Wesley's Notes on the Bible
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
25:1 Doubtless when Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and abode there so long, he saw and heard glorious things, but they were things which were not lawful or possible to utter; and therefore, in the records he kept of the transactions there, he saith nothing to satisfy curiosity, but writes that only which he was to speak to the children of Israel. Probably there never was any house or temple built for sacred uses, before this tabernacle was erected by Moses. In this God kept his court, as Israel's king, and it was intended for a sign or token of his presence, that while they had that in the midst of them they might never again ask, Is the Lord among us or not? And because in the wilderness they dwelt in tents, even this royal palace was ordered to be a tabernacle too, that it might move with them. And these holy places made with hands were the figures of the true, Heb 9:24. The gospel - church is the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched, and not man, Heb 8:2. The body of Christ, in and by which he made atonement, was the greater and more perfect tabernacle, Heb 9:11. The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, as in a tabernacle.
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.
25:2 Speak unto the children of Israel that they bring me an offering - This offering was to be given willingly, and with the heart. It was not prescribed to them what or how much they must give, but it was left to their generosity, that they might shew their good - will to the house of God, and the offices thereof.
And this is the offering which ye shall take of them; gold, and silver, and brass,
And blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats' hair,
25:4 Blue, and purple, and scarlet - Materials of those colours.
And rams' skins dyed red, and badgers' skins, and shittim wood,
25:5 Shittim - wood - A kind of wood growing in Egypt and the deserts of Arabia, very durable and precious.
Oil for the light, spices for anointing oil, and for sweet incense,
Onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod, and in the breastplate.
And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.
25:8 A sanctuary - A place of public and solemn worship; that I may dwell among them. Not by my essence, which is everywhere; 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.
25:9 According to all that I shew thee - God shewed him an exact plan of it in little, which he must conform to in all points. And God did not only shew him the model, but gave him also particular directions how to frame the tabernacle, according to that model, in all the parts of it. When Moses was to describe the creation of the world, tho' it be such a stately and curious fabrick, yet he gave a very short and general account of it; but when he comes to describe the tabernacle, he doth it with the greatest niceness and accuracy imaginable: for God's church and instituted religion is more precious to him than all the rest of the world. And the scriptures were written not to describe to us the works of nature, (a general view of which is sufficient to lead us to the knowledge of the Creator,) but to acquaint us with the methods of grace, and those things which are purely matters of revelation.
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.
25:10 The ark was a chest or coffer, in which the two tables of the law, written with the finger of God, were to be deposited. If the Jewish cubit was, as some learned men compute three inches longer than our half - yard, (twenty one inches in all) this chest or cabinet was about fifty - two inches long, thirty - one broad and thirty one deep; it was overlaid within and without with thin plates of gold; it had a crown, or cornish of gold round it; rings and staves to carry it with; and in it he must put the testimony. The tables of the law are called the testimony, because God did in them testify his will; his giving them that law was in token of his favour to them, and their acceptance of it was in token of their subjection to him. This law was a testimony to them to direct them in their duty, and would be a testimony against them if they transgressed. The ark is called the ark of the testimony, Exo 30:6, and the tabernacle, the tabernacle of the testimony, Num 10:11. The tables of the law were carefully preserved in the ark, to teach us to make much of the word of God, and to hide it in our inmost thoughts, as the ark was placed in the holy of holies. It intimates likewise the care which divine providence ever did, and ever will take to preserve the records of divine revelation in the church, so that even in the latter days there shall be seen in his temple the ark of his testament. See Rev 11:19.
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.
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.
And thou shalt make staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold.
And thou shalt put the staves into the rings by the sides of the ark, that the ark may be borne with them.
The staves shall be in the rings of the ark: they shall not be taken from it.
And thou shalt put into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee.
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.
25:17 The mercy - seat was the covering of the ark, made exactly to fit the dimensions of it. This propitiatory covering, as it might well be translated, was a type of Christ the great propitiation, whose satisfaction covers our transgressions, and comes between us and the curse we deserve.
And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat.
25:18 The cherubim (Cherubim is the plural of Cherub, not Cherubims) were fixed to the mercy - seat, and of a piece with it, and spread their wings over it. It is supposed these were designed to represent the holy angels, (who always attend the Shechinah, or divine majesty,) not by any effigies of an angel, but some emblem of the angelical nature, probably one or more of those four faces spoken of Eze 1:10. Whatever the faces were, they looked one towards another, and both downwards towards the ark, while their wings were stretched out so as to touch one another. It notes their attendance upon the Redeemer, their readiness to do his will, their presence in the assemblies of saints, Psa 68:17 1Cor 11:10, and their desire to look into the mysteries of the gospel, which they diligently contemplate, 1Pet 1:12. God is said to dwell or sit between the cherubim, on the mercy - seat, Psa 80:1, and from thence he here promiseth for the future to meet with Moses, and to commune with him. Thus he manifests himself, willing to keep up communion with us, by the mediation of Christ.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
25:23 This table was to stand not in the holy of holies, (nothing was in that but the ark with its appurtenances) but in the outer part of the tabernacle, called the sanctuary or holy place. This table was to be always furnished with the shew - bread, or bread of faces, twelve loaves, one for each tribe, set in two rows, six in a row. As the ark signified God's being present with them, so the twelve loaves signified their being presented to God. This bread was designed to be, a thankful acknowledgment of God's goodness to them in giving them their daily bread, a token of their communion with God; this bread on God's table being made of the same corn as the bread on their own tables. And a type of the spiritual provision which is made in the church, by the gospel of Christ, for all that are made priests to our God.
And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, and make thereto a crown of gold round about.
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.
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.
Over against the border shall the rings be for places of the staves to bear the table.
And thou shalt make the staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold, that the table may be borne with them.
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.
And thou shalt set upon the table shewbread before me alway.
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.
25:31 This candlestick had many branches drawn from the main shaft, which had not only bowls to put the oil and the kindled wick in for necessity, but knops made in the form of a pomegranate and flowers for ornament. The tabernacle had no windows, all its light was candle - light, which notes the comparative darkness of that dispensation, while the sun of righteousness was not as yet risen, nor had the day - star from on high visited his church. Yet God left not himself without witness, nor them without instruction; the commandment was a lamp, and the law a light, and the prophets were branches from that lamp, which gave light in their several ages. The church is still dark, as the tabernacle was, in comparison with what it will be in heaven: but the word of God is the candlestick, a light burning in a dark place.
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:
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.
And in the candlestick shall be four bowls made like unto almonds, with their knops and their flowers.
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.
Their knops and their branches shall be of the same: all it shall be one beaten work of pure gold.
And thou shalt make the seven lamps thereof: and they shall light the lamps thereof, that they may give light over against it.
And the tongs thereof, and the snuffdishes thereof, shall be of pure gold.
Of a talent of pure gold shall he make it, with all these vessels.
And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount.