Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Exodus 26:17 - Tenons of the Boards of the Tabernacle (Review)

I think I have extensively covered this subject in my previous posts, particularly in this one. However, I wanted to elaborate even more and show you the closest, real-life model of what the Boards of the Tabernacle and their Tenons might have looked like.

What you see on this first picture, is the sample (courtesy of Home Depot) of Genesis American Cherry Natural Engineered Real Hardwood Flooring Plank (yes, that description is pretty long, I know ;)

This particular sample is 3/8in (~9.525mm thick) which is very close to my approximation of the wood thickness of the Boards of the Tabernacle (0.0225 cubits - 0.02cm -0.02cm = 9.887mm).and it is made out of 5-ply cross grain engineered wood, which is in my opinion, is the most probable technique that with which the actual Tabernacle Boards were constructed. And even though some other approach might have been used, what you are looking at is as close as you can get to the real thing.

Another notable thing about this sample, is that it utilises a special interlocking mechanism on its sides. This is of the most importance to us as, in my opinion, this is exactly how the so-called "Tenons" described in Exodus 26:17 would look like. As you can see from this picture below, there are two(2) "Tenons" [literally - "Hands" (ידות) ]on each side of this sample, "set in order one against another" just like the Biblical text says. 

As you can see from this close-up view, each such "Tenon" indeed resembles a "Hand" of sorts, that would grab another "Hand" of another similar plank and form one joining.

As you can also see, this "Hand" is a part of the plank, which means that just like the original text says, these "Hands" were included in the dimensions and just like on this sample were probably around 3/8in wide (equal to the thickness of the wood of the Board.

And here is the most interesting part - the interlocking mechanism in action. Just like the text says, these "Tenons" or "Hands" were [מְשֻׁלָּבֹ֔ת אִשָּׁ֖ה אֶל־אֲחֹתָ֑הּ], which is translated as "set in order one against another", or " joined one unto another" or " being projected each to its fellow".

As you can see, this particular design of these "Hands" perfectly fits the all of the translations (and the original text of'course), allowing each such "Hand" grab one another, like so:

Locking in place and forming very rigid, strong bond between two adjacent Boards, like so:

And as you can see from this image, another major advantage of such joining system and this particular interlocking mechanism is that the seams are almost unnoticeable, allowing to create an illusion of single larger piece of wood. With proper manufacturing and matching of each piece, the joining can be improved even further.

For comparison, here are couple of similar samples with different interlocking mechanism (traditional mortise-tenon system), that shows an INCORRECT way of understanding the joining of the Boards of the Tabernacle:

As you can see from the image above and below, only one side of each such sample has a "Hand" (or Tenon), another side has groove. And even though such interlocking mechanism is also very good, it DOES NOT fit Biblical description and therefore - incorrect.

Last, but not least, here is another INCORRECT was of understanding the  "Tenons" mentioned in Exodus 26:17. This is a traditional explanation:

As you can see from this diagram, not only the Boards shown here are impossibly thick (1 cubit), but also the "Tenons" labeled here as "יד חקרש "are simply on the wrong side of the Board.

This is due to the incorrect traditional understanding and translation of the word (ידות) as "Pegs" (or "Feet") instead of "Hands". This is, of'course, simply preposterous and heretical treatment of the Holy text and here is why:

If the word  (ידות) [yāḏwōṯ] in Exodus 26:17 would indeed mean "Pegs", the word (יתדת) [yiṯəḏōṯ] would have been used as it does indeed in the description of the Courtyard Pillars Pegs (i.e Exodus 27:19).

Or, if the word  (ידות) [yāḏwōṯ] in Exodus 26:17 would imply "Feet", the word (רגליו) [raḡəlāyw] as in Exodus 25:26 would have been used.

So, as you can see, the traditional explanation of the "Tenons" of the Boards of the Tabernacle is outright  and obviously INCORRECT !!!

You may be asking yourself, if the word  (ידות) [yāḏwōṯ] in Exodus 26:17 indeed implies some form of an interlocking mechanism, would the Children of Israel posses the technology, skills and opportunity to make such intricate and seemingly hi-tech Boards?

Yes they most definitely would! Not only that, but like I mentioned on several occasions, the technology to make such Boards and interlocking mechanism is relatively simple and was well known in pre-exodus Egypt.


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