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upon its meaning from the contexts in which it appears.*
The “Holy Place,” the other room of the Tabernacle, (of the same dimensions with the “Holy of Holies,” except in its length, which, as has been observed, was probably twice as great,) contained three pieces of furniture. These were; the Altar of Incense; the Golden Candlestick; and the Table of Shew-Bread. The Altar was two cubits high, and one cubit square at its top, of shittim-wood overlaid with gold. It was placed at the western end of the apartment, directly before the veil which separated it from the Most Holy Place. The Golden Candlestick stood on the south side. It was made of a talent's weight of beaten gold, with one principal light and six branches, the pattern of which (that is, as it was renewed for the second Temple, in the sack of which it was carried away by the Romans) is still preserved, so complete as to indicate the whole figure, on one of the sides of the arch of Titus at Rome. On the north side was the Table of Shew-Bread, two cubits long, one wide, and one and a half high.Ş On this, always stood, in two piles,
* From the fact that the figures, which Jeroboam (1 Kings xii. 28,) set up in Bethel and Dan, are called, by the Jewish historians, “calves," an inference, which, on other grounds, is not without probability, has been drawn, that the figure of the cherubim over the Ark was that of oxen. Jeroboam, it is to be presumed, would imitate, for his subjects, after the revolt, the symbols and forms of the worship to which they had been accustomed. If he set up at Bethel and Dan, copies of the cherubim, as they were understood to be shaped, and if they had the shape of oxen, his images would be very likely to receive from the Jewish writers, in contempt, the name of “calves," quasi, Jeroboam's pet oxen. † Ex. xxx. 1-6.
| xxv. 31-39. s o'ta on?; “ bread of faces,” or “ bread of presence.” The English translation has no meaning, nor is it easy to fix on a satisfactory one, The Septuagint calls the loaves, ägros įváx10v; the Vulgate, “panes propositionis”; that is, bread exposed, set out from week to week, as is directed to be done in Lev. xxiv. 5-9.
twelve new loaves of fine flour, with dishes, spoons, and bowls, as if for a feast.* The loaves were renewed every Sabbath, and the stale loaves, at the same time, were devoured in the sanctuary by the priests.
Such was the interior structure and furniture of the place of Jewish worship. The Tabernacle stood, when pitched, in the midst of a rectangular enclosure, a hundred cubits long by fifty wide, (that is, about a hundred and eighty feet by ninety,) made for it by a hanging of “ fine twined linen,” supported by columns, five cubits high and surmounted by silver capitals, which stood upon brazen bases, at distances of five cubits from one another.t The entrance to the court, twenty cubits wide, I was at the eastern end, corresponding to the entrance into the Tabernacle.
Besides the Tabernacle, two other structures stood within this court; viz. next the Tabernacle, towards the east, the Brazen Laver, perhaps formed of that metal, that the priests might use it for a mirror, to perform their ablutions the more thoroughly; § and the Altar of Burnt-Offering, between the Laver and the entrance to the court. This was hollow, made of planks of shittim-wood, plated with brass. It was five cubits, or nine feet square, at top, and three cubits high. It was furnished with four brazen rings, into which staves were fitted for its conveyance, and at each corner was what is called a “horn,” for the purpose of confining victims. |
* Ex. xxv. 23-30.
+ xxvii. 9-18.
| xxvii. 16. § xxx. 18-21 ; xxxviii. 8. — Our translation in xxxviii. 8, though countenanced by ancient versions, has no good authority. It would be better rendered, “He made a brazen laver, with a brazen cover, ornamented with beautiful figures, such as adorned the gate of the Tabernacle of the congregation.” See Dathe, ad loc. Respecting the dimensions of the Laver, we are not informed.
|| xxvii. 1-8; compare Ps. cxviii. 27. — The common opinion is, that the fire on this altar was never suffered to go out; (see Lev. vi. 13 ;) and
The cost of these structures was furnished from two sources; 1. from what we should call a poll-tax of a half-shekel for each male citizen of full age,* an exaction which, small in itself, was probably intended to operate on that well-known principle of human nature, which causes a man to feel an interest in that which he has given his money to procure; 2. from the voluntary contributions of the richer sort.f The gold and silver, employed upon the structure, independently of the brass, wood, skins, linen, and labor, have been estimated at the value of nearly a million of dollars. I
the ingenuity of the commentators has been tasked to show how it could be kept up while the host was on the march. (Compare Numb. iv. 13, 14.) I think it probable, that Lev. vi. 13, refers to the perpetual daily succession of morning and evening Burnt Offerings. By the time one was consumed, another was to follow. Such is the connexion. See verses 9, 12. Compare i. 7. See also Ex. xxix. 38, 39, 42.
* Ex. xxx. 13-16. A shekel was about half a dollar.
† xxxv. 20-29. - In this description of the Tabernacle and its furniture, I have, for perspicuity's sake, adopted a different order from that of the record of the directions received by Moses. The latter will be found to be as follows; the Ark, Ex. xxv. 10-22; the Table of Shew-Bread, xxv. 23-30; the Candlestick, xxv. 31 - 40; the Tent, xxvi; the Altar of Burnt-Offerings and Court, xxvii. The Altar of Incense and Brazen Laver were subjects of subsequent directions, viz. in xxx. 1-10, and xxx. 17 21. They belong to the class of improvements on the original plan, of which so much has been said.
| See Jennings's “ Jewish Antiquities,” Vol. II. p. 7. The estimate, made agreeably to Bishop Cumberland's scheme, in his “Essay towards the Recovery of the Jewish Measures and Weights," is founded on Ex. xxxviii. 24, 25.
EXODUS XXVIII. 1.- XL. 38.
INSTITUTION OF A PRIESTHOOD. — HABIT OF THE High PRIEST._
MITRE.— EPHOD.— BREAST-PLATE.- URIM AND THUMMIM. – Robe. -HABIT OF THE INFERIOR PRIESTS. — CEREMONIES OF Conse
FURTHER DIRECTIONS RESPECTING THE TABERNACLE. - The Law GIVEN ON TABLETS OF STONE. — OFFENCE OF THE PEOPLE IN MAKING A GOLDEN CALF.—INFERENCE FROM THIS Act, RESPECTING THEIR Faith ÎN JEHOVAH. RETURN OF Moses TO THE CAMP. — DESTRUCTION OF THE IDOL, AND PUNISHMENT OF THE OFFENDERS. - REQUEST OF MOSES TO BEHOLD A VISION OF THE Deity. - RADIANCE OF Moses' FACE ON COMING DOWN FROM THE MOUNTAIN. ERECTION OF THE TABERNACLE, AND ARRANGEMENT OF IT FOR FUTURE RELIGIOUS SERVICES.
DIRECTIONS having been given respecting the provision of a place of worship, the next step is to institute a priesthood, to minister in the solemnities, of which it was to be the scene. Moses is commanded to appoint his brother Aaron, and Aaron's four sons, to the office; and minute instructions are given respecting the dress in which they should perform their sacerdotal duties, with a view manifestly to the effect to be produced on the minds of a rude people, in creating in them a sense of the dignity of the priestly office, and such a reverence for it as would naturally be transferred to the object of that service which the priests conducted.
The habit of Aaron and his successors in the highpriesthood, was directed to be distinguished from that of the other priests, by the addition of three articles; the ephod, the breast-plate, and the robe. Instead also of the turban worn by inferior priests, they were to be crowned with a mitre of peculiar magnificence.
The ephod was a part of the dress, of which we are unable to obtain an entirely distinct idea. It was, however, a garment apparently without sleeves, divided beneath the arms, and hanging down before and behind, from the throat nearly to the knees. Its material was fine linen, richly embroidered with gold, blue, purple, and scarlet. It was confined with •a girdle of like material and fashion, around the body, and fastened by buckles of onyx-stones set in gold, one on each shoulder, each inscribed with the names of six of the tribes of Israel. From these descended golden chains, which were fastened to the sides of the breast-plate.*
The breast-plate was to be formed of twelve costly jewels, set in gold, arranged in four rows, and each inscribed with the name of one of the tribes. It was to be attached to a piece of embroidered linen, like that of the ephod, and so fastened by blue cords, passed through golden rings, to that ornament.f “ And,” or
so,” it is added, “thou shalt put in the breast-plate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim, and they shall be upon Aaron's heart when he goeth in before the Lord.” I The superstitions invented by Jewish dreamers respecting the Urim and Thummim, and repeated by Christians of the same character of mind, it would be a mere waste of our time to discuss. The words“Urim ” and “Thummim," (DON, O'71x,) mean “lights” and “perfections.” I take them to be simply a name given to the twelve magnificent jewels of the breast-plate, which might well be called “Perfect Radiance.” The words occur in only four texts of the Law, neither of which countenances in any degree the extravagant notions which have obtained currency upon
* Ex. xxviii. 6-14.
† xxviii. 15 – 29.
| xxviii. 30.