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Exodus 27:9-21

The Courtyard

27:9 “You are to make the courtyard 1  of the tabernacle. For the south side 2  there are to be hangings 3  for the courtyard of fine twisted linen, one hundred fifty feet long for one side, 4  27:10 with 5  twenty posts and their twenty bronze bases, with the hooks of the posts and their bands of silver. 27:11 Likewise 6  for its length on the north side, there are to be 7  hangings for one hundred fifty feet, with twenty posts and their twenty bronze bases, with silver hooks and bands 8  on the posts. 27:12 The width of the court on the west side is to be seventy-five feet with hangings, with their ten posts and their ten bases. 27:13 The width of the court on the east side, toward the sunrise, is to be seventy-five feet. 27:14 The hangings on one side 9  of the gate are to be 10  twenty-two and a half feet long, with their three posts and their three bases. 27:15 On the second side 11  there are to be 12  hangings twenty-two and a half feet long, with their three posts and their three bases. 27:16 For the gate of the courtyard there is to be a curtain of thirty feet, of blue, purple, and scarlet yarn and fine twined linen, the work of an embroiderer, with four posts and their four bases. 27:17 All the posts around the courtyard are to have silver bands; 13  their hooks are to be 14  silver, and their bases bronze. 27:18 The length of the courtyard is to be one hundred fifty feet 15  and the width seventy-five feet, 16  and the height of the fine twisted linen hangings 17  is to be 18  seven and a half feet, with their bronze bases. 27:19 All 19  the utensils of the tabernacle used 20  in all its service, all its tent pegs, and all the tent pegs of the courtyard are to be made of bronze. 21 

Offering the Oil

27:20 “You are to command the Israelites that they bring 22  to you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, so that the lamps 23  will burn 24  regularly. 25  27:21 In the tent of meeting 26  outside the curtain that is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons are to arrange it from evening 27  to morning before the Lord. This is to be a lasting ordinance among the Israelites for generations to come. 28 

1 tn Or “enclosure” (TEV).

2 tn Heb “south side southward.”

3 tn Or “curtains.”

4 sn The entire courtyard of 150 feet by 75 feet was to be enclosed by a curtain wall held up with posts in bases. All these hangings were kept in place by a cord and tent pegs.

5 tn Heb “and.”

6 tn Heb “and thus.”

7 tn Here the phrase “there will be” has been supplied.

8 sn These bands have been thought by some to refer to connecting rods joining the tops of the posts. But it is more likely that they are bands or bind rings surrounding the posts at the base of the capitals (see 38:17).

9 tn The word literally means “shoulder.” The next words, “of the gate,” have been supplied here and in v. 15. The east end would contain the courtyard’s entry with a wall of curtains on each side of the entry (see v. 16).

10 tn Here “will be” has been supplied.

11 tn Heb “shoulder.”

12 tn Here the phrase “there will be” has been supplied.

13 tn The text uses the passive participle here: they are to “be filleted with silver” or “bound round” with silver.

14 tn Here the phrase “are to be” has been supplied.

15 tn Heb “a hundred cubits.”

16 tn Heb “fifty.” The text has “and the width fifty [cubits] with fifty.” This means that it is fifty cubits wide on the western end and fifty cubits wide on the eastern end.

17 tn Here “hangings” has been supplied.

18 tn Here the phrase “is to be” has been supplied.

19 tn Heb “to all”; for use of the preposition lamed (ל) to show inclusion (all belonging to) see GKC 458 §143.e.

20 tn Here “used” has been supplied.

21 sn The tabernacle is an important aspect of OT theology. The writer’s pattern so far has been: ark, table, lamp, and then their container (the tabernacle); then the altar and its container (the courtyard). The courtyard is the place of worship where the people could gather – they entered God’s courts. Though the courtyard may not seem of much interest to current readers, it did interest the Israelites. Here the sacrifices were made, the choirs sang, the believers offered their praises, they had their sins forgiven, they came to pray, they appeared on the holy days, and they heard from God. It was sacred because God met them there; they left the “world” (figuratively speaking) and came into the very presence of God.

22 tn The form is the imperfect tense with the vav showing a sequence with the first verb: “you will command…that they take.” The verb “take, receive” is used here as before for receiving an offering and bringing it to the sanctuary.

23 tn Heb “lamp,” which must be a collective singular here.

24 tn The verb is unusual; it is the Hiphil infinitive construct of עָלָה (’alah), with the sense here of “to set up” to burn, or “to fix on” as in Exod 25:37, or “to kindle” (U. Cassuto, Exodus, 370).

25 sn The word can mean “continually,” but in this context, as well as in the passages on the sacrifices, “regularly” is better, since each morning things were cleaned and restored.

26 tn The LXX has mistakenly rendered this name “the tent of the testimony.”

27 sn The lamps were to be removed in the morning so that the wicks could be trimmed and the oil replenished (30:7) and then lit every evening to burn through the night.

28 sn This is the first of several sections of priestly duties. The point is a simple one here: those who lead the worship use the offerings of the people to ensure that access to God is illumined regularly. The NT will make much of the symbolism of light.

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