Old Testament

Exodus 30
The Altar for Incense
301You shall make an altar on which to burn incense. Make it of acacia wood. 2It is to be eighteen inches long and eighteen inches wide. It is to be square, and three feet high. Its horns are to be one piece with it. 3Overlay it with pure gold—its top, all its sides, and its horns. Make a gold border[] around it. 4Make two gold rings to place under its border. Make them for each of its two opposite sides. They will serve as holders for poles with which to carry it. 5Make the poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold.
6Put the altar in front of the veil that hides the Ark of the Testimony, in front of the atonement seat that is above the Testimony, where I will meet with you. 7Aaron shall burn incense made of fragrant spices on it every morning. When he tends the lamps, he shall burn the incense. 8When Aaron lights the lamps at twilight, he shall burn it as the regular incense before the Lord throughout your generations. 9You shall offer no other incense on it, no burnt offering, and no grain offering, and you shall pour no drink offering on it. 10Aaron shall make atonement on its horns once a year. With the blood of the sin offering for atonement, once a year he shall make atonement for it throughout your generations. It is most holy to the Lord.
The Redemption Price
11The Lord spoke to Moses. He said, 12“When you count[] the men of Israel to register them, each man shall give to the Lord a redemption price[] for his life as you register him, so that there is no plague among them as you register them. 13Each one shall give this redemption as he passes over to the group which has already been registered—half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary (the shekel is twenty gerahs),[] half a shekel for an offering to the Lord. 14Everyone who passes over to the group that has already been registered, those twenty years old and older, shall give the special elevated offering to the Lord. 15The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than the half shekel when you give the elevated offering for the Lord to redeem your lives. 16You shall take the redemption money from the people of Israel, and you shall designate it for the work of the Tent of Meeting so that it may be a memorial for the people of Israel before the Lord, to redeem your lives.”
The Bronze Basin
17The Lord spoke to Moses. He said, 18“You shall also make a large bronze basin in which to wash. Its pedestal shall also be bronze. Put it between the Tent of Meeting and the altar, and put water in it. 19Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet with water from it. 20When they go into the Tent of Meeting, they must wash with water so that they will not die. They shall wash whenever they come near the altar to minister, to burn an offering made by fire to the Lord. 21They shall wash their hands and their feet so that they do not die. This shall be a permanent regulation for them, for Aaron and for his descendants throughout their generations.”
Spices and Incense
22The Lord spoke to Moses again. He said, 23“Take fine spices: twelve and a half pounds of liquid myrrh,[] half as much (six and a quarter pounds) of fragrant cinnamon, six and a quarter pounds of fragrant cane, 24twelve and a half pounds (weighed by the shekel of the sanctuary), and one gallon[] of olive oil. 25Make it into a holy anointing oil, a perfume mixed with the skill of a perfume maker. It will be a holy anointing oil. 26Use it to anoint the Tent of Meeting, the Ark of the Testimony, 27the table and all its utensils, the lampstand and its utensils, the altar for incense, 28the altar for burnt offering with all its utensils, and the basin with its pedestal. 29You shall consecrate them so that they may be most holy. Whatever touches them will be holy. 30You shall anoint Aaron and his sons and set them apart, so that they may minister to me in the priest's office. 31Speak to the people of Israel. Tell them, ‘This shall be a holy anointing oil for me throughout your generations. 32Do not pour it on the flesh of anyone who is not a priest. Do not make any other perfume like it with the same ingredients. It is holy. It shall be holy to you. 33Whoever mixes any perfume like it or whoever puts any of it on anyone who is not a priest shall be cut off from his people.’”
34The Lord said to Moses, “Take fragrant spices, gum resin, shechelet, and helbanum,[] fragrant spices with pure frankincense. Use an equal weight of each ingredient, 35and make incense from it, a blend made with the skill of a perfume maker, seasoned with salt, pure and holy. 36Grind some of it very fine, and put some of it in front of the Testimony in the Tent of Meeting where I will make myself known to you. It shall be most holy to you. 37When you make incense for yourselves, you shall not make any with this recipe. You shall regard it as holy to the Lord. 38Whoever makes any fragrance like that for himself shall be cut off from his people.”


  • 30:3 It is uncertain if this is a rim, trim, a frame, or edging.
  • 30:12 Literally when you lift up the head. A more literal translation would be when you carry out a head count. This census was a registration for military service. The danger of death in battle is why there was the ransom or redemption price for each man's life.
  • 30:12 Or ransom or atonement
  • 30:13 A shekel is a unit of weight (about 2/5 of an ounce), but it is also the standard monetary unit. When shekel refers to a monetary unit, this translation retains the term shekel. It appears that the temple shekel was larger than the regular shekel, but we do not know how much a gerah weighed.
  • 30:23 That is, five hundred shekels
  • 30:24 One hin
  • 30:34 The identification of these fragrances is unknown, so the Hebrew names are retained.