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Bible Commentaries

Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Exodus 25

Verses 1-9

According to all that I shew thee - The tabernacle and all that pertained to it were to be in strict accordance with the ideas revealed by the Lord to Moses (compare Exodus 25:40; Exodus 26:30; Acts 7:44; Hebrews 8:5). The word here translated “pattern” is also used to denote the plans for the temple which were given by David to Solomon 1 Chronicles 28:11-12, 1 Chronicles 28:19; it is elsewhere rendered “form, likeness, similitude,” Deuteronomy 4:16-17; Ezekiel 8:3, Ezekiel 8:10.

The tabernacle - The Hebrew word signifies the “dwelling-place.” It here denotes the wooden structure, containing the holy place and the most holy place, with the tent which sheltered it. See Exodus 26:1 note.

Verses 10-16

The testimony - Literally, “something spoken again and again.” The stone tables of the Ten Commandments are called the Testimony, or, the tables of the Testimony, as the ark which contained them is called the ark of the Testimony, and the tabernacle in which the ark was placed, the tabernacle of the testimony. Taking this in connection with the prohibitory form of the commandments, the name must have been understood as signifying the direct testimony of Yahweh against sin in man Deuteronomy 31:26-27.

The ark of the covenant has been most generally likened to the arks, or moveable shrines, which are represented on Egyptian monuments. The Egyptian arks were carried by poles on the shoulders, and some of them had on the cover two winged figures not unlike what we conceive the golden cherubim to have been. Thus far the similarity is striking. But there were points of great dissimilarity. Between the winged figures on the Egyptian arks there was placed the material symbol of a deity, and the arks themselves were carried about in religious processions, so as to make a show in the eyes of the people. We know not what they contained. As regards the ark of the covenant, the absence of any symbol of God was one of its great characteristics. It was never carried in a ceremonial procession: when it was moved from one place to another, it was closely packed up, concealed from the eyes even of the Levites who bore it. When the tabernacle was pitched, the ark was never exhibited, but was kept in solemn darkness. Rest, it is evident, was its appointed condition. It was occasionally moved out of its place in the holy of holies, but only so long as the nation was without a settled capital, and had something of the character of an army on the march. Not less was it distinguished from all other arks in the simple grandeur of its purpose: it was constructed to contain the plain text of the Ten Commandments written on stone in words that were intelligible to all.

Verses 17-22

The testimony - See Exodus 25:16 note. Compare Exodus 40:20.

Verses 23-30

The showbread table was placed in the holy place on the north side Exodus 26:35. Directions for preparing the showbread are given in Leviticus 24:5-9. It consisted of twelve large cakes of unleavened bread, which were arranged on the table in two piles, with a golden cup of frankincense on each pile. It was renewed every Sabbath day. The stale loaves were given to the priests, and the frankincense appears to have been lighted on the altar for a memorial. The showbread, with all the characteristics and significance of a great national Meat offering, in which the twelve tribes were represented by the twelve cakes, was to stand before Yahweh “perpetually,” in token that He was always graciously accepting the good works of His people, for whom atonement had been made by the victims offered on the altar in the court of the sanctuary. The showbread or bread which is set forth would be more fairly rendered “bread of the presence.” See the notes at Leviticus 24:5-9.

Verses 31-39

Exodus 25:31

A talent of pure gold - about 94 lbs.

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Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Exodus 25". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnb/exodus-25.html. 1870.