8:1 1 The Lord spoke to Moses: 8:2 “Speak to Aaron and tell him, ‘When you set up 2 the lamps, the seven lamps are to give light 3 in front of the lampstand.’”
8:3 And Aaron did so; he set up the lamps to face toward the front of the lampstand, as the Lord commanded Moses. 8:4 This is how the lampstand was made: 4 It was beaten work in gold; 5 from its shaft to its flowers it was beaten work. According to the pattern which the Lord had shown Moses, so he made the lampstand.
1 sn This chapter has three main sections to it: the lighting of the lamps (vv. 1-4), the separation of the Levites (vv. 5-22), and the work of the Levites (vv. 23-26). Many modern scholars assume that the chapter belongs to P and was added late. But the chapter reiterates some of the Mosaic material concerning the work of the Levites in the new sanctuary. For the chapter to make sense the historical setting must be accepted; if the historical setting is accepted, the chapter is necessary as part of that early legislation. For more reading, see M. Haran, “The Nature of the’ohel mo‘edh in the Pentateuchal Sources,” JSS 5 (1960): 50-65, and “The Priestly Image of the Tabernacle,” HUCA 36 (1965): 191-226; and C. L. Meyers, The Tabernacle Menorah.
2 tn The verb is עָלָה (’alah). The Hiphil infinitive construct functions in a temporal clause. The idea of arranging the lamps on the lampstand certainly involved raising the lamps and placing them on the tops of each shaft and branch. Some have taken the idea to mean cause the flame to go up, or light the lamps.
3 tn The imperfect tense forms part of the instruction, and so the translation has to indicate that. The instruction would seem obvious, but the light was to shine in the area immediately in front of the lampstand, so that it would illumine the way and illumine the table that was across the room (hence, “in front of”).
4 tn The Hebrew text literally has “and this is the work of the lampstand,” but that rendering does not convey the sense that it is describing how it was made.
5 sn The idea is that it was all hammered from a single plate of gold.