The Priestly Garments
Moreover, from the blue and purple and scarlet fabric, they made finely woven garments for serving and ministering in the Holy Place; they made the holy garments for Aaron, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.
Bezalel made the ephod of gold, and of blue, purple, and scarlet fabric, and fine twisted linen. Then Bezalel and Oholiab hammered the gold [into thin sheets] and cut it into threads to work into the blue, purple, and scarlet fabric, and into the fine linen, the work of a skilled craftsman. They made attaching shoulder pieces for the ephod; it was attached at its two [upper] edges. The skillfully woven sash with which to bind it, which was on the ephod [to hold it in place], was like its workmanship, of the same material: of gold and of blue, purple, and scarlet fabric, and fine twisted linen, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.
They made the onyx stones, set in settings of gold filigree; they were engraved as signets are engraved, with the names of [the twelve tribes of] the sons of Israel. And he put them on the shoulder pieces of the ephod to be memorial stones (a remembrance) for the sons of Israel (Jacob), just as the Lord had commanded Moses.
Bezalel made the breastpiece, the work of a skillful craftsman, like the workmanship of the ephod: of gold and of blue, purple, and scarlet fabric, and fine twisted linen. It was square; they made the breastpiece folded double, a [hand’s] span long and a [hand’s] span wide when folded double. And they mounted four rows of stones on it. The first row was a row of ruby, topaz, and emerald; and the second row, a turquoise, a sapphire, and a diamond; and the third row, a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst; and the fourth row, a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper; they were mounted in settings of gold filigree. The stones corresponded to the names of the sons of Israel; they were twelve [in all], corresponding to their names, engraved like a signet, each with its name, for the twelve tribes. And they made on the breastpiece twisted chains like cords of pure gold. They made two settings of gold filigree and two gold rings, and put the two rings on the two ends of the breastpiece. Then they put the two twisted cords of gold in the two rings on the ends of the breastpiece. They put the [other] two ends of the two cords on the two filigree settings, and put them on the shoulder pieces of the ephod at the front of it. They made two rings of gold and put them on the two ends of the breastpiece, on its inner edge which was next to the ephod. Furthermore, they made two [other] gold rings and attached them to the bottom of the two shoulder pieces of the ephod, at the front of it, close to the place where it is joined, above the woven sash of the ephod. They bound the breastpiece by its rings to the rings of the ephod with a blue cord, so that it would lie on the woven sash of the ephod, and so that the breastpiece would not come loose from the ephod, just as the Lord commanded Moses.
Then Bezalel made the robe of the ephod of woven work, all of blue; there was an opening [for the head] in the middle of the robe, like the opening in a coat of armor, with a hem around it, so that it would not be frayed or torn. On the hem of the robe they made pomegranates of blue, purple, and scarlet fabric, and fine twisted linen. They also made bells of pure gold, and put the bells between the pomegranates around the hem of the robe; a bell and a pomegranate, a bell and a pomegranate, all [the way] around the hem of the robe, for service and ministering, just as the Lord commanded Moses.
And they made tunics of finely woven linen for Aaron and his sons, and the turban of fine linen, and the ornamental caps of fine linen, and the linen undergarments of fine twisted linen, and the sash of fine twisted linen, and blue, purple, and scarlet fabric, the work of an embroiderer, just as the Lord commanded Moses.
They made the plate of the holy crown of pure gold, and wrote on it an inscription, like the engravings of a signet, “Holy to the Lord.” They tied a blue cord to it, to fasten it on the turban above, just as the Lord commanded Moses.
Thus all the work of the tabernacle of the Tent of Meeting was finished; and the Israelites did according to all that the Lord had commanded Moses; that is what they did. They brought the tabernacle to Moses [for him to inspect]: the tent and all its furnishings, its hooks, its [frame] boards, its bars, its support poles, its sockets or bases; and the covering of rams’ skins dyed red, and the covering of [a]porpoise skins, and the veil (partition) of the screen (curtain); the ark of the Testimony, its carrying poles and the mercy seat; the table and all its utensils and the bread of the Presence (showbread); the pure gold lampstand and its lamps, with the lamps placed in order, all its utensils, and the oil for the light; the golden altar [of incense], the anointing oil and the fragrant incense, and the [hanging] veil for the doorway of the tent; the bronze altar [of burnt offering] and its grating of bronze, its poles and all its utensils, the basin and its base; the curtains of the courtyard, its support poles and sockets, and the screen (curtain) for the courtyard gate, its cords and pegs, and all the utensils for the service of the tabernacle, for the Tent of Meeting [of God with His people]; the [finely] woven garments for serving and ministering in the Holy Place, the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons to minister as priests. So the Israelites did all the work according to all that the Lord had commanded Moses. And Moses [carefully] inspected all the work, and behold, they had done it; just as the Lord had commanded, so had they done it. So Moses blessed them.
- Exodus 39:34 The meaning of the Hebrew word is not certain; some scholars have suggested that the material is instead a fine leather of unspecified origin.
The Tabernacle Erected
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “On the first day of the first month (Abib) you shall set up the tabernacle of the Tent of Meeting [of God with you]. You shall place the ark of the Testimony there, and you shall screen off the ark [from the Holy Place of God’s Presence] with the veil (partition curtain). You shall bring in the table [for the bread] and arrange its setting; you shall bring in the lampstand and mount and light its lamps. You shall set the golden altar of incense in front of the ark of the Testimony [outside the veil], and put the [hanging] veil at the doorway of the tabernacle. You shall set the [bronze] altar of burnt offering in front of the doorway of the tabernacle of the Tent of Meeting. You shall set the basin between the Tent of Meeting and the altar [of burnt offering], and put water in it. You shall set up the courtyard [curtains] all around and hang up the screen (curtain) for the gateway of the courtyard. Then you shall take the anointing oil and anoint the tabernacle and all that is in it, and consecrate it and all its furniture; and it shall be holy (declared sacred, separated from secular use). You shall anoint the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, and consecrate the altar, and the altar shall be most holy. You shall anoint the basin and its base, and consecrate it. Then you shall bring Aaron and his sons to the doorway of the Tent of Meeting and wash them with water. You shall put the holy garments on Aaron and anoint him and consecrate him, that he may serve as a priest to Me. You shall bring his sons and put tunics on them; you shall anoint them just as you anointed their father, so that they may serve as priests to Me; and their anointing shall qualify them for an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations.” Thus Moses did; in accordance with all that the Lord commanded him, so he did.
Now it happened on the first day of the first month (Abib) in the second year [after the exodus from Egypt], that the tabernacle was erected. Moses erected the tabernacle, laid its sockets, set up its boards, put in its bars and erected its support poles. He spread the tent over the tabernacle and put the covering of the tent over it, just as the Lord had commanded him. He took the Testimony [the stones inscribed with the Ten Commandments] and put it into the ark [of the covenant], and placed the poles [through the rings] on the ark, and put the mercy seat on top of the ark. Moses brought the ark into the tabernacle, and set up a veil (partition) for the screen (curtain), and screened off the ark of the Testimony, just as the Lord had commanded him. Then he put the table in the Tent of Meeting on the north side of the tabernacle, outside the veil. He set the bread [of the Presence] in order on it before the Lord, just as the Lord had commanded him. Then he put the lampstand in the Tent of Meeting, opposite the table, on the south side of the tabernacle. Moses mounted and lighted the lamps [on the lampstand] before the Lord, just as the Lord commanded him. He put the golden altar [of incense] in the Tent of Meeting in front of the veil; he burned fragrant incense [as a symbol of prayer] on it, just as the Lord commanded him. Then he set up the screen (curtain) at the doorway of the tabernacle. He set the altar of burnt offering before the doorway of the tabernacle of the Tent of Meeting, and offered on it the burnt offering and the grain offering, just as the Lord commanded him. He placed the basin between the Tent of Meeting and the altar [of burnt offering], and put water in it for washing. Then from it Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet. When they entered the Tent of Meeting, and when they approached the altar, they washed, just as the Lord commanded Moses. And he erected the courtyard all around the tabernacle and the altar, and hung the screen (curtain) at the gateway of the courtyard. So Moses finished the work.
The Glory of the Lord
Then the cloud [the Shekinah, God’s visible, dwelling presence] covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory and brilliance of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses was not able to enter the Tent of Meeting because the cloud remained on it, and the glory and brilliance of the Lord filled the tabernacle. In all their journeys, whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the Israelites would set out; but if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not journey on until the day when it was taken up. For throughout all their journeys, the cloud of the Lord was on the tabernacle by day, and there was fire in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel.