And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation. And it came to pass, that every one which sought the LORD went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which was without the camp.
And Moses took the tabernacle,.... Not that, the pattern of which he had been shown in the mount, for that was not as yet made, rather his own tabernacle or tent, Exodus 18:7 or one that was erected for worship before the large one was ordered, and while that was building; for it can hardly be thought they should have no place of worship for a whole year after they were come out of Egypt; though this might be not a place on purpose, or only erected for that use, but might be one of the apartments of Moses; who, besides what he had for the use and convenience of his family, had a special and peculiar one, hath on a religious account, where he and the people sometimes worshipped, and God met with them, and on a civil account, to hear and judge the causes of the people, and resolve their doubts, and remove their difficulties, and make inquiries of God for them:
and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp; 2000 cubits distant from it, as the Targum of Jonathan, and so Jarchi, which he endeavours to confirm from Joshua 3:4 and was what was afterwards called a sabbath day's journey: this was done partly that he might have the opportunity of conversing with God, and bringing about a thorough reconciliation between him and the people, who declared he would not go up in the midst of them; and partly that this might be a symbol to the people of the Lord's departure from the midst of them; that so they might be brought to a thorough humiliation for their sin, who might fear that he would not only stand at a distance, but entirely remove from them: it might be considered as a token of his displeasure with them, and yet be a door of hope unto them; since he was not wholly gone from them, but might be sought unto by them as follows:
and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation; as the great tabernacle was afterwards called, and as this might be before, though now renewed, to give the people some encouragement to resort here; because here he and they met together, both on civil and religious accounts, and God met with them:
And it came to pass, that everyone which sought the Lord: about any affair of moment and importance, to know his will, and to have instruction and direction what to do; or that sought to him for peace and reconciliation, for the pardon of their sins, and the acceptance of their persons, repenting of their sins, and confessing the same:
went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which was without the camp; these went out of the camp, from their tents there, to this; who were not the body of the people, but either such who had difficult matters to inquire about, or were seriously and heartily concerned for the evil they had committed, and for the removal of the divine Presence from them.