Exodus 30-32 New Living Translation (NLT)
Plans for the Incense Altar
30 “Then make another altar of acacia wood for burning incense. 2 Make it 18 inches square and 36 inches high,[a] with horns at the corners carved from the same piece of wood as the altar itself. 3 Overlay the top, sides, and horns of the altar with pure gold, and run a gold molding around the entire altar. 4 Make two gold rings, and attach them on opposite sides of the altar below the gold molding to hold the carrying poles. 5 Make the poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. 6 Place the incense altar just outside the inner curtain that shields the Ark of the Covenant,[b] in front of the Ark’s cover—the place of atonement—that covers the tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant.[c] I will meet with you there.
7 “Every morning when Aaron maintains the lamps, he must burn fragrant incense on the altar. 8 And each evening when he lights the lamps, he must again burn incense in the Lord’s presence. This must be done from generation to generation. 9 Do not offer any unholy incense on this altar, or any burnt offerings, grain offerings, or liquid offerings.
10 “Once a year Aaron must purify[d] the altar by smearing its horns with blood from the offering made to purify the people from their sin. This will be a regular, annual event from generation to generation, for this is the Lord’s most holy altar.”
Money for the Tabernacle
11 Then the Lord said to Moses, 12 “Whenever you take a census of the people of Israel, each man who is counted must pay a ransom for himself to the Lord. Then no plague will strike the people as you count them. 13 Each person who is counted must give a small piece of silver as a sacred offering to the Lord. (This payment is half a shekel,[e] based on the sanctuary shekel, which equals twenty gerahs.) 14 All who have reached their twentieth birthday must give this sacred offering to the Lord. 15 When this offering is given to the Lord to purify your lives, making you right with him,[f] the rich must not give more than the specified amount, and the poor must not give less. 16 Receive this ransom money from the Israelites, and use it for the care of the Tabernacle.[g] It will bring the Israelites to the Lord’s attention, and it will purify your lives.”
Plans for the Washbasin
17 Then the Lord said to Moses, 18 “Make a bronze washbasin with a bronze stand. Place it between the Tabernacle and the altar, and fill it with water. 19 Aaron and his sons will wash their hands and feet there. 20 They must wash with water whenever they go into the Tabernacle to appear before the Lord and when they approach the altar to burn up their special gifts to the Lord—or they will die! 21 They must always wash their hands and feet, or they will die. This is a permanent law for Aaron and his descendants, to be observed from generation to generation.”
The Anointing Oil
22 Then the Lord said to Moses, 23 “Collect choice spices—12 1⁄2 pounds of pure myrrh, 6 1⁄4 pounds of fragrant cinnamon, 6 1⁄4 pounds of fragrant calamus,[h] 24 and 12 1⁄2 pounds of cassia[i]—as measured by the weight of the sanctuary shekel. Also get one gallon of olive oil.[j] 25 Like a skilled incense maker, blend these ingredients to make a holy anointing oil. 26 Use this sacred oil to anoint the Tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant, 27 the table and all its utensils, the lampstand and all its accessories, the incense altar, 28 the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, and the washbasin with its stand. 29 Consecrate them to make them absolutely holy. After this, whatever touches them will also become holy.
30 “Anoint Aaron and his sons also, consecrating them to serve me as priests. 31 And say to the people of Israel, ‘This holy anointing oil is reserved for me from generation to generation. 32 It must never be used to anoint anyone else, and you must never make any blend like it for yourselves. It is holy, and you must treat it as holy. 33 Anyone who makes a blend like it or anoints someone other than a priest will be cut off from the community.’”
34 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Gather fragrant spices—resin droplets, mollusk shell, and galbanum—and mix these fragrant spices with pure frankincense, weighed out in equal amounts. 35 Using the usual techniques of the incense maker, blend the spices together and sprinkle them with salt to produce a pure and holy incense. 36 Grind some of the mixture into a very fine powder and put it in front of the Ark of the Covenant,[k] where I will meet with you in the Tabernacle. You must treat this incense as most holy. 37 Never use this formula to make this incense for yourselves. It is reserved for the Lord, and you must treat it as holy. 38 Anyone who makes incense like this for personal use will be cut off from the community.”
Craftsmen: Bezalel and Oholiab
31 Then the Lord said to Moses, 2 “Look, I have specifically chosen Bezalel son of Uri, grandson of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. 3 I have filled him with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts. 4 He is a master craftsman, expert in working with gold, silver, and bronze. 5 He is skilled in engraving and mounting gemstones and in carving wood. He is a master at every craft!
6 “And I have personally appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, to be his assistant. Moreover, I have given special skill to all the gifted craftsmen so they can make all the things I have commanded you to make:
7 the Tabernacle;[l]
The craftsmen must make everything as I have commanded you.”
Instructions for the Sabbath
12 The Lord then gave these instructions to Moses: 13 “Tell the people of Israel: ‘Be careful to keep my Sabbath day, for the Sabbath is a sign of the covenant between me and you from generation to generation. It is given so you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy. 14 You must keep the Sabbath day, for it is a holy day for you. Anyone who desecrates it must be put to death; anyone who works on that day will be cut off from the community. 15 You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day must be a Sabbath day of complete rest, a holy day dedicated to the Lord. Anyone who works on the Sabbath must be put to death. 16 The people of Israel must keep the Sabbath day by observing it from generation to generation. This is a covenant obligation for all time. 17 It is a permanent sign of my covenant with the people of Israel. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day he stopped working and was refreshed.’”
18 When the Lord finished speaking with Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant,[n] written by the finger of God.
The Gold Calf
32 When the people saw how long it was taking Moses to come back down the mountain, they gathered around Aaron. “Come on,” they said, “make us some gods who can lead us. We don’t know what happened to this fellow Moses, who brought us here from the land of Egypt.”
2 So Aaron said, “Take the gold rings from the ears of your wives and sons and daughters, and bring them to me.”
3 All the people took the gold rings from their ears and brought them to Aaron. 4 Then Aaron took the gold, melted it down, and molded it into the shape of a calf. When the people saw it, they exclaimed, “O Israel, these are the gods who brought you out of the land of Egypt!”
5 Aaron saw how excited the people were, so he built an altar in front of the calf. Then he announced, “Tomorrow will be a festival to the Lord!”
6 The people got up early the next morning to sacrifice burnt offerings and peace offerings. After this, they celebrated with feasting and drinking, and they indulged in pagan revelry.
7 The Lord told Moses, “Quick! Go down the mountain! Your people whom you brought from the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves. 8 How quickly they have turned away from the way I commanded them to live! They have melted down gold and made a calf, and they have bowed down and sacrificed to it. They are saying, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.’”
9 Then the Lord said, “I have seen how stubborn and rebellious these people are. 10 Now leave me alone so my fierce anger can blaze against them, and I will destroy them. Then I will make you, Moses, into a great nation.”
11 But Moses tried to pacify the Lord his God. “O Lord!” he said. “Why are you so angry with your own people whom you brought from the land of Egypt with such great power and such a strong hand? 12 Why let the Egyptians say, ‘Their God rescued them with the evil intention of slaughtering them in the mountains and wiping them from the face of the earth’? Turn away from your fierce anger. Change your mind about this terrible disaster you have threatened against your people! 13 Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.[o] You bound yourself with an oath to them, saying, ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars of heaven. And I will give them all of this land that I have promised to your descendants, and they will possess it forever.’”
14 So the Lord changed his mind about the terrible disaster he had threatened to bring on his people.
15 Then Moses turned and went down the mountain. He held in his hands the two stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant.[p] They were inscribed on both sides, front and back. 16 These tablets were God’s work; the words on them were written by God himself.
17 When Joshua heard the boisterous noise of the people shouting below them, he exclaimed to Moses, “It sounds like war in the camp!”
18 But Moses replied, “No, it’s not a shout of victory nor the wailing of defeat. I hear the sound of a celebration.”
19 When they came near the camp, Moses saw the calf and the dancing, and he burned with anger. He threw the stone tablets to the ground, smashing them at the foot of the mountain. 20 He took the calf they had made and burned it. Then he ground it into powder, threw it into the water, and forced the people to drink it.
21 Finally, he turned to Aaron and demanded, “What did these people do to you to make you bring such terrible sin upon them?”
22 “Don’t get so upset, my lord,” Aaron replied. “You yourself know how evil these people are. 23 They said to me, ‘Make us gods who will lead us. We don’t know what happened to this fellow Moses, who brought us here from the land of Egypt.’ 24 So I told them, ‘Whoever has gold jewelry, take it off.’ When they brought it to me, I simply threw it into the fire—and out came this calf!”
25 Moses saw that Aaron had let the people get completely out of control, much to the amusement of their enemies.[q] 26 So he stood at the entrance to the camp and shouted, “All of you who are on the Lord’s side, come here and join me.” And all the Levites gathered around him.
27 Moses told them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Each of you, take your swords and go back and forth from one end of the camp to the other. Kill everyone—even your brothers, friends, and neighbors.” 28 The Levites obeyed Moses’ command, and about 3,000 people died that day.
29 Then Moses told the Levites, “Today you have ordained yourselves[r] for the service of the Lord, for you obeyed him even though it meant killing your own sons and brothers. Today you have earned a blessing.”
Moses Intercedes for Israel
30 The next day Moses said to the people, “You have committed a terrible sin, but I will go back up to the Lord on the mountain. Perhaps I will be able to obtain forgiveness[s] for your sin.”
31 So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Oh, what a terrible sin these people have committed. They have made gods of gold for themselves. 32 But now, if you will only forgive their sin—but if not, erase my name from the record you have written!”
33 But the Lord replied to Moses, “No, I will erase the name of everyone who has sinned against me. 34 Now go, lead the people to the place I told you about. Look! My angel will lead the way before you. And when I come to call the people to account, I will certainly hold them responsible for their sins.”
35 Then the Lord sent a great plague upon the people because they had worshiped the calf Aaron had made.
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