« PreviousContinue »
Of the Court of the Tabernacle. The Court of the Tabernacle.--Its length, breadth, position, pillars, sockets, and
curtains. The altar of burnt-offering. The laver and its foot. The court of the tabernacle was that inclosed
space which surrounded the tabernacle, and the various things connected with it. It was enjoined to be an oblong space of one hundred cubits by fifty,' situated due east and west; the particulars of the several sides of which were as follows:- First, on the south side were twenty pillars, at the distance of five cubits from each other, so as to extend one hundred cubits in all. These pillars were of brass; but they were filletted with silver, their chapiters were overlaid with silver, and the hooks, which were attached to them for hanging the curtains, were also of silver. Their twenty sockets, however, on which they stood, were only of brass, and were fastened to the earth with pins of brass.d With respect to the height of these pillars and their sockets, we have no express information; but, it is probable, that they were about five cubits, since the hangings of the court are stated to be that height. So much, then, for the south side.-On the north side, the length was also one hundred cubits, defined by twenty pillars, on twenty sockets, at five cubits distance from each other, and of the same kind and height as those on tlie south side. The west end was only fifty cubits broad, marked out by ten pillars, upon ten sockets, at five cubits distance from each other, of the same kind and height as the former;5 and the east end was only fifty cubits broad, defined by three pillars, on three sockets, on either side of the entrance; and of four for the entrance-making ten in all. Thus, the three pillars, at five cubits distance from each other, would mark out fifteen cubits on each side of the entrance, and leave twenty cubits for the entrance ;' which had, as we have just now said, four pillars of the same kind, at five cubits distance from each other, on which to hang the curtain that enclosed the entrance. Thus, around the enclosed space of one hundred cubits by fifty, there were sixty pillars of brass, filletted with silver, and standing on sixty sockets of brass, at the distance of five cubits from each other, five cubits in height, having their chapiters overlaid with silver; and silver hooks for the curtains, besides rings for the cords, which fastened all the pillars at top, to secure them from every blast.
a Ex. xxvii, 18.
b Ex, xxvii. 10. . Ex.xxxviii. 20. • Ex. XXXVili, 18. • Es. xxvii, 12; xxxviii, 12.
< Ex. xxxviii. 10. 17. f Ex. xxvii. 11; Xxxviii, 11
Let us next attend to the curtains which were suspended from them, so as to form an enclosure round the sacred ground. These are said to have been made of fine twined white linen yarn, five cubits broad, and extending one hundred cubits on the south side, one hundred cubits on the north side, fifty cubits on the west end, and fifteen cubits on either side of the entrance on the east end, making two hundred and eighty cubits of curtain of fine white twined linen in all, not so close, perhaps, but that the people might see what was passing within. But the curtain for the entrance was different from these; for, in place of plain white twined linen, it was a hanging of blue and purple, and scarlet, and fine white twined linen, twenty cubits long, and five cubits broad, with cords to draw it either up, or aside, when it was to be entered by the priests.'
* Ex. xxvii. 13–15; Xxxviii. 13-15.
• Ex. xxvii, 16; Xxxviii. 19,
Ex. xxvii. 16; Xxxvij. 18,
Such, then, were the dimensions and appearance of the court of the tabernacle of the congregation. With respect to its furniture, we read of two things only, viz:--The altar of burnt offering, and the laver and its foot. As for the altar of burnt offering it was made of shittim wood, or the black acacia, a tree of low stature, which grows in those parts of the desert Arabia where the tabernacle was built. The original word comes from a root which signifies “ despised, hated, or persecuted," and may perhaps lead us to see the reason why it was chosen for all the things requiring wood in the tabernacle: for, being of no repute in comparison of many other trees, it was the fitter emblem of Him who was despised, hated, and persecuted while he tabernacled on earth ; and of his gospel and followers that are ridiculed and despised by the men of the world. This altar of shittim wood was five cubits long, five cubits broad, and three cubits high, wholly overlaid with brass, and having four horns at the four corners of the same materials. It was hollow within, with a grate of net-work of brass to support the fire, and the grate had four rings, by which to carry it when necessary. The altar, also, had four rings at the sides, for the staves of shittim wood overlaid with brass, that were intended for carrying it; and to it belonged the necessary appendages of pans to receive the ashes, shovels to put the ashes into the pans, basins to hold the blood, the meat and the drink offerings, pots to seeth what required seething, and flesh-hooks to turn the pieces of the sacrifices while they were consuming. This altar was placed in a line between the door of the court and the door of the tabernacle, but nearer the former:) it was kindled by fire from heaven,' and was afterwards covered with broad plates of brass, made of the two
hundred and fifty censers of Korah and his company, to warn the Israelites not to rebel against the constituted authorities. As for the laver and its foot, it was placed between the altar of burnt offering and the door of the tabernacle, and was made of the brass of the lookingglasses of the women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. We are not informed, however, of its size or shape, but it appears to have been large, since its intention was for the priests to wash at, while engaged in the duties of the tabernacle.
Its boards; their length, breadth, and number; the sockets on which they stood.
the length, breadth, and height of the tabernacle: difficulty as to its breadth examined. The plates of gold that covered the boards; its beautiful undercovering; how put on its upper covering of goats' hair ; the way it was pat on; the covering of rams' skins dyed red; covering of badgers' skins. Subdivision of the tabernacle into the holy and most holy; the dividing curtain vith its pillars and sockets. The furniture of the holy place, viz.:-The al. tar of incense, table of shew bread, golden candlestick. Furniture of the most holy place, viz.:- The ark with its contents, the mercy seat, the che. rubim ; inquiry into their probable meaning. The place in the court where the tabernacle stood ; time of its erection ; its consecration ; gifts offered by the princes at the dedication of the altar. Quantities of gold, silver, and brass, that were used in the tabernacle and its court; the present value of the whole. Spiritual reflections.
The first thing worthy of notice in the tabernacle of the congregation,' are the boards with which it was surrounded. These were enjoined to be of shittim wood, each board ten cubits long, and a cubit and a half broad, but its thickness is not mentioned :. Lightfoot says nine inches, and others four fingers, with two tenons to each board for fixing them in the sockets on which they were to stand. And, with respect to their number, they were as follow : On the south side, were twenty boards, which, at a cubit and a-half each, would reach thirty cubits. On the north side, were twenty boards, which would also extend thirty cubits. On the west end, were six boards, which would extend to nine cubits; and two boards more at the two corners, making eight in all, on the west end. But, on the east end, which was the entrance, there were no boards, but only five pillars of shittim wood, whose chapiters and fillets were overlaid with gold, and their hooks of gold, standing on five sockets of brass.' Thus were there forty-eight boards round the south, north, and west sides of the tabernacle, and these were mortised at the foot, by their two tenons each, into ninety-six sockets of silver of a talent each,5 that were fastened to the ground with pins of brass ;h which pins, Josephus says, were a cubit long;' while at the top, the two boards at the south-west and northwest corners, were coupled to the adjoining ones by a ring;k and the rest were joined together by bars of shittim wood, overlaid with gold, in the following way :The south and north sides, and the west end, had five bars each,' but what the length of these bars was is not particularly said. The middle ones, indeed, on the different sides and end, were appointed to be the whole length, or thirty cubits on the south and north sides, and ten cubits at the west end; which were, probably, sunk into the boards, and ran along a groove from end
* Num. xvi. 37-40.
8 Ex. xxxviii. 8.
Gleanings from Exodus $ 32.
a Ex. xxvi. 17; xxxvi. 22.
b Ex. xxvi. 18; xxxvi. 23.