The Offerings of the Tribal Leaders

May 24, 2015

וַיְהִי בְּיוֹם כַּלּוֹת מֹשֶׁה לְהָקִים אֶת־הַמִּשְׁכָּן וַיִּמְשַׁח אֹתוֹ וַיְקַדֵּשׁ אֹתוֹ וְאֶת־כָּל־כֵּלָיו וְאֶת־הַמִּזְבֵּחַ וְאֶת־כָּל־כֵּלָיו וַיִּמְשָׁחֵם וַיְקַדֵּשׁ אֹתָם׃

On the day that Moshe finished setting up the Mishkan, he anointed and consecrated it and all its furnishings, as well as the mizbayach and its utensils. When he had anointed and consecrated them,

Numbers 7:1

וּבְבֹא מֹשֶׁה אֶל־אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד לְדַבֵּר אִתּוֹ וַיִּשְׁמַע אֶת־הַקּוֹל מִדַּבֵּר אֵלָיו מֵעַל הַכַּפֹּרֶת אֲשֶׁר עַל־אֲרֹן הָעֵדֻת מִבֵּין שְׁנֵי הַכְּרֻבִים וַיְדַבֵּר אֵלָיו׃

When Moshe went into the Tent of Meeting to speak with Him, he would hear the Voice addressing him from above the cover that was on top of the Aron HaBrit between the two cherubim; thus He spoke to him.

Numbers 7:89

At this point, the Torah tells us the tribal princes bring six covered wagons and twelve oxen as a contribution to the Tabernacle. Moses divides them between the families of Gershon and Merari for their use in transporting the structure of the Tabernacle.


The portion ends with a lengthy list of the offerings brought to the Tabernacle for the dedication of the altar. The princes of each of the twelve tribes are moved to bring offerings for the occasion. Although each offering is identical, it is listed in detail for each prince.


The offerings each consist of one silver bowl, one silver basin, each filled with fine flour mixed with oil; one gold ladle filled with incense; one young bull, one ram and one sheep as an elevation offering;a he-goat as a sin offering; and two cattle, five rams, five he-goats and five sheep for a peace offering. This makes a total of 12 bowls, 12 basins, 12 ladles, 36 bulls, 72 rams, 72 sheep, and 72 he-goats. Each prince brings his offering on a different day.


The Israel Bible says the princes were moved by their initial contribution of wagons and oxen to participate in the dedication of the altar. Following their lead, both the First and Second Temples were inaugurated with abundant sacrifices.


Virtual Classroom Discussion

Why do you think each of the identical offerings was listed in such great detail?

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