New European Commentary

 

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Exo 38:1 He made the altar of burnt offering of acacia wood. It was square. Its length was five cubits, its breadth was five cubits, and its height was three cubits-

The acacia bush was all they had in the wilderness. It was hardly suitable for making furniture, being brittle and the sticks very thin and hard to weld together. The root translated "shittim" really means a stick or rod, and is translated "thorns" in Josh. 23:13. We shouldn't be surprosed at the brittle nature of the folk with whom God works, their difficulty in binding together and resistance to being worked with- this is as it were all God has to work with.

Exo 38:2 He made its horns on its four corners. Its horns were of one piece with it, and he overlaid it with brass.
Exo 38:3 He made all the vessels of the altar, the pots, the shovels, the basins, the forks, and the fire pans. He made all its vessels of brass.
Exo 38:4 He made for the altar a grating of a network of brass, under the ledge around it beneath, reaching halfway up-


Exo 38:5 He cast four rings for the four ends of brass grating, to be places for the poles.
Exo 38:6 He made the poles of acacia wood, and overlaid them with brass-
Acacia was plentiful in the wilderness, but it is little more than brushwood; a surprising choice of material to be used in God’s dwelling place. But His choice of us with all our weakness and dysfunction, the common, weak stuff of the wilderness, is no less surprising. The choice of acacia wood for constructing the tabernacle is one of several points in the whole enterprise where it seems a less than ideal material was chosen, from a construction point of view. This aspect emphasizes that God prefers to work with the soft, weak and broken in order to do His work (as also in Ez. 15:2-5).


Exo 38:7 He put the poles into the rings on the sides of the altar, with which to carry it. He made it hollow with planks.

Exo 38:8 He made the basin of brass, and its base of brass, out of the mirrors of the ministering women who ministered at the door of the Tent of Meeting-

Perhaps this suggests that their devotion to God led them to no longer be so concerned with their own image and appearance.



Exo 38:9 He made the court: for the south side southward the hangings of the court were of fine twined linen, one hundred cubits;
Exo 38:10 their pillars were twenty, and their sockets twenty, of brass; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets were of silver.
Exo 38:11 For the north side one hundred cubits, their pillars twenty, and their sockets twenty, of brass; the hooks of the pillars, and their fillets, of silver.
Exo 38:12 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.
Exo 38:13 For the east side, eastward fifty cubits.
Exo 38:14 The hangings for the one side were fifteen cubits; their pillars three, and their sockets three;
Exo 38:15 and so also for the other side: on this hand and that hand by the gate of the court were hangings of fifteen cubits; their pillars three, and their sockets three.
Exo 38:16 All the hangings around the court were of fine twined linen.
Exo 38:17 The sockets for the pillars were of brass. The hooks of the pillars and their fillets were of silver; and the overlaying of their heads, of silver; and all the pillars of the court were filleted with silver.
Exo 38:18 The screen for the gate of the court was the work of the embroiderer, of blue, purple, scarlet, and fine twined linen. Twenty cubits was the length, and the height in the breadth was five cubits, like to the hangings of the court-

This describes the curtain over the door of the tabernacle in similar language to how the veil hiding the Most Holy is described. Christ is the door of the tabernacle through which we enter at our conversion and baptism (Jn. 10:9). By doing so we also enter, in prospect, through the veil into the Most Holy of eternity and Divine nature.

 

The height of the curtains was such that a man would have to bow his head in order to pass underneath it, teaching the humility required to approach God’s presence.


Exo 38:19 Their pillars were four, and their sockets four, of brass; their hooks of silver, and the overlaying of the heads, and their fillets, of silver.
Exo 38:20 All the pins of the tabernacle, and around the court, were of brass.

Exo 38:21 This is the amount of material used for the tabernacle, even the Tabernacle of the Testimony, as they were counted, according to the commandment of Moses, for the service of the Levites, by the hand of Ithamar, the son of Aaron the priest.
Exo 38:22 Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, made all that Yahweh commanded Moses.
Exo 38:23 With him was Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, an engraver and a skilful workman, and an embroiderer in blue, in purple, in scarlet, and in fine linen-

This seems to imply that Aholiab was already a master craftsman; but he could only do the work because God blessed and developed the ‘natural’ talent which Aholiab was willing to present to God’s service. God sometimes gives us the opportunity to develop our ‘natural’ talents for use in His service- other times, He asks us to do that which is for us a taking up on the cross.


Exo 38:24 All the gold that was used for the work in all the work of the sanctuary, even the gold of the offering, was twenty-nine talents, and seven hundred thirty shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary.
Exo 38:25 The silver of those who were numbered of the congregation was one hundred talents, and one thousand seven hundred seventy-five shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary:
Exo 38:26 a beka a head, that is, half a shekel, after the shekel of the sanctuary, for each one who passed over to those who were numbered, from twenty years old and upward, for six hundred and three thousand five hundred and fifty men.
Exo 38:27 The one hundred talents of silver were for casting the sockets of the sanctuary, and the sockets of the veil; one hundred sockets for the one hundred talents, a talent for a socket.
Exo 38:28 From the one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five shekels he made hooks for the pillars, overlaid their capitals, and made fillets for them.
Exo 38:29 The brass of the offering was seventy talents, and two thousand four hundred shekels-

God remembers to this day how much everyone gave of what material, and has preserved the record in His written word. This is encouragement to us that no sacrifice for God’s house is ever forgotten, but He eternally remembers it.


Exo 38:30 From this he made the sockets to the door of the Tent of Meeting, the bronze altar, the bronze grating for it, all the vessels of the altar,
Exo 38:31 the sockets around the court, the sockets of the gate of the court, all the pins of the tabernacle, and all the pins around the court.