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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical
Exodus 25

 

 

Verses 1-18

H.—The vision or the ideal of the tabernacle. The ordering of the ark and of the house of the covenant; of the living presence of the law and of the dwelling-place of the law-giver

Exodus 25-31

I. Contributions for the Building. Preliminary Condition

1And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying, 2Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart3[whose heart maketh him willing] ye shall take my offering. And this is the offering which ye shall take of them; gold, and silver, and brass, 4And blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats’ hair, 5And rams’ skins dyed red, and badgers’ [seals’] skins, and shittim [acacia] wood, 6Oil for the light, spices for anointing [the anointing] oil, and for sweet [the sweet] incense, 7Onyx stones, and stones to be set in [set, for] the ephod, and in [for] the breast-plate 8 And let them make me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them 9 According to all that I shew thee, after [thee,] the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments [furniture] thereof, even so shall ye make it.

II. The Structure itself. The Place of Worship

1. The Ark

10And they shall make an ark of shittim [acacia] wood: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof 11 And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, within and without shalt thou overlay it, and shalt make upon it a crown [moulding] of gold round about 12 And thou shalt cast four rings of gold for it, and put them in the four corners [feet] thereof; and two rings shall be in [on] the one side of it, and two rings in [on] the other side of it 13 And thou shalt make staves of shittim14[acacia] wood, and overlay them with gold. And thou shalt put the staves into the rings by the sides of the ark, that the ark may be borne with them [to bear the ark with]. 15The staves shall be in the rings of the ark: they shall not be taken from it 16 And thou shalt put into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee 17 And thou shalt make a mercy-seat of pure gold: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof 18 And thou shalt make two cherubims [cherubim] of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them in [at] the two ends of the mercy-seat 19 And make one cherub on [at] the one end, and the other cherub on [at] the other end: even of [of one piece with] the mercy-seat[FN1] shall ye make the cherubims [cherubim] on [at] the two ends thereof 20 And the cherubims [cherubim] shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy-seat with their wings, and their faces shall look [with their faces] one to another: toward the mercy-seat shall the faces of the cherubims [cherubim] be 21 And thou shalt put the mercy-seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee 22 And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy-seat, from between the two cherubims [cherubim] which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.

2. The Table

23Thou shalt also make a table of shittim [acacia] wood: two cubits shall be the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof 24 And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, and make thereto a crown [moulding] of gold round about 25 And thou shalt make unto it a border of an [a] hand breadth round about, and thou shalt make a golden crown [moulding] to the border thereof round about 26 And thou shalt make for it four rings of gold, and put the rings in [on] the four 27 corners that are on [belong to] the four feet thereof. Over against [Close by] the border shall the rings be for places of [for] the staves to bear the table 28 And thou shalt make the staves of shittim [acacia] wood, and overlay them with gold, that the table may be borne with them 29 And thou shalt make the dishes [plates] thereof, and spoons [the cups] thereof, and covers [the flagons] thereof, and bowls [the bowls] thereof, to cover [pour out] withal: of pure gold shalt thou make them 30 And thou shalt set upon the table shew-bread before me alway.

3. The Candlestick

31And thou shalt make a candlestick of pure gold: of beaten work shall the candlestick be made: his shaft, and his branches, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers shall be of the same [of beaten work shall be made the candlestick, its base and its shaft: its cups, its knobs, and its flowers shall be of one piece with it].[FN2] 32And six branches shall come out [coming out] of the sides of it: three branches of the candlestick out of the one side [one side of it], and three branches of the candlestick 33 out of the other side [side of it]: Three bowls [cups] made like unto almonds [almond-blossoms] with a knop and a flower in one branch [in one branch, a knob and a flower]; and three bowls [cups] made like almonds [almond-blossoms] in the other branch, with [branch,] a knop [knob] and a flower: so in34[for] the six branches that come out of the candlestick. And in the candlestick shall be four bowls [cups] made like unto almonds, with [almond-blossoms,] their35[its] knops [knobs] and their [its] flowers. And there shall be a knop [knob] under two branches of the same [of one piece with it], and a knop [knob] under two branches of the same [of one piece with it], and a knop [knob] under two branches of the same [of one piece with it], according to [for] the six branches that proceed36[come] out of the candlestick. Their knops [knobs] and their branches shall be of the same [of one piece with it]: all it [all of it] shall be one beaten work of pure gold 37 And thou shalt make the seven lamps thereof; and they shall light [set up] the lamps thereof, that they may give light over against it 38 And the tongs [snuffers] 39thereof, and the snuff-dishes thereof, shall be of pure gold. Of a talent of pure 40 gold shall he make it [shall it be made], with all these vessels [instruments]. And look [see] that thou make them after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount.

4. The Dwelling (the Tent)

Exodus 26:1. Moreover thou shalt make the tabernacle with ten curtains of [curtains: of] fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet: with [scarlet, with] cherubims [cherubim] of cunning work [the work of a skilful weaver] shalt thou make them 2 The length of one [each] curtain shall be eight and twenty cubits, and the breadth of one [each] curtain four cubits: and every one of the3[all the] curtains shall have one measure. The five [Five of the] curtains shall be coupled together one to another; and other [the other] five curtains shall be coupled one to another 4 And thou shalt make loops of blue upon the edge of the one [first] curtain from the selvedge [at the border] in the coupling [the set of curtains]; and likewise shalt thou make in [so shalt thou do with] the uttermost edge of another curtain [the edge of the outmost curtain] in the coupling of the second [in the second set of curtains]. 5Fifty loops shalt thou make in the one curtain, and fifty loops shalt thou make in the edge of the curtain that is in the coupling of the second [in the second set of curtains]; that the loops may take hold one of [the loops shall be opposite one to] another 6 And thou shalt make fifty taches [clasps] of gold, and couple the curtains together [one to another] with the taches [clasps]; and it shall be one tabernacle [the tabernacle shall be one]. 7And thou shalt make curtains of goat’s hair to be a [for a] covering [tent] upon [over] the tabernacle: eleven curtains shalt thou make 8 The length of one [each] curtain shall be thirty cubits, and the breadth of one [each] curtain four cubits: and [cubits:] the eleven curtains shall be all of [shall have] one measure 9 And thou shalt couple five curtains by themselves and six curtains by themselves, and shalt double [fold together] the sixth curtain in the forefront [front] of the tabernacle [tent]. 10And thou shalt make fifty loops on the edge of the one curtain that is outmost in the coupling [first set of curtains], and fifty loops in the edge of the curtain which coupleth the second11[is the second set]. And thou shalt make fifty taches [clasps] of brass, and put the taches [clasps] into the loops, and couple the tent together, that it may [and it shall] be one 12 And the remnant [excess] that remaineth of the curtains of the tent, the half curtain that remaineth, shall hang over the back-side [back] of the 13 tabernacle. And a [the] cubit on the one side, and a [the] cubit on the other side of that which remaineth in the length of the curtains of the tent, it [tent,] shall hang over the sides of the tabernacle on this side and on that side, to cover it 14 And thou shalt make a covering for the tent of rams’ skins dyed red, and a covering above of badgers’ skins [of seal-skins above]. 15And thou shalt make boards16[the boards] for the tabernacle of shittim [acacia] wood standing up. Ten cubits shall be the length of a board, and a cubit and a half shall be the breadth of one17[each] board. Two tenons shall there be in one [each] board, set in order one against [equally distant from one] another: thus shalt thou make for [do unto] all the boards of the tabernacle 18 And thou shalt make the boards for the tabernacle, twenty boards on [for] the south side southward 19 And thou shalt make forty sockets of silver under the twenty boards; two sockets under one board for his [its] two tenons, and two sockets under another board for his [its] two tenons 20 And for the second side of the tabernacle on [for] the north side there shall be twenty boards: 21And their forty sockets of silver; two sockets under one board, and two sockets under another board 22 And for the sides [rear] of the tabernacle westward thou shalt make six boards 23 And two boards shalt thou make for the corners of the tabernacle in the two sides [in the rear]. 24And they shall be coupled together [be double] beneath, and they shall be coupled together[FN3] above the head of it unto one ring [and together they shall be whole up to the top of it, unto the first ring]: 25thus shall it be for them both; they shall be for the two corners. And they [there] shall be eight boards, and their sockets of silver, sixteen sockets; two sockets under one board and two sockets under another board 26 And thou shalt make bars of shittim [acacia] wood; five for the boards of the one side of the tabernacle, 27And five bars for the boards of the other side of the tabernacle, and five bars for the boards of the side of the tabernacle, for the two sides [the rear] westward 28 And the middle bar in the midst [middle] of the boards shall reach [pass through] from end to end 29 And thou shalt overlay the boards with gold, and make their rings of gold for places for the bars: 30and thou shalt overlay the bars with gold. And thou shalt rear [set] up the tabernacle according to the fashion thereof which was [hath been] shewed thee in the mount.

5. The Veil

31And thou shalt make a veil of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen of cunning work: with cherubims [linen: with cherubim, the work of a skilful workman] shall it be made 32 And thou shalt hang it upon four pillars of shittim [acacia] wood overlaid with gold: their hooks shall be of gold, upon four sockets of silExo Exodus 25:33 And thou shalt hang up the veil under the taches [clasps], that thou mayest bring [and shalt bring] in thither within the veil the ark of the testimony: and the veil shall divide unto you between the holy place and the most holy [the holy of holies]. 34And thou shalt put the mercy-seat upon the ark of the testimony in the most holy place [holy of holies]. 35And thou shalt set the table without the veil, and the candlestick over against the table on the side of the tabernacle toward the south: and thou shalt put the table on the north side 36 And thou shalt make an hanging [a screen] for the door of the tent, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, wrought with needle-work37[the work of the embroiderer]. And thou shalt make for the hanging [screen] five pillars of shittim [acacia] wood, and overlay them with gold; and their hooks shall be of gold: and thou shalt cast five sockets of brass for them.

6. The Altar of Burnt-offering

Chap. Exodus 27:1 And thou shalt make an [the] altar of shittim [acacia] wood, five cubits long, and five cubits broad; the altar shall be four-square: and the height thereof shall be three cubits 2 And thou shalt make the horns of it upon the four corners thereof: his [its] horns shall be of the same [of one piece with it]: 3and thou shalt overlay it with brass. And thou shalt make his [its] pans [pots] to receive his [to take away its] ashes, and his [its] shovels, and his [its] basins, and his [its] fleshhooks, and his [its] firepans: all the vessels thereof thou shalt make of brass [copper]. 4And thou shalt make for it a grate [grating] of network of brass [copper]; and upon the net shalt thou make four brazen [copper] rings in5[on] the four corners thereof. And thou shalt put it under the compass of the altar beneath [below, under the ledge of the altar], that the net may be even to the midst [and the net shall reach up to the middle] of the altar 6 And thou shalt make staves for the altar, staves of shittim [acacia] wood, and overlay them with brass [copper]. 7And the staves [staves thereof] shall be put into the rings, and the staves shall be upon the two sides of the altar, to bear it [in bearing it]. 8Hollow with boards shalt thou make it: as it was [hath been] shewed thee in the mount; so shall they make it.

7. The Court

9And thou shalt make the court of the tabernacle: for the south side southward there shall be hangings for the court of fine-twined linen of an hundred [linen a hundred] cubits long for one side: 10And the twenty pillars thereof and their twenty sockets shall be of brass [copper]; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets [rods] shall be of silExo Exodus 25:11 And likewise for the north side in length there shall be hangings of an hundred [hangings a hundred] cubits long, and his [its] twenty pillars and their twenty sockets of brass12[copper]; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets [rods] of silver. And for the breadth of the court on the west side shall be hangings of fifty cubits [hangings fiftycubits long]: their pillars ten, and their sockets ten 13 And the breadth of the court on the east side eastward shall be fifty cubits 14 The hangings of one side of the gate shall be fifteen cubits [Fifteen cubits of hangings shall be on one side of the gate]: their pillars three, and their sockets three 15 And on the other side shall be hangings fifteen cubits [fifteen cubits of hangings]: their pillars three, and their sockets three 16 And for the gate of the court shall be an hanging [a screen] of twenty cubits, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine-twined linen, wrought with needle-work [linen, embroidered work]: and their pillars shall be four, and their sockets four 17 All the pillars round about the court [of the court round about] shall be filleted with silver [joined with rods of silver]; their hooks shall be of silver, and their sockets of brass [copper]. 18The length of the court shall be an [a] hundred cubits, and the breadth fifty everywhere, and the height five cubits, of fine-twined linen, and their sockets of brass [copper]. 19All the vessels [furniture] of the tabernacle in all the service thereof, and all the pins thereof, and all the pins of the court shall be of brass [copper].

III. The Persons and Things occupying the Building. The Ritual Worship

1. The Oil for the Lamp

20And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring thee pure oil olive beaten [beaten olive oil] for the light, to cause the [a] lamp to burn always [continually]. 21In the tabernacle of the congregation [tent of meeting] without the veil, which is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall order [trim] it from evening to morning before Jehovah: it shall be a statute forever unto [throughout] their generations on the behalf of [on the part of] the children of Israel.

2. The Clothing of the Priest and of his Sacerdotal Assistants

Exodus 28:1 And take thou [bring thou near] unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office [that he may be a priest unto me], even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons 2 And thou shalt make holy [sacred] garments for Aaron thy brother for glory [honor] and for beauty 3 And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise-hearted [all the skilful-hearted], whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom [skill], that they may make Aaron’s garments to consecrate [sanctify] him, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office [that Hebrews 4may be a priest unto me]. And these are the garments which they shall make: a breastplate, and an ephod, and a robe, and a broidered [checkered] coat, a mitre [turban], and a girdle: and they shall make holy [sacred] garments for Aaron thy brother, and [and for] his sons, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office5[that he may be a priest unto me]. And they shall take gold, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen 6 And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue, and of purple, of scarlet, and fine-twined linen, with cunning work [linen, the work of askilful weaver]. 7It shall have the two shoulder-pieces thereof joined at [have two shoulder-pieces joined to] the two edges thereof: and so it [and it] shall be joined together 8 And the curious girdle of the ephod [the embroidered belt for girding it], which is upon it, shall be of the same [same piece], according to the work thereof; even of gold, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine-twined linen 9 And thou shalt take two onyx stones and grave [engrave] on them the names of the children of Israel: 10Six of their names on one stone, and the other six names of the rest [and thenames of the six remaining ones] on the other stone, according to their birth 11 With the work of an engraver in stone, like the engravings of a signet, shalt thou engrave the two stones with [according to] the names of the children of Israel: thou shalt make them to be set [inclosed] in ouches [settings] of gold 12 And thou shalt put the two stones upon the shoulders [shoulder-pieces] of the ephod for stones of memorial unto [as memorial stones for] the children of Israel: and Aaron shall bear their names before Jehovah upon his two shoulders for a memorial 13 And thou shalt make ouches [settings] of gold; 14And two chains of pure gold at the ends; of wreathen work shalt thou make them [pure gold; like cords shalt thou make them, of wreathen work]: and fasten [and thou shalt put] the wreathen chains to the ouches15[on the settings]. And thou shalt make the breastplate of judgment, with cunning work [the work of a skilful weaver]; after [like] the work of the ephod thou shalt make it; of gold, of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine twined linen, shalt16 thou make it. Four square it shall be being doubled [It shall be square and double]; a span shall be the length thereof, and a span shall be the breadth thereof 17 And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, even four rows of stones: the first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: this shall be [stones: a row of sardius, topaz, and emerald shall be] the first row 18 And the second row shall be an emerald, [carbuncle], a sapphire, and a diamond 19 And the third row a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst 20 And the fourth row a beryl [chrysolite], and an onyx, and a jasper: they shall set in gold in their inclosings 21 And the stones shall be with [according to] the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names, like [names: like] the engravings of a signet; every [signet, every] one with [accordingto] his name shall they be according to [be for] the twelve tribes 22 And thou shalt make upon the breast-plate chains at the ends [like cords] of wreathen work of pure gold 23 And thou shalt make upon the breast-plate two rings of gold, and shalt put the two rings on the two ends of the breast-plate 24 And thou shalt put the two wreathen25chains of gold in [on] the two rings which are on the ends of the breast-plate. And the other two ends of the two wreathen chains thou shalt fasten in the two ouches [put on the two settings], and put them on the shoulder-pieces of the ephod before it [onthe front of it]. 26And thou shalt make two rings of gold, and thou shalt put them upon the two ends of the breast-plate, in [on] the border thereof which is in [toward] 27the side of the ephod inward. And two other rings of gold thou shalt make, and shalt put them on the two sides [shoulder-pieces] of the ephod underneath, toward [on] the fore-part thereof, over against [close by] the other coupling [the coupling] thereof, above the curious girdle of the ephod [the embroidered belt of theephod]. 28And they shall bind the breast-plate by the rings thereof unto the rings of the ephod with a lace [cord] of blue, that it may be above the curious girdle [the embroidered belt] of the ephod, and that the breast-plate be not loosed from the ephod 29 And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breast-plate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before Jehovah continually 30 And thou shalt put in the breast-plate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron’s heart, when he goeth in before Jehovah: and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before Jehovah continually 31 And thou shalt make the robe of the ephod all of blue 32 And there shall be an hole in the top of it, in the midst thereof [And its opening for the head shall be in the middle of it]: it shall have a binding of woven work round about the hole of it [its opening], as it were the hole 33 of an habergeon [like the opening of a coat of mail], that it be not rent. And beneath upon [And upon] the hem of it [its skirts] thou shalt make pomegranates of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, round about the hem [skirts] thereof; and bells of gold between them round about: 34A golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem [skirts] of the robe round about 35 And it shall be upon Aaron to minister [for ministering]: and his sound [the sound thereof] shall be heard when he goeth in unto [goeth into] the holy place before Jehovah, and when he cometh out, that he die not 36 And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave [engrave] upon it, like the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO JEHOVAH 37 And thou shalt put it on a blue lace [cord], that it may be [and it shall be] upon the mitre [turban]; upon the forefront [front] of the mitre38[turban] it shall be. And it shall be upon Aaron’s forehead, that Aaron may [and Aaron shall] bear the iniquity of the holy [sacred] things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy [sacred] gifts; and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before Jehovah 39 And thou shalt embroider [weave] the coat of fine linen, and thou shalt make the mitre [turban] of fine linen, and thou shalt make the [a] girdle of needle-work [embroidered work]. 40And for Aaron’s sons thou shalt make coats, and thou shalt make for them girdles, and bonnets [caps] shalt thou make for them, for glory [honor] and for beauty 41 And thou shalt put them upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him; and shalt anoint them, and consecrate [ordain] them, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office [and they shall be priests unto me]. 42And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their [the flesh of their] nakedness; from the loins even unto [loins unto] the thighs they shall reach: 43And they shall be upon Aaron, and upon his sons, when they come in unto [come into] the tabernacle of the congregation [tent of meeting], or when they come near unto the altar to minister in the holy place; that they bear not iniquity, and die: it shall be a statute for ever unto him and his [and unto his] seed after him.

3. The Consecration of the Priests

Exodus 29:1 And this is the thing that thou shalt do unto them to hallow them, to minister unto me in the priests’ office [to be priests unto me]: Take one young bullock, and two rams without blemish, 2and unleavened bread, and cakes unleavened tempered [mingled] with oil, and wafers unleavened anointed with oil: of wheaten flour shalt thou make them 3 And thou shalt put them into one basket, and bring them in the basket, with the bullock and the two rams 4 And Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation [tent of meeting], and shalt wash them with water 5 And thou shalt take the garments, and put upon Aaron the coat, and the robe of the ephod, and the ephod, and the breast-plate, and gird him with the curious girdle [embroidered belt] of the ephod 6 And thou shalt put the mitre [turban] upon his head, and put the holy crown upon the mitre [turban]. 7Then shalt thou [And thou shalt] take the anointing oil, and pour itupon his head, and anoint him 8 And thou shalt bring his sons, and put coats upon them 9 And thou shalt gird them with girdles, Aaron and his sons, and put the bonnets [bind caps] on them: and the priests’ office [priesthood] shall be theirs for [by] a perpetual statute: 10and thou shalt consecrate Aaron and his sons. And thou shalt cause a bullock to be brought [bring the bullock] before the tabernacle of the congregation [tent of meeting]: and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands upon the head of the bullock 11 And thou shalt kill the bullock before Jehovah, by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation [tent of meeting]. 12And thou shalt take of the blood of the bullock, and put it upon the horns of the altar with thy finger, and pour all the blood beside the bottom [at the base] of the altar 13 And thou shalt take all the fat that covereth the inwards, and the caul that is above [lobe above] the liver, and the two kidneys and the fat that is upon them, and burn themupon the altar 14 But the flesh of the bullock, and his skin, and his dung, shalt thou burn with fire without the camp: it is a sin-offering 15 Thou shalt also take one [the one] ram; and Aaron and his sons shall put [lay] their hands upon the head of the ram 16 And thou shalt slay the ram, and thou shalt take his blood, and sprinkle it round about upon the altar 17 And thou shalt cut the ram in pieces, and wash the inwards of him [his inwards], and his legs, and put them unto his pieces, and unto his head 18 And thou shalt burn the whole ram upon the altar: it is a burnt-offering unto Jehovah: it is a sweet savor, an offering made by fire [a fire-offering] unto Jehovah 19 And thou shalt take the other ram; and Aaron and his sons shall put [lay] their hands upon the head of the ram 20 Then shalt thou kill the ram, and take of his blood, and put it upon the tip of the right ear of Aaron, and upon the tip of the right ear of his sons, and upon the thumb of their right hand, and upon the great toe of their right foot, and sprinkle the blood upon the altar round about 21 And thou shalt take of the blood that is upon the altar, and of the anointing oil, and sprinkle it upon Aaron, and upon his garments, and upon his sons, and upon the garments of his sons with him: and he shall be hallowed, and his garments, and his sons, and his sons’ garments with him 22 Also thou shalt take of the ram the fat and the rump [the fat tail], and the fat that covereth the inwards, and the caul above [lobe of] the liver, and the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon upon them, and the right shoulder; for it is a ram of consecration: 23And one loaf of bread, and one cake of oiled bread, and one wafer out of the basket of the unleavened bread that is before Jehovah: 24And thou shalt put all [the whole] in the hands of Aaron, and in the hands of his sons; and shalt wave them for a wave-offering before Jehovah 25 And thou shalt receive [take] them of [from] their hands, and burn them upon the altar for a [upon the] burnt-offering, for a sweet savor before Jehovah: it is an offering made by fire [a fire-offering] unto Jehovah 26 And thou shalt take the breast of the ram of Aaron’s consecration [of Aaron’s ram of consecration], and wave it for [as] a wave-offering before Jehovah: and it shall be thy part 27 And thou shalt sanctify the breast of the wave-offering, and the shoulder of the heave-offering, which is waved, and which is heaved up, of the ram of the [of] consecration, even of that which is for Aaron, and of that which is for his sons: 28And it shall be Aaron’s and his sons’ by a statute for ever from the children of Israel; for it is an [a] heave-offering: and it shall be an [a] heave-offering from the children of Israel of the sacrifice of their [Israel of their] peace-offerings,even their heave-offering unto Jehovah 29 And the holy garments of Aaron shall be 30 his sons’ after him, to be anointed therein, and to be consecrated in them. And that son that is priest in his stead shall put them on seven days [Seven days shall he of his sons who is priest in his stead put them on], when he cometh into the tabernacle of the congregation [tent of meeting] to minister in the holy place. 31And thou shalt take the ram of the [of] consecration, and seethe [boil] his flesh in the32[a] holy place. And Aaron and his sons shall eat the flesh of the ram, and the bread that is in the basket, by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation [tentof meeting]. 33And they shall eat those things wherewith the [wherewith] atonement was made, to consecrate and to sanctify them; but a stranger shall not eat thereof, 34because they are holy. And if aught of the flesh of the consecrations [consecration], or of the bread, remain unto [until] the morning, then thou shalt burn the remainder with fire: it shall not be eaten, because it is holy 35 And thus shalt thou do unto Aaron and to his sons, according to all things which [all that] I have commanded thee: seven days shalt thou consecrate them.

4. Consecration and Design of the Altar of Burnt-offering

36And thou shalt offer every day a bullock for a sin-offering for atonement: and thou shalt cleanse the altar, when thou hast made an [by making] atonement for it, and thou shalt anoint it, to sanctify it 37 Seven days thou shalt make an [make] atonement for the altar, and sanctify it; and it shall be an altar most holy: whatsoever 38 toucheth the altar shall be holy. Now this is that which thou shalt offer upon the altar: two lambs of the first year [a year old] day by day continually 39 The one lamb thou shalt offer in the morning; and the other lamb thou shalt offer at even: 40And with the one lamb a tenth deal [part] of flour mingled with the fourth part of an [a] hin of beaten oil; and the fourth part of an [a] hin of wine for a drink-offering 41 And the other lamb thou shalt offer at even, and shalt do thereto according to the meat-offering of [shalt offer with it the same meal-offering as in] the morning, and according to the drink-offering thereof [and the same drink-offering], for a sweet savor, an offering made by fire [a fire-offering] unto Jehovah. 42This shall be a continual burnt-offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation [tent of meeting] before Jehovah; where I will meet [meet with] you, to speak there unto thee 43 And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle [and it] shall be sanctified by my glory 44 And I will sanctify the tabernacle of the congregation [tent of meeting], and the altar: I will sanctify also both Aaron and his sons, to minister to me in the priest’s office45[to be priests unto me]. And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God 46 And they shall know that I am Jehovah their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may [might] dwell among them: I am Jehovah their God.

5. The Altar of Incense

Exodus 30:1 And thou shalt make an altar to burn incense upon: of shittim2[acacia] wood shalt thou make it. A cubit shall be the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof; four-square shall it be: and two cubits shall be the height thereof: the horns thereof shall be of the same [of one piece with it]. 3And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, the top thereof, and the sides thereof round about, and the horns thereof; and thou shalt make unto [for] it a crown of gold round about 4 And two golden rings shalt thou make to [for] it under the crown of it, by the two corners [upon the two flanks] thereof, upon the two sides of it shalt thou make it; and they shall be for places for the staves to bear it withal [with]. 5And thou shalt make the staves of shittim [acacia] wood, and overlay them with gold 6 And thou shalt put it before the veil that is by the ark of the testimony, before the mercy-seat that is over the testimony, where I will meet with thee 7 And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning: when he dresseth [trimmeth] the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it 8 And when Aaron lighteth [setteth up] the lamps at even, he shall burn incense upon it [burn it], a perpetual incense before Jehovah throughout your generations 9 Ye shall offer no strange incense thereon, nor burnt-sacrifice [burnt-offering], nor meat-offering [meal-offering]; neither shall ye pour [and ye shall pour no] drink-offering thereon 10 And Aaron shall make an [make] atonement upon [for] the horns of it once in a [the] year with the blood of the sin-offering of atonements: once in the year shall he make atonement upon [for] it throughout your generations: it is most holy unto Jehovah.

6. The Contributions for the Sanctuary (Poll-tax)

11And Jehovah spake unto Moses saying, 12When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after [according to] their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto Jehovah, when thou numberest them; that there be [maybe] no plague among them, when thou numberest them 13 This they shall give, every one that passeth among [over unto] them that are numbered, half a shekel after [according to] the shekel of the sanctuary: (a shekel is twenty gerahs): an [a] half shekel shall be the offering of [unto] Jehovah 14 Every one that passeth among [over unto] them that are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto Jehovah [Jehovah’s offering]. 15The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a [the half] shekel, when they give an offering unto Jehovah [give Jehovah’s offering], to make an [make] atonement for your souls 16 And thou shalt take the atonement money of [from] the children of Israel, and shalt appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation [tent of meeting]; that it may be [and it shall be] a memorial unto [for] the children of Israel before Jehovah, to make an [make] atonement for your souls.

7. The Laver

17And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying, 18Thou shalt also make a laver of brass [copper], and his foot also of brass [its base of copper], to wash withal [in]: and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation [tent of meeting] and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein 19 For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat [from it]: 20When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation [tent of meeting], they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire [afire-offering] unto Jehovah: 21So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not: and it shall be a statute for ever to them, even to him and to his seed throughout their generations.

8. The holy Anointing Oil

22Moreover Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying, 23Take thou also unto thee principal spices [the chief spices], of pure [flowing] myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels, 24And of cassia five hundred shekels, after [accordingto] the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil olive an [olive oil a] hin: 25And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment [a holy anointing oil], an ointment compound [compounded] after the art of the apothecary [a perfumed ointment, the work of theperfumer]: it shall be an [a] holy anointing oil 26 And thou shalt anoint the tabernacle of the congregation therewith [therewith the tent of meeting], and the ark of the testimony, 27And the table and all his vessels [its furniture], and the candlestick and his vessels [its furniture] and the altar of incense, 28And the altar of burnt-offering with all his vessels [its furniture], and the laver and his foot [its base]. 29And thou shalt sanctify them, that they may be most holy: whatsoever [whosoever] toucheth them shall be holy 30 And thou shalt anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office [to be priests unto me]. 31And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, This shall be an [a] holy anointing oil unto me throughout your generations 32 Upon man’s flesh shall it not be poured, neither shall ye make any other like it, after the composition of it [and ye shall make none like it with its 33 proportions]: it is holy, and it shall be holy unto you. Whosoever compoundeth any like it, or whosoever putteth any of it upon a stranger, shall even [he shall] be cut off from his people.

9. The Incense

34And Jehovah said unto Moses, Take unto thee sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum; these sweet spices with pure frankincense: of each shall there be a like weight [an equal part]: 35And thou shalt make it a perfume, a confection, after the art of the apothecary, tempered together [make of it an incense, a perfume, thework of the perfumer, salted], pure, and holy: 36And thou shalt beat some of it very small [it fine], and put of it before the testimony in the tabernacle of the congregation [tent of meeting], where I will meet with thee: it shall be unto you most holy 37 And as for the perfume [And the incense] which thou shalt make, ye shall not make to [for] yourselves according to the composition [with its proportions]: it shall be unto thee holy for [unto] Jehovah 38 Whosoever shall make [make any] like unto that, to smell thereto [thereof], shall even [he shall] be cut off from his people.

IV. The Architects. The Master-workman Bezaleel and his Vocation. Sacred Art

Exodus 31:1, And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying, 2See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: 3And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in Wisdom of Solomon, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner [kinds] of workmanship, 4To devise cunning [skilful] works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass [copper], 5And in cutting of stones, to set them [stones for setting], and in carving of timber, to work in all manner [kinds] of workmanship 6 And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan: and in the hearts of all that are wise-hearted I have put Wisdom of Solomon, that they make all that I have commanded thee: 7The tabernacle of the congregation [tent of meeting], and the ark of the testimony, and the mercy-seat that is thereupon, and all the furniture of the tabernacle [tent], 8And the table and his [its] furniture, and the pure candlestick with all his [its] furniture, and the altar of incense, 9And the altar of burnt-offering with all his [its] furniture, and the laver and his foot [its base], 10And the cloths [garments] of service, and the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons, to minister in the priest’s office [aspriests], 11And the anointing oil, and sweet incense for the holy place: according to all that I have commanded thee shall they do.

V. The Condition of the Vitality of the Ritual. The Sabbath

12And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying, 13Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am Jehovah that doth sanctify you 14 Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore [And ye shall keep the sabbath]; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth [profaneth] it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people 15 Six days may work be done; but in [on] the seventh is the [a] sabbath of rest, holy to Jehovah: whosoever doeth any work in [on] the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death 16 Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations for [as] a perpetual 17 covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days Jehovah made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed 18 And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing [speaking] with him upon mount Sinai, two [the two] tables of [of the] testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.

TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL

[ Exodus 25:19. מִן־הַכַּפֹרֶת, etc. Literally, “From the mercy-seat shall ye make the cherubim.” This is understood by some to mean: “rising up from the mercy-seat.” But the simple מִן hardly conveys that notion; it has, perhaps, somewhat of its original import, “part,” so that the direction is to make the cherubim a part of the mercy-seat, i.e., of one piece with it.—Tr.]

[ Exodus 25:31. The change proposed in the punctuation is one required by the Masoretic accentuation, as well as by the sense, though adopted by only a few commentators (Knobel, Do Wette, Bunsen). When it is said, “its base and its shaft, etc., shall be made of the same,” the question arises, the same with what? For the several specifications include the whole of the candlestick. The direction thus would be to make all the several parts of the candlestick of the same piece with the candlestick—which is senseless.—Tr.]

[ Exodus 26:24. The A. V. rendering (favored also by Kalisch, Gesenius, Glaire, De Wette, Fürst, and Canon Cook) assumes תִּמִּים to be a contracted form of תֹּאֲמִים. But it is singular (if this is the case) that both forms should occur in the same verse, and more singular still that there should be the same conjunction of the two forms in the parallel passage Exodus 36:29. So long as at the best the obscurity of the description is not relieved by such an assumption, it seems much more reasonable to take תַּמִּים in its natural sense of “perfect,” “whole,” and elucidate the meaning, if possible, on that assumption.—Tr.]

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

The origin of the tabernacle is twice recorded in Exodus: first, (considered from its divine side) as a command of God, or (considered from its human side) as a vision or ideal (the tabernacle which God showed Moses on the mount), 25–31; secondly, as the historical fact of the execution of the building of the work commanded by Jehovah, but interrupted by the history of the golden calf, 35–40.

The tabernacle is not merely a place of worship; but, as being the house of the ark of the covenant or of the tables of the law, and as being the house of the Lord of the covenant who manifests Himself in the Holy of holies, it is first of all the centre of the whole legislation and the residence of the lawgiver Himself, who holds sway between the cherubim over His law, and will not let it become a dead ordinance, but makes sure that from out of the Holy of holies it shall grow into a living power. Hence, therefore, the history of this institution properly stands in Exodus, not in Leviticus. Jehovah has redeemed His people out of the house of bondage, and brought them to His holy house, which is at once palace, temple, and court-house, or public gathering-place—the house in which Jehovah meets with His people.

The tabernacle has been called a nomadic temple. It is indeed the preliminary form of the temple, but itself continued, after the people ceased their wanderings, for a long time to change its location in Israel until Solomon’s temple was built. As the prototype and opposite of garish heathen temples; as the historical model of the Israelitish temple in its three principal historical forms (temples of Song of Solomon, Zerubbabel, and Herod); as the religious model, or outline, the type of Christian places of worship; and as the symbol of the proportions of the kingdom of God, both outwardly and inwardly considered; accordingly, as the fundamental form of every real sanctuary, the tabernacle preserves an imperishable significance—almost more significant in its naked simplicity than with its ornamentation and wealth. When the outward glory of the temple is gone, God will rebuild the tabernacle of David ( Amos 9:11-12).

The tabernacle as Moses’ idea, which indeed he owes to divine Revelation, characterizes Moses as also a great and original man in Hebrew art. Bezaleel was only the artist or master-workman who carried out the idea, working according to Moses’ plan; and even Michel Angelo, who chiselled the figure of Moses, worked, as architect, according to the theocratic outline which had been introduced into the world through Moses.

Of the numerous treatises on this sanctuary comp. besides Bähr (Symbolik des mosaischen Kultus I. p 53 sqq.) and Keil (Bibl. Archäologie 1, § 17 sqq.), especially Leyrer in Herzog’s Real-Encyklopädie, Art. Stiftshütte, which gives a condensed view of all the opinions and conjectures which have been propounded respecting its structure and significance. The latest monograms are: Wilh. Neumann, Die Stiftshütte in Bild und Wort gezeichnet, Gotha, 1861 (rich in fantastic hypotheses derived from the discoveries at Nineveh), and C. J. Riggenbach, Die mosaische Stiftshütte mit drei lithogr. Tafeln. (Basel, 1862–4). Vid. Knobel, Commentary, pp249–257. Popper, Der biblische Bericht über die Stiftshütte, etc. (Leipzig, 1862). Wangemann, Die Bedeutung der Stiftshütte. Wissenschaftlicher Vortrag, etc. (Berlin, 1866). Also Winer’s Reallexicon and Zeller’s Biblisches Wörterbuch. [To these may be added, besides Smith’s Bible Dictionary and Kitto’s Cyclopedia, Kurtz, Sacrificial Offerings of the O. T.; Haneberg, Die religiösen Alterthümer der Bibel (Munich, 1869); T. O. Paine, Solomon’s Temple (Boston, H. H. & T. W. Carter, 1870); and E. E. Atwater, History and Significance of the Sacred Tabernacle of the Hebrews (Dodd & Mead, New York, 1875).—Tr.]

I. General view of the ideal plan of the building. Exodus 25:1 to Exodus 31:11

External Prerequisites. Building Materials. Assessments for the Building. Exodus 25:1-9.

a. The Divine Side of the Dwelling

1. The Ark of the Covenant, with the Mercy-seat and the Cherubim, as the chief thing in the whole Building, Exodus 25:10-22. Object of it: the continual, living Revelation of God. Exodus 25:22. The Holy of Holies.

2. The Table of Shew-bread (of Communion with God, consecrated to God, Exodus 25:30), and the Candlestick with its Appurtenances (the Divine Illumination in accordance with the Ideal, Exodus 25:40), Exodus 25:23-40.

3. The Sanctuary. Divine and Human. The Tent, or the Dwelling itself, Exodus 26:1-30. Conformed to the Ideal, Exodus 26:30.

4. The Veil to distinguish and divide the Holy of Holies from the Sanctuary, Exodus 26:31-37.

b. The Human Side of the Dwelling

1. The Altar of Burnt-offering. Chap. Exodus 27:1-8. Conformed to the Ideal, Exodus 27:8.

2. The Court, Exodus 27:9-19.

c. Functions Connected with the Building

1. Bringing of the holy Oil, and the Preparation of the Candlestick, Exodus 27:20-21.

2. Equipment of the Priest, the High priest and his Assistants, Exodus 28:1-43. Object of it, Exodus 28:35; Exodus 28:43.

3. Consecration of the Priests and the Sacrificial Functions of the Priest, Exodus 29:1-46. Object, Exodus 29:43-46.

4. Altar of Incense, and its Use, Exo 30:1-10.

5. Assessment for the Sanctuary as a Continual Memorial for the People, Exodus 30:11-16.

6. The Brazen Laver in the Court for the Priests to wash from, Exodus 30:17-21.

7. The Anointing of the Holy Things. The most holy Ointment, Exodus 30:22-33.

8. The Most Holy Incense, Exodus 30:34-38.

d. The Master-workmen

Exodus 31:1-11.

*****Conclusion.—The fundamental condition on which the meeting between Jehovah and His people ideally rests: the Sabbath, Exodus 31:12-17. The addition of the Directions concerning the Tabernacle to the completed written Law, Exodus 31:18.

II. General view of the actual construction of the building

Foundation: The Sabbath as Prerequisite to the Tabernacle. Exodus 35:1-3 ( Exodus 31:14-17).

1. The Assessments for the Building, and the Preparation of the Material made under the direction of the Master-workmen, Exodus 35:4 to Exodus 36:7 ( Exodus 25:1-9; Exodus 31:1-11).

2. The Work on the Dwelling, Exodus 36:8-38 ( Exodus 26:1-37).

3. The Ark of the Covenant, the Mercy-seat, and the Cherubim, Exodus 37:1-9 ( Exodus 25:10-22).

4. The Table, with its Appurtenances, Exodus 37:10-16 ( Exodus 25:23-30).

5. The Candlestick, Exodus 37:17-24 ( Exodus 25:31-40).

6. The Altar of Incense, the Incense, and the Anointing Oil, Exodus 37:25-29 ( Exodus 30:1-10; Exodus 30:23-38).

7. The Altar of Burnt-offering, Exodus 38:1-7 ( Exodus 27:1-8).

8. The Brazen Laver, and the Court, Exodus 38:8-20 ( Exodus 27:9-19).

9. The Reckoning of the Material used, Exodus 38:21-31.

10. The official Garments of the Priests, Exodus 39:1-31 ( Exodus 28:1-43). The Consecration of the Priests, and the Ordinance of the Sacrifices, Exodus 29:1-46.

11. The Presentation of the Constituent Parts of the Dwelling, Exodus 39:32-43.

12. The Erection of the Dwelling, and the Heavenly Consecration of it by means of the Pillar of Cloud and Fire, the Sign of the Veiled Presence of the Glory of the Lord, chap40.

Knobel calls attention “to the exact reckoning in Exodus 38:21 sqq. and the extraordinary circumstantiality and diffuseness which is found in no other narrator to the same degree. So extended a repetition does not occur elsewhere in all the Old Testament.” As to the diffuseness, the O. T. everywhere gives details when the sanctuary is concerned, as becomes the symbolical significance of the sanctuary and the religious spirit of the Israelites, vid. 1 Samuel 4-7; 1 Kings 5:1 to 1 Kings 9:15; 2 Kings 12; 2 Chronicles 2-7; Ezekiel 40-47; the whole of Haggai; Zechariah 3, 4. It is taken for granted that here in every individual feature there is to be recognized the reflection of a religious thought. As to the repetition, however, stress is to be laid on the general consciousness of connection between ideal and real worship, as well as the special consciousness that the real tabernacle was built exactly according to the idea of it. Moreover, the second account is not a mere repetition of the first. In the presentation of the idea, the master-workmen come at the end; in the narrative of the actual erection of the building, at the beginning,—quite in accordance with the relations of real life. In the execution of the work of the tabernacle the sacerdotal garments are described, and even the calculation of the cost of the building—the church account, so to speak. So the denunciation of a severe penalty on the manufacture, for private use, of the holy anointing oil and of the incense, is one of the means used to prevent the profanation of a legally prescribed system of worship. Even the hinderance in the execution of the work prescribed in the mount, occasioned by the golden calf, is not without meaning. How often it is a golden calf which hinders the execution of pure ideal ecclesiastical conceptions! Here, however, is everywhere manifested this feature of Revelation, that the idea must become fact, and that the fact must answer to the idea.

We make five general divisions in the things commanded: I. The Prerequisite—the Materials. II. The Precept concerning the Structure itself. III. The Persons and Things occupying the Building. IV. The Architects and their Work. V. The Condition of the Vitality of the Institution—the Sabbath.

Footnotes:

FN#1 - Exodus 25:19. מִן־הַכַּפֹרֶת, etc. Literally, “From the mercy-seat shall ye make the cherubim.” This is understood by some to mean: “rising up from the mercy-seat.” But the simple מִן hardly conveys that notion; it has, perhaps, somewhat of its original import, “part,” so that the direction is to make the cherubim a part of the mercy-seat, i.e., of one piece with it.—Tr.]

FN#2 - Exodus 25:31. The change proposed in the punctuation is one required by the Masoretic accentuation, as well as by the sense, though adopted by only a few commentators (Knobel, Do Wette, Bunsen). When it is said, “its base and its shaft, etc., shall be made of the same,” the question arises, the same with what? For the several specifications include the whole of the candlestick. The direction thus would be to make all the several parts of the candlestick of the same piece with the candlestick—which is senseless.—Tr.]

FN#3 - Exodus 26:24. The A. V. rendering (favored also by Kalisch, Gesenius, Glaire, De Wette, Fürst, and Canon Cook) assumes תִּמִּים to be a contracted form of תֹּאֲמִים. But it is singular (if this is the case) that both forms should occur in the same verse, and more singular still that there should be the same conjunction of the two forms in the parallel passage Exodus 36:29. So long as at the best the obscurity of the description is not relieved by such an assumption, it seems much more reasonable to take תַּמִּים in its natural sense of “perfect,” “whole,” and elucidate the meaning, if possible, on that assumption.—Tr.]


Verses 1-40

I. Prerequisites: the materials; the assessments. Exodus 25:1-9

As the real temple of God must consist in believing hearts which offer themselves and build themselves into a temple of the Spirit of God, so the typical sanctuary must be built of voluntary offerings of the people of God: “Every one whose heart maketh him willing.”

On the assessments for the building (תְּרוּמָה, heave-offering), the blue purple (תְּכֵלֶת), the purple proper, the white cloth (שֵׁשׁ, βύσσος, fine linen), etc., comp. Keil, II, p163. There is dispute concerning the Tahash skins (תַּחַשׁ according to some, the seal; according to others, the badger), the shittim wood (probably acacia; see Keil’s note, p164), the Shoham stone (beryl, or onyx), the garment for the shoulder (ephod), and the breastplate. The materials were: (1) The metals. Vid. Knob, p257. Iron came into use later.[FN4] (2) The materials for cloths. (3) The woven fabrics (brocades, variegated cloths, plain cloths). (4) Skins. (5) Wood. (6) Oil. (7) Spices. (8) Precious stones. These materials were to be made into the sanctuary, Jehovah’s dwelling-place, in which He is to dwell in the midst of His people, and meet with them.—“According to all that I show thee;” not, “have shown thee.” The ideal significance of the pattern is contested by Keil in such a way as really leaves only a meaningless model for a meaningless structure; though afterwards this view is modified, II, p165.

II. The Building Itself. Exodus 25:10 to Exodus 27:19.

1. The Ark. Exodus 25:10-22

The Holy of holies in the strictest sense—the essential, principal thing in it. Three items are here to be considered: (1) The Ark; (2) The Mercy-seat; (3) The Cherubim. In other words: the preservation of the law as expressing the divine will in its special demands; the altar in its highest form, viz., the mercy-seat (kapporeth), as a symbol of God’s gracious willingness to accept expiation as such a fulfilment of His general will as covers and removes the demands imposed by the law, or the special will, on account of guilt; finally, the two cherubim as symbols of God’s righteous dominion in the world, proceeding out of God’s gracious will and the law, in order to the maintenance of the justice which is represented by the union of the ark and the cover [the mercy-seat]. The whole is accordingly the place where God reveals Himself in His glory under the conditions according to which the high-priest is to appear before Him. For a description of the ark vid. Keil, II, p167.—Why are the tables of the law which are to be put in it called the testimony (so Exodus 31:18; Exodus 34:29)? Because they are to be a witness of the foundation of the covenant which Jehovah has made with Israel,—the original records, therefore, of the exact phraseology of the covenant. Song of Solomon, too, they might become a witness for Jehovah against Israel.—Why is the lid called כַּפֹּרֶת? Certainly not simply because it covers the ark. But when Keil (p168) denies that the religious significance of the term originated with that of covering, on the ground that this older meaning cannot be substantiated, the literal sense of כָּפַר in Genesis 6:14 is against him; and when in 1 Chronicles 28:11 the Holy of holies is called בֵּית הַכַּפֹּרֶת, that may indeed not mean “lid-house,” but it does not therefore for that reason mean house of expiation, but house of the kapporeth, of the lid of expiation. The transition, too, from the first meaning to the second is very natural. The covering up of the demands of specific law formulated in commandments, and the covering up of guilt itself are reciprocal notions. The verb כִּפֵּר, when relating to guilt, is construed with the Accus, Psalm 78:38; also with עַל, Jeremiah 18:23. The word in relation to persons is construed with לְ, with עַל, and with בְּעַד, all in the general sense of “for.” From the last preposition [“in behalf of”] it clearly follows that the senseless explanation which makes כִּפֵּר denote a covering (concealing) of the sinful person himself from the eyes of Jehovah, an explanation which aims to invalidate the doctrine of the atonement, is entirely untenable. The transaction indicated by כִּפֵּר is performed by the priest both on the part of man and on the part of Jehovah.—Examples of the full construction, Leviticus 5:18; Leviticus 4:26.—On the ἱλαστήριον see Commentary on Romans 3.—The symbol of the cherubim was gradually developed out of the passage Genesis 3:24; vid. Comm. On Genesis, p241. Here there are as yet only two forms, as also in 2 Chronicles 3:13; the full development is found in the symbol of Ezekiel, ch, 1. From Ezekiel we might be led to conjecture that the first two forms were the face of a man and that of a lion; but it is of chief importance to maintain that the central thought is not that of representative forms of animal life, but only of representative mundane forms symbolizing the divine sovereignty as protecting the ark of the covenant; they are forms which come forth out of the substance of the mercy-seat. On these forms see Keil, p168, the lexicons, and works on archæology. On the staves see Knobel, who without reason denies that by “testimony” the two tables are meant. These, he says, were already prepared; but the context disproves this. That the images of the cherubim are to be conceived as hollow, does not agree with the representation that they are of beaten work, of one piece with the mercy-seat.—Finally, the tent under the designation אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד, “tent of meeting,” means somewhat more than that Jehovah therein has a fixed place of meeting with Moses and Israel, just as מִשְׁכַּך הָעֵדוּת cannot mean tabernacle of attestation, i.e., God’s place of Revelation, but tabernacle of the testimony; for Jehovah’s revelation was not confined to this place in Israel.

2. The Table. Exodus 25:23-30

The symbol of communion between Jehovah and His people. See Revelation of John. On the two crowns (rims) of the table see Keil. The vessels belonging to the table were plates for the shew-bread, bowls for the incense ( Leviticus 24:7), pitchers to hold the wine, and goblets for the drink-offering.—The “bread of the face,” or shew-bread, Isaiah, according to Keil, “symbol of the spiritual food which Israel was to produce,” referring to John 6:27, and doubtless also to Hengstenberg. But what spiritual food was Israel, according to John 6:27, to produce? A food which the Son of God would give them, the bread which came from heaven. We must also avoid confounding, with Keil, the shew-bread with the bloodless offerings, vid. Leviticus 2. The shew-bread was one of the permanent institutions of the temple, not one of the special offerings of the people. “The table,” says Knobel, “stood in the holy place on the north side ( Exodus 26:35), while the candlestick belonged on the south side ( Exodus 25:35), and the altar of incense in the middle ( Exodus 30:6).” Archæological observations vid. in his Comm, p266, especially on the dishes. On the use to which the pitchers and the goblets or bowls were put, Keil and Knobel come to opposite conclusions, the latter with grammatical proofs.[FN5]

3. The Golden Candlestick. Exodus 25:31-40

First is to be considered the form of the golden candlestick; next, its use; finally, its significance. The candlestick has been often described and pictured (vid. Thenius, Bücher der Könige, Tab. III, 11). Comp. Winer, Reallexicon; Zeller’s Wörterbuch, and the Commentaries. [More especially, Reland, de Spoliis templi Hierosolymitani in arcu Titiano, Tr.]. On the base, which mast necessarily have had feet, stood the candlestick, first as a single thing. It extended upwards in the form of a middle shaft, which had on each side three shafts in one plane, bending around in the form of quarter-circles,—a unit, therefore, branching out into the sacred number, seven.

The general form is easily pictured: a base; a perpendicular central shaft, the trunk, as it were, of the luminous tree; and proceeding out of it at regular distances three branches on either side. The description is made obscure or difficult by the ornaments. The principal feature of the ornamentation is the almond-shaped cup; it is divided into the knob, or apple, and the flower. The main shaft has four such cups; out of the lowest proceeds the shaft itself, as well as the first pair of branches. Out of the second proceeds the second pair of branches; out of the third, the third; its fourth cup is its top. The six branches, or side shafts, have each three cups. The one forms the top; the second may have been in the middle of the curve of the branch; the third seems to have lain against one of the three divisions, or cups, of the main shaft. The seven cups which form the top stand in a horizontal line; the lamps are set up into their flowers. But the explanations of the difficult passage are various.[FN6]

But the main shaft is distinguished by having four cups. So the one unit branches into the three, the three into the seven, and the seven into the twenty-two. “The golden candlestick was placed on the south side in the holy place of the tabernacle. For the south is the direction from which the light comes, and is therefore called also דָּרוֹם. The seven lamps of the candlestick were set up every evening at the time of the evening incense offering, and were kept burning until morning” (Knobel). They lighted the whole sanctuary, but cast their light especially northwards towards the altar of incense and the table of shew-bread; for the life of prayer and the communion of salvation are conditioned on the light of Revelation, enlightenment. Keil’s explanation of the candlestick Isaiah, in our opinion, as mistaken as that of the table: “In the shining lamps, as receivers, bearers of light, Israel is to present itself continually to Jehovah as a people that lets its light shine in the night of this world.” Did the nocturnal darkness of the sanctuary symbolize “the night of this world?” Israel is indeed appointed to bear light, but the light which it is to diffuse is the light of the revelation of Jehovah, and the bearers of the light are primarily the select ones, the prophets of God. Keil himself urges that the oil is a symbol of God’s Spirit, as also the olive-tree described in Zechariah 4, and the seven candlesticks in Revelation 1:20. The significance of the sacred Numbers, as well as that of the pure gold, is obvious. On the almond flowers, comp. Keil and Knobel. On the appurtenances of the candlestick see Knobel.


Footnotes:

FN#4 - So Knobel says. But the use of iron is ascribed to Tubal-cain ( Genesis 4:22), and iron instruments are referred to in Numbers 35:16, to say nothing of the frequent mention of iron in Deuteronomy and Joshua.—Tr.]

FN#5 - Their conclusions are different only as regards the קְשָׁוֹת and מנַקִּיֹּת, Keil making the first mean the bowls from which the wine was poured out as a drink-offering; the second, the pitchers in which the wine stood on the table. Knobel reverses this relation, arguing that מְנַקִּית is derived from נִקָּה, to pour out. With him agree Gesenius and Fürst.—Tr.].

FN#6 - According to some (e.g., Philippson) the line connecting the seven lamps formed a curve, not a straight line. It would seem probable that the ornamental flowers were not crowded together on the central shaft, as Lange conceives, but put at equal intervals from one another. It is also probable that there were three flowers on each branch between the main shaft and the lamp, and that the fourth flower of the main shaft was between its lamp and the upper branch.—Tr.].

 


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Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Exodus 25:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/exodus-25.html. 1857-84.

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Sunday, September 15th, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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