Building the Tabernacle

Exodus 36:8-39:1

This very lengthy passage reiterates much of what was written in the previous three Torah portions. The order, however, is different. Whereas Moses was first instructed regarding the inner vessels of the Tabernacle, then its outer structure, then the outer vessels, here we see that Bezalel and his team first constructed the parts for the Tabernacle’s structure — its various curtains, planks and sockets — then the Ark, Table and Menorah with their attending utensils, and finally the vessels of the courtyard — the Incense Altar, the larger Altar of Elevation Offerings and the Laver — along with the enclosure of the courtyard itself.


The Tabernacle and its vessels are rife with symbolism and lessons. As the Israel Bible explains, the woven fabrics of the Tabernacle were so unique, that when similar fabrics are described in the Book of Esther as adorning King Ahasuerus’s palace, the Sages learned that the Temple treasures which were looted during the fall of the Judean Kingdom made their way to the Persian treasury. Those Jews who elected not to attend Ahasuerus’s grand party in the beginning of the story were demonstrating their loyalty to God and mourning the loss of the Temple in Jerusalem.


The Menorah, which was made of pure gold and burned pure olive oil, represents the duty of the Jewish people to serve as a Light unto the Nations. As the Israel Bible indicates, the purity of the materials reflects the pure intentions needed to spread the light of Torah and God’s will.


The section ends with a complete accounting of all the materials used to prepare the Tabernacle.


Virtual Classroom Discussion

Why do you think the Torah goes into such detail once again in describing the construction of the Tabernacle? Would it not have been enough to say “Bezalel built the Tabernacle as God instructed Moses”?

Comments ( 7 )

The comments below do not necessarily reflect the beliefs and opinions of The Israel Bible™.

  • Ruben Rodriguez

    In the Tabernacle is Christ. In the Bible, when God speaks we should pay close attention, when He repeats Himself we are to be very careful in paying close attention. In the Menorah, or the candlestick is Jesus Christ for He is the Light of the World, in the shewbread is Jesus Christ for He is the Bread of Life, the gate represents Christ for Jesus said I am the Gate, no one comes to the Father but by me and in order to get to the Holy of Holies where God was one had to go through the Gate. When the Tabernacle was set up, the gate always faced the East. Why? Because as we all know that the Sun rises from the East, so the Gate pointed to the Sun(Son). There is so much more, it is so deep. We need to dig deep as Proverbs chapter 2 tells us.

  • Pauline Graham

    I believe thay Yehovah is so specific as to the Tabernacle as the nations had their own gods and worship rites. So in order to keep His people from getting ensnared by the heathens is to tell them exactly what is what and where goes were. Yehovah is not an airy fairy God, nor is he dumb, deaf and blind to His people whom He has called His own.

  • I love 🙂 all your explanations, they have blessed my heart tremendously, thank you all, thank you Israel Bible!

  • Stephanie

    One layer of meaning of all this to me: all the details and care for each and every piece of the Tabernacle relates to all the details and care for each part of us that God…
    Psalm 139:13-15 For You created my reins, You covered me in my mother’s womb. I shall thank You for in an awesome, wondrous way I was fashioned; Your works are wondrous, and my soul knows it very well. My essence was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, I was formed in the lowest parts of the earth.
    The word translated as ‘formed’ above is רקם first used in Ex 26:36 to speak of weaving the curtains of the tabernacle and then in Ex 28:39 concerning the priestly garments…

  • I read a very interesting article by Rabbi Wein, where he explains that the repetition in these portions comes to teach an important lesson about transparency and accountability. The listing of all the donations shows the transparency needed for any organization (or government)-what was donated and what was it used for. Even in, or perhaps specifically regarding, a ‘holy’ organization, one needs to be quite careful that all donations are used appropriately and for the purposes that the were intended. As well, the repetition indicates that the building was done in an efficient and honest manner-a very important lesson for every generation to learn.

  • Kenneth Osterman

    In Exodus 25:9 & 40 God repeats to Moses “…all that I show you concerning the pattern of the tabernacle, and of all its furniture, so you shall make it.” It was stressed to Moses.
    Now again, the LORD was stressing the importance of detail. The importance of the Tabernacle lessons applied to ancient Israel foremost and ultimately all humanity. The Tabernacle and the Temple, (and the next Temple) teach aspects of redemption, restoration and relationship with our Creator.
    Though we did not build it nor see its physical glory, we can gain appreciation of its spiritual significance as we consider its details externally and internally.
    I visited the Tabernacle in Timnah (full size construction) and I was in the Holy and looked at the Cherubim on the curtains and the saw the Table and the Candlestick and the Incense Altar and looked into the Most Holy and saw the Ark of the Covenant. Then I turned and looked out toward the Laver and the Altar of Sacrifice and got a sense of the privilege and work of the Priests.
    There is also a full size Tabernacle in Ariel.
    Here is a link to the Tabernacle in Timnah.

  • Diana Brown

    In the Grand Plan of the Lord God set before Time and the Foundations of the World, the Tabernacle had a service or function in God’s Purposes. It had to be specific and orderly and correct to absorb the Holiness of God when He spoke with the High Priest in the Holiest Place.
    We have to remember there is an Adversary who looks to take God to court and accuse Him of failing to be able to keep His Covenants. Details matter because God’s Plan matters. As they say, ha satan is scouring over the details to find a flaw. He won’t but he keeps sending those who will listen to the spirit of Amalek to try to make people doubt and turn away from the God who will fulfill His Covenant and restore all things unto Himself. The prophet Zechariah details this trial in the third chapter. This is a prophecy regarding the remnant in the end times or end of days.

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