The Altar of Incense

“Now you shall make an altar as a place for burning incense; you shall make it of acacia wood. Its length shall be [a]a cubit, and its width a cubit; it shall be square, and its height shall be two cubits; its horns shall be [b]of one piece with it. You shall overlay it with pure gold, its top and its [c]sides all around, and its horns; and you shall make a gold molding all around for it. You shall also make two gold rings for it under its molding; you shall make them on its two sides—on [d]opposite sides—and [e]they shall be holders for poles with which to carry it. And you shall make the poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. You shall put [f]this altar in front of the veil that is [g]near the ark of the testimony, in front of the [h]atoning cover that is over the ark of the testimony, where I will meet with you. Aaron shall burn fragrant incense on it; he shall burn it every morning when he trims the lamps. And when Aaron sets up the lamps at [i]twilight, he shall burn incense. There shall be perpetual incense before the Lord throughout your generations. You shall not offer any [j]strange incense on [k]this altar, or burnt offering, or meal offering; and you shall not pour out a drink offering on it. 10 However, Aaron shall make atonement on its horns once a year; he shall make atonement on it with the blood of the sin offering of atonement once a year throughout your generations. It is most holy to the Lord.”

11 The Lord also spoke to Moses, saying, 12 “When you take a [l]census of the sons of Israel [m]to count them, then each one of them shall give a ransom for [n]himself to the Lord, when you [o]count them, so that there will be no plague among them when you [p]count them. 13 This is what everyone who [q]is counted shall give: half a [r]shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary (the shekel is twenty gerahs), half a shekel as a [s]contribution to the Lord. 14 Everyone who [t]is counted, from twenty years old and over, shall give the [u]contribution to the Lord. 15 The rich shall not pay more, and the poor shall not pay less, than the half shekel, when you give the [v]contribution to the Lord to make atonement for [w]yourselves. 16 And you shall take the atonement money from the sons of Israel and give it for the service of the tent of meeting, so that it may be a memorial for the sons of Israel before the Lord, to make atonement for [x]yourselves.”

17 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 18 “You shall also make a basin of [y]bronze, with its base of bronze, for washing; and you shall put it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and you shall put water in it. 19 Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet from it; 20 when they enter the tent of meeting, they shall wash with water, so that they do not die; or when they approach the altar to minister, by offering up in smoke a fire sacrifice to the Lord. 21 So they shall wash their hands and their feet, so that they do not die; and it shall be a permanent statute for them, for [z]Aaron and his [aa]descendants throughout their generations.”

The Anointing Oil

22 Moreover, the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 23 “Take also for yourself the finest of spices: of liquid myrrh [ab]five hundred shekels, and of fragrant cinnamon half as much, 250, and of fragrant cane 250, 24 and of cassia 500, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, and of olive oil a [ac]hin. 25 You shall make [ad]from these a holy anointing oil, a fragrant mixture of ointments, the work of a perfumer; it shall be a holy anointing oil. 26 And you shall anoint the tent of meeting with it, and the ark of the testimony, 27 and the table and all its utensils, and the lampstand and its utensils, and the altar of incense, 28 and the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, and the basin and its stand. 29 You shall also consecrate them, so that they may be most holy; whatever touches them shall be holy. 30 And you shall anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, so that they may serve as priests to Me. 31 Furthermore, you shall speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘This shall be a holy anointing oil to Me throughout your generations. 32 It shall not be poured on [ae]anyone’s body, nor shall you make any like it in [af]the same proportions; it is holy, and it shall be holy to you. 33 Whoever mixes any like it or whoever puts any of it on a [ag]layman [ah]shall be cut off from his people.’”

The Incense

34 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Take for yourself spices—stacte, onycha, and galbanum, spices and pure frankincense; there shall be an equal part of each. 35 You shall make incense from it all, a skillful mixture, the work of a perfumer, salted, pure, and holy. 36 And you shall crush some of it very fine, and put part of it in front of the testimony in the tent of meeting where I will meet with you; it shall be most holy to you. 37 And the incense which you shall make, you shall not make in [ai]the same proportions for yourselves; it shall be holy to you for the Lord. 38 Whoever makes any like it, to [aj]use as perfume, [ak]shall be cut off from his people.”


  1. Exodus 30:2 About 1.5 ft. long and wide and 3 ft. high or 45 cm and 90 cm
  2. Exodus 30:2 Lit from itself
  3. Exodus 30:3 Lit walls
  4. Exodus 30:4 Lit its two
  5. Exodus 30:4 Lit it
  6. Exodus 30:6 Lit it
  7. Exodus 30:6 Lit upon; or over
  8. Exodus 30:6 Also called mercy seat; i.e., where blood was sprinkled on the Day of Atonement
  9. Exodus 30:8 Lit between the two evenings
  10. Exodus 30:9 I.e., prohibited
  11. Exodus 30:9 Lit it
  12. Exodus 30:12 Lit sum
  13. Exodus 30:12 Lit for their being mustered
  14. Exodus 30:12 Lit his soul
  15. Exodus 30:12 Lit muster
  16. Exodus 30:12 Lit muster
  17. Exodus 30:13 Lit passes over to those who are mustered
  18. Exodus 30:13 A shekel was about 0.5 oz. or 14 gm
  19. Exodus 30:13 Or uplifted offering
  20. Exodus 30:14 See note 1 v 13
  21. Exodus 30:14 Or uplifted offering of the Lord
  22. Exodus 30:15 Or uplifted offering of the Lord
  23. Exodus 30:15 Lit your souls
  24. Exodus 30:16 Lit your souls
  25. Exodus 30:18 Or copper
  26. Exodus 30:21 Lit him
  27. Exodus 30:21 Lit seed
  28. Exodus 30:23 About 15.5 and 7.75 lb. or 7 and 3.5 kg
  29. Exodus 30:24 About 1 gallon or 3.8 liters
  30. Exodus 30:25 Lit it
  31. Exodus 30:32 Lit the flesh of mankind
  32. Exodus 30:32 Lit its proportion
  33. Exodus 30:33 Lit stranger
  34. Exodus 30:33 Lit even he shall
  35. Exodus 30:37 Lit its proportion
  36. Exodus 30:38 Lit smell of it
  37. Exodus 30:38 Lit even he shall