New European Commentary


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Deeper Commentary

25:8 The commands concerning the tabernacle were given to Moses by the Angel- do phrases like "Let them make Me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them" (Ex. 25:8) have primary reference to the Angel speaking the words? In the same way, does Psalm 99:1 refer also to the physical presence of an Angel between the cherubim? "The LORD reigneth. . He sitteth between the cherubim (through His Angel); let the earth (land of Israel) be moved". Similarly "Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel (the Angel- so Isaiah 63 describes the wilderness Angel), thou that leadest Joseph like a flock (the Angel lead them through the wilderness); thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth" (Ps. 80:1). And again in Ps. 20:1,2 "The God of Jacob (i. e. the Angel who Jacob recognized had been so much in his life) defend thee; send thee help from the sanctuary. . ", as if it was in the sanctuary (Holy Place) that the Angel was located. See on Ps. 78:60
25:9- see on Jn. 5:19.20
The fact that the Cherubim and the mercy seat were made of the same material shows the unity between Christ and the Angels in God's purpose (Ex. 25:19); thus the stone, representing Christ, has the seven Angel eyes of God embedded in it in Zech. 3:9.
25:22- see on 2 Sam. 23:1-3.

25:23 The Ugaritic poems speak of the furniture in Baal's heavenly temple, and it's very similar to that in the Most Holy Place. But the poems especially focus upon Baal's bed and chests of drawers for his clothing. These are noticeably absent in Yahweh's tabernacle furniture. The pagan god tabernacles all feature some kind of throne, upon which the god visibly sits. The cherubim of the Israelite tabernacle are similar to the Mesopotamian karibu, cherubim, upon which their gods sat. Phoenician and Egyptian art uncovered by archaeologists shows they believed in cherubim very similar in form to those described in Ezekiel's visions of Yahweh's cherubim. The throne of Yahweh was the ark, covered by the cherubim. There, above the blood spattered lid of the ark (or "mercy seat"), supported by the cherubim, the pagan mind expected to see Israel's God enthroned. The similarities to the pagan shrines were intentional- to set up this expectation. But there was nothing there. It was, to their eyes, an empty throne- just as God appears to be absent to so many people today. There was no visible image resting upon the wings of the cherubim, nothing on the throne / lid of the ark but the blood of atonement (which pointed forward to that of God's Son).

25:29 Yahweh had a "table". The Mesopotamian gods likewise had a table (passuru) upon which food was placed as a meal for the god (as in Is. 65:11). But the beakers, cups and vessels on Yahweh's table remained empty (Ex. 25:29); the wine was poured out onto the sacrifices and vaporized; the priests ate the shewbread. There was no pretence that Yahweh was a hungry god who needed to be fed by His worshippers. To the pagan mind, this would've meant that if He didn't eat, He wasn't actually around nor powerful. Again, the difference and similarities were intentional, in order to point up the need for faith in the power and existence of Yahweh.

25:33,34- see on Jer. 1:11,12