Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Q&A - What color were the Pillars in the Tabernacle Courtyard ?

As you can see from the image below, 60 Pillars of the Courtyard were not overlayed with any precious metals and therefore had a color that of a Shittim Wood (whatever color that may be).

There are several reasons why Pillars of the Courtyard, unlike the Pillars of the Tent of the Tabernacle were wooden and were not overlayed:

1) According to Exodus 38:29 the total amount of donated copper was 70 Talents and 2400 Shekels. As the following verses of Exodus 38:30-31 specify, donated copper was used to make: 
  1. 5 Sockets of the 5 Entrance Pillars
  2. Copper Altar of Burnt Offering
  3. Copper Grate of the Altar of Burnt Offering
  4. Copper Utensils for the Altar of Burnt Offering
  5. 60 Sockets for the Courtyard Pillars
  6. Copper Pins for the Tent of the Tabernacle
  7. Copper Pins for the Courtyard of the Tabernacle
As you can see from the list above, donated copper was used to make many different parts of the Tabernacle.

Assuming that 60 Courtyard Sockets weighted 1 Talent each, just like the the Silver Sockets of the Boards of the Tent of the Tabernacle(Exodus 38:27), we would be left with 70-60=10 Talents of Copper (+2400 extra Shekels) to make all other things from the list above.

Now, assuming that the courtyard pillars were overlayed with copper only on the outside, with copper overlay thickness being 0.02cm and density of copper as 8930kg/m^3 , we would arrive to the following number of copper required to overlay all 60 Pillars:

2.286m * 1.436m *  0.0002m * 60 * 8930 kg/m^3 = ~350.303kg

Assuming weight of the Talent of Copper as 17kg, we would arrive to ~20 Talents of Copper required to overlay all 60 Pillars. Even if we assume that the Talent of Copper weighted 34kg, we would still get ~10.29 Talents - a value that is far above of what we have left and available.

So, as you can see, even with a very rough approximation and rough calculations, it is extremely clear, that the Courtyard Pillars COULD NOT have been overlayed with Copper.

And since neither they could not have been overlayed with the donated Silver or Gold (for the very same reason), we have no other choice but to admit that the Pillars of the Courtyard were made ONLY of the Shittim Wood.

2) Another reason that the Courtyard Pillars were made out of Shittim Wood is that the original text does not specify that the Pillars were overlayed in any manner. For example,  compare Exodus 26:37 and Exodus 27:17 or Exodus 36:38 and Exodus 38:17, e.t.c.

3) There was simply no need to overlay the Courtyard Pillars. Primary purpose of these Pillars was to support the Hangings of the Courtyard, so the Wooden Pillars were quite sufficient for this purpose.

Therefore, the Courtyard Pillars looked somewhat like this:

Here is the panoramic image of the Courtyard that you can check out to get a comprehensive idea:

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