Friday, January 29, 2010

Exodus 25:39-40 - The Golden Menorah (Lampstand) - Weight and Shape

The Menorah (The Lampstand), its Seven Golden Lamps and its Golden Utensils were all made out of one (1) Talent of pure gold.

Exodus 25:39

39 Of a talent of pure gold shall he make it, with all these vessels.

39 ‏כִּכָּ֛ר זָהָ֥ב טָה֖וֹר יַעֲשֶׂ֣ה אֹתָ֑הּ אֵ֥ת כָּל־הַכֵּלִ֖ים הָאֵֽלֶּה׃

As you can see, the entire Lampstand was made out of a relatively small piece of gold.
( 1 Gold Talent is a larger cube on the picture)
(three smaller cubes are for comparison and are equal to one large cube)

One(1) Gold Talent weight is equal to 30-34kg, and has volume of approximately 12 cubic cm. As of this posts' date, the price tag of this Lampstand its Lamps and Utensils would stand at around $1.2 USD. You can use one of the online calculators to see for yourself - this one, for example.

Three little cubes on the picture represent a standard 400oz golden bars 12.4kg each, with a price tag of $430k each.

Check out this document and this wiki article for more details.

And in case you are wondering how such a small volume of metal (gold) could be forged into something that looks that big, you can re-read my previous post on characteristics of gold or this wiki article.

Let me also point out a few things about the shape of the Menorah:

Exodus 25:40 
40 And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount.

‎40 ‏וּרְאֵ֖ה וַעֲשֵׂ֑ה בְּתַ֨בְנִיתָ֔ם אֲשֶׁר־אַתָּ֥ה מָרְאֶ֖ה בָּהָֽר׃ ס

Whereas I cannot claim that my reconstruction of the Lampstand is 100% correct, it nevertheless does include all details that are at least outlined directly in the original text.

The following images are the most common, but, obviously, incorrect representations of the Menorah:

This one lacks 3 flowers on top of the Stem.

This one also lacks 3 flowers on top of the Stem. It also has straight branches.

And this is not a Menorah at all, but a Hanukiah - a nine-branched candelabrum.
You can compare these two wiki descriptions: Menorah vs. Hanukiah

Therefore, these three examples can be considered only as an artistic representations of an actual Menorah.

(UPDATE 08/17/2010) Please note, that I'm not sure about the weight of 1 Talent of Gold being ~34kg. It seems to me that the weight of 1 Talent of Gold should be equivalent to that of 1 Talent of Silver (as per. Ex.38:24). I'm still working on figuring out the proper conversion table for these units.

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