THE TABERNACLE MATERIALS

Exodus 25:8 "And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them."

Moshe was given instructions for building the Tabernacle in Exodus chapters 25 - 30. The actual construction of the tabernacle is recorded in Exodus chapters 35 - 40.

Notice the following verse:

Exodus 27:8 "...as it was shewed thee in the mount, so shall they make it."

Apparently Moshe had a vision shown to him when he was on Mt. Sinai of exactly what the tabernacle was supposed to look like. Perhaps he was shown the heavenly temple to use as a guide.

The materials used for the construction of the Tabernacle were largely from the spoils of Egypt.

G-d told Avram 400 years earlier:

Genesis 15:13-14 "And he said unto Avram (Abram), Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance."

G-d then requested an offering of the people for the construction of the Tabernacle. (Ex 35:4-9)

Materials

The materials used in the construction of the Tabernacle can be separated into four categories: metal, fabric, skin, wood.

Metals

There were three kinds of metals used in the construction of the Tabernacle: Gold, silver, and brass. All three of these metals are malleable, an essential quality when we consider that they were used primarily to overlay wood.

Gold - A total of 29 talents and 730 shekels were used for the pillars, walls, and furniture of the sanctuary (Ex. 38: 24)

Silver - A total of 100 talents and 1,775 shekels were used for sockets (bases - for pillars to sit in), capitals (tops of pillars), hooks, and fillets (rods (i.e. curtain rods)) (Ex 38:25-28)

Brass (better translated copper) - A total of 70 talents and 2, 400 shekels were used for the sockets (bases) of the sixty court pillars, the sockets of the 5 pillars of the sanctuary, the pins, and the brazen altar, and all of the vessels for it. (Ex 38:30-31)

Fabrics

There were two kinds of fabrics used in the construction of the temple, fine linen and woven goat hair.

The linen would have been made from flax and used for the outer court curtain, the gate, the two veils, the curtain coverings, and the priest's garments. Except for the outer court curtains, all of the linen used in the tabernacle had three colors: red, blue, purple.

The woven goat hair fabric was used only for the 11 curtain coverings of the temple. The goats in this area of the world are black so the fabric would have been black. The goat hair swells when it becomes wet, which makes it a watertight covering.

Skin

Ram skin - The skin of a male sheep died red and used for the second covering of the tabernacle.

Marine animal skin - The KJV uses the word badger here. The problem is that there were not badgers in this area of the world. The derivation of the word would indicate that it was a marine animal. Possibilities include: dugong, seal, and porpoise. The same word is used in Ezekiel 16:10 for shoe leather. Since the dugong, an aquatic mammal similar to our manatee, is still used for shoe leather by the Bedouins, this seems a likely choice.

Wood

Only one kind of wood was used for the tabernacle, acacia wood, also known as shittim wood. It is a hard, yellow-brown, fine-grained wood that turns darker and almost black with age. It was used for the boards, pillars, capitals, ark, incense alter, table of shewbread, and alter of burnt offering. All of the wood was overlaid with gold, silver, or brass, with the exception of the wood used for the sixty pillars of the outer court.

Now, the above may look like a shopping list for a carpenter and one may not feel very interested in it. Everything in G-d's word is important. The materials used in the construction of the Tabernacle are no exception. As the study proceeds this will be explained further.

Note: The Tabernacle was a portable structure used by the Israelites as they traveled through the wilderness. It continued to be used in the Promised Land until the time of Solomon when the Temple was built. The Temple was a permanent structure built on Mt. Moriah (Moriyah) in Jerusalem and served the same purpose as the Tabernacle.

You may want to refer to the Tabernacle floor plan often.