Notes for Exodus 27:1LEB

The article on this word identifies this as the altar, meaning the main high altar on which the sacrifices would be made.


The dimensions are five cubits by five cubits by three cubits high.


"four"; this refers to four sides. S. R. Driver says this is an archaism that means there were four equal sides (Exodus, 291).


"and three cubits its height."


Notes for Exodus 27:2LEB

The horns of the altar were indispensable – they were the most set-a-part part. Blood was put on them; fugitives could cling to them, and the priests would grab the horns of the little altar when making intercessory prayer. They signified power, as horns on an animal did in the wild (and so the word was used for kings as well). The horns may also represent the sacrificial animals killed on the altar.


The text, as before, uses the prepositional phrase "from it" or "part of it" to say that the horns will be part of the altar – of the same piece as the altar. They were not to be made separately and then attached, but made at the end of the boards used to build the altar (U. Cassuto, Exodus, 363).


Notes for Exodus 27:3LEB

The word is literally "its fat," but sometimes it describes "fatty ashes" (TEV "the greasy ashes"). The fat would run down and mix with the ashes, and this had to be collected and removed.


This was the larger bowl used in tossing the blood at the side of the altar.


The text has "to all its vessels." This is the lamed (ל) of inclusion according to Gesenius, meaning "all its utensils" (GKC 458 §143.e).


Notes for Exodus 27:4LEB

The noun מִכְבָּר (mikhbar) means "a grating"; it is related to the word that means a "sieve." This formed a vertical support for the ledge, resting on the ground and supporting its outer edge (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 292).


Notes for Exodus 27:5LEB

The verb is the verb "to be," here the perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive. It is "and it will be" or "that it may be," or here "that it may come" halfway up.


"to the half of the altar."


Notes for Exodus 27:7LEB

The verb is a Hophal perfect with vav consecutive: וְהוּבָא (véhuva’, "and it will be brought"). The particle אֶת (’et) here introduces the subject of the passive verb (see a similar use in Exodus 21:28LEB, "and its flesh will not be eaten").


The construction is the infinitive construct with bet (ב) preposition: "in carrying it." Here the meaning must be that the poles are not left in the rings, but only put into the rings when they carried it.


Notes for Exodus 27:8LEB

The verb is used impersonally; it reads "just as he showed you." This form then can be made a passive in the translation.


"thus they will make." Here too it could be given a passive translation since the subject is not expressed. But "they" would normally refer to the people who will be making this and so can be retained in the translation.


Nothing is said about the top of the altar. Some commentators suggest, in view of the previous instruction for making an altar out of earth and stone, that when this one was to be used it would be filled up with dirt clods and the animal burnt on the top of that. If the animal was burnt inside it, the wood would quickly burn. A number of recent scholars think this was simply an imagined plan to make a portable altar after the pattern of Solomon’s – but that is an unsatisfactory suggestion. This construction must simply represent a portable frame for the altar in the courtyard, an improvement over the field altar. The purpose and function of the altar are not in question. Here worshipers would make their sacrifices to Yahweh in order to find forgiveness and atonement, and in order to celebrate in worship with him. No one could worship Yahweh apart from this; no one could approach Yahweh apart from this. So too the truths that this altar communicated form the basis and center of all Christian worship. One could word an applicable lesson this way: Believers must ensure that the foundation and center of their worship is the altar, i.e., the sacrificial atonement.


Notes for Exodus 27:9LEB

Or "enclosure" (TEV).


"south side southward."


Or "curtains."


The entire courtyard of 150 feet by 75 feet was to be enclosed by a curtain wall held up with posts in bases. All these hangings were kept in place by a cord and tent pegs.


Notes for Exodus 27:10LEB



Notes for Exodus 27:11LEB

"and thus."


Here the phrase "there will be" has been supplied.


These bands have been thought by some to refer to connecting rods joining the tops of the posts. But it is more likely that they are bands or bind rings surrounding the posts at the base of the capitals (see Exodus 38:17LEB).


Notes for Exodus 27:14LEB

The word literally means "shoulder." The next words, "of the gate," have been supplied here and in v. 15. The east end would contain the courtyard’s entry with a wall of curtains on each side of the entry (see v. 16).


Here "will be" has been supplied.


Notes for Exodus 27:15LEB



Here the phrase "there will be" has been supplied.


Notes for Exodus 27:17LEB

The text uses the passive participle here: they are to "be filleted with silver" or "bound round" with silver.


Here the phrase "are to be" has been supplied.


Notes for Exodus 27:18LEB

"a hundred cubits."


"fifty." The text has "and the width fifty [cubits] with fifty." This means that it is fifty cubits wide on the western end and fifty cubits wide on the eastern end.


Here "hangings" has been supplied.


Here the phrase "is to be" has been supplied.


Notes for Exodus 27:19LEB

"to all"; for use of the preposition lamed (ל) to show inclusion (all belonging to) see GKC 458 §143.e.


Here "used" has been supplied.


The tabernacle is an important aspect of OT theology. The writer’s pattern so far has been: ark, table, lamp, and then their container (the tabernacle); then the altar and its container (the courtyard). The courtyard is the place of worship where the people could gather – they entered Yahweh’s courts. Though the courtyard may not seem of much interest to current readers, it did interest the Israelites. Here the sacrifices were made, the choirs sang, the believers offered their praises, they had their sins forgiven, they came to pray, they appeared on the set-a-part days, and they heard from Yahweh. It was set-a-part because Yahweh met them there; they left the "world" (figuratively speaking) and came into the very presence of Yahweh.


Notes for Exodus 27:20LEB

The form is the imperfect tense with the vav showing a sequence with the first verb: "you will command…that they take." The verb "take, receive" is used here as before for receiving an offering and bringing it to the sanctuary.


"lamp," which must be a collective singular here.


The verb is unusual; it is the Hiphil infinitive construct of עָלָה (’alah), with the sense here of "to set up" to burn, or "to fix on" as in Exod 25:37, or "to kindle" (U. Cassuto, Exodus, 370).


The word can mean "continually," but in this context, as well as in the passages on the sacrifices, "regularly" is better, since each morning things were cleaned and restored.


Notes for Exodus 27:21LEB

The LXX has mistakenly rendered this name "the tent of the testimony."


The lamps were to be removed in the morning so that the wicks could be trimmed and the oil replenished (Exodus 30:7LEB) and then lit every evening to burn through the night.


This is the first of several sections of priestly duties. The point is a simple one here: those who lead the worship use the offerings of the people to ensure that access to Yahweh is illumined regularly. The NT will make much of the symbolism of light.