Exodus 38:21
This is the sum of the tabernacle, even of the tabernacle of testimony, as it was counted, according to the commandment of Moses, for the service of the Levites, by the hand of Ithamar, son to Aaron the priest.
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(21) This is the sum.—Kalisch translates, “These are the accounts”; Canon Cook, “This is the reckoning.” The expression recurs in Numbers 26:63.

The tabernacle of testimony—i.e., the dwelling which was to contain God’s “testimony” against sin—the Ten Commandments.

For the service of the Levites.—Rather, a service of the Levites: i.e., a service which they rendered “by the hand,” or through the instrumentality of Ithamar. Ithamar was the youngest of the sons of Aaron (Exodus 6:23).

Exodus 38:21. This is the sum of the tabernacle — That is, this is the charge of the foregoing work of the tabernacle, under the direction of the two chief workmen. For the service of the Levites, by the hand of Ithamar — The particle for is not in the original, and therefore it may be better rendered, By the ministry of the Levites, under the conduct of Ithamar. By Moses’s appointment the Levites took and kept an account of the gold, silver, and brass, that was brought in for the use of the tabernacle, and how it was employed. Ithamar, the son of Aaron, was appointed to draw up this account. The gold amounted to twenty-nine talents, and seven hundred and thirty shekels, which sum of gold, at the rate of f5,250 to a talent, and f1.

15s. to a shekel of gold, will be found to have amounted to upward of f150,000 English. As to the silver, there being six hundred and three thousand five hundred and fifty, who offered each of them half a shekel, as Exodus 38:26 informs us, three hundred and one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five shekels were thus raised, which sum amounts to thirty-five thousand two hundred and seven pounds, English. The raising of the gold by voluntary contribution, and silver by way of tribute, shows that either way may be taken for the defraying of public expenses, provided that nothing be done by partiality.

38:21-31 The foundation of massy pieces of silver showed the solidity and purity of the truth upon which the church is founded. Let us regard the Lord Jesus Christ while reading of the furniture of the tabernacle. While looking at the altar of burnt-offering, let us see Jesus. In him, his righteousness, and salvation, is a full and sufficient offering for sin. In the laver of regeneration, by his Holy Spirit, let our souls be washed, and they shall be clean; and as the people offered willingly, so may our souls be made willing. Let us be ready to part with any thing, and count all but loss to win Christ.This is the sum ... - "This is the reckoning of the tabernacle, the tabernacle of the Testimony as it was reckoned up according to the commandment of Moses, by the service of the Levites, by the hand of Ithamar," etc. The weight of the metals was taken by the Levites, under the direction of Ithamar. The tabernacle is called the tabernacle of the testimony, or the depository of the testimony, i. e. the tables of the law Exodus 25:16. 21. This is the sum of the tabernacle—Having completed his description of the component parts of the tabernacle, the inspired historian digresses into a statement respecting the gold and silver employed in it, the computation being made according to an order of Moses—by the Levites, under the direction of Ithamar, Aaron's youngest son. This doth not belong to the following account of gold and silver, but to the foregoing particulars of holy things relating to the tabernacle, for these only were committed to the care of the Levites, as it here follows, but this gold and silver was put into other hands.

For the service of the Levites, i.e. for those holy uses and services which the Levites administered.

This is the sum of the tabernacle,.... Not of the several parts of the tabernacle, and the several things belonging to it, before enumerated, as made and delivered to the care and custody of the Levites, but of the materials of which they were made, particularly the gold and silver, and the brass; the several sums and weight of which are given in the following verses:

even of the tabernacle of the testimony; in which the law, the testimony of the will of God, was put enclosed in the ark:

as it was counted, according to the commandment of Moses; when it was brought in to him by the people, and delivered by him to Bezaleel, Aholiab, and the artificers:

for the service of the Levites; or by means of their ministry, who were employed in taking this account:

by the hand of Ithamar, son to Aaron the priest; the youngest son of Aaron, who had the direction and oversight of this affair.

This is the sum of the tabernacle, even of the tabernacle of testimony, as it was counted, according to the commandment of Moses, for the service of the {c} Levites, by the hand of Ithamar, son to Aaron the priest.

(c) That the Levites might be in charge of it, and minister in the same, as did Eleazar and Ithamar, Nu 3:4.

21. Superscription. These are the reckonings of (the metals employed for) the Dwelling, (even) the Dwelling of the testimony (so Numbers 1:50; Numbers 1:53; Numbers 10:11; cf. on Exodus 25:16), which were reckoned according to the commandment of Moses; (being) the work of the Levites, under the hand, &c. ‘For the service’ is wrong grammatically (for the constr. see G.-K. § 118m); the meaning is not that the reckonings were made for the Levites, but that they were the work of the Levites, done by them under the direction of Ithamar (cf. Numbers 4:28; Numbers 4:33; Numbers 7:8, where the same prep. is rendered under). For Ithamar see on Exodus 6:23. ‘Reckoning’ is derived from the verb explained on Exodus 30:12, and is cognate with ‘counted’ just below and ‘numbered’ in v. 25.

21–31. Account of the amount of metal employed in the construction of the Tent of Meeting. A ‘very late addition’ to the narrative (Di., in agreement with We. and others): notice (1) in v. 25 f. the census of Numbers 1 (v. 46) is presupposed, although according to P (Numbers 1:1 compared with Exodus 40:17) this did not take place till a whole month after the Tabernacle was completed and erected; (2) the Levites, who are first appointed to their official duties in Numbers 3, are already (cf. Numbers 4:33) represented as acting under Ithamar’s superintendence; (3) ‘wave-offering’ (vv. 24, 29) appears in the same weakened sense as in Exodus 35:22; (4) the writer, while passing over altogether the silver offered voluntarily (Exodus 25:3, Exodus 35:5 f., 24), to all appearance (comp. v. 26 with Exodus 31:13-14) misunderstands Exodus 30:11-16, treating the poll-tax there imposed, at the time of a census, in order to form a fund for the maintenance of daily worship, as if it were a contribution of silver in kind, for the construction of the sanctuary.

Verses 21-31. - THE SUM OF THE TABERNACLE, OR WEIGHT OF THE METALS EMPLOYED IN IT. Before dismissing the subject of the construction of the tabernacle, Moses places on record the sum of the gold, silver and bronze contributed and consumed in the work. At the same time he informs us who was the accountant by whom the sum was made up (ver. 21), and what were the portions of the work formed of each metal (vers. 24, 27, 28, 30, 31). Incidentally he mentions the number of the congregation at this period (ver. 26), and the weight of the "sockets" or "bases" (ver. 27). Verse 21. - This is the sum. Or "numbering" (as in Numbers 26:63). The tabernacle of testimony. The tabernacle, i.e., of which the great glory was that it contained "the testimony" or "Two Tables." Compare Exodus 25:16. For the service of the Levites. Literally "a service of the Levites by the hand of Ithamar," etc. - i.e. "a service which was performed by the Levites at the command of Ithamar." It is somewhat remarkable that the direction of the Levites should be assigned to Ithamar, rather than to Nadab or Abihu. Exodus 38:21Estimate of the Amount of Metal Used. - Exodus 38:21. "These are the numbered things of the dwelling, of the dwelling of the testimony, that were numbered at the command of Moses, through the service of the Levites, by the hand of Ithamar, the son of Aaron the priest." פּקוּדים does not mean the numbering (equivalent to מפקד 2 Samuel 4:9, or פּקדּה 2 Chronicles 17:14; 2 Chronicles 26:11), as Knobel supposes, but here as elsewhere, even in Numbers 26:63-64, it signifies "the numbered;" the only difference being, that in most cases it refers to persons, here to things, and that the reckoning consisted not merely in the counting and entering of the different things, but in ascertaining their weight and estimating their worth. Lyra has given the following correct rendering of this heading: "haec est summa numeri ponderis eorum, quae facta sunt in tabernaculo ex auro, argento et aere." It was apparently superfluous to enumerate the different articles again, as this had been repeatedly done before. The weight of the different metals, therefore, is all that is given. The "dwelling" is still further described as "the dwelling of the testimony," because the testimony, i.e., the decalogue written with the finger of God upon the tables of stone, was kept in the dwelling, and this testimony formed the base of the throne of Jehovah, and was the material pledge that Jehovah would cause His name, His manifested presence, to dwell there, and would thus show Himself to His people in grace and righteousness. "That which was numbered" is an explanatory apposition to the previous clause, "the numbering of the dwelling;" and the words הלויּם עבדת, which follow, are an accusative construed freely to indicate more particularly the mode of numbering (Ewald, 204 a), viz., "through the service," or "by means of the service of the Levites," not for their service. "By the hand of Ithamar:" who presided over the calculations which the Levites carried out under his superintendence.
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