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Exodus 25:23-30

The Table for the Bread of the Presence

25:23 1 “You are to make a table of acacia wood; its length is to be three feet, its width one foot six inches, and its height two feet three inches. 25:24 You are to overlay it with 2  pure gold, and you are to make a surrounding border of gold for it. 25:25 You are to make a surrounding frame 3  for it about three inches broad, and you are to make a surrounding border of gold for its frame. 25:26 You are to make four rings of gold for it and attach 4  the rings at the four corners where its four legs are. 5  25:27 The rings are to be close to the frame to provide places 6  for the poles to carry the table. 25:28 You are to make the poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold, so that the table may be carried with them. 7  25:29 You are to make its plates, 8  its ladles, 9  its pitchers, and its bowls, to be used in pouring out offerings; 10  you are to make them of pure gold. 25:30 You are to set the Bread of the Presence 11  on the table before me continually.

1 sn The Table of the Bread of the Presence (Tyndale’s translation, “Shewbread,” was used in KJV and influenced ASV, NAB) was to be a standing acknowledgment that Yahweh was the giver of daily bread. It was called the “presence-bread” because it was set out in his presence. The theology of this is that God provides, and the practice of this is that the people must provide for constant thanks. So if the ark speaks of communion through atonement, the table speaks of dedicatory gratitude.

2 tn “Gold” is an adverbial accusative of material.

3 sn There is some debate as to the meaning of מִסְגֶּרֶת (misgeret). This does not seem to be a natural part of the table and its legs. The drawing on the Arch of Titus shows two cross-stays in the space between the legs, about halfway up. It might have been nearer the top, but the drawing of the table of presence-bread from the arch shows it half-way up. This frame was then decorated with the molding as well.

4 tn Heb “give.”

5 tn Heb “which [are] to four of its feet.”

6 tn Heb “houses”; NAB, NASB “holders.”

7 tn The verb is a Niphal perfect with vav consecutive, showing here the intended result: “so that [the table] might be lifted up [by them].” The noun “the table” is introduced by what looks like the sign of the accusative, but here it serves to introduce or emphasize the nominative (see GKC 365 §117.i).

8 tn Or “a deep gold dish.” The four nouns in this list are items associated with the table and its use.

9 tn Or “cups” (NAB, TEV).

10 tn The expression “for pouring out offerings” represents Hebrew אֲשֶׁר יֻסַּךְ בָּהֵן (’asher yussakh bahen). This literally says, “which it may be poured out with them,” or “with which [libations] may be poured out.”

11 sn The name basically means that the bread is to be set out in the presence of Yahweh. The custom of presenting bread on a table as a thank offering is common in other cultures as well. The bread here would be placed on the table as a symbol of the divine provision for the twelve tribes – continually, because they were to express their thanksgiving continually. Priests could eat the bread after certain times. Fresh bread would be put there regularly.

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