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Numbers 7:84-89


7:84 This was the dedication for the altar from the leaders of Israel, when it was anointed: twelve silver platters, twelve silver sprinkling bowls, and twelve gold pans. 7:85 Each silver platter weighed 130 shekels, and each silver sprinkling bowl weighed 70 shekels. All the silver of the vessels weighed 2,400 shekels, according to the sanctuary shekel. 7:86 The twelve gold pans full of incense weighed 10 shekels each, according to the sanctuary shekel; all the gold of the pans weighed 120 shekels. 7:87 All the animals for the burnt offering were 12 young bulls, 12 rams, 12 male lambs in their first year, with their grain offering, and 12 male goats for a purification offering. 7:88 All the animals for the sacrifice for the peace offering were 24 young bulls, 60 rams, 60 male goats, and 60 lambs in their first year. These were the dedication offerings for the altar after it was anointed. 1 

7:89 Now when Moses went into 2  the tent of meeting to speak with the Lord, 3  he heard the voice speaking to him from above the atonement lid 4  that was on the ark of the testimony, from between the two cherubim. 5  Thus he spoke to him.

1 sn Even though the chapter seems wearisome and repetitious to the modern reader, it is a significant document. A. Rainey shows how it matches the exact ledgers of ancient sanctuaries (see ZPEB 5:202). The recording would have been done by the priestly scribes. Of the many points that can be observed here, it should not be missed that each tribe, regardless of its size or relative importance, was on equal footing before the Lord. Each tribe shared in the work of the Lord equally. Each tribe approached the sanctuary in precisely the same way on this memorable occasion. All such devotion to the work of the Lord was to receive the blessing of God.

2 tn The adverbial clause of time is constructed with the infinitive construct of the verb “to enter” (בּוֹא, bo’) with the preposition and with the subjective genitive that follows serving as the subject of the clause. The verse is strategic in the structure of the book: At the completion of the dedication with the offerings Moses received more revelation from the Lord in the tent. This verse therefore lays the foundation for what follows.

3 tc The MT is obscure here, simply giving the purpose infinitive and the prepositional phrase (“with him”). But the following clause using the Hitpael of the same verb, introducing a reflexive sense: “then he heard the voice speaking with him.” The Greek clarified it by inserting “Lord” after the word “voice.” The editor of BHS favors emendation of the form to a Piel participle rather than the Hitpael of the MT (reading מְדַבֵּר [mÿdabber] instead of מִדַּבֵּר [middabber], the Hitpael with assimilation). Most commentators agree with the change, assuming there was a mistaken pointing in the MT.

4 tn The Hebrew word כַּפֹּרֶת (kapporet) has been traditionally rendered “mercy seat,” but since the ark is the footstool (see Ps 132), this translation is somewhat misleading. The word is etymologically connected to the verb “to make atonement.” A technical translation would be “place of atonement” or “propitiatory”; a more common translation would be “cover, lid” – provided that the definition “to cover” does not get transferred to the verb “to atone,” for that idea belongs to a homonym. See also Exod 25:17.

5 tn The cherubim are the carved forms of the angels attached to the ark. They indicate the guarding role of this order of angels in the holy of holies. They were also embroidered on the curtains. For basic material see ZPEB 1:788-90, and R. K. Harrison, ISBE 1:642-43.

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