The covering of the tent. — V.1. Moreover, thou shalt make the Tabernacle with ten curtains, long pieces, or strips, corresponding to the canvas of modern tents, of fine twined linen, the silky byssus cloth, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, chap. 25, 4; with cherubim of cunning work shalt thou make them. The work was to be that of an artist in weaving, the meaning evidently being that the white, shiny byssus threads were to be woven with similar fine yarns of hyacinth, purple, and crimson, to form figures of cherubim, the appearance of the cloth afterward being that of a heavy damask. V.2. The length of one curtain shall be eight and twenty cubits and the breadth of one curtain four cubits; and everyone of the curtains shall have one measure, be exactly of the same size. V.3. The five curtains shall be coupled together one to another, five strips should be sewed together side by side to form a large piece twenty-eight cubits long and twenty cubits wide; and other five curtains shall be coupled one to another. V.4. And thou shalt make loops of blue, of hyacinth-colored material, upon the edge of the one curtain from the selvage in the coupling, along the seam where they were to be attached to each other; and likewise shalt thou make in the uttermost edge of another curtain, in the coupling of the second, at the place where the two should be joined together. V.5. Fifty loops shalt thou make in the one curtain, and fifty loops shalt thou make in the edge of the curtain that is in the coupling of the second, where it is attached to the first; that the loops may take hold one of another, be placed so exactly as to be just opposite one another by pairs. V.6. And thou shalt make fifty taches of gold, clasps to hold the loops together, and couple the curtains together with the taches; and it shall be one tabernacle, these fine curtains forming the inner covering. V.7. And thou shalt make curtains of goats’ hair to be a covering upon the Tabernacle, the outside covering, or tent proper; eleven curtains shalt thou make. V.8. The length of one curtain shall be thirty cubits and the breadth of one curtain four cubits; and the eleven curtains shall be all of one measure, of the same size. V.9. And thou shalt couple five curtain. by themselves and six curtains by themselves, just as it was done in the case of the fine inner covering, the extra length and width serving for the protection of the cherubim cloths, and shalt double the sixth curtain in the forefront of the Tabernacle, which consequently formed a projection or gable over the entrance. V.10. And thou shalt make fifty loops on the edge of the one (large) curtain that is outmost in the coupling, along the edge where the curtains were to be attached to each other, and fifty loops in the edge of the curtain which coupleth the second, the loops likewise being just opposite one another by pairs. V.11. And thou shalt make fifty taches of brass, copper or brass clasps, and put the taches into the loops, and couple the tent together, this covering being the tent proper, that it may be one. V.12. And the remnant that remaineth of the curtains of the tent, after the covering of the roof had been provided for, the half curtain that remaineth, shall hang over the back side of the Tabernacle, to form its rear wall. V.13. And a cubit on the one side and a cubit on the other side of that which remaineth in the length of the curtains of the tent, there being a total difference of two cubits between the inner and the outer covering, it shall hang over the sides of the Tabernacle on this side and on that side, to cover it. Thus the north, the south, and the west side of the Tabernacle received its tent-covering. V.14. And thou shalt make a covering for the tent, a protecting curtain, of rams’ skins dyed red, of a tawny color, and a covering above of badgers’ skins, of leather made from the skins of some marine animal, probably of the sea-cow. These outer coverings served to shield the tent against wind and weather. Just as God made the Tabernacle His dwelling in the midst of His people in the Old Testament, so His presence is with us to this day in His Word and Sacraments.
The framework of the Tabernacle. — V.15. And thou shalt make boards for the Tabernacle of shittim wood standing up, planks of acacia wood that were durable, such as could stand up under the strain of the wind and the frequent handling. V.16. Ten cubits shall be the length of a board, and a cubit and a half shall be the breadth of one board. V.17. Two tenons shall there be in one board, set in order one against another, each set of tenons, or small projections, fitting exactly into the corresponding sockets in the base below; thus shalt thou make for all the boards of the Tabernacle. V.18. And thou shalt make the boards for the Tabernacle, twenty boards on the south side southward, the entire length of the Tabernacle thus being thirty cubits. V.19. And thou shalt make forty sockets of silver under the twenty boards, these silver feet, or bases, serving to hold the planks upright: two sockets under one board for his two tenons and two sockets under another board for his two tenons. V.20. And for the second side of the Tabernacle on the north side there shall be twenty boards; v.21. and their forty sockets of silver: two sockets under one board and two sockets under another board, the north and the south wall of the Tabernacle thus being constructed in exactly the same manner. V.22. And for the sides of the Tabernacle westward thou shalt make six boards, for the wall proper. V.23. And two boards shalt thou make for the corners of the Tabernacle in the two sides, in such a way as to form a right angle. V.24. And they shall be coupled together beneath, and they shall be coupled together above the head of it unto one ring, the two planks being dovetailed, or mortised, together at right angles. Thus shall it be for them both, in this way they should be constructed; they shall be for the two corners, forming the two rear corners. V.25. And they shall be eight boards in the west wall, and their sockets of silver, sixteen sockets: two sockets under one board and two sockets under another board. V.26. And thou shalt make bars of shittim wood, cross-bars extending along the walls of the Tabernacle: five for the boards of the one side of the Tabernacle, v.27. and five bars for the boards of the other side of the Tabernacle, and five bars for the boards of the side of the Tabernacle, for the two sides westward. So the north, the south, and the west wall were each to have five rows of connecting bars, which evidently were passed, through large rings. V.28. And the middle bar in the midst of the boards shall reach from end to end, passing through the entire length of the framework to give solidity to the structure. V.29. And thou shalt overlay the boards with gold, and make their rings of gold for places for the bars; and thou shalt overlay the bars with gold. V.30. And thou shalt rear up the Tabernacle according to the fashion thereof which was showed thee in the mount. This setting up of the Tabernacle included not only an exact copying of the model which Moses had seen on the mountain, but the tent was to agree also with the object and with the significance of the dwelling as the home of God in the midst of His people. This rectangular building, thirty cubits long, ten cubits wide, and ten cubits high, was the sanctuary of Israel for more than four hundred years, and serves. as the type of the more perfect tabernacle of heaven, into which Jesus has entered as our Mediator, Heb. 9, 6–10.
The veil and the position. of the appointments. — V.31. And thou shalt make a veil of blue and purple and scarlet, and fine twined linen of cunning work, tapestry, or damask, made according to the highest skill of the weaver’s art, of byssus and the other costly materials named here; with cherubim shall it be made, showing figures of cherubim. V.32. And thou shalt hang it upon four pillars of shittim wood overlaid with gold; their hooks, to which the veil should be fastened, shall be of gold, upon the four sockets of silver. These were four single upright posts inside the Tabernacle, held in an upright position by their heavy silver bases. V.33. And thou shalt hang up the veil under the taches, that is, directly under the seams where the couplings of the goats’ hair coverings came together, ten cubits from the west wall, that thou mayest bring in thither within the veil the Ark of the Testimony, the only piece of furniture which was permitted in this part of the Tabernacle; and the veil shall divide unto you between the Holy Place, the eastern end of the Tabernacle, and the Most Holy, its western end. V.34. And thou shalt put the mercy-seat, chap. 25, 17, upon the Ark of the Testimony in the Most Holy Place. V.35. And thou shalt set the table for the showbread, the so-called table of prothesis, without the veil, on its east side, and the candlestick over against, opposite, the table on the side of the Tabernacle toward the south; and thou shalt put the table on the north side of the tent. V.36. And thou shalt make an hanging, a heavy curtain, for the door of the tent, the entrance to the Holy Place, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, the fine materials which were used throughout, wrought with needlework, that is, woven in stripes or squares and in various geometrical figures formed by them. V.37. And thou shalt make for the hanging five pillars of shittim wood, acacia posts from which the door-curtain might be suspended, and overlay them with gold, and their hooks shall be of gold; and thou shalt cast five sockets of brass, or bronze, for them, these bases being heavy enough to hold the pillars upright. The double curtain of the Tabernacle indicated that there was as yet no free access to God’s throne of grace. But Christ, having entered into the Most Holy Place of heaven through the veil of His flesh, has found an eternal redemption for us, by virtue of which we may now freely enter into the presence of God, assured in advance of His mercy. Heb.10, 20; 9, 11 ff.