Artisans build tent worship center
Moses stops building fund contributions1 Moses said, “The LORD gave Bezalel, Oholiab, and every other artisan here the know-how and the skill to do what they’ve become experts in doing. And that’s why it’s their responsibility to build the worship center God wants us to have.”
2 So Moses called on all the skilled workers to get busy. Bezalel, Oholiab, and all other artisans moved by what Moses showed up for work. 3 Moses gave them everything the people had donated for the building project. Yet every morning, more people kept showing up voluntarily with additional contributions.
4 Overwhelmed with all of these supplies, the workers stopped. 5 They went to Moses and said, “Enough. These people have already given us more construction material than we can use to build what the LORD told us he wanted.”
6 So Moses put the word out: “We’re not accepting any more contributions for the worship center.” So, Moses stopped the people from giving anything more. 7 There was no point in giving more. They already had more than they knew what to do with.
Work zone8 Skilled workers started constructing the worship center, piece by piece. They sewed together 10 curtains, dyed blue, purple, and crimson. Bezalel then embroidered them with angelic beings called cherubim.
9 All 10 curtains were the same size: 14 yards long and 2 yards wide (about 13 m x 2 m). 10 Bezalel used these 10 curtains to make two extended curtains. He did this by linking them together, with five panels in each extended curtain. 11 Bezalel then sewed loops of blue thread onto one edge of each extended curtain.
12 After he made those 50 loops on each extended curtain, he brought the two curtains together. 13 He took 50 golden curtain hooks he made and he used them to link the two extended curtains together, through the loops. This single curtain formed the interior walls of the worship center.
14 Next, Bezalel wove 11 curtains of water-resistant goat hair. Sewn together, they would make a tent roof for the worship center. 15 All 11 curtains were the same size: each one 15 yards long and 2 yards wide (about 14 m x 2 m). 16 He sewed five of those curtains together side by side to make one long roof panel. Then he sewed the other six curtains together to form another long roof panel. 17 As he did with the other curtains, he sewed 50 loops onto one edge of each long panel. 18 And he made 50 bronze clasps to connect the two long panels into one. 19 He finished the tent of the worship center by adding a layer of ram sheepskin and another of top-quality leather.
Framing the worship center20 Next, Bezalel built the acacia wood frame to support the tent worship center. 21 Each section stood 15 feet high and 27 inches wide (about 5 m x 1.5 m). 22 He added two supporting braces to the bottom of each section.
23 He made 20 frames to support the curtains on the south side of the worship center. 24 And he made 40 silver bases, two for every section of frame. Pegs secured the bases into the frames. 25 He made another 20 frames to support the curtains on the north side of the worship center.
26 Bezalel made another 40 silver bases, two at the foot of every section of frame on this side of the worship center, as well. 27 He made six frames to support the curtain at the back of the worship center, on the west side. 28 He made another two sections for the back corners of the worship center. 29 He made the corner sections identical. And he made sure they were properly attached from top to bottom. He used a ring attachment at the top.
30 When he finished framing the back wall, he had eight sections of framing which rested on silver stands, two stands supporting each section. 31 He made five crossbars of acacia wood. He used these to link the five frames for the north side of the worship center. 32 He did the same for the five frames at the back side of the worship center, which faced west. 33 He made the middle crossbar run the entire length of the back wall. It ran through the middle of each section, from one end of the back wall to the other. 34 He covered the frames and crossbars with gold plating. He attached gold rings to each section.
35 He made a curtain for the inside of the worship center, to serve as a wall. He wove it with fine linen and dyed it in the colors of blue, purple, and crimson. He assigned a skilled embroiderer to decorate the curtain with pictures of cherubim. 36 He hung this curtain from a frame made from four posts of acacia wood, covered in gold. He set the frame on four silver bases.
37 He made another curtain for the entrance into the tent worship center. He assigned a master weaver to make it from fine linen, dyed in blue, purple, and crimson. 38 He made the frame from five wooden posts covered in gold and anchored in five bronze bases. Gold hooks held the curtain onto the frame.
For the “walls of the tent worship center” (Exodus 26:1).
“Cherubim” is Kerubim in Hebrew. These are winged celestial beings mentioned throughout the Bible. Ancient Middle Eastern creatures with similar names, such as kirubu, reportedly served gods. The creatures were portrayed in statues of beings such as human-headed lions with wings. These statues guarded entrances to cities and palaces. Two cherubim molded from gold rested on the lid of the box that held the Ten Commandments (1 Chronicles 28:2).
Experts in spinning hair and fibers into thread spun goat hair into strings that weavers used to create large panels, which tentmakers stitched together to form a tent. The hair fibers allow air to get inside when it’s hot. The dark colors that herders today still favor absorb the heat when it’s cold. When it rains, the hair fibers swell and produce a water-resistant covering that’s almost waterproof.
It’s unclear what this is made from. The Hebrew word, tahas, can mean the leather of a “sea cow,” presumably a dolphin, or it can mean “fine leather” or “durable leather.”
It’s unclear what the supports are for each section of the frame. Scholars offer guesses such as these: pegs, supportive braces, or tenons that connect into boards with mortises.
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