Matthew Poole's Commentary
And thou shalt make an altar of shittim wood, five cubits long, and five cubits broad; the altar shall be foursquare: and the height thereof shall be three cubits.Of the brazen altar, Exodus 27:1-8. Of the court of the tabernacle, Exodus 27:9-17; the length of it, Exodus 27:18. Of the lamps burning always, Exodus 27:20.
This was not that for incense, but another for sacrifices.
And thou shalt make the horns of it upon the four corners thereof: his horns shall be of the same: and thou shalt overlay it with brass.The horns were elevated above the body of the altar, in form either of pyramids or spires, or rather of horns, as the word signifies; nor is there any necessity; of departing from the proper signification. These were not only for ornament, but for use also, either to keep things put upon it from falling, or that beasts to be offered might be bound to them. See Psalm 118:27.
His horns shall be of the same, of the same piece with the altar, for its use required strength. With brass; With plates of brass of competent thickness, both above the wood and under it, that the fire might not take hold of the wood.
And thou shalt make his pans to receive his ashes, and his shovels, and his basons, and his fleshhooks, and his firepans: all the vessels thereof thou shalt make of brass.Basons, to receive the blood of the sacrifices, which they were to sprinkle.
Flesh-hooks, wherewith they took flesh out of the pot in which it was seethed, as 1 Samuel 2:14. But this seems not proper here, because the flesh was never boiled upon the altar, but in other places appointed for that use. And the Hebrew word is general, and may signify either tongs or fire-forks.
Firepans, in which they carried live coals from this altar to that of incense, as occasion required.
And thou shalt make for it a grate of network of brass; and upon the net shalt thou make four brasen rings in the four corners thereof.A grate of net-work, which was competently strong and thick, this being as it were the hearth of the altar, upon which they laid both the wood and the sacrifices, and it was full of holes, through which the blood and ashes might fall down into the place appointed for them.
Upon the net, or rather at, or beside, or under the net, for so the rings were placed, as their use shows, and the Hebrew preposition al is oft so used.
Four brazen rings, which were either,
1. Peculiar to the grate, which by these was carried apart from the altar, having the perpetual fire kept in it; for had it been carried with the altar, the cloth wherewith the altar was covered, Numbers 4:13, would have been endangered by the fire. Or,
2. Common to the altar, to which these were fixed on the outside, as on the inside to the grate, that by them the grate might be both kept even and upright, and also carried together with the altar, and that with such caution that the fire included might not hurt the covering-cloth, which was not difficult to do.
And thou shalt put it under the compass of the altar beneath, that the net may be even to the midst of the altar.Under the compass, i.e. within the square and hollow space of the altar.
That the net may be even to the midst of the altar, or, and the net shall be at (the Hebrew ad being here used for el, as Hosea 14:2 Joel 2:12 Amos 4:6,8), the midst of the altar. And these words seem added to explain the word
beneath, to show that as it was not to be at the top, so neither at the bottom of the altar, but in the midst of it.
And thou shalt make staves for the altar, staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with brass.No text from Poole on this verse.
And the staves shall be put into the rings, and the staves shall be upon the two sides of the altar, to bear it.The staves shall be put into the rings, which seem to be the same both to the altar and the grate, though some allege that place for the contrary.
Hollow with boards shalt thou make it: as it was shewed thee in the mount, so shall they make it.i.e. Not one entire piece of.wood, but consisting of four several sides, hollow within, for easiness and conveniency of carriage in their wilderness state.
And thou shalt make the court of the tabernacle: for the south side southward there shall be hangings for the court of fine twined linen of an hundred cubits long for one side:A court encompassing the tabernacle, Exodus 40:33, in the midst whereof the altar of sacrifices was placed, upon which the offerings were burnt in the open air, which was most convenient. By the
hangings the court was distinguished and enclosed.
And the twenty pillars thereof and their twenty sockets shall be of brass; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets shall be of silver.On the twenty pillars the hangings were fastened by the hooks here mentioned.
Their twenty sockets, or, bases, upon which the pillars stood.
Their fillets, or, hoops, which encompassed the pillars at the top, being placed there, as it seems, for ornament only.
And likewise for the north side in length there shall be hangings of an hundred cubits long, and his twenty pillars and their twenty sockets of brass; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets of silver.No text from Poole on this verse.
And for the breadth of the court on the west side shall be hangings of fifty cubits: their pillars ten, and their sockets ten.No text from Poole on this verse.
And the breadth of the court on the east side eastward shall be fifty cubits.No text from Poole on this verse.
The hangings of one side of the gate shall be fifteen cubits: their pillars three, and their sockets three.These fifteen cubits, with the fifteen cubits Exodus 27:15, and the twenty cubits Exodus 27:16, make up the fifty cubits mentioned.
And on the other side shall be hangings fifteen cubits: their pillars three, and their sockets three.No text from Poole on this verse.
And for the gate of the court shall be an hanging of twenty cubits, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, wrought with needlework: and their pillars shall be four, and their sockets four.No text from Poole on this verse.
All the pillars round about the court shall be filleted with silver; their hooks shall be of silver, and their sockets of brass.Their hooks shall be of silver, all silver, not only covered with silver, as some unduly infer from Exodus 38:17.
The length of the court shall be an hundred cubits, and the breadth fifty every where, and the height five cubits of fine twined linen, and their sockets of brass.No text from Poole on this verse.
All the vessels of the tabernacle in all the service thereof, and all the pins thereof, and all the pins of the court, shall be of brass.With the pins the tabernacle and curtains thereof were fastened to the ground, as tents usually are with wooden pins.
And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always.Beaten out of the olives with a pestle, which is freer from dregs than that which is squeezed out with a press.
To burn always, i.e. at all the times. appointed; daily, though not continually; as the lamb offered only every morning and every evening is called a continual burnt-offering, Exodus 29:42. For that these were lighted only at the evening, may seem probable from the next verse, and from Exodus 27:21 30:8 Leviticus 24:3 1 Samuel 3:3 2 Chronicles 13:11. But because Josephus and Philo, who were eye-witnesses of the temple service, and had no temptation to lie in this matter, expressly affirm, that some lights did burn in the day-time; and it may seem indecent and improbable that God should dwell and the priests minister in darkness, and there were no windows to give light to the tabernacle by day; it may be granted that some few burnt in the day, and all in the night, and that the latter is only mentioned in the places alleged, as being a more solemn time when all are lighted.
In the tabernacle of the congregation without the vail, which is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall order it from evening to morning before the LORD: it shall be a statute for ever unto their generations on the behalf of the children of Israel.The tabernacle of the congregation was so called, because there the people used to meet not only one with another, but with God also. See Exodus 25:22 Numbers 17:4. Others render it, in the tabernacle of witness, because there God declared his mind and will, and man’s duty. Without the veil, to wit, the second veil, in the holy place.
Before the testimony; a short speech for before the ark of the testimony, as it is elsewhere more largely called: compare Exodus 25:16.
Shall order it, to wit, the lamp, or the lights, taking care that there be a constant supply of them, and that they burn well.