King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Exodus 25

What the Israelites were to offer for making the tabernacle. (1-9) The ark. (10-22) The table, with its furniture. (23-30) The candlestick. (31-40)

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What the Israelites were to offer for making the tabernacle

1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

2 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.

3 And this is the offering which ye shall take of them; gold, and silver, and brass,

4 And blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats’ hair,

5 And rams’ skins dyed red, and badgers’ skins, and shittim wood,

6 Oil for the light, spices for anointing oil, and for sweet incense,

7 Onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod, and in the breastplate.

8 And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.

9 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.

The ark

10 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.

11 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.

12 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.

13 And thou shalt make staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold.

14 And thou shalt put the staves into the rings by the sides of the ark, that the ark may be borne with them.

15 The staves shall be in the rings of the ark: they shall not be taken from it.

16 And thou shalt put into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee.

17 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.

18 And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat.

19 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.

20 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.

21 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.

22 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.

The table, with its furniture

23 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.

24 And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, and make thereto a crown of gold round about.

25 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.

26 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.

27 Over against the border shall the rings be for places of the staves to bear the table.

28 And thou shalt make the staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold, that the table may be borne with them.

29 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.

30 And thou shalt set upon the table shewbread before me alway.

The candlestick

31 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.

32 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:

33 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.

34 And in the candlesticks shall be four bowls made like unto almonds, with their knops and their flowers.

35 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.

36 Their knops and their branches shall be of the same: all it shall be one beaten work of pure gold.

37 And thou shalt make the seven lamps thereof: and they shall light the lamps thereof, that they may give light over against it.

38 And the tongs thereof, and the snuffdishes thereof, shall be of pure gold.

39 Of a talent of pure gold shall he make it, with all these vessels.

40 And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 2. First-fruits: offerings, of some of the best and choicest of their goods. Ch. — This was the first time such a voluntary offering was made by the Hebrews. M. — It is a lesson for Christians to be liberal for God’s service. W.

Ver. 4. Scarlet twice dyed. Aq. and Sym. have transparent. This colour is often confounded with purple, as our Saviour’s robe is styled scarlet by S. Matt. xxvii. 28; and purple by S. John xix. 2. It was dyed with a worm called shani in Heb. S. Jer. ep. ad Fabiol. — Fine linen, byssus. Heb. shesh, “or six folds,” or it may mean cotton, which was highly esteemed by the ancients; (Arab. version. Herod.) and it is not probable that Moses would have passed over it unnoticed. C.

Ver. 5. Setim-wood. The wood of a tree that grows in the wilderness, which is said to be incorruptible, (Ch.) as the Sept. intimate. It is perhaps the Acacia, which is very black and hard. S. Jer. in Joel iii. 18, says it resembles our white thorn.

Ver. 7. Onyx, emeralds. C. — The ephod and the rational. The ephod was the high priests upper vestment; and the rational his breast-plate, in which were twelve gems, &c. Ch. — Ephod means a kind of girdle or stole, peculiar to priests, or used by others only of the highest distinction, (C.) and in religious solemnities. S. Jer. ad Marcel. Josephus (Ant. ii. 8) describes it as different from what it was in the days of Moses. Many other alterations had then taken place; the Urim and Thummim were disused, &c. The Pallium is in imitation of the high priest’s ephod. The rational is so called, because by it the high priest was enabled to give his oracles. C. xxviii. 15. C. — The precise import of the Heb. cheshen, which Protestants render breast plate, is not known. It was certainly fastened on the ephod over the breast, and consisted of 12 stones, on which the names of the 12 patriarchs were engraven. H.

Ver. 8. Sanctuary, or tabernacle, to serve as a portable temple. Such alone were probably used at that time. The high priest entered into this holy place once a year. C.

Ver. 10. Ark, to contain the tables of the law, as a constant memorial of the alliance made between God and his people, ver. 16. In, or on the side of it, were also placed the rod of Aaron, (Num. xvii. 10.) and the golden urn, containing manna. Heb. ix. 3. Hence the pagans perhaps took occasion to keep their secret mysteries in an ark, cista secretorum. Apul. Met. 2. C. — The ark was three feet nine inches long, two feet three inches high, and as much in breadth. H.

Ver. 11. Gold (deaurabis). Our method of gilding was not yet discovered. — Crown, or border, resembling “waves,” (kumatia) Sept.

Ver. 14. Carried on them, when exposed in solemn processions. These were covered along with the ark: and other bars were used to remove the ark during the journeys in the desert. Num. iv. 6. C.

Ver. 16. Testimony, the law which testifies the will of God to us. M. — An authentic record. Jeremias (xxxii. 11,) uses præceptum in the same sense. C.

Ver. 17. A propitiatory: a covering for the ark; called a propitiatory, or mercy-seat, because the Lord, who was supposed to sit there upon the wings of the cherubims, with the ark for his footstool, from thence shewed mercy. It is also called the oracle, ver. 18 and 20, because from thence, God gave his orders and his answers. Ch. — It was the lid or covering of the ark, from kapha, “to cover, efface,” &c. C. — Here the hanan, or cloud representing God, rested, (Lev. xvi. 2.) and the divine oracles were audibly given: for which reason, God is said to sit upon the cherubims, the mercy-seat being his footstool. Ps. lxxix. 2.

Ver. 18. Cherubims, symbolic figures, which Moses does not perfectly describe, and therefore we cannot pretend to know their exact form. Some represent them as young men, with their wings joined over the propitiatory, in a contrary direction to those of birds, in order to form a throne for God, and bending towards Him, with profound respect. Others only admit their heads, with six wings: while many suppose that they resembled those compounded figures mentioned, Ezec. i. 5. x. 20. They denote some extraordinary figure not found in nature, 3 K. vii. 29. An order of angels is known by this name. Yet the four animals, or cherubims, represent the saints. Apoc. v. 8. 10. The different forms under which they appear, set before us their various perfections. Their wings denote agility, &c. The Egyptians adored Anubis, under the form of a man, with a dog’s head. Isis had the head of a cow, Apis that of a bull. They placed a sphinx at the entrance of their temples, to shew that their theology was enigmatical. God condescended perhaps to satisfy the inclinations of his people, by representing the mysteries of religion under similar forms. Wisd. xviii. 24. C. — Would he have allowed such things, if they were so dangerous, as to be inseparable from idolatry! H.

Ver. 23. A table: on which were to be placed the twelve loaves of proposition; or, as they are called in the Hebrew, the face bread; because they were always to stand before the face of the Lord in his temple: as a figure of the eucharistic sacrifice and sacrament, in the church of Christ; (Ch.) which shews that Christ must be present in the eucharist. W. — By this bread, renewed at the public expense every sabbath-day, the Israelites made profession that they were indebted for their food to God’s providence; and in gratitude, offered him this sacrifice, with incense and wine, v. 29. The priests alone were to eat these loaves (1 K. xxi.) at the expiration of the week. T.

Ver. 25. Polished, (interrasilem, sculptured and plain, at equal distances). Heb. “Thou shalt make all round at the top, a ledge (border) of a hand’s breadth,” &c. The tabernacle was the tent of God, the king of Israel: and food and lights were on that account placed before him, (C.) though he stood not in need of them. The idolatrous priests set all sorts of meats before Bel. Dan. xiv. H.

Ver. 29. Dishes. (acetabulum.) Properly, a vessel to hold vinegar, but used for various purposes. — Bowls, or vials full of wine. Tostat. — Censers, to contain incense, &c. C. xxxvii. 16. The first term, karuth, might also mean vessels to contain the flour and oil of which these loaves were made. Num. vii. 13. The Levites made the bread themselves, (1 Par. xxii. 29,) and even sowed the corn, and did every thing about it. S. Jer. in Mal. i. 7. The second term, coputh, may denote vessels to keep incense; the third, monkiuth, instruments to clean either the floor or the table, &c. All these vessels seem mended to accompany the table of shew-bread. — Cups, used for libations (C. xxxvii. 16. Num. iv. 7,) of wine, on the sabbath. Kossuth signifies a porringer or dish, like the ancient patera. Whether wine was placed on this table, we cannot determine. But we read of salt, (C.) which was to accompany all God’s sacrifices. Lev. ii. 13.

Ver. 30. Loaves. There were 12, containing each six pints of flour, made up in a square form, without leaven. They were placed in two rows, one above the other, and were kept separate by plates of gold. C. See Levit. xxiv. 5.

Ver. 31. A candlestick. This candlestick, with its seven lamps, which ws always to give light in the house of God, was a figure of the light of the Holy Ghost, and his seven-fold grace, in the sanctuary of the church of Christ. Ch. — It contained a talent of gold, or above 113 lb.; worth £5475 sterling, including the snuffers, &c. (v. 39,) and had seven branches, adorned alternately with cups, bowls, or knobs, and lilies; (H.) or with cups, pomegranates, and lilies. All was of massive gold, moksse.Bowls, sphærulas, globes, apples, &c. C. — Thou shalt make. The Heb. thiasse, has evidently the letter i redundant, and rejected by the best MSS. Ken. Dis. i. Houbigant.

Ver. 33. Cups. Heb. “cups which produce almonds or nuts;” that is three buds of flowers, out of which comes the stalk, as fruit does from the flower. The Heb. Gr. and Lat. languages use the word chalice, or cup, for a flower full-blown. The height of this candlestick is undetermined; but it would not exceed five feet.

Ver. 37. Against. The table of proposition on the north, and that of perfumes in the middle, before the veil. T. — The lamps might be detached from the rest, (C.) and were trimmed every evening to burn all night; but in the day four were extinguished. Bonfrere.

Ver. 38. Put out, with the oil, &c. Nothing was to be treated with disrespect that had been dedicated to God’s service. H. — Alexander adorned the temple of Apollo with a grand candlestick, resembling a tree laden with fruit; (Plin. xxxiv. 8,) and Dionysius the younger made a present of one to the prytaneum of Athens, which had 365 lamps upon it. They stood on the ground, and burnt oil, being the more necessary, as the ancient temples had generally no windows. The Egyptians, according to S. Clem. (strom. 1,) were the first who introduced them into their temples. C. — Solomon set up ten candlesticks, five on the north, and five on the south of the holy place. 3 K. vii. 49.