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Exodus 25:31-40

Context
The Lampstand

25:31 1 “You are to make a lampstand 2  of pure gold. The lampstand is to be made of hammered metal; its base and its shaft, its cups, 3  its buds, and its blossoms are to be from the same piece. 4  25:32 Six branches are to extend from the sides of the lampstand, 5  three branches of the lampstand from one side of it and three branches of the lampstand from the other side of it. 6  25:33 Three cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms are to be on one branch, and three cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms are to be on the next 7  branch, and the same 8  for the six branches extending from the lampstand. 25:34 On the lampstand there are to be four cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms, 25:35 with a bud under the first 9  two branches from it, and a bud under the next 10  two branches from it, and a bud under the third 11  two branches from it, according to the six branches that extend from the lampstand. 25:36 Their buds and their branches will be one piece, 12  all of it one hammered piece of pure gold.

25:37 “You are to make its seven lamps, 13  and then set 14  its lamps up on it, so that it will give light 15  to the area in front of it. 25:38 Its trimmers and its trays 16  are to be 17  of pure gold. 25:39 About seventy-five pounds 18  of pure gold is to be used for it 19  and for all these utensils. 25:40 Now be sure to make 20  them according to the pattern you were shown 21  on the mountain. 22 

Exodus 37:17-24

Context
The Making of the Lampstand

37:17 He made the lampstand of pure gold. He made the lampstand of hammered metal; its base and its shaft, its cups, its buds, and its blossoms were from the same piece. 23  37:18 Six branches were extending from its sides, three branches of the lampstand from one side of it, and three branches of the lampstand from the other side of it. 37:19 Three cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms were on the first branch, and three cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms were on the next 24  branch, and the same 25  for the six branches that were extending from the lampstand. 37:20 On the lampstand there were four cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms, 37:21 with a bud under the first two branches from it, and a bud under the next two branches from it, and a bud under the third two branches from it; according to the six branches that extended from it. 26  37:22 Their buds and their branches were of one piece; 27  all of it was one hammered piece of pure gold. 37:23 He made its seven lamps, its trimmers, and its trays of pure gold. 37:24 He made the lampstand 28  and all its accessories with seventy-five pounds of pure gold.

1 sn Clearly the point here is to provide light in the tent for access to God. He provided for his worshipers a light for the way to God, but he also wanted them to provide oil for the lamp to ensure that the light would not go out. Verses 31-36 describe the piece. It was essentially one central shaft, with three branches on either side turned out and upward. The stem and the branches were ornamented every so often with gold that was formed into the shape of the calyx and corolla of the almond flower. On top of the central shaft and the six branches were the lamps.

2 tn The word is מְנֹרָה (mÿnorah) – here in construct to a following genitive of material. The main piece was one lampstand, but there were seven lamps on the shaft and its branches. See E. Goodenough, “The Menorah among the Jews of the Roman World,” HUCA 23 (1950/51): 449-92.

3 sn U. Cassuto (Exodus, 342-44) says that the description “the cups, knobs and flowers” is explained in vv. 32-36 as three decorations in the form of a cup, shaped like an almond blossom, to be made on one branch. Every cup will have two parts, (a) a knob, that is, the receptacle at the base of the blossom, and (b) a flower, which is called the corolla, so that each lamp rests on top of a flower.

4 tn Heb “will be from/of it”; the referent (“the same piece” of wrought metal) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

5 tn Heb “from the sides of it.”

6 tn Heb “from the second side.”

7 tn The text uses “one” again; “the one…the one” means “the one…and the next” in the distributive sense.

8 tn Heb “thus.”

9 tn For clarity the phrase “the first” has been supplied.

10 tn For clarity the phrase “the next” has been supplied.

11 tn For clarity the phrase “the third” has been supplied.

12 tn Heb “will be from it.”

13 tn The word for “lamps” is from the same root as the lampstand, of course. The word is נֵרוֹת (nerot). This probably refers to the small saucer-like pottery lamps that are made very simply with the rim pinched over to form a place to lay the wick. The bowl is then filled with olive oil as fuel.

14 tn The translation “set up on” is from the Hebrew verb “bring up.” The construction is impersonal, “and he will bring up,” meaning “one will bring up.” It may mean that people were to fix the lamps on to the shaft and the branches, rather than cause the light to go up (see S. R. Driver, Exodus, 277).

15 tn This is a Hiphil perfect with vav consecutive, from אוֹר (’or, “light”), and in the causative, “to light, give light.”

16 sn The first word refers to something like small tongs or tweezers used to pull up and trim the wicks; the second word refers to fire-pans or censers.

17 tn “are to be” has been supplied.

18 tn Heb “a talent.”

19 tn The text has “he will make it” or “one will make it.” With no expressed subject it is given a passive translation.

20 tn The text uses two imperatives: “see and make.” This can be interpreted as a verbal hendiadys, calling for Moses and Israel to see to it that they make these things correctly.

21 tn The participle is passive, “caused to see,” or, “shown.”

22 sn The message of this section surely concerns access to God. To expound this correctly, though, since it is an instruction section for building the lampstand, the message would be: God requires that his people ensure that light will guide the way of access to God. The breakdown for exposition could be the instructions for preparation for light (one lamp, several branches), then instructions for the purpose and maintenance of the lamps, and then the last verse telling the divine source for the instructions. Naturally, the metaphorical value of light will come up in the study, especially from the NT. So in the NT there is the warning that if churches are unfaithful God will remove their lampstand, their ministry (Rev 2-3).

23 tn Heb “from it”; the referent (“the same piece” of wrought metal) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

24 tn Heb “the one branch.” But the repetition of “one…one” means here one after another, or the “first” and then the “next.”

25 tn Heb “thus for six branches….”

26 tn As in Exod 26:35, the translation of “first” and “next” and “third” is interpretive, because the text simply says “under two branches” in each of three places.

27 tn Heb “were from it.”

28 tn Heb “it”; the referent (the lampstand) has been specified in the translation for clarity.



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