Study

a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary
Select a resource above

7. Dedication of Tabernacle

And it came to pass on the day that Moses had fully set up the tabernacle, and had anointed it, and sanctified it, and all the instruments thereof, both the altar and all the vessels thereof, and had anointed them, and sanctified them; 2That the princes of Israel, heads of the house of their fathers, who were the princes of the tribes, and were over them that were numbered, offered: 3And they brought their offering before the Lord, six covered wagons, and twelve oxen; a wagon for two of the princes, and for each one an ox: and they brought them before the tabernacle. 4And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 5Take it of them, that they may be to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; and thou shalt give them unto the Levites, to every man according to his service. 6And Moses took the wagons and the oxen, and gave them unto the Levites. 7Two wagons and four oxen he gave unto the sons of Gershon, according to their service: 8And four wagons and eight oxen he gave unto the sons of Merari, according unto their service, under the hand of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest. 9But unto the sons of Kohath he gave none: because the service of the sanctuary belonging unto them was that they should bear upon their shoulders.

10And the princes offered for dedicating of the altar in the day that it was anointed, even the princes offered their offering before the altar. 11And the Lord said unto Moses, They shall offer their offering, each prince on his day, for the dedicating of the altar.

12And he that offered his offering the first day was Nahshon the son of Amminadab, of the tribe of Judah: 13And his offering was one silver charger, the weight thereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them were full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering: 14One spoon of ten shekels of gold, full of incense: 15One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering: 16One kid of the goats for a sin offering: 17And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Nahshon the son of Amminadab.

18On the second day Nethaneel the son of Zuar, prince of Issachar, did offer: 19He offered for his offering one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering: 20One spoon of gold of ten shekels, full of incense: 21One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering: 22One kid of the goats for a sin offering: 23And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Nethaneel the son of Zuar.

24On the third day Eliab the son of Helon, prince of the children of Zebulun, did offer: 25His offering was one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering: 26One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense: 27One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering: 28One kid of the goats for a sin offering: 29And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Eliab the son of Helon.

30On the fourth day Elizur the son of Shedeur, prince of the children of Reuben, did offer: 31His offering was one silver charger of the weight of an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering: 32One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense: 33One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering: 34One kid of the goats for a sin offering: 35And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Elizur the son of Shedeur.

36On the fifth day Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai, prince of the children of Simeon, did offer: 37His offering was one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering: 38One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense: 39One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering: 40One kid of the goats for a sin offering: 41And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai.

42On the sixth day Eliasaph the son of Deuel, prince of the children of Gad, offered: 43His offering was one silver charger of the weight of an hundred and thirty shekels, a silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering: 44One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense: 45One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering: 46One kid of the goats for a sin offering: 47And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Eliasaph the son of Deuel.

48On the seventh day Elishama the son of Ammihud, prince of the children of Ephraim, offered: 49His offering was one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering: 50One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense: 51One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering: 52One kid of the goats for a sin offering: 53And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Elishama the son of Ammihud.

54On the eighth day offered Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur, prince of the children of Manasseh: 55His offering was one silver charger of the weight of an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering: 56One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense: 57One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering: 58One kid of the goats for a sin offering: 59And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur.

60On the ninth day Abidan the son of Gideoni, prince of the children of Benjamin, offered: 61His offering was one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering: 62One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense: 63One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering: 64One kid of the goats for a sin offering: 65And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Abidan the son of Gideoni.

66On the tenth day Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai, prince of the children of Dan, offered: 67His offering was one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering: 68One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense: 69One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering: 70One kid of the goats for a sin offering: 71And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai.

72On the eleventh day Pagiel the son of Ocran, prince of the children of Asher, offered: 73His offering was one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering: 74One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense: 75One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering: 76One kid of the goats for a sin offering: 77And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Pagiel the son of Ocran.

78On the twelfth day Ahira the son of Enan, prince of the children of Naphtali, offered: 79His offering was one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering: 80One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense: 81One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering: 82One kid of the goats for a sin offering: 83And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Ahira the son of Enan. 84This was the dedication of the altar, in the day when it was anointed, by the princes of Israel: twelve chargers of silver, twelve silver bowls, twelve spoons of gold: 85Each charger of silver weighing an hundred and thirty shekels, each bowl seventy: all the silver vessels weighed two thousand and four hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary: 86The golden spoons were twelve, full of incense, weighing ten shekels apiece, after the shekel of the sanctuary: all the gold of the spoons was an hundred and twenty shekels. 87All the oxen for the burnt offering were twelve bullocks, the rams twelve, the lambs of the first year twelve, with their meat offering: and the kids of the goats for sin offering twelve. 88And all the oxen for the sacrifice of the peace offerings were twenty and four bullocks, the rams sixty, the he goats sixty, the lambs of the first year sixty. This was the dedication of the altar, after that it was anointed. 89And when Moses was gone into the tabernacle of the congregation to speak with him, then he heard the voice of one speaking unto him from off the mercy seat that was upon the ark of testimony, from between the two cherubims: and he spake unto him.

1. And it came to pass on the day that Moses This was the second contribution of the people, after the completion of the Tabernacle; for although mention is only made of the princes, it is probable that each of them presented what the whole tribe had subscribed, since there was no private person at that time wealthy enough to give so much gold and silver of his own. Let it be understood, then, that they brought in the name, and at the desire of all, what they had received from the members of their respective tribes. Before, however, I proceed any further, it must be remarked that the sacrifices were not killed, before the sanctuary was anointed. Moses himself is said to have anointed it, as he had his brother Aaron; for the exposition of some, that what properly applies to Aaron is attributed to his brother, does not appear to be sound. We have said elsewhere that God thus freely used the visible signs, in order that He might by no means bind the grace of the Spirit to particular persons. When Moses, therefore, who was not anointed himself, anointed both the sanctuary and the priest, it was manifestly shewn that the efficacy of consecration did not emanate from himself, inasmuch as He could not give of his own that which he did not possess. Consequently the entire virtue and utility of signs depend on the command of God. We have elsewhere seen why it was necessary to consecrate the tabernacle, the altar, and all the vessels by a sacred anointing. Here let us only observe, that the connection of the two words anointing and sanctifying is not superfluous: that we may understand that the symbol of the oil was not vain and inefficacious, but that true spiritual sanctity was annexed to it; for God institutes nothing in vain, but, by filling what He typifies with the secret influence of the Spirit, He effectually proves Himself to be true. It is said that the princes were set “over them that were numbered,” i.e., after the people were numbered, and separated into their several divisions, these were chosen as the chiefs of the tribes. The exposition which some give, that they assisted when the people were numbered, in my opinion, is far-fetched.

3. And they brought their offering before the Lord, six covered waggons These waggons were dedicated for the conveyance of the tabernacle: for its pillars and many other parts of it could not be carried on men’s shoulders; and therefore they are said to have been covered, lest the things which were deposited in them should be exposed to the rain. For it is by no means suitable to suppose that they were litters; 400400     So Vatablus, quoted in Poole. “In Leviticus 11:29, (says Ainsworth,) צב (tsab) is a tortoise, so called from the shell that covereth it: accordingly here they may be called עגלת צב, (gnegeloth tsab,) waggons of the tortoise, (or of covering,) because they were like to a tortoise, covered above.” and, in fact, a pair of oxen is assigned to every waggon. It is pretty clear, then, that the materials of the tabernacle were placed in them when they were travelling from one place to another.

This oblation is stated to have been made “before the Lord,” and then “before the tabernacle,” but the meaning is precisely the same; for God had, as it were, put on that face in which he might be beheld by believers. What follows, “But the Lord had spoken to Moses,” etc., I thus interpret, That God had required this tribute of the people: I have thought it well, therefore, to render it in the pluperfect tense, whereas others translate it, “The Lord said unto Moses,” as if Moses had not been ordered to receive it, before it was actually presented by the princes and the people. Indeed, it is probable that the number of the waggons was not accidentally determined, but by a just calculation of the things which they were to carry.

10. And the princes offered for dedicating of the altar Here is another kind of offering, viz., a silver dish and bowl from every tribe, besides a golden spoon, 401401     V., mortariolum. LXX.,: θυί̑σκη Ainsworth, cup. Heb., כן from whence probably our English word cup. which properly means a censer. Their use was as follows, — that the sacred cakes should be received in the dishes, the wine of libation in the bowls, and the frankincense in the censers. But God would have each tribe contribute their respective vessels, in order that the common interest of the whole people in the sacrifices might be the better testified. Although the word shekel 402402     שקל shekel, from שקל, shakal, to weigh. C. follows LXX. in renderining גרה gerah,the twentieth part of a shekel, — by the word obolus, ὀβολός The general opinion of modern commentators is, that the shekel, throughout the Old Testament, expressed not a coin, but a weight of about half an ounce Troy, which would bring its value in silver, at a rough calculation, to 2s. 6d., and in gold to 2 Pounds sterling: though indeed it appears impossible to ascertain either the intrinsic or relative value of the precious metals at so early a period with anything like accuracy. The Rabbins (see Ainsworth) consider the estimate of the golden vessels to have been made by the shekel of silver. is derived front its being weighed, still it is almost everywhere used for a coined piece of money, which, as we have seen at Exodus 30, was of the value of twenty oboli. Josephus estimates it at an Attic tetradrachm. But Ezekiel, when he is inveighing against their fraud in having diminished its weight, settles its value at twenty oboli, and adds that it is the third part of a pound or mina. (Ezekiel 45:12.) But it must be borne in remembrance, as we have also seen elsewhere, that the shekel of the sanctuary was double the ordinary one, for it was worth four drachmas, whereas the common shekel was only worth two drachmas, or a staler. Now, if we calculate, we shall find that the value of each dish amounted to nearly a hundred French livres; and that of each bowl to forty-four. If we take the shekel in the same sense with reference to the censers, or spoons, they must have been very small, only being about seven livres in value: whereas a gold vessel of this size would scarcely hold three grains of frankincense. Wherefore, I doubt whether they had not also gold shekels; but I leave it undecided as a point on which we have no knowledge.

Lastly, follow the animals offered as victims, a young bullock, a ram, and a lamb for a burnt-offering; a kid for a sin-offering; two oxen, five rams, five he-goats, and five lambs for a sacrifice of thanksgiving. It would, however, have been difficult for each prince to present so many out of his own folds or stalls; whence it is probable that they were aided by a general contribution. God chose that each tribe should have its peculiar day appointed for it in order, not only that there might be no confusion or disturbance, but; also that by this lengthened exercise the hearts even of the careless might be stirred up to zealous devotion.

12. And he that offered his offering the first day The oracular declaration which God made by the mouth of Jacob is well known. “The scepter shall not depart from Judah,” etc. (Genesis 49:10.) Non, although the time had not yet arrived when the truth of this prophecy should be manifested by its fulfillment, still it was brought to pass by the admirable counsel of God that certain marks of supremacy should exist in the tribe of Judah; and, by general consent, if not dominion, at least the chief dignity, was always lodged in it. The assignment of the first day to Nahshon was, therefore,a presage of that future kingdom which was at length set up in the person of David. If any should allege the absurdity that the tribe of Reuben, who was the first-born, should be kept back till the fourth day, I reply that the tribes of Zebulun and Issachar were ranked under the banner of Judah; since it will appear in chapter 10. 403403     “Que la compagnie a suyvi son chef: car les douze lignees,” etc.; that the company followed its chief; for the twelve tribes, etc.Fr. that the twelve tribes were divided into four divisions of three. Thus it was more honorable for the tribe of Reuben to have the fourth day, so as to have the two tribes over which it presided attached to it. But the fathers of the two tribes, which God placed under the banner of Judah, were the two youngest sons of Leah, who followed next after Judah, her fourth son. We see, therefore, that the kingdom was thus obscurely shadowed forth, from which salvation was to be hoped for by the whole people: in order that they might be the more attentive to the promise given them; although this indication of it had but little effect on their sluggish minds.

89. And when Moses was gone into the tabernacle There seems at first sight to be a kind of contradiction between this passage and the other, in which we saw that a thick cloud stood in the door of the tabernacle, so that Moses could not enter it. It might, indeed, be answered that this only occurred once; but to me it appears more probable that, Moses sought the replies of God at the mercy-seat, until Aaron began to exercise the priesthood, and then abandoned his dignity, which was only temporary, as far as regarded the entering of the sanctuary. For we know that by the established Law of God the priesthood was distinct from the civil government; and therefore that he could not, except by special privilege, be at the same time the leader and the priest. 404404     This sentence is omitted in Fr. If this exposition be accepted, he does not here record in its proper place that answers were given to him by God from the mercy-seat; since it is by no means unusual that what has preceded in order of time should be annexed at the end of a narrative. His intention, indeed, was to declare to posterity that God had not promised in vain that the Israelites should experience the presence of His favor; because He had chosen His dwelling-place in the sanctuary, to sit between the cherubim. By this testimony, therefore, of God’s grace, the external anointing was ratified and confirmed, inasmuch as God appeared to Moses upon the Ark of the Covenant.


VIEWNAME is study