The Word Made Fresh
1“Build an altar of acacia wood. Make it four and a half feet high, and seven and a half feet square. 2Put horns on each of the four corners as though they are of one piece with it, then cover the whole with bronze. 3Make pots for removing the ashes, along with shovels, buckets, prongs, and firepans, all of bronze. 4Make a grate of bronze with bronze rings at its four corners, 5and place it under the altar’s ledge so that it hangs halfway to the ground. 6Then make acacia wood poles for the altar overlaid with bronze and insert them in the rings on each side of the altar so it can be carried. 8The altar will be hollow, enclosed with boards just as you were shown on the mountain.
9“Set up a courtyard for the sanctuary on its south side by hanging a curtain of fine twisted linen one hundred fifty feet long, 10held up by twenty poles of bronze standing on bronze bases. The hooks and their straps shall be of silver. 11Make an identical courtyard on the north side. 12The courtyard on the west end shall be seventy-five feet long, 13and the same dimensions for the courtyard on the east side. 14On each side of the entrance hang drapes twenty-two and a half feet long, each one supported by three posts on three bases. 15The same dimensions hold for the drapes on each side of the entrance. 16The gate of the court will be a screen of fine linen thirty feet long, adorned with needlework of blue, purple and crimson yarns. The screen will rest on four posts and their bases. 17All the poles around the court are to have silver bands, with silver hooks and bases made of bronze. 18The court should be one hundred fifty feet long, seventy-five feet wide, and seven and a half feet tall, hung about with fine linen and bronze bases. 19All of the tools used in the sanctuary along with all the pegs there and in the court will be made of bronze.
20“Tell the Israelites to bring you pure beaten olive oil for the lanterns so that they may be kept burning. 21Inside the sanctuary, but outside the most holy place, Aaron and his sons will tend the light all night long, evening to morning, and this rule must be observed from now on in perpetuity by the Israelite generations to come.”
1-8: Although Moses was told earlier that altars should only be made of earth or natural stones (20:24-26), now instructions are given for a large altar of acacia wood overlaid with bronze, along with utensils for handling sacrifices. Apparently, the earlier rule applied only to temporary altars while this one is to be a permanent place of offerings made by the whole community.
9-19: The courtyard is to be bordered by linen panels on bronze frames, about 75 by 150 feet (50 cubits by 100 cubits). The gate is located on the eastern side, a removable panel 30 feet wide. The entire area is thus surrounded by a makeshift wall 7 ½ feet high.
20-21: Quantities of olive oil are provided for an eternal flame within the tabernacle but outside the most holy place. It is to be tended by Aaron and his sons, and only by them.
The description of the tabernacle tent is continued with various details. Can you recognize any of this as resembling the worship space in your own church?