38:21 This is the inventory 1 of the tabernacle, the tabernacle of the testimony, which was counted 2 by the order 3 of Moses, being the work 4 of the Levites under the direction 5 of Ithamar, son of Aaron the priest. 38:22 Now Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, made everything that the Lord had commanded Moses;
1 tn The Hebrew word is פְּקוּדֵי (pÿqude), which in a slavishly literal way would be “visitations of” the tabernacle. But the word often has the idea of “numbering” or “appointing” as well. Here it is an accounting or enumeration of the materials that people brought, so the contemporary term “inventory” is a close approximation. By using this Hebrew word there is also the indication that whatever was given, i.e., appointed for the tabernacle, was changed forever in its use. This is consistent with this Hebrew root, which does have a sense of changing the destiny of someone (“God will surely visit you”). The list in this section will also be tied to the numbering of the people.
2 tn The same verb is used here, but now in the Pual perfect tense, third masculine singular. A translation “was numbered” or “was counted” works. The verb is singular because it refers to the tabernacle as a unit. This section will list what made up the tabernacle.
3 tn Heb “at/by the mouth of.”
4 tn The noun is “work” or “service.” S. R. Driver explains that the reckonings were not made for the Levites, but that they were the work of the Levites, done by them under the direction of Ithamar (Exodus, 393).
5 tn Heb “by the hand of.”