Exodus 26


The ten curtains of the tabernacle, and of what composed, 1.

Their length, 2, 3;

their loops, 4, 5;

their taches, 6.

The curtains of goats' hair for a covering, 7;

their length and breadth, 8.

Coupled with loops, 9, 10,

and taches, 11.

The remnant of the curtains, how to be employed, 12, 13.

The covering of rams' skins, 14.

The boards of the tabernacle for the south side, 15;

their length, 16,

tenons, 17,

number, 18,

sockets, 19.

Boards, &c., for the north side, 20, 21.

Boards, &c., for the west side, 22;

for the corners, 23;

their rings and sockets, 24, 25.

The bars of the tabernacle, 26-30.

The veil, its pillars, hooks, and taches, 31-33.

How to place the mercy-seat, 34.

The table and the candlestick, 35.

The hanging for the door of the tent, 36;

and the hangings for the pillars, 37.


Verse 1. Thou shalt make the tabernacle] mischan, from

shachan, to dwell, means simply a dwelling place or

habitation of any kind, but here it means the dwelling place of

Jehovah, who, as a king in his camp, had his dwelling or pavilion

among his people, his table always spread, his lamps lighted, and

the priests, &c., his attendants, always in waiting. From the

minute and accurate description here given, a good workman, had he

the same materials, might make a perfect fac simile of the ancient

Jewish tabernacle. It was a movable building, and so constructed

that it might be easily taken to pieces, for the greater

convenience of carriage, as they were often obliged to transport

it from place to place, in their various journeyings. For the

twined linen, blue, purple, and scarlet,

See Clarke on Ex 25:4, &c.

Cherubims] See Clarke on Ex 25:18.

Cunning work] chosheb probably means a sort of diaper,

in which the figures appear equally perfect on both sides; this

was probably formed in the loom. Another kind of curious work is

mentioned, Ex 26:36,

rokem, which we term needle-work; this was probably similar to our

embroidery, tapestry, or cloth of arras. It has been thought

unlikely that these curious works were all manufactured in the

wilderness: what was done in the loom, they might have brought

with them from Egypt; what could be done by hand, without the use

of complex machinery, the Israelitish women could readily perform

with their needles, during their stay in the wilderness. But

still it seems probable that they brought even their looms with

them. The whole of this account shows that not only necessary but

ornamental arts had been carried to a considerable pitch of

perfection, both among the Israelites and Egyptians.

The inner curtains of the tabernacle were ten in number, and

each in length twenty-eight cubits, and four in breadth; about

sixteen yards twelve inches long, and two yards twelve

inches broad. The curtains were to be coupled together, five and

five of a side, by fifty loops, Ex 26:5, and as many golden

clasps, Ex 26:6, so that each might look like one curtain, and

the whole make one entire covering, which was the first.

Verse 7. Curtains of goats' hair] Stuff made of goats' hair.

See Clarke on Ex 25:4.

This was the second covering.

Verse 14. Rams' skins dyed red] See Clarke on Ex 25:5.

This was the third covering; and what is called the badgers' skins

was the fourth. See Clarke on Ex 25:5. Why there should

have been four coverings does not appear. They might have been

designed partly for respect; and partly to keep off dust and dirt,

and the extremely fine sand which in that desert rises as it were

on every breeze; and partly to keep off the intense heat of the

sun, which would otherwise have destroyed the poles, bars, boards,

and the whole of the wood work. As to the conjecture of some that

"the four coverings were intended the better to keep off the

rain," it must appear unfounded to those who know that in that

desert rain was rarely ever seen.

Verse 15. Thou shalt make boards] These formed what might be

called the walls of the tabernacle, and were made of shittim wood,

the acacia Nilotica, which Dr. Shaw says grows here in abundance.

To have worked the acacia into these boards or planks, the

Israelites must have had sawyers, joiners, &c., among them; but

how they got the tools is a question. But as the Israelites were

the general workmen of Egypt, and were brought up to every kind of

trade for the service of their oppressors, we may naturally

suppose that every artificer brought off some of his tools with

him. For though it is not at all likely that they had any armour

or defensive weapons in their power, yet for the reason above

assigned they must have had the implements which were requisite

for their respective trades.

Verse 16. Ten cubits shall be the length of a board] Each of

these boards or planks was about five yards and two feet and a

half long, and thirty-two inches broad; and as they are said to be

standing up, this was the HEIGHT of the tabernacle. The length

being thirty cubits, twenty boards, one cubit and a half

broad each, make about seventeen yards and a half, and the BREADTH

was about five yards.

Verse 29. Thou shalt overlay the boards with gold] It is not

said how thick the gold was by which these boards, &c., were

overlaid; it was no doubt done with gold plates, but these must

have been very thin, else the boards, &c., must have been

insupportably heavy. The gold was probably something like our

gold leaf, but not brought to so great a degree of tenuity.

Verse 31. Thou shalt make a veil.] parocheth, from

parach, to break or rend; the inner veil of the tabernacle

or temple, (2Ch 3:14,)

which broke, interrupted, or divided between the holy place and

the most holy; the Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into

the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first

tabernacle was standing. Compare Heb 9:8. The Septuagint

constantly render it by καταπετασμα. Does not the Hebrew name

parocheth moreover intimate the typical correspondence of

this veil to the body or flesh of Christ? For this καταπετασμα

or veil was his flesh, (Heb 10:20,) which, being

rent, affords us a new and living way into the holiest of all,

i.e., into heaven itself. Compare Heb 10:19, 20; 9:24. And

accordingly when his blessed body was rent upon the cross, this

veil also (τοκαταπετασματουιερου) εσχισθη, was RENT in

twain from the top to the bottom; Mt 27:51.-See

Parkhurst, under the word .

The veil in the tabernacle was exceedingly costly; it was made

of the same materials with the inner covering, blue, purple,

scarlet, fine twined linen, embroidered with cherubim, &c. It

served to divide the tabernacle into two parts: one, the

outermost, called the holy place; the other, or innermost, called

the holy of holies, or the most holy place. In this was deposited

the ark of the covenant, and the other things that were laid up by

way of memorial. Into this the high priest alone was permitted to

enter, and that only once in the year, on the great day of

atonement. It was in this inner place that Jehovah manifested

himself between the cherubim. The Jews say that this veil was

four fingers' breadth in thickness, in order to prevent any person

from seeing through it; but for this, as Calmet observes, there

was no necessity, as there was no window or place for light in the

tabernacle, and consequently the most simple veil would have been

sufficient to obstruct the discovery of any thing behind it, which

could only be discerned by the light that came in at the door, or

by that afforded by the golden candlestick which stood on the

outside of this veil.

Verse 32. Their hooks shall be of gold] vaveyhem,

which we translate their hooks, is rendered κεφαλιδες, capitals,

by the Septuagint, and capita by the Vulgate. As the word

vav or vau, plural vavim, occurs only in this book,

Ex 26:32, 37; 27:10, 11, 17; 36:36, 38; 38:10-12, 17, 19, 28; and

is used in these places in reference to the same subject, it is

very difficult to ascertain its precise meaning. Most

commentators and lexicographers think that the ideal meaning of

the word is to connect, attach, join to, hook; and that the letter

vau has its name from its hooklike form, and its use as a

particle in the Hebrew language, because it serves to connect the

words and members of a sentence, and the sentences of a discourse

together, and that therefore hook must be the obvious meaning of

the word in all the above texts. Calmet thinks this reason of no

weight, because the vau of the present Hebrew alphabet is widely

dissimilar from the vau of the primitive Hebrew alphabet, as may

be seen on the ancient shekels; on these the characters appear as

in the word JEHOVAH, Ex 28:36. This form bears no resemblance to

a hook; nor does the Samaritan [Samaritan] vau, which appears to

have been copied from this ancient character.

Calmet therefore contends, 1. That if Moses does not mean the

capitals of the pillars by the vavim of the text, he

mentions them nowhere; and it would be strange that while he

describes the pillars, their sockets, bases, fillets, &c., &c.,

with so much exactness, as will appear on consulting the preceding

places, that he should make no mention of the capitals; or that

pillars, every way so correctly formed, should have been destitute

of this very necessary ornament.

2. As Moses was commanded to make the hooks, vavim, of the

pillars and their fillets of silver, Ex 27:10, 11, and the hooks,

vavim, of the pillars of the veil of gold, Ex 36:36; and as

one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five shekels were

employed in making these hooks, vavim, overlaying their chapiters,

rasheyhem, their heads, and filleting them, Ex 38:28; it

is more reasonable to suppose that all this is spoken of the

capitals of the pillars than of any kind of hooks, especially as

hooks are mentioned under the word taches or clasps in other

places. On the whole it appears much more reasonable to translate

the original by capitals than by hooks.

After this verse the Samaritan Pentateuch introduces the ten

first verses of chap. xxx., and this appears to be their proper

place. Those ten verses are not repeated in the thirtieth chapter

in the Samaritan, the chapter beginning with the 11th verse.

Verse 36. A hanging for the door of the tent] This may be called

the first veil, as it occupied the door or entrance to the

tabernacle; the veil that separated the holy place from the holy

of holies is called the second veil, Heb 9:3. These two veils

and the inner covering of the tabernacle were all of the same

materials, and of the same workmanship. See Ex 27:16.

1. FOR the meaning and design of the tabernacle

See Clarke on Ex 25:40: and while the reader is struck

with the curious and costly nature of this building, as described

by Moses, let him consider how pure and holy that Church should be

of which it was a very expressive type; and what manner of person

he should be in all holy conversation and godliness, who professes

to be a member of that Church for which, it is written, Christ has

given himself, that he might sanctify and cleanse it; that he

might present it unto himself a glorious Church, not having spot,

or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and

without blemish. See Eph 5:25-27.

2. In the Jewish tabernacle almost every thing was placed out of

the sight of the people. The holy of holies was inaccessible, the

testimony was comparatively hidden, as were also the mercy-seat

and the Divine glory. Under the Gospel all these things are laid

open, the way to the holiest is made manifest, the veil is rent,

and we have an entrance to the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a

new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the

veil, that is to say, his flesh; Heb 10:19, 20. How abundantly

has God brought life and immortality to light by the Gospel! The

awful distance is abolished, the ministry of reconciliation is

proclaimed, the kingdom of heaven is opened to all believers, and

the Lord is in his holy temple. Sinner, weary of thyself and thy

transgressions, fainting under the load of thy iniquities, look to

Jesus; he died for thee, and will save thee. Believer, stand fast

in the liberty wherewith God has made thee free, and be not

entangled again in the yoke of bondage.

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