A very wicked act, a new beginning and the construction of God’s special tent
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Verse 1: Moses had been away from his people for many days already. They did not know what had happened to Moses. He had been their leader but he was not still with them. Perhaps he would not come back. Perhaps, by this time, they had no hope that he would return. Moses had brought them from Egypt. And he had led them in the name of the *LORD. Without Moses, they could not see how the *LORD could lead them. They thought that they had no leader. Therefore, they told Aaron to make a god to lead them.
Verses 2-4: Aaron told the people to take off the rings of gold from their ears. They did that and they brought the rings to Aaron. Then he made something like a young *bull from the gold.
He may have made a hollow shape of a young *bull. Perhaps he melted the gold and he poured it into the shape. The result would be a solid young *bull of gold. But perhaps Aaron made the shape of a young *bull out of wood and then he covered it with gold. By either method, he had to use a tool to complete its shape. We do not know the size of the young *bull that Aaron made out of gold.
The people were happy with the young *bull as their god. They said that this god brought them out of Egypt. They had come out of Egypt before Aaron made this *bull out of gold. However, they would use the *bull in their *worship of the god. Maybe they regarded the *bull as an image of the *LORD.
Do not make images that are like anything in heaven. Do not make images that are like anything on the earth
The second *commandment said, ‘Do not make images that are like anything in heaven. Do not make images that are like anything on the earth, or like anything beneath the water.’ (See Exodus 20:4.) The people had not heard the ten *commandments at this time. But they should know that their actions would make the *LORD angry.
Verse 5: Because of the situation, Aaron built an *altar in front of the *bull of gold. We do not know why Aaron did that. Maybe he was afraid of the people. However, he said that the people would be *worshipping the *LORD. But he would know that this was not right. That was not the way to *worship the *LORD.
Verse 6: The next day the people brought their *sacrifices and their gifts to the *altar. They burned some animals as *sacrifices. They killed other animals as their *friendship-gifts. Then they had a *feast. They sat down. And they ate and they drank. Soon, they had drunk too much. Then they got up to play. Their play was wild and probably it included *sinful sex.
Verses 7-8: The *LORD told Moses to go down from the mountain. He called the *Israelites ‘your people’. He said that Moses had brought them from Egypt. The *LORD would not call them his people. They had turned away from him so he had turned away from them. The people had become so *sinful. The *Israelites had not obeyed the *LORD. They had done what was evil. They had *sacrificed animals in front of an image. They had said that the god behind the image was their god. They had said that that god had brought them from Egypt. The *Israelites had not obeyed the *covenant that the *LORD had made with them.
Verses 9-10: God saw what the people were doing. They had turned away from their *LORD. They would not obey him although they had promised to obey. The *LORD was very angry with them. So, he said that he would kill them all. They had not obeyed the *covenant. So therefore they deserved to die.
God promised Abraham that he would make a great nation from his *descendants. (See Genesis 12:1-2.) This time, God was saying that he would make that nation from Moses only among the *Israelites. Moses and his *descendants would become that great nation.
Verse 11: The *LORD had said that Moses brought the *Israelites from Egypt. Moses did lead the people. He did it because he obeyed the *LORD. The *LORD had defeated *Pharaoh and the *Egyptian gods. And the *LORD had brought the *Israelites out of Egypt. Moses said that it had all happened by the *LORD’s power.
Verses 12-13: Moses gave to the *LORD reasons why he should not kill his people.
The *LORD had done so much to bring his people out of Egypt. If he killed them, that purpose would fail. The *Egyptians and other people knew that the *LORD had rescued his people. If he killed his people, they would think wrongly about that. They would think wrong things about God. But he had not brought the *Israelites from Egypt to kill them. In that situation, the *LORD should have pity on his people. Other people must not think wrong things about the *LORD.
The *LORD must remember his promise to their *ancestors. He promised that he would make their children as many as the stars. He promised that he would give *Canaan to them as their country. Moses did not believe that the *LORD should try to achieve that by means of his *descendants only.
Moses did not try pretend that the *Israelites had not been wicked. He knew that they deserved God’s punishment. However, Moses appealed to the *LORD to turn from his fierce anger. He asked the *LORD not to kill his people.
Verse 14: The *LORD did as Moses had prayed. The *LORD did not kill his people.
Verses 15-16: Then Moses started to go down from the mountain. He carried the two flat stones. God had written on both sides of the stones. The text does not tell us what God had written. It calls these stones the stones of the *covenant. Probably that means the main parts of the *covenant between the *LORD and his people. That would be the 10 *commandments.
We think that the stones were not either large or thick. Moses could carry them and they broke easily.
Verses 17-18: Joshua had gone up the mountain with Moses. (See Exodus 24:13.) Moses had left Joshua. And Moses had gone up higher to meet the *LORD. On his way down, Moses met Joshua. They could hear loud noises that were coming from the *Israelite camp. Joshua thought that it was the sound of a battle. However, Moses knew what the sound was. It was people who were singing loudly.
Verse 19: Moses approached the camp. He knew what to expect. The *LORD had told him about it. He saw the *bull of gold. He saw the people as they danced round the *bull. He had asked the *LORD not to kill them. But this time, he was very angry with them. He could understand why the *LORD was so angry. Moses threw the stones down so that they broke into pieces. The stones were like witnesses to the *covenant. And the people had not obeyed the *covenant.
Verse 20: Moses took the *bull of gold and he burned it in the fire. Then he made powder of the gold. He threw the powder into a stream. (See Deuteronomy 9:21.) And he forced the people to drink water from that stream.
Verse 21: Moses seemed to blame both Aaron and the people. But Aaron was the leader while Moses was away. Aaron told the people to bring the gold to him. And he made the young *bull of gold. Aaron led the people to do the awful *sin. Aaron as the leader was responsible for what happened.
Verses 22-24: Aaron tried to blame the people. He thought that it was not his fault. The people tended to do evil things. The people told him to make a god. They did not know what had happened to Moses.
Aaron told them to take the rings of gold from their ears. Then Aaron threw the gold into the fire. As if by magic, he said, the image came out of the fire. Aaron lied in this way in an effort to excuse himself. However, Aaron had no excuse except that he was weak.
Verses 25-27: The people were out of control. Aaron had failed to control them. They became crazy. Because of this, their enemies would see their shame. Moses knew that he had to deal with the situation in a firm way.
Moses called for those people who were for the *LORD. He told them to come to him. These men did not approve of the *bull of gold. Men from the *tribe of Levi came to him at the entrance to the camp. These *Levites chose to follow God. Moses told them what the *LORD wanted them to do. They must go through the camp and they must kill many of the people. They must kill relatives, friends and neighbours.
Verses 28-29: The *Levites did as the *LORD had said. They killed about 3000 people that day. We do not know which people they killed. Perhaps those people were doing something that was evil. Maybe they were still *worshipping the *bull of gold. The *Levites even killed members of their own families.
The *Levites obeyed the *LORD. So he chose them to serve him. He appointed them to be responsible for God’s special tent and everything that was in it. Also, the *Levites would help the priests in everything that had a connection with *worship. (See Numbers 1:50-53.) Before this time, young men helped to make the *sacrifices. (See Exodus 24:5.)
Verse 30: The *sin of the people against the *LORD was very great. The *Levites had killed 3000 people. However, Moses knew that that alone would not take away the people’s *sin. He would go up the mountain again. They did deserve punishment. But perhaps he could persuade the *LORD to stop the punishment.
Verses 31-32: Moses went up the mountain again and he met the *LORD. On behalf of the people, he confessed that they had *sinned. They had made for themselves a god of gold. He asked the *LORD to forgive his people. If God would not do it, Moses asked him to remove his name from the book of life.
The idea is that God recorded the names of people in a book. Those people whose names were in the book would live with God. Those people whose names were not in the book would not live with God. In the book of Revelation, it says that God will throw those people into the lake of fire. (See Revelation 20:15.)
Verse 33: The *LORD refused to remove Moses’ name from his book. The *LORD would remove the names of those people who had *sinned against him.
Here is a rule. The person who *sins must die because of his own *sins. (See Deuteronomy 24:16.) But God told the people that they could offer a *sacrifice. Then he would forgive their *sin. Their *sacrifices had a meaning about the future time when Jesus Christ would come. The *LORD would send him. And he would die to pay for the *sins of all people. But they must turn from their *sins. Then the *LORD will forgive them.
Verse 34: Then the *LORD told Moses to lead the people to *Canaan. Moses would not go into *Canaan but he would lead the people to its border. The *LORD’s *angel would go in front of the *Israelites. The *LORD would help them and he would protect them. The *LORD would not kill all the people. However, because of this *sin about the image, the *LORD would punish the people at a time in the future.
Verse 35: The *LORD did punish the people because they had *worshipped the *bull of gold. He sent a terrible disease among them. The Bible does not tell us when and how that punishment happened.
Verse 1: The *LORD told Moses that he must lead the people from that place. He must lead them to *Canaan. *Canaan was the country that God promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God promised that he would give that country to their *descendants.
Verse 2: However, Moses would not have to lead the people alone. God would send his *angel in front of Moses. And God would force out the nations who were in *Canaan. In this verse, there is a list of 6 nations who were in *Canaan.
Verse 3: God said that he would not go with the *Israelites. They had promised to obey the *covenant. But they had not obeyed it. And God knew that they would not obey him in the future. He would be so angry with them that he might kill them.
Later, Moses spoke to the *LORD about this. In answer to Moses’ prayer, the *LORD agreed to go with him. (See Exodus 33:14-17.)
Verse 4: Moses told the people what the *LORD had said. Then they were sorry for their *sin. As a *sign that they were sorry, they did not put on their precious things. When someone died, the *Israelites would take off their precious things. That showed that they were sad at the death. They did the same at this time because they were sorry for their *sin.
Verses 5-6: The people had taken off their precious things. Moses had told them to do that. The *LORD had previously told him. They often refused to obey the *LORD. If the *LORD went with them, they might be in terrible danger. When they refused to obey him, the *LORD might kill them. But they could not go without the *LORD. So, they did obey the *LORD and they took off their precious things. The *LORD would decide what to do with them.
They took off their precious things at *Mount Horeb. Probably that means that they did not wear those things again for the rest of their journey.
Verses 7-9: Moses had a tent that he erected a long way away from the camp. He went to that tent to meet the *LORD. Also, other *Israelites could go there to ask the *LORD for advice. Probably they would get their answers from Moses. They would not hear directly from the *LORD. When Moses went to the tent the people would watch from their own tents. When Moses went into the tent, the tall cloud would come down to the entrance of the tent. It would stay there while God spoke to Moses. This was the tall cloud that was leading the *Israelites through the desert.
Verses 10-11: On this occasion, the people saw Moses and Joshua go into the tent. The people stood by their own tents and they *worshipped the *LORD. The *LORD spoke to Moses as a man speaks to his friend. Then Moses came out and he went back into the camp. Joshua stayed in the tent. As Moses’ assistant, Joshua may have stayed to guard the tent. But, if that were so, the text would probably not have mentioned it. Probably he stayed there for a more important reason. Perhaps he felt closer to God there.
Verses 12-13: The *LORD had told Moses to lead his people from *Mount Horeb (Sinai). He promised Moses that the *LORD’s *angel would go in front of him. (See Exodus 33:1-2.) However, the *LORD would not go with them. Moses wanted to know whom the *LORD would send with him.
The *LORD had chosen Moses. Moses had pleased the *LORD. Therefore, Moses asked the *LORD to show him more. He wanted to know the *LORD better. Moses wanted to please the *LORD always.
The *LORD had said that the *Israelites were Moses’ people. Moses had led them out of Egypt. However, Moses said that these were the *LORD’s people. The *LORD had brought them out of Egypt. And they belonged to him.
Verses 14-15: The *LORD answered Moses. He would go with Moses. But Moses was not satisfied with that. He insisted that the *LORD should go with his people. They could not go from that place without the *LORD.
Verse 16: It was essential for God to go with them. If he did not do that, they would be no different from other nations. The purpose was that they should be God’s special people. That should make Moses and the *Israelites different. And that would show to the world something about God.
Verse 17: Then the *LORD agreed that he would go with his people. He answered Moses’ prayer because Moses pleased him.
Verses 18-19: Moses spoke again. He wanted to see God’s *glory. The *LORD said that he would show his goodness to Moses. By his goodness, he means his character and what he is like. Also, he would declare his name ‘the *LORD’ in front of Moses. The name tells you what a person is like. The *LORD would show himself to Moses. However, Moses would not see the *LORD as people see a man. But the *LORD would tell him something about what he is like.
Perhaps Moses knew some things about what God is like. He wanted to know more. But he could not know what God will do. God will do what he will do. The *LORD would choose those people that he would pity. He would be kind to them. And he would love those people that he chose.
Verse 20: Moses would not see God’s face. Anybody who saw God would not continue to live.
Verses 21-23: To see God’s *glory, Moses must stand on a rock at the top of the mountain. When the *glory passed by, God would put Moses in a gap in the rock. And God would cover Moses and he would not be able to see. After the *glory had passed, the *LORD would allow Moses to look. Moses would see something of the *glory that had passed. The *LORD spoke to Moses in human language. The use of the words hand and back are descriptions rather than reality. And Moses cannot see God’s face.
Verse 1: Moses broke the first two stones, so the *LORD told him to cut two new stones. God provided the first stones. Moses had to cut the new stones. These stones must be as much like the first stones as was possible. The *LORD would write on the stones the same words that he had written on the previous stones. Actually, Moses wrote on the stones. But it was as the *LORD dictated. (See Exodus 34:27-28.) What Moses wrote was God’s word.
Verse 2: In the morning, Moses must go up *Mount Sinai again. He must go to the top to meet the *LORD.
Verse 3: The *LORD would not allow anyone else to go to the mountain. Even their animals must not approach the mountain.
Verses 4-5: Moses did exactly as the *LORD had said. He carried the two new stones up the mountain. The *LORD came to Moses in a cloud. The cloud hid the *LORD. Also, it showed that the *LORD was there. He announced his name, ‘the *LORD’.
Verse 6: Then the *LORD passed in front of Moses. He said, ‘I am the *LORD your God.’ And he spoke about his character to Moses. The answer to Moses’ request was not in anything that he saw. But God showed to Moses more about what he is like.
Verse 7: God is love and he is kind. He shows his love to thousands of *generations. However, he cannot just forget *sin. There has to be a punishment for those people who do wicked deeds. The *LORD would forgive those people who stopped doing wicked things. However, he would punish the guilty persons. The punishment would affect their future *generations too.
Verses 8-9: God’s person and character caused Moses to fall down and he *worshipped the *LORD. Then Moses prayed to the *LORD. The people had done wicked things. They were proud people and they had not obeyed God. Moses asked God to forgive them. Moses included himself with the people. He asked the *LORD to be happy with them as his people. And he asked the *LORD to go with his people.
Verse 10: The *LORD said that he was giving a *covenant to the *Israelites. This was not a different *covenant. They had not obeyed the *covenant. Therefore, the *LORD would establish it a second time with Moses and his people.
The *LORD would do extraordinary things on behalf of his people. The nations would see those extraordinary deeds. And they would know that the *Israelites were God’s special people.
Those extraordinary deeds would include protection for the people. He would provide them with food and water there in the *desert. He would lead them to the country that he promised to their *ancestors. And he would help them to defeat the nations that were there.
Verses 11-12: The *Israelites must obey the *covenant that they had with the *LORD. Then he would force out all the nations that lived in *Canaan. The *Israelites must be careful not to make any *covenants or agreements with any of those nations. If they did so, it would be a danger for them. They might want to do what those nations did. That would lead them away from the *LORD their God.
Verse 13: Instead, they must destroy everything that those nations used in their religion. The *Israelites must break their *altars. They must destroy their holy stones. And they must cut down their special poles called Asherah. The *Israelites must remove anything that might tempt them from the *worship of the *LORD.
The *altars were for *sacrifices to the gods. The holy stones were to give honour to the gods. The poles called Asherah were either trees or wooden columns. Asherah was the name of a *Canaanite female god of births and harvest. Probably the poles had images of Asherah cut into them. They poles were to give honour to the god Asherah.
Verse 14: The *LORD said that he was a *jealous God. He calls himself Jealous. In the *Old-Testament, this *Hebrew word comes 5 times. (See Exodus 20:5; 34:14; Deuteronomy 4:24; 5:9; 6:15.) Each time, it refers to the *LORD. God is jealous. That means that he has strong feelings. The *LORD loves his people. He will not share them with anyone or anything else. He must be the only God of his people and they belong to him. His people must not *worship other gods and the *LORD. They must *worship only the *LORD God.
Verses 15-16: Again, the *LORD tells them not to make *covenants with the people in that country. Those people *sinned against God when they *worshipped their gods. They made *sacrifices to those gods. And they would invite the *Israelites to eat the meat of their *sacrifices. That would mean that the *Israelites were happy about the *worship of the gods. (See 1 Corinthians 10:18-20.) In effect, they would become part of the *worship.
If the *Israelites lived with those people, they would mix with them. They would arrange marriages with them. And the result of that would be that the *Israelites would *worship their false gods.
Verse 17: The *Israelites had persuaded Aaron to make an image. He made it out of gold that he shaped like a young *bull. Never again must the *Israelites make any image for the *worship of God or of false gods.
The second command was, ‘Do not make images that are like anything in heaven. Do not make images that are like anything on the earth, or anything beneath the water. Do not respect such images. Do not *worship them.’ (See Exodus 20:4-5.)
Verse 18: God had established again his *covenant with his people. But he repeated various laws about *feasts that he had given before.
Each year the *Israelites must have the *Feast of bread without *yeast. That *feast would be in the month Abib (or Nisan) (about our months March to April). This *feast was after the *Passover. It was from the 15th to the 21st of the month. For those 7 days, they would eat bread without *yeast. The 7th day was a special holy day.
The *feast would remind the *Israelites that the *LORD saved them from Egypt. That was its purpose. The *Israelites came out of Egypt in the month Abib (or Nisan). (See Exodus 23:15.)
Verses 19-20: The first males to be born to their women and to their animals would belong to the *LORD. Instead of their first sons, the *Israelites must give to the *LORD a young sheep. However, they must not *sacrifice a *donkey to the *LORD. Instead of a *donkey, they must *sacrifice to the *LORD a young sheep. If they do not *sacrifice a sheep instead of the *donkey, they must kill the *donkey. They must break its neck. (See Exodus 13:11-13.)
The law allowed people to give money instead of an animal. The amount was 5 *shekels of silver. (See Numbers 18:16.)
Verse 21: The *Israelites had 6 days in every week when they could work. The 7th day would be the *Sabbath day when they must not work. The 4th command said that they must remember the *Sabbath day. That day belonged to the *LORD. It would be a day to *worship the *LORD. Even at the busiest times of the year, they must remember to rest every *Sabbath day. The farmer must not prepare his ground on the *Sabbath. And he must not harvest his crops on the *Sabbath.
Verse 22: Each year the *Israelites must have a special *feast called the *Feast of weeks. It was the *feast of the early harvest. It was in the spring at the end of the harvest of wheat. They fixed the date of this *feast to the 50th day after the *Sabbath in the week of the *Passover. Therefore, the date was the 6th day of the third month (called Sivan). That month was about our May to June. The *Feast of weeks was to give thanks to the *LORD because of the harvest.
In the autumn, there was the *Feast of shelters. That was the *feast after they had gathered all their crops and fruit. That *feast was on the 15th day to the 21st day in the 7th month. The 7th month was Tishri (or Ethanim). That month was about our September to October. The *feast lasted 7 days and then there would be a special day on the 8th day.
The people would use branches to make shelters from various trees. They would live in those shelters during the *feast. (See Leviticus 23:40-42.) That would remind the people that they lived in tents on their journey through the *desert. (See Leviticus 23:43.)
Verses 23-24: Three times a year all the men must come to the place that the *LORD would choose. In future years, that place would be the *temple in Jerusalem. There they would *worship the *LORD their king. Those three times were the three major *feasts. They were the *Feast of bread without *yeast, the *Feast of weeks and the *Feast of shelters.
While the men were away from their property, the *LORD would protect it.
Verse 25: At each *feast, the *Israelites would *sacrifice the blood of animals. There must not be any *yeast in the flour or grains that they gave to God with the *sacrifices. The *Israelites must take away all *yeast from their houses before the *feast of *Passover. Therefore, there should not be any *yeast in the *sacrifices or in the meal for *Passover. They must eat all the meat in the meal. However, if some meat did remain they must burn it. (See Exodus 12:10.) No meat should remain until the morning.
Verse 26: The three major *feasts were to give thanks for the harvests. At each *feast, the *Israelites must give to the *LORD the first of their crops.
We have no explanation why they must not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk. But it was a command from the *LORD. Therefore, the *Israelites must obey it.
Verse 27: The *LORD told Moses to write his words. Those words were the heart of the *covenant that the *LORD made with both Moses and *Israel. In the *covenant, Moses was the agent for *Israel. We do not know for certain what the words were. Probably they were everything that the *LORD had said to Moses during the 40 days. He would have written them so that he could read them to the people.
Verse 28: Moses had been on the mountain for 40 days and 40 nights. That was the second time that Moses stayed on the mountain for 40 days and 40 nights. (See Exodus 24:18; Deuteronomy 10:10.) He had no food and water during that period. We think that he probably had special strength from the *LORD. Otherwise he might have died.
The *LORD wrote the 10 *commandments on the two stones. (See Exodus 34:1.) Actually, Moses wrote on the stones. But it was as the *LORD dictated. (See Exodus 34:27-28.) What Moses wrote was God’s word.
Verse 29: Moses came down from the mountain with the two stones of the *covenant in his hands. Because he had been with the *LORD, his face shone with a bright light. Something of God’s *glory remained on Moses’ face. That light was proof that Moses had been with God. And it proved that God was happy with Moses.
Verses 30-32: Moses’ face glowed so much that it frightened Aaron and the *Israelites. They were afraid to approach him. However, Moses called Aaron and the leaders to come to him. After that, the *Israelites did come near to him. Only then did they feel safe with him.
Then Moses told to them all the rules that God had given to him on the mountain.
Verses 33-35: Because they were afraid, Moses covered his face. When he went to the special tent, he removed the cover. Moses went to the special tent in order to speak with the *LORD. When he came out of that tent, he covered his face again. Then he could tell the *Israelites what God had said to him.
In time, Moses face glowed less until, in the end, it stopped shining. (See 2 Corinthians 3:7-8, 13.)
Verses 1-3: Moses repeated to the *Israelites the rules that the *LORD had given to him. Those rules included the plans for God’s special tent and other matters of behaviour. First, Moses spoke about the *Sabbath.
The 7th day each week was a *Sabbath to the *LORD. On this special day, the *Israelites must not do any work. (See Exodus 20:8-11; 31:12-17.) If anyone did work on that day, the punishment would be death.
To light fires in their homes would be work. They must not do that on the *Sabbath.
Verse 4: The *LORD had told Moses that the *Israelites must make God’s special tent. They had to make all the equipment for the tent. And they had to make the special clothes for Aaron and for his sons. So they had to provide suitable materials for all those things
Verse 5: The *LORD asked the *Israelites to give for that purpose. Everyone who was willing should bring gifts to the *LORD. They should bring gold, silver and *bronze.
Verse 6: People should bring wool in three colours - blue, purple and red. The workers would also need *linen of good quality and cloth that people had made out of goats’ hair. (See Exodus 25:4.)
Verse 7: People would also take skins from male sheep. They would colour the skins red. They also needed *acacia wood and goats’ skins, although some students say that they were the skins of another animal.
Verse 8: For the lamps, they would need to provide oil. And they should give certain other substances. The priests would burn some of those to give a sweet smell. Also, they would use some as they made special oils. (See Exodus 25:6.)
Verse 9: On the clothes of the chief priest, the workers must sew precious stones such as the stone called the onyx. (See Exodus 28:6-25.)
Verse 10: The *Israelites must make God’s special tent and everything that went with it. To do that, there must be a group of skilled workers. Moses invited everyone who had those skills to join that group. They must make everything that the *LORD had shown to Moses.
Verse 11: The *Israelites must make God’s special tent as the *LORD had shown to Moses. (See Exodus 26:1-36.)
Verse 12: Then the *Israelites must make the box for the *covenant. The *LORD had told Moses exactly how to make the box for the *covenant. (See Exodus 25:10-22.) The box would go in the Most Holy Place. They must make the curtains that would be between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place. (See Exodus 26:31-33.)
Verse 13: The next thing to make was the table. The *Israelites would also make plates, dishes and jugs for the table. On the table, the priests would put loaves of bread. (See Exodus 25:23-30.) The table would go in the Holy Place.
Verse 14: The *Israelites must make the lamp-holder with its lamps and its equipment. (See Exodus 25:31-40.) The lamps would give light in the Holy Place. They would need to provide the oil that would burn in the lamps. (See Exodus 27:20-21.)
Verse 15: The people must make the *altar for *incense that would go in the Holy Place. (See Exodus 30:1-10.) They must mix the special powders that would become the *incense. The priests would burn the *incense on the *altar. Also, they must make the curtains that were the entrance to God’s special tent. (See Exodus 26:36-37.)
Verse 16: The people must make an *altar of *bronze with its equipment. This *altar would be outside God’s special tent. On this *altar, the priests would burn *sacrifices of animals. (See Exodus 27:1-8.)
Verses 17-18: The *Israelites must make curtains that would be round the area of God’s special tent. And they must make curtains for the entrance to that area. (See Exodus 27:9-18.)
Verse 19: The people must make special clothes for Aaron and his sons. Aaron and his sons had to wear those clothes when they worked as priests. (See Exodus 28:1-43.)
Verses 20-21: The *Israelites did as Moses had asked them. All those men and women who wanted to give to the *LORD did so. They were willing to give all the materials for the special tent and for the priests’ clothes.
Verses 22-24: The people brought various things of gold. Some people brought the purple, blue and red wool. Some people brought the *linen of good quality. They brought cloth that they had made from goats’ hair. And they brought male sheep’s skins that they had coloured red. And they brought goats’ skins. However, some students say that they were the skins of another animal. They provided all the metals that the skilled workers needed for the work. That included silver and *bronze. Also, they brought *acacia wood.
Verses 25-26: Skilled women made wool and they made cloth from goats’ hair. They brought those materials and white *linen of good quality to the *LORD.
Verse 27: The leaders brought precious stones. The skilled workers would put those precious stones on the *ephod and on the *breast-piece for Aaron.
Verse 28: The people brought everything that the priests needed for *incense and special oils. Also, they brought the oil for the lamps in the Holy Place.
Verse 29: The *Israelite men and women were very generous. They gave more than enough of all those things to the *LORD. They did not give because they ought to give. They gave because they wanted to give to the *LORD. They gladly provided everything that Moses had asked them for.
Verse 30: The *LORD appointed Bezalel to lead the group of skilled workers. Bezalel was from the *tribe of Judah. His father was Uri who was Hur’s son.
When the *Amalekites fought with the *Israelites, Moses went up a mountain. Aaron and Hur went with him to hold up his hands. (See Exodus 17:10-13.) Later, while Moses was on *Mount Sinai, he left Aaron and Hur in command of the camp. (See Exodus 24:14.) Probably that was the Hur who was Bezalel’s grandfather. However, there might have been another man with the same name.
Verses 31-33: The *LORD had made Bezalel an expert in all the skills that were necessary for the work on God’s tent. Bezalel could work with all kinds of metal. He could cut stone and he could work with it. He could work with wood. He could work with wool, *linen and cloth. God made Bezalel a specialist with all those materials.
Verses 34-35: The *LORD appointed Oholiab to assist Bezalel. Oholiab was from the *tribe of Dan. His father was Ahisamach. Bezalel and Oholiab could teach other workers all the skills that they needed. So, they led a group of skilful workers. Those workers could do everything that the *LORD had shown to Moses.
Verse 1: The *Israelites had to make everything that the *LORD had shown to Moses. Bezalel and Oholiab knew how to achieve that. They would lead all the skilled workers to do it. The *LORD had given to them the skills that they had. And they were all ready to use those skills for the *LORD’s work. They would complete the whole area and everything that would be in it. And they would make God’s special tent and all its equipment.
Verses 2-5: Moses called together Bezalel, Oholiab and the group of skilful workers. He gave to them all the gifts that the people had brought for the work. Each morning, people brought more gifts to the workers. The people were very generous. So they brought more than enough materials to finish the work. The workers came to Moses. They asked him to tell the people that they should not bring any more gifts.
Verses 6-7: Therefore, Moses gave instructions to the people. He told them not to give any more gifts for the work. The workers already had more than enough to complete the tasks.
Verses 8-19: Here begins the description of how the workers made God’s special tent. The order of these tasks as the text records them is not important. Probably workers with various skills carried out their tasks at the same time.
The workers made all the curtains, rings and *hooks. All those things were as the *LORD had shown to Moses. (See Exodus 26:1-14.)
Verses 20-34: The workers made the bars, boards and rings as the text above describes them. (See Exodus 26:15-29.)
Verses 35-38: The workers also made the inner curtains with their *hooks, posts and bases as Moses had described them. (See Exodus 26:31-37.)
Verses 1-9: Bezalel made the box for the *covenant. He may not have done all the work but he was responsible for it. He made the box, its cover and the *cherubs. All those things were as the *LORD had told Moses. (See Exodus 25:10-22.) The box for the *covenant would be in the Most Holy Place in God’s special tent.
Verses 10-16: Bezalel with his helpers made the table. The table was one piece among three pieces of furniture that were in the Holy Place. The other two pieces were the *altar for *incense and the lamp-holder. On this special table, the priests would put 12 loaves of bread each week. (See Exodus 25:23-30.)
Verses 17-24: Bezalel made the lamp-holder to the design that the *LORD had given to Moses. (See Exodus 25:31-40.) He made all the lamps and all the equipment out of gold. The lamp-holder would be in the Holy Place.
Verses 25-28: The final object to go into the Holy Place was the *altar for *incense. Bezalel made that to the design that the *LORD had given to Moses. (See Exodus 30:1-6.)
Verse 29: Bezalel prepared the oil that the *Israelites would use for special purposes. (See Exodus 30:25-30.) And he prepared the *incense that the priests would burn on the *altar for *incense.
Verses 1-7: Bezalel and his helpers made the *altar of *bronze. (See Exodus 27:1-8.) This *altar was to burn the *sacrifices by fire. It was in the area outside God’s special tent.
Verse 8: In those days, the women used mirrors of *bronze. These women gave their mirrors to the *LORD. Bezalel made this basin from those mirrors of *bronze. We do not know who these women were.
The basin of *bronze would go between the *altar of *bronze and God’s special tent. The priests would wash their hands and their feet with water from that basin. (See Exodus 30:17-21.)
Verses 9-20: Round God’s special tent there would be an area with a fence all round it. The workers made the fence with curtains, posts and bases. They did as the *LORD had shown to Moses. (See Exodus 27:9-18.)
Verses 21-31: These verses are an account of the metal that the workers used for God’s special tent. The *Levites made a record of those materials. Bezalel, Oholiab and a group of skilled workers did all the work.
The people were generous as they gave all these metals to the *LORD. They gave about 1000 kilos (2200 pounds) of gold. And they gave about 2400 kilos (5300 pounds) of *bronze.
Each man over the age of 20 gave half a *shekel of silver as a tax. By that means, they gave more than 3400 kilos (7500 pounds) of silver.
Bezalel’s helpers used those metals to make the things for God’s special tent and for the yard.
Verse 1: The workers made all these things ‘as the *LORD had told Moses’. That phrase comes 7 times. It emphasises how carefully they obeyed the instructions of the *LORD. (See verses 1, 5, 7, 21, 26, 29 and 31.)
Verses 2-7: The workers made the *ephod as the *LORD had told Moses. (See Exodus 28:6-14.)
Verses 8-21: Here is a description of how the workers made the *breast-piece. They made it as the *LORD had shown to Moses. (See Exodus 28:15-29.)
However, there is no mention of the objects called the Urim and Thummim. They would be in the *breast-piece. We do not know what those stones were like. But the chief priest used them to find out the *LORD’s decisions. (See Exodus 28:30.)
Verses 22-26: Under the *ephod, Aaron must wear a special shirt. It would be long like a long dress. The workers made this shirt of one piece of material. It had holes for his head and arms. Round the lowest part, they put models of *pomegranates and bells of gold. The *LORD had told Moses to do that. (See Exodus 28:32-36.)
Verses 27-29: The workers made shirts, hats and short trousers for Aaron and for his sons. (See Exodus 28:39-42.)
Verses 30-31: The workers made a flat piece of gold. On it, they cut the words ‘Holy for the *LORD’. Then they attached it on the front of Aaron’s hat. That was exactly as the *LORD had shown to Moses. (See Exodus 28:36-38.)
Verses 32-43: The *Israelites completed the work exactly as the *LORD had told Moses. Bezalel and his helpers did the work but they did it on behalf of all the *Israelites. The *Israelites had provided all the materials that they needed. (See Exodus 35:20-29.) The workers brought to Moses everything that they had made. There was God’s special tent and all its furniture. That included the box for the *covenant. There were the fences for the yard, and everything that would be in the yard. And there was all the equipment. They brought all those things to Moses. He examined everything. And it was all as the *LORD had shown to him. So he was very happy and he blessed the *Israelites.
Verses 1-2: The *Israelites had completed all the parts for God’s special tent. Moses had checked everything. Then the *LORD told Moses that they must bring all those things together. They must erect God’s special tent on the first day of the first month. The first month was Abib (or Nisan). Abib was about our month April. This was the second year of their time in the *desert. It had taken them about 6 months to complete the work.
Verse 3: The box for the *covenant must be in the Most Holy Place. The two stones of the *covenant would be in the box for the *covenant. A curtain would separate the Most Holy Place from the Holy Place.
Verses 4-5: In the Holy Place, they must put the table and the lamp-holder. Also, in the Holy Place they must put the *altar of gold. The *altar of gold would be next to the curtain that separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. The Most Holy Place contained the box for the *covenant.
Verses 6-7: The *altar of *bronze must go in the area in front of the tent. That *altar was where the priests would burn the *sacrifices by fire. The large basin of *bronze with its base would go between the *altar of *bronze and the tent. The priests must put water in the basin for them to wash their hands and their feet.
Verse 8: The workers must hang up the set of curtains to make a yard round the tent. And they must put a curtain across the entrance to the yard.
Verses 9-11: The workers had prepared a special holy oil. With some of that oil, they had to mark everything in the yard and in the tent. (See Exodus 35:15.) All those things would then become holy. Then they would be ready for the priests to serve the *LORD.
Verses 12-15: The *LORD told Moses to bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance of the tent. He must wash them with water to make them clean. Then Aaron and his sons must put on the special clothes for priests. Moses must use the special oil and he must put some on Aaron. He must put the oil on Aaron’s clothes and he must pour some on his head. (See Exodus 29:7; Leviticus 8:12; Psalm 133:2.) Then Aaron could serve the *LORD as the chief priest. Also, Moses must put some of the oil on Aaron’s sons. We do not know whether Moses poured oil on their heads. When Moses had put oil on them they could serve God as priests. By this act, the family of Aaron would become special to the *LORD. From that family would come the men who would serve the *LORD as priests.
Verses 16-19: Moses did what the *LORD had told him to do. He erected the tent and he put the covers over it.
Verses 20-21: Moses put the two stones of the *covenant in the box for the *covenant. And he attached the two poles to the box for the *covenant. Then he hung up the curtain that hid the box for the *covenant.
Verses 22-23: In the Holy Place on the north side, he placed the table. He put 12 loaves of bread on the table. From that time on, the priests would change the 12 loaves each week.
Verses 24-25: On the other side of the Holy Place, Moses placed the lamp-holder. He put the 7 lamps on the lamp-holder.
Verses 26-28: Moses put the *altar of gold in the Holy Place. He put it in front of the curtain to the Most Holy Place. He burned *incense on the *altar. He had put in the tent all the things for the Most Holy Place and for the Holy Place. Then he hung up the curtain that would be the entrance to God’s special tent.
Verse 29: Outside the entrance to God’s special tent, Moses put the *altar of *bronze. There he made *sacrifices by fire to the *LORD.
Verses 30-32: Between the *altar of *bronze and the entrance to the tent, Moses put the large basin. Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet with water from the basin. Also, Moses had to wash his hands and his feet. In effect, Moses was the priest until Aaron was able to serve God as the chief priest. The priests must always wash in that way before they offered a *sacrifice to the *LORD. They could not go into God’s special tent unless they had washed first.
Verse 33: Then Moses hung up the set of curtains to make a yard round the tent. And he hung up the curtain at the entrance to the yard.
Moses had completed the work of the special tent and its yard. He had done everything that the *LORD had told him to do.
Verses 34-35: When everything was ready, God came to his special tent. He came to live among his people. He covered the tent with his cloud. In the cloud, the wonderful bright light showed to the people that God was there. When that bright light filled the tent, even Moses could not enter it.
Verses 36-37: While the cloud was on God’s special tent, the *Israelites did not move their camp. As soon as the cloud went up, they packed their camp. And they followed where the cloud would lead them.
Verse 38: The cloud remained on God’s special tent day and night. During the night, there was a fire in the cloud. Therefore, even at night, the *Israelites could know that the *LORD was there.
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.
Amalekite ~ a *descendant of Amalek. Amalek was the grandson of Esau. The Amalekites lived in the country between southern *Israel and Egypt. They were enemies of Israel’s people.
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.
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.
cherub ~ a special *angel. The *Israelites made a model of two cherubs to be on the top of the box for the *covenant.
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.
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.
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.
generation ~ a period of about 20 to 30 years. During that time, children become adults and they have their own children; or, the *descendants of a person or people during that time.
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.
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.
jealous ~ it means that God has strong feelings. The *LORD loves his people. He will not share them with anyone or anything else. He must be the only God of his people and they belong to him. His people must not *worship other gods even if they worship the *LORD as well. They must *worship only the *LORD God.
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.
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.
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.
Pharaoh ~ a word that means the king of Egypt.
pomegranate ~ a large fruit with many seeds that is good to eat.
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.
talent ~ a talent weighed about 34 kilos (75 pounds).
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.
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.
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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