World Wide Study Bible


a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary

Offerings for the Tabernacle


The Lord said to Moses: 2Tell the Israelites to take for me an offering; from all whose hearts prompt them to give you shall receive the offering for me. 3This is the offering that you shall receive from them: gold, silver, and bronze, 4blue, purple, and crimson yarns and fine linen, goats’ hair, 5tanned rams’ skins, fine leather, acacia wood, 6oil for the lamps, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense, 7onyx stones and gems to be set in the ephod and for the breastpiece. 8And have them make me a sanctuary, so that I may dwell among them. 9In accordance with all that I show you concerning the pattern of the tabernacle and of all its furniture, so you shall make it.

The Ark of the Covenant

10 They shall make an ark of acacia wood; it shall be two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high. 11You shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and outside you shall overlay it, and you shall make a molding of gold upon it all around. 12You shall cast four rings of gold for it and put them on its four feet, two rings on the one side of it, and two rings on the other side. 13You shall make poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold. 14And you shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark, by which to carry the ark. 15The poles shall remain in the rings of the ark; they shall not be taken from it. 16You shall put into the ark the covenant that I shall give you.

17 Then you shall make a mercy seat of pure gold; two cubits and a half shall be its length, and a cubit and a half its width. 18You shall make two cherubim of gold; you shall make them of hammered work, at the two ends of the mercy seat. 19Make one cherub at the one end, and one cherub at the other; of one piece with the mercy seat you shall make the cherubim at its two ends. 20The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings. They shall face one to another; the faces of the cherubim shall be turned toward the mercy seat. 21You shall put the mercy seat on the top of the ark; and in the ark you shall put the covenant that I shall give you. 22There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the covenant, I will deliver to you all my commands for the Israelites.

The Table for the Bread of the Presence

23 You shall make a table of acacia wood, two cubits long, one cubit wide, and a cubit and a half high. 24You shall overlay it with pure gold, and make a molding of gold around it. 25You shall make around it a rim a handbreadth wide, and a molding of gold around the rim. 26You shall make for it four rings of gold, and fasten the rings to the four corners at its four legs. 27The rings that hold the poles used for carrying the table shall be close to the rim. 28You shall make the poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold, and the table shall be carried with these. 29You shall make its plates and dishes for incense, and its flagons and bowls with which to pour drink offerings; you shall make them of pure gold. 30And you shall set the bread of the Presence on the table before me always.

The Lampstand

31 You shall make a lampstand of pure gold. The base and the shaft of the lampstand shall be made of hammered work; its cups, its calyxes, and its petals shall be of one piece with it; 32and there shall be six branches going out of its sides, three branches of the lampstand out of one side of it and three branches of the lampstand out of the other side of it; 33three cups shaped like almond blossoms, each with calyx and petals, on one branch, and three cups shaped like almond blossoms, each with calyx and petals, on the other branch—so for the six branches going out of the lampstand. 34On the lampstand itself there shall be four cups shaped like almond blossoms, each with its calyxes and petals. 35There shall be a calyx of one piece with it under the first pair of branches, a calyx of one piece with it under the next pair of branches, and a calyx of one piece with it under the last pair of branches—so for the six branches that go out of the lampstand. 36Their calyxes and their branches shall be of one piece with it, the whole of it one hammered piece of pure gold. 37You shall make the seven lamps for it; and the lamps shall be set up so as to give light on the space in front of it. 38Its snuffers and trays shall be of pure gold. 39It, and all these utensils, shall be made from a talent of pure gold. 40And see that you make them according to the pattern for them, which is being shown you on the mountain.

Select a resource above

Ex 25:1-40. Concerning an Offering.

1. the Lord spake unto Moses, &c.—The business that chiefly occupied Moses on the mount, whatever other disclosures were made to him there, was in receiving directions about the tabernacle, and they are here recorded as given to him.

2. bring me an offering of every man that giveth it willingly, &c.—Having declared allegiance to God as their sovereign, they were expected to contribute to His state, as other subjects to their kings; and the "offering" required of them was not to be imposed as a tax, but to come from their own loyal and liberal feelings.

3. this is the offering which ye shall take of them—the articles of which the offerings should consist.

brass—rather copper, brass being a composite metal.

4. goats' hair—or leather of goats' skin.

5. badgers' skins—The badger was an unclean animal, and is not a native of the East—rather some kind of fish, of the leather of which sandals are made in the East. [See on Ex 39:34 and Eze 16:10.]

shittim wood—or Shittah (Isa 41:19), the acacia, a shrub which grows plentifully in the deserts of Arabia, yielding a light, strong, and beautiful wood, in long planks.

7. ephod—a square cloak, hanging down from the shoulders, and worn by priests.

8. a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them—In one sense the tabernacle was to be a palace, the royal residence of the King of Israel, in which He was to dwell among His people, receive their petitions, and issue His responses. But it was also to be a place of worship, in which God was to record His name and to enshrine the mystic symbols of His presence.

9. According to all that I show thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle—The proposed erection could be, in the circumstances of the Israelites, not of a fixed and stable but of a temporary and movable description, capable of being carried about with them in their various sojournings. It was made after "the pattern" shown to Moses, by which is now generally understood, not that it was an unheard-of novelty, or an entirely original structure, for it is ascertained to have borne resemblance in form and arrangements to the style of an Egyptian temple, but that it was so altered, modified, and purified from all idolatrous associations, as to be appropriated to right objects, and suggestive of ideas connected with the true God and His worship.

10. an ark—a coffer or chest, overlaid with gold, the dimensions of which, taking the cubit at eighteen inches, are computed to be three feet nine inches in length, two feet three inches in breadth.

11. a crown—a rim or cornice.

12. rings—staples for the poles, with which it was to be carried from place to place.

15. staves shall be in the rings of the ark—that is, always remain in the rings, whether the ark be at rest or in motion.

16. the testimony—that is, the two tables of stone, containing the ten commandments, and called "the testimony," because by it God did testify His sovereign authority over Israel as His people, His selection of them as the guardians of His will and worship, and His displeasure in the event of their transgressing His laws; while on their part, by receiving and depositing this law in its appointed place, they testified their acknowledgment of God's right to rule over them, and their submission to the authority of His law. The superb and elaborate style of the ark that contained "the testimony" was emblematic of the great treasure it held; in other words, the incomparable value and excellence of the Word of God, while its being placed in this chest further showed the great care which God has ever taken for preserving it.

17. thou shalt make a mercy seat of pure gold—to serve as a lid, covering it exactly. It was "the propitiatory cover," as the term may be rendered, denoting that Christ, our great propitiation [1Jo 2:2; 4:10], has fully answered all the demands of the law, covers our transgressions, and comes between us and the curse of a violated law.

18. two cherubim—The real meaning of these figures, as well as the shape or form of them, is not known with certainty—probably similar to what was afterwards introduced into the temple, and described in Eze 10:8-22. They stretched out their wings, and their faces were turned towards the mercy seat [Ex 25:20], probably in a bowing attitude. The prevailing opinion now is, that those splendid figures were symbolical not of angelic but of earthly and human beings—the members of the Church of God interested in the dispensation of grace, the redeemed in every age—and that these hieroglyphic forms symbolized the qualities of the true people of God—courage, patience, intelligence, and activity.

22. there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat—The Shekinah, or symbol of the Divine Presence, rested on the mercy seat, and was indicated by a cloud, from the midst of which responses were audibly given when God was consulted on behalf of His people. Hence God is described as "dwelling" or "sitting" between the cherubim.

23. table of shittim wood—of the same material and decorations as the ark [see on Ex 25:5], and like it, too, furnished with rings for the poles on which it was carried [Ex 25:26]. The staves, however, were taken out of it when stationary, in order not to encumber the priests while engaged in their services at the table. It was half a cubit less than the ark in length and breadth, but of the same height. [See on Ex 25:10.]

24. crown—the moulding or ornamental rim, which is thought to have been raised above the level of the table, to prevent anything from falling off.

29. dishes—broad platters.

spoons—cups or concave vessels, used for holding incense.

covers—both for bread and incense.

bowls—cups; for though no mention is made of wine, libations were undoubtedly made to God, according to Josephus and the rabbins, once a week, when the bread was changed.

to cover withal—rather, "to pour out withal."

30. showbread—literally, presence bread, so called because it was constantly exhibited before the Lord, or because the bread of His presence, like the angel of His presence, pointed symbolically to Christ. It consisted of twelve unleavened loaves, said traditionally to have been laid in piles of six each. This bread was designed to be a symbol of the full and never-failing provision which is made in the Church for the spiritual sustenance and refreshment of God's people.

31. candlestick—literally, "a lamp bearer." It was so constructed as to be capable of being taken to pieces for facility in removal. The shaft or stock rested on a pedestal. It had seven branches, shaped like reeds or canes—three on each side, with one in the center—and worked out into knobs, flowers, and bowls, placed alternately [Ex 25:32-36]. The figure represented on the arch of Titus gives the best idea of this candlestick.

33. knops—old spelling for "knobs"—bosses.

37. they shall light the lamps … that they may give light—The light was derived from pure olive oil, and probably kept continually burning (compare Ex 30:7; Le 24:2).

38. tongs—snuffers.

39. a talent of pure gold—in weight equivalent to 125 lbs. troy.

40. look that thou make them after their pattern—This caution, which is repeated with no small frequency in other parts of the narrative, is an evidence of the deep interest taken by the Divine King in the erection of His palace or sanctuary; and it is impossible to account for the circumstance of God's condescending to such minute details, except on the assumption that this tabernacle was to be of a typical character, and eminently subservient to the religious instruction and benefit of mankind, by shadowing forth in its leading features the grand truths of the Christian Church.