26:1 1 “The tabernacle itself 2 you are to make with 3 ten curtains of fine twisted linen and blue and purple and scarlet; 4 you are to make them with 5 cherubim that are the work of an artistic designer. 26:2 The length of each 6 curtain is to be forty-two feet, and the width of each curtain is to be six feet 7 – the same size for each of the curtains.
1 sn This chapter is given over to the details of the structure itself, the curtains, coverings, boards and walls and veil. The passage can be studied on one level for its function both practically and symbolically for Israel’s worship. On another level it can be studied for its typology, for the tabernacle and many of its parts speak of Christ. For this one should see the commentaries.
2 tn The word order in Hebrew thrusts the direct object to the front for particular emphasis. After the first couple of pieces of furniture are treated (chap. 25), attention turns to the tabernacle itself.
3 tn This is for the adverbial accusative explaining how the dwelling place is to be made.
4 sn S. R. Driver suggests that the curtains were made with threads dyed with these colors (Exodus, 280). Perhaps the colored threads were used for embroidering the cherubim in the curtains.
5 tn The construction is difficult in this line because of the word order. “Cherubim” is an adverbial accusative explaining how they were to make the curtains. And מַעֲשֵׂה חֹשֵׁב (ma’aseh khoshev) means literally “work of a designer”; it is in apposition to “cherubim.” The Hebrew participle means “designer” or “deviser” so that one could render this “of artistic designs in weaving” (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 280-81). B. Jacob says that it refers to “artistic weavers” (Exodus, 789).
6 tn Heb “one” (so KJV).
7 tn Heb “twenty-eight cubits” long and “four cubits” wide.
8 sn This chapter will show that there were two sets of curtains and two sets of coverings that went over the wood building to make the tabernacle or dwelling place. The curtains of fine linen described above could be seen only by the priests from inside. Above that was the curtain of goats’ hair. Then over that were the coverings, an inner covering of rams’ skins dyed red and an outer covering of hides of fine leather. The movement is from the inside to the outside because it is God’s dwelling place; the approach of the worshiper would be the opposite. The pure linen represented the righteousness of God, guarded by the embroidered cherubim; the curtain of goats’ hair was a reminder of sin through the daily sin offering of a goat; the covering of rams’ skins dyed red was a reminder of the sacrifice and the priestly ministry set apart by blood, and the outer covering marked the separation between God and the world. These are the interpretations set forth by Kaiser; others vary, but not greatly (see W. C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exodus,” EBC 2:459).
9 sn This curtain will serve “for a tent over the tabernacle,” as a dwelling place.
10 tn Heb “you will make them”