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Bible Commentaries

The Popular Commentary

Exodus 38

Verses 1-8

The Altar of Burnt Offering

v. 1. And he made the altar of burnt offering of shittim wood; five cubits was the length thereof and five cubits the breadth thereof (it was foursquare) and three cubits the height thereof. There is no top or plate mentioned, and it is probable that the hollow frame-work was filled with earth or stones whenever the altar was in position.

v. 2. And he made the horns thereof on the four corners of it; the horns thereof were of the same, made of acacia wood; and he overlaid it with brass.

v. 3. And he made all the vessels of the altar, the pots, and the shovels, and the basins, bowls used for sprinkling and pouring the blood of the sacrifices, and the flesh-hooks, for spearing the meat in the caldrons, 1 Samuel 2:13, and the fire-pans, for carrying the live coals used in kindling the fires ; all the vessels thereof made he of brass, of copper or one of its alloys.

v. 4. And he made for the altar a brazen grate of network under the compass thereof beneath unto the midst of it.

v. 5. And he cast four rings for the four ends of the grate of brass, to be places for the staves.

v. 6. And he made the staves of shittim wood and overlaid them with brass.

v. 7. And he put the staves into the rings on the sides of the altar to bear it withal. He made the altar hollow with boards. Cf Exodus 27:1-Ruth :.

v. 8. And he made the laver of brass and the foot of it of brass, of the looking-glasses of the women assembling, which assembled at the door of the Tabernacle of the congregation. These were women that served in the court of the Tabernacle, probably by washing and polishing the articles used in the sacred worship. They freely scarified their metal mirrors, otherwise thought indispensable pieces of furniture, for the Sanctuary of the Lord. The laver was a reservoir for the water used in the Sanctuary and in the court, and its base may have contained wash-basins for the prescribed ablutions. Cf Exodus 30:17-Ecclesiastes :.

Verses 9-20

The Great EnclosuRev. 9. And he made the court; on the south side southward the hangings of the court were of fine twined linen, curtains of byssus, an hundred cubits;

v. 10. their pillars were twenty, and their brazen sockets twenty; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets were of silver. While the posts themselves were of bronze, the hooks and the connecting rods from which the curtains were suspended were of silver.

v. 11. And for the north side the hangings were an hundred cubits, their pillars were twenty, and their sockets of brass twenty; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets of silver.

v. 12. And for the west side, in the rear of the Tabernacle, were hangings of fifty cubits, their pillars ten, and their sockets ten; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets of silver.

v. 13. And for the east side eastward fifty cubits.

v. 14. The hangings of the one side of the gate were fifteen cubits; their pillars three, and their sockets three.

v. 15. And for the other side of the court gate, the large entrance to the sacred enclosure, on this hand and that hand, were hangings of fifteen cubits; their pillars three and their sockets three. This section of the enclosure toward the east was just like the curtains on the north, south, and west sides.

v. 16. All the hangings of the court round about were of fine twined linen.

v. 17. And the sockets for the pillars, the bases, were of brass, the hooks of the pillars and their fillets of silver, and the overlaying of their chapiters, the capitals of the posts only, of silver; and all the pillars of the court were filleted with silver, their connecting rods were made of silver.

v. 18. And the hanging for the gate of the court was needlework, woven in geometrical figures like the screen before the Holy Place, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen; and twenty cubits was the length of this curtain, for that was the width of the gate, and the height in the breadth was five cubits, answerable to, agreeing with, the hangings of the court.

v. 19. And their pillars were four and their sockets of brass four; their hooks of silver and the overlaying of their chapiters and their fillets of silver.

v. 20. And all the pins of the Tabernacle and of the court round about were of brass, the pegs for holding the guy-ropes. Cf Exodus 27:9-Psalms :.

Verses 21-31

The Summary of Gold, Silver, and Brass

v. 21. This is the sum of the Tabernacle, even of the Tabernacle of Testimony, as it was counted, the enumeration, the summary of the mustered things, the appointments of the Sanctuary, according to the commandment of Moses, for the service of the Levites, by the hand of Ithamar, son to Aaron, the priest. The duty of counting the amount of metal used was committed to the Levites under the direction of Ithamar.

v. 22. And Bezaleel, as the master artisan, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, made all that the Lord commanded Moses.

v. 23. And with him was Aholiab, son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, an engraver, and a cunning (skilful) workman, and an embroiderer in blue, and in purple, and in scarlet, and fine linen, an artist in all the various crafts that came into consideration.

v. 24. All the gold that was occupied (employed, made use of) for the work in all the work of the Holy Place, even the gold of the offering, the gifts which the people brought voluntarily, was twenty and nine talents, and seven hundred and thirty shekels, after the shekel of the Sanctuary, that is, standard weight. This was 87,730 shekels in gold, or more than $600,000, accepting the lowest estimate, according to which a gold shekel was worth $7. 20. If its value is taken at 9. 60, as some scholars do, the value of the gold used in preparing the Tabernacle was almost $850,000.

v. 25. And the silver of them that were numbered of the congregation was an hundred talents and a thousand seven hundred and threescore and fifteen shekels, after the shekel of the Sanctuary;

v. 26. a bekah for every man, that is, half a shekel, after the shekel of the Sanctuary, for everyone that went to be numbered, from twenty years old and upward, for six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty men. So the standard which was afterward fixed served as a guide in estimating the value of the voluntary contributions, the total amount being 301,775 shekels of silver, or almost $200,000.

v. 27. And of the hundred talents of silver were cast the sockets of the Sanctuary and the sockets of the veil and hundred sockets of the hundred talents, a talent for a socket, that is, almost 118 pounds Troy.

v. 28. And of the thousand seven hundred seventy and five shekels he made hooks for the pillars, and overlaid their chapiters, and filleted them.

v. 29. And the brass of the offering was seventy talents and two thousand and four hundred shekels.

v. 30. And therewith he made, that is, he made out of the copper which was offered or out of its alloy, bronze, the sockets to the door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, the pillars of the entrance to the Holy Place having bronze bases, and the brazen altar, and the brazen grate for it, and all the vessels of the altar,

v. 31. and the sockets of the court round about, and the sockets of the court gate, and all the pins of the Tabernacle, and all the pins of the court round about. The example of the children of Israel in sacrificing for their Sanctuary may well inspire enthusiasm of the right kind in the hearts of the believers of the New Testament, making them willing to contribute for the building and the spreading of the Kingdom.

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Bibliographical Information
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Exodus 38". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kpc/exodus-38.html. 1921-23.