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When Moses finished setting up the congregation tent, sanctifying, anointing, and setting apart it and everything in it—its furnishings, altar, and sacred receptacles, as befits God’s holy dwelling place, then Israel’s tribe leaders, the heads of their extended families, the leaders of everyone who had been organized and counted, came forward to make an offering. In total, they presented to the Eternal in His tent six covered carts (one for every two leaders) and twelve oxen to pull them (one for each leader). Then the Eternal One responded to the offering.

Logistical concerns are paramount with this new reality of a traveling nation. With their large numbers and their countless livestock, moving this caravan is a logistical nightmare. Just moving the congregation tent is a challenge, involving a number of families and special carts to carry the tons of layers of the tent and the many utensils for worship. The most holy items are carried manually, but without physical contact. Thus God provides a system of carrying poles fed through loops so the holy item is not touched. The actual arrangement of the caravan is also specified, as well as the arrangement of the tribes in relation to the congregation tent.

Eternal One (to Moses): Accept these things, and give them to those Levites who need them to service the congregation tent.

6-8 Moses did just that, distributing the gifts based on the needs of the Levites’ respective tasks: the Gershonites got two ox-carts and four oxen to haul the tents’ many coverings; the Merarites got four ox-carts and eight oxen to haul the tents’ heavy frames and stands, and Ithamar (Priest Aaron’s son) supervised them. The Kohathites didn’t get any because the sacred things for which they were responsible were smaller furnishings and could be carried on the men’s own shoulders. 10 As the altar was being properly anointed, the leaders came forward at its dedication with their offerings 11 because the Eternal had directed Moses to oversee that one leader per day came forward with his offering for the altar’s dedication.

12 Nahshon (Amminadab’s son) of the Judah tribe was first. 13 He brought one silver plate weighing three and one-quarter pounds and one silver bowl of one and three-quarter pounds (to hold the blood of sacrifices as it was dashed on the altar), according to the sanctuary scales. Both were filled with prime flour mixed with oil to compose a grain offering. 14 He also brought one gold dish (four ounces in weight) filled with incense; 15 and for a burnt offering, he brought a young bull, a ram, and a yearling male lamb. 16 For a sin offering, he brought one male goat; 17 for a peace offering sacrifice, he brought two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five yearling male lambs. These are the things Nahshon, Amminadab’s son, brought forward.

18 On the second day, Nethanel (son of Zuar), head of the Issachar tribe, came forward with their offering—the same as the Judah family’s from the day before 19 bringing one silver plate weighing three and one-quarter pounds and one silver bowl of one and three-quarter pounds, as the sanctuary weighs things. Both were filled with prime flour mixed with oil to compose a grain offering. 20 He also brought one gold dish (four ounces in weight) filled with incense; 21 and for a burnt offering, he brought a young bull, a ram, and a yearling male lamb. 22 For a sin offering, he brought one male goat; 23 and for a peace sacrifice, he brought two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five yearling male lambs. This is what Nethanel, Zuar’s son, brought for an offering.

24 Eliab (son of Helon), head of the Zebulunite tribe, brought the third day’s offering— 25 one silver plate weighing three and one-quarter pounds and one silver bowl of one and three-quarter pounds, as the sanctuary weighs things. Both were filled with prime flour mixed with oil to compose a grain offering. 26 He also brought one gold dish (four ounces in weight) filled with incense; 27 and for a burnt offering, he brought a young bull, a ram, and a yearling male lamb. 28 For a sin offering, he brought one male goat; 29 and for a peace offering sacrifice, he brought two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five yearling male lambs. This is what Eliab, Helon’s son, brought as an offering.

30 On the fourth day, Elizur (son of Shedeur), head of the Reubenite tribe, presented the offering. 31 He, too, brought one silver plate weighing three and one-quarter pounds and one silver bowl of one and three-quarter pounds, as the sanctuary weighs things. Both were filled with prime flour mixed with oil to compose a grain offering. 32 He also brought one gold dish (four ounces in weight) filled with incense; 33 and for a burnt offering, he brought a young bull, a ram, and a yearling male lamb. 34 For a sin offering, he brought one male goat; 35 and for a peace offering sacrifice, he brought two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five yearling male lambs. These things Elizur (Shedeur’s son) presented as an offering.

36 On the fifth day, Shelumiel (son of Zurishaddai), head of the Simeonite tribe, brought the offering. 37 Like those preceding, he brought one silver plate weighing three and one-quarter pounds and one silver bowl of one and three-quarter pounds, as the sanctuary weighs things. Both were filled with prime flour mixed with oil to compose a grain offering. 38 He also brought one gold dish (four ounces in weight) filled with incense; 39 and for a burnt offering, he brought a young bull, a ram, and a yearling male lamb. 40 For a sin offering, he brought one male goat; and 41 for a peace offering sacrifice, he brought two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five yearling male lambs. This is what Shelumiel (Zurishaddai’s son) brought.

42 On the sixth day, Eliasaph (son of Deuel), head of the Gadite tribe, like those before him, 43 brought one silver plate weighing three and one-quarter pounds and one silver bowl of one and three-quarter pounds, as the sanctuary weighs things. Both were filled with prime flour mixed with oil to compose a grain offering. 44 He also brought one gold dish (four ounces in weight) filled with incense; 45 and for a burnt offering, he brought a young bull, a ram, and a yearling male lamb. 46 For a sin offering, he brought one male goat; 47 and for a peace offering sacrifice, he brought two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five yearling male lambs. This is what Eliasaph (Deuel’s son) brought as an offering.

48 Elishama (son of Ammihud), head of the Ephraimite half-tribe, brought the seventh day’s offering. 49 He also brought one silver plate weighing three and one-quarter pounds and one silver bowl of one and three-quarter pounds, as the sanctuary weighs things. Both were filled with prime flour mixed with oil to compose a grain offering. 50 He also brought one gold dish (four ounces in weight) filled with incense; 51 and for a burnt offering, he brought a young bull, a ram, and a yearling male lamb. 52 For a sin offering, he brought one male goat; 53 and for a peace offering sacrifice, he brought two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five yearling male lambs. These things Elishama (Ammihud’s son) offered.

54 Gamaliel (son of Pedahzur), head of the Manassehite half-tribe, brought the offering on the eighth day. 55 He brought one silver plate weighing three and one-quarter pounds and one silver bowl of one and three-quarter pounds, as the sanctuary weighs things. Both were filled with prime flour mixed with oil to compose a grain offering. 56 He also brought one gold dish (four ounces in weight) filled with incense; 57 and for a burnt offering, he brought a young bull, a ram, and a yearling male lamb. 58 For a sin offering, he brought one male goat; 59 and for a peace offering sacrifice, he brought two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five yearling male lambs. So Gamaliel (Pedahzur’s son) brought the same offering as his Israelite brothers had on each of the days before.

60 On the ninth day, Abidan (son of Gideoni), head of the Benjaminite tribe, also 61 brought one silver plate weighing three and one-quarter pounds and one silver bowl of one and three-quarter pounds, as the sanctuary weighs things. Both were filled with prime flour mixed with oil to compose a grain offering. 62 He also brought one gold dish (four ounces in weight) filled with incense; 63 and for a burnt offering, he brought a young bull, a ram, and a yearling male lamb. 64 For a sin offering, he brought one male goat; 65 and for a peace offering sacrifice, he brought two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five yearling male lambs. These things Abidan (Gideoni’s son) offered.

66 On the tenth day, Ahiezer (son of Ammishaddai), head of the Danite tribe, brought the same offering: 67 He brought one silver plate weighing three and one-quarter pounds and one silver bowl of one and three-quarter pounds, as the sanctuary weighs things. Both were filled with prime flour mixed with oil to compose a grain offering. 68 He also brought one gold dish (four ounces in weight) filled with incense; 69 and for a burnt offering, he brought a young bull, a ram, and a yearling male lamb. 70 For a sin offering, he brought one male goat; 71 and for a peace offering sacrifice, he brought two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five yearling male lambs. This is what Ahiezer (Ammishaddai’s son) brought as an offering.

72 Pagiel (son of Ochran), head of the Asherite tribe, brought the eleventh day’s offering, which consisted of the same things: 73 He brought one silver plate weighing three and one-quarter pounds and one silver bowl of one and three-quarter pounds, as the sanctuary weighs things. Both were filled with prime flour mixed with oil to compose a grain offering. 74 He also brought one gold dish (four ounces in weight) filled with incense; 75 and for a burnt offering, he brought a young bull, a ram, and a yearling male lamb. 76 For a sin offering, he brought one male goat; 77 and for a peace offering sacrifice, he brought two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five yearling male lambs. This is what Pagiel (Ochran’s son) offered.

78 On the 12th day, Ahira (son of Enan), head of the Naphtalite tribe, 79 brought one silver plate weighing 3¼ pounds and one silver bowl of 1¾ pounds, as the sanctuary weighs things. Both were filled with prime flour mixed with oil to compose a grain offering. 80 He also brought one gold dish (four ounces in weight) filled with incense; 81 and for a burnt offering, he brought a young bull, a ram, and a yearling male lamb. 82 For a sin offering, he brought one male goat; 83 and for a peace offering sacrifice, he brought two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five yearling male lambs. Like those before him, Ahira (Enan’s son) brought these things to offer.

84 This is what the heads of the Israelite families offered up at the occasion of the altar’s dedication (when it was anointed): 12 silver plates, 12 silver bowls (to hold the blood of sacrifices as it was dashed on the altar), and 12 gold dishes. 85 Because each plate weighed 3¼ pounds and each bowl weighed 1¾ pounds, the total silver was 60 pounds (based on the sanctuary standard); 86 and the 12 gold, incense-filled dishes all together weighed three pounds; 87 and for the burnt offering, there was a total of 12 bulls, 12 rams, 12 male yearling lambs, plus the grain offering and the 12 male goats for the sin offering. 88 As for the peace offering, there were 24 oxen, 60 rams, 60 male goats, and 60 male yearling lambs. All of these were for the altar’s dedication after it was anointed.

89 So it was established. When Moses went into the congregation tent to speak to them, he could hear the voice of God speaking to him from between the winged guardians[a] above the seat of mercy on the covenant chest. Thus the Eternal spoke to Moses.

Footnotes

  1. 7:89 Hebrew, cherubim

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