HERE are the names of Israel's sons; these were the men who betook themselves to Egypt, each with his family, when Jacob went there; Ruben, Simeon, Levi, Juda, Issachar, Zabulon and Benjamin, Dan and Nephthali, Gad and Aser. There were seventy souls altogether that came from Jacob's stock, but of these, Joseph was in Egypt already. When he and his brethren and all their next descendants were dead, the race of Israel grew into a teeming multitude, in such strength that the whole land was peopled with them. Meanwhile, a new king of Egypt had arisen, who knew nothing of Joseph. See, he said to his people, how the race of the Israelites has grown, till they are stronger than we are. We must go prudently about it and keep them down, or their numbers will grow; what if war threatens, and they make common cause with our enemies? They will get the better of us, and leave our country altogether. So he made them answerable to officers of the public works, who laid crushing burdens on them, using them to build the store-cities of Phithom and Ramesses; but the more they were ill-treated, the more they bred and multiplied. The Egyptians, in their abhorrence for the Israelites, oppressed and insulted them, making their lives a burden with drudgery in the clay-pit and the brick-kiln, drudgery, too, of all kinds in the cultivation of the land.
Then the king of Egypt gave orders to Sephora and Phua, two midwives who attended the Hebrews; When you are called in, he said, to attend the Hebrew women, and their time comes, kill the child if it is a boy; if it is a girl keep it alive. But these midwives feared the Lord, and would not carry out the commands of the king of Egypt; they kept the boys safe; and when the king summoned them and asked, What do you mean by sparing the boys too? they answered, The Hebrew women are not like those of Egypt: they are skilled in midwifery, and contrive to give birth before we reach them. For this, God rewarded the midwives; while his people grew and attained great strength, he gave the midwives, too, families of their own, as women who feared God. And at last Pharao made a proclamation to the whole of his people: Whenever a male child is born, cast it into the river, keep only the girls alive.
And now one of the descendants of Levi wooed and married a woman of his own clan, who conceived and bore him a son. So winning were the child's looks, that for three months she kept him hidden away; then, unable to conceal him any longer, she took a little basket of reeds, which she smeared with clay and pitch, and in this put her baby son down among the bulrushes on the river bank. The boy's sister waited at a distance, to see what would happen. Just then, Pharao's daughter came down to bathe in the river, while her maid-servants walked along the bank. She caught sight of the basket among the rushes, and sent one of her attendants to fetch it; and when she opened it, and saw the baby crying, her heart was touched. Why, she said, this must be one of the Hebrew children. And at that, the boy's sister asked, Would you have me go and fetch one of the Hebrew women, to nurse the child for you? Go by all means, she said; and the girl went and fetched her mother. Take this boy, Pharao's daughter said, and nurse him for me; I will reward you for it. So the woman took the boy and nursed him till he was grown; then she handed him over to Pharao's daughter, who adopted him as her own son, and gave him the name of Moses, the Rescuer; I had to rescue him, she said, from the river. A time came when Moses, now a grownup man, went out among his brethren the Hebrews, and saw how ill they were treated, saw one of these brethren of his being beaten by an Egyptian whereupon, after looking this way and that to see that no one was near, he killed the Egyptian and buried him there in the sand. When he went out next day, he found two Hebrews that had come to blows, and asked the aggressor what he meant by offering violence to a friend. Why, said he, who made you a ruler and a judge over us? Have you a mind to kill me, as you did kill that Egyptian yesterday? And Moses was terrified to find that his action had so strangely come to light. When Pharao heard of it, he was for putting Moses to death; and Moses, to avoid his scrutiny, took refuge in the country of Madian. Here he sat down to rest by the side of a well. And it chanced that seven maids, daughters to the priest of Madian, came out and began drawing water, to fill the troughs and water their father's sheep. But now came shepherds, and would have turned the maidens away, until Moses stood up for them, and himself watered their sheep. When they reached home their father, Raguel, asked them why they were earlier than their wont; and they told him, There was an Egyptian there, who took our part against the shepherds, and then drew water for us himself, for our sheep to drink. Upon which he asked, What has become of this man? Why did you part from his company? Bid him come in and eat.
So it came about that Moses bound himself by an oath to live there with Raguel, and wedded his daughter Sephora. The first son she bore him he called Gersam, as if he would say, I have been a stranger, Ger, in an alien land. And when she bore another son, Moses called him Eliezer, Help from God; the God of my father (said he) has helped me to escape from the power of Pharao.
Then, after a long while, the king of Egypt died, and the cry of the Israelites, still groaning aloud in their drudgery, went up to God, who took pity on this drudgery of theirs, and listened to their complaint; he had not forgotten the covenant which he made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. So it was that the Lord looked down in mercy on the Israelites, and took heed of them.
Moses, in the meanwhile, had married the daughter of Jethro, priest of Madian, and was doing shepherd's work for him. Deep into the desert he led his flock, till he reached God's own mountain of Horeb. And here the Lord revealed himself through a flame that rose up from the midst of a bush; it seemed that the bush was alight, yet did not burn. Here is a great sight, said Moses, I must go up and see more of it, a bush that does not waste by burning. But now, as he saw him coming up to look closer, the Lord called to him from the midst of the bush, Moses, Moses; and when he answered, I am here, at your command, he was told, Do not come nearer; rather take the shoes from your feet, you are standing on holy ground.
Then he said, I am the God your father worshipped, the God of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob. And Moses hid his face; he dared not look on the open sight of God. I have not been blind, the Lord told him, to the oppression which my people endures in Egypt, I have listened to their complaints about the cruelty of the men who are in charge of their work. I know what their sufferings are, and I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians; to take them away into a fruitful land and large, a land that is all milk and honey, where the Chanaanites dwell, and the Hethites, and the Amorrhites, and the Pherezites, and the Hevites, and the Jebusites. Yes, the cry of Israel's race has reached my ears, I have watched how their Egyptian oppressors ill-treat them. Up, I have an errand for you at Pharao's court; you are to lead my people, the sons of Israel, away out of Egypt.
At this, Moses said to God, Ah, who am I, that you should send me to Pharao? Who am I that I should lead the sons of Israel out of Egypt? I will be with you, God said to him. And here is a sign for you, that your mission comes from me; when you have brought my people out of Egypt, you will find yourself offering sacrifice to God on this mountain. But Moses still pleaded with God: How if I appear before the Israelites with the message that the God of their fathers has sent me to them, and they ask me, What is his name? What answer shall I make? And God said to Moses, I am the God who IS; you shall tell the Israelites, THE GOD WHO IS has sent me to you. And he charged Moses again, That is what you shall tell the sons of Israel, that he who bears this name, the God of their fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob has sent you to them, and this is the name he will be known by for ever; it shall stand recorded, age after age.
Go then, and summon the elders of Israel to meet you. Tell them that the Lord, the God of their fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob has appeared to you, with this message: Day after day I have watched, and seen all that has befallen you in Egypt. And now I mean to take you away from Egypt, where it goes so hard with you, into the land of the Chanaanites, the Hethites, the Amorrhites, the Pherezites, the Hevites, and the Jebusites; a land that is all milk and honey. The elders of Israel will give you a good hearing; and with them you shall make your way into the king of Egypt's presence. The Lord God of the Hebrews, you shall tell him, has summoned us to go out three days march into the desert, and there we must offer sacrifice to the Lord our God. I know well enough that the king of Egypt will not let you go, except under strong compulsion; I must needs exert my power, and smite the Egyptians with all the portents I mean to do among them, before he will give you leave. And I will let you have your way with the Egyptians; when you go you shall not go empty-handed. Each woman shall claim from her neighbour, or from some woman that lodges with her, gold and silver trinkets, and clothes to dress your sons and daughters in; such toll you shall take of the Egyptians.
But Moses still had his answer; What if they will not believe me, he said, or give a hearing? What if they tell me to my face that I never had any vision of the Lord? What is that in your hand? the Lord asked him. A staff, he said. So the Lord bade him cast it on the ground, and when he did so, it turned into a serpent, and Moses shrank away. Now put out your hand, the Lord said, and catch it by the tail. He did so, and it turned to a staff in his hand. And the word came to him, Will they still doubt that the Lord God of their fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob has appeared to you? And now the Lord had a fresh command for him, Put your hand into your bosom; and, doing so, he found that it came out a leper's hand, white as snow. Now, said he, put it back in your bosom again; so he put it back, and this time, when he brought it out, the skin on it was no different from the rest of his skin. And the Lord said, If credence and hearing you can not gain, with the first sign for your warrant, the evidence of this second sign will make them believe you. And if even two signs are not enough to convince them and make them listen to you, you have but to take water from the river and pour it out on the ground; the water you have drawn out of the river will turn into blood.
Then Moses said, Lord, have patience with me; but all my life I have been a man of little eloquence, and now that you, my Master, have spoken to me, I am more faltering, more tongue-tied than ever. Why, the Lord said to him, who was it that fashioned man's mouth? Who is it that makes a man dumb or deaf, clear-sighted or blind, if not I? Go as you are bidden; I will speak with your mouth, telling you what words to utter. But still he said, Lord have patience with me; will you not choose some fitting emissary? And now the Lord was angry with Moses; What of your brother Aaron (the Levite)? he asked. I know him to be a man of ready speech. He is even now on his way to meet you, and will give you a joyful welcome when he finds you. To him you shall repeat my message, entrusting it to his lips; through his lips I will speak, and through yours, telling you what I would have you do. He shall be your spokesman, giving out your message to the people, and you shall be his representative with God. And take this staff of yours with you; you have portents to bring about by means of it.
Then Moses made his way back to his father-in-law, Jethro; Give me leave, he said, to return to Egypt, and see whether my brethren there are still living. And Jethro said, Go in peace. From Madian, then, the Lord bade Moses return to Egypt; all those who had threatened his life were dead. So Moses took his wife and children, with his ass to carry them, and returned to Egypt, with the staff, divinely appointed, in his hand. And as he went back to Egypt, the Lord said to him, your part is to do all the wonders I put it in your power to do, in Pharao's presence. But I mean to harden his heart, so that he refuses to let my people go; and then you shall give him this message: Israel, says the Lord, is my first-born son, and when I bade you give this son of mine leave to go and worship me, that leave was refused; I come to claim the life of your first-born in return.
On this journey, at on of his halting-places, the Lord came in his path and threatened him with death, until Sephora took a sharp stone, and circumcised her son with it; then, touching her husband's feet with the flesh, she said, Now we are betrothed in blood. And as she said the words, Betrothed in blood, after the circumcision, the Lord consented to spare him.
Meanwhile the Lord had told Aaron to go out and meet Moses in the desert; so he set out and met him at God's mountain, and greeted him with a kiss. And Moses told Aaron all the message the Lord had entrusted to him, and the wonders he had commissioned him to perform. So together they went and summoned all the elders of the Israelite race to meet them; and when Aaron told them all the Lord had said to Moses, and shewed the people the appointed signs, the people were convinced. At last the Lord had come to enquire after the sons of Israel, and had witnessed their affliction; they would bow down and worship.
After this, Moses and Aaron obtained audience with Pharao, and said to him, We have a message to you from the Lord God of Israel, Give my people leave to go and offer me sacrifice in the desert. Why, he answered, who is this Lord, that I must obey his command, and let Israel go free? I know no such Lord as that; I will not let Israel go. It is the God of the Hebrews, they told him, who has summoned us to go out into the desert, a matter of three days journey, and offer sacrifice to him; he, the Lord, is our God, what if he should bring sickness or war upon us? Nay, said the king of Egypt, it is two men, Moses and Aaron, enticing the people away from their work; go back to your duties.
These folk, Pharao complained, have outgrown their territory already: see how their numbers have increased! And it will be worse still if you ease them of their burdens. So he gave orders, that very day, to overseer and foreman alike: Do not give them any more straw to make bricks with, as your custom has been; let them go and find straw for themselves. Meanwhile, you must give them the same tale of bricks to make as before; there must be no lessening of it. They are idle; that is what has led to this outcry about going and offering sacrifice to their God. Give them heavier work to do; then they will pay no more attention to these lying tales.
So overseer and foreman gave it out to the people as a message from Pharao, You shall have no more straw from me; go and gather it for yourselves where you can find it; meanwhile, there is to be no lessening of the work done. And the people found themselves scattered all over Egypt gathering straw; and still the overseers were urgent with them: Finish those daily tasks of yours, as you did when the straw was found. The foremen who were Israelites, must undergo a beating, now, from Pharao's overseers, who asked them why the full tale of bricks had not been made up these two days past, as it was formerly. So the Israelite foremen went and complained to Pharao; Master, they cried, why do you treat us so? The straw is not being found for us any longer, and never a brick less demanded of us. Here are we, your servants beaten for it; there is no justice for this people of yours. You are idlers, said he, idlers all, or you would not be asking leave to go and sacrifice to this Lord of yours. Off with you to your work; no straw shall you have; and as for the bricks, you must make up the same tale as before.
When they heard that the same tale of bricks was to be demanded each day, the Israelite foremen saw that it would go hard with them; and meeting Moses and Aaron face to face, as they came away from Pharao's audience, they said to them, The Lord take note of it, and be your judge; you have made our name stink in the nostrils of Pharao and his court, put a weapon in his hand that will be our doom. So that Moses had recourse to the Lord again, and asked him, Lord, why do you treat your people so cruelly? Why did you ever send me on such an errand? I gained audience with Pharao, and spoke to him in your name; and since then he does nothing but ill-use your people; is this the deliverance you have sent them?
But the Lord said to Moses, you have yet to see what I have in store for Pharao, such constraint as will make him let them go; he shall have no choice but to drive them away out of his country. And now the Lord sent his word to Moses: I am the same Lord who revealed myself to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; but although I revealed myself as God the Almighty, my name Adonai I did not make known to them. And the covenant I made with them was that I would give them the land of Chanaan, their dwelling-place then, but not their home. And now the complaints of the Israelites under their Egyptian oppressors have reached my ears, and I am reminded of this covenant. Tell the sons of Israel, I am the Lord, and I mean to release you from your prison-house in Egypt, to set you free from your slavery, to buy you back for myself, with my arm uplifted in signal acts of redress. Then I will make you my own people, and will be your God; you will learn to acclaim the Lord as your God, that Lord who has brought you out of your Egyptian prison-house, that Lord who made good his promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, led you back to your dwelling-place, and made it your home. All this Moses repeated to the Israelites, but they, in their bitterness of heart and the misery of their bondage, would not listen to him. And when the to Lord sent Moses to bid Pharao, king of Egypt, let the sons of Israel go, Moses told the Lord to his face, The Israelites will not listen to me; what hope is there that Pharao will listen to me? A man, moreover, so tongue-tied.
When the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, giving them a message to the Israelites and to the Egyptian king, Pharao, and bidding them lead the sons of Israel away out of Egypt, these were the heads of families that had left their names to clans. From Ruben, Israel's first-born, came Henoch, Phallu, Hesron and Charmi. From Simeon came Jamuel, Jarnin, Ahod, Jachin, Soar, and Saul (the son of a Chanaanite woman). From Levi came the three clans of Gerson, Caath, and Merari. (Levi lived to the age of a hundred and thirty-seven.) From Gerson, the two families of Lobni and Semei. From Caath, Amram, Isaar, Hebron and Oziel. (Caath lived to the age of a hundred and thirty-three.) From Merari, Moholi and Musi. Such were the families descended from Levi.
Amram married a kinswoman of his called Jochabed, who bore him two sons, Aaron and Moses. (Amram lived to the age of a hundred and thirty-seven.) From Isaar came Core, Nepheg, and Zechri, from Oziel, Misael, Elisaphan and Sethri. Aaron's wife was Elisabeth, daughter to Aminadab and sister to Nahasson, and the sons she bore him were called Nadab, Abiu, Eleazar and Ithamar. And Core's sons were called Aser, Elcana and Abiasaph; those were the divisions of the Corite clan. Meanwhile Aaron's son Eleazar married one of the daughters of Phutiel, and become the father of Phineës. Such were the heads of the Levite families that gave their names to clans.
It was these two, Aaron and Moses, who had orders from the Lord to lead the Israelites away, in their full muster, out of Egypt; and it was these two, Moses and Aaron, who bade Pharao, king of Egypt, let them leave his country, at the time we are speaking of. It was to Moses the Lord said, there in Egypt, I am the Lord, repeat to Pharao king of Egypt all this message of mine, but Moses hung back and asked the Lord to his face, How should Pharao listen to me, tongue-tied as I am? And the Lord said to Moses, It is my will that you should be a divine oracle to Pharao, with your brother for spokesman; Aaron will receive my commands from you, and repeat them to him, bidding him let the Israelites depart from his country; but I, meanwhile, will harden Pharao's heart. Many signs, many portents will I give in this land of Egypt, and still he will not listen. Then Egypt shall feel the weight of my hand, and I will deliver the Israelites, my army, my people, out of Egypt, with signal acts of redress. All Egypt shall know that it was I, the Lord, who raised my hand against it, and brought out the sons of Israel from its midst. This command of the Lord was faithfully carried out by Moses and Aaron; they did all he bade them do. Moses was eighty years old, and Aaron eighty-three, when they gave Pharao their message.
And now the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, When Pharao asks you to shew him signs of your mission, you, Moses, shall bid your brother take up his staff and cast it down in Pharao's presence; it will turn into a serpent. So Moses and Aaron gained Pharao's audience and did as the Lord had bidden them; Aaron brought out his staff in the presence of Pharao and his court, and it turned into a serpent. At this, Pharao summoned his diviners and magicians, who, in their turn, uttered secret spells in the Egyptian language and did the like; each man's staff, when he cast it down, turned into a serpent; but the staff of Aaron devoured them. Meanwhile, Pharao's heart was hardened, so that he would not obey the Lord's will and heed their warning.
Then the Lord said to Moses, Pharao's heart is still obdurate, he does not mean to let my people go. Betake yourself to him to-morrow morning; you will find that he is walking by the water side, and there on the bank of the river, you shall meet him. you will be carrying the staff which turned into a serpent, and this shall be your message to him: The Lord God of the Hebrews sent me to bid you let his people go and offer him sacrifices in the desert, and hitherto you have refused to listen. And now the Lord has a new message for you, to convince you that he is indeed the Lord. When I strike the water of the river with this staff I carry, it will turn into blood; the fishes in the river will die, till its waters are full of corruption; it will go hard with the Egyptians if they are for drinking river water. Then the Lord gave Moses a message for Aaron, Take up your staff, and stretch your hand out over the waters of Egypt; all their rivers and channels and marshes and pools of water. All must turn into blood; blood in every bucket and pitcher, all over Egypt. So Moses and Aaron did as the Lord had bidden them; Aaron lifted up his staff and struck the waters of the river in the presence of Pharao and his court, and the river turned to blood. All the fishes in the river died, and its waters stank, so that the Egyptians could not drink river water any longer, and there was blood all over the land of Egypt. But the Egyptian magicians did as much with spells of their own; and Pharao's heart was still hardened, still he would not obey the Lord's will and heed their warning. He turned away and went home, paying no more attention to them than before. Meanwhile, all the Egyptians had to dig wells round about the banks, since they could not drink any water from the river itself. So passed the first week after the Lord smote the river.
Then the Lord bade Moses present himself before Pharao with this message from him, Give my people leave to go and offer me sacrifice; if you do refuse I mean to plague your whole country with frogs. The river shall swarm with frogs, which will come up out of it and find their way into your palace, into your bed-chamber, into your bed itself; and so with all your servants and all your people with your ovens and your larders; neither you nor your servants nor your people will be able to keep the frogs out. Then the Lord would have Moses tell Aaron to stretch out his hand over river and channel and marsh, and bring up frogs all over Egypt; so Aaron stretched out his hand over all the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up till the whole land of Egypt was full of them. But the magicians, too, did as much with their spells; to fill Egypt with frogs was not beyond their powers.
So Pharao summoned Moses and Aaron and bade them entreat the Lord to rid him and his people of the frogs, promising that he would let the Israelites go and offer God sacrifice. Appoint a time, then, Moses said to him at which I shall pray for you and your servants and your people, asking that the frogs may be driven away from you and them, and no longer be found anywhere but in the river. To-morrow, said he, and Moses answered, I will do what you have said, to let you know that there is no other God like this Lord of ours; you and your palace and your servants and your people shall be rid of the frogs, and they will remain in the river, nowhere else. So Moses and Aaron went out from Pharao's presence and Moses asked the Lord to grant what he had promised Pharao about the frogs. His prayer was answered; in house and farm and countryside all the frogs died, and must be collected in great heaps; the whole land stank with them.
As soon as Pharao found that a respite was granted him, he steeled his heart against the Lord's will, and would not heed their warning. So the Lord would have Moses tell Aaron to hold out his staff and strike the dust on the ground with it, to bring gnats upon the whole land of Egypt. The command was obeyed; and when Aaron stretched out his hand, with the staff in it, and smote the dust on the ground, gnats settled on man and beast; all over Egypt the dust on the ground turned to gnats. When the magicians tried to do as much with their spells, they found they could not, but still the gnats came and settled on man and beast, till the magicians told Pharao, This is God's handiwork; but Pharao's heart was hardened, and still he would not listen to them, or obey the Lord's will.
So the Lord said to Moses, Rise up early, and present yourself before Pharao; you will find he has gone out to the water side. Give him this message from the Lord, Let my people go and offer me sacrifice; if you do not send them on their way, I will send on you, your servants, your people, and the houses in your land, flies of all sorts; flies of every kind shall swarm in the houses of the Egyptians, and all over the land in which they dwell. But I will shew signal favour to the land of Gessen, where my own people dwell, sparing it from the flies; am I not Lord in every part of the earth? My people shall not fare as yours; to-morrow shall see this portent happen. And the Lord carried out his threat; into the houses of Pharao and his servants and upon all the land of Egypt came a grievous swarm of flies, such a swarm as tainted the whole land by its presence.
Then Pharao summoned Moses and Aaron to him; Go and sacrifice to your God, he said, but here, in this land. That may not be, said Moses; do we not sacrifice to the Lord what the Egyptians worship? If we are seen slaughtering the very beasts which the Egyptians hold sacred, they will stone us. We will do what the Lord bade us do, go out three days march into the desert and offer him sacrifice there. Then Pharao said, You shall go and sacrifice to the Lord your God in the desert, provided it is no long distance away; now go and use your prayers on my behalf. When I leave your presence, said Moses, I will pray to the Lord, and to-morrow Pharao and his servants and his people shall be rid of the flies; only do not play us false again by holding the people back from their sacrifice. So Moses left Pharao's presence, and prayed to the Lord, and what he had promised, the Lord granted, ridding Pharao and his servants and his people of the flies, until not one was left. But the heart of Pharao was still obdurate, and once more he would not let the people go.
Then the Lord bade Moses present himself before Pharao with this message from the Lord, the God of the Hebrews; Give my people leave to go and offer me sacrifice. If you do still refuse, would still keep them in your power, then my hand shall be felt all through this countryside; a most grievous plague shall fall upon horse and ass and camel, on oxen and sheep. And I will make a signal difference between the lands of Israel and the lands of the Egyptians; the Israelites will not lose any of their possessions at all. And the Lord has appointed his own time for it; To-morrow, he says, the Lord will carry out this threat against your land. So, next day, the Lord did as he had threatened; everywhere the beasts belonging to the Egyptians died, and the Israelites did not lose one. Pharao himself sent to make enquiry, and found that no beast belonging to the Israelites had died. But still Pharao's heart was obdurate, and he would not let the people go.
So the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, Take handfuls of ashes from the oven, and let Moses sprinkle them in the air in Pharao's presence. They will turn to a dust that falls everywhere in the land of Egypt, and everywhere ulcers and boils shall break out on man and beast. So they took ashes from the oven into Pharao's presence, and Moses sprinkled them in the air; and ulcers and boils broke out on man and beast; so that even the magicians could not present themselves before Pharao, such pain they had, like all Egypt, from the ulcers. But the Lord hardened Pharao's heart so that he would not listen to them; all fell out as the Lord had prophesied to Moses.
And now the Lord bade Moses rise up early in the morning, and present himself before Pharao with this message from the Lord, the God of the Hebrews: Let my people go and offer me sacrifice. I am taking occasion now to send all my plagues upon your person, and your servants, and your people, to shew you that none on earth has power like mine. Were I to stretch out my hand and smite you and your people with pestilence, earth would see no more of you. But no, this is the very reason why I have made you what you are, so as to give proof, in you, of my power, and to let my name be known all over the earth. So you would still play the tyrant with my people, and refuse them leave to go away? To-morrow, then, at this hour, I will pour as down such a fierce storm of hail as Egypt has never known, from the first day of her existence to this. Lose no time in sending word to have your cattle brought in, and all that you have out of doors; men and cattle and all else that is left in the open, not brought under shelter, will die when the hail falls upon it. Some of Pharao's servants were struck with awe at the Lord's threat, and made their servants and their cattle take refuge within doors; others paid no heed to the message the Lord had sent, and left their servants and their cattle in the open.
Then the Lord said to Moses, Stretch out your hand towards heaven, so that hail may fall all over the land of Egypt, on man and beast and every growing thing the soil of Egypt produces. So Moses lifted up his staff towards heaven, and the Lord sent thunder and hail and fire that ran along the ground; all over the land of Egypt the Lord showered down hail. The hail drove on, and fire mingled with the hail; never was such hail seen anywhere in Egypt since its people became a people. And throughout the land this hail smote all that was left in the open, man or beast; smote upon all the soil yielded, and broke down every wild tree. Only in the land of Gessen, where the Israelites dwelt, no hail fell.
So Pharao had Moses and Aaron summoned to his presence Thus far, he said, I have done wrong; the Lord has justice on his side, the guilt lies with me and my people. Pray to the Lord that these heavenly thunders, this hail, may cease; then I will let you go, and not keep you waiting here any longer. And Moses answered, When I leave the city I will spread out my hands in prayer to the Lord; the thunders will cease, and there will be no more hail, to prove to you that the Lord rules the earth. But you and your people I know it well, have not learned to fear the Lord God even now. (The flax and the barley had been spoiled; the barley was ripening, and the flax already in the pod. But no harm was done to the late crops, the wheat and the spelt.) When Moses left Pharao and the city, he stretched out his hands to the Lord; whereupon the thunder and the hail ceased, and no more rain fell on the land. And Pharao, seeing that rain and hail and thunder were past, added sin to sin; his heart and those of his servants were dull and hardened beyond belief, and he would not let the Israelites go; the Lord's warning through Moses went unheeded.
So the Lord said to Moses, Gain admission, now, to Pharao's presence; I have hardened both his own heart and the hearts of his servants, so that he shall be a signal proof of my power. It is a story you shall repeat in the hearing of your children and your children's children, how I crushed the Egyptians, what portents I did amongst them, and you shall know, all of you, what manner of God you serve. So Moses and Aaron gained Pharao's audience, and brought him this message from the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, Will you never learn to bow to my will? Give my people leave to go and offer me sacrifice. If you do refuse to let them go, then to-morrow I am sending the locust to invade your territory, covering the face of the ground till it is lost to sight, devouring all that the hail has left, eating away all the trees that grow in the countryside. Locusts shall lie thick in all the houses that belong to you, and your servants, and all the Egyptians; such a swarm as father or grandfather of yours has never seen in all their time. With that, Moses turned away, and left Pharao's presence.
And now Pharao's servants said to him, Shall we never be rid of this thorn in our sides? Let the men go, and sacrifice to the Lord their God if they will. Can you not see for yourself that Egypt is a ruined country? So they brought Moses and Aaron back into the presence of Pharao, who said to them, Go and sacrifice to the Lord your God if you will. How many will you take with you? We must take our children with us, answered Moses, and the old as well; our sons and daughters, our flocks and our herds; it is a solemn festival of the Lord our God. As you hope for the Lord's mercy, cried Pharao, you shall not go thus, taking your children with you. Who can doubt there is mischief brewing here? That will not serve; you that are grown men shall go and sacrifice to the Lord; that is all you asked for. And with that they were driven away from Pharao's presence.
Then the Lord bade Moses stretch out his hand over Egypt, to make the locusts swarm over it and devour all the growing things that had outlived the hail. So Moses stretched out his staff over Egypt; and the Lord made a sirocco blow all that day and that night. When morning came, the sirocco carried locusts with it; and these invaded all the land of Egypt, settling upon its whole extent in such numbers as had never been seen before, nor shall be hereafter. They covered the whole face of the ground, laying everything waste; devoured all the growing things which the soil produced, and all the fruit which the hail had left on the trees; no green was to be found on tree or plant all over Egypt. Upon this Pharao sent for Moses and Aaron with all haste; I have wronged you, he said, you and this Lord of yours; but forgive me this once and pray the Lord your God to rid me of this deadly plague. So Moses went out from Pharao's presence, and prayed to the Lord; who thereupon sent a violent west wind, that caught up the locusts and swept them away into the Red Sea; not one was left in the whole land of Egypt.
But still the Lord hardened Pharao's heart, and he would not let the Israelites go. So the Lord said to Moses, Stretch out your hand towards heaven, to bring darkness over the land of Egypt, darkness so thick that it can be felt. And when Moses stretched out his hand towards heaven, all over the land of Egypt utter darkness fell; for three days no one caught sight of his neighbour's face, or moved from where he was. But wherever sons of Israel dwelt, the light shone. Then Pharao had Moses and Aaron summoned; Go and sacrifice to the Lord, he said, and take your children with you, only leave your flocks and herds behind. But Moses said, Nay, you must let us take victims with us, if we are to offer the Lord our God burnt-sacrifice. All our flocks must go with us, not a hoof but shall take the road; we shall need them for the worship of the Lord our God. We cannot tell what kind of offering we must make, until we reach the place itself.
But the Lord hardened Pharao's heart, and he would not let them go. Depart from me, Pharao said to Moses, and take good care you do not come into my presence any more; if I see you again, that day shall be your last. It shall be as you say, Moses answered; I will not come into your presence any more.
The Lord had told Moses, I mean to send one more plague on Pharao, and Egypt with him; after that he will let you go, nay, he will drive you out with all eagerness. Give the word, then, to all the people, men and women alike that they are to claim gold and silver trinkets from their neighbours; the Lord will let you have your way with the Egyptians. Sore adread of Moses the Egyptians were, both Pharao's servants and all the people. And now he said, The Lord sends you this message: At midnight I will make my way through the midst of Egypt, and with that every first-born thing in the land of Egypt will die, whether it be the first-born of Pharao, where he sits on his throne, or the first-born of the slave-woman working at the mill; all the first-born, too, of your cattle. All over the land of Egypt there shall be loud lament, such as never was yet, never shall be again. But where the Israelites dwell, all shall be still, man and beast, not a dog shall howl; you will know at last how signal a difference the Lord makes between Egypt and Israel. Then all these servants of yours shall come bowing down to me in entreaty, praying to be rid of me, and of all the people under my command; and when that happens, we will depart. So he left Pharao's presence, full of anger. It was a true word the Lord had said to Moses, Pharao will refuse you a hearing, to give occasion for those many signs I mean to do in Egypt. Moses and Aaron had done all the miracles here recorded, all in Pharao's presence, and still the Lord hardened Pharao's heart, and he would not let the Israelites leave his country.
It was while they were still in the land of Egypt that the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, For you, this month is to lead in all the months to be the first month of the year. Make this proclamation to the whole assembly of Israel: On the tenth day of this month, each family, each household, is to choose out a yearling for its own use. Or, if there are not enough of them to eat a whole lamb, the head of the family must call in some neighbour who lives close by, so that a lamb shall not be too much for their needs. It must be a male yearling lamb, or a male yearling kid, that you choose, with no blemish on it. These victims must be kept ready till the fourteenth day of the month, and on the evening of that day the whole people of Israel must immolate. They must take some of the blood, and sprinkle it on the doorway, jambs and lintel alike, of the house in which the lamb is being eaten. Their meat that night must be roasted over the fire, their bread unleavened; wild herbs must be all their seasoning. No part must be eaten raw, or boiled, it must be roasted over the fire; head, feet, and entrails, all must be consumed, so that nothing remains till next day; whatever is left over, you must put in the fire and burn it. And this is to be the manner of your eating it; your loins must be girt, your feet ready shod, and every man's staff in his hand; all must be done in haste. It is the night of the Pasch, the Lord's passing by; the night on which I will pass through the land of Egypt, and smite every first-born thing in the land of Egypt, man and beast alike; so I will give sentence on all the powers of Egypt, I, the Lord. The blood on the houses that shelter you will be your badge; at sight of the blood, I will pass you by, and there shall be no scourge of calamity for you when I smite the land of Egypt.
You are to observe this day as a memorial of the past, a day when you keep holiday in the Lord's honour, generation after generation; a rite never to be abrogated. For a whole week you will eat unleavened bread; from the first day of it, yeast is to disappear from your houses, and the man who eats any leavened thing between the first day and the seventh, is lost to Israel. That first day shall be solemnly set apart, and the seventh observed with no less honour; on neither of them shall you do any work, except to prepare your food. Mark well this day of unleavened bread; for this is the day on which I will lead your whole muster away out of Egypt, and you are to observe it, generation after generation, a rite never to be abrogated. From evening on the fourteenth day of the first month to evening on the twenty-first day of it, the bread you eat must be unleavened; no yeast to be found in any house for a whole week. If anyone, stranger or native, eats leavened bread during that time, there is one soul lost to Israel. There must be no food cooked with yeast; there must be no house in which leavened bread is eaten.
Thereupon Moses called the elders of Israel together, and gave them the command: Set about choosing victims for each family to immolate at the paschal feast. Take bunches of hyssop, too, and dip them in the blood which stands at your doors, and sprinkle it over the doorway, lintel and jambs alike. None of you must cross the threshold of his house till morning comes. The Lord will pass on his way smiting down the Egyptians, and when he sees the blood on the lintel and the jambs of a door-way he will pass by that house, and will not let the destroying angel enter your homes to do them injury. And this command is to be kept as an observance by you and your sons for ever. When you reach the land which the Lord will give you in accordance with his promise, you are to keep these ceremonies alive; and if your children ask, What is the meaning of this rite? then you shall tell them, This is the victim that marked the Lord's passing-by, when he passed by the houses of the Israelites in Egypt, smiting only the Egyptians, and leaving our homes exempt. Upon hearing this, the whole people bowed down in worship, and the Israelites went away to carry out the divine commands which Moses and Aaron had received.
Then, at midnight, the Lord's stroke fell; fell on every first-born thing in the land of Egypt, whether it were the first-born of Pharao, where he sat on his throne, or the first-born of some captive woman where she lay in her dungeon; all the first-born, too, of their cattle. So Pharao and all his servants and all Egypt rose up at dead of night, and all over Egypt there was loud lament; in every house a man lay dead. And it was still night when Pharao sent for Moses and Aaron, and said to them, Up, out of my kingdom, you and all the people of Israel with you; go and offer this Lord of yours the sacrifice you spoke of. You shall have your way, and take your flocks and herds with you; leave me only your blessing, and begone.
The Egyptians, too, urged the people to hasten their departure; We are dead men else, they said. So the Israelites carried away the dough in their kneading-troughs before they had time to leaven it, tying it up in cloths and carrying it on their shoulders. Nor did they forget to do what Moses had bidden them; they asked the Egyptians for gold and silver trinkets, and a great store of garments. And the Lord let his people have their way with the Egyptians, claiming as they would; so they took toll of Egypt. The Israelites, then, set out from Ramesses to Socoth, about six hundred thousand men on the march, not reckoning in the children; and with them a mingled array of other folk, past counting; they had flocks and herds, too, and beasts of all kinds, in great numbers. For cooking they used the dough which they had brought with them all the way from Egypt, making girdle-cakes without any yeast in them; they had had no time to leaven it, no chance of making provision for their journey, with the Egyptians eagerly bidding them begone, and allowing them no respite. It was four hundred and thirty years since the Israelites had first dwelt in Egypt; at the end of that time, the whole muster of the Lord's people left Egypt in a single day.
It is a night for keeping vigil in the Lord's honour, this night when he led them away out of the land of Egypt; the sons of Israel, age after age, must needs observe it. And these are the rules for keeping the Pasch, as the Lord gave them to Moses and Aaron. No alien is to partake of it; a slave acquired by purchase may do so, if he will be circumcised, but not a foreign resident, not a hired servant. All of it must be eaten under the same roof; you must not take any of the victim's flesh elsewhere, or break it up into joints. Every Israelite is bound to keep the observance. If any stranger that lives among you wishes to be of your company, and to eat the pasch, all the males of his household must be circumcised before he can lawfully celebrate the rite. That done, he takes rank as an inhabitant of the country; whereas the uncircumcised are not allowed to partake of it. Native-born, or foreign resident, the same rules are binding on everyone.
So all the sons of Israel carried out the divine commands Moses and Aaron had received; and that same day the Lord led them away out of the land of Egypt, company by company.
And this was another command the Lord gave to Moses: Dedicate to me every first-born thing that Israel yields, whether it be man or beast, the first-fruits of every womb; all these are forfeit to me.
And now Moses said to the people, Today you have left Egypt, your prison-house, and it is the Lord's constraining power that has won you your freedom; mark out this day by eating no bread that has leaven in it, this day of early spring which sees your departure. When the Lord has given you a home in the land of Chanaanite and Hethite, the Amorrhite, Hevite and Jebusite, that land, all milk and honey, which he promised your fathers he would give you, you shall keep alive, this month, the old custom. For a whole week you shall eat unleavened bread, and the seventh day of it shall be kept as a feast in the Lord's honour. During those seven days you shall eat, all of you, bread without yeast in it; nothing leavened shall be seen anywhere within the frontiers of your domain. And you shall tell your children in those after times all the Lord did for you when you made your escape from Egypt. This custom is to endure like a mark branded on the hand, to be kept in view like a badge worn on the forehead; the law of the Lord shall be continually on your lips; was it not the Lord's constraining power that rescued you from Egypt? You shall keep it alive, year after year, when the appointed time comes round.
And when the Lord has made good his promise to you and to your fathers, by bringing you into the Chanaanite land and giving it to you for your own, you shall dedicate to the Lord the first-born of every womb, the first-fruits of all your cattle; every such thing, if it be of the male sex, is forfeit to him. When an ass has its first foal, you shall offer a sheep in payment of its ransom; if not, it must be killed. And every first-born man child of your own race shall have a price paid for his ransom. When, in after times, your sons ask you what is the meaning of this, you shall tell them how the Lord's constraining power rescued you from your prison-house in Egypt; how Pharao's heart was hardened, and he would not let you go free, until the Lord slew every first-born male thing, man or beast, in the land of Egypt. That (you shall say) is why I immolate to the Lord every first-born thing, the first-fruits of every womb, except among my own children; and for these I must pay ransom; this custom is to endure like a mark branded on the hand, to be kept in view like a badge worn on the forehead, to remind you, too, how the Lord's constraining power rescued us from Egypt.
Thus the people had Pharao's leave to go on their way; but God did not lead them by the nearest road, the road through Philistia. Here they would have found themselves met by armed resistance, and perhaps, in despair of their enterprise, returned to Egypt. He took them round, instead, through the desert which borders on the Red Sea and yet the Israelites left Egypt in war-like array. Nor did Moses forget to take with him the body of Joseph, who had bound the sons of Israel by an oath to carry his bones away with them when God shewed mercy to them. Their first encampment after leaving Socoth was at Etham, on the very frontier of the desert. And the Lord went on before, to guide them on their journey; by day, in a pillar of cloud, by night, in a pillar of fire; he was their guide at all times; every day a pillar of cloud, every night a pillar of fire moved on before the people.
Then the word of the Lord came to Moses, bidding him give the Israelites fresh orders. They were to turn back and encamp round Phihahiroth, between Magdal and the sea, opposite Beelsephon, pitching their tents close to the western shore of the sea. Pharao (the Lord told them) will think that the Israelites have no room to move, caught there in the desert; and I will harden his heart, so that he will give pursuit. Then I will win victory over Pharao and all his armies, and Egypt will learn to know me, the Lord, for what I am. The people did as they were bidden. And now, when the news of their escape reached the Egyptian court, Pharao and his servants changed their minds about the Israelites; What madness was this, they said, to let our slaves go free! So Pharao harnessed his chariot, and took all his troops with him; not only his best chariots, six hundred in number, but all that were to be found in Egypt, and all the captains of his army. Thus the Lord hardened the heart of Pharao, king of Egypt, and he pursued the Israelites in the hour of their triumphant escape. All Pharao's horses and chariots, and the whole of his army, followed close on the track of the fugitives, and came upon them where they lay encamped by the sea, at Phihahiroth, opposite Beelsephon. What fear fell upon the Israelites, how they cried out to the Lord, when they looked round at Pharao's approach, and saw the Egyptians close behind them! Were there no graves for us in Egypt, they asked Moses, that you have brought us here, to die in the desert? Was it not ill done, to bring us away from Egypt at all? And did we not tell you as much while we were still there? Leave us, we said, to our Egyptian bondage; better slavery here, than death in the desert. But Moses said to the people, Have no fear; wait patiently; the Lord means to do a miracle to-day under your eyes. The Egyptians you see now, you are seeing for the last time; they will disappear from your sight for ever. It is the Lord that will do battle for you; your part is silence.
And the Lord's word came to Moses, No need to cry to me for aid; bid the Israelites march on. And do you, meanwhile, lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea, parting it this way and that, so that the Israelites can walk through the midst of the sea dry-shod. Then I will harden Pharao's heart, so that he will give pursuit, and I will win victory over Pharao and all his army, over his chariots and horsemen. Vain the chariot, vain the horseman; I will teach the Egyptians to know me, the Lord, for what I am. And with that, God's angel, that went on before the host of Israel, moved to their rear; the pillar of cloud, too, left its place in the van and came behind them. It stood there between the Egyptian camp and the camp of Israel, a cloud that shed light in the darkness, yet was itself deep mist, so that neither army could approach the other all that night. Meanwhile, Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the Lord cleared it away from their path. All night a fierce sirocco blew, and the Lord turned the sea into dry land, the waters parting this way and that. So the Israelites went through the midst of the sea dry-shod, with its waters towering up like a wall to right and left.
And the Egyptians, still in pursuit, pressed on after them, all Pharao's mounted troops, his chariots and horsemen, driving on through the midst of the sea. It was already the first watch of the morning, when suddenly, through the pillar of fire and mist, the Lord looked down upon the Egyptians, and brought their army to its doom. He turned the wheels of their chariots aside, so that they drove through deep places, and the Egyptians began to say, Back, back! There is no facing Israel; the Lord is fighting on their side against us. Then the Lord said to Moses, Stretch out your hand over the sea, so that its waters shall recoil on the Egyptians, on all their chariots and their horsemen. And when Moses stretched out his hand towards the sea, at early dawn, it went back to its bed, so that its waters met the Egyptians in their flight, and the Lord drowned them amid the waves. Back came the water, overwhelming all the chariots and horsemen of Pharao's army that had entered the sea in their pursuit; not a man escaped. But the sons of Israel made their way through the midst of the sea where it had parted, its waters towering like a wall to right and left. So the Lord rescued Israel that day from the assault of the Egyptians; and when they saw the dead Egyptians washed up on the shore, and the great defeat the Lord had inflicted upon them, the people learned to fear the Lord, putting their trust in him and in his servant Moses.
Then Moses and the Israelites sang praise to the Lord, and this was their song: A psalm for the Lord, so great he is and so glorious; horse and rider hurled into the sea! Who but the Lord is my protector, the pride of my song; who but the Lord has brought me deliverance? Shall I not praise him, my own God; shall I not extol him, the God of my father before me? The Lord, the warrior God, whose very name tells of omnipotence! That power could hurl Pharao's chariots, Pharao's army, into the sea; drowned in the Red Sea, the flower of all his chivalry; the depths closed over them, and they sank to the bottom like a stone. How magnificent, Lord, is the strength of your right hand; that right hand which has shattered the enemy! Against such majesty rose they but to fall; the hot breath of your anger burnt them up like stubble. The waters were piled high through the blast of your fury; the waves were still, at the sea's heart the depths congealed.
After them, seize them! the enemy cried; there will be spoils for all, to our heart's content; now to unsheathe my sword, and deal the fatal blow! A breath from you, and the sea closed over them; they sank in the raging waters like lead. What power is there, Lord, that can match you? Who, as you are, is august in holiness, who so worthy of fear and of praise, who so wonderful in his doings? You had but to stretch out your hand, and the earth swallowed them up.
Your mercy had delivered Israel; your mercy should be their guide; your strong arms should carry them to the holy place where you dwell. The heathen raged in their hill-fastnesses; anguish came upon Philistia's citizens, the chieftains of Edom were dismayed, the warriors of Moab overcome with fear; a numbness seized upon all that dwelt in Chanaan. Terror and dread must needs fall upon them; still as a stone, under the threat of your powerful arm, they must watch your people go by, your ransomed people, Lord, go by unharmed. Entry your people should have, and a home on the mountain you claim for your own, the inviolable dwelling-place, Lord, you have made for yourself, the sanctuary your own hands have fashioned! The reign of the Lord will endure for ever and ever. To horse! cried Pharao, and swept chariots and horsemen on into the sea; and the Lord brought the waters of the sea back over them, while the sons of Israel went through the midst of it dry-shod.
Hereupon Mary the prophetess, Aaron's sister, went out with a tambour in her hand, and all the women-folk followed her, with tambour and with dances and took up from her the refrain, A psalm for the Lord, so great he is and so glorious; horse and rider hurled into the sea!
And now Moses led Israel away from the Red Sea, and they went out into the desert of Sur, where they found no water in three days marching over waste ground. So they came to Mara, and even here they could not drink the water, so brackish it was to the taste; it was with good reason he called it Mara, for Mara means Bitterness. Here the people were loud in their complaints against Moses; What shall we do for water? they said. Whereupon he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord shewed him a tree whose wood turned the waters sweet when it was thrown into them. Here, too, he gave them laws and decrees to live by, and issued this challenge to them: If you will listen to the voice of the Lord your God, his will doing, his word obeying, and all he bids you observe, observing faithfully, never shall they fall on you, the many woes brought on Egypt; I am the Lord, and it is health I bring you. After this the Israelites came to Elim, where they found twelve springs of water and seventy palm-trees, and pitched their tents beside the water.
Then, leaving Elim, the Israelite people marched to the desert of Sin, between Elim and Sinai. It was now the fifteenth day of the second month since they had left Egypt, and the Israelites, one and all, there in the desert, were loud in their complaints against Moses and Aaron. It would have been better, they told them, if the Lord had struck us dead in the land of Egypt, where we sat down to bowls of meat, and had more bread than we needed to content us. Was it well done to bring us out into this desert, and starve our whole company to death? But the Lord said to Moses, I mean to rain down bread upon you from heaven. It will be for the people to go out and gather enough for their needs day by day; and so I shall have a test, whether they are ready to follow my orders or not. Only when the sixth day comes must they lay in a store twice as large as they gathered on any of the others.
So Moses and Aaron told all the people of Israel, This night shall bring proof it was the Lord that rescued you from Egypt, and to-morrow you shall witness his glory. He has heard your complaints against himself - not against us, we are nothing. The Lord (said Moses) means to give you meat for your food this evening, and bread tomorrow to your hearts' content. Not unheard, the complaints you have brought against him; we count for nothing, it is the Lord's dealings you complain of, not ours. And Moses would have Aaron summon the whole people into the Lord's presence, that had heard them talk so rebelliously. Even as Aaron was speaking to the assembled Israelites, they looked round towards the desert, and saw the glory of the Lord revealed there in a cloud. And the Lord said to Moses, This be your answer to the rebel talk I hear: This evening you shall have meat, and bread tomorrow to your hearts content; will you doubt, then, that I am the Lord your God?
Evening came, and brought with it a flight of quails, that settled in every part of the camp. And at morning, all about the camp, dew was lying; dew that covered the earth's surface, there in the desert, powdered fine as if it had been brayed by a pestle, lying on the ground like hoar-frost. The Israelites could not tell what it was when they went to look at it; Manhu, they said to one another, What is it? And Moses told them, This is the bread which the Lord has sent for your eating. And this is the command the Lord gives you; everyone is to gather enough for his needs; a gomor a head is the measure he is to take up, just so much for each person living in his tent. So the children of Israel did as they were bidden, gathering up one more, another less, and each of them measuring it by the measure of a gomor. The man who gathered more did not gather too much for his household, or the man who gathered less too little; each gathered according to the number of mouths that must be filled. None of you, Moses told them, must keep any of it for the morrow. Little heed they gave him, but when some of them left part of it over till morning, it bred worms and corrupted, and Moses rebuked them for their disobedience. So, every morning, each man gathered what would suffice for his needs; whatever was left till the sun grew hot, melted away.
When the sixth day came, they gathered a double allowance of two gomors a head. And when this was reported to Moses by those who were in command of the people, he told them, Why, that is the direction the Lord has given us. To-morrow is the sabbath, a day of rest consecrated to the Lord; prepare all you need to prepare, cook all you need to cook, for to-day, and leave what is over for to-morrow. And when they did as Moses had bidden them, they found that what they had left overnight did not corrupt or breed worms at all. That is your food for to-day, Moses told them, because it is the Lord's sabbath; go out to-day, and you will find nothing. You have only six days to gather it in; you will find none on the seventh, the Lord's day of rest forbids it. And sure enough, when some of the people went out to gather it on the seventh day, they could find none. Hereupon the Lord said to Moses, Will you never learn to do as my law commands you? Can you not see that the sabbath is the Lord's gift to you, and if he gives you a double allowance on the sixth day, it is because you must all stay within doors, not leaving your homes, on the seventh? So on the seventh day the people kept the sabbath rest.
This food, which the Israelites called Man, was white in colour and looked like coriander seed; its taste was like that of flour mixed with honey. And now Moses told them a fresh command he had had from the Lord; he was to fill a gomor with it, and this was to be kept, so that later generations might know what kind of nourishment it was I gave them in the desert, when they had been rescued from the land of Egypt. Take a jar, Moses said to Aaron, put into it as much of the manna as a gomor measure will contain, and leave it to lie in the presence of the Lord, as a treasure for after ages to keep. Such was the Lord's command to Moses; so Aaron left the jar to lie in the tabernacle, where it was to be kept. The Israelites fed on this manna for forty years, while they were far from the haunts of men; this was their nourishment until they reached the frontiers of Chanaan. (Note that the gomor measures a tenth of a bushel.)
Then the whole people of Israel left the desert of Sin, moving on from stage to stage as the Lord directed them and encamped at Raphidim. But here they had no water to drink, so they turned upon Moses crying out, We have nothing to drink; find water for us. Why do you turn upon me? asked Moses. Will you challenge the Lord? But the people, thirsting for lack of water grew loud in their complaints against Moses; Did you bring us away from Egypt, they said, only to let us die here, with our children and our cattle, of thirst? Moses had recourse to the Lord; What can be done with them? he asked. A little more of this, and they will begin stoning me. So the Lord bade Moses march out at the head of the people, taking some of the elders of Israel with him; and as he went, he was to carry in his hand the staff which he had used to smite the river. I will meet you, he said, at the rock of Horeb; you have but to smite that rock, and water will flow out of it, to give the people drink. All this Moses did, with the elders of Israel to witness it; and the name he gave to that place was Challenge, because it was there the Israelites turned on him and challenged the Lord, by asking whether the Lord still went with them or not.
And while they were at Raphidim, the Amalecites came and offered the Israelites battle. So Moses said to Josue, Muster me an army, and go out to fight against Amalec; I will take my stand tomorrow on the hill top, with the miraculous staff in my hand. And Josue did as Moses bade him going out to do battle with Amalec, while Moses Aaron and Hur went up to the hill top. Whenever Moses lifted up his hands, Israel had the better of it; only when he rested for a little did the victory go to Amalec. But now Moses' arms grew weary; so they found him a stone to sit on and bade him be seated on it; then, one on each side, Aaron and Hur kept his hands lifted up. In this way, the strength of his arms held out until set of sun, while Josue routed Amalec and all the forces Amalec could rally, at the sword's point. Put this on record in writing, the Lord said to Moses, and recite it in Josue's hearing: I mean to efface the very name of Amalec from this earth. Moses, too, built an altar there, and called it The Lord raises me up; and he cried out, Lift up your hands to the Lord's throne! The Lord declares war against Amalec, for all ages to come.
And now news reached Jethro, priest of Madian, Moses father-in-law, of all that God had done for Moses and for his people Israel, and how the Lord had rescued Israel from Egypt. So he brought Moses his wife Sephora (for Moses had sent her back home), and his two sons. The elder of these was called Gersam, because his father said, I have been a stranger, Ger, in an alien land, and the younger Eliezer, Help from God, because, said Moses, the God of my father has helped me to escape from the power of Pharao. So, here in the desert, where he lay encamped close to God's mountain, Moses was visited by his father-in-law Jethro, and his sons, and his wife. Jethro had sent word on to tell Moses who it was that came, and that he had Sephora and her two sons with him; so Moses went out to meet his father-in-law, bowing low and greeting him with a kiss, and words of peaceful welcome passed between them. Then, within the shelter of his tent, Moses told his father-in-law how the Lord had avenged Israel on Pharao and the Egyptians; what hardships they had met on the journey, and how the Lord had sent them relief. The story of the Lord's mercies to an oppressed people in delivering them from the power of Egypt rejoiced Jethro's heart; Blessed be the Lord, he said, who has brought you deliverance when you lay in the power of Pharao and of the Egyptians! Blessed be the Lord, who has put an end to your slavery in Egypt! Now I know for certain that the Lord is greater than all other gods! An ill day for the Egyptians when they wronged you! So Moses' father-in-law Jethro brought offerings and sacrificed to God; and Aaron, with all the elders of Israel, came to sit at meat with him, there in God's presence.
Next day, Moses was in his place deciding disputes among the people, who must stand there from morning till evening waiting for an audience with him; and when Jethro saw how he busied himself over the people's needs, he asked, What make you here among the people? Why do you sit there alone, with all the people waiting upon you from morning till evening? They come to me, answered Moses, to find out what God's decision is. Some dispute arises among them, and they come to me so that I may make a just award between them, telling them of the decrees which God issues, and of his law. It is ill conceived, said Jethro, this practice of yours. You will wear out your own strength, and the patience of this people that goes with you, and to no purpose; it is beyond your powers to sustain this office all alone. Here is a word of advice for you; do but listen, and God will speed you. Your part is to be the representative of this people with God, referring all their affairs to him, prescribing to them rite and observance, custom to be kept and duty to be done. Meanwhile, choose out here and there among the people able men, God-fearing, lovers of truth and haters of gain ill won; put each of these in charge of a tribe, or of a hundred families or fifty families, or ten. These will administer justice to the people from day to day, referring graver matters to you, but deciding for themselves all that is of less moment. Share your burden with others, and find relief; so you will be able to carry out God's commands, and endure the weight of all his claims upon you, and yet all these folk will go home satisfied.
Moses listened to all that he proposed, and carried it into effect. He chose out here and there among the Israelites active men, and made them rulers of the people, with the charge of a tribe, or a hundred families, or fifty families, or ten; and these administered justice to the people day after day, referring graver matters to him, and deciding for themselves all that was of less moment. And so he took leave of his father-in-law, who now went back to his own country.
The third new moon was rising since they left the land of Egypt, on the day when the Israelites reached the wilderness of Sinai. They set out from Raphidim, and marched all the way to the Sinai desert before they encamped, pitching their tents there in full view of the mountain. Here Moses went up to meet God, and the voice of God came to him from the mountain, A message to the race of Jacob; to Israel's sons proclaim it: You have seen for yourselves what I did to the Egyptians, how I carried you as if on eagle's wings, and took you up into my care. Listen, then, to my voice, and keep your covenant with me; and I, to whom all the earth belongs, will single you out among its peoples to be my own. You shall serve me as a royal priesthood, as a consecrated nation; tell the Israelites this. So, when Moses came back, he summoned the elders of the people, and told them what message it was the Lord had entrusted to him; whereupon the whole people answered with one voice, We will do all the Lord has said.
Moses went back to the Lord with this promise from the people, and the Lord said to him, The time has come now when I mean to visit you, wrapped in a dark cloud, so that all the people may hear me talking with you, and obey you without question henceforward. And when Moses had told him of the people's promise, he said, Go back to the people, and spend to-day and tomorrow ridding them of defilement. Let them wash their clothes, and hold themselves in readiness for the third day; two days from now, the Lord will come down on to mount Sinai in the presence of all the people. Keep them within bounds along the whole circle of it, and bid them beware of going up on to the mountain, or touching even the fringes of it; if anyone touches the mountain, his life must pay for it. No hand must be laid on him, he must be stoned, or shot down with javelins; beast or man that touches the mountain is to die. All this, until they hear a blast on the ram's horn; then let them go up on to the mountain. So Moses went down again to the people, and rid them of defilement. First they must wash their clothes; then he bade them hold themselves in readiness for the third day, and have no commerce with their wives.
And now the third day had come. Morning broke, and all at once thunder was heard, lightning shone out, and the mountain was covered with thick mist; loud rang the trumpet-blast, and the people in the camp were dismayed. But Moses brought them out from the camp itself to meet the Lord, and they stood there close by the spurs of the mountain. The whole of mount Sinai was by now wreathed in smoke, where the Lord had come down with fire about him, so that smoke went up as if from a furnace; it was a mountain full of terrors. Louder yet grew the noise of the trumpet, longer its blast; and then Moses spoke to the Lord, and the Lord's voice was heard in answer. It was on the very top of mount Sinai that the Lord had come down, and now he called Moses up to the summit. When he had climbed up there he was bidden go down again, and warn the people not to pass beyond their bounds in their eagerness to see the Lord; or it might be that a great multitude of them would incur death. Even the priests who came into the Lord's presence were to come sanctified, for fear he should smite them. But, Lord, said Moses, the common folk will be in no danger of climbing up on to Sinai; you yourself have warned them, and bidden us set bounds, to keep the mountain inviolable. Go down, the Lord said to him, and come back with Aaron alone; neither priests nor people are to go beyond their bounds, and come into the Lord's presence, or he will slay them. So Moses went back to the people, and told them all he was bidden.
And now God spoke all these words which follow. I, the Lord, am your God (he said); I, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, where you did dwell in slavery.
You shall not defy me by making other gods your own. You shall not carve images, or fashion the likeness of anything in heaven above, or on earth beneath, or in the waters under the earth, to bow down and worship it. I, your God, the Lord Almighty, am jealous in my love; be my enemy, and your children, to the third and fourth generation, for your guilt shall make amends; love me, keep my commandments, and mercy shall be yours a thousandfold.
You shall not take the name of the Lord your God lightly on your lips; if a man uses that name lightly, the Lord will not acquit him of sin. Remember to keep the sabbath day holy. Six days for drudgery, for doing all the work you have to do; when the seventh day comes, it is a day of rest, consecrated to the Lord your God. That day, all work shall be at an end, for you and every son and daughter of yours, your servants and serving-women, your beasts, too, and the aliens that live within your gates. It was six days the Lord spent in making heaven and earth and sea and all that is in them; on the seventh day he rested, and that is why the Lord has blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
Honour your father and your mother; so you shall live long to enjoy the land which the Lord your God means to give you.
You shall do no murder.
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not steal.
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.
You shall not covet your neighbour's house, or set your heart upon your neighbour's wife, or servant or hand-maid or ox or ass or anything else that is his.
All the people stood watching while thunder rolled and lightning flashed, while the trumpet sounded and the mountain was wreathed in smoke, terrified and awe-stricken so that they kept their distance, and cried out to Moses, Do you tell us the message; we are ready to obey you. Do not let us hear the Lord speaking; it will cost us our lives. But Moses said to the people, Do not be afraid; God has come here to make trial of your obedience; he would have you possessed with the fear of him, to preserve you from sin. So the people stood their ground far off, while Moses went up into the darkness where God was.
And the Lord gave Moses this further message for the Israelites: You stood watching while I spoke to you out of heaven; it is not for you to make yourselves gods of silver or of gold. It is enough to build me an altar of turf, on which to present burnt sacrifices and welcome-offerings, of sheep or oxen, wherever my name is honoured; so I will come to you, and give you my blessing. Even if you should make me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of hewn stones; to use any tool in the making of it is to profane it. And when you go up to my altar, you shall not mount by steps, for fear of exposing your body's nakedness.
And these laws, he said, you shall promulgate to them. If you do buy a slave that is a Hebrew by race, he shall do you six years service, and in the seventh year, without any ransom paid, he shall go free. He shall leave your service in the same guise in which he entered it; if he came to you married, his wife shall go free with him. But if his master has assigned a wife to him, and she has borne sons and daughters, this woman and her children shall belong to the master; the slave shall go free in the same guise as before. It may be that the slave, for love of his master, and of his own wife and children, will refuse to take his leave; if so, his master shall bring him before the judgement-seat, and then fasten his ear with an auger to door or door-post, in token that the man is his slave in perpetuity. If anyone sells his daughter into a man's service, she is not to go free on the same conditions as a slave. The master to whom she has been made over may send her away, if he has no liking for her, but he may not sell her to foreign masters; he has done her despite enough already. He may betroth her, if he will, to his son; but if he does that, he must treat her as his daughter; and if he finds his son another wife instead, he must marry the girl off, and give her clothes, and make all amends for the loss of her virginity. If he is not prepared to do these three things, then she must go free, with no ransom paid for her.
Whoever kills a man with intent to kill, must pay for it with his life. But where there was no malice aforethought, and God provides the occasion, he shall be allowed to find refuge in such place as I shall appoint for you. One who lies in wait on purpose to kill his neighbour shall be torn away even from my altar to die. Death is the penalty for one who kills his father or his mother; death is the penalty when a man is shewn to have carried off his fellowman and sold him; death is the penalty for one who curses father or mother.
Two fall out, and one is struck with a stone, or with the fist, not fatally, but so that he must take to his bed; must the man who struck the blow be held guilty? Only till the other is well enough to get up and walk abroad with a stick; but he must compensate him for his loss of work, and for the doctor's charges. When a man beats his servant or his handmaid to death, if death follows at once, he must pay the full penalty; but if they survive for a day or more, he shall go unpunished; the loss is his. If men fall out, and one of them strikes a woman who is pregnant, so that the child is still-born, but she herself lives, he must pay whatever sum the woman's husband demands, and the judges agree to; if her death follows, then life must pay for life. So it is to be; an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand, a foot for a foot; burning for burning, wound for wound, bruise for bruise. If anyone gives servant or handmaid a blow on the eye, so that the sight of it is lost, he must set them free in return for the sight he robbed them of; or if he knocks out a tooth, he must let servant or handmaid go free by the same title.
If an ox gores a man or woman to death, it shall be stoned, and the flesh of it is not to be eaten. But the owner of the ox shall be held innocent, unless the ox has been using its horns for some time past, and he has refused to shut it away when appeal was made to him. Then, if the ox gores man or woman, it shall be stoned, and he too shall be put to death, unless a fine is imposed on him instead; if so, he shall pay whatever ransom is demanded for his life. The parents shall have the same claim upon him, whether it be a son or daughter of theirs the ox has gored; if it has attacked man-servant or woman-servant, the owner must pay thirty silver pieces, and the ox must be stoned. If a man who has opened an old well, or is digging a new one, does not cover it up, and ox or ass falls into it, the owner of the well shall pay the full value of the beasts; the carcase he may keep for himself. If one man's ox is wounded by another's and dies of it, they shall sell the live ox and share the price of it, dividing the carcase of the dead ox between them; unless it has been known for some time past that the live ox was using its horns, and the owner has not kept it under control. If so, he shall restore ox for ox, and keep the whole carcase for himself.
The man who steals ox or sheep and slaughters or sells it, must make restitution at the rate of five oxen for one and four sheep for one.
When a thief is caught breaking into a house, or digging under the walls of it, the man who deals him a fatal wound is not guilty of murder, unless the deed was done after sun-rise. If the sun be risen, there is murder done, and life must pay for life.
The thief who has no money to make restitution with, must himself be sold as a slave.
If something stolen, ox or ass or sheep, is found alive in the possession of the thief, he shall make restitution twofold.
If anyone damages field or vineyard by letting some beast of his feed on another man's property, he must make good the estimated loss out of the best crop in his own field or vineyard. If a fire breaks out and catches among thorn-bushes, setting light to heaps of grain or to corn standing in the fields, the man who lit the fire must make good the loss.
Where money or goods entrusted to a friend's keeping have been stolen, the thief, if he is found, must make twofold restitution. If he cannot be found, the owner of the house where they lay in keeping shall be brought before the judgement-seat. He must swear that he laid no hands on his neighbour's property with malicious intent. Be there a loss of ox or ass or sheep or clothing or any other kind of property, the two parties shall come before the judgement-seat, and the defendant, if he is found guilty, shall make twofold restitution. If a man entrusts his neighbour with ass or ox or sheep or any other beast for safe keeping, and it is killed or wounded or carried off by enemies, with no witness to the fact, the matter shall be settled by an oath, which the owner shall accept, that the other did not lay hands on his property; there is no restitution to be made. But where the loss is due to theft, the owner shall be compensated. If it has been killed by a wild beast, the carcase must be brought before the owner, and no amends made. Where a man has borrowed any such beast of his neighbour, and it is maimed or killed in the owner's absence, compensation must be made to him; but not if the owner himself was present, and especially if hire was being paid for the work the beast did.
One who seduces a virgin not yet betrothed, and beds with her, must give her a dowry and marry her, unless the father will not give her in marriage; then amends must be made, equivalent to the dowry which a virgin customarily receives.
Sorcerers must not be allowed to live. The man who is guilty of bestiality must pay for it with his life. Sacrifice is for the Lord alone; he who offers it to other gods must be put to death.
There must be no harrying or oppression of the aliens that dwell among you; time was when you too dwelt as aliens in the land of Egypt. You must not wrong the widow and the orphan; wronged, they will cry out to me for redress, and their cry will be heard. My anger will blaze out against you, and I will smite you with the sword, making widows of your own wives, orphans of your own children.
If you do lend money to some poorer neighbour among my people, you shall not drive him hard as extortioners do or burden him with usury. If you take your neighbour's garment for a pledge, you shall give it back to him by set of sun; it is all he has to cover himself with, his body's protection, all he has to sleep under. He has but to cry for redress and I, the ever merciful, will listen to him.
You shall not revile the powers above you, or speak ill of him who rules your people.
There must be no delay in paying tithes and first-fruits. You shall make me an offering of the first son that is born to you, and with your oxen and sheep you shall do the like; for seven days the dam may keep her first-born, after that it must be offered to me. You are to be men marked out for my service. Meat that has once been tasted by wild beasts shall not be used for food; it must be thrown to the dogs.
Never must you take up a false cry, or join hands with the guilty by giving false witness in their favour. Never must you follow with the crowd in doing wrong, or be swayed by many voices so as to give false judgement; even pity for the poor must not sway you when judgement is to be given.
If you have an enemy, and find his ox or his ass going astray, take it back to him. Here is one that hates you, and his ass has fallen under its burden; do not pass by, help him to lift it up.
Do not give false judgement when the cause of the poor is tried. Keep clear of untruth. Do not bring death on an innocent man that has justice on his side; I give no countenance to the wrong-doer. Beware of accepting bribes; they blind even the prudent, and disturb the judgement even of just men. Do not oppress the alien; you know what it is to be an alien, since you yourselves were exiles in the land of Egypt.
For six years together you may sow your land, and gather the crop from it; in the seventh year leave it alone, to lie fallow, and give your poorer neighbours food; all that is left, the wild beasts may eat. And you shall do the like with your vineyard and your olive-yard. For six days together you shall do the tasks you have to do, and on the seventh leave off working; so shall ox and ass of yours have rest, home-born slave and alien that works for you revive their spirits.
Observe all these commandments of mine, and never take an oath by the names of alien gods, or let such names be heard on your lips. Thrice a year keep holiday in my honour. There is the feast of unleavened bread to be observed; for seven days, in the first month of spring, the month of your rescue from Egypt, you shall eat unleavened bread in obedience to my command. Then you shall present yourself before me with gifts. And there is the feast of harvest, when the fields you have sown reward your labour with first-fruits; and another feast at the end of the year, when the last of your crops has been gathered in. Thrice, then, in the year all your men folk must present themselves before the Lord your God.
When you offer living things in sacrifice to me, the bread that goes with them shall not be leavened, nor shall you leave the fat of my victims unconsumed till the morrow.
The first-fruits of your land must be brought to the house of the Lord your God.
Seething a kid in its dam's milk is a rite forbidden you.
And now I am sending my angel to go before you and guard you on your way, and lead you to the place I have made ready for you. Give him good heed, and listen to his bidding; think not to treat him with neglect. He will not overlook your faults, and in him dwells the power of my name. If you will listen to his warnings, and do all I bid you, then your enemies shall find an enemy in me, and those who shew you no mercy shall find me merciless. So this angel of mine will go on before you, leading you on into the land of Amorrhite and Hethite, Pherezite and Chanaanite, Hevite and Jebusite; and all these I will destroy. Do not bow down to their gods and worship them, or follow their customs; sweep them away, and break down their monuments. All your loyalty must be for the Lord your God. So I will enrich you with the bread and the water you need, and keep sickness far away from your company; there shall be no unfruitfulness in your land, no barrenness; and I will grant you a full span of days.
I mean to make the fear of me go in front of you, bringing destruction upon the whole people you go to meet; all your enemies shall turn their backs before you. I will send in hornets first, to make cowards of Hevite and Chanaanite and Hethite before ever you go in. Only I will not drive them out before you all in one year; that would make a wilderness of the land, and the wild beasts in it would multiply, to your harm. I will make them yield little by little before your onset, so that you will have time to increase, and populate the land. The frontiers I give you are the Red Sea and the sea of the Philistines, the desert and the river Euphrates. All the inhabitants of the land shall be at your mercy, and I will drive them out before you. You shall make no treaty with them, nor with their gods. They must not share your territory, or they would persuade you to commit sin against me, by worshipping their gods; no doubt of it, they will ensnare you.
Then Moses was told, Do you and Aaron and Nadab and Abiu, with seventy elders of Israel, come up to meet the Lord, and worship from afar. Only Moses must enter the Lord's presence, the rest are not to draw near, and none of the people are to come up with him. So Moses went and told the people all the Lord had said, all the commands he had given; and the whole people answered with one voice, We will do all that the Lord has bidden us. Then Moses committed everything the Lord had said to writing; and when he rose next morning, he built an altar close to the spurs of the mountain, and twelve memorial stones answering to the twelve tribes of Israel. And he directed some of the younger Israelites to make burnt-sacrifice there and bring welcome-offerings to the Lord, with bullocks for their victims. After this Moses took half of the blood, and set it aside in bowls; the other half he poured out on the altar. Then he took up the book in which the covenant was inscribed, and read it aloud to the people. We will do all the Lord has bidden us, said they; we promise obedience; and Moses took the blood and sprinkled it over the people, crying out, Here is the blood of the covenant which the Lord makes with you, in accordance with all these words of his.
Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abiu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up the mountain, and had a vision of the God of Israel, with a pavement about his feet that might have been made of sapphire, bright as the fashioning of the heavens. There they stood, far removed from the rest of Israel, and the hand of the Lord never smote them down; they had sight of him, and lived to eat and drink like mortal men. And the Lord said to Moses, Come up to the mountain and abide with me there; I have still to give you tablets of stone on which I have written down the law and the commandments you are to teach them. At that, Moses rose up, and his servant Josue with him; and Moses, as he began climbing God's mountain, said to the elders, Wait here till we come back to you. You have Aaron and Hur with you; to them refer all matters of dispute. When Moses had gone, the mountain was veiled in cloud; for six days the glory of the Lord abode there on Sinai, wrapping it in cloud, and on the seventh day, from the heart of that darkness, the Lord called to him. To the Israelites, as they looked upon it, this glory of the Lord wore the semblance of a fire, burning there on the summit of the is mountain. So Moses climbed higher up the mountain, into the heart of the cloud; for forty days and forty nights the mountain was his home.
And now the Lord gave Moses this message, Bid the Israelites bring me gifts in kind, each man offering what his heart prompts him to offer, for your acceptance. And these are the gifts you will declare to be acceptable, gold, silver and bronze; threads of blue and purple and scarlet twice-dyed, and lawn, and goats hair, and rams fleeces dyed red, and skins dyed violet; acacia wood, and oil to feed lamps, spices for the anointing-oil, and sweet-smelling incense; onyx-stones, too, and jewels, to be set in the priestly mantle and burse. I mean them to build me a sanctuary, so that I can dwell among them; this tabernacle-dwelling itself and the appurtenances to be used in it must be of the pattern which I will now shew you. Listen, then, to the fashion of it.
Make me an ark of acacia wood, two and a half cubits long, with a breadth and height of one and a half cubits. Give it a covering and a lining of pure gold, and put a coping of gold all round the top of it; a ring of gold, too, at each of the four corners, two on either of the flanks. Then make poles of acacia wood, gilded over, and pass them through the rings on the sides of the ark, so as to carry it; these poles are to remain in the rings, never taken out. In this ark you will enshrine the written law I mean to give you.
Make a throne, too, of pure gold, two and a half cubits long, one and a half cubits broad, and two cherubs of pure beaten gold for the two ends of this throne, one to stand on either side of it; with their wings outspread to cover the throne, guardians of the shrine. They are to face one another across the throne. And this throne is to be the covering of the ark, and the ark's contents, the written law I mean to give you. Thence will I issue my commands; from that throne of mercy, between the two cherubs that stand over the ark and its records, my voice shall come to you, whenever I send word through you to the sons of Israel.
Make a table, too, of acacia wood, two cubits long, a cubit broad, and a cubit and a half in height; gild it with pure gold, and make a rim of gold about its edge, with an embossed coping four inches high, and a second coping of gold over that. Make four rings of gold, and fix them to the four corners of the table, one by each leg of it. The rings must be below the coping, to let poles pass through, that will carry the table; these poles too you shall make of acacia wood, and gild them over; so the table shall be carried. So with the cups, too, and the bowls, and the dishes, and the goblets for pouring out libations; all of them must be of pure gold. The table is to hold the loaves of bread which are to be set out continually in my presence.
Make a lamp-stand, too, of pure beaten gold, stem and branches, cups and bosses, and fleurs-de-lis that spring from them. Six branches are to come out of the stem, three on each side; and on each branch there are to be three cups shaped like almond-flowers, then a boss, then a fleur-de-lis, balanced by three cups and a boss and a fleur-de-lis on the opposite branch; such is to be the fashion of all the six branches that come out of the stem. But the stem itself is to have four cups, shaped like almond-flowers, each with its boss and its fleur-de-lis; there will be six branches altogether coming out of a single stem, and under each pair of them there will be an additional boss. The bosses and the branches must be of a piece with the main stem, and all alike must be of pure beaten gold. Make seven lamps, too, and mount them on the lamp-stand, so as to throw their light on the opposite wall. Even the snuffers, and the trays for the burnt wick, must be made of pure gold. The whole weight of the lamp-stand, together with its appurtenances, must be a talent of pure gold.
Look well, and make everything in due accord with the pattern which has been shewn to you on the mountain.
And this is how the tabernacle is to be fashioned. Make ten curtains of twisted linen thread, worked in threads of blue and purple and scarlet twice-dyed, with all the embroiderer's art. All the curtains are to be of the same size, twenty-eight cubits in length and four in width. Five of these must be joined to each other, and then the remaining five in the same way; the sides, the extreme edges of the curtains must be fitted with loops of blue cord, to fasten one to the next, fifty loops at the edge of either set of curtains, so let in that loop meets loop and can be fastened to it. Then make fifty gold clasps, and join the two widths of curtain together, to make a single tent of them.
Next, make eleven coverings of goats hair, to protect the tapestry over the tabernacle. The measurements of all these coverings are to be the same; each will be thirty cubits long and four cubits wide. Join together first five of the coverings, then the other six the sixth of these is to hang double over the front of the tapestry. Make fifty loops at the edge of the first set of coverings, then fifty at the edge of the other, to join them together, and fifty brazen clasps, to hold these loops together, so that the whole may form a single protecting roof. Since there is one more of these coverings than is needed for the protection of the tapestry, fold it double and use it to protect the back of the tabernacle. The coverings are a cubit longer on the north and south than the tapestry, and this additional cubit will hang down, to protect the tabernacle itself on either side. Then make another canopy over the roof, of rams fleeces dyed red, and yet another, of skins dyed violet.
Then make upright frames of acacia wood to support the tabernacle. Each must be ten cubits high, and a cubit and a half wide; and at the sides of it, two tenon-pieces must jut out, so that each frame can be mortised to the next; all the frames are to be made in this manner. Twenty of these will be on the south, facing the midday sun, with forty silver sockets, two at the foot of each frame, close to the corners; and twenty more on the opposite side, that looks northwards; these again will have forty silver sockets, two at the foot of each frame. And for the western end of the tabernacle there will be six frames, and two in addition, which must be set up in the corners at the extreme end of the tabernacle. All these will be joined together, from bottom to top, with a single kind of fastening to hold them all; the two frames which are to be set up in the corners will be joined in the same way as the others. Thus there will be eight frames in all, with sixteen silver sockets, two to each frame.
Then make five poles of acacia wood, to hold the frames together on one side of the tabernacle, and five more to hold it together on the other side, and the same number for the western end; these will be passed right along the frames from end to end. Gild the frames themselves, and furnish them with gold rings, by which the poles can hold the frames together; these poles, too, must be plated with gold. So must you set up the tabernacle, in conformity with the pattern that has been shewn to you on the mountain.
Make a veil, too, out of twisted linen thread, worked in threads of blue and purple and scarlet twice-dyed, with all the embroiderer's art, and let it hang down from four posts of acacia wood, gilded and with gilt capitals, but set in silver sockets. This veil will be held up by rings. The ark is to be set down behind it, and thus it will be a division between the sanctuary and the inner sanctuary. The throne, too, which rests above the ark and its records, will be in the inner sanctuary; on the outer side of the veil, the table will stand on the north, and the lamp-stand on the south side of the tabernacle, opposite the table. Make a screen, too, out of twisted linen thread, embroidered with threads of blue and purple and scarlet twice-dyed, for the entrance of the tabernacle; it must hang from five gilded posts of acacia wood, with gilt capitals and sockets of bronze.
Make an altar, too, of acacia wood, with a surface five cubits square, and a height of three cubits. It must have horns at the corners, all of a piece with it, and it must be plated with bronze. Provide it with ash-pans, tongs, forks, and braziers, making all its appurtenances of bronze; and make a bronze grating, of network, with bronze rings at its four corners, sunk in the hearth of the altar; this grating must reach to half the altar's height. Then make two poles of acacia wood, plated with bronze, which can be put through the rings on either side of the altar, so as to carry it. The altar is not to be made solid, but to have a hollow space within, after the manner shewn you on the mountain.
Make a court, too, round the tabernacle. At the south side of this, towards the midday sun, there will be hangings made of twisted linen thread, a hundred cubits long on this side, and twenty posts, each with its socket made of bronze, its engraved capital of silver. So, too, on the north side, hangings a hundred feet long, twenty posts with bronze sockets and engraved silver capitals. On the short side, westwards, the line of hangings will be only fifty cubits long, and there will be only ten posts in ten sockets. The side which looks eastward will also be fifty cubits in length; of these, fifteen at one end will be protected by a line of hangings fifteen cubits long, with three posts and as many sockets, and there will be fifteen cubits length of hangings, with three posts and as many sockets, at the other end too; in between, at the gateway of the court, there will be hangings of twisted linen thread, embroidered with threads of blue and purple and scarlet twice-dyed, twenty cubits in length; these will have four posts, and as many sockets. All the posts of the court must be plated with silver, and have capitals of silver, and sockets of bronze. Thus the court will occupy a space a hundred cubits long and fifty wide, and the enclosure, of twisted linen thread with bronze sockets underneath, will be five cubits in height.
All the appurtenances the tabernacle needs for its various purposes and ceremonies, and all the pegs for making the enclosure and the tabernacle itself fast, must be made of bronze. Bid the Israelites supply you with olive oil, pure as when the pestle brayed it, so that there may be a lamp burning perpetually in the tabernacle that bears record of me, before the veil that hides the place of record. Aaron and his sons are to set it out there, so that it may burn in the Lord's presence till daybreak. This is a custom the Israelites are to observe in every generation.
And now, that I may have priests to serve me among the sons of Israel, summon your brother Aaron, with his sons, Nadab, Abiu, Eleazar and Ithamar, to your presence. You shall have sacred vestments made for your brother Aaron, to his honour and adornment, bidding all those cunning workmen whose art is the gift of my spirit, so clothe him as to set him apart for my service. And these are the vestments they shall make; a burse, a mantle, a tunic, a pleated robe, a mitre, and a girdle. Such sacred vestments must be made for your brother Aaron and his sons, before they can minister as my priests.
The workmen must provide themselves with gold, with threads of blue and purple and scarlet twice-dyed, and with linen thread. Of gold, of blue and purple and scarlet twice-dyed, and of twisted linen thread, the mantle is to be made, all embroidered work. At the top, on either side, it shall have the two shoulder-pieces joined together so as to make one garment. The whole of its embroidered texture shall be of gold, blue purple, scarlet twice-dyed, and twisted linen thread. Then you shall take two onyx-stones, and inscribe them with the names of Israel's twelve sons, six on one stone and six on the other, in the order of their birth; and these stones, graven with all the skill of the gem-carver, and set in clasps of gold, you shall let into the mantle, one on either side to perpetuate the memory of Israel's sons. Aaron shall carry those names on his two shoulders, when he goes into the Lord's presence, and so remind him of them.
Then make two golden hooks, and two chains of pure gold, with closely fitted links, which you will fasten to the hooks. And make a burse, from which you will take counsel; it is to be of the same texture as the mantle itself, embroidered work of gold, and threads of blue and purple and scarlet twice-dyed, and twisted linen threads. It is to be made double, and either part of it square, a palm's length by a palm's breadth. And you shall set in it four rows of stones; in the first row will be a sardius, a topaz, and an emerald; in the a second, a carbuncle, a sapphire, and a jasper-stone; in the third, a jacynth, an agate, and an amethyst; in the fourth, a chrysolite, an onyx-stone, and a beryl; each row is to be set in gold. And they will contain the names of the sons of Israel, each stone being engraved with the name of one of the twelve tribes, in their order.
The burse, then, must have two chains of pure gold, their links closely fitted, and two rings of gold, attached to its two edges; with these two rings at the edges you will couple the two chains, making fast the other ends of the chains to the two hooks, which will be fixed on either side of the mantle, where it faces towards the burse. Then make two gold rings, which must be attached to the edges of the burse, to that part of its lining which looks towards the mantle, that is, inwards; and two other gold rings, which must be attached to either side of the mantle underneath, facing the lower point where burse meets mantle, so that the two can be tied together. You shall use blue cords to make the rings of the burse fast to the rings of the mantle; thus the two will be joined in a workmanlike fashion, and will never come apart. And whenever Aaron goes into the sanctuary, he will carry on his breast, on the burse that gives counsel, the names of Israel's sons, putting the Lord in mind of them eternally.
And within the burse that gives counsel you will put the touchstones of wisdom and of truth. These shall be on Aaron's breast, when he enters the Lord's presence; as long as he is there, he will be carrying on his breast the arbitrament of the sons of Israel.
The tunic that goes with the mantle is to be made all of blue, and in the middle of it there is to be an opening for the head, with a woven border round it, such as is commonly put round the edges of garments, to prevent tearing. Underneath, round the skirt of this tunic, you shall hang ornaments of blue thread and purple, and of scarlet twice-dyed, pomegranate-shaped, with bells between them; a golden bell, then a pomegranate, then another golden bell, then another pomegranate. In this Aaron shall ever be clothed when he performs his priestly office; with the ringing of bells he must announce his comings and goings in the sanctuary, there in the Lord's presence, on pain of death.
And you shall make a plate of pure gold, inscribed with all the engraver's skill, with the words, Set apart for the Lord. This is to be bound with a blue cord on to the mitre, and will hang over the priest's forehead. Whatever fault is found in offering and gift, by Israel's sons dedicated and hallowed, Aaron must charge himself with it; and the Lord will overlook it, so long as the plate hangs ever on Aaron's forehead.
The robe must be of pleated linen, the mitre also of linen, and the girdle of embroidered work. For Aaron's sons, too, you shall make linen robes and girdles and mitres; to their honour and adornment; in all these vestments Aaron your brother shall be clad, and his sons with him. And you shall consecrate their hands, and set them apart to serve me in the priestly office. Breeches of linen, too, shall be made for them, to cover all that must not be seen naked, from loin to thigh; these Aaron and his sons shall wear whenever they enter the tabernacle that bears record of me, or draw near the altar to do me service in the sanctuary, on pain of death. Such observance Aaron, and his sons after him, shall maintain perpetually.
And there is more for you to do, before they can be my consecrated priests. Choose a bullock out of the herd, and two rams without blemish. Then make unleavened bread, and unleavened pastry baked with oil, and unleavened cakes soaked in oil, all of pure wheat flour, and put them in a basket ready to be offered up. The bullock and the two rams you shall drive to the door of the tabernacle which bears record of me. Thither, too, you shall bring Aaron and his sons; and when you have washed them, father and sons in water, clothe Aaron in his vestments, the robe, the tunic, the mantle, and the burse made fast to his mantle's band, and put the mitre on his head, and the holy plate over the mitre. And then anoint his head with oil; so shall he be consecrated. Then it is the turn of his sons to approach, and be clothed in their linen robes, and have their girdles tied and their mitres put on, like Aaron himself; so they shall be my priests, hallowed eternally.
When you have consecrated their hands, bring out the bullock in front of the tabernacle that bears record of me; there, when Aaron and his sons have laid their hands upon its head, you shall slay it in the Lord's presence, at the tabernacle door. Some of its blood you shall smear, with your hand, upon the horns of the altar; the rest you shall pour out at the altar's foot. Then take all the fat about its entrails, the membrane of its liver, and the two kidneys with the fat on them and offer them as a burnt-sacrifice on the altar; the flesh, skin and dung of the bullock you shall burn beyond the confines of the camp, as an offering for sin.
Take one of the rams, too, and bid Aaron and his sons lay their hands upon its head; then kill it, and pour out some of its blood round the altar. Cut up the ram itself into pieces; put these and the head underneath, the entrails (when you have washed them) and the feet above and so make a burnt-sacrifice of the whole ram upon the altar; the scent of the victim so offered to the Lord will find acceptance with him. Then take the other ram, Aaron and his sons laying their hands on its head meanwhile; and when you have killed this ram, put some of the blood on the tip of Aaron's right ear, the thumb of his right hand, and the great toe of his right foot, and do the same by his sons. Pour blood, too, all round the surface of the altar, and then sprinkle with this, and with the oil used for anointing, Aaron and his sons, and the vestments they wear.
So hallowing all alike, take the fat, the tail, the covering of the entrails, the membrane of the liver, the two kidneys with the fat on them, and the right shoulder from this ram, the victim of their consecration; take a loaf of bread, too, a piece of pastry cooked in oil, and one of the cakes, out of the basket that lies there before the Lord; and put all this in the hands of Aaron and his sons. Then raise it aloft in the Lord's presence, and by that act they shall be consecrated, Aaron and his sons both. Then take all the offerings out of their hands again, and make a burnt-sacrifice of them upon the altar; the scent of them will be acceptable to the Lord, in whose honour they are offered up. The breast of the ram that is used in Aaron's hallowing you shall remove, and sanctify it by holding it up in the Lord's presence; this shall be your own share.
You shall set apart this consecrated breast and shoulder, taken from the ram by which Aaron and Aaron's line are hallowed, to be their lot, a fixed privilege the people of Israel will grant to them; these are the earnest and the first-fruits of those welcome-offerings which they make to the Lord. The sacred vestments which Aaron wore shall be worn by his sons after him when they are anointed and consecrated; whatever son of his shall succeed him, entering the tabernacle that bears record of me and ministering before me in the sanctuary, shall wear them for seven days continuously. As for the ram with which they were hallowed, it must be taken away and cooked in a holy place; and so Aaron and his sons will eat it. They, too, will eat the bread from the basket, in the porch of the tabernacle that bears record of me, so that the sacrifice of it may atone for them, and their hands be hallowed by the offering of it; these things are too holy to be eaten by anyone not of their family. Whatever remains till morning of the consecrated meat or bread must be burnt in the fire; it is too holy to be eaten. All this that I have told you must be done to Aaron and his sons; you are to spend seven days in consecrating their hands, and on each of those days a bullock must be sacrificed as a sin-offering to atone for them. So offering a victim to make atonement, you will cleanse the altar, and sanctify it by anointing. Seven whole days you must spend in winning favour for the altar and consecrating it; so it shall be all holiness, and whoever touches it shall become holy thereby.
On this altar you shall sacrifice two lambs day by day, with no intermission; one is to be offered in the morning, the other in the evening. One lamb each morning, with a tenth of a bushel of flour, kneaded in three pints of pure oil, and as much wine for a libation; and another offered in the evening with the same rite and all the additional offerings aforesaid, a fragrance acceptable to the Lord. This is his sacrifice, to be performed day after day, by one generation of you after another, in the Lord's presence, there at the door of the tabernacle that bears record, the appointed place where I will give you audience. There I will issue my commands to the sons of Israel; that altar shall be hallowed by my glorious presence. Hallowed it shall be, and hallowed the tabernacle that bears record of me; hallowed shall Aaron be and his sons, for their priestly office. And I will dwell in the midst of the Israelites, and be their God; and they shall know me for the Lord God that rescued them from the land of Egypt, so as to abide among them, their Lord and their God.
For burning incense, you shall make an altar of acacia wood, a cubit square in surface, and two cubits high; it must have horns going out of it. The whole must be covered with pure gold, the grate and the walls around it and the horns too. It is to have a rim of gold about it, and close under the rim two gold rings on either side, with poles in them, so that the altar can be carried; these poles, too, must be of acacia wood, gilded over. Its position is to be facing the veil that hides the ark and its records, facing, too, the throne that overshadows them, my trysting-place with you. Aaron, when he trims the lamps each morning, shall burn fragrant incense on it, and again when he lights them at evening he shall burn incense in the Lord's presence; a custom you are to preserve age after age. You are to offer no incense there but what is of my own prescription; there is to be no sacrifice, no victim, no pouring of libations. Once a year Aaron shall make intercession at the horns of it, with the blood that is offered in atonement for sin, winning pardon for you there, age after age; it shall be all holiness in the Lord's honour.
This, too, was the Lord's word to Moses: When you do pass the Israelites in review and count their number, each shall pay the Lord a forfeit for his life, to avert all plague at the time of their numbering. As each man is added to the count, he must pay half a sicle by sanctuary reckoning (note that the sicle, half of which must be paid to the Lord, is worth thirty pence). The forfeit must be paid by all those, above the age of twenty, who are registered, the rich giving no more than half a silver piece, and the poor no less. The money taken up in this contribution from the Israelites is to be devoted to the needs of the tabernacle which bears record of me, to put the Lord in mind of them, and win ransom for their lives.
This, too, was the Lord's word to Moses: Make a washing-basin of bronze, with a stand, and set it between the tabernacle that bears record of me and the brazen altar. Water shall be poured into it for Aaron and his sons to wash their hands and feet before they enter the tabernacle that bears record of me, or approach the altar to kindle their sacrifice before the Lord. This they must do on pain of death; it is an observance that must be kept alive by him and by all his sons that succeed him.
This, too, was the Lord's word to Moses: Provide yourself with spices, a stone of the best and choicest myrrh, and half a stone of cinnamon, and half a stone of scented cane, a stone, too, of cassia, all reckoned by sanctuary weights; and with these, three quarts of olive oil. And so make the holy oil to be used for anointing, an ointment mixed with all the perfumer's art. This you must use to anoint the tabernacle that bears record of me, and the ark where that record lies; the table with its appurtenances, the lamp-stand with its appurtenances, the altar used for incense, and that used for burnt-sacrifice, and all the instruments belonging to them. All these you shall sanctify, and they shall be all holiness; whoever touches them shall become holy thereby. Aaron himself and his sons you shall anoint and hallow, before they can minister as my priests.
This, too, tell the Israelites: The oil used for anointing is a thing you must keep set apart for me, age after age. It is not to be used for anointing the flesh of man; nor are you to compound oil for yourselves as this is compounded; it is a thing set apart, and you must keep it holy. Whoever compounds such, though it be to give it to a stranger for his use, is lost to his people.
This, too, was the Lord's word to Moses: Provide yourself with spices, storax, and burnt shell, and sweet-smelling galbanum, and pure frankincense, all in equal weight, and make incense compounded with all the perfumer's art, well tempered together, unadulterate, fit for hallowing. All this you shall beat into fine powder, and keep a store of it before the tabernacle that bears record of me, my trysting-place with you. For you, this incense shall be all holiness; you must not compound it so for your own use, it is set apart for the Lord. Whoever compounds the like, to make perfume for his own enjoyment, is lost to his people.
And now the Lord said to Moses, Here is the name of the man I have singled out to help you, Beseleel, son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Juda. I have filled him with my divine spirit, making him wise, adroit, and skilful in every kind of craftsmanship; so that he can design whatever is to be designed in gold, silver, and bronze, carve both stone and jewel, and woods of all sorts. I have found a partner for him in Oöliab, son of Achisamech, of the tribe of Dan; and I have inspired the hearts of all the craftsmen with skill to carry out the commands which I have given you. The tabernacle which attests my covenant, the ark that bears record of me, the throne above it, and all the appurtenances of the tabernacle, the table with its appurtenances, the lamp-stand of pure gold and all that goes with it, the altar for incense and the altar for burnt-sacrifice, and all that goes with these, the basin and its stand, the sacred vestments to be worn by the high priest Aaron and his sons when they perform their holy office, the oil for anointing, and the incense that is to perfume the sanctuary, all that I have bidden you make, shall be made through their workmanship.
This, too, was the Lord's word to Moses: Give the sons of Israel a warning from me, Be sure that you observe the sabbath day. It is a token between us, that is to last all through the ages which lie before you, reminding you that I am the Lord, and you are set apart for me. Keep my sabbath; it has a binding claim on you, on pain of death for all who violate it. The man who does any work on that day is lost to his people. You have six days to work in; the seventh is the sabbath, a day of rest set apart for the Lord, and if anybody works on that day, his life must pay for it. It is for the sons of Israel to observe my sabbath and honour it among themselves, age after age. It is an undying covenant, a perpetual token between me and the Israelites; the Lord spent six days making heaven and earth, and on the seventh he rested from his labours.
Then, at the end of all this converse with Moses on mount Sinai, the Lord gave him two stone tablets with laws inscribed on them by the very finger of God.
Meanwhile, finding that Moses' return from the mountain was so long delayed, the people remonstrated with Aaron. Bestir yourself, they said; fashion us gods, to be our leaders. We had a man to lead us, this Moses, when we came away from Egypt; but there is no saying what has become of him. Take out the gold ear-rings, said Aaron, that your wives and sons and daughters wear, and bring them to me. The people, then, brought him their ear-rings as he had bidden them, and he melted down what they had given him and cast them into the figure of a calf. And all cried out, Here are your gods, Israel, the gods that rescued you from the land of Egypt. Aaron, finding them so minded, built an altar in front of it, and bade the crier give out that there would be a solemn feast next day in the Lord's honour. So when they awoke on the morrow, they offered burnt-sacrifice and welcome-offerings; and with that, the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to take their pleasure.
And now the Lord said to Moses, Away, down with you; they have fallen into sin, this people you did bring out of Egypt with you. They have been swift to leave the way you did mark out for them, by making a molten calf and falling down to worship it; brought victims to it, and cried out, Here are your gods, Israel, the gods that rescued you from the land of Egypt. And the Lord said to Moses, I know them now for a stiff-necked race; spare me your importunacy, let me vent my anger and destroy them; I will make your posterity into a great nation instead. But Moses would still plead with the Lord his God; What, Lord, said he, will you vent your anger on your people, the people you did rescue from Egypt so imperiously, with so strong a hand? Will you let the Egyptians say it was but a treacherous deliverance; that you had marked them out for death. here in the mountains. and no trace left of them on earth? Oh let the storm of your anger pass; pardon your people's guilt! Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, and the oath you did swear by your own name: I will make your posterity countless as the stars in heaven, and give them all this land of which I spoke to you, to be their everlasting home. So the Lord relented, and spared his people the punishment he had threatened.
With that, Moses came down from the mountain, carrying in his hand the two tablets of the law, with writing on either side, God's workmanship; a divine hand had traced the characters they bore. And now, as the noise of shouting reached him, Josue said to Moses, I hear the cry of battle in the camp. No, said he, this is no sound of triumph or of rout; it is the sound of singing that I hear. Then they drew nearer the camp, and he saw the calf standing there, and the dancing. And so angry was he that he threw down the tablets he held, and broke them against the spurs of the mountain; then he took the calf they had made and threw it on the fire, and beat it into dust; this dust he sprinkled over water, which he made the Israelites drink. And he asked Aaron, What harm has this people done you, that you have involved them in such guilt? Do not be angry with me, my lord, said he; you know how the whole bent of this people is towards wrong-doing, and it was they who said to me, Fashion us gods to be our leaders. We had a man to lead us, this Moses, when we came away from Egypt, but there is no saying now what has become of him. So I asked them, Which of you has any gold in his possession? And they brought what they had, and gave it to me; I cast it into the fire, and this calf was the issue of it.
Moses saw, too, that the people went all unarmed; Aaron had let them strip, in their shameless debauchery, so that they were defenceless against attack. So he stood there at the gate of the camp, and said, Rally to my side, all that will take the Lord's part. Then the whole tribe of Levi gathered round them, and he said, A message to you from the Lord God of Israel. Gird on your swords, and pass to and fro through the middle of the camp, from gate to gate, killing your own brothers, your own friends, your own neighbours. So the sons of Levi did as Moses bade them, and that day some twenty-three thousand men fell slain. To-day, said Moses, at war with your own flesh and blood, you have dedicated your hands to the Lord's service, and earned his blessing.
When the morrow came, Moses told the people, You have sinned heinously; I will go up into the Lord's presence and see if I can make amends for your guilt. And so, having recourse to the Lord again, he prayed thus: your people have sinned heinously, in making themselves gods of gold. I entreat you, pardon this offence of theirs; or else blot out my name too from the record you have written. Whoever sins against me, the Lord answered, shall be blotted out from my record. But do you march on, and lead this people into the land I told you of, and my angel shall still go before you. But when the time comes for vengeance, this sin of theirs shall not be forgotten.
The Lord, then, made the people suffer for their wickedness in the matter of the calf Aaron made for them.
And now a new message came to Moses from the Lord, March on, then, with the people you have led out of Egypt; make your way hence to the land I promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob should be the home of their race. I am ready to send an angel who will go before you, so as to cast out Chanaanite, Amorrhite, Hethite, Pherezite, Hevite and Jebusite, and bring you into the land that is all milk and honey. But I will not go with you myself, stiff-necked people as you are, or I might be moved to destroy you on the way.
The people, on hearing this bitter reproach, went mourning, and none wore his ornaments, as custom bade; the Lord's word came through Moses to the Israelites, You are a stiff-necked people, and if once I set out on the march among you, I would be moved to destroy you. Take off, here and now, your ornaments, and wait till I have resolved what to do with you. So there, at mount Horeb, the sons of Israel laid their ornaments aside. Moses, too, removed his tent, and pitched it far off, away from the camp, calling it, The tent which bears witness to the covenant; to this, all who had disputes to settle must betake themselves, away from the camp. And when Moses repaired to this tent of his, all the people rose up and stood at the doors of their own tents, following Moses with their eyes till he went in. And, once he was within the tent that bore witness of the covenant, the pillar of cloud would come down and stand at the entrance of it, and there the Lord spoke with Moses, while all watched the pillar of cloud standing there, and rose up and worshipped, each at his own tent door. Thus the Lord spoke with Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And when he returned to the camp, Josue, son of Nun, the young man who served him, never left the tent unguarded. Then Moses complained to the Lord, you bid me lead this people on the march, but you will not tell me who it is you are sending me for my guide. And this is the man whom you call your familiar friend, assuring him of your favour! Nay, if indeed you do look upon me with favour, make your own presence known to me; let me know you, and know that your favour is with me. Have more regard for this folk, your own people. My presence, the Lord said, shall go before you, and bring you to your resting-place. It must be yourself, said Moses, going before us; otherwise do not bid us leave the place where we are. How am I and your people to know that you do look upon us with favour, if you will not journey with us; such a privilege as no other people in the world can boast? And the Lord told Moses, I will grant this request of yours; such favour you have with me, you, my familiar friend.
Give me, then, said Moses, the sight of your glory. And he answered, All my splendour shall pass before your eyes, and I will pronounce, in your presence, my own divine name, the name of the Lord who shews favour where he will, grants pardon where he will. But, my face, he said, you can not see; mortal man cannot see me, and live to tell of it. Then he said, There is a place here, close by me, where you may stand on a rock; there I will station you in a cleft of the rock, while my glory passes by, and cover you with my right hand until I have gone past. So, when I take my hand away, you shall follow me with your eyes, but my face you can not see.
After this the Lord said to him, Carve two tablets of stone, like those others, and I will write on them the same words as I wrote on the tablets you did break. Be ready to come up on to mount Sinai in the morning, and there you shall stand before me on the mountain top. No one else is to climb up with you, no one else is to be in sight on any part of the mountain; even the cattle and the sheep must not be allowed to graze within view. So Moses carved two tablets of stone, like the others; and he rose at dawn and went up mount Sinai at the Lord's bidding, with the tablets in his hand. The Lord came down to meet him, hidden in cloud, and Moses stood with him there, calling on the Lord's name. Thus the Lord passed by, and he cried out, It is the Lord God, the ruler of all things, the merciful, the gracious; slow to take vengeance, rich in kindness, faithful to his promises. He is true to his promise of mercy a thousand times over; shame or sin or guilt is none but he forgives it; yet, before him, none can claim innocence in his own right, and when he punishes, the son must make amends for the father's guilt, to the third and the fourth generation. Then, without more ado, Moses fell prostrate with his face to the ground in worship. Lord, he said, if you do look on me with favour, I entreat you to go with us on our journey, stiff-necked as this people is; guilt of our sins do you pardon, and keep us for your own. And the Lord answered, Here is my covenant, to which I am pledged. In the presence of you all I will do such marvels as were never yet seen on earth by any nation; the people among whom you dwell shall see for themselves what the Lord can do, and be terrified at the sight. Your part is to keep all the commandments I am now giving you.
When I dispossess Amorrhite, Chanaanite, Hethite, Pherezite, Hevite and Jebusite at your coming, make no treaty of friendship with any inhabitant of the land, or it will be your ruin; destroy their altars, break their images, cut down their forest shrines. Never pay worship to any alien god; the very name of the Lord bespeaks jealous love, he will endure no rival. Do not ally yourselves, then, with those who dwell there; those faithless hearts will be set on their own gods, and when they do sacrifice to their idols, someone will bid you come and feast upon the meat so offered. Nor must you find wives for your sons among their daughters; faithless themselves, they will make your sons, too, faithless, and worshippers of their own gods. Cast no metal to make yourself idols.
Observe the feast of unleavened bread. For seven days, in the first month of spring, you shall eat your bread without leaven, as I bade you; it was in that spring month you did escape from Egypt.
The first male thing that comes from every womb is forfeit to me; every such living thing, be it ox or ass, is mine by right. When an ass has her first foal, you shall offer a sheep in payment of its ransom; or, if you have no mind to ransom it, let it be killed. The first-born of your own sons you must ransom, presenting yourself before me with an offering.
You have six days to work in; on the seventh, both ploughing and reaping must cease.
You shall keep the feast of the seven weeks, with the first-fruits of your wheat harvest, and another feast at the end of the year, when all is gathered in. Thrice in the year all your men folk shall present themselves before the Lord, the almighty God of Israel. And so, when I have dispossessed the nations at your coming, and given you wide lands to dwell in, three times a year present yourself before the Lord your God, and your lands none shall invade by treachery.
When you offer living things in sacrifice to me, the bread that goes with them shall not be leavened, nor shall you leave any of the paschal victim till the morrow.
Bring the first-fruits of your land as an offering to the house of the Lord your God. Seething a kid in its dam's milk is a rite forbidden you.
Then the Lord said to Moses, Put these words in writing, as terms of the covenant I am making with you and with Israel. So, for forty days and nights, without food or drink, he remained there with the Lord; and he wrote down on the tablets the ten precepts of the covenant. Moses came down, after this, from Mount Sinai, bearing with him the two tablets on which the law was written; and his face, although he did not know it, was all radiant after the meeting at which he had held speech with God. The sight of that radiance made Aaron and the sons of Israel shrink from all near approach to him; he must call out to Aaron and the leaders of the people before they would gather round him. To these he spoke first; then all the Israelites came to greet him, and he passed on to them all the commands he had received on mount Sinai. When he had finished speaking, he put a veil over his face, which he only laid aside when he went into the Lord's presence and had speech with him. Afterwards he would come out, and tell the Israelites what commands had been given him; so they saw his face, as he came out, still radiant, but always, when he spoke to them, he veiled his face as before.
And now he called the whole assembly of the Israelites into his presence, and told them, Here are the Lord's commands. You have six days before you now to work in; when the seventh comes, you must keep it holy, since it is the sabbath, the Lord's day of rest; no one must do any work that day, on pain of death, you must not even light a fire in any of your dwelling-places on the sabbath day. Then Moses went on to tell all the Israelites what prescriptions the Lord had given him, how they were to set apart contributions, to be offered to the Lord freely and with a ready heart; contributions of gold and silver and bronze, threads of blue and purple and scarlet twice-dyed, and lawn, and goats hair, and rams fleeces dyed red, and skins dyed violet; acacia wood, and oil to feed lamps, spices for the anointing-oil, and sweet-smelling incense; onyx-stones, too, and jewels, to be set in the priestly mantle and its burse.
If any of you is a skilled craftsman, he said, let him come forward to carry out the Lord's bidding. There is a tabernacle to be made, with its covering and its canopy, rings and boards and poles and pegs and sockets; an ark with poles to carry it, a throne over it, and a veil to hang in front of it; a table with its poles and its appurtenances, bread, too, to be set forth there; a lamp-stand on which the lights are to rest, with its lamps and its other appurtenances, and oil to keep the light burning; an altar for offering incense, with its poles; oil for anointing, and incense made from spices; a screen for the tabernacle entrance; an altar for burnt-sacrifice, with its grating of bronze, its poles and other appurtenances; a basin with its stand; curtains for the court, with the posts they hang from and their sockets, a hanging for the door of the court, pegs and ropes to a make fast both the tabernacle and its enclosure; the vestments that are worn in the service of the sanctuary, and those sacred vestments in which Aaron and his sons will perform their priestly office before the Lord.
No sooner had the sons of Israel left Moses presence, than all alike began making their contributions to the Lord, with readiness and devotion of heart, to help build the tabernacle that should bear record of him. Whatever was needed for the performance of worship, or for sacred vestments, men and women made haste to give; armlets and ear-pendants, rings and bracelets; all the gold ware they had was set apart to be given to the Lord. And whoever had thread of blue or purple or scarlet twice-dyed, lawn or goats hair, rams fleeces dyed red, or skins dyed violet, or silver, or bronze, offered them to the Lord; and acacia wood for all its manifold uses. There were women, too, skilled in spinning, who had their own contribution to make of blue, or purple, or scarlet, or lawn, or goats hair, and made them of their own accord. It was the rulers who gave onyx-stones and jewels for the mantle and its burse, and the spices and oil for feeding the lamps, and preparing the ointment, and making the sweet-smelling incense. All alike, men and women, devoutly brought their gifts, so as to speed on the work which the Lord, through Moses, had enjoined on them; there was not one Israelite that did not freely consecrate his offerings to the Lord's service. And now Moses said to the sons of Israel, Here is the name of the man the Lord has singled out to help me, Beseleel, son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Juda. The Lord has filled this man with his divine spirit, making him wise, adroit, and skilful in every kind of craftsmanship, so that he can design and execute whatever is needed, in gold, silver, bronze, and sculptured gems, and carpenter's work. All the craftsman's wit can discover the Lord has put into his heart. Here is Oöliab, too, son of Achisamech, of the tribe of Dan; both of these he has endowed with skill, to carry out woodwork, and tapestry, and embroidery, with threads of blue and purple and scarlet twice-dyed and lawn; the weaving shall be theirs, and they shall find out new devices.
And so the work was begun, by Beseleel, and Oöliab, and all the craftsmen to whom the Lord had given skill in their craft, so that they should know how to make workman like provision for the sanctuary's needs according to the prescriptions the Lord had given. Moses summoned them, all these trained workmen who had been endowed by the Lord with skill, and had offered their services freely; and he handed over to them the contributions which the sons of Israel made. Eagerly they set about their work, and every morning the people brought their gifts, till at last the workmen must needs come to Moses, and tell him, The people are offering more than is needed. So Moses bade the crier give out that no man or woman should offer any more for the needs of the sanctuary; thus he put an end to the bringing of gifts, because the contribution had already given them enough and to spare.
So, to carry out the fashioning of the tabernacle, all these skilful workmen made ten curtains, of twisted linen thread, embroidered with threads of blue and purple and scarlet twice-dyed, all of the same size, twenty-eight cubits in length and four in width. Then Beseleel joined five of these to each other, and the remaining five in the same way. And on the sides of one set of curtains, at its extreme edge, he made loops of blue cord, and so with the other, so that loop could meet loop and be fastened to it. Afterwards he made fifty gold clasps, to catch the loops on the curtains, so as to make a single tent of them. Next, he made eleven coverings of goats' hair, to protect the tapestry over the tabernacle. The measurements of all these coverings were the same; each was thirty cubits long and four cubits wide. He joined together first five of these coverings, then the other six in their turn. And he made fifty loops at the edge of the first set of coverings, then fifty at the edge of the other, to join them together, and fifty brazen clasps, so that the coverings would be tied together, and the whole would form a single protecting roof. He made a canopy, too, over the tabernacle, of rams fleeces dyed red, and another canopy over that of skins dyed violet.
He made upright frames, too, of acacia wood to support the tabernacle. Each board was ten cubits high, and had a width of a cubit and a half; and at the sides of it, two tenon-pieces jutted out, so that each might be mortised to the next; all the framework of the tabernacle he made in this way. Twenty frames were on the south, facing the midday sun, with forty silver sockets, two to each frame, fitting on each side at the corners, where the mortising finished. There were twenty frames, too, on the side of the tabernacle which looked north, with forty silver sockets, two to each frame. For the western side of the tabernacle, looking towards the sea, he made six frames, and two in addition, for the corners at the extreme end of the tabernacle. These were joined together, from bottom to top, with a single kind of fastening; it was the same with the corners at each side, so that altogether there were eight frames, with sixteen silver sockets, two at the foot of each.
Then he made five poles of acacia wood, to hold the frames together on one side of the tabernacle, and five more to connect the frames on the opposite side, and on the western side of the tabernacle, looking sea-wards, five more still. And one pole he made that should reach right along the frames from end to end. The sockets he made of cast silver; the frames themselves he gilded over, and made rings of gold through which the poles, those too plated with gold, could pass.
He made a veil, too, out of twisted linen thread, worked in threads of blue and purple and scarlet twice-dyed, with all the embroiderer's art, and four posts of acacia wood, gilded and with gilt capitals, but set in silver sockets. And he made a screen out of twisted linen thread, embroidered with threads of blue and purple and scarlet twice-dyed, for the entrance of the tabernacle and five posts of acacia wood which he gilded over, capitals and all, fitting into sockets of molded bronze.
Beseleel also made an ark of acacia wood, two and a half cubits long, with a breadth and height of one and a half cubits, and gave it a covering and a lining of pure gold, putting a coping of gold all round the top of it, and four rings, cast in gold, at its four corners, two on each of the flanks. Then he made poles of acacia wood, gilded over, and passed them through the rings on the sides of the ark, so as to carry it.
He made a throne, too, or shrine, of pure gold, two and a half cubits long, one and a half cubits broad, and two cherubs of pure beaten gold, which he set up on either side of the throne each of them at its extreme edge. And these two cherubs that stood at the extreme edges of the throne overshadowed it with their outspread wings, facing towards it and towards each other. And he made a table of acacia wood, two cubits long, a cubit broad, and a cubit and a half in height; this he gilded with pure gold, and made a rim of gold about its edge, with an embossed coping four inches high, and a second coping of gold over that. Then he cast four rings and fixed them to the four corners of the table, one by each leg close to the coping; and he put poles through them, that would carry the table; these poles, too, he made of acacia wood, and gilded them over. So with the appurtenances of the table, cups, and bowls, and dishes, and goblets for pouring out libations; all were of pure gold.
And he made a lamp-stand of pure beaten gold, with branches coming out from its stem, all with their cups and bosses and fleurs-de-lis. Six branches stood about the stem, three on either side; and on each branch there were three cups shaped like almond-flowers, then a boss, then a fleur-de-lis, balanced by three cups and a boss and a fleur-de-lis on the opposite branch; such was the fashion of all the six branches that came out of the stem. But the stem itself had four cups, shaped like almond-flowers, each with its boss and its fleur-de-lis; there were six branches altogether coming out of a single stem, and under each pair of them there was an additional boss. The bosses and the branches were all of a piece with the main stem, and all alike were of pure beaten gold. He made seven lamps, too, with snuffers and trays for the burnt wick, all of pure gold. The whole weight of the lamp-stand, together with its appurtenances, was a talent of gold.
And he made an altar of acacia wood for burning incense, a cubit square, with a height of two cubits; it had horns at the corners. And he covered the whole with pure gold, the grate and the walls around it and the horns too. It had a rim of gold about it, and close under the rim two gold rings on either side, for putting poles in, so that the altar could be carried. These poles, too, were of acacia wood, gilded over. And he made oil for the hallowing ointment, and incense of pure spices, with all the art of a perfumer.
He made another altar, too, of acacia wood, for burnt-sacrifice, with a surface five cubits square, and a height of three cubits; it had horns at the corners, and it was plated with bronze. And he provided it with appurtenances all of bronze, ash-pans, tongs, forks, hooks and braziers; and made it a bronze grating of network, and a hearth under this, in the middle of the altar. He also cast four rings, to go at the four extreme ends of the grating; through these, poles were to be passed, to carry the altar. The poles themselves he made of acacia wood, covered with a plating of bronze, and set them in the rings that stood out from the sides of the altar. This altar was not solid, but hollow, made of frames with an empty space between them.
Then he made a washing-basin and a stand for it, out of bronze from the mirrors of the women who used to keep watch at the door of the tabernacle.
He made a court, too, at the south side of which there were hangings of twisted linen thread, a hundred cubits long, and twenty posts, with brazen sockets, with their capitals and all their chased work of silver. On the north side, too, there were hangings, and posts with their sockets and capitals, all of the same measurement, workmanship, and material. But on the side which looked westwards the hangings were only fifty cubits long, and the posts, with their brazen sockets, their silver capitals, and chased work, were only ten in number. For the eastern side, it was fifty cubits long; fifteen cubits occupied the space at one end, in which there were three sockets and three posts, and at the other end (leaving room in between for the entrance which led to the tabernacle) there were again hangings fifteen cubits long, three posts, and three sockets. All these hangings for the court he had made out of twisted linen thread. The sockets for the posts were of bronze; the capitals were of silver, in chased work; the posts of the court he plated with silver. At the entrance, he made a hanging of twisted linen threads, embroidered with threads of blue and purple and scarlet twice-dyed, twenty cubits long, and, like all the hangings of the court, five cubits high. There were four posts at the entrance, with sockets of bronze and capitals of chased silver. The pegs which kept the tabernacle and the court in place, all round, were made of bronze.
Here is an account, drawn up at Moses' command by the priest Ithamar, son of Aaron, with the help of the Levites. It shews what was spent on the tabernacle that bears record of the Lord, when all the work was completed, at the Lord's command given through Moses, by Beseleel, son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Juda. (He had Oöliab, too, son of Achisamech, of the tribe of Dan, to help him; he too was a famous craftsman in wood, he too could make tapestry and embroidery from threads of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and lawn.) The sum of gold spent in building the sanctuary, provided by the contribution, was twenty-nine talents and seven hundred and thirty sicles, by sanctuary reckoning. Offerings, too, were made by those who were registered, six hundred and three thousand five hundred and fifty men under arms, from the age of twenty upwards; thus there were also a hundred talents of silver, from which they made the sockets of the holy place, and those of the entrance, where the veil hangs; a hundred sockets were made out of a hundred talents, one talent for each socket. They used besides a thousand seven hundred and seventy-five sides over the capitals of the posts, and the posts themselves where these were plated with silver. Seventy-two thousand talents and four hundred sicles of bronze were offered, and of these they made the sockets of the approach to the tabernacle that bears record of the Lord, and the brazen altar with its grating, and all the appurtenances used at it; and the sockets round the court and at the entrance to the court, and the pegs which held up the tabernacle and the enclosure round about.
Beseleel made vestments, too, of blue and purple, scarlet and lawn, for Aaron to wear when he ministered in the holy place, as the Lord had prescribed them to Moses. He made a mantle of gold and blue and purple and scarlet twice-dyed, and of twisted linen thread, all embroidered work; to do this, he must needs cut up gold leaf and spin it into threads, so that it could be worked into the rest of the coloured woof. At the top, on either side, he made two shoulder-pieces joined together, and a band of the same colours, as the Lord had prescribed to Moses. He also provided two onyx-stones, closely set in gold, and inscribed by a gem-carver with the names of Israel's sons; these, according to the prescription which the Lord had given Moses, he let into the sides of the mantle, to keep the sons of Israel in memory.
He made a burse, too, of embroidered work, of the same pattern as the mantle itself; of gold and blue and purple and scarlet twice-dyed, and twisted linen thread, a folded square of a palm's breadth either way. And he set in it four rows of stones; in the first row a sardius, a topaz, and an emerald; in the second, a carbuncle, a sapphire, and a jasper-stone; in the third, a jacynth, an agate, and an amethyst; in the fourth, a chrysolite, an onyx-stone, and a beryl; all the rows were closely set in gold. And these stones were inscribed with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel, one on each. On the burse, they put chains of pure gold, fastened together, and two hooks, and two rings, all of gold. The rings they set on either side of the. burse, so that the two gold chains could hang from them, and these fitted the hooks which stood out from the corners of the mantle. They met before and behind in such a way that mantle and burse were linked together, tied to the strongly fastened rings of the band by blue cord, so that they should not hang loose, and come apart; so the Lord had prescribed to Moses.
They made a tunic, too, to go with the mantle, all of blue, with an opening in the middle of it at the top, that had a woven border round it. Underneath, round the skirt of it, there were ornaments of blue thread and purple and scarlet, and twisted linen thread, pomegranate-shaped; bells, too, of pure gold, which they put in between the pomegranates all round, at the edge of the tunic; first a golden bell, then a pomegranate. Such, according to the prescription the Lord had given Moses, was to be the dress of the priest when he went in to perform his sacred office. They made, too, woven robes of lawn for Aaron and his sons, and mitres of lawn with rings about them, breeches, too, woven of fine linen thread, and a girdle of twisted linen thread, embroidered with threads of blue and purple and scarlet twice-dyed, as the Lord had prescribed to Moses. They also made a plate of pure gold, a thing most sacred, inscribed with all the engraver's skill, with the words, Set apart for the Lord; and this, according to the prescription the Lord gave Moses, they fastened with a blue cord to the mitre.
So the sons of Israel finished making the tabernacle, and all that covered in the sacred record, carrying out all the prescriptions the Lord had given to Moses. And they brought the tabernacle to Moses, the tent itself and all its furniture, rings, frames, poles, posts and sockets; the canopy of rams' fleeces dyed red, and the other canopy of skins dyed violet; the veil, the ark with its poles, and the throne; the table with its appurtenances and the loaves that were to be set out on it; the lamp-stand, with its lamps and its other appurtenances, and the oil for it; the golden altar, the ointment, and the incense made from spices; the hanging for the tabernacle approach; the brazen altar, with its grate, its poles, and all its appurtenances; the basin with its stand; the hangings for the court, and the posts with their sockets; the hanging for the entrance of the court, its ropes and its pegs. Nothing was missing of all the appurtenances that had been prescribed for the needs of the tabernacle, the shrine of the covenant. The vestments, too, that were to be worn by the priests, both Aaron himself and his sons, in the sanctuary, were brought to Moses by the Israelites, in fulfilment of the Lord's command. And when Moses saw that they had completed all their task, he gave them his blessing.
And now the Lord said to Moses, When the first day of the first month comes, set up the tabernacle that is to bear record of me, and put the ark in it, and screen the ark with the veil. Then bring in the table, and set out due offerings there; the lamp-stand, too, must be in its place, with lamps on it, and the golden altar upon which incense is burnt, there before the ark that bears record of me. Stretch out the hanging at the entrance to the tabernacle, and set down before it the altar for burnt-sacrifice, with the basin there, full of water, between altar and tabernacle; and screen off the court and its entrance with the hangings. Then bring out the anointing-oil, and hallow by unction with it the tabernacle and its appurtenances; the altar for burnt-sacrifice and all that belongs to it, and the washing basin with its stand; all must be consecrated with the anointing-oil, to be holiness itself. Bring Aaron, too, and his sons to the doors of the tabernacle that bears record of me, and, when they have washed, clothe them with the sacred vestments in which they are to minister to me, and anoint them to be my priests for ever.
Moses did as the Lord bade him; and on the first day of the first month, in this second year of wandering, the tabernacle was set up. To set it up, Moses must first dispose the frames, with their sockets and poles, and erect the posts; then he spread the tapestry over the tabernacle, and covered it, as the Lord bade him, with the canopy. He put the tablets of the law in the ark, and passed the poles through at the base of it, and fixed the throne above it. Then, bringing the ark into the tabernacle, he spread the veil in front of it, in fulfilment of the Lord's command. In front of the veil, at the northern end of the tabernacle that bore record of the Lord, he put down the table, and on it, as the Lord bade him, he set out the consecrated loaves. On the south side of the tabernacle, opposite the table, he set up the lamp-stand, with all its lamps in position as the Lord bade him. And before the veil, still under the tabernacle roof, he placed the golden altar, on which, at the Lord's command, he burnt incense made from spices.
And now he must hang the screen at the entrance of the tabernacle, and by the door of the tabernacle must stand the altar for burnt-sacrifice, on which he offered the victims and sacrificial gifts which the Lord had prescribed. He put the basin, too, between the tabernacle and the altar, filling it with water, so that Moses and Aaron and Aaron's sons could wash their hands and feet whenever they would enter the tabernacle that bore record of the covenant, or approach the altar, as the Lord had commanded him. He also set up the court round the tabernacle and the altar, and hung the screen at the entrance to it.
When all was done, a cloud covered the tabernacle, and it was filled with the brightness of the Lord's presence; nor could Moses enter the tabernacle that bore record of the covenant, so thick the cloud that spread all about it, so radiant was the Lord's majesty; all was wrapped in cloud. Whenever the cloud lifted from the tabernacle, the Israelites would muster and set out on the march, and while it hung there, they halted. The divine cloud by day, the divine fire by night, still brooded over the tabernacle for all Israel to see it, wherever they halted on their journey.