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and day, or only at night. In chap. xxx. 7, 8, it is mentioned as the duty of the priest to “ dress” the lamps every morning, and to "light" them every evening: but in the parallel text in Levit. xxiv. 2, it is said that the lamps were to burn continually; and the context says nothing about lighting, but only that the priest was to “order” the lamps morning and evening. We are disposed to consider from the two passages, taken together, that the lamps were be kept "continually.” burning at night, being kindled in the evening, and extinguished in the morning. If they were kept burning night and day, the lighting in the evening may mean no more than that the light had been extinguished while the lamp was trimmed, and the oil and wick renewed. It is not in itself improbable that the lamps were kept burning by day, for light could only be admitted into the tabernacle through the curtain at the east or unboarded end; if that curtain were thick, the holy place might have been so dark as to render artificial light not less requisite by day than by night. The most holy place, in which the ark lay, was at all times left in darkness.
one curtain four cubits: and every one of 1 The ten curtains of the tabernacle. 7 The eleven
the curtains shall have one measure. curtains of goats' huir. 14 The covering of rams 3 The five curtains shall be coupled toskins. 15 The boards of the tabernacle, with their gether one to another; and other five cursockets and bars. 31 The vail for the ark. 36 The
tains shall be coupled one to another. hanging for the door.
4 And thou shalt make loops of blue upon MOREOVER thou shalt make the tabernacle the edge of the one curtain from the selvedge with ten curtains of fine twined linen, and in the coupling; and likewise shalt thou blue, and purple, and scarlet : with cheru- make in the uttermost edge of another curbims 'of cunning work shalt thou make tain, in the coupling of the second. them.
5 Fifty loops shalt thou make in the one The length of one curtain shall be curtain, and fifty loops shalt thou make in eight and twenty cubits, and the breadth of the edge of the curtain that is in the
1 Heb. the work of a cunning workman, or embroiderer.
coupling of the second; that the loops may naele on the north side there shall be twenty take hold one of another.
boards: 6 And thou shalt make fifty taches of 21 And their forty sockets of silver; two gold, and couple the curtains together sockets under one board, and two sockets with the taches: and it shall be one taber- under another board. nacle.
22 And for the sides of the tabernacle 7 | And thou shalt make curtains of westward thou shalt make six boards. goats' hair to be a covering upon the taber- 23 And two boards shalt thou make for nacle: eleven curtains shalt thou make. the corners of the tabernacle in the two
8 The length of one curtain shall be sides. thirty cubits, and the breadth of one curtain 24 And they shall be 'coupled together four cubits: and the eleven curtains shall beneath, and they shall be coupled together be all of one measure.
above the head of it unto one ring: thus 9 And thou shalt couple five curtains by shall it be for them both; they shall be for themselves, and six curtains by themselves, the two corners. and shalt double the sixth curtain in the 25 And they shall be eight boards, and forefront of the tabernacle.
their sockets of silver, sixteen sockets; two 10 And thou shalt make fifty loops on the sockets under one board, and two sockets edge of the one curtain that is outermost in under another board. the coupling, and fifty loops in the edge of 26 | And thou shalt make bars of shittim the curtain which coupleth the second. wood; five for the boards of the one side of
11 And thou shalt make fifty taches of the tabernacle, brass, and put the taches into the loops, and 27 And five bars for the boards of the couple the tent together, that it may be other side of the tabernacle, and five bars one.
for the boards of the side of the tabernacle, 12 And the remnant that remaineth of for the two sides westward. the curtains of the tent, the half curtain that 28 And the middle bar in the midst of remaineth, shall hang over the backside of the boards shall reach from end to end. the tabernacle.
29 And thou shalt overlay the boards 13 And a cubit on the one side, and a with gold, and make their rings of gold for cubit on the other side ®of that which re- places for the bars: and thou shalt overlay maineth in the length of the curtains of the the bars with gold. tent, it shall hang over the sides of the 30 And thou shalt rear up the tabernacle tabernacle on this side and on that side, to 'according to the fashion thereof which was cover it.
shewed thee in the mount. 14 And thou shalt make a covering for 31 | And thou shalt make a vail of blue, the tent of rams' skins dyed red, and a co- and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined vering above of badgers' skins.
linen of cunning work: with cherubims 15 And thou shalt make boards for the shall it be made: tabernacle of shittim wood standing up.
32 And thou shalt hang it upon four 16 Ten cubits shall be the length of a pillars of shittim wood overlaid with gold: board, and a cubit and a half shall be the their hooks shall be of gold, upon the four breadth of one board.
sockets of silver. 17 Two ‘tenons shall there be in one board, 33 And thou shalt hang up the rail set in order one against another: thus shalt under the taches, that thou mayest bring in thou make for all the boards of the taber- | thither within the vail the ark of the testinacle.
mony: and the vail shall divide unto you 18 And thou shalt make the boards for between the holy place and the most holy. the tabernacle, twenty boards on the south
34 And thou shalt put the mercy seat side southward.
upon the ark of the testimony in the most 19 And thou shalt make forty sockets of holy place. silver under the twenty boards; two sockets 35 And thou shalt set the table without under one board for his two tenons, and the vail, and the candlestick over against two sockets under another board for his two the table on the side of the tabernacle tenons.
toward the south: and thou shalt put the 20 And for the second side of the taber- / table on the north side. 2 Or, covering. 3 Heb. in the remainder, or surplusage.
8 Chap. 25. 9. 40. Acts 7. 44. Heb. 8.5.
4 Heb, hands.
5 Heb. twinned.
36 And thou shalt make an hanging for 37 And thou shalt make for the hanging five the door of the tent, of blue, and purple, pillars of shittim wood, and overlay them with and scarlet, and fine twined linen, wrought gold, and their hooks shall be of gold: and with needlework.
thou shalt cast five sockets of brass for them. Verse 30. “ Thou shall rear up the tabernacle.”—This fabric, having moveable walls of board, was of a more substantial character than a tent; but it is right to regard it as a tent, its general appearance and arrangement being the same, and its more substantial fabric being probably on account of the weight of its several envelopes which required stronger supports than are usually necessary. A connected description of it here will afford the best commentary on the particulars given in this book.
The tabernacle was of an oblong square figure, fifty-five feet in length, by eighteen feet in breadth and height. Its length extended from east to west, the entrance being at the east end. The two sides and the west end consisted of a framework of boards, of which there were twenty to each side and eight at the west end. The manner in which these boards were joined to each other so as to form a wall which might be easily taken down and set up again, may be illustrated in some degree by a reference to the window-shutters of an extensive shop; but the boards of the tabernacle did not slide in grooves, but each was furnished at the bottom with two tenons, which were received into sockets in the bases of solid silver; and to give the whole greater security, the boards were furnished each with five rings or staples of gold, by means of which they were successively run up to their proper places on horizontal poles or bars, which served as the ribs of the fabric, binding its parts together. In the cut these rings are not shown, as the artist could not determine their exact places. The boards as well as the bars were of shittim wood, overlaid with thin plates of gold. The east end, being the entrance, had no boards, but was furnished with five pillars of shittim wood overlaid with gold, and each standing on a socket of brass. Four similar pillars within the tabernacle, towards the west or further end, supported a rich hanging, which divided the interior into two apartments, of which the outer was called “the holy place," and the innermost and smallest was “the most holy place," or the “Holy of Holies,” in which the presence of the Lord was more immediately manifested. The separating hanging was called, by way of eminence, the vail;" and hence the expression within” or “without the vail” is sometimes used to distinguish the most holy from the holy place. The people were never admitted into the interior of the tabernacle. None but the priests might go even into the outer chamber or holy place, and into the inner chamber the high-priest alone was allowed to enter, and that only once in the year, on the great day of atonement. To this, however, there was a necessary exception when the tabernacle was to be taken down or set up. The outer chamber was only entered in the morning to offer incense on the altar which stood there, and to extinguish the lamps, and again in the evening to light them. On the Sabbath also the old shew-bread was taken away and replaced with new. These were all the services for which the attendance of the priests was necessary within the tabernacle, all the sacrifices being made in the open space in front of the tabernacle, where stood the brazen altar for burnt offerings. It will be useful to observe, that the most holy place contained only the ark with its contents; that the outer apartment contained the altar of incense, the table of shew-bread, and the great golden candlestick; while the open area in front of the tabernacle contained the brazen laver for the ablutions of the priests, and the brazen altar for burnt offerings.
This description will give an idea of the general arrangement and substantial structure of the tabernacle; and we may proceed to notice the various curtains which were thrown over and formed the outer coverings of the tent. The first or inner covering was of fine linen, splendidly embroidered with figures of cherubim and fancy work in scarlet, purple, and light blue. It is described in the same terms as the vail of the “holy of holies," and was doubtless of the same texture and appearance with the vail, which, according to Josephus, was embroidered with all sorts of flowers, and interwoven with various ornamental figures, excepting the forms of animals. Over this inner covering was another, made of goats' hair, which was spun by the women of the camp. Cloth made of goats' hair forms the customary covering for the tents of the Bedouin Arabs to this day, and it still continues to be spun and woven at home by the women. Over this covering there was another of rams' skins dyed red, and over that the fourth and outermost covering of tahash skins (see the note on chap. xxv. 5). These curtains, after covering, or rather forming, the roof, hung down by the sides and west end of the tabernacle, those that were outside being calculated to protect the more costly ones within, while the whole combined to render the tabernacle impervious to the rain, and safe from the injuries of the weather. This magnificent tent stood in an oblong court or inclosure, particularly described in chap. xxvii. 9—19. See the note there.
These observations will serve to give a general notion of the tabernacle; and remarks on some of the details will be made under some of the repeated descriptions which occur in the sequel of this book. The idea of a tented structure set apart for the service of God is quite as obvious among a nomade people as that of a temple in settled countries ; and Spencer (De Legibus Hebræorum) and other learned men seem to have bestowed very unnecessary labour in searching out remote analogies and connexions. To this day we find the tabernacle principle still in operation among the nomades of Asia, particularly those of the Mongol race. They have sacred huts, distinguished by their size and superiority from those used as habitations, as well as by the coverings of fur which envelope the outside, the frame or foundation of the fabric being of wood, as in the Hebrew tabernacle. The opinion of Spencer however is, that this tabernacle, together with all its furniture and appurtenances, was of Egyptian origin; and that it was framed by Moses on the model of some such fabric which he had observed in Egypt; or else that God directed it to be made with the view of indulging the Israelites in the customs and modes of worship they had acquired in Egypt, in so far as they were not directly sinful. The predilection of the Israelites for visible gods was indicated before the erection of the tabemacle in the affair of the golden calf, and on subsequent occasions; and we may infer from Amos v. 26, and Acts vii. 42, that they had brought with them from Egypt the tabernacle” of Moloch, which was probably a portable shrine or small temple containing the image of the idol. Spencer endeavours to substantiate the supposed analogy, by a comparison between the tabernacle and the sacred tents in use among the heathens when they carried their gods with them in their marches and journeys. It certainly does not, on the mere face of the matter, seem improbable that some condescension, so far as harmless, might have been made to that state of mind which disqualified the Israelites for the more simple worsh of their fathers; and by rendering lawful what was not in itself evil, obviate the temptation to sin and disobedience. The principle of accommodation, in things indifferent, to the state of their minds, which this consideration involves, is not precluded in the Scriptures. On the contrary, our Saviour himself states that some practices were allowed in the law of Moses on account of the hard hearts of the people with whom the legislator had to deal (Matt. xix. 9). The instance there given, however, was that of a secular law; and considering the great care manifested by many of the regulations to keep up a marked distinction, even in apparently small matters, between the prescribed religious observances and those of the Egyptians, it seems more than doubtful whether the principle of accommodation was at all admitted into the things which more particularly pertained to the worship and service of
God. The notion of such accommodation seems also to be precluded by the statement of St. Paul (Heb. ix. x) from which we learn that all these things were in their original intention typical, and designed to shadow forth good things to come; and on this view of the matter, it is quite certain that nothing could have been admitted merely on a principle of concession, or from local or temporary feelings or prejudices. We are besides expressly told, that the tabernacle was made after the pattern shown to Moses in the mount; and when we consider that the history and legislation before us are the most ancient in the world, and that our earliest accounts of the religions and usages of nations may be called modern in comparison with those which now engage our attention, it seems a far more reasonable conclusion that, where striking analogies are found, other nations copied from the Hebrews rather than they from other nations; or else that the practice or institution was in itself so obvious and simple that, with some modifications, it was calculated to result from the operation of analogous principles in different countries, the influence of which upon one another either never existed or cannot now be traced. Although these observations be made with a special reference to the tabernacle, they apply with equal force to the analogies, often curious and interesting, which may be pointed out in connexion with other observances and objects embraced in this account. (See further in the note to chap. xxxv. ii.)
ceive his ashes, and his shovels, and his 1 The altar of burnt offering, with the vessels thereof.. basons, and his fleshhooks, and his firepans:
9 The court of the tabernacle inclosed with hang all the vessels thereof thou shalt make of ings and pillars. 18 The measure of the court. brass. 20 The oil for the lamp.
4 And thou shalt make for it a grate of And thou shalt make an altar of shittim network of brass; and upon the net shalt wood, five cubits long, and five cubits broad; thou make four brasen rings in the four the altar shall be foursquare: and the corners thereof. height thereof shall be three cubits.
5 And thou shalt put it under the com2 And thou shalt make the horns of it pass of the altar beneath, that the net may upon the four corners thereof: his horns be even to the midst of the altar. shall be of the same: and thou shalt overlay 6 And thou shalt make staves for the it with brass.
altar, staves of shittim wood, and overlay 3 And thou shalt make his pans to re
them with brass.