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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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Tabernacle (tent of assembly). We may distinguish in the Old Testament three sacred tabernacles:

I. The Ante-Sinaitic, which was probably the dwelling of Moses, and was placed by the camp of the Israelites in the desert, for the transaction of public business ().

II. The Ante-Sinaitic tabernacle, which had served for the transaction of public business probably from the beginning of the exodus, was superseded by the Sinaitic; this was constructed by Bezaleel and Aholiab as a portable mansion-house, guildhall, and cathedral, and set up on the first day of the first month in the second year after leaving Egypt. Of this alone we have accurate descriptions.

III. The Davidic tabernacle was erected by David in Jerusalem for the reception of the ark (), while the old tabernacle remained to the days of Solomon at Gibeon, together with the brazen altar, as the place where sacrifices were offered (, and ).

The second of these sacred tents is, as the most important, called the tabernacle par excellence. Moses was commanded by Jehovah to have it erected in the Arabian Desert, by the voluntary contributions of the Israelites, who carried it about with them in their migrations until after the conquest of Canaan, when it remained stationary for longer periods in various towns of Palestine.

The materials of which this tent was composed were so costly, that skeptics have questioned whether they could be furnished by a nomadic race. The tabernacle exceeded in costliness and splendor, in proportion to the slender means of a nomadic people, the magnificence of any cathedral of the present day, compared with the wealth of the surrounding population. The mode of collecting the voluntary offerings for this great work, and the design of the structure, are fully described in Exodus 25-27, and in 35-37.





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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Tabernacle'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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