The Second Book of Moses, Called Exodus

Chapter 25

What the Israelites were to offer for the formation of the tabernacle, 1-9. The form of the ark, 10-16. The mercy seat with the cherubim, 17-22. The table of show-bread with the furniture thereof, 23-30. The golden candlestick with the instruments thereof, 31-40.

1 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 "Speak to the children of Israel that they bring me an offering. Of every man who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take my offering. 3 And this is the offering which you shall take of them: gold, silver, brass, 4 Blue, purple, scarlet, fine linen, goats' hair, 5 Rams' skins dyed red, badgers' skins, shittim wood, 6 Oil for the light, spices for anointing oil and for sweet incense, 7 Onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod and in the breast-plate. 8 And let them make me a sanctuary so that I may dwell among them. 9 According to all that I show you after the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its instruments, even so you shall make it.

10 "And they shall make an ark of shittim wood. Two and a half cubits shall be its length, a cubit and a half its breadth, and a cubit and a half its height. 11 And you shall overlay it with pure gold. Inside and outside you shall overlay it, and you shall make upon it a crown of gold around it. 12 And you shall cast four rings of gold for it and put them on its four corners, and two rings shall be on one side of it and two rings on the other side of it. 13 And you shall make staffs of shittim wood and overlay them with gold. 14 And you shall put the staffs into the rings by the sides of the ark so that the ark may be borne with them. 15 The staffs shall be in the rings of the ark. They shall not be taken from it. 16 And you shall put into the ark the testimony which I shall give you.

17 "And you shall make a mercy-seat of pure gold. Two and a half cubits shall be its length and a cubit and a half its breadth. 18 And you shall make two cherubim of gold, of beaten work you shall make them, at the two ends of the mercy-seat. 19 And make one cherub on one end and the other cherub on the other end, even of the mercy-seat you shall make the cherubim at its two ends. 20 And the cherubim shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy-seat with their wings, and their faces shall look to one another. Toward the mercy-seat the faces of the cherubim shall be. 21 And you shall put the mercy-seat above upon the ark. And in the ark you shall put the testimony that I shall give you. 22 And there I will meet with you, and I will commune with you from above the mercy-seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel.

23 "You shall also make a table of shittim wood. Its length shall be two cubits, its breadth a cubit, and its height a cubit and a half. 24 And you shall overlay it with pure gold and make for it a crown of gold around it. 25 And you shall make for it a border of a hand-breadth around it, and you shall make a golden crown for its border around it. 26 And you shall make for it four rings of gold and put the rings on the four corners that are on its four feet. 27 Over against the border the rings shall be for places of the staffs to bear the table. 28 And you shall make the staffs of shittim wood and overlay them with gold so that the table may be borne with them. 29 And you shall make its dishes, its spoons, its covers, and its bowls to cover it with. Of pure gold you shall make them. 30 And you shall set show-bread upon the table before me always.

31 "And you shall make a candlestick of pure gold. Of beaten work the candlestick shall be made. Its shaft, its branches, its bowls, its knobs, and its flowers shall be of the same. 32 And six branches shall extend from its sides: three branches of the candlestick from one side and three branches of the candlestick from the other side. 33 Three bowls shall be made like almonds with a knob and a flower in one branch, and three bowls made like almonds in the other branch with a knob and a flower—likewise in the six branches that project from the candlestick. 34 And in the candlesticks there shall be four bowls made like almonds with their knobs and their flowers. 35 And there shall be a knob under two branches of the same, and a knob under two branches of the same, and a knob under two branches of the same, according to the six branches that project from the candlestick. 36 Their knobs and their branches shall be of the same. All of it shall be one beaten work of pure gold. 37 And you shall make its seven lamps. And they shall light its lamps so that they may give light over against it. 38 And its tongs and its snuff-dishes shall be of pure gold. 39 Of a talent of pure gold he shall make it, with all these vessels. 40 And see that you make them after their pattern which was shown to you on the mountain."


Matthew Henry Commentary - Exodus, Chapter 25[➚]


[v.2] - Reference, 2nd Corinthians 9:7.

[v.8] - Reference, 2nd Corinthians 6:16; Hebrews 8:2; Revelation 21:3.

[v.9] - See verse 40. Reference, Hebrews 8:5.

[v.10a] - "an ark of shittim wood" - From John Gill's Exposition: "A chest or coffer to put things into, and into this were to be put the two tables of stone on which the law was written, and it was to be made of the wood before mentioned (Exodus 25:5), this was a very eminent type of Christ, with whom the name of an ark, chest, or coffer where treasure lies, agrees; for the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, and the riches of grace, even all the fulness of it, lie in him; and all the epithets of this ark are suitable to him, as when it is called the ark of God, the ark of his strength, the glory of God, the face of God, [Yahweh], and God himself, the holy ark, and ark of the covenant: and its being made of 'shittim wood', which is an incorruptible wood, a wood that rots not, by which the Septuagint version here, and in (Exodus 25:5) and elsewhere render it, may denote the duration of Christ in his person, and the natures united in it; in his divine nature, from everlasting to everlasting, he is God; in his human nature he saw no corruption, and though he died he lived again, and lives for evermore; in his offices, as Mediator, Redeemer, Savior, prophet, priest, and King, he abideth for ever; and in his grace and the fulness of it, which, like himself, is the same today, yesterday, and forever."

[v.10b] - "shittim wood" - LXX: "incorruptible wood."

[v.11-12] - From Robert Hawker's Commentary: "If (as there seems to be no doubt) this ark was a type of the Lord Jesus, then those rings for the carrying of it from place to place, might be expressive of the presence of Jesus being always with his people. 1st Kings 8:22-30."

[v.16] - From Robert Hawker's Commentary: "Observe, the gospel of Christ is distinguished by this name of a testimony, or witness. Matthew 24:14."

[v.17a] - "mercy-seat" - Hebrew: כפרת (kap-po'-reth)—Cover over sin, an atoning covering. From John Gill's Exposition: "Or 'covering'; so Jarchi and Aben Ezra; for so the word properly signifies; and what is meant was no more than a cover of the ark, which was open at the top, and this was the lid of it, and exactly answered to it, as appears by the dimensions afterward given of it; and because the root of this word in one form signifies to propitiate or make atonement, some render it the 'propitiatory' or 'propitiation'; which is favored by the apostle in (Hebrews 9:5) and to which [Paul] seems to refer (Romans 3:25), and the rather since God is represented sitting on this, as showing himself propitious and well pleased with men, by his communing with them from hence; the Septuagint version takes in both senses, rendering it the 'propitiatory covering': this being called by what name it will, was typical of Christ; he is the seat of mercy, or, as it is in the New Testament expressed, the throne of grace; whereon, or in whom God shows himself to be gracious and merciful to the children of men; all the stores of mercy are in him, and all the vessels of mercy are put into his hands; the mercy of God is displayed in the mission of him as a Savior, and is glorified by him in a way consistent with his justice and holiness; through him only special mercy is communicated to sinful men, to whom God is only merciful in Christ: and Christ himself is all mercy to his people; his ways of old were mercy and truth, and all his works, especially his great work of redemption, are done in mercy and pity to them; he shows himself to be merciful to them, by sympathizing with them, and supporting them under all their temptations and afflictions, in granting them all the necessary supplies of grace here, and by bestowing eternal life on them hereafter: he is their 'covering', the covering of their persons by his righteousness, imputed to them, and of their sins, by his blood shed for them, and sprinkled on them, and of the law, by his satisfaction for the transgressions of it; whereby they are secured from the avenging justice of God, and wrath to come: and he is the 'propitiation' or 'propitiatory', who has made atonement and reconciliation for sin; and in and through whom God shows himself propitious to his people, he being pacified, his wrath appeased, and his justice satisfied by his obedience and sufferings: and this mercy seat, being of 'pure gold', without any alloy or mixture in it, may denote the purity of Christ’s obedience, righteousness, and sacrifice, in the completeness of salvation by him, without any works of righteousness of men; the worth and excellency of Christ, and of these blessings of his, and the preciousness of his blood, and the continued virtue and efficacy of it, and of his righteousness and sacrifice, by which the propitiation is made."

[v.17b] - LXX: "And you shall make a propitiatory, a lid of pure gold..."

[v.18-20] - From Robert Hawker's Commentary: "Perhaps these Cherubims were designed to represent Angels, as prying into the precious mysteries of redemption. 1st Peter 1:12. Hebrews 1:14. Some have thought that the Cherubims mean to represent ministers of the gospel adoring the Lord, and attending on his service."

[v.23] - "a table of shittim wood" - From John Gill's Exposition: "As the sanctuary or tabernacle was a house for God to dwell in, he would have the proper furniture of a house, as a table, candlestick, etc. This table was to be in the same place with the ark and mercy seat; they were set in the holy of holies, where there were nothing else; but this in the holy place, on the north side of it (Exodus 26:35, 40:22), its principal use was to set the show-bread on, as after mentioned, and was typical of Christ, and communion with him, both in this life, and that to come. There is the table of the Lord, to which his people are now admitted, where he sits down with them, and they with him, to have fellowship with him in the ministration of the word and ordinances, of which he is the sum and substance; and this is very desirable and delightful, and an instance of his condescending grace (Song of Solomon 1:12), and he will have a table in his kingdom hereafter, where his saints shall eat and drink with him, in which their chief happiness will consist (Luke 22:30). This table may be considered as typical of Christ himself, for he is both table and provisions and everything to his people; and of him in both his natures; in his human nature, it being made of shittim wood, incorruptible; for though Christ died in that nature, yet he saw no corruption, he rose again and lives for evermore; in his divine nature, by the gold it was covered with."

[v.30] - "show-bread" - From John Gill's Exposition: "Which consisted of twelve cakes loaves, set in two rows upon the table, and stood there a whole week, and every sabbath were renewed; and when the old ones were taken away, which were eaten by the priests, new ones were set, so that they were always before the Lord; and being continually before him, were called show-bread, or 'bread of faces', being always before the face of God. This was a memorial of the goodness of God in daily providing bread for the people of Israel, and was presented to him as a thankful acknowledgment of it, and being the same they ate at their own tables; and this being eaten by the priests, was expressive of the communion between God and them, they being guests of his, and feeding on the same provisions. This show-bread may be considered either as typical of the church and people of God, who are all one bread (1st Corinthians 10:17), these pure and unleavened cakes may denote their purity, simplicity, and sincerity, being without the leaven of malice and wickedness; the number twelve, the twelve tribes of Israel, the whole spiritual Israel of God; their being called show-bread, or bread of faces, the presentation of themselves to the Lord in public worship, and their being ever under the eye and care of God; their being set on the table, their standing in Christ, and security by him, who is the foundation of the apostles and prophets; and being set in rows, their order and harmony; being renewed every sabbath, the constancy of their worship, and the succession of them in all ages; the frankincense put on each row, the acceptance of their persons and services through the incense of Christ’s mediation; the border round about them, the power of Christ around them to keep them from falling: or else as typical of Christ himself, of his being the food of believers, the bread of life: the show-bread of fine flour may fitly signify Christ, the finest of the wheat, the corn of heaven, the bread that comes from thence; its quantity, twelve cakes, the sufficiency of food with him, bread enough and to spare for the whole Israel of God; its continuance, the permanency of Christ as the food believers have always to feed upon; the frankincense on it, the gratefulness of Christ to such, to whom his flesh is meat indeed, and his blood drink indeed; and being set for priests, and only for them, may show that Christ is only food to such who are made priests to God: or this may be an emblem of the intercession of Christ, who is the Angel of God’s presence, ever before him, and represents the whole Israel of God, for whom he intercedes; and his intercession is continual, he ever lives to make intercession for them, and that is always acceptable to God."

[v.31] - "a candlestick of pure gold" - From John Gill's Exposition: "Another piece of household furniture, and a useful one, especially in a house where there are no windows, as there were none in the tabernacle, denoting the darkness of the legal dispensation (2nd Kings 4:10). This candlestick was set in the holy place, on the south side of it, opposite the show-bread table (Exodus 26:35, 40:24), and was typical of the church of God; so the candlesticks John had a vision of signify seven churches (Revelation 1:13, 20), the general use of which is, to hold forth light put into it, for it has none of itself, but what is put there by Christ: and this is not the light of nature and reason, nor the law of Moses, but the Gospel of Christ; which where it is set, gives light and dispels darkness; is useful to walk and work by; does not always burn alike, and will shine the brightest in the end of the world: this light is put into the candlestick by Christ the fountain of all light, and from whom all light is communicated, particularly the Gospel; and being put there, lost sinners are looked up by it, strayed ones are brought back, hypocrites are detected, and saints are enlightened, comforted, and refreshed: and this candlestick being made of 'pure gold', may denote the worth and value of the church of God, and the members of it, their splendor, glory, and purity they have from Christ, and their duration; and thus the seven churches of Asia are compared to seven golden candlesticks (Revelation 1:12), and under the form of a golden candlestick is the Gospel church set forth in Zechariah 4:2."

[v.40] - Quoted in Hebrews 8:5. Reference, Exodus 26:30.