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Bible Dictionaries

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary

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in Hebrew, אהל , in Greek, σκηνη , a word which properly signifies a tent, but is particularly applied by the Hebrews to a kind of building in the form of a tent, set up by the express command of God, for the performance of religious worship, sacrifices, &c, during the journeyings of the Israelites in the wilderness; and after their settlement in the land of Canaan made use of for the same purpose, till the temple was built in Jerusalem. The tabernacle was covered with curtains and skins. It was divided into two parts, the one covered, and properly called the tabernacle, and the other open, called the court. The covered part was again divided into two parts, the one called holy, and the other called the holy of holies. The curtains which covered it were made of linen of several colours embroidered. There were ten curtains, twenty-eight cubits long, and four in breadth. Five curtains together made two coverings, which, being made fast together, enveloped all the tabernacle. Over the rest there were two other coverings, the one of goat's hair, and the other of sheep skins. These rails or coverings were laid on a square frame of planks, resting on bases. There were forty-eight large planks, each a cubit and a half wide, and ten cubits high; twenty of them on each side, and six at one end to the westward; each plank was supported by two silver bases; they were let into one another, and held by bars running the length of the planks. The holy of holies was parted from the rest of the tabernacle by a curtain, made fast to four pillars standing ten cubits from the end. The whole length of the tabernacle was thirty-two cubits, that is, about fifty feet; and the breadth twelve cubits, or nineteen feet. The end was thirty cubits high; the upper curtain hung on the north and south sides eight cubits, and on the east and west four cubits. The court was a place a hundred cubits long, and fifty in breadth, inclosed by twenty columns, each of them twenty cubits high, and ten in breadth, covered with silver, and standing on copper bases, five cubits distant from each other, between which there were curtains drawn, and fastened with hooks. At the east end was an entrance twenty cubits wide, covered with a curtain hanging loose. In the tabernacle was the ark of the covenant, the table of shew bread, the golden candlestick, and the altar of incense; and in the court opposite to the entrance of the tabernacle, or holy place, stood the altar of burnt- offerings, and the laver or bason for the use of the priests.

The tabernacle was finished on the first day of the first month of the second year after the departure out of Egypt, A.M. 2514. When it was set up, a dark cloud covered it by day, and a fiery cloud by night. Moses went into the tabernacle to consult the Lord. It was placed in the midst of the camp, and the Hebrews were ranged in order about it, according to their several tribes. When the cloud arose from off the tabernacle, they decamped; the priests carried those things which were most sacred, and the Levites all the several parts of the tabernacle. Part of the tribes went before, and the rest followed after, and the baggage of the tabernacle marched in the centre.

The tabernacle was brought into the land of Canaan by Joshua, and set up at Gilgal. Here it rested till the land was conquered. Then it was removed to Shiloh, and afterward to Nob. Its next station was Gibeah, and here it continued till the ark was removed to the temple.

The word also means a frail dwelling, Job 11:14; and is put for our bodies, 2 Corinthians 5:1 .

Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Tabernacle'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​wtd/​t/tabernacle.html. 1831-2.
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