Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
Mirrors. Formerly all sorts of metal, silver, copper, tin, &c., were used for mirrors, till the Europeans began to make them of glass. The best were made of a mixture of copper and tin. (Pliny, [Natural History?] xxxiii. 9.) --- Watched. Hebrew, served like soldiers: fasting and praying, according to the Septuagint and Chaldean. These devout women came thither with great alacrity, to shew their affection towards God, and to consecrate to his service what had hitherto served to nourish vanity. Such were the virgins, mentioned 2 Machabees iii. 19, and those who were abused by the sons of Heli, 1 Kings ii. 22. Ann, the prophetess, and our blessed Lady, were thus also employed in the temple, Luke ii. 37. Women kept watch, singing and dancing before the palace of the Persian kings. (Calmet) --- When the tabernacle was fixed at Silo, small apartments were probably built for the convenience of these pious women. (Tirinus)
Brass. The Hebrew does not say the pillars were of brass, but only the bases. The body was of wood, encircled with silver, ver. 12. See chap. xxvii. 10. (Calmet)
The, &c. Some render the Hebrew, "The bases of the pillars were of brass, the hooks of the pillars and circles were of silver, their chaptrels were covered with silver." Bonfrere supposes that the pillars were of the Ionic order, and that the chaptrels here designate the summit or abacus; while the hooks (vuim) mean the voluta, (Menochius) or bolster, representing the head-dress of virgins in their long hair. (Vitruvius.) (Haydock)
Ithamar, some time after this, (Numbers i. 50,) was appointed to deliver the necessary vessels to the Levites; part of whose duty it was to take down the tabernacle and set it up again, and to keep an account of all things. (Menochius)
Gifts, voluntarily. The following verse mentions what arose from the tax of half a sicle per head, chap xxx. 13.
And it, &c. Hebrew is rather more express, "And the silver given by those who were numbered, was a hundred talents, 1775 sicles of the weight of the sanctuary, ver. 26. They gave each half a sicle, paid by all those who were 20 years old and upwards, amounting to 603,550 men." Hence the talent would weigh exactly 3000 sicles, (Calmet) or 12,000 drachmas. Some say that the common talent weighed 100 pounds, and that of the sanctuary 120, each pound containing 25 sicles. (Du Hamel)
Seventy. Hebrew confines the number of talents to 70, and allows "two thousand and four hundred sicles." The Greek interpreters vary.