Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Review of the Altar of Burnt Offering - The Grate and The Ramp

In this post I would like to review the Altar of Burnt Offering (Mizbeach). Particularly I would like to review the Copper Grate of the Altar and the issue of the Ramp of the Altar.

Let's begin with the Ramp. Well, there was no Ramp. My research indicated with an absolute certainty that there was no such thing existing in the Tabernacle. The Ramp of the Altar of Burnt offering in the Tabernacle comes from the Jewish tradition of the late Second Temple period, which is foreign to the Hebrew tradition and has nothing to do with the actual Hebrew Tabernacle that I'm discussing in this blog. Therefore, this image of the Altar is ultimately incorrect:

Now, since there was no Ramp, it also means that the total height of the Altar of Burnt Offering (Grate+Altar) was not 5 cubits, but rather 3 cubits, just like the description of Exodus 27:1 says. This, in turn would make total height of the Grate of the Altar - 1.5 cubits as Exodus 27:5 tells us that the Grate was only reaching half way up the Altar. Therefore, the proper Grate of the Altar of Burnt Offering looked like so:

As you can see from the image above, the Grate is now 1.5 cubits in height, with the Rings for the Staves attached right by the top of the Grate at each of the 4 corners. Please see my previous posts on the Altar for comparison. But the shape of the Grate remained pretty much the same.

Now, if we will place the Altar on this new Grate, you should be able to notice right away how proper the setup looks. Namely the total height of the Altar (now being 3 cubits) corresponds well with an average human height and allows very convenient access to the Altar - right at the chest level, just like this image below shows:

And because of the fact that the Copper Rings of the Grate (Exodus 27:4) now properly located at the edges of the Grate, once the Altar is being transported the weight of the Altar is being distributed evenly and symmetrically. Right through the horizontal center plane of the Altar. Like so:

To sum up: 
  1. There was no Ramp of any kind leading to the Altar of Burnt Offering of the Tabernacle
  2. The Copper Grate was 1.5 cubits tall, with the Copper Rings attached at the top of each of its 4 corners

I hope that now it is clear that it is extremely important to read the text of the Pentateuch without any bias whatsoever, as any traditional interpretations of the text will most certainly lead to mistakes like this one.

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