Sunday, June 12, 2011

Exodus 26:31-33 - Detailed Inner Curtain (Vail or "Parochet") description

In my previous post, I have discussed the Outer Curtain ("masach") of the Tent of the Tabernacle. Now I would like to discuss the Inner Curtain (The Vail) of the Tent of the Tabernacle.


The primary purpose of this Vail was to separate the Tent into two rooms, as well as to serve as one of the coverings for the Ark of The Covenant.


Let's take a look at the description (Exodus 26:31-33):
31 And thou shalt make a vail of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen of cunning work: with cherubims shall it be made:

32 And thou shalt hang it upon four pillars of shittim wood overlaid with gold: their hooks shall be of gold, upon the four sockets of silver.

33 And thou shalt hang up the vail under the taches, that thou mayest bring in thither within the vail the ark of the testimony: and the vail shall divide unto you between the holy place and the most holy.

31 ‏וְעָשִׂ֣יתָ פָרֹ֗כֶת תְּכֵ֧לֶת וְאַרְגָּמָ֛ן וְתוֹלַ֥עַת שָׁנִ֖י וְשֵׁ֣שׁ מָשְׁזָ֑ר מַעֲשֵׂ֥ה חֹשֵׁ֛ב יַעֲשֶׂ֥ה אֹתָ֖הּ כְּרֻבִֽים׃

‎32 ‏וְנָתַתָּ֣ה אֹתָ֗הּ עַל־אַרְבָּעָה֙ עַמּוּדֵ֣י שִׁטִּ֔ים מְצֻפִּ֣ים זָהָ֔ב וָוֵיהֶ֖ם זָהָ֑ב עַל־אַרְבָּעָ֖ה אַדְנֵי־כָֽסֶף׃

‎33 ‏וְנָתַתָּ֣ה אֶת־הַפָּרֹכֶת֮ תַּ֣חַת הַקְּרָסִים֒ וְהֵבֵאתָ֥ שָׁ֙מָּה֙ מִבֵּ֣ית לַפָּרֹ֔כֶת אֵ֖ת אֲר֣וֹן הָעֵד֑וּת וְהִבְדִּילָ֤ה הַפָּרֹ֙כֶת֙ לָכֶ֔ם בֵּ֣ין הַקֹּ֔דֶשׁ וּבֵ֖ין קֹ֥דֶשׁ הַקֳּדָשִֽׁים׃
As you can see, when describing the Vail the expression פרכת ("parochet") is used. However, and just like with the Outer Curtain, the original text does not provide exact details about the layout of the Vail. It can be only found in Exodus 35:12, Exodus 39:44, Exodus 40:21 and particularly in Numbers 4:5.

In these verses, the Vail is called properly "vail of the covering", although the literal translation would sound more like "curtains of the portiere". Again, notice the PLURAL form of the expression "Vail". This means that the Vail was most likely a set of 5 pieces of fabric that hung from 4 Inner Pillars of the Tent, from Gold Plated Connecting Rods and were secured with Golden Hooks.


Unfortunately, this is where the difficulty lies. As the description of the Vail states, it played a crucial role in the entire layout of the Tent, as the Vail, according to Exodus 26:33, had to hang right below the so-called "clasps" of the First and Second Coverings of the Tent. Whereas I have indicated in this post that the description speaks primarily of the Copper Clasps of the Second (goat's hair) Covering, the question still remains as what to do with the Gold Clasps of the First Covering (cherub woven) Covering of the Tent.

As you can see from this image below (and above as well), ideal location for the Golden Clasps of the First Covering would have been also right below the Vail. And even though it can be easily accomplished with help of my layout, there are several possible ways to do it and this is where I'm not sure yet how to proceed.

Also, considering that the diameter of the 4 Inner Pillars of the Tent was 1 cubit, it would obviously direct the measurements of the "partitions" of the Vail as well. You can see on the image below, that 3 middle partitions of the Vail would be 1 cubit wide, whereas remaining two side partitions would be 1.5 cubits. However, if we were to calculate the area of the Vail, we would still arrive at very nice number of (1.5 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1.5) * 10 = 6 * 10 = 60 cubits^2. Just like the area of the Outer Curtain (masach), that was also equal to (1.5 + 1.5 +1.5+1.5) * 10 = 6 * 10 = 60 cubits^2.

Therefore, in order to put all parts of the Tent of The Tabernacle together, we would need to answer two questions:
  1. Where Clasps of First and Second Coverings were located with respect to the Vail?
  2. Is such division of the Vail (1.5 + 1 + 1 +1 + 1.5) feasible and correct?

I will try to present you with the answer to these questions once I have finished updating my models. However, I hope that you will be able to figure it out for yourself since that now you know the correct terminology and correct diameter of the Pillars of the Tent.

P.S. I know that Parochet is plural because there are manuscripts that show that. Here is Kennicott on Exodus 26:31 and Exodus 26:33. I circled the differences.


As you can see, in 31 in uses word "them" (plural) in 5 manuscripts, including one where it is the main reading. So the blatant editing is proven beyond any reasonable doubt.

And in 33, there was originally no word Parochet (it is absent) so it is not a problem at all. Once again, it is clearly the editing issue.

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