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Exodus 36:8-38

Context
The Building of the Tabernacle

36:8 All the skilled among those who were doing the work made the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twisted linen and blue and purple and scarlet; they were made with cherubim that were the work of an artistic designer. 36:9 The length of one curtain was forty-two feet, and the width of one curtain was six feet – the same size for each of the curtains. 36:10 He joined 1  five of the curtains to one another, and the other 2  five curtains he joined to one another. 36:11 He made loops of blue material along the edge of the end curtain in the first set; he did the same along the edge of the end curtain in the second set. 36:12 He made fifty loops on the first curtain, and he made fifty loops on the end curtain that was in the second set, with the loops opposite one another. 36:13 He made fifty gold clasps and joined the curtains together to one another with the clasps, so that the tabernacle was a unit. 3 

36:14 He made curtains of goats’ hair for a tent over the tabernacle; he made eleven curtains. 4  36:15 The length of one curtain was forty-five feet, and the width of one curtain was six feet – one size for all eleven curtains. 36:16 He joined five curtains by themselves and six curtains by themselves. 36:17 He made fifty loops along the edge of the end curtain in the first set and fifty loops along the edge of the curtain that joined the second set. 36:18 He made fifty bronze clasps to join the tent together so that it might be a unit. 5  36:19 He made a covering for the tent out of ram skins dyed red and over that a covering of fine leather. 6 

36:20 He made the frames 7  for the tabernacle of acacia wood 8  as uprights. 9  36:21 The length of each 10  frame was fifteen feet, the width of each 11  frame was two and a quarter feet, 36:22 with 12  two projections per frame parallel one to another. 13  He made all the frames of the tabernacle in this way. 36:23 So he made frames for the tabernacle: twenty frames for the south side. 36:24 He made forty silver bases under the twenty frames – two bases under the first frame for its two projections, and likewise 14  two bases under the next frame for its two projections, 36:25 and for the second side of the tabernacle, the north side, he made twenty frames 36:26 and their forty silver bases, two bases under the first frame and two bases under the next 15  frame. 36:27 And for the back of the tabernacle on the west he made six frames. 36:28 He made two frames for the corners of the tabernacle on the back. 36:29 At the two corners 16  they were doubled at the lower end and 17  finished together at the top in one ring. So he did for both. 36:30 So there were eight frames and their silver bases, sixteen bases, two bases under each frame.

36:31 He made bars of acacia wood, five for the frames on one side of the tabernacle 36:32 and five bars for the frames on the second side of the tabernacle, and five bars for the frames of the tabernacle for the back side on the west. 36:33 He made the middle bar to reach from end to end in the center of the frames. 36:34 He overlaid the frames with gold and made their rings of gold to provide places 18  for the bars, and he overlaid the bars with gold.

36:35 He made the special curtain of blue, purple, and scarlet yarn and fine twisted linen; he made 19  it with cherubim, the work of an artistic designer. 36:36 He made for it four posts of acacia wood and overlaid them with gold, with gold hooks, 20  and he cast for them four silver bases.

36:37 He made a hanging for the entrance of the tent of blue, purple, and scarlet yarn and fine twisted linen, the work of an embroiderer, 36:38 and its five posts and their hooks. He overlaid their tops 21  and their bands with gold, but their five bases were bronze. 22 

1 tn The verb is singular since it probably is referring to Bezalel, but since he would not do all the work himself, it may be that the verbs could be given a plural subject: “they joined.”

2 tn The words “the other” have been supplied.

3 tn Heb “one.”

4 tn Heb “eleven curtains he made them.”

5 tn The construction uses the infinitive construct from the verb “to be” to express this purpose clause: “to be one,” or, “so that it might be a unit.”

6 tn See the note on this phrase in Exod 25:5.

7 tn There is debate whether the word הַקְּרָשִׁים (haqqÿrashim) means “boards” or “frames” or “planks” (see Ezek 27:6) or “beams,” given the size of them. The literature on this includes M. Haran, “The Priestly Image of the Tabernacle,” HUCA 36 (1965): 192; B. A. Levine, “The Description of the Tabernacle Texts of the Pentateuch,” JAOS 85 (1965): 307-18; J. Morgenstern, “The Ark, the Ephod, and the Tent,” HUCA 17 (1942/43): 153-265; 18 (1943/44): 1-52.

8 tn “Wood” is an adverbial accusative.

9 tn The plural participle “standing” refers to how these items will be situated; they will be vertical rather than horizontal (U. Cassuto, Exodus, 354).

10 tn Heb “the frame.”

11 tn Heb “the one.”

12 tn Heb “two hands to the one frame.”

13 tn Heb “joined one to one.”

14 tn The clause is repeated to show the distributive sense; it literally says, “and two bases under the one frame for its two projections.”

15 tn Heb “under the one frame” again.

16 tn This is the last phrase of the verse, moved forward for clarity.

17 tn This difficult verse uses the perfect tense at the beginning, and the second clause parallels it with יִהְיוּ (yihyu), which has to be taken here as a preterite without the consecutive vav (ו). The predicate “finished” or “completed” is the word תָּמִּים (tammim); it normally means “complete, sound, whole,” and related words describe the sacrifices as without blemish.

18 tn Literally “houses”; i.e., places to hold the bars.

19 tn The verb is simply “he made” but as in Exod 26:31 it probably means that the cherubim were worked into the curtain with the yarn, and so embroidered on the curtain.

20 tn Heb “and their hooks gold.”

21 tn The word is “their heads”; technically it would be “their capitals” (so ASV, NAB, NRSV). The bands were bands of metal surrounding these capitals just beneath them. These are not mentioned in Exod 26:37, and it sounds like the posts are to be covered with gold. But the gradation of metals is what is intended: the posts at the entrance to the Most Holy Place are all of gold; the posts at the entrance to the tent are overlaid with gold at the top; and the posts at the entrance to the courtyard are overlaid with silver at the top (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 387, citing Dillmann without reference).

22 sn For a good summary of the differences between the instruction section and the completion section, and the reasons for the changes and the omissions, see B. Jacob, Exodus, 1022-23.



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