#170. Does the action from Exodus 40 to Numbers 7 take place on one day OR not? (Ex 40:2-33; Lev 8; Num 7:1 vs Lev 9; Num 1:1)


And it was in the 1st month, in the 2nd year, on the 1st of the month, the Tabernacle was set up. (Ex 40:17)

This is the Priestly writer’s chronology: the cultic institution, around which its whole theology is based, is erected on the New Year’s day of the second year from the Exodus (see also #109-110). Yet, even within the Priestly source there seems to be some discrepancies concerning what happens on this day.

On this day, at least as depicted in Exodus 40, the Tabernacle and all of its components are anointed, that is rendered holy, consecrated unto Yahweh. Next, in Leviticus 8, Aaron and his sons are anointed, made holy, and consecrated unto Yahweh, and they perform the first sacrifices. Leviticus 1-7 originally stood as a separate document written solely by and for the Aaronid priesthood; it describes in detail how to preform the various sacrificial offerings to Yahweh. It was later inserted between what is now Exodus 40 and Leviticus 8.

The anointing of Aaron demands that he remain, in his holy state, in the Tent of Meeting for 7 days (Lev 8:37). Yet Numbers 7 depicts an event, the dedication ceremony to Yahweh, which also supposedly happens on this very day: “and it was on the day that Moses finished setting up the Tabernacle and he anointed it” (Num 7:1). And to top it off, this is a ceremony that lasts 12 days, a day per tribe, wherein Aaron supposedly officiates over each tribes sacrifices (see #155), but how can he since according to Leviticus 8-9 he is ensconced in the Tent of Meeting, and furthermore the whole Tabernacle facility is deemed holy for those 7 days.

Another problem is that Numbers 1 claims to describe events that transpire on the 1st of the 2nd month, after the dedication ceremony in Numbers 7! We must conclude that these events, especially the ridiculous sacrificial offering of 252 animals to Yahweh on the day of dedication (#155), are literary conventions, and not historical.

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