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The Trysting Tent

"Moses used to pitch the tent outside the camp, at some distance from it; he called it the Trysting tent. Anyone who consulted the Eternal used to go outside to the Trysting tent, outside the camp. Whenever Moses went out to the tent, the people all rose and stood at the doors of their tents to watch Moses, till he entered the tent. When he entered the tent, the column of cloud used to come down and stand at the entrance of the tent, while the Eternal was speaking to Moses; and when the people saw the column of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, the people all rose and did obeisance, every man at the entrance of his tent. The Eternal would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend" (Exodus 33:7-11 James Moffat Translation).

"face to face, as a man speaks to his friend"

For readers of the King James (KJV) or Revised Standard (RSV) versions of the Holy Scriptures, the above quote from the James Moffat translation of the 1920s has an obvious difference i.e. Moffat's use of "Trysting tent" where the KJV and RSV (and many others) use Tent or Tabernacle (tabernacle means tent) of Meeting or congregation (meeting and congregation mean the same thing) i.e. for Exodus 33:7


"Moses used to pitch the tent outside the camp, at some distance from it; he called it the Trysting tent." (James Moffat translation)

"Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far off from the camp; and he called it the tent of meeting" (RSV)

"And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation" (KJV)

"Meeting" or "congregation" as used by the RSV and KJV convey a "public" sort of event, whereas Moffat's use of "trysting" (the English word tryst, which is a form of the word trust, has come to mean a private or intimate meeting) is more literally correct in how Moses was allowed to meet with The Lord "face to face, as a man speaks to his friend" - something no one else was routinely allowed to do as Moses did. Moses was "trysted" (i.e. trusted) with experiences and knowledge that very few other humans have ever been allowed access to.

The Trysting Tent ("trusting" tent) / Tent of Meeting, as such, is recorded in existence in Exodus 33:7-11. The Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant which contained the Ten Commandments, were constructed a little later, as recorded in Exodus chapters 34 to 40.

Moses' appointed successor, Joshua, was also a great servant of God, but none have come close to Moses.

"And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as The Lord commanded Moses.

And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom The Lord knew face to face, In all the signs and the wonders, which The Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land, And in all that mighty hand, and in all the great terror which Moses showed in the sight of all Israel." (Deuteronomy 34:9-12 RSV)

Fact Finder: When and why did Moses wear a "veil"?
See The Veil of Moses

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