Concerning the inner curtains of the tabernacle, ver. 1 - 6.
Concerning the outer curtains, ver. 7 - 13.
Concerning the cover which was to secure it from the weather,
Concerning the boards which were to support the curtains,
ver. 15 - 30.
The partition between the holy place and the most holy, ver. 31 - 35.
The veil for the door, ver. 36 - 37.
These particulars seem of little use to us now, yet having been of
great use to Moses and Israel, and God having thought fit to
preserve to us the remembrance of them, we ought not to overlook them.
1: The curtains were to be embroidered with cherubim, to intimate
that the angels of God pitched their tents round about the church,(Ps 34:7). As there were cherubim over the mercy - seat, so there were
round the tabernacle. There were to be two hangings, five breadths to each,
sewed together, and the two hangings coupled together with golden clasps or
tacks, so that it might be all one tabernacle, (Ex 26:6). Thus the
churches of Christ, though they are many, yet are one, being
fitly joined together in holy love and by the unity of the Spirit,
so growing into one holy temple in the Lord. This tabernacle was very
strait and narrow, but at the preaching of the gospel, the church is bid to
enlarge the place of her tent, and to stretch forth her curtains,(Isa 54:2).
14: Badger skins - So we translate it, but it should rather seem to
have been some strong sort of leather, (but very fine) for we read of the
best sort of shoes made of it. (Eze 16:10).
15: Very particular directions are here given about the boards of
the tabernacle, which were to bear up the curtains. These had tenons
which fell into the mortaises that were made for them in silver bases. The
boards were coupled together with gold rings at top and bottom, and kept
firm with bars that run through golden staples in every board. Thus every
thing in the tabernacle was very splendid, agreeable to that infant state of
the church, when such things were proper to possess the minds of the
worshippers with a reverence of the divine glory. In allusion to this, the
new Jerusalem is said to be of pure gold, (Re 21:18). But the
builders of the gospel church said, Silver and gold have we none; and
yet the glory of their building far exceeded that of the tabernacle.
31: The veils are here ordered to be made, one for a partition between
the holy place and the most holy, which not only forbad any to enter, but so
much as to look into the holiest of all. Under that dispensation divine
grace was veiled, but now we behold it with open face. The apostle
tells us, this veil, intimated that the ceremonial law could not make
the comers thereunto perfect. The way into the holiest was not made
manifest while the first tabernacle was standing; life and immortality
lay concealed till they were brought to light by the gospel, which was
therefore signified by the rending of this veil at the death of Christ. We
have now boldness to enter into the holiest in all acts of devotion
by the blood of Jesus; yet such as obliges us to a holy reverence, and a
humble sense of our distance. Another veil was for the outward door of the
tabernacle. Through this the priests went in every day to minister in the
holy - place, but not the people, (Heb 9:6). This veil was all the
defence the tabernacle had against thieves and robbers, which might easily
be broken through, for it could be neither locked nor bared, and the
abundance of wealth in it, one would think, might be a temptation. But by
leaving it thus exposed,
The priests and Levites would be so much the more obliged to keep a
strict watch upon it: and,
God would shew his care of his church on earth, though it be weak and
defenceless, and continually exposed. A curtain shall be (if God please to
make it so) as strong a defence, as gates of brass and bars of iron.