24:4 and Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. Early in the morning he built12 an altar at the foot13 of the mountain and arranged14 twelve standing stones15—according to the twelve tribes of Israel.
tn The two preterites quite likely form a verbal hendiadys (the verb “to get up early” is frequently in such constructions). Literally it says, “and he got up early [in the morning] and he built”; this means “early [in the morning] he built.” The first verb becomes the adverb.
tn The verb “arranged” is not in the Hebrew text but has been supplied to clarify exactly what Moses did with the twelve stones.
tn The thing numbered is found in the singular when the number is plural—“twelve standing-stone.” See GKC 433 §134.f. The “standing-stone” could be a small piece about a foot high, or a huge column higher than men. They served to commemorate treaties (Gen 32), or visions (Gen 28) or boundaries, or graves. Here it will function with the altar as a place of worship.