Monday, May 31, 2010

Numbers 4:11 - Transportation of The Altar Of Incense

Once the Ark Of The Covenant, The Table of Shewbread and the Golden Lampstand were covered and ready for the transportation, it was time to cover the Golden Altar Of Incense. Let's take a look:

Numbers 4:11
11 And upon the golden altar they shall spread a cloth of blue, and cover it with a covering of badgers' skins, and shall put to the staves thereof:

11 ‏וְעַ֣ל׀ מִזְבַּ֣ח הַזָּהָ֗ב יִפְרְשׂוּ֙ בֶּ֣גֶד תְּכֵ֔לֶת וְכִסּ֣וּ אֹת֔וֹ בְּמִכְסֵ֖ה ע֣וֹר תָּ֑חַשׁ וְשָׂמ֖וּ אֶת־בַּדָּֽיו׃
 Before the Altar of Incense was covered, the inside of the Tent would look like this... 

Just like with the rest of the artefacts, the Altar of Incense was moved toward the center of the Tent so as to allow convenient access to it during covering. Other artefacts were moved most likely towards the exit. It looked somewhat like this:

As the description states, the First Covering of the Altar of Incense was the Blue Cloth Covering. It was also similar to that of the other artefacts, probably 10x10 cubits although I'm not quite sure about its dimensions yet.

Here is the close-up view of the covered Altar...

The Second Covering of the Altar of Incense was the covering of Tachash Skins. This covering would be placed over the First Covering, completely hiding it from the view. Like so:

Both Covering of the Altar were fitted and tucked around it, and also around its two Golden Rings, resulting in this:

And, as the description states, before the covering of the Altar was finished, its Carrying Staves were inserted into its Rings. As you can see from the image below, both Coverings would be fitted between the Altars' sides and the Staves.

And here is an overview of the inside of the Tent of The Mishkan with all of its artefacts covered and ready to be transported.

During the transportation, the Altar of Incense would look like this:

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Numbers 4:9-10 - Transportation of The Golden Lampstand (The Menorah)

After the Ark of The Covenant and The Table of Shewbread were covered, it was time to prepare and cover The Golden Lampstand (aka The Golden Candlestick, or - The Menorah). Let's take a look:

Number 4:9-10

9 And they shall take a cloth of blue, and cover the candlestick of the light, and his lamps, and his tongs, and his snuffdishes, and all the oil vessels thereof, wherewith they minister unto it:

10 And they shall put it and all the vessels thereof within a covering of badgers' skins, and shall put it upon a bar.

‎9 ‏וְלָקְח֣וּ׀ בֶּ֣גֶד תְּכֵ֗לֶת וְכִסּ֞וּ אֶת־מְנֹרַ֤ת הַמָּאוֹר֙ וְאֶת־נֵ֣רֹתֶ֔יהָ וְאֶת־מַלְקָחֶ֖יהָ וְאֶת־מַחְתֹּתֶ֑יהָ וְאֵת֙ כָּל־כְּלֵ֣י שַׁמְנָ֔הּ אֲשֶׁ֥ר יְשָׁרְתוּ־לָ֖הּ בָּהֶֽם׃

‎10 ‏וְנָתְנ֤וּ אֹתָהּ֙ וְאֶת־כָּל־כֵּלֶ֔יהָ אֶל־מִכְסֵ֖ה ע֣וֹר תָּ֑חַשׁ וְנָתְנ֖וּ עַל־הַמּֽוֹט׃

Once the Ark and the Table were covered, the Tent of The Tabernacle would look like this:

In order to cover the Golden Lampstand, it had to be moved to the middle of the Tent, so as to allow convenient access to all of its sides. Also, all of the Seven Golden Lamps of the Lampstand, as well as all of its Golden Utensils, were removed from it prior to packing it. If you would zoom in on this image, you will see that there are no Lamps on the Lampstand.

The First Covering of The Lampstand was - The Blue Cloth Covering. It was similar to those of the Ark and of the Table, although I'm not quite sure about its dimensions. Perhaps 10x10 cubits or 15x15 cubits would have been enough.

Once the First Covering (the Blue Cloth) was spread over the Lampstand, it would look like so:

As the description states, the Golden Utensils of the Lampstand were packed into the very same Blue Cloth that was covering the Lampstand. On this image you can see how it was done, as well as all of the Lampstands' Utensils(from left to right): Golden Oil Pans, Seven Golden Lamps, Golden Oil Jars.

Please note, that this is the first time that the Golden Oil Jars("כָּל־כְּלֵ֣י שַׁמְנָ֔הּ") of the Golden Lampstand are mentioned. They were probably relatively small(10-15cm), with the Spout at an angle, so that it would be convenient to refill the Lamps and the Oil Pans. These Golden Oil Jars most likely featured a Spout Cork as well, so as to prevent oil from spilling out accidentally and during the transportation. Here is the rendering of how these Jars might have looked like:

Once all of the Golden Utensils were placed upon the Blue Cloth right under the Lampstand, the edges of the Cloth were rolled over, covering them completely. Like so:

And then, this Blue Cloth was adjusted and fitted under the Lampstand and closer to its base. Like so:

The Second Covering of the Lampstand was the Covering of Tachash Skins. As the description states(Numb. 4:10), this Second Covering was not really a covering, but a literally a "pouch" or "pocket" of sorts. The Covered Lampstand and its Utensils were placed over this Tachash Pouch, and then it was rolled up all the way to the top of the covered Lampstand to completely enclose it.
Here is the rendering of this Tachash Covering half the way up the Lampstand...

And here is the completely covered Lampstand...

And here is how the inside of the Tent of the Mishkan looked like, with the Lampstand completely covered.

The last detail that Numb.4:10 mentions is: the special Carrying Pole. The expression ("הַמּֽוֹט") means literally "a Carrying Yoke". It was basically a long pole, probably 7-10 cubits long, 3-5cm in diameter. It was of a "yoke" shape(bended in the middle) and it was most likely made out of Shittim Wood, just like the rest of the Mishkan. It looked like so:

For comparison, I would like to provide you with several photographic images. The three images below were provided by Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam. These images show, even though taken more than 50 years ago, show different types of carrying poles that are used in Indonesia. 

And this image is by Felice Beato. This is a group portrait of a woman in a kago, two bearers and a man using a carrying pole in Japan (between 1863 and 1877).

And once the Lampstand was put upon this Carrying Pole and tightened around with the ropes, it would be ready to be transported, and it would look like so:

Friday, May 28, 2010

Numbers 4:7-8 - Transportation of The Table of Shewbread

Right after the The Ark of The Covenant was covered and prepared for transportation, the next artefact that needed to be covered was The Table of Shewbread.  Let's take a look:

Numbers 4:7-8:
7 And upon the table of shewbread they shall spread a cloth of blue, and put thereon the dishes, and the spoons, and the bowls, and covers to cover withal: and the continual bread shall be thereon:

8 And they shall spread upon them a cloth of scarlet, and cover the same with a covering of badgers' skins, and shall put in the staves thereof.

‎7 ‏אֵ֣ת׀ שְׁתֵּ֣י הָעֲגָלֹ֗ת וְאֵת֙ אַרְבַּ֣עַת הַבָּקָ֔ר נָתַ֖ן לִבְנֵ֣י גֵרְשׁ֑וֹן כְּפִ֖י עֲבֹדָתָֽם׃

‎8 ‏וְאֵ֣ת׀ אַרְבַּ֣ע הָעֲגָלֹ֗ת וְאֵת֙ שְׁמֹנַ֣ת הַבָּקָ֔ר נָתַ֖ן לִבְנֵ֣י מְרָרִ֑י כְּפִי֙ עֲבֹ֣דָתָ֔ם בְּיַד֙ אִֽיתָמָ֔ר בֶּֽן־אַהֲרֹ֖ן הַכֹּהֵֽן׃

Once the Ark of the Covenant was covered, the inside of the Tent of the Tabernacle would look like this:

Since the Table of Showbread sat almost by the Northern wall of the Tent, it had to be moved so as to allow convenient access for the covering and an additional space for the carrying staves. Just by shifting the table toward the middle of the Tent of the Mishkan and rotating it 90 degrees would provide sufficient space for the Priests to be able to cover it according to the description. Also, before the Table was covered, all of its Utensils and the Shewbread were removed from it.

The First Covering of the Table was a Blue Cloth Covering, similar to the Top Covering of the Ark.

It was spread over the Table, like so...

And then, the Shewbread, the Golden Plates(and probably the Golden Spoons) were placed on the covered top portion of the Table, like so:

Once that was done, the some of the Covering was "tucked in" inside the Border(the Enclosure, that was right under the top flat portion of the Table. The Covering was probably "tucked in" only on two longer sides of the Table, although it is possible that it might have been done on all four sides.
Nevertheless, the result would look like this(click to zoom in for better view):

And only once the inside of the Border of the Table was lined with the Covering, only then the rest of the Utensils (the Golden Wine Graphines and Wine Cups) were placed inside.

Here is a close-up view upon some of the Utensils of the Table inside the Border. Please note how the reflective polished surface of the Utensils would change its color due to the surrounding Covering.

The Second Covering of the Table was the Scarlet Cloth Covering. It was placed right over the The Shewbread, The Table and its First Covering, completely hiding it from view, like so:

And the last, Third Covering of the Table was a Covering of Tachash Skins, that was placed over the Second Covering, also completely hiding it from the view, like so:

Just like with the Ark, all of the Coverings had to be "tucked in" and fitted tightly around the sides of the Table(especially its shorter sides) so that the carrying poles (Staves) could be inserted into the Table Rings. All of Three Table Coverings, when fitted around the Table, would look like so:

And lastly, the Gold Plated Staves could be inserted into the Four(4) Golden Rings of the Table, effectively securing all Coverings from falling off the Table during transport. The Covered and ready-to-go Table would look like this:

Also, please note, that per Number 4:15, the neither of the covered artefacts were removed from the Tent as long as there were other uncovered artefacts left. Therefore in the case with the Table, right after it was covered it was moved aside so as to allow space for the other artefacts to be covered. Like so:

But once the Kohathites were carrying the Covered Table, it would look like this:
Please note, that the Table was the only artefact of the Mishkan, that was carried in a completely "dressed"(prepared) manner: with its Shewbread, Wine, Utensils e.t.c...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Exodus 37:10-16 - A Brief Review of The Table of Shewbread

The Exodus 37:10-16 repeats the minute details and dimensions of the Ark Of The Covenant that could be found in earlier chapters of the Pentateuch (Ex. 25:23-30). The only differences between these two descriptions are the minor changes in the text, that provide extra details, and the addressee of the description (Bezallel, not Moses). Let's take a look:

Exodus 37:10-16
10 And he made the table of shittim wood: two cubits was the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof:

‎10 ‏וַיַּ֥עַשׂ אֶת־הַשֻּׁלְחָ֖ן עֲצֵ֣י שִׁטִּ֑ים אַמָּתַ֤יִם אָרְכּוֹ֙ וְאַמָּ֣ה רָחְבּ֔וֹ וְאַמָּ֥ה וָחֵ֖צִי קֹמָתֽוֹ׃

The Table itself consisted only of the two parts: its flat top and the four cylindrical legs. Dimensions of the Table were 2x1x1.5 cubits.

11 And he overlaid it with pure gold, and made thereunto a crown of gold round about.

11 ‏וַיְצַ֥ף אֹת֖וֹ זָהָ֣ב טָה֑וֹר וַיַּ֥עַשׂ ל֛וֹ זֵ֥ר זָהָ֖ב סָבִֽיב׃ 
Bezaleel overlaid the Table of Shewbread with pure gold. I'm not sure about the thickness of overlay(probably not more than 1mm), as I have not done the proper calculations yet. However, the overlay was of the same type and thickness as the golden overlays of the rest of the gold plated parts and artefacts of the Mishkan.

Just like the some other artefacts of the Mishkan, the top flat part of the table was encompassed by a decorative Crown(or border/molding) of pure solid gold. This Golden Crown had a functional purpose as well: namely - to prevent utensils of the Table(and the Sewbread of'course) from falling off the Table. This Crown was relatively thin(probably no more than 1mm), probably 6-7 cm in height and rectangular in shape.

Here is how the Table looked like, once the Golden Crown was put upon its top.

12 Also he made thereunto a border of an handbreadth round about; and made a crown of gold for the border thereof round about.

‎12 ‏וַיַּ֨עַשׂ ל֥וֹ מִסְגֶּ֛רֶת טֹ֖פַח סָבִ֑יב וַיַּ֧עַשׂ זֵר־זָהָ֛ב לְמִסְגַּרְתּ֖וֹ סָבִֽיב׃
Below the top of the Table, a special Border(or rather enclosure) was fashioned.  

In my initial overview of the Table I figured that it was suppose to be hollow, and only served as a structural aid in the table design.

However, I have come to realization that there is a good chance that it was not hollow, but rather indeed a some form of an "enclosure", that was used as an extra storage space for the Table utensils.  But could it be so? Here is the rendering of both possible designs of this element of the Table - The Border ("מסגרת")

I'm going to assume again, that this Border was also made out of Shittim wood, since there is no reference in the description to the material that was supposed to be used. Although it is possible that is had been made out of solid gold.

The Border was overlayed with gold, just like the rest of the Table.

Result would look like this....

However, the Border has also featured a Crown of solid pure gold. It was probably smaller and thinner than the main Golden Crown of the Table of Shewbread. It would look probably like so...

This smaller crown was mounted upon the Border, resulting in this:

And once the Border with its Golden Crown was mounted upon the Table, the result would look somewhat like this. Please note, that the Table had a total of two(2) Golden Crowns.

As the description in Exodus 37:12 states, the Border was a handbreadth(~10cm) tall, not counting the height of its Crown.

13 And he cast for it four rings of gold, and put the rings upon the four corners that were in the four feet thereof.

‎13 ‏וַיִּצֹ֣ק ל֔וֹ אַרְבַּ֖ע טַבְּעֹ֣ת זָהָ֑ב וַיִּתֵּן֙ אֶת־הַטַּבָּעֹ֔ת עַ֚ל אַרְבַּ֣ע הַפֵּאֹ֔ת אֲשֶׁ֖ר לְאַרְבַּ֥ע רַגְלָֽיו׃

Just like most of the artefacts of the Mishkan, the Table had four(4) Golden Rings made for it, so that the carrying poles by which the Table was carried could be mounted. These Rings to those of the Ark of The Covenant, yet they were thick enough to handle the weight of the Table. I have not had a chance to do the calculations yet, but it appears that these Rings were tube-shaped, ~ 5cm in outside diameter, ~3-4 cm in inside diameter and ~4-5 cm in length.

I will try to calculate a more precise dimensions of these Rings in my next posts, but for now here is the rendering of these four Rings:

These Four(4) Golden Rings were mounted upon four legs of the Table, in such a manner so as to allow the carrying poles to be inserted along its width(smaller sides).

And here is a close-up rendering of the Table with its Border, Crowns and its Rings. As the Exodus 37:14 states:

14 Over against the border were the rings, the places for the staves to bear the table.

‎14 ‏לְעֻמַּת֙ הַמִּסְגֶּ֔רֶת הָי֖וּ הַטַּבָּעֹ֑ת בָּתִּים֙ לַבַּדִּ֔ים לָשֵׂ֖את אֶת־הַשֻּׁלְחָֽן׃

This means, that most likely the rings were mounted along the center of the Border, at the middle of its height. Thus, this would effectively put the Rings one(1) cubit off the ground. And the Border center was also one(1) cubits off the ground.

15 And he made the staves of shittim wood, and overlaid them with gold, to bear the table.

‎15 ‏וַיַּ֤עַשׂ אֶת־הַבַּדִּים֙ עֲצֵ֣י שִׁטִּ֔ים וַיְצַ֥ף אֹתָ֖ם זָהָ֑ב לָשֵׂ֖את אֶת־הַשֻּׁלְחָֽן׃

Just like for most other artefacts of the Mishkan, Bezaleel made two(2) relatively long wooden poles to serve as the Tables' Carrying Staves during its transport. These Staves were made out of Shittim Wood, like so...

The Staves were also overlayed with Gold, resulting in Golden Plated Staves for the Table that were probably 7-8 cubits long, 3-4cm in diameter(a hand grip diameter). Here is the rendering of the overlayed Staves: 

Once the Staves were inserted into the Tables' Rings, the result would be this:

16 And he made the vessels which were upon the table, his dishes, and his spoons, and his bowls, and his covers to cover withal, of pure gold.
16 ‏וַיַּ֜עַשׂ אֶֽת־הַכֵּלִ֣ים׀ אֲשֶׁ֣ר עַל־הַשֻּׁלְחָ֗ן אֶת־קְעָרֹתָ֤יו וְאֶת־כַּפֹּתָיו֙ וְאֵת֙ מְנַקִּיֹּתָ֔יו וְאֶת־הַקְּשָׂוֹ֔ת אֲשֶׁ֥ר יֻסַּ֖ךְ בָּהֵ֑ן זָהָ֖ב טָהֽוֹר׃ פ 
In order to perform the Priestly Service at the Table, a special set of Golden Utensils had been made as well.
On this image you can see all of them (from top to bottom): 12 Golden Plates for the Shewbread, set of Golden Spoons and Forks, Wine Graphines, Wine Cups.

Once the Golden Utensils were arranged upon the Table, the result would look like this...
Please note, that with an updated Border design, some of the Utensils could have been put and kept under the top of the Table.

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