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Bible Commentaries
Exodus 25

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-9


Verses 1-9:

Prior to this time, the worship of Jehovah had been associated with altars. No specific form or place of worship was prescribed. But chapters 25-31 give precise instructions both of the manner and place Israel is to worship God. He begins by requiring that Israel bring their very best, as a free-will offering to be used in providing for Him a dwelling place among them.

“Offering” terumah, lit. a "heave offering." In the Law, the "heave offering" consisted of the right thigh of the sacrificial animal (regarded as the choicest part), and one cake of the peace offering (Le 7:14). All "heave offerings" were to be eaten at the Tabernacle (Temple), De 12:6, 11. They were considered sacred, and belonged to the officiating priest. The "heave offering" was regarded as the best of the sacrifice, appropriate for the guest of honor (1Sa 9:24). In the text, the "offering" consisted of the choice, most valuable of Israel’s possessions. The word in the Septuagint is aparches, meaning "first-fruits."

This text teaches that God’s people are to offer freely the best of all they have, in acknowledgment that all they have belongs to God.

The Tabernacle was to be built with free-will offerings, in addition to the tithes Jehovah required.

"Gold" was required for the furniture and utensils used inside the Tabernacle.

"Silver" was required for the sockets supporting the boards of the Tabernacle walls.

"Brass" nechosheth, "copper." Brass, an alloy of copper and zinc, was not common in the age Moses lived. Some historians believe the "brass" of the Bible to be "bronze," an alloy of copper and tin. "Brass" (copper) was used for taches (pins) for the outer curtains, for the sockets of the outer court, for the laver, and for the great altar.

The colors designated the various fabrics which were used in the curtains and hangings of the Tabernacle.

"Blue" is indigo, the ordinary blue dye of Egypt.

"Purple" was a dye derived from a shell-fish, Murex trunculus. It was a warm reddish tint, nearly crimson. This color was usually reserved for royalty.

"Scarlet" was the product of a cochineal insect, Cocus ilicis, found on certain oak trees.

"Goats’ hair," the soft inner wool of the Angora goat. The women spun this fibre into a fine worsted yarn which was woven into fabric frequently used in making tents.

Leather manufacturing was well-known in the ancient world. The "rams’ skins" were likely brought from Egypt.

"Badgers’ skins" takhash, a term applied to marine animals, such as seals, dolphins, etc. The term here likely refers to seals’ skins.

"Shittim" shittah, the acacia tree. A hard, close-grained wood, ideal for cabinet-work, usually of an orange color.

"Oil," pure olive oil, Ex 27:20.

The spices are listed in Ex 30:23, 24. They were to be used both in the anointing oil, and the incense.

"Onyx" stones were used in the breastplate of the high priest. The other stones to be used in this article are not here listed.

"Sanctuary" micdash, from a word meaning "to be holy." This term is never used to refer to pagan temples.

"Pattern" tabnith, "building, for," or blueprint. God showed Moses the exact form for both the Tabernacle, and the instruments to be used in it, Heb 8:5.

Verses 10-16

Verses 10-16:

God first showed Moses the pattern of the things the Tabernacle was to contain. He began with the most important of all: the "Ark" arom, "chest." The term occurs 183 times in the Old Testament.

The dimensions of the Ark: 45 inches long, 27 inches wide, 27 inches deep. It was to be made of "shittim" (acacia) wood, and was to be overlaid inside and outside with pure gold.

The "crown" was an ornamental molding round the top of the chest.

A gold ring was to be placed on each corner of the Ark, through which staves of acacia wood overlaid with gold were passed. These were to remain permanently in place, and were designed to be used in carrying the Ark when necessary to transport it.

One purpose of the Ark was to serve as a repository for the tablets of stone on which the Law was written, see De 31:26, 27.

Verses 17-22

Verses 17-22:

"Mercy seat," the lid for the Ark. It measured 45 inches by 27 inches, made of pure gold. On either end was a gold sculpture. The. "mercy seat" was likely very heavy.

"Cherubims," properly "cherubim" kerubim, "those grasped, held fast." The singular form is "cherub," the "im"ending is plural. The exact form of these cherubim was kept secret among the Jews. They had wings, which apparently formed an arch over the "Mercy Seat" as the cherubim faced inward.

Cherubim might be of either human or animal form, or a combination of the two, see Eze 1:5-14; 10:1-22. See Nu 7:89; 1Sa 4:4; 6:2; Ps 80:1; 99:1; Isa 37:16.

The "mercy seat" was the place where Jehovah would commune with His people Israel, through the agency of the high priest.

Verses 23-30

Verses 23-30:

The "Table of Showbread", lit. "bread of presence," the table upon which twelve loaves of unleavened bread were kept continually, as a perpetual thank offering to Jehovah. The table was 36 inches long, 18 inches wide, and 27 inches high. It was made of acadia wood, overlaid with pure gold. A "crown" or molding of gold was about the top edge. The "border" was evidently a band or framing about three or four inches wide, about half-way down the legs of the table uniting them and giving them stability.

Gold rings were placed at each corner of the table, in which were placed wooden staves overlaid with gold. These were used to transport the table.

The "dishes" were likely bowls or platters upon which the bread was placed.

"Spoons" Kaph, "a hollow object, dish, pan." These were "incense cups," small pots, in which the incense was burned which was offered with the bread, (Le 24:5).

"Cover. . .bowls," flagons and chalices, which were used for the drink offerings or libations at the meal.

The table was to have twelve loaves of bread, renewed each week on the Sabbath (Le 24:5-8). The old loaves were then food for the priests.

Verses 31-40

Verses 31-40:

"Candlestick" menorah, "place of light;" Setp. luchnia, "lampstand." The size of the lampstand is not given. However, its weight, along with the various utensils, is given as "a talent." In today’s terms, this was about 75.5 pounds, 906 ounces troy weight. It was not cast, but hammered or beaten, as were the cherubim on the mercy seat.

"Shaft" yarek, the base and central stem of the lampstand. There were six "branches" extending from this shaft, three on either side. Each branch was decorated with a "bowl" or cup shaped like an almond flower; a "knop" pahptor, a knob or bulb, likely representing a pomegranate fruit; and "flower" or lily blossom or lotus.

Each branch had three almond-shaped cups in succession, then a pomegranate and a lily-flower. The text describes the ornamentation of two branches, then notes that the remainder are similar. In the central shaft’ were twelve ornaments, the series of cup, knop, flower repeated four times; once in connection with each of the branches, and the fourth at the top of the stem.

The "seven lamps" were likely bowl-shaped vessels which fitted into the petals of the lily flower on each branch.

The lamps were to be lighted each evening at sunset (Ex 27:21; 30:8; Le 24:3). They were to burn all night, and be extinguished each morning, and "dressed" or trimmed (Ex 30:7).

"Tongs," were used to trim the wicks of the lamps "Snuff dishes," were used to extinguish the lamp.

The "pattern" for the Tabernacle and its furnishing were shown to Moses "in the mount," v. 9.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Exodus 25". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/exodus-25.html. 1985.
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