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Exodus Chapter 38
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Making the Sacrificial Altar
38:1 He made the sacrificial altar out of acacia wood, five cubits square, and three cubits high.
38:2 He made the protrusions on all four corners as an integral part of [the altar's] structure, and then covered [the entire structure] with a layer of copper.
38:3 He made all the altar's utensils, pots, scoops, sacrificial basins, flesh pokers, and fire pans. They were all made out of copper.
38:4 He made a screen out of copper mesh, and placed it below the [altar's] decorative border, extending downward until the middle of the altar.
38:5 He cast four rings on the copper screen to hold the carrying poles.
38:6 He made acacia carrying poles and covered them with a layer of copper.
38:7 He placed the carrying poles in the rings on the altar's corners, so that it could be carried.

He constructed [the altar] as a hollow structure made out of boards.


Making the Washstand
38:8 He made the copper washstand and its copper base out of the mirrors of the dedicated women who congregated at the entrance of the Communion Tent.

Making the Enclosure
38:9 He made the enclosure [for the tabernacle]. On the south side, the twined linen hangings were 100 cubits long,
38:10 held by 20 poles, with 20 copper bases and silver pole hooks and bands.
38:11 On the north side, it was also 100 cubits long, held by 20 poles, with 20 copper bases and silver pole hooks and bands.
38:12 On the west side, the curtains were 50 cubits, held by 10 poles, with 10 bases and silver pole hooks and bands.
38:13 The east side was [also] 50 cubits [wide].
38:14 The hangings on one side, [of the enclosure] were 15 cubits long, held by three poles with three bases.
38:15 The same was true of the other side of the enclosure's entrance, so that the hangings there were [also] 15 cubits [wide], held by three poles with three bases.
38:16 All the enclosure's hangings were made of twined linen.
38:17 The bases for the poles were made of copper, while the pole hooks and bands were made of silver. All the enclosure's poles [also] had silver caps, and the [poles themselves] were ringed with silver.
38:18 The drape for the enclosure's entrance was embroidered out of sky-blue, dark red and crimson wool, together with twined linen. It was 20 cubits long, and 5 cubits wide (or high), just like the [other] hangings of the enclosure.
38:19 It was held with four poles, having four copper bases, and silver hooks, caps and bands.
38:20 All the stakes used for the tabernacle itself and the surrounding enclosure were made of copper.

The Accounting
38:21 These are the accounts of the Tabernacle (the Tabernacle of Testimony), which were calculated by Moses' order by the Levites under Ithamar, son of Aaron the priest.
38:22 Betzalel son of Uri son of Chur, of the tribe of Judah, [used these materials] to make all that God had commanded Moses.
38:23 With him was Oholiav son of Achisamakh, of the tribe of Dan, who was a skilled carpenter, and [was also expert in] brocading and embroidering with sky-blue, dark red and crimson wool, and fine linen.

The Materials
38:24 All the gold was used in the work to complete the sacred task. The amount of gold donated as a wave offering was 29 talents and 730 shekels by the sanctuary standard.
38:25 The silver census money [collected from] the community came out to 100 talents and 1775 shekels by the sanctuary standard.
38:26 This consisted of a beka, which was a half shekel by sanctuary standards, for each of the 603,550 men over 20 years old included in the census.
38:27 The 100 talents were used to cast the bases for the sanctuary and the cloth partition. There were a total of 100 bases made out of the 100 talents, one talent for each base.
38:28 Out of the remaining 1775 shekels, the hooks, caps and inlaid hoops for the pillars were made.
38:29 The copper donated as a wave offering came out to 70 talents and 2400 shekels.
38:30 It was used to make the bases for the Communion Tent's entrance, the copper altar along with its copper screen and all the altar's utensils,
38:31 the bases for the surrounding enclosure, the bases for the enclosure's entrance, the stakes for the tabernacle, and the stakes for the surrounding enclosure.



Commentary:

He made...
  Paralleling Exodus 27:1-8.

cast
  A detail not mentioned in Exodus 27:4.

to hold...
  Here we clearly see that the rings on the screen were to carry the altar. See note on Exodus 27:7.

washstand
  See Exodus 30:18.

mirrors
  This might support the contention that the 'copper' mentioned here is actually brass (cf. Abarbanel). See note on Exodus 25:3.

dedicated women who congregated
  (Rashi). Some say to worship (Targum). Or, 'celebrated' (Ibn Janach), or 'exiled themselves' (Avraham ben HaRambam). Or, 'the craftswomen' (Ibn Ezra, short version).

He made...
  Paralleling Exodus 27:9-19.

silver caps
  A detail not mentioned previously. See note on Exodus 27:11.

ringed
  (see Radak, Sherashim). Or, 'since they were inlayed with silver' (Saadia).

by the Levites.
  (Rashi; Ralbag). Or, '....the accounts of the Tabernacle...which would be carried by the Levites' (Ibn Ezra).

Ithamar
  Aaron's youngest son (Exodus 6:23).

wave offering
  See Exodus 35:22.

29 talents and 730 shekels
  Since a talent is 3000 shekels, this was a total of 87,730 shekels, 1/7 shekel for each person counted. It was a total of 4386 1/2 pounds of gold.

According to Saadia Gaon (quoted in Ibn Ezra, Perush HaKitzur), 1/2 talent was used to plate each of the 48 beams of the Tabernacle, accounting for 24 talents. Another 2 talents was used for the four pillars holding the cloth partition; 1 talent for the menorah; 1 talent for the ark and its cover, and 1 talent for the table and golden altar. This accounts for the 29 talents. The additional 730 shekels (36.5 pounds) were used for such items as the fasteners and clothing.

Since 1/2 talent was used for each pillar, which was 10 cubits high, and 1 1/2 cubits wide, it can easily be calculated that the thickness of the gold on the pillars was approximately 1/100 inch.

If it is assumed that the same thickness was used all around the incense altar, it can be calculated that the top of the altar had a gold layer around 1/4 inch thick.

100 talents and 1775 shekels
  This is 301,775 shekels, or 15,088.75 pounds.

603,550 men
  See Exodus 12:37; Numbers 1:46, 26:51.

100 bases
  There were 20 beams on both the north and south walls of the Tabernacle, and 8 beams on the west, making a total of 48. Thus, there were a total of 96 bases for the 48 beams, and an additional 4 bases for the four beams holding the cloth partition (Rashi).

1775 shekels
  88.75 pounds.

the hooks, caps...
  Since there were a total of 60 poles holding the enclosure's hangings, there was around 1 1/2 pounds of silver for each pole.

70 talents and 2400 shekels
  A total of 212,400 shekels or 10,620 pounds, around 1/3 shekel for each person counted. However, some say that the talent used to measure the copper was larger than that used to measure precious metals (Saadia).

bases
  There were 60 bases for the sixty poles for the enclosure, and another five for the drape at the tabernacle's entrance. Some say that each base weighed one talent (Chizzkuni).

and the stakes...
  Since the washstand is not mentioned, some say that the copper to make it was not included in this reckoning.





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