Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary

Verses 1-15 (Exodus 40:1-15)

The materials and furniture of the tabernacle had been viewed severally and approved, and now they must be put together. 1. God here directs Moses to set up the tabernacle and the utensils of it in their places. Though the work of the tabernacle was finished, and every thing ready for rearing, and the people, no doubt, were very desirous to see it up, yet Moses will not erect it till he has express orders for doing so. It is good to see God going before us in every step, Ps. 37:23. The time for doing this is fixed to the first day of the first month (Exod. 40:2), which wanted but fourteen days of a year since they came out of Egypt; and a good year?s work there was done in it. Probably the work was made ready but just at the end of the year, so that the appointing of this day gave no delay, or next to none, to this good work. We must not put off any necessary duty under pretence of waiting for some remarkable day; the present season is the most convenient. But the tabernacle happening to be set up on the first day of the first month intimates that it is good to begin the year with some good work. Let him that is the first have the first; and let the things of his kingdom be first sought. In Hezekiah?s time we find they began to sanctify the temple on the first day of the first month, 2 Chron. 29:17. The new moon (which by their computation was the first day of every month) was observed by them with some solemnity; and therefore this first new moon of the year was thus made remarkable. Note, When a new year begins, we should think of serving God more and better than we did the year before. Moses is particularly ordered to set up the tabernacle itself first, in which God would dwell and would be served (Exod. 40:2), then to put the ark in its place, and draw the veil before it (Exod. 40:3), then to fix the table, and the candlestick, and the altar of incense, without the veil (Exod. 40:4, 5), and to fix the hanging of the door before the door. Then in the court he must place the altar of burnt offering, and the laver (Exod. 40:6, 7); and, lastly, he must set up the curtains of the court, and a hanging for a court-gate. And all this would be easily done in one day, many hands no doubt being employed in it under the direction of Moses. 2. He directs Moses, when he had set up the tabernacle and all the furniture of it, to consecrate it and them, by anointing them with the oil which was prepared for the purpose, Exod. 30:25-29 It was there ordered that this should be done; here it was ordered that it should be done now, Exod. 40:9-11. Observe, Every thing was sanctified when it was put in its proper place, and not till then, for till then it was not fit for the use to which it was to be sanctified. As every thing is beautiful in its season, so is every thing in its place. 3. He directs him to consecrate Aaron and his sons. When the goods were brought into God?s house, they were marked first, and then servants were hired to bear the vessels of the Lord; and those must be clean who were put into that office, Exod. 40:12-15. The law which was now ordered to be put in execution we had before, Exod. 29:1-46 Thus in the visible church, which is God?s tabernacle among men, it is requisite that there be ministers to keep the charge of the sanctuary, and that they receive the anointing.

- Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary