The LORD commands Moses to set up the tabernacle. All of its components have now been built, so Moses assembles them.
These verses record the actual assembly of the tabernacle as the LORD commanded in verses 1 – 16. It began with the tabernacle itself, and then its furnishings were put in place. The altars were erected along with the laver. Then the curtains that comprised the walls of the courtyard were set up around the tabernacle.
Now that the tabernacle had been erected, the LORD came to dwell amongst His people. He appeared as a cloud, like before, and His glory came to reside in the tabernacle.
The book of Exodus is the second book of the Torah (“law”). It continues the story of Genesis concerning the migration of the family of Jacob (the Israelites) to Egypt (Genesis 50). It describes the commissioning of Moses and Aaron as God’s representatives on earth to accomplish God’s deliverance of His people from slavery in Egypt and lead them to the Promised Land (the land of Canaan). It also relates the miraculous deliverance from Egypt beginning with the plagues on Egypt and the crossing of the Red Sea. It then describes the journey to Mount Sinai and the establishment of the Mosaic covenant with the Israelites. The last part of the book involves the specifications and building of the tabernacle – the place where the Lord Himself dwelt amongst His people.
In the book of Exodus, the focus shifts to the deliverance of God’s people.
In the last chapter of the book of Exodus, the LORD commanded Moses to set up the tabernacle. Moses obeyed the LORD’s command, and when he finished putting the tabernacle together, the LORD entered it to dwell in the midst of His people.
Chapter 40 can be outlined as follows: