and gat him up into the mount; that is, he went into the cloud, after he had ascended the summit of the mount; for it cannot be supposed that he first went into the cloud, and then got himself up to the mount, which yet our version, if not carefully guarded against, may lead unto:
and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights; without eating or drinking; and just such a term of time Christ fasted in the wilderness; it is probable that the six days before mentioned are to be reckoned part of those forty days, since it is not said that he was in the cloud forty days and forty nights, but in the mount. The Targum of Jonathan adds,"learning the words of the law from the mouth of the Holy One, whose name is to be praised.''Living without food so long must be ascribed to a miracle; for Hippocrates (y) that great physician, says, that"those who remain without food seven days, thenceforward, if they would, cannot receive any support from food, because then the belly will not admit of any;''and gives this reason for it, because the fasting intestine coheres, or is wrinkled.
(y) Lib. de Carn. in fine, apud Scheuchzer. Physic. Sacr. vol. 2. p. 196.
INTRODUCTION TO Exodus 25
In this chapter an order is given for a freewill offering towards various things for the worship and service of God, and the materials to be offered, which would be useful and acceptable, are mentioned particularly, Exodus 25:1, as also another order to build a sanctuary for God, after a model that he would give, Exodus 25:8, and, an ark to put in the law on tables of stone, the fashion of which, and the various things belonging to it, are described, Exodus 25:10, and a mercy seat with cherubim on it to be set over the ark, where the Lord promises to meet Moses and commune with him, Exodus 25:17 and a table with various appurtenances to it to place the shewbread on, Exodus 25:23 and a candlestick of gold, whose parts are described, and all the instruments relative to it, Exodus 25:31.
saying; as follows.
that they bring me an offering; the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan call it a "separation": something separated from their substance, and devoted to the service of God, and for the use of the sanctuary afterwards to be built:
of every man that giveth it willingly, with his heart, ye shall take my offering; or take what was offered to him, be it more or less, and of whatsoever person, high and low, rich and poor, so be it it is freely given from the heart; not grudgingly or through force, as the Targum of Jonathan adds; and in such manner did David and his people many hundreds of years after this offer towards building of the temple, and the vessels belonging to that, see 1 Chronicles 29:6 according to the Jewish writers, none but the children of Israel were to offer to this service, and only such who knew what they did; for thus they criticize on the words,"speak unto the children of "Israel": this exempts an Heathen and an idolater; "of every man"; this excludes a little one; "that giveth it willingly with his heart"; this exempts a deaf and dumb man, and a fool, because they have no knowledge to offer freely (z)''however, this we may learn from hence, that whatever we do for the worship and service of God, we should do it freely, cheerfully, and cordially; for God loves a cheerful giver; and if this was required under the legal dispensation, it is much more necessary and obligatory under the Gospel dispensation, and more suitable to it where all things are done and given freely of God, and such large blessings of grace are liberally bestowed by him on persons undeserving.
(z) Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. Trumot, c. 1. sect. 1.
gold and silver, and brass; "gold", for those things that were to he made of gold; as the mercy seat and cherubim, the candlestick, &c. or were covered with it, as the ark, the shewbread table, and other things; and silver, for those that were made of that, as the silver sockets to the boards of the tabernacle, the silver trumpets, &c. and "brass" for the altar of burnt offering, its pans, shovels, basins, rings, and staves, and other things: Aben Ezra rightly observes, that no mention is made of iron, there being no use of that for anything in the tabernacle to be made of it; as also there was not in the temple of Solomon, and where there was not so much as a tool of iron heard in it while it was building, 1 Kings 6:7 it may be, because instruments of war, slaughtering weapons, were made of iron; and to show that God is the God of peace in his sanctuary, and so in all the churches: gold and silver vessels the Israelites borrowed or begged of the Egyptians, and brought them with them when they came out of Egypt, Exodus 11:2.
and fine linen; the best of which was made in Egypt only, as Aben Ezra says, and much wore there, especially by the priests; and they had such an abundance of it that they traded to other nations with it, see Isaiah 19:9 and of which the Israelites might bring a considerable quantity with them out of Egypt; and
goats' hair; though the word hair is not in the text, it is rightly supplied, as it is by the Septuagint version, and others, for not goats themselves, but their hair must be meant; of this the curtains for the covering of the tabernacle were made; Jarchi interprets it the down of goats, the short, small, fine hair that grows under the other.
(a) Antiqu. l. 3. c. 6. sect. 1.
and badgers' skins, which were for the same use: the Septuagint version calls them hyacinth or blue skins; according to which, they seem to be the rams' skins died blue; and so Josephus (b) seems to have understood it; and it is much questionable whether the same creature is meant we call the badger, since that with the Israelites was an unclean creature; nor is its skin made use of for shoes, or well could be, as the skin of this creature is said to be, Ezekiel 16:10. Jarchi says it was a kind of beast only at that time; and Aben Ezra says, it was known in those days but not now: and
shittim wood; supposed by the Jewish writers, as Kimchi (c), and Ben Melech from him, to be the best and most excellent kind of cedar: Aben Ezra conjectures, and he delivers it but as a conjecture, that there might be near Mount Sinai a forest of "shittim" trees; and while the Israelites were there they cut them down for booths, which they might carry with them when they removed from thence; for, he says, Moses did not speak of the tabernacle till after the day of atonement: and since Acacia is by much the largest and the most common tree of the deserts of Arabia, as Dr. Shaw (d) observes, he thinks there some reason to conjecture, that the "shittim wood", whereof the several utensils of the tabernacle, &c. were made, was the wood of Acacia: and long ago it was the opinion of Cordus (e) that the "shittim wood" was the Acacia of Dioscorides; and it is the same with the Senton or Santon of the Arabians, which is the Egyptian thorn that grows in the wilderness, of which Herodotus (f) says, they cut wood of two cubits out of and make ships of burden of it: this is said to grow in the parts of Egypt at a distance from the sea; in the mountains of Sinai, at the Red sea, about Suez, in the barren wilderness; which circumstances seem to determine it to be the "shittim wood" (g): some places where it might grow in plenty seem to have had their names from it, see Numbers 25:1.
(b) Ut supra. (Antiq. l. 3. c. 6. sect. 1.) (c) Sepher Shorash. rad. (d) Travels, p. 144. Ed. 2.((e) Apud Drus. Heb. Adag. Decur. 3. Adag. 4. (f) Euterpe, sive, l. 2. c. 96. (g) Vid. Scheuchzer. Physic. Sacr. vol. 2. p. 204.
spices for anointing oil; for the anointing of Aaron and his sons, and the tabernacle and its vessels, such as pure myrrh, sweet cinnamon, sweet calamus, and cassia:
and for sweet incense; as stacte, onycha, and galbanum; from whence they had this oil and these spices, it is not easy to say, unless they brought them out of Egypt with them; which is likely, since the deserts of Arabia could not furnish them with them.
and stones to be set in the ephod, and in the breastplate; two onyx stones were set in the ephod, one of the garments of the high priest, and an onyx stone, with eleven other precious stones, were set in the breastplate of the high priest: these stones were doubtless among the jewels set in gold and silver the Israelites had of the Egyptians, and brought with them out of Egypt.
that I may dwell amongst them; in the midst of them, where the tabernacle was always placed; and there he dwelt as their King and their God, to whom they might have recourse on all occasions, and whom they should serve and worship; this sanctuary was to be made of many of the materials before mentioned by the Israelites, whom Moses should employ, and to whom he should give directions for the making it, according to the pattern showed him: and so the Jewish writers interpret "make me", or "to me", i.e. of mine, of mine holy things, things sanctified and separated to his use; and they bring this passage to prove that the workmen in the temple were to be paid only out of the holy things, or money given for the repair of it (h): this was a type of the human nature of Christ, the true sanctuary and tabernacle which God pitched and not man, and in which the fulness of the Godhead dwells bodily; and of the church of God, the temple of the living God, among whom he walks, and with whom he dwells, Hebrews 8:2.
(h) Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. Temurah, c. 7. sect. 1.
after the pattern of the tabernacle, and of the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it: and by the "pattern" is not meant an idea of it, impressed on the mind of Moses, or a picture of it which was shown him, but a little edifice representing it in all its parts, a perfect model of it: and so Maimonides (i) says, "Tabnith", the word here used, signifies the structure and disposition of anything, i.e. the form of it in a four square, in roundness, in a triangle, or in any of the like figures, see Hebrews 8:5 and so David had, by the Spirit, a pattern of the temple, and which he gave to his son Solomon, to build according to it, 1 Chronicles 28:11.
(i) Moreh Nevochim, par. 1. c. 3.
two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof; if this cubit was a common cubit, consisting of a foot and a half or eighteen inches, then the length of this ark was forty five inches, and its breadth and height twenty seven each; according to Dr. Cumberland (k), the Egyptian and Jewish cubit was above twenty one inches, and then the ark must be fifty three inches long or more, and thirty two and three quarters broad and high, or more: and Josephus (l) says, the length of it was five spans, and the breadth and height of it three spans each.
(k) Of Scripture Weights and Measures, ch. 2. p. 34, 56. (l) Antiqu. l. 3. c. 6. sect. 5.
within and without shalt thou overlay it; so that nothing of the wood could be seen: this may denote the glory of Christ in both his natures, divine and human, the riches of his person and office, which are unsearchable and durable, and his preciousness to them that believe, Sol 5:10,
and shalt make upon it a crown of gold round about: or a cornish of pure gold upon it, every way, which was a square on which the mercy seat was set; which may point at the honour and glory of Christ, especially in his kingly office, who has indeed on his head many crowns; one a crown of pure gold, his divine Father has set upon him; another which the church has crowned him with, and indeed both angels and saints cast their crowns at his feet, and set the crown on his head, or give him the glory of all they have and are.
and put them in the corners thereof; or, "in its feet", as Aben Ezra, though Jarchi says it had no feet; but as the word used so signifies always, it is more probable it had feet; and the rather, that it might not stand upon the ground, but on feet, as chests and coffers usually do:
and two rings shall be in the one side of it, and two rings in the other side of it; Jarchi says, at the upper corners, near the mercy seat were they placed, two on one side and two on the other, at the breadth of the ark; but it is more likely they were fixed in the lower part of it, as Ramban, at the feet of it; and in the length of the ark, as Josephus writes (m).
(m) Antiqu. l. 3. c. 6. sect. 5
that the ark might be borne with them; which staves overlaid with gold, and put into golden rings, figured the ministers of Christ, enriched with the gifts and graces of his Spirit, and possessed of the truths of the Gospel, more precious than gold and silver; who bear the name of Christ, and carry his Gospel into the several parts of the world.
they shall not be taken from it; or, as the Septuagint version is, be immovable; so that those gold rings in the ark may signify the churches of Christ, which are instrumental to bear his name, and spread his truth in the world, comparable to rings for their circular form, being the purest and most perfect bodies of men on earth, and to gold rings for their worth and value, preciousness, excellency, and duration; and with whom the ministers of the Gospel, comparable to golden staves, are always to be, and never depart from them: or else they may signify the perfect and precious doctrines of Christ, in which his ministers are always to be; either in meditation on them, or in preaching of them, and by which they are always to abide, see 1 Timothy 4:15.
two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof: which are exactly the dimensions of the ark, to which this was a lid or cover, see Exodus 25:10 in the mystical sense it intimates, that Christ, in his nature, obedience, sufferings, and death, is the end of the law for righteousness, which is entirely commensurate, and answers to all its demands: his holy nature is answerable to the holiness and spirituality of the law; his righteousness to all that obedience it requires, and his sufferings and death to the penalty of it; so that, through Christ, we have a righteousness to justify us before God, as long and as broad as the law is, though the commandment is exceeding broad, Psalm 119:96. Aben Ezra observes, that there is no mention made of the thickness of the mercy seat; and the same Jarchi takes notice of, but adds, that, according to their Rabbins, it was an hand's breadth, and the Targum of Jonathan says,"and its thickness an hand's breadth.''
(n) "opertorium", Montanus; "tegmen sive operimentum", Vatablus; "operculum", Piscator. (o) "Propitiatorium", V. L. Pagninus, Munster, Tigurine version. (p) Sept. "operculum propitiatorium", Junius & Tremellius.
of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat; not of gold melted and poured into a mould, and so received the form of the cherubim; nor were they first made by themselves, and then placed at the two ends of the mercy seat, and soldered to it; but they were made of the same mass of gold with the mercy seat, and beaten out of it with an hammer, and planished and smoothed, and so wrought up into this form, as appears by the following verse; and may denote the union of believers to Christ, who are one body and one spirit with him; and the union of the Old and New Testament churches in him, and who are but one church, one body, of which he is the head; and as he is the foundation of the apostles or prophets, on whom they are laid, he is the cornerstone in which they are united; and so it may likewise signify the nearness of the ministers of the word to Christ, their dependence on him, and their partaking of the same gifts and graces of his Spirit, only in measure, being made by him able ministers of the Gospel.
even of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubim on the two ends thereof; this is not so much intended the more to inculcate and confirm the situation of the cherubim, as more fully to explain the matter of which they were made; for it was "of" or out of the mercy seat that they were made, at the two ends of it; that is, they were made not only of the same kind of metal with that, but out of the same mass or lump of gold that was; a lid of gold being made commensurate to the ark, what remained above that measure, at the ends of it, were beaten and formed into two cherubim.
covering the mercy seat with their wings; which reached each other; though, as Jarchi (q) says, between them and the mercy seat there was a hollow of ten hands' breadth; so high were they stretched upwards, though they met each other:
and their faces shall look one to another; and which is expressive of the harmony, concord, and agreement of the true and faithful ministers of Christ one with another; who all agree in preaching Christ, and him crucified, and in the several momentous and important doctrines of the Gospel:
towards the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be; as before observed, it may denote their directing souls to Christ as the only way of salvation, keeping always in all their ministrations this great truth in view, atonement and satisfaction by the blood and sacrifice of Christ, and salvation alone by him; which they make the rule of their ministry, and from which they never swerve, taking care not to deliver anything contrary to it, or which may serve to cast a veil over it.
(q) T. Bab. Succah, fol. 5. 2. Vid. Gloss. in ib.
and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee; or "after thou shalt put in the ark", &c. (r), as the particle "vau" is sometimes used; the sense is, that then the mercy seat should be put above, and upon the ark, as the covering of it, after the law, or the two tables of testimony, were put into it; for then it was covered, and not to be opened any more; see Exodus 40:20.
(r) "postquam in area", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Drusius. Vid. Nold. Concord Ebr. part. p. 290.
and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim; converse with him and them about whatsoever they should apply unto him for, these being the symbols of the divine presence: hence the Lord is frequently described as "dwelling between the cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony"; that is, which cherubim are upon it, being on the mercy seat, which was the cover of it; or rather "which is upon" (s), which mercy seat is upon the ark of the testimony, as it properly was; and here the Lord promises to commune
of all things which I shall give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel: what they shall do, respecting those things which by Moses, or the high priest, they should inquire the mind and will of God about: this may signify that the way to communion with God lies through Christ, the mercy seat and propitiation, through his blood and righteousness, through the vail, that is to say, his flesh; and the encouragement to it is from him, our great high priest, and from his propitiatory sacrifice; and the enjoyment of it is through him; our fellowship is with the Father, and his Son Jesus Christ; God speaks to us by him, and reveals himself in him.
(s) "quod est", Vatablus.
two cubits shall be the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof; it was two Jewish square cubits in length, which are about six English square feet and above half, viz. ninety four inches, according to Bishop Cumberland (t). It was neither so long nor so broad as the ark by half a cubit, but was of the same height with it, being about thirty two inches high and three quarters, according to the Jewish and Egyptian cubit, which was about twenty one inches and more and was a proper height for a table; and this measure, no doubt, takes in the thickness of the table, and the height of the seat, as Jarchi and Aben Ezra observe.
(t) Ut supra. (Of Scripture Weights and Measures, ch. 2. p. 34, 36.)
and make thereto a crown of gold round about; that is, on both sides and at both ends; for though it is called a crown, it was a square, and this was both to ornament the table, and to keep from falling off of it what was set upon it. Jarchi says, it was a sign of the crown of the kingdom, for a table signifies riches and greatness, as they say a king's table: and indeed this was the table of the King of kings, who has on his head many crowns, and one must be made upon his table.
and thou shalt make a golden crown to the border thereof round about; this was not the same spoke of in the former verse, but another; that was above, and upon the table, this below and under it; or rather that was, as it may be better expressed, a lip, rim, or border, that went round within the table (u); and this crown, surrounded that on the edge of it.
(u) So R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 61. 2.
and put the rings in the four corners that are on the four feet thereof; as there were four feet at the four corners of the table, to each foot a ring was fastened; the use of these follows.
shall the rings be for placing of the staves to bear the table; into these rings staves were to be put, to carry the table from place to place, when it was necessary, as while they were in the wilderness, and before the tabernacle had a fixed settled place for it; for wherever the tabernacle was carried, the ark and the table were also: where the church of Christ is, there he is, and there are the word and ordinances; and which are sometimes moved from place to place, as from the land of Judea into the Gentile world, from the eastern part of the world to the more northern; and that by the ministers of the word, who bear the name, and carry the Gospel of Christ into the several parts of the world, as this table was bore by the Levites, Numbers 4:7.
that the table may be borne with them; when moved from one place to another; these staves did not remain in the rings, as the staves for the ark did; but, as Josephus says (w), were taken out, because they otherwise would have been in the way of the priests, who came every week to it, to set the shewbread on; and these were put in only when they carried it from place to place, as appears from Numbers 4:8.
(w) Antiqu. l. 3. c. 6. sect. 6.
and the spoons thereof; or rather "cups"; these, Jarchi says, were censers, in which they put the frankincense; and there were two of them for the two handfuls of frankincense, which they put upon the two rows of shewbread, Leviticus 24:7. Josephus (x) calls them vials, and says, that on the bread were put two golden vials full of frankincense:
and the covers thereof, and the bowls thereof, to cover withal; the one to cover the bread, and the other to cover the frankincense; or all the above said vessels were to cover the table, and with them all it must be pretty well covered with vessels. The Jews give a different account of these two last, and of their use, which we render "covers" and "bowls": the first of these Jarchi says were like the half of hollow reeds divided to their length, made of gold; and three of them were laid in order on the top of every loaf, so that one loaf rested upon these reeds; and they separated between loaf and loaf, so that the air could come in between them, and they did not become mouldy; the latter, he says, were props like stakes of gold standing on the ground, and they were higher than the table, even as high as the rows of bread; and they were forked with live forks, one above another, and the tops (or ends) of the reeds, which were between each loaf, rested upon these forks, that so the weight of the upper loaves might not be too heavy for the lower ones, and break them. A like account of them Ben Melech gives, and observes, that some make the first word to signify the props, and the second the reeds; and so they are interpreted by Maimonides (y); and, according to the Misnah (z), the props were four, and the reeds twenty eight. According to the Septuagint version, these were vessels used in libations, or drink offerings; and the last clause is rendered in it, "with which thou shall pour out": wine or oil, and so in some other versions; but it will be difficult to find any use for such libations or drink offerings at this table.
(x) Antiq. l. 3. c. 6. sect. 6. (y) Pirush in Misn. Menachot, c. 11. sect. 6. (z) Menachot, ib.
(a) Antiqu. l. 3. c. 7. sect. 7.
of beaten work shall the candlestick be made; not of gold melted, and poured into a mould, from whence it might take its form; but it was beaten with an hammer out of an entire mass of gold, and not the following parts made separately, and then joined:
his shaft, and his branches, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers, shall be of the same; not only of the same metal, but beaten out of the same mass and lump of gold; these are the several parts of the candlestick: the "shaft" is the trunk and body of the candlestick, which stood in the middle of it, and in which the several parts united; and may either be typical of Christ, who is principal and head of the church, and stands in the middle of it, and is the cement of the several parts of it, and is but one, the one head, Mediator and Saviour; or else the church universal, of which particular ones are parts: its "branches" may either signify the several members of churches, who are in Christ as branches, and hold forth the word of light; or else minister, of the Gospel, who have their commission and gifts from him, and are held by him as stars in his right hand; or else particular churches, which are branches of the church universal: its "bowls", which were to hold oil for the lamps, may denote men of capacity in the churches, full of the gifts and graces of the Spirit, able to teach others also: and the "knops" and "flowers" were for decoration, and may signify the graces of the Spirit, with which private members and believers are adorned; or the gifts of the Spirit with which the ministers of the word are furnished, and appear beautiful, publishing the glad tidings of salvation by Christ.
(b) Antiq. l. 3. c. 7. sect. 7. (c) Paradise Lost. B. 12. ver. 254, 255, 256.
three branches of the candlestick out of one side, and three branches of the candlestick out of the other side; Jarchi takes what we render the "shaft" to be the lower part of the candlestick, from whence three feet went out below; and the "branch" or "cane", for it is in the singular number in the preceding verse, he takes to be the middle branch or trunk, that went up from the middle of the foot upwards, and upon it was the middle lamp, in the form of a censer, to pour oil into the midst of it; and the six branches went out from the sides of that, here and there drawn obliquely, and went up to the height of the candlestick, which is the middle branch or cane; and they went up from the midst of that middle cane, one above another, the lowermost long, and that above it shorter than that, and the uppermost shorter than that; for the height of the tops of them were equal to the height of the middle cane, that is, the seventh, from whence the six went out.
and three bowls made like almonds in the other branch; on the other side of the candlestick, opposite to the former:
so in the six branches that come out of the candlestick; there were the same number of bowls, with a knop and a flower in the rest of the branches, as in those mentioned.
made like unto almonds, with their knops and their flowers; as the bowls on the branches had with them.
according to the six branches that proceed out of the candlestick; out of the trunk of it, as in Exodus 25:32.
all of it shall be one beaten work of pure gold not made in parts, and then put and soldered together, but the whole candlestick in all its parts and branches were to be beaten out of one piece of gold.
and they shall light the lamps thereof; Aaron and his sons, the priests in successive generations:
that they may give light over against it to the table of shewbread, which was opposite to it on the north side of the tabernacle, and so by the light of these lamps the priests could see to place the shewbread in its order; or the candlestick itself, the lamps being so placed as to give light to the whole body of it, that it might be seen in all its parts very distinctly; unless it can be thought that these lamps were separate from the candlestick, and set around the sides of the holy place, and gave light to it: and this may rather seem to be the case, since these lamps are spoken of after the whole of it is said to be one beaten work of pure gold; but then we have no account of the lamps of the candlestick, unless they are supposed to be included in the branches; wherefore the first sense seems best.
(d) Of Scripture Weights and Measures, p. 121.