Numbers 4:6
And shall put thereon the covering of badgers' skins, and shall spread over it a cloth wholly of blue, and shall put in the staves thereof.
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(6) And shall put in the staves thereof.—The staves had been removed whilst the Ark was being covered; otherwise they remained in their places (Exodus 25:15). (Comp. 2Chronicles 5:9.)

4:4-20 The Kohathites were to carry the holy things of the tabernacle. All the holy things were to be covered; not only for security and respect, but to keep them from being seen. This not only marked the reverence due to holy things, but the mystery of the things signified by those types, and the darkness of the dispensation. But now, through Christ, the case is altered, and we are encouraged to come boldly to the throne of grace.wholly of blue - Compare Exodus 25:4 note. The third and external covering of the ark only was to be of this color. The table of showbread had Numbers 4:8 an outer wrapping of scarlet; the altar Numbers 4:13 one of purple.

Put in the staves - Probably, "put the staves in order." These were never taken out of the golden rings by which the ark was to be borne (see Exodus 25:14-15), but would need adjustment.

6. covering of badgers' skins—(See on [58]Ex 25:5). The covering, however, referred to was not that of the tabernacle, but one made for the special purpose of protecting the ark.

put in the staves—These golden staves were now taken out. (See on [59]Ex 25:15, compared with 1Ki 8:8). The Hebrew word rendered "put in," signifies also "dispose," and probably refers here to their insertion through the openings in the coverings made for receiving them, to preserve them from the touch of the carriers as well as from the influence of the weather. It is worthy of notice that the coverings did not consist of canvas or coarse tarpaulin, but of a kind which united beauty with decency.


the covering of badgers’ skins the ark was secured from the injuries of the weather:.

Object. How could these staves be put in, when they were never to be taken out, Exodus 25:15, compared with 1 Kings 8:8.

Answ. 1. These places may speak of the staves while the ark and tabernacle stood, but when they were to be removed the posture of all things was altered.

2. The Hebrew verb doth not signify putting in, but barely putting, or placing, or disposing, and may be understood not of putting the staves into the rings, wherein they constantly remained, but of the putting of them either upon their shoulders to try and fit them for carriage, or into the holes or receptacles which probably were made in these coverings for the receiving and covering of these gilded staves, to keep them both from the touch of the Levites, and from the inconveniences of bad weather.

And shall put thereon the covering of badgers' skins,.... Not that which covered the tabernacle, for that was committed to the Gershonites, Numbers 4:25; but a covering made of these on purpose for the present use, to preserve the ark from rain and dust; and this covering was put not immediately upon the ark, but upon the other coverings that were over the ark, and so preserved the vail as well as the ark:

and shall spread over it a cloth wholly of blue; it is a matter of question, whether this was over the covering of badgers' skins also; if over the latter, as one would think it should be, by the order of the text, how could that be a shelter from the rain and dust, which seems to be the use of it, and therefore should be the outermost, as one of the same kind was the outermost covering of the tabernacle? Aben Ezra observes, there were some that say it was over the covering of badger's skin, but it is right in mine eyes, says he, that it was spread over the covering vail; if indeed it was for the sake of honour and dignity, the first is right, but the badger's skin was on account of rain and dust:

and shall put in the staves thereof: having been removed while the ark was covering, as Aben Ezra observes, or otherwise they always remained in their rings, and were never taken out, Exodus 25:14; but on this occasion they might, and then be put in again for the carrying of the ark, which was the use of them; though he also remarks, that there are some that say the sense is, they put the staves on the shoulders of them that carried it, which is not a despicable sense; unless rather it is to be understood of putting the staves through holes made in the coverings of the ark, and disposing and fitting them in them, for the better carriage of it.

And shall put thereon the covering of badgers' skins, and shall spread over it a cloth wholly of blue, and shall put in {c} the staves thereof.

(c) That is, put them on their shoulders to carry it: for the bars of the ark could never be removed.

Verse 6. - The covering of badgers' skins. Probably of sea-cow skins (tachash), but see Exodus 25:5. The Targum of Palestine, and the Septuagint, both render it "a covering of hyacinthine skin." The later Jews would have no knowledge of the marine animals common on the shores of the Red Sea. A cloth wholly of blue. This was the distinctive outer, and therefore Visible, covering of the most sacred thing, the ark. Numbers 4:6The service of the Kohathites at the tabernacle is (relates to) "the most holy" (see at Exodus 30:10). This term includes, as is afterwards explained, the most holy things in the tabernacle, viz., the ark of the covenant, the table of shew-bread, the candlestick, the altar of incense and altar of burnt-offering, together with all the other things belonging to these. When the camp was broken up, the priests were to roll them up in wrappers, and hand them over in this state to the Kohathites, for them to carry (Numbers 4:5-15). First of all (Numbers 4:5, Numbers 4:6), Aaron and his sons were to take down the curtain between the holy place and the most holy (see Exodus 26:31), and to cover the ark of testimony with it (Exodus 25:10). Over this they were to place a wrapper of sea-cow skin (tachash, see Exodus 25:5), and over this again another covering of cloth made entirely of hyacinth-coloured purple (as in Exodus 28:31). The sea-cow skin as to protect the inner curtain, which was covered over the ark, from storm and rain; the hyacinth purple, to distinguish the ark of the covenant as the throne of the glory of Jehovah. Lastly, they were to place the staves into the rings again, that is to say, the bearing poles, which were always left in their places on the ark (Exodus 25:15), but had necessarily to be taken out while it was being covered and wrapped up.
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