Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Exodus 26:35 - Location of The Table of Shewbread and The Golden Lampstand within The Mishkan - Part 1

This verse discusses the position of the Table of Shewbread and The Golden Lampstand within the Tent of the Mishkan.

Lets' take a look...

Exodus 26:35

35 And thou shalt set the table without the vail, and the candlestick over against the table on the side of the tabernacle toward the south: and thou shalt put the table on the north side.

‎35 ‏וְשַׂמְתָּ֤ אֶת־הַשֻּׁלְחָן֙ מִח֣וּץ לַפָּרֹ֔כֶת וְאֶת־הַמְּנֹרָה֙ נֹ֣כַח הַשֻּׁלְחָ֔ן עַ֛ל צֶ֥לַע הַמִּשְׁכָּ֖ן תֵּימָ֑נָה וְהַ֨שֻּׁלְחָ֔ן תִּתֵּ֖ן עַל־צֶ֥לַע צָפֽוֹן׃

The Table of Showbread was put right next to the Northern Wall of the Tent, in the middle of the Holy Place(The Sanctuary).

As far as I can tell at this moment, the edge of the Table was half(0.5) a cubit off the Northern Wall, and nine and a half(9.5) cubits from the both the Vail and the Entrance Curtain.
Or, if you would count from the Center of the Table, you can say that the Table stood one(1) cubit off the Northern Wall, and ten(10) cubits from the innner edges of both rows of the Tent Pillars.

As you can see, such positioning of the Table is not only natural but is also very efficient in terms of usage of the limited space of The Sanctuary room.

Notice the reflections on the wall and an overall beauty of the structure...

And here is a view from the top...

 And here is a view from the top, directly from above the Table...

I would like to note, that it is possible that the Table might have been located 0.5 cubits closer to the Vail that I'm showing it here, making the effective length from its center 10 cubits(to the Vail) and 11 cubits(to the Entrance Curtain) respectively. I'm still trying to find the exact values, so bear with me...

On the other hand, traditional sources such as Babylonian Talmud (Seder Moed, Tractat Yoma, 33b) and Rashi Commentary (on Exodus 26:35) put the table two and a half(2.5) cubits from the Northern Wall and ten(10)(?) cubits from the Entrance(?).

As you can see, this traditional description is not only problematic in the way it positions the Table, but also it is unclear, as it does not state from between which points(of the Table and of the Tent) this length was calculated.

In fact, most relatively modern commentators(i.e Cassuto) do not express any opinion on the matter whatsoever, as they seem to be very much aware of the difficulties with this Mishnaic description.

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