Parshat T’rumah (“Offerings”)

Parshat T’rumah (“Offerings”) covers Exodus 25:1 to 27:19. The Israelites were commanded to bring all kinds of offerings to Moses and Aaron including gold, silver and bronze, blue purple and scarlet yarn, goats’ hair, rams’ skins and leather, acacia wood and onyx stones -all to be used in the construction of the Tabernacle in the wilderness making of the priests’  garments.

The Ark

The ark was to be made of acacia wood and overlayed with gold. In today’s measure, it would be about a metre long sixty centimetres in width and sixty centimetres deep. A gold moulding was to be added around the Ark and four gold rings were to be attached to the feet on each corner.  Poles made of acacia wood and overlaid with gold would be inserted into them for the purpose of carrying the Ark. The poles were never to be removed from the Ark.

A cover made of solid gold to fit exactly on top of the Ark was to be made. On the cover in solid gold were to be hammered out two cherubim with outstretched wings facing each other.  Between the cherubim was the place from which God would speak.

The next piece of furniture was a table, very slightly smaller than the Ark but about the same height. The table was to be made in the same fashion, acacia wood covered with gold, and carrying rings of gold to put the gold-covered poles through.

The lampstand was beaten out of solid gold. It had three pairs of branches making six lamps with a middle lamp making seven. The lamps were decorated with almond flowers. The wick trimmers and oil trays work would be made of gold. A talent of gold was to be used in the making of the lampstand equivalent to about forty kilos today. Current gold prices would put its value at over a million UK pounds.

The Tabernacle

The Tabernacle was built around the furniture as a tent. The walls were made up of curtains of linen woven with red, blue, and purple wool and embroidered with cherubim. Each curtain was about fourteen metres by two metres with loops along the ends which fitted into gold clasps so that the curtains could be hung from the acacia wood framework. The curtains were joined to make two pieces of five curtains.

A further eleven curtains made of goat’s hair were similarly joined to form the roof. One curtain overhung the end of the Tabernacle and was folded in half to provide an entrance to it.

It was all supported by an acacia wood framework with uprights and crossbars about three metres high. The uprights of the framework rested on silver plinths; each plinth held in place by two wooden pegs.

Holy of Holies

A veil of linen was to be woven with blue, scarlet and purple yarn and embroidered with cherubim. It was to be hung on four gold overlayed acacia wood posts using gold hooks and silver eyelets to separate the Holy of Holies from the rest of the Tabernacle. The Ark of the Covenant which was to contain the jar of Manna and later the tablets of the Law were to be placed inside the veil with the gold atonement cover resting over it.

The table was to be placed outside the veil but just in front of it. The tabernacle was to lie in a North–South direction so the table was on the north side in the tent while the lampstand was at the South end.

The entrance to the tent was to be a curtain of linen and yarn supported by five gold embossed posts using gold hooks, the posts resting on bronze bases

The Altar of Burnt Offering.

This was about two and a half metres square and about a metre and a half high made of acacia wood boards overlaid with bronze. All the utensils were bronze, and it had a bronze fire grate built in about halfway up. A horn overlayed with gold was built at each corner and the whole piece was carried by bronze covered acacia wood poles inserted into bronze rings at its side.

Around the tent was a courtyard bordered by curtains supported by twenty poles on its long side and ten poles on its short side. The courtyard measured a hundred cubits by fifty cubits or about fifty metres by twenty-five metres in modern measure. The supporting pillars and bases would be bronze and the hooks for the curtains silver. That makes the area of the Tabernacle complex roughly 1250 square metres or about 13500 square feet assuming a cubit to be roughly half a metre or 19 inches.

Layout of Tabernacle Plan view not to scale

Haftarat T’rumah              הפטרת תרומה

In the Tenach or Hebrew Bible verse, numbering differs so if reading from the Tenach or Masoretic text or the Chumash or Pentateuch used in Synagogue it will be 1 Kings 5:26 to 6:13 If following it from any English translation its 1 Kings 5:12 to 6:13.

Four hundred and eighty years after the departure from Egypt Solomon starts work on the first temple. Solomon has a close partnership with Hiram king of Tyre who cooperates with him to import large quantities of cedarwood and hewn stone. The wood is cut in Lebanon and floated to Israel by making them into rafts and floating them by sea. Solomon conscripts thirty thousand labourers who spend a month in Lebanon cutting and carrying the wood followed by two months at home.

The temple is essentially a larger but far more elaborate version of the Tabernacle being built over three stories and having many side rooms but essentially the design of having a Sanctuary and a Holy of Holies is the same. The Haftarah concludes with the promise that he will never forsake Israel if they observe God’s precepts  1 Kings 6 12- 13 ESV

Messianic Message

The Tabernacle was to be carried with the people of Israel everywhere they went. It was a visible reminder of God’s presence.

When we believe in Yeshua, like Israel of old we carry God’s presence with us wherever we go. Solomon’s temple had windows but there were no windows inside the Tabernacle. The lampstand was the only source of light. We can light up the world around us and display his presence to others by means of the light that shines from within us. Yeshua taught us not to hide our  lights but to place them on a lampstand where all can see  (Matthew 5:14-16 NIV)

The entrance to the Tabernacle was on the Eastern side. Yeshua entered the city of Jerusalem for the last time before his death by the now blocked Golden Gate or Sha’ar Harachamim (Gate of Mercy) on the East side of the Old City. By his death he entered not into a man-made sanctuary but into Heaven itself providing a pathway to eternity to all who believe and follow in his footsteps (Hebrews 9:24 CJB)

This article originally appeared on the BMJA website and is reposted with permission.