Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. 5: Harmony of the Law, Part III, tr. by John King, [1847-50], at sacred-texts.com
1. And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saving,
1. Loquutus est Jehova ad Mosen, dicendo:
2. On the first day of the first month shalt thou set up the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation;
2. Die mensis primi, prima ejusdem, eriges tabernaculum, tabernaculum conventionis.
3. And thou shalt put therein the ark of the testimony, and cover the ark with the vail.
3. Et pones ibi arcam testimonii quam teges velo.
4. And thou shalt bring in the table, and set in order the things that are to be set in order upon it; and thou shalt bring in the candlestick, and light the lamps thereof.
4. Introducesque mensam, et ordinationem ejus: introduces insuper candelabrum, et accendes luernas ejus.
5. And thou shalt set the altar of gold for the incense before the ark of the testimony, and put the hanging of the door to the tabernacle.
5. Pones praeterea altare aureum ad suffimentum e regione arcae testimonii: et pones aulaeum ostii tabernaculi.
6. And thou shalt set the altar of the burnt-offering before the door of the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation.
6. Dein pones altare holocausti coram ostio tabernaculi conventionis:
7. And thou shalt set the laver between the tent of the congregation and the altar, and shalt put water therein.
7. Postea pones concham inter tabernaculum conventionis et altare, in qua pones aquam.
8. And thou shalt set up the court round about, and hang up the hanging at the court-gate.
8. Postremo pones atrium in circuitu, et aulueum portae atrii.
9. And thou shalt take the anointing oil, and anoint the tabernacle, and all that is therein, and shalt hallow it, and all the vessels thereof: and it shall be holy.
9. Tunc accipies oleum unctionis, et unges tabernaculum atque omnia vasa qum sunt in eo: sanctificabisque illud et omnia vasa ejus, et erit sanctum.
10. And thou shalt anoint the altar of the burnt-offering, and all his vessels, and sanctify the altar: and it shall be an altar most holy.
10. Unges et altare holocausti, atque onmia vasa ejus: sanctificabisque altare, et erit altare sacrosanctum.
11. And thou shalt anoint the laver and his foot, and sanctify it.
11. Unges etiam concham et basira ejus, sanctificabisque illam.
12. And thou shalt bring Aaron and his sons unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and wash them with water.
12. Tunc appropinquare facies Aharon et filius ejus ad ostium tabernaculi conventionis, lavabisque cos aqua.
13. And thou shalt put upon Aaron the holy garments, and anoint him, and sanctify him; that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.
13. Et induere facies Aharon vestes sanctas, ungesque eum, et sanctificabis eum, ut sacerdotio fungatur mihi.
14. And thou shalt bring his sons, and clothe them with coats:
14. Filios quoque ejus appropinquare facies, et indues eos tunicis.
15. And thou shalt anoint them, as thou didst anoint their father, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office: for their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations.
15. Ungesque filius, quemadmodum unxeris patrem eorum: et sacerdotio fungentur mihi, eritque unctio eorum ut sit els in sacerdotium perpetuum per generationes suas.
16. Thus did Moses: according to all that the Lord commanded him, so did he.
16. Fecit ergo Moses juxta omnia quae illi praeceperat Jehova, sic fecit.
17. And it came to pass in the first month, in the second year, on the first day of the month, that the tabernacle was reared up.
17. Et factum est mense primo, anno secundo, prima mensis, erectum filit tabernaculum.
18. And Moses reared up the tabernacle, and fastened his sockets, and set up the hoards thereof, and put in the bars thereof, and reared up his pillars.
18. Erexit igitur Moses tabernaculum, posuitque bases ejus, et tabulas ejus, et vectes ejus, atque erexit columnas ejus.
19. And he spread abroad the tent over the tabernacle, and put the covering of the tent above upon it; as the Lord commanded Moses.
19. Extendit praeterea tentorium super tabernaculum, et posuit operimentum tentorii super idud superne, quemadmodum praeceperat Jehova, Mosi.
20. And he took and put the testimony into the ark, and set the staves on the ark, and put the mercy-seat above upon the ark.
20. Tulitque et posuit testimonium in arca ipsa, posuit quoque vectes super arcata, et propitiatorium super arcata superne.
21. And he brought the ark into the tabernacle, and set up the vail of the covering, and covered the ark of the testimony; as the Lord commanded Moses.
21. Induxitque aream in tabernaculum, posuitque velum tentorii, et texit arcata testimonii, quemadmodum praeceperat Jehova ipsi Mosi.
22. And he put the table in the tent of the congregation, upon the side of the tabernacle northward, without the vail.
22. Posuit et mensam in tabernaculo conventionis ad latus tabernaculi ad aquilonem extra velum.
23. And he set the bread in order upon it before the Lord; as the Lord had commanded Moses.
23. Et ordinavit super eam ordinationem panum coram Jehova, quemadmodum praeceperat Jehova ipsi Mosi.
24. And he put the candlestick in the tent of the congregation, over against the table, on the side of the tabernacle southward.
24. Posuitque candelabrum in tabernaculo conventionis ex adverso in latere tabernaculi ad meridiem.
25. And he lighted the lamps before the Lord; as the Lord commanded Moses.
25. Et accendit lucernas coram Jehova, quemadmodum praeceperat Jehova ipsi Mosi.
26. And he put the golden altar in the tent of the congregation before the vail:
26. Posuit etiam altare aureum in tabernaculo conventionis coram velo:
27. And he burned sweet incense thereon; as the Lord commanded Moses.
27. Et incendit super illud suffimentum aromaticum, quemadmodum praeceperat Jehova ipsi Mosi.
28. And he set up the hanging at the door of the tabernacle.
28. Posuit praeterea aulaeum ostii tabernaculi.
29. And he put the altar of burnt-offering by the door of the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation, and offered upon it the burnt-offering, and the meat-offering; as the Lord commanded Moses.
29. Et altare holocausti posuit ad ostium tabernaculi, tabernaculi conventionis: et obtulit super illo holocaustum, et minham, quemadmodum praeceperat Jehova ipsi Mosi.
30. And he set the laver between the tent of the congregation and the altar, and put water there, to wash withal.
30. Et posuit concham inter tabernaculum conventionis et altare, in qua posuit aquam ad lavandum.
31. And Moses, and Aaron, and his sons, washed their hands and their feet thereat.
31. Et lavabant ex ea Moses et Aharon et filii ejus marius suas et pedes suos.
32. When they went into the tent of the congregation, and when they came near unto the altar, they washed; as the Lord commanded Moses.
32. Quando ingrediebantur tabernaculum conventionis, et quando accedebant ad altare, lavabant se, sicut praeceperat Jehova ipsi Mosi.
33. And he reared up the court round about the tabernacle and the altar, and set up the hanging of the court-gate: so Moses finished the work.
33. Postremo erexit atrium in circuitu tabernaculi et altaris, posuitque aulaeum portae atrii. Itaque, absolvit Moses opus ipsum.
34. Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.
34. Et operuit nubes tabernaculum conventionis, gloriaque Jehovae replevit tabernaculum.
35. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.
35. Neque poterat Moses ingredi tabernaculum conventionis, quia habitabat super illud nubes, et gloria Jehovae replebat tabernaculum.
Num. 9:15, 16
15. And on the day that the tabernacle was reared up, the cloud covered the tabernacle, namely, the tent of the testimony; and at even there was upon the tabernacle as it were the appearance of fire, until the morning.
15. Quo die erectum fuit tabernaculum, operuit nubes tabernaculum supra rectum testimonii: vespere autem erat super tabernaculum tanquam species ignis usque mane.
16. So it was alway: the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night.
16. Sic erat jugiter: nubes operiebat ilud, et species ignis noctu.
Exodus 40:2. On the first day of the first month I cannot at all approve of the opinion of those commentators who think that the tabernacle was only now set up. That it was already complete in all its parts before Moses went the second time into the Mount, we infer from the fact that the ark was then prepared in which the tables were deposited, as we shall see from the context. Besides, it has elsewhere 394 been shewn by sound arguments, as I think, that it was pitched without the camp in token of divorce, from the time that the people had made the calf. What, then, is the meaning of the setting-up which is now spoken of? I reply, that it is said to have been set up, when 395 it was brought back from its strange to its proper place. For then it was both anointed and honored by sacred oblations, whilst Aaron and his sons were consecrated to the performance of the priestly office. Since, therefore, it had not yet been duly placed in the middle of the camp, nay, rather had been removed from the people lest they should enjoy that pledge of God’s presence, its solemn dcdication is justly celebrated after the renewal of the covenant. This passage also confirms what I have said elsewhere, 396 that this was the tabernacle which Moses pitched at a distance from the camp; for, by the addition of its title, he speaks as of something well known, “Thou shalt set up (He says) the tabernacle, viz., the tabernacle of convention.” Now Moses himself had already stated that this name had been given it by the mouth of God. He repeats, however, the same injunctions, not that He distrusted the memory of His servant, but that it might be more fully apparent that He was Himself the sole Author of the whole work, and also that it nlight obtain more reverence, since He had so often deigned to give initructions as concerning things of very great importance.
9. And thou shalt take the anointing oil There was by no means any virtue or efficacy for sanctification in the oil, except in so far as it was a type of the Spirit, from whom as its only source all holiness emanates. Assuredly the oil, as being a corruptible fluid, neither penetrates into the soul, nor would by itself at all avail unto spiritual service. It appears, however, from many pnssages of Scripture, that it was a symbol of all the gifts of the Holy Spirit. This figure, therefore, clearly shews that nothing pleases God, that nothing is pure or holy in His sight, except what has been purged, and duly consecrated by the influence and grace of the Holy Spirit. Moreover, God would have all the vessels of the sanctuary set apart by this sacred anointing from common use, in order that the Israelites might distinguish between things sacred and profane, and thus that God’s service might receive its due reverence, so that none should intrude the pollutions of the flesh into that place, the purity of which had been signalized by that sacred symbol. A question, however, here arises why he dignifies the altar of burnt-offering with a more exalted title; for, after having called the tabernacle itself with its vessels simply holy, He calls the altar “holy of holies,” which I have rendered sacrosanctum. I doubt not but that it acquired this name from the sacrifices, which are also so called on account of the expiation made by them, 397 as we have seen elsewhere. The children of Israel, therefore, were instructed that God is truly reconciled by holocausts and burnt-offerings, since “the holiness of holinesses” resided on the altar itself.
12. And thou shalt bring Aaron and his sons I have already expounded all that might seem to be profitable with respect to the garments and the mode of anointing; only let; my readers remember that the priest, 398 who had been before appointed, is now at length inaugurated, in order that he may begin the discharge of his office. At the same time, let them also bear in mind that this oil was consecrated by God. Hence it appears how foolishly the Popish bishops, as it were, ape Moses, when, in imitation of him, they sprinkle their priests and altars and other rubbish with stinking oil, since it is abundantly clear that this ceremony of anointing, belonging as it did to the ancient shadows of the Law, ceased at the coming of Christ. What Augustine 399 reminds us of is also worthy of observation, that Moses, who is commissioned to anoint the others, was never consecrated himself by any visible symbol, in order that we may understand that outward signs are not to be estimated by the dignity of the minister, but only by the ordinance of God; and again, that invisible grace has profited some without visible sacraments, whilst visible sanctification may be imparted, but cannot profit, without invisible.
17. And it came to pass in the first month In all the arrangements, which are here described, it must be especially noted, that Moses obeyed God in such a manner as not to vary in the most trifling point from the form prescribed to him. He therefore so frequently enforces the fact, that he did as God had commanded him; and not without reason, for there is nothing to which men are more prone than to mix up their inventions with God’s commands, as if they would be wiser than He is. In order then that the people might know that there was nothing of human invention in all the legal service, Moses so carefully insists on this point, and so often testifes to his obedience. But if so great the Prophet dared to attempt nothing of himself in trifling matters, how great is the audacity and arrogance of those men who arbitrarily invent innumerable figments, whereby God may be worshipped! Let us, however, learn from this passage to embrace with reverence whatever has proceeded from God, whilst we reject whatever men advance of themselves.
34. Then a cloud covered the tent The holiness of the tabernacle was proved by this signal or pledge, for the people assuredly knew that it had not been set up in vain, but that the promise given before was actually fulfilled, and that it was chosen to be the dwelling-place of God, who would be the Leader and Keeper of His people. For it was not a natural thing that the cloud should settle over the sanctuary in which the Ark of the Covenant was deposited; and much less so that by day a cloud should be seen and a fire by night, especially when this did not occur once only, but when they succeeded each other in perpetual alternation. It is fitly said, that when the tabernacle was covered by the cloud, it was at, the same time filled with the glory of God; for this was a magnificent distinction, that an earthly edifice should be rendered illustrious by a more than heavenly ornament, as if God’s majesty were visibly presented to them.
Whereas before Moses had been concealed and separated from the people by the cloud, its density is now said to have prevented even him from entering; thus, then, ought their reverence and admiration of the place to have been increased, when the greatness of its glory was a hinderance to their holy Prophet. It is probable that by his example not only the rest of the multitude, but all the Levites also, were admonished that they should not endeavor to penetrate further than they were allowed. For, after the possession of the priesthood was transmitted to his brother, he, as well as his descendants, was excluded from that sacred dignity.
“Lors qu’il a este assis en son droit lieu, et legitime, assavoir au milieu du peuple duquel il avoit este comme estranger;” when it was fixed in its right and legitimate place, that is to say, in the midst of the people, to whom it had been, as it were, a stranger. — Fr.
See on Leviticus 6:25, ante, vol. 2, p. 366.
“Aaron, ayant este cree auparavant Sacrificateur.” — Fr.
Quaest. in Leviticus 84. Edit. Bened. tom. 3, p. 524.