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The Altar of Incense(A)

30 Also, you must make an altar for burning incense. You must make it of acacia wood. It must be a cubit in length, and its width a cubit. It will be square. Its height will be two cubits;[a] the horns shall be of one piece with it. You must overlay it with pure gold, its top, its sides all around, and its horns; and you must make a molding of gold all around it. You must make two golden rings for it under its molding. You must make them on its two sides, on opposite sides of it, and they will be holders for the poles with which to carry it. Then you must make the poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. You must put it before the veil that is by the ark of the testimony, in front of the mercy seat that is over the testimony, where I will meet with you.

Aaron must burn sweet incense on it. Every morning, when he trims the lamps, he must burn incense. When Aaron lights the lamps at sundown, he must burn incense on it. It is to be a perpetual incense before the Lord throughout your generations. You must offer no strange incense on it, nor burnt sacrifice, nor grain offering, and you must not pour out a drink offering on it. 10 Aaron must make atonement on its horns once a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonement. Once a year he must make atonement on it throughout your generations. It is most holy to the Lord.

The Atonement Money

11 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 12 When you take the census of the children of Israel according to their number, then each man is to pay a ransom for his life to the Lord when you count them, so that there be no plague among them when you number them. 13 This is what everyone who is counted must give: half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary[b] (a shekel is twenty gerahs). The half shekel will be the offering to the Lord. 14 Everyone who is counted, from twenty years old and above, must give an offering to the Lord. 15 The rich must not give more and the poor must not give less than half a shekel when they give the offering to the Lord, to make atonement for your lives. 16 You must take the atonement money of the children of Israel and give it for the service of the tent of meeting, so that it may be a memorial to the children of Israel before the Lord, to make atonement for your lives.

The Bronze Basin

17 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 18 You must also make a basin of bronze, with its base also of bronze, for washing, and you must put it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and you must put water in it. 19 For Aaron and his sons must wash their hands and their feet from it. 20 When they go into the tent of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister by burning incense as an offering made by fire to the Lord, they must wash with water so that they will not die. 21 So they must wash their hands and their feet, so that they will not die. And it will be a perpetual statute for them, even to him and to his seed throughout their generations.

The Anointing Oil

22 Moreover the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 23 Take for yourself choice spices: five hundred shekels[c] of pure myrrh, half as much sweet-smelling cinnamon (two hundred and fifty shekels[d]), two hundred and fifty shekels of sweet-smelling cane, 24 five hundred shekels of cassia, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, and a hin[e] of olive oil. 25 And you must make with it a holy anointing oil, a perfumed compound, the work of a perfumer. It will be a holy anointing oil. 26 And you must anoint the tent of meeting with it, along with the ark of the testimony, 27 and the table and all its utensils, and the lampstand and its utensils, and the altar of incense, 28 and the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the basin and its stand. 29 You must consecrate them, so that they may be most holy. Whatever touches them must be holy.

30 You must anoint Aaron and his sons and consecrate them, so that they may minister as priests to Me. 31 You must speak to the children of Israel, saying, “This will be a holy anointing oil to Me throughout your generations. 32 It must not be poured out on anyone’s body, nor shall you make any other like it in composition. It is holy, and it will be holy to you. 33 Whoever makes anything like it or whoever puts any of it on a layman will be cut off from his people.”

The Incense

34 Then the Lord said to Moses: Take for yourself sweet spices, stacte and onycha and galbanum, sweet spices with pure frankincense of equal amounts. 35 You shall make of these an incense, a compound expertly blended, mingled with salt, pure and holy. 36 You must beat some of it very fine and put part of it before the testimony in the tent of meeting where I will meet with you. It will be most holy to you. 37 As for the perfume which you will make, you may not make it for yourselves using the same recipe. It must be holy for the Lord to you. 38 Whoever makes anything like it in order to use it as perfume must be cut off from his people.


  1. Exodus 30:2 About 1½ feet long and wide and 3 feet high, or 45 centimeters long and wide and 90 centimeters high.
  2. Exodus 30:13 About ⅕ ounce, or 5.8 grams; and in v. 15.
  3. Exodus 30:23 About 12½ pounds, or 5.8 kilograms; and in v. 24.
  4. Exodus 30:23 About 6¼ pounds, or 2.9 kilograms.
  5. Exodus 30:24 Likely about 1 gallon, or 3.8 liters.