In part seven of the Exodus series brings us to the extensive instructions that God gives to Moses on how to build all kinds of things.
Here we have Moses coming back down the mountain again, probably with Aaron and telling the people what happened. He did just receive the Ten Commandments and a bunch of other laws about how to live, it’s probably for the best that he didn’t keep that to himself.
He also had a big feast with a bunch of the elders, no real indication whether or not elders are all male in the text or the exhaustive concordance, but the pattern of indicating male members only doesn’t appear, so I think it’s safe to assume that the women were up here as well. This is yet another spot where the people of Israel say that they agree to do whatever God wants them to.
I have to admit, that little pattern and that the plurals don’t actually indicate gender without it has helped take a lot of the anti-woman bite out of some of the story so far. I know it’s still not entirely flattering for women, but it’s not flattering for men either. Yeah, women aren’t getting much credit for their contributions, but they weren’t as totally left out as it has been presented in the past to me.
Then God gets very specific about how to construct some things, these things are
- collecting money for and constructing a sanctuary
- the ark of the covenant
- a mercy seat
- a table
- a lampstand
- a tabernacle
- a bronze altar
- a court for the tarbernacle
- oil for the lamp
- garments for the priests, which include:
- a breastpiece of judgement that has the names of all the tribes “to bring them into regular remembrance before the Lord”
- a special blue robe so that he does not die after meeting with the Lord
- some undergarments to make sure nothing is exposed
- how Aaron and his sons should be ordained
- certain ritual offerings
- an altar of incense
- a census tax for everyone over twenty
- a bronze basin
- how to anoint oil and incense
I thought it was interesting that the table is supposed to regularly have “the bread of the Presence” on it, the tail end of the tabernacle started to sound the way Catholic confessionals look on television, and that everything was so detailed.
In the event you get through the detailed descriptions of everything the newly freed Israelites are supposed to make for God and wonder how they are about to do it, you wouldn’t be alone. No worries, though, of course God thought of that too. He begins this chapter by letting Moses know that He gave a bunch of people the ability to do these things.
The chapter ends with an explanation of the Sabbath, though not quite as detailed as the other explanations, and then gives him those two famous tablets “of the testimony” as it is written in my Bible.
So there are my feelings and impressions on chapters 24-31 of Exodus. Have you read it? What do you think?