Godís instructions to Moses
An EasyEnglish Bible Version and Commentary (2800 word vocabulary) on Exodus chapters 19 to 40
Hilda Bright and Kitty Pride
This commentary has been through Advanced Checking.
Words in boxes are from the Bible.
A word list at the end explains words with a *star by them.
Exodus is one of the first 5 books of the *Old Testament. We speak about these 5 books together as Ďthe Pentateuchí. The *Greek translation gave this book its name ĎExodusí. It means Ďto go outí. God helped the *Israelites Ďto go outí from *Egypt. The book is in two parts:
Chapters 1-18: the first part of Mosesí life; the *Israelitesí troubles in Egypt; the events and the *plagues that led the *Israelites to leave Egypt.
Chapters 19-40: how God gave the Law to Moses; how they built the special holy tent (*Tabernacle); the rules for *worship.
Moses was the most important person in all these events. He was the main person who recorded the events. Exodus 24:4 has these words. ĎThen Moses wrote down everything that the *LORD had said.í Later, when Joshua built an *altar, he followed Mosesí instructions for it (Joshua 8:31).
Mosesí name appears 804 times in the Bible. It appears in the books of both the *Old Testament and the *New Testament. Numbers 12:3 describes Moses as Ďa very humble man. He was more humble than anyone else on the earthí. But Moses was a great leader. He had great courage and he had a very close relationship with God. Without Moses, the *Israelites might not have escaped from the country called Egypt. They might not have reached the country that God had promised to them.
God had prepared Moses. And he chose Moses to act on his behalf (Exodus 3:8-10). God does not change, and he carries out his promises. Many years before that time, God had spoken to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He had told them that the number of people in their families would increase. And they would become great nations in the future. God had told them that he would give to them the country called *Canaan (Genesis 17:3-8). God rescued his people from Egypt, because he controls history. *Pharaoh, Egyptís ruler, was powerful, but he could not stop Godís plans. God carried out his promise to guide the *Israelites in the *desert. The *desert was a wild place where there are small bushes and not much water. It has poor soil and people cannot grow crops there. Then God brought them to the country called *Canaan.
This book, Exodus, emphasises that God is holy. He looks after his people but he is separate from them. The *Israelites had to stay away from *Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:12). Not even Moses could see God himself (Exodus 33:18-20). They used many objects when they *worshipped God. And each of those objects was special and holy. Each thing reminded the *Israelites that nobody should approach God in a careless way. God expected his people to be holy. ĎBe holy, because I, the *LORD your God, am holyí (Leviticus 19:2). Godís 10 *commandments and the other rules are in Exodus chapters 20-23. They show what God demands from his people. He wants moral behaviour all the time in peopleís ordinary lives.
God is the *LORD (in *Hebrew his name is ĎYahwehí). His name means: Ďthe Person who lives for all timeí. And he called himself ĎI AMí (Exodus 3:14). Nobody can understand his nature completely. But he shows himself to us by means of his acts and his *commandments. He loves and he forgives. Also he acts to punish *sin (Exodus 34:5-7). People gained a more complete knowledge about God when Jesus came to earth. Jesus showed us what God is like (John 1:14 and 14:9).
Verses 1-2 Many events happened to the *Israelites in the *desert. This *desert was in the region that is called Sinai. We read about these events in the rest of Exodus, in Leviticus and in Numbers chapters 1 Ė10.
Verse 3 God had given to Jacob the new name, *Israel. That happened after Jacob had struggled with God. Jacob had wanted God to *bless him (Genesis 32:28).
Verse 4 God had protected the *Israelites and he had guided them. He acted like the large, powerful bird called an *eagle. *Eagles live in high places and they protect their young birds. Deuteronomy 32:11 describes how an *eagle teaches her young birds to fly. She causes them to fall out of the nest. If they do not fly, she catches them on her wings. And she carries them, so that they do not have any injury.
Verses 5-6 Already, God had chosen the *Israelites to be his people (Exodus 2:24). Now he tells them directly. They must obey God in order that he can *bless them. That was his agreement with them. *Treasure is something that is precious. And when people obtain a *treasure, they want to keep it. A king had his personal *treasure. For example, King David had his *treasure (1 Chronicles 29:3). The *LORD is the King to whom the whole earth belongs. But he had chosen *Israel out of all the nations to be his special *treasure. They knew that God was their King. The *Israelites must serve their King like priests. Priests had many functions as they served the *LORD. They were teachers (Malachi 2:7). They acted as medical officers (Leviticus chapter 13). And they gave gifts to God on behalf of the people in order to bring them closer to God. The whole nation must be like priests in order to bring other nations closer to God.
In the *New Testament Peter wrote about Christians. He said that they were a group of holy priests for the King. It is the Christiansí joy and responsibility to serve God. And they *praise him (1 Peter 2:5, 9). God chose *Israel as his special, holy nation. They were separate from other nations because they belonged to God. Also, holy has a moral meaning. Because God is holy, he is completely *clean and pure. So his people must be holy and good too (Leviticus 20:7). Peter wrote that Christians are a holy nation. So they should live very good lives because other people watch them. Then people, who do not believe God, will ask about it. Then those people will come to know God (1 Peter 2:12).
Verse 8 All the *Israelites promised that they would obey God. They wanted him to be their God. They did not know yet all that a holy nation needed to do. Soon they did wrong things. So they did not obey God (Exodus 32:1-4).
Verse 9 A dense cloud was a *sign that God was present with them. The people would learn to have confidence in Moses as their leader.
Verses 10-15 The *Israelites had to prepare themselves so that God could show himself to them. They had to become aware that God is completely holy. They wanted to be pure and *clean in their spirit too. So they washed their clothes as a *sign. Moses put boundaries round the mountain so that nobody would approach it. The mountain was holy when God was present on it. So the people and their animals must stay outside the boundaries. Nobody must touch any person who did not obey that order. And they must not go near to such a person. A person who did not obey had become dangerous to the *Israelites. So they must kill that person with stones or with arrows. The people could climb up the mountain only if they heard the sound from a male sheepís *horn. The priests sounded those *horns as a signal. Also, the people must not have sex for a time. It is not wrong for a husband and wife to have sex. But the people must prepare their emotions as well as their minds. They had to be ready for the holy God.
Verse 16 In a bad storm there is often lightning and its loud noise called *thunder. These *signs showed that God was present. And that frightened the *Israelites. The *trumpet was a male sheepís *horn, which they used as a musical instrument. It can give a very loud sound.
Verses 18-19 It is possible that *Mount Sinai was a volcano. (A volcano is a mountain with a hole in the top of it. Fire and smoke come out of that hole). But fire and smoke were *signs that God was present. Fire and smoke appeared when God made a special promise to Abraham (Genesis 15:17-18). Fire is a *sign. It shows how pure and *clean God is. He is so holy that wicked people cannot approach him. For example, Moses did not go near to the bush that was burning (Exodus 3:2-5).
Verses 20-22 If anyone tried to pass the boundaries round the mountain they would die. Perhaps some people would try to do that because they were curious. Perhaps they wanted to know what would happen. But that would mean that they did not believe Godís words. Some people do not like to obey orders. So God warned them again. The priests must not think that they were different because of their special work. They must prepare themselves too so that God would not become angry. Everyone should approach God carefully.
Verses 23-25 Moses had warned the people already. And he had put marks on the boundaries. These boundaries should prevent the people if they tried to go onto the mountain. Moses and Aaron had to climb up the mountain. But everyone else must remember what God had said. If people tried to break through the boundaries, other people had to kill them.
In the *Hebrew language Godís 10 *commandments are called the Ďten wordsí. The first 4 *commandments say how we should be loyal to God. The 5th *commandment refers to our duty to our family. *Commandments number 6-10 tell about our duty to other people. They describe how we should act. They also describe how we should behave towards other people in society. Godís *commandments show to us a peaceful way in which to live in Godís world.
Verses 1-2 These words are a message from God. He is the *LORD. His name is I AM (Exodus 3:14). The *Israelites began to know God when he rescued them from Egypt. He freed them, and now they were not slaves.
Verse 3 The first *commandment means that God is the only real God. Only God deserves that people *worship him. ĎOther godí does not mean that other gods existed. The *Canaanites *worshipped images. And they thought that those images were alive. But those images might attract the *Israelites too. They would cause the *Israelites to *sin. For example, the *Canaanites *worshipped a false god called Baal. And wrong acts of sex were part of their way to *worship Baal. But God cannot accept anyone who is not completely loyal to him. There is only one real God. So people must *worship him with the whole of themselves (Deuteronomy 6:4-5). *Jews repeat these verses in Deuteronomy at regular times. It is their statement about what they believe.
Verses 4-5 The original *commandment was probably the short order. ĎYou must not make an image for yourself. You must not *worship such images.í People used to make images to *worship. Usually, they made them out of wood or stone. Isaiah laughed at people who made images. He said that they wasted their time and energy. They used half a piece of wood to make the image. But they used the other half of the piece of wood to burn in their fire (Isaiah 44:12-19).
Many people do not make wooden images now. But people *worship other things. Everyone should give the most honour to God. But perhaps someone or something is more important than God to a person. People *worship the person or the thing to whom they give the most honour. But God wants people to *worship him only. Nobody can make an image that *represents God completely. Godís thoughts and his ways are completely different from how people live. People think and act in a very different way from God (Isaiah 55:8-9). An image that *represents God, would give wrong thoughts to people. They might think that God lived in only one place. And people might think that they could please God with a beautiful image.
ĎJealousí is not the bad emotion that people have. That bad emotion leads to bad behaviour. But it was right for God to be jealous. He did not want the people to *worship any false gods. The *Israelites should put God first. That is the only right way. God loves his people so much that he cannot share them. The people who hate God do not obey him. People live in society. When someone does not obey Godís laws, it affects other people in a bad way. For example in a family, perhaps one person becomes a thief. This affects the whole family. And it continues to affect them into the future. In the *Hebrew language the words, Ďand I will punish their children, and their childrenís childrení shows that. Actions have effects that continue into the future.
Verse 6 To love God is an action. It is not only an emotion. Those people who love God, obey his *commandments. God loves all those people who obey him. And he does not change. ĎThousandsí is not an exact number. It emphasises how much God loves people.
Verse 7 People can use the *LORDís name in the wrong way. Some translations of the Bible say, Ďdo not take the *LORDís name in vainí. This meant not to respect a promise. Sometimes people used Godís name to make their promise stronger (Leviticus 19:12). The *Israelites might use this phrase, ĎIt is as sure as that God livesí. Then they would promise something. But later they might not do what they promised. So that would suggest that God is not real. In the *Hebrew language Ďnameí means character. So people can show what God is like by their speech and their actions. Anyone who uses Godís name in a careless way forgets Godís character. God is completely holy.
Verses 8-11 At the beginning of time, God rested on the 7th day. He rested after he had made everything (Genesis 2:2-3). The *Israelites were slaves in Egypt. But God gave rest to them when he freed them from their hard work there (Deuteronomy 5:14). Those were the reasons for the *Sabbath day. The *Hebrew word *sabbath means rest. On their way from Egypt, the *Israelites remembered the *Sabbath day. They rested and they did not collect food on that day (Exodus 16:23-29). So the *Sabbath day should allow everyone to rest from their normal work. Animals, slaves, and strangers who had come to stay in *Israel, should all enjoy rest on the *Sabbath. They would have freedom from work on that day. Jesus said that God made the *Sabbath for manís benefit (Mark 2:27). And Isaiah spoke about the *Sabbath as a delight (Isaiah 58:13). The *Sabbath became a *sign that God had made a special promise to the *Israelites. He made those promises at *Mount Sinai (Exodus 31:17).
Verse 12 Children learn about God from their parents. They also learn from their parents how they should behave towards other people. So this *commandment links the first four *commandments with the other *commandments. The Book of Proverbs emphasises this *commandment. It teaches that children need to respect their parents (Proverbs 1:8; 15:5; 19:26). Parents deserve that their children should respect them. And children should look after their parents when their parents are old. Jesus blamed people who tried to avoid the responsibility for their parents (Mark 7:10-12). And Ephesians 6:2 describes this *commandment as Ďthe first *commandment with a promiseí. The promise is Ďthat you will live for a long timeí. This would be a result when people obeyed this *commandment. To live for a long time in this world was very important to those people. They did not know what would happen after they died. Also, this promise meant that they would be able to live in safety later. And they would arrive in the country that God would give to them. It is safer to live in a nation where people respect each another.
Verse 13 The law made a difference between murder and when someone killed another person in an accident (Exodus 21:12-14). God makes us alive. Cain murdered his brother. And he learned that murder is a *sin against God (Genesis 4:10-12). Jesus showed that the *commandment against murder involved bad emotions too. Such emotions (for example, to hate someone) can lead to murder. To be angry without a good reason deserves punishment. People should settle their quarrels quickly. They should respect other people. It is wrong to speak about other people with anger. And is it wrong to speak to them with anger. (Matthew 5:21-26).
Verse 14 This *commandment is against the *sin that involves a wrong sex relationship. It is wrong to have sex with another manís wife or with another womanís husband. People considered this relationship as *sin a long time before God gave this law to them. For example, Joseph refused to listen to Potipharís wife. He knew that it would be a *sin against God. Also, he knew that it would be a *sin against his master (Genesis 39:9-10). Jesus spoke about this *sin too. He said that sometimes a man looks at a woman with the wrong desires. And that is as bad as if he had sex with her.
Verse 15 ĎDo not steal.í However small the amount that a person steals, they are not obeying this *commandment. But to steal refers to more than just to take another personís property. It is possible to steal an employerís time. You do that when you waste time at work. And if you find something, you should return that thing to its owner. It does not belong to you. People should not keep something that someone lends to them. Also, if you claim other peopleís ideas as your own ideas, you are stealing their ideas. And you are stealing from the company if you neglect to pay for a service. For example, one day you travel on a bus or on a train. But you do not pay your fare. Then you are stealing from the company.
Verse 16 Sometimes, a person tells lies about someone in a court of law. That person is a false witness. In Mosesí time, the punishment for a false witness was death. Some witnesses knew the truth, and those witnesses had to carry out the punishment. James writes about the wrong way in which we can speak (James 3:8-9). We must not speak against people because God made people in his image. We must not say untrue things about other people. Those words can hurt their feelings. And those words can cause other people to think badly about a personís character too. But sometimes people say untrue things when they gossip. Or perhaps we say nothing to deny such lies. Then we are guilty too, because we are helping that lie.
Verse 17 We can allow ourselves to desire something too much. But it belongs to another person. And then we try to obtain that property. Often if a person does not obey one *commandment then it leads to another *sin. King Ahab desired Nabothís land so much that Ahab murdered him. Then Ahab stole the land after Nabothís murder. So Ahab let his desire (*commandment number 10) lead to murder (*commandment number 6). Then he stole. (*Commandment number 8. See 1 Kings 21:1-16.) David desired Bathsheba (*commandment number 10). He had sex with another manís wife (*commandment number 7). Then he murdered her husband. (*Commandment number 6. See 2 Samuel 11:2-4; 14-15.)
When politicians desire power for themselves, they can cause trouble. Their actions can cause difficulties for very many people.
Verse 18 This verse repeats the *signs with the lightning and its loud noise, the *thunder. These *signs showed that the *LORD was present (Exodus 19:16-25). Abraham saw flashes of fire when God made a special promise to him. The word for flashes of fire is the same word as the word lightning here (Genesis 15:17-18).
Verse 19 The people knew that they were not good enough. They were afraid because they realised their situation. They were not good enough to stand in front of God. They were afraid to hear his voice. They wanted Moses to stand in front of God on their behalf. After Moses died, priests, *prophets and kings *represented the people in front of God. Finally, Jesus Christ came. Now he *represents us to God, so we call him our Mediator (Hebrews 4:14-16).
Verse 20 The *thunder and lightning were a way to test people. To be afraid of God is when we really respect God. We understand that he is completely holy, completely pure and completely *clean. Isaiah realised that God is like that (Isaiah 6:3-5). This kind of fear should help us to desire good things. It should help us not to *sin.
Verses 18-21 are a connection between Godís 10 *commandments and the book about Godís special promise. This book (the next few chapters of Exodus) explains the practical ways to obey the 10 *commandments.
This section contains rules for the main social problems with which the *Israelites needed to deal.
Verses 22-23 There is only one real God. The *Israelites must not make images of any kind that they intend to *worship. Those images are false gods. People usually made images out of wood. But sometimes people covered the wood with precious metals.
Verse 24 God would *bless the *Israelites wherever they *worshipped him. They should use earth to make an *altar for him. The *altar was a place where they gave their gifts to God.
Verse 25 Also, they could make an *altar out of stone. But they must not try to shape natural stone with a tool. A personís hand would hold the tool. Then the work would make the stone not *clean enough for God. Joshua obeyed that rule when he made a stone *altar on *Mount Ebal (Joshua 8:30-31). Nobody knows the whole reason for the rule. Perhaps it refers to people who did not *worship the real God. Perhaps they made their altars with tools.
Verse 26 Often people placed their *altar high up, perhaps on a hill. Then they made steps for their priests to reach the *altar. This showed that the people must be humble in front of their false god. But to go up those steps would let people see the priestsí legs. People would see the priestís naked body underneath his clothes. So God said this. ĎDo not go up steps to my *altar.í Later, Aaron and all the priests after him served God at an *altar that had steps. So they wore short trousers, which they made out of cloth. They wore them underneath their clothes (Exodus 28:42-43).
Verses 2-3 A *Hebrew man who was a slave had to serve for 6 years only. He would obtain his freedom in year 7. Also in their calendar, year 50 was the year called jubilee. This name was the same as the *trumpetís name that announced that year. The year called jubilee might come before the end of the 6 years as a slave. If that happened, the slave could have his freedom then. And that meant that he had his freedom earlier (Leviticus 25:39-42).
Verses 5-6 A man might choose to remain with his master. Especially if the master had given to him a wife and they had children. Then the master would take him to the judges. The man would declare in front of witnesses that he wanted to stay with his master. Then the master would make that a permanent arrangement. He would make a small hole in his slaveís ear. The slave heard his masterís orders with his ears. So that hole in his ear was a *sign that he would obey his master always.
Verses 7-11 A female slave might become the masterís wife or his sonís wife. These verses deal with her rights. The husband had no right to sell her to a stranger. If he did not want her, he must tell her family. He must allow her relatives to buy her back. Perhaps the master married a second wife. Then he must continue to provide for the first wife, although she was only his slave. He must provide food and clothes. Also he must provide her right to have children. If he did not provide for her actual needs, he had not been loyal to his agreement. So he must allow her to have her freedom.
Verses 12-14 A man might kill on purpose or kill by an accident. God said that these were different. Someone could avoid punishment if he had killed a person by an accident. Later, when the *Israelites lived in the country called *Canaan, the man could run away to a safe city. They established 6 cities as those safe places. 3 of those cities were on one side of the River Jordan. The other 3 cities were on the other side of the River Jordan (Numbers 35:6-34). The man could stay safely in one of those cities until he had to go to court. If he was not guilty, still he had to stay there until the most important priest had died (Joshua 20:2-9). A person, who had murdered someone, would try to escape. He would grasp the *horns of the *altar in Godís special tent. (After Solomon had built the *Temple in Jerusalem a person would go to the *altar there). These *horns stood up at the *altarís four corners. Adonijah hoped to avoid punishment for his plot against King Solomon (1 Kings 1:50). Joab had thought that he would be safe by the *altar. But actually the kingís servant killed him by the *altar (1 Kings 2:28).
Verse 16 To seize someone like that is wrong. The guilty person hopes that a relative or friend will pay money to him for his prisonerís freedom. In modern society, sometimes people do that for political reasons. The guilty person may demand money. But the guilty person may demand something else, in order to free the prisoners.
Verse 17 To *curse expresses a wish that something terrible will happen to someone. To *curse a parent is against Godís *commandment. He said that we must respect our parents. To *curse a parent also shows a bad attitude. Such an attitude may develop into murder.
Verses 18-19 Perhaps a person has to stay in bed as the result of a fight. Then he recovers enough to go out. But the guilty person who hit him must pay him. The person had a time when he could not work. And the guilty person must make sure that the person recovers completely.
Verses 20-21 Perhaps a man hits his slave so much that the slave dies. Then the master deserves punishment. But if his slave recovers, the master is not guilty. He was using his right to correct a slave. The master could hit someone who was his property. And the master did not deserve punishment.
Verses 22-25 Perhaps a woman who was expecting a baby, tried to stop a quarrel. But she received an injury so that the baby was born too soon. But if neither she nor the baby had a serious injury, the husband could ask for money. The people who were fighting must pay for any injury. The court would make the decision about how much money was fair. The judge would not allow the husband to demand an excess amount. A person could demand payment for an injury or loss. Often, we want to hurt a person more than he has hurt us. But the law meant that there were limits to those demands. The punishment had to be equal to the crime, no more and no less. It was a law that the courts had to make the decision. People could not make the decision about payment by themselves. Jesus spoke about this law. He told his people to forgive an enemy. They should be generous to their enemies (Matthew 5:38-42).
Verses 26-27 A slave had the right to freedom if his master hurt him with a permanent injury.
Verses 28-32 An animal that had killed someone was guilty. It had caused a personís death. So people had to throw stones at the animal in order to kill it. The animalís owner must not sell the meat, because nobody must eat it. But suppose that the owner was careless. People had warned him that his animal attacked people all the time. Then they must kill the owner too. But he could ask the dead personís relatives if they would receive money instead. In that way, he could buy himself back. The law about a slaveís death was different. They must kill the dangerous animal. And the animalís owner must pay 30 silver coins (called *shekels) to the slaveís owner. That was the price for a slave. In the *New Testament, the priests wanted to seize Jesus. So they paid 30 silver coins to Judas so that he would help them (Matthew 26:15).
Verses 33-34 People used deep holes as traps to catch animals. Benaiah killed a lion in a deep hole (2 Samuel 23:20). They also used deep holes as prisons. Josephís brothers put him into a deep hole (Genesis 37:24). And people used deep holes in which to store things like water or grain. A careless man might remove the cover from his hole and then forget to cover it again. So he left the hole open. Or he might dig a new hole and he might leave that without a cover. If an animal fell into the hole, the owner of the hole must pay the animalís owner. The owner had lost a valuable animal. It was the fault of the owner of the hole. A farmer needed his animal to work on his farm. Without that animal, the farmer could not do his work properly. So it was only fair that he should receive money for the dead animal. Then he could buy another one to replace it.
Verses 35-36 Suppose that a *bull attacked and killed another personís *bull. The owner must sell the *bull that was still alive. Then he must share the money with the owner of the dead animal. They must divide the dead animal so that they each had half of it. Suppose that a particular *bullís owner knew that his animal was dangerous. But the owner did nothing to control it. Then he had to give another animal to replace the dead animal. And the dead animal would belong to him.
Verse 2 If a thief breaks into a house at night, the houseís owner might kill him. He cannot see the thief in the dark. In a struggle with the thief, the owner might cause the thiefís death. But the owner did not intend to kill the thief. So the owner is not guilty of murder. But if it happens in the day, the owner can see the thief. He can see what he and the thief are doing. Then the owner will be guilty, if the thief dies.
Verse 5 Perhaps a person allows his animals to wander into another manís field or into his *vineyard. Then he must pay for what his animals have damaged of his neighbourís property. He must pay with his own crops. He must be generous, so he must give from his best crops.
Verse 6 If a person starts a fire, he must pay for any damage to other peopleís property. Perhaps the fire spreads into other peopleís fields. Perhaps it destroys everything. There would be a hedge of bushes round a field. But bushes burn very quickly and help to spread the fire. Perhaps the owner had cut some of his corn already. He tied it in bundles. Then the bundles stood in the field in order to dry completely. The rest of his corn might be growing still, but that would burn too. His harvest in that field would be a total loss.
Verses 7-9 On some occasions, it was difficult to know whether someone was guilty or not. A thief might steal goods that someone had left with a neighbour. But they could not find the thief. Or people might find someone elseís property, but they did not give it back to its owner. Then those people must go to the judges. The judges would declare who was the guilty person. Then the guilty person must pay the real owner. The thieves must pay back twice as much as they stole.
Verses 10-13 A neighbour was looking after an animal but someone might take away that animal. There were no witnesses. Or perhaps a wild animal had hurt the animal or it might have killed the animal. Then the neighbour must prove that he did not steal the animal himself. The neighbour must make a definite statement in front of the *LORD. Or he must produce a piece of the animal as evidence that a wild animal attacked it. The animalís owner must agree with the neighbourís definite statement. Or he must receive as evidence what remained after an attack by an animal. Then the neighbour does not need to pay the owner. This law existed a long time before Moses. For example, Jacob had complained about Laban, who was his employer. Laban had accused Jacob. He said that Jacob was stealing his animals. And Laban had demanded payment for them. Also, Laban demanded payment for any of his animals that wild animals had attacked (Genesis 31:38-39).
Verse 14 A man might ask his neighbour to lend an animal to him for a time. But if the animal died, he must pay his neighbour for it. Or if it had an injury, he must pay for it. But if the owner was present too, the man need not pay. He had paid money to hire the man and his animal. And that money would pay for the possible injury or loss.
Verses 16-17 A girl who had not yet married was her fatherís property. He expected a gift of money for her when the two fathers agreed that she would marry. They called that the price for a bride. When she agreed to marry a man, the man and the girl met in an official way. This was as permanent as marriage. So if she had a sex relationship with another man, she was not loyal to her bridegroom. The man might persuade a young girl to go with him. But if he has not asked her father, then he has not paid the price for a bride. The Law says that he must pay it. And he must marry her. But her father may refuse to let her become his wife. Then the man must pay the price for a bride still. This payment will punish him because of what he has done. It will pay the father, who will have difficulty now. It will not be easy for the father to find a husband for his daughter. Many men do not want to marry a girl who has had sex already with another man.
Verse 18 God does not want us to try to know the future. He does not want us to try to do bad things with magic. In the *New Testament Paulís work in the city called Ephesus affected many people. And many people who used evil magic, burnt their books (Acts 19:19). Still today, some people say that they can tell other people about their future. And other people say that they can receive messages from dead people. This is bad because all those people cause trouble. The people who ask them for help can gain false confidence. They can depend on false information, or they can become anxious. They can become unhappy when it is not necessary.
Verse 19 To have a sex relationship with an animal is not natural. Also, it was a part of local religions where they did not *worship God himself. So Godís people who did that must die.
Verse 20 This verse refers to Godís *commandment in Exodus 20:3. If someone gives gifts to a false god, he must not continue to live with Godís people. This is a very serious *sin against God, so the punishment is severe.
Verses 21-27 God cares about poor people. He cares about those people who cannot defend themselves.
Verse 21 The *Israelites should look after any strangers who lived among them. They must remember that they themselves had been strangers in Egypt.
Verses 22-24 Often people are not fair to widows. A widow might not receive her rights. But perhaps someone could prevent that. Someone might have owed money to her husband when he was alive. But now, they refused to pay back the money to the widow. Or she might not be able to claim all her land. With nobody to support her, she might not receive a fair judgement in court. Someone might pay the judge to be favourable on their behalf. That judge would not be fair to the widow.
Verse 25 People might owe money because there had been a poor harvest. They needed money to buy food. And they could not plant more crops until they bought the seed. So they needed someone to lend money to them. But sometimes those people ask for a great amount extra. This law said that a poor person should not have to pay that extra money. It was wrong to obtain money in that way from a poor neighbour. Jesus spoke about loans too. Christians must not think that they will always receive back the payment. Even if they lend money to an enemy, they must not demand it back. And certainly they should not ask for any extra money. The loan should become a gift (Luke 6:34-35).
Verses 26-27 A person needed to leave something as a promise that he would pay his debt. But a poor person had nothing. His only possession was his coat. So he could leave that as his promise. Usually he wore it during the day. Then he used it as a blanket to cover him during the cold night. God ordered that he should receive back his coat at sunset. Then he would be warm and he would sleep during the night. The coat was valuable to its owner. So that would remind the owner about his debt every day.
Verses 28-31 These verses describe what God wants his people to give to him.
Verse 28 If we respect God, then we should respect authority. In the *New Testament, Paul used this verse when the most important priest was his judge (Acts 23:3-5). Also, Paul wrote that everyone should respect people with authority (Romans 13:1). There is only one exception to this rule. Perhaps you cannot give honour to God when you obey the person with authority. Then you must choose to respect God (Matthew 22:17-21 and Acts 5:28-32).
Verses 29-30 God had said that the people must give regular gifts to him from their corn and from their wine. Their oldest sons belonged to God too. Also, the cows and sheep that were born first belonged to God (Exodus 13:1-16). But those sons and animals should remain with their mothers for the first week. Then their parents or owners should give them to God. If it was an animal, they gave it to God as a *sacrifice. But for a son, they *sacrificed an animal to God instead of the child (Leviticus 12:6-8). Mary and Joseph obeyed this law with the baby Jesus (Luke 2:22-24).
Verse 31 God wanted all the *Israelites to serve him as priests (Exodus 19:6). When a wild animal kills a domestic animal, the blood remains inside the animal. God had told them the proper way to kill animals. There must be no blood in the meat that they ate (Leviticus 3:17 and 1 Samuel 14:32-34). So, like the priests, who were from Aaronís family, none of the *Israelites should eat such an animal (Leviticus 22:8). They were a nation that was Godís special nation. And they must eat meat as if God had given it all to them as a gift.
Verse 1 emphasises Godís *commandment number 9 (Exodus 20:16). False reports can cause a person to lose his good character. Also they may cause an innocent man to receive death as his punishment.
Verses 2-3 You must tell the truth, whatever other people might say. Both rich people and poor people should receive the same fair judgement. It is wrong to listen to rich people more than to poor people. And it is wrong to listen to poor people more than to rich people.
Verses 4-5 You must not try to punish an enemy when you can help him. An owner, who is your enemy, might let his animals wander away. But then he might lose the animals. People may hurry away from a *donkey that had fallen under its load. But the owner cannot without help. And the animal might hurt itself, or it might die. Someone should rescue the ownerís property. A man must be willing to help his enemy.
Verses 6-9 contain 4 orders to people who have authority as judges.
Verse 6: (1) A judge must be fair to poor people.
Verse 7: (2) A judge must be cautious whether or not he declares death as someoneís punishment. Perhaps people lied when they accused that person. And really that person is innocent. God himself would decide whether the person was guilty.
Verse 8: (3) A judge must not take money from people. If people give money to a judge, it prevents a fair decision. In the *New Testament, a ruler called Felix wanted money. He hoped that Paul would pay him. Then he would free Paul (Acts 24:26).
Verse 9: (4) This repeats the advice in Exodus 22:21. The people must remember their lives when they were strangers in Egypt. And also the judges must remember that when they are carrying out their official duties. Judges should know from their experience what it was like as a stranger. So they should make sure that they behave fairly to strangers.
Verses 10-11 Leviticus 25:1-7, 18-22 record more details about the law for year 7. The *Israelites must allow the land to rest for a year every 7 years. This was a good agricultural method. Also it showed whether the *Israelites believed God. He could supply what they needed for year 7. But they had to trust God. Also it taught them that God cares about everybody, and about animals as well. Psalm 36:6 says this. Ď*LORD, you look after both people and animals.í And Jesus said that God cares, even about the little birds. They called the birds sparrows, and people bought 2 sparrows for a very small coin. They got an extra bird free if they paid 2 very small coins for 4 birds (Luke 12:6-7).
Verse 12 The *Sabbath day each week was Godís *commandment number 4 (Exodus 20:8-11). It reminded people about Godís work when he created everything at the beginning. He created things for 6 days, and then he rested on the 7th day. In Deuteronomy 5:15, God reminds the people how he rescued them from Egypt. He gave them rest from their work as slaves. The *Sabbath day was an opportunity when both men and animals would rest. They gained new energy in every way. It showed that they were Godís special people. And they used that particular day when they remembered God especially.
Verse 13 It is wrong to pray to another god. Any other god is a false god. And it would show that the people did not trust the *LORD completely. Sometimes people used the name of a false god to emphasise a serious promise. That is wrong too.
Verses 14 and 17 All the men who are adults, must go to Godís holy place three times each year.
Verses 15-16 The three parties called *Feasts were part of the agricultural year. The *Israelites gave honour to God for his gifts of food. Also, they remembered all the things that he had done for them in the past. So they gave honour to God. The *Feast of flat bread without *yeast followed the night called the *Passover. It reminded the *Israelites how God had rescued them from Egypt. This *feast happened when the harvest of the first grain began in April.
7 weeks later was the *Feast of early harvest. Another name for that was the *Feast of weeks. (7 weeks = 49 days. We know that *feast by the name Pentecost, which is the word in the Latin language for day 50.) This came during the harvest of the wheat. At that time they must remember how God gave the Law to them at *Mount Sinai.
The third *feast was in the autumn. That was when they gathered the harvest of the fruit (especially the fruit called grapes and *olives). They called it the *Feast of tents or the *Feast of tabernacles. The *Israelites lived in tents or small shelters during that *feast. That reminded them about how God had looked after them in the *desert (Leviticus 23:39-43). Even today, the *Jews have parties during these *feasts. They build temporary shelters. And live in them during the *Feast of tents in October.
Verse 18 Usually, people use *yeast when they make bread. It makes the bread rise. So bread without *yeast is flat or thin bread. Perhaps the rule reminded the *Israelites about the *Passover. It was not suitable to give bread with *yeast in it to God. Maybe they did not burn all the animalís fat when they gave it to God. But they must throw it away, because it would become bad fat by the next day.
Verse 19 Only the best grain and fruit from the yearís first crops was good enough to give to God.
It was probably a local *Canaanite custom to cook a young goat in its motherís milk. The *Canaanites used acts of magic like that. They wanted to encourage things to increase. They wanted good harvests and they wanted plenty of new animals. But the *Israelites must trust God. They must not trust magic.
Verses 20-21 *Angel means Ďsomeone who brings a messageí. *Angels are Godís servants who have Godís authority. An *angel speaks on Godís behalf and with his character. It is possible that this particular *angel is God himself. He tells the *Israelites that he will protect them. And he will guide them until they come to the country called *Canaan. God had prepared that place called *Canaan on their behalf.
Verses 22-24 God promised Abraham that he would protect Abrahamís family. God would oppose those people who opposed Abrahamís children and his childrenís children (Genesis 12:3). Also that means that we shall be enemies to Godís enemies (Psalm 139:21-22). The *Canaanites had special holy stones. They used the stones when they *worshipped their false gods. The stones were probably a *sign of the male part in plants. The plant needs both male and female parts to produce crops. So those stones were different from other special stones. So the *Israelites must break completely any stones that the *Canaanites used. Sometimes people erect special stones to remember an important event. And that can be a good thing. Jacob erected a stone to remember that God was with him at Bethel (Genesis 28:18). Moses would place 12 stones as a *sign that *Israelís 12 families had remembered Godís special promise (Exodus 24:4).
Verses 25-26 God promised food and health, the gift of children and a long life to those people who obeyed him. This does not seem to be true all over the world. But people who obey Godís laws will share their food fairly. The *Israelite rules about food meant that they had a better standard of health. The people in other countries near to them were not so healthy. A husband and wife should be loyal to each other. And children should respect their parents. Families that are like this make a better society. But the best things that God gives are for our spirits, not just to help our bodies. Habakkuk said that he would thank God. He would be happy whatever happened. Even if the crops failed, still he would *praise God (Habakkuk 3:17-18). In the *New Testament Paul had learned how to be content, whatever the circumstances (Philippians 4:11-12).
Verses 27-28 The news that the *Israelites were coming would frighten the local people (Joshua 2:11). The fierce insects can give painful stings. And sometimes they can cause death when they sting people. This is probably a description of a powerful army. The fierce insects may be like the *Egyptians. Their attacks were making the nations in the country called *Canaan very weak. So they would be preparing the way. Then the *Israelites would be able to defeat those nations completely.
Verses 29-30 give the reason why the *Israelites advanced slowly into the country called *Canaan. If the country became empty with no people there, then wild animals would live there. This happened hundreds of years later when King Nebuchadnezzarís army defeated the *Israelites. They took the *Israelites to another country. Then the people called Samaritans came to live in the *Israeliteís country. They found lions there (2 Kings 17:25). In Judges 2:20 Ė 3:4 we read about another reason. If the *Israelites did not obey Godís instructions, then they would not win battles. Also, if the *Israelites advanced slowly, it would teach them how to fight.
Verse 31 God intended that *Israelís boundary should be the Gulf of Aqaba (the Red Sea) in the east. The boundary should reach to the Mediterranean coast in the west. The *desert should be the boundary in the south. And the river Euphrates should be the border in the north. However, that whole territory belonged to *Israel only during the time when David and Solomon were kings. Then the nation divided. The territory was never as large again.
Verses 32-33 Chapter 24 describes how Moses and the *Israelites accepted Godís special promise to them. So it was right to warn the *Israelites. They must not make an agreement with any other people nor with other peopleís false gods. To *worship the *Canaanite gods would not be loyal to God. It would cause the *Israelites to *sin. They would be like animals that fall into a trap. And they would die because they could not rescue themselves.
Verse 1 Nadab and Abihu were Aaronís sons. Leviticus 10:1-2 records how they died later. They gave a gift that God did not accept. They were priests, but they had not obeyed Godís strict instructions about the priestsí duties. The 70 leaders *represented the whole *Israelite nation.
Verses 3-4 All the people agreed that they would obey the *LORDís *commandments. After Moses had recorded the *LORDís words, he read them to the people. So there was a permanent account to which they referred. The 12 tall stones *represented the 12 families of *Israel. The *altar *represented the *LORD in the events that happened next.
Verses 5-7 Perhaps the young men were the oldest sons from various families. Moses had separated them from the other *Israelites to act as priests. Later, Moses appointed Aaron and his sons, and his grandsons, and his grandsonsí sons to be priests for all time. These young men gave two kinds of gifts on the *altar that Moses had built. They killed and burnt whole animals as gifts to God. This was a *sign that they would hold back nothing from God. They also gave friendship gifts (sometimes the Bible calls them peace gifts). These gifts were a *sign of friendship with God. And they were a *sign of friendship with each other. When people gave a friendship gift, usually they had a meal together afterwards. They would eat a part of the friendship or peace gift together. Moses splashed the blood on the *altar as a *sign. It showed that God was making a special promise to the people. Then the *Israelites promised to obey Godís laws because they were Godís special people.
Verse 8 Probably Moses splashed some blood on the leaders because they *represented all the people. The blood was a *sign that God was making a special promise to all the people. Jesus referred to his own blood as the *sign of Godís special promise (Matthew 26:27-28).
Verses 9-11 ĎThey saw *Israelís God.í This does not mean that they saw Godís face. Nobody can see the full, wonderful light from God and continue to live. Moses saw only Godís back (Exodus 33:21-23). The leaders saw Godís feet. He was standing on something that looked like a *sapphire floor. *Sapphire is a blue precious stone. And that floor was like the blue colour of a clear sky. Although the leaders saw God, he did not punish them. They all ate the friendship meal afterwards. They shared the peace gift that they had given to God.
Verses 12-18 Moses and Joshua went further up the mountain. (Joshua had led the *Israelites when they defeated the *Amalekites.) Moses said that Aaron and Hur would settle any problems. They had helped Moses to pray in the battle with the *Amalekites. They had held up his hands (Exodus 17:10-12).
People can cut letters into flat pieces of stone. God used those stones when he wrote his 10 *commandments. And he gave the stones to Moses. In Deuteronomy 9:9 the writer calls the two flat stones the Ďflat stones of the special promiseí. God had written his 10 *commandments on them. Cloud and fire were the *signs that God was present. 40 days and 40 nights is a long time. Jesus was in the *desert for that amount of time (Matthew 4:1-2).
Chapters 25:1 Ė 31:17 contain details about how the *Israelites *worshipped God. These chapters describe Godís special tent (also called the *Tabernacle) with all its equipment. Also they describe the priests and their duties.
Verses 1-7 describe the materials that Moses needed for Godís tent. In the special tent the *Israelites can *worship God. And the workers must make everything that the priests will use in it. God wanted everyone to help. So he gave a list of the materials that they would need. But each person must decide which of those things he wanted to give to God. And the amount that they gave should be generous.
Some of the gold and the silver came from Egypt (Exodus 12:35). *Bronze is a metal. People make it out of two other metals called copper and tin. People dug copper out of the ground in that area. Probably the blue and the purple colours came from the shells of fish that lived in the Mediterranean Sea. The bright red colour came from a small insect. Goatsí hair made a dark material that the rain did not go through. People who wandered from place to place, made their tents out of goatís hair. Paul used goatsí hair to make tents (Acts 18:3). And people who wander like that today use it for their tents. The male sheepís skins and the goatís skins provided good quality leather. *Acacia trees are common in the region that is called Sinai. They provide a dark, hard kind of wood.
There was a list of powders with a sweet smell. And the *Israelites made the special oil only out of the powders on the list (Exodus 30:23-29). These powders came from plants with a strong, pleasant smell. They put that special oil on a personís head. It was a *sign that God chose him for a special job. Then he served God as a king or as a priest. God told Moses to make that oil from a special mixture of expensive powders. Nobody must use it for ordinary purposes. Moses had to put that oil on Aaron and his sons. He had to separate them from other people in order to serve as priests. Also, Moses had to put that oil on Godís tent (the *Tabernacle). And he had to put that oil on everything that was in the tent. It showed that those things belonged to God. They were holy. The *Israelites should use them to *worship God only.
*Onyx is a precious stone. It has stripes of two different colours in it. An *onyx stone was one of the special stones that they put on the priestsí special clothes (Exodus 28:15-30). They cut the names of Israelís 12 sons into the *onyx stones.
Verses 8-9 Moses had to make a special tent for the *LORD. This tent is called the *Tabernacle. It is where God would live with the *Israelites. Moses had to make sure that everything was right. He had to make everything as God ordered.
Verse 10 This special box was about 42 inches (110 centimetres) long, 25 inches (66 centimetres) wide, and 25 inches (66 centimetres) high.
Verses 11-16 Pure gold covered the special box. And the gold showed that it was very special. The *Israelites made it for God. So it was a part of the way that they *worshipped God. The special box had poles in rings at the sides. That was how the priests carried it. When they carried it, they would hold just the 2 poles. This box was very special. So God did not permit anyone to touch it. It would contain the two flat stones on which God had written his 10 *commandments. Some translations call those flat stones the testimony. The stones were like a witness in a court. They agreed with all that God had ordered his people. They were a *sign of the special promise that God had made to the *Israelites.
Verses 17-22 Probably they made the *heavenly figures in the shape of animals. And probably they made them with peopleís faces. And they had wings. They were like the models that other people made in ancient times. They made them to guard their *temples. But those *heavenly figures were on the top of the special box as Godís servants. Later, king Solomonís *temple had 2 much larger *heavenly figures. They were about 18 feet (5.5 metres) high. Solomonís workers did not fix them to the gold cover (2 Chronicles 3:10). This cover reminded the *Israelites that God was willing to forgive them. They killed animals at the *altar. And the blood of those animals united them with God again. The *Hebrew word for cover is like another *Hebrew word. It means, ĎGod has made a way to forgiveí. Leviticus 23:27-28 speaks about the special day each year when God forgave the *Israelitesí *sins. God was present over the special box. The cover was like Godís royal seat. Psalm 99:1 describes the *LORD on his royal seat between the *heavenly figures.
The special box would contain the two flat stones with Godís 10 *commandments on them. While Moses was alive, that special box was always with the people. It was like a request to God that he would defeat the enemies along the way. Each night when they stopped, Moses spoke to the *LORD again. He asked God to stay close to his people, the *Israelites (Numbers 10:35-36). Many years later king David took that special box to Jerusalem. And the city became Godís royal seat on earth (Psalm 9:11).
Verses 23-29 The workers made the table out of *acacia wood. Then they covered it with gold. And they covered its rings and poles with gold too. The poles went through the rings so that the priests could carry the table. When they travelled, they carried Godís special tent and all its furniture with them.
Verse 30 The priests arranged 2 rows of bread on the table. There were 6 flat loaves in each row. That was 1 loaf to *represent each of the 12 *Israelite families. The priests changed the loaves each week and put fresh bread in their place. But God said that only the priests should eat that special bread. These loaves showed that God provides. He gave to the *Israelites all that they needed. Also they showed that the people gave the result of their work to God. Jesus referred to this special bread. He said that the priest had given it to David. David and his men were hungry, so they came to the priest for help (1 Samuel 21:6 and Mark 2:25-26).
Verses 31-37 The *lampstand has 7 branches. The *Jewish name for this *lampstand is Ďmenorahí. It has become a *sign for the modern country called *Israel. In Godís special tent, the priests used it to give light in the dark Holy Place. Also perhaps it was a *sign to remind the *Israelites. They should be a Ďlight to other people who do not recognise Godí (Isaiah 60:3). In Psalm 27:1 the writer says that God is his light. God made him alive and God guided him. The number 7 is a *sign that something is perfect. So the 7 branches and everything on the *lampstand were solid gold. The workers needed about 77 pounds (35 kilos) of gold to make it all. The name for that amount was a *talent. The *almond tree was the first tree to have flowers in the spring. The young *almond flowers (called buds) and the flowers made the *lampstand beautiful. Perhaps that reminded people that God cared about his people, the *Israelites. Many years later, when Jeremiah saw an *almond tree, it reminded him about Godís character. God was awake and he was looking after his people (Jeremiah 1:11-12).
Verses 38-39 There were 7 cups at the top of the branches. Each of the cups had a piece of string in it. This string brought the oil up into the cup. And the oil on the string burnt when the priest lit it. The priest used the gold scissors to look after those strings. Perhaps he used the trays to prepare the oil. Also, he had to cut off the pieces of the string that had burnt. So probably, he used the trays to receive those pieces of the string.
Verses 1-6 Oholiab, from the family called Dan, was one of the skilful workers. He designed and sewed the curtains out of *linen of good quality (Exodus 38:23). The curtains were blue, purple and red with a pattern of *heavenly figures. The workers had to sew the curtains together into sets of 5. Then they bent thin metal bars into *hooks to join the edges of the 2 curtains. They attached cloth rings. These *hooks must fit into the cloth rings. Then the tent or *tabernacle was one piece.
Verses 7-14 They made cloth out of goatsí hair. This cloth would be a cover that would protect the *linen tent from the weather. The curtains of goatsí hair would be longer than the *linen curtains. So they protected all the sides of the *Tabernacle from the sunís heat. The workers fastened together the two halves of the cover with rings and metal *hooks. Someone could take apart those halves again. So it would be easy to carry the two halves. There were two extra covers of leather so that the rain did not get in. The workers made those covers out of male sheepís skins and goatsí skins.
Verses 15-25 The extra bars in the shape of a cross would make the whole tent firm. The double poles would stand up straight to support the tent. They fitted into the silver bases and they stood firmly. There was a total 100 silver bases (verses 19, 21, 25, and 32). The *Israelites gave all the silver to make those bases (Exodus 38:27). The bases gave the walls strength on the north, south and west sides of the *Tabernacle. And at the west end, God told them to make extra strong corners.
Verses 26-29 The bars in the shape of a cross locked the double poles together. This gave strength to the south, north and west sides. There was a central bar along the whole length of the tent.
Verses 31-34 The curtain was *linen of good quality. It was like the curtains that the workers made for the main part of the tent. This curtain separated the Most Holy Place from the Holy Place. The Most Holy Place was about a third of the total length of the *Tabernacle. It was always dark in the Most Holy Place. And Godís special box stood there. The special boxís cover reminded the *Israelites that God would forgive his people. He would make them completely *clean so that he accepted them. On one day each year, the most important priest entered the Most Holy Place. He entered on behalf of the people. He went there after he had given gifts to God on behalf of the people and himself (Leviticus 16 and Hebrews 9:7).
The curtain was in front of the Most Holy Place in the *Temple. When Jesus died on the cross, that curtain tore apart. A person would tear it from the lowest part up to the top. But God tore it from the top down to the lowest part (Mark 15:38). This was a *sign that Jesus was the most important priest. By means of his death, Jesus made it possible that everyone can approach God (Hebrews 10:19-22).
Verse 35 The priests must place the table and the *lampstand outside the curtain. They must be on opposite sides in the Holy place.
Verses 36-37 The curtain at the entrance to the tent was like those curtains inside the tent itself. 5 poles fitted into *bronze bases and they supported the curtain. The curtain hung from gold *hooks on those poles.
Verse 1 The priests used the *altar as the place to burn the peopleís gifts for God. That was part of the way in which they *worshipped God. They killed a perfect animal or bird. Then they gave it to God as a present. Leviticus 1 describes the right way to give such presents. The priest had to burn the whole animal.
Verse 2 The *horns stuck out from each corner of the *altar. The priest took some blood from the animal when he killed it. Then he put blood on those *horns. Also, a person could come to that *altar to ask God for protection. The person would hold the *horns because he did not want to die. We read about Adonijah who lived many years later (1 Kings 1:50). He held onto the *horns of the *altar when he was afraid of King Solomon. He thought that Solomon would kill him. Another time captain Joab also tried to save himself. So he held onto those *horns (1 Kings 2:28).
Verses 3-5 The priests had tools like spades so that they could lift things. And they carried things on those spades. Bowls would contain the blood of the animal. The priest would scatter blood from the bowl. They would scatter the blood on the *altar and on its *horns. The forks would pick up the priestsí share of the meat (1 Samuel 2:13-14). The workers arranged the *bronze bars like a net. They fixed that net under the *altar, which was like a hollow box. They attached the net half the way up the box. Perhaps the priests used it to help the fire to burn. Or perhaps they used it for the body of the animal that they burned.
Verses 6-7 The priests carried the *altar with the poles. They fixed the poles into the rings on either side.
Verses 9-15 The yard round the tent was a large area without a roof. It was there on the *bronze *altar that the priests gave gifts to God from the people. The tent itself contained the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place. But the *bronze *altar was outside the tent. The walls round the yard were curtains of *linen. They hung from silver *hooks on thin poles. They had posts to support them. This wall of *linen separated the yard from everywhere in the camp outside. Its posts stood on *bronze bases. And the entrance was a special curtain on the east side of the yard. The entrance also had curtains on each side of it.
Verses 16-18 An extra long curtain of good quality *linen hung over the entrance. A skilful worker sewed patterns onto that curtain with blue, purple and bright red wool.
Verse 19 Everything else for use in the yard was *bronze. The large pins were sharp pieces of metal. They were at the end of heavy strings. The *Israelites put those pins into the ground to hold the tent and the posts firmly.
Verse 20 Only the best *olive oil was good enough for Godís service. The workers pressed fresh fruit from *olive trees to get the oil. Then they poured the *olive oil through a cloth. As that pure oil burnt, it did not make much smoke. Sometimes it did not make any smoke.
Verse 21 The Ďtent where you meet meí. This is the Holy Place where God met with his people (Exodus 29:42-43). The lamps gave light. They were in front of the curtain. The curtain separated that part of the tent from the Most Holy Place. The priests lit the lamps on the gold *lampstand each evening (Exodus 30:8). And they put out the light each morning (1 Samuel 3:3). The light from the lamps would remind the people always that God was present. He was present inside the Most Holy Place.
Verses 1-5 Moses told the skilful workers to make the special clothes for Aaron and for his sons. Those clothes showed that God had chosen them. And they must serve him as priests. People would respect Aaron and his sons when they recognised the priestsí special function. Priests gave gifts to God on behalf of the people. The priests did exactly as God had ordered them (Hebrews 5:1). Also the priests had to read Mosesí law to the people every 7 years (Deuteronomy 31:9-13). People who did not know the right way, often behaved in the wrong way. And they made mistakes. The priests had to be gentle when they dealt with such people (Hebrews 5:2).
Verses 6-8 One of the special clothes was an *ephod. It was short and the workers made it out of *linen. It had no sleeves. Two pieces of cloth at the shoulders fastened together the back and the front. Part of the *ephod was a belt to go round the middle of the priest. This belt would hold the lower section firmly. A skilful worker sewed patterns with the gold wire. He mixed it with the blue, purple and bright red wool.
Verses 9-14 Skilful people cut letters, numbers or a design on stone or on metal. People made *seals in that way. They cut a name or a design on something that is hard, like a stone. Then they can mark things with it. This mark identifies and protects their property. *Onyx is a precious stone. Aaron carried those *onyx stones on his shoulders. They had the names of Israelís 12 families, on them. That was Aaronís duty in Godís special tent. It showed that Aaron *represented all of the *Israelites in front of God.
Verses 15-28 The upper part of the front of a person is called the breast. So the *breast-piece covered that part of the priest. The workers made it out of *linen of good quality. It had 12 precious stones on it that were many colours. Here is a list of the names of the stones and their colours:
∑ ruby is red;
∑ jacinth is orange;
∑ topaz and jasper are yellow;
∑ emerald and chrysolite are green;
∑ beryl, *sapphire and turquoise are different shades of blue;
∑ amethyst is purple;
∑ agate and *onyx are stripes of different colours.
The stones were all beautiful and they were all precious. That was how the *LORD saw his people. They were his precious people and he gave honour to them (Isaiah 43:4). The workers cut 1 familyís name into each stone. This would remind the *LORD about his people always. When Aaron went to serve the *LORD in the Holy Place, he *represented all the *Israelites. He prayed to God on their behalf. The *breast-piece had all their family names on them. And the pieces on the shoulders had all their family names on them too.
Verses 29-30 The *breast-piece also contained the two small objects called *Urim and Thummim. These words begin with the first and last letters of the *Hebrew alphabet. They may mean Ďlightsí and Ďto be perfectí. With those small objects, the priest asked for Godís answer when the *Israelites needed to make a difficult decision. Probably one object meant yes and the other one meant no. The priest would take out one of those objects. And the one that he took out was Godís answer (1 Samuel 14:41). Moses gave the *breast-piece to Aaron (Leviticus 8:8). Then after Aaronís death, Moses gave it to Aaronís son, Eleazar (Numbers 20:28). Joshua also received Godís help from Eleazar by means of the *Urim and Thummim (Numbers 27:21).
Verses 31-32 There were many colours of the designs on the *ephod. And the blue material provided a background for those colours. The shirt had an extra piece of material round the hole in the centre. The priest put his head through the hole. The extra material made the hole stronger. Then the priest would not tear it as he pulled the shirt over his head.
Verses 33-35 A *pomegranate is a round fruit with a hard skin. It has very many seeds inside it. It was often a *sign. It *represented growth and things that are alive. The gold bells between the *pomegranates would sound as the priest moved. The people did not see the priest when he was inside the Holy Place. But they heard the bells when he moved. So they knew that he was alive. And they knew that he was carrying out his duties as priest on their behalf. They knew that God had accepted the priestís gift. They wanted to know that it pleased the *LORD. All the people were anxious, so they listened carefully to hear the bells.
Verses 36-38 Aaron wore a special cloth on his head. It was a long piece of *linen. Aaron wound it round his head. And a blue string fixed the gold plate to the front of that special cloth. Aaron had to enter the Most Holy Place where God was present. So Aaron *represented a personís ideal, holy character. God accepted the *Israelites because their names were part of Aaronís clothes. So that narrow piece of gold on Aaronís head was a *sign. It meant that he made himself responsible for the people. And the people were guilty because they did not obey Godís law all the time. Aaron must follow Godís instructions carefully. Then God would accept the gifts that Aaron gave to him. He gave them on behalf of the people. Jesus is with God. He is there as priest. He is there on our behalf because he is perfect (Hebrews 7:26-27). He had the right to enter heaven where God is now (Hebrews 9:24).
Verse 39 *Linen was the usual material for priestsí clothes in Egypt. The *Hebrew priests wore *linen too. When the priests wore that material, they stayed cool.
Verses 40-41 The special shirt was like a long dress.
Verses 42-43 The short trousers covered the lower part of the body. They covered down to the top of the legs. This made sure that the priest was modest at all times. The *Canaanites, who lived near to the *Israelites, did not know the real *LORD God. Their priests were naked for acts in their religion. They *worshipped a false god called Baal. And they thought that they impressed Baal with acts of sex. The *Canaanites wanted good crops, more animals and children. They thought that Baal should make them and their land to produce. They wanted Baal to help them. But the *Israelites must not imitate the bad things that the *Canaanites did. So the *Hebrew priests must be pure. They must not show any naked parts when they went up the steps to the *altar (Exodus 20:26).
This preparation was very important. So it lasted for 7 days, which is a complete week. Only a priest brought special gifts to God. And God gave them that job. They had to *represent the people in front of him. There were 6 parts to their preparation for the job.
Verses 1-3 Verses 10-28 describe how the *Israelites used those animals and the bread during that event. They were the special gifts that the priests must give to God at that time. They must be perfect animals. *Yeast is the substance that makes bread rise. But the *Israelites must make that bread without *yeast.
Verses 4-6 It was necessary for Aaron and his sons to wash themselves completely. This showed that God had forgiven them. Then they received their priestsí clothes. In Exodus 30:17-21 we read about the *bronze basin. They must wash in that basin.
Verse 7 God told Moses to pour oil on Aaronís head. The *Israelites called that act Ďto anointí. It showed that God had chosen a person for a special duty. A priest would pour the special oil on someoneís head. It was Godís *sign to identify a priest or a king. Jesus was the Christ. The name Christ means this. ĎThe person whom I have chosen and I have anointedí (Isaiah 61:1). Jesus used that title for himself (Luke 4:16-21). He lived in a perfect way. This showed that God had chosen him to be both a priest and a king. He was the perfect, most important priest. We can approach God because Jesus gave himself to God in our place. Jesus was like a perfect gift (Hebrews 10:19-22). And Jesus is the King of kings who deserves all our honour. So we should *worship him.
Verses 8-9 As soon as Aaron and his sons had received their clothes, they had become priests. God had chosen their family and the *Jewish priests always belonged to Aaronís family.
Verse 10 Aaron and his sons put their hands on the head of the animal. This was a *sign that they put their *sins onto the animal.
Verses 11-12 The *horns of the *altar were the parts that stuck out at the four corners (Exodus 27:2). The animalís blood showed that the animal had died. It died because of Aaronís and his sonsí *sins. Because of the animalís death, God would forgive Aaron and his sons.
Verses 13-14 Moses burnt on the *altar only the animalís internal parts. These parts are called the liver and the kidneys. And he burnt the fat round them. He had to burn the rest of the animal, and its skin, outside the camp. He moved the animalís body outside the *Israelitesí camp. That was a *sign that God was removing the priestsí *sin. In a similar manner Jesus died outside Jerusalem as a *sign. He was the perfect gift that removed peopleís *sin (Hebrews 13:11-12).
Verses 15-18 Aaron and his sons put their hands on the male sheepís head. They were showing that they wanted to give it to God as a gift. They killed it and they prepared it carefully. Then they burnt the whole animal on the *altar. They would please God when they *worshipped him in that way. It was a *sign that they desired to serve God completely.
Verses 19-21 Aaron and his sons placed their hands on the male sheepís head. That showed that the sheep *represented them. Blood on their ears showed that they would listen to God. And they must obey him. Moses put the blood on the lower part of the ear. When a master freed a slave, the slave may choose to stay with him. Then the master would make a hole in the slaveís ear. That showed everybody that the slave wanted to remain with that master (Exodus 21:5-6). The short fat finger opposite the other fingers on the hand is very important. We cannot hold something, or pick up something without it. So the blood on this fat finger shows that the priestsí hands would serve God. The blood on the big toes meant service to God too. The priests should always walk where God wanted them to walk.
Moses had to mix the blood with the special oil. Then he must put some on Aaron and his sons and on their clothes. This showed that God had chosen them. They were completely separate from other people so that they served only God.
Verses 22-25 There are still sheep with very fat tails in the Middle East and North Africa. Aaron and his sons would raise those food gifts. And they would wave them in front of the *LORD. They would thank him for all his gifts to them. Then they would burn them on the *altar.
Verses 26-28 Aaron and his sons must receive the meat from the front of the animal. And they must receive meat from its back leg. That was their share. God was providing their food. This meat came from the animals that people gave to God. They gave them for friendship and for peace. The front of the animal and the back leg were good parts of the meat. People were giving those animals as gifts to the *LORD. So the priests must wave those gifts in front of the *LORD first. We should always give our best things to the *LORD.
Verses 29-30 When Aaron died, his oldest son received Aaronís holy clothes. And when he died, his oldest son received the holy clothes. The special clothes for the priest showed his official job as the *LORDís servant. And Ď7 daysí *represents a perfect time for the priestís preparation to serve God. The priest served God in the Holy Place.
Verses 31-34 The meat and the bread was part of the special event. This was Aaronís and his sonsí preparation to serve as priests. So that food was holy. God said that only Aaron and his sons had the right to eat it. They must burn any pieces of the meat or the bread that they left until the next morning. This food was holy. Therefore the priests should eat it at that special event only.
Verses 35-37 It was necessary to give that gift to God for the *altar. Perhaps God associated *sin with that *altar because people had made it with tools. So the *altar was not *clean. It was not holy. It was different from the *altar of stone. God did not allow them to build that *altar with tools (Exodus 20:25).
Verses 38-43 These verses describe the gift that the *Israelites gave to God daily. It was an important part of how they *worshipped God. And it continued daily, even when they had the *Temple in Jerusalem. When Jesus was born, there were men in the fields near Bethlehem (Luke 2:8). Probably they were looking after the young sheep. The priests had the sheep there ready to give them as gifts to God every day. The *Israelites needed more than 700 young sheep each year. They used them only for that gift. And the priests burnt them in front of God each day. The daily gift included bread, meat and wine. Jacob was the first person in the Bible who gave drink to God (Genesis 35:14-15). Perhaps the food that the people gave to God was like an ordinary *Israelite meal. They were thanking God for their daily food. Today, such gifts have a special meaning for Christians, because Christians are priests to God (1 Peter 2:5).
∑ The bread reminds us of Christ, who is the Ďbread that causes people to liveí (John 6:35).
∑ The wine *represents Christís blood (Mark 14:24).
∑ To God, Jesus was the perfect young sheep. So he was called the ĎYoung sheep of Godí (John 1:29). Christians receive bread and wine when we have the *LORDís Supper (also called Holy Communion or the Eucharist). This reminds us about Jesus Christ and his death. He died so that God could forgive our *sin.
The priests looked after the fire on the *altar. They must never allow that fire to go out (Leviticus 6:9-13). So the fire continued to burn the gifts daily in front of God.
Verses 44-46 God had promised Abraham to be his God. And God promised to be the God of his family for all time (Genesis 17:7). The tent where the *Israelites met God was special. The priests burnt gifts on the *altar there. These gifts, together with the priests, *represented that special relationship with God. They showed that the whole nation was separate for God himself. The *Israelites must serve God as priests. And they must be a holy nation (Exodus 19:6 and 1 Peter 2:5, 9). God had freed them from Egypt so that he could live among them. ĎI am the *LORD your God.í These words were at the beginning of Godís 10 *commandments also (Exodus 20:2). And the same words follow many laws that are in Leviticus chapter 19. The statement emphasises Godís power and his purpose. His purpose was to make the *Israelites into a holy people.
Verses 1-5 The workers must make the other *altar out of *acacia wood too. On that *altar the priest burned special powder that has a sweet smell. (This powder is called incense). They must cover that *altar with gold. It was a small square shape, with *horns on the top 4 corners. It had 2 rings opposite each other. Poles fitted into the rings so that the priests could carry the *altar. This *altar stood in the Holy Place in front of the curtain. The curtain separated the Most Holy Place from the rest of the tent. It stood between the table for the special bread and the *lampstand (Exodus 40:22-24). The special box was in the Most Holy Place. It had the two flat stones in it. They were a *sign of Godís special promise to the *Israelites. They had agreed to obey all Godís laws. The cover to the special box sometimes had this name. ĎThe place where God forgives his people.í That was where God would meet with them.
Verses 7-9 People burnt the powder that has a sweet smell. Its smoke *represented prayers that were going up to God. The workers made the sweet powder for that *altar in a special manner. They had to mix particular powders (Exodus 30:34-38). The priest burnt that powder twice a day. He did that at the same time as he burnt the morning and the evening gifts to God. Nobody must use that particular powder that has a sweet smell for their personal pleasure. And the priests must not burn any other kind of powder on that *altar. This special powder must burn on that *altar only. And they must not use that *altar to give any other kind of gift to God.
Verse 10 There is a brief reference here to the annual ĎDay when God covers *siní. You can read the complete account about that day in Leviticus 16:1-34. That was the only day in the year when the most important priest went into the Most Holy Place. First he gave to God gifts that he burnt. He was asking God to forgive the peopleís *sins and his own *sins (Hebrews 9:7). The animal that he killed for that gift provided the blood. Aaron used that blood to paint on the *altarís *horns. They must not burn anything on that *altar except the special powder. And the blood was the *sign. It showed that the people were sorry about their *sin. And they wanted the holy God to forgive them.
Jesus gave himself as a gift to God on our behalf. And he entered the Most Holy Place. That means that he entered heaven itself. A long time ago, the most important priest had to give those gifts to God. He gave them every year on behalf of the people. But Jesusí gift of himself was a permanent payment for peopleís *sin (Hebrews 9:24-26).
Verse 11 Numbers chapters 1 and 26 describe how Moses and Aaron counted the people.
Verses 12-16 The first son that was born in every family belonged to God. The parents must buy back the child by means of a particular gift to God (Exodus 13:13). When the child became 20 years old, he had to become a soldier. So each male adult over 20 had to pay that tax to God for himself. The *Israelites made the half *shekel out of silver. It was a small amount of money. It was different from the ordinary *shekel coins. The amount was the same for everyone, rich people and poor people alike. The priests used that money for Godís special tent. Later that half *shekel became an annual tax for the *Temple in Jerusalem (Matthew 17:24).
Verse 18 People mix two metals called copper and tin to make *bronze. They needed a lot of *bronze for all the *Tabernacleís equipment. The *bronze for the basin came from mirrors (Exodus 38:8). At that time, they polished metal to make mirrors. The women, who gave those mirrors, helped in the Holy Place. They probably served at the entrance. 1 Samuel 2:22 mentions women too. They served at the entrance to the tent.
Verses 19-21 There is no reference to the basinís size. It stood in the great yard near the big *altar (Exodus 27:1-8). After a priest had washed himself, he entered the Holy Place. Then he burned powder that has a sweet smell, in front of God. And the priest performed his other duties. Aaron and his sons had to wash themselves completely before they received their clothes as priests (Exodus 29:4). But before they burnt a gift for God, they had to wash their hands and feet only. They needed to wash because they had to be pure. They emphasised that fact when they washed in that way. They were approaching God, who is pure and holy. So they must obey Godís rules in order to enter where he was present. Otherwise they would die.
In the *New Testament, Paul warned the Christians at the city called Corinth about that. They must not go to the *LORDís Supper in a selfish, careless way (1 Corinthians 11:29-30). (Sometimes people call the *LORDís Supper ĎHoly Communioní or Ďthe Eucharistí.) We must ask God to forgive us. When Jesus died, his blood poured out. That is why he can make us *clean and pure. But we must confess our *sins often, because those *sins spoil our relationship with God (1 John 1:8-9).
Verses 22-25 These expensive substances have a strong and sweet smell that is very pleasant. People get them from plants and trees. But the substances that the *Israelites used for the special oil did not come from local plants. There was trade between *Israel and the countries in the East. And those particular products came from India, Africa and Arabia. That was why they were very expensive. The *Israelites had to balance those substances against the special *shekels in order to weigh them. They only used those *shekels in the Holy Place. A skilful worker made that oil (Exodus 31:1-3; 31:6; 31:11). He mixed those substances with 7 pints (4 litres) of *olive oil (Numbers 4:16). One of Aaronís sons, called Eleazar, was responsible. He had to look after the holy oil (Numbers 4:16). Later, other priests also learned how to mix the special oil (1 Chronicles 9:30).
Verses 26-29 Moses poured the special oil on the building and all the equipment in it. That was a *sign. He had separated those things from everything else to serve only God. God had ordered them and he approved of them. God promised to be kind to people who obeyed him. People today have special events when they give a church or some other thing to God. They separate the building from other ordinary buildings when they give it to God. And they ask God to *bless it. Only God can *bless the people who use it.
Verses 30-33 God did not allow anyone to copy the special oil. It is holy to mark things for God alone. Nobody else should make it. And nobody should use it on himself just to make him smell nice. Only the person with authority to use the oil could touch it. And he must pour it only on someone who became a priest. Then the priest was separate for Godís service. Anyone who did not obey those rules must die. Or the people must send him away because now he did not belong to Godís people, the *Israelites. Later priests used the special oil to mark a king also. It showed that God had chosen him.
Verses 34-36 The substances that the worker must mix together were rare and expensive. Gum resin is a sticky substance from a tree. Onycha came from a shell in the Red Sea. Galbanum and frankincense came from the country called India. Frankincense was the most valuable of these substances. And frankincense was one of the gifts that the wise men from the East brought. They gave it to the baby Jesus in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:11). The worker mixed salt with those substances with a sweet, pleasant smell. The salt helped the mixture to burn. Also, the skilful workers mixed a large amount of the mixture each time. The salt helped to preserve it. Salt was a valuable substance. And the *Israelites mixed salt with a gift so that God would accept that gift. The worker had to press the mixture until it became a powder. The priests must burn it in front of the Most Holy Place. That showed that the place was more holy than the rest of the camp.
Verses 37-38 Aaronís son, called Eleazar, must take care of the special powder and the special oil (Numbers 4:16). God warned Moses about that oil. God also warned him about that special powder that has a pleasant smell. God told him that nobody must make that powder for himself. Anyone who tried to enjoy it for himself would die. Or the other people would send him away because he was not part of Godís people.
Verses 1-2 Bezalel belonged to Calebís part of the large family of Judah (1 Chronicles 2:20). Bezalelís grandfather was Hur. A man called Hur had helped to support Moses during the battle with the *Amalekites (Exodus 17:10). It is not clear whether this Hur was Bezalelís grandfather. But Hur and Aaron were the leaders while Moses went up the mountain (Exodus 24:14). Bezalel means Ďin Elís shadowí. And El was the old general name for God. Oholiab means ĎMy shelter is Godí. And God chose Oholiab to assist Bezalel. His name was very suitable. Oholiab became responsible for the work on Godís tent (Exodus 38:23).
Verses 3-6 God did not tell Moses to mark Bezalel and Oholiab with the special oil. He said that Moses must mark only the priests like that. But God had chosen those artists and he filled them with his *Holy Spirit. God gave to them special gifts as artists and skilful workers. Bezalel was able to prepare beautiful designs. He worked with precious metals and he worked with wood. He made the special box. And he covered it with gold (Exodus 37:1-15). He cut precious stones to shape them. He wrote words on them. And he fixed them in their places in metal. Oholiab was also skilful with designs. Especially he was able to sew the blue, purple and bright red patterns. He sewed with wool onto *linen of good quality (Exodus 38:23). Bezalel and Oholiab were the chief artists. But other skilful workers helped them to make all the different things. The *Holy Spirit had given to them their gifts as artists so that they created those beautiful designs.
Verses 7-11 This is the short list of all the things that those skilful workers made. Aaron had very beautiful clothes for his official duties as the most important priest (Exodus 28:4-38). The workers made white clothes for all the priests. They made them out of *linen of good quality. And the priests always used those clothes during their regular service (Exodus 28:40-41). The two artists and their skilful workers had to complete the work exactly as God had told Moses.
Verses 13-17 The workers were doing important work when they were making the tent and the priestsí clothes. They might think that those duties were more important. Perhaps they thought that they need not rest on the *Sabbath day. But Moses must emphasise that the *Sabbath day was a *sign. It reminded the people about the special promise (the *covenant) that God had made to *Israel. The *Sabbath day was a special day when they remembered the *LORD (Exodus 20:8-11; 23:12). God himself rested on the 7th day after he had worked for 6 days. He had created everything in 6 days.
The *Sabbath became a *sign that separated *Israel from other nations. Nehemiah stopped the *Jews who were trading on the *Sabbath day. He warned them that God was not happy with them (Nehemiah 13:15-22). But later, the leaders made it very difficult to respect the *Sabbath. They made hundreds of rules about work. And it was not possible for ordinary people to obey all those rules. Jesus taught people to respect the *Sabbath. He said that it was a benefit to people. The *Sabbath was not about lots of rules that people must obey. He wanted people to enjoy the day (Mark 2:23-27). Jesus cured people on the *Sabbath. But the *Jewish leaders said that he had worked. They became so angry with Jesus that they wanted to kill him. But Jesus wanted people to understand Godís good plan for them (John 5:16-18).
Verse 18 God had promised to be kind to the people if they obeyed him. He had written his laws on the two flat stones. And the *Israelites had promised to obey those laws. So the flat stones were a *sign to remind people about Godís special promise. ĎGodís fingerí means God himself. The phrase is a way to describe Godís power at work. God wrote the words on the stone. The men who used magic in Egypt realised the power of Godís finger. God had brought the *plagues (Exodus 8:19). Jesus spoke about evil spirits that Godís finger controlled. God made evil spirits come out of people (Luke 11:20).
Verse 1 Moses had stayed away on the mountain for a long time on. The people became impatient. They gathered round Aaron. Perhaps they had become an angry and dangerous crowd. But perhaps just their leaders approached Aaron on the peopleís behalf. Some translations use the plural word gods because the *Hebrew word Ďelohimí is plural. But the *Jews use the word to mean God himself. The people spoke about Moses as Ďthis maní. This showed that they did not respect him now. They said that Moses had brought them there from Egypt. They spoke as if Moses had forced them. They forgot that the *LORD had rescued them from Egyptís king and his army.
Verses 2-4 Aaron was probably afraid. He knew that earlier the *Israelites were angry with Moses. They had almost killed him (Exodus 17:4). This time Moses had told the people to wait. And he had appointed Hur to help Aaron with the people (Exodus 24:14). They must deal with problems together. But Aaron forgot to talk to Hur about that. Also, the *Israelites had 70 other leaders who should have supported Aaron and Hur (Exodus 24:9). Perhaps Aaron thought that the people would not want to give away their valuable possessions. Perhaps he hoped so, but he made a mistake. The people had received the gold rings in their ears as gifts. Their *Egyptian neighbours gave those gifts to them when they left that country.
When Aaron had melted their rings, he shaped the gold lump. He made it into an image like a young *bull. This image was probably like the *bull called Apis. The *Egyptians *worshipped the image of Apis. The*Israelites asked the image to help them. Probably they also wanted something to look at when they *worshipped God. But the *LORD does not allow anyone to make an image in order to *worship it. People who *worship like that are not obeying Godís first and second *commandments. Many years later, king Jeroboam made two gold images of young *bulls that the *Israelites *worshipped. He placed one image at the place called Dan. And he placed the other image at the place called Bethel. Jeroboam used the same words to persuade the people. He said that those images were their gods. And he said that those gods had brought them from Egypt (1 Kings 12:28-30). But those images were false gods. They were not the real God.
Verses 7-10 God did not call the *Israelites Ďmyí people, but said Ďyourí people (verse 7) and Ďtheseí people (verse 9). The *Israelites had not been loyal to God. So God was showing that they did not behave like his people now. The *Israelites were proud with stiff necks. They were like animals that refused to work. People fastened wooden things round the animalsí necks to guide them in their work. But when the animals made their necks stiff, their masters could not guide them. And the *Israelites always refused to obey God when he wanted to guide them. God said that he would kill all those people.
God sometimes compared the *Israelite nation to a wife. The *Israelites must not *worship any other God. That would be like a bad wife. The bad wife left her husband and she had another man. Therefore, the punishment for the *Israelites should be similar to the punishment that a bad wife received (Numbers 5:27). God said that Moses himself would become a great nation instead. God made that promise first to Abraham (Genesis 12:2). But now he said that he had changed his plans. Perhaps that promise tempted Moses. The *Israelites were such difficult people. Perhaps he would be glad to give up his responsibility as Godís leader for them. But Moses was sorry for them.
Verse 11 Moses used the word Ďyourí people. He understood what God had meant. God had said that he would not own those people now. Moses reminded God about how he had rescued his people from Egypt.
Verse 12 Moses appealed to God. Moses did not want the *Egyptians to have wrong thoughts about God. They must not say that Godís purpose had been an evil purpose.
Verse 13 He also reminded God about the special promise that he had made a long time ago. God had promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that he would increase the number in their families. They would become a great nation. God had promised to give the country to their nation (Genesis 12:2, 7; 26:2-5; 28:13-14). God cannot deny his own nature. So always, he will do what he has promised.
Verse 14 The *LORD pitied the *Israelites. So he did not kill them as he had said in his anger.
Verse 15-16 ĎGod had written.í These words emphasise how important that was. The *commandments are Gods words. But these verses do not explain how God wrote the words.
Verses 17-18 Joshua had gone a part of the way up the mountain with Moses. Now they came down together.
Verse 19 Moses and Joshua saw that the people were dancing in front of the image. Probably that crazy behaviour included sex acts. People from nations that did not know God *worshipped their false gods in that way. Moses was so angry that he threw down those important flat stones. They broke, and that was a *sign to the *Israelites. They had not been loyal to their agreement with God.
Verse 20 The water where Moses scattered the powder was a stream. It flowed down the mountain (Deuteronomy 9:21).
Verses 21-23 Mosesí questions showed how angry he was with his brother Aaron. At the same time, he knew the *Israelites bad behaviour. Aaronís answer was the truth about the people. He even repeated their lack of respect for Moses. But Aaron did not seem to respect his brother. Instead, Aaron listened to the *Israelitesí demand and he made the image.
Verse 24 Aaron told Moses, ĎThen this gold image came out of the fireí. He suggested that it was not his fault. That was a weak, stupid excuse. Perhaps he was too ashamed to say that he had *sinned against the *LORD.
Verses 25-27 Moses appealed to anyone who remained loyal to the *LORD. He wanted them to join him. Moses also belonged to the family called *Levi. Perhaps that helped the *Levites to remain loyal to Moses and to the *LORD. ĎRelativeí means any other person who lived with the *Israelites.
Verses 28-29 The *Levite men killed 3000 people. Perhaps they were the people who demanded another god. But this was a false god. The people died because death is the punishment for that *sin. The *Levites remained loyal to God. So God chose them to serve him. They were separate from all the other *Israelites. They looked after Godís special tent and its contents. When the *Israelites moved the camp, the *Levites carried Godís special tent with all its equipment. Each group of *Levites was responsible to carry different parts of it (Numbers 3:5-7, 46-49).
Verses 30-32 Moses used the word perhaps. He was humble in front of the *LORD. He did not decide how the *LORD would answer his prayer. Moses cared very much about his people. So he offered to receive their punishment. The idea that God has a book may come from the lists of *Israelites (Numbers chapters 1-4). The man who wrote Psalm 69:28 refers to the Ďbook of those who liveí. Deuteronomy 9:20 tells us that Moses prayed especially for Aaron on that occasion. In the *New Testament Paul was like Moses. Paul almost wished that he had the *Jews punishment in their place (Romans 9:3). Also, Paul spoke about the names in Godís book. Those friends who worked with Paul had their names in that book. This book is a list of people who will live with God always (Philippians 4:3). And John wrote to the Christians at a place called Sardis about that book. They received Godís promise because they had remained loyal. So God would never remove their names from his book (Revelation 3:5).
Verse 33 God did not accept Mosesí offer. He reminded Moses that a person is responsible for his own *sin. Sometimes children have troubles because of their parents *sins. But God does not punish the children. Perhaps the parents neglect their children. Perhaps the parents are a bad model to their children. But that is the parentsí fault (Jeremiah 31:29-30). Also Ezekiel explained in detail that everyone is responsible to God because of his own *sin (Ezekiel 18:1-32).
Verses 34 Mosesí task was to lead the *Israelites. He must take them to the country that God had promised to them. And God said that his *angel would go in front of them. The *LORDís *angel had guided the *Israelites before they reached the Red Sea (Exodus 14:19). God had promised the country to them. And he promised that he would take the *Israelites there (Exodus 23:23). The *LORDís *angel is the same as God himself.
Verse 35 Israel *sinned when they *worshipped the gold image. This terrible disease was a punishment because of their *sin. It may refer to all the *Israelites who came out from Egypt. They all died in the *desert except Joshua and Caleb (Numbers 14:30).
Verses 1-3 The *LORD would do what he had promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He would lead their people to the country, where there was plenty of food. He would remove all the groups of people who lived in the country already. But the *Israelites were such proud people, and often they refused to obey God. So actually, he would not be present with them along the way.
Verses 4-6 The *Israelites removed their precious gold rings and other things. They did that as a *sign that they realised their *sin. When people were sad, they did not wear those things for a time. But that became a permanent rule in Israel. They must remember that they had given the gold rings from their ears to Aaron. And he had used them wrongly to make the gold image. Now they gave all their precious things to Moses in order to make Godís special tent and its contents (Exodus 35:22).
Verses 7-11 The tent where Moses met God was a simple tent. Moses had not made Godís special tent (the *Tabernacle) yet. Moses placed that tent a distance away from the camp. The cloud showed that God was present there. And the people *worshipped God while Moses was in the tent. The people knew that they had *sinned. Moses talked to God as a person speaks to a friend. God spoke clearly and directly to Moses (Numbers 12:8). Jesus said that a friend understands. When God is your friend, he may tell you to do things. But we know why God gives orders to us (John 15:15). God allowed Joshua to be in the tent with Moses. This was a great honour. And the young helper probably heard Mosesí prayers. So Joshua was learning how to be a leader. This was before Moses knew about the future. Later, God told Moses that Joshua would be the next leader (Numbers 27:15-18).
Verses 12-16 Moses was aware that God knew everything about him. God said that he knew Mosesí name. That meant that God knew his character. Moses wanted a promise that God would be present with his people. Moses wanted a clearer experience. He wanted God to be present with them. If God was with the *Israelites, then they would be different from all the other nations. So God promised that he would be present with Moses. And all the people were certain that the *LORD would give to them rest. This would happen in the country called *Canaan. They would remain there.
Verses 17-23 Moses prayed to see Godís wonderful bright light. But God lives in light that nobody can approach. Nobody has seen him, and nobody can see him (1 Timothy 6:16). People can see something about God only when he has passed by them. They can remember his actions in the past. And they can realise his great kindness to them. Then they can begin to understand how he loves them. The best knowledge about Godís character came with Jesus Christ. Those people who saw Jesus had seen the Father (John 14:9). ĎI will pity anyone whom I choose. I will be kind to themí, God said. God can decide about people. He will pity those people whom he chooses. And he will do good things to them because he is kind. Only God has the right to decide his actions. In the *New Testament, Paul reminded people about this verse (Romans 9:15). Paul wanted to emphasise Godís right to make choices.
Verses 1-4 Moses had to cut two new flat stones so that God could write on them again. In verses 27-28 of this same chapter we read that God told Moses, ĎWrite down these laws. I have made a special promise to you and to the *Israelites.í God told Moses the exact words to write. This is the same as if God had written the words. God wrote his messages in the *Old Testament. But usually he used his servants, the *prophets, to write the actual words. God reminded Moses about the rules that referred to the mountain. It was separate for Godís use (Exodus 19:12-13).
Verses 5-7 The cloud was a *sign that God was present. Then God passed by Moses. The writer does not tell us whether Moses saw God. But the writer tells us what God said to Moses. It is very important to listen to God. We must hear what God says to us. It is more important than what we see. Godís name means God himself. It means who he is. It also means what he is like. His name refers to his whole character. He is the *LORD, the great God, who wants to rescue his people. He loves us. He is very kind and he is willing to forgive people. They do not deserve Godís love. They should not insist that God forgives them. But God is very kind and patient with his people. His love does not change and it never ends.
These ways to describe God appear again in many places in the Bible. For example see Numbers 14:18, Nehemiah 9:17, Psalms 103:8 and 145:8, Jonah 4:2 and Joel 2:13. It is Godís nature to forgive people. But they need to be sorry that they have done bad and wrong things. Because God is holy, he must punish the guilty people. When people do wrong things, those things affect their children also. Often those things continue to affect other people in their families who are born many years later.
Verses 8-9 Moses included himself among the proud *Israelites who refused to obey God many times. Moses spoke about the wicked things that Ďweí have done. He asked God to forgive Ďourí *sin. But he prayed that God would continue to accept the *Israelites as his people. He asked God to continue to go with them.
Verses 10-11 God promised Moses that he would do wonderful things for the *Israelites. If they obeyed him, he would force out all the other people from the country called *Canaan. And God would give their country to the *Israelites. The list of the different nations emphasises that this would be a difficult job. Those people were very strong. But God was stronger, and he would give the country to the *Israelites (Deuteronomy 4:38).
Verses 12-14 God warned the *Israelites about the dangers that they would meet. They must not make an agreement with any group in the country called *Canaan. This agreement would become like a trap for them. It would be easy for the *Israelites to start to *worship those peopleís false gods. So the *Israelites must destroy everything that the people used in *Canaan. God wants us to be completely loyal to him. We must *worship only God. God said, ĎMy name is Jealousí. That means that God is jealous. And it is right that God is jealous. He does not want people to *worship any false gods. The *Israelites must *worship only God. That is the only right way. So he cannot allow anyone or anything to become another god. The *Israelites must *worship the *LORD. Nothing must cause them to stop.
Verses 15-16 The *Israelites must not make a friendly agreement for peace. That would lead them to join in with the local customs. There were both good customs and bad customs. The bad customs of the people in *Canaan included how they *worshipped their false gods. The people in *Canaan would invite the *Israelites to share meat with them. But this meat came from the gifts that the *Canaanites gave to their false gods. In *New Testament times that was a problem for the Christians in the city called Corinth. They wondered whether they should eat meat from peopleís gifts to the false gods there. So they asked Paul about it (1 Corinthians chapter 8). There was also a danger if *Israelite men married women from the nations in *Canaan. A local wife may persuade her *Israelite husband to go to the local parties. Very soon, her husband would *worship his wifeís false god.
Verse 17 An image means an image like one of the false gods. It can also mean an image that *represents the *LORD. But both images were wrong. The incident in Exodus 32:1-35 is about Aaron. He made a gold image of a young *bull. It showed the evil results from an image like that.
Verse 18 The *Feast of bread without *yeast was in April. The meal of *Passover was a part of that *feast. During that meal, the *Israelites remembered their last night in Egypt. On that night Godís *angel killed the *Egyptian boys and the animals. All the *Egyptian oldest sons and their oldest of their young animals died. But the *angel passed over the houses where the *Israelites lived. When the *Israelites left Egypt, they went in a hurry (Exodus chapters 12 and 13). They prepared their food quickly while the *angel was passing over. So they did not have time to make bread with *yeast in it. *Yeast is a substance that makes bread rise. But it needs time to rise. So *Jews eat bread without *yeast in it at the meal of *Passover. Every year it helps them to remember that night. And they remember how God brought their nation out of Egypt a long time ago.
Verses 19-20 The boy that was born first in a family belonged to God. And a male animal that was born first, belonged to God. God had kept the oldest *Israelite sons alive when his *angel passed over them that night in Egypt. But the *Egyptian sons who were born first, died. *Jewish parents showed their first son to the *LORD. And they gave the gift of an animal to the *LORD in the childís place. So Mary and Joseph showed Jesus to the *LORD in the *Temple. They were poor people, so they gave two young birds as their gift (Luke 2:22-24).
Owners gave to God their male animals that were born first. They gave them as gifts and the priest killed them. But a *donkey was not a gift for God. The *Israelites thought that *donkeys were not *clean animals. So the *donkeyís owner would give a young sheep in its place. If he did not do that, he must not buy back his *donkey. But the *donkey belonged to God still, and the owner must kill it. Also, their neighbours (called the Amorites) killed *donkeys and gave them to their false gods. This custom was a part of the way that the Amorites *worshipped those false gods.
Verse 21 The *Israelites must obey Godís *commandments. So they must rest on the *Sabbath day every week of the year. Even at the busiest times of the farmerís year, they must remember to rest every *Sabbath day. This showed whether the farmers trusted God. They must trust him to look after them. They wanted to prepare the ground and then to harvest their crops. But in the *desert, God had given to them a double provision of food each week. This happened on the day before the *Sabbath. God did that each week while they were in the *desert. This showed them that they could trust him. God can provide. But his people must obey him, and they must put him first in their lives.
Verse 22 The *Feast of weeks was the *Feast of early harvest. Its other name is Pentecost. It came 50 days after the *feast of *Passover. The *Israelites gave to God the first share of the harvest of the wheat. And the *feast in the autumn was at the time when the *Israelites harvested the fruit. They lived in temporary shelters during that *feast each autumn. They remembered the time when their nation lived in tents in the *desert. So its name was the *Feast of shelters or the *Feast when we have gathered everything. (See Exodus 23:14-16.)
Verses 23-24 God was establishing those *feasts in order to remember the past. The *Israelites must remember for always how he had rescued their nation from Egypt. All adult men must go to a special place to *worship God together. They must go 3 times a year in the future. They must go at the time of those 3 *feasts. Shiloh was one of the places where they could *worship God (1 Samuel 1:3). But the journey to get there might take a long time. However, people need not worry that someone would try to steal their land in their absence. God promised that he would look after it for them. Stones marked the boundaries of the land (Deuteronomy 19:14). So if someone moved a stone they stole a personís land.
Verses 25-26 Blood in an animal means that it is alive. And God makes people and animals alive. So people must not eat the blood of an animal in order to remain alive. They must not eat that blood in order to try to live for a longer time (Genesis 9:4-5, and Leviticus 17:11). Other people, who did not *worship God, tried to increase their lives in that way. The *Israelites might have some meat that they had not eaten in the meal. But they must not keep it until the morning. This law may have a practical reason. The meat might have a bad smell. It would be dangerous to eat it then. Or perhaps that law prevented them from evil things. Perhaps they might use the meat in *Canaanite magic customs. To boil a young goat in its motherís milk was probably a *Canaanite custom too.
Verses 27-28 Moses had spent 40 days and 40 nights with God on the mountain previously. That was when Moses first received Godís 10 *commandments (Exodus 24:18). God made that special promise (also called *covenant or agreement) to all the *Israelites. God spoke only to Moses. But Moses *represented all the *Israelites. ĎBy means of these wordsí means that the agreement included the other rules. (We read them in verses 12-26.) Moses wrote down the 10 *commandments. And he probably wrote the other rules in verses 12-26 at a separate time.
Verses 29-35 Because Moses had talked to God, his face shone. He did not know that until he saw the peopleís reaction to him. The people were afraid to come near to him. So he covered his face until he went into Godís tent. In the *New Testament Paul spoke about the time when Moses covered his face. He did it to hide the changes. Mosesí face slowly shone less and less (2 Corinthians 3:7). Moses had wanted God to show him his wonderful bright light. And God had answered Mosesí prayer, so then his face shone. God had allowed Mosesí face to reflect his wonderful bright light. Jesus showed himself in his wonderful bright light to three of his friends. And Moses appeared too. Moses *represented Godís Law and Godís special promise to his people. Jesus began the new special promise when he died in Jerusalem. Luke talks about Jesus and the time when he would leave them at his death (Luke 9:28-31).
Chapters 35-39 show how Moses obeyed Godís instructions. We can read those instructions in chapters 25-31. The words, ĎAs the *LORD had ordered Mosesí appears 7 times in chapter 39. So we know that Moses obeyed carefully all Godís orders. There are some important differences between chapters 35-39 the earlier chapters. So there will be an explanation under the chapter headings.
Verses 1-2 The 7th day in the week was called the *Sabbath. And the law about the *Sabbath reminded them about Godís special promise (the *covenant). So that law appears again here because Moses was repeating the agreement with God. The writer gives again the instructions about Godís special tent (the *Tabernacle). Moses repeated that law to remind the *Israelites about its importance. Even when they were building Godís special tent, that was no excuse. Always they must rest on the *Sabbath day.
Verse 3 adds the words, ĎDo not light a fire in your homes on this *Sabbath dayí. In the *desert the *Israelites ate *manna. They had to prepare their supply of *manna the night before the *Sabbath. Some people say that this refers to the workers in the *Tabernacle. Perhaps the workers said that they had to light fires for their work. But the words, Ďin your homesí mean that this law referred to every Israelite. Some *Jews still obey that rule today.
Verse 10 Everyone with a skill helped to construct the tent and all its equipment.
Verses 5, 21, 22, 26 and 29 repeat the idea, Ďeveryone who wants toí. They emphasise that the people were very willing to give gifts to God. Moses was not forcing anyone to give materials. He was not forcing them to work. They offered help to make the special tent for God. They wanted to make everything that they would use in it. Verse 22 records that both the men and the women gave gifts.
Verses 25-26 The women with skill made the cloth of good quality. They coloured wool with several colours. And they sewed the wool onto the cloth too.
Verse 27 The leaders were probably wealthy. They brought the precious stones, and the expensive plants and powder that had a sweet smell. They also brought the *olive oil.
Verse 29 Everyone had a part as they provided the materials and the labour for the special tent. (This special tent was called the *Tabernacle). In the *New Testament Paul wrote to the Christians at Ephesus. He said that each one of us has a different function in Godís family. When each part performs its function, then the whole church can grow, (Ephesians 4:11-13, 16).
Verses 30-33 repeat the information in Exodus 31:1-6. There are notes there about Bezalel and Oholiab.
Verse 34 Bezalel and Oholiab were very skilful artists. And they taught other people how to do the same things.
Verse 1 emphasises how Bezalel, Oholiab and the other skilful workers must work. They must do the work exactly as the *LORD ordered.
Verses 2-7 Moses gave to the workers the gifts that the people had given to God. But every morning the people brought more gifts. So finally, the workers told Moses that they had more supplies than they needed. Then Moses gave the order that people must not bring more gifts. God is very generous to us. Then Godís people realise that God loves them. That causes them to be generous. In the *New Testament, Paul praised the Christians in the country called Macedonia. They were eager to give gifts to Godís people who needed help (2 Corinthians 8:1-4).
Writers who lived in the East used to repeat information. This showed that the information was important. To repeat something also helps people to remember it. This book repeats many things that God told to Moses. So that shows that this information is important.
Exodus 26:1-37 gave Godís instructions about how to build his special tent (the *Tabernacle). These verses in Exodus 36 tell how the workmen carried out Godís instructions. They worked with great care.
Exodus 25:10 Ė 31:38 described how God gave his instructions to Moses. But they did the work in a different order. God began with the special box. This box *represented the special promise. God talked about the special box first because it was the most important object.
Exodus 36:8-38 describes the special tent (*Tabernacle) before it describes its contents.
Now Exodus 37:1 Ė 38:20 describes the contents.
Verse 1 Deuteronomy 10:3 records that Moses made the special box. So Moses was responsible. He told the skilful workers how to make it (Exodus 36:1). Bezalel was the manager of the work. Another very skilful artist called Oholiab helped him. They had the skill to build it all. And any other skilful workers worked under their direction.
Verses 25-29 These verses mention the *altar. On that *altar the priests burnt the special powder that has a sweet smell. There is a separate account about that special powder in Exodus 30:34-38. The *LORD told Moses exactly how to make that powder.
Verse 1 On that *altar they burnt animals that they gave to God. Exodus 27:1-8 describes that *altar after it describes the special tent. But in this chapter the account comes after the *altar where they burnt the special powder. This powder has a sweet smell.
Verse 8 includes information about the basin where the priests washed (Exodus 30:17-21). The women provided their *bronze mirrors to make the basin. Their mirrors were not glass. They made the mirrors out of *bronze and then they polished them. The women were servants who helped the priests at the entrance to the tent. But they were not like the women at the *Canaanite places where their people *worshipped false gods. Those *Canaanite women had sex with many men. It was part of the way that they *worshipped. In 1 Samuel 2:22 we read about Eliís sons who imitated that custom. God blames them because of their bad behaviour. They did not obey God. They behaved as if the *LORDís servants belonged to the *Canaanite society. But the *Canaanites did not believe God and they did not *worship God.
Verses 21-23 Moses had appointed the *Levites to help the priests (Numbers 3:5-10). Aaronís son, Ithamar, must direct them. They must record the amounts of the materials. And they must record what those materials made. They weighed the amounts because they did not have coins when Moses led the *Israelites. The priests balanced the metal against standard lumps called *talents and *shekels. They used those special *talents and *shekels only in the *Tabernacle. Also they used them in the *Temple.
Verse 24 The amount of gold was about 1 ton. Most of the gold probably came from the gifts that the *Israelites received from the *Egyptians (Exodus 12:35).
Verses 25-28 The amount of the silver was the largest quantity. Each man who was 20 years old or more was of military age. He had to pay half a *shekel as his tax (Exodus 30:11-16). The *Israelites recorded 603 550 men who were over 20 years (Numbers 1:44-45). 100 *talents were worth 300 000 *shekels. That tax a total of 301 775 *shekels. But the total weight of all the silver that the people gave was about more than 3 tons.
Verses 29-31 The people gave more than 2 tons of *bronze. And the workmen used it for all the other furniture and equipment.
Most of the information about the priestsí clothes is the same as in Exodus 28:2-43. But this chapter (Exodus chapter 39) emphasises that the skilful workers made everything. And they did it exactly as God had ordered. The words: Ďas the *LORD had ordered Mosesí appear 7 times in this chapter. This chapter includes a few extra details than in Exodus chapter 28. But it leaves out other details.
Verse 3 The workers hammered the gold in order to make it very thin. And then they cut it into thin wires. This explains how the *Israelites produced the gold wire. They used it with the blue, purple and bright red wool. It made the priestsí clothes very beautiful. The priestsí special clothes made the people respect them. The people gave honour to the priests (Exodus 28:2, 40).
Verses 8-21 describe the *breast-piece like Exodus 28:15-28. They mention all the precious stones. But this chapter does not mention the small objects called *Urim and Thummim (Exodus 28:30-31). And it does not mention the purpose for those small objects. Aaron carried them to help him make decisions for the *Israelites.
Verses 25-26 mention the gold bells round the lower edge of the priestís special shirt. Exodus 28:35 explains their purpose. When the priest moved about in the Holy Place, the bells rang. Their sound would tell the people that the priest still was alive. The bells and the *pomegranate fruits made the clothes beautiful.
Verse 27-29 The hat was probably a long piece of cloth. The priest wound it round his head in a special way.
Verse 30 The gold stripe was sometimes called Ďthe narrow piece of goldí. It had the words ĎHoly for the *LORDí on it (Exodus 28:36-37).
Verse 32 All the work was complete. The workers had obeyed their instructions exactly.
Verses 33-41 The workers brought everything to Moses. He looked at each object and he examined it all carefully. He made sure that there was nothing wrong with any of it. Nobody had changed the plans for anything.
Verse 42-43 Moses saw that it was all work of good quality. They had made everything as God had ordered. So Moses *blessed the workers. This reminds us about the words at the end of Godís own work. Genesis 1 tells us that God created everything. And Genesis 1: 31 says this. ĎGod saw all that he had made. And he saw that it was very good.í
Verse 1 A year had passed since the *Passover night. On the night the *Israelites had left Egypt. Now they called that night the first day. And they called the month Abib. It was the first month (Exodus chapter 12). Three months later the *Israelites had arrived at *Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:1). Moses received his instructions there, and they completed all the work during the next 9 months.
Verses 2-8 God told Moses how to place the tent. He told Moses where to place each different object in the tent. The special box was the most important object. So Moses must place that first. And the curtain in front of the box hid the box.
Verses 9-11 Moses must mark the holy tent and everything in it with the special oil. This separated all those things to give honour to God.
Verses 12-15 Moses had to prepare Aaron and his sons to serve God as priests. They must wash before they put on the special clothes. Then Moses marked them with the special oil. This showed that God had chosen them for his service. God chose only Aaronís family for that job. Men from that family would always be the priests.
Verse 16 In this account the writer emphasises the fact that Moses obeyed the *LORDís instructions. Moses obeyed in every detail. Verses 16, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27 and 29 all end with the words Ďas the *LORD had ordered himí. Verse 32 says, ĎThey did this as the *LORD had ordered Mosesí.
Verses 26-29 Moses acted as a priest in front of God. He gave the special powder that has a sweet smell. He burned it on the gold *altar inside the tent. Then he gave the animals and the grain as gifts. He gave them on the *bronze *altar in the yard. Leviticus 8:14-30 tells more detail about what Moses gave to God at that time. It tells more detail about how Moses marked Aaron and his sons as priests. That was how he separated them for Godís service.
Verse 34-35 God approved of all the work that Moses had finished. Godís cloud came down over the special tent. It showed that God was present. And it showed that God approved of the work. His wonderful bright light filled the tent and it shone out. Moses was Godís loyal servant (Numbers 12:7). Moses had entered where God was present before this time. But each time God had invited him. Cloud and fire had covered *Mount Sinai when Moses went up it (Exodus 24:15-17). But this time Moses could not go into the tent when Godís wonderful light filled it.
Verses 36-38 The cloud showed that God was present. This cloud guided the *Israelites in their journey in the *desert. They moved their camp only when the cloud moved. At night they saw the cloud still, because God put fire in it. God did what he had promised. He lived among his people (Exodus 25:8; 29:43-45).
The Book of Exodus began when the *Israelites were slaves in Egypt. Now they were free people, and God was living among them. God was guiding them and he was directing them. So they were confident that they would complete their journey to *Canaan with Godís help.
acacia ~ a kind of tree that grows in dry land.
almond ~ a kind of nut tree with beautiful flowers.
altar ~ a table on which people give gifts or *sacrifices to God or to a false god.
Amalekites ~ people who come from Esauís grandson, Amalek.
angel ~ a servant of God who sometimes brings messages from him.
bless ~ to say or do much good to a person; to call something holy; to call for good things to happen; to guard and to keep from evil.
breast-piece ~ it covered the front of the upper part of the body. They made the priestís breast-piece from cloth.
bronze ~ a kind of metal that people make out of copper and tin.
bull ~ male farm animal; (the female is called a cow). The *Israelites made a metal image of a bull, which they *worshipped as an *idol.
burnt offering ~ When the *Israelites gave a whole animal to God, they burnt it on the *altar. They called that a Ďburnt offeringí.
Canaan ~ the country that God gave to *Israelites. *Canaanites lived here, and people called Amorites, Hittites, Hivites, Jebusites and Perizzites lived there also.
Canaanite ~ the people who originally lived in the country called *Canaan; something that comes from the country called *Canaan.
clean ~ good in thought and in action. But, in the *Old Testament, many things could make a person unclean towards God. For example, if they touched a dead body, that would make them unclean. And the *Israelites must not eat animals that God called unclean.
commandment ~ a rule or an order that God gave to the *Jews. The 10 rules that God gave to Moses on the mountain called *Mount Sinai (or Horeb); an order from someone who has authority.
covenant ~ the special promise that God made to his people. Godís *covenant with the *Israelites established a relationship between him and them. But the *Israelites must obey God.
curse ~ the opposite of a *blessing; to express a wish that something terrible will happen to someone; bad things that God will do to people because they have been wicked.
descendant ~ a child, grandchild, and so on; a person in your family who lives after you are dead.
desert ~ a wild place where there are small bushes and not much water. It has poor soil and people cannot grow crops there. So, not many people live there.
donkey ~ an animal that is like a horse with long ears. People use donkeys as animals to do work. They can carry people or loads. And they can pull carts or ploughs.
eagle ~ a very large bird. Often it lives in the mountains.
Egyptian ~ someone from the country called Egypt; anything that has a relationship with Egypt.
ephod ~ one of the priestís special clothes that he wore over his other clothes. It was like a short coat without sleeves. The workers made it from white *linen and they sewed beautiful designs onto it.
feast ~ a special meal, usually with special food. Often a feast reminds people about an important event so they repeat it regularly. For example, God said that *Israelite men should gather together for 3 feasts each year. *Jews continue to remember these feasts.
friendship offering ~ Sometimes the *Israelites gave something to God in this way. They provided a meal, which they shared with the priest. They called that meal a Ďfriendship offeringí, because they gave it to God. This was another way to *worship God. It was a way to thank him and it showed friendship with God.
heavenly figures ~ Heaven is the place where God lives. Artists make figures. They look like people or other things that live with God.
Hebrew ~ the language that the *Israelites spoke. A Hebrew is a *Jewish person or an *Israelite
Holy Spirit ~ Godís Spirit; he is equal with God the Father and with God the Son. The Holy Spirit is a person but he is not human like us. The Holy Spirit does Godís work among people in the world. He gives Godís power to people.
hook ~ people hang things from hooks. To make hooks people bend metal into the shape of a letter U.
horn ~ animals like cows and goats have horns (usually 2) that grow out of their heads. The horns stick out and end in a point. The *Israelite priest used male sheepís horns as musical instruments. They blew into them to make a loud sound. And today people call certain instruments Ďhornsí. Also the *altar in Godís special tent had pieces that stuck out at the *altarís 4 corners. These pieces are called horns.
idol ~ an object that people *worship instead of God; an object made out of wood, stone or metal that people *worship.
Israel ~ the nation of people from the family of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; the name of the country that God gave to that nation.
Israelite ~ a person from the nation called *Israel. Israelite is another name for the *Jews. Anything that has a relationship with Israel.
Jew ~ a person who is from the family of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children.
Jewish ~ a word that describes a *Jew or anything that belongs to the *Jews.
lampstand ~ it held 7 lamps. They contained oil that burned, so the lamp-stand gave a lot of light.
Levite ~ someone who belonged to the family called Levi. Levi was a son of Jacob. Levites had special duties. They helped the *Israelites to *worship God in the proper way. All *Israelite priests were Levites.
linen ~ a special kind of cloth of good quality. People make it from the plant called *flax.
LORD ~ God gave this special name to himself. It translates the word ĎYahwehí in the *Hebrew language. It links to the words ĎI amí; it means that God has been here always.
Lord ~ a name for God. It translates the *Hebrew word ĎAdonaií, which means Ďmy rulerí. The word Ďlordí (without a capital letter) means an ordinary ruler.
manna ~ a food like bread. God provided this food in a special way for the *Israelites to eat in the *desert.
Mount ~ another name for mountain.
New Testament ~ the second part of the Bible. It tells about Jesus Christ and his followers.
Old Testament ~ the first part of the Bible, it tells about the history and the beliefs of the *Israelites. The *Jewsí holy book.
olive ~ a fruit tree; people press its green or black fruit to obtain olive oil. People use the oil for cooking and for fuel in their lamps. The *Israelites gave it to God as one of their gifts to him.
onyx ~ a precious stone; usually it has black and white stripes, or brown and white stripes.
Passover ~ an important holy day for the *Jews. They ate a special meal on this day every year; the Passover *feast reminds the *Jews about how God rescued them from *Egypt.
plague ~ a terrible disease or trouble.
pomegranate ~ a round, sweet fruit with many seeds inside it. Pomegranates grow on small trees.
prophet ~ a person who hears Godís words and tells them to other people. But there were sometimes false prophets.
represent ~ when a person acts on behalf of someone else; or you put something in place of something else.
Sabbath ~ the 7th day in a *Jewish week. It is from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday The day on which God rested when he created the world. So he wants people to rest on that day. Anything that has a relationship with the Sabbath.
sapphire ~ a precious blue stone.
seal ~ a stamp that closes things. The design or name on the stamp has authority. So nobody can remove or break the seal unless the authorities permit it.
shekel ~ shekels weighed about 0.4 ounces (11 grams). It was the standard that they used to weigh things (especially gold and silver); they used it for Godís special tent and later, for the *Temple.
sign ~ a signal; a mark to show that something is special; a powerful act.
sin ~ the wrong things that people do against God or against other people; or, not to obey God.
Tabernacle ~ Godís special tent.
talent ~ it weighed 3000 times as much as a *shekel. It was the heaviest standard that they used to weigh things like gold, silver and other metals.
temple ~ the special building in Jerusalem where the *Jews *worshipped God. King Solomon built the first temple.
thunder ~ the loud noise that lightning causes in a storm.
treasure ~ something that is very precious to someone.
trumpet ~ a musical instrument that people blow into to make a sound. Now trumpets are usually made out of metal, but often people have used animalsí *horns to make them.
Urim and Thummim ~ two small objects that the chief priest used. He kept them in the pocket of the *ephod. The priest used those objects to discover Godís decision about a situation. We do not know how God did that.
vineyard ~ a field where they grow the fruit called Ďgrapesí. People make wine from juice that comes from grapes.
worship ~ when people show honour to God, or to a false god. People may sing or pray. Or they may kneel down or give a gift to God.
yeast ~ a substance that people use to make bread. Yeast makes the bread rise. Without yeast, bread is flat and hard.
Alan R. Cole ~ Exodus: Introduction and Commentary ~ Tyndale Press 1st edition 1973.
F.C. Cook (editor) ~ Barnesí Notes on the Old and *New Testaments ~ Baker Book House 1975.
David Daiches ~ Moses, man in the wilderness ~ Weidenfeld and Nicholson 1975.
Alan Millard ~ Discoveries from Bible Times ~ Lion 1997.
Alec Motyer ~ The Message of Exodus, the Bible Speaks Today ~ IVP 2005.
Osborn and Hatto ~ A Handbook on Exodus ~ UBS.
Charles R. Swindoll ~ Moses ~ Thomas Nelson 1999.
New International Version study Bible
New International readerís version 1998
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© 2013, Wycliffe Associates (UK)
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