Obviously God gave very detailed instructions to Moses about how to build the tabernacle and the garments of the priests.

How did Moses remember all of these details? Did he write them down like after his first descent from the mountain in Exodus 24:4?

1 Answer 1


We are not told, but several possibilities present themselves:

  1. Moses had a really good memory (there are people who have memorized texts longer than the Torah) and he was given divine aid to remember what the Lord had told him (see John 14:26 for a similar promise)

  2. The Lord repeated the instructions to Moses multiple times. I get the impression that the Lord likes using repetition both for emphasis and as a teaching tool. Repetition is, in fact, a noteworthy feature (and memory aid) in Hebrew writing (think synonymous parallelism, chiasmus, merismus, etc in Isaiah)

  3. Moses was shown the tabernacle/vestments/etc in vision and, after the vision, put down what he had seen in his own words. They say a picture paints a thousand words.

  4. The instructions in Exodus (and elsewhere in the Torah) are a compilation of multiple records/visions/teachings/etc. This, of course, could be used in conjunction with either a) a documentary hypothesis for the origin of the Torah and/or b) a view of Moses as editor/compiler who was more interested in grouping his material by topic than by chronology. See further discussion here.

The Torah does not read like a first-draft composition; my own conclusion is that Moses and others carefully collated & compiled years worth of information when the books of the Torah were created. This is consistent with any/all of the 4 suggestions listed above.

  • As a kid, I always assumed #1 to be the case. After all, if God can create a whole universe then he can ensure our memory of His instructions are correct. Of course, that's really not biblical, but it's certainly 3rd grader simple.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Apr 18, 2022 at 11:57

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