The Edifice of the Tabernacle
Exodus 25:1-9
And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,…

Moses received on Sinai not only a command to make the Tabernacle, but plans and specifications according to which the work was to be executed. Its ground-plan was a parallelogram forty-five feet in length, and fifteen feet in width. The material was of shittim, a species of acacia, the timber of which has a rich black colour like ebony, and is eminently light, solid, strong, and smooth. The frame of the Tabernacle consisted of forty-eight pieces of this acacia wood standing on end. Eight of them were at the rear, and twenty on each side; the front being left open to be covered with a curtain. They were each fifteen feet long, and, unless the two outside pieces on the rear end were exceptions, twenty-seven inches wide. The description of the corner planks is obscure, but favours the opinion that each consisted of two pieces fastened together at a right angle; so that it was a corner-plank not merely because it stood at the corner, but because it formed an angle. On the lower end of each of the planks, two tenons were wrought, to correspond with mortises in the sills on which it was to stand. Possibly there were also tenons and mortises on the edges where the planks came together; but of this we have no certain knowledge. Such a connection of one plank with another, by tenon and mortise, would give greater strength to the frame, but might not be necessary in addition to the horizontal bars which bound the planks together. There were five such bars on each side, and five on the rear, made of acacia wood, and overlaid with gold. These gilded planks when erected, stood on a base, or sill, of silver, which extended perhaps a little way both outward and inward, from the wall termed by the planks, and was divided into twice as many pieces as there were planks; so that each of the latter stood on two separate pieces of the base, one of its two tenons being inserted into a corresponding cavity in each division of the base. Besides the planks which formed the wall of the Tabernacle, there were four pillars, to support a curtain across the interior of the building, dividing it into two apartments, and five pillars to support another curtain over the entrance at the east end of the edifice. The four pillars for the partition-curtain stood on sills, or socket-pieces of silver, and the five for the entrance-curtain on sills of copper. The wooden frame of the Tabernacle having been prepared, it was necessary to cover it with suitable hangings, or curtains. Of these there were four layers; the innermost so far excelling the others in importance, that it was sometimes denominated "The Tabernacle," as if all else appertaining to the edifice were subsidiary to this. The frame, indeed, seems to have been chiefly designed to give support to the beautiful drapery with which it was covered. In the conception of a Hebrew travelling through the wilderness from Sinai to Canaan, the Tabernacle where Jehovah dwelt was of cloth, as was his own habitation. It was, indeed, of a more beautiful fabric than the other tents of the encampment, which were doubtless of goats' hair, like those of the nomadic inhabitants of the same region at the present day, while the Tabernacle of God was of fine linen variegated with brilliant colours. The several parts of the sanctuary having been constructed, it still remained to make an enclosure for the court in which it was to stand. The prescribed dimensions of this area were one hundred and fifty feet for the length, and seventy-five feet for the width. It was to be enclosed with hangings of cloth made of fine white linen, not interwoven, like the curtains of the Tabernacle, with figures and colours, but, so far as appears, woven plain. That portion of it, however, which covered the entrance-way at the east end of the court, was variegated with colours of blue, purple, and crimson. The height of these hangings was seven feet and a half; and they were suspended on pillars by means of silver hooks, the pillars standing on sills of copper. The distance between these pillars was equal to the height of the hangings, i.e., seven and a half feet. They were connected by a silver rod, or fillet, extending from one capital to another. The Tabernacle was to stand near the western end of this enclosure, and midway, doubtless, between its northern and southern curtains. A large area was therefore left in front of the edifice for the performance of those rites of worship which were appropriate to the place.

(E. E. Atwater.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

WEB: Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,

The Divine Purpose in the Erection of a Tabernacle
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