Thursday, March 28, 2013

Exodus 25:1-27:21


On Mount Sinai, the Lord instructs Moses to take a freewill offering among the Israelites for the construction of the Tabernacle and its furnishings. Once constructed, the Tabernacle, or Tent of Meeting, will be a kind of portable temple, a precursor to the Temple that Solomon will build in Jerusalem.

The Lord gives Moses detailed directions for the construction of the Ark of the Covenant. The word ark simply  means "box." This ark will be a large, elaborately decorated box to contain the tablets of the Law which God will give Moses. The lid of the box, with figurines of two cherubim, is called the "mercy seat" or "atonement cover" depending on the translation you read.

Cherubim is the plural of cherub. The cherubs are not the cute little Raphaelite angels that we associate with that word, however. Reconstructions of the ark usually depict the cherubim as winged adult humans. Other depictions show them as winged creatures with lions' bodies and human heads. Ezekiel describes a vision of cherubim as human-shaped creatures with four faces, calves feet, human hands, and two pairs of wings. Whatever they looked like, the cherubim were supposed to be creatures from the heavenly realm.

Next come directions for the construction of the table (on which bread is to be placed), its dishes, and the lampstand with its 6 branches and 7 lamps. Like the the ark, these items are all to be plated with gold.

 Chapter 26 details the construction of the Tabernacle. Chapter 27 describes the bronze-covered altar (with its furnishings), and the curtains for the Tabernacle courtyard. The chapter ends with instructions to collect olive oil for the 7 lamps which are to bit lit all night in perpetuity.

I found the illustration for the ark and the table here.

Next: Exodus 28-29. 

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