Exodus 38:31
And the sockets of the court round about, and the sockets of the court gate, and all the pins of the tabernacle, and all the pins of the court round about.
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(31) The sockets of the court.—See Exodus 27:10-12; Exodus 27:15-18.

The pins of the tabernacle.—Comp. Exodus 27:19; Exodus 38:20; and see Note on the

former passage.

The pins of the court.—See chan. 27:19.

38:21-31 The foundation of massy pieces of silver showed the solidity and purity of the truth upon which the church is founded. Let us regard the Lord Jesus Christ while reading of the furniture of the tabernacle. While looking at the altar of burnt-offering, let us see Jesus. In him, his righteousness, and salvation, is a full and sufficient offering for sin. In the laver of regeneration, by his Holy Spirit, let our souls be washed, and they shall be clean; and as the people offered willingly, so may our souls be made willing. Let us be ready to part with any thing, and count all but loss to win Christ.According to the estimate of the shekel that has here been adopted, the weight of the metals mentioned in this chapter would be nearly as follows, in avoirdupois weight:

Gold 1 ton 4 cwt. 2 qrs. 13 lbs. Silver 4 tons 4 cwt. 2 qrs. 20 lbs. Bronze 2 tons 19 cwt. 2 qrs. 11 lbs.

The value of the gold, if pure, in our money would be 175,075 British pounds, 13 shillings, and of the silver, 38,034 British pounds, 15 shillings 10d. These quantities of the precious metals come quite within the limits of probability, if we consider the condition of the Israelites when they left Egypt (see Exodus 25:3 note), and the object for which the collection was made. Many have remarked that the quantities collected for the tabernacle are insignificant when compared with the hoards of gold and silver collected in the East in recent times, as well as in ancient times.

25. the silver of them that were numbered—603,550 men at half a shekel each would contribute 301,775 shekels; which at 2s. 4d. each, amounts to £35,207 sterling. It may seem difficult to imagine how the Israelites should be possessed of so much wealth in the desert; but it should be remembered that they were enriched first by the spoils of the Egyptians, and afterwards by those of the Amalekites. Besides, it is highly probable that during their sojourn they traded with the neighboring nations who bordered on the wilderness [Hewlett]. No text from Poole on this verse.

And the sockets of the court round about, and the sockets of the court gate,.... These were also of brass, in all sixty:

and all the pins of the tabernacle, and all the pins of the court round about; the pins for the curtains of the tabernacle, and for the hangings of the court; see Exodus 27:19.

And the sockets of the court round about, and the sockets of the court gate, and all the pins of the tabernacle, and all the pins of the court round about.
Exodus 38:31The copper of the wave-offering amounted to 70 talents and 2400 shekels; and of this the sockets of the pillars at the entrance of the tabernacle (Exodus 26:37), the altar of burnt-offering with its network and vessels, the supports of the pillars of the court, all the pegs of the dwelling and court, and, what is not expressly mentioned here, the laver with its support (Exodus 30:18), were made. בּ עשׂה to work in (with) copper, i.e., to make of copper.

If this quantity of the precious metals may possibly strike some readers as very large, and was in fact brought forward years ago as a reason for questioning the historical credibility of our account of the building of the tabernacle, it has been frequently urged, on the other hand, that it looks quite small, in comparison with the quantities of gold and silver that have been found accumulated in the East, in both ancient and modern times. According to the account before us, the requisite amount of silver was raised by the comparatively small payment of half a shekel, about fifteen pence, for every male Israelite of 20 years old and upwards. Now no tenable objection can be raised against the payment of such a tribute, since we have no reason whatever for supposing the Israelites to have been paupers, notwithstanding the oppression which they endured during the closing period of their stay in Egypt. They were settled in the most fertile part of Egypt; and coined silver was current in western Asia even in the time of the patriarchs (Genesis 23:16). But with reference to the quantities of gold and copper that were delivered, we need not point to the immense stores of gold and other metals that were kept in the capitals of the Asiatic kingdoms of antiquity,

(Note: Thus, to mention only one or two examples, the images in the temple of Belus, at Babylon, consisted of several thousand talents of gold, to say nothing of the golden tables, the bedsteads, and other articles of gold and silver (Diod. Sic. 2, 9; Herod. 1, 181, 183). In the siege of Nineveh, Sardanapalus erected a funeral pile, upon which he collected all his wealth, including 150 golden bedsteads, 150 golden tables, a million talents of gold, and ten times as much silver and other valuables, to prevent their falling into the hands of the foe (Ctesias in Athen. 12, 28, p. 529). According to a statement in Pliny's Hist. Nat. 33, 3, on the conquest of Asia by Cyrus, he carried off booty to the extent of 34,000 lbs. of gold, beside the golden vessels and 500,000 talents of silver, including the goblet of Semiramis, which alone weighed 15 talents. Alexander the Great found more than 40,000 talents of gold and silver and 9000 talents of coined gold in the royal treasury at Susa (Diod. Sic. 17, 66), and a treasure of 120,000 talents of gold in the citadel of Persepolis (Diod. Sic. 17, 71; Curtius, v. 6, 9). For further accounts of the enormous wealth of Asia in gold and silver, see Bhr, Symbolik i. pp. 258ff.)

but will merely call to mind the fact, that the kings of Egypt possessed many large gold mines on the frontiers of the country, and in the neighbouring lands of Arabia and Ethiopia, which were worked by criminals, prisoners of war, and others, under the harshest pressure, and the very earliest times copper mines were discovered on the Arabian peninsula, which were worked by a colony of labourers (Lepsius, Letters from Egypt, p. 336). Moreover, the love of the ancient Egyptians for valuable and elegant ornaments, gold rings, necklaces, etc., is sufficiently known from the monuments (see Rosellini in Hengstenberg's Egypt, p. 137). Is it not likely, then, that the Israelites should have acquired a taste for jewellery of this kind, and should have possessed or discovered the means of procuring all kinds of gold and silver decorations, not to mention the gold and silver jewellery which they received from the Egyptians on their departure? The liking for such things even among nomad tribes is very well known. Thus, for example, after the defeat of the Midianites, the Israelites carried off so much gold, silver, copper, and other metals as spoil, that their princes alone were able to offer 16,750 shekels of gold as a heave-offering to Jehovah from the booty that had been obtained in this kind of jewellery (Numbers 31:50.). Diodorus Sic. (3, 44) and Strabo (xvi. p. 778) bear witness to the great wealth of the Nabateans and other Arab tribes on the Elanitic Gulf, and mention not only a river, said to flow through the land, carrying gold dust with it, but also gold that was dug up, and which was found, "not in the form of sand, but of nuggets, which did not require much cleaning, and the smallest of which were of the size of a nut, the average size being that of a medlar, whilst the largest pieces were as big as a walnut. These they bored, and made necklaces or bracelets by stringing them together alternately with transparent stones. They also sold the gold very cheap to their neighbours, giving three times the quantity for copper, and double the quantity for iron, both on account of their inability to work these metals, and also because of the scarcity of the metals which were so much more necessarily for daily use" (Strabo). The Sabaeans and Gerrhaeans are also mentioned as the richest of all the tribes of Arabia, through their trade in incense and in cinnamon and other spices.

(Note: "They possess an immense quantity of gold and silver articles, such as beds, tripods, bowls, and cups, in addition to the decorations of their houses; for doors, walls, and ceilings are all wrought with ivory, gold, silver, and precious stones" (Strabo ut sup.). In accordance with this, Pliny (n. h. 6, 28) not only calls the Sabaeans "ditissimos silvarum fertilitate odorifera, auri metallis, etc.," but the tribes of Arabia in general, "in universum gentes ditissimas, ut apud quas maximae opes Romanorum Parthorum que subsistant, vendentibus quae e mari aut silvis capiunt, nihil invicem redimentibus.")

From the Arabs, who carried on a very extensive caravan trade through the desert even at that time, the Israelites would be able to purchase such spices and materials for the building of the tabernacle as they had not brought with them from Egypt; and in Egypt itself, where all descriptions of art and handicraft were cultivated from the very earliest times (for proofs see Hengst. Egypt, pp. 133-139), they might so far have acquired all the mechanical and artistic ability required for the work, that skilled artisans could carry out all that was prescribed, under the superintendence of the two master-builders who had been specially inspired for the purpose.

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