Sunday, June 27, 2010

Exodus 37:17-24 - Schematic Diagram and Layout of The Golden Lampstand (The Menorah)

Even though The Golden Lampstand was one solid piece (save for its seven Lamps), I thought it would only be beneficial to make a simple schematic diagram that would show all of its parts. Let's re-read the description of the Menorah as it is repeated for Bezaleel in Exodus 37:17-24:

17 And he made the candlestick of pure gold: of beaten work made he the candlestick; his shaft, and his branch, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers, were of the same:
18 And six branches going out of the sides thereof; three branches of the candlestick out of the one side thereof, and three branches of the candlestick out of the other side thereof:

19 Three bowls made after the fashion of almonds in one branch, a knop and a flower; and three bowls made like almonds in another branch, a knop and a flower: so throughout the six branches going out of the candlestick.

20 And in the candlestick were four bowls made like almonds, his knops, and his flowers:

21 And a knop under two branches of the same, and a knop under two branches of the same, and a knop under two branches of the same, according to the six branches going out of it.

22 Their knops and their branches were of the same: all of it was one beaten work of pure gold.

23 And he made his seven lamps, and his snuffers, and his snuffdishes, of pure gold.

24 Of a talent of pure gold made he it, and all the vessels thereof.
‎17 ‏וַיַּ֥עַשׂ אֶת־הַמְּנֹרָ֖ה זָהָ֣ב טָה֑וֹר מִקְשָׁ֞ה עָשָׂ֤ה אֶת־הַמְּנֹרָה֙ יְרֵכָ֣הּ וְקָנָ֔הּ גְּבִיעֶ֛יהָ כַּפְתֹּרֶ֥יהָ וּפְרָחֶ֖יהָ מִמֶּ֥נָּה הָיֽוּ׃

‎18 ‏וְשִׁשָּׁ֣ה קָנִ֔ים יֹצְאִ֖ים מִצִּדֶּ֑יהָ שְׁלֹשָׁ֣ה׀ קְנֵ֣י מְנֹרָ֗ה מִצִּדָּהּ֙ הָֽאֶחָ֔ד וּשְׁלֹשָׁה֙ קְנֵ֣י מְנֹרָ֔ה מִצִּדָּ֖הּ הַשֵּׁנִֽי׃

‎19 ‏שְׁלֹשָׁ֣ה גְ֠בִעִים מְֽשֻׁקָּדִ֞ים בַּקָּנֶ֣ה הָאֶחָד֮ כַּפְתֹּ֣ר וָפֶרַח֒ וּשְׁלֹשָׁ֣ה גְבִעִ֗ים מְשֻׁקָּדִ֛ים בְּקָנֶ֥ה אֶחָ֖ד כַּפְתֹּ֣ר וָפָ֑רַח כֵּ֚ן לְשֵׁ֣שֶׁת הַקָּנִ֔ים הַיֹּצְאִ֖ים מִן־הַמְּנֹרָֽה׃

‎20 ‏וּבַמְּנֹרָ֖ה אַרְבָּעָ֣ה גְבִעִ֑ים מְשֻׁ֨קָּדִ֔ים כַּפְתֹּרֶ֖יהָ וּפְרָחֶֽיהָ׃

‎21 ‏וְכַפְתֹּ֡ר תַּחַת֩ שְׁנֵ֨י הַקָּנִ֜ים מִמֶּ֗נָּה וְכַפְתֹּר֙ תַּ֣חַת שְׁנֵ֤י הַקָּנִים֙ מִמֶּ֔נָּה וְכַפְתֹּ֕ר תַּֽחַת־שְׁנֵ֥י הַקָּנִ֖ים מִמֶּ֑נָּה לְשֵׁ֙שֶׁת֙ הַקָּנִ֔ים הַיֹּצְאִ֖ים מִמֶּֽנָּה׃

‎22 ‏כַּפְתֹּרֵיהֶ֥ם וּקְנֹתָ֖ם מִמֶּ֣נָּה הָי֑וּ כֻּלָּ֛הּ מִקְשָׁ֥ה אַחַ֖ת זָהָ֥ב טָהֽוֹר׃

‎23 ‏וַיַּ֥עַשׂ אֶת־נֵרֹתֶ֖יהָ שִׁבְעָ֑ה וּמַלְקָחֶ֥יהָ וּמַחְתֹּתֶ֖יהָ זָהָ֥ב טָהֽוֹר׃

‎24 ‏כִּכָּ֛ר זָהָ֥ב טָה֖וֹר עָשָׂ֣ה אֹתָ֑הּ וְאֵ֖ת כָּל־כֵּלֶֽיהָ׃ פ

So here is the complete schematic diagram and layout of the Menorah that was used to light the inside of the Tent of the Mishkan. Please remember, that this diagram is for reference use only and is not up-to-scale.

As you can see The Golden Lampstand had the following elements in its design:
  1. One Base, that helped to balance the entire artefact - Exodus 37:17
  2. One main "stem" - Exodus 37:17
  3. Six(6) Branches(three on each side), round on the bottom and straight on the top (shape of a tree branches). - Exodus 37:18
  4. 22 Almond-shaped Cups, 10 Knops and 10 Flowers - Exodus 37:19- 22 (due to the plural form)
  5. Seven(7) Golden Oil Lamps(one for each of the branches and one for the stem) - Exodus 37:23
  6. Set of Golden "Tweezers" to handle the lamps - Exodus 37:23
  7. Set of Golden  Oil Pans, to add Oil to the Lamps - Exodus 37:23
  8. Set of Oil Jars to keep the Oil (not discussed in these verses, but you can find it in Numbers 4:9
  9. Entire Lampstand was made out of one solid piece of Gold(Exodus 37:24), that weighted One(1) Talent (by silver weight). All of the minor elements of the Lampstand were beaten out of its body. The Lampstand also appears to have been hollow inside.
The resulting artefact looked like this:

The Lampstand seems to have had a certain resemblance to a tree of Shittim(which is usually identified as some specie of Acacia tree). Here are several photos of several different species of Acacia.

This one is of Acacia Seyal. This photo was taken by Marco Schmidt in humid savanna near Kikidéni, Burkina Faso(2002).

And this one is of an Acacia Implexa. This photo is taken by D.M. Vernon(2006), near Canberra, Australia.

And this one is of an Acacia Tortilis. This photo was taken by Wikipedia user Haplochromis in Tanzania, Africa.(2009)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Exodus 40:38 - A photorealistic rendering of the Tabernacle

I've just wanted to end my general review of the Mishkan with this photorealistic digital collage of the Mishkan, completely assembled and standing in the wilderness of Sinai.

Exodus 40:38
38 For the cloud of the LORD was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.

‎38 ‏כִּי֩ עֲנַ֨ן יְהוָ֤ה עַֽל־הַמִּשְׁכָּן֙ יוֹמָ֔ם וְאֵ֕שׁ תִּהְיֶ֥ה לַ֖יְלָה בּ֑וֹ לְעֵינֵ֥י כָל־בֵּֽית־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל בְּכָל־מַסְעֵיהֶֽם׃
This rendering is based on the photograph by Florian Prischl(Wikimedia Commons/2007), that shows a group of hikers in the Sinai Desert, Egypt on their way through a dry riverbed, a so-called wadi. The group followed this narrowing wadi towards the Colored Canyon.(loc. 29° 9' 24.6" N, 34° 36' 31.3" E).

NOTE: Due to the copyright status of the original image, the image below has also been assigned the Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License, meaning that you can freely to copy, distribute and transmit and adapt the work if you attribute it and and share it alike. Enjoy!
NOTE: Due to the copyright status of the original image, the image below has also been assigned the Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License, meaning that you can freely to copy, distribute and transmit and adapt the work if you attribute it and and share it alike. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Numbers 9:15-23 - The Pillar of Smoke and The Pillar of Fire

The Mishkan would not have been complete without the presence of God. Let's take a look at how the One and Only God was manifesting himself at the Mishkan:

Numbers 9:15-23
15 And on the day that the tabernacle was reared up the cloud covered the tabernacle, namely, the tent of the testimony: and at even there was upon the tabernacle as it were the appearance of fire, until the morning.

‎15 ‏וּבְיוֹם֙ הָקִ֣ים אֶת־הַמִּשְׁכָּ֔ן כִּסָּ֤ה הֶֽעָנָן֙ אֶת־הַמִּשְׁכָּ֔ן לְאֹ֖הֶל הָעֵדֻ֑ת וּבָעֶ֜רֶב יִהְיֶ֧ה עַֽל־הַמִּשְׁכָּ֛ן כְּמַרְאֵה־אֵ֖שׁ עַד־בֹּֽקֶר׃

Once the Tabernacle(Mishkan) was fully erected and anointed, the Pillar (Cloud) of Smoke had covered the Tent of The Mishkan. As you can see from the image below, this Cloud of Smoke was almost completely enclosing the Tent of the Mishkan from all sides at all times, except for the Entrance Curtain(the eastern side) of the Tent so that the services can be performed.

16 So it was alway: the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night. 
‎16 ‏כֵּ֚ן יִהְיֶ֣ה תָמִ֔יד הֶעָנָ֖ן יְכַסֶּ֑נּוּ וּמַרְאֵה־אֵ֖שׁ לָֽיְלָה׃
As you can see from this verse of the description, at nightfall the Cloud of Smoke would transform into the Cloud of Fire. Similarly, this Cloud would be almost completely covering the Tent of the Mishkan, while providing some form of illumination over the entire structure. Like so:


17 And when the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle, then after that the children of Israel journeyed: and in the place where the cloud abode, there the children of Israel pitched their tents.

18 At the commandment of the LORD the children of Israel journeyed, and at the commandment of the LORD they pitched: as long as the cloud abode upon the tabernacle they rested in their tents.

19 And when the cloud tarried long upon the tabernacle many days, then the children of Israel kept the charge of the LORD, and journeyed not.

20 And so it was, when the cloud was a few days upon the tabernacle; according to the commandment of the LORD they abode in their tents, and according to the commandment of the LORD they journeyed.
21 And so it was, when the cloud abode from even unto the morning, and that the cloud was taken up in the morning, then they journeyed: whether it was by day or by night that the cloud was taken up, they journeyed.


‎17 ‏וּלְפִ֞י הֵעָלֹ֤ת הֶֽעָנָן֙ מֵעַ֣ל הָאֹ֔הֶל וְאַ֣חֲרֵי־כֵ֔ן יִסְע֖וּ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וּבִמְק֗וֹם אֲשֶׁ֤ר יִשְׁכָּן־שָׁם֙ הֶֽעָנָ֔ן שָׁ֥ם יַחֲנ֖וּ בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃
‎18 ‏עַל־פִּ֣י יְהוָ֗ה יִסְעוּ֙ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וְעַל־פִּ֥י יְהוָ֖ה יַחֲנ֑וּ כָּל־יְמֵ֗י אֲשֶׁ֨ר יִשְׁכֹּ֧ן הֶעָנָ֛ן עַל־הַמִּשְׁכָּ֖ן יַחֲנֽוּ׃
‎19 ‏וּבְהַאֲרִ֧יךְ הֶֽעָנָ֛ן עַל־הַמִּשְׁכָּ֖ן יָמִ֣ים רַבִּ֑ים וְשָׁמְר֧וּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֛ל אֶת־מִשְׁמֶ֥רֶת יְהוָ֖ה וְלֹ֥א יִסָּֽעוּ׃

‎20 ‏וְיֵ֞שׁ אֲשֶׁ֨ר יִהְיֶ֧ה הֶֽעָנָ֛ן יָמִ֥ים מִסְפָּ֖ר עַל־הַמִּשְׁכָּ֑ן עַל־פִּ֤י יְהוָה֙ יַחֲנ֔וּ וְעַל־פִּ֥י יְהוָ֖ה יִסָּֽעוּ׃
21 ‏וְיֵ֞שׁ אֲשֶׁר־יִהְיֶ֤ה הֶֽעָנָן֙ מֵעֶ֣רֶב עַד־בֹּ֔קֶר וְנַעֲלָ֧ה הֶֽעָנָ֛ן בַּבֹּ֖קֶר וְנָסָ֑עוּ א֚וֹ יוֹמָ֣ם וָלַ֔יְלָה וְנַעֲלָ֥ה הֶעָנָ֖ן וְנָסָֽעוּ׃

The Numbers 9:17-20 provide an often overlooked insight into the functionality and practicality of the Mishkan. As you can see from the above verses, and especially Numbers 9:21, the entire structure would have to be portable enough so that it could be assembled and disassembled within the 24 hour period (or may be even less).
When Mishkan was transported during the day, the Cloud of Smoke would go in front of the procession, leading the way like so:

And if it would so happened(as Numbers 9:21 specify) that the Mishkan would have to be transported during the night, the Cloud of Fire would lead and illuminate the way, like so:

22 Or whether it were two days, or a month, or a year, that the cloud tarried upon the tabernacle, remaining thereon, the children of Israel abode in their tents, and journeyed not: but when it was taken up, they journeyed.

23 At the commandment of the LORD they rested in the tents, and at the commandment of the LORD they journeyed: they kept the charge of the LORD, at the commandment of the LORD by the hand of Moses.

‎22 ‏אֽוֹ־יֹמַ֜יִם אוֹ־חֹ֣דֶשׁ אוֹ־יָמִ֗ים בְּהַאֲרִ֨יךְ הֶעָנָ֤ן עַל־הַמִּשְׁכָּן֙ לִשְׁכֹּ֣ן עָלָ֔יו יַחֲנ֥וּ בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל וְלֹ֣א יִסָּ֑עוּ וּבְהֵעָלֹת֖וֹ יִסָּֽעוּ׃

‎23 ‏עַל־פִּ֤י יְהוָה֙ יַחֲנ֔וּ וְעַל־פִּ֥י יְהוָ֖ה יִסָּ֑עוּ אֶת־מִשְׁמֶ֤רֶת יְהוָה֙ שָׁמָ֔רוּ עַל־פִּ֥י יְהוָ֖ה בְּיַד־מֹשֶֽׁה׃ פ
And just like the last two verses of the description specify, the Mishkan would have to be not only very portable, but also very durable(and it was), so that it could be used in its assembled state for prolonged periods of time - a month or a year (see Numbers 9:22).

Monday, June 21, 2010

Numbers 4:34-49 - The Census of the Tabernacle Bearers

I wanted to review the census of the Tabernacle (Mishkan) bearers, who were responsible for its transportation. And even though I have done it several times before in some of my previous posts, I would like to do it again in order to show some of the details that I have not had a chance to cover.

Let's begin with Kohathites, who were responsible for transportation of the six(6) Artifacts of the Mishkan and its Service Utensils.

Numbers 4:34-37
34 And Moses and Aaron and the chief of the congregation numbered the sons of the Kohathites after their families, and after the house of their fathers,

35 From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old, every one that entereth into the service, for the work in the tabernacle of the congregation:

36 And those that were numbered of them by their families were two thousand seven hundred and fifty.

37 These were they that were numbered of the families of the Kohathites, all that might do service in the tabernacle of the congregation, which Moses and Aaron did number according to the commandment of the LORD by the hand of Moses.

‎34 ‏וַיִּפְקֹ֨ד מֹשֶׁ֧ה וְאַהֲרֹ֛ן וּנְשִׂיאֵ֥י הָעֵדָ֖ה אֶת־בְּנֵ֣י הַקְּהָתִ֑י לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָ֖ם וּלְבֵ֥ית אֲבֹתָֽם׃

‎35 ‏מִבֶּ֨ן שְׁלֹשִׁ֤ים שָׁנָה֙ וָמַ֔עְלָה וְעַ֖ד בֶּן־חֲמִשִּׁ֣ים שָׁנָ֑ה כָּל־הַבָּא֙ לַצָּבָ֔א לַעֲבֹדָ֖ה בְּאֹ֥הֶל מוֹעֵֽד׃

‎36 ‏וַיִּהְי֥וּ פְקֻדֵיהֶ֖ם לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָ֑ם אַלְפַּ֕יִם שְׁבַ֥ע מֵא֖וֹת וַחֲמִשִּֽׁים׃

‎37 ‏אֵ֤לֶּה פְקוּדֵי֙ מִשְׁפְּחֹ֣ת הַקְּהָתִ֔י כָּל־הָעֹבֵ֖ד בְּאֹ֣הֶל מוֹעֵ֑ד אֲשֶׁ֨ר פָּקַ֤ד מֹשֶׁה֙ וְאַהֲרֹ֔ן עַל־פִּ֥י יְהוָ֖ה בְּיַד־מֹשֶֽׁה׃ ס
As you can see from the description, there were total of 2750 Kohathites, between the 30 and 50 years of age, and who were eligible to participate in bearing the Artifacts of the Tabernacle. This image shows all of the counted Kohathites(all 2750 of them) in comparison to the procession of the Artifacts of the Tabernacle:

Let's take a look at the Gershonites, who were responsible for all of the Fabrics of the Mishkan, which they would transport in two(2) Covered Wagons driven by four(4) Bulls.

Numbers 4:38-41
38 And those that were numbered of the sons of Gershon, throughout their families, and by the house of their fathers,

39 From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old, every one that entereth into the service, for the work in the tabernacle of the congregation,

40 Even those that were numbered of them, throughout their families, by the house of their fathers, were two thousand and six hundred and thirty.

41 These are they that were numbered of the families of the sons of Gershon, of all that might do service in the tabernacle of the congregation, whom Moses and Aaron did number according to the commandment of the LORD.

‎38 ‏וּפְקוּדֵ֖י בְּנֵ֣י גֵרְשׁ֑וֹן לְמִשְׁפְּחוֹתָ֖ם וּלְבֵ֥ית אֲבֹתָֽם׃

‎39 ‏מִבֶּ֨ן שְׁלֹשִׁ֤ים שָׁנָה֙ וָמַ֔עְלָה וְעַ֖ד בֶּן־חֲמִשִּׁ֣ים שָׁנָ֑ה כָּל־הַבָּא֙ לַצָּבָ֔א לַעֲבֹדָ֖ה בְּאֹ֥הֶל מוֹעֵֽד׃

‎40 ‏וַיִּֽהְיוּ֙ פְּקֻ֣דֵיהֶ֔ם לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָ֖ם לְבֵ֣ית אֲבֹתָ֑ם אַלְפַּ֕יִם וְשֵׁ֥שׁ מֵא֖וֹת וּשְׁלֹשִֽׁים׃

‎41 ‏אֵ֣לֶּה פְקוּדֵ֗י מִשְׁפְּחֹת֙ בְּנֵ֣י גֵרְשׁ֔וֹן כָּל־הָעֹבֵ֖ד בְּאֹ֣הֶל מוֹעֵ֑ד אֲשֶׁ֨ר פָּקַ֥ד מֹשֶׁ֛ה וְאַהֲרֹ֖ן עַל־פִּ֥י יְהוָֽה׃
As you can see from the description, there were total of 2630 Gershonites, between the 30 and 50 years of age, and who were eligible to participate in transporting the Fabrics of the Tabernacle. This image shows all of the counted Gershonites(all 2630 of them) in comparison to their two Wagons filled with fabrics of Tabernacle:

And finally, let's take a look at the Merarites, who were responsible for all of the Framework Parts of the Mishkan, which they would transport in four(4) Covered Wagons driven by eight(8) Bulls.


Numbers 4:42-45
42 And those that were numbered of the families of the sons of Merari, throughout their families, by the house of their fathers,

43 From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old, every one that entereth into the service, for the work in the tabernacle of the congregation,

44 Even those that were numbered of them after their families, were three thousand and two hundred.

45 These be those that were numbered of the families of the sons of Merari, whom Moses and Aaron numbered according to the word of the LORD by the hand of Moses.

42 ‏וּפְקוּדֵ֕י מִשְׁפְּחֹ֖ת בְּנֵ֣י מְרָרִ֑י לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָ֖ם לְבֵ֥ית אֲבֹתָֽם׃

‎43 ‏מִבֶּ֨ן שְׁלֹשִׁ֤ים שָׁנָה֙ וָמַ֔עְלָה וְעַ֖ד בֶּן־חֲמִשִּׁ֣ים שָׁנָ֑ה כָּל־הַבָּא֙ לַצָּבָ֔א לַעֲבֹדָ֖ה בְּאֹ֥הֶל מוֹעֵֽד׃

‎44 ‏וַיִּהְי֥וּ פְקֻדֵיהֶ֖ם לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָ֑ם שְׁלֹ֥שֶׁת אֲלָפִ֖ים וּמָאתָֽיִם׃

‎45 ‏אֵ֣לֶּה פְקוּדֵ֔י מִשְׁפְּחֹ֖ת בְּנֵ֣י מְרָרִ֑י אֲשֶׁ֨ר פָּקַ֤ד מֹשֶׁה֙ וְאַהֲרֹ֔ן עַל־פִּ֥י יְהוָ֖ה בְּיַד־מֹשֶֽׁה׃
As you can see from the description, there were total of 3200 Merarites, between the 30 and 50 years of age, and who were eligible to participate in transporting the Framework Parts of the entire Tabernacle. This image shows all of the counted Merarites (all 3200 of them) in comparison to their four Wagons filled with Framework Parts of Tabernacle:

And for the finishing touch, and so that you can truly appreciate the grandeur and magnitude of the event, here is the combined rendering of all of the eligible bearers of the Mishkan, from all of the three families of Levites. On this image you can see the entire procession of the Mishkan, plus all of the Kohathites(2750), all of the Gershonites(2630) and all of the Merarites(3200).

As you can see, the total number of people involved in the transportation of the Mishkan was 2750+2630+3200=8580, just like the Numbers 4:46-49 states:

46 All those that were numbered of the Levites, whom Moses and Aaron and the chief of Israel numbered, after their families, and after the house of their fathers,

47 From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old, every one that came to do the service of the ministry, and the service of the burden in the tabernacle of the congregation.

48 Even those that were numbered of them, were eight thousand and five hundred and fourscore,

49 According to the commandment of the LORD they were numbered by the hand of Moses, every one according to his service, and according to his burden: thus were they numbered of him, as the LORD commanded Moses.

‎46 ‏כָּֽל־הַפְּקֻדִ֡ים אֲשֶׁר֩ פָּקַ֨ד מֹשֶׁ֧ה וְאַהֲרֹ֛ן וּנְשִׂיאֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל אֶת־הַלְוִיִּ֑ם לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָ֖ם וּלְבֵ֥ית אֲבֹתָֽם׃
‎47 ‏מִבֶּ֨ן שְׁלֹשִׁ֤ים שָׁנָה֙ וָמַ֔עְלָה וְעַ֖ד בֶּן־חֲמִשִּׁ֣ים שָׁנָ֑ה כָּל־הַבָּ֗א לַעֲבֹ֨ד עֲבֹדַ֧ת עֲבֹדָ֛ה וַעֲבֹדַ֥ת מַשָּׂ֖א בְּאֹ֥הֶל מוֹעֵֽד׃

‎48 ‏וַיִּהְי֖וּ פְּקֻדֵיהֶ֑ם שְׁמֹנַ֣ת אֲלָפִ֔ים וַחֲמֵ֥שׁ מֵא֖וֹת וּשְׁמֹנִֽים׃

‎49 ‏עַל־פִּ֨י יְהוָ֜ה פָּקַ֤ד אוֹתָם֙ בְּיַד־מֹשֶׁ֔ה אִ֥ישׁ אִ֛ישׁ עַל־עֲבֹדָת֖וֹ וְעַל־מַשָּׂא֑וֹ וּפְקֻדָ֕יו אֲשֶׁר־צִוָּ֥ה יְהוָ֖ה אֶת־מֹשֶֽׁה׃ פ

Numbers 7:1-9 - Transportation of The Parts of the Mishkan - The Summary

After everything was said and done, and all of the parts of the Mishkan were packed inside the Wagons, the result would look like on the image below.
Please note, that individual parts of the Mishkan were probably wrapped into some sort of fabric before they were placed inside the Wagons: it would help to protect the parts from hitting each other, e.t.c. I'm not showing it for illustrative and convenience reasons.

The entire packed Mishkan, with all of its covered artefacts and wagons would look like this - there were total of six(6) carried artefacts, twelve(12) Bulls and six(6) Bull-drawn Covered Wagons.

Once the Wagons were ready and about to depart, they would be closed, and the packed Mishkan would look like this:

Let's re-read the description provided in Numbers 7:6-9:

6 And Moses took the wagons and the oxen, and gave them unto the Levites.

7 Two wagons and four oxen he gave unto the sons of Gershon, according to their service:

8 And four wagons and eight oxen he gave unto the sons of Merari, according unto their service, under the hand of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest.
9 But unto the sons of Kohath he gave none: because the service of the sanctuary belonging unto them was that they should bear upon their shoulders.

‎6 ‏וַיִּקַּ֣ח מֹשֶׁ֔ה אֶת־הָעֲגָלֹ֖ת וְאֶת־הַבָּקָ֑ר וַיִּתֵּ֥ן אוֹתָ֖ם אֶל־הַלְוִיִּֽם׃

‎7 ‏אֵ֣ת׀ שְׁתֵּ֣י הָעֲגָלֹ֗ת וְאֵת֙ אַרְבַּ֣עַת הַבָּקָ֔ר נָתַ֖ן לִבְנֵ֣י גֵרְשׁ֑וֹן כְּפִ֖י עֲבֹדָתָֽם׃

‎8 ‏וְאֵ֣ת׀ אַרְבַּ֣ע הָעֲגָלֹ֗ת וְאֵת֙ שְׁמֹנַ֣ת הַבָּקָ֔ר נָתַ֖ן לִבְנֵ֣י מְרָרִ֑י כְּפִי֙ עֲבֹ֣דָתָ֔ם בְּיַד֙ אִֽיתָמָ֔ר בֶּֽן־אַהֲרֹ֖ן הַכֹּהֵֽן׃

‎9 ‏וְלִבְנֵ֥י קְהָ֖ת לֹ֣א נָתָ֑ן כִּֽי־עֲבֹדַ֤ת הַקֹּ֙דֶשׁ֙ עֲלֵהֶ֔ם בַּכָּתֵ֖ף יִשָּֽׂאוּ׃
On the image bellow you can see the entire procession of the Mishkan carriers, ready to depart.

The Kohathites (top) would have to carry their burden (Numb7:9), but the Gershonites (two wagons on the left) and Merarites(four Wagons on the right) would not have to carry their burden themselves.

And on this image, you can see the entire procession of the Mishkan(from left to right): eighteen(18) Kohathites bearing the Artefacts of the Mishkan, two(2) Wagons of Gershonites with Mishkan Fabrics, four(4) Wagons of Merarites with Mishkan Frame Parts.

And here is a comparative image, that should give you an approximate idea of the length of such procession. It seems that it would be approximately 160 cubits(~73 meters) long.

If, on the other hand, the procession would be stretched like on this image, it would be more than twice as long (~330 cubits or 150 meters).

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Numbers 7:1-9 - Transportation of The Parts of the Mishkan - Part 3: The Burden of the Sons of Merari

As Numbers 7:1-7 told us, there were total of six(6) Covered Wagons and twelve(12) Bulls, that donated by the Chiefs of all Tribes of Israelites for the transport of the Mishkan Parts. Two(2) of the Wagons and four(4) of the Bulls were allocated to the family of Gershon, to transport the Tabernacle fabrics.  Like so:

The remaining four(4) Wagons and eight(8) of the Bulls were allocated to the family of Merari to transport the rest of the parts of the Tabernacle. Let's take a look:

Numbers 7:8
8 And four wagons and eight oxen he gave unto the sons of Merari, according unto their service, under the hand of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest.


‎8 ‏וְאֵ֣ת׀ אַרְבַּ֣ע הָעֲגָלֹ֗ת וְאֵת֙ שְׁמֹנַ֣ת הַבָּקָ֔ר נָתַ֖ן לִבְנֵ֣י מְרָרִ֑י כְּפִי֙ עֲבֹ֣דָתָ֔ם בְּיַד֙ אִֽיתָמָ֔ר בֶּֽן־אַהֲרֹ֖ן הַכֹּהֵֽן׃

As you can see from the image below, once the all of the fabrics (and their misc. parts) were placed upon the Wagons, the remaining four Wagons would be brought inside the Courtyard are of the Mishkan, like so:

The Wagons would be positioned probably somewhere in the center of the Courtyard, so as to allow convenient access, like so:

These four Wagons would be opened, so that the disassembly of the remains of the Mishkan could begin.

The burden of Merarites is explicitly defined in Numbers 4:29-33. Let's take a look:
29 As for the sons of Merari, thou shalt number them after their families, by the house of their fathers;

30 From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old shalt thou number them, every one that entereth into the service, to do the work of the tabernacle of the congregation.

31 And this is the charge of their burden, according to all their service in the tabernacle of the congregation; the boards of the tabernacle, and the bars thereof, and the pillars thereof, and sockets thereof,

32 And the pillars of the court round about, and their sockets, and their pins, and their cords, with all their instruments, and with all their service: and by name ye shall reckon the instruments of the charge of their burden.

33 This is the service of the families of the sons of Merari, according to all their service, in the tabernacle of the congregation, under the hand of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest.
‎29 ‏בְּנֵ֖י מְרָרִ֑י לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָ֥ם לְבֵית־אֲבֹתָ֖ם תִּפְקֹ֥ד אֹתָֽם׃

‎30 ‏מִבֶּן֩ שְׁלֹשִׁ֨ים שָׁנָ֜ה וָמַ֗עְלָה וְעַ֛ד בֶּן־חֲמִשִּׁ֥ים שָׁנָ֖ה תִּפְקְדֵ֑ם כָּל־הַבָּא֙ לַצָּבָ֔א לַעֲבֹ֕ד אֶת־עֲבֹדַ֖ת אֹ֥הֶל מוֹעֵֽד׃

‎31 ‏וְזֹאת֙ מִשְׁמֶ֣רֶת מַשָּׂאָ֔ם לְכָל־עֲבֹדָתָ֖ם בְּאֹ֣הֶל מוֹעֵ֑ד קַרְשֵׁי֙ הַמִּשְׁכָּ֔ן וּבְרִיחָ֖יו וְעַמּוּדָ֥יו וַאֲדָנָֽיו׃

‎32 ‏וְעַמּוּדֵי֩ הֶחָצֵ֨ר סָבִ֜יב וְאַדְנֵיהֶ֗ם וִֽיתֵדֹתָם֙ וּמֵ֣יתְרֵיהֶ֔ם לְכָל־כְּלֵיהֶ֔ם וּלְכֹ֖ל עֲבֹדָתָ֑ם וּבְשֵׁמֹ֣ת תִּפְקְד֔וּ אֶת־כְּלֵ֖י מִשְׁמֶ֥רֶת מַשָּׂאָֽם׃

‎33 ‏זֹ֣את עֲבֹדַ֗ת מִשְׁפְּחֹת֙ בְּנֵ֣י מְרָרִ֔י לְכָל־עֲבֹדָתָ֖ם בְּאֹ֣הֶל מוֹעֵ֑ד בְּיַד֙ אִֽיתָמָ֔ר בֶּֽן־אַהֲרֹ֖ן הַכֹּהֵֽן׃


As you can read from the description, Merarites were responsible for:


  1. 48 Gold-plated Boards of the Tent of the Mishkan

  2. 15 Gold-plated Bars of the Tent of the Mishkan

  3. 9 Gold-plated Pillars of the Tent of the Mishkan

  4. 4 Silver and 5 Copper Sockets for the Gold-plated Pillars of the Tent of the Mishkan

  5. 60 Wooden Pillars of the Courtyard of the Mishkan

  6. 60 Copper Sockets of the Pillars of the Courtyard of the Mishkan

  7. Set of Ropes and Copper Stakes that were used to secure the Pillars in place.

  8. All other miscellaneous parts, such as Silver and Golden Connecting Rods, Silver and Golden Caps for the Pillars, e.t.c.
Also, as Numbers 4:42-44 specifies, there were total of  3200 Merarites, between 30 and 50 years of age, that were eligible to handle the parts listed above:
42 And those that were numbered of the families of the sons of Merari, throughout their families, by the house of their fathers,

43 From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old, every one that entereth into the service, for the work in the tabernacle of the congregation,

44 Even those that were numbered of them after their families, were three thousand and two hundred.

‎42 ‏וּפְקוּדֵ֕י מִשְׁפְּחֹ֖ת בְּנֵ֣י מְרָרִ֑י לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָ֖ם לְבֵ֥ית אֲבֹתָֽם׃

‎43 ‏מִבֶּ֨ן שְׁלֹשִׁ֤ים שָׁנָה֙ וָמַ֔עְלָה וְעַ֖ד בֶּן־חֲמִשִּׁ֣ים שָׁנָ֑ה כָּל־הַבָּא֙ לַצָּבָ֔א לַעֲבֹדָ֖ה בְּאֹ֥הֶל מוֹעֵֽד׃

‎44 ‏וַיִּהְי֥וּ פְקֻדֵיהֶ֖ם לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָ֑ם שְׁלֹ֥שֶׁת אֲלָפִ֖ים וּמָאתָֽיִם׃

Anyway, the disassembly of the remaining structure would begin with Five(5) Outer Pillars of the Tent of the Mishkan. Merarites would probably use some arbitrary ladders to get to the top of the Tent, like so:

They would remove the five(5) Outer Pillars, their five(5) Copper Sockets, their five(5) Golden Caps and their four 2.5 cubit long gold-plated Connecting Rods, and they split all of these parts between the four Wagons, like so:

Here is a close-up look at two of the Wagons: notice how halves of the Pillars could be placed one upon another, so as to save the precious space.

Next, they would begin to disassemble the North-East part of the Northern Wall of the Tent, by taking out 3 out of 5 Staves out of the Rings in the Boards of the Tent. Since this is an important step, that is related to the length of the Wagons, I would like to take a more detailed look at it:

The three removed Staves were such: one was 30 cubits long, and two Staves were most likely 19 cubits long. These Staves would be placed into only two of the Wagons, to balance the load as you can see further...

And whereas I'm not completely sure about the length of the shorter Staves, the longer Stave had to be 30 cubits long(as per. Ex. 26:28 it had to be 1.5cubitsx20=30cubits). And since we also know that the Wagons were Covered(or enclosed) and all of the parts of the Mishkan had to fit inside of the Wagons, without protruding or hanging outside(and/or on the side), we can most definitely say that the length of the Wagons had to be at least 30 cubits(at least the length of the longest of the Staves) in order to accommodate them. Here is the rendering of one of the Wagon, that shows how such long Stave would fit inside of it, like so:

The remaining parts of the North-Eastern section of the wall of the Tent(13 Boards and 26 Silver Sockets) were spread among the Wagons, like so:

Resulting in this distribution of parts inside the Wagons:

Next, the South-East section of the South Wall of the Tent would have been disassembled, and its parts spread among the Wagons. It has consisted of 13 Boards, 26 Silver Sockets and 3 Bars(1x30 and 2x19 cubits bars).

Here is an overview of the Wagons with all of these parts placed inside...

Next, the Merarites would remove the four(4) Inner Pillars of the Tent, their four(4) Silver Sockets, their four(4) Golden Caps and their five(5) 2 cubits long Gold-plated Connecting Rods.

These parts would be spread between the Wagons, resulting in this:

Next, the remaining section of the Northern Wall of the Tent would have been removed, which consisted of 7 Boards, 2 of the remaining Bars(10 cubits each), and 14 Silver Sockets.

The resulting content of the Wagons would look like this:

Next, the North West Corner Board and its Sockets would have been disassembled and placed inside the Wagons.

Here is the resulting content of the Wagons, with the halves of corner board and two of its Silver Sockets inside: 

Next, Merarites would disassemble the Western Wall of the Tent, which consisted of 6 Boards, 5 Bars(1x9 cubits and 4x4cubits Bars) and 12 Silver Sockets:

These parts would be spread between the Wagons, resulting in this:

Next, they would disassemble the South West corner board of the Tent and its Sockets, and place in inside the Wagons:

The content of the Wagons, with two halves of the corner-board and its two Silver Sockets would look like this:

Finally, the remaining section of the Southern Wall of the Tent(the South West section) would have been disassembled. Its parts - 7 Boards, 14 Silver Sockets and two Bars(2x10 cubits Bars) - were spread between the Wagons, resulting in this:

And on this image you can see all of the parts of the Tent of the Mishkan inside four Wagons.

The only thing that was left to do now, is to dissemble the frame of the Courtyard of the Mishkan. The Merarites would begin this task with the removal of the sixty(60) Silver-plated Connecting Rods, that connected the Pillars one to another.

Since 60 is divisible by 4, it would be safe to assume that each of the Four(4) Wagons contained fifteen(15) of these Silver-plated Connecting Rods, each being 5 cubits long. Here is a close-up rendering, so that you can see these Rods better:

Next, the Merarites would remove the sixty(60) Silver Caps that were on top of the Courtyard Pillars, and also the Ropes that connected Caps to the Copper Stakes. 

Each Wagon would have to carry 60/4=15 Silver Caps. And, if we assume that each Pillar was secured by two pieces of Rope, 120/4=30 pieces of rope per wagon, each Rope being ~6-7 cubits long.

Here is the close-up rendering of two of the Wagons, so that you can see the Caps and the Ropes better:

Next, they would disassemble and remove the sixty(60) Pillars of the Courtyard of the Mishkan and place them upon the Wagons, 60/4=15 Pillars per Wagon like so:

Since the Pillars consisted of two equal semi-cylindrical parts, they could have been stacked one upon another, helping to save space. Here is the close-up rendering of two of the Wagons with disassembled Pillars stacked up inside:

And the last parts of the Mishkan to be removed were the sixty(60) Copper Sockets that held the Courtyard Pillars.

Also 60/4=15 Copper Sockets per Wagon, they would be placed bellow the Silver Caps of the Courtyard Pillars to help to use the available space efficiently.

The resulting content of the Wagons, with ALL of the parts of the Mishkan inside, would look like this:

And here is a close-up view of the content of one of the four Wagons. As you can see, the size of the Wagon appears to be very reasonable in lieu of the parts of the Mishkan that had to be placed in it.
The weight of all the parts in each of the Wagons was the same, and was approximately 1-1.5 metric tons, which is a reasonable value considering the weight that the draft animals(two Bulls) can pull.

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