25:4 blue, 1 purple, 2 scarlet, 3 fine linen, 4 goat’s hair, 5
26:1 6 “The tabernacle itself 7 you are to make with 8 ten curtains of fine twisted linen and blue and purple and scarlet; 9 you are to make them with 10 cherubim that are the work of an artistic designer.
1 sn The blue refers to dye made from shellfish. It has a dark blue or purple-blue, almost violet color. No significance for the color is attached.
2 sn Likewise this color dye was imported from Phoenicia, where it was harvested from the shellfish or snail. It is a deep purple-red color.
3 sn This color is made from the eggs and bodies of the worm coccus ilicus, which is found with the holly plant – so Heb “worm of brilliance.” The powder made from the dried maggots produces a bright red-yellow color (W. C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exodus,” EBC 2:452). B. Jacob takes the view that these are not simply colors that are being introduced here, but fabrics dyed with these colors (Exodus, 765). At any rate, the sequence would then be metals, fabrics, and leathers (v. 5).
4 sn This is generally viewed as a fine Egyptian linen that had many more delicate strands than ordinary linen.
5 sn Goat’s hair was spun into yarn (35:26) and used to make the material for the first tent over the dwelling. It is ideal for tenting, since it is loosely woven and allows breezes to pass through, but with rain the fibers expand and prevent water from seeping through.
6 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.
7 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.
8 tn This is for the adverbial accusative explaining how the dwelling place is to be made.
9 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.
10 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).
11 tn Although translated “curtain” (traditionally “veil,” so ASV, NAB, NASB) this is a different word from the one used earlier of the tent curtains, so “special curtain” is used. The word פָרֹכֶת (farokhet) seems to be connected with a verb that means “to shut off” and was used with a shrine. This curtain would form a barrier in the approach to God (see S. R. Driver, Exodus, 289).
12 tn The verb is the third masculine singular form, but no subject is expressed. It could be translated “one will make” or as a passive. The verb means “to make,” but probably has the sense of embroidering both here and in v. 1.
13 sn This was another curtain, serving as a screen in the entrance way. Since it was far away from the special curtain screening the Most Holy Place, it was less elaborate. It was not the work of the master designer, but of the “embroiderer,” and it did not have the cherubim on it.
14 tn The word רֹקֵם (roqem) refers to someone who made cloth with colors. It is not certain, however, whether the colors were woven into the fabric on the loom or applied with a needle; so “embroiderer” should be understood as an approximation (cf. HALOT 1290-91 s.v. רקם).