Exodus 26:15
And thou shalt make boards for the tabernacle of shittim wood standing up.
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(15-30) The various coverings which have been described had it for their object to roof over and protect an oblong chamber or “dwelling,” within which God was to manifest Himself and to be worshipped. The directions which follow (Exodus 26:15-33) are for the construction of this chamber. It was to be enclosed by boards of shittim wood, fifteen feet high by two feet three inches wide, which were to be plated with gold, and made to stand upright by being inserted into solid sockets of silver. The two sides were to contain, each of them, twenty such boards, and thus to be forty-five feet long, while the connecting wall was to be composed of six such boards, together with two corner posts (Exodus 26:23), giving it a length, probably, of ten cubits, or fifteen feet.

(15) Boards . . . of shittim wood.—On the possibility of boards fifteen feet long by two feet three inches wide being cut from the Acacia seyal, see the last Note on Exodus 25:5.

Exodus 26:15. Very particular directions are here given about the boards of the tabernacle, which were to bear up the curtains. These had tenons which fell into the mortises that were made for them in silver bases. The boards were coupled together with gold rings at top and bottom, and kept firm with bars that ran through golden staples in every board. Thus every thing in the tabernacle was very splendid, agreeable to that infant state of the church, when such things were proper to possess the minds of the worshippers with a reverence of the divine glory. In allusion to this, the new Jerusalem is said to be of pure gold, Revelation 21:18. But the builders of the gospel church said, silver and gold have we none; and yet the glory of their building far exceeded that of the tabernacle. St. Paul, probably, alludes to this tabernacle, with its pillars and sockets, when he terms the church the pillar and ground (εδραιωμα, seat rather) of the truth, 1 Timothy 3:15. As beauty and strength were united in the tabernacle, so they are in the church of Christ: “beauty, which renders it the admiration of angels; and strength, which defies all the malice of devils.”

26:15-30 The sockets of silver each weighed about 115 pounds; they were placed in rows on the ground. In every pair of these sockets, a strong board of shittim-wood, covered with plates of gold, was fitted by mortises and tenons. Thus walls were formed for the two sides, and for the west end. The wall was further held together by bars, which passed through rings of gold. Over this the curtains were spread. Though movable, it was strong and firm. The materials were very costly. In all this it was a type of the church of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief Corner-stone, Eph 2:20,21.The measure of the entire tabernacle-cloth was about 60 ft. by 42; that of the tent-cloth was about 67 ft. by 45. When the latter was placed over the former, it spread beyond it at the back and front about 3 ft. (the "half-curtain," Exodus 26:9, Exodus 26:12) and at the sides 18 inches.15-30. thou shalt make boards … rear up the tabernacle according to the fashion … which was showed thee—The tabernacle, from its name as well as from its general appearance and arrangements, was a tent; but from the description given in these verses, the boards that formed its walls, the five (cross) bars that strengthened them, and the middle bar that "reached from end to end," and gave it solidity and compactness, it was evidently a more substantial fabric than a light and fragile tent, probably on account of the weight of its various coverings as well as for the protection of its precious furniture. No text from Poole on this verse.

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.

And thou shalt make boards for the tabernacle of shittim wood standing up.
15. boards] either beams or frames: ‘boards’ suggests something much thinner than seems to be intended. The Heb. ḳéresh, except in the present connexion (50 times), occurs only Ezekiel 27:6, of some part of a ship, described there as made up of ivory, inlaid in boxwood (RV. benches, RVm. deck); and its exact sense is uncertain. Here it has commonly been rendered boards: but to this rend. Kennedy (p. 659b) makes the pertinent objections that, if these ‘boards’ are to support the curtains, the latter must hang down outside them: the boards, however, standing, as they are described, close to each other, would form, on the two sides and back of the Tabernacle, three solid wooden walls; if, then, the Dwelling on three, of its sides was formed of these wooden walls, it is difficult to understand how it can be consistently spoken of as formed by the curtains (v. 1, &c.): and, moreover, if the sides of the Dwelling were thus solid, these richly worked curtains would be hidden from view, not only on the outside, as they would be in any case, by the curtain of goats’ hair and the two skin coverings, but also on the inside (except on the roof). Hence Kennedy argues, with much force, that the ḳĕrâshim were pictured, not as solid boards, but as wooden frames (as shewn in the illustr.), which, while affording sufficient support for the curtains and skin coverings, would allow the richly coloured tapestry curtains with their cherubim figures to appear inside the sanctuary. Kennedy’s view undoubtedly brings a very great improvement into the idea of the Tabernacle: but the sense attached to ḳéresh being hypothetical, it is difficult to accept it quite unreservedly.

A ‘Frame,’ with its bases.

Reduced from Hastings’ Dictionary of the Bible, iv. 660.

The thickness of the ḳĕrâshim is not specified. Jos. (Ant. iii. 6. 3) gives it as 4 finger-breadths (3 in.): Rashi (11 cent.), Ew. al. suppose it to have been a cubit (18 in.). V. 22 suggests that the writer pictured them as ½ a cubit (9 in.) thick: but even in this case, if they were solid, their dimensions being 15 ft. × 2 ft., 3 in. × 9 in., they would be so substantial as be beams rather than ‘boards.’

15–17. The wooden framework of the Dwelling.

Verse 15. - Boards... of shittim wood. These boards were to be fifteen feet long by two feet three inches broad, and, if they were each of a single plank, can scarcely have been furnished by any of the acacias which now grow in the Sinaitic peninsula. It is possible, however, that they were made up of two or more planks, since the name by which they are designated, kereth, is thought to be applied in Ezekiel 27:6, to the "deck of a ship." Standing up. The way in which they were to be made to "stand up" is explained in vers. 17 and 19. They were not to have one end sunk in the ground, but to be fitted by means of "tenons" into silver "sockets." Exodus 26:15The wooden framework. - Exodus 26:15, Exodus 26:16. The boards for the dwelling were to be made "of acacia-wood standing," i.e., so that they could stand upright; each ten cubits long and one and a half broad. The thickness is not given; and if, on the one hand, we are not to imagine them too thin, as Josephus does, for example, who says they were only four fingers thick (Ant. iii. 6, 3), we have still less reason for following Rashi, Lund, Bhr and others, who suppose them to have been a cubit in thickness, thus making simple boards into colossal blocks, such as could neither have been cut from acacia-trees, nor carried upon desert roads.

(Note: Kamphausen (Stud. und Krit. 1859, p. 117) appeals to Bhr's Symbolik 1, p. 261-2, and Knobel, Exod. p. 261, in support of the opinion, that at any rate formerly there were genuine acacias of such size and strength, that beams could have been cut from them a cubit and a half broad and a cubit thick; but we look in vain to either of these writings for such authority as will establish this fact. Expressions like those of Jerome and Hasselquist, viz., grandes arbores and arbos ingens ramosissima, are far too indefinite. It is true that, according to Abdullatif, the Sont is "a very large tree," but he gives a quotation from Dinuri, in which it is merely spoken of as "a tree of the size of a nut-tree." See the passages cited in Rosenmller's bibl. Althk. iv. 1, p. 278, Not. 7, where we find the following remark of Wesling on Prosper. Alpin. de plantis Aeg.: Caudicem non raro ampliorem deprehendi, quam ut brachio meo circumdari possit. Even the statement of Theophrast (hist. plant. 4, 3), to the effect that rafters are cut from these trees 12 cubits long (δωδεκάπηχυς ἐρέψιμος ὕλη), is no proof that they were beams a cubit and a half broad and a cubit thick. And even if there had been trees of this size in the peninsula of Sinai in Moses' time, a beam of such dimensions, according to Kamphausen's calculation, which is by no means too high, would have weighed more than twelve cwt. And certainly the Israelites could never have carried beams of this weight with them through the desert; for the waggons needed would have been such as could never be used where there are no beaten roads.)

To obtain boards of the required breadth, to or three planks were no doubt joined together according to the size of the trees.

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