Edward Elias Atwater.

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HISTORY AND SIGNIFICANCE



SACRED TABERNACLE



HEBREWS.



BY

EDWARD E. ATWATER.



NEW YORK:
DODD AND MEAD, PUBLISHERS,

762 Broadway.

1875-



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1875, by

EDWARD E. ATWATER,
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.



THIS VOLUME

/S DEDICATED BY THE AUTHOR

TO

HIS BELOVED AND VENERATED FATHER;

WHO, HAVING LONG ENJOYED COMMUNION WITH GOD BY FAITH,

IS WAITING, IN THE EIGHTY-NINTH YEAR OF HIS AGE,

FOR ADMISSION WITHIN THE INNER SANCTUARY,

WHERE WE SHALL SEE AS WE ARE SEEN,

AND KNOW AS WE ARE KNOWN.



PREFACE.



An instructor called my attention to the Hebrew sanctuaries
before I had completed the first year of theological study, and
thereby determined my specialty. After thirty years of work in the
ministry, I retired from the pulpit to give myself wholly to a sub-
ject which a pastor can study only at intervals, and for the purpose
of imparting rudimentary instruction. The preparation of this
volume has been accompanied with delight by reason of new dis-
coveries amid the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden in
the symbols of the tabernacle. Thanking God that my life and
health have been spared to complete the work, I send it forth in
the hope that my readers may in some degree share with me in my
joy.

Of the older writers on the tabernacle, Lund has rendered me
much service by the thoroughness of his work. A person ac-
quainted Avith his book on the Hebrew sanctuaries can easily
believe that it was, as he says in the preface, the result of thirteen
years of application. The specimen of his interpretation of the
tabernacle, given in the second part of this volume, ought not to
diminish our respect for the judgment and scholarship evinced in
his historical investigations ; for in his day no other interpretation
of Hebrew symbolism had been suggested than that of the wild,
lawless typologists of the Cocceian school.



VI PREFACE.

Bahr was the first interpreter who attempted to apply to the
subject the inductive method of investigation. From him more aid
has been derived in writing tlie second part of tlie book than from
all other sources ; but my readers who are familiar with his Sym-
bolik will discover many deviations from the path he blazed through
the previously pathless wilderness. As might be expected, the first
explorer made some mistakes which his followers easily avoid.
This would doubtless have been the case if Bahr had been per-
fectly impartial in his interpretation ; but unfortunately he com-
menced his work with a conviction that the commonly received
view of the purpose of Christ's death is erroneous, — a conviction
so strong that he had already given to the world a polemical book
on the atonement. His prejudices led him astray, and compelled
those who came after him to undertake new and independent ex-
plorations. The first volume of a revised edition of his Symbolik
has been issued since the following pages were written, but I have
not yet seen it.

Of writers later than Bahr to whom I am indebted, Kurtz de-
serves to be here mentioned : for, in cases where he has expressed
his opinion, I have not often found cause for dissenting ; and, in the
numerous instances in which my judgment has coincided with his, I
have not deemed it necessary to make specific acknowledgment
excejDt when his language is adopted.

The work which Bahr began can be completed only by a suc-
cession of laborers, each of whom will doubtless make some mis-
takes. Those who have preceded me have done so ; and I cannot
expect that my inteqjretation will in all cases be satisfactory to
later explorers. Confident that my studies have added to the
knowledge of Hebrew symbolism, both in breadth and accuracy, I
hope they may assist those who come after me to make additional
discoveries.

The illustrations have been gathered from different sources ; but



PREFACE. vii

those which exhibit the utensils of worship are generally taken
from Neumann, who has studied the subject in the light of Assyri-
ology. His conjectural figure of a Hebrew cherub has been given
merely as a conjecture where conception can only approximate to
the reality.

The book is intended especially for clergymen ; but I have endeav-
ored to write so that persons acquainted only with their vernacular
English may find advantage and pleasure in its perusal. Perhaps
I might have made myself more acceptable to Hebrew scholars by
introducing more Hebrew words into the text ; but I hope that some
of the many laymen who are interested in biblical studies will
appreciate my determination to use English words in the text in all
cases where they wQuld serve my purpose.

New Haven, October, 1874,



TABLE OF CONTENTS.



— « —

PAGE

INTRODUCTION i



BOOK I. HISTORY OF THE TABERNACLE.

CHAPTER I.
The Edifice of the Tabernacle 9

CHAPTER II.
Its Furniture. . , 31

CHAPTER III.
Its Erection 45

CHAPTER IV.
Its Attendants 55

CHAPTER V.
Its Sacrifices 66

CHAPTER VI.
Its Lustrations . . .74

CHAPTER VIL
Its Calendar 84



X CONTENTS.

CHAPTER VIII.

PAGE

Its Migrations loo

CHAPTER IX.
Its Expenses 113

BOOK II. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TABERNACLE.

CHAPTER I.
Evidence that it was Significant 129

CHAPTER II.

It symbolized the Truths of the Mosaic Revelation . 140

*

CHAPTER III.
It typified the Truths of Christianity 155

CHAPTER IV.
Means of Interpretation 167

CHAPTER V,
Symbolism of Number and Form 182

CHAPTER VI.
Symbolism of Color 209

CHAPTER VII.
Symbolism of Minerals 225

CHAPTER VIII.
Symbolism of Vegetable Substances 233

CHAPTER IX.
Symbolism of Animals and Composite Animal Forms . ' . 248



CONTENTS. xi

CHAPTER X.
Interpretation of the Edifice ""^g^

CHAPTER X:.
Interpretation of the Furniture .... 280

CHAPTER XII.
Interpretation of the Priesthood -j

CHAPTER XIII.

Interpretation of the Sacrifices

342

CHAPTER XIV.
Interpretation of the Lustrations -gj

CHAPTER XV.
Interpretation of the Calendar

CHAPTER XVI.

Prophetic Symbols, or Types

399

CHAPTER XVII.

Extent to which the Hebrews comprehended the Signifi-
cance OF THE Tabernacle .

427

CHAPTER XVIII.
Study of the Tabernacle important to Christians . . 435



ILLUSTRATIONS.



Fig.

1. Front Elevation . Faces title-page.

Faces Page

2. One of the Planks of the Frame 15

3. One of the Corner Planks 15

4. End of a Corner Plank 15

5. Side of a Socket 15

6. Top of Two Corner Sockets 15

7. The Two Equal Parts of " The Tabernacle," or Inner-

most Curtain 20

8. The Two Parts of the Second Curtain 27

9. Ark of the Covenant according to Neumann . . .32

10. Ark of the Covenant with its Crown placed midway fror^

Top to Bottom 32

11. Table of Show-Bre.\d from the Arch of Titus . . .38

12. Table of Show-Bread according to Neumann . . .38

13. 14, 15. Assyrian Tables and Stool 39

16. Chandelier from the Arch of Titus 40

17. Chandelier 41

18. Altar of Incense 42

19. Altar of Burnt-Offering 43

20. Ground-Plan of the One Hundred Silver Sills . . -45

21. The Frame of Acacia-Wood 46

22. "The Tabernacle" OF Tapestry fastened UPON the Frame, 47

23. The Covering OF Goat's Hair laid OVER " The Tabernacle," 48

24. Ground-Plan of the Edifice, including the Court . . 49

25. Plan of the Encampment 54



xiv IL L US TRA TIONS.

Faces IPagb

26. Eagle-headed Human Figure 257

27. Eagle-headed Lion 258

28. Winged Human-headed Lion 259

29. Andro-Sphinx 260

30. Cherub according to Neumann 261

31. Subordinate Priest in Costume 325

32. Sacerdotal Tunic 328

33. Loom for weaving Seamless Tunics 329

34. Tunic without Seam, woven in the Sixteenth Century . 330

35. Assyrian King 331

36. Hindostanee Turbans, indicating the Rank of the Wearers, 332

37. Robe of the Ephod 333

38. High-Priest in Robe of the Ephod 334

39. Ephod 335

40. Breastplate 336

41. Ephod with Breastplate attached 337

42. Turban of a Subordinate Priest 338

43. Turban of the High-Priest 338

44. Golden Crown 338

45. Head of an Assyrian King with a Crown on the Forehead, 338

46. High-Priest in his Ordinary Costume 339

47. High-Priest in Costume of the Day of Atonement . . 340



INTRODUCTION.



If the art of photography had been known to the skil-
ful artisans who constructed the Sacred Tabernacle of
THE Hebrews, they would, doubtless, have endeavored
to transmit to the generations to come a view of the
edifice as it stood after its first erection in the midst of
the vast encampment by which it was surrounded. In
the absence of a contemporary picture, we are able, by
means of the detailed description in the books of Moses,
to reproduce in imagination the scene which was spread
out at the base of Sinai on the first anniversary of the
exodus from Egypt.

The tents of two millions of people are pitched in
four divisions around a hollow square ; each division
containing three of the twelve tribes of Israel, and there-
fore subdivided into three smaller encampments, sepa-
rated by spaces broader than the numerous streets,
which, crossing each other at right angles, divide tent
from tent within the bounds of a tribe. Here this mul-
titude of people have continued without change of place, —
here their tents have remained pitched for three-fourths
of a year. Yesterday the tabernacle was erected. It
stands facing the east, in the centre of the hollow square ;
and in the ample court surrounding it are to be seen the
brazen laver for the ablutions of the priests, and the great



2 INTRODUCTION.

altar of burnt-offering on which the fire is to be perpet-
ually preserved. Immediately around this court are the
tents of the tribe of Levi, the tribe set apart to the ser-
vice of the tabernacle, and no longer numbered as one
of the twelve ; Ephraim and Manasseh being counted as
two tribes to perpetuate the original and symbolic num-
ber, twelve.

So vast a multitude of people has seldom been gath-
ered in one encampment of tents. It is a grand specta-
cle, probably not inferior in grandeur to that which
afterward met the eye of Balaam, when, gazing from the
summit of Peor, he exclaimed, " How goodly are thy
tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O Israel ! As the
valleys are they spread forth, as gardens by the river's
side, as the trees of lign-aloes which the Lord hath
planted, and as cedar trees beside the waters." ^

Of this goodly picture, the tabernacle is the central
feature. The habitations of the people are disposed
around it ; their eyes turn toward it in the morning and
at evening ; and their prayers ascend with the smoke of
sacrifice which goes up from its altar. Not only in the
morning and at evening, but at all hours of the day and
night, it is the cynosure to many who stand observant
of that visible manifestation of Jehovah, which rests
over it as a pillar of cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by
night.

WHAT, THEN, IS THIS EDIFICE } WHENCE CAME IT }
FOR WHAT PURPOSE WAS IT ERECTED }

Fifty days after the exodus from Egypt, Moses re-
ceived on Sinai the two tables of stone, on which God

1 Num. xxiv. 2-6.



INTRO D UC TION. 3

had inscribed the Ten Commandments. At the same
time he received instructions to build a tabernacle, with
minute specifications of the form, measure, and materials
of its several parts. After forty days spent on the
mountain, much of the time occupied in receiving from
God instructions in regard to the edifice itself, its appur-
tenances, its attendants, its services, and the import of
the whole, he returned to the camp to communicate to
the people the divine commands.

With alacrity they responded to the proposal that
they should contribute such materials as they might have
in possession, suitable for use in constructing the sacred
edifice. More than an ample supply of timber, of
leather, of cloth, of metals, and of jewels, was soon
brought to the persons appointed to receive it ; men and
women, rich and poor, uniting in a common enthusiasm
which sometimes required the sacrifice of personal orna-
ments, and the relinquishment of the means of domestic
embellishment.

A corps of artisans skilful in various kinds of work
was then selected, and placed under the superintendence
of Bezaleel, of the tribe of Judah, with Aholiab, of the
tribe of Dan, next to him in authority. There were
among them carpenters and carvers, goldsmiths, silver-
smiths, and coppersmiths, moulders and founders, spin-
ners, weavers, and embroiderers. Eminent in skill by
natural aptitude and much practice in Egypt, they were
assisted in their work by the Spirit of God imparted for
this special service.

These workmen were occupied about nine months with
the task assigned. All things being then ready, the
specified space was enclosed, the altar and laver were



I



4 INTR OD UC TION.

put in place, the tabernacle itself was erected, and the
furniture of its two apartments was carried within. It was
the fourteenth day of the first month of the year, when
the Israelites fled from Egypt : it was the first day of the
first month in the subsequent year, when the tabernacle
was erected.

Immediately the people who had so willingly under-
taken to build a sanctuary for Jehovah, in which he
might dwell among them, had evidence that their work
and offerings were acceptable to him ; for, on the day
when the tabernacle was erected, the shechinah, through
which he manifested his friendly presence, rising from
the tent temporarily used as a sanctuary, ^ removed, and
rested on the new and beautiful edifice which had been
so long in process of construction. There it remained
as a column of cloud by day, and of fire by night, as
long as He who was represented by it desired the en-
campment to continue ; and, by express appointment, the
rising of the shechinah from the tabernacle was hence-
forth, during the long journey through the wilderness,
the signal for removing to another station. " So it was
always : the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance
of fire by night ; and when the cloud was taken up from
the tabernacle, then after that the children of Israel
journeyed ; and in the place where the cloud abode,



1 It is evident from the Book of Exodus, that, before the erection of the Sina-
itic tabernacle, a tent had been used as an appointed place of meeting between
Jehovah and the people. There is, however, no record of its erection, or, if an
ordinary tent was set apart for the purpose, of its consecration, unless the mention
of it in connection with the sin of the golden calf is to be so imderstood. That
narrative seems to read more naturally if one conceives of the temporary sanctuary
as previously set apart to that use, and now removed out of the camp to testify
Jehovah's displeasure with the Israelites on account of their idolatrj".



INTRODUCTION. 5

there the children of Israel pitched their tents. At the
commandment of the Lord the children of Israel jour-
neyed, and at the commandment of the Lord they
pitched : as long as the cloud abode upon the tabernacle
they rested in their tents." ^

The sanctuary, being thus completed and set up, is
now to be dedicated with a series of ceremonies pro-
tracted through twelve days ; each of the tribes occupy-
ing one day in the presentation of gifts and the offering
of sacrifices. Of this edifice the following pages are to
treat.

1 Num. be. 16-18.



PART I.

HISTORY OF THE TABERNACLE.



HISTORY OF THE TABERNACLE.



CHAPTER I.

THE EDIFICE OF THE TABERNACLE.

Moses received on Sinai not only a command to make
the tabernacle, but plans and specifications according
to which the work was to be executed. A pattern, or
model, was shown him, to which he was required to con-
form not only in general, but in all particulars. This
pattern, so far as we can judge from the distinctive
meaning of the word, was something more than a repre-
sentation on a perspective plane. Perhaps he was made
to see an exact exemplar of the edifice he was to con-
struct. Besides this pattern which was shown him, he
received very minute descriptions of the several parts
of the building, with directions as to the materials of
which they were to be made, their forms, and their
measures. With the aid of these descriptions, which
have been transmitted to us, we are able to reproduce
the structure almost exactly as it stood.

Its ground-plan was a parallelogram forty-five feet in

9



lo HISTORY OF THE TABERNACLE.

length, and jEifteen feet in width.^ The parts required
by the specifications having been severally fabricated,
and made ready to be put together, the next thing to be
done would be to set up around three sides of this par-
allelogram a wooden frame, or wall, such as we now
proceed to describe.

The material was of shiitim, a species of acacia, the
timber of which has a rich black color, like ebony, and
is eminently light, solid, strong, and smooth. This spe-
cies of acacia is still found in the regions traversed by
the Israelites in their passage from Egypt to Canaan.
Stanley speaks of it as a spreading tree with gay foliage
and blue blossoms, which he saw in Egypt and after-
ward in the desert. ^ Robinson, in his journey from
Jerusalem to Gaza, passed through a valley called Wady
es-Sumt, taking its name from the abundance of these
trees.^

The frame of the tabernacle consisted of forty-eight
pieces of this acacia-wood standing on end. Eight of
them were at the rear of the edifice, and twenty on each

1 After some hesitation, the author has decided to use English measures in this
part of his work, hoping thereby to give the reader a more definite conception than
by the transfer of the Hebrew names. In so doing, he is obliged to express his
opinion of the length of the Hebrew cubit. In representing it as equivalent, or
nearly equivalent, to eighteen English inches, he would not be understood as ignor-,
ing the difficulties which oppose such a conclusion, or the decision of eminent
scholars against it. There is no reason to doubt that the ammak of the Hebrews
was, as the name indicates, the measure of a man's arm from the elbow to the
hand ; but there is some uncertainty whether the measure beginning at the elbow
was to include the hand to the end of the middle finger, or to stop at the wrist.
The reader who is particularly curious on this point may consult the article
"Weights and Measures," in Smith's Bible Dictionary. It will be necessary, in
that part of tl»e work which relates to symbolism, to recur to the Hebrew measures.

2 Sinai and Palestine. New York, 1857. Pp. 21, 69.

3 Biblical Researches in Palestine. Boston, 1841. Vol. ii. p. 349. Stoitisthe
Arabic name of the acacia.



THE EDIFICE OF THE TABERNACLE. ii

of its sides ; the front being left open to be covered with
a curtain. They were each fifteen feet long, and, unless
the two outside pieces on the rear end were exceptions,
twenty-seven inches wide. It is remarkable that, while
the width of the other forty-six pieces is specified, we
have no means of ascertaining with certainty the width
of these two corner-pieces. This is the more to be
regretted, as the thickness of the frame is a problem
which we could easily solve, if we knew the width of the
edifice measured on the outside. The Scriptures giving
no information in regard to the thickness, it is not easy
to decide between contradicting witnesses and opposing
arguments. It must have been certainly too great to
justify the use of the word " boards" as descriptive of
the forty-eight pieces of acacia-wood of which the frame
of the tabernacle consisted. The Hebrew word comes
from a root which signifies to cut, and is as applicable to
planks as to boards. Several inches of thickness would
be required to give strength and straightness to a frame
constructed of pieces of wood twenty-seven inches wide.
The Jewish rabbles say that they were one cubit thick,
and Lund attempts to confirm their testimony by argu-
ment. His reasoning, briefly stated, is, that, in the
absence of information to the contrary, we should believe
that the corner-pieces were of the same width as the
others ; in which case, the eight timbers at the end would
give an outside width to the edifice of eighteen feet ;
and, the inside width being fifteen feet, the walls must
be each eighteen inches thick in order to give a meas-
urement of eighteen feet on the outside. It must be
confessed that such measurements would construct a
very symmetrical and substantial frame; but when we



12 HISTORY OF THE TABERNACLE.

remember that the tabernacle was a portable edifice, to
be many times erected and ta}cen down in the removals
of a nomadic people, it seems incredible that the frame
should be eighteen inches thick. Even if the acacia far
exceeded all other species of wood in lightness, such tim-
bers would be individually too heavy to be easily handled,
and in the aggregate both too heavy and too bulky for
transportation. With the exception of a few articles of
its furniture which were carried by hand, the tabernacle,
with all its appurtenances, was loaded upon six wagons,
and drawn by six yoke of oxen. Indeed, all the wood-
work of the frame, together with the silver sill under-
neath it, and the sixty pillars on which the curtain
enclosing the outer court was hung, were carried on four
wagons, and drawn by four yoke of oxen. So many tim-
bers, each fifteen feet long, twenty-seven inches wide,
and eighteen inches thick, to say nothing of the silver
sill and the pillars around the court, could not possibly
have been piled on four wagons.

This difficulty is not sufficiently diminished, if, with
Lightfoot, we reduce the thickness to nine inches ; but,
if we suppose it to have been four inches and a half, we
can ascertain by computation that we have arrived with-
in the bounds not only of possibility, but of credibility.
This would make the width of the corner-boards just
one-half the width of the others ; thus answering the
demands of symmetry nearly and perhaps quite as well,
and accounting for the separate mention of them in dis-
tinction from the other six on the west end of the build-
ing. Such a supposition accords nearly with the state-
ment of Josephus, that the pillars of which the walls of
the tabernacle consisted were four fingers thick, and,



THE EDIFICE OF THE TABERNACLE. 13

again, that they were the third part of a span in thick-
ness ; ^ though it is true, as Lund alleges, that his testi-
mony is of little value, as he is evidently careless in his
statements, and not always consistent with himself.
These timbers of the frame are termed pillars both by
Josephus and the Septuagint translators ; but, to distin-
guish them easily from the pillars which stood in rows
across the edifice to support its transverse curtains, or
veils, we shall designate them hereafter ^iS planks.

The hypothesis that the planks were four inches and
a half thick, makes the corner-planks half as wide as the
others, but offers no suggestion as to their shape. The
description of the corner-planks is obscure, but favors the
opinion that each consisted of two pieces fastened to-
gether at a right angle ; so that it was a corner-plank not
merely because it stood at the corner, but because it
formed an angle. The direction, " they shall be twinned," -
seems to imply that the two pieces of each corner-plank
were of equal width. The objection to this shape is, that
it gives the edifice a length of more than thirty cubits ;
and the answer to the objection is, that inside measures
are always to be understood, and that, if the corner-
planks added nine inches to the length, this addition was
needed to give ten cubits in the clear to the innermost,
and twenty cubits in the clear to the outermost apart-
ment ; nine inches being so much occupied by the two
rows of pillars which traversed the building, as to be left
out of account in the measurement of length.

On the lower end of each of the planks, two tenons
were wrought, to correspond with mortises in the sills on
which it was to stand. Possibly there were also tenons

1 Antiquities, book iii. ch. vi. §3. 2 Exod. xxvi. 24 : marginal reading.



14 HISTORY OF THE TABERNACLE.

and mortises on the edges where the planks came to-
gether ; but of this we have no certain knowledge.
Such a connection of one plank with another, by tenon
and mortise, would give greater strength to the frame,
but might not be necessary in addition to the horizontal
bars which bound the planks together. There were five
such bars on each side, and five on the rear, made of
acacia-wood, and overlaid with gold. In regard to the



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