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Bible Commentaries

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

Exodus 38

 

 

Verses 1-31

THE ALTAR OF BURNT OFFERINGS, Exodus 38:1-7.

See notes on Exodus 27:1-7.

THE LAVER, Exodus 38:8.

See notes on Exodus 30:17-21.

THE COURT OF THE TABERNACLE, Exodus 38:9-20.

See notes on Exodus 27:9-19.

THE AMOUNT OF METALS USED FOR THE TABERNACLE, Exodus 38:21-31.

21. This is the sum — Literally, the things reckoned, meaning, according to what follows, the weight of the gold, silver, and brass employed in the construction of the sanctuary and what belonged to it. The amount, as summed up, is recorded as: —

Gold=29 talents and 730 shekels.

Silver=100 talents and 1,775 shekels,

Brass=70 talents and 2,400 shekels.

The uncertainty attaching to the exact weight and value of the gold, silver, and brass talents and shekels makes it impossible to determine precisely the gross amount of the cost of the tabernacle. Then, further, the different relative value of a given amount of these metals in ancient and in modern times would greatly affect any estimate. The weight of the metals here mentioned, as estimated in the Speaker’s Commentary, is as follows, in avoirdupois weight:

Gold, — 1 ton — 4 cwt. — 2 qrs. — 13 lbs.

Silver, — 4 tons — 4 cwt. — 2 qrs. — 20 lbs.

Bronze, —2 tons — 19 cwt. — 2 qrs. — 11 lbs.

The entire value of these metals, at the lowest approximate estimate in American currency, would be over a million dollars. This estimate of the cost of the tabernacle does not include the large amount of other material for curtains, boards, and pillars, nor take into account at all the value of the labour, which the men and women of Israel gave as freely as they did the gold and silver and other things. On the question whence the Israelites obtained such vast amounts of precious things, see note on Exodus 25:3.

We are not to think of the tabernacle as of a modern Christian Church. The latter, as a house of worship, serves mainly for the comfort and convenience of an assembly of worshippers, and each true worshipper is supposed to have risen in spirit into the profound realities of which the tabernacle and its services were only symbols. Serving the purpose of material symbols of the unseen and eternal, the tabernacle was appropriately made of the most costly materials, for these, with their various values, were, for the time, “object lessons” of the better things to come.

 


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Bibliography Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Exodus 38:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/exodus-38.html. 1874-1909.

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