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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical
Exodus 37

 

 

Verses 1-43

D.—the ark and the mercy—seat,[FN1] and the cherubim

Exodus 37:1-9

1And Bezaleel made the ark of shittim [acacia] wood: two cubits and a half was the length of it, and a cubit and a half the breadth of it, and a cubit and a half the height of it: 2And he overlaid it with pure gold within and without, and made a crown [rim] of gold to [for] it round about 3 And he cast for it four rings of gold, to be set by [gold, on] the four corners of it [its four feet]; even two rings upon the one side of it, and two rings upon the other side of it 4 And he made staves of shittim5[acacia] wood, and overlaid them with gold. And he put the staves into the rings by [on] the sides of the ark, to bear the ark 6 And he made the [a] mercy-seat of pure gold: two cubits and a half was the length thereof, and one cubit and a half the breadth thereof 7 And he made two cherubims [cherubim] of gold, beaten out of one piece [of beaten work] made he them, on [at] the two ends of the mercy-seat 8 One cherub on the end on this side [at the one end], and another [one] cherub on the other end on that side [at the other end]: out of [of one piece with] the mercy-seat made he the cherubims on [at] the two ends thereof 9 And the cherubims [cherubim] spread out their wings on high [upwards], and covered [covering] with their wings over [wings] the mercy-seat, with their faces one to [towards] another: even to the mercy-seatward [towards the mercy-seat] were the faces of the cherubims [cherubim].

E.—the table and its vessels

Exodus 37:10-16

10And he made the table of shittim [acacia] wood: two cubits was the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof: 11And he overlaid it with pure gold, and made thereunto a crown [for it a rim] of gold round 12 about. Also [And] he made thereunto [for it] a border of an [a] handbreadth round about; and made a crown [rim] of gold for the border thereof round about 13 And he cast for it four rings of gold, and put the rings upon [in] the four corners 14 that were in [on] the four feet thereof. Over against [Close by] the border were the rings, the places for the staves to bear the table 15 And he made the staves of shittim16[acacia] wood, and overlaid them with gold, to bear the table. And he made the vessels which were upon the table, his dishes [its plates], and his spoons [its cups], and his [its] bowls, and his covers to cover withal [its flagons to pour out with], of pure gold.

F.—the candlestick and the utensils belonging to it

Exodus 37:17-24

17And he made the candlestick of pure gold: of beaten work made he the candlestick; his shaft, and his branch, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers, were of the same [the candlestick, its base, and its shaft: its cups, its knobs, and its flowers wereof one piece with it]: 18And six branches going out of the sides thereof; three branches of the candlestick out of the one side thereof, and three branches of the candlestick out of the other side thereof: 19Three bowls made after the fashion of almonds in [Three cups made like almond-blossoms on] one branch, a knop [knob] and a flower; and three bowls made like almonds in [almond-blossoms on] another branch, a knop [knob] and a flower: so throughout [for] the six branches 20 going out of the candlestick. And in [on] the candlestick were four bowls [cups] made like almonds [almond-blossoms], his knops [its knobs], and his [its] flowers: 21And 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] 22the six branches going [that go] out of it. Their knops [knobs] and their branches were of the same [of one piece with it]: all of it was one beaten work of pure gold 23 And he made his [its] seven lamps, and his [its] snuffers, and his [its] snuff-dishes, 24of pure gold. Of a talent of pure gold made he it, and all the vessels thereof.

G.—the altar of incense and its appurtenances

Exodus 37:25-29

25And he made the incense altar [altar of incense] of shittim [acacia] wood: the length of it was a cubit, and the breadth of it a cubit; it was foursquare; and two cubits was the height of it; the horns thereof were of the same [of one piece withit]. 26And he overlaid it with pure gold, both [gold,] the top of it, and the sides thereof round about, and the horns of it: also he made unto [for] it a crown [rim] of gold round about 27 And he made two rings of gold for it under the crown [rim] thereof, by the two corners [on the two flanks] of it, upon the two sides thereof, to be [for] places for the staves to bear it withal 28 And he made the staves of shittim29[acacia] wood, and overlaid them with gold. And he made the holy anointing oil, and the pure incense of sweet spices, according to the work of the apothecary [spices, the work of the perfumer].

H.—the altar of burnt-offering with its utensils, and the laver

Exodus 38:1-8

1And he made the altar of burnt-offering of shittim [acacia] wood: five cubits was the length thereof, and five cubits the breadth thereof; it was foursquare; and three cubits the height thereof 2 And he made the horns thereof on the four corners of it; the horns thereof were of the same [of one piece with it]: and he overlaid it with brass [copper]. 3And he made all the vessels of the altar, the pots and the shovels, and the basins, and the fleshhooks, and the fire-pans: all the vessels thereof made he of brass [copper]. 4And he made for the altar a brazen grate of network [a grating of network of copper] under the compass [ledge] thereof beneath unto the midst of it [reaching to the middle of it]. 5And he cast four rings for the four ends [corners] of the grate of brass [copper grating], to be [for] places for the staves 6 And he made the staves of shittim [acacia] wood, and overlaid them with brass7[copper]. And he put the staves into the rings on the sides of the altar, to bear it withal; he made the altar [made it] hollow with boards 8 And he made the laver of brass [copper], and the foot [base] of it of brass [copper], of the looking-glasses of the women assembling, which assembled [the serving women, who served] at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation [tent of meeting].

I.—the court.

Exodus 38:9-20

9And he made the court: on [for] the south side southward the hangings of the 10 court were of fine-twined linen, an [a] hundred cubits: Their pillars were twenty, and their brazen [copper] sockets twenty; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets11[rods] were of silver. And for the north side the hangings were an [side a] hundred cubits, their pillars were twenty, and their sockets of brass [copper] twenty; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets [rods] of silExo Exodus 38:12 And for the west side were hangings of fifty cubits, their pillars ten, and their sockets ten; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets [rods] of silExo Exodus 38:13 And for the east side eastward fifty cubits 14 The hangings for the one side of the gate were fifteen cubits; their pillars three, and their sockets three 15 And for the other side of the court gate, on this hand and that hand [So for the other side; on this hand, and on that hand, by the gate of the court], were hangings of fifteen cubits; their pillars three, and their sockets three 16 All the hangings of the court round about were of fine-twined linen 17 And the sockets for the pillars were of brass [copper]; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets [rods] of silver; and the overlaying of their chapiters [capitals] of silver; and all the pillars of the court were filleted with [joined with rods of] silExo Exodus 38:18 And the hanging [screen] for the gate of the court was needlework [embroidered work], 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 [corresponding] to the hangings of the court 19 And their pillars were four, and their sockets of brass [copper] four; their hooks of silver, and the overlaying of their chapiters [capitals] and their fillets [rods] of silExo Exodus 38:20 And all the pins of the tabernacle, and of the court round about, were of brass [copper].

J.—amount of the metal Used

Exodus 38:21-31

21This is the sum of [These are the amounts for] the tabernacle, even the tabernacle of [of the] testimony, as it was [they were] counted, according to the commandment of Moses, for the service of the Levites, by the hand of Ithamar, son to Aaron the priest 22 And Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, made all that Jehovah commanded Moses 23 And with him was Aholiab, son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Daniel, an engraver, and a cunning workman [a skilful weaver], and an embroiderer in blue, and in purple, and in scarlet, and fine linen.

24All the gold that was occupied [used] for the work in all the work of the holy place [sanctuary], even the gold of the offering, was twenty and nine talents, and seven hundred and thirty shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary 25 And the silver of them that were numbered of the congregation was an [a] hundred talents, and a thousand seven hundred and threescore and fifteen shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary: 26A bekah for every Prayer of Manasseh, that is, half a shekel, after the shekel of the sanctuary, for every one that went to be [passed over to them that were] numbered, from twenty years old and upward, for six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty men. 27And of the hundred talents of silver were cast the sockets of the sanctuary, and the sockets of the veil; an [a] hundred sockets of28[for] the hundred talents, a talent for a socket. And of the thousand seven hundred seventy and five shekels he made hooks for the pillars, and overlaid their chapiters29[capitals], and filleted them [joined them with rods]. And the brass [copper] of the offering was seventy talents, and two thousand and four hundred shekels 30 And therewith he made the sockets to [for] the door of the tabernacle of the congregation [tent of meeting], and the brazen [copper] altar, and the brazen grate31[copper grating] for it, and all the vessels of the altar, And the sockets of the court round about, and the sockets of the court gate [gate of the court], and all the pins of the tabernacle, and all the pins of the court round about.

K.—preparation of the priests’ vestament

Exodus 39:1-31

1And of the blue, an purple, and scarlet, they made cloths [garments] of service, to do service [for ministering] in the holy place and made the holy garments for Aaron; as Jehovah commanded Moses.

1. The Ephod

2And he made the ephod of gold, blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine-twined linen 3 And they did beat the gold into thin plates, and cut it into wires [threads], to work it in the blue, and in the purple, and in the scarlet, and in the fine linen, 4with cunning work [linen, the work of the skilful weaver]. They made shoulder-pieces for it, to couple it together [joined together]: by [at] the two edges was it coupled [joined] together 5 And the curious girdle of his ephod [the embroidered belt for girding it], that was upon it, was of the same [of one piece with it], according to the work [like the work] thereof; of gold, blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine-twined linen; as Jehovah commanded Moses 6 And they wrought onyx stones inclosed in ouches [settings] of gold, graven as signets are graven [graven with theengravings of a signet], with the names of the children of Israel 7 And he put them on the shoulders [shoulder-pieces] of the ephod, that they should be stones for a memorial to [ephod, as memorial stones for] the children of Israel; as Jehovah commanded Moses.

2. The Breast-plate

8And he made the breast-plate of cunning work [with the work of the skilful weaver], like the work of the ephod; of gold, blue, and purple, and scarlet, and 9 fine-twined linen. It was four-square; they made the breast-plate double: a span was the length thereof, and a span the breadth thereof, being doubled 10 And they set in it four rows of stones: the first row was a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: this was the first row: [stones: a row of sardius, topaz,and emerald was the first row]. 11And the second row, an emerald [a carbuncle], a sapphire, and a diamond 12 And the third row, a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst 13 And the fourth row, a beryl [chrysolite], an onyx, and a jasper: they were inclosed in ouches [settings] of gold in their inclosings 14 And the stones were according to the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names, like the engravings of a signet, every one with his name, according to15[for] the twelve tribes. And they made upon the breast-plate chains at the ends16[chains like cords] of wreathen work of pure gold. And they made two ouches [settings] of gold, and two gold rings [rings of gold]; and put the two rings in [on] the two ends of the breast-plate 17 And they put the two wreathen chains of gold in [on] the two rings on [at] the ends of the breast-plate 18 And the two ends of the two wreathen chains they fastened in [put on] the two ouches [settings], and put them on the shoulder-pieces of the ephod, before it [on the front of it]. 19And they made two rings of gold, and put them on the two ends of the breast-plate, upon the border of it, which was on [toward] the side of the ephod inward 20 And they made two other [two] golden rings, and put them on the two sides [shoulder-pieces] of the ephod underneath, toward [on] the forepart of it, over against [close by] the other [the] coupling thereof, above the curious girdle [embroidered belt] of the ephod 21 And they did bind the breast-plate by his [its] rings unto the rings of the ephod with a lace [cord] of blue, that it might be above the curious girdle of [embroidered belt] the ephod, and that the breast-plate might not be loosed from the ephod; as Jehovah commanded Moses.

3. The Robe

22, 23And he made the robe of the ephod of woven work, all of blue. And there was an hole in the midst of the robe, [And the opening of the robe in the middle of it was] as the hole of an habergeon [like the opening of a coat of mail], with a band [binding] round about the hole [opening], that it should not rend [might notbe rent]. 24And they made upon the hems [skirts] of the robe pomegranates of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and twined linen [scarlet, twined]. 25And they made bells of pure gold, and put the bells between the pomegranates upon the hem [skirts] of the robe, round about between the pomegranates; 26A bell and a pomegranate, a bell and a pomegranate, round about the hem of the robe [upon the skirts of the robe round about], to minister in; as Jehovah commanded Moses.

4. The Coat, Breeches, and Girdle

27And they made coats [the coats] of fine linen of woven work for Aaron and for his sons, 28And a mitre [the turban] of fine linen, and goodly bonnets [the goodly 29 caps] of fine linen, and linen [the linen] breeches of fine-twined linen, And a [the] girdle of fine-twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, of needle work [scarlet, embroidered work]; as Jehovah commanded Moses.

5. The Plate of Gold

30And they made the plate of the holy crown of pure gold, and wrote upon it a writing, like to the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO JEHOVAH 31 And they tied unto it a lace [cord] of blue, to fasten it on high upon the mitre [turban]; as Jehovah commanded Moses.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

a. The Curtains of the Tent and their Coverings. Exodus 36:8-19. Vid. Exodus 26:1-14. Jacobi, in his pamphlet, Die Lehre der Irvingiten (Berlin, 1853), p 52 sqq, has told how the Irvingites interpret, in a fantastic, allegorical way, the curtains of the tabernacle as pointing to their offices; and, in general, their arbitrary trifling with Old Testament symbols. In a similar way they deal with the Apocalypse. Vid. Stockmeyer, Kurze Nachricht über den Irvingismus, p13. Keil observes that the verbs עָשָׂה in Exodus 36:8, וַיַּחבֵּר in Exodus 36:10, and וַיַּעַשׂ in Exodus 36:11, etc., are in the third Pers. Sing. with an indefinite subject. But this is not borne out by Exodus 36:8, where עשׂה first stands in the plural. It is more likely that the whole work is called Bezaleel’s.

b. The Frame-work of the Tent, Exodus 36:20-34; vid. Exodus 26:15-30.

c. The Veil and the Screen, Exodus 36:35-38; vid. Exodus 26:31-37. Exodus 36:38. Not the whole of the pillars of the screen was overlaid with gold, but only the tips, and the rods running across the upper ends. The other pillars of the court only had their tips and cross-rods overlaid with silver.

d. The Ark, the Mercy-seat, the Cherubim, Exodus 37:1-9; vid. Exodus 25:10-22. It is called the master-workman Bezaleel’s own work.

e. The Table of Shew-bread and its Vessels, Exodus 37:10-16; vid. Exodus 25:23-30. In the direction the dishes are called קְשָׂוֹת,כַּפֹּת,קְעָרֹת, and מְנַקִיּוֹת; the same here, except that the order of the last two is inverted.

f. The Candlestick and the Utensils belonging to it, Exodus 37:17-24; vid. Exodus 25:31-40.

g. The Altar of Incense with its Appurtenances, Exodus 37:25-29; vid. Exodus 30:1-10. The Anointing Od and the Incense, Exodus 30:22-28.

h. The Altar of Burnt-offering, with its Implements, and the Laver, Exodus 38:1-8. On the Altar vid. Exodus 27:1-8. On the Laver vid. Exodus 30:17-21. Knobel’s notion about Exodus 38:8 is very strange [vid. above, p127]. He thinks that on the base there were fashioned figures of the women who, as Levite women, came into the court to wash and furbish. [But Knobel does not represent the figures as on the base.]

i. The Court, Exodus 38:9-20 : vid. Exodus 27:9-19.

j. Summation of the Metal used, Exodus 38:21-31. “The estimations” ( Exodus 38:21). Keil, “The enumerated things.” The duty of counting the amount was committed to the Levites under the direction of Aaron’s Song of Solomon, Ithamar.

Exodus 38:24. The Gold. Thenius and Keil reckon it at87,730 shekels, or877,300 Thaler,—a gold shekel being estimated as = 10 Thaler [ = 7 Dollars and20 cents. Poole, in Smith’s Bible Dictionary, makes it a little more.—Tr.]

Exodus 38:25-28. The Silver. “Of the silver there is reckoned only the amount of the atonement money collected from those who were numbered, a half-shekel to every male, the voluntary gifts of silver not being mentioned” (Keil). It is not to be supposed that amidst the voluntary contributions of gold, copper, etc., a legally imposed tax would be specified. But it may well be conjectured that the standard, afterwards fixed for the tax for the sanctuary, served as a guide in the voluntary contributions, as has been already remarked [p126]. On the abundance of gold and silver among the ancient Orientals, as showing the possibility of the actual correctness of these accounts in opposition to modern doubts, vid. Keil, page251; Knobel, page333.

k. Exodus 39:1-31. “The preparation of the priestly garments, to the description of which a transition is formed by a statement of the materials for them and of the design of them. The ephod, Exodus 39:2-7, corresponds to Exodus 28:6-12; the breast-plate, Exodus 39:8-21, to Exodus 28:15-29—the Urim and Thummim, which needed no special preparation, being passed over. The robe, Exodus 39:22-26, answers to Exodus 28:31-34; the coats, head-pieces, breeches, and girdles for Aaron and his sons, Exodus 39:27-29 to Exodus 28:39-40; Exodus 28:42. The head-covering of the common priests in Exodus 28:40 (מִגְבָּעוֹת) is here ( Exodus 39:28) called פַּאֲרֵי הַמִּגְבָּעֹת ornamental caps” (Keil). Vid. Knobel for archæological notes, p334.

___________________

Fifth Section

The Religious Presentation of all the Component Parts of the Sanctuary, and Moses’ Blessing

Exodus 39:32-43

32Thus was all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation [tent of meeting] finished: and the children of Israel did according to all that Jehovah commanded Moses, so did they 33 And they brought the tabernacle unto Moses, the tent, and all his [its] furniture, his taches [its clasps], his [its] boards, his [its] bars, and his34[its] pillars, and his [its] sockets, And the covering of rams’ skins dyed red, and the covering of badgers’ [seals’] skins, and the veil of the covering [screen], 35The ark of 36 the testimony, and the staves thereof, and the mercy-seat, The table, and all the vessels thereof, and the shew-bread, 37The pure candlestick, with the lamps thereof, even with the [thereof, the] lamps to be set in order, and all the vessels [utensils]thereof, and the oil for light [the light], 38And the golden altar, and the anointing oil, and the sweet incense, and the hanging [screen] for the tabernacle-door [door 39 of the tent of meeting], The brazen [copper] altar, and his grate of brass [its copper grating], his [its] staves, and all his [its] vessels, the laver and his foot [itsbase], 40The hangings of the court, his [its] pillars, and his [its] sockets, and the hanging [screen] for the court-gate, his [its] cords, and his [its] pins, and all the vessels [furniture] of the service of the tabernacle, for the tent of the congregation41[of meeting], The cloths [garments] of service to do service [for ministering] in the holy place, and the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and his sons’ garments, to minister in the priest’s office [to minister in as priests]. 42According to all that Jehovah commanded Moses, so the children of Israel made [did] all the work 43 And Moses did look upon [saw] all the work, and, behold, they had done it as Jehovah had commanded, even [commanded,] so had they done it: and Moses blessed them.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

Besides the minute enumeration of the several parts of the tabernacle, is especially noticeable the repeated observation that they had done everything according to Jehovah’s commandment, Exodus 39:32; Exodus 39:43. The enthusiasm and the joy in making offerings was at the same time a punctilious obedience to the law—an obedience which, being rendered primarily to Moses, shows that the new order of things, or the Old covenant, is again established.

Exodus 39:33-34. “By הָאֹהֶל are meant the two tent-cloths composed of curtains, the purple one and the one made of goats’ hair, which made the tabernacle (מִשְׁכָּן) a tent (אֹהֶל). It thence follows beyond a doubt that the variegated curtains formed the inner walls of the tabernacle, or covered the boards on the inside (? how then could they be stretched?). On the other hand, the goats’ hair curtains formed the outer covering” (Keil). The colored curtains formed the inside even if they were stretched over the boards.

Exodus 39:43. “The readiness with which the people had brought in abundance the requisite gifts for this work, and the zeal with which they had accomplished the work in half a year or less (vid. xl17), were delightful signs of Israel’s willingness to serve the Lord; and for this the blessing of God could not fail to be given” (Keil).


Footnotes:

FN#1 - Lange renders כַפֶֹּרת “lid of expiation,” and remarks that the term “is as difficult to translate with one word as is the name יְהוָֹה.” Luther’s rendering, Gnadenstuhl (“mercy-seat”), he commends as conveying substantially the right impression. But it is questionable whether one can properly combine the literal and the topical in a translation, as Lange does.—Tr.]

 


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Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Exodus 37:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/exodus-37.html. 1857-84.

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