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EXODUS - CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX
This chapter gives the description of the tabernacle, ohel, "tent," the portable house of worship which consisted of four main parts:
I. A rectangular enclosure, ten cubits (15’) by thirty cubits (45’), open at one end and enclosed on three sides by boards of acacia wood overlaid with gold. This was the mishkan, "dwelling place," usually translated "tabernacle."
2. "Ten curtains," designed to link together to form one covering, to be placed over the mishkan.
3. A tent, ohel, of goat’s hair, supported on poles, and stretched in the ordinary manner over the mishkan (boards).
4. A covering, mikseh, of rams’ skins dyed red, and seals’ skins, to be placed over the ohel.
Ancillary parts were: sockets or bases of silver, to support the upright boards; bars used to hold the boards together; the veil, stretched on pillars and separating the two rooms of the tabernacle; and the curtain or "hanging" for the open end of the enclosure where there were no boards.
Each of the "ten curtains" was to be 4 cubits (6 feet) wide, and 28 cubits (6 feet) long. Five curtains were to be sewn together, forming a section 30’ x 42’. The two sections thus formed were joined together to form one continuous curtain 42’ x 60’. On the selvedge of each section, fifty loops of blue fabric were to be affixed. These loops were to match with fifty loops on the other section. They were then joined by means of gold "taches" (clasps or pins).
The "ten curtains" were to be made of "fine twined linen." This fabric was woven from linen threads formed by several fine strands of linen twisted together. The colors: blue, purple, and scarlet (see Ex 25:4).
"Cherubims of cunning work." lit. "cherubim, the work of a skilled weaver." Figures of cherubim were to be woven into the curtain in the loom; they were not to be embroidered on them.
The length of the curtains allowed them to hang down over the boards which formed the sides of the tabernacle.
Curtains of goats’ hair formed the tent which covered the linen curtain that was the inner ceiling of the tabernacle. There were eleven of these curtains, each 30 cubits (45’) by 4 cubits (6’). Five were sewn together to form one section, six were sewn together to form another. They were joined in the same manner as the linen curtains (vv. 4-6), except with copper ("brass") taches or pins (clasps). The larger size of the goats’ hair tent-cloth enabled it to overlap the linen curtains, as a means of protection.
The goats’ hair tent-cloth was protected with a covering made of rams’ skins dyed red. The size of this covering is not given. This in turn was protected and made water-proof by the covering of seals’ (badgers) skins, likewise of unspecified size.
The walls for the enclosure were to be made of acacia wood, overlaid with gold. Each board was to be ten cubits long (15’) by a cubit and a half (27 inches) wide. The thickness of each board is not given, but it was likely about two or three inches.
The boards were to be stood on end, resting in sockets or bases of silver. The shape of these sockets is not given. Each socket weighed one talent, or about 75.5 pounds. On one end of each board was affixed two "tenons" or pegs, at regular intervals. These pegs fit into the sockets to give the wall a stable footing.
Twenty boards formed the south side, and twenty formed the north side of the tabernacle. On the west (back) side were six boards forming the main part of the wall. Two other boards formed the corner, but these apparently over-lapped the main part of the wall. The corner boards were joined to the main walls by means of "rings" at the top and the bottom of the boards.
The entire enclosure was 30 cubits (45’) by 10 cubits (15’). Forty-eight boards and ninety-six silver sockets were used to form the walls.
The walls were made stable by means of wooden bars of acacia wood, overlaid with gold. Five bars were provided for each side and the end, a total of fifteen bars. The middle bar for each side was to span the entire length of the side wall, or thirty feet. The length of the other four bars for the sides, is not given.
The bars were attached to the walls by means of gold rings set in the boards of the wall. These bars likely were attached on the outside of the structure.
Verses 31, 32:
A veil was to be made, of the same material and workmanship as that of the "ten curtains" which formed the inner covering over the mishkan. Like these curtains, the veil was to have interwoven into the fabric, the figures of cherubim.
The veil was to be hung from four pillars of acacia wood, overlaid with gold. The text implies that these pillars were supported in the same manner as the wall-boards, by means of pegs (tenons) fitting in silver sockets. The veil was hung from gold hooks.
The veil formed the divider between the sanctuary (the holy place) and the holy of holies (the most holy). The only article of furniture in the holy of holies was the ark of the testimony.
In the outer room, the holy place, were the golden lampstand and the table of shewbread. The lampstand was situated on the south side of the room, to the left when entering. The table of shewbread was on the north side, to the right.
A "hanging" or curtain was provided for the door of the tabernacle, the open end to the east. It was of fine twined linen, and was colored with blue, scarlet, and purple, and was decorated with needlework. The design is not given. The door-curtain was supported from five pillars of acacia wood overlaid with gold, and
was hung by means of gold hooks. These pillars were supported on sockets of copper (brass). The door hanging was likely a curtain, which could be raised and lowered as needed.
(IN THE HARDBOUND VERSION OF THE COMMENTARY A CHART OF THE TABERNACLE AND COURYARD IS SHOWN HERE)
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Exodus 26". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/
the Fifth Week after Epiphany