Part nine of Exodus will be the final part in Exodus and details the Israelites getting the job done that they had been given to do by God. At this point, they have their instructions on how everything from earlier in Exodus was supposed to be put together. Most of these chapters simply outline how it was done, so I won’t get into the weeds on that. there were a few things bearing special mention, so let me get into those.
All the men and women, the people of Israel, whose heart moved them to bring anything for the work that the LORD had commanded by Moses to be done brought it as a freewill offering to the LORD.
I thought this way of including that the women were a part of this so specifically was nice. A lot of the text implies that the women were there but only when looking at these parts of the language in the way that is outlined way back in Genesis. This passage also comes just after one about the skilled women who spun all the cloth.
A few paragraphs later, Moses has to tell them to stop giving things for the tabernacle and everything else because there are more than enough supplies. It reminded me of how there doesn’t seem to be any cause these days that gets such an overwhelming response.
He made the basin of bronze and its stand of bronze, from the mirrors of the ministering women who ministered in the entrance of the tent of meeting.
This prompted a little research. First, I went to the commentaries, but they were no help. Both of the commentaries that I had been using have “assembled” instead of “ministered”. Then I went to Bible Hub and its concordance which shows that several of the other translations use “serve” instead. The concordance section has several translataions for the word, most of which are military terms such as “mustered”, “gone to war”, and “waged war”. Of course, I doubt that they were there to war against it, so what were they doing? Given the word that was used, they could have been guarding the tent, but there’s no way to be sure.
A Google search didn’t turn up much more, except a very interesting post from the Tikkun Daily Blog about the possible prior existence of female rabbis. All in all, there’s no great explanation of what these women’s ministry may have looked like or what kind of service they did. The post makes an interesting plea to not assume that women of this time were simply meant to be baby-makers and treated like they were not capable of anything. They are mysterious, but they are there.
Finally, in Chapter 40, God tells Moses how and when to put everything together and Moses does it just that way. Then God begins to “dwell” in the tent of meeting:
Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. Throughout all their journeys, whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the people of Israel would set out. But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out till the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the LORD was on the tabernacle by day, and fire was in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel throughout all their journeys.
So there are my feelings and impressions on chapters 35-40 of Exodus. Have you read it? What do you think?