Exodus 26 Bible Commentary

John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible

(Read all of Exodus 26)
In this chapter a description is given of the tabernacle itself, and first of its inward curtains, of their number, matter, length, and breadth, and the manner of coupling them together, Exodus 26:1, and then of the outward curtains of it, their number, matter, length, and breadth, and coupling, and how disposed of, Exodus 26:7, and next of the two coverings of the tabernacle, of rams' skins and badgers' skins, Exodus 22:14, the boards for the tabernacle are also described, with their tenons and sockets, Exodus 26:15 and the bars and rings for it, by which it was kept firm together, Exodus 26:26, an account is given of the vail between the holy and the most holy place, Exodus 26:31, and of the hanging for the door of the tabernacle, Exodus 26:36.

Verse 1. Moreover, thou shalt make the tabernacle,.... Which he was ordered to make before, the pattern of which was shown him in the mount: this was an habitation for God to dwell in, as the word properly signifies, and into which the furniture before described was to be put; this tabernacle was a type both of the human nature of Christ, which is the true tabernacle which God pitched, and not man, the greater and more perfect one, Hebrews 8:2 in which the fulness of the Godhead dwells bodily, where the glory of God is seen, in whom he grants his gracious presence to his people, and accepts of them and their sacrifices of prayer and praise; and also of the church of God, Psalm 43:3. Here Jehovah dwells, grants his presence to his people, and comes and blesses them; here he is worshipped, and spiritual sacrifices are offered up to him with acceptance: the tabernacle of Moses was made

[with] ten curtains of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet; the ground of these curtains was fine linen, twined or doubled: and the Jewish writers, as Maimonides, Ben Gersom, and others, say it was six times doubled, the word "Shesh," here used, signifying six; and this was interwoven with threads of yarn dyed blue, purple, and scarlet; according to Jarchi, the threads of which this tapestry was made were twenty four times doubled: he observes, "there were four sorts in every thread, one thread of fine linen, and three of wool, and every thread was doubled six times; lo, the four sorts, when they were twined together, there were twenty four double to a thread;" which if so, must make a stuff of a very great consistence and stiffness. This, as applied to the human nature of Christ, the fine linen may denote the purity of it; the various colours the different graces of the Spirit, with which it is adorned; or else the wounds, bruises, bloodshed, sufferings and death he endured in it: as applied to the church, may signify the clothing of the saints with the righteousness of Christ, that fine linen clean and white, and their being washed in his precious blood, and beautified with the graces of his Spirit:

with cherubim of cunning work shall thou make them; that is, with figures like those of the cherubim on the mercy seat, so disposed by the curious art and contrivance of the weaver, as to appear on both sides of this tapestry; for this was not wrought by a needle, which only shows the figure on one side, but by weaving, as Jarchi observes; and who says, that there was one figure on one side, and another on another; as, for instance, a lion on one side, and an eagle on the other; or, which is more likely, the same figure was seen on both sides, as Maimonides affirms, who says {e}, the work called Chosheb (which is what is here spoken of) is that whose figures appear on both sides, before and behind: this in the mystical sense may point either to the ministration of angels to Christ in his human nature, and to his people the heirs of salvation; or else to the service of Gospel ministers, done for the honour and glory of Christ, and the good of his church and people: Josephus {f} thinks these curtains had a mystical meaning in them, and represent the nature of the elements, and so Philo {g}.

{e} Hilchot Cele Hamikdash, c. 8. sect. 15. {f} Antiqu. l. 3. c. 7. sect. 7. {g} De Vita Mosis, l. 3. p. 667.

Verse 2. The length of one curtain shall be twenty eight cubits,.... Or fourteen yards:

and the breadth of one curtain four cubits; or two yards; according to the common notion of a cubit being half a yard; but if, as Dr. Cumberland says, the Jewish and Egyptian cubit was three inches longer, this will make a considerable difference in the length and breadth of those curtains, especially in the former:

and everyone of the curtains shall have one measure; be of equal length and breadth.

Verse 3. The five curtains shall be coupled together one to another,.... Five of the ten curtains were to be sewed together, and make as it were one curtain:

and other five curtains shall be coupled one to another: the other five were to be joined together in like manner, and so made two large pieces of tapestry of fourteen yards long and ten broad, according to the common account of a cubit, but were much longer and broader.

Verse 4. And thou shall make loops of blue upon the edge of the one curtain,.... The first large curtain, consisting of five sewed together, at the edge of that:

from the selvedge in the coupling; where it was to be coupled with the other great curtain; "loops" or "eyelet holes" {h}, were to be made: these were not wove with the curtains, for they were not to be upon all of them, only at the two outermost of the largest ones, and therefore were made afterwards, probably with the needle:

and likewise shall thou make in the uppermost edge of [another] curtain, in the coupling of the second; loops also were to be made on the outermost edge of another curtain belonging to the second great curtain, where it was to be coupled with the first.

{h} tall "ocellos," Vatablus.

Verse 5. Fifty loops shalt thou make in the one curtain,.... In the first great curtain, or in the outermost of the five that were sewed together:

and fifty loops shalt thou make in the edge of the curtain that is in the coupling of the second; as many also were to be made in the outermost of the second great curtain where it was to be coupled with the first:

that the loops may take hold one of another; or rather that they might answer to one another in both curtains; for the loops could not take hold of one another, only were made to meet together by the taches, hooks, or clasps put into them, next mentioned.

Verse 6. And thou shalt make fifty taches of gold,.... Which some render "buttons" {i}, others "hooks" {k} they seem to be "clasps"; the use of them follows:

and couple the curtains together with the taches; the two great curtains were made out of the ten, which had in them fifty

{i} yorq "fibulas," Tigurine version, Vatablus {k} "Uncinos," Pagninus, Montanus, Drusius; so the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan.

Verse 7. And thou shalt make curtains of goats' hair,.... Jarchi calls it the flower or down of goats, the softer and finer part of their hair, which was spun by women, as appears from Exodus 35:26, and was made up into a stuff somewhat like our camelot; these curtains were coarser than the former, and were made to be put over them, to preserve them from the weather, as it follows:

to be a covering upon the tabernacle: which, by the curtains of linen coupled together, became one tabernacle, as in the preceding verse: and these curtains were to be a tent or covering over them: they were somewhat like, being made of the same matter, with the coverings with which the ancient Arabs covered their tents, which were made of goats' hair, as were the tents of Kedar alluded to in Song of Solomon 1:5, these curtains of goats' hair denote the outward appearance of Christ in human nature, who, attended with all human infirmities, excepting sin, was in the form of a servant, in great meanness and poverty, covered with reproach, and had in the greatest contempt, and especially at the time of his sufferings and death; though all rich and glorious within, full of grace, and of all the blessings of grace, of righteousness and life, of light, joy, peace, and comfort for his people; and may also denote the mean appearance of the church and people of God outwardly; being, generally speaking, a poor and an afflicted people, subject to the scorn, reproach, and persecutions of men, but all glorious within, enriched with the grace of God and righteousness of Christ; and so, in one respect, like these curtains of goats' hair, and, in another respect, like the curtains of fine linen:

eleven curtains shalt thou make; one more than the other; the reason of which was, that there might be one at the entrance of the tabernacle, there being no linen curtain there, see Exodus 26:9.

Verse 8. The length of one curtain shall be thirty cubits, and the breadth of one curtain four cubits,.... The breadth of them is the same with the linen curtains, but the length of them two cubits more; the reason of which was, that they might hang down lower on either side, and the better preserve them from any injury:

and the eleven curtains shall be all of one measure; as to length and breadth.

Verse 9. And thou shall couple five curtains by themselves,.... And make one large curtain of them, as was ordered with respect to the linen curtains:

and six curtains by themselves; as there were eleven of them, such a division was made of five into one large curtain, and six into another; and as that which had six in it would reach further than the other, provision is made for the disposal and use of that as follows:

and shall double the sixth curtain in the forefront of the tabernacle; at the entrance of it, in the east end of it; the sixth curtain reaching to that, and hanging down, was turned up, and so doubled, opposite the door or entrance; and was, as Jarchi says, like a modest bride that covers her face with a vail, which before this had no covering; for thus it was, as Dr. Lightfoot {m} describes it, the holy place was ten yards long, and the five curtains sewed together were just so broad, and so they covered only the top and the sides, but hung not down at the end, which was eastward--but the six (goat hair curtains) that lay east reached to the end, covered the pillars whereon that vail hung, and they hung half a curtain's breadth or a yard over the entrance.

{m} Works, vol. 1. p. 718.

Verse 10. And thou shalt make fifty loops on the edge of the one curtain, that is outmost in the coupling,.... Just in like manner, and in the same place where they were ordered to be put on the linen curtains, only these are not said to be of blue, but perhaps were wrought with goats hair: and fifty loops in the edge of the curtain which coupleth the second; these loops were set on each of the curtains where the two large pieces were to be coupled together.

Verse 11. And thou shalt make fifty taches of brass,.... As these curtains were coarser, and also the loops, so the taches, hooks, or clasps, were made of meaner metal, but answered the purpose of joining and coupling together full as well: and put the taches into the loops; one end of the hook or clasp into the loop on one of the curtains, and the other end of the hook or clasp into the loop on the other curtain answering to it: and couple the tent together, that it may be one; that the tent or covering over the tabernacle might be one, as the tabernacle by the like means was, Exodus 26:6.

Verse 12. And the remnant that remaineth of the curtains of the tent,.... Of the goat hair curtains, which were one more than the linen curtains:

the half curtain that remaineth; for the other half extended to the east end of it, at the entrance of the tabernacle, and hung down and was doubled there, and the other that remained is here disposed of:

shall hang over the backside of the tabernacle; the west end of it, where was the holy of holies; or rather, as Dr. Lightfoot {n} describes it, thus, it was when those curtains (of goats' hair) were laid upon the other over the tabernacle; they were not laid as these brazen loops (clasps it should be) did light just upon the golden ones over the vail, but three quarters of a yard more westward, so that the five curtains that went west did reach to the ground and half a curtain to spare, Exodus 26:12 the other six that lay east reached to the end, covered the pillars whereon that vail hung, and they hung half a curtain's breadth or a yard over the entrance.

{n} Works, vol. 1. p. 719.

Verse 13. And a cubit on the one side, and a cubit on the other side o that which remaineth in the length of the curtains of the tent,.... The curtains of the tent, or the goat hair curtains, were two cubits longer than the other, and these are the two cubits, one on one side and the other on the other, which remained, and by which they were longer than the linen curtains:

it shall hang over the sides of the tabernacle; the north and south sides: on this side,

and on that side, to cover it; and as the above learned doctor observes {o}, their length of fifteen yards reached half a yard lower on either side than the other curtains did, and yet they came not to the ground by a quarter of a yard; so that the silver foundations (of which afterwards) were always plain to be seen everywhere but at the west end.

{o} Works, vol. 1. p. 719.

Verse 14. And thou shalt make a covering for the tent of rams' skins dyed red,.... This was a covering that was put over the curtains of goats' skin; but whether it went all over them, or only upon the roof of the tabernacle they covered, to keep out the rains from soaking through, is not certain, nor very evident; Jarchi thinks the roof was only covered with this covering of rams' skins; but others think it more reasonable that the whole was covered with them to preserve from dust and rain:

and a covering above of badgers' skins; of these skins See Gill on "Ex 25:5," this was a fourth covering of the tabernacle; the first was of linen curtains, the second of goats' hair, the third of rams' skins, and the fourth of badgers' skins, which seems to have been thicker and courser, since shoes were made of them, Ezekiel 16:10, R. Judah, as quoted by Jarchi, thinks the two last were but one covering, half of it consisting of rams' skins and half of it of badgers' skins; but the text is express that the latter was a covering above and over the former: these several coverings of the tabernacle show the care that God takes of his church and people, and how sufficiently they are provided for, that they may be in safety from all their enemies, being clothed with Christ's righteousness, and under the purple covering of his blood, and surrounded by his almighty power, see Isaiah 4:5.

Verse 15. And thou shalt make the boards for the tabernacle,.... Which were the pillars and supports, and properly the walls of it, which gave it its firmness and security, or otherwise the curtains would have been blown about by every wind: they were to be made

of shittim wood standing up; just as they grew, as a Jewish writer observes {p}; these planks or boards were not to be laid along the lengthways of them, but to be set upright; and may denote such who are pillars in the house of God, and are to be upright both in heart and conversation, both ministers and private members; and indeed the church itself is the pillar and ground of truth, Galatians 2:9.

{p} Bartenora in Misn. Succa, c. 3. sect. 14.

Verse 16. Ten cubits shall be the length of a board,.... Or five yards, according to the common cubit:

and a cubit and a half shall be the breadth of one board; or three quarters of a yard; and from hence we may learn what were the height and the length of the tabernacle; according to the common computation of a cubit, it was but five yards high and fifteen long, since there were but twenty boards on each side, Exodus 26:18, but if three inches are added to each cubit, it will make its measures considerably larger: Josephus {q} says the boards were four fingers thick: according to Bishop Cumberland the boards of the tabernacle, containing fifteen Jewish square cubits, were very near fifty English square feet in their length and breadth.

{q} Antiqu. l. 3. c. 6. sect. 3.

Verse 17. Two tenons shall there be on one board,.... Every board was to be so cut and shaped at the lower end of it, as to have, as it were, "two hands" {r}, as in the original, to enter into, lay hold on, and fasten in mortises:

set in order one against another; at a proper distance from each other, as the rounds of a ladder:

thus shalt thou make for all the boards of the tabernacle; everyone was to have two tenons.

{r} twdy ytv "duae manus," Montanus.

Verse 18. And thou shalt make the boards for the tabernacle,.... As in the manner before described, so in number as follows:

twenty boards on the south side southward; which being a cubit and a half broad, made the length of the tabernacle fifteen yards according to the common account; but if these were cubits of twenty one inches, then its length was much greater.

Verse 19. And thou shall make forty sockets of silver under the twenty boards,.... Or bases {s}, and which were properly the foundation of the tabernacle, on which it was settled and established; these sockets were the mortises for the two tenons of each board or plank to be placed in, and were as broad as the plank, and, joining each other, made one entire basis for the whole structure; each socket contained a talent of silver, and was made of the silver given at the numbering of the people, Exodus 38:25, and a talent of silver, according to Bishop Cumberland, amounted to three hundred and fifty three pounds, eleven shillings and some odd pence of our money: by which may be judged the whole value of this silver foundation, which, with the four sockets of the vail, consisted of one hundred of them, which answer to the one hundred talents of silver collected at the above offering:

two sockets under one board for his two tenons, and two sockets under another board for his two tenons; and so in all the twenty boards, which took up the whole forty on the south side.

{s} ynda "bases," V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version, Piscator, Drusius.

Verse 20. And for the second side of the tabernacle the north side,.... The direction of the tabernacle was east and west; at the east end was the entrance into the holy place, and at the west end the holy of holies; and the two sides were north and south; and as on the south side, so on the north

[there shall be] twenty boards: just the same number as the laws of building required.

Verse 21. And their forty sockets of silver,.... answerable to the twenty boards, for their two tenons to be placed in as in mortises: two sockets under one board, and two sockets under another board; and so under all the boards on the north side as on the south.

Verse 22. And for the sides of the tabernacle,.... Or the ends of it, the east and west, and the account begins with the west:

westward thou shalt make six boards; so that the breadth of the tabernacle was but nine cubits, or four yards and a half, according to a common cubit; but two boards more placed at the two corners of the sides, next observed, added to the breadth of it.

Verse 23. And two boards shalt thou make for the corners of the tabernacle in the two sides. For the northwest and southwest corners, in the north and south sides; concerning which Dr. Lightfoot thus writes {t}: and the west end had six planks entire, besides a plank at either corner, joining end and sides together; these corner planks were of the same breadth that all the others were, and, thus set, the middle of the breadth of the one plank was laid close to the end of the south side, or to that plank that was furthest west; so that a quarter of a yard of the breadth of the corner plank was inward, to make up the tabernacle breadth, a quarter was taken up with the thickness of the side plank to which it joined, and a quarter lay outward: thus at the southwest, just so was it at the northwest corner: then count; the two corner planks were inward a quarter of a yard apiece, and the six planks that stood between them of three quarters apiece, behold five yards, just the breadth of the house between wall and wall: these corners knit end and side together, and were the strength of the building; as, adds he, "Christ is of his church, making Jews and Gentiles one spiritual temple."

{t} Ut supra. (Works, vol 1. p. 719.)

Verse 24. And they shall be coupled together beneath,.... At the bottom of the boards or planks:

and they shall be coupled together above the head of it unto one ring at the top of the boards there was a ring, to which they were coupled and fastened, and so at the bottom of them, though not expressed: some understand this of all the planks, both at the two sides and at the west end; but it seems rather to respect only the corner planks, since it follows:

thus shall it be for them both, they shall be for the two corners; which were coupled and joined alike at each corner as if they were twins, as the word used signifies; or the meaning is, that these were double boards, and so like twins, which were so closely put together that they seemed but one board; which was done that the corners might be thicker and stronger, and so for the greater firmness of the building.

Verse 25. And they shall be eight boards,.... Six at the west end and one at each corner, northwest and southwest:

and their sockets of silver, sixteen sockets the same as those for the boards on both sides north and south: they were of the same metal, silver; and they were two under one board, to receive its two tenons as follows:

two sockets under one board, and two sockets under another board; and so under all eight, and which sockets joining with those of the two sides, and in all made ninety six, were the basis and foundation of the tabernacle, and was a figure of Christ, the only foundation of his church and people; and the several tenons of the boards joined into those sockets of silver may denote the union of the members of Christ and ministers of his word to him, and their dependence on him.

Verse 26. And thou shalt make bars of shittim wood, &e.] Which being put into rings or staples of gold, kept the boards tight, close, and firm together:

five for the boards of the one side of the tabernacle: for instance, the south side; four of these were placed, two at the upper end of the boards, and two at the lower end, and the fifth in the middle, particularly taken notice of, Exodus 26:28, how long these bars were it is not said, but it is reasonable to conclude that they reached the length of the tabernacle, which was thirty cubits; and as it was not easy to get bars of such a length, the notion of Josephus {u} perhaps, may be right, that each two consisted of divers parts which joined one another, the head of one entering into the hollow of the other and as he supposes they were five cubits long, a row of them must have six parts, which went along the sides, north and south, and the west end two, which was but ten cubits.

{u} Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 3. c. 6. sect. 3.)

Verse 27. And five bars for the boards of the other side of the tabernacle,.... Suppose the north, these bars were disposed of in the same manner as those on the south side:

and five bars for the boards of that side of the tabernacle; or the end of it, the west end, as follows:

for the two sides westward; that is, the two corners at the west end, the southwest and the northwest corners; and these five bars reached from the one to the other, two at the upper part of the boards, and two at the lower part, and one in the middle.

Verse 28. And the middle bar in the midst of the boards shall reach from end to end. From east to west, as Jarchi interprets it; but this can only be said of the middle bar on the north and south sides of the tabernacle, for the middle bar at the west end was north to south: about this bar there is some difficulty, as that it is said to be "from end to end," as if that only was; whereas it is reasonable to suppose that the rest were so likewise; it may be, they might come somewhat short of reaching the end, whereas this did entirely; or rather the truer reason is, because the rest of the bars consisted of various parts; whereas this was a long bar of one entire piece, reaching from one end of the tabernacle to the other: likewise it is said to be "in the midst of the boards"; and the Jewish writers are generally of opinion, that it did not run along in rings as the other bars did, but the boards and planks being bored, this went through the thickness of the wood throughout; and in this they are followed by Arias Moatanus, Vatablus, Dr. Lightfoot, and others: but to this it may be objected, that the boards must be very thick indeed, even incredibly so, to admit of such a bore as to let in a bar of this kind, and is not so consistent with its being a portable house; and besides, when it was at any time taken down, in order to be removed, such a bar must give a great deal of trouble, and be in danger of being broke to pieces; besides, if it was thus covered in the boards, as it must be, what need was there that it should be overlaid with gold, as in the next verse? it is more probable, therefore, that it went not through the midst of the thickness of the wood, but in the middle of the length of the planks, and so expresses its different situation from the rest of the bars, which were at or towards the top and bottom of the planks, and this in the middle of them. It is not said of these bars, whether they were within or on the outside of the tabernacle; it is most likely they were on the outside, as Josephus {w} says they were; since they would not have made a good appearance within side, where they would have been always seen by the priests within, whereas being without they were covered with the curtains.

{w} Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 3. c. 6. sect. 3.)

Verse 29. And thou shalt overlay the boards with gold,.... Not merely gild them, but cover them with thin plates of gold; and which, because it would take up a great quantity of gold, and make the boards very heavy, unless the plates were very thin, when they were taken down and carried from place to place, some have thought they were only glided:

and make their rings of gold, [for] places for the bars; these were made of solid gold, and were as staples to let the bars into: and, according to Jarchi, there were two rings to every board:

and thou shalt overlay the bars with gold: cover them with plates of gold; and these bars and staples of gold show how compact and firm the church of God is, through his almighty power, as well as how glorious and splendid it is by his grace.

Verse 30. And thou shall rear up the tabernacle,.... When thus finished, and all the furniture belonging to it completed:

according to the fashion thereof, which was showed thee in the mount; this is the third time that this is observed to Moses in the account of the tabernacle; which shows how punctually God would have the pattern observed he had given him, and that all things might be particularly and exactly done according to it, see Hebrews 8:5.

Verse 31. And thou shalt make a vail,.... The use of this, as follows, was to divide the holy place from the most holy place in the tabernacle; it has its name from hardness, it being very stiff and strong, for it was made of thread six times doubled, and was four fingers thick, as the Jewish writers say: this vail may represent the sin of man, which separates between God and man, was removed by the death of Christ when the vail was rent, and so the way to heaven opened; or the obscurity of the legal dispensation, the Gospel being veiled under the shadows of the law, and the way into the holiest of all then not so manifest, and particularly the ceremonial law, which separated between Jew and Gentile, and is now abolished by the death of Christ; or rather it was typical of the human nature of Christ, his flesh, called in allusion to it the vail of his flesh, Hebrews 10:20. This vail was made of

blue, and purple, and scarlet, of fine twined linen of cunning work; it seems to have been made of the same materials, and in the same curious manner of workmanship with the curtains of the tabernacle, Exodus 26:1, and was itself no other than a curtain, and so it is interpreted by some Jewish writers {x}. It being made of "fine linen" denotes the purity of Christ, of his nature, life, and righteousness; of "twined linen," his strength, courage and steadiness; "of blue, purple, and scarlet," the several graces of the Spirit, with which his human nature was adorned, his flaming zeal for his Father's glory and the good of his people, his bloody wounds, sufferings, and death, the preciousness of his blood, the dignity of his person, and his glorious exaltation, purple and scarlet being the colours wore by kings:

with cherubim shall it be made; signifying either the ministration of angels to him in his incarnate state, or the mission of Gospel ministers by him, see Psalm 139:15.

{x} Vid. R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 37. 2.

Verse 32. And thou shalt hang it upon four pillars of shittim wood, overlaid with gold,.... For it was ten cubits long, and as many broad; and being of such a stiffness and thickness as it was, required so many pillars to support it: these pillars may signify the deity of Christ, which is the support of his human nature, and in which it has its personal subsistence, and gives all its actions and sufferings virtue and efficacy; and being of "shittim wood," which is incorruptible, may denote his eternity, and being covered with gold, his glory:

their hooks shall be of gold; which were upon the tops of the pillars on which the vail was hung: and the pillars were

upon the four sockets of silver; which were properly the pedestals or feet of the pillars; and these sockets, into which the pillars were let and placed, and the hooks the vail hung by, may hint to the union of the two natures in Christ, who is God and man in one person, God manifest in the flesh; see Song of Solomon 5:15.

Verse 33. And thou shall hang up the vail under the taches,.... Or clasps, which coupled the two grand curtains, or pieces of tapestry, each consisting of five curtains, of which the tabernacle was made, Exodus 26:6, and by this it seems that the place where they met, and were clasped, was where the vail was hung between the holy and the most holy place: for, as Dr. Lightfoot {y} observes, according to the division of the house was the division of the curtains, the vail that parted the holy from the most holy was hung just under the golden clasps that knit the five curtains together; so that five curtains lay over the holy place, and the other five over the most holy; but with this difference, the holy place was ten yards long, and the five curtains sewed together were just so broad, and so they covered only the top and sides, but hung not down at the end which was eastward; but the most holy was but five yards long, and the five curtains over that did not only cover the top, but also hung down at the west end to the silver bases; and of what he says of the goat hair curtains, and their brazen clasps or taches, and where they met, and what they covered, See Gill on "Ex 26:12,"

that thou mayest bring in thither within the vail the ark of the testimony; the ark in which the testimony or law of God, testifying his will, was put; of which see Exodus 25:10, &c. this was to be set in the most holy place, as being holy, spiritual, just, and good; and as being fulfilled by Christ, signified by the ark in which it was, through whose righteousness alone there is admission into the holy of holies, by which this law is fulfilled, magnified, and made honourable:

and the vail shall divide unto you between the holy place and the most holy; which was so thick, that there was no seeing through it; and none might enter by it into the holiest of all but the high priest, and he only on the day of atonement; and into the holy place might none come but the priests, to do the service of the sanctuary. The holy place was typical of the church on earth, where all the saints, who are priests to God, worship, and the most holy of heaven, the perfect state of bliss and happiness.

{y} Works, vol, 1. p. 718.

Verse 34. And thou shalt put the mercy seat upon ark of the testimony,.... With the cherubim of glory overshadowing it; all which were a representation of the way of man's salvation flowing from the mercy and grace of God, through the propitiation by Christ, and his perfect righteousness, by which the law is fulfilled; and all this is published in the Gospel by the ministers of it, signified by the cherubim: and these are all the things that were "in the most holy place"; and they were placed at the west end of it.

Verse 35. And thou shalt set the table without the vail,.... The table of shewbread, of which see Exodus 25:23, this was not to be within the vail, but without it, in the holy place: and the candlestick opposite the table, of which see Exodus 25:31, &c. signifying, that in the church of God, in the present state of things, which the holy place was an emblem of, there are both food and light: the candlestick was placed

on the side of the tabernacle, toward the south; according to Jarchi, two cubits and a half from the side of it:

and thou shalt put the table on the north side; of the tabernacle, directly opposite the candlestick, two cubits and a half from the south side, as the same writer says;

Verse 36. And thou shalt make an hanging for the door of the tent,.... At the east end of the tabernacle, which lay open and exposed, and for which as yet there was no provision; the west end of it, where stood the holy of holies, was enclosed with six boards, and two corner ones, Exodus 26:22 and the linen curtains hung down there to the silver bases, and so did the curtains of goats' hair, even to the ground, and half a curtain to spare, see Exodus 26:12 but for the east end, or entrance into the tabernacle, there was nothing till now ordered, only the sixth curtain of the goats' hair curtains was there turned up double, Exodus 26:9, but now here an "hanging" is ordered, or rather a "covering" {z}, as the word signifies; Jarchi calls it a vail; and this was instead of a door to the tabernacle, and divided the holy place, into which only the priests might enter, from the place where the people stood and worshipped: and this also was made

of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen; as was the vail between the holy and the holy of holies; only with this difference, this was

wrought with needle work, and that was of "cunning work": the difference between these two, "Rokem" and "Chosheb," was, as Ben Melech from the Misnah relates, that "Rokem" is the work of a needle, and therefore but one face or figure is seen, that is, it is only seen on one side; but "Chosheb" is the work of a weaver, and therefore two faces or figures are seen, that is, they are seen on both sides; and with this account Maimonides agrees, See Gill on "Ex 26:1," besides this hanging, Josephus {a} tells us there was another of linen, of the same size with this, and which covered it, and preserved it from the weather, and which on festival days was turned back, that the people might have a prospect of the other; just as there were curtains of goats' hair to preserve the linen ones.

{z} Kom "operimentum," Montanus; "tegumentum," Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "velum," Tigurine version, Drusius. {a} Antiqu. l. 3. c. 6. sect. 4.

Verse 37. And thou shalt make for the hanging five pillars of shittim wood,.... One at each corner of the entrance into the tabernacle, and the other three at a proper distance from each other, so as to make four ways for the priests to enter in at; as there might very well be, since there was a breadth of ten cubits, or five yards or more:

and overlay them with gold; with plates of gold, for a gild would soon wear off by continual use in passing and repassing. This is to be understood not of the whole pillars, but of the chapiters, heads, tops, or knobs of them, and of their fillets or girdles; in some parts of them the wood appearing, as is plain from Exodus 36:38:

and their hooks shall be of gold; on which the hanging, covering, or vail was hung:

and thou shalt cast five sockets of brass for them; for the pillars to stand upon them, and were of a meaner metal than those on which the pillars for the vail before mentioned; that being the entrance into the holy of holies, where the divine Majesty dwelt, this into the holy place where the priests did their service.