“The Tabernacle its construction and furnishings”, Part 7
“Then he made the courtyard on its south side; the hangings (curtains) of the court were of fine
woven linen, one hundred cubits long. There were twenty pillars for them, with twenty copper
sockets. The hooks of the pillars and their bands (curtain rods) were silver…”
(The north side likewise corresponding with the south side)
“…And on the west side there were hangings (curtains) of fifty cubits (in length), with ten pillars
and their ten sockets. The hooks of the pillars and their bands (curtain rods) were silver. For the
east side (the entrance side) the hangings were likewise fifty cubits. The hangings on one side of
the gate were fifteen cubits long, with their three pillars and their three sockets and the same
for the other side of the court gate; on this side and that were hangings of fifteen cubits, with
their three pillars and three sockets… The screen (curtain) for the gate of the court… was twenty
cubits in length, and the height along its width was five cubits, corresponding to the hangings of
the rest of the court. And there were four pillars with their four sockets of copper; their hooks
were silver, and the overlay of their capitals and their bands (curtain rods) were silver. All the
pegs of the tabernacle, and the court all around were copper.” (Exod 38:9-20)
From the foregoing we gain some valuable information which from the onset seems rather simple
enough but unfortunately is generally misunderstood, as can be attested to by some of the various
illustrations of the courtyard I have run across in my search for information on the tabernacle and its
Several key points are made here,
1) The length and width of the tabernacle enclosure (or courtyard) is established to be 100
hundred cubits by 50 cubits (150 ft. X 75 ft.*)
2) The height of the lien curtain enclosure is confirmed to be five cubits (7 ½ ft.)
3) The distance between each pillar is established to be roughly five cubits (7 ½ ft.) based upon
the measurements given in regards to the hangings (curtains) positioned on each side of the
4) The number of pillars used to support the curtains on each of its four sides is established to
be twenty on the south and north sides and ten on the west and east sides, 20+20+10+10= 60
5) Something generally overlooked which we shall investigate a little more thoroughly later
when we begin our examination of the tabernacle proper is the fact that it is stated here that
there were copper pins used in BOTH the construction of the tabernacle proper itself, AND in the
(*All calculations being based upon a scale of 1 cubit = 18 inches)
Now take a look at the following illustration, to the untrained eye (that is in regards to the Tabernacle and
its construction) this illustration appears to be perfectly fine, everything seems to be in its proper place,
the number of pillars on each of its four sides corresponding with the written testimony, so what is
wrong with this picture?
Well for starters both the length and width of the enclosure is incorrect, likewise the length of the
entrance curtain is incorrect, why is this you ask did not the scriptures expressly state that there
were twenty post on both the south and the north sides and ten post on both the west and the
east side’s with four posts used in support of the entrance curtain?
Yes that is precisely what the scriptures stated, but likewise they stated that the length of the courtyard
was 100 cubits with five cubits intervening in between each post, and that the width was 50 cubits
with five cubits intervening between each pillar as is confirmed in the statement that the hangings on each
side of the gate were fifteen cubits in length each, and that the “gate” itself was twenty cubits in length,
totaling 50 cubits all together.
Now you do the math, how many spaces are there between each post running along its length?
19! Correct? 5 x 19 equals what? 95 cubits, along its width, how many spaces in between? 9! Correct?
5 x 9 equals 45 cubits.
What about the length of the curtains located on both sides of the entrance curtain, they appear to be
correct, 15 cubits right, but now take a closer look at the entrance curtain itself, it appears to be short of
its specified length by five cubits.
Many bible students have stumble over this very same thing (including myself) they can’t seem to
understand why the bible states that there were 20 post on the south and north sides and 10 post on
the west and east sides and yet in many (correct) illustrations the count is 21 post on the south and
north sides and 11 post on the west and east sides, how do these people get these extra post?
The reason for this is quite simple (I don’t know how I stumbled over it for so long myself) just take a
look at your common ruler or tape measure, does it begin with the digit (1) or (0)? Now take a look at
the following illustration,
You see posts numbers 10 and 20 are what are termed “anchor” post (corresponding to the digit 0) and
are not to be counted twice! They serve, as it were as anchors to the adjoining curtains and therefore
cannot be counted as number one in that series.
It is for this reason that the “gate” is said to have but four posts (Exod 27:16) numbers 4-7. Post
number 3 serves as the “anchor” post of this particular section of curtains composing the entrance
curtain, thus as seen in our previous illustration of the entrance curtain (which please see) it appeared as
though there were five posts used in the “gate” rather than the four as mentioned in the scriptures, post
number 3 does not count in this instance.
So likewise post number 7 must not be counted twice, for although it is the last post supporting the
“gate”, it also serves as the anchor post for that part of the east section of curtains, lying to the north of
the gate, which as stated was to have only three post (Exod 27:15), post numbers 8-10.
Now typically one who did not properly understand this would look at a picture of the courtyard illustrating
21 post on each side and 11 posts on each end and say that this was incorrect, 21+21+11+11= 64 post
not 60 as it should be, but wait! We don’t have 64 posts, count them for yourself beginning at the
bottom left hand corner, count each post in a counterclockwise direction around the courtyard what’s the
final tally? Ah! 60 just as it should be.
For more insight on all this see Brother Frey’s “Notes on the Tabernacle”, Page 43
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