Moses’ Tent of Meeting—A Theological Interface between Qenite Yahwism and the Israelite Religion

Nissim Amzallag

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In the Pentateuch, the appellation ʾōhel mȏʿēd denotes both the Israelite tabernacle and the tent of meeting evoked in Exod 18, 7-12; Exod 33,7-11; Num 27,1-23 and Deut 31,14-15. The latter venue, exclusively associated with the figure of Moses, is characterized by the absence of priestly function, cultic service, sacrifices, and ritual. The involvement of Jethro in its inauguration (Exodus 18), together with its metallurgical affinities and its similarities with the tent-sanctuary found in Timna (southern Arabah), suggest that the tent is borrowed from Qenite Yahwistic traditions. The importance of this shrine is revealed by its being the site of dialogue with the deity and the consequent elaboration of Israelite legislation (the Law of Moses). It is also reflected by the transfer to the Israelite Tabernacle (miškān) of some of its essential characteristics. It is concluded that, instead of reflecting an Israelite tradition parallel to that of the Tabernacle, Moses’ tent of meeting expresses in the Pentateuch the transitory phase of emergence of the Israelite religion from primeval Qenite Yahwism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-317
Number of pages20
JournalScandinavian Journal of the Old Testament
Issue number2
StatePublished - 3 Jul 2019


  • Kenite hypothesis
  • Tabernacle
  • Tent of meeting
  • Timna tent-sanctuary
  • metallurgical traditions
  • origin of Israelite religion
  • primeval Yahwism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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