Exodus: *Israel becomes a nation

Godís instructions to Moses

An EasyEnglish Bible Version and Commentary (2800 word vocabulary) on Exodus chapters 19 to 40

www.easyenglish.info

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.

 

About the Book of Exodus

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).

Chapter 19

At *Mount Sinai Ė verses 1-25

The *LORDís instructions Ė verses 1-15

v1 The *Israelites had travelled for exactly two months since they had left Egypt. And the next day they came to the *desert in the region that is called Sinai. v2 They had left Rephidim, and now they entered the *desert at Sinai. So they camped there in the *desert. They were in the lower area near the mountain.

v3 Then Moses went up the mountain to meet God. And the *LORD called to him from the mountain. ĎYou must say these words to the *Israelites who are Jacobís family. v4 ďYou have seen what I did in Egypt. It was as if I carried you to safety on *eagleís wings. And so I brought you here where I am. v5 Now you must obey me completely. You must be loyal to my special promise to you. Then you will be my special *treasure. I chose you out of all the nations. The whole earth is mine. v6 But you will be my special, holy nation and you will serve me as priests.Ē That is what you must tell the *Israelitesí, God said.

v7 So Moses went back to the camp and sent for the leaders of the people. The *LORD had ordered him to tell them his message. And Moses told everything to them. v8 Then all the people answered together. ĎWe will do everything that the *LORD has ordered us.í So Moses told their answer to the *LORD.

v9 Then the *LORD spoke to Moses. ĎI will come to you in a dense cloud. And the people will hear me as I speak to you. Then they will trust you always.í Then Moses told the *LORD what the people had said.

v10 The *LORD spoke to Moses again. ĎGo back to the *Israelites. Tell them to prepare today and tomorrow. They must prepare themselves to meet me. Tell them to wash their clothes. v11 All of them must be ready by the third day. I am the *LORD. And on that day I will come down on *Mount Sinai, where all the people will see me. v12 Put boundaries round the mountain for the people. Tell them to be careful. You must tell them this. ďDo not go up the mountain and do not touch the edge of it. Anyone who touches the mountain will die. v13 You must throw stones at those people to kill them. Or you must shoot them with arrows. But you must not touch that person. It does not matter whether it is a person or an animal. You must not allow them to live.Ē People can go up on the mountain only when the male sheepís *horn sounds a long signal.í

v14 Then Moses went down the mountain to the people. He told them to prepare themselves. They wanted God to accept them. So they washed their clothes. v15 And Moses told the people. ĎPrepare for the third day. And you must not have sex until after that time.í

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.

The holy God arrives Ė verses 16-25

v16 On the morning of the third day, there was lightning. And there was the loud roar from *thunder on the mountain. And a thick cloud covered the mountain. Someone sounded a *trumpet very loudly and in the camp, everyone trembled. v17 Then Moses led the people out from the camp to meet God. And they stood on level ground near the mountain. v18 Smoke covered *Mount Sinai because the *LORD came down on it in a fire. Smoke poured out from the mountain like a big chimney. The whole mountain was shaking. v19 The *trumpet sound became louder and louder. Then Moses spoke, and Godís voice answered him.

v20 The *LORD came down to the top of *Mount Sinai. Then he called Moses to come to him on the top of the mountain. So Moses went up there. v21 And the *LORD spoke to him. ĎYou must go down and you must warn the people. They must not go past the boundaries to see me. Those people will die if they do that. v22 Only the priests can approach me when they serve me. But they must obey my strict rules. Then I will allow them to come. If they do not obey, I will be angry. And I will punish them.í

v23 And Moses replied to the *LORD. ĎThe people cannot come up *Mount Sinai, because you warned us yourself. ďPut boundaries round the mountainĒ, you said. ďYou must not go near to it, because it is holy.Ē í

v24 The *LORD spoke to Moses again. ĎGo down and bring Aaron up here with you. But the priests and the people must not try to come up to me. If they come up here, I will be angry. And I will punish them.í

v25 So Moses went down to the people. And he told them what the *LORD had said.

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.

Chapter 20

Godís ten *commandments Ė verses 1-17

v1 God spoke all these words:

v2 ĎI am the *LORD your God. I brought you out of Egypt where you were slaves.

††††††††† v3 You shall have no other god except me.

††††††††† v4 Do not make images like anything in heaven. Do not make images like anything on the earth, or anything beneath the water. v5 Do not respect such images. Do not *worship them. I am the *LORD your God. I am a jealous God. I want you to *worship only me. And I want you to love only me. I will punish the people who hate me. And I will punish their children, and their childrenís children. v6 But I will love all those people who love me. And I will love their children in the future for thousands of years. I will love all those people always who obey my *commandments.

††††††††† v7 Do not use the *LORD your Godís name in a wrong way. If anyone uses my name in a wrong way, he is guilty.

††††††††† v8 Remember that the *Sabbath day belongs to me. Keep it holy. v9 You can do all your work in the other 6 days of the week. v10 But the 7th day in each week is the *Sabbath day. On that day you must give honour to me, the *LORD your God. Do not do any work on that day. Your sons and your daughters must not work on that day. Your male servants, your female servants and your animals must not work on that day. And any stranger, who lives in your towns, must not work on that day. v11 I am the *LORD. And I made the sky and the earth and the sea in 6 days. I made everything in them, but I rested on the 7th day. So the *Sabbath day is holy because it belongs to me.

††††††††† v12 Respect your father and your mother. Then you will live in the country that I, the *LORD your God, am giving to you. And you will live there for a long time.

††††††††† v13 Do not murder anyone.

††††††††† v14 Be loyal to the person whom you married.

††††††††† v15 Do not steal anything from anybody.

††††††††† v16 Do not tell lies about your neighbour or about anyone else.

††††††††† v17 Do not desire your neighbourís house. Do not desire his wife. Do not desire their male servant or their female servant. Do not desire their animals to work for you. You must not desire anything that belongs to someone else.í

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.

The people are afraid Ė verses 18-21

v18 The people saw the lightning and the smoke from the mountain. They heard the loud roar from the *thunder. And then they heard the *trumpetís sound. So they trembled with fear. And they stayed away from the mountain. v19 Then they spoke to Moses. ĎYou speak to us and we will listení, they said to him. ĎBut do not let God speak to us. If God speaks to us, we will certainly die.í

v20 And Moses replied to the people. ĎDo not be afraidí, he said. ĎGod has come to test you. He wants you to respect him. Then you will not continue to *sin.í

v21 The people remained some distance away. But Moses approached the dense darkness where God was.

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.

Chapter 20:22 to 24:8

This section contains rules for the main social problems with which the *Israelites needed to deal.

*Idols and *altars Ė verses 22-26

v22 Then the *LORD spoke to Moses. God said, ĎTell this message to the *Israelites. ďAll of you have seen that I have spoken to you from heaven. v23 Do not make any gods to put in my place. Do not make any silver or gold images that you will *worship.Ē

v24 ďUse earth to make an *altar for me. And burn on it your *burnt offerings and your *friendship offerings. Give gifts to me from among your sheep and your cows. And I will choose places where you can think about me. You can give honour to me in those places. And I will come to you in those places. And I will *bless you. v25 Perhaps you will make an *altar for me with stones. But do not prepare the stones before you build the *altar. If you use a tool on the stones, then they will not be suitable for me. v26 Do not go up steps to my *altar because someone might see under your clothes. They might see your naked body.Ē í

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).

Chapter 21

*Hebrew slaves Ė verses 1-11

v1 The *LORD continued to speak to Moses. ĎYou must explain these laws to the *Israelites.í

v2 ĎIf you buy a *Hebrew slave, he must serve you for 6 years. But in year 7 you must free him. He does not have to pay anything to you. v3 Perhaps he did not have a wife when he came to you. Then he should go alone. But if he did have a wife, then she must go with him. v4 Perhaps the slaveís master gave a wife to him. Suppose that they have sons and daughters. Only the man shall have his freedom. The woman and her children belong to her master. v5 But perhaps the slave will say this. ďI love my master and my wife and my children. I do not want to have my freedom.Ē v6 Then his master must take him in front of the judges to tell them. The master must take the slave to the door of his house. He must use a tool with a sharp point. And he must make a small hole in the slaveís ear. Then he will be the masterís slave for the rest of his life.í

v7 ĎA man may sell his daughter as a slave. But she cannot have her freedom like male slaves. v8 Perhaps the master chose her as his wife. But perhaps she does not please him. Then her master must allow her relative to buy her back. The master has no right to sell her to strangers. He has been unfair to her. v9 If he chose her for his son, he must give to her a daughterís rights. v10 Suppose that he marries another woman later. Then he must continue to provide food and clothes for the woman that he bought. And she continues to have the right to have sex with him. v11 If he does not provide these three things for her, then she can have her freedom. She does not have to pay anything to him.í

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.

Laws about injuries Ė verses 12-36

1. People injure other people Ė verses 12-27

v12 ĎPerhaps a man hits another man so that he dies. Then you must kill the first man. v13 However, suppose that he did not kill the other man on purpose. But God let it happen. Then the man must run away to a place that I will chooseí, God told Moses. v14 But suppose that a man intends to kill another man. Then he murders him on purpose. Do not pity the guilty man, but drag him away from my *altar. You must kill him.í

v15 ĎYou must kill anyone who attacks his father or his mother.í

v16 ĎPerhaps someone will seize another person because they want to sell him. And perhaps you catch the guilty man. The other person may be with him. Or perhaps he has sold the person already. But the man is guilty and you must kill him.í

v17 ĎYou must kill anyone who *curses his father or his mother.í

v18 ĎSuppose that men quarrel. One man might hit the other man with a stone or with his fist. The injury does not kill the man. But the man has to lie in his bed for a time. v19 As a result he may walk with a stick when he gets up. The person who hit him must pay the man with the injury. He must pay for the time that the other man spent in bed. He must make sure that the man recovers completely from his injuries.í

v20 ĎPerhaps a man hits his male slave or his female slave with a stick. And that causes the slave to die. Then you must punish the master. v21 But you must not punish him if his slave gets up after a day or two. The slave is his property.í

v22 ĎPerhaps men, who are fighting, hit a woman. If she is expecting a baby, her baby may be born too soon as a result. But perhaps she is not hurt very badly. Then the man who hurt her must pay. He must pay whatever the womanís husband asks from him. And the court will agree what is right to pay. v23 But suppose that she has a serious injury. If she dies, the man must die too as his payment. v24 He must pay an eye for an eye, and he must pay a tooth for a tooth. He must pay a hand for a hand, and he must pay a foot for a foot. v25 He must pay a burn for a burn, and he must pay a cut for a cut. He must pay a bruise for a bruise.í

v26 ĎSuppose that a man hits his male slaveís eye or his female slaveís eye. Perhaps the eye is of no use. Then he must let the slave have his freedom. The freedom will pay for the eye. v27 Or perhaps he knocks out a slaveís tooth. He must let that slave have his freedom. Whether it is a male slave or a female slave with the injury, their freedom will pay for the tooth.í

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.

2. Animals injure people Ė verses 28-32

v28 ĎSuppose that a *bull kills a man or a woman. Suppose that the animal attacks them with its *horns. Then you must throw stones at the animal to kill it. And you must not eat its meat. But people should not consider that the animalís owner is responsible. v29 However, suppose that the animal attacked people every day. And suppose that people had warned the owner about it. But he had not put the dangerous animal inside a pen. Then if the animal killed a man or a woman, you must kill the owner as well. v30 But perhaps someone will demand payment instead. Then the animalís owner can pay money to save himself. He must pay whatever they require. v31 If a *bull kills a son or a daughter with its *horns, the law is the same. v32 But suppose that a *bull kills a male slave or a female slave. Then the animalís owner must pay 30 silver coins to the slaveís master. And you must throw stones at the animal to kill it.í

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).

3. People cause injuries to animals Ė verses 33-36

v33 ĎSuppose that a man takes a cover off a deep hole. Or he might dig a deep hole, but he does not cover it. Suppose that a cow or a *donkey falls into the hole. v34 Then the owner of the hole must pay the animalís owner because he has lost a valuable animal. But the dead animal will belong to the owner of the hole.í

v35 ĎSuppose that a manís *bull causes an injury to another manís *bull. And suppose that the animal dies. Then they must sell the other *bull that remains alive. They must receive equal shares of the money and they must share the dead animal. v36 However, perhaps the owner knew that his animal attacked other animals every day. And perhaps he did not make sure that the dangerous animal was safely in a pen. Then he is responsible. He must give another *bull to pay for the dead animal. But the dead animal will belong to him.í

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.

Chapter 22

Laws about property Ė verses 1-15

v1 The *LORD continued to speak to Moses. ĎPerhaps someone stole a cow or a sheep. Then the thief kills the animal. Or perhaps he sells it. Then he must pay back 5 cows if he stole 1 cow. And he must pay back 4 sheep if he stole 1 sheep.í

v2 ĎSuppose that someone catches a thief. The thief was breaking into his house and the owner hits him. But he hits the thief so hard that the thief dies. If this happens at night, the owner is not guilty. v3 But if it happens during the day, then the owner is guilty. He could see what the thief was doing. Perhaps the owner will catch the thief. Then certainly the thief must pay for what he stole. But if he has no money, then the owner can sell him as a slave. The money will pay for what the thief stole.í

v4 ĎSuppose that the thief has the animal with him still. The cow or *donkey or sheep that he stole may be alive still. Then the thief must pay back twice as much as he stole.í

v5 ĎSuppose that a man is careless. He allows his animals to wander from his own property into another manís field or into his *vineyard. Then the animalsí owner must pay for what his animals have damaged. He must use his best crops from his own field or from his *vineyard to pay for the damage.í

v6 ĎSuppose that a careless man starts a fire in his field. But it spreads into the bushes and it moves onto his neighbourís field. Suppose that it burns the corn there. The owner had cut his corn already. He left the bundles of corn in the field. But the fire burns them. Or perhaps the corn is growing still and the fire burns it. The fire may burn a whole field. Then the person who started the fire must pay for that corn or for the field. The person must pay the ownerí

v7 ĎSuppose that a man brings some silver or other things to his neighbour. He wants the neighbour to keep those things safely for him. But suppose that a thief steals the things. If people catch the thief, then the thief must pay for the things. He must pay back twice as much as he stole. v8 But suppose that nobody finds the thief. Then the neighbour must go to the judges. They will decide whether the neighbour stole the other personís property himself.í

v9 ĎPerhaps two people say that they own the same cow or *donkey or sheep or clothes or something else. Perhaps each person says, ĎThat belongs to me!í Then both people must go to the judges together about the matter. The judges will decide who really owns the property. Then the guilty person must pay back twice as much to the real owner.í

v10 ĎPerhaps a man will ask his neighbour to look after his *donkey, his cow or his sheep. Perhaps he asks his neighbour to look after one of his animals. But suppose that the animal dies. Or suppose that it has an injury. Or suppose that someone steals it while the neighbour is not watching. v11 They must settle the problem in front of me. I am the *LORD. The neighbour must make a definite statement in front of me that he did not steal the property. Then the owner must believe that statement. There is no need for him to receive any payment from his neighbour. v12 If someone stole the animal from the neighbour, then he must pay back the owner for it. v13 Perhaps a wild animal has killed the animal. Then the neighbour must bring what remains of the dead animal to the judges as the proof. And he will not have to pay for the dead animal.í

v14 ĎPerhaps a man lends an animal to his neighbour. Perhaps the animal has an injury while its owner is not there. Perhaps the animal dies. Then the neighbour, who has the animal, must pay for it. v15 But if the owner is with the animal then the neighbour does not need to pay. Perhaps he paid money to the owner in order to hire the animal. He wanted the animal to work for him. Then the money that he paid will pay for any loss to the owner.í

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.

Laws about social problems Ė verses 16-31

v16 ĎSuppose that a young woman has never married. And she has not promised to marry anyone. Suppose that she meets a man. And he persuades her to have sex with him. Then he must pay to her father the price for a bride. And he must marry her. v17 But suppose that her father refuses to give her to him. Still the man must pay the price for a bride for her.í

v18 ĎThere are women who use evil magic. Do not allow that kind of woman to remain alive.í

v19 ĎAnd you must kill anyone who has sex with an animal.í

v20 ĎYou must kill anyone who gives gifts to any other god. I am the *LORD and you must *worship me only.í

v21 ĎYou must not behave badly towards strangers. You must not be cruel to them. Remember that you were strangers in Egypt.í

v22 ĎDo not be cruel to a widow. And do not be cruel to a child whose father has died. v23 If you are cruel to them, they will cry to me for help. And certainly I will hear them. v24 Then I will become very angry, and I will kill those men. So your wives will become widows and your children will have no fathers.í

v25 ĎPerhaps you will lend money to someone among my people who needs it. Do not be like the usual people who lend money. Do not charge the man extra money for the loan. v26 Perhaps you will take your neighbourís coat as his promise to pay back the money to you. You must give back the coat to him by sunset. v27 He may be very poor. So he has only this coat to sleep under at night. When he cries out to me, I will listen. And I will help him, because I pity him.í

v28 ĎDo not insult me, I am God. Do not say bad things about the ruler of your people.í

v29 ĎYou must give your gifts to me. You must give to me what belongs to me from your corn and wine. You must give to me the oldest of your sons too. v30 You must give to me the animals that are the first to be born to your cows. And the animals that are the first to be born to your sheep. Let them remain with their mothers for 7 days. But on day 8 you must give them to me.í

v31 ĎI have chosen you to be my holy people. So do not eat the meat from any animal that wild animals have killed. Throw that meat to your domestic animals and they can eat it.í

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.

Chapter 23

Laws about how to be fair and how to be kind Ė verses 1-9

v1 The *LORD continued to speak. ĎDo not spread false reports. Do not tell lies in order to help a wicked man in court.í

v2 ĎDo not imitate the crowd when they do wrong things. Be honest when you are a witness in court. You must say only what is true. You must say only what is right. Do not change it to what is wrong. The court must be fair. v3 And do not help a poor man in court just because he is poor.í

v4 ĎSuppose that you meet your enemyís cow or *donkey when it was wandering away. You must take the animal back to its owner. v5 Suppose that you see someoneís *donkey. It has fallen under its heavy load. But it belongs to someone who hates you. Do not turn away and leave the *donkey there. Do what you can to help your enemy with it.í

v6 ĎBe fair to your poor people when they come to court. Poor people are equal to all other people, so make fair decisions. v7 Do not lie when you are accusing someone. Do not punish an innocent man with death. He is honest. And I will not forgive people who behave badly like that.í

v8 ĎPeople may want you to accept money from them. They want you to believe their lies. Their money will make you unable to know the truth. Then you will not believe what good people say. So do not accept that kind of money.í

v9 ĎDo not be cruel to a stranger. You know how strangers feel. Remember that you were strangers in Egypt.í

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.

Laws about the *Sabbath day and year 7 Ė verses 10-13

v10 ĎFor 6 years you should sow seeds in your fields. And you should harvest your crops. v11 But during year 7, do not plough your land. Do not work on it. During year 7, the poor people among you can gather food from your land. And the wild animals can eat what remains. Work in the same way with your *vineyard and your fruit trees.í

v12 ĎDo all your work in 6 days. But do not work on the 7th day each week. Then your *donkey and your *bull, that works with you, can rest. The slave who lives in your house and the stranger among you can rest too. Everyone can relax on the 7th day.í

v13 ĎBe sure to do everything that I have said to you. Do not pray to any other gods. Do not speak their names. Nobody should be able to learn the names of those false gods from you.í

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.

The three annual *feasts Ė verses 14-19

v14 ĎThree times a year you must have a special party to give honour to me.í

v15 ĎYou can call the first party the *Feast of bread without *yeast. For 7 days you must eat flat bread that you make without *yeast. I ordered you to do that. And I declared the proper time for this party in the month called Abib. Remember that you came away from Egypt in the month called Abib. You must give the proper gifts to me at that time. You must not come to *worship me with empty hands.í

v16 ĎYou can call the next party the *Feast of early harvest. Bring to me my share from the first crops that you harvest.í

ĎYour next party will be at the end of the year when you have harvested everything. You can call it the *Feast when we have gathered everything.í

v17 ĎThree times each year all the men must appear in front me. I am the *LORD and I am your King.í

v18 ĎYou can give to me the blood from an animal that you killed as a gift for me. But do not give it together with anything that has *yeast in it. Do not keep the fat from these animals until the next morning.í

v19 ĎBring the best grain of your early harvest to the place where you *worship me. I am the *LORD your God.í

ĎAnd do not cook a young goat in its motherís milk.í

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.

The promise Ė verses 20-33

v20 The *LORD continued to speak to them. ĎListen to meí, he said. ĎI am sending an *angel ahead of you. He will guard you along the way. And he will bring you to the place that I have prepared for you. v21 Listen well to what he says to you. Do not refuse to obey him. He will not forgive you if you oppose him. He has my authority. v22 So listen well to what he says. Obey everything that I say. Then I will be an enemy to your enemies. And I will oppose the people who oppose you. v23 My *angel will go ahead of you. He will bring you into the country where many different kinds of people live. These people are called the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the *Canaanites, the Hivites and the Jebusites. I will kill them all. v24 Do not respect their false gods and do not *worship their false gods. Do not imitate their customs. They have made images and these are their false gods. And you must destroy those images. You must break their holy stones into pieces. v25 *Worship only me, because I am the *LORD your God. Then I will bless you. And I will give to you plenty of food and plenty of water. I will make you strong so that you do not become sick. v26 The women in your country will have healthy babies. And every woman will be able to have children. I will give to you a long life.í

v27 ĎI will send my terror ahead of you. I will confuse every nation that you meet. Then all your enemies will turn their backs to you and they will run away. v28 I will send fierce insects that can sting ahead of you. They will force out the people called the Hivites, the *Canaanites and the Hittites as you approach them. v29 But I will not force out all of them in just one year. If I did that, the country would become empty. Then the wild animals would increase and they would attack you. v30 I will force out those people slowly. Then your nation will have time to become strong. And you can possess the country.í

v31 ĎI will make safe borders for you. And the borders of your country will go from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. They will go from the *desert to the River Euphrates. You will defeat all the people who live in the country. You will defeat them and you will force them out in front of you. v32 But you must not make any agreement with them. And do not make an agreement with their false gods. v33 Do not let any of those people stay in your country. If they do remain with you, they will cause trouble for you. They will cause you to *sin against me. Certainly it will be a trap for you when they *worship their false gods.í

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.

Chapter 24

Godís special promise 1-18

v1 Then God spoke to Moses again. ĎCome up the mountain to me, the *LORD. Bring Aaron and his sons, Nadab and Abihu, with you. And bring 70 other leaders from the *Israelites. They must *worship me from a distance. v2 But, Moses, you must approach me alone, because I am the *LORD. The other men must not come near to me. And the rest of the people cannot come up the mountain with them.í

v3 Moses went and told all the *LORDís instructions and laws to the people. They all answered him together. ĎWe will do everything that the *LORD has ordered.í v4 Then Moses wrote down everything that the *LORD had said.

Moses got up early the next morning. He built an *altar on level ground near the mountain. And he erected 12 tall stones, 1 stone for each of the 12 families of the *Israelites. v5 Then Moses sent some young *Israelite men to give gifts to the *LORD. They killed the animals and they burnt them on the *altar. Also they killed young *bulls and they gave them to the *LORD as friendship gifts. v6 Moses put half of the blood from the animals in bowls. And he splashed the rest of the blood over the *altar. v7 Moses had written in a book Godís special promise to the people. Then he read to the people from that book. They answered again. ĎWe will do everything that the *LORD has said. We will obey him.í

v8 Then Moses splashed the blood from the bowl onto the people. ĎWith this blood God makes his special promise to youí, Moses told them. ĎYou have heard all the words of this special promise that the *LORD has made to you.í

v9 Moses and Aaron with Nadab and Abihu, and the 70 *Israelite leaders went up the mountain. v10 They saw *Israelís God. There was something like a floor under his feet. It seemed like the precious stone called *sapphire. It was as clear as the blue sky itself. v11 But God did not punish the *Israelite leaders. They saw God. Then they ate and they drank.

v12 The *LORD spoke to Moses again. ĎCome up the mountain to me. I want you to stay here with me for a time. I will give to you two flat stones on which I have written my *commandments. I have written on them all my laws and instructions that the people must obey.í

v13 Then Moses took his assistant, called Joshua, with him. And they went up the mountain to meet God. v14 Moses had spoken to the leaders. ĎWait here for us until we come back to youí, he said. ĎAaron and Hur are here with you. Anyone who has an argument can ask them for help.í

v15 When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it. v16 And the wonderful, bright light from the *LORD remained on *Mount Sinai. The cloud covered the mountain for 6 days. On the 7th day, the *LORD called to Moses from inside the cloud. v17 The *Israelites saw the wonderful, bright light from the *LORD. And it seemed like a fire that burned on the top of the mountain. v18 Then Moses entered the cloud and he continued to go up the mountain. He stayed on the mountain for 40 days and 40 nights.

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).

Chapter 25

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.

Introduction Ė verses 1-9

v1 Then the *LORD spoke to Moses.

v2 ĎTell the *Israelites to bring presents to me. You must receive the presents for me. Everyone should give to me when he desires to give. v3 These are the presents that I want to receive: gold, silver and *bronze. v4 Also the people should give blue, purple and bright red wool, and *linen of good quality. And they should give goatsí hair that they have made into cloth. v5 They should give the skins from male sheep and leather of good quality. They should colour those skins red. And they should give *acacia wood too. v6 Also, I need *olive oil for the lights. And I need powder that has a sweet smell. I need it for the special oil. And I need the powder to burn. v7 Also, they should give precious stones like *onyx. These will display on the priestsí special clothes.í

v8 ĎThen let them make a holy place for me. And I will live among them. v9 This holy place will be my tent called the *Tabernacle. I will show to you the design for it. You must make everything that belongs to it exactly like my design.í

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.

The special box Ė verses 10-22

v10 ĎLet them make a box out of *acacia wood. Make it about 42 inches (110 centimetres) long, 25 inches (66 centimetres) wide, and 25 inches (66 centimetres) high. v11 Cover it both inside and outside with pure gold. Put a narrow piece of gold round it. v12 Make 4 gold rings for it and fasten the rings to its 4 lower corners. Put 2 rings on one side and 2 rings on the other side. v13 Then make poles out of *acacia wood and cover them with gold too. v14 Put the poles through the rings on the sides of the box. And use the poles to carry the box. v15 The poles must remain in the rings on this box. You must not remove them. v16 I will give to you the flat stones where I have written my 10 *commandments. And you must put them in the box.í

v17 ĎMake a top or cover for it out of pure gold. Make it 42 inches (110 centimetres) long and 25 inches (66 centimetres) wide. This cover will be a place where God can forgive you. v18 At the ends of this cover make 2 *heavenly figures out of gold. You must hit the gold with a hammer in order to make all this. v19 Make the first *heavenly figure on one end of the top. And make the second *heavenly figure on the other end. These *heavenly figures must be part of the cover itself. v20 They must spread their wings over the top of the box. And their faces must look towards each other. But they must look down at the top of the box. v21 Place this cover on the box. Put the flat stones inside the box because I have written my rules on those stones for you. v22 And I will meet you there above the cover and between the 2 *heavenly figures. They stand over this special box that contains the two flat stones. That is where I have written my rules for you. And there I will give to you all my *commandments for the *Israelites.í

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).

The table Ė verses 23-30

v23 ĎMake a table out of *acacia wood. Make it 34 inches (88 centimetres long), and 17 inches (44 centimetres) wide, and 26 inches (66 centimetres) high. v24 Cover it with pure gold. And make a narrow piece of gold round the top. v25 Also make an edge round it about the width of a hand. Put a narrow piece of gold on the edge too. v26 Make 4 gold rings for the table. Fasten them to the tableís 4 corners. v27 The rings must be close to the edge. The poles that the men use in order to carry the table must go through the rings. v28 Make the poles out of *acacia wood and cover the poles with gold. Then use them to carry the table. v29 Make plates and large spoons, called ladles, out of pure gold. And make gold jugs and bowls that the priests can use. They will pour out the drinks that people will give to God. v30 Put the special bread on this table. It shows that I am present. And it should be always there in front of me.í

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).

The *lampstand Ė verses 31-40

v31 ĎMake a *lampstand out of pure gold. Hit the gold with a hammer to make the base and pole of the *lampstand. And all its cups and flowers must be a part of the same lump of gold. v32 The pole on the *lampstand should have 6 branches on the sides. Put 3 branches on one side and put 3 branches on the other side. v33 On one branch put 3 cups. You must shape them like the flowers of the *almond tree together with young flowers. Put 3 cups on the next branch too. Do this to all 6 of the branches on the *lampstand. v34 Also, on the top of the *lampstand there must be 4 cups. Shape these like *almond flowers with young flowers as well. v35 And 1 young flower must be under the first pair of branches where they join the *lampstand. A second young flower must be under the second pair of branches. And a third young flower must be under the third pair of branches. They should be under all 6 branches. v36 The flowers and the branches must be part of the *lampstand. The workers must hit them with a hammer out of the same lump of pure gold. v37 Then make seven lamps for the *lampstand. Place the lamps upon it. Then they will shine onto the space in front of it. v38 Also you need trays and scissors to look after the lamps. Make these trays and scissors out of pure gold too. v39 You will need about 77 pounds (35 kilos) of pure gold to make the *lampstand and all its equipment. v40 And you must make everything like the design that I showed you on the mountain.í

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.

Chapter 26

Godís special tent, the *Tabernacle Ė verses 1-37

The curtains Ė verses 1-14

v1 The *LORD continued to speak to Moses. ĎMake 10 curtains for my special tent. Make them out of *linen of good quality. Sew them with blue, purple and bright red wool. Let a skilful worker sew a design into them that shows *heavenly figures. v2 Make all the curtains the same size. The curtains should be 39 feet (12 metres) long and 6Ĺ feet (2 metres) wide. v3 Join 5 curtains together to make one long piece. Then join the other 5 curtains together in another long piece. v4 Make rings out of blue material. Attach the rings to the edge of the curtain at the end of the set. Do the same thing with the curtain at the end of the other set. v5 Make 50 blue rings on the curtain at the end of one set. And make another 50 blue rings on the curtain at the end of the other set. These rings should be opposite each other. v6 Then bend gold metal to make 50 gold *hooks. Use them to fasten together the rings on the curtains. Then the curtains are like one piece.í

v7 Use goatsí hair to make cloth for 11 other curtains. Place these curtains of goatsí hair over the special tent. v8 All 11 curtains must be the same size. Each curtain must be 42 feet (13 metres) long and 6Ĺ feet (2 metres) wide. v9 Join 5 of the curtains together into one set. Do the same thing with the other 6 curtains. Fold the 6th curtain in half in front of the tent. v10 Then make 50 rings along the edge of the curtain at the end of one set. Do the same thing with the other set. v11 And bend pieces of *bronze metal to make 50 *bronze *hooks. Use these *hooks to join together the rings on the curtains of the tent. Then they will be like one piece. v12 The curtains of goatsí hair will be longer than the cloth curtains. So let the extra Ĺ metre hang down the back of the tent. v13 The curtains of the tent will be Ĺ metre longer on both sides too. And the extra piece can hang over the sides of the tent in order to cover it. v14 Use red leather from male sheepís skins to make another cover for this tent. And use leather of good quality from goatsí skins to make a final cover over the tent.í

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.

The poles that support the tent Ė verses 15-30

v15 ĎMake double poles for the tent out of *acacia wood. These will support the tent. v16 Each pole must be 13 feet (4 metres) long, and the 2 poles together will be 26 inches (66 centimetres) wide. v17 Each double pole has 2 similar wooden pieces that stick out. Then you can join the poles together. Make all the poles to support the tent in this way. v18 Make 20 double poles for the south side of the *Tabernacle. v19 And make 40 silver bases to go under them. Make 2 bases for each double pole. 1 base goes under each part of the wooden pieces that stick out. v20 Make 20 double poles for the north side of the *Tabernacle too. v21 And make 40 silver bases for them as well. There must be 2 bases for each double pole. v22 Make 6 double poles for the west end of the *Tabernacle. v23 Make 2 double poles for each corner at that end. v24 These poles at the corners must be firm where they join all the way to the top. They must fit into a single ring. You must make the double poles at the corners like that. v25 So there will be 8 double poles and 16 silver bases for that end. There will be 2 bases under each double pole.í

v26 ĎAlso make bars out of *acacia wood. Make them in the shape of a cross. Make 5 bars in this shape. They are for the double poles on one side of the *Tabernacle. v27 And make 5 bars in this shape for the other side. Also make 5 bars in the shape of a cross for the west end of the *Tabernacle. v28 The middle bar of this shape should extend from one end of the tent to the other end. It will be at the centre of the double poles. v29 Cover the double poles with gold. And make gold rings to hold the bars in the shape of a cross. Also, cover these bars with gold.í

v30 ĎSet up the *Tabernacle exactly as the plan that I showed you on the mountain.í

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.

The curtain in front of the most holy place Ė verses 31-35

v31 ĎYou must make a curtain out of *linen of good quality. Sew it with blue, purple and bright red wool. A skilful worker can make a design of *heavenly figures on it. v32 Cover 4 poles of *acacia wood with gold. And stand them on 4 silver bases. Then fasten gold *hooks to the poles. v33 Hang the curtain on these *hooks. Place the special box behind the curtain, because it *represents my special promise to you. The curtain will separate the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. v34 Put the cover on the special box in the Most Holy Place. This is where I am able to forgive you. v35 Place the table outside the curtain on the north side of the *Tabernacle. And put the *lampstand opposite the table on the south side.í

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.

The entrance to Godís tent Ė verses 36-37

v36 ĎFor the entrance to the tent, make a beautiful curtain out of *linen of good quality. Sew patterns on it with blue, purple and bright red wool. Let a skilful worker make this curtain. v37 And make gold *hooks for it. Cut 5 poles of *acacia wood, and cover them with gold. Then make 5 *bronze metal bases in which these poles should stand.í

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.

Chapter 27

The *altar where the priests burnt the animals that the *Israelites gave to God Ė verses 1-8

v1 The *LORD continued to speak. ĎBuild a special *altar out of *acacia wood. Make it about 51 inches (130 centimetres) high. It should be square, about 7 feet (2.25 metres) long and 7 feet (2.25 metres) wide. v2 Make the wood stick out like a *horn at each of the upper 4 corners. These 4 *horns must be part of the *altar itself. Cover the table with *bronze. v3 Also, you should make all the tools out of *bronze that you will use at the *altar. Make *bronze pots so that you can remove the ashes in them. Also make *bronze tools so that you can move the ashes. And make *bronze bowls for the blood. Make *bronze forks for the meat. And make *bronze pans in which to carry the ashes. v4 Make *bronze bars like a metal net. It will go underneath the *altar. Make 4 *bronze rings, 1 ring at each corner of this *bronze net. v5 Put the narrow piece about half the way up the *altar. Put the *bronze net under the edge of *altar. And put it about half way up the *altar. v6 Make poles out of *acacia wood so that the men can carry this *altar. Cover the poles with *bronze metal too. v7 Put these poles through the rings. 1 pole will be on each side of the *altar when the priests carry it. v8 Make this *altar out of wooden boards so that it is like a hollow box. You must make it exactly as I showed you on the mountain.í

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.

The yard round the tent Ė verses 9-19

v9 ĎMake a yard for my special tent. The south side must be 150 feet (44 metres) long. It must have curtains of *linen of good quality. v10 Attach the curtains to 20 main *bronze posts, which should stand on 20 *bronze bases. Attach thin poles and silver *hooks to the posts, and hang the curtains from them. v11 The north side of the yard must also be 150 feet (44 metres) long. It must have 20 main *bronze posts and their 20 *bronze bases. And these main posts must have silver *hooks and thin poles on which to hang curtains too.í

v12 ĎThe west end of the yard must be about 75 feet (22 metres) wide. It must have 10 main *bronze poles and 10 *bronze bases, because it must have curtains also. v13 The east end will have the entrance towards the sunrise. It must be 75 feet (22 metres) wide as well. v14 On one side of the entrance you must put a curtain. It is about 20 feet (6.6 metres) long. It should have 3 main posts and 3 bases. v15 On the other side of the entrance put another curtain 20 feet (6.6 metres) long. It must have 3 main posts also, and their 3 bases.í

v16 ĎProvide a curtain for the entrance to the yard. Make it out of *linen of good quality. It should be 30 feet (9 metres) long. A skilful worker must make it and they must sew designs with purple, blue and bright red wool. And it must have 4 metal posts and 4 bases. v17 All the main posts round this yard also must have thin silver poles, silver *hooks and *bronze bases. v18 The yard must be about 150 feet (44 metres) long and 75 feet (22 metres) wide with *bronze bases. And its curtains should be about 7 feet (2.25 metres) high. v19 There is other equipment that people will use in the tent for any purpose. You must make all of it out of *bronze. This includes the large pins that keep the tentís main posts and the yardís main posts firmly in position.í

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.

The oil for the lamps Ė verses 20-21

v20 ĎOrder the *Israelites to bring pure oil for the lamps. They must press *olives to obtain the oil for you. Burn this oil in the lamps. They must never go out in the night. v21 They will give light in the tent where you meet me. The lamps will be outside the curtain. And the curtain is in front of the Most Holy Place with the special box. Aaron and his sons must look after the lamps. These lamps must burn in front of the *LORD. They must burn from evening until morning every day. The *Israelites must always obey this law.í

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.

Chapter 28

Clothes for the priests Ė verses 1-43

Introduction Ė verses 1-5

v1 The *LORD continued to speak to Moses. ĎTell your brother, Aaron, to come to you with his sons. Their names are Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. I have chosen their family to serve me as priests. v2 Make special clothes for your brother, Aaron, and for his sons. Then people will respect him and they will give honour to him. v3 I have given special skill to particular workers so that they can do all this work. You must tell them to make these special clothes for Aaron and his sons. And these clothes will distinguish them from other people, so that they can serve me as priests. v4 The workers must make a *breast-piece, an *ephod and a special shirt. To wear underneath these, the workers must make other shirts. And they must sew them with patterns. And they must make special cloths for the priestsí heads. Also they must make belts for them. The workers must make all these clothes for Aaron and for his sons. Then Aaron and his sons can serve me as priests. v5 The workers must use *linen of good quality. And they must sew it with very thin gold wire and with blue, purple and bright red wool.í

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).

The *ephod Ė verses 6-14

v6 ĎMake the *ephod out of *linen of good quality. The worker must sew patterns on it. The worker must use thin gold wire, and blue, purple and bright red wool. A skilful worker should make it. v7 And the *ephod must have two pieces to support it from the shoulders. Attach these pieces to two of its corners to fasten it. v8 A skilful worker must make a belt as part of the *ephod. He must make it out of the same *linen of good quality. And he must sew it with thin gold wire, as well as blue, purple and bright red wool.í

v9 ĎChoose two of the stones called *onyx. And cut the names of Israelís 12 sons on them. v10 Put their names in the order that the boys were born. Put 6 names on one stone and put 6 names on the other stone. v11 Cut their names on the stones. Do it in the same way that someone cuts other precious stones to make *seals. Then fix gold round the stones in a delicate pattern. v12 And fasten the stones onto the shoulder pieces of the *ephod. These stones *represent the 12 families of the *Israelites. Aaron must carry their names on his shoulders. Then I will remember all the families of the *Israelites for always.í

v13 ĎMake two delicate patterns of gold. v14 And make two thin chains out of pure gold. Use these to fasten the patterns of gold onto the shoulders of the *ephod.í

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.

The *breast-piece Ė verses 15-30

v15 ĎA skilful worker must make a *breast-piece. The most important priest will use it to learn my decisions. Make it like the *ephod. Make it out of *linen of good quality. And sew it in the same way. Use thin gold wire, and blue, purple and bright red wool. v16 It must be a square that is 9 inches (22 centimetres) long and 9 inches (22 centimetres) wide. Fold it double. v17 Then put 12 precious stones on it. Put 3 stones in each of 4 rows. In the first row put 3 stones called a ruby, a topaz and a beryl. v18 In the second row put 3 stones called a turquoise, a *sapphire and an emerald. v19 In the third row put 3 stones called a jacinth, an agate and an amethyst. v20 And in the 4th row put 3 more stones called a chrysolite, an *onyx and a jasper. Put each stone in a delicate gold pattern. v21 There will be 12 stones, and each stone will *represent 1 of *Israelís 12 sons. Cut 1 familyís name on each precious stone. Cut it in the manner that people cut stones for *seals.í

v22 ĎMake two gold chains like strings for the *breast-piece. v23 Make two gold rings for these chains. Fasten the rings to the two top corners of the *breast-piece. v24 Fasten the two gold chains to these gold rings. v25 And fasten the other ends of the gold chains to the two gold patterns on the shoulders. You must attach them to the pieces on the shoulder of the *ephod. Attach them at the front. v26 Make two gold rings. Attach them to the two lower corners of the *breast-piece. Attach them on the inside edge next to the *ephod. v27 Then make two gold rings. Attach them to the *ephod above the belt. v28 You must tie these rings on the *breast-piece. Tie them to the *ephodís rings with blue string. Then the *breast-piece will remain in place on the *ephod.í

v29 ĎSo whenever Aaron enters the Holy Place, he will carry the names of all *Israelís families. They will be on the *breast-piece over his heart. They will always remind me about the *Israelites. And the most important priest will use the *breast-piece to learn my decisions. v30 So you must put those small objects called *Urim and Thummim in the *breast-piece too. They will be over Aaronís heart whenever he comes to me. Then Aaron will always carry the means to learn my decisions for the *Israelites. He will carry them over his heart when he comes to me.í

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).

The special shirt under the *ephod Ė verses 31-35

v31 ĎMake a special shirt out of blue cloth for Aaron. He must wear under the *ephod. v32 It should be long like a dress. And it must have a hole for his head in its centre. Put an edge like a collar round this hole. Then the hole will not tear. v33 Put designs of fruit all round the lower edge of the shirt. Make them like the fruit called *pomegranate. And sew them with blue, purple and bright red wool. Attach gold bells between the *pomegranates. v34 There will be a gold bell, then a *pomegranate, another gold bell and another *pomegranate. They will go all round the lower edge. v35 Aaron will wear this shirt when he serves me as priest. I am the *LORD. And these bells will sound when he goes into the Holy Place to meet me. The bells will sound again when he comes out. Then he will not die.í

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.

The special cloth and gold for Aaronís head Ė verses 36-39

v36 ĎMake a narrow piece of pure gold. Cut letters in it to say the words: Ďholy for the *LORDí. v37 Attach it with a blue string to the front of the special cloth on Aaronís head. v38 Then Aaron will always wear it on the front of his head. He will be responsible for whatever holy gifts the *Israelites give to me. Then I, the *LORD, will accept their gifts. Although the people have done wrong things, I will forgive them.í

v39 ĎUse *linen of good quality to make these clothes. Use it for the shirt that Aaron wears underneath. And use it for the special cloth for his head. Someone who can sew with skill must make these clothes. And they should make a belt for the shirt too.í

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.

Clothes for Aaronís sons Ė verses 40-43

v40 ĎMake special shirts and belts for Aaronís sons. Also make cloths for their heads. Then the *Israelites will respect Aaronís sons. And the people will give honour to them. v41 Put all these clothes on your brother Aaron and on his sons. Then pour *olive oil on their heads. This will show that I have chosen them especially for this work. They are separate so that they can serve me as priests.í

v42 ĎMake short trousers out of *linen of good quality. They will cover all of the lower part of them to the upper leg. v43 Aaron and his sons must wear these short trousers whenever they enter the special tent. They must wear them when they approach the *altar. They must not show any part of their body when they serve me in the Holy Place. Then they will not be guilty and they will not die. This rule is for Aaron and the priests in his family. It is for all time to come.í

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).

Chapter 29

The priestsí preparation Ė verses 1-37

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.

1. The priests must wash and prepare Ė verses 1-9

v1 The *LORD continued to speak. ĎI have chosen these men to serve me as priests. This is how you must separate them for me. Find 1 young *bull and 2 male sheep that are perfect. v2 Use flour of good quality that you make from wheat. And make bread without *yeast. Shape some mixture into large loaves. And mix some mixture with oil to make smaller cakes. Also make some mixture into very thin long biscuits. Paint oil on their tops. v3 Put all this bread in a basket. Then give it to me as a gift together with the *bull and the 2 male sheep.í

v4 ĎBring Aaron and his sons to the entrance of the tent where you meet me. Wash them with water. v5 Then dress Aaron in the special shirt that he wears underneath. Dress him in the special shirt, the *ephod and the *breast-piece. And fasten the *ephod on him. Use its belt that the worker made especially for it. v6 Put the special cloth on his head. Take the gold plate with the special words on it. And attach it to the special cloth on his head. v7 Then take the special oil and pour it on his head. This will separate him from other people for me.í

v8 ĎDress Aaronís sons in their special shirts. v9 Put the special cloths on their heads. Then put the belts on Aaron and his sons. The priestsí work belongs to them. And this law will last for all time to come. You must separate Aaron and his sons from the other people in this way. Then they can serve me.í

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.

2. The animal that Aaron and his sons gave to God because of *sin Ė verses 10-14

v10 ĎBring the *bull to the front of the tent where we meet. Aaron and his sons must put their hands on its head. v11 Kill the animal at the entrance to the tent. Kill it in front of me v12 Take some blood from the animal. Paint it on the *horns of the *altar with your finger. Pour out the rest of the blood at the base of the *altar. v13 Then take all the fat from round the inner parts of the animal. And take the internal parts called the liver and the kidneys together with the fat. Burn this on the *altar. v14 But burn the *bullís meat, its skin and other internal parts outside the camp. You are giving this to me because of the priestsí *sin.í

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).

3. The gift to God that Aaron and his sons burnt Ė verses 15-18

v15 ĎTake one of the male sheep. Aaron and his sons must put their hands on its head. v16 Kill this animal and throw its blood against all the sides of the *altar. v17 Cut the animalís body into pieces. Wash its inner parts and the legs. Put them with the head and the other pieces. v18 Then burn the whole animal on the *altar. You are giving this animal to me as the fire burns it. And it has a pleasant smell that pleases me.í

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.

4. Aaron and his sons gave the other male sheep to God Ė verses 19-25

v19 ĎThen let Aaron and his sons place their hands on the other male sheepís head. v20 You must kill it, and put some blood on Aaronís right ear. You should also put some blood on his right handís fattest finger, and on his right footís big toe. Put blood on his sonsí right ears in the same way. And put blood on the fattest fingers on their right hands. And put it on their big toes on their right feet too. Then splash blood against each side of the *altar. v21 Take some blood from the *altar. And mix it with some special oil. This special mixture shows that I have chosen Aaron and his sons as my servants. Put some special oil on Aaron and on his clothes. Then put some special oil on Aaronís sons and on their clothes too. They are separate. And they must wear these special clothes always when they serve me.í

v22 ĎAt this event you are preparing the priests for my service. And this male sheep is part of the event. So, remove its fat, its fat tail and the fat round its inner parts. Also remove some internal parts called the liver, and both kidneys. Remove them with the fat round them. Also remove the right upper leg. v23 And take one of each kind of the special bread without *yeast that you gave to me. Take from the basket one loaf and a cake that you made with oil. Also take a thin biscuit. v24 Give this bread and all these parts of the male sheep to Aaron and his sons to hold. They will wave them in front of me as they give this gift to me. v25 Then take all these things from them. And burn these things on the *altar. Burn them with the other gifts that you burn there for me. You are giving it all to me in the fire. And it has a pleasant smell that pleases me.í

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.

5. The priestsí share Ė verses 26-34

v26 ĎTake this male sheepís front part. Raise it up as you wave it in front of me. This will be your share of the meat. v27 Aaron and his sons waved the animalís front part and its leg in front of me. In that way they gave it to me as a gift. So keep those parts separate for them to eat. v28 When the *Israelites give friendship gifts to me in the future, those parts will be the priestsí share always. This is the peopleís gift to me.í

v29 ĎAaronís special clothes will belong to his *descendants after he dies. Then each of them can wear the clothes when you pour the special oil on his head. You will prepare him to serve me as priest. And he will wear those special clothes. v30 The son who comes after Aaron as priest must wear the clothes for 7 days. He will come to the tent where we meet. And he will serve me in the Holy Place.í

v31 ĎTake the male sheep that you will kill in front of me. This is a part of Aaronís and his sonsí preparation to serve me. So you must cook the meat in a holy place. v32 Aaron and his sons must eat the male sheepís meat. And they must eat the bread that is in the basket. They must eat these things at the entrance to the tent. That is where we meet. v33 They give these things to me. And with these things they are asking me to forgive their *sins. They must do this at the time when you separate Aaron and his sons for me. This meal is a part of their preparation to serve me. So, only Aaron and his sons can eat this food. No other person has the right to eat it. v34 Suppose that they do not finish the meat and bread. Perhaps they leave some until the next morning. You must burn it. You must not eat it, because it is holy.í

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.

6. How to separate the *altar for the *LORD Ė verses 35-37

v35 ĎDo everything for Aaron and his sons that I have ordered you. Do it each day for 7 days. That will separate them for my service. v36 Kill a *bull each day and give it to me. This animalís death will pay for *sin and it will make the *altar pure. You must also rub that *altar with *olive oil to make it completely holy. v37 Do all this each day for 7 days. Then the *altar will become completely holy. And everything that touches it will be holy.í

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).

The priestís daily work in the tent where the *Israelites met God Ė verses 38-46

The gifts that the priests should give to God every day Ė verses 38-43

v38 ĎEvery day kill 2 young sheep that are a year old. Give them to God on the *altar. v39 Give 1 young sheep in the morning. Give the other young sheep when the sun goes down. v40 With the first sheep give 2ľ pounds (a kilo) of flour of good quality. You should mix this flour with 1ĺ pints (1 litre) of pure *olive oil. And pour out 1ĺ pints (1 litre) of wine that you give as a drink. v41 Kill the other sheep when the sun goes down. Give it with the same amount of flour, oil and wine as you did in the morning. Its pleasant smell will please me as the fire burns it.í

v42 ĎFor all time to come the priests must give young sheep like this daily. They must burn them in front of me every day. They must kill them at the entrance to the tent where we meet. I am the *LORD. And I will meet you there, Moses, and I will speak to you. v43 I will also meet with the *Israelites there. My wonderful bright light will shine and it will make the place holy.í

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.

The *LORDís purpose Ė verses 44-46

v44 ĎSo I will separate for myself the tent where we meet and the *altar. I will separate Aaron and his sons to serve me as priests. v45 Then I will live among the *Israelites. I will be their God. v46 And they will know that I am the *LORD, their God. I brought them away from Egypt so that I could live among them. I am the *LORD, their God.í

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.

Chapter 30

The *altar where the priests burnt powder that has a sweet smell Ė verses 1-10

1. How to make the *altar Ė verses 1-6

v1 The *LORD continued to speak. ĎMake an *altar. On this *altar the priests will burn powder that has a sweet smell. Make this *altar out of *acacia wood. v2 And make it 18 inches (45 centimetres) long, 18 inches (45 centimetres wide), and 3 feet (90 centimetres) high. Make *horns that stick out from each of its 4 corners. v3 Cover the top of the *altar, the sides of the *altar and the *horns with pure gold. And put a narrow piece of gold round the top. v4 Make 2 gold rings on the sides of the *altar. Put them below the narrow piece of gold and put them opposite each other. These rings will hold the poles so that people can carry the *altar. v5 Make the poles out of *acacia wood and cover them with gold. v6 Put the *altar in front of the curtain that hangs in the Holy Place. My special box will be behind that curtain. It will contain the flat stones on which I wrote my 10 *commandments. The cover over the special box is where I forgive people. That is where I will meet with you.í

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.

2. How to use the *altar Ė verses 7-10

v7 ĎOn this *altar Aaron must burn special powder that has a sweet smell. He must burn some for me every morning when he takes care of the lamps. v8 And he must burn some more when he lights the lamps at sunset. Then powder that has a sweet smell will burn for me every day in all the time to come. v9 Burn on this *altar only the proper powder that has a sweet smell. And do not use this *altar to burn animals or grain as gifts to me. Do not pour out on this *altar drink that you give to me. v10 On one day a year Aaron must put blood on the *altarís *horns. He must use blood from an animal that he will burn as a gift for me. He must do this every year so that I can forgive the peopleís *sin. A priest must do this for all time to come. This is because this *altar is a very holy place for me, the *LORD.í

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).

The money that the *Israelites paid to God Ė verses 11-16

v11 Then the *LORD spoke to Moses again. v12 ĎRecord the names of all the adult male *Israelites. And count themí, said God. ĎEach man must pay a tax to me, the *LORD. Then I will keep him safely. They must pay for their lives at the same time as you count them. Then they will not suffer a terrible disease when you count them. v13 Each man must cross over to the other side after you record his name. He must join the other men, whom you have counted already. At that time he must give a half *shekel to me, your *LORD. This *shekel is the official money for my holy place. The standard half a *shekel weighs about 5th of an ounce. v14 Everyone who is 20 years old or more must give this money to me, your *LORD. v15 The rich men should not give more than half a *shekel each. And the poor men should not give less than half a *shekel each. You are giving this money to me to pay for your lives. v16 You, Moses, must receive this tax from the *Israelites. And you must use it for my special Tent. Then I will always remember the *Israelites. I will remember that you have paid for your lives.í

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).

The basin where the priests can wash Ė verses 17-21

v17 Then the *LORD spoke again to Moses. v18 ĎMake a *bronze basin where the priests can wash. And make a *bronze base on which to stand the basin. Place it outside the tent where we meet, between the tent and the big *bronze *altar. And put water in the basin. v19 Aaron and his sons must wash their hands and feet with water from this basin. v20 They must wash each time that they enter my special tent. Then they will not die. Also, when they approach the *bronze *altar, they must wash with water from this basin. They are going there to serve me. They will burn gifts of animals on my behalf. v21 Each time that they give these gifts, they must wash their hands and feet. Then they will not die. This is a rule for Aaron and his family after him. It is for all the time to come.í

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).

The special oil to mark things that are for God only Ė verses 22-33

v22 Then the *LORD spoke to Moses again. v23-24 ĎYou must make a special oil. Use expensive products with a pleasant smell. Take 7 pints (4 litres) of *olive oil and mix these expensive products with it. Add 12 pounds (5.5 kilos) of a liquid called myrrh. Add 6 pounds (2.7 kilos) each of substances called cinnamon and cane. They have a pleasant smell. And add 12 pounds (5.5 kilos) of a substance called cassia. You must weigh all these against the special *shekels that you use in the Holy Place. v25 Mix these together to make a special, holy oil. You must use this oil to mark things that are for me only. This mixture will have a beautiful smell, and a skilful worker must make it. Use it to mark everything that you separate for me. v26 Pour this oil on the tent where I meet you. And pour this oil on the special box where you keep the two flat stones. I wrote my laws for all of you on those stones. v27 Pour this oil on the table with the special bread. And pour it on all the tableís equipment. And pour it on the *lampstand and all its equipment. v28 Pour the oil on the *altar and all its equipment. You burn gifts that you are giving to me on that *altar. Also, you must pour the oil on the basin and its base. v29 You must separate all those things from all other things. And they will be holy. Anything that touches these things will be holy too.í

v30 ĎThen pour this oil on Aaron and his sons. You must mark them for me with this special oil so that they can serve me as priests. v31 Speak to the *Israelites on my behalf. Tell them, ďThis must be my special oil for all time to come. v32 Do not use it on anyone else. And do not make any oil of your own in the same way. It is holy, pure and *clean. So you must think of it as separate. v33 Anyone who makes oil the same as this will not continue to belong to my people. Someone might pour it on a person who is not a priest. Then they will not continue to belong to my people.Ē í

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.

The special powder that has a sweet smell Ė verses 34-38

v34 Then the *LORD spoke to Moses again. ĎTake equal amounts of expensive substances that have a pleasant smell. Use substances called gum resin, onycha, galbanum and pure frankincense. v35 Let a skilful worker mix them to make a mixture with a pleasant smell. Put salt in this mixture to make it pure and holy. v36 Make some mixture into powder. Place this in front of the special box where I will meet with you. You must consider that this special mixture is very holy. v37 Do not make any mixture like this of your own. It is holy. It belongs to me, your *LORD. v38 You must not use it in your homes to enjoy its sweet smell. Anyone who makes anything like it will not continue to belong to my people.í

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.

Chapter 31

Bezalel and Oholiab and their assistants Ė verses 1-11

v1 Then the *LORD spoke to Moses again. v2 ĎNotice this. I have chosen Bezalel, who is Uriís son. Uri is Hurís son, and they all belong to Judahís family. v3 I have filled Bezalel with my *Holy Spirit. And I have given to him skill and knowledge so that he can create things. He can do all kinds of beautiful work. v4 He can make beautiful designs for gold, silver and *bronze. v5 He can cut precious stones and he can fit them into their right places. He can work with wood. He is an artist who can make all kinds of beautiful things. v6 And I have appointed Ahisamachís son, called Oholiab, from Danís family as his helper. I have given skill to all the men who will help Bezalel and Oholiab. Together, they can make everything about which I have told you. v7 Here is the list again.

  The tent where I will meet you.

  The special box that has the flat stones inside it. The stones remind you about my special promise.

  The cover on the box where I can forgive you.

  All the other furniture that is in the tent.

  v8 The table for the special bread, together with the tableís equipment.

  The pure gold *lampstand with its equipment.

  The *altar where you burn the powder that has a sweet smell.

  v9 The other *altar where you burn gifts that you give to me. And all the *altarís equipment.

  The basin with its base.

  v10 The special clothes that you make for Aaron the priest, and for his sons. (They will use those clothes when they serve me as priests.)

  v11 The special oil to mark things that you separate for me.

  The special powder that has a pleasant smell that you will burn for me in the Holy Place.

The skilful workers must make all these things exactly as I ordered you.í

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.

The *Sabbath Ė verses 12-18

v12 Then the *LORD spoke to Moses again. v13 ĎSay to the *Israelites, ďYou must rest on my *Sabbath days. This will be a *sign for you and for me. It will be for all time to come. Then you will know that I am the *LORD. And I will make you holy if you obey me. v14 Always rest on the *Sabbath day because it is a different day. It is my day. And anyone who uses it wrongly must die. Anyone who does any work on the *Sabbath day will not continue to be one of my people. v15 You must work for 6 days. But you must rest on the 7th day because it is the *Sabbath day. It is separate from the other days. So you must respect it on my behalf because I am the *LORD. Anyone who does any work on my *Sabbath day must die. v16 The *Israelites must remember to rest on the *Sabbath day. They must do this for all time to come. It will be a *sign to remind you about my special promise to you. And that promise lasts for all time. v17 It will be a *sign. And *Israelites, you must remember what that *sign means. You must remember that I made the heavens and the earth in 6 days. And on the 7th day, I stopped. I had finished my work, so I rested.Ē í

v18 The *LORD finished his instructions to Moses on *Mount Sinai. Then he gave Moses the two flat stones on which he had written his laws. Godís own finger wrote the words on the stones.

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).

Chapter 32

The young *bull that the *Israelites *worshipped Ė verses 1-35

Aaron makes a young *bull out of gold Ė verses 1-6

v1 The people saw that Moses stayed on the mountain for a long time. So they gathered round Aaron. ĎYou must make a god for us and he will lead us. Then he will protect usí, they said to Aaron. ĎThis man called Moses led us here from Egypt. But we do not know what has happened to him now.í

v2 Then Aaron answered them. ĎTake off the gold rings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing in their ears. Bring them all to me.í v3 So all the people took off the rings from their ears and they brought them to Aaron. v4 He received the gold rings. Then he melted them, and he made an image with that gold. He shaped it with a tool and it was like a young *bull.

Then the people spoke to each other. ĎThis is our godí, they said. ĎThis god brought us here from Egypt.í

v5 Aaron saw what was happening. So he built an *altar in front of the image. Then he announced to the people. ĎTomorrow will be a special day when we will give honour to the *LORD.í

v6 So the next day the people got up early. They killed animals to give as gifts to their false god. They burnt some animals on the *altar. And they prepared the other animals for a special meal together. Then the people sat down to eat the meal. And they ate and they drank too much. That caused them to dance in a mad manner in front of their false god.

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.

The *LORDís message to Moses Ė verses 7-10

v7 Then the *LORD spoke to Moses again. ĎGo downí, he said. ĎYou brought your people here from Egypt, but they have become very fond of *sin. v8 They have not obeyed me. They have turned away from what I ordered them. They have made an image like a young *bull, and they are *worshipping it. They killed animals and they gave them as gifts to this image. They have said to each other, ďThis is our god. This god brought us here from Egypt.Ē í

v9 ĎI have seen these peopleí, the *LORD said to Moses. ĎThey are proud, so they have stiff necks. v10 Now do not try to stop me when I express my anger against them. I will kill them. Then I will make you yourself become a great nation instead.í

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.

Mosesí prays to God Ė verses 11-14

v11 But Moses asked the *LORD to show kindness to the people. Ď*LORD, please do not express your anger against your peopleí, he said to God. ĎYou brought these people away from Egypt by means of your great power. v12 If you kill them, the *Egyptians will hear about it. The *Egyptians will say, ďTheir false god took them away from Egypt for a bad purpose. He wanted to kill them in the mountains. He wanted to remove them completely from the earth.Ē Please turn away from your fierce anger, and do not kill your people. v13 Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. You made a definite promise to them. ďI will make your children and their families become as many as the stars in the sky. I will give to them all this country and it will belong to them always.Ē í

v14 Then the *LORD changed his plans. So he did not kill his people as he had said.

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.

Moses breaks the flat stones Ė verses 15-20

v15 Moses went down the mountain and he was carrying the two flat stones in his hands. God had written his laws for his people on those stones. He had written on both sides of the stones. He had written on both the front and the back. v16 This was Godís work. God had written his *commandments on the flat stones.

v17 Then Joshua heard a lot of noise. This noise came from the people who were shouting. So he spoke to Moses. ĎIt sounds as if they are fighting in the campí, Joshua said.

v18 Moses replied to him. ĎThat is not the sound when people win a battle. And it is not the sound when people lose a battle. I hear sound from people who are singing. And they sound like crazy people.í

v19 When Moses came near to the camp, he saw the image. And the people were dancing in front of it. Then Moses became very angry and he threw the flat stones out of his hands. So the stones broke into pieces there. v20 Then Moses took the image that they had made. He burned the image in the fire and then he made it into powder. He scattered the powder on the water. And then he forced the people to drink that water.

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).

Aaronís excuse Ė verses 21-24

v21 Then Moses spoke to Aaron. ĎWhat did these people do to you? How did they cause you to lead them into such a terrible *sin?í

v22 ĎDo not be angry with me, my *Lordí, Aaron answered. ĎYou know that these people like to do evil things. v23 They said to me, ďMake us a god who will lead us. This man, Moses, led us away from Egypt. But now, we do not know what has happened to him.Ē v24 So I told them to bring to me the gold rings from their ears. ďAnyone who is wearing gold rings should take them offĒ, I said. Then they gave me their gold rings, and I threw them into the fire. And this gold image, like a young *bull, came out of the fire!í

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.

The *Levites remain loyal to God Ė verses 25-29

v25 Moses saw that the people were out of control. Aaron had let them become crazy. So now, their enemies would laugh at them. v26 Then Moses stood at the entrance to the camp and he shouted to the people. ĎAnyone who is on the *LORDís side, come to meí, he said. And men from the family called Levi came to stand with him. v27 Then Moses was very serious as he spoke to them. ĎThe *LORD, who is *Israelís God, says this to you. ďEach man must take his sword. Then you must go forward and back again through the camp. You must go from one end of the camp to the other end. Each man must kill his relative, his friend or his neighbour.Ē í

v28 The *Levites did what Moses had ordered them. And that day about 3000 people died. v29 Then Moses spoke to the *Levites. ĎYou obeyed the *LORD today when you acted against your own sons and brothers. So the *LORD has chosen you to serve him. The *LORD has *blessed you today.í

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).

Mosesí prayer Ė verses 30-35

v30 The next day Moses spoke to all the people. ĎYou have done a terrible thing. But now I will go back up the mountain to the *LORD. Perhaps I can do something so that God will not continue to punish you because of your *sin.í

v31 So Moses went back to the *LORD. ĎThese people have done a terrible thing! They have made a gold image. They made it as a false god for themselves in your place. v32 But now, please forgive them. But if you will not forgive them, then remove my name from your book.í

v33 And the *LORD replied to Moses. ĎI will remove peopleís names from my book. But I will remove only the names of those peopleís who have *sinned against me. v34 Now go. I have spoken to you already about the place where you must lead the people. And my *angel will go in front of you. But the time will come when I will punish the people. Then I will punish them because of this *sin.í

v35 So the *LORD sent a terrible disease to punish the people. He punished them because they had *worshipped the young *bull. Aaron had made that image from the gold that they gave to him.

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).

Chapter 33

The *Israelites realise their *sin Ė verses 1-6

v1 Then the *LORD continued to speak to Moses. ĎYou and the people whom you brought away from Egypt must leave this place. Go to the country that I promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob a long time ago. I made a definite promise to them that I would give the country to their childrenís families. v2 I will send an *angel in front of you. And I will force out the people who live there now. Those people are called the *Canaanites, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites. v3 Go to that country because there is plenty to eat and to drink there. But I will not go with you because I might become angry with you. You are proud people and often you do not obey me. And I might kill you on the way.í

v4 When the people heard these sad words, they were very sorry. So they took the rings out of their ears. And they did not wear the other precious stones or gold things. v5 The *LORD had said this to Moses. ĎTell the *Israelites this. ďYou are proud people and often you do not obey me. If I went with you, even for a moment, I might kill you. Now take off the precious things that you wear. Then I will decide what I will do with you.Ē í v6 So, the *Israelites took out the rings from their ears. They did not continue to wear any gold things or any precious stones. They did this on the flat land near *Mount Horeb.

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).

The Tent where Moses met God Ė verses 7-11

v7 Now Moses used to take a tent with him. And he placed it some way outside the camp. He called it the Ďtent where we meet Godí. Anyone who wanted to ask the *LORD for advice went to this tent outside the camp. v8 When Moses went out to the tent, all the people stood at the entrance to their own tents. Then they watched Moses until he went into the tent. That was where he met God. v9 As Moses went into the tent, the cloud came down from God. It stayed at the entrance to the tent while the *LORD spoke to Moses. v10 The people saw the cloud as it stayed at the entrance to the tent. Then they all *worshipped God as they stood at the entrance to their tents. v11 The *LORD spoke directly to Moses. It was like a man when he speaks to his friend. Afterwards Moses returned to the camp, but his young helper did not leave the tent. His helper was Joshua, who was Nunís son.

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).

The *LORD promises to be with Moses Ė verses 12-23

v12 Moses spoke to the *LORD. ĎYou told me to lead these peopleí, he said. ĎBut you have not told me whom you will send with me. ďI know your name and you please meĒ, you have said to me. v13 If I please you, teach me more about you. Then I can know you, and I can continue to please you. Remember that this nation is your own people.í

v14 The *LORD replied to Moses. ĎI will go with you. And I will give rest to youí, God said.

v15 Then Moses spoke to God again. ĎIf you do not go with us, do not send us away from this place. v16 Nobody will know that I and your people please you. But if you go with us, then they will know. People will see us. And they will see that I and your people are different from all the other people on the earth.í

v17 So the *LORD replied to Moses. ĎI will do what you have asked. You please me and I know your name.í

v18 Then Moses spoke again. ĎPlease show me the wonderful bright light from yourself.í

v19 And the *LORD replied to him. ĎI will make all my goodness pass in front of you. I will announce my own name, the *LORD, in front of you. I will pity anyone whom I choose. And I will be kind to them. I will love anyone whom I choose. v20 But you cannot see my face. Nobody can see me and continue to liveí, the *LORD told Moses.

v21 Then the *LORD spoke again. ĎThere is a place near me where you can stand on a rock. v22 When I pass by, I will put you in a crack in the rock. I will cover you with my hand until I have passed you. v23 Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back. But you must not see my face.í

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.

Chapter 34

The new flat stones with Godís *commandments on them Ė verses 1-9

v1 Again the *LORD spoke to Moses. ĎCut two flat stones like the first ones that I gave to you. You broke the first flat stones. But I will write the same words on these new stones. I will write the same words that were on the first flat stones. v2 Be ready tomorrow morning. Then come up *Mount Sinai. Show yourself to me on the top of the mountain. v3 I will not permit anyone to come with you. Nobody must come onto any part of the mountain. And you must not allow the sheep or the cows to eat the grass at the edge of the mountain.í

v4 So Moses cut two flat stones like the first ones. Then he went up *Mount Sinai early in the morning. He did exactly what the *LORD had told to him. And Moses carried the two flat stones in his hands. v5 Then the *LORD came down in a cloud. He stood there with Moses and he announced his name, the *LORD. v6 Then he passed in front of Moses. ĎI am the *LORD. I am the *LORD, your Godí, he announced. ĎI love my people and I am kind to them. I do not become angry quickly. I am very patient with people. And they can trust me to love them always. v7 I love 1000ís of people. And I do what I have promised. I forgive their *sin. And I forgive those people who are wicked. I even forgive those people who do wrong things against me. But I do not allow guilty people to go without punishment. When the parents do bad things, I punish their children too, and their childrenís children.í

v8 Moses knelt with his face towards the ground and he *worshipped God. v9 Moses said, ĎIf I please you, *Lord, then go with usí. ĎThese people are very proud and often they refuse to obey you. But please forgive the wicked things that we have done. Forgive our *sin, and accept us as your people.í

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.

Godís special promise Ė verses 10-28

Godís promise and how God warned Moses Ė verses 10-17

v10 The *LORD continued to speak to Moses. ĎI am making a special promise to you. I will do wonderful things in front of all your people. Nobody has ever done such wonderful things in any nation in the world. And the people who live near to you will respect this wonderful work too. They will know that I, the *LORD, am doing it on your behalf. v11 Obey what I order you today. Then I will force out the people called the Amorites, the *Canaanites and the Hittites from the country. Also I will force out the people called the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites from the country. v12 Be careful that you do not make a legal agreement with any of them. They live in the country where you are going. But if you make an agreement with them, it will become like a trap for you. v13 You must break their *altars. You must destroy the special stones where they *worship their false gods. And you must cut down the poles where they *worship their false god called Asherah. v14 You must not *worship any other god, because I am the *LORD. I am a jealous God. My name is Jealous. v15 So be careful. You must not make an agreement with those people who live in this country. They *sin when they *worship their false gods. They give animals as gifts to their false gods. And they will invite you to eat meat from those animals with them. v16 Do not choose their daughters as wives for your sons. You must not do that. Those women will teach your sons to *worship their false gods.í

v17 ĎAnd do not make metal images like their false gods.í

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.

Rules about special days and special meals Ė verses 18-26

v18 ĎRespect the special days called the *Feast of bread without *yeast. For 7 days, eat flat bread. You must make this bread without *yeast so that it does not rise. Do this in the month called Abib. Do it as I ordered you. You must remember the month called Abib. Abib was the month when you left Egypt.í

v19 ĎYour first male child belongs to me. Also, the first male that is born from your cows and from your sheep belongs to me. v20 You must kill a young sheep in the place of the first male that is born to your *donkeys. That is how you can buy them back. But if you do not give a young sheep to me, then you must break the neck of the young *donkey. In the same way, you must give to me a young sheep in the place of your first male child. You must give a gift to me when you come to *worship me. Nobody can *worship me with empty hands.í

v21 ĎYou must work 6 days each week. But you must rest on the *Sabbath day, even during the time when you plough your fields. You must rest on the *Sabbath day, even during the time for the harvest.í

v22 ĎRespect the special days called the *Feast of weeks. Bring to me the first share of the harvest of the wheat. And in the autumn, respect the special days called the *Feast of shelters. You harvest your fruit at that time.í

v23 ĎAll your men must come to *worship me 3 times each year. I am the *Lord and king, Israelís God. v24 I will force out nations ahead of you, and I will increase your territory. Then nobody will take your land during those 3 times each year.í

v25 ĎDo not give to me the blood from an animal together with bread that has *yeast in it. The meal when you remember the *Passover is very special to me. And you must not allow any of the meat from that meal to remain until the next morning.í

v26 ĎBring the best of your first crops to me, the *LORD your God.í

ĎAnd do not cook a young goat in its motherís milk.í

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.

The new flat stones Ė verses 27-28

v27 Then the *LORD said to Moses, ĎWrite down these words. I have made a special promise to you and to the *Israelites by means of these words.í

v28 Moses was on the mountain with the *LORD. He was there for 40 days and for 40 nights. He did not eat food and he did not drink water during all of that time. He wrote Godís laws for the people on the two flat stones. Then they would remember Godís special promise. Those words were Godís 10 *commandments.

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.

Moses face shone Ė verses 29-35

v29 Moses came down from *Mount Sinai. He had in his hands the two flat stones on which he had written Godís laws. He was not aware that his face shone. But it shone with a bright light because he had spoken with the *LORD. v30 Then Aaron and the *Israelites saw that Mosesí face shone. So they were afraid to come near to him. v31 But Moses called to them to come to him. So Aaron and all the other leaders came near and Moses spoke to them. v32 Afterwards, all the other *Israelites came near to him. And Moses told them all the *commandments that the *LORD had given to him on *Mount Sinai.

v33 When Moses had spoken to them, he covered his face. v34 But when he spoke to the *LORD, he removed the cover. He removed it when he went into the special tent. And he put it on again when he came out from the tent. Each time he came out, he spoke to the *Israelites. He told them what God had ordered him. v35 The *Israelites saw that his face continued to shine. So Moses continued to cover his face. He would remove the cover only when he went to speak to the *LORD.

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).

Chapter 35

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.

The *Sabbath law Ė verses 1-3 (Compare Exodus 20:8-11; 23:10-13; 31:12-17)

v1 Moses called together all the *Israelites and he spoke to them. ĎThe *LORD has ordered us to do these thingsí, he said. ĎYou must obey these rules. v2 You must work for 6 days each week. Then, the 7th day will be your holy day. It will be a special day for the *LORD, and you must rest on that day. Anyone who does any work on that day must die. v3 Do not light a fire in your homes on this *Sabbath day.í

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.

Materials and labour for Godís special tent Ė verses 4-29

Materials for the tent Ė verses 4-9 (Compare Exodus 25:1-7)

v4 Moses was speaking to all the *Israelites. ĎThis is what the *LORD has orderedí, he said. v5 ĎThe *LORD invites you to bring presents to him. Everyone who is willing should bring a present to the *LORD. If you have gold, silver or *bronze, bring some to the *LORD. v6 If you have blue, purple or bright red wool, bring that. If you have *linen of good quality, bring that. If you use goatsí hair to make cloth, then bring that. v7 Also you can bring the skins of male sheep that you have coloured red. Also you can bring leather of good quality. Or you can bring *acacia wood. v8 You can bring *olive oil for the lamps. And you can bring powder that has a sweet smell. The priests can burn the powder in front of God. Or they can mix the powder in the special oil for the priests. v9 If you have precious stones like *onyx, then bring them. We will display them on the priestís special clothes.í

The special tent and its equipment Ė verses 10-19 (Compare Exodus 25:8 Ė 27:21)

v10 ĎEveryone among you who has skill must come. You must make everything that the *LORD has ordered. v11 You must make the special tent and its cover. You must make its *hooks and the poles that support the tent. You must make the bars in the shape of a cross for it. And you must make its posts and its bases. v12 You must make Godís special box with its poles so that you can carry it. And you must make its cover, where the *LORD will forgive us. Also you must make the curtain that divides the place. And this has the special box behind it. v13 You must make the table on which you put the special bread. And you must make the poles and all the other equipment for the table. v14 You must make the *lampstand for the light. And you must make the equipment that the priests use with the *lampstand. And you must make the lamps for the *lampstand. You must mix the oil to burn in them too. v15 You must make the *altar where the priests will burn the powder. This powder has a sweet smell. And you must make the poles for the *altar so that the men can carry it. You must mix the special powder that has a sweet smell. Also, you must mix the special oil for the priests. They will use this special oil to mark things for God. And you must make the curtain for the entrance to the special tent. v16 You must make the *altar. The priests will burn the animals on that *altar. They are the animals that the people give as gifts to God. You must make its *bronze bars like a net. And make its poles and all its tools. And you must make the *bronze basin with its base. v17 You must make the curtains with their posts and their bases. They are for the yard round the tent. And you must make the curtain for the entrance to the yard. v18 You must make large pins and extra thick strings. These will help the poles and the posts to remain firm. v19 And you must make the special clothes for Aaron and for his sons to use. They must always wear those clothes when they serve the *LORD as his priests.í

Verse 10 Everyone with a skill helped to construct the tent and all its equipment.

The gifts for God Ė verses 20-29

v20 When Moses finished these instruction, all the *Israelites left. v21 Then everyone who wanted to give a gift to the *LORD, brought their gifts to Moses. They used the gifts to make the special tent and everything in it. They made the special clothes for the priests from these gifts too. v22 Both the men and the women came with presents because they wanted to give to God. They brought all kinds of gold things. And these things included beautiful little things that they wore on their clothes. They brought the rings from their ears and other rings too. And they brought beautiful gold things that they wore round their necks. They were willing to give these things as a special gift to the *LORD. v23 Everyone brought what they had. So some people brought blue, purple or bright red wool. And they brought *linen of good quality. They brought cloth that they had made out of goatsí hair. And they brought skins of male sheep that they had coloured red. And they brought leather of good quality. v24 Some people brought silver or *bronze to give to the *LORD. And anyone who had *acacia wood brought it. Then they used that wood for the work. v25 Every woman with skill made cloth and the wool with which to sew it. They brought blue, purple and bright red wool. And they brought *linen of good quality. v26 All the women with skill, who wanted to make cloth out of goatsí hair, did that too. v27 The leaders brought *onyx stones and other precious stones to attach to the *ephod. The workers attached these stones to the *breast-piece for Aaron too. v28 People also brought plants and powder that had sweet smells. They brought *olive oil for the lamps. The workers made the special powder. They made it from these things that had a sweet smell. The priests burned this powder. And they mixed the plants and powders with the oil to make the special oil. v29 The *Israelite men and the *Israelite women brought gifts to the *LORD. They brought them because they wanted to bring them. They brought these gifts for the work that they must do for the *LORD. He had told Moses everything that they must do.

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).

Bezalel and Oholiab Ė verses 30-35

v30 Then Moses told the *Israelites. ĎTake notice! The *LORD has chosen Bezalel, who is Uriís son and Hurís grandson from the Judah family. v31 He has filled Bezalel with his *Holy Spirit. The *LORD has given extra skill and knowledge to him so that he can do all kinds of beautiful work. v32 He can make beautiful designs for gold, silver and *bronze objects. v33 He can cut stones and make them beautiful. And he can work with wood. He can create all kinds of beautiful things. v34 And the *LORD has chosen Oholiab too. He is Ahisamachís son from the family called Dan. They can teach other people to do these things also. v35 God has given the skill to them so that they can do all kinds of work. They can build things and they can make designs. They have the skill to sew with blue, purple and bright red wool onto *linen of good quality. And they can make beautiful cloth. They are very skilful workers who can make beautiful designs.í

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.

Chapter 36

The people give much more than Bezalel and Oholiab need for the workĖ verses 1-7

v1 ĎBezalel and Oholiab must do the work exactly as the *LORD has ordered. And every worker to whom the *LORD has given skill, should help them. They will know how to carry out all this special work. They will construct the special place where we will *worship the *LORD.í

v2 Then Moses asked Bezalel and Oholiab to come to him. He asked every person with skill to come with them. The *LORD had given skill to many workers and they all wanted to do this work for God. v3 Moses gave to them all the gifts for God that the *Israelites had brought to him. So the workers started the work. The people had brought these gifts so that they could build a holy place for God. And the people continued to bring gifts every morning. v4 So finally, all the skilful workers who were building the Holy Place stopped their work. v5 They went and they spoke to Moses. ĎThe people are bringing more than we need for the work. We can do all the work with what we have already. We will do all that the *LORD has ordered.í

v6 Then Moses gave an order and they sent this message to the whole camp. ĎNo man or woman needs to bring more gifts to give to God for the Holy Place.í Moses told the people not to bring any gifts for the work. v7 Already, they had more than they needed to complete all the work.

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).

The *Tabernacleís construction Ė verses 8-38

v8 All the skilful men among the workmen made 10 curtains for the special tent. These skilful men sewed designs on the *linen of good quality. They sewed designs of *heavenly figures with blue and purple and bright red wool. v9 All the curtains were the same size, which was 39 feet (12 metres) long and 6Ĺ feet (2 metres) wide. v10 They joined 5 of the curtains together. Then they joined the other 5 curtains together in the same way. v11 And they made rings out of blue material. They sewed them along the edge the curtain at each end. v12 They sewed 50 rings on each curtain so that the rings were opposite each other. v13 Then they made 50 gold *hooks. They put the *hooks through the rings in order to fasten the curtains together. That made them become one big tent for the inside of the *Tabernacle.

v14 They also made 11 curtains of cloth that they made out of goatsí hair. These went on the top of the curtains that they had made out of *linen. v15 All 11 curtains were the same size, which was 42 feet (13 metres) long and 6Ĺ feet (2 metres) wide. v16 Then they joined 5 of these curtains together. And they joined the other 6 together to make another long curtain. v17 They put 50 rings along the edge of each curtain at the end. v18 And they made 50 *bronze *hooks in order to fasten the curtains together. Then the tent became one unit. v19 They also made two other covers for the tent. They made one cover out of male sheepís skins that they had coloured red. And they made the other cover out of leather of good quality.

v20 They made double poles out of *acacia wood. These poles supported the tent. v21 Each double pole was 13 feet (4 metres) high and 26 inches (66 centimetres) wide. v22 Each pole had a wooden piece that stuck out. They joined the poles together at the base with these pieces. They made all the double poles in this way. v23 They made 20 double poles for the south side of the tent. v24 And they made 40 silver bases for them. Each pole, with its piece that stuck out, fitted into a base. They joined these pieces together to make the double poles stand firmly. v25 They made 20 double poles for the north side of the tent too. v26 And they made 40 silver bases under them. And 2 bases were under each double pole. v27 They made 6 double poles for the west end of the tent. v28 And they made 2 extra firm double poles. They were for each corner at that end of the tent. v29 They joined these double poles at the corners from the lower end to the top end. This made them very strong. v30 So there were 8 double poles along that side with their 16 silver bases.

v31 They made bars in the shape of a cross out of *acacia wood. 5 of these bars went on one long side of the tent. They went across each double pole. v32 And 5 of the bars went across each double pole on the other side. They made bars in the shape of a cross. They were for the double poles on the west side also. v33 The centre bar reached the whole length of one side of the tent. v34 They covered all the poles and all the bars with gold. And they made the bars to go through gold rings on the poles.

v35 The skilful workers made the inside curtain out of *linen of good quality too. And they used blue and purple and bright red wool. They sewed the designs of the *heavenly figures onto the *linen. v36 They made 4 main poles out of *acacia wood in order to support this curtain. And they covered the poles with gold. They made gold *hooks for the poles, and they made 4 silver bases for them too. v37 They made another curtain out of *linen of good quality. This curtain was for the entrance to the tent. And the skilful workers sewed blue and purple and bright red designs onto that curtain. v38 They made 5 main poles and they covered them with gold. Then they attached gold *hooks to them in order to support the curtain. And they made 5 *bronze bases for the poles.

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.

Chapter 37

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.

Bezalel makes the equipment for Godís special tent

The special box Ė verses 1-9 (Compare Exodus 25:17-22)

v1 Bezalel made the special box out of *acacia wood. It was 43 inches (110 centimetres) long, 26 inches (66 centimetres) wide and 26 inches (66 centimetres high). v2 He covered it with pure gold, both inside the box and outside the box. And he put a narrow piece of gold round the top. v3 He made 4 gold rings and he fastened them to its 4 lower corners. So there were 2 gold rings on one side of the box. And there were 2 gold rings on the other side of the box. v4 Then he made 2 poles out of *acacia wood and he covered them with gold. v5 He put a pole into the 2 rings. There was 1 pole on each side of the special box. Then the *Levites could carry it.

v6 He made the boxís cover out of pure gold. It was 43 inches (110 centimetres) long and 26 inches (66 centimetres) wide. This cover was called Ďthe place where God forgives usí. v7 Then he hammered the gold to make two *heavenly figures. These were for the ends of the cover. v8 He made one *heavenly figure on one end of the cover. And he made the second *heavenly figure on the other end of the cover. He made the *heavenly figures and the cover out of one lump of gold. v9 The *heavenly figures spread their wings over the top of the box. And they had their faces towards each other. But they looked down at the cover, which was on top of the box.

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.

The table Ė verses 10-16 (Compare Exodus 25:23-30)

v10 Bezalel made the table out of *acacia wood. It was 34 inches (88 centimetres) long and 17 inches (44 centimetres) wide and 26 inches (66 centimetres) high. v11 He covered the table with pure gold. And he made a special narrow piece of gold round it. v12 He also made an edge round the top that was 3 inches (7.5 centimetres) wide. And he put the narrow piece of gold on the edge. v13 He made 4 gold rings for the table and he fastened them to its 4 bases. v14 He put the rings close to the special edge of the table. The rings would hold poles, and the people carried the table with these poles. v15 He made the poles out of *acacia wood and he covered them with gold. v16 He made all the things for the table out of pure gold. It had gold plates, gold dishes and gold bowls. And the priests used gold jugs. From these they would pour out the drink that the people gave to God.

The *lampstand and its equipment Ė verses 17-24 (Compare Exodus 25:31-40)

v17 Bezalel made the *lampstand out of pure gold. He hammered out its base, its pole and its cups that were like flowers. He made it all out of one lump of pure gold. v18 He made 6 branches to extend from the sides of the *lampstand. 3 branches were on one side and 3 branches were on the other side. v19 He shaped cups like the flowers of the *almond tree, both open flowers and young flowers. He shaped 3 cups on all the 6 branches that extended from the *lampstand. v20 And on the top of the *lampstand he shaped 4 more of these cups. They were like *almond flowers. v21 The first pair of branches extended from the *lampstand. He made a young flower under each pair. And he made other young flowers under each pair of branches. v22 The flowers and the branches were all one piece with the *lampstand. He made it out of pure gold. v23 He also made 7 lamps out of pure gold for the *lampstand. And also he made special scissors and trays for the lamps out of pure gold. v24 He made the *lampstand and all its equipment out of one lump of pure gold. The gold weighed about 77 pounds (35 kilos).

The *altar where the priests burnt powder that has a sweet smell Ė verses 25-29 (Compare Exodus 30:1-5)

v25 Bezalel made the *altar. The priest burned on the *altar the special powder that has a sweet smell. He made the *altar out of *acacia wood and it was square. It was 18 inches (45 centimetres) long, 18 inches (45 centimetres) wide and 36 inches (90 centimetres) high. He made *horns from the same piece of wood. They stuck out from each corner. v26 Then he covered the top, all the sides and the *horns with pure gold. And he made a narrow piece of gold that he put round it. v27 He made 2 gold rings on opposite sides. They were below the narrow piece of gold. These rings held poles so that the people could carry the *altar. v28 He made the poles out of *acacia wood too, and he covered them with gold.

v29 Bezalel also prepared the special oil for the priests. And he prepared the pure powder that had a sweet smell. This was the skilful work of a specialist.

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.

Chapter 38

The special *altar where the priests gave the animals to the *LORD Ė verses 1-7 (Compare Exodus 27:1-8)

v1 Bezalel built the special *altar out of *acacia wood. The priests burnt the animals that the *Israelites gave to God on this *altar. It was about 51 inches (130 centimetres) high. The top was square. It was 7 feet (2.25 metres) long and 7 feet (2.25 metres) wide. v2 He made *horns on it at each of the 4 corners. The *horns and the *altar were all one piece of wood. And he covered the whole *altar with *bronze. v3 He made all its equipment out of *bronze too. There were pots, special spades, bowls and forks for the meat. There were pans in order to carry away the ashes. And he made them all out of *bronze. v4 He made *bronze bars like a net to go underneath the *altar. This *bronze net was half the way up underneath the *altar. v5 Then he made 4 *bronze rings and he attached the rings to the netís 4 corners. v6 He made 2 poles out of *acacia wood and he covered these poles with *bronze. v7 Then he put the poles through the rings on each side of the *altar. Then men could carry it. He made this *altar out of boards, so that it was like a hollow box.

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.

The large *bronze basin Ė verse 8 (Compare Exodus 30:18-21)

v8 Bezalel made the *bronze basin and its *bronze base. He used the*bronze mirrors that belonged to the women. These women served God at the entrance to the special tent.

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.

The yard round Godís special tent Ė verses 9-20 (Compare Exodus 27:9-19)

v9 Next Bezalel made a fence for the yard that was round Godís special tent. The south side was 150 feet (44 metres) long. He made a curtain for it out of *linen of good quality. v10 He made 20 *bronze posts to support the curtain. And he fitted them into 20 *bronze bases. He attached thin silver poles to them. And he hung the curtain from those silver poles with silver *hooks. v11 The north side was also 150 feet (44 metres) long. He made another 20 main *bronze posts with 20 *bronze bases for them. In the same way, he hung a curtain on them. He hung the curtain from thin silver poles with silver *hooks. v12 The west end was 75 feet (22 metres) wide and had a curtain also. He hung it in the same way from thin silver poles with silver *hooks. He attached them to 10 main *bronze metal posts in 10 *bronze bases. v13 The east end, toward the sunrise, was also 75 feet (22 metres) wide. The entrance was on that side. v14 He put 3 main *bronze posts in 3 *bronze bases on each side of the entrance. And he hung a curtain that was 20 feet (6.6 metres) long on one side. v15 He hung another curtain on the other side of the entrance to the yard. The curtain was 20 feet (6.6 metres) long. And 3 main posts with 3 bases supported this curtain. v16 He used *linen of good quality in order to make all the curtains. The curtains went round the yard. v17 And the bases for all the main posts were *bronze. The *hooks and the thin poles were silver. He covered the tops of the main posts with silver too.

v18 He made the curtain that was at the entrance to the yard. He used *linen of good quality in order to make the curtain. He sewed blue, purple and bright red patterns on it. The curtain was 30 feet (9 metres) long and it was 7 feet (2.25 metres) high. It was the same height as the curtains round the yard. v19 He put 4 main *bronze posts with 4 *bronze bases to support the curtain. The *hooks and thin poles were silver. And he covered the tops of the main posts with silver. v20 Large *bronze pins kept Godís special tent in place. The curtains were round the yard. And the pins kept the curtains in the right position.

The valuable metals that the workers used Ė verses 21-31

v21 Moses ordered the men from the family called Levi to keep the records. And Ithamar must direct them. He was the son of Aaron the priest. They must record all the amounts of the material that the workers used to build Godís special tent. This special tent contained the flat stones on which God had written his laws. The laws on these flat stones reminded everyone about Godís special promise to the people. v22 It was Bezalel, who was Uriís son and Hurís grandson, who directed the work. He was from the family called Judah. And Bezalel made everything that the *LORD had ordered Moses. v23 Oholiab was the son of Ahisamach. And Oholiab was from the family called Dan. Oholiab helped Bezalel. He was a skilful artist and he designed things well. He was also very skilful. He sewed with blue, purple and bright red wool on *linen of good quality. v24 The people had given the gold freely for all the work that these workers did for the holy place. The weight of all the gold was almost 1 ton (1000 kilos). But they weighed this gold as *talents and *shekels. They used those special *talent and *shekel measurements only in Godís holy place.

v25 Moses had counted all the men earlier and each man gave silver as his tax. The total silver weighed more than 3ľ tons (3430 kilos). They weighed it with the special *talents and *shekels. v26 Each man paid one half of a special *shekel. And there were 603 550 men who were 20 years old or more. v27 They used the silver to make the bases for the walls of the Holy Place and for the curtain. There were 100 bases, so they used 100 silver *talents. That is 1 *talent for each base. v28 The workers used the silver *shekels to make the *hooks. And they used more silver *shekels to cover the thin poles and the tops of the main poles.

v29 The people had given the *bronze freely and it weighed more than 2ľ tons (2425 kilos). They weighed it with the special *talents and *shekels also. v30 The workers used some *bronze to make the bases for the entrance to Godís tent. And they used some more for the *bronze *altar with its *bronze net underneath. And they used *bronze for all its tools. v31 They used some *bronze for the bases for the walls of curtains. Those curtains were for the yard round the special tent. And they used some *bronze for the bases at the entrance to the yard. They used the rest of the *bronze to make all the pins for the tent. These pins held firmly the poles and the posts in Godís special tent. And they held firmly the walls of curtains round it.

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.

Chapter 39

The priestsí clothes Ė verses 1-31 (Compare Exodus 28:2-28)

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.

Bezalel and his workers make the clothes

v1 Bezalel and his workers made special clothes for the priests. The workers sewed them with blue, purple and bright red wool. They made beautiful clothes for Aaron, exactly as the *LORD had ordered Moses.

1. The *ephod Ė verses 2-7 (Compare Exodus 28:6-14)

v2 The workers made the *ephod out of *linen of good quality. And they sewed designs onto it with thin gold wire, and with blue, purple and bright red wool. v3 They hammered the gold in order to make it very thin. And then they cut it into thin wires. The skilful workers sewed the *linen. They used this gold wire. They also used blue, purple and bright red wool. v4 They made pieces for the shoulders of the *ephod. And they attached these pieces to two of the corners of the *ephod. Then they fastened it. v5 They made a belt that went on the *ephod. They made it with skill out of the same *linen. And they sewed similar designs onto it with gold wire, and with blue, purple and bright red wool. They did all this exactly as the *LORD had ordered Moses.

v6 They fixed the *onyx stones into gold patterns. And they cut the names of Israelís sons on the stones. v7 Then they fastened these precious stones on the pieces of the shoulders of the *ephod. They did this so that the *LORD would never forget the *Israelites. They did everything as the *LORD had ordered Moses.

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).

2. The *breast-piece Ė verses 8-21 (Compare Exodus 28:15-30)

v8 Bezalel and his skilful workers made the *breast-piece. They made it out of *linen of good quality. And they sewed it with gold wire, and with blue, purple and bright red wool. v9 They made it square. It was 9 inches (22 centimetres) long and 9 inches (22 centimetres) wide, and they folded it in half. v10 Then they attached four rows of precious stones to it. In the first row they put 3 stones called a ruby, a topaz and a beryl. v11 In the second row they put 3 stones called a turquoise, a *sapphire and an emerald. v12 In the third row they put 3 stones called a jacinth, an agate and an amethyst. v13 And in row 4 they put 3 stones called a chrysolite, an *onyx and a jasper. They made delicate gold patterns to hold each precious stone. Then they attached the stones to the cloth. v14 There were 12 stones. There was 1 stone for the name of each of Israelís 12 sons. And they cut 1 familyís name on each stone. They cut it in the manner that people cut stones for *seals.

v15 They made two chains out of pure gold to go on the *breast-piece. The chains were like strings. v16 They made two gold patterns and two gold rings. Then they fastened each ring to a corner at the top of the *breast-piece. v17 And they fastened the two gold chains to these rings at the corners of the *breast-piece. v18 They fastened the other ends of the chains to the two gold patterns. Then they attached these patterns to the shoulders of the *ephod at the front. v19 They made two more gold rings. They attached them to the lower corners of the *breast-piece. These rings were on the inside edge next to the *ephod. v20 Then they made two other gold rings that they attached to the *ephod. These rings were above and very close to the *ephodís belt. v21 They tied the rings on the *breast-piece to the rings on the *ephod. They used blue string to tie them. Also they attached it to the belt. Then, the *breast-piece did not swing out from the *ephod. They did all this work as the *LORD had ordered Moses.

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.

3. The special shirt under the *ephod Ė verses 22-26 (Compare Exodus 28:31-35)

v22 A skilful worker made blue cloth for the most important priestís special shirt. It was like a dress. He wore under the *ephod. v23 It had a hole in the centre through which he put his head. The worker put a special edge, like a collar, round the hole. Then the hole would not tear. v24 They sewed designs round the lower edge of the special shirt. They used blue, purple and bright red wool. The designs were of fruit called *pomegranates. v25 Then they made pure gold bells. They attached them round the lower edge of the special shirt too. They put the bells between the *pomegranates. v26 They sewed a *pomegranate and then put a bell. Then they sewed another *pomegranate and another bell all round the lower edge. The most important priest must wear this special shirt when he did his duties in the special tent. That was what the *LORD ordered Moses.

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.

4. Other clothes for the priests Ė verses 27-31 (Compare Exodus 28:36-43)

v27 Skilful workers made other shirts for Aaron and his sons to wear. They made the shirts out of *linen of good quality. v28 And they used the same *linen to make the special hat for Aaron. They used the *linen for the other hats and the other clothes too. v29 Also they used it for the belts. The sewed the belts with designs in blue, purple and bright red wool. They did it exactly as the *LORD had ordered Moses.

v30 They made the special narrow piece out of pure gold. Then they cut words on it, in the same way that people cut words on a *seal. ĎHoly for the *LORDí, it said. v31 They attached this narrow piece of gold to the special hat. They attached it with a blue string. They did everything as the *LORD had ordered Moses.

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).

Moses examines the *Tabernacle Ė verses 32-43

v32 So they completed the work on Godís special tent called the *Tabernacle. The *Israelites did everything exactly as the *LORD had ordered Moses. v33 Then they brought everything to Moses. They brought the tent and all its furniture to him. This included its *hooks, its double poles and its bars in the shape of a cross. And it included its main poles and their bases. v34 They brought the covers too. They made one cover out of male sheepís skins that they had coloured red. They made the other cover out of leather of good quality. They also brought the curtain that would hang in front of the special box. v35 And they brought this special box that was to remind the people. They brought its poles, and its cover where God can forgive people. v36 They brought the table with all its equipment, which included the holy bread. v37 And they brought the pure gold *lampstand with its row of lamps, and all its equipment. They did not forget the oil for the lights. v38 They brought the gold *altar. On this *altar they would burn the powder that has a sweet smell. And they brought the special sweet oil to pour on people and on things. (This oil would mark them as separate for the *LORD.) They brought the powder to burn with a sweet smell. And they brought the curtain for the entrance to the tent. v39 They brought the *bronze *altar with its *bronze bars like a net. And they brought its poles and all its tools. Also they brought the basin with its base. v40 They brought the curtains with their main posts and bases. These were for the wall round the yard. And they brought the other curtain for the entrance to the yard. Also, they brought the strong strings and metal pins that support the walls. So they brought all the furniture for Godís special tent. v41 They brought the clothes for the priests who served in the Holy Place too. They were the special clothes for Aaron, who was the most important priest. And the special clothes for his sons when they served as priests too.

v42 The *Israelites had done all the work exactly as the *LORD had ordered Moses. v43 Then Moses examined the work. He saw that the workers had done it perfectly. It was exactly as the *LORD had told him. So Moses *blessed them.

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

Chapter 40

Moses puts Godís special tent into its place and the *Israelites give it to God Ė verses 1-38

God gave instructions about how to place the special tent Ė verses 1-15

v1 Then the *LORD spoke to Moses again. v2 ĎPut the special tent into its place. Do it on the first day of the year. The tent is the place where I will meet you. v3 Place the special box in the tent because it *represents my special promise to you. Place the box behind the special curtain. v4 Bring the table inside the tent and put its equipment on it. Then bring the *lampstand inside the tent too, and attach its lamps to it. v5 Then put the gold *altar where you will burn powder. The powder has a sweet smell. You must place the *altar in front of the special box. And put the curtain across the entrance to my tent.í

v6 ĎAt the entrance to my tent, place the *altar where you will burn the gifts for me. You will burn the gifts there that the people give to me. v7 Place the basin between the special tent and this *altar. And put water in the basin. v8 Surround the tent with the wall of curtains. These will form a yard round the tent. And put the other curtain at the entrance to the yard.í

v9 ĎTake the special sweet oil. Mark the tent and everything in it with the oil. This will show that the tent and all its furniture are separate for me. It will be holy. v10 Mark the *altar where you burn my gifts. And mark all its tools too. This will show that the *altar is separate for me. It is very holy. v11 Mark the basin and its base too. They are separate for me also.í

v12 ĎBring Aaron and his sons to the entrance of the special tent. Wash them with water. v13 Then dress Aaron in the special holy clothes. Mark him with the special sweet oil and separate him for me. Then he can serve me as priest. v14 Bring his sons and dress them in their special clothes too. v15 Then mark them with the special oil exactly as you marked their father. Then they can serve me as priests too. When you mark them, this will separate their family. Their family will work for me as priests. They will continue to do that for all time.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.

Moses obeys Godís instructions Ė verses 16-33

v16 Moses did everything as the *LORD had ordered him. v17 So he put the tent in its place. It was the first day of the first month in the second year. v18 Moses put the bases in place and he erected the double poles in them. He put in the bars that were in the shape of a cross. And he erected the main poles. v19 Then he spread the first cover over the tent. And he put the outer cover over that. He did it as the *LORD had ordered him.

v20 God had written his laws on two flat stones. Now Moses took those flat stones and he placed them in the special box. He attached its poles to the special box. And he put the cover on the special box. This cover was where God would forgive his people. v21 Then Moses brought the special box into the special tent. And he hung the curtain to hide the special box. It contained the flat stones with Godís laws on them. Moses did this as the *LORD had ordered him.

v22 Moses placed the table for the special bread in the tent. He put it on the north side of the Holy Place, outside the curtain. v23 He arranged the bread on the table in front of the *LORD. Moses did this as the *LORD had ordered him.

v24 Moses placed the *lampstand in the tent too. He put it on the south side of the Holy Place. It was opposite the table. v25 He attached the lamps in front of the *LORD. Moses did this as the *LORD had ordered him.

v26 Moses placed the gold *altar in the tent also. They would burn the special powder that has a sweet smell on this *altar. He placed the gold *altar in front of the curtain. v27 Then he burned the special powder on it to make a sweet smell. Moses did it as the *LORD had ordered him. v28 Then Moses hung the curtain at the entrance to Godís special tent.

v29 Next Moses took the *altar where they would burn gifts. He put it outside the entrance to the special tent. And he gave gifts to God on it. He killed the animals and he burnt them there on Godís behalf. And he gave the gifts of grain too. Moses did everything as the *LORD had ordered him.

v30 Moses placed the *bronze basin between the special tent and the *altar. He put water with which to wash in the basin. v31 Aaron and his sons used it to wash their hands and their feet. v32 They always washed themselves when they entered Godís special tent. And they washed themselves when they approached the *altar with gifts. They did this as the *LORD had ordered Moses.

v33 Then Moses hung the curtain wall round the yard. This yard surrounded Godís special tent and the *altar. Then he hung the curtain at the entrance to the yard. So Moses finished the work.

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.

The wonderful bright light that shone from the *LORD Ė verses 34-38

v34 Then the cloud covered Godís special tent. The wonderful bright light filled the special tent because the *LORD was present there. v35 And Moses could not enter the special tent because the *LORDís wonderful bright light filled it.

v36 The *Israelites started all their journeys on the day that God lifted the cloud from above Godís special tent. v37 But if the cloud stayed there, they did not go anywhere. They stayed in that place until God lifted the cloud again. Then they followed the cloud. v38 So the *LORD was with them always. His cloud was above the holy tent during the day. And fire was in the cloud at night. Every *Israelite saw the cloud during all their journeys.

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.

Word List

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.

Book List

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.

Bible versions

New International Version study Bible

New International readerís version 1998

New Light Bible

Todayís English Version

New English Bible

Jerusalem Bible

Contemporary English Version

 

© 2013, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is in EasyEnglish Level B (2800 words).

August 2013

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