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Exodus 25-31 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 25

Collection of Materials. The Lord spoke to Moses: Speak to the Israelites: Let them receive contributions for me. From each you shall receive the contribution that their hearts prompt them to give me. These are the contributions you shall accept from them: gold, silver, and bronze; violet, purple, and scarlet yarn; fine linen and goat hair; rams’ skins dyed red, and tahash[a] skins; acacia wood; oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense; onyx stones and other gems for mounting on the ephod and the breastpiece. They are to make a sanctuary for me, that I may dwell in their midst. According to all that I show you regarding the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of its furnishings, so you are to make it.

Plan of the Ark. 10 You shall make an ark of acacia wood, two and a half cubits[b] long, one and a half cubits wide, and one and a half cubits high. 11 Plate it inside and outside with pure gold, and put a molding of gold around the top of it. 12 Cast four gold rings and put them on the four supports of the ark, two rings on one side and two on the opposite side. 13 Then make poles of acacia wood and plate them with gold. 14 These poles you are to put through the rings on the sides of the ark, for carrying it; 15 they must remain in the rings of the ark and never be withdrawn. 16 In the ark you are to put the covenant which I will give you.

17 You shall then make a cover[c] of pure gold, two and a half cubits long, and one and a half cubits wide. 18 Make two cherubim[d] of beaten gold for the two ends of the cover; 19 make one cherub at one end, and the other at the other end, of one piece with the cover, at each end. 20 The cherubim shall have their wings spread out above, sheltering the cover with them; they shall face each other, with their faces looking toward the cover. 21 This cover you shall then place on top of the ark. In the ark itself you are to put the covenant which I will give you. 22 There I will meet you and there, from above the cover, between the two cherubim on the ark of the covenant, I will tell you all that I command you regarding the Israelites.

The Table. 23 You shall also make a table of acacia wood, two cubits long, a cubit wide, and a cubit and a half high. 24 Plate it with pure gold and make a molding of gold around it. 25 Make a frame[e] for it, a handbreadth high, and make a molding of gold around the frame. 26 You shall also make four rings of gold for it and fasten them at the four corners, one at each leg. 27 The rings shall be alongside the frame as holders for the poles to carry the table. 28 These poles for carrying the table you shall make of acacia wood and plate with gold. 29 You shall make its plates[f] and cups, as well as its pitchers and bowls for pouring libations; make them of pure gold. 30 On the table you shall always keep showbread set before me.

The Menorah. 31 You shall make a menorah[g] of pure beaten gold—its shaft and branches—with its cups and knobs and petals springing directly from it. 32 Six branches are to extend from its sides, three branches on one side, and three on the other. 33 [h]On one branch there are to be three cups, shaped like almond blossoms, each with its knob and petals; on the opposite branch there are to be three cups, shaped like almond blossoms, each with its knob and petals; and so for the six branches that extend from the menorah. 34 On the menorah there are to be four cups,[i] shaped like almond blossoms, with their knobs and petals. 35 The six branches that go out from the menorah are to have a knob under each pair. 36 Their knobs and branches shall so spring from it that the whole will form a single piece of pure beaten gold. 37 [j]You shall then make seven lamps for it and so set up the lamps that they give their light on the space in front of the menorah. 38 These, as well as the trimming shears and trays,[k] must be of pure gold. 39 Use a talent[l] of pure gold for the menorah and all these utensils. 40 See that you make them according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.

Chapter 26

The Tent Cloth. The tabernacle itself you shall make out of ten sheets[m] woven of fine linen twined and of violet, purple, and scarlet yarn, with cherubim embroidered on them. The length of each shall be twenty-eight cubits, and the width four cubits; all the sheets shall be of the same size. Five of the sheets are to be joined one to another; and the same for the other five. Make loops of violet yarn along the edge of the end sheet in one set, and the same along the edge of the end sheet in the other set. Make fifty loops along the edge of the end sheet in the first set, and fifty loops along the edge of the corresponding sheet in the second set, and so placed that the loops are directly opposite each other. Then make fifty clasps of gold and join the two sets of sheets, so that the tabernacle forms one whole.

Also make sheets woven of goat hair for a tent[n] over the tabernacle. Make eleven such sheets; the length of each shall be thirty cubits, and the width four cubits: all eleven sheets shall be of the same size. Join five of the sheets into one set, and the other six sheets into another set. Use the sixth sheet double at the front of the tent.[o] 10 Make fifty loops along the edge of the end sheet in one set, and fifty loops along the edge of the end sheet in the second set. 11 Also make fifty bronze clasps and put them into the loops, to join the tent into one whole. 12 There will be an extra half sheet of tent covering, which shall be allowed to hang down over the rear of the tabernacle. 13 Likewise, the sheets of the tent will have an extra cubit’s length to be left hanging down on either side of the tabernacle to cover it. 14 Over the tent itself make a covering of rams’ skins dyed red, and above that, a covering of tahash skins.

The Framework. 15 You shall make frames for the tabernacle, acacia-wood uprights. 16 The length of each frame is to be ten cubits, and its width one and a half cubits. 17 Each frame shall have two arms[p] joined one to another; so you are to make all the frames of the tabernacle. 18 Make the frames of the tabernacle as follows: twenty frames on the south side, 19 with forty silver pedestals under the twenty frames, two pedestals under each frame for its two arms; 20 twenty frames on the other side of the tabernacle, the north side, 21 with their forty silver pedestals, two pedestals under each frame. 22 At the rear of the tabernacle, to the west, six frames, 23 and two frames for the corners of the tabernacle, at its rear. 24 These two shall be double at the bottom, and likewise double at the top, to the first ring. That is how both corner frames are to be made. 25 Thus, there shall be eight frames, with their sixteen silver pedestals, two pedestals under each frame. 26 Also make bars of acacia wood: five for the frames on one side of the tabernacle, 27 five for those on the other side, and five for those at the rear, to the west. 28 The center bar, at the middle of the frames, shall reach across from end to end. 29 Plate the frames with gold, and make gold rings on them as holders for the bars, which are also to be plated with gold. 30 You shall set up the tabernacle according to its plan, which you were shown on the mountain.

The Veils. 31 You shall make a veil woven of violet, purple, and scarlet yarn, and of fine linen twined, with cherubim embroidered on it. 32 It is to be hung on four gold-plated columns of acacia wood, which shall have gold hooks[q] and shall rest on four silver pedestals. 33 Hang the veil from clasps. The ark of the covenant you shall bring inside, behind this veil which divides the holy place from the holy of holies. 34 Set the cover on the ark of the covenant in the holy of holies.

35 Outside the veil you shall place the table and the menorah, the latter on the south side of the tabernacle, opposite the table, which is to be put on the north side. 36 For the entrance of the tent make a variegated[r] curtain of violet, purple, and scarlet yarn and of fine linen twined. 37 Make five columns of acacia wood for this curtain; plate them with gold, with their hooks of gold; and cast five bronze pedestals for them.

Chapter 27

The Altar for Burnt Offerings. You shall make an altar of acacia wood, on a square, five cubits long and five cubits wide; it shall be three cubits high. At the four corners make horns[s] that are of one piece with the altar. You shall then plate it with bronze. Make pots for removing the ashes, as well as shovels, basins, forks, and fire pans; all these utensils you shall make of bronze. Make for it a grating,[t] a bronze network; make four bronze rings for it, one at each of its four corners. Put it down around the altar, on the ground. This network is to be half as high as the altar. You shall also make poles of acacia wood for the altar, and plate them with bronze. These poles are to be put through the rings, so that they are on either side of the altar when it is carried. Make the altar itself in the form of a hollow[u] box. Just as it was shown you on the mountain, so it is to be made.

Court of the Tabernacle. You shall also make a court for the tabernacle. On the south side the court shall have hangings, of fine linen twined, a hundred cubits long, 10 with twenty columns and twenty pedestals of bronze; the hooks and bands on the columns shall be of silver. 11 On the north side there shall be similar hangings, a hundred cubits long, with twenty columns and twenty pedestals of bronze; the hooks and bands on the columns shall be of silver. 12 On the west side, across the width of the court, there shall be hangings, fifty cubits long, with ten columns and ten pedestals. 13 The width of the court on the east side shall be fifty cubits. 14 On one side there shall be hangings to the extent of fifteen cubits, with three columns and three pedestals; 15 on the other side there shall be hangings to the extent of fifteen cubits, with three columns and three pedestals.

16 At the gate of the court there shall be a variegated curtain, twenty cubits long, woven of violet, purple, and scarlet yarn and of fine linen twined. It shall have four columns and four pedestals.

17 All the columns around the court shall have bands and hooks of silver, and pedestals of bronze. 18 The court is to be one hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide, and five cubits high. Fine linen twined must be used, and the pedestals must be of bronze. 19 All the fittings of the tabernacle, whatever be their use, as well as all its tent pegs and all the tent pegs of the court, must be of bronze.

Oil for the Lamps. 20 You shall command the Israelites to bring you clear oil of crushed olives, to be used for the light, so that you may keep lamps burning always. 21 From evening to morning Aaron and his sons shall maintain them before the Lord in the tent of meeting, outside the veil which hangs in front of the covenant. This shall be a perpetual statute for the Israelites throughout their generations.

Chapter 28

The Priestly Vestments. Have your brother Aaron, and with him his sons, brought to you, from among the Israelites, that they may be my priests: Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons. For the glorious adornment of your brother Aaron you shall have sacred vestments made. Therefore, tell the various artisans whom I have endowed with skill[v] to make vestments for Aaron to consecrate him as my priest. These are the vestments they shall make: a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a brocade tunic, a turban, and a sash. In making these sacred vestments which your brother Aaron and his sons are to wear in serving as my priests, they shall use gold, violet, purple, and scarlet yarn and fine linen.

The Ephod and Breastpiece. The ephod[w] they shall make of gold thread and of violet, purple, and scarlet yarn, embroidered on cloth of fine linen twined. It shall have a pair of shoulder straps joined to its two upper ends. The embroidered belt of the ephod shall extend out from it and, like it, be made of gold thread, of violet, purple, and scarlet yarn, and of fine linen twined.

Get two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel: 10 six of their names on one stone, and the names of the remaining six on the other stone, in the order of their birth. 11 As a gem-cutter engraves a seal, so shall you have the two stones engraved with the names of the sons of Israel and then mounted in gold filigree work. 12 Set these two stones on the shoulder straps of the ephod as memorial stones of the sons of Israel. Thus Aaron shall bear their names on his shoulders as a reminder before the Lord. 13 Make filigree rosettes of gold, 14 as well as two chains of pure gold, twisted like cords, and fasten the cordlike chains to the filigree rosettes.

15 The breastpiece[x] of decision you shall also have made, embroidered like the ephod with gold thread and violet, purple, and scarlet yarn on cloth of fine linen twined. 16 It is to be square when folded double, a span high and a span wide. 17 [y]On it you shall mount four rows of precious stones: in the first row, a carnelian, a topaz, and an emerald; 18 in the second row, a garnet, a sapphire, and a beryl; 19 in the third row, a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst; 20 in the fourth row, a chrysolite, an onyx, and a jasper. These stones are to be mounted in gold filigree work, 21 twelve of them to match the names of the sons of Israel, each stone engraved like a seal with the name of one of the twelve tribes.

22 When the chains of pure gold, twisted like cords, have been made for the breastpiece, 23 you shall then make two rings of gold for it and fasten them to the two upper ends of the breastpiece. 24 The gold cords are then to be fastened to the two rings at the upper ends of the breastpiece, 25 the other two ends of the cords being fastened in front to the two filigree rosettes which are attached to the shoulder straps of the ephod. 26 Make two other rings of gold and put them on the two lower ends of the breastpiece, on its edge that faces the ephod. 27 Then make two more rings of gold and fasten them to the bottom of the shoulder straps next to where they join the ephod in front, just above its embroidered belt. 28 Violet ribbons shall bind the rings of the breastpiece to the rings of the ephod, so that the breastpiece will stay right above the embroidered belt of the ephod and not swing loose from it.

29 Whenever Aaron enters the sanctuary, he will thus bear the names of the sons of Israel on the breastpiece of decision over his heart as a constant reminder before the Lord. 30 In this breastpiece of decision you shall put the Urim and Thummim,[z] that they may be over Aaron’s heart whenever he enters the presence of the Lord. Thus he shall always bear the decisions for the Israelites over his heart in the presence of the Lord.

Other Vestments. 31 The robe of the ephod you shall make entirely of violet material. 32 It shall have an opening for the head in the center, and around this opening there shall be a selvage, woven as at the opening of a shirt, to keep it from being torn. 33 At the hem at the bottom you shall make pomegranates, woven of violet, purple, and scarlet yarn and fine linen twined, with gold bells between them; 34 a gold bell, a pomegranate, a gold bell, a pomegranate, all around the hem of the robe. 35 Aaron shall wear it when ministering, that its sound may be heard as he enters and leaves the Lord’s presence in the sanctuary; else he will die.

36 You shall also make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it, as on a seal engraving, “Sacred to the Lord.” 37 This plate is to be tied over the turban with a violet ribbon in such a way that it rests on the front of the turban, 38 over Aaron’s forehead. Since Aaron bears whatever guilt the Israelites may incur in consecrating any of their sacred gifts, this plate must always be over his forehead, so that they may find favor with the Lord.

39 The tunic of fine linen shall be brocaded. The turban shall be made of fine linen. The sash shall be of variegated work.

40 Likewise, for the glorious adornment of Aaron’s sons you shall have tunics and sashes and skullcaps made, for glorious splendor. 41 With these you shall clothe your brother Aaron and his sons. Anoint and install them,[aa] consecrating them as my priests. 42 You must also make linen pants for them, to cover their naked flesh from their loins to their thighs. 43 Aaron and his sons shall wear them whenever they go into the tent of meeting or approach the altar to minister in the sanctuary, lest they incur guilt and die. This shall be a perpetual ordinance for him and for his descendants.

Chapter 29

Consecration of the Priests. This is the rite you shall perform in consecrating them as my priests. Procure a young bull and two unblemished rams. With bran flour make unleavened cakes mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers spread with oil, and put them in a basket. Take the basket of them along with the bull and the two rams. Aaron and his sons you shall also bring to the entrance of the tent of meeting, and there wash them with water. Take the vestments and clothe Aaron with the tunic, the robe of the ephod, the ephod itself, and the breastpiece, fastening the embroidered belt of the ephod around him. Put the turban on his head, the sacred diadem on the turban. Then take the anointing oil and pour it on his head, and anoint him. Bring forward his sons also and clothe them with the tunics, gird them with the sashes, and tie the skullcaps on them. Thus shall the priesthood be theirs by a perpetual statute, and thus shall you install Aaron and his sons.

Installation Sacrifices. 10 Now bring forward the bull in front of the tent of meeting. There Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on its head. 11 Then slaughter the bull before the Lord, at the entrance of the tent of meeting. 12 Take some of its blood and with your finger put it on the horns of the altar. All the rest of the blood you shall pour out at the base of the altar. 13 All the fat that covers its inner organs, as well as the lobe of its liver and its two kidneys, together with the fat that is on them, you shall take and burn on the altar. 14 But the meat and hide and dung of the bull you must burn up outside the camp, since this is a purification offering.

15 Then take one of the rams, and after Aaron and his sons have laid their hands on its head, 16 slaughter it. The blood you shall take and splash on all the sides of the altar. 17 Cut the ram into pieces; you shall wash its inner organs and shanks and put them with the pieces and with the head. 18 Then you shall burn the entire ram on the altar, since it is a burnt offering, a sweet-smelling oblation to the Lord.

19 After this take the other ram, and when Aaron and his sons have laid their hands on its head, 20 slaughter it. Some of its blood you shall take and put on the tip of Aaron’s right ear and on the tips of his sons’ right ears and on the thumbs of their right hands and the great toes of their right feet. Splash the rest of the blood on all the sides of the altar. 21 Then take some of the blood that is on the altar, together with some of the anointing oil, and sprinkle this on Aaron and his vestments, as well as on his sons and their vestments, that he and his sons and their vestments may be sacred.

22 Now, from this ram you shall take its fat: its fatty tail,[ab] the fat that covers its inner organs, the lobe of its liver, its two kidneys with the fat that is on them, and its right thigh, since this is the ram for installation; 23 then, out of the basket of unleavened food that you have set before the Lord, you shall take one of the loaves of bread, one of the cakes made with oil, and one of the wafers. 24 All these things you shall put into the hands of Aaron and his sons, so that they may raise them as an elevated offering[ac] before the Lord. 25 After you receive them back from their hands, you shall burn them on top of the burnt offering on the altar as a sweet-smelling oblation to the Lord. 26 Finally, take the brisket of Aaron’s installation ram and raise it as an elevated offering before the Lord; this is to be your own portion.

27 [ad]Thus shall you set aside the brisket of whatever elevated offering is raised, as well as the thigh of whatever contribution is raised up, whether this be the installation ram or anything else belonging to Aaron or to his sons. 28 Such things are due to Aaron and his sons from the Israelites by a perpetual statute as a contribution. From their communion offerings, too, the Israelites shall make a contribution, their contribution to the Lord.

29 The sacred vestments of Aaron shall be passed down to his sons after him, that in them they may be anointed and installed. 30 The son who succeeds him as priest and who is to enter the tent of meeting to minister in the sanctuary shall be clothed with them for seven days.

31 You shall take the installation ram and boil its meat in a holy place. 32 At the entrance of the tent of meeting Aaron and his sons shall eat the meat of the ram and the bread that is in the basket. 33 They themselves are to eat of these things by which atonement was made at their installation and consecration; but no unauthorized person may eat of them, since they are sacred. 34 If some of the meat of the installation sacrifice or some of the bread remains over on the next day, this remnant you must burn up; it is not to be eaten, since it is sacred.

35 Carry out all these commands in regard to Aaron and his sons just as I have given them to you. Seven days you shall spend installing them, 36 sacrificing a bull each day as a purification offering, to make atonement. Thus you shall purify the altar[ae] by purging it, and you shall anoint it in order to consecrate it. 37 Seven days you shall spend in purging the altar and in consecrating it. Then the altar will be most sacred, and whatever touches it will become sacred.

38 [af]Now, this is what you shall regularly offer on the altar: two yearling lambs as the sacrifice established for each day; 39 one lamb in the morning and the other lamb at the evening twilight. 40 With the first lamb there shall be a tenth of an ephah of bran flour mixed with a fourth of a hin[ag] of oil of crushed olives and, as its libation, a fourth of a hin of wine. 41 The other lamb you shall offer at the evening twilight, with the same grain offering and libation as in the morning. You shall offer this as a sweet-smelling oblation to the Lord. 42 Throughout your generations this regular burnt offering shall be made before the Lord at the entrance of the tent of meeting, where I will meet you and speak to you.

43 There, at the altar, I will meet the Israelites; hence, it will be made sacred by my glory. 44 Thus I will consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar, just as I also consecrate Aaron and his sons to be my priests. 45 I will dwell in the midst of the Israelites and will be their God. 46 They shall know that I, the Lord, am their God who brought them out of the land of Egypt, so that I, the Lord, their God, might dwell among them.

Chapter 30

Altar of Incense. For burning incense you shall make an altar of acacia wood, with a square surface, a cubit long, a cubit wide, and two cubits high, with horns that are of one piece with it. Its grate on top, its walls on all four sides, and its horns you shall plate with pure gold. Put a gold molding around it. Underneath the molding you shall put gold rings, two on one side and two on the opposite side, as holders for the poles used in carrying it. Make the poles, too, of acacia wood and plate them with gold. This altar you are to place in front of the veil that hangs before the ark of the covenant where I will meet you.

On it Aaron shall burn fragrant incense. Morning after morning, when he prepares the lamps, and again in the evening twilight, when he lights the lamps, he shall burn incense. Throughout your generations this shall be the regular incense offering before the Lord. On this altar you shall not offer up any profane incense, or any burnt offering or grain offering; nor shall you pour out a libation upon it. 10 Once a year Aaron shall purge its horns. Throughout your generations he is to purge it once a year with the blood of the atoning purification offering. This altar is most sacred to the Lord.

Census Tax. 11 The Lord also told Moses: 12 When you take a census of the Israelites who are to be enrolled, each one, as he is enrolled, shall give the Lord a ransom for his life, so that no plague may come upon them for being enrolled. 13 This is what everyone who is enrolled must pay: a half-shekel, according to the standard of the sanctuary shekel—twenty gerahs to the shekel—a half-shekel contribution to the Lord. 14 Everyone who is enrolled, of twenty years or more, must give the contribution to the Lord. 15 The rich need not give more, nor shall the poor give less, than a half-shekel in this contribution to the Lord to pay the ransom for their lives. 16 When you receive this ransom money from the Israelites, you shall donate it to the service of the tent of meeting, that there it may be a reminder of the Israelites before the Lord of the ransom paid for their lives.

The Basin. 17 The Lord told Moses: 18 For ablutions you shall make a bronze basin with a bronze stand. Place it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and put water in it. 19 Aaron and his sons shall use it in washing their hands and feet. 20 When they are about to enter the tent of meeting, they must wash with water, lest they die. Likewise when they approach the altar to minister, to offer an oblation to the Lord, 21 they must wash their hands and feet, lest they die. This shall be a perpetual statute for him and his descendants throughout their generations.

The Anointing Oil. 22 The Lord told Moses: 23 Take the finest spices: five hundred shekels of free-flowing myrrh; half that amount, that is, two hundred and fifty shekels, of fragrant cinnamon; two hundred and fifty shekels of fragrant cane; 24 five hundred shekels of cassia—all according to the standard of the sanctuary shekel; together with a hin of olive oil; 25 and blend them into sacred anointing oil, perfumed ointment expertly prepared. With this sacred anointing oil 26 you shall anoint the tent of meeting and the ark of the covenant, 27 the table and all its utensils, the menorah and its utensils, the altar of incense 28 and the altar for burnt offerings with all its utensils, and the basin with its stand. 29 When you have consecrated them, they shall be most sacred; whatever touches them shall be sacred. 30 Aaron and his sons you shall also anoint and consecrate as my priests. 31 Tell the Israelites: As sacred anointing oil this shall belong to me throughout your generations. 32 It may not be used in any ordinary anointing of the body, nor may you make any other oil of a like mixture. It is sacred, and shall be treated as sacred by you. 33 Whoever prepares a perfume like this, or whoever puts any of this on an unauthorized person, shall be cut off from his people.

The Incense. 34 The Lord told Moses: Take these aromatic substances: storax and onycha and galbanum, these and pure frankincense in equal parts; 35 and blend them into incense. This fragrant powder, expertly prepared, is to be salted and so kept pure and sacred. 36 Grind some of it into fine dust and put this before the covenant in the tent of meeting where I will meet you. This incense shall be treated as most sacred by you. 37 You may not make incense of a like mixture for yourselves; you must treat it as sacred to the Lord. 38 Whoever makes an incense like this for his own enjoyment of its fragrance, shall be cut off from his people.

Chapter 31

Choice of Artisans. The Lord said to Moses: See, I have singled out[ah] Bezalel, son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with a divine spirit of skill and understanding and knowledge in every craft: in the production of embroidery, in making things of gold, silver, or bronze, in cutting and mounting precious stones, in carving wood, and in every other craft. As his assistant I myself have appointed Oholiab, son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. I have also endowed all the experts with the necessary skill to make all the things I have commanded you: the tent of meeting, the ark of the covenant with its cover, all the furnishings of the tent, the table with its utensils, the pure gold menorah with all its utensils, the altar of incense, the altar for burnt offerings with all its utensils, the basin with its stand, 10 the service cloths,[ai] the sacred vestments for Aaron the priest, the vestments for his sons in their ministry, 11 the anointing oil, and the fragrant incense for the sanctuary. According to all I have commanded you, so shall they do.

Sabbath Laws. 12 The Lord said to Moses: 13 You must also tell the Israelites: Keep my sabbaths, for that is to be the sign between you and me throughout the generations, to show that it is I, the Lord, who make you holy. 14 [aj]Therefore, you must keep the sabbath for it is holiness for you. Whoever desecrates it shall be put to death. If anyone does work on that day, that person must be cut off from the people. 15 Six days there are for doing work, but the seventh day is the sabbath of complete rest, holy to the Lord. Anyone who does work on the sabbath day shall be put to death. 16 So shall the Israelites observe the sabbath, keeping it throughout their generations as an everlasting covenant. 17 Between me and the Israelites it is to be an everlasting sign; for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, but on the seventh day he rested at his ease.

18 When the Lord had finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the covenant, the stone tablets inscribed by God’s own finger.

Footnotes:

  1. 25:5 Tahash: perhaps a kind of specially finished leather. The Greek and Latin versions took it for the color hyacinth.
  2. 25:10 Cubits: the distance between the elbow and tip of the middle finger of an average-size person, about eighteen inches. The dimensions of the ark of the covenant were approximately 3 3/4 feet long, 2 1/4 feet wide, and 2 1/4 feet high.
  3. 25:17 Cover: the Hebrew term, kapporet, has been connected with kippur, as in the feast of Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement (Lv 16; 23:26–32): hence, influenced by the Greek and Latin versions, and Luther’s German, English translations have rendered it “propitiatory,” “mercy seat,” and the like.
  4. 25:18–20 Cherubim: probably in the form of human-headed winged lions. The cherubim over the ark formed the throne for the invisible Lord. Cf. Ps 80:2. For a more detailed description of the somewhat different cherubim in the Temple of Solomon, see 1 Kgs 6:23–28; 2 Chr 3:10–13.
  5. 25:25 A frame: probably placed near the bottom of the legs to keep them steady. The golden table of Herod’s Temple is pictured thus on the Arch of Titus.
  6. 25:29–30 The plates held the showbread, that is, the holy bread which was placed upon the table every sabbath as an offering to God, and was later eaten by the priests. The cups held the incense which was strewn upon the bread. Cf. Lv 24:5–9. The libation wine was poured from the pitchers into the bowls. All these vessels were kept on the golden table.
  7. 25:31 Menorah: this traditional lampstand is still used today in Jewish liturgy.
  8. 25:33 In keeping with the arrangement of the ornaments on the shaft, the three sets of ornaments on each branch were probably so placed that one was at the top and the other two equally spaced along the length of the branch. Knob: the cup-shaped seed capsule at the base of a flower.
  9. 25:34–35 Of the four ornaments on the shaft, one was at the top and one was below each of the three sets of side branches.
  10. 25:37 The lamps were probably shaped like small boats, with the wick at one end; the end with the wick was turned toward the front of the menorah.
  11. 25:38 Trays: small receptacles for the burnt-out wicks.
  12. 25:39 Talent: Heb. kikkar. The largest unit of weight used in the Bible, equivalent to 3,000 shekels (see 38:24). It is difficult to be precise about biblical weights; the Israelite talent may have weighed between 75–80 pounds.
  13. 26:1 Sheets: strips of tapestry, woven of white linen, the colored threads being used for the cherubim which were embroidered on them. These sheets were stretched across the top of the tabernacle to form a roof, their free ends hanging down inside the framework that formed the walls.
  14. 26:7 Tent: the cloth made of sheets of goat hair to cover the tabernacle.
  15. 26:9 Half the width of the end strip was folded back at the front of the tabernacle, thus leaving another half-strip to hang down at the rear. Cf. v. 12.
  16. 26:17 Arms: lit., “hands.” According to some, they served as “tongue and groove” to mortise the structural elements; according to others, they were pegs that fitted into sockets in the pedestals.
  17. 26:32 Hooks: probably placed near the tops of the columns, to hold the rope from which the veils and curtains hung.
  18. 26:36 Variegated: without definite designs such as the cherubim on the inner veil.
  19. 27:2 Horns: the horn of a ram, goat or ox is a common Old Testament figure for strength and dignity; they represent the divine character of the altar itself or the deity worshiped there.
  20. 27:4 Grating: it is not clear whether this was flush with the altar or at some small distance from it; in the latter case the space between the altar and the grating would be filled with stones and serve as a platform around the altar, which would otherwise be too high for the priest to reach conveniently.
  21. 27:8 Hollow: probably filled with earth or stones when in use. Cf. 20:24–25.
  22. 28:3 Artisans…endowed with skill: lit., “wise of heart,” and “filled with a spirit of wisdom.” In Hebrew wisdom includes practical skills. Cf. 35:35; 36:1–2.
  23. 28:6 Ephod: this Hebrew word is retained in the translation because it is the technical term for a peculiar piece of the priestly vestments, the exact nature of which is uncertain. It seems to have been a sort of apron that hung from the shoulders of the priest by shoulder straps (v. 7) and was tied around his waist by the loose ends of the attached belt (v. 8).
  24. 28:15–30 Breastpiece: an approximately nine-inch square, pocketlike receptacle for holding the Urim and Thummim (v. 30). It formed an integral part of the ephod, to which it was attached by an elaborate system of rings and chains. Both the ephod and its breastpiece were made of brocaded linen. Span: Heb. zeret, the distance between the top of the little finger and the thumb; one half a cubit, approximately nine inches.
  25. 28:17–20 The translation of the Hebrew names of some of these gems is quite conjectural.
  26. 28:30 Urim and Thummim: both the meaning of these Hebrew words and the exact nature of the objects so designated are uncertain. They were apparently lots of some kind which were drawn or cast by the priest to ascertain God’s decision on particular questions. Hence, the pocket in which they were kept was called “the breastpiece of decision.”
  27. 28:41 Install them: lit., “fill their hands,” a technical expression used for the installation of priests.
  28. 29:22 Fatty tail: the thick layer of fat surrounding the tails of sheep and rams bred in the Middle East. It is regarded as a choice food. Cf. Lv 3:9.
  29. 29:24–26 Elevated offering: the portions of a communion offering, brisket and right thigh, which the officiating priest raised in the presence of the Lord. They were reserved for Aaron and his sons.
  30. 29:27–30 These verses are a parenthetical interruption of the installation ritual; v. 31 belongs logically immediately after v. 26.
  31. 29:36–37 Purify the altar: the purpose of the purification offering here is to cleanse, or purify, the newly constructed altar of any defilement resulting from presumably minor and inadvertent sins, but the text is not explicit about what the offenses were or who committed them. So various theories have been proposed to explain the cause of the altar’s contamination. Note, however, that the offering appears to be demanded of Aaron and his sons; they are the ones who lay hands upon it (v. 10).
  32. 29:38–42 A parenthesis inserted into the rubrics for consecrating the altar; v. 43 belongs directly after v. 37.
  33. 29:40 Hin: see note on Ez 45:24.
  34. 31:2 Singled out: lit., “called by name”; cf. 35:30.
  35. 31:10 The service cloths: so the Greek. They were perhaps the colored cloths mentioned in Nm 4:4–15.
  36. 31:14–15 For the distinction between work proscribed on certain festivals and weekly Sabbaths, see note on Lv 23:3.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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