Dimensions of the Tabernacle Courtyard, Part 2
We continue here with our discussion on the Tabernacle court with Alek.
Still "hanging" in there
Alek states: When describing the "hangings" of each side of the courtyard, the original Hebrew text
uses the word "qəlā‘îm", which is a plural form of the root word "qəlā". Now, if each side of the courtyard
had only one very long "hanging", a singular form “qəlā" would have been used. However, in our original
text, we have a plural form - "qəlā‘îm". This may mean only one thing and one thing only - there were
multiple "hangings" on each side of the courtyard.
In Reply, not necessarily, although Young’s Analytical Concordance interprets the word “hangings”
as found in Exod 27:9 as you have suggested from the Hebrew “qelaim” ke•la•'im, (i.e. to hang),
Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance on the other hand interprets this same word as “gela” a curtain,
drape, or hanging.
“And thou shall make 6213 the court 2691 of the tabernacle 4908: for the south 5045 side 6285
southward 8486 [there shall be] hangings 7050 for the court 2691 [of] fine twined 7806 linen
8336 of an hundred 3967 cubits 520 long 753 for one 259 side 6285 .” (Exod 27:9)
Strong’s # 7050 qela` keh'-lah from 7049; a sling; also a (door) screen (as if slung across), or the
valve (of the door) itself:--hanging, leaf, sling.
NOTE: In Biblical Hebrew, plural forms of words are sometimes used to denote, not plurality, but rather
an intensification of a singular. This usage is called by many different expressions, such as “majestic”,
“plural intensive”, etc. It is where a plural form is used although a singular is meant. Thus for example
when referring to the “hangings” located on the south side of the courtyard one should not misconstrue
that there were 20 separate curtains spanned along this side of the courtyard comprising 100 cubits in
length, but rather that it was one curtain 100 cubits in length even as it is written.
“You shall also make the court of the tabernacle. For the south side there shall be hangings
(plural intensive) for the court made of fine woven linen, one hundred cubits long for one side.”
Young's Analytical Concordance is not wrong it is simply interpreting the word in its plural intensive
Nevertheless we believe the Lord’s use of the word “hangings” in its plural sense is the appropriate usage
of the word as applied in the context of the subject, i.e. the courtyard construction, materials and etc.
The Lord was attempting to explain to Moses the general construction of the courtyard beginning first
with its hangings or curtains. His use of the word “hangings” in its plural sense is proper because there
was indeed more than one “hanging” (singular) surrounding the courtyard in fact excluding the
“entrance curtain” there were five specific linen “hangings” or curtains.
Alek states: I just wanted to add that the inner vail (with cherubims) is called "pārōḵeṯ", and the
entrance curtain of the tent (otherwise referred to as the gate of the court) was called "māsāḵ" … The
word "qəlā‘îm" is used only when describing the hangings of the courtyard. But most translations do not
differentiate between these words.
In Reply, let’s take another look at this all the same,
“You shall make a veil woven of blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen. It shall
be woven with an artistic design of cherubim. You shall hang it upon the four pillars of acacia
wood overlaid with gold. Their hooks shall be gold, upon four sockets of silver.” Exod 26:31, 32
Veil: (Strong’s# 6532) “poreketh” po-reh'-keth feminine active participle of the same as 6531; a
separatrix, i.e. (the sacred) screen: -- (curtain) vail.
“You shall make a screen for the door of the tabernacle (what we sometimes refer to as the “first
veil”), woven of blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen, made by a weaver. And
you shall make for the screen five pillars of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold; their
hooks shall be gold, and you shall cast five sockets of bronze for them” Exod 26:36, 37
Screen: (Strong’# 4539) “macak” maw-sawk' from 5526; a cover, i.e. veil:--covering, curtain,
“For the gate of the court there shall be a screen twenty cubits long, woven of blue, purple, and
scarlet thread, and fine woven linen, made by a weaver. It shall have four pillars and four
sockets. All the pillars around the court shall have bands of silver; their hooks shall be of silver
and their sockets of bronze.” Exod 27:16, 17
Screen: (Strong’s # 4539) "macak" maw-sawk' from 5526; a cover, i.e. veil:--covering, curtain,
Thus as we had previously stated all the curtains which were to be suspended (i.e. “hung”, the past
tense of “hang”, in Hebrew “qelaim” to hang, See Young’s Analytical Concordance) by way of hooks
or fillets (rods) were all considered “hangings” this irregardless as to whether or not they were 5 cubits
long hangings or a 100 cubits long hangings.
Hanging: The act of suspending something (hanging it from above so it moves freely).
Curtain: A hanging cloth used as a blind; any barrier to communication or vision.
Alek states: I do agree on the length of the "hangings". However, they were not one long piece 100
cubits long - they were 20 pieces, 5 cubits each. The text indeed does not say explicitly that "hangings"
were 5 cubits, however 5 cubits is the only possible mathematical solution.
In other words, since each side of the court had to have at least two "hangings" (plural, remember?),
and the smallest side of the courtyard was 15 cubits, the next smallest whole divisor of 15 is... Guess
what? Its 5, there is simply no way you can satisfy the Biblical description in any other way, except of
‘course if you do not care about math rules.
In Reply, I believe that in the foregoing comments we have explained to the best of our ability the Lord’s
use of the word “hangings” in its plural sense as used in conjunction with the courtyard and its
We stated: Once again note the LORD’s words,
“And along the width of the court on the west side (the rear of the court, which the Lord specified
was to be 50 cubits in length, Verse 18) shall be hangings of fifty cubits, with their ten pillars and
their ten sockets.” (Exod 27: 12)
Note especially here that the overall length of 50 cubits is with the inclusion of the ten pillars, there is
no additional length to be added to the dimensions of the court by the pillars.
In response Alek states: This is not an honest argument. If you are saying that there is no additional
length to be added to the dimensions of the court by the pillars, this also means that there is no
additional pillar to be added to the sides of the court. And we both add (or rather -count) one extra
(corner) pillar as the side of the court. You know, because we both know better.
So, it is either extra length and extra pillar, or it neither, extra length or extra pillar. Otherwise, you are
nothing but exploiting the rules of argument and logic.
In Reply, actually when rightfully understood it will be observed that we have to the contrary added
no additional pillars save those which the Lord has designated, this will be seen when we present our
As stated before there is no direct scriptural text stating that there was to be exactly 5 cubits of distance
between each post this is only a matter of inference on our part based upon the facts as given.
In response Alek states: Yes, I agree. But this is the only possible inference that you can draw out of
the description without violating basic rules of mathematics.
In Reply, There could be no violation of any rules where none are given. An inference is only a logical
conclusion based on the facts as given, however this does not make it a certainty. You have 100 cubits
and 20 pillars, 20 divides into 100 five times thus it is only natural to assume that the pillars were equally
space 5 cubits apart one from another, but this still is only an assumption as no direct statement to the
fact is made. We will attempt to address this issue likewise when we present our diagrams in our next
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