Exodus 40

1 The Lord spoke to Moses:
2 On the first day of the first month you shall set up the tabernacle of the tent of meeting.
3 You shall put in it the ark of the covenant, and you shall screen the ark with the curtain.
4 You shall bring in the table, and arrange its setting; and you shall bring in the lampstand, and set up its lamps.
5 You shall put the golden altar for incense before the ark of the covenant, and set up the screen for the entrance of the tabernacle.
6 You shall set the altar of burnt offering before the entrance of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting,
7 and place the basin between the tent of meeting and the altar, and put water in it.
8 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 anointing oil, and anoint the tabernacle and all that is in it, and consecrate it and all its furniture, so that it shall become holy.
10 You shall also anoint the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, and consecrate the altar, so that the altar shall be most holy.
11 You shall also anoint the basin with its stand, and consecrate it.
12 Then 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 sacred vestments, and you shall anoint him and consecrate him, so that he may serve me as priest.
14 You shall bring his sons also and put tunics on them,
15 and anoint them, as you anointed their father, that they may serve me as priests: and their anointing shall admit them to a perpetual priesthood throughout all generations to come.
16 Moses did everything just as the Lord had commanded him.
17 In the first month in the second year, on the first day of the month, the tabernacle was set up.
18 Moses set up 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 took the covenant and put it into the ark, and put the poles on the ark, and set the mercy seat above the ark;
21 and he brought the ark into the tabernacle, and set up the curtain for screening, and screened the ark of the covenant; as the Lord had commanded Moses.
22 He put the table in the tent of meeting, on the north side of the tabernacle, outside the curtain,
23 and set the bread in order on it before the Lord; as the Lord had commanded Moses.
24 He put 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 had commanded Moses.
26 He put the golden altar in the tent of meeting before the curtain,
27 and offered fragrant incense on it; as the Lord had commanded Moses.
28 He also put in place the screen for the entrance of the tabernacle.
29 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 grain offering as the Lord had commanded Moses.
30 He set the basin between the tent of meeting and the altar, and put water in it for washing,
31 with which Moses and Aaron and his sons washed 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 had commanded Moses.
33 He set up the court around the tabernacle and the altar, and put up the screen at the gate of the court. So Moses finished the work.
34 Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.
35 Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled upon it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.
36 Whenever the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle, the Israelites would set out on each stage of their journey;
37 but if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out until the day that it was taken up.
38 For the cloud of the Lord was on the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, before the eyes of all the house of Israel at each stage of their journey.

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!

Footnotes 6

  • [a]. Or [treaty], or [testimony]; Heb [eduth]
  • [b]. Or [treaty], or [testimony]; Heb [eduth]
  • [c]. Or [treaty], or [testimony]; Heb [eduth]
  • [d]. Or [the cover]
  • [e]. Or [treaty], or [testimony]; Heb [eduth]
  • [f]. Heb [it]

Chapter Summary

\\INTRODUCTION OF EXODUS 40\\

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