Monday, October 24, 2011

Collection of the Tabernacle Illustrations

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I have found two web sites that contain various artistic illustrations of the Tabernacle. Covered are pretty much all parts and pieces, made by different artists or scanned from different books.

But first of all, please see my panoramic images of the Tabernacle. Click here to go to the page. You may need a plugin, so install it as it will be worth it. Here is the best panorama:

First web site is of the Portland Bible study group. There are many more illustrations if you will follow the link, but here are some notable ones:

Here is an overview of the Tabernacle camp:
Overview of the Tabernacle Mishkan and the camp

Here is another overview of the Tabernacle and camp:
Tabernacle Mishkan and the Camp

Here is a labeled diagram of the camp with tribes names and locations:


Pillar of Fire at night above the Tabernacle Mishkan

Pillar of Fire at night above Mishkan Tabernacle



This one below is the most accurate I've seen so far. Not sure who the painter is.


Here is one of the traditional Tabernacle Courtyard layouts. It is obviously incorrect for the many reasons I have stated in my previous posts and an article.
Incorrect Tabernacle Mishkan Tent and Courtyard Layout Diagram

Here is also one of the traditional layouts of the western side of the Tabernacle Tent Frame. Also incorrect for the reasons that I have covered numerous times:
Incorrect Tabernacle Mishkan Tent Layout Diagram

Another layout of the Tent of the Tabernacle. Also incorrect.
Incorrect Tabernacle Mishkan Tent Layout Diagram

Here is the schematic diagram of many Tabernacle parts. Many of them incorrect as they are based on the traditional interpretations and opinions.
Tabernacle Mishkan Overview and diagram


Incorrect layout of the Tabernacle Mishkan and the Courtyard

Here is the Ark of the Covenant Rendering.
Ark of the Covenant 3D

And this is how High Priest would talk to God on Yom Kippur in Holy of Holies
(Unknown painter)
High Priest talking to God above Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant

Levites carrying the Ark of the Covenant
Levites carrying the Ark of the Covenant

Here is the Breastplate of Judgement of the High Priest (Aaron). Schematic artistic rendering according to one of the traditional interpretations.
Breastplate of Judgement of High Priest Ephod with 12 precious stones

Here is an artistic rendering of the High Priest in his priestly garments.
High Priest and High Priest Garments Layout and Diagram

Here is yet one more schematic diagram of the High Priest Garments, labeled according to the verses from the text.
High Priest and High Priest Garments Layout and Diagram

High Priest and High Priest Garments Layout and Diagram

And here is another artistic rendering of the High Priest in his garments, surrounded by regular Levites who also served at the Tabernacle.
High Priest and High Priest Garments Rendering

The second web site is rather a commercial venture where different Bible illustrators post their images for sale. Since there are too many of them there and they are all copyrighted, I'm not going to post any pictures here, but I encourage you to follow this second link as well and browse around by using different search criteria. There are many beautiful, insightful and modern images there. Here is the link with an arbitrary search terms.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Festival of Huts (Sukkot)

The last out of five major holidays, and the third of the mandatory holidays, is the Festival of Huts (aka Feast of Tabernacles, Festival of Booths, Sukkot, e.t.c).

The most interesting and important detail about this holiday is the type of dwelling that being celebrated. Let's take a look at the original text first, in Leviticus 23:39-43:
39 Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath.

40 And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days.

41 And ye shall keep it a feast unto the LORD seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month.

42 Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths:

43 That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
39 ‏אַ֡ךְ בַּחֲמִשָּׁה֩ עָשָׂ֨ר י֜וֹם לַחֹ֣דֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִיעִ֗י בְּאָסְפְּכֶם֙ אֶת־תְּבוּאַ֣ת הָאָ֔רֶץ תָּחֹ֥גּוּ אֶת־חַג־יְהוָ֖ה שִׁבְעַ֣ת יָמִ֑ים בַּיּ֤וֹם הָֽרִאשׁוֹן֙ שַׁבָּת֔וֹן וּבַיּ֥וֹם הַשְּׁמִינִ֖י שַׁבָּתֽוֹן׃
40 ‏וּלְקַחְתֶּ֨ם לָכֶ֜ם בַּיּ֣וֹם הָרִאשׁ֗וֹן פְּרִ֨י עֵ֤ץ הָדָר֙ כַּפֹּ֣ת תְּמָרִ֔ים וַעֲנַ֥ף עֵץ־עָבֹ֖ת וְעַרְבֵי־נָ֑חַל וּשְׂמַחְתֶּ֗ם לִפְנֵ֛י יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶ֖ם שִׁבְעַ֥ת יָמִֽים׃
‎41 ‏וְחַגֹּתֶ֤ם אֹתוֹ֙ חַ֣ג לַֽיהוָ֔ה שִׁבְעַ֥ת יָמִ֖ים בַּשָּׁנָ֑ה חֻקַּ֤ת עוֹלָם֙ לְדֹרֹ֣תֵיכֶ֔ם בַּחֹ֥דֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִיעִ֖י תָּחֹ֥גּוּ אֹתֽוֹ׃
‎42 ‏בַּסֻּכֹּ֥ת תֵּשְׁב֖וּ שִׁבְעַ֣ת יָמִ֑ים כָּל־הָֽאֶזְרָח֙ בְּיִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל יֵשְׁב֖וּ בַּסֻּכֹּֽת׃
‎43 ‏לְמַעַן֮ יֵדְע֣וּ דֹרֹֽתֵיכֶם֒ כִּ֣י בַסֻּכּ֗וֹת הוֹשַׁ֙בְתִּי֙ אֶת־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל בְּהוֹצִיאִ֥י אוֹתָ֖ם מֵאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרָ֑יִם אֲנִ֖י יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶֽם׃
As you can see, on this holiday, people are required to dwell in "huts" ("סכת" sukkot, plural). The reason why I'm using the word "hut" and not "booths" or "tabernacles" is not accidental.

In the original text the following major distinctions are made:
  1. "סכה" (sukkah - hut) is a "Temporary Mobile SHELTER". See Lev. 23:40 above.
  2. "אהל" (ohel - tent) is a "Permanent Mobile DWELLING" See Gen. 25:27
  3. "בית" (beit - house) is a "Permanent Stationary STRUCTURE" See Gen. 33:17
For comparison and posterity here are the definitions provided by the Oxford Dictionary for all of these types of shelters:

  1. Hut - "a small single-story building of simple or crude construction, serving as a poor, rough, or temporary house or shelter."
  2. Booth - "a small temporary tent or structure at a market, fair, or exhibition, used for selling goods, providing information, or staging shows."
  3. Tent - "a portable shelter made of cloth, supported by one or more poles and stretched tight by cords or loops attached to pegs driven into the ground."
  4. Tabernacle - "(in biblical use) a fixed or movable habitation, typically of light construction. a tent used as a sanctuary for the Ark of the Covenant by the Israelites during the Exodus and until the building of the Temple."
  5. Building (related - House) - "a structure with a roof and walls, such as a house, school, store, or factory"
Thus, we can't call this holiday a "Festival of Booths", as a "Booth" is not a shelter, it is more of a structure or a dwelling; and it may not be necessarily temporary as "booths" usually constructed out of processed materials.

We can't call this holiday a "Festival of Tabernacles/Tents" either, as the Tabernacle/Tent is also somewhat of a structure rather than a shelter.

The "huts", however, are usually more of a shelter, rather than a structure and is usually made out of the materials specified in the Lev. 23:40.

Thus, in my humble opinions, the "Festival of Huts", or even better, "Festival of Shelters of Branches" is the most appropriate translation of the original text, as well as the most notable detail as far as the comparison with the Tabernacle goes.

Also, as you can see from the description above, these "huts" were to be made out of fresh, UNPROCESSED wood and foliage, as opposed to (i.e.) Tabernacle that was made out of processed  plant AND animal materials. 

Therefore, the "hut" required for the holiday would look like a palm hut/fishing hut of sorts, somewhat like so (image from this web site):


Compare it with the traditional Jewish structure (from this web site):

And just for fun (only in the spirit of the holiday), here is a modern and rather abstract concept of a Sukkah as envisioned by some Jewish "architects" (image from this website - detailed drawing here):

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur)

The fourth out of five major holidays is the Yom ha-Kippurim: lit. the Day of  Shelters. Traditionally this holiday is known as the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur (singular). The word "kippur" literally refers to the Lid of the Ark of the Covenant (i.e Ex. 25:17) and thus the name of the Holiday.

Let's take a look at the main description that can be found in Levtiticus 23:26-32:
26 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

27 Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.

28 And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God.

29 For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people.

30 And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people.

31 Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.

32 It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.

26 ‏וַיְדַבֵּ֥ר יְהוָ֖ה אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֥ה לֵּאמֹֽר׃

‎27 ‏אַ֡ךְ בֶּעָשׂ֣וֹר לַחֹדֶשׁ֩ הַשְּׁבִיעִ֨י הַזֶּ֜ה י֧וֹם הַכִּפֻּרִ֣ים ה֗וּא מִֽקְרָא־קֹ֙דֶשׁ֙ יִהְיֶ֣ה לָכֶ֔ם וְעִנִּיתֶ֖ם אֶת־נַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶ֑ם וְהִקְרַבְתֶּ֥ם אִשֶּׁ֖ה לַיהוָֽה׃

‎28 ‏וְכָל־מְלָאכָה֙ לֹ֣א תַעֲשׂ֔וּ בְּעֶ֖צֶם הַיּ֣וֹם הַזֶּ֑ה כִּ֣י י֤וֹם כִּפֻּרִים֙ ה֔וּא לְכַפֵּ֣ר עֲלֵיכֶ֔ם לִפְנֵ֖י יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶֽם׃

‎29 ‏כִּ֤י כָל־הַנֶּ֙פֶשׁ֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר לֹֽא־תְעֻנֶּ֔ה בְּעֶ֖צֶם הַיּ֣וֹם הַזֶּ֑ה וְנִכְרְתָ֖ה מֵֽעַמֶּֽיהָ׃

‎30 ‏וְכָל־הַנֶּ֗פֶשׁ אֲשֶׁ֤ר תַּעֲשֶׂה֙ כָּל־מְלָאכָ֔ה בְּעֶ֖צֶם הַיּ֣וֹם הַזֶּ֑ה וְהַֽאֲבַדְתִּ֛י אֶת־הַנֶּ֥פֶשׁ הַהִ֖וא מִקֶּ֥רֶב עַמָּֽהּ׃

‎31 ‏כָּל־מְלָאכָ֖ה לֹ֣א תַעֲשׂ֑וּ חֻקַּ֤ת עוֹלָם֙ לְדֹרֹ֣תֵיכֶ֔ם בְּכֹ֖ל מֹֽשְׁבֹֽתֵיכֶֽם׃

‎32 ‏שַׁבַּ֨ת שַׁבָּת֥וֹן הוּא֙ לָכֶ֔ם וְעִנִּיתֶ֖ם אֶת־נַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶ֑ם בְּתִשְׁעָ֤ה לַחֹ֙דֶשׁ֙ בָּעֶ֔רֶב מֵעֶ֣רֶב עַד־עֶ֔רֶב תִּשְׁבְּת֖וּ שַׁבַּתְּכֶֽם׃ פ

More detailed description can be found in ‎Leviticus 16:1-34, and since its relevant to the Tabernacle, I would like you to follow this brief summary of the holiday proceedings:

The ritual would be performed by the High Priest himself. No one else would be allowed to do it. The priest would have to follow a set of very specific and strict rules so as to avoid any problems such as in the the death of two sons of Aaron (which are mentioned in the first verses of the description on purpose and as a reminder for non-compliance).

I did not research the procedure in detail and maybe mistaken, but it appears that the ritual would begin at sundown (Lev. 23:32):

After initial preparations (Lev. 16:1-11), the High Priest would first fill the Tent of the Tabernacle with Incense fumes (Lev. 16:12-13):

Only then, when Incense smoke would fill and cover (kippur) the entire Tent, only then he would enter the Holy of Hollies section so do the ritualistic blood sprinkling upon the actual "kippur" - the Ark of the Covenants' Lid (Mercy Seat) [Lev. 16:14-15] Thus the name of the Holiday.

He then would sprinkle blood about the rest of the Tent (the Holy Place). He would be alone inside while doing this. (Lev. 16:16-17) 

The High Priest would then exit the Tent of the Tabernacle and proceed to atone the Altar of Burnt Offering, sprinkling blood upon its four Horns. (Lev. 16:18-19).


Once he would be done with that, the High Priest would "curse" the so-called chosen "Goat of Departure", the Scapegoat, and assign one of the priests(?) to take it out to the wilderness and release it there. (Lev 16:20-22)

This would signify that the sins are now far away from the congregation. Lev(16:22) Like so:

Then the Priest would conclude the ritual by washing himself in water; the other person who took the Scapegoat out in the wilderness would also be required to wash himself in water. Other miscellaneous procedures would be performed as well and the "humbling of the soul" (fasting) would commence.(Lev. 16:23-34.

Last, but not least, the blow of the Silver Thrumphets would be used to announce the beginning of the holiday: 

I hope that this gave you an idea of what the ritual of the Day of Atonement looked at the times of the Tabernacle. But I hope that once I will finish updating my models, I would be able to provide you with more comprehensive review of this interesting ritual.

Have a great Yom ha-Kippurim!

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