Exodus 40

Setting Up the Tabernacle

1 Then the LORD said to Moses:
2 “Set up the tabernacle, the tent of meeting, on the first day of the first month.
3 Place the ark of the covenant law in it and shield the ark with the curtain.
4 Bring in the table and set out what belongs on it. Then bring in the lampstand and set up its lamps.
5 Place the gold altar of incense in front of the ark of the covenant law and put the curtain at the entrance to the tabernacle.
6 “Place the altar of burnt offering in front of the entrance to the tabernacle, the tent of meeting;
7 place the basin between the tent of meeting and the altar and put water in it.
8 Set up the courtyard around it and put the curtain at the entrance to the courtyard.
9 “Take the anointing oil and anoint the tabernacle and everything in it; consecrate it and all its furnishings, and it will be holy.
10 Then anoint the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils; consecrate the altar, and it will be most holy.
11 Anoint the basin and its stand and consecrate them.
12 “Bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance to the tent of meeting and wash them with water.
13 Then dress Aaron in the sacred garments, anoint him and consecrate him so he may serve me as priest.
14 Bring his sons and dress them in tunics.
15 Anoint them just as you anointed their father, so they may serve me as priests. Their anointing will be to a priesthood that will continue throughout their generations.”
16 Moses did everything just as the LORD commanded him.
17 So the tabernacle was set up on the first day of the first month in the second year.
18 When Moses set up the tabernacle, he put the bases in place, erected the frames, inserted the crossbars and set up the posts.
19 Then he spread the tent over the tabernacle and put the covering over the tent, as the LORD commanded him.
20 He took the tablets of the covenant law and placed them in the ark, attached the poles to the ark and put the atonement cover over it.
21 Then he brought the ark into the tabernacle and hung the shielding curtain and shielded the ark of the covenant law, as the LORD commanded him.
22 Moses placed the table in the tent of meeting on the north side of the tabernacle outside the curtain
23 and set out the bread on it before the LORD, as the LORD commanded him.
24 He placed the lampstand in the tent of meeting opposite the table on the south side of the tabernacle
25 and set up the lamps before the LORD, as the LORD commanded him.
26 Moses placed the gold altar in the tent of meeting in front of the curtain
27 and burned fragrant incense on it, as the LORD commanded him.
28 Then he put up the curtain at the entrance to the tabernacle.
29 He set the altar of burnt offering near the entrance to the tabernacle, the tent of meeting, and offered on it burnt offerings and grain offerings, as the LORD commanded him.
30 He placed the basin between the tent of meeting and the altar and put water in it for washing,
31 and Moses and Aaron and his sons used it to wash their hands and feet.
32 They washed whenever they entered the tent of meeting or approached the altar, as the LORD commanded Moses.
33 Then Moses set up the courtyard around the tabernacle and altar and put up the curtain at the entrance to the courtyard. And so Moses finished the work.

The Glory of the LORD

34 Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
35 Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
36 In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out;
37 but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out—until the day it lifted.
38 So the cloud of the LORD was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the Israelites during all their travels.

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 56

  • 1. S Exodus 26:30
  • 2. ver 34,35; Leviticus 1:1; Leviticus 3:2; Leviticus 6:26; Leviticus 9:23; Leviticus 16:16; Numbers 1:1; Numbers 7:89; Numbers 11:16; Numbers 17:4; Numbers 20:6; Joshua 18:1; Joshua 19:51; Jeremiah 7:12
  • 3. ver 17; S Exodus 12:2; Numbers 9:1
  • 4. ver 21; Numbers 4:5; S Exodus 26:33
  • 5. S Exodus 25:23
  • 6. S Exodus 25:30
  • 7. S Exodus 25:31; ver 22-25; Exodus 26:35
  • 8. ver 26; S Exodus 30:1
  • 9. S Exodus 27:1; 2 Kings 16:14; 2 Chronicles 4:1
  • 10. ver 30; Exodus 30:18
  • 11. S Exodus 27:9
  • 12. S Exodus 30:26; Leviticus 8:10
  • 13. Numbers 7:1
  • 14. S Exodus 29:36
  • 15. Numbers 8:9
  • 16. S Exodus 29:4; S Exodus 30:19; Leviticus 8:1-13
  • 17. S Exodus 28:41
  • 18. Leviticus 8:12
  • 19. S Exodus 28:40; Leviticus 10:5
  • 20. S Exodus 29:9; Numbers 25:13
  • 21. S Genesis 6:22
  • 22. Numbers 7:1
  • 23. S ver 2
  • 24. 2 Chronicles 1:3
  • 25. Exodus 36:20-34
  • 26. Exodus 36:19
  • 27. S Genesis 6:22
  • 28. S Exodus 16:34">Exodus 16:34; Exodus 16:34">Exodus 16:34; Exodus 25:16; Deuteronomy 10:5; 1 Kings 8:9; Hebrews 9:4
  • 29. S Exodus 25:21
  • 30. Exodus 25:17-22; S Exodus 26:34; S Exodus 31:7
  • 31. S Exodus 26:33
  • 32. S Genesis 6:22
  • 33. S Exodus 25:23; Exodus 26:35
  • 34. S Exodus 25:30; Leviticus 24:5-8; ver 4
  • 35. S Genesis 6:22
  • 36. S Exodus 25:31; Exodus 26:35
  • 37. S Exodus 37:23; ver 4; Exodus 25:37
  • 38. S Genesis 6:22
  • 39. S Exodus 30:1; ver 5; Exodus 30:6
  • 40. S Genesis 6:22; Exodus 30:7
  • 41. S Exodus 26:36
  • 42. S Exodus 20:24
  • 43. ver 6; Exodus 29:38-42
  • 44. S Genesis 6:22
  • 45. S ver 7; S Exodus 30:18
  • 46. Exodus 30:19-21
  • 47. Exodus 30:20
  • 48. S Genesis 6:22
  • 49. S Exodus 27:9; Exodus 38:9-20
  • 50. ver 8; Exodus 27:16
  • 51. Exodus 19:16; Leviticus 16:2; Numbers 9:15-23; 1 Kings 8:12; 2 Chronicles 5:13; Isaiah 6:4; Ezekiel 10:4
  • 52. S Exodus 16:7; John 1:14; John 12:41; Revelation 15:8
  • 53. S Exodus 16:10
  • 54. 1 Kings 8:11; 2 Chronicles 5:13-14; 2 Chronicles 7:2
  • 55. Numbers 9:17-23; Numbers 10:13; Nehemiah 9:19
  • 56. S Exodus 13:21; Numbers 9:15; 1 Corinthians 10:1

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

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