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Exodus 40

Moses erects the tabernacle

1 Then the LORD said to Moses: 2 ‘Erect the tabernacle, the Tent of Meeting, on the first day of the first month. 3 Put the Ark of the Covenant in the tabernacle and hide the Ark behind its curtain. 4 Bring in the table and put its own things on it. Then bring in the lampstand and fix its lamps on it. 5 Put the gold altar for incense in front of the Ark of the Covenant. Fix the curtain as a door to the tabernacle.

6 Put the altar, where you will burn animals as gifts, in front of the door. 7 Put the very large dish for water between the Tent of Meeting and the altar and put water in it. 8 Erect the yard round the tent and fix the curtain as a door to the yard.

9 Take the special oil and pour a little of it on the tabernacle and on everything in it. Offer the tabernacle to God with all its things, and then it will be holy. 10 Then pour a little of the special oil on the altar where you will burn animals. Do the same thing to all its tools. Offer it all to God, and then it will be very holy. 11 Pour a little oil on the very large dish for water and on its base and offer them to God.

12 Bring Aaron and his sons to the door of the Tent of Meeting and wash them with water. 13 Then dress Aaron in the holy clothes and pour a little oil on his head. Bring him then to me so that he can work for me as a priest. 14 Bring his sons and dress them in tunics. 15 Pour a little oil on their heads as you did to their father. Then they too can work for me as priests. This special work will be their own for their whole lives. Their sons and grandsons will also be priests. This is a special gift to the family of Aaron for all time.’ 16 Moses did everything that the LORD commanded him.

17 So they erected the tabernacle on the first day of the first month. This happened in the second year of the Israelites' journey through the desert. 18 When Moses erected the tabernacle, he put all the different parts in the right places. 19 Then he covered the tabernacle with the tent. He covered the tent also, as the LORD commanded him.

20 Moses took the Testimony and he put it in the Ark. He fastened the sticks to the Ark and he put the special lid over it. 21 Then he brought the Ark into the tabernacle and put the curtain in front of it. So he hid the Ark of the Covenant, as the LORD commanded him.

22 Moses put the table in the Tent of Meeting, on the north side, outside the curtain. 23 He put the bread on the table in front of the LORD, as the LORD commanded him.

24 He put the lampstand in the Tent of Meeting. He put it on the south side, on the opposite side to the table. 25 He erected the lamps in front of the LORD, as the LORD commanded him.

26 Moses put the gold altar in the Tent of Meeting, in front of the curtain. 27 He burned sweet incense on it, as the LORD commanded him. 28 Then he fixed the curtain as a door for the tabernacle.

29 He put the altar, where they would burn animals as gifts, by the door of the tabernacle. He offered on it animals and food as gifts, as the LORD had commanded him.

30 Moses put the very large dish for water between the Tent of Meeting and the altar. He put water in it. 31 Then Moses and Aaron and Aaron's sons used it to wash their hands and their feet. 32 They washed themselves each time that they went into the Tent of Meeting. They also washed themselves before they went to the altar. The LORD had commanded Moses about this.

33 Then Moses erected the yard round the tabernacle and round the altar. He fixed the curtain to make a door for the yard. And so Moses finished the work.

The glory of the LORD

34 Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting. The glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. 35 Moses could not go into the Tent of Meeting because the cloud covered it. And the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.

36 The Israelites followed the cloud during all their journeys. Every time that the cloud rose up from the tabernacle, they would begin their journey again. 37 But if the cloud remained on the tabernacle, the Israelites did not move. They stayed where they were. They stayed there until the day when the cloud rose up. 38 So the cloud of the LORD was over the tabernacle during the day. During the night, there was fire in the cloud. And all the Israelites could see the cloud during all their journeys.