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7 And the staves shall be put into the | ings fifteen cubits: their pillars three, and rings, and the staves shall be upon the two their sockets three. sides of the altar, to bear it.
16 | And for the gate of the court shall 8 Hollow with boards shalt thou make | be an hanging of twenty cubits, of blue, and it: as 'it was shewed thee in the mount, so purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, shall they make it.
wrought with needlework : and their pillars 9 | And thou shalt make the court of shall be four, and their sockets four. the tabernacle: for the south side south- 17 All the pillars round about the court ward there shall be hangings for the court of shall be filleted with silver ; their hooks fine twined linen of an hundred cubits long shall be of silver, and their sockets of brass. for one side :
18 | The length of the court shall be an 10 And the twenty pillars thereof and hundred cubits, and the breadth 'fifty every their twenty sockets shall be of brass; the where, and the height five cubits of fine hooks of the pillars and their fillets shall be twined linen, and their sockets of brass.
19 All the vessels of the tabernacle in all 11 And likewise for the north side in the service thereof, and all the pins thereof, length there shall be hangings of an hundred and all the pins of the court, shall be of cubits long, and his twenty pillars and their brass. twenty sockets of brass; the hooks of the 20 | And thou shalt command the chilpillars and their fillets of silver.
dren of Israel, that they bring thee pure oil 12 And for the breadth of the court on olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamp the west side shall be hangings of fifty cubits: | *to burn always. their pillars ten, and their sockets ten. 21 In the tabernacle of the congregation
13 And the breadth of the court on the without the vail, which is before the testieast side eastward shall be fifty cubits. mony, Aaron and his sons shall order it from
14 The hangings of one side of the gate evening to morning before the LORD: it shall be fifteen cubits: their pillars three, and shall be a statute for ever unto their genetheir sockets three.
rations on the behalf of the children of 15 And on the other side shall be hang- Israel.
9 Heb. fifty by fifty.
8 Heb. to ascend up. Verse 1. “ Altar of shittim wood.”—This altar was a sort of square chest of shittim wood overlaid with brass. It was five cubits long by five broad, and three in height (about three yards square and five feet high), and had a horn or projection at each corner. It was hollow within, and in the middle of its surface was a sunk grating of brass to support the fire, which was furnished with four rings, that it might be taken out and carried separately from the body of the altar. The ashes from the fire sunk through the grating, and were received in a pan that was placed under it. The altar had four rings or staples at the sides, into which poles of shittim wood covered with brass were inserted when the altar was to be moved from place to place. This is the account which seems to agree best with the text, although some of the details have been differently understood by various expositors. It is thought that both this altar and the larger one made by Solomon, by which it was superseiled, had the lower part of the hollow filled up either with earth or stones, in compliance with the injunction in chap. xx. 24, 25. Josephus says, that the altar used in his time at the Temple was of unhewn stone, and that no iron tool had been employed in its construction. None of the altars which the Scripture assigns to either the tabernacle or Temple were of this construction, but that erected at Mount Ebal by Joshua was so (Josh. viii. 31), and apparently others which were set up in different parts of the land of promise. It seems to us that the command in chap. xx. about altars applies as a general instruction respecting those which the Israelites might wish to erect in the provinces or elsewhere, and which were not in constant use, without excluding for the chief place of worship such particular variations as its peculiar circumstances, and the frequent sacrifices which were offered there, rendered necessary.
2. “ Horns.”—The horns of the altar have given occasion to no common amount of discussion, regarding both their form and their design. They were certainly projections of some kind or other at the four corners, but their precise shape, or even the direction in which they projected, cannot be distinctly collected from the sacred text. Many very good authorities think that they were really horn-shaped, like those of the ara pacis of the Romans, and this opinion is supported by the valuable testimony of Josephus as to the altar used in his time. The other opinions that deserve the most attention are, that the horns were square risings from each corner of the altar; or that they were square to half their height and then sloped pyramidically--not equally on all sides, but only from the inside to the outer or external angle, ending in a sharp tip or point. The account of the Rabbins, as given by Lightfoot, adınits of being thus understood ; and the editor of Calmet, by whom it is supported (Frag: cxxviii.), gives two engravings, from Egyptian pictures, preserved by being buried in the ruins of Herculaneum, in which altars with such "horns” are represented. Moses merely mentions“ horns" in such a way as to lead us to suppose that such appendages were already well known to the Israelites ; and if they were merely conveniences involving no religious idea or principle, it is not impossible that they were much the same as in Egyptian altars. But it is unknown whether the altars of Egypt had such horns at all in the early times to which the Scripture narrative refers. We are much in the dark as to the use of these projections in the Hebrew altar of burnt offering. It is inferred from Psal. cxviii. 27 : “ Bind the sacrifice with cords unto the horns of the altar,” that these appendages were designed for the purpose of fastening the victim to the altar before it was slain. That the “ horns” were applied to this use is certainly possible ; but that this was their
1 Heb. he shewed.
primary intention seems to be rendered doubtful by the fact that the incense-altar, at which no bloody sacrifices were offered, also had horns. The horned Egyptian altars appear also to be altars of incense. It is possible that their presence had some connexion with the use of horns as symbols of sovereignty, glory, power, or strength.
9–19. “ The court of the tabernacle.”—This court or open inclosure, in which the tabernacle stood, was of an oblong figure of a hundred cubits (about fifty-eight yards) in length by half that breadth, and the height of the inclosing fence or curtain was five cubits, or nearly three yards, being half the height of the tabernacle. The inclosure was formed by a plain hanging of fine twined linen yarn, which seems to have been worked in an open or net-work texture, so that the people without might freely see the interior. The door-curtain was however of a different texture from the general hanging, being a great curtain of “fine twined linen” embroidered with blue, purple, and scarlet. It is described in precisely the same terms as the door-curtain of the tabernacle itself, which was not, as commonly stated, of the same fabric with the inner covering of the tabernacle and the vail before the holy of holies; for in the description of the two door-curtains there is no mention of the figures of cherubim and the fancy work (“cunning work) which decorated the inner covering and vail. The door-curtain of the court was furnished with cords, by which it might be drawn up or aside when the priests had occasion to enter. The curtains of this inclosure were hung upon sixty pillars of brass, standing on bases of the same metal, but with capitals and fillets of silver. (Compare the description in this chapter with that in chap. xxxviii.) The hooks also, to which the curtains were attached, were of silver. The entrance of the court was at the east end opposite that to the tabernacle, and between them stood the altar of burnt offering, but nearer to the door of the tabernacle than to that of the court. It is uncertain whether the brazen laver was interposed between the altar and the door of the tabernacle or not. Chap. xxx. 18, certainly conveys that impression ; but the Rabbins, who appear to have felt that nothing could properly interpose between the altar and tabernacle, say that the laver was indeed nearer to the tabernacle than was the altar, but still that it did not stand in the same line with the altar, but stood a little on one side to the south. As to the position of the tabernacle in the court, nothing is said in the Scriptures on the subject, but it seems less probable that it stood in the centre than that it was placed towards the farther or western extremity, so as to allow greater space for the services which were to be performed exclusively in front of the tabernacle.
7 It shall have the two shoulder-pieces 1 Aaron and his sons are set apart for the priest's thereof joined at the two edges thereof; and
so it shall be joined together. office. 2 Holy garments are appointed. 6 The ephod. 15 The breastplate with twelve precious
8 And the 'curious girdle of the ephod, 30 The Urim and Thummim. "31 The which is upon it, shall be of the same, acrobe of the ephod, with pomegranates and bells, cording to the work thereof; even of gold, of 36 The plate of the mitre. 39 The embroidered blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined 40 The garments for Aaron's sons.
linen. And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, 9 And thou shalt take two onyx stones, and his sons with him, from among the and grave on them the names of the children children of Israel, that he may minister of Israel: unto me in the priest's office, even Aaron, 10 Six of their names on one stone, and Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, the other six names of the rest on the other Aaron's sons.
stone, according to their birth. 2 And thou shalt make holy garments
11 With the work of an engraver in for Aaron thy brother for glory and for stone, like the engravings of a signet, shalt beauty.
the two stones with the names 3 Ånd thou shalt speak unto all that are of the children of Israel: thou shalt make wise hearted, whom I have filled with the them to be set in ouches of gold. spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron's 12 And thou shalt put the two stones garments to consecrate him, that he may upon the shoulders of the ephod for stones minister unto me in the priest's office. of memorial unto the children of Israel :
4 And these are the garments which they and Aaron shall bear their names before shall make; a breastplate, and an ephod, the LORD upon his two shoulders for a meand a robe, and a broidered coat, a mitre, morial. and a girdle: and they shall make holy 13 | And thou shalt make ouches of garments for Aaron thy brother, and his gold; sons, that he may minister unto me in the 14 And two chains of pure gold at the priest's office.
ends; of wreathen work shalt thou make 5 And they shall take gold, and blue, them, and fasten the wreathen chains to the and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen. ouches.
6 | And they shall make the ephod of 15 And thou shalt make the breastgold, of blue, and of purple, of scarlet
, and plate of judgment with cunning work; after fine twined linen, with cunning work. the work of the ephod thou shalt make it ;
1 Or embroidered.
2 Wisd, 18. 94.
of gold, of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, unto the holy place, for a memorial before and of fine twined linen, shalt thou make it. the LORD continually.
16 Foursquare it shall be being doubled; 30 9 And thou shalt put in the breasta span shall be the length thereof, and a plate of judgment the Urim and the Thumspan shall be the breadth thereof.
mim; and they shall be upon Aaron's heart, 17 And thou shalt 'set in it settings of when he goeth in before the Lord: and stones, even four rows of stones: the first row Aaron shall bear the judgment of the chilshall be a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle : dren of Israel upon his heart before the this shall be the first row.
Lord continually. 18 And the second row shall be an emerald, 31 | And thou shalt make the robe of a sapphire, and a diamond.
the ephod all of blue. 19 And the third row a ligure, an agate, 32 And there shall be an hole in the top and an amethyst.
of it, in the midst thereof: it shall have a 20 And the fourth row a beryl, and an binding of woven work round about the hole onyx, and a jasper : they shall be set in gold of it, as it were the hole of an habergeon, in their 'inclosings.
that it be not rent. 21 And the stones shall be with the names 33 9 And beneath upon the Shem of it of the children of Israel, twelve, according thou shalt make pomegranates of blue, and to their names, like the engravings of a of purple, and of scarlet, round about the signet; every one with his name shall they hem thereof; and bells of gold between be according to the twelve tribes.
them round about : 22 And thou shalt make upon the 34 A golden bell and a pomegranate, a breastplate chains at the ends of wreathen golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the work of pure gold.
hem of the robe round about. 23 And thou shalt make upon the breast- 35 ?And it shall be upon Aaron to miplate two rings of gold, and shalt put the nister: and his sound shall be heard when he two rings on the two ends of the breast- goeth in unto the holy place before the LORD, plate.
and when he cometh out, that he die not. 24 And thou shalt put the two wreathen 36 | And thou shalt make a plate of chains of gold in the two rings which are on pure gold, and grave upon it, like the enthe ends of the breastplate.
gravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO 25 And the other two ends of the two THE LORD. wreathen chains thou shalt fasten in the two 37 And thou shalt put it on a blue lace, ouches, and put them on the shoulderpieces that it may be upon the mitre; upon the of the ephod before it.
forefront of the mitre it shall be. 26 | And thou shalt make two rings of 38 And it shall be upon Aaron's fore. gold, and thou shalt put them upon the two head, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of ends of the breastplate in the border there the holy things, which the children of Israel of, which is in the side of the ephod in- shall hallow in all their holy gifts; and it ward.
shall be always upon his forehead, that they 27 And two other rings of gold thou shalt may be accepted before the Lord. make, and shalt put them on the two sides 39 | And thou shalt embroider the coat of the ephod underneath, toward the fore- of fine linen, and thou shalt make the mitre part thereof, over against the other coupling of fine linen, and thou shalt make the girdle thereof, above the curious girdle of the of needlework. ephod.
40 And for Aaron's sons thou shalt 28 And they shall bind the breastplate make coats, and thou shalt make for them by the rings thereof unto the rings of the girdles, and bonnets shalt thou make for ephod with a lace of blue, that it may be them, for glory and for beauty. above the curious girdle of the ephod, and 41 And thou shalt put them upon Aaron that the breastplate be not loosed from the thy brother, and his sons with him; and ephod.
shalt anoint them, and consecrate them, 29 And Aaron shall bear the names of and sanctify them, that they may minister the children of Israel in the breastplate of unto me in the priest's office. judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in 42 And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover 'their nakedness; from tabernacle of the congregation, or when they the loins even unto the thighs they shall come near unto the altar to minister in the reach :
4 Or runy.
5 Heb. fillings.
6 Or skirts.
7 Ecclus. 15. 9.
B Heb.fill their hand.
Heb. fill in it fillings of stone.
holy place; that they bear not iniquity, and 43 And they shall be upon Aaron, and die: it shall be a statute for ever unto him upon his sons, when they come in unto the and his seed after him.
Heb. flesh of their nakedness. 10 Heb.be.
Verse 3. Aaron's garments.”—The distinctive dress of Aaron as high-priest consisted of eight articles, some of which were peculiar to him, and others common to all the priests. We shall take them in the order in which the detailed description occurs.
6. “ The ephod.”—This appears to have been a sort of close robe or vest reaching from the shoulders to the loins. It was made of a rich cloth of fine linen, embroidered with blue, purple, scarlet, and gold. The inferior priests also wore ephods, but they were plain ones of linen. It does not appear that even these were worn at first by the common priests. But we afterwards read of common priests wearing ephods; and indeed Samuel, who was only a Levite, wore one ; and David, who was not even a Levite, did the same when he danced before the ark. On one occasion Saul consulted the Lord by Urim, and consequently used the ephod of the high-priest (1 Sam. xxviii
. 6): and on another occasion David did the same (1 Sam. xxx. 7).' It is thought by some, however, that Saul and David did not themselves use the ephod, but directed the priest to use it, and this seems the most probable interpretation. It is, however, an opinion entertained by some, that the kings had a right to wear the ephod, and to consult the Lord by Urim and Thummim without the intervention of the priest.
8. “ Girdle of the ephod.”—Some think this means the materials of the shoulder-pieces mentioned in the following verse, but this does not agree with verse 28, where the breast-plate is described as being above the curious girdle of the ephod. It seems better to understand it as a girdle, of the same materials as the ephod, and by which that garment was confined around the body of the high-priest.
9. “ Onyx siones."--The bindings above the shoulders had the name of shoulder-pieces (verse 7), and seem to have been of the same rich cloth as the ephod itself ; they had on each shoulder an ouch or socket of gold containing an onyx stone, on which the names of the tribes of Israel were engraved, as in a seal, six on each shoulder. The Rabbins say that Joseph's name was spelt with a letter more than ordinary, that there might be exactly twenty-five letters on each stone.
15--29.“ A breastplate.”—This was a piece of rich cloth set with twelve precious stones, one for each tribe of Israel, the size and beauty of which, according to Josephus, placed this ornament beyond the purchase of men. The cloth was of the same embroidered stuff as the outer robe or ephod over which it was placed, and this stuff was doubled, the better to hold the precious stones with which it was set.
When thus doubled it was a span er nine inches) square. There was at each corner a ring of gold, to the two uppermost of which were attached wreathed chains of gold, by which the breastplate was fastened to the shoulder-pieces of the ephod; and the two under rings were furnished with blue laces, to be fastened to rings in the embroidered girdle of the ephod.
17. “ Sardius” (Olem).—The carnelian of the moderns ; its ancient name, oopdov, seems to have been taken from Sardus, or Sarilinia, where it was originally found. The Hebrew, intimating redness, is very well applied to a gem that is generally of a red colour, though there be varieties which are of a fame and of a pearl tincture, from the East Indies. The finest specimens come frům Surat, a large city near the gulf of Cambay, in the north-western shores of India. It is found in the channels of torrents of Hindostan, in nodules of a black olive passing into grey. After exposure for some weeks to the sun, these are subjected to heat in earthen pots, whence proceed those lively colours for which they are valued in jewellery.
Topaz” (Pitda, Tora Liow).- The topaz of the ancients is generally understood to be our modern chrysolite. This gem is not remarkable for its hardness, being scratched by quartz. It is of a green colour, declining to a yellow, and of a splendent external lustre. It comes from Egypt, where it is found in alluvial strata. According to the analysis of Klaproth, every hundred parts of this gem contain nineteen of the oxide of iron, to which the green may be owing.
“ Carbuncle” (Boreketh, cev Ipceš). — The precious or noble garnet appears to agree best with the area of Theophrastus, which, when held to the sun, resembles a burning coal-agos di Tóv 2100 Fudiuesvov, ävs pazos xuvokivév Tusi zpoás. The colour of the precious garnet, it is well known, is of a deep red, sometimes falling into a blue. The best garnets are from Pegu in the Birman empire. The ancients obtained the most esteemed from Africa, whence they were called Garamantine and Carthaginian.
18. “ Emerald” (Nophek).—The precious emerald is well characterized by its green colour, of various depths. In value it ranks next after the ruby, and is nearly as hard as the topaz. The best that are brought to this country come from Peru, but India may have afforded as good in the time of Moses.
Sapphire.”—See Exod. xxiv. 10. “ Diamond” (Yahlom, ico715, or jasper of the Septuagint).—The diamond is composed of layers, which by an adroit application of force may be parted from each other, though the layers themselves are so hard as to resist any kind of force. This observation explains and accounts for conflicting statements which have sometimes been made in reference to the hardness of the diamond.
19. “ Ligure” (avyupiov, Leshem).—The Lapis Lyncurius of the ancients agrees best with our hyacinth, as being of a red colour for the most part, Fugga, and in being electric, a property ascribed to the Lapis Lyncurius, o augxupisy, of Theophrastus. Those known to us are brought from the south of Europe.
Agate” (Shebo, exótns).-- The original term seems to hint at the variety of colours and figurations of the agate. The agate takes a fine polish, which brings out those beautiful forms so much admired in that variety called Mocha stone.
Amethyst” (Achlama).—The Oriental amethyst is a gem of a violet colour and great brilliancy, and is said to be as hard as the ruby and sapphire. It comes from Persia, Arabia, Armenia, and the East Indies. Those that commonly pass under the name of amethysts are merely pieces of quartz tinged with a rosy or vinous colour.
20. “ Beryl” (Tarshish).- The beryl, or, as the most valuable kind is called, aqua marine, resembles the emerald in colour, but is superior to it in hardness. It is in fact considered by some as a species of emerald. Its green often passes into a honey yellow and sky-blue. It is found in the Altaic chain of mountains in Siberia, and in Limoges in France, as well as in Brazil.
Onyx.”—See Gen. ii. 12. “ Jasper" (Yashpheh).- Our word jasper is plainly from icotis, which comes from Dwi of the Hebrew. Jasper is a species of the quartz family, and embraces a great many varieties. The brown Egyptian variety was perhaps the one selected for the breastplate. The brown is of various shades disposed in concentric stripes, alternating with black stripes. It occurs loose in the sands of Egypt, and is cut into ornaments.
30. “ Urim and Thummim.”—Much ingenious speculation has been brought to bear on the subject of the Urim and Thummim, through which the high-priest obtained responses from God. The questions on which the discussion has turned have been: Were the urim and thummim distinct from or identical with the precious stones of the breastplate? if distinct, what were they? and in what manner were they instrumental in obtaining answers from God to the questions of the high-priest? The word urim (Q'78) means “lights,” and the word thummim (D'O) “ perfections," and might be very well applicable to the precious stones of the breastplate, if taken as epithets instead of names. The most judicious interpreters are generally disposed to concur in the statement of Josephus, that the urim and thummim were identical with the precious stones. It does indeed seem remarkable that, had they been something separate, they should not have been described in this minute statement; and we are inclined to think, that a careful examination of the different texts will leave little doubt as to their identity. In the description of the breastplate in chap. xxxix. 8-21, the urim and thummim are not mentioned, but the precious stones are ; while in the description in Levit
. viii. 8, the urim and thummim are mentioned, but not the stones, from whence it is obvious to infer that they were the same things. Even the text before us, as compared with the preceding verse, can only be well understood by supposing the urim and thummim to be the substance on which the names of the tribes were engraven. In the previous verse Aaron is directed to wear the names upon his heart before the LORD continually; and in the present text he is directed to wear the urim