Today’s reading begins with the consecration of the priests of the Tabernacle and concludes with the requirements for the oils and incense used in the Tabernacle.
The consecration of the priests was an involved process. Sacrificing of a bull and two rams that were unblemished and also using unleavened bread, unleavened cakes mixed with oil, and unleavened wavers smeared with oil. Each of these items played a role in the ordination process.
For the sacrificing of each animal, Aaron and his sons were to lay their hands on the head of the animal while the animal was killed. Each of the animals were then essentially butchered. Part of the blood of the bull was to be placed on the horns of the altar and the remainder poured out at the base of the altar, while the fat of the bull from the liver and the kidneys was to be burned on the altar as a sin offering. The remaining portion of the bull was to be burned outside of the camp. One of the rams was slaughtered and its blood thrown against the sides of the altar, the legs and entrails were to be washed and then the whole ram was to be burnt on the altar. The second ram was slaughtered and some of its blood was placed on the tips of the right ears, the thumbs of the right hands, and the big toes of the right feet of Aaron and his sons. The remainder of the blood was to be thrown against the sides of the altar. Some of the blood of this second ram along with anointing oil was sprinkled on the priestly garments of Aaron and his sons.
Some of the other portions of the second ram along with the unleavened bread was placed in the hands of Aaron and his sons and waved before God. Lastly the flesh of the second ram was to be boiled and eaten along with the unleavened bread and the entrance to the tabernacle. This entire process was to last seven days.
Along with the ordination process, God told Moses of the daily sacrifice requirements of the Tabernacle: two lambs per day, every day of every year. The lambs were to be one year old and unblemished. One lamb sacrificed in the morning and the second at twilight. Along with the lamb both oil and grain were offered.
In the tabernacle there was also to be an altar for the sacrifice of incense. God gave instructions on the dimensions and the materials of the altar. It was to be made of acacia wood and overlaid with gold and trimmed with gold pieces. Aaron was to burn incense on the altar as an offering twice each day, in the morning and at twilight. Also, blood was to be offered on this altar once each year for a sin offering.
In addition to these offerings, today’s reading details a census tax that was to be paid by all Israelites twenty years old and above. Half a shekel of silver was the tax and the same tax was to be paid both by the rich and the poor. The tax was collected for the servicing of the Tabernacle.
A bronze basin was also to be fabricated for the Tabernacle. The basin was to hold water and was to be used by Aaron and his sons to wash themselves prior to entering the Tabernacle.
Lastly in today’s reading were instructions for the oil and incense to be used in the service of the temple. Most notable for both of these items was the fact that the oil and perfume were to be of a composition unlike any other of their kind. If any person crafted oil or incense in the likeness of these for use in the Tabernacle, the person would be cutoff from the assembly of Israel, meaning they were no longer a part of the community and if they attempted to return they would likely face death. Very stern consequences for merely crafting oil or incense in the likeness of what was offered to the LORD. These things were to he holy, set apart and not infringed upon. They existed solely for the use in the worship and sacrifice to the LORD.