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Exodus 26:1-13

Context
The Tabernacle

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. 26:3 Five curtains are to be joined, 8  one to another, 9  and the other 10  five curtains are to be joined, one to another. 26:4 You are to make loops of blue material along the edge of the end curtain in one set, and in the same way you are to make loops 11  in the outer edge of the end curtain in the second set. 26:5 You are to make fifty loops on the one curtain, and you are to make fifty loops on the end curtain which is on the second set, so that the loops are opposite one to another. 12  26:6 You are to make fifty gold clasps and join the curtains together with the clasps, so that the tabernacle is a unit. 13 

26:7 “You are to make curtains of goats’ hair 14  for a tent over the tabernacle; 15  you are to make 16  eleven curtains. 26:8 The length of each 17  curtain is to be forty-five feet, and the width of each curtain is to be six feet – the same size for the eleven curtains. 26:9 You are to join five curtains by themselves and six curtains by themselves. You are to double over 18  the sixth curtain at the front of the tent. 26:10 You are to make fifty loops along the edge of the end curtain in one set and fifty loops along the edge of the curtain that joins the second set. 26:11 You are to make fifty bronze clasps and put the clasps into the loops and join the tent together so that it is a unit. 19  26:12 Now the part that remains of the curtains of the tent – the half curtain that remains will hang over at the back of the tabernacle. 20  26:13 The foot and a half 21  on the one side and the foot and a half on the other side of what remains in the length of the curtains of the tent will hang over the sides of the tabernacle, on one side and the other side, to cover it. 22 

Exodus 36:8-17

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 23  five of the curtains to one another, and the other 24  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. 25 

36:14 He made curtains of goats’ hair for a tent over the tabernacle; he made eleven curtains. 26  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.

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 (maaseh 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 tn This is the active participle, not the passive. It would normally be rendered “joining together.” The Bible uses the active because it has the result of the sewing in mind, namely, that every curtain accompanies another (U. Cassuto, Exodus, 348).

9 tn Heb “a woman to her sister,” this form of using nouns to express “one to another” is selected because “curtains” is a feminine noun (see GKC 448 §139.e).

10 tn The phrase “the other” has been supplied.

11 tn Here “loops” has been supplied.

12 tn Heb “a woman to her sister.”

13 tn Heb “one”; KJV “it shall be one tabernacle”; NRSV “that the tabernacle may be one whole”; NLT “a single unit.”

14 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).

15 sn This curtain will serve “for a tent over the tabernacle,” as a dwelling place.

16 tn Heb “you will make them”

17 tn Heb “one”

18 sn The text seems to describe this part as being in front of the tabernacle, hanging down to form a valence at the entrance (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 284).

19 tn Heb “one”

20 sn U. Cassuto (Exodus, 353) cites b. Shabbat 98b which says, “What did the tabernacle resemble? A woman walking on the street with her train trailing behind her.” In the expression “the half of the curtain that remains,” the verb agrees in gender with the genitive near it.

21 tn Literally “cubit.”

22 sn U. Cassuto states the following: “To the north and to the south, since the tent curtains were thirty cubits long, there were ten cubits left over on each side; these covered the nine cubits of the curtains of the tabernacle and also the bottom cubit of the boards, which the tabernacle curtains did not suffice to cover. It is to this that v. 13 refers” (Exodus, 353).

23 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.”

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

25 tn Heb “one.”

26 tn Heb “eleven curtains he made them.”



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