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Offerings for the Tabernacle


The L ord 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.

17 And thou shalt make a mercy-seat. The primary root of the verb כפר, caphar, from whence this noun is derived, 128128     כפרת C. has not derived his explanation of the verb כפר from his usual guide in Hebrew, viz., S.M.; but his remark, that it signifies to smear over with bitumen, or pitch, agrees with its generally acknowledged meaning in Genesis 6:14. It is in the Pihel conjugation, — the effect of which is frequently the same as that proper to the Hiphil, — that the verb means to expiate. The noun, as C. observes, properly signifies a covering. — W. is used for “to smear with pitch,” but in the Hiphil conjugation, it signifies either to expiate, or to purge, or to receive into favor; whence כפר, copher, is expiation, as we have seen elsewhere; and כפרת, caphoreth, a covering or lid. Yet I doubt not but that Moses alludes in this word to a metaphorical meaning, for the law requires a covering to conceal our transgressions. And it is probable that, when Paul calls Christ ἱλαστήριον, (Romans 3:25,) and John ἱλασμὸν, (1 John 2:2,) they both refer to this figure, because God was propitiated towards believers by the covering of the Law, so as to shew Himself favorable to them by hearing their vows and prayers. For as long as the law stands forth before God’s face it subjects us to His wrath and curse; and hence it is necessary that the blotting out of our guilt should be interposed, so that God may be reconciled with us. Nor is it without reason that David exclaims, after he has proclaimed the righteousness of the law, “Who can understand his errors?” (Psalm 19:12.) Whence we gather that, without a propitiation, the law does not bring us near to God, but accuses us before Him. And assuredly, when I consider all things, it seems to me a tame explanation, that Moses spoke literally of the cover, when he 129129     Addition in Fr., “quand il le magnifie tant, et." would have the Cherubim turn their faces toward it, and God promises that He will give His answers from it. By these honorable distinctions it is exalted above the Ark.

18 And thou shalt make two cherubims. I have stated in my commentary on Genesis and elsewhere, 130130     See Commentary on Genesis 3:23. Calvin Society Translation, vol. 1, p. 186. The fanciful derivation to which C. objects, he had found in S. M., who states it as popular with the Rabbis, But as untenable. — W. that there are various opinions respecting the word cherub; but that those approach most nearly to the truth who make the כ, caph, not a servile, but a radical letter, and take it generally for any image; for those who suppose the כto be a note of similitude, render it “like a boy;” which in itself is forced, and besides it is refuted by the words of Ezekiel, (Ezekiel 1:10, and Ezekiel 10:1,) who calls the forms of a calf, a lion, and an eagle by this name, as well as the human form. It is enough for me that the images were winged, which represented angels. Therefore, when Moses speaks of the angels, who were placed as guards to keep man away from approaching paradise, he calls them cherubim; not so much in reference to that time, as to keep the people in the doctrine of the Law 131131     “Que pour donner goust au peuple de la doctrine de la Loy, et l’accoustumer aux ceremonies;” as to give the people a taste for the doctrine of the Law, and to accustom them to its ceremonies — Fr. But God appointed angels, by whom He exercises His dominion, and who are the ministers of His blessings, to be a symbol of His presence; for as often as He manifested Himself to believers by angels, He in a manner extended His hand to them. On this ground, David, and other Prophets, in order to encourage themselves to confidence in prayer, often speak of God as “dwelling between the cherubims,” (Psalm 80:1; 64:1; Isaiah 37:16;) as much as to say, that He conversed familiarly with His people, since His virtue exercises itself by His angels. That they covered the lid of the ark with their extended wings, I do not imagine to have been done to hide it, but to mark the readiness of their obedience, for the extension of their wings is equivalent to their being prepared for the performance of whatever God might command. Thus they are said to turn their faces towards the mercy-seat, because they are attentive to the will of God. Moreover, because the fullness of the Godhead resides in Christ, He justly declares that, in His descent upon earth, the heavens were opened that the angels might ascend and descend. Their looking towards each other indicates that harmony in which the angels are united for performing the commands of God. It is indeed a plausible conceit, 132132     Gregorius in Gloss. Ord. “The two cherubim are the two Testaments. One of them stands on one end of the mercy-seat, and the other on the other; because what the Old Testament begins to promise in prophecy respecting the Incarnation of Christ, the New relates to be perfectly fulfilled. They are made of very pure gold, because both Testaments are written with pure and simple truth.They stretch out their wings and cover the oracles; because we (who are God’s oracles) are protected from imminent errors by the study of sacred Scripture; and whilst we earnestly look at it, we are covered by its wings from the mistakes of ignorance. They look towards one another with their faces turned to the mercy-seat, because the Testaments differ in nothing, and look mutually to each other; for what the one promises the other exhibits. And they see the mercy-seat, i.e., the Mediator between God and men, placed between them; for they would turn away their faces from each other, if the one promised what the other denied.” — See also Bede in Gloss. Ord., and Augustin Qoest. in Ex. 105. that the two cherubim were the Old and New Testaments, which look from one to the other, and surround the mercy-seat, inasmuch as Christ is their common object; but this notion vanishes before the contradiction of many passages of Scripture.

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