The dedication of the Tabernacle

1 And it came to pass on the day that Moses [Moshe] had fully set up the tabernacle [Mishkan], and had anointed it, and sanctified it [ set it apart as kodesh], and all the instruments thereof, both the altar [Mizbe'ach] and all the vessels thereof, and had anointed them, and sanctified them [ set them apart as kodesh];

The Tabernacle was first set up, the priests were then consecrated and the various parts anointed (Lev. 8:10). Chronologically, therefore, the chapter should follow Lev. 9, but it is now introduced because the use of the wagons and their allocation to the various Levites are now revealed.

...The term "day" (Heb. yowm) is figuratively used in a general sense for "time".

The Tabernacle was set up on the first day of the first month of the second year after leaving Egypt (Exod. 40:2), but to "fully" set it up means to completely prepare it for worship which took a little longer.*

2 That the princes of Israel [Nasiim (Rulers) of Yisroel], heads of the house [Bais] of their fathers [Avot], who were the princes [Nasiim] of the tribes, and were over them that were numbered, offered:

Nasiim Yisroel - Name-bearers are to reflect Yahweh's glory in character and nature.*

"all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the Lord"... that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, Yahweh Thy Elohim" - Deut. 28:10,58; Matt. 6:9.

By refusing to use the Name, they doubtless accounted themselves unworthy of the honour, which, unfortunately, was true. Their restoration is a divine work in order that Yahweh might fulfil the prophetic requirements of the Name ...*

"And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, saith the Lord God, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes". - Ezek. 36:23.

*The Numbers Expositor

3 And they brought their offering [korban - gift] before Yahweh, 6 covered wagons, and twelve oxen; a wagon for two of the princes [Nasiim], and for each one an ox: and they brought them before the tabernacle [ Mishkan].

The names of the gift offerers are recorded indefinitely. As if to suggest the freewill offerings of all Yahweh's people are remembered perpetually.

The gifts were accepted, being in harmony and subservient to the divine will. But they were not used to carry the items pertaining to the sancturary because this was specifically prohibited v9

six wagons... the limitations of flesh.

"covered" Heb. tsab, In Lev. 11:29, the word is rendered tortoise, and in Isa. 66:20 as

litters, so possibly they were covered ...the tortoise wears its home on its back! The wagons ...were given for the conveyance of heavier portions of the Tabernacle.*

"Two of the princes" worked in pairs*

And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits - Mark 6:7

4 And Yahweh spake unto Moses [Moshe], saying,

5 Take it of them, that they may be to do the service of the tabernacle [Ohel] of the congregation [Mo'ed]; and thou shalt give them unto the Levites, to every man according to his service.

6 And Moses [Moshe] took the wagons and the oxen, and gave them unto the Levites [Levi'im].

7 Two wagons and 4 oxen he gave unto the sons [Bnei] of Gershon, according to their service:

The Gershonites had charge of the Tabernacle coverings and hangings of the court Num. 4:24-26.*

8 And 4 wagons and 8 oxen he gave unto the sons [Bnei] of Merari, according unto their service, under the hand of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest [ben Aharon HaKohen].

Merarites had the heaviest burden - the boards, bars, pillars, sockets (Num 4) therefore the most oxen*


9 But unto the sons of Kohath [Bnei Kehat] he gave none: because the service of the sanctuary [HaKodesh] belonging unto them was that they should bear upon their shoulders.

10 And the princes [Nasiim] offered for dedicating of the altar [ Mizbe'ach] in the day that it was anointed, even the princes [Nasiim] offered their offering [korban] before the altar [Mizbe'ach].

— The princes represented the various tribes. In that regard, they occupied a status that will be enjoyed by theApostles in the age to come (Matt. 19:28). It could be possible that some such ceremony as this may accompany the anointing of the altar in the Age to come (Ezek. 43: 13-26).

In the RV, the word "dedicating" is rendered as dedication. It is from the Hebrew chanukkah from chanak, "to make narrow, hence to restrict its use, to initiate and begin to use." The word is used in regard to a house (Deut. 20:5), the Temple (1 Kings 8:63; 2 Chron. 7:5), as well as the training up of a child (Prov. 22:6). In training the child, the parent dedicated its future, so restricting it to a certain course. The Word that guided the child was like the oil that anointed the altar.

The Altar was dedicated in the sense of being consecrated, or set apart, as a medium of worship. This was done by the anointing with oil (by which Yahweh claimed it as His own), and the blood of the initial sacrifices (by which it was cleansed from defilement due to association with Israel — Lev. 8:10,15).

On the same day as that was done, the princes offered their gifts. By divine decree, however, these were ceremonially presented in a special twelve days' ceremony subsequent to that day. See v. 11.

*The Christadelphian Expositor

11 And Yahweh said unto Moses [Moshe], They shall offer their offering [korban], each prince [Nasi] on his day, for the dedicating of the altar [Mizbe'ach].

In addition to the wagons and oxen, the twelve princes made each an individual offering in connection with the dedication of the altar. There is something remarkable in the way in which this was done, and in the way in which it is recorded. 

The princes did not come together and present their offerings as a joint offering; but each prince, commencing with the prince of Judah, came on a particular day one after the other, during twelve days, and presented his offering before the altar; and each prince presented exactly the same collection of articles and beasts: yet though each prince presented exactly the same offering, the articles composing it are minutely and exactly enumerated twelve times over, as each prince made his present on his day: and then all are summarized in a totalling of the twelve. The particulars, in which there is so much repetition, occupy 89 verses.

There must have been a reason for this apparently superfluous repetition of apparently superfluous details. It must have been to give conspicuousness and emphasis to the principle involved. What this principle was we may see if we consider that the princes of the tribes would stand representatively for the tribes themselves, and that the altar at which they prostrated themselves was the symbol of sacrifice as the basis of sinful man's approach to God. 

Here is a dramatic proclamation of utter humiliation before God as the kernel principle of national existence. Its repetition twelve times on twelve different days would make the lesson more emphatic, and the identity of the offering in each case would show what Paul declares concerning all men, that 

"there is no difference, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God". *

12 And he that offered his offering [korban] the first day was Nahshon the son of Amminadab [Ben Amminadav], of the tribe of Judah [Yehudah]:

13 And his offering [korban] was one silver charger [bowl], the weight thereof was 130 shekels, one silver bowl of 70 shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary [HaKodesh]; both of them were full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering [minchah]:

The offering in each case was an elaborate one, and covered every aspect of the Mosaic parable embodied in the tabernacle: a silver charger and a bowl piled full of fine flour mingled with oil (the Jew and Gentile, purified and wrought into divine shape by affliction, and filled with life and joy); 

14 One spoon [ladle] of 10 shekels of gold [zahav], full of incense [ketoret]:

(perfected faith finding daily exercise in praise and prayer)

15 One young bullock [bull], one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering [olah]:

(strength, desire, and obedience absorbed in the incorruptible at the resurrection)

16 One kid of the goats for a sin offering [chattat]:

(the sacrificial condemnation of sin in the flesh)

17 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings [zevach of shelamim], two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering [korban] of Nahshon the son of Amminadab [Amminadav].

(all strength, executiveness, waywardness, and innocence brought into reconciliation with God and employed in His service). *

26 One golden spoon [ladle] of ten shekels, full of incense [ketoret]: 

Pray Always and Faint Not

It is the duty, the safety, and the glory of every believer to pray for the coming of the Lord's Anointed in judgment upon the adversary of his Ecclesia-to pray always, and not to faint; and those who have so little discernment as not to dare to pray for the downfall of the oppressor, the casting out of Satan, the destruction of Babylon, have neither lot nor part in this matter.

Those who will not pray for Christ to come, who feel shocked at the thought of the rending bolt which bears him, and the arrowy shower of lightning which goes before him; those who have not their peace made with him, and are hanging in doubt whether they be his or not; those who love father, mother, brother, sister, or life, more than him; those who love traffic, wealth, goods, estate, more than him; those who are not ready to take wing, like doves to their windows; those who are not, like old Jacob, waiting for their salvation; those who have a divided heart, like Lot's wife - what shall be said of such?

That they shall not enter into his kingdom! Do these words strike home to the quick; to the deepest recesses of the soul? Do they pierce the heart? It is fit they should, that men might be loosed from the fetters that bind them to the craft by which their destroyers are enriched; and that being freed, they may put on the linen vestment and burn incense in the sanctuary, and, without fainting pray always for the appearing and kingdom of the Lord.

Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Feb 1860 

87 All the oxen for the burnt offering [olah] were twelve bullocks [bulls], the rams twelve, the lambs of the first year 12, with their meat offering [minchah]: and the kids of the goats for sin offering [chattat] 12.

That a ceremony with such significances should be twelve times repeated before the altar on the commencement of Israel's national existence, and expressly for the dedication of the altar to the daily use of the nation, is more eloquent than tongue can tell, of the nature of the national life as it ought to be, and of the great departure from the true objects of national life, that is visible in the forms of national life now upon earth. *

89 And when Moses[Moshe] was gone into the tabernacle [Ohel - Tent covering] of the congregation [Mo'ed] to speak with him, then he heard the voice of one speaking unto him from off the mercy seat [kapporet] that was upon the ark of testimony [Aron HaEdut], from between the two cherubims [keruvim]: and he spake unto him.

[In these times of the Gentiles] ...The true aim of life is unknown and unprovided for.

But the day is coming, of which the Mosaic ritual was a prophecy, as well as a law for Israel, when God will be as much taken into account as the sun or the fresh air, and when human life everywhere will converge upon Him as much as the arrangements of Israel's camp converged upon the tabernacle.

"All shall know me", saith He, "from the least even to the greatest." *

*Law of Moses Ch 33

Consider, indeed the very name of the central object of the whole Mosaic system, where God's glory shined, and where He said He would meet with Israel-the MERCY-SEAT, that is, the Place of Mercy.

Mercy and forgiveness in love constitute the true inner spirit of the Law. Both Christ himself and his apostles tell us that the whole Mosaic Law was fulfilled in one word, "Love."

Love, then MUST be its basic principle.

Every one of the endless, countless sacrifices of the Law was a testimony, not only of sin and failure and punishment and death, but infinitely more so of mercy and forgiveness and hope and life.

The requirements of holiness, the great message of the Law, have not been relaxed. Rather they have been infinitely intensified and broadened. Christ carried this principle right back through mere outward act into the deepest and earliest wellsprings of the heart and soul and mind-

"Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart" (Matt. 5:28).

"Without holiness, no man shall see the Lord" (Heb. 12:14).

"Be ye PERFECT, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect" (Matt 5:48).

The Law of Moses is a judicial code for the regulation of a nation for enforcing order and justice, and punishing crime.

As such, it must be firm. As such, it must require an eye for an eye. It will be the same again in the Kingdom of God: sin will be punished, swiftly, unerringly, appropriately, inexorably.

Bro Growcott - The Spirit of Christ in the Law of Moses