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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Hanging (2)

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(as a curtain) is the rendering of three Heb. terms, two of them having reference to the furniture of the tabernacle and Temple.

1. The "hanging"( מָסָךְ a masak'; Sept. ἐπίσπαστρον,Vulg. tentorium) was a curtain or covering (as the word radically means, and as it is sometimes rendered) to close an entrance. It was made of variegated stuff wrought with needlework (compare Esther 1:5), and (in one instance, at least) was hung on five pillars of acacia wood. The term is applied to a series of curtains suspended before the successive openings of entrance into the tabernacle and its parts. Of these, the first hung before the entrance to the court of the tabernacle (Exodus 27:16; Exodus 38:18; Numbers 4:26); the second before the door of the tabernacle (Exodus 26:36-37; Exodus 39:38); and the third before the entrance to the Most Holy Place, called more fully פָּרֹכֶת הִמָּסָךְ ("vail of the covering," Exodus 35:12; Exodus 39:34; Exodus 40:21). (See CURTAIN).

2. The "hangings"(קְלָעַים , kelaim'; Sept. ἱστια, Vulg. tentoria) were used for covering the walls of the tabernacle, just as tapestry was in modern times (Exodus 27:9; Exodus 35:17; Exodus 38:9; Numbers 3:26; Numbers 4:26). The rendering in the Sept. implies that they were made of the same substance as the sails of a ship, i.e. as explained by Rashi) "meshy, not woven" this opinion is, however, incorrect, as the material of which they were constructed was "fine twined linen." The hangings were carried only five cubits high, or half the height of the walls of the court (Exodus 27:18; compare Exodus 26:16). They were fastened to pillars which ran along the sides of the court (Exodus 27:18). (See TABERNACLE).

3. The "hangings"(בָּתַּים, bottim', 2 Kings 23:7, margin houses, which is the literal rendering) are of doubtful import. Ewald conjectures that the reading should be בְּגָדַים, clothes, and supposes the reference to be to dresses for the images of Astarte; but this is both gratuitous and superfluous. The bottim which these women wove were probably cloths for tents used as portable sanctuaries. (See IDOLATRY).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Hanging (2)'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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