Monday, May 3, 2010

Exodus 27:16 - The dimensions and layout of the East Side of the Courtyard of The Mishkan - Part 2

The final section of the East Side of the Courtyard of the Tabernacle was The Gate of the Courtyard. Let's take a look:

Exodus 27:16
16 And for the gate of the court shall be an hanging of twenty cubits, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, wrought with needlework: and their pillars shall be four, and their sockets four.

‎16 ‏וּלְשַׁ֨עַר הֶֽחָצֵ֜ר מָסָ֣ךְ׀ עֶשְׂרִ֣ים אַמָּ֗ה תְּכֵ֨לֶת וְאַרְגָּמָ֜ן וְתוֹלַ֧עַת שָׁנִ֛י וְשֵׁ֥שׁ מָשְׁזָ֖ר מַעֲשֵׂ֣ה רֹקֵ֑ם עַמֻּֽדֵיהֶם֙ אַרְבָּעָ֔ה וְאַדְנֵיהֶ֖ם אַרְבָּעָֽה׃
The Hangings of the Gate of the Courtyard (or the last four(4) Pillars of the Courtyard) were different from the rest of the Hangings. And even though the dimensions of these special Hangings of the Gate were the same(5x5 cubits), the material and the pattern of the fabric was different.
On the other hand(and as you can see from the description), these Gate Hangings were of the same workmanship as the Entrance Curtain of the Tent of the Mishkan(see Ex.26:36 for comparison). Also, as the description states, there were total of twenty(20) cubits of these special Hangings, meaning that there were four(4) pieces, 5x5 cubits each (20/5=4). They looked like this:

As I have said, each Hanging of the Gate was five(5) cubits long, five(5) cubits tall and somewhere in between 0.5-1cm thick.

The description makes a special reference to workmanship of the Hangings of the Gate: the patterns on the Hangings were to be embroidered, and not weaved. And since the pattern was embroidered, the front and back sides of the Hanging were identical (had the same pattern).

Other than that, the Hangings of the Gate were identical to the rest of the Hangings of the Court. Therefore, the Hangings of the Gate have also featured a special "pocket" or "wrap" that was used to secure the Hangings upon the Connecting Rods between the Pillars.

Here is a view from the top upon one out of four Hangings of the Gate of the Courtyard:

And here you can compare the dimensions of both types of Hangings employed in the construction of the Courtyard:

If you recall, after looking at the Flanks of the East Side of the Court, we have ended up with this structure:

The structure was completed, once the last four(4) Pillars and last four(4) sections of the Hangings were put in place. The result looked like this:

As you can see, everything fits perfectly and the 4 Pillars and 4 Sections of the Gate of the Courtyard nicely complete the structure.

And here is an overview of the fully completed East Side of the Courtyard of the Tabernacle. There were total of ten(10) Pillars of one(1) cubit in diameter, and ten(10) sections of Hangings(four of which were special Hangings of the Gate and six of which were divided between two Flanks), making the effective total length of the East Side of the Court as: 15+3+20+4+15+3=60 cubits (NOT 50 cubits !!!)

And as you can see here, these special Hangings of the Gate could have been moved along the Connecting Rods between the Pillars to actually allow free passage in and out of the Courtyard area. Most likely the two central sections of the Gate were moved toward the center Pillar of the East Side, whereas the edge sections of the Gate would be moved toward the edge Pillars of the Gate, resulting this this:

And here is an updated diagram of the layout of the Pillars of the Courtyard, so that you can better see and understand the full concept:

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