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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Exodus 27

Verses 1-8

EXODUS - CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN

Verses 1-8:

"An altar," lit. "the altar;" this was the altar which God earlier instructed to be built, see Ex 20:24. It was to be made of acacia (shittim) wood, overlaid with copper (brass). This was a change in the provision God had earlier made, requiring His altars to be made of earth, or unhewn stones, Ex 20:25.

Protruding from the top of each corner of the altar were "horns," in appearance like the horns of a bull. These were features unique to Israel’s altars. A criminal might cling to the altar horns when seeking sanctuary, as in 1 Kings 1:50; 2:28. The priest smeared the blood of the sin-offering upon the horns, Ex 24:12; Le 8:15; 9:9; 16:18; et. al. The horns symbolized power, protection, and help, and also glory and salvation.

The altar was to be four-square, five cubits (7 1/2 feet) each side, and three cubits (4 1/4 feet) high. It was to be hollow. Suspended inside the altar at mid-point was a grating of copper.

"Compass," karkob, "circuit, or margin." The significance of this is uncertain. Some expositors say it was a kind of bench or step, upon which the priest stood while officiating at the altar. Others hold it was ornamentation which projected slightly and upon which the rings were affixed for the grating to be suspended.

Rings were affixed to the sides of the altar. Wooden staves overlaid with copper (brass) were inserted into these rings, to enable the altar to be carried.

Verses 9-15

Verses 9-15:

The tabernacle was to be set up inside a quadrangle, 100 cubits (150 feet) by 50 cubits (75 feet) in size. The walls of this enclosure were to be made of fine twined linen. For each of the south and north walls, twenty pillars of copper (brass) were set in sockets of copper, and the curtain-wall affixed to these pillars by silver hooks. The west (back) wall consisted of ten copper pillars with the curtain hung on them. The east (front) aspect of the enclosure consisted of an opening of 20 cubits (30 feet), in the center of the wall. On either side of this opening was a wall 15 cubits (22 1/2 feet), consisting of three pillars on which the curtain-wall was suspended.

"Fillets," chashuqim, "fastenings, " likely connecting rods by which the pillars were joined at the top and which helped support the curtains.

Verses 16-17

Verses 16, 17:

The curtain-walls of the courtyard were likely white, fine twined linen. The curtains for the opening were of the same material and workmanship as those of the door of the tabernacle.

Verses 18-19

Verses 18, 19:

The dimensions of the tabernacle courtyard: 100 cubits (150 feet) by 50 cubits (75 feet). The curtain wall was to be 5 cubits (7 1/2 feet) high.

There were many vessels used in the tabernacle service. These were made of copper (brass), a very durable and malleable metal.

"Pins," yathed, "nail," the pins or pegs whereby the tent was kept taut and in place. It is possible these were also used to keep the pillars upright.

Verses 20-21

Verses 20, 21:

The oil for the lamp was to be olive oil, pure and undiluted. It was made by beating the unripe olive in a mortar. This kind of oil is rated as the best. It is clear, odorless, and provides a bright and clear light while giving off little or no smoke.

The lamps on the golden lampstand were to be lit each evening, and were to burn until morning. The text implies it was the duty of the high priest to light the lamps and see that there was sufficient oil in them to keep them burning all night.

Josephus states that the lamps in the lampstand were to be kept burning continually, even in daytime. But certain reference in Scripture imply that they were to be lit only at night, see Ex 30:8; 1Sa 3:3.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Exodus 27". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/exodus-27.html. 1985.