Exodus 30

The altar for incense

1 ‘Make an altar out of acacia wood so that you can burn incense on it. 2 The altar must be square. Make it ½ metre long, ½ metre wide and 1 metre high. The altar's horns must be part of it, one piece of wood. 3 Cover every part of the altar with gold. Then fix an extra piece of gold round it. 4 Make two gold rings for the altar, below the extra piece of gold. These rings must be on opposite sides of the altar. They will hold the sticks with which you will carry it. 5 Make the sticks of acacia wood and cover them with gold. 6 There is a curtain in front of the Covenant Box. Put the altar in front of that curtain, in front of the special lid. This lid covers the box and I will meet you there.

7 Aaron must burn incense with a good smell on the altar every morning. He must do this when he checks the lamps. 8 He must burn incense again when he lights the lamps in the evening. Incense must burn for the Lord every day for all time. 9 Do not offer any different incense on this altar. Do not offer any animals or food plants as gifts on this altar. And do not pour a gift of drink on it. 10 Once every year, Aaron must pay the price for sin on this altar. He must pay this price with the blood of the bull that he offers. Every year, a priest must do this, for all time. It is most holy to the Lord.’

Money that pays the price for each life

11 Then the Lord said to Moses, 12 ‘When you count the Israelites, each person must pay the Lord a price for his life. Each person must do this at the time when you count him. Then nothing bad will happen to him at that time. 13 Each person must give a silver coin when you count him. The weight of this coin is six grams and it is a gift to the Lord. 14 You must count every person who is 20 years old or more. And each person must offer his gift to the Lord. 15 Rich people must not give more than six grams of silver. Poor people must not give less when they offer this gift to the Lord. It is the price that each person must pay for his life. 16 Receive this money from the Israelites. Use it for anything that you need for the Tent of Meeting. Then the Lord will always remember that you belong to him. You have paid money for your lives.

17 Then the Lord said to Moses, 18 Make a very large dish for water out of bronze. And make something from bronze for it to stand on. Put it between the Tent of Meeting and the altar and fill it with water.

19 Aaron and his sons must wash their hands and their feet with water from the dish. 20 Every time they go into the Tent of Meeting, they must wash their hands and their feet. Then they will not die. Also, before they offer a gift to the Lord by fire on the altar, they must wash. 21 Then they will not die when they offer their gift. This is a rule for all time, for Aaron and for everyone that is born into his family.’

Special oil to make things holy

22 Then the Lord said to Moses, 23 ‘Mix together these good spices:

6 kilos of liquid myrrh.

3 kilos of sweet cinnamon.

3 kilos of sweet cane.

24 6 kilos of cassia.

4 litres of olive oil.

25 Make these into a holy oil, the special oil that makes things holy. It will be the work of a wise chemist. 26 Then pour a little oil on all of these things:

the Tent of Meeting.

the Covenant Box.

27 the table and all its tools.

the lampstand and its tools.

28 the two altars with their tools.

and the very large dish for water with its base.

29 You must make all these things separate so that they will be most holy. Then anything that touches them will become holy.

30 Pour some of the holy oil on Aaron's head and on the heads of his sons. Make them separate, and then they can work for me as priests. 31 Say to the Israelites, “This will be my holy oil for all time. 32 Do not pour it on the bodies of men who are not priests. Do not make any of this oil to use for other things. It is holy and you must always think about it as holy. 33 Nobody must make a sweet smell like this oil. Nobody must put this oil on any person except on a priest. Anyone who does not obey this rule must die.” ’

Sweet incense

34 Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Take sweet spices, (gum resin, onycha, galbanum and frankincense) in equal amounts. 35 Give them to a chemist and let him make them into incense, with a lovely smell. It must have salt in it and it must be clean and holy. 36 Make some of the incense into powder. Put this in front of the Covenant Box, in the Tent of Meeting. I will meet you there. It will be most holy to you. 37 Do not make any incense like this for yourselves. Think about it always as holy to the Lord. 38 Whoever makes any incense like it, with a lovely smell, for himself, he must die.’