Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tabernacle Furniture Set



I'm in the process of illustrating the Tabernacle furniture including the Ark of the Covenant which I will be blogging about in more detail shortly. This set has been a very challenging set to illustrate! Many thanks to everyone who has given advice and pointed me towards the relevant scriptures which, at the end of the day, have to be our guide as we attempt to accurately depict these things.

Special thanks goes to author John Cross whose books include 'The Stranger' 'All That The Prophets Have Spoken' and By This Name. John has done much study of the Tabernacle, (and tabernacle furniture), and he has very kindly sent me a complementary Tabernacle Furniture Set (pictured above), which has been a tremendous help! I especially wanted to give this set a plug on the blog as it is absolutely stunning! Each finely detailed item is made of metal which is either gold or bronze plated. The bronze Altar and Laver which both stood in the Tabernacle court actually look weathered too! The Ark of the Covenant contains a miniature pot of manna, Aaron's rod and the Stone Tablets of the Law which actually feel like stone! Because each item looks so authentic it really brings history to life! This item would be invaluable to anyone who conducts teaching seminars on the Tabernacle - It's also a great item to have on display either at home or in your workplace as it's a great conversation starter!

If you're after a special gift for your minister/pastor - this is it!

28 comments:

German said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Deboraw said...

Graham, It is a very challenging task! And it is a very nice set.

Bible artist said...

It really is a superb set Deboraw. I've set it all up on display in my studio - I've never seen so much gold before!
I've drawn and cut out a high priest on card so that I get the size relation right as he stands next to each piece of furniture. Those Levites must have been pretty strong to carry that Altar!

Deboraw said...

Didn't see any prices on the page I went to. I'm still waiting for my second million $ you know. Ha, ha. But I could at least start saving?

Aleksandr Sigalov said...

Very nice.

I just wanted to point out though, that the Bible says that there were ONLY Tablets of Stone inside the Ark and nothing else (see 1 Kings 8:9)

Bible artist said...

Thanks Aleksandr.
There are a number of different theories which suggest what could have happened to the jar of manna and Aaron's rod in the 490 year gap between the Exodus journey (1491 BC) spoken about in Hebrews 9:4 and the statement in 1 Kings 8:9 which referred to a later event in 1004 BC. It depends on which one you prefer! I personally don't have a problem with this as we know that there are many instances where the New Testament reveals things that were hidden in the Old Testament.

I did get a letter (from a Bible translator) which touched on this subject a couple of months ago. She stated that the Greek words used in Heb 9:4 could also suggest that the jar of manna and Aaron's rod were placed 'by the side of' the ark - and not in it. This is yet another theory which would also solve your problem.

I was very interested to see your 3D models of the tabernacle - very nice! I noticed that you have gone for the 21x11 post layout around the tabernacle courtyard with individual 5 cubit sheets. Have a look at the 'Drawing the Tabernacle' post where I discuss this in detail - I would be interested to hear your thoughts.

Aleksandr Sigalov said...

Yes, it seems that text of Heb 9:4 is speaks of the content of the "Holly of Holies" (Heb 9:3), and not the Ark. But I'm not very familiar with Septuagint, so I do not think I can argue about it with confidence.

RE: Courtyard

21x11 "snake" pillar layout, with individual 5x5 cubits sheets between them, is the only way to go in this case. This is due to the so called "Fence Post Error" problem that most people are not aware about.

Secondly, in your post you have said that the east side of the Courtyard had 10 pillars - this is not correct. The text DOES NOT give us this information.

The only thing that text says is that there were 3 pillars for each "shoulder" and 4 for the gate. The reason for this is so that we can use 1 pillar twice for the east side. (see Fence Post Error)

Lastly, and that is most important, all these difficulties arise due to very widely spread misconception that an OVERALL dimensions of the courtyard were 100x50 cubits. An OVERALL dimensions of the courtyard were 120x60 cubits! But the dimensions of the hangings of the courtyard were indeed 100x50 cubits.

If you will read an original text in hebrew, you will notice it very easily. The original text mentions ONLY dimensions of the hangings, and NEVER an overall dimensions of the courtyard. I can vouch for that!

Therefore, IMHO, your layout with two pillars at the corners is incorrect. I'm very sorry.

Aleksandr Sigalov said...

P.S. Speaking of illustration of the Ark...

I would be very interested to see how you will depict cherubims.

In my opinion, they most likely looked like the human beings, but with 3 extra faces and 4 wings.

These "3 extra faces" was probably a "mask" of some kind, resulting in something like this:

http://bit.ly/fAoOTu

Either way, it would be interesting to see what you will come up with...

Deboraw said...

What an encouragement. I'm so glad I found your site ? years ago. Truly a serendipity. Smile

Bible artist said...

Thanks again Aleksandr!
Let me go through the points one by one:
Firstly you mention "21x11 "snake" pillar layout, with individual 5x5 cubits sheets between them, is the only way to go in this case".
If you read Exodus 27:9-16 you will see that there were two hangings that were 100 cubits long, 1 that was 50 cubits long and two on the Eastern side (at either side of the entrance veil) which were both 15 cubits long. The longer curtains were made up from 20x5 hangings stitched together (see Exodus 38:18) As you can see there were no individual 5x5 cubit sheets.

Secondly, you mention that "in your post you have said that the east side of the Courtyard had 10 pillars - this is not correct. The text DOES NOT give us this information".
Read Exodus 27:12-19 - if you count the posts on the eastern side, there are ten.
You mentioned the 'Fence Post Error' This is the solution that I talked about that leaves 56 posts instead of 60.

Finally, you mention "Lastly, and that is most important, all these difficulties arise due to very widely spread misconception that an OVERALL dimensions of the courtyard were 100x50 cubits. An OVERALL dimensions of the courtyard were 120x60 cubits! But the dimensions of the hangings of the courtyard were indeed 100x50 cubits".
O.K. You're going to have to explain this one to me - you have the advantage of knowing Hebrew whereas I sadly don't! Because we have the exact sizes of the stitched together drapes which form a 100x50 cubit box, and because these drapes were supported by the posts, it's hard to imagine how this area could be 120x60 cubits. I have been wrong before though! ;0)

As to the cherubim - my initial idea was very similar to yours, 4 faces and 4 wings as we see in Ezekiel. However, the more I research the cherubim the less sure I am!
I have seen the illustration that you link to before. it appears to be four heads stuck together though rather than 4 faces - what do you think?
We are told that the cherubim on the ark look down toward the mercy seat - that might be difficult for the head at the back-!!
I'll be going into this a little bit more when I post about the ark.
Thanks for your comments!

Bible artist said...

Deboraw:
Many thanks Deboraw! I had to look up serendipity though!

Deboraw said...

Smile...

Del said...

Thanks for these posts...and the comments. I revisited your article on Illustrating the Tabernacle and found it very helpful. It's interesting that the Bible can be very specific on certain details and yet be wide open on how those specifics are interpreted visually.

Your thoroughness is greatly appreciated.

Bible artist said...

Aleksandr:
I've just noticed that a very reputable model of the tabernacle also has the 5x5 individual hangings - so there must be something in what you're saying Aleksandr!

Yes, I do understand that if the hangings are individually hung in between the posts then the overall size will be 120x60 cubits due to the width of the posts - what I'm struggling to understand is that in Exodus 27:9-18 it does appear to give the.....ah! wait a minute....Now I see what your saying! Hangings (plural). When I read hangings in verse 9, for some reason I thought it was speaking of the two for the North and south sides. (I never noticed the plural in the other verses).Now that does make a difference! I can see what you're saying now-!! All I have to do now is get my head around how to count those ten posts-!! Thanks for your patience Aleksandr! I need to put a footnote on the 'Drawing the Tabernacle' now! :0(

I did say on the Drawing the Tabernacle post "Don't go off what I say either!"

Del:
Absolutely true Del! - A good example is above! Thanks for your comment!

Aleksandr Sigalov said...

Thanks for your patience Aleksandr!
No problem. Tabernacle is my favorite topic in the Bible, and I very much enjoy talking about it.

Btw, I have just completed uploading panoramic images of the Tabernacle and I think you should check it out. Especially, this one: http://bit.ly/hwJrbD


I did say on the Drawing the Tabernacle post "Don't go off what I say either!"
You had a pretty good theory that did not work out. So what?!? The most important part is that you dont give up and continue your search for truth.

Patrick said...

Wow! I'm now holding my breath for it. :)

I agree with you about the Ark and its kapporet. I've also been trying to research about it for some time now and I could say, painting a mental picture of it is rather difficult. :p

Though as of now, I do tend to image the Ark's cherubim, not like the Renaissance-esque angels you often see in many depictions (the Indiana Jones Ark comes to mind here), but something akin to the sphinxes and/or griffins of Ancient Near Eastern art. I presently go with the idea (more detail in my blog: http://sacrificium-laudis.blogspot.com/2010/01/minor-trivial-biblical-stuff-part-2-ark.html) that the Ark is meant to be a sort of throne-footstool-litter combination for God's Presence. In the Ancient Near East, gods and kings alike were portrayed as either riding or sitting upon such winged creatures (the sidearms of thrones were often carved in the likeness of these). The way I see it, is that the two cherubim of the Ark and their wings, could have been in function similar to these and served as either the sidearms of the (empty) divine throne, or the visible footstool which is imaged to carry the platform upon which the Lord was seated, or the 'guardians' or 'protectors' of the Ark, which is the portable support of His invisible throne.

Bible artist said...

Patrick:
The winged Sphinxes are portrayed, (as cherubim), in the new ESV Study Bible in the Solomon's Temple illustration. I did ask the artists how they arrived at this interpretation and they were guided by the advising archaeologists etc, one of whom was Leen Ritmeyer, (correct me if I'm wrong Leen!)

When it comes to depicting the cherubim there seems to be a division between those artists who try to base cherubim on the actual physical description given in scripture, (Ezekiel etc), and those who base their interpretation on how cherubs were depicted in ancient art, (winged Sphinxes etc). In the case of the Ark of the Covenant it would seem to make sense to follow those depictions of cherubs provided by ancient art - unless the instructions given by God to Moses were based on the actual physical description of cherubim!

Many artists who have either illustrated the Ark or constructed a scale model of it have stated that, as the ancient artisans had grown up under the artistic influences of Egypt, the ark would have reflected this in both its design and decoration. I would be inclined to disagree with this based on the fact that the Bible makes it clear that the arks design was divinely inspired, therefore all other artistic influences would be superseded.

It could also be argued that winged Sphinxes were based on pagan deities and therefore had no place in divine design, and therefore on the ark of God!

Patrick said...

Many artists who have either illustrated the Ark or constructed a scale model of it have stated that, as the ancient artisans had grown up under the artistic influences of Egypt, the ark would have reflected this in both its design and decoration. I would be inclined to disagree with this based on the fact that the Bible makes it clear that the arks design was divinely inspired, therefore all other artistic influences would be superseded.

It could also be argued that winged Sphinxes were based on pagan deities and therefore had no place in divine design, and therefore on the ark of God!


One could indeed argue that. Even so, I believe that 'taking' the template of fantastic human-animal hybrids and to adapt it to the religion of Israel is automatically not the same thing as for Israel to mean by it what say, the Phoenicians or Egyptians may have meant. Artistic influence is actually a different issue entirely from the comparison of the theological significance of Israelite religion with the theological significance of the religions of neighboring peoples. At Sinai God reveals to Moses the true, thereby returning everything to their proper function and purpose, and showing it can (and directing that it) all be done without the pagan 'corruptions'.

The NETBible footnote for Exodus 25:8 sums up my point here:

The expression “the pattern of the tabernacle” (תַּבְנִית הַמִּשְׁכָּן, tavnit hammiskan) has been the source of much inquiry. The word rendered “pattern” is related to the verb “to build”; it suggests a model. S. R. Driver notes that in ancient literature there is the account of Gudea receiving in a dream a complete model of a temple he was to erect (Exodus, 267). In this passage Moses is being shown something on the mountain that should be the pattern of the earthly sanctuary. The most plausible explanation of what he was shown comes from a correlation with comments in the Letter to the Hebrews and the book of Revelation, which describe the heavenly sanctuary as the true sanctuary, and the earthly as the copy or shadow. One could say that Moses was allowed to see what John saw on the island of Patmos, a vision of the heavenly sanctuary. That still might not explain what it was, but it would mean he saw a revelation of the true tent, and that would imply that he learned of the spiritual and eternal significance of all of it. The fact that Israel’s sanctuary resembled those of other cultures does not nullify this act of revelation; rather, it raises the question of where the other nations got their ideas if it was not made known early in human history. One can conclude that in the beginning there was much more revealed to the parents in the garden than Scripture tells about (Cain and Abel did know how to make sacrifices before Leviticus legislated it). Likewise, one cannot but guess at the influence of the fallen Satan and his angels in the world of pagan religion. Whatever the source, at Sinai God shows the true, and instructs that it all be done without the pagan corruptions and additions. U. Cassuto notes that the existence of these ancient parallels shows that the section on the tabernacle need not be dated in the second temple period, but fits the earlier period well (Exodus, 324).

BTW, a bit of an unrelated question. Many depictions I've seen show only four Levites bearing the Ark. Does the Bible actually tell us how many Levites carried the chest at any given moment?

Patrick said...

P.S. One thing I do know is, it’s rather unlikely that the cherubim of the Ark would have been cute babies/baby-heads (think Raphael's two cherubs here) with puny wings! ;)

Deboraw said...

Graham, Just to clarify what is being discussed about the curtains. Does this fit at all, or am I confusing things?

Exo 26:2 The length of each curtain shall be eight and twenty cubits, and the breadth of each curtain four cubits: all the curtains shall have one measure.
Exo 26:3 Five curtains shall be coupled together one to another; and the other five curtains shall be coupled one to another.
Exo 26:4 And thou shalt make loops of blue upon the edge of the one curtain from the selvedge in the coupling; and likewise shalt thou make in the edge of the curtain that is outmost in the second coupling.
Exo 26:5 Fifty loops shalt thou make in the one curtain, and fifty loops shalt thou make in the edge of the curtain that is in the second coupling; the loops shall be opposite one to another.
Exo 26:6 And thou shalt make fifty clasps of gold, and couple the curtains one to another with the clasps: and the tabernacle shall be one whole.
Exo 26:7 And thou shalt make curtains of goats' hair for a tent over the tabernacle: eleven curtains shalt thou make them.
Exo 26:8 The length of each curtain shall be thirty cubits, and the breadth of each curtain four cubits: the eleven curtains shall have one measure.
Exo 26:9 And thou shalt couple five curtains by themselves, and six curtains by themselves, and shalt double over the sixth curtain in the forefront of the tent.
Exo 26:10 And thou shalt make fifty loops on the edge of the one curtain that is outmost in the coupling, and fifty loops upon the edge of the curtain which is outmost in the second coupling.
Exo 26:11 And thou shalt make fifty clasps of brass, and put the clasps into the loops, and couple the tent together, that it may be one.
I always pictured large individual curtain hangings with clasps in the edges so they could be linked together once hung. But maybe what I'm thinking about isn't at all what your discussing?

Bible artist said...

Patrick:
Good points Patrick! I seem to remember us discussing this on the Adam and Eve post? We mentioned the probability that a description of the cherubs seen by Adam and Eve guarding the Tree of Life would have been passed on from generation to generation. It's easy to see how the faces of an eagle and lion could become the wings of an eagle and the body of a lion over time.

Regarding your question "how many Levites carried the Ark?" We do normally see four Levites in Bible illustrations, but off the top of my head I can't bring to mind a verse that says that. When you look at the size of the ark in relation to a person, I would imagine that four Levites would be able to carry it over a long distance without too much trouble. I had a similar question in mind when I saw the size of the Altar, which was also carried with poles - It's hard to imagine four Levites carrying that!
Patrick P.S:
If cherubs were fat babies it would be a lot easier-!!

Deboraw:
The verses you mention here Deboraw im Ex 26 are speaking of the actual Tabernacle coverings - my problems have been with the white linen curtains that bordered the tabernacle court. I thought that there were two single curtains 100 cubits long on the North and South sides, and a fifty cubit curtain on the West side, and two 15 cubit curtains along the eastern edge at either side of the entrance veil - but as Aleksandr pointed out, it does say hangings (plural) in Exodus 27:9-16.

Another point is that I had always thought that there were 20x10 posts around the tabernacle court - the corner posts being in pairs whereas Aleksandr and other model makers often show a 21x11 post version. The final point was that I always held that the eastern side with the entrance veil had ten posts - four holding up the entrance veil and three posts at each side holding up the linen hangings (as outlined in Exodus 27:13), but apparently I'm not counting the posts correctly! ;0p (Mind you, I am losing brain cells daily, so this might explain it!) Read Exodus 27:13 and tell me what you think.

Deboraw said...

Graham, I agree with the person who said 'a picture is worth a thousand words'. I just read Exodus 27: 13 and then some. Besides the side notes from K & D (Kiel and Delitzsch) and although it is interesting, I'm not too clear about the whole thing. I guess I'm not at all ready for cherubim. :<(

Deboraw said...

P. S. I think I'm losing brain cells by the minute. Aaagh!

Patrick said...

Regarding your question "how many Levites carried the Ark?" We do normally see four Levites in Bible illustrations, but off the top of my head I can't bring to mind a verse that says that. When you look at the size of the ark in relation to a person, I would imagine that four Levites would be able to carry it over a long distance without too much trouble. I had a similar question in mind when I saw the size of the Altar, which was also carried with poles - It's hard to imagine four Levites carrying that!

Thanks! I was just wondering because in many of these illustrations the poles on the Ark are IMO quite short - just enough to accomodate four men.

A surface reading of the very ambiguous and puzzling passage in 1 Kings (8:7-8) however seems to imply that the poles were long enough that their ends could be seen from the Holy Place in Solomon's Temple: "And they lengthen the poles, and the heads of the poles are seen from the Holy upon the face of the Debir; and they are not seen from outside, and they are there to this day." If I remember correctly the Holy of Holies of the Tabernacle was ten cubits high and long, with Solomon's measuring twice the height and length.

Just my personal theory, but assuming that the poles were fixed on the long sides (say, as per Dr. Ritmeyer's idea), could it be possible that the poles were actually ten cubits in length (give or take a cubit or two more) as well? Later Jewish tradition (as recorded in the Talmud, Menaḥot 98a) had a similar idea: because the "poles were so long" the rabbis speculate that the poles would have pushed the veil (not that the veils had holes wherein the poles would stick out), producing two bulges which "were similar to two breasts of a woman [beneath her clothes]" (albeit, the passage places the poles on the narrower side of the Ark).

Which brings us to another question: how many men would fit into an approximately ten cubit-long (take away two-and-a-half cubits for a remainder of approx. seven-and-a-half) pole?

Aleksandr Sigalov said...

Bible artist, check out this article. It is one of the best that deals with the subject of a possible weight of the Ark, and thus number of people that was required to carry it:

http://bit.ly/hDxKMu

Four people would probably be just enough to do it.

Atavist Biblical Church. org said...

Can you do illustrations for our Christian website: Atavist Biblical church.com? The theology is conventional Christian; however, our eschatology follows the first Christian idea. What are your rates?

Atavist Biblical Church. org said...

We need Bible illustrations for our website: Atavist Biblical church.com. what are your rates?

Bible artist said...

Hi
I'm tied up on illustrating the Bible and there's a long way to go yet, but there are other Bible illustrators/artists who visit this site who might be able to help you out. If you repost your request on our latest blog post, more people will see it. Hope you get sorted.