Exodus 40:17
And it came to pass in the first month in the second year, on the first day of the month, that the tabernacle was reared up.
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(17) On the first day of the month . . . the tabernacle was reared up.—The Tabernacle was so constructed as to be capable of being rapidly both put together and taken to pieces. The erection of the framework, and the stretching upon it of the fine linen and goats’-hair coverings, must have been the main difficulty. But the family of Abraham had been familiar with tent life from the time of its quitting Ur of the Chaldees to the descent into Egypt, and its location in Egypt on the borders of the desert, in close neighbourhood to various nomadic races, had kept up its familiarity with tents, their structure, and the most approved methods of pitching and striking them. Thus it is not surprisiug that the first erection was completed in less than a day.

40:16-33 When the tabernacle and the furniture of it were prepared, they did not put off rearing it till they came to Canaan; but, in obedience to the will of God, they set it up in the midst of their camp. Those who are unsettled in the world, must not think that this will excuse want of religion; as if it were enough to begin to serve God when they begin to be settled in the world. No; a tabernacle for God is very needful, even in a wilderness, especially as we may be in another world before we come to fix in this. And we may justly fear lest we should deceive ourselves with a form of godliness. The thought that so few entered Canaan, should warn young persons especially, not to put off the care of their souls.On the first day of the month - That is, on the first of the month Nisan Exodus 12:2; Exodus 13:4, one year, wanting fourteen days, after the departure of the Israelites from Egypt. They had been nearly three months in reaching the foot of Mount Sinai Exodus 19:1; Moses had spent eighty days on the mountain Exodus 24:18; Exodus 34:28, and some time must be allowed for what is related in Exodus 24, as well as for the interval between the two periods which Moses spent on the mountain Exodus 33:1-23. The construction of the tabernacle and its furniture would thus appear to have occupied something less than half a year. 16. Thus did Moses: according to all that the Lord commanded him—On his part, the same scrupulous fidelity was shown in conforming to the "pattern" in the disposition of the furniture, as had been displayed by the workmen in the erection of the edifice. Second year after their coming out of Egypt, Numbers 7:1.


And it came to pass in the first month, in the second year,.... Of the departure of the children of Israel out of Egypt:

on the first day of the month, that the tabernacle was reared up; so that this was in the spring of the year, about the vernal equinox, on a new year's day, that this was done, which was beginning the year well: it was within a fortnight of a year after their coming out of Egypt, and when they had been about five months and a half in building the tabernacle; for such a time it seems they were in doing that, and which, considering the many things to be done, and in the winter season, it shows great dispatch. Where was the place, in which the tabernacle was reared up, is not said: it is (d) observed, that near the southwest corner of that part of Mount Sinai, which is called Mount Episteme, there is a little hill called Araone by the Arabs, and by the Greeks the tabernacle of the testimony, where they say Aaron was consecrated, and first performed the offices of the priesthood: probably, says a learned man (e), on this hill was placed the tabernacle of the congregation, which Moses was ordered to place without the camp afar off; but he seems to mistake the tent of Moses, or however the little tabernacle erected before the grand one was made, for this tabernacle in Exodus 33:7 which he seems to refer to; it is more probable that it was now reared up in the midst of the camp of Israel, see Numbers 2:2.

(d) Pocock's Travels, p. 147. (e) Clayton's Chronology of the Hebrew Bible, p. 350.

And it came to pass in the first month in {e} the second year, on the first day of the month, that the tabernacle was reared up.

(e) After they came out of Egypt, Nu 7:1.

17. the tabernacle] the Dwelling. So vv. 18, 19, 21, &c.

17–33. Moses sets up the Tent of Meeting, and the Court, and arranges the sacred vessels according to the instructions given in vv. 1–8, or (in some cases) in chs. 25–31 only. He also (vv. 23, 25, 27, 29) begins the daily services.

Verses 17-33. - The actual setting up of the tabernacle. Verse 17. - On the first day the tabernacle was reared up. Being constructed after the fashion of a tent, it was quite possible to rear up and also to take down, the tabernacle in less than a day. Exodus 40:17On the day mentioned in Exodus 40:2 the dwelling and court were erected. As not quite nine months had elapsed between the arrival of the Israelites at Sinai, in the third month after the Exodus (Exodus 19:1), and the first day of the second year, when the work was finished and handed over to Moses, the building, and all the work connected with it, had not occupied quite half a year; as we have to deduct from the nine months (or somewhat less) not only the eighty days which Moses spent upon Sinai (Exodus 24:18; Exodus 34:28), but the days of preparation for the giving of the law and conclusion of the covenant (Exodus 19:1-24:11), and the interval between the first and second stay that Moses made upon the mountain (ch. 32 and 33). The erection of the dwelling commenced with the fixing of the sockets, into which the boards were placed and fastened with their bolts, and the setting up of the pillars for the curtains (Exodus 40:18). "He (Moses) then spread the tent over the dwelling, and laid the covering of the tent upon the top." By the "covering of the tent" we are to understand the two coverings, made of red rams' skins and the skins of the sea-cow (Exodus 26:14). In analogy with this, את־האלל פּרשׂ denotes not only the roofing with the goats' hair, but the spreading out of the inner cloth of mixed colours upon the wooden frame-work.
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