The holocaust altar (Ex 38:1-38:7)

“He made the altar of burnt offerings also of acacia wood.  It was five cubits long and five cubits wide.  It was square, and three cubits high.   He made horns for it on its four corners.  Its horns were of one piece with it.  He overlaid it with bronze.  He made all the utensils of the altar, the pots, the shovels, the basins, the forks, and the fire pans.  All its utensils he made of bronze.  He made for the altar a grating, a network of bronze, under its ledge, extending half-way down.  He cast four rings on the four corners of the bronze grating to hold the poles.  He made the poles of acacia wood, and overlaid them with bronze.    He put the poles through the rings on the sides of the altar, to carry it with them.  He made it hollow, with boards.”

Once again, we have another altar.  As prescribed in chapter 27, he made the altar of burnt offerings of acacia wood.  It was 5 cubits square, and 3 cubits high. This is much bigger than the incense altar and the golden altar in the tent.  This altar was about 8’ by 8’ square and about 6’ off the ground.  Each of the four corners had a bronze horn on it.  There is an emphasis on everything being bronze instead of gold.  Thus the pots, shovels, basins, forks, fire pans, gratings, rings, and the wooden poles overlay are all bronze.  There is also a bronze altar grating, under its ledge about half-way down.  This is a real large bronze work table for the burnt offerings.

The incense altar (Ex 37:25-37:29)

“He made the altar of incense of acacia wood, one cubit long, and one cubit wide.  It was square.  It was two cubits high.  Its horns were of one piece with it.  He overlaid it with pure gold, its top, and its sides all around, and its horns.  He made for it a molding of gold all around.   He made two golden rings for it under its molding, on two opposite sides of it, to hold the poles with which to carry it.  He made the poles of acacia wood, and overlaid them with gold.  He made the holy anointing oil also, and the pure fragrant incense, blended as by the perfumer.”

As prescribed in chapter 30, he made the altar of incense of acacia wood, one cubit square, but two cubits high.  He overlaid it with pure gold and a gold molding all around.  He also made two golden rings to hold the golden acacia poles. Finally, the perfumer made the holy anointing oil and the pure fragrant incense.  I was surprised they had a perfumer.  Apparently that was a profession a couple of thousand years ago.

The golden table (Ex 37:10-37:16)

“He also made the table of acacia wood, two cubits long, one cubit wide, and a cubit and a half high.  He overlaid it with pure gold, and made a molding of gold around it.  He made around it a rim, a handbreadth wide, and made a molding of gold around the rim.   He cast for it four rings of gold, and fastened the rings to the four corners at its four legs.   The rings that held the poles used for carrying the table were close to the rim.  He made the poles of acacia wood to carry the table, and overlaid them with gold.  He made the vessels of pure gold that were to be on the table, its plates and dishes for incense, and its bowls and flagons with which to pour drink offerings.”

Next the artisan, not specifically Bezalel, made an acacia wooden table that is along the lines in chapter 25, very small, approximately 4’ long, 2’ wide, and 3’ high.  He overlaid it with gold, and a gold molding.  He also put four golden rings on the four corner legs.  These four golden rings were close to the rim, so that the two golden acacia poles could be used to carry this small table. All the vessels on this table, plates, dishes, and bowls were made of pure gold.

 

Making the Ark of the Covenant (Ex 37:1-37:9)

“Bezalel made the ark of acacia wood.  It was two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high.  He overlaid it with pure gold, inside and outside, and made a molding of gold around it.  He cast for it four rings of gold for its four feet, two rings on its one side and two rings on its other side.  He made poles of acacia wood, and overlaid them with gold.  He put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark to carry the ark.   He made a mercy seat of pure gold.  Two cubits and a half was its length, and a cubit and a half its width.  He made two cherubim of hammered gold.  At the two ends of the mercy seat he made them.  One cherub was at the one end, and one cherub at the other end.  Of one piece with the mercy seat he made the cherubim at its two ends.  The cherubim spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings.  They faced one another.  The faces of the cherubim were turned toward the mercy seat.”

Bezalel is explicitly mentioned here as the individual maker of the Ark of the Covenant.   He followed the instructions that Yahweh gave Moses in chapter 25.  The instructions that Yahweh gave was very clear and exact, according to the priestly tradition.  He made the ark of acacia wood and overlaid it with pure gold, inside and outside and all around it.  Thus we have a small wooden box, not that big, about 5 feet long and about 3 foot high and 3 foot wide, with gold all around inside and outside.  Next, he cast four rings of gold, two rings on each side to act as feet, with two acacia wooden poles, overlaid with gold, in order to carry the ark.  He also made a golden mercy seat about 5’ by 3,’ something like a cover for the ark.  He also made two golden cherubim at the two ends of this mercy seat, facing each other so that their wings overshadowed the mercy seat.

The frames for the tabernacle (Ex 36:20-36:34)

“Then he made the upright frames for the tabernacle of acacia wood.  Ten cubits was the length of a frame, and a cubit and a half the width of each frame. Each frame had two pegs for fitting together.  He did this for all the frames of the tabernacle.  The frames for the tabernacle he made in this way.  Twenty frames were for the south side.  He made forty bases of silver under the twenty frames, two bases under the first frame for its two pegs, and two bases under the next frame for its two pegs.   For the second side of the tabernacle, on the north side, he made twenty frames and their forty bases of silver, two bases under the first frame and two bases under the next frame. For the rear of the tabernacle westward he made six frames.  He made two frames for corners of the tabernacle in the rear.  They were separate beneath, but joined at the top, at the first ring.  He made two of them in this way, for the two corners.  There were eight frames with their bases of silver.  There were sixteen bases, with two bases under every frame.”

Once again, following the prescriptions of chapter 26, the artisan made frames for this tabernacle of acacia wood.  The frames start out small (15’ by 3”) but are then put together to make something like a 45’ by 15’ by 15” wooden frame. For the north and south sides of the frame, 20 frames with 40 bases of silver were used.  On the west side, the rear, there are 8 frames, if you count the corner ones, with the appropriate silver bases.

“He made bars of acacia wood, five for the frames of the one side of the tabernacle, and five bars for the frames of the other side of the tabernacle, and five bars for the frames of the tabernacle at the rear westward.  He made the middle bar to pass through from end to end halfway up the frames.  He overlaid the frames with gold, and made rings of gold to hold the bars, and overlaid the bars with gold.”

There was 5 acacia wood bars covered with gold, with golden rings on the 3 sides.  Thus there was a total of 15 poles or bars of acacia wood with gold coverings.  The golden rings held them in place.  So now we have the wood frame and the coverings of the tabernacle complete.

The wood frame (Ex 26:15-26:30)

“You shall make upright frames of acacia wood for the tabernacle. Ten cubits shall be the length of a frame, and a cubit and a half the width of each frame.  There shall be two pegs in each frame to fit the frames together.  You shall make these for all the frames of the tabernacle.  You shall make the frames for the tabernacle.  Twenty frames are for the south side.  There will be forty bases of silver under the twenty frames, two bases under the first frame for its two pegs, and two bases under the next frame for its two pegs. For the second side of the tabernacle, on the north side twenty frames, and their forty bases of silver, two bases under the first frame, and two bases under the next frame.  For the rear of the tabernacle westward you shall make six frames. You shall make two frames for corners of the tabernacle in the rear.  They shall be separate beneath, but joined at the top, at the first ring.  It shall be the same with both of them.  They shall form the two corners.  So there shall be eight frames, with their bases of silver, sixteen bases.  There shall be two bases under the first frame and two bases under the next frame.  You shall make bars of acacia wood, five for the frames of the one side of the tabernacle, and five bars for the frames of the other side of the tabernacle, and five bars for the frames of the side of the tabernacle at the rear westward. The middle bar, halfway up the frames, shall pass through from end to end.  You shall overlay the frames with gold, and shall make their rings of gold to hold the bars.  You shall overlay the bars with gold. Then you shall erect the tabernacle according to the plan for it that you were shown on the mountain.”

We also have upright frames of acacia wood.  The frames start out small, 15’ by 3’, but are then put together to make something like a 45’ by 15’ by 15” wooden frame. For the north and south sides of the tent, twenty frames with forty bases of silver were used.  On the west side, the rear, there are eight frames, if you count the corner ones, with their appropriate silver bases. There will be five acacia wood bars covered with gold, with golden rings on the three sides.

The golden table (Ex 25:23-25:30)

“You shall make a table of acacia wood, two cubits long, one cubit wide, and a cubit and a half high.  You shall overlay it with pure gold, and make a molding of gold around it.  You shall make around it a rim a handbreadth wide, and a molding of gold around the rim.  You shall make for it four rings of gold, and fasten the rings to the four corners at its four legs. The rings that hold the poles used for carrying the table shall be close to the rim.  You shall make the poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold, and the table shall be carried with these.   You shall make its plates and dishes for incense, and its flagons and bowls with that to pour drink offerings.  You shall make them of pure good.  You shall set the bread of the Presence on the table before me always.”

Once again, we have an acacia wood table, that is very small, approximately 4’ long, 2‘wide, and 3’ high.  This small table, however, should have an overlay of gold with a golden molding and rim.  It also has 4 gold rings and golden poles to carry it.  There are also golden plates and dishes for incense with pure gold pitchers and bowls for the drink offerings.  Also there is some kind of holy bread for this table.

The Ark of the Covenant (Ex 25:10-25:22)

“They shall make an ark of acacia wood.  It shall be two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high.  You shall overlay it with pure gold.  Inside and outside you shall overlay it.  You shall make a molding of gold upon it all around.  You shall cast four rings of gold for it and put them on its four feet, two rings on the one side of it, and two rings on the other side.  You shall make poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold.  You shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark, by which to carry the ark.  The poles shall remain in the rings of the ark.  They shall not be taken from it.  You shall put into the ark the covenant that I shall give you.”

The instructions that Yahweh gives are very clear and exact, according to the Priestly tradition.  The ark shall be of acacia wood.  It should 2 ½ cubits long, 1 ½ cubit wide and high.  A cubit is an ancient unit of length, equal to the distance from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger, approximately 43-56 cm or 17-22 inches, a little less than two feet.  So this acacia wood box is not that big, about 5 feet long and about 3 foot high and 3 foot wide.  However, it should have a gold overlay with gold molding around it.  Thus we have a small wooden box with gold all around inside and outside.  It would have 4 rings of gold, with 2 on each side with 2 golden acacia wood poles in these gold rings.  The divine covenant would go inside this ark.

“Then you shall make a mercy seat of pure gold.  Two cubits and a half shall be its length, and a cubit and a half its width.  You shall make two cherubim of gold.  You shall make them of hammered work, at the two ends of the mercy seat.  Make one cherub at one end, and one cherub at the other. Of one piece with the mercy seat you shall make the cherubim at its two ends. The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings.  They shall face one another.  The faces of the cherubim shall be turned toward the mercy seat.   You shall put the mercy seat on the top of the ark.  In the ark you shall put the covenant that I shall give you.  There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the Ark of the Covenant, I will deliver to you all my command for the Israelites.”

On top of this ark they were to build ‘a mercy seat,’ about 5’ by 3’, something like a cover for the ark.  This mercy seat, the Hebrew word Kapporet, atonement piece, propitiation, or the cover, rested upon the Ark of the Covenant and was connected with the rituals of the Day of Atonement.  Two golden winged cherubim were at both ends of this mercy seat, facing each other.  The cherubim in the Babylonian culture were half human and half animals that guarded the doors to the temple places.   Both Judaism and Catholicism hold these cherubim as a rank in the angelic order.  From atop the mercy seat, God would give his commands.