Exodus 40:31
And Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet thereat:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(31, 32) These verses are parenthetic. They interrupt the narrative of what Moses did “on the first day of the first month,” informing us of the use whereto the laver was applied subsequently. (Comp. Exodus 30:19-21.)

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.Before the vail - That is, opposite to the ark, in the middle between the table of showbread on the North and the candlestick on the South. 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. No text from Poole on this verse.

And Moses, and Aaron, and his sons, washed their hands and their feet thereat. This laver was for the priests, and Moses, officiating as a priest, washed in it, with Aaron, and his sons, whom he was now about to consecrate to the priest's office, and invest with it by offering sacrifice for them; Jarchi says this was on the eighth day of the consecration. And Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet thereat:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
31–32. See Exodus 30:19-20. Moses is included, because for the time he acted as priest (v. 27). The tenses are frequentative, used to wash (twice), just as in Exodus 34:34 f., for instance. As ‘Aaron and his sons’ are not yet installed (see Leviticus 8), there is a prolepsis in the verses, even if (Di.) they are not a mere interpolation, attached unsuitably to v. 30, on the basis of Exodus 30:19 f.

Verses 31, 32. - Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands. This is not a part of the narrative of what was done at this time, but a parenthetic statement of the purpose to which the laver was subsequently applied. On the importance attached to these ablutions, see Exodus 30:20, 21. Exodus 40:31The altar of burnt-offering was then placed "before the door of the dwelling of the tabernacle," and the laver "between the tabernacle and the altar," from which it is evident that the altar was not placed close to the entrance to the dwelling, but at some distance off, though in a straight line with the door. The laver, which stood between the altar and the entrance to the dwelling, was probably placed more to the side; so that when the priests washed their hands and feet, before entering the dwelling or approaching the altar, there was no necessity for them to go round the altar, or to pass close by it, in order to get to the laver. Last of all the court was erected round about the dwelling and the altar, by the setting up of the pillars, which enclosed the space round the dwelling and the altar with their drapery, and the hanging up of the curtain at the entrance to the court. There is no allusion to the anointing of these holy places and things, as commanded in Exodus 40:9-11, in the account of their erection; for this did not take place till afterwards, viz., at the consecration of Aaron and his sons as priests (Leviticus 8:10-11). It is stated, however, on the other hand, that as the vessels were arranged, Moses laid out the shew-bread upon the table (Exodus 40:23), burned sweet incense upon the golden altar (Exodus 40:27), and offered "the burnt-offering and meat-offering," i.e., the daily morning and evening sacrifice, upon the altar of burnt-offering (Exodus 29:38-42). Consequently the sacrificial service was performed upon them before they had been anointed. Although this may appear surprising, there is no ground for rejecting a conclusion, which follows so naturally from the words of the text. The tabernacle and its furniture were not made holy things for the first time by the anointing; this simply sanctified them for the use of the nation, i.e., for the service which the priests were to perform in connection with them on behalf of the congregation (see at Leviticus 8:10-11). They were made holy things and holy vessels by the fact that they were built, prepared, and set up, according to the instructions given by Jehovah; and still more by the fact, that after the tabernacle had been erected as a dwelling, the "glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle" (Exodus 40:34). But the glory of the Lord entered the dwelling before the consecration of the priests, and the accompanying anointing of the tabernacle and its vessels; for, according to Leviticus 1:1., it was from the tabernacle that Jehovah spake to Moses, when He gave him the laws of sacrifice, which were promulgated before the consecration of the priests, and were carried out in connection with it. But when the glory of the Lord had found a dwelling-place in the tabernacle, Moses was not required to offer continually the sacrifice prescribed for every morning and evening, and by means of this sacrifice to place the congregation in spiritual fellowship with its God, until Aaron and his sons had been consecrated for this service.
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