Bible Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Exodus 38


1The altar of burnt offering.
8The laver of brass.
9The court, and its hangings.
21The sum of what the people offered, and the use to which it was applied.

Verse 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.
the altar
This altar consisted of four boards of shittim (acacia) wood, covered with brass, and hollow in the middle; but it is supposed to have been filled up with earth when used, for it is expressly said (ch. 20:24) that the altar is to be of earth. As it was five cubits long and five cubits broad, and three cubits high, if the cubit be reckoned at 21 inches, it must have been eight feet nine inches square, and about five feet three inches in height.
27:1-8; 40:6,29; 2 Chronicles 4:1; Ezekiel 43:13-17; Romans 8:3,4; 12:1; Hebrews 3:1; Hebrews 9:14; 13:10; 1 Peter 2:5
foursquare; and three cubits the height thereof
Ezekiel 43:16; John 6:37; Hebrews 13:8; Revelation 21:16
Reciprocal: Exodus 31:9 - the altar;  Exodus 35:16 - The altar;  Leviticus 1:3 - a burnt;  Numbers 3:31 - the altars;  Numbers 4:14 - all the vessels thereof;  2 Chronicles 1:5 - the brazen

Verse 2

And he made the horns thereof on the four corners of it; the horns thereof were of the same: and he overlaid it with brass.
he made
Job 6:12
Reciprocal: Exodus 29:12 - the horns;  1 Kings 1:50 - caught;  Psalm 118:27 - the horns;  Ezekiel 43:16 - square

Verse 3

And he made all the vessels of the altar, the pots, and the shovels, and the basons, and the fleshhooks, and the firepans: all the vessels thereof made he of brass.
he made
1 Samuel 2:13
Reciprocal: Leviticus 10:1 - censer;  1 Kings 7:45 - the pots;  2 Kings 25:14 - the pots;  2 Chronicles 4:16 - pots also;  Jeremiah 52:18 - caldrons

Verse 5

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

Verse 6

And he made the staves of shittim wood, and overlaid them with brass.
25:6; Deuteronomy 10:3

Verse 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.
to bear it withal
Acts 9:15; 1 Corinthians 1:24; 2:2
Reciprocal: Exodus 25:12 - General

Verse 8

And he made the laver of brass, and the foot of it of brass, of the lookingglasses of the women assembling, which assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
the laver
30:18-21; 40:7,30-32; 1 Kings 7:23-26,38; Psalms 26:6; Zechariah 13:1; John 13:10; Titus 3:5,6; Hebrews 9:10; 1 John 3:7; Revelation 1:5
looking glasses
or, brazen glasses. The word maroth, from raah, to see, denotes reflectors, or mirrors, of any kind. That these could not have been looking glasses, as in our translation, is sufficiently evident, not only from the glass not being then in use, but also from the impossibility of making the brazen laver of such materials. The first mirrors known among men, were the clear fountain and unruffled lake. The first artificial ones were made of polished brass, afterwards of steel, and when luxury increased, of silver; but at a very early period, they were made of a mixed metal, particularly of tin and copper, the best of which, as Pliny informs us, were formerly manufactured at Brundusium. When the Egyptians went to their temples, according to St. Cyril, they always carried their mirrors with them. The Israelitish women probably did the same; and Dr. Shaw says, that looking-glasses are still part of the dress of Moorish women, who carry them constantly hung at their breasts.
Heb. assembling by troops. It is supposed that these women kept watch during the night. Among the ancients, women were generally employed as door-keepers. See 1 Sa 2:22.
Proverbs 8:34; Matthew 26:69; Luke 2:37; John 18:16; 1 Timothy 5:5
Reciprocal: Exodus 31:9 - the laver;  Exodus 35:16 - the laver;  Job 37:18 - as;  Isaiah 3:23 - glasses;  1 Peter 3:3 - that;  Revelation 4:6 - a sea

Verse 9

And he made the court: on the south side southward the hangings of the court were of fine twined linen, an hundred cubits:
the court
27:9-19; 40:8,33; 1 Kings 6:36; Psalms 84:2,10; 89:7; 92:13; 100:4
Reciprocal: Exodus 35:17 - The hangings;  Exodus 40:28 - GeneralLeviticus 6:26 - in the court;  Numbers 3:26 - the hangings;  Ezekiel 40:23 - and he

Verse 14

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

Verse 18

And the hanging for the gate of the court was needlework, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen: and twenty cubits was the length, and the height in the breadth was five cubits, answerable to the hangings of the court.
2 Chronicles 3:14

Verse 20

And all the pins of the tabernacle, and of the court round about, were of brass.
the pins
27:19; 2 Chronicles 3:9; Ezra 9:8; Ecclesiastes 12:11; Isaiah 22:23; 33:20; Ephesians 2:21,22; Colossians 2:19

Verse 21

This is the sum of the tabernacle, even of the tabernacle of testimony, as it was counted, according to the commandment of Moses, for the service of the Levites, by the hand of Ithamar, son to Aaron the priest.
tabernacle of testimony
25:16; 26:33; 40:3; Numbers 1:50,53; 9:15; 10:11; 17:7,8; 18:2; 2 Chronicles 24:6; Acts 7:44; Revelation 11:19; Numbers 24:5; Matthew 17:4; Job 11:4; 22:23; 26:1; Hebrews 9:2,3; Hebrews 8:2; 9:11; Psalms 15:1; 2 Corinthians 5:1; 2 Peter 1:13; Revelation 21:3
by the hand
Numbers 4:28-33; Ezra 8:26-30
6:23; 1 Chronicles 6:3
Reciprocal: Exodus 16:34 - GeneralNumbers 4:32 - the instruments

Verse 22

And Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, made all that the LORD commanded Moses.
31:1-5; 35:30-35; 36:1-3; The supernatural qualifications of Bezaleel and Aholiab proved their divine appointment; yet they had an express nomination to their work: they were also miraculously qualified to instruct their assistants, as well as to superintend them. Christ alone builds the Temple of the Lord, and bears the glory; but ministers and private Christians, under his direction and by his grace, may be fellow-workers together with him. They who, in mean employments, are diligent and humbly contented, are equally acceptable with those who are engaged in more splendid services. The women who spun the goats' hair were wise-hearted, as well as the persons who presided over the work of the tabernacle, or as Aaron, who burnt incense there, because they did it heartily unto the Lord. Our wisdom and duty consist in giving God the glory and use of our talents, be they more or less; neither abusing nor burying them, but occupying with them until our Lord shall come; being satisfied that it is better to be a door-keeper in his service, than the most mighty and renowned of the ungodly.--Scott.
all that the Lord
Psalms 119:6; Jeremiah 1:7; Matthew 28:20
Reciprocal: 1 Chronicles 2:20 - Bezaleel

Verse 23

And with him was Aholiab, son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, an engraver, and a cunning workman, and an embroiderer in blue, and in purple, and in scarlet, and fine linen.
a cunning
Reciprocal: Exodus 26:31 - cunning work;  2 Kings 22:6 - carpenters

Verse 24

All the gold that was occupied for the work in all the work of the holy place, even the gold of the offering, was twenty and nine talents, and seven hundred and thirty shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary.
All the gold
If we follow the estimation of the learned Dean Prideaux, the value of the twenty-nine talents, and 730 shekels of gold, will be 198,347£. 12s. 6d. The value of the silver contributed by 603,550 Israelites, at half a shekel, or 1s. 6d. per man, will amount to 45,266£. 5s. The value of the 70 talents, 2,400 shekels of brass, will be 513£. 17s. The gold weighed 4,245 pounds; the silver, 14,603 pounds; and the brass, 10,277 pounds, troy weight. The total value of all the gold, silver, and brass, will consequently amount to 244,127£. 14s. 6d.; and the total weight of these three metals will amount to 29,124 pounds troy, which reduced to avoirdupois weight, is equal to fourteen tons, 226 pounds!--It may, perhaps, seem difficult to imagine how the Israelites should be possessed of so much wealth in the desert; but it should be remembered, that their ancestors were opulent men before they came into Egypt; that they were further enriched by the spoils of the Egyptians and Amalekites; and that it is probable, they traded with the neighbouring nations who bordered on the wilderness. There appear to be three reasons why so much riches should have been employed in the construction of the tabernacle, etc. 1. To impress the people's minds with the glory and dignity of the Divine Majesty, and the importance of his service. 2. To take out of their hands the occasion of covetousness. 3. To prevent pride and vain glory, by leading them to give up to the divine service even the ornaments of their persons.
1 Chronicles 22:14-16; 29:2-7; Haggai 2:8
25:2; 29:24; 35:22
the shekel
30:13,14,24; Leviticus 5:15; 27:3,25; Numbers 3:47; 18:16
Reciprocal: Numbers 3:25 - the charge;  2 Kings 5:22 - a talent

Verse 26

A bekah for every man, that is, half a shekel, after the shekel of the sanctuary, for every one that went to be numbered, from twenty years old and upward, for six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty men.
every man
Heb. a poll.
Numbers 1:46
six hundred
12:37; Numbers 1:46
Reciprocal: Exodus 30:12 - takest;  Numbers 1:2 - Take ye the sum;  Numbers 2:32 - GeneralNumbers 11:21 - GeneralNumbers 26:2 - General2 Chronicles 25:6 - an hundred talents of silver;  Matthew 17:24 - tribute

Verse 27

And of the hundred talents of silver were cast the sockets of the sanctuary, and the sockets of the vail; an hundred sockets of the hundred talents, a talent for a socket.
and the sockets

Verse 28

And of the thousand seven hundred seventy and five shekels he made hooks for the pillars, and overlaid their chapiters, and filleted them.
and filleted them
Reciprocal: Exodus 26:32 - their hooks shall be of gold;  1 Kings 7:16 - General

Verse 30

And therewith he made the sockets to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and the brasen altar, and the brasen grate for it, and all the vessels of the altar,
the sockets
26:37; 27:10,17
Reciprocal: Exodus 26:19 - forty sockets of silver;  Exodus 39:39 - General

Verse 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.
Reciprocal: Exodus 26:19 - forty sockets of silver;  Exodus 27:19 - all the pins thereof;  Exodus 31:6 - that they

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Exodus 38". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge".