. The master must take the slave to the door. Then he would push a sharp piece of metal through the slave’s ear into the door. That may mean the door of the place of *worship. But it might be the door of the master’s house. Then the slave would be a servant to the master for the rest of his life.
The rule was the same for both male and female slaves. (See Deuteronomy 15:17.)
Verses 7-8: A man would probably purchase a girl as a servant for the purpose of marriage. In that case, she would be the property of the man who bought her. The owner or a male in his family should marry her. If she did not satisfy the master, he could not sell her to another man. He must allow her own family to buy her back.
Verse 9: Maybe the master bought the girl for his son. Then she must be as a daughter to him. Perhaps the son did not marry her. Then, they have not done what they promised to do. They should allow her freedom to her.
Verses 10-11: If later, her husband married another woman, he must do three things for her. He must continue to provide food for her. He must provide clothes for her. She must have the right to have sex with him. If he did not do all those three things, she could be free. She would not have to pay for her freedom.
Verses 12-14: If someone kills a person, then people should kill him. That is because God made people like himself. (See Genesis 9:6.) However, there is a difference between murder and an accident. The man who kills another man by accident could go to a safe place. There the judges would decide if it was an accident or murder. If it were murder, they would send the man from the safe place. It would be the duty of a relative of the dead man to kill him.
The *LORD told the *Israelites to make certain towns in *Canaan ‘cities of safety’. The person who kills by accident would go to such a city. (See Deuteronomy 19:1-13.)
The murderer may try to escape. He may go to the *LORD’s *altar. However, even there he would not be safe. The people must drag him away from the *altar. And they must kill him.
Verses 15-17: In the 5th command, the *LORD told the people to give honour to their parents. To attack a parent would be against this command. Also, to say bad wishes against a parent would be against this command. The person who does those things would be guilty. The people must kill that person.
Somebody might take another person in order to sell him. That would be a crime. Even if the sale had not actually happened, it would still be a crime. The people must kill the guilty person.
Verses 18-19: In a quarrel, one man might strike another man with a stone or with his fist. That might result in death or serious injuries. If the blow killed the man then it might be murder. The man might not die. But he might need to stay in bed in order to recover. The other man must pay for the time that he must stay in bed. Also, the other man must pay for the time that the man could not work.
After some time, the man might be able to get up. And he might be able to walk about outside with a stick. The responsibility of the other man would stop when the man could walk. Then there would be no punishment against the other man.
Verses 20-21: A master might hit his slave with a stick. If the slave died as a result, the master might be guilty of murder. If the slave did not die the master would not be guilty of any crime. A master could strike his slave to punish him. The master owned the slave. The slave was his property.
Verse 22: Perhaps some men were fighting. By accident, one man hit a woman who was expecting a child. If as a result the baby was born early, that man must pay. Her husband would ask for a certain amount. However, the court would agree the right amount. If there were no damage to the woman or to the baby, there would be no payment.
The result of the incident might be that the baby did not come to normal birth. And so then the woman lost the baby because of the incident.
Maybe she was trying to stop the fight. It might be that she tried to protect her husband or one man.
Verse 23: Maybe she suffered serious injuries. If she died from those injuries, the man must die. The rule was ‘a life for a life’.
In fact, there may have been a payment instead of death when it was an accident. The man would pay to the husband the value that the rules said. (See Exodus 21:30.) But that must not happen when it was murder. (See Numbers 35:31.)
Verses 24-25: For any other injury, the man must suffer the same as the woman. The punishment must be equal to but not more than the damage that he had done. (See Leviticus 24:17-24.) Probably by agreement, the guilty person could pay a sum of money instead of the injury. But the law was an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. The punishment must not be more than the original damage.
Verses 26-27: Any slave who suffered a permanent injury from his owner got his freedom. The slave would not have to pay to be free.
Verse 28: If a *bull kills a person (an adult or a child), the *bull must die. The people must throw stones at the *bull until it dies. This follows the rule in Genesis 9:5-6. They must not eat the meat from that *bull. The owner would not be responsible for the *bull’s actions. However, he would suffer the economic loss of the animal.
Verses 29-31: Maybe the owner knew that the *bull was dangerous. Someone had warned him about it. Then the owner would be responsible for the injuries that his *bull caused to other people. He should have put the animal in a safe place where it could not attack people. But he did not make it safe. Then if it killed a person both the *bull and the owner should die.
Instead of his death, the family of the dead person may demand money from him. He may be able to save himself. He can pay what they asked.
Verse 32: The amount that the owner must pay for the death of a slave was 30 *shekels of silver. That amount was about 0.33 kilos (12 ounces) of silver. That was the normal price for the purchase of a slave.
Verses 33-34: A man who leaves a deep hole open is responsible for it. A cow or a *donkey may fall into the deep hole. If that happens, the man must pay the owner for any damage. If the animal dies, he must pay the total value of the animal to its owner. However, the dead animal would then belong to the man.
Verses 35-36: A *bull may kill another *bull. Then, the owners must sell the *bull that is still alive. The amount of that sale must go equally to the owners of the two *bulls. Also, they must take equal shares of the dead *bull.
If the *bull was dangerous before that incident, the owner ought to have kept it safe. If he did not do that, he would be responsible for his *bull. He must replace the *bull that his *bull killed with another *bull. But the dead *bull would be his.
Verse 1: A thief who stole a *bull or a cow must pay back 5 *bulls or cows. If he stole a sheep or a goat, he must pay back 4 sheep or goats. However, if he still had the animal alive he must pay back twice as much. (See verse 4.)
The 5 times for a *bull may be because a *bull was more valuable than a sheep. People would train a *bull for work. And so it would be harder to replace a *bull.
Verses 2-3: The law allows an owner to protect his property. He may find a thief who is breaking in. Then he may attack the thief. Because of this attack the thief might die. If this were at night, the owner would not be responsible for the death. The owner might have been in danger. However, he would be responsible if the attack were in the day. Probably in the day, there would not be any danger to the owner. And the owner could see what the thief was doing.
Someone may catch the thief either then or later. The thief must pay back everything that he has taken. Also, he must pay an extra one fifth of the amount. (See Leviticus 6:4-5.) They must not then kill the thief. However, if he cannot pay the total amount, the owner may sell the thief as a slave.
Verse 4: A thief stole an animal. It may be a *bull, a *donkey or a sheep. If that animal is alive, he must return it to its owner. Also, he must give to the owner another animal of the same sort. Or he must give to the owner an amount that is equal to the value of the animal.
Verses 5-6: When, by lack of care, a person damages the property of another person he must pay for the damage. Here there are two examples. In the first one, he allowed his animals to damage his neighbour’s property. In the second one, he allowed the fire to spread onto his neighbour’s property. If possible, he should pay the same thing as the owner lost. If he does not do that, he must pay to the owner the value of the damage.
People normally burned what remained in the fields after the harvest. And the fire would burn up all the weeds. The idea was to improve the soil by the ash before the autumn rains. But they should do it carefully.
Verses 7-8: A person may leave valuable things with a neighbour to keep safe for him. Perhaps, when he comes for his things, they are not there. If they catch a thief with those things, the thief must return them to the owner. If the thief does not have the things, he must pay their value to the owner. Also, he must pay another amount equal in value to the things.
If they do not catch a thief, maybe the neighbour stole those things. The neighbour must go to the judges, who will decide about the matter. That meant that the neighbour was coming to God. The judges were God’s servants who acted on his behalf.
Verse 9: Two people might say that they own the same thing. One person would be the real owner of the property. The other person might believe that the property was his. More likely, that person was lying and he was a thief. Both of them must go to the judges together. The judges, as God’s agents, would decide who the real owner was. If the other person was a thief, he must pay to the owner double the value of the property.
Verses 10-11: A man might ask his neighbour to look after his animals. If such an animal suffers death or injury, the neighbour may be responsible. If a thief stole the animal, maybe the neighbour would be responsible to the owner. The two of them must settle this problem in the *LORD’s court. The neighbour must make a serious statement to the *LORD. The neighbour must prove that he is not guilty. Because the *LORD is happy with this statement, the owner of the animal must be happy. The owner would not receive any payment from the innocent neighbour.
Verse 12: The owner might give an animal to a neighbour to keep it safe. Then a thief steals that animal. Because the neighbour failed in his duty, he would be responsible. Therefore, he must pay for the animal or he must give another animal to the owner. But if they found the thief, the thief would pay double. Then the neighbour would not pay anything. (See verse 7.)
Verse 13: However, if a wild animal killed the owner’s animal, the neighbour must prove that fact. He must bring what remains of the dead animal to the judges as proof. If the judges agree, the neighbour will not have to pay the owner. But perhaps he cannot bring any part of the dead animal. Then he must make a serious statement in front of the *LORD. If the *LORD’s judges believe the statement, he would not have to pay.
Verses 14-15: When a person was borrowing an animal, he was responsible for it. He must return that animal in the same health as it was before. If the animal suffered an injury, he must pay the owner for his loss. If the animal died, he must pay the owner another animal or the value of the dead animal. However, if the owner were there at the time of the incident, there would not be any payment.
But if the person paid money for the hire, that payment would include the owner’s risks. The hire rent would pay for any loss that the owner might suffer.
Verses 16-17: This woman had not had sex before. She was not engaged to another man. The man who had sex with her must pay the price for a bride to her father. Also, he must marry her. Her father may refuse to let them marry. However, the man must pay the price for her. Probably that price was 50 *shekels of silver. (See Deuteronomy 22: 29.)
It might be that this woman was engaged to another man. An engaged woman was in law the same as a married woman. Her father would have received the price for a bride. If a man has sex with her that would be a crime against the 7th command. The judges would decide if the woman had agreed to have sex. If she had agreed, then the people should kill them both. They should throw stones at them both in order to kill them. But the judges might decide that she had not agreed. Then they must kill the man. The woman could go free. (See Deuteronomy 22: 23-27.)
Verse 18: The *LORD would not allow the use of evil magic in *Israel. Here a woman who used such magic must not live.
Verse 19: If a person had sex with an animal, they must kill both the person and the animal. (See Leviticus 20:15-16.) In the religion of the *Hittites, people had special animals. They thought that sex with those animals brought them nearer to their gods. But they did not allow sex with other animals. Among the nations in *Canaan, some people did such things.
Verse 20: The *Israelites must *worship the *LORD. The *LORD God was the only real God. All other gods were false gods. They must not make *sacrifices to any other god. They must not *worship any other god. They must kill any *Israelite that made a gift to another god. The people must throw stones at such a person until he died. (See Deuteronomy 17:2-5.)
Verse 21: The *Israelites suffered in Egypt. The *Egyptians were cruel to them. The *Israelites had been strangers in a foreign country. So they knew what that was like. They must not be as the *Egyptians were to them. The stranger who lived in their country ought to feel at home there. The *Israelites must be kind and they must not be cruel to those strangers.
Verses 22-24: The people should protect those in their society who were weak. They must not take advantage of widows or children who had lost their father. If they were cruel or unkind, the widows or the children would cry out to the *LORD. The *LORD would hear their prayers. He would be very angry. And he would kill those men who had been cruel. Their wives would become widows and their children would lose their fathers.
Verses 25-27: There were no banks or similar businesses. An *Israelite who needed help would ask for a loan from his neighbour. Loans were usually for the relief of poor people. The person who lent must not ask for more than the amount of the loan. Moses encouraged them to lend to each other without any hope of gain. An *Israelite must not make a profit out of loans to another *Israelite.
The neighbour may want something of value as a promise to pay back the loan. But he must not go into the other man’s house. He must wait outside. He must let the man bring something to him. (See Deuteronomy 24:10-11.) Perhaps the poor person gave his coat for this purpose. Each night the neighbour must return the coat to the poor person. Perhaps the poor person needed to use his coat as a blanket to keep warm at night.
The *Israelites could make a profit from loans to foreigners. No doubt, foreigners would charge a profit on loans that they made.
The *LORD would bless the *Israelite who did not charge another *Israelite extra money for a loan. (See Deuteronomy 23:19-20.) Of course, God could cause him to earn more profit than he would have had from charges on the loans.
Verse 28: A person who speaks bad things about God is insulting God’s name. Any person who insults God’s name must die. The people must kill that person. (See Leviticus 24:15, 16.) Also, death was the punishment for the person who cursed the ruler.
Verses 29-30: The first part of people’s crops belonged to the *LORD. The first son of the parents belonged to the *LORD. The first young animals that were born belonged to the *LORD. (See Exodus 13:1-2.) Instead of their first sons, they must give to the *LORD a perfect young sheep or a perfect young goat. Instead of an animal, they could pay a sum of money.
The animals must remain with their mothers for 7 days. On the 8th day, their owners must give them to the *LORD. Again, they could replace most animals with a sum of money. But they must *sacrifice the first young *bull, sheep and goat. (See Exodus 13:11-13; Numbers 18:14-17.)
Verse 31: The *Israelites must be holy people for the *LORD. An animal that another animal had killed was called ‘not clean’. Therefore, the *Israelites should not eat its meat. It was called ‘not clean’ because the manner of its death was not proper. And the blood remained in the meat. They could throw the meat to their animals.
Verses 1-3: The 9th command says that you must not lie about anyone. (See Exodus 20:16.) An *Israelite must never speak what is false about another person. When he is a witness in a court, he must speak the truth. He must not lie in order to help a wicked person. The witness must not lie in order to agree with the crowd. The witness must be fair in everything that he says. He must not lie in order to help any person. He must not lie in order to help a poor man because he is poor.
We can read about this in the book called Leviticus too. The words there are, ‘Do not allow your judges to make unfair judgements. Do not give an unfair advantage to poor people. Do not allow a great person to impress you. Be fair when you act as a judge of other people’ (Leviticus 19:15).
Verse 4: An animal may wander from its owner. The owner may be a neighbour or an enemy. However, the person who finds it must not neglect it. He must take the animal back to its owner. If he does not know the owner, he must look after the animal. When the owner comes, he must give his animal to him. The owner would be responsible to look for his animal.
Verse 5: The people used *donkeys to carry heavy loads. A *donkey might fall down because of the heavy load. The load might have moved and perhaps that caused the animal to fall. It would be necessary to remove the load. Then they could raise the *donkey. Then they would replace the load on the *donkey. The person who saw it must help the owner. He must do that, even if the owner was an enemy. Together they would get the animal on its feet again. (See also Deuteronomy 22:1-3.)
Verse 6: The *LORD warned judges and other people about false words and actions. In a court of law, everything must be true and fair. Poor people have as much right to a fair result as do the wealthy people.
Verse 7: People must not lie when they accuse someone. They must not make false decisions. They must not punish an innocent person because of a false decision. Such false judgement might cause the death of an innocent and honest person. To the *LORD, those who give false judgements are guilty of that death.
Verse 8: Judges must not accept anything that might cause them to make wrong decisions. Gifts might persuade them away from the truth. Such gifts cause wise men to seem foolish. Also, gifts might cause them not to believe what good people say.
Verse 9: This repeats the message that the *LORD gave to them before. (See Exodus 22:21.) The *Israelites had been strangers in Egypt. They knew what it was like. So they must judge strangers in the same way that they must judge their own people. They must be fair and honest in their judgement.
Verses 10-11: During 6 years, the people should cultivate their land. And they should harvest their crops. In the 7th year, they must not cultivate their land. Every 7th year must be a *Sabbath of rest to the land. It would be a *Sabbath to the *LORD. (See Leviticus 25:4.) ‘To the *LORD’ means that they should think about God. They should not just think about their crops and their food. They must obey the same rules with their *vineyards and with their fruit trees.
During that 7th year, some crops and fruit would grow. What the land produced in the 7th year would be for food. (See Leviticus 25:6-7.) The owners must allow the poor people and the animals to take what they could from the land.
If the *Israelites obeyed this rule, the *LORD would increase the harvest in the 6th year. The harvest in that year would produce enough food for three years. (See Leviticus 25:18-22.)
Verse 12: The 7th day each week was a rest day. The *Israelites had 6 days when they could work. The 7th day would be the *Sabbath day, when they must not work. Their sons and their daughters must not work on that day. Their servants and their animals must not work on that day. And any stranger who lived in their towns must not work on that day.
In the 4th command, the *LORD said that the *Israelites must remember the *Sabbath day. That day belonged to the *LORD. It would be a day to *worship the *LORD.
The *Sabbath day started at sunset on the 6th day. And the *Sabbath day would finish at sunset on the 7th day. That would be from about 6 in the evening on Friday to about 6 in the evening on Saturday.
Verse 13: This is a constant message. The *Israelites must obey the *LORD about everything that he has said. They must pray to the *LORD and not to any other god. There is one God and that is the *LORD. They must not speak the name of any other god. That would mean a belief in that god. And it would mean that they believed in the power of that god.
Verse 14: Three times a year all the men must come to the place that the *LORD would choose. These three times were the three great *feasts. The first one was the *Feast of bread without *yeast. Then there was the *Feast of early harvest. Another name for this *feast was the *Feast of weeks. (See Exodus 34:22.) Then there was the *Feast of shelters. That was at the end of summer when they had gathered in all the harvest.
The *Israelite men must bring gifts to the *LORD at those *feasts. Those gifts must be in proportion to how the *LORD had blessed them.
This command was for the future when they lived in Canaan. Then they must travel to the place called the house of the *LORD.
Verse 15: The *Feast of bread without *yeast was in the month Abib (or Nisan). Abib was the name of the month because the *barley would be ripe. Abib means the month of the green grain. That month was the time of the harvest of the first ripe fruit. That month is about our months March to April. This *feast was after the *Passover. It was from the 15th to the 21st of the month. For the first 6 days, they would eat bread without *yeast. The 7th day was a special day and again they would not eat any *yeast on that day.
The *feast was to remind the *Israelites that the *LORD saved them from Egypt. When they left Egypt, they left in a hurry. They took the bread that they were making. However, they did not have time to put *yeast in the bread. (See Exodus 12:33-34.) Therefore, the name of this bread without *yeast was the bread of troubles. (See Deuteronomy 16:3.)
Therefore, bread without *yeast would remind the *Israelites about how they left Egypt. They would remember it for the rest of their lives. Some of those people were children when they came out of Egypt. But all those who were born later would remember it too. They would remember it as if they were there.
That 7th day was a holy day. The *Israelites would come together to *worship the *LORD. They must not do any ordinary work either on the first day or on the 7th day. However, they could prepare food on those days. (See Exodus 12:16.)
Verse 16: Then there would be another *feast called the *Feast of early harvest. That was at the end of the spring harvest. This *feast has two other names. It was the *Feast of weeks. (See Exodus 34:22.) In the *New-Testament it is called Pentecost. (See Acts 2:1; 20:16; 1 Corinthians 16:8.) Pentecost means 50th. The *feast began 50 days from the *Sabbath in the week of *Passover.
From the time of the *barley harvest, the *Israelites must count 50 days. In fact, they fixed the date. Therefore, the date was the 6th day of the third month (called Sivan). That month was about our May to June. They would harvest some grain the day after the *Sabbath in the week of the *Passover. (See Leviticus 23:15-16.)
The *Feast of weeks was to give thanks to the *LORD because of the harvest. The people must give to the *LORD a gift of new grain and two loaves of bread. With the bread, they must bring the animals for *sacrifices to the *LORD. They must bring 7 good young sheep, each a year old. And they must bring a young *bull and two male sheep. They were for *sacrifices by fire. In addition to them, they must bring two more young male sheep and a male goat. The goat was a *sacrifice because of *sin. The young sheep were a gift for peace. (See Leviticus 23:15-21.)
Some years after the days of Moses, the *Israelites also remembered at this *feast what happened at *Mount Sinai. They remembered how the *LORD had given the law to them there.
In addition to the above, they should bring to the *LORD gifts of their choice. There was no fixed amount or rate for those gifts. But they should give as the *LORD had blessed them.
From the 15th day to the 21st day in the 7th month, they must have the *Feast of shelters. That was the *feast when they had gathered all their crops. The 7th month was Tishri (or Ethanim). That month was about our September to October. This *feast would be for 7 days and then there would be a special day on the 8th day. The *feast would be after they had got the grain from the harvest. And it would be after they had pressed the fruit from the *vineyards.
On the first day, people would use branches from various trees to make shelters. They would live in those shelters during the *feast. (See Leviticus 23:40-42.) That would remind the people that they lived in shelters on their journey through the *desert. (See Leviticus 23:43.)
The *feast was a time of joy for all the people. That included the children and the slaves. Also, it included the *Levites and the foreigners. They must have this *feast for 7 days in the place that the *LORD would choose. At that time they would be grateful to the *LORD for everything that he had done for them. Then the *LORD would bless their harvests and everything that they did.
Verse 17: All three *feasts were to give thanks to the *LORD because of the harvests. Also, those *feasts reminded them that they belonged to the *LORD their God. He was their king.
There was a tradition that there should not be any marriages during the three great *feasts. These *feasts were not for people to have a private event. They were for all the people to join in together.
Verse 18: The *Israelites must not give an animal to the *LORD as a *sacrifice with anything that contained *yeast. There were *sacrifices of grain and oils but none of those would contain *yeast. (See Leviticus 2:11.) They should not leave the fat of the animal until the next morning. The fat belonged to the *LORD as part of the *sacrifice. In the morning, they might still have some part of an animal that they ate during *Passover. If they did, they must burn it. (See Exodus 12:10.)
Verse 19: The *Israelites must bring the best part of their first harvest to the *LORD’s house. There was no house for the *LORD in the *desert. The *Israelites would come into *Canaan. Then there would be a special place for them to *worship the *LORD. That place would be the *LORD’s house for this purpose.
We have no explanation why they must not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk. Maybe the *Canaanites did that as magic. Therefore, the *Israelites must not do it.
Verses 20-22: The *angel was not an ordinary *angel. He had the power to forgive. And he had the authority of the *LORD. He was the *angel of the *LORD. He would lead the people to the place that the *LORD had promised to them. And he would guard them as they travelled there.
The *Israelites must listen to this *angel. And they must obey him. Then the *LORD would fight on their behalf against all their enemies.
Verse 23: The *angel would go ahead of the *Israelites. He would lead them into the country that the *LORD promised to their *ancestors. He would defeat all the nations that lived there. He would remove those nations from the country.
Verse 24: The *Israelites must not fall down in front of any of the gods of those people. They were all false gods. The *Israelites must not *worship any false god. They must destroy all the images and they must break into pieces all the holy stones. Those people used the stones to *worship their gods.
Verses 25-26: The *Israelites must *worship the *LORD their God. They must not *worship any other god. If they obeyed this command, the *LORD would bless them. He promised to give to them plenty of food and water. They would be strong and healthy. Their wives would give birth to healthy young babies and their animals would give birth to healthy young animals. And the *Israelites would live to a good age.
Verses 27-28: God would send terror and confusion to each of those nations as the *Israelites approached them. Also, he would send fierce insects. Those insects would attack the people as the *Israelites advanced.
Verses 29-30: However, the *LORD would not force the nations out in a single year. The *Israelites had to be capable enough to manage the territory. That would take some time. If they got power over all the territory at once, they would not be able to cultivate it. And the number of wild animals would increase. Therefore, as they were able, the *LORD would increase their area. And he would force out the people from that area.
Verse 31: The first description of the border is from the Red Sea. This must include the east border because the *Philistines’ Sea was the west border. Probably the Red Sea would include what we call the Gulf of Aqabah. The *Philistines’ Sea would be the Mediterranean Sea.
The *desert was the south of the country. The River was the northern border. Probably that was the River Euphrates.
This was the ideal extent of *Israel’s territory. They achieved this for a short period during the time of David and Solomon.
The *LORD promised to give power to the *Israelites. Then they would be able to force the people from that territory. However, it was a command to *Israel to do it. They would succeed if they obeyed the *LORD their God.
Verses 32-33: The *Israelites must be completely separate from the people in the country. There must not be any agreements with them. They must not be at peace with the people in the country. They must force those people out of the country. If any of them remained, they would cause problems. When they *worshipped their gods, it would tempt the *Israelites to *sin. There must not be any contact with the gods of those people.
Verses 1-2: The *LORD told Moses to come up the mountain with Aaron and Aaron’s two oldest sons. Nadab would have been the next chief priest after their father Aaron. However, some time later, he and his brother Abihu offended the *LORD and they died. (See Leviticus 10:1-2.) Also, Moses must bring 70 leaders of the people with him. It seems that they were there for a short time. The *LORD called Moses to go up the mountain again later. (See Exodus 24:12.)
The other *Israelites must not come up the mountain. The group that would come up with Moses must *worship the *LORD from a distance. Moses must approach the *LORD alone.
Verse 3: Moses went down from the mountain to the people. He told them everything that the *LORD had said to him. They heard from Moses the *LORD’s instructions to them and his laws. That was the 10 commands and all the various laws and instructions that followed them. The people were all in agreement. They made a serious declaration. They promised to obey all God’s laws and his instructions.
Verse 4: Moses wrote down everything that the *LORD had said. That gave to them a more permanent record of those things.
Next morning, Moses built an *altar to the *LORD below the mountain. Also, he placed 12 large stones. There was a stone for each of the 12 *tribes of *Israel. The *altar would be on behalf of the *LORD. And the stones would be on behalf of the *tribes. The *LORD and the *tribes would be the two sides in the *covenant.
Verse 5: Moses sent some young men to make *sacrifices to the *LORD. Probably these young men were the first sons in their families. They were able to do this until the *LORD appointed Aaron’s sons as his priests.
Verse 6: Moses collected the blood from the *sacrifices. He put half of the blood in bowls. The other half Moses threw on the *altar. This act was to make the *altar holy.
Verse 7: Moses had written all the details of the *covenant in a book. That book was called the Book of the *Covenant. He read to the people everything that he had written. Again, the people declared that they would obey everything in that book. They promised to obey the *LORD.
Verse 8: Moses threw blood from the bowls over the people. That was the blood of the *covenant. The *LORD had made the *covenant with the *Israelites. They had already agreed to obey all God’s commands. (See Exodus 19:8 and Exodus 24:7.) The blood on the *altar and the blood on the people brought the *covenant into effect. After this time, they must always obey everything that was in the *covenant.
People killed animals to bring into effect a *covenant between people. That was the custom.
Verses 9-10: When the ceremony was over, Moses went up the mountain. As God had told him, he took with him Aaron, Nadab and Abihu. Also, he took with him 70 leaders of the people. They saw something. It showed to them that God’s *glory was there. They did not actually see God. Nobody could see God and live. (See Exodus 33:20; John 1:18; 1 Timothy 6:16.) A sapphire was a precious stone that was blue in colour.
Verse 11: The leaders saw something of God’s *glory, but he did not punish them. They had a meal there in front of him. Probably then they went down from the mountain again.
Verse 12: Once again, God told Moses to come up the mountain to him. The *LORD told Moses that he would give flat stones to him. The *LORD had written on the stones. He wrote on both sides of the stones. (See Exodus 32:15.) However, we are not sure about the details of what he wrote. Tradition says that God wrote on them the 10 *commandments. That tradition comes from what God said to Moses later. He told him to write on new stones the words of the *covenant – the 10 *commandments. (See Exodus 34:28.) But here the *LORD said that he had written the law and the *commandments.
Verses 13-14: Moses took Joshua with him and they went up the mountain. Joshua was Moses’ assistant. Aaron and Hur seemed to help Moses as he led the people. Therefore, he told the leaders that those two men would deal with any difficulties in the camp. The leaders should wait until Moses came back. Moses was away for a long time.
Verses 15-16: As Moses went up the mountain, he could only see a cloud. At first, he had Joshua for company. Then Moses went on alone. Probably Joshua waited for Moses where they had set up camp. The cloud was a *sign that the *LORD was there. Seven days later, the *LORD called to Moses from the cloud.
The *LORD’s *glory was on *Mount Sinai and it remained there.
Verse 17: The *Israelites on the plain below could see the *LORD’s *glory on the mountain. It seemed to them that the mountain was on fire.
Verse 18: Moses continued to climb through the cloud. He stayed on the mountain for 40 days and 40 nights. During that time, he received all the instructions for God’s special tent. The *LORD gave to Moses the rules for *worship and instructions about the priests.
Verses 1-2: Moses must ask the people to provide the materials for the *LORD’s special tent. Those materials would include everything that they needed to *worship the *LORD in that tent. But the people had to give because they wanted to. It would be an act of *worship. How much they gave was their decision. However, they must give the materials that the workers would need for the work. Later we read that the people were generous. (See Exodus 36:5.) They gave more than enough of all these things to the *LORD.
Verse 3: Starting with this verse there is a list of the metals and materials that went into God’s special tent. They included gold, silver, and *bronze.
Verse 4: Then follows wool in three colours. The blue colour came from shells in the sea. The purple colour came from a special type of snail. A snail is a small animal that lives in its shell. Most of the purple came from the country called Phoenicia. The red colour came from the eggs and bodies of certain worms. A worm is a small animal that has no bones. It is long and thin and it lives in the soil.
In addition to the wool, the people should bring *linen of good quality. *Linen is a cloth that people make from a plant.
The *Israelites had goats with long hair. From this hair, they made a strong cloth. They used goat’s cloth to make their tents. And they should bring some of that cloth.
Verse 5: Also, people should bring skins from male sheep. They must colour those skins red. They should also bring goats’ skins. However, some students say that it was the skin of another animal. The people should also bring *acacia wood. *Acacia wood came from a tree that grew in dry places. It was common in the Sinai area. The wood was dark and very hard.
Verse 6: People hit the fruit of the *olive tree to get *olive oil. They used *olive oil for various purposes. Some of that oil they put into their lamps. And as it burned, it gave light to them.
The *Israelites prepared a special holy oil. They put that oil on the priests when they first became priests. (See Exodus 40:15; Numbers 3:3.) They also used that sort of oil when there was a new chief priest. (See Exodus 29:29; Leviticus 16:32.) Later, they used the holy oil when a man became their king. (See 1 Samuel 9:16; 10:1.) Sometimes they put this oil on a *prophet. (See 1 Kings 19:16.) To make this oil, the people must bring certain substances. Those substances would give a sweet smell to the oil. (See Exodus 30:22-33.)
The *Israelites should bring certain substances to burn. (See Exodus 30:34-35.) As they burned, those substances would make a sweet smell.
Verse 7: The other things that people should bring were onyx and other precious stones. They must put those stones on the special clothes of the chief priest. (See Exodus 28:6-25.)
Verses 8-9: The *LORD would be with the *Israelites in his special tent. They must make God’s special tent exactly like the pattern that the *LORD would show to Moses.
Verses 10-15: The first thing that the *LORD described was the box for the *covenant. The workers must make it with *acacia wood. And they must make it with the exact measurements that the *LORD gave to them. They must cover the box completely with pure gold. And they must put a narrow piece of gold round the box. This might have been an edge, which the lid would fit into.
The workers must attach rings of gold on the four feet of the box. These rings were for the poles to carry the box. Because the box for the *covenant was holy, they must not touch it with their hands. The *Levites must carry it by means of the poles. The workers must make the two poles with *acacia wood and they must cover the poles with gold. The poles would fit through the rings. After they have fitted the poles, those poles must stay in the rings.
The box for the *covenant would show that the *LORD was present with them. That was its purpose. Therefore, it was important that nobody touched it.
Verse 16: The *LORD would give to Moses stones that he had written the law and the *commandments on. (See Exodus 24:12.) Moses must put those stones into the box for the *covenant. Later, Moses broke those stones. Then the *LORD told him to cut two suitable stones like the first ones. (See Exodus 34:1.) And the *LORD wrote on the stones the words of the *covenant. That was the 10 *commandments. (See Exodus 34:28.)
Verse 17: The workers must make a cover to fit the box for the *covenant. They must make it out of pure gold. On this cover, once a year, the chief priest would put the blood of the *sacrifice. (See Leviticus 16:14.) He would do that because of the *sins of himself and of the people. And the *LORD would forgive those *sins.
Verse 18-20: The gold of the cover would include the gold for the *cherubs. They would be one piece with the cover. There would be one *cherub at each end of the cover. The *cherubs looked towards each other. But they were looking down at the top of the box. They had wings that went over the top of the box for the *covenant.
Verse 21: When the workers had done all the work, Moses must put the stones that had God’s *covenant on them inside the box. Then he must place the cover on the box for the *covenant.
Verse 22: The *LORD would be present in his special tent. On the cover of the box for the *covenant and between the two *cherubs was God’s seat. He would meet there with Moses and later he would meet the chief priests.
The box for the *covenant would be in the Most Holy Place in God’s special tent. (See Exodus 26:33-35.)
Verses 23-25: The table was one of three pieces of furniture in the Holy Place. The other two pieces were the *altar for *incense and the lamp-holder. The workers must make the table out of *acacia wood and they must cover it with pure gold. They must put a narrow piece of gold round the top of the table. Then they must put an edge on the table. This edge must be pure gold and it must be the width of a hand.
Verses 26-28: The table would have 4 legs, one at each corner. Where the legs and the top of the table met, the workers must put 4 rings of gold. They must make two poles from *acacia wood. They must cover the poles with pure gold. The poles would fit through the rings. The poles were there for the *Levites to carry the table. Unlike the box for the *covenant, they did not leave the poles attached to the table.
Verse 29: The plates would be for the loaves of bread. The dishes were probably small pans. These pans were for *frankincense that had a sweet smell. *Frankincense was a sticky substance that came from a certain tree. The jugs were for wine. The priests poured the wine from the jugs into the bowls. Probably the jugs and bowls were empty while they were on the table. The priest would take them to use outside the Holy Place.
Verse 30: On the special table, the priests must put 12 loaves of bread. The 12 loaves are for *Israel’s 12 *tribes. The loaves would show that the *LORD was present with them. That is why they were there. The priests would put fresh loaves on the table on the *Sabbath day each week. They put the 12 loaves in two rows of 6 loaves each. The priests would eat the old bread. (See Leviticus 24:5-9.)
Verse 31: The third thing in the Holy Place was the lamp-holder of gold. The name for this lamp-holder is the menorah. The workers must make it from one piece of pure gold.
Verses 32-36: The lamp-holder would support 7 lamps that burned oil. On top of its pole, there would be one lamp. On the left side and on the right side there would be three curved branches. These 6 branches would support 6 lamps that burned oil. The branches curved so that those 6 lamps would be at the same height as the middle lamp.
On each branch, there would be three cups. On the top of the pole, there would be 4 cups. In total, there would be 22 cups. Each cup would be like the flower of the *almond tree. The *almond tree was the first tree to have flowers in the spring. The flowers on the tree would be a bright white colour.
In addition to the cups there would be things like *buds that have not yet opened. There would be a *bud where each branch came out of the pole.
Verses 37-39: People made lamps to give light. The shape of a lamp was like a small bowl with a lid. The lid would be open at one end. They would fill the bowl with *olive oil. Then they would put a kind of string through the hole into the oil. The end of the string would be outside the hole. They lit the end of the string. The oil came up the string. And the oil burned to give light to them.
The workers must make 7 such lamps. There would be one for each of the tops of the lamp-holder. They must make trays and scissors out of pure gold. When the priests were looking after the lamps they would cut the ends of the strings with the scissors.
Verse 40: The workers must make all these things to the plan that the *LORD gave to Moses.
Verses 1-3: The size of God’s special tent would be 4.6 metres (15 feet) wide and 14 metres (45 feet) long. It would be 4.6 metres (15 feet) high. The outer cover of the tent would consist of curtains of black goats’ hair. These curtains were for protection against the rain, dust and heat. Beneath these curtains, the tent had curtains of better quality. The workers made those curtains out of *linen. In addition to the curtains of goats’ hair, there would be a cover of leather.
There were 10 inner curtains. All 10 inner curtains had to be the same size. They should be 13 metres (42 feet) long and 1.8 metres (6 feet) wide. The workers must make them out of *linen of good quality. On the curtains of *linen, a skilful worker must sew a design of *cherubs. He would use blue, purple and red wool. The workers must sew these curtains together in two sets of 5 curtains each. That would make each set 13 metres (42 feet) long and 9 metres (30 feet) wide. It would not be practical to join all 10 curtains. It would be difficult to move such a heavy weight from place to place. Also, it would be more difficult to erect the tent. It would be very difficult to arrange the curtains.
Verses 4-6: When the *Israelites erected the tent, they must join the two sets of *linen curtains. At one end of each set, they must fix 50 rings. They would make the rings out of blue material. To join the sets together they would use 50 *hooks. They must make the *hooks out of gold. The rings on one set would be opposite the rings on the other set. On one set, there would be rings on the edge at the left end. On the other set, the rings would be on the edge at the right end. Therefore, when they joined the two sets they would fit together. And there would not be any gaps between them.
Verses 7-13: The workers must make 11 curtains out of goats’ hair. Goats’ hair would be stronger and rougher than *linen. Goats’ hair in that region was not white; it was black. All these curtains must be the same size, 14 metres (45 feet) long and 1.8 metres (6 feet) wide. These curtains were to go over the tent.
The workers must make two sets of curtains. For the first set, they must sew 5 curtains together. The width of this first set would be 9 metres (30 feet). The second set would contain 6 curtains. The width of this set would be 10.8 metres (36 feet).
The workers must make 50 rings at the end of each set. To join the sets together they would use 50 *hooks. They would make the *hooks from *bronze. The rings on one set would be opposite the rings on the other set. When they joined the two sets, there would not be any gaps between them.
The curtains of hair were larger than the curtains of *linen. Therefore, there would be extra material on the end and on each side. This extra material would hang down the back and the sides of the tent. The 6th curtain in one set would hang down over the door of the tent.
When they erected the tent, the entrance would be at the east end. The back would be at the west end of the tent.
Verse 14: The workers must make another two covers for the tent. They must make one from the skins of male sheep. They must colour those skins red. This cover would go over the two inner curtains of *linen and of goats’ hair. A *Jewish tradition says that this cover was 14 metres (45 feet) long and 4.6 metres (15 feet) wide. They threw it over the top of the special tent. It was like a flat roof to the tent.
The workers would make the final cover from goats’ skins. However, some students say that it was the skin of another animal. It seems that this cover was in effect a bag for the tent. It would protect the curtains and the sheep-skin cover when they moved camp. Also, it might have been another cover when they erected the tent.
Verses 15-17: The workers must make boards out of *acacia wood. These boards would make a structure. And they would hang the 4 curtains over that structure. Each board must be 4.6 metres (15 feet) long and 70 centimetres (27 inches) wide. The text does not tell us how thick the boards must be. However, tradition says that they were 7.6 centimetres (3 inches) thick.
The boards would be like a wall. That would stop the wind blowing the curtains.
Each board would have two pieces that stuck out at the bottom. Those pieces would be parallel and they would fit into the bases. There must be two pieces on each board so that the boards could not turn. They would remain firmly in place.
Verses 18-25: The boards would be for three sides of the special tent. There would be 20 boards for the south and north sides and 6 boards for the west end. (The east end would not have any boards. There would only be curtains.) Each board would be 70 centimetres (27 inches) wide. Also, there must be boards at two corners. The workers would fix them onto the last board at each side. Those two boards would be the corners. They would be much narrower than the other boards. And they would have two pieces that stuck out at the bottom. At the top, there must be a single ring. The board at the end and the board at the corner would both fit into that ring. That would keep the structure firm. Each side would be 14 metres (45 feet) long and the end would be 4.6 metres (15 feet) wide.
The workers must make bases of silver for the boards. There would be two bases for each board. Each of these bases weighed 34 kilos (75 pounds) of silver. (See Exodus 38:27.) The pieces that stuck out at the bottom would fit into the bases. The bases were not only to make the structure firm. They would protect the wooden boards from the effects of the soil.
Verses 26-29: In addition to the bases, 15 bars would keep the boards in place. There would be 5 bars on each side and 5 bars on the back. The workers must make the bars with *acacia wood. There would be rings of gold on the boards that they could attach the bars with. Of the 5 bars on each wall, the one in the centre would be as long as the wall. The middle bars on the sides would be 14 metres (45 feet) long. The middle bar on the back would be 4.6 metres (15 feet) long. We do not know the length of the other 4 bars on each wall. But there must be two bars above the middle one and two bars below it.
The workers must cover all the boards and all the bars with gold.
Verse 30: The text does not give to us the complete plan of the special tent. However, the *LORD showed the complete plan to Moses. The *Israelites must erect the special tent exactly as the *LORD had shown to Moses.
Verses 31-35: Inside the tent, there would be two rooms. From the entrance, the first room that you came to would be the Holy Place. The Holy Place would be 9 metres (30 feet) long and the total width of it would be 4.6 metres (15 feet). Beyond the Holy Place, there would be the Most Holy Place. That would be the rest of the tent. Therefore, it would be 4.6 metres (15 feet) long, 4.6 metres (15 feet) wide and 4.6 metres (15 feet) high.
Between the two rooms, there must be a curtain. The workers must make the curtain of blue, purple and red material and *linen of good quality. On the curtain, a skilful worker must sew a design of *cherubs.
To hang this curtain the workers must make 4 posts. They must make them of *acacia wood and they must cover them with gold. The 4 posts would fit into 4 bases of silver. They must fix *hooks of gold to the posts and they must attach the curtain to those *hooks.
Moses must put the box for the *covenant and its cover in the Most Holy Place. In the Holy Place, he must put the table on the north side. And he must put the lamp-holder opposite the table. The lamps would give light in the Holy Place. But there were no lamps in the Most Holy Place.
Verses 36-37: The entrance to the tent would be at the east end. The workers must make a curtain for the door of the tent. They must make the curtain of blue, purple and red material and *linen of good quality. On the curtain, there would be *hooks of gold that they could hang it with.
The workers must make 5 posts out of *acacia wood and they must cover the posts with gold. The posts would fit into 5 bases of *bronze. They would hang the curtain on the 5 posts.
Verses 1-2: Round God’s special tent there was an area 46 metres (150 feet) long and 23 metres (75 feet) wide. (See Exodus 27:9-13.) In this area in front of the tent, was the *altar of *bronze. On that *altar the priests would burn the *sacrifices that the law demanded.
The workers must make this *altar from *acacia wood. It must be 1.4 metres (4.5 feet) high and 2.3 metres (7.5 feet) long and 2.3 metres (7.5 feet) wide. There was no top to the structure. They must cover all the wood with *bronze. The *horns must be at each upper corner of the *altar. They must make the *horns as part of the *altar and not separate from the *altar.
Usually people would make an *altar with earth or stone. (See Exodus 20:24-25.) However, the *Levites must be able to carry this *altar. So the workers must make this *altar out of wood and *bronze. When the *Israelites moved their camp, they would take it with them. This *altar was hollow. It was like an empty wooden box that they had covered in *bronze. It would not be too heavy to carry.
Verse 3: The workers must make all the tools for the *altar out of *bronze.
Verses 4-8: The *altar was in effect a hollow box without top or base. The workers must make its boards out of *acacia wood. They must cover the boards with *bronze. Half way down they must fit a net of *bronze. At that height they must put 4 rings of *bronze. They would attach the rings through the wooden box and onto the 4 corners of the net of *bronze. The rings would be at the corners on the sides.
The workers must make two poles out of *acacia wood and they must cover the poles with *bronze. The poles would fit into the rings. Then the *Levites could carry the *altar when the *Israelites moved camp.
Blood and fat from the animal *sacrifices would drain down through the net of *bronze.
The *LORD had shown the exact plan of the *altar to Moses.
Verses 9-15: The area round God’s special tent would be 46 metres (150 feet) long and 23 metres (75 feet) wide. Each long side would have 20 posts and 20 bases of *bronze. The west end would have 10 posts and 10 bases of *bronze. The east end was where the entrance to the yard was. Here there would be 3 posts and 3 bases of *bronze at each side of the entrance.
The workers must make curtains out of *linen of good quality. They must hang the curtains from all the posts along the sides. They must hang curtains along the west end and on the posts at the east end. They must attach the curtains to *hooks of silver on each post by means of bands. All the curtains round the yard would be 2.3 metres (7.5 feet) high.
The curtains at the east end would be 6.9 metres (22.5 feet) wide at each side of the entrance. Therefore, the entrance would be 9 metres (30 feet) wide.
Verses 16-19: The workers must make a curtain to be the door at the entrance. This curtain would be 9 metres (30 feet) wide. It would have designs on it in purple, blue and bright red wool. This entrance would have 4 posts and 4 bases. They would fix this curtain at the top. That would make it easy for a person to enter through the curtain.
There was a bar through the rings of silver to support the posts. Also, there were thick strings from the posts to the ground to keep the posts firm.
God’s special tent would be central in the west half of the yard. The *altar for *burnt-offerings and other equipment would be in the east half of the yard. All the equipment in the yard outside the special tent must be of *bronze.
Verses 20-21: The lamp-holder would be in the Holy Place in God’s special tent. The Holy Place would be outside the curtain to the Most Holy Place, where the box for the *covenant was. The lamp-holder would be opposite the table where the priests put the 12 loaves of bread. On the lamp-holder there would be 7 lamps. The priests must put pure *olive oil in the lamps. And they must light the lamps. The lamps would give light in the Holy Place.
Aaron, his sons and his *descendants would be responsible to look after the lamps from evening until morning. However, the *Israelites must provide the pure oil for this purpose.
People would squeeze *olives to make oil. The *olives would not be completely ripe. Then they would put the *olives in a basket. The oil would leak through the basket. That would produce clear and pure oil. This pure oil would burn with almost no smoke.
Verse 1: The *LORD had chosen Aaron and his sons to be priests. Aaron had 4 sons Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. After this time, Nadab and Abihu brought the wrong sort of fire to the *LORD. What they did was against the *LORD’s commands. As a result, the *LORD killed them. (See Leviticus 10:1-2.) But at this time, Nadab and Abihu were still alive.
Verse 2: The workers must make special clothes for Aaron, who would be their chief priest. The clothes would be almost like a uniform for him as the chief priest. These clothes would cause the people to give honour to him.
Verses 3-5: The *LORD had given special skill to certain men. Those workers must make the clothes for Aaron. Those clothes would be different from the clothes of other men. There would be 8 parts to Aaron’s special clothes. There would be a *breast-piece. There would also be an *ephod. The workers must make the *ephod with *linen of good quality. An *ephod was like a short coat without sleeves. The skilled men would sew beautiful designs on the *ephod. To make those designs they would use gold. And they would use blue, purple and red wool. Then there was a tunic. That was a sort of special long shirt. Then they would make a coat, a priest’s hat and a belt. The hat was called a mitre and the belt was called a girdle. These verses do not mention another two parts. One part would be a design to go on the mitre. The other part would be the clothes of plain *linen that he would wear under his main clothes.
The workers must make special clothes for Aaron and his sons. The text does not tell us what the clothes for his sons were. However, they were special clothes. They must wear those clothes when they did the duties of a priest.
In all this work, the skilled men must use *linen of good quality. For the designs, they must use gold and they must use blue, purple and bright red wool.
Verses 6-14: The *ephod was two pieces of *linen of good quality with shoulder-pieces to join them at the top. Also, there would be a belt. Aaron would use the belt to join the pieces lower down. The *ephod had no sleeves. The skilled workers would make the *ephod. They would make a design on it in gold and with blue, purple and bright red wool. They would make the belt of the same material as the *ephod.
The skilled workers must select two onyx stones. We do not know exactly what an onyx stone was. But it was a precious stone. On those stones, they had to cut the names of *Israel’s 12 sons. Those names had become the names of the 12 *tribes of *Israel. The names on the stones would be in the order of the birth of the sons. There would be the 6 names of the older sons on one stone. And there would be the names of the 6 younger sons on the other stone. The workers would fix those stones in delicate bases of gold. And they would fix the bases on the shoulder-pieces. Also, they must fix chains of gold to the shoulder-pieces. The chains of gold would attach the *breast-piece onto the front of the *ephod.
When the chief priest went into God’s special tent, he must wear the *ephod. On his shoulders, he took the names of the 12 *tribes to the *LORD. He went into God’s special tent as the agent for the 12 *tribes. And the *LORD would remember the *Israelites.
Verses 15-28: The *breast-piece was a piece of cloth 45 centimetres (18 inches) by 23 centimetres (9 inches). The workers would make it in the same way as they made the *ephod. They would fold it in half upward to form a sort of pocket. So the *breast-piece would be square that was 23 centimetres (9 inches) by 23 centimetres (9 inches). The *breast-piece held objects called the Urim and the Thummim. That was its purpose. By means of those objects, the chief priest would make decisions.
There would be two rings of gold inside the lower corners of the *breast-piece. The workers would use blue string to attach these rings to rings of gold on the *ephod. They would put rings of gold at the top of the *breast-piece. They would attach the chains of gold from the shoulder-pieces of the *ephod to these rings.
On the *breast-piece, the workers would put 12 precious stones. Each stone would be on a delicate base of gold. The stones would be in 4 rows with three stones in each row. The stones would be for *Israel’s 12 *tribes, one for each *tribe. On each stone, they would cut the name of one *tribe. The names were the names of Jacob’s 12 sons. We do not know for certain what these 12 stones were. They were precious stones of various colours.
Verses 29-30: When the chief priest went into God’s special tent, he would wear the *breast-piece. On the *breast-piece, he would carry the names of the 12 *tribes over his heart. The *LORD would see the names and he would remember his people.
The *breast-piece would be like a pocket. In that pocket would be the objects called the Urim and the Thummim. By means of these, the chief priest would find out the *LORD’s decisions. We do not know what these objects were. And we do not know how the chief priest used them.
Verses 31-32: Under the *ephod, Aaron must wear a special shirt. It would be long, like a long dress. The workers must make it of blue cloth. The whole shirt would be of one piece. It must have holes for the head and for the arms. When Aaron put the shirt on, he would pull it over his head. Round the hole for the head, they must put an edge like a collar. The edge would be so that the hole would not tear.
Verses 33-34: The workers must put models of *pomegranates round the lower edge of the *ephod. The models would be in blue, purple and red wool. Between the *pomegranates, they must put bells of gold. So there would be a bell of gold, then a *pomegranate, another bell of gold and another *pomegranate and so on.
Verse 35: When Aaron went into the Holy Place, he had to wear the special clothes. As he moved in the Holy Place, the bells would sound. As he went in, the people would hear the sound of the bells. And they would hear them as he came out. If he did not wear the shirt and the other special clothes, he might die.
By this means, people would know whether the chief priest was still alive. There is a tradition that they tied a string to the foot of the chief priest. If they could not hear the bells, they would pull the string. In that way they would be able to get his dead body out of the Holy Place.
Verses 36-38: The workers must make a flat piece of pure gold. Its shape or the design on it may have been like a flower. On the flat piece of gold, they must cut the words, ‘Holy for the *LORD.’ That meant that the *Israelites belonged to the *LORD alone. They must be holy for the *LORD.
The workers must attach that piece of gold to the front of the priest’s hat with blue string. The blue string would go through two holes at each end of the piece of gold. Then the string would go over the priest’s head. And it would fix in a hole at the top of the flat piece of gold in the centre.
When Aaron went into the Holy Place, he would be as *Israel in front of the *LORD. Aaron would give to the *LORD what the people had given to him. The *LORD would accept those gifts and he would forgive the people.
Verse 39: The workers must make all the clothes for Aaron from *linen of good quality.
Verses 40-41: The workers must make special clothes for the other priests. The other priests were Aaron’s sons. The special clothes were so that the *Israelites would respect them as priests. With Aaron and his sons in their special clothes, the leaders must pour *olive oil on their heads. That would separate them for their work as priests.
Verses 42-43: These verses describe *linen shorts. The priests must wear the *linen shorts under their other clothes.
Verses 1-3: The *LORD had chosen Aaron to be the chief priest. And the *LORD had chosen Aaron’s sons to be priests. There must be a ceremony. That ceremony would show that God had made them special. Their work was serious and very important to them and for the people. The ceremony would help them all to realise that fact. After the ceremony, the priests could serve the *LORD in God’s special tent.
The *LORD told Moses to make ready a *sacrifice for him. The *sacrifice would be a young *bull and two male sheep. Those animals must be perfect. Also, he must make bread, cakes and thin cakes, all without *yeast. He must pour oil on the cakes and on the thin cakes. He must put the bread and the cakes into a basket.
Verse 4: Then Moses must bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance of the tent. He must wash Aaron and his sons with water. They would go into God’s special tent to meet him. They must be pure before they did that.
Verses 5-7: Moses had to dress Aaron in all the special clothes that the workers had made for him. Then Moses must pour some of the special oil on Aaron’s head. In that way, Aaron would become the chief priest.
Verses 8-9: Moses must dress Aaron’s sons in the special clothes that the workers had made for them. Then they would become priests. By this ceremony, Aaron and his sons would become separate from other people. They must serve the *LORD on behalf of the people.
The *Israelites must do the same ceremony in the future for the chief priest and for all future priests.
Verses 10-12: The *Israelites must *sacrifice the young *bull outside the entrance to God’s special tent. This *sacrifice was because of Aaron’s *sins and his sons’ *sins. They had to put their hands on the *bull. The idea of that was to transfer their *sins to the *bull. In that act, they must confess their *sins. Then Moses would kill the *bull. He would collect the blood in a bowl. Then he would put some of the blood on the *altar’s *horns with his finger. And he must pour out the rest of the blood at the base of the *altar.
Verses 13-14: Then the priests must burn the fat and some internal parts of the *bull on the *altar. That would be a *sacrifice to the *LORD. Because the animal had died, God could forgive the *sin of the *Israelites. They must burn the rest of the *bull outside the camp.
Verses 15-18: Next, Moses must take the first male sheep. Aaron and his sons must put their hands on the sheep’s head. Moses would kill the sheep and he would collect the blood into a bowl. And he would throw the blood all round the *altar. After that, Moses must cut to pieces the dead sheep. Certain parts he must wash. Then Moses would burn that entire sheep on the *altar. That would be a gift to the *LORD. As it burned, it would give a pleasant smell. And that smell would please the *LORD. This *sacrifice showed that the priests gave themselves completely to the *LORD.
Verses 19-21: Moses must take the second sheep. Again, Aaron and his sons would put their hands on the sheep. Then Moses must kill the sheep. He would collect the blood. He would put some blood on Aaron and on his sons. He would put it on their right ear. He would put it on the *thumb of their right hand. And he would put it on the big toe of their right foot.
Moses would splash some of the blood on the *altar. Then he would take some blood from the *altar. He would mix it with some of the special oil. Then Moses must put some of the mixture on Aaron and on his special clothes. And he must put some on Aaron’s sons and on their special clothes.
The *LORD had chosen them to be priests. When they went into the Holy Place, they had to wear those special clothes.
Verses 22-26: The priests would eat the sheep. After that, they were ready to serve the *LORD. Moses must take certain parts of the sheep. And he must take bread and cakes from the basket. He must put all those things into the hands of Aaron and his sons. They would wave those things in front of the *LORD. They would not wave them from side to side. They would wave them toward the *altar and back again. So, they would give them to the *LORD and they would receive them back from the *LORD.
Moses must burn on the *altar all the gifts that Aaron and his sons had waved. In effect, Moses would be acting as priest to Aaron and his sons. However, Moses would wave the front of the sheep in front of the *LORD. That part of the meat would be for Moses and he would not burn it.
Verses 27-28: In the future, priests would wave the front part and a leg of a sheep. Then those parts would be food for the priests. The people did not often eat meat. Therefore, God was making the priests happy in their new job.
Verses 29-30: When Aaron and his sons died, the special clothes would belong to their *descendants. Their *descendants would become priests and then they must wear those special clothes. The new chief priest must wear the special clothes for 7 days. He must remain at the entrance to the God’s special tent for those 7 days. (See Leviticus 8:33.) Then he could serve the *LORD in the Holy Place.
Verses 31-34: They must boil the meat from the sheep that was for the priests in a special place. The special place would be in the area round God’s special tent. Only the priests could eat that meat. With the meat, they would eat the bread that was in the basket. They would eat all those things at the entrance to the special tent. They must burn any meat or bread that they did not eat.
Verses 35-37: The ceremony for Aaron and his sons would take 7 days. Each day, Moses must kill a *bull as a *sacrifice to the *LORD. That *sacrifice was because the people would *sin. And then the *altar would no longer be holy. But God would forgive the *sins when they had given a *sacrifice. So then the *altar would be holy again.
Verses 38-41: Every day, the priests must *sacrifice two young sheep on the *altar. They would give those year-old sheep to God. They must *sacrifice one sheep in the morning and the other sheep in the evening. The day started with a gift to the *LORD. And the day finished with a gift to the *LORD. These *sacrifices were in addition to all other *sacrifices. With each sheep, they must burn flour, *olive oil and wine. The smell would please the *LORD.
Verses 42-43: The priests must give the right *sacrifices to God each morning and each evening. They must do that every day both then and for the future. They must kill the young sheep in the area outside the entrance to the special tent.
The daily *sacrifice would remind them that the *LORD was with them all the time. And the *sacrifice was part of their *worship.
The *LORD promised to meet the priests and the rest of *Israel there. The *LORD’s *glory would make that place holy.
Verses 44-46: By these *sacrifices, the *LORD would make the tent and everything that was in it holy. He would make the *altar and everything that they put on it holy. Also, he would make Aaron and his sons holy to serve God as priests. The *LORD would live there in the tent among the *Israelites. He would be their God. And they would know that he is the *LORD. That was the *LORD’s purpose when he brought them out of Egypt. He brought them out to make a *covenant with them. He would be their God and they would be his people.
Verses 1-6: The *LORD told Moses to make an *altar out of *acacia wood. This would be the *altar of gold. Its purpose was to burn a special powder. As the powder burned on this *altar, it made a sweet smell. This *altar would stand in the Holy Place in the tent. It would stand in front of the curtain to the Most Holy Place, where the box for the *covenant was. The *altar must have *horns at the 4 upper corners, one at each corner. The workers must cover this *altar and its *horns with gold. It must have a narrow piece of gold round it. And it must have two rings of gold. The workers must make two poles of *acacia wood and they must cover them with gold. The poles would fit into the rings. They were for the *Levites to carry the *altar. They carried it when they moved camp.
The priests burned special powder that had a sweet smell on the *altar. That was an important part of their *worship.
Verses 7-10: Every morning, Aaron must take care of the lamps. Then he must burn some of the special powder on the *altar of gold. In the evening, Aaron must light the lamps. Again, he must burn some of the special powder on the *altar of gold. This rule was not just for Aaron but it was for all time. The priest must not burn anything else on this *altar.
Once a year, the chief priest must go into the Most Holy Place. That would be on the 10th day of the 7th month. Before he went in, he had to put some blood from a *sacrifice on the *horns of this *altar. That blood would be because of the *sins of the people.
Verses 11-12: The *LORD told Moses to make a record of the names of the *Israelite men. He must record all the men 20 years old and older. Each man must pay a sum of money as Moses recorded his name. He paid this tax. Then the *LORD promised to keep him safe. And as Moses recorded the men, they would suffer no diseases.
Verses 13-14: When Moses recorded a man’s name the man must pay the tax. He would pay half a *shekel. That would have been about 0.06 kilos (0.25 ounces) of silver. Then he would stand with the men that Moses had already counted.
Verse 15: A rich man would give the same amount as a poor man. To the *LORD, all men are equal. All the *Israelites had to pay the half *shekel of silver.
Verse 16: Moses must use the money from the tax for God’s special tent. With this silver, they would make bases for the curtains. Also, they would make some *hooks of silver. (See Exodus 38:27-28.)
Verses 17-21: The next thing that Moses must make was a basin of *bronze. And he must make a base of *bronze that the basin would stand on. He would make those things from the mirrors of *bronze that the women gave to the *LORD. (See Exodus 38:8.)
The basin on its base would be between the *altar of *bronze and the tent. Whenever the priests approached the tent, they must be clean. They must wash their hands and their feet with water from the basin. They approached the *altar of *bronze to make a *sacrifice. When they did so, they must be clean. So, before they did so, they must wash their hands and their feet with water from the basin. If they did not wash their hands and their feet, they risked their lives.
They must wash in water to clean their bodies. Also, it would show that they were clean from *sin. To approach God, they must have clean bodies and clean spirits.
This rule was for that time and for the future. It was for Aaron, his sons and their *descendants.
Verses 22-25: The *LORD told Moses how they should make the special oil. There must be 5 products to make the oil. They were the substances called myrrh, cinnamon, cane, cassia and also *olive oil.
Liquid myrrh came from a bush called a balsam bush. Cinnamon came from the outer cover of a tree called a cinnamon tree. Cane was a pink substance that they took from the root of a kind of grass. That grass grew in damp soil. Cassia came from dried flowers from the cinnamon tree.
A skilful worker must make the special oil. It was not easy to mix these products correctly. The result would be oil that they must pour onto the holy things.
Verses 26-29: The *Israelites must put the special oil on God’s special tent and on the various things in it. Also, they must put the oil on the *altar and the basin that were outside the tent. By that means, those things became holy to the *LORD.
Verse 30: Moses must put some of this special oil on Aaron and on his sons. Then the *LORD would be happy with them as priests to serve him.
Verses 31-33: The *Israelites must not use this special oil for any other purpose. And they must not make a copy of this oil. This oil would be holy to them. A person who made such oil could not continue to belong to God’s people.
Verses 34-38: Then the *LORD told Moses to make another mixture. A skilful worker must mix together equal parts of 4 substances. They were gum-resin, onycha, galbanum and pure *frankincense. To this mixture, he must add salt.
Gum-resin was a powder that people took from the myrrh bush. It was very rare and it was very valuable. They took onycha from the shell of something that lived in the Red Sea. Galbanum was a thick juice that came from a plant. That plant was common in the countries called Syria and Persia. *Frankincense was a thick juice that came from the outer cover of a certain tree. That tree grew in the region called Arabia.
The *Israelites must make some of the mixture into a powder. The powder would be pure and holy. Moses must put some of that powder in front of the box for the *covenant. Probably that was in order to burn it on the *altar of gold.
The *Israelites must not make this mixture for any other purpose. If they did make it, they could not continue to belong to God’s people.
Verses 1-11: The *LORD appointed Bezalel. He would lead the skilled workers who would make the tent and all the things for it. The *LORD had made Bezalel an expert in all the skills that were necessary for the work. By his Spirit, God had given wisdom to Bezalel. So then he could understand what Moses would tell him. Also, the *LORD appointed Oholiab to assist Bezalel. The *LORD gave the necessary skills to the men who would work with them. These two men and their helpers would make everything as the *LORD had shown to Moses.
Verses 12-13: The 7th day of each week was the *Sabbath. On that day, the *Israelites must not do their work. They must make it a day to rest. That rule must last for all time. The *Israelites were special to the *LORD. And the *LORD was special to them. The *Sabbath was a *sign of that to the *Israelites and to the *LORD. As the *Israelites rested on the *Sabbath day, they would know the *LORD. They belonged to the *LORD and he would make them holy.
Verses 14-15: The *Israelites must rest on the *Sabbath day because it was holy for *LORD. Any *Israelite that did not rest on the *Sabbath must die. If any *Israelite worked on the *Sabbath, he could not belong to God’s people.
In a week, there were 6 days when they could do their work. The 7th day was different and they must not do their work on it.
Verses 16-17: The *Sabbath day should remind the *Israelites about the *covenant. The *LORD had made the *covenant with the *Israelites. That *covenant must last for all time.
God made the skies and the earth in 6 days. On the *Sabbath day, they must remember that God rested on the 7th day.
Verse 18: Moses’ 40 days on the mountain with God had ended. The *LORD had given his instructions to Moses. God’s finger had written his laws on two stones.
We are not completely sure what God wrote on those stones. However, it was probably just the 10 commands that he wrote. The usual tradition says that there were 5 commands on each stone.
Both of those who made a *covenant would keep a copy of it. That was the custom. Therefore, it might be that the *LORD wrote the same on each of the stones. One stone would be for the *LORD and the other stone for the *Israelites. They would keep both stones in the box for the *covenant in the Most Holy Place.
The *LORD gave the two stones to Moses.
acacia ~ a kind of tree that grows in dry land.
almond ~ a kind of nut-tree with beautiful flowers.
altar ~ a kind of table where people give gifts or *sacrifices to God or to a false god.
ancestors ~ people in your family who lived before you.
angel ~ a servant of God who sometimes brings messages from heaven; or an angel that was good but now he is bad.
barley ~ a plant; people make bread from the seeds.
breast-piece ~ it covered the front of the upper part of the body. The workers made the priest’s breast-piece from cloth.
bronze ~ a kind of metal; you mix two metals to make it. It is brown.
bud ~ a flower that is not yet open.
bull ~ male farm animal; (the female is called a cow). The *Israelites made a metal image of a bull, which they *worshipped as a god.
burnt-offering ~ an animal that the priests killed and burned on the *altar; that is how people gave animals to God.
Canaan ~ the country that God gave to the *Israelites. *Canaanites lived there. And people called Amorites, Hittites, Hivites, Jebusites and Perizzites also lived there.
Canaanite ~ a person who lived in *Canaan before the *Israelites came; or, anything that had a relationship with that country.
cane ~ a long stick that comes from a plant.
cassia ~ a powder with a sweet smell.
cherub ~ a special *angel. The *Israelites made a model of two cherubs to be on the top of the box for the *covenant.
cinnamon ~ a powder with a sweet smell.
commandments ~ commands from someone who has authority; rules or commands that God gave to the *Jews; or, the 10 rules that God gave to Moses. That was on the mountain called *Mount Sinai (or Horeb).
covenant ~ This meant that the *Israelites were special to God as his people. And the *LORD was special to them as their God. Because of this covenant, the *LORD gave rules to them about how they should live. If they obeyed those rules, he would cause them to succeed. If they did not obey them, the *LORD would punish them. But when two people or groups of people had a covenant, it was just an agreement.
descendant ~ a child, grandchild, their grandchild and so on.
desert ~ a wild place where there are small bushes and not much water. It has poor soil and people cannot cause crops to grow there. So, not many people live there.
donkey ~ an animal that is like a horse with long ears. People use donkeys as animals to do work. They can carry people or loads. And they can pull carts or ploughs.
eagle ~ a large bird with very big wings.
Egyptian ~ someone from the country called Egypt; anything with a relationship with Egypt. The *Israelites were slaves in Egypt before God freed them.
ephod ~ part of the chief priest’s special clothes that he wore over his other clothes. It was like a short coat without sleeves. The workers made it out of white *linen and they sewed beautiful designs onto it.
feast ~ a special meal, usually with special food. Often a feast reminds people about an important event, so it happens regularly. For example, God said that *Israelite men should gather together for 3 feasts each year. *Jewish people continue to remember those feasts.
frankincense ~ frankincense was a sticky substance that came from a certain tree. It had a sweet smell.
friendship-gift ~ a gift of food to God to thank him; a gift of food to show that you love God; you also gave some of the food to the priests.
gerah ~ people used the gerah as a standard to weigh things (especially gold and silver); they used it in God’s special tent and later, in the *temple; you would need about 1800 gerahs to make 1 kilo (2.2 pounds).
glory ~ great honour and beauty like the beautiful light round God; splendid beauty.
Hebrew ~ the language that the *Israelites spoke; the language that the authors used to write most of the *Old-Testament; a Hebrew is a *Jewish person or an *Israelite.
Hittite ~ a member of a group of people who had lived in Canaan before the *Jews lived there.
hook ~ people hang things from hooks; or they may use them to join things together. To make hooks people bend metal into the shape of a letter U.
horn ~ animals like cows and goats have horns (usually two) that grow out of their heads. The horns stick out and they end in a point. The *Israelite priests used horns from male sheep as musical instruments. They blew into them to make a loud sound. And today people call certain instruments ‘horns’. Also the *altar in God’s special tent had pieces that stuck out at the *altar’s 4 corners. Those pieces were called horns.
incense ~ a special powder that made a sweet smell as it burned.
Israel ~ the nation of people from the family of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; the name of the country that God gave to that nation.
Israelite ~ a person from the nation called *Israel; or any thing or person that has a relationship with *Israel; Israelites is another name for the *Jews.
Jew ~ a person who is from the family of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Jewish ~ a word that describes a *Jew (an *Israelite) or anything that belongs to the *Jews.
kingdom ~ a country that a king rules.
Levite ~ an *Israelite who belonged to the *tribe of Levi. Levi was a son of Jacob. Levites had special duties in connection with *worship. All priests among the *Israelites were Levites.
linen ~ a special kind of cloth of good quality. People make it from the stems of a plant that is called flax.
LORD ~ God gave this special name to himself. It translates the word ‘Yahweh’ in the *Hebrew language. It is the name for God by the *Covenant. It links to the words ‘I am’; it means that God has always been here.
lord ~ The word ‘lord’ (without a capital letter) means an ordinary ruler or leader.
Mount ~ mountain. For example, ‘Mount Sinai’ means the mountain called Sinai.
myrrh ~ a substance that comes from a plant; it smells nice.
New-Testament ~ the second part of the Bible, which the writers wrote after Jesus lived on earth. It is about the life of Jesus. And it is about what Christians believe.
New-Moon ~ the first day of a month. On that day, you can see part of the moon in the sky. But on this day, the part of the moon that you can see is very narrow. On the day before that, you cannot see any part of the moon.
Old-Testament ~ the first part of the Bible, which the writers wrote before the birth of Jesus; it tells about the history and the beliefs of the *Israelites.
olive ~ a fruit that grows on a small tree; people press the green or black fruit to obtain olive oil. People use the oil to cook things in and they use it for fuel in their lamps. The *Israelites also gave this oil to God.
Passover ~ an important holy day for the *Jews. They eat a special meal on this day every year. That meal reminds the *Jews about how God rescued them from Egypt. They remember that God passed over their houses. And he protected their oldest sons.
Philistines ~ a group of people who lived near the south coast of the country called *Canaan; they fought with the *Israelites.
pomegranate ~ a large fruit with many seeds that is good to eat.
prophet ~ a person who hears God’s words and tells them to other people. But someone who was not God’s prophet might pretend to be one.
Sabbath ~ the seventh day of the week, when *Israelites did not work. It is from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday. There were also special Sabbaths that were not always on a Saturday. But they also had a special year, every 7 years. (See Exodus 23:10-11.) The word can also mean anything that has a relationship with the Sabbath.
sacrifice ~ something valuable that people give to God, or to a false god; or, to give such a thing to God. God would forgive *sin only if they gave a certain *sacrifice.
shekel ~ a shekel weighed about 0.014 kilos (0.5 ounces). The *Israelites used it as a standard to weigh things (especially gold and silver); they used it in God’s special tent and later, in the *temple.
sign ~ something that you do to show something; or, an unusual event that God uses to teach people something. But sometimes people who were not really God’s servants promised signs.
sin ~ when people do something wrong against God or against other people; or, not to obey God.
sinful ~ refers to an action or to a desire that is against God’s law; a wrong or wicked action; a person who does those things is *sinful.
temple ~ the chief place for *worship for the *Jews. King Solomon built the first temple for God in Jerusalem. But the word can refer to a similar building for a false god.
thumb ~ the part of the hand that moves against the fingers.
thunder ~ the loud noise that you may hear in a storm.
tribe ~ a group of people from the same race, who are all *descendants of one person. The tribes of *Israel were the 12 large families of Jacob’s sons.
trumpet ~ an instrument to make music or to sound an alarm.
vineyard ~ a field where fruits called grapes grow. People make wine from juice that comes from grapes.
worship ~ when people show honour to God, or to a false god. People may sing or they may pray. Or they may kneel down or they may give a *sacrifice.
yeast ~ a substance that people use to make bread. Yeast makes the bread rise. Without yeast, bread is flat and hard.
Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible ~ Baker Publishing Group; Abridged edition (Aug. 1983)
Albert Barnes’s Notes on the Whole Bible
Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary of the Bible ~ Zondervan Classic Reference Series
John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible
John I Durham ~ Exodus ~ NELSON/WORD Publishing Group, 1987
R Alan Cole ~ Exodus ~ Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries ~ Inter-Varsity Press
Umberto Cassuto, Israel Abrahams (Translator) ~ A Commentary on the Book of Exodus ~ The Magnes Press, 1967
Walter C Kaiser ~ Exodus ~ The Expositor’s Bible Commentary ~ Zondervan, 1990
Hilda Bright and Kitty Pride ~ EasyEnglish commentary: Exodus: Israel becomes a nation
They used the following:
New International Version Study Bible
New International Reader’s Version 1998
Today’s English Version
New English Bible
Contemporary English Version
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This publication is in EasyEnglish Level B (2800 words).
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