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38. The Altar, Basin, and Courtyard

And he made the altar of burnt offering of shittim wood: five cubits was the length thereof, and five cubits the breadth thereof; it was foursquare; and three cubits the height thereof. 2And he made the horns thereof on the four corners of it; the horns thereof were of the same: and he overlaid it with brass. 3And he made all the vessels of the altar, the pots, and the shovels, and the basons, and the fleshhooks, and the firepans: all the vessels thereof made he of brass. 4And he made for the altar a brasen grate of network under the compass thereof beneath unto the midst of it. 5And he cast four rings for the four ends of the grate of brass, to be places for the staves. 6And he made the staves of shittim wood, and overlaid them with brass. 7And he put the staves into the rings on the sides of the altar, to bear it withal; he made the altar hollow with boards.

8And he made the laver of brass, and the foot of it of brass, of the lookingglasses of the women assembling, which assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

9And he made the court: on the south side southward the hangings of the court were of fine twined linen, an hundred cubits: 10Their pillars were twenty, and their brasen sockets twenty; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets were of silver. 11And for the north side the hangings were an hundred cubits, their pillars were twenty, and their sockets of brass twenty; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets of silver. 12And for the west side were hangings of fifty cubits, their pillars ten, and their sockets ten; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets of silver. 13And for the east side eastward fifty cubits. 14The hangings of the one side of the gate were fifteen cubits; their pillars three, and their sockets three. 15And for the other side of the court gate, on this hand and that hand, were hangings of fifteen cubits; their pillars three, and their sockets three. 16All the hangings of the court round about were of fine twined linen. 17And the sockets for the pillars were of brass; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets of silver; and the overlaying of their chapiters of silver; and all the pillars of the court were filleted with silver. 18And the hanging for the gate of the court was needlework, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen: and twenty cubits was the length, and the height in the breadth was five cubits, answerable to the hangings of the court. 19And their pillars were four, and their sockets of brass four; their hooks of silver, and the overlaying of their chapiters and their fillets of silver. 20And all the pins of the tabernacle, and of the court round about, were of brass.

21This is the sum of the tabernacle, even of the tabernacle of testimony, as it was counted, according to the commandment of Moses, for the service of the Levites, by the hand of Ithamar, son to Aaron the priest. 22And Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, made all that the Lord commanded Moses. 23And with him was Aholiab, son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, an engraver, and a cunning workman, and an embroiderer in blue, and in purple, and in scarlet, and fine linen. 24All the gold that was occupied for the work in all the work of the holy place, even the gold of the offering, was twenty and nine talents, and seven hundred and thirty shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary. 25And the silver of them that were numbered of the congregation was an hundred talents, and a thousand seven hundred and threescore and fifteen shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary: 26A bekah for every man, that is, half a shekel, after the shekel of the sanctuary, for every one that went to be numbered, from twenty years old and upward, for six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty men. 27And of the hundred talents of silver were cast the sockets of the sanctuary, and the sockets of the vail; an hundred sockets of the hundred talents, a talent for a socket. 28And of the thousand seven hundred seventy and five shekels he made hooks for the pillars, and overlaid their chapiters, and filleted them. 29And the brass of the offering was seventy talents, and two thousand and four hundred shekels. 30And therewith he made the sockets to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and the brasen altar, and the brasen grate for it, and all the vessels of the altar, 31And the sockets of the court round about, and the sockets of the court gate, and all the pins of the tabernacle, and all the pins of the court round about.

1. And he made the altar of burnt-offering. The purport of this chapter is the same as that of the last, except that the order of some parts of it is transposed, though not a word is changed. He begins with the altar of burnt-offering, which he states to have been made of the materials and the form prescribed by God, in order that the people might there offer with surer confidence their sacrifices for the expiation of sin, and for thanksgiving. One thing which had not been mentioned before, is here added respecting the laver of brass, or cauldron (concha,) from whence they took the water of sprinkling for expiation, viz., that this laver was ornamented with the mirrors of the women. Some explain this, 298298     All the difficulties connected with this matter are set at rest by our increased acquaintance with Egyptian Antiquities. C., and almost all the earlier commentators, were evidently possessed with the idea that the mirrors of the women were literally looking-glasses; and hence arose the various solutions which are here given, and others which might be added. Sir G. Wilkinson, in his “Popular Account of the Ancient Egyptians,” tells us; — “One of the principal objects of the toilet was the mirror. It was of mixed metal, chiefly copper, most carefully wrought and highly polished; and so admirably did the Egyptians succeed in the composition of metals, that this substitute for our modern looking-glass was susceptible of a lustre which has even been partially revived at the present day, in some of those discovered at Thebes, though buried in the earth for many centuries. The same kind of metal-mirror was used by the Israelites, who doubtless brought them from Egypt.” — Vol. 2, p. 346. that the vessel was so bright that it might be easily discovered on every side whether there was any scandalous, or wanton, or indelicate act committed; for we know that impure and ungodly men sometimes conceal their iniquities under the cover of religion, even as it; is written that the women who frequented the tabernacle for religious exercises were defiled by the sons of Eli, the priests. (1 Samuel 2:22.) But there is another conjecture equally probable, that these mirrors were dedicated by holy women for the ornament of the Temple, and for sacred purposes; for, whereas women are only too much given to outward adornment and finery, they have been always very fond of mirrors, both for the purpose of painting their cheeks and arranging their hair, so that not a single hair should be out of place. Isaiah, therefore, (3:23,) enumerates mirrors amongst the luxuries 299299     “Entre les bagages superflus des femmes.” — Fr. of the female world. Some, then, think that women, being devoted to God’s service, laid aside this vanity, and consecrated their mirrors in testimony of their repentance. It might, however, have been that, amongst the other gifts before spoken of, they offered mirrors also, which were mounted as embossments in this brasen laver. Others suppose that they were carvings, by which the portraits of females were depicted, as if seen in mirrors. The simple notion is most approved by me, that they were votive offerings, wherewith pious women had desired to decorate the sanctuary, and that they had been applied to this use by the advice of the artificers; for he does not speak generally of all the women, but of those who warred or assembled by troops at the door of the tabernacle; for translators 300300     C. here affords the reader a curious proof that he composed this note with S M. under his eye, by employing Munster’s word labrum for the Hebrew כיור, which he had previously rendered concha in his own text. But whilst S M had translated צבאת אשר צבאו, (mulierum) militantium, quae militabant, C. had the sagacity to drop the metaphor, and render the words convenientium, quae conveniebant צבא, says Professor Robertson, to assemble for worship, or for war. Clav Pentat in loco. — W variously explain this word צבא, tzaba, both in this passage and that from Samuel which I have just quoted. It is also applied to the Levites, who are said 301301     Numbers 4:3, “All that enter into the host.” — A.V. Numbers 8:24, “They shall go in to wait upon the service,” margin, “Heb., to war the warfare of the tabernacle.” — A.V. “to war the warfare” of the sanctuary, whilst performing their appointed work. (Numbers 4:3; 8:24.) Indeed this metaphor is by no means unsuitable to watchings and long-continued prayers. The sum is, that the laver was cast of their materials, or, as I rather suppose, embossed with these mirrors, in order that it might be more splendid.

21. This is the sum of the tabernacle 302302     “These are the counted-things.” — Lat. So also Ainsworth. As much as to say that this was the computation, or these the numbers; for he gives us to understand that not only was the tabernacle thus at once completed, but that its several parts were numerically distinguished, and consigned as it were to registers, 303303     “Afin que les Levites sceussent ce qu’ils devoyent avoir en garde;” in order that the Levites might know what they ought to have in charge. — Fr. so as to be given in charge to the Levites, lest any part of it should be lost. For the reference here is not so much to the fabric, or the architecture of the tabernacle, as to its perpetual conservation, viz., that Ithamar the priest deposited its several parts with the Levites, and this in accordance with the command of Moses.

22. And Bezaleel, the son of Uri. He again impresses upon us that the whole work was divine, both because Moses faithfully delivered the commands of God, and the artificers followed them with precise accuracy. At the same time, he counts up the whole sum of gold and silver, and shews us on what it was consumed. Hence we gather that every one honestly discharged his duty, and that no one was corrupted or drawn aside by covetousness so as to fall from his integrity. We are also informed from whence the amount of silver was obtained, viz., from the census of the people; for a tax of a common shekel, which was half a shekel of the sanctuary, was imposed on every head, as we 304304     See on Exodus 30:12, vol. 1, p. 482. have already seen. Moses now shews that this entire sum was collected and paid without fraud, and so applied as that none should be lost.


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