Now that the furniture is done, God turns his eye towards the curtains.

In this chapter, we get the instructions for building the tent that will house the Ark-throne-couch, the coffee table, and the lampstand. I won’t bore you with all the details about the many coloured linens and the goat hair and the tanned hides and how they all fit together.

Dedication of the tabernacle by Michiel van der Borch, 1332

Dedication of the tabernacle by Michiel van der Borch, 1332

But I do want to touch on the general structure of the tent, because it reminded me of a much later building: the Temple of Solomon. If I’m reading correctly (and it’s hard, with all the loops on the edges of the curtains and the clasps of bronze), it seems like the design calls for a larger tent with a smaller, inner tent where the tabernacle itself is to be stored.

This is similar to the temple design, where we have a holy place that is screened from the public, and then an inner holy of holies that is also screened off and can only be approached by – if I remember correctly – the high priest. You can read more about it on the Wikipedia page, and they have some nice diagrams of what this would actually look like.

The only other thing I want to point out about this very boring chapter is that the Hebrews are once again asked to decorate with images of cherubim (Exod. 26:31), which – you remember – violates the agreement the Hebrews have just finished splashing themselves with blood to make (Exod. 20:4). Either God is trolling, or he has a very short memory.

Or, we have to look at the first part of Exodus 20:4, where he says that “you shall not make for yourself…” (emphasis mine). I suppose you could argue that the Hebrews are not making all these cherubs for themselves, but rather for God, so it’s okay. But if the idea is to prevent idolatry, wouldn’t all idols be made for gods? And then what if I’m carving my idol to give as a mother’s day present? It all gets very confusing.