Exodus 27


וְעָשִׂיתָ אֶת־הַמִּזְבֵּחַ עֲצֵי שִׁטִּים חָמֵשׁ אַמֹּות אֹרֶךְ וְחָמֵשׁ אַמֹּות רֹחַב רָבוּעַ יִהְיֶה הַמִּזְבֵּחַ וְשָׁלֹשׁ   27:1

אַמֹּות קֹמָתֹו

Exod. 27:1  “And you shall make the altar of wood of acacia, five cubits long and five cubits wide – the alter shall be four sided – and three cubits its height.”

The horizontal area of the altar would be 8,100 square inches and 54 inches high.  The altar would be 71/2 feet on a side and 41/2 feet high with a horizontal area of 675 square feet.   I think the phrase the altar shall be four sided means that it is hollow in the middle (see below).  Later we will learn that the altar is to be situated outside of the tent of meeting within the court.  Because the altar would probably have to be taken in and out of the court area, both when it was built and every time the Israelites would journey in the desert, the opening at the front of the court would have to be at least that wide.  Or it may be that the court was to be taken down and erected around the Tabernacle and the altar after their placement.

וְעָשִׂיתָ קַרְנֹתָיו עַל אַרְבַּע פִּנֹּתָיו מִמֶּנּוּ תִּהְיֶיןָ קַרְנֹתָיו וְצִפִּיתָ אֹתֹו נְחֹשֶׁת   27:2

Exod. 27:2  “And you shall make its horns on its four corners.   Its horns shall be out of it.  And you shall brass overlay it.”                                                                         [Return to Ezek. 43:15]

The statement in the middle of this verse is intriguing.  How can the horns be made out of the wood of the altar body?  That seems to indicate that the block was of one solid piece of wood.  But according to v. 27:8 the altar appears to have been made of planks, not one solid piece.

וְעָשִׂיתָ סִּירֹתָיו לְדַשְּׁנֹו וְיָעָיו וּמִזְרְקֹתָיו וּמִזְלְגֹתָיו וּמַחְתֹּתָיו לְכָל־כֵּלָיו תַּעֲשֶׂה נְחֹשֶׁת   27:3

Exod. 27:3  “And you shall make its pots to take away its ashes, and its shovels and its basins and its flesh hooks and its fire pans.  You shall prepare brass for all its vessels.”

וְעָשִׂיתָ לֹּו מִכְבָּר מַעֲשֵׂה רֶשֶׁת נְחֹשֶׁת וְעָשִׂיתָ עַל־הָרֶשֶׁת אַרְבַּע טַבְּעֹת נְחֹשֶׁת עַל אַרְבַּע   27:4


Exod. 27:4  “And you shall make a grate wrought of a brass network for it, and you shall make four rings of brass on the network on its four corners.”

וְנָתַתָּה אֹתָהּ תַּחַת כַּרְכֹּב הַמִּזְבֵּחַ מִלְּמָטָּה וְהָיְתָה הָרֶשֶׁת עַד חֲצִי הַמִּזְבֵּחַ   27:5

Exod. 27:5  “And you shall put it beneath the rim of the altar from below so the network will reach up to halfway of the altar.”

It seems as though the wood for fueling the fire for the sacrificial burnt offerings was to be placed below the brass grating.  The interior surface of the altar must have had hooks on which to hang the grating.

וְעָשִׂיתָ בַדִּים לַמִּזְבֵּחַ בַּדֵּי עֲצֵי שִׁטִּים וְצִפִּיתָ אֹתָם נְחֹשֶׁת   27:6

Exod. 27:6  “And you shall make staves for the altar, staves of wood of acacia, and you shall brass overlay them.”

וְהוּבָא אֶת־בַּדָּיו בַּטַּבָּעֹת וְהָיוּ הַבַּדִּים עַל־שְׁתֵּי צַלְעֹת הַמִּזְבֵּחַ בִּשְׂאֵת אֹתֹו   27:7

Exod. 27:7  “And have its staves go through the rings, and the staves shall be on two sides of the altar to carry it.”

נְבוּב לֻחֹת תַּעֲשֶׂה אֹתֹו כַּאֲשֶׁר הֶרְאָה אֹתְךָ בָּהָר כֵּן יַעֲשׂוּ   27:8

Exod. 27:8  “You shall make it of hollow boards.  As is being shown you on the mountain, so shall they be made.”

This is the third time that we are informed that Moses must have seen at least a picture of the Tabernacle and its parts.  As I didn’t see the picture, I have to guess at how these boards were constructed:  I would imagine two boards of the same size, with strips of some width placed (glued?) along the sides of the boards on all four edges. By the way, the pronoun it in the first statement in the verse must refer to the altar.

וְעָשִׂיתָ אֵת חֲצַר הַמִּשְׁכָּן לִפְאַת נֶגֶב־תֵּימָנָה קְלָעִים לֶחָצֵר שֵׁשׁ מָשְׁזָר מֵאָה בָאַמָּה אֹרֶךְ לַפֵּאָה    27:9


Exod. 27:9  “And you shall make the courtyard of the Tabernacle.  For the south side southward shall be hangings for the court of fine twined linen a hundred cubits long for one side.”

If my estimate of the cubit for the Tabernacle of 18 inches, is correct, the courtyard on the south side of the Tabernacle would have sides of length 1,800 inches or 150 feet.

וְעַמֻּדָיו עֶשְׂרִים וְאַדְנֵיהֶם עֶשְׂרִים נְחֹשֶׁת וָוֵי הָעַמֻּדִים וַחֲשֻׁקֵיהֶם כָּסֶף   27:10

Exod. 27:10   “And its twenty columns and their twenty sockets shall be of brass.  The hooks of the columns and their fillets shall be of silver.”

וְכֵן לִפְאַת צָפֹון בָּאֹרֶךְ קְלָעִים מֵאָה אֹרֶךְ (וְעַמְדּוּ) [וְעַמּוּדָיו] עֶשְׂרִים וְאַדְנֵיהֶם עֶשְׂרִים נְחֹשֶׁת   27:11

וָוֵי הָעַמֻּדִים וַחֲשֻׁקֵיהֶם כָּסֶף

Exod. 27:11   “And the same for the north side:  In length the hangings shall be a hundred cubits long, and its twenty columns and their twenty hooks of brass, the hooks of the columns and their fillets of silver.”

The side of the courtyard on the north side was also 150 feet in length.

It appears that there’s another error in the Hebrew in this verse.  The word for and its … columns appearing in the  parentheses is missing a yad.  The correctly spelled word is in the brackets.  Notice that the correctly spelled word also appears as the first word in v. 27:10.

וְרֹחַב הֶחָצֵר לִפְאַת־יָם קְלָעִים חֲמִשִּׁים אַמָּה עַמֻּדֵיהֶם עֲשָׂרָה וְאַדְנֵיהֶם עֲשָׂרָה   27:12

Exod. 27:12   “And fifty cubits shall be the width of the court hangings for the west side, their ten columns and their ten sockets.”

The rear and front of the courtyard would each be 75 feet wide.

וְרֹחַב הֶחָצֵר לִפְאַת קֵדְמָה מִזְרָחָה חֲמִשִּׁים אַמָּה   27:13

Exod. 27:13   “And the width of the court to the east side eastward shall be fifty cubits.”

וַחֲמֵשׁ עֶשְׂרֵה אַמָּה קְלָעִים לַכָּתֵף עַמֻּדֵיהֶם שְׁלֹשָׁה וְאַדְנֵיהֶם שְׁלֹשָׁה   27:14

Exod. 27:14   “And the hangings for a side shall be of fifteen cubits, their three columns and their three sockets.”

The height of the hangings would be 221/2 feet.

וְלַכָּתֵף הַשֵּׁנִית חֲמֵשׁ עֶשְׂרֵה קְלָעִים עַמֻּדֵיהֶם שְׁלֹשָׁה וְאַדְנֵיהֶם שְׁלֹשָׁה   27:15

Exod. 27:15   “And on the other side shall be hangings of fifteen cubits, their three columns and their three sockets.”

וּלְשַׁעַר הֶחָצֵר מָסָךְ עֶשְׂרִים אַמָּה תְּכֵלֶת וְאַרְגָּמָן וְתֹולַעַת שָׁנִי וְשֵׁשׁ מָשְׁזָר מַעֲשֵׂה רֹקֵם עַמֻּדֵיהֶם   27:16

אַרְבָּעָה וְאַדְנֵיהֶם אַרְבָּעָה

Exod. 27:16   “And for the gate of the court there shall be a screen of twenty cubits of blue and purple and scarlet cloth and fine twined linen of embroidered workmanship, their four columns and their four sockets.”

כָּל־עַמּוּדֵי הֶחָצֵר סָבִיב מְחֻשָּׁקִים כֶּסֶף וָוֵיהֶם כָּסֶף וְאַדְנֵיהֶם נְחֹשֶׁת   27:17

Exod. 27:17   “All the columns of the court round about shall have fillets of silver and their sockets shall be brass.”

אֹרֶךְ הֶחָצֵר מֵאָה בָאַמָּה וְרֹחַב חֲמִשִּׁים בַּחֲמִשִּׁים וְקֹמָה חָמֵשׁ אַמֹּות שֵׁשׁ מָשְׁזָר וְאַדְנֵיהֶם נְחֹשֶׁת   27:18

Exod. 27:18   “The length of the court shall be a hundred cubits, and the width everywhere fifty, and the height five cubits, of fine twined linen, and their sockets shall be brass.”

The words חֲמִשִּׁים בַּחֲמִשִּׁים, translated as everywhere fifty, are literally fifty by fifty.  I believe this implies that there were two areas, each of fifty cubits width, one in front (east) of the Tabernacle, and one behind (west) so that the Tabernacle was in the middle of the court.

לְכֹל כְּלֵי הַמִּשְׁכָּן בְּכֹל עֲבֹדָתֹו וְכָל־יְתֵדֹתָיו וְכָל־יִתְדֹת הֶחָצֵר נְחֹשֶׁת   27:19

Exod. 27:19   “For all the implements of the Tabernacle, with all its service and all its pins and all the pins of the court, brass.”

וְאַתָּה תְּצַוֶּה אֶת־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְיִקְחוּ אֵלֶיךָ שֶׁמֶן זַיִת זָךְ כָּתִית לַמָּאֹור לְהַעֲלֹת נֵר תָּמִיד   27:20

Exod. 27:20   “And you shall command the children of Israel that they bring pure beaten olive oil to you for a light for burning a perpetual lamp.”

בְּאֹהֶל מֹועֵד מִחוּץ לַפָּרֹכֶת אֲשֶׁר עַל־הָעֵדֻת יַעֲרֹךְ אֹתֹו אַהֲרֹן וּבָנָיו מֵעֶרֶב עַד־בֹּקֶר לִפְנֵי יְהוָה   27:21

חֻקַּת עֹולָם לְדֹרֹתָם מֵאֵת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל

Exod. 27:21   “Aaron shall prepare it, and his descendants, in the tent of meeting, outside the veil that is for the testimony, from evening until morning before the Lord, a statute forever throughout their generations on behalf of the children of Israel.”                               [Return to Levi. 24:3]

Three points of interest:  First, please notice that the Lord calls the Tabernacle the tent of meeting.  This reference to the Tabernacle will recur frequently.  Second, I translate the sixth word from the end of the top line, וּבָנָיו, as and his descendants, although it is traditionally translated as and his sons.  Because the Lord designates this verse as a statute forever, I believe my translation is more appropriate.  There are two more places where I do this.  I’ll identify them as they come up.  In addition, I don’t think the phrase refers to all of Aaron’s descendants, only the high priest of any given generation, because I believe that only the high priest was permitted in the Tabernacle.  Third, of additional significance, the meaning of a phrase in this statute is a bit difficult to comprehend.  What does from evening until morning mean?  Does it mean that the lamp shall be lit only during the night?  What if the Israelites are moving through the desert during the night following the pillar of fire?  Is the statute suspended during those trips?  Why only during the night?   Shouldn’t the lamp be burning also in the daytime?  Perhaps the following supposition is an answer to some of these questions:  Maybe we are supposed to understand that the lamp will certainly be attended to in the daytime, so the Lord emphasized that it was to be attended to during the night as well.  Alternatively, the Lord is cautioning that the lamp should not be permitted to go out during the night.  Either of these answers seems to make the phrase understandable.  But during the Israelites traveling, the lamp could not be kept burning.  So this phrase also tells us that when the Israelites settled after a day or more of travel, they were to erect the Tabernacle and Aaron would light the lamp in the evening.  More about this in Chapter 30.

                                                     [Return to Exod. 28:43]                        [Return to Exod. 30:7]

Torah Commandments in this Chapter

99.  You shall bring pure beaten olive oil to the priests for the perpetual lamp of

          the holy place.   V. 27:20

100.  The high priest shall keep the perpetual lamp lit throughout every night.   V. 27:21


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