Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Exodus 27:2 - Horns and Overlay of the Altar Of Burnt Offering

Exodus 27:2
2 And thou shalt make the horns of it upon the four corners thereof: his horns shall be of the same: and thou shalt overlay it with brass.
‎2 ‏וְעָשִׂ֣יתָ קַרְנֹתָ֗יו עַ֚ל אַרְבַּ֣ע פִּנֹּתָ֔יו מִמֶּ֖נּוּ תִּהְיֶ֣יןָ קַרְנֹתָ֑יו וְצִפִּיתָ֥ אֹת֖וֹ נְחֹֽשֶׁת׃
Upon the corners of the Altar there were four(4) wooden horns...

Here is a closer view upon these four horns...

The expression "horns of him"("קרנתיו"), and what is more important, the root "קרנ" almost certainly implies that these "horns" were pointy and curved.
This root is also usually used to imply - the horn of the ram or some particular breed of mountain sheep. This is not coincidental, as the expression "horns of him" ("קרנתיו") first appears in Genesis 22:13 in the very story about the Sacrifice of Isaac! (stunning, isn't it?)

Here are several images of rams' horns for you to compare:

This is a photo by Martin Stoltze of a Värmland sheep
The Värmland sheep is one of several old swedish breeds, all belonging to the group of nordic short-tailed sheeps. Fleece color and horn shape vary. This is a young white ram with large and wide horns.


And this is a photo by Evelyn Simak of a Norfolk Horn ram at a sheep show.


As you can see, the shape and size of rams' horns can vary dramatically between the species, so at this point I'm just going to use an arbitrary shape to illustrate the horns of the Altar - like this:

The Altar wooden Frame and its wooden Horns were then overlayed with reddish copper...

Here is a closer view on the resulting overlayed frame of the Altar...

And here is a close-up of the corner of the overlayed frame with one of the overlayed horn...

Description does not state explicitly the position, dimensions and the shape of these horns. However, I more than sure that these horns were located close to the top corners of the frame of the Altar, or they were coming out of an actual top corners of the frame (as I show on my renderings).

As to the shape and dimensions of these horns: they were most likely no more than 0.5 cubit tall and 0.5-1 cubits wide. I'm not sure about their thickness, but I think it was most likely about a figerbreadth to an inch.
Their shape was either resembling a flat spiral or flat helix (so as not to disturb the symmetry) and these horns were most likely positioned at 45 degree angle relative to the corners of the Altar.

But yet again, I have to say that more research is needed to fully answer address these question.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Exodus 27:1 - The Copper Altar Of Burnt Offering (The Mizbeach)

The description now moves on to the Altar Of Burnt Offering. Lets' take a look:

Exodus 27:1
1 And thou shalt make an altar of shittim wood, five cubits long, and five cubits broad; the altar shall be foursquare: and the height thereof shall be three cubits.
‎1 ‏וְעָשִׂ֥יתָ אֶת־הַמִּזְבֵּ֖חַ עֲצֵ֣י שִׁטִּ֑ים חָמֵשׁ֩ אַמּ֨וֹת אֹ֜רֶךְ וְחָמֵ֧שׁ אַמּ֣וֹת רֹ֗חַב רָב֤וּעַ יִהְיֶה֙ הַמִּזְבֵּ֔חַ וְשָׁלֹ֥שׁ אַמּ֖וֹת קֹמָתֽוֹ׃
The Altar itself was a simple hollow square frame, made out of shittim wood. As the description states, its outer measurements were five(5) cubits long by five(5) cubits wide, and three(3) cubits tall. Frame thickness was equal to the thickness of the Boards of the Tent, and it was 0.0225 cubits (a fingerbreadth).

Here is what it looked like:
Notice the height of the frame: approximately the chest-height of an average man.

Also, this verse is one of the few in the description that provides us with the clue to the characteristics of the Shittim Wood. Since the Altar Frame was relatively thin, the wood it was made of(the shittim wood) would have to be able to withstand high temperatures.

In my previous posts, I have provided you with some information on briar wood. Of'course, the briar wood couldn't have been used to build the parts of the Mishkan due to its scarcity, but it does have all characteristics that an actual Shittim Wood might have had(i.e light weight, strength and the heat-resistance).

On my blog sidebar you can also find links to the several databases of wood(timber), if you want to investigate it yourself.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Exodus 25:1-26:37 - A brief overview

I wanted to show you a complete rendering of the parts of the Tabernacle (Mishkan) that I had covered so far (Exodus 25:1-26:37).

Lets' take a look:

There was a Tent of the Mishkan,  with its artefacts: The Ark Of the Covenant, The Golden Lampstand and The Table of Shewbread.

The description has also covered the Pillars of the Tent, the Inner Curtain (The Vail) and the Outer Curtain (The Entrance Curtain(Masach)...

The Tent of the Mishkan was covered with a Covering with Cherubims - The First Covering of the Tent.
Notice how this covering was made out of two parts, connected together by a system of Loops and Golden Clasps...

On top of the First Covering of the Tent there was another Covering - the Goats' Hair Covering. This Second Covering of the Tent was also made out of two parts, connected together by the system of Loops and Copper Clasps...

On top of the Second Covering was yet another covering, made out of Reddened Rams' skins. This Third Covering was equal in size to the Second Covering(minus the folded piece, of'course) and was 42x30 cubits.
This Third Covering of Red Skins of Rams did not have a system of hooks and loops, but was rather manufactured into one single piece.

And last, but not least, there was yet one last Covering of "Tachash" Skins. This last covering of the Tent most likely 32x12 cubits, dark in appearance and most definitely made out of a clean(kosher) animal.
As you can also see, this Fourth Covering was covering only the Top of the Tent, most likely to provide an extra protection from rain and scorching desert sun.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Exodus 26:37 - Five Outer Pillars of the Tent of the Mishkan - Part 6

Short post today:

Before I move on to the outer artefacts of the Mishkan, I would like to show you how the eastern part of the Sanctuary(the Holy Place) would look like...

The image is self-explanatory...

The colors of the Entrance Curtain do not match exactly with the First Covering and the lighting is not perfect, but nevertheless this image should give you an idea about an incredible beauty of the structure...

Friday, March 26, 2010

Exodus 26:37 - Five Outer Pillars of the Tent of the Mishkan - Part 5

Now that we have covered the Pillars, lets' go back to the The Entrance Curtain and see how it would look like...

Exodus 26:37
37 And thou shalt make for the hanging five pillars of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold, and their hooks shall be of gold: and thou shalt cast five sockets of brass for them.
37 ‏וְעָשִׂ֣יתָ לַמָּסָ֗ךְ חֲמִשָּׁה֙ עַמּוּדֵ֣י שִׁטִּ֔ים וְצִפִּיתָ֤ אֹתָם֙ זָהָ֔ב וָוֵיהֶ֖ם זָהָ֑ב וְיָצַקְתָּ֣ לָהֶ֔ם חֲמִשָּׁ֖ה אַדְנֵ֥י נְחֹֽשֶׁת׃ ס
And there you have it...


The Entrance Curtain(the "masach"/"מסך") of the Tent of the Tabernacle would cover the Eastern part of the Tent completely, and would act as the wall..

As you can see, the Entrance Curtain, just like the Vail, was also wrapped around the Connecting Rods between the Pillars, thus fitting nicely with the rest of the structure.

Here is another angle on the Entrance Curtain...

The Entrance Curtain was also attached to the Pillars by the means of Hooks - like this: (this is not the best rendering, but it shows the idea)

And here is the other side of the Entrance Curtain. As you can see, the Entrance Curtain would hung behind the Pillars, if looking from inside the Sanctuary part of the Tent.

Please note, that since the Entrance Curtain was embroidered, it would have the same design and appearance on both sides.

And of' course, when the Sanctuary needed to be accessed, the edges of the Entrance Curtain could be easily moved - like this...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Exodus 26:37 - Five Outer Pillars of the Tent of the Mishkan - Part 4

Just like with Four Inner Pillars of the Tent of the Mishkan(Exodus 26:32), the Exodus 26:37 also omits an important details about the pillars: their Caps and their Connecting Rods.

The description of these parts for Five Outer Pillars can be found in explicit form in Exodus 36:38.
Let me show you both verses so you can read the entire description of these Pillars at once:

Exodus 26:37
37 And thou shalt make for the hanging five pillars of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold, and their hooks shall be of gold: and thou shalt cast five sockets of brass for them.
‎37 ‏וְעָשִׂ֣יתָ לַמָּסָ֗ךְ חֲמִשָּׁה֙ עַמּוּדֵ֣י שִׁטִּ֔ים וְצִפִּיתָ֤ אֹתָם֙ זָהָ֔ב וָוֵיהֶ֖ם זָהָ֑ב וְיָצַקְתָּ֣ לָהֶ֔ם חֲמִשָּׁ֖ה אַדְנֵ֥י נְחֹֽשֶׁת׃ ס

Exodus 36:38
38 And the five pillars of it with their hooks: and he overlaid their chapiters and their fillets with gold: but their five sockets were of brass.
‎38 ‏וְאֶת־עַמּוּדָ֤יו חֲמִשָּׁה֙ וְאֶת־וָ֣וֵיהֶ֔ם וְצִפָּ֧ה רָאשֵׁיהֶ֛ם וַחֲשֻׁקֵיהֶ֖ם זָהָ֑ב וְאַדְנֵיהֶ֥ם חֲמִשָּׁ֖ה נְחֹֽשֶׁת׃ פ


As you can see from the verses above, not only the Pillars were overlayed with gold with golden hooks mounted onto them, but also their Caps(translated as "chapiters" or simply - "top parts of them"/"ראשיהם") and their Connecting Rods ("וחשקיהם") were also overlayed with gold.
From these simple facts, several conclusions can be drawn:

  1. Caps and Connecting Rods were counted as an independent parts of the Pillars

  2. The Connecting Rods were made out of the very same shittim wood and then overlayed with gold (as Ex. 36:38 explicitly states)

  3. The Caps were either also made out of shittim wood and them overlayed with gold, or they were simply made out of gold. I'm still researching this problem with the Caps, so at this point I'm going to assume that they were made out of wood and then overlayed.
Now, lets' take a look at these parts:

Since there were Five(5) Outer Pillars, there had to be Five(5) Caps made for them.

But because two(2) out of five(5) pillars were adjacent to the walls of the Tent, the spacing between each pillar was actually larger, than the spacing between each of the Four Inner Pillars.

For the very same reason, two(2) out of five(5) Pillar Caps had a special slit made in them, to allow the adjacent Tent Wall to touch the Pillar.

Here is a closer view at this detail of the Caps...

Just like I pointed out above, the Caps and the Connecting Rods were overlayed with gold(or made out of it), thus they would appear as if they were completely made out of gold.

And here is a look from the back on these parts: please note a slit in two of the Caps.

Also, please note that each of the Connecting Rods was two and a half(2.5) cubits in length. Or in other words, each Rod was half(0.5) a cubit longer than the Rods of the Four Inner Pillars.
The thickness of the Rods, on the other hand, was the same: about a fingerbreadth.

And here are the fully assembled Five Outer Pillars of the Tent of the Tabernacle...

Here is the view from the back: please note the slits in the Caps and the Copper Sockets of the edge pillars.

Check out this diagram for the dimensions of the Five Outer Pillars...


 And here is how the Five Outer Pillars would look like with the rest of the Tent:

 As you can see, they would fit nicely with the rest of the structure...

 As you can see, the Entrance Curtain would hang on the outside of the Tent(after the Pillars), effectively making the Sanctuary 20 cubits in length (excluding the 0.5 cubit of length for each row of the Pillars)

 And here, I tried to show the reason for a slit in the Caps and the Sockets of the edge pillars:
As you can see, the edge Pillars would have to touch the boards of the Walls of the Tent so as not to allow any gap between the pillars and the walls.

 Thus, when moved in place, the top of the pillar with the Cap would end up firmly joined with the adjacent wall of the Tent...

 On the bottom, the same thing would happen...
Notice how the slit in the Socket accommodates the Pillar so as to allow itself to be joined with the adjacent Wall of the Tent, without permitting any gap between the Pillar and the Wall.

 Here is the resulting joining, as the Pillar was put in its place.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Exodus 26:37 - Five Outer Pillars of the Tent of the Mishkan - Part 3

Exodus 26:37
37 And thou shalt make for the hanging five pillars of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold, and their hooks shall be of gold: and thou shalt cast five sockets of brass for them.
37 ‏וְעָשִׂ֣יתָ לַמָּסָ֗ךְ חֲמִשָּׁה֙ עַמּוּדֵ֣י שִׁטִּ֔ים וְצִפִּיתָ֤ אֹתָם֙ זָהָ֔ב וָוֵיהֶ֖ם זָהָ֑ב וְיָצַקְתָּ֣ לָהֶ֔ם חֲמִשָּׁ֖ה אַדְנֵ֥י נְחֹֽשֶׁת׃ ס
And on this image you can compare the Copper Sockets of the Five Outer Pillars to the Talent of Copper, Talent of Silver and to one of the the Silver Board Sockets.
It is interesting to note that since the density of Copper( ~8930kg/m^3) is slightly less than the density of Silver(~10490kg/m^3), the Copper Sockets were a little bit lighter.


And here is a cross section of the Socket that did not have a slit. 

And here is the cross section of the Socket with the slit(right) compared to the cross section of the Socket without the slit(left).

And here you can compare two types of Sockets made for the Five Outer Pillars: the front view is shown here.

And here you can compare the back-side of the two different Socket types that were used for Five Outer Pillars of the Entrance Curtain.

This special cut-out on two(2) out of five(5) of the Sockets was specifically made to accommodate the adjacent Silver Sockets of the Tent Walls (eastern edge of North and South walls of the Tent).

As you can see, these Sockets would form a perfect fit once they were put together.

Such design would allow the Boards on the edge of the Walls of the Tent to touch the Pillars.

Since the Pillars were made out of two equal pieces, each halve of each of Pillar was probably put first...

And then, the other halves of the Pillars were installed into the Sockets, forming Five Outer Pillars. It is possible that the Pillars were assembled first and only then put into the Sockets.
Regardless, the result would look like this:

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