Friday, May 21, 2010

Exodus 35:18 - The Staking of the Tent of the Mishkan

The Staking of the Tent of the Tabernacle is also one of the most overlooked but very important detail in the description of the structure. Let's take a look:

Exodus 35:18
18 The pins of the tabernacle, and the pins of the court, and their cords,

‎18 ‏אֶת־יִתְדֹ֧ת הַמִּשְׁכָּ֛ן וְאֶת־יִתְדֹ֥ת הֶחָצֵ֖ר וְאֶת־מֵיתְרֵיהֶֽם׃

Most verses of the description mention only the Pegs(or Stakes/Pins) and Cords(or Ropes) of the Courtyard of the Mishkan. The Exodus 35:18 is pretty much the only verse, that explicitly mentions the Pegs of the the Tent, but even here the Ropes of the Tent are mentions only by implication.
Even though the Tent of the Mishkan was most likely capable of standing without the Staking, in the deserts environment, where gusty winds and flash rains were not uncommon, it would only be prudent not to omit this extra precaution.

Anyway, if you recall from Exodus 27:19, the Copper Stakes(or Pegs, Pins, "Yasad / יתדתי" -heb) were made out of Copper. They were relatively small: no more than 1\4 cubit in height and no more than a fingerbreadth thick. There probably around sixty(60) such Copper Stakes for the Tent, half of that for the Courtyard, even though the quantity is not mentioned anywhere in the Pentateuch.
It is, however, possible to estimate the number of Stakes from by calculating the weight of all Copper Parts of the Mishkan - I will try to do it in my later posts. Here is the rendering of the sixty(60) Stakes of the Tent:

Before the Tent could have been Staked, its Frame was setup, along with the crucial internal parts(like Pillars e.t.c), and most likely some its artefacts(The Ark of The Covenant e.t.c). Like so:
 Then, the First Covering(the one with Cherubims) was put over the Frame of the Tent, clasped together with its Golden Clasps, and adjusted to the specifications outlined in Exodus 26:12-13(it was off the ground by 1 cubits on North and South, and 2 cubits on the West). Like so:
 Once the First Covering was adjusted and ready, the Copper Stakes of the Tent were inserted around the perimeter of the Tent, like so:

Now, because at the back of the Tent, the corners of the Coverings would have been longer than the height of the Tent (square root of 9*9+8*8 = ~12 cubits, or 2 cubits more), the Stakes had to be setup in a very specific way, like so:

Once all of the Stakes were setup, a special set of Ropes was employed to fasten the First Covering to the Stakes, and also to get the surplus portions of the Covering off the ground. The Ropes that secured the First Covering to the Copper Stakes were most likely of a matching color with the Covering, and that the First Covering had special small loops of some kind along its edges to accommodate these Ropes. Here is how it looked like; please note how the Stakes were at a distance from the edges of the Covering - it was needed for other Coverings of the Tent.

Once the First Covering was secured, the Second Covering was put over the Tent. This Second Covering (the Goat's Hair Covering) was also clasped together with its Clasps (Copper Clasps), and adjusted according to the Exodus 26:9(folded section) and Exodus 26:12-13(it was stretching and covering the entire height of the Frame of the Tent on the North, South and West Sides).  Like so:

But since the Second Covering at the back corners of the Tent was extending even longer (square root of 10*10+10*10 = ~14 cubits), the extra space between the edges of the First Covering and the Copper Stakes now comes in very handy. As you can see from this image, at the corners, the Second Covering was "laying" on the Ropes of the First Covering, helping to keep it off the ground. However, the Second Covering was secured to the Stakes by its own set of Ropes as well, but not before the Third Covering was put in.
This is because the the Second and Third Covering's were of the same dimensions(when setup over the Tent, of;course) and thus it would be most logical to assume that they were secured to the Stakes at once and by the same set of Ropes. Here is the rendering of the Second Covering, laying ready to be covered by the Third Covering, but not yet secured to the Stakes.

And now, the Third Covering(reddened Ram's Skins) was setup over Tent. Since it was of the same dimensions(due to the folded piece) as the Second Covering, it would match and cover it over completely. Like so:

And here is the rendering of the Third Covering at the back of the Tent of the Mishkan. As you can see, it was overlaying the Second Covering completely.

And only now, both Second and Third Coverings could have been secured with the Ropes to the Stakes, like so:

Here is the close-up view upon this relatively tiny set of Ropes.

And the finally, the last of the Tents' Covering's was setup: the "Tachash" Skins Covering. But since it was only covering the Top of the Mishkan, a longer set of Ropes was needed.
Here is the rendering of this Fourth Covering of the Tent, ready to be secured to the Stakes:

The Forth Covering was secured to the Stakes by the means of a set of long Ropes, and in a similar fashion as the other Coverings of the Tent:
Please note, that the Ropes would most likely match the color of the Third Covering and thus were of a Red color.

But the Ropes of this Fourth Covering would have to extend all the way to the Top of the Tent, so that they could be attached to the Covering on top. Like so:

The resulting Staked Tent would look like this:
Please note how the Ropes of the First, Second and Third Covering would help to keep the extending sections of the Coverings off the ground. And also please note how the Ropes of the Forth Covering would help to secure the sections of the other Coverings on the top and on the sides of the Tent.

And here I have made a little comparison rendering of the fully staked Tent of the Mishkan:
On this image I have changed the color of the Ropes of the Fourth Covering - I made them of dark color to see how it would look like. And also on this image you can compare the dimensions of the Staked Tent with all its Coverings to the measurements of an average person. 

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