Exodus 40

Listen to Exodus 40

The Tabernacle Erected

1 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
2 "On the 1first day of the first month you shall 2erect the tabernacle of the tent of meeting.
3 And you shall put in it the ark of the testimony, and you shall 3screen the ark with the veil.
4 And 4you shall bring in the table and arrange it, and 5you shall bring in the lampstand and set up its lamps.
5 6And you shall put the golden altar for incense before the ark of the testimony, and set up the screen for the door of the tabernacle.
6 7You shall set the altar of burnt offering before the door of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting,
7 8and place the basin between the tent of meeting and the altar, and put water in it.
8 And you shall set up the court all around, and hang up the screen for the gate of the court.
9 "Then you shall take the 9anointing oil and anoint the tabernacle and all that is in it, and consecrate it and all its furniture, so that it may become holy.
10 You shall also anoint 10the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, and consecrate the altar, 11so that the altar may become most holy.
11 You shall also anoint the basin and its stand, and consecrate it.
12 12Then you shall bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance of the tent of meeting and shall wash them with water
13 and put on Aaron the holy garments. And you shall anoint him and consecrate him, that he may serve me as priest.
14 You shall bring his sons also and put coats on them,
15 13and anoint them, as you anointed their father, that they may serve me as priests. And their anointing shall admit them to a 14perpetual priesthood throughout their generations."
16 This Moses did; according to all that the LORD commanded him, so he did.
17 In the first month in the second year, on the first day of the month, 15the tabernacle was erected.
18 Moses erected the tabernacle. He laid its bases, and set up its frames, and put in its poles, and raised up its pillars.
19 And he spread the tent over the tabernacle and put the covering of the tent over it, as the LORD had commanded Moses.
20 He 16took the testimony and put it into the ark, and put the poles on the ark and set the mercy seat above on the ark.
21 And he brought the ark into the tabernacle and 17set up the veil of the screen, and screened 18the ark of the testimony, as the LORD had commanded Moses.
22 19He put the table in the tent of meeting, on the north side of the tabernacle, outside the veil,
23 and arranged the bread on it before the LORD, as the LORD had commanded Moses.
24 20He put the lampstand in the tent of meeting, opposite the table on the south side of the tabernacle,
25 21and set up the lamps before the LORD, as the LORD had commanded Moses.
26 22He put the golden altar in the tent of meeting before the veil,
27 and burned fragrant incense on it, as the LORD had commanded Moses.
28 23He put in place the screen for the door of the tabernacle.
29 24And he set the altar of burnt offering at the entrance of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting, and offered on it the burnt offering and the 25grain offering, as the LORD had commanded Moses.
30 26He set the basin between the tent of meeting and the altar, and put water in it for washing,
31 with which Moses and 27Aaron and his sons 28washed their hands and their feet.
32 When they went into the tent of meeting, and when they approached the altar, they washed, as the LORD commanded Moses.
33 29And he erected the court around the tabernacle and the altar, and set up the screen of the gate of the court. So 30Moses finished the work.

The Glory of the Lord

34 Then 31the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and 32the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
35 And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
36 Throughout all their journeys, 33whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the people of Israel would set out.
37 But 34if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out till the day that it was taken up.
38 For the cloud of the LORD was on the tabernacle by day, and fire was in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel throughout all their journeys.

Exodus 40 Commentary

Chapter 40

The tabernacle is to be set up, Aaron and his sons to be sanctified. (1-15) Moses performs all as directed. (16-33) The glory of the Lord fills the tabernacle. (34-38)

Verses 1-15 When a new year begins, we should seek to serve God better than the year before. In half a year the tabernacle was completed. When the hearts of numbers are earnest in a good cause, much may be done in a short time; and when the commandments of God are continually attended to, as the rule of working, all will be done well. The high-priesthood was in the family of Aaron till Christ came, and in Him, the substance of all these shadows, it continues for ever.

Verses 16-33 When the tabernacle and the furniture of it were prepared, they did not put off rearing it till they came to Canaan; but, in obedience to the will of God, they set it up in the midst of their camp. Those who are unsettled in the world, must not think that this will excuse want of religion; as if it were enough to begin to serve God when they begin to be settled in the world. No; a tabernacle for God is very needful, even in a wilderness, especially as we may be in another world before we come to fix in this. And we may justly fear lest we should deceive ourselves with a form of godliness. The thought that so few entered Canaan, should warn young persons especially, not to put off the care of their souls.

Verses 34-38 The cloud covered the tabernacle even in the clearest day; it was not a cloud which the sun scatters. This cloud was a token of God's presence to be seen day and night, by all Israel, that they might never again question, Is the Lord among us, or is he not? It guided the camp of Israel through the wilderness. While the cloud rested on the tabernacle, they rested; when it removed, they followed it. The glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. In light and fire the Shechinah made itself visible: God is Light; our God is a consuming Fire. Yet so dazzling was the light, and so dreadful the fire, that Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, till the splendour was abated. But what Moses could not do, our Lord Jesus has done, whom God caused to draw near; and who has invited us to come boldly, even to the mercy-seat. Being taught by the Holy Spirit to follow the example of Christ, as well as to depend upon him, to attend his ordinances, and obey his precepts, we shall be kept from losing our way, and be led in the midst of the paths of judgment, till we come to heaven, the habitation of his holiness. BLESSED BE GOD FOR JESUS CHRIST!

Cross References 34

  • 1. [Exodus 12:2; Exodus 13:4]
  • 2. ver. 17; Exodus 26:30
  • 3. ver. 21; [Exodus 35:12]
  • 4. ver. 22; Exodus 26:35
  • 5. ver. 24, 25
  • 6. ver. 26; [Exodus 39:38]
  • 7. ver. 29
  • 8. ver. 30; Exodus 30:18
  • 9. Exodus 30:26
  • 10. Exodus 30:28
  • 11. Exodus 29:37
  • 12. See Leviticus 8:1-13
  • 13. Exodus 28:41; Exodus 29:7
  • 14. Numbers 25:13
  • 15. ver. 2; Numbers 7:1
  • 16. Exodus 25:16; See Exodus 16:34
  • 17. ver. 3; See Exodus 35:12
  • 18. ver. 3, 20
  • 19. ver. 4; Exodus 26:35
  • 20. Exodus 26:35
  • 21. ver. 4; Exodus 25:37
  • 22. ver. 5; Exodus 30:6, 7
  • 23. ver. 5; Exodus 26:36
  • 24. ver. 6
  • 25. Exodus 29:41; Exodus 30:9
  • 26. ver. 7
  • 27. Exodus 30:19, 20
  • 28. Exodus 30:21
  • 29. ver. 8; Exodus 27:9, 16
  • 30. [Hebrews 3:2, 5]
  • 31. See Exodus 13:21
  • 32. Exodus 29:43; Leviticus 16:2; Numbers 9:15; [1 Kings 8:10, 11; 2 Chronicles 5:13, 14; 2 Chronicles 7:2; Isaiah 6:4; Haggai 2:7, 9; Revelation 15:8]
  • 33. Numbers 9:17; Numbers 10:11; [Nehemiah 9:19]
  • 34. See Numbers 9:19-22

Chapter Summary


This chapter contains the order for setting up the tabernacle, and
placing the furniture of it where it was the will of God it should be
put, Ex 40:1-8 and for the anointing it, and all its vessels, and
also Aaron and his sons, Ex 40:9-16 all which were accordingly
done, the tabernacle was reared up, and everything was put in its
proper place, Ex 40:16-33 upon which a cloud covered the tent, and
the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle, so that Moses could not
enter; which cloud afterwards was a direction in their journeys, by
night and by day, Ex 40:34-38.

Exodus 40 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.