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Exodus Chapter 40
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Deuteronomy

Orders for Erecting the Tabernacle
40:1 God spoke to Moses, saying:
40:2 On the first day of the first month, you shall erect the Communion Tent Tabernacle.
40:3 Place the Ark of Testimony there, and shield the ark with the cloth partition.
40:4 Bring in the table and set it up, and bring in the menorah and light its lamps.
40:5 Place the gold incense altar [directly] in front of the Ark of Testimony, and then set up the drape at the Tabernacle's entrance.
40:6 Place the sacrificial altar in front of the entrance of the Communion Tent Tabernacle.
40:7 [Then] place the washstand between the Communion Tent and the altar, and fill it with water.
40:8 Set up the enclosure all around, and place the drape over the enclosure's entrance.
40:9 Take the anointing oil, and anoint the tabernacle and everything in it. You will thus sanctify it and all its equipment making it holy.
40:10 Anoint the sacrificial altar and all its equipment. You will thus sanctify the altar, and it will be holy of holies.
40:11 Anoint the washstand and its basin, and make them holy.
40:12 Bring Aaron and his sons to the Communion Tent's entrance, and have them immerse in a mikvah.
40:13 Then have Aaron put on the sacred vestments, and anoint him, thus sanctifying him as a priest to Me.
40:14 Bring forth Aaron's sons and place the tunics on them.
40:15 Then anoint them, just as you anointed their father, so that they will be priests to Me. It will be done so that their anointing will make them an eternal [hereditary] priesthood for all generations.
40:16 Moses proceeded to do exactly as God had commanded him.

The Tabernacle is Erected
40:17 In the first month of the second year [of the Exodus], on the first of the month, the Tabernacle was erected.
40:18 Moses erected the Tabernacle. He [did this by] setting up the bases, placing the beams [in them], and [fastening them together] with the crossbars. He [then] set up the pillars.
40:19 He spread the tent over the tabernacle, and placed the tent's roof over it. [It was all done] as God had commanded Moses.

Placing the Ark
40:20 He took the [Tablets of] Testimony and placed them in the Ark. He then placed the carrying poles in the ark, and set the cover on top of the ark.
40:21 He brought the ark into the Tabernacle, and set up the cloth partition so that it would shield the Ark of Testimony. [It was all done] as God had commanded Moses.

Placing the Table
40:22 He placed the table in the Communion Tent, outside the cloth partition, on the north side of the Tabernacle.
40:23 Then he placed the prescribed arrangement of bread on it before God. [It was all done] as God had commanded Moses.

Placing the Lamp
40:24 He placed the menorah in the Communion Tent directly across from the table, on the southern side of the Tabernacle.
40:25 He then lit the lamps before God. [It was all done] as God had commanded Moses.

Placing the Incense Altar
40:26 He placed the golden altar in the Communion Tent in front of the cloth partition.
40:27 Then he burned perfume incense on it. [It was all done] as God had commanded Moses.

The Drape and the Altar
40:28 He placed the drape over the Tabernacle's entrance.
40:29 He [then] placed the sacrificial altar in front of the entrance of the Communion Tent Tabernacle, and he sacrificed the burnt offering and meal offering on it. [It was all done] as God had commanded Moses.

Placing the Washstand
40:30 He set the washstand between the Communion Tent and the altar, and he filled it with water for washing.
40:31 Moses, Aaron, and [Aaron's] sons, washed their hands and feet from it.
40:32 They would wash [in this manner] whenever they came to the Communion Tent or offered sacrifice on the altar. [It was all done] as God had commanded Moses.

Setting up the Enclosure
40:33 He set up the enclosure surrounding the tabernacle and altar, and he placed the drape over the enclosure's entrance. With this, Moses completed all the work.

The Cloud on the Tabernacle
40:34 The cloud covered the Communion Tent, and God's glory filled the Tabernacle.
40:35 Moses could not come into the Communion Tent, since the cloud had rested on it, and God's glory filled the Tabernacle.
40:36 [Later], when the cloud would rise up from the Tabernacle, it [would be a signal] for the Israelites to move on, [and this was true] in all their travels.
40:37 Whenever the cloud did not rise, they would not move on, [waiting] until the day it did.
40:38 God's cloud would then remain on the Tabernacle by day, and fire was in it by night. This was visible to the entire family of Israel, in all their travels.



Commentary:

On the first day...
  1 Nissan, almost a year after the Exodus. See Exodus 40:17.

and anoint...
  Some say that this was done by placing the anointing oil on the four fingers of the hand, and rubbing it on the inside and outside of each article (Or HaAfelah on Exodus 30:26).

have them immerse...
  See note on Exodus 29:4.

hereditary
  (Ralbag; Saadia; Cf. Yad, Kley HaMikdash 1:7).

erected
  Or, 'supervised the erection' (Haamek Davar).

roof
  Just one roof is mentioned. See note on Exodus 26:14.

Tablets of Testimony
  (Targum Yonathan; Rashi). He took them from a plain box in his own tent, and brought them to the golden ark (Ramban; see Deuteronomy 10:1,3).

Communion Tent
  From here it appears that the area outside the Holy of Holies was called the Communion Tent (Ohel Moed).

outside...
  Near the partition (Midash HaGadol; cf. Yoma 33b).

burnt offering and meal offering
  See Exodus 29:40.

filled it
  Literally, 'placed water there.'

Moses
  He, too, was functioning as a priest at that time (Rashi).

God's glory
  Either a feeling of holiness (cf. Ramban) or an actual physical glow (Moreh Nevukhim 1:44). In any case, God's presence was evident in the Tabernacle (Moreh Nevukhim 1:19).

God's cloud...
  See Exodus 13:22; Numbers 9:15-23.





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