Make a Donation
About The Author
Holy Day Calendar
Free Online Bibles
Bible Reading Plan
Tuesday, October 15 2013
Exodus 33: Why Did Moses Pitch A Tabernacle Outside The Camp?
"I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou art a stiffnecked people ... Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp"
After law and order had been restored to the golden-calf-worshiping Israelites (see Exodus 32: The Mount Sinai Riot and Exodus 13: Liberation, Not Liberal-ation), the LORD commanded Moses to make ready to head north "unto the land which I sware unto Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, Unto thy seed will I give it" (see The LORD's Seed Covenants With The Two Men Of Iraq).
"33:1 And the LORD said unto Moses, Depart, and go up hence, thou and the people which thou hast brought up out of the land of Egypt, unto the land which I sware unto Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, Unto thy seed will I give it: 33:2 And I will send an angel before thee; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite: 33:3 Unto a land flowing with milk and honey: for I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou art a stiffnecked people: lest I consume thee in the way." (Exodus 33:1-3 KJV)
The national deliverance to the Promised Land was being fulfilled for the LORD's promise to Abraham. The adult Israelites at that point apparently realized how their behavior had been unworthy of righteous Abraham, although their repentance was temporary (their rebelliousness eventually cost them their personal deliverance - see the Fact Finder question below).
"33:4 And when the people heard these evil tidings, they mourned: and no man did put on him his ornaments. 33:5 For the LORD had said unto Moses, Say unto the children of Israel, Ye are a stiffnecked people: I will come up into the midst of thee in a moment, and consume thee: therefore now put off thy ornaments from thee, that I may know what to do unto thee. 33:6 And the children of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments by the mount Horeb." (Exodus 33:4-6 KJV)
Although the term "the Tabernacle of the congregation" (or "Tent of Meeting") is used for both of them, the Tabernacle (i.e. tent) that Moses pitched outside the camp (the formal Tabernacle was inside the camp, at the very center; see the diagram in The Camp) was before the formal Levite Tabernacle was constructed (see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Tabernacle).
Moses was given the instructions in how to build the Tabernacle while he was up on Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20-31). When he returned, he found the Israelites running wild around a golden calf idol (Exodus 32), after which, as we read here, Moses "took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation." But that was not the permanent Tabernacle because it was constructed and set up later (Exodus 36-40). The LORD (Who was and is Jesus Christ; see Genesis 1: In The Beginning Was The Word and The Kingdom Of The LORD God) had not yet relented of His anger over their heathen riot around the golden calf, so Moses pitched that temporary Tabernacle away from the people for the time that the LORD declared "I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou art a stiffnecked people: lest I consume thee in the way."
"33:7 And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation. And it came to pass, that every one which sought the LORD went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which was without the camp. 33:8 And it came to pass, when Moses went out unto the tabernacle, that all the people rose up, and stood every man at his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he was gone into the tabernacle. 33:9 And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the LORD talked with Moses. 33:10 And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand at the tabernacle door: and all the people rose up and worshipped, every man in his tent door. 33:11 And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle." (Exodus 33:7-11 KJV)
Moses was one of a very few people who spoke directly with the LORD: "The LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name."
"33:12 And Moses said unto the LORD, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight. 33:13 Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people.
Fact Finder: Did the adult Israelites of the Exodus, those who made themselves a golden calf to worship at Mount Sinai, get to the Promised Land?
This Day In History, October 15
1080: Heinrich (in English, Henry) VI of Germany was defeated by Rudolf of Rheinfelden at the Elster River; Rudolf was killed in the battle (see also The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation).
1211: Latin Emperor Henry of Flanders defeated the Nicaean emperor Theodore I Lascaris at the Battle of the Rhyndacus.
1529: Ottoman (Turkish) forces lifted their siege of Vienna, Austria. The military struggles through that time determined whether Europe would be Roman Catholic or Islamic (see A History Of Jerusalem: Constantine and Muhammad).
1582: The Gregorian calendar began in Italy and Spain. 10 days were skipped to correct the accumulated seasonal error of the Julian calendar - October 5 was followed by October 15, although the days of the week were not affected.
1764: Edward Gibbon observed a group of Church of Rome monks singing in the ruined Temple of Jupiter in Rome. The scene inspired him to begin work on his famous The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (see also A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars).
1783: In France, the Montgolfier brothers' hot air balloon achieved the first human ascent, by Jean-François Pilatre de Rozier.
1815: After his defeat and capture by the British at the Battle of Waterloo the previous June, Napoleon Bonaparte arrived under guard at the island of St. Helena where he was held in exile until he died in 1821.
1839: Britain's Queen Victoria proposed marriage to her first cousin, Albert. The marriage between Victoria and Albert was promoted by their uncle Leopold I, king of the Belgians.
1894: Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish officer in the French army, was arrested for treason, tried, found guilty and sentenced to life in prison on Devil's Island. He was proven innocent in 1930, 36 years after his conviction. The "Dreyfus Affair" became one of the most famous stories of French history.
1917: Mata Hari (actual name Margaretha Zelle), 41, a Dutch spy for Germany during the First World War, was executed by a French firing squad at the Vincennes Barracks outside Paris.
1945: Vichy French Premier Pierre Laval is executed by a firing squad for his wartime collaboration with the Germans.
1946: Hermann Goering, 53, high-ranking Nazi official under Adolf Hitler, committed suicide in his prison cell 2 hours before his scheduled hanging for war crimes (see also Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).
1962: Day 2 of the Cuban Missile Crisis. President John F. Kennedy was first shown spy-plane photographs taken the previous day of Soviet ballistic missile sites under construction in Cuba. Over the next 2 weeks, the U.S.-Soviet confrontation brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. Kennedy and his military advisors knew that Soviet nuclear ballistic missiles in Cuba were of no more threat to the U.S. than those 5,000 miles away in Russia (ballistic missiles can't be stopped, regardless of where they are launched from), or those off the U.S. east and west coasts on lurking Russian submarines (just as U.S. submarines lurk off the Russian coasts - along with the U.S. missiles in Europe, aimed at Russia), were no different than any Russian missiles in Cuba aimed at the U.S., however after the "Bay of Pigs" Cuban invasion failure, Kennedy feared that another embarrassment over Cuba would have been disastrous to his approval rating as President (as later documented by actual Kennedy associates, including Presidential advisor Theodore "Ted" Sorensen). According to his associates who were present, Kennedy took all of humanity to the brink of nuclear extinction to defend his personal re-election - an election that he never got to run in because he was killed a year later, not by the Russians, but by one of his own fellow citizens, a former U.S. Marine by the name of Lee Harvey Oswald.
1964: Nikita Khrushchev was ousted as First Secretary of the U.S.S.R. Communist Party. He was replaced by Leonid Brezhnev, and Alexi Kosygin as Prime Minister.
1970: Anwar Sadat became president of Egypt, succeeding Gamel Abdel Nasser.
1971: Iran (known until the 1920s as Persia) celebrated 2500 years as a nation. It was Persia that defeated the Babylonian Empire (see The Prophet Daniel: The Hand Writing On The Wall, The Decrees Of The Persian Kings and Israel In History and Prophecy: Babylon and Persia).
1990: Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev won the Nobel Peace Prize for his removal of the Berlin Wall and the "Iron Curtain" in Europe.