Notes for Exodus 26:1LEB

This chapter is given over to the details of the structure itself, the curtains, coverings, boards and walls and veil. The passage can be studied on one level for its function both practically and symbolically for Israel’s worship. On another level it can be studied for its typology, for the tabernacle and many of its parts speak of Yashuwa. For this one should see the commentaries.


The word order in Hebrew thrusts the direct object to the front for particular emphasis. After the first couple of pieces of furniture are treated (chap. 25), attention turns to the tabernacle itself.


This is for the adverbial accusative explaining how the dwelling place is to be made.


S. R. Driver suggests that the curtains were made with threads dyed with these colors (Exodus 280). Perhaps the colored threads were used for embroidering the cherubim in the curtains.


The construction is difficult in this line because of the word order. "Cherubim" is an adverbial accusative explaining how they were to make the curtains. And מַעֲשֵׂה חֹשֵׁב (ma’aseh khoshev) means literally "work of a designer"; it is in apposition to "cherubim." The Hebrew participle means "designer" or "deviser" so that one could render this "of artistic designs in weaving" (S. R. Driver, Exodus 280–81). B. Jacob says that it refers to "artistic weavers" (Exodus 789).


Notes for Exodus 26:2LEB

"one" (so KJV).


"twenty-eight cubits" long and "four cubits" wide.


Notes for Exodus 26:3LEB

This is the active participle, not the passive. It would normally be rendered "joining together." The Bible uses the active because it has the result of the sewing in mind, namely, that every curtain accompanies another (U. Cassuto, Exodus 348).


"a woman to her sister," this form of using nouns to express "one to another" is selected because "curtains" is a feminine noun (see GKC 448 §139.e).


The phrase "the other" has been supplied.


Notes for Exodus 26:4LEB

Here "loops" has been supplied.


Notes for Exodus 26:5LEB

"a woman to her sister."


Notes for Exodus 26:6LEB

"one"; KJV "it shall be one tabernacle"; NRSV "that the tabernacle may be one whole"; NLT "a single unit."


Notes for Exodus 26:7LEB

This chapter will show that there were two sets of curtains and two sets of coverings that went over the wood building to make the tabernacle or dwelling place. The curtains of fine linen described above could be seen only by the priests from inside. Above that was the curtain of goats’ hair. Then over that were the coverings, an inner covering of rams’ skins dyed red and an outer covering of hides of fine leather. The movement is from the inside to the outside because it is Yahweh’s dwelling place; the approach of the worshiper would be the opposite. The pure linen represented the righteousness of Yahweh, guarded by the embroidered cherubim; the curtain of goats’ hair was a reminder of sin through the daily sin offering of a goat; the covering of rams’ skins dyed red was a reminder of the sacrifice and the priestly ministry set apart by blood, and the outer covering marked the separation between Yahweh and the world. These are the interpretations set forth by Kaiser; others vary, but not greatly (see W. C. Kaiser, Jr., "Exodus" EBC 2:459).


This curtain will serve "for a tent over the tabernacle," as a dwelling place.


"you will make them"


Notes for Exodus 26:8LEB



Notes for Exodus 26:9LEB

The text seems to describe this part as being in front of the tabernacle, hanging down to form a valence at the entrance (S. R. Driver, Exodus 284).


Notes for Exodus 26:11LEB



Notes for Exodus 26:12LEB

U. Cassuto (Exodus 353) cites b. Shabbat 98b which says, "What did the tabernacle resemble? A woman walking on the street with her train trailing behind her." In the expression "the half of the curtain that remains," the verb agrees in gender with the genitive near it.


Notes for Exodus 26:13LEB

Literally "cubit."


U. Cassuto states the following: "To the north and to the south, since the tent curtains were thirty cubits long, there were ten cubits left over on each side; these covered the nine cubits of the curtains of the tabernacle and also the bottom cubit of the boards, which the tabernacle curtains did not suffice to cover. It is to this that v. 13 refers" (Exodus 353).


Notes for Exodus 26:14LEB

Two outer coverings made of stronger materials will be put over the tent and the curtain, the two inner layers.


See the note on this phrase in Exod 25:5.


Notes for Exodus 26:15LEB

There is debate whether the word הַקְּרָשִׁים (haqqérashim) means "boards" (KJV, ASV, NAB, NASB) or "frames" (NIV, NCV, NRSV, TEV) or "planks" (see Ezek 27:6LEB) or "beams," given the size of them. The literature on this includes M. Haran, "The Priestly Image of the Tabernacle," HUCA 36 (1965): 192; B. A. Levine, "The Description of the Tabernacle Texts of the Pentateuch," JAOS 85 (1965): 307-18; J. Morgenstern, "The Ark, the Ephod, and the Tent," HUCA 17 (1942/43): 153-265; 18 (1943/44): 1-52.


"Wood" is an adverbial accusative.


The plural participle "standing" refers to how these items will be situated; they will be vertical rather than horizontal (U. Cassuto, Exodus 354).


Notes for Exodus 26:16LEB

"the frame."


Notes for Exodus 26:17LEB

"hands," the reference is probably to projections that served as stays or supports. They may have been tenons, or pegs, projecting from the bottom of the frames to hold the frames in their sockets (S. R. Driver, Exodus 286).


Or "being joined each to the other."


Notes for Exodus 26:18LEB

"on the south side southward."


Notes for Exodus 26:19LEB

The clause is repeated to show the distributive sense; it literally says, "and two bases under the one frame for its two projections."


Notes for Exodus 26:22LEB

Or "westward" (toward the sea).


Notes for Exodus 26:23LEB

The term rendered "corners" is "an architectural term for some kind of special corner structure. Here it seems to involve two extra supports, one at each corner of the western wall" (N. M. Sarna, ( [JPSTC], 170).


Notes for Exodus 26:24LEB

"they will be for the two corners." This is the last clause of the verse, moved forward for clarity.


Notes for Exodus 26:28LEB

These bars served as reinforcements to hold the upright frames together. The Hebrew term for these bars is also used of crossbars on gates (Judg 16:3LEB; Neh 3:3LEB).


Notes for Exodus 26:30LEB

The noun is מִשְׁפָּט (mishpat), often translated "judgment" or "decision" in other contexts. In those settings it may reflect its basic idea of custom, which here would be reflected with a rendering of "prescribed norm" or "plan."


Notes for Exodus 26:31LEB

Although translated "curtain" (traditionally "veil," so ASV, NAB, NASB) this is a different word from the one used earlier of the tent curtains, so "special curtain" is used. The word פָרֹכֶת (farokhet) seems to be connected with a verb that means "to shut off" and was used with a shrine. This curtain would form a barrier in the approach to Yahweh (see S. R. Driver, Exodus 289)


The verb is the third masculine singular form, but no subject is expressed. It could be translated "one will make" or as a passive. The verb means "to make," but probably has the sense of embroidering both here and in v. 1.


Notes for Exodus 26:32LEB

"put it."


This clause simply says "and their hooks gold," but is taken as a circumstantial clause telling how the veil will be hung.


"on four silver bases."


Notes for Exodus 26:33LEB

The traditional expression is "within the veil," literally "into the house (or area) of the (special) curtain."


Or "the set-a-part of set-a-part."


Notes for Exodus 26:36LEB

This was another curtain, serving as a screen in the entrance way. Since it was far away from the special curtain screening the Most set-a-part Place, it was less elaborate. It was not the work of the master designer, but of the "embroiderer," and it did not have the cherubim on it.


The word רֹקֵם (roqem) refers to someone who made cloth with colors. It is not certain, however, whether the colors were woven into the fabric on the loom or applied with a needle; so "embroiderer" should be understood as an approximation (cf. HALOT 1290-91 s.v. רקם).


Notes for Exodus 26:37LEB

"will be" has been supplied.


In all the details of this chapter the expositor should pay attention to the overall message rather than engage in speculation concerning the symbolism of the details. It is, after all, the divine instruction for the preparation of the dwelling place for Yahweh. The point could be said this way: The dwelling place of Yahweh must be prepared in accordance with, and by the power of, his divine word. If Yahweh was to fellowship with his people, then the center of worship had to be made to his specifications, which were in harmony with his nature. Everything was functional for the approach to Yahweh through the ritual by divine provisions. But everything also reflected the nature of Yahweh, the symmetry, the order, the pure wood, the gold overlay, or (closer to Yahweh) the solid gold. And the symbolism of the light, the table, the veil, the cherubim – all of it was revelatory. All of it reflected the reality in heaven. Churches today do not retain the pattern and furnishings of the old tabernacle. However, they would do well to learn what Yahweh was requiring of Israel, so that their structures are planned in accordance with the theology of worship and the theology of access to Yahweh. Function is a big part, but symbolism and revelation instruct the planning of everything to be used. Yashuwaians live in the light of the fulfillment of Yashuwa, and so they know the realities that the old foreshadowed. While a building is not necessary for worship (just as Israel worshiped in places other than the sanctuary), it is practical, and if there is going to be one, then the most should be made of it in the teaching and worshiping of the assembly. This chapter, then, provides an inspiration for believers on preparing a functional, symbolical, ordered place of worship that is in harmony with the word of Yahweh. And there is much to be said for making it as beautiful and uplifting as is possible – as a gift of freewill offering to Yahweh. Of course, the most important part of preparing a place of worship is the preparing of the heart. Worship, to be acceptable to Yahweh, must be in Yashuwa. He said that when the temple was destroyed he would raise it up in three days. While he referred to his own body, he also alluded to the temple by the figure. When they put Yashuwa to death, they were destroying the temple; at his resurrection he would indeed begin a new form of worship. He is the tent, the curtain, the atonement, that the sanctuary foreshadowed. And then, believers also (when they receive Yashuwa) become the temple of Yahweh. So the NT will take the imagery and teaching of this chapter in a number of useful ways that call for more study. This does not, however, involve allegorization of the individual tabernacle parts.