Exodus Chapter 25  PDF  MSWord

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Go to Bible: Exodus 25
Exo 25:1(top)
Exo 25:2(top)
Exo 25:3(top)
Exo 25:4(top)
Exo 25:5

“dugongs.” Dugongs are very similar to manatees but live in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aqaba (cp. HCSB: “manatee skins”). The Hebrew word is tachash (#08476 תַּחַשׁ), and the meaning is disputed. Likely possibilities include leather from Egypt, seal skins, and the skin of dugongs. We favor dugongs for several different reasons.

God gave the instructions to Moses when they were near Sinai, so they would have been in the desert, but the Red Sea and Gulf of Aqaba was fairly close by. In order not to have to piece an immense number of skins together, the leather pieces would have had to be of large size. An adult dugong is about 10 feet long (over 3 meters), and fat around, so a single skin would cover a lot of area. This may also explain why the Tent of Meeting, which was very large, was to be covered by a number of skins (the word tachash is plural in Exod. 25:5, 26:14, 36:19; 39:34), but apparently it only took one skin to cover the ark of the covenant and the articles of the Tent of Meeting such as the table of the bread of the presence (the word tachash is singular in Num. 4:6, 8, 10, 11, 12 and 4:14. It is also singular in Num. 4:25, but in that case, it refers to the single large covering made of skins, not a single skin).

Another reason for favoring the dugong is that Ezekiel 16:10 mentions sandals made of that skin, and historians and customs experts tell us that the dugong “was once plentiful in the Gulf of Aqaba and until early in the last century its skin was the standard material for making sandals in the E. Sinai peninsula” (Merrill Tenney, ed., The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, Regency Reference Library, Grand Rapids, MI, 1976, “Badger” p. 451).

Another reason for thinking that the dugong is what the word tachash refers to is that the other possibilities seem to eliminate themselves. Although older translations say “badger’s skins,” that does not seem possible and almost no modern translation (the NKJV excepted) goes with that translation. Some translations say “goatskins,” but there is a more natural word for goatskins that it seems God would have used in the Bible if He meant goatskins, and besides, it would have taken an immense number of goats to cover the Tent of Meeting, and furthermore a single skin could not cover the ark of the covenant or the other furniture in the Tent of Meeting.

Some translations say “seal skins,” “dolphin skins,” or “porpoise skins,” but those animals were hard to catch and therefore were rarely caught, they did not have large skins, and they were not regularly used for sandals. In contrast, the dugongs were abundant, were social and traveled (swam slowly) in groups, and were easy to hunt because they could not move fast. That leaves the second most likely possible meaning for tachash to be some kind of leather from Egypt, but although that is possible, it seems less likely to us than the skin of the dugong, in part because of the way God uses the singular and plural when referring to the skins that would cover the Tent of Meeting and the items such as the ark of the covenant.

Exo 25:6(top)
Exo 25:7(top)
Exo 25:8

“and I will dwell among them.” God chose Israel out of all the nations of earth and made a covenant with them that they would be His people and He would be their God, and here in Exodus 25:8, He tells them to build a sanctuary for Him so He can reside among them. This was an amazing privilege that Israel never really understood or appreciated. They liked it when God blessed their land and helped them win wars, but they refused to worship Him as He demanded or deserved, and in fact, time after time they turned away from Him and worshiped idols.

Exo 25:9

“the pattern of the tabernacle.” Many of the details of how the tabernacle was constructed are in the Bible, but some seemingly important ones are not. For example, the Bible never specifically says how long and how wide the tabernacle itself was (see commentary on Exod. 26:1).

Exo 25:10

“cubits.” The cubit used for Moses’ tabernacle was roughly 18 inches (45.72 cm). When the centimeters are given in the footnotes or text, the decimal points are usually rounded up or down depending on the fraction. For example, 45 inches, the length of the ark, is more exactly 114.3 cm, but the footnote gives the measure as 114. So the ark of the covenant was roughly 45 inches long, 27 inches wide, and 27 inches high.

[For more information about the cubit used in the tabernacle, see commentary on 2 Chron. 3:3.]

“ark.” This is the “ark of the covenant,” called that because it contained the Ten Commandments, which were the heart of the covenant God made with Israel. Its importance to God and Israel is highlighted because it is the first thing God mentioned when He talked to Moses about building the Tent of Meeting (the tabernacle).

This ark was placed inside the Temple of Solomon (1 Kings 8:6). However, there will not be an ark of the covenant in the Millennial Temple (see commentary on Jeremiah 3:16).

Exo 25:11(top)
Exo 25:12(top)
Exo 25:13(top)
Exo 25:14(top)
Exo 25:15(top)
Exo 25:16

“the testimony.” The two tablets of stone on which were written the Ten Commandments. Called “the testimony” because it was a major part of the stipulations of the Old Covenant.

“that I will give you.” God had not given the tablets with the Ten Commandments to Moses yet; He gave them to Moses later (cp. Exod. 31:8).

Exo 25:17(top)
Exo 25:18(top)
Exo 25:19(top)
Exo 25:20

“cherubim.” This is the second time we see cherubim in the Bible. They first appeared as guards in the garden of Eden, and now they are associated with the Ark of the Covenant, ostensibly to represent God’s presence and protection. They are associated with the Ark both in the Tent of Meeting and the Temple (cp. Exod. 25:20; 37:9; 1 Kings 6:27; 2 Chron. 3:10, 11, 13). Here in Exodus we learn that cherubim have wings, but it is not until Ezekiel 1 and 10 that we have a more complete description of them. They are said to be living creatures, they have four faces on their heads and four wings each, and arms and hands like human hands under their wings (see commentary on Ezekiel 1:5). They would then grasp the flaming sword mentioned in Genesis with their hands. Their powerful fast bodies had faces that looked in every direction, and ability to carry weapons such as the sword they have in Genesis 3:24, make them formidable beings indeed. We have to remember that the description of the cherubim given in Exodus, Kings, and Chronicles was not complete, but the way God described them for us in those contexts. Ezekiel’s description was a much more detailed description of them.

Exo 25:21

“that I will give you.” God had not given the tablets with the Ten Commandments to Moses yet; He gave them to Moses later (cp. Exod. 31:8).

Exo 25:22

“I will meet with you there.” This is the major reason that the tabernacle is also referred to as “the Tent of Meeting” (e.g., Exod. 27:21; 28:43; 29:4; 30:16; 31:7).

Exo 25:23

“You are to make a table of acacia wood.” The table of the Bread of the Presence was placed on the north side of the Tabernacle, which, because it faced east, was on the right side of the Tabernacle as you entered it from outside (Exod. 26:35).

“two cubits.” That is, 36 inches (91 cm). The cubit of the Tabernacle and Temple was most likely roughly 18 inches (46 cm).

[For more information about the cubit used in the tabernacle, see commentary on 2 Chron. 3:3.]

Exo 25:24(top)
Exo 25:25(top)
Exo 25:26(top)
Exo 25:27(top)
Exo 25:28(top)
Exo 25:29(top)
Exo 25:30(top)
Exo 25:31

“You are to make a menorah of pure gold.” The menorah was to be placed on the right side of the Holy Place, which, because the Tabernacle faced east, was to the south (Exod. 26:35).

Exo 25:32

“There are to be six branches extending out from its sides.” The menorah in the Tabernacle had seven places for oil lamps and thus seven oil lamps that went with it. Technically, a menorah is a lampstand, and the Hebrew menorah is translated as “lampstand” in many English versions. In the Tabernacle, the menorah (the “lampstand”) had seven oil lamps that were set on its six branches and its center “trunk.” The lamps were to burn from dusk to dawn every night, and part of the job of the priests was to make sure the lamp burned all night every night.

Exo 25:33(top)
Exo 25:34(top)
Exo 25:35(top)
Exo 25:36(top)
Exo 25:37

“seven lamps.” The menorah is a lampstand, and the “lamps” are oil lamps that sit on the branches and top of the menorah and give light to the Holy Place, the larger room in the Tabernacle that had the menorah, the table with the Bread of the Presence, and the golden altar of incense. The lamps were lit at night and put out in the morning.

Exo 25:38

“snuffers.” The meaning of the Hebrew word is debated. These “snuffers” are associated with the oil lamps, so “snuffers” and “wick trimmers” are among the more likely things suggested by scholars that this could be referring to. Both snuffers to put out the lamps, and wick trimmers to keep the lamps bright would be necessary to have to properly care for the lamps.

Exo 25:39

“The menorah.” The Hebrew text just reads “it,” but that can be confusing in the context, so “the menorah” was substituted for clarity. Since the whole menorah, including its branches and the utensils that went with it, was made of pure gold but only weighed about 75 pounds, it could not have been very large, perhaps only a couple of feet high.

“a talent of pure gold.” A “talent” was a measure of weight, and it varied, usually with the empire. For example, the Israelite, Babylonian, and Roman talents were all different. The Israelite talent was approximately 75 pounds (34 kg).

Exo 25:40(top)

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