Matthew Poole's Commentary
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,Moses is commanded to take a free-will offering to set up the tabernacle, and of what, Exodus 25:1-7. God commands him to make a sanctuary, Exodus 25:8; chargeth him how and whereof to make a tabernacle, Exodus 25:9. The form of the ark, Exodus 25:10-16. The mercy-seat, Exodus 25:17-22. The table for the shew-bread, with other utensils, Exodus 25:23-30. Of the candlestick, with its employment, and other furnitures for the tabernacle, Exodus 25:31-39. Moses is commanded to make it answerable to the pattern which he saw in the mount, Exodus 25:40.
Having delivered the moral and judicial laws, he now comes to the ceremonial law, wherein he sets down all things very minutely and particularly, whereas in the other laws he was content to lay down general rules, and leaveth many other things to be by analogy deduced from them. The reason of the difference seems to be this, that the light of reason implanted in all men, gives him greater help in the discovery of moral and judicial things than in ceremonial matters, or in the external way and manner of God’s worship; which is a thing depending wholly upon God’s institution, and not left to man’s invention, which is a very incompetent judge of those things, as appears from hence, because the wittiest men, destitute of God’s revelation, have been guilty of most foolery in their devices of God’s worship.
Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering.No text from Poole on this verse.
And this is the offering which ye shall take of them; gold, and silver, and brass,No text from Poole on this verse.
And blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats' hair,Blue, or sky-coloured; but here you must not understand the mere colours, which could not be offered, but some materials proper for the work, and of the colours here mentioned, to wit, wool, or threads, or some suchlike things, as appears from Hebrews 9:19, and from the testimony of the Jews. Fine linen, which was of great esteem in ancient times, and used by priests and great officers of state. See Genesis 41:42 Revelation 19:8,14.
Goats’ hair; Heb. goats. But that their hair is understood, is apparent from the nature of the thing, and from the use of the word in that sense in other places.
And rams' skins dyed red, and badgers' skins, and shittim wood,A kind of wood growing in Egypt and the deserts of Arabia, very durable and precious. See Exodus 35:24 Numbers 33:49 Isaiah 41:19 Joel 3:18.
Oil for the light, spices for anointing oil, and for sweet incense,Oil for the light; for the lamps or candlesticks, Exodus 25:37.
Anointing oil, wherewith the priests, and the tabernacle, and the utensils thereof, were to be anointed. Sweet
incense; Heb. incense of spices, or sweet odours; so called to distinguish it from the incense of the fat of sacrifices, which was burnt upon the altar.
Onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod, and in the breastplate.Onyx stones, or, sardonyx stones. Note, that the signification of the Hebrew names of the several stones are not agreed upon by the Jews at this day, and much more may we safely be ignorant of them, the religious use of them being now abolished.
Stones to be set in the ephod; stones of fulness, or filling, or perfecting stones; so called either because they did perfect and adorn the ephod, or because they filled up the ouches, or the hollow places, which were left vacant for this purpose. What the ephod and breastplate were, see Exo 28.
And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.A place of public and solemn worship,
that I may dwell among them; not by my essence, which is every where, but by my grace and glorious operations.
According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.No text from Poole on this verse.
And they shall make an ark of shittim wood: 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.An ark, or little chest, or coffer, for the uses after mentioned.
Two cubits and a half; understand it of the common cubit, which is generally conceived to contain a foot and a half of our measure. See Genesis 6:15.
And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, within and without shalt thou overlay it, and shalt make upon it a crown of gold round about.Or, a border, raised up above the rest of the ark, as a crown is above that which it is applied to, only a crown is round, and this was square. This was both for ornament, and for the fastening of the covering of the ark to it.
And thou shalt cast four rings of gold for it, and put them in the four corners thereof; and two rings shall be in the one side of it, and two rings in the other side of it.In the four corners; in the middle of each corner, for conveniency of carriage. See 1 Kings 7:30.
And thou shalt make staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold.No text from Poole on this verse.
And thou shalt put the staves into the rings by the sides of the ark, that the ark may be borne with them.No text from Poole on this verse.
The staves shall be in the rings of the ark: they shall not be taken from it.No text from Poole on this verse.
And thou shalt put into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee.To wit, the two tables of stone, wherein the decalogue was written, called the
testimony here, and Exodus 30:6 Leviticus 16:13; and more fully the tables of the testimony, Exodus 31:18 Numbers 1:50; because they were witnesses of that covenant made between God and his people, whence they are called the tables of the covenant, Deu 9:9, and the ark, the ark of the covenant, Numbers 10:33. This being as a public record both of God’s mercy promised to them, and of the duty and conditions required of them. See Exodus 16:34.
And thou shalt make a mercy seat of pure gold: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof.Mercy-seat, or, propitiatory; which seems from the sameness of dimensions to be nothing else but the covering of the ark, upon which God is said to sit, whence the ark is called God’s footstool. This covering is a manifest type of Christ, who is therefore called the propitiation, or propitiatory, Romans 3:25 1Jo 2:2 4:10, because he interposeth himself between God our Judge, and the law, by which we all stand condemned and accursed, Galatians 3:10,13; that God may not deal rigorously with us according to that law, but mercifully for his sake who hath fulfilled the law, and therefore boldly presents himself to his Father on our behalf.
And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat.Figures of human shape, in which alone the angels used to appear; but they had wings, to signify their expedition in God’s work and messages. And between these angels God is said to sit and dwell. So this place was a representation of heaven, where God sitteth and dwelleth among the cherubims and other glorious angels.
Of beaten work; not made of several parcels joined together, as images commonly are, nor yet melted and cast in a frame or mould, but beaten by the hammer out of one continued piece of gold, possibly to note the exact unity or indivisibility and the simplicity of the evangelical nature.
And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubims on the two ends thereof.i.e. Of one and the same piece of massy gold, out of which the cherubims were made.
And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be.Towards God, who is supposed to sit there, whose face the angels in heaven always behold, and upon whom their eyes are fixed to observe and receive his commands; and towards Christ, the true propitiatory, which mystery they desire to look into, 1 Peter 1:12; not envying mankind their near and happy relation to him, but taking pleasure in the contemplation of it.
And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee.Or, after thou shalt have put in the ark; for the ark was not to be opened after the covering was put upon it. The Hebrew particle vau oft signifies after that, as Jeremiah 43:13 51:60.
And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.There I will meet with thee; there I will be in a special and gracious manner present with thee.
From between the cherubims, which spreading forth their wings formed a kind of seat, which the Divine Majesty was pleased to possess.
Thou shalt also make a table of shittim wood: two cubits shall be the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof.No text from Poole on this verse.
And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, and make thereto a crown of gold round about.A square border at the top of it, as Exodus 25:11; partly for ornament, and principally to keep what was put upon it from falling off.
And thou shalt make unto it a border of an hand breadth round about, and thou shalt make a golden crown to the border thereof round about.A border, which encompassed and kept together the feet of the table, and seems to have been towards the bottom of it.
A golden crown; not the same mentioned before, Exodus 25:24, but another for further ornament to the table.
And thou shalt make for it four rings of gold, and put the rings in the four corners that are on the four feet thereof.No text from Poole on this verse.
Over against the border shall the rings be for places of the staves to bear the table.As much below the top as the border was above the bottom of the feet. of the table, which was a convenient place for the carriage. Others, near the border, in that part of the feet which is next to it.
And thou shalt make the staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold, that the table may be borne with them.No text from Poole on this verse.
And thou shalt make the dishes thereof, and spoons thereof, and covers thereof, and bowls thereof, to cover withal: of pure gold shalt thou make them.The dishes, in which the bread and frankincense upon it were put, Leviticus 24:7. Of this sort there were twelve, one for every loaf.
Spoons, in which incense was put, as appears from Numbers 7:14, and by which incense was either put into the dishes or taken out of them, as occasion required.
Covers; so the Hebrew word is used, Exodus 37:16 Numbers 4:7. Herewith either the bread, or incense, or both, were covered.
Bowls, to cover the same things. So this and the former were two several sorts of covers, the one deeper than the other, one to cover the bread, another the incense. Or, bowls thereof, to pour out withal, to wit, liquid things, as wine and oil, when they were offered. See Genesis 35:14. Or these last words may relate not only to the bowls, but the other things, here mentioned, and may be thus rendered, wherewith it, to wit, the table, shall be covered, as indeed it was in a manner quite covered with these vessels.
And thou shalt set upon the table shewbread before me alway.Heb. Bread of faces, or of the presence, so called, because it was constantly placed in God’s presence. This bread was divided into twelve loaves, one for every tribe; and they were in their name presented to God in the nature of an offering, as the frankincense shows, as a public acknowledgment that they received all their bread or food, both corporal and spiritual, from God’s hand, and were to use it as in God’s presence
And thou shalt make a candlestick of pure gold: of beaten work shall the candlestick be made: his shaft, and his branches, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers, shall be of the same.Thou shalt make, either by thyself, or by some other person whom thou shalt cause to make it.
His shaft; the trunk, or main body of it.
His knops, or, apples, made in form of a pomegranate.
His flowers shall be of the same, to wit, beaten out of the same piece by the hammer. Compare Exodus 25:36.
And six branches shall come out of the sides of it; three branches of the candlestick out of the one side, and three branches of the candlestick out of the other side:In every one of which was a lamp, and there was a seventh lamp in the chief stem of it, as appears from Exodus 25:37. And all these together represent the seven Spirits of God, Revelation 1:4 4:5 5:6; or the Spirit of God, the great Enlightener of the church, with his sevenfold or various gifts and operations.
Three bowls made like unto almonds, with a knop and a flower in one branch; and three bowls made like almonds in the other branch, with a knop and a flower: so in the six branches that come out of the candlestick.No text from Poole on this verse.
And in the candlestick shall be four bowls made like unto almonds, with their knops and their flowers.In the candlestick, i.e. in the shaft or trunk of the candlestick, which is here distinguished from its branches, shall be four bowls, whereas there were but three in each of the branches.
And there shall be a knop under two branches of the same, and a knop under two branches of the same, and a knop under two branches of the same, according to the six branches that proceed out of the candlestick.And, to complete the number of four, mentioned in the foregoing verse, we must understand that there was another knop and bowl and flower in the upper part of the shaft, above all the branches, as the rules of proportion, and common use in making such things, will easily evince.
Their knops and their branches shall be of the same: all it shall be one beaten work of pure gold.No text from Poole on this verse.
And thou shalt make the seven lamps thereof: and they shall light the lamps thereof, that they may give light over against it.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 the tongs thereof, and the snuffdishes thereof, shall be of pure gold.No text from Poole on this verse.
Of a talent of pure gold shall he make it, with all these vessels.A talent contains three thousand shekels, Exo 38 25, or one hundred and twenty-five pounds.
And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount.No text from Poole on this verse.