Exodus 25:37
And you shall make the seven lamps thereof: and they shall light the lamps thereof, that they may give light over against it.
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(37) Thou shalt make the seven lamps thereof.—Literally, thou shalt make its lamps seven. Each branch, as well as the stem, was to have its own lamp. The Arch of Titus shows them to us as hemi-spherical bowls.

They shall light.—See Note on Exodus 25:31-39, and comp. Exodus 27:21; Exodus 30:8; Leviticus 24:3.

25:31-40 The candlestick represents the light of God's word and Spirit, in and through Christ Jesus, afforded in this dark world to his believing people, to direct their worship and obedience, and to afford them consolations. The church is still dark, as the tabernacle was, in comparison with what it will be in heaven; but the word of God is a light shining in a dark place,Seven lamps - These lamps were probably like those used by the Egyptian and other nations, shallow covered vessels more or less of an oval form, with a mouth at one end from which the wick protruded. The candlestick was placed on the south side of the holy place Exodus 26:35, with the line of lamps parallel with the wall, or, according to Josephus, somewhat obliquely. If the wick-mouths of the lamps were turned outwards, they would give light over against the candlestick; that is, toward the north side (see Numbers 8:2).

Light was of necessity required in the tabernacle, and wherever light is used in ceremonial observance, it may of course be taken in a general way as a figure of the Light of Truth; but in the sanctuary of the covenanted people, it must plainly have been understood as expressly significant that the number of the lamps (seven) agreed with the number of the covenant. The covenant of Yahweh was essentially a covenant of light.

They shall light - See the margin and the note at Leviticus 1:9.

37. they shall light the lamps … that they may give light—The light was derived from pure olive oil, and probably kept continually burning (compare Ex 30:7; Le 24:2). They shall light the lamps, whom I shall appoint for that work. Over against it, i.e. either,

1. The table of shewbread. Or rather,

2. The candlestick, as it is expressed, Numbers 8:2, where by the candlestick you are to understand, as here, Exodus 25:33,34, the stem or main body of it; and the sense is, that the lamps shall be so placed, that they and their light may look towards that stem; unless you will suppose that the seven lamps were distinct and separated from the candlestick, and fastened to the sides of the tabernacle in several places, and all giving light to or over against the great candlestick, which was in the midst, as the candlestick did over-against them, which is also, now usual among us. And thou shall make the seven lamps thereof,.... Which were, six of them, on the top of the six branches that came out of the sides of the candlestick, and the seventh on the top of the shaft which ran up in the middle of it; which no doubt were made of gold as well as the rest, and may signify the many members of churches bearing the lamp of a profession: or the several gifts and graces of the Spirit, which are sometimes, because of the perfection of them, called the seven spirits of God, and are compared to seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, Revelation 4:5 or else the ministers of the Gospel, who are the lights of the world:

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.

And thou shalt make the seven lamps thereof: and they shall light the lamps thereof, that they may give light over against it.
37. the lamps] probably of the type called Phoenician, of which numerous specimens, made in terra cotta, have been found at Gezer, and other places excavated recently in Palestine: they are in shape like a shell or saucer, round or oval, open or covered in, as the case may be, and with the rim on one side pinched together, so as to form an orifice for the wick (see illustr. in DB. iii. 24).

light] fix on (cf. marg.), viz. every evening (Exodus 30:8). The Heb. is lit, bring up, i.e., as we should say, fix on (so Exodus 27:20; Exodus 30:8; Exodus 40:4; Exodus 40:25, Leviticus 24:2, Numbers 8:2-3†): the Rabb. interpretation ‘light’ is destitute of the smallest probability (for to ‘make the lamp go up’ is not the same thing as to ‘make the flame go up’).

over against it] in front of it, or straight forward, as the same expression is rendered in Ezekiel 1:9; Ezekiel 1:12; Ezekiel 10:22; cf. Numbers 8:2-3. The candlestick was to stand at the S. side of the Holy place; and the lamps were to be so adjusted that their wick-mouths turned northwards, and they lighted the space in front of the candlestick. ‘Over against’ is an old English expression meaning opposite to: but it is so little used now that it fails to convey a clear idea to the average reader.Verse 37. - The seven lamps. The lamps are not described. They appear by the representation on the Arch of Titus to have been hemispherical bowls on a stand, which fitted into the lily-blossom wherewith each of the seven branches terminated. They shall light the lamps. The lamps were lighted every evening at sunset (Exodus 27:21; Exodus 30:8; Leviticus 24:3, etc.), and burnt till morning, when the High Priest extinguished them and "dressed" them (Exodus 30:7). That they may give light over against it. The candlestick was placed on the southern side of the holy place, parallel to the wall, the seven lamps forming a row. The light was consequently shed strongly on the opposite, or northern wall, where the table of show-bread stood. (cf. Exodus 37:17-24). The Candlestick was to be made of pure gold, "beaten work." מקשׁה: see Exodus 25:18. For the form תּיעשׂה instead of תּעשׂה (which is probably the work of a copyist, who thought the reading should be תּעשׂה in the Niphal, as the י is wanting in many MSS), see Gesenius, Lehrgeb. p. 52, and Ewald, 83b. "Of it shall be (i.e., there shall issue from it so as to form one complete whole) its ירך" (lit., the loins, the upper part of the thigh, which is attached to the body, and from which the feet proceed, - in this case the base or pedestal, upon which the candelabrum stood); its קנה, or reed, i.e., the hollow stem of the candelabrum rising up from the pedestal; - "its גּבעים," cups, resembling the calix of a flower; - כּפתּרים, knobs, in a spherical shape (cf. Amos 9:1; Zephaniah 2:14); - "and פּרחים," flowers, ornaments in the form of buds just bursting.
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