Parashah 23: P’kudei (Accounts)

Parashah 23: Exodus 38:21-40:38

(In a regular year, read with Parashah 22;  in a leap year read separately.)

These are the accounts of the tabernacle, the tabernacle of the testimony, recorded as Moshe ordered, by the Levites under the direction of Itamar, the son of Aaron, the priest” (Exodus 38:21).

Bezalel was singled out by Yahweh and filled with wisdom, understanding, and knowledge concerning every kind of artistry.  Bezalel descended from the tribe of Judah, the lineage of the Kings of Isra’el: David, Solomon, Abijah, Joash, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Zedekiah, Josiah and ultimately King Yeshua.

His assistant is Oholiab who was a skilled engraver, designer and a weaver of colors.  Oholiab is from the tribe of Dan which means ‘judge.’  Samson, one of the Judges of Isra’el descended from the tribe of Dan. 

The Materials for the Tabernacle

Gold

“The fear of Adonai is clean, enduring forever. The rulings of Adonai are true, they are righteous altogether, more desirable than gold, than much fine gold, also sweeter than honey or drippings from the honeycomb. Through them your servant is warned; in obeying them there is great reward” (Psalm 19:10-12).

Gold, symbolic of Yeshua’s Kingdom, was used for everything made in the sanctuary.   The total weight of gold used was 29 talents, 730 shekels, or 1,930 pounds.  Today’s (2017) market value is $1275.80 per ounce which equals $20,412.80 per pound.  At 1,930 pounds, the price of gold used at today’s market value is $393,967.04.

Gold Thread

“They hammered the gold into thin plates and cut them into threads (wires) in order to work it into the blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen crafted by the skilled artisan” (Exodus 39:3).

Gold is a soft metal, and while possible to make a very thin gold wire that can be woven like thread, it is rather fragile and breaks when repeatedly bent back and forth. In embroidery it was mostly laid on the surface of the cloth and held down with stitches, rather than being threaded into a needle and passed in and out of the fabric.  Most gold thread was made by beating gold very thin, cutting it into strips, and wrapping the strip in a spiral around a “core” thread. The core made the thread more flexible and less breakable.  The actual gold coating on the thread was quite thin and while the thread would bend easily and you could, with care, actually pass the thread through fabric, its tolerance for abrasion was very limited. In embroidery this thread was still mostly laid on the surface of the cloth and stitched down and called “couching.”

Hebrew Word Picture

Gold or zahav – זהבzayin, hey, bet

division revealed in the house

Silver

“The words of Adonai are pure words, silver in a melting-pot set in the earth, refined and purified seven times over” (Psalm 12:7).

The silver, symbolic of Yeshua’s redemption, given by the community weighed 100 talents, 1,775 shekels or 6,650 pounds.  Today’s (2017) market value of silver is  $16.13 per ounce which equals $258.08 per pound.  At 6,650 pounds of silver, the price of silver used at today’s market value is  $17,162.32.  Silver was used to cast the 100 sockets for the sanctuary and curtain.  Each socket used 66 pounds of silver which would cost $17,033.28  each with today’s market value.

The amount given by each individual was called a beka. The beka is a half shekel or 1/5 an ounce of silver.  This would be about $3.35 in today’s market value for a half shekel.  A beka was paid by every man 20 years old or older who were counted in the census which was 603,550 Israelite men and came to $2,021,892.50.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Silver or kesaph –  כסףkaf, samech, peh

cover and support the words

Bronze

“He trains my hands for war until my arms can bend a bow of bronze; “You give me your shield, which is salvation, your right hand holds me up, your humility makes me great” (Psalm 18:35-36).

The offering of bronze, symbolizing Yeshua’s judgment of man, weighed 4,680 pounds.  Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin while brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. The price of bronze is under $1.00 per pound in today’s market value.  Bronze was used for the sockets to the entrance to the Tabernacle, the Altar of Sacrifice, the grate in the Altar, all the  utensils for the Altar, sockets for the Courtyard and gateway and all of the tent pegs for holding the Tabernacle in place.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Bronze or nechash – נחשnoon, chet, shin

life’s inner room (heart) consumed

Blue

“Meanwhile, Mordecai left the king’s presence arrayed in royal blue and white…” (Esther 8:15).

The Hebrew word for ‘blue’ is tekelet and covers the spectrum of blue from sky blue to a deep royal blue.  Though it has come to mean ‘light blue,’ techelet was actually the name of the blue dye extracted the chillazon sea snail.  When the 70 elders went up the mountain with Moshe, the pavement under Yahweh’s feet was sapphire, clear as techelet.

Blue is associated with the heavenly realm and was central to the colors of the Tabernacle because it was a shadow of the heavenly one. Blue is also associated with the commandments of Yahweh and the high priest’s ephod was woven entirely of blue representing his close association with Torah.

When the Israelite camp moved from one place to another in the wilderness, specific instructions were given for the objects in the Tabernacle.  The Ark of the Covenant was covered with the veil and a blue cloth over top.  Blue cloth covered the Table of Presence and all of its utensils, the Menorah and the Altar of Incense.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Blue or techelet תכלת – tav, kaf, lamed, tav

sign covering the shepherd’s covenant

Purple

“And they clothed him [Yeshua] with purple; and they twisted a crown of thorns, put it on His head…. And when they had mocked Him, they took the purple off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him out to crucify Him” (Mark 15:17,20).

The Hebrew word for ‘purple‘ is argaman and symbolizes Yeshua’s royalty.  The curtain in the Tabernacle that separated man from the presence of ‘I AM’, His throne room, was made of purple, blue and scarlet yarns.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Purple or argaman ארגמן – alef, resh, gimel, mem, noon

the first highest raises up the mighty life

Scarlet

“Come now, and let us reason together,” says Adonai, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18).

According to the prophet Isaiah, scarlet is the color of our sins.  The Hebrew word for ‘scarlet’ is towla and means ‘maggot or worms.’  These worms, also known as the crimson grub, were used to extract the crimson color.  Crimson or scarlet yarns were woven into the fabrics for the Tabernacle along with blue and purple.

Maggots or worms appeared on the manna when the Israelites disobeyed Yahweh and kept it overnight.  By weaving this color into the Tabernacle, it was not only a shadow of Messiah’s blood sacrifice, but a reminder to Isra’el not to sin especially when it came to the Shabbat. If the maggots were the crimson grub, they had enough of them to make the scarlet yarn! 

Hebrew Word Pictures

Scarlet or towla – תולע – tav, vav, lamed, ayin

the sign bound to the shepherd revealed

Fine Linen

“Let us rejoice and be glad! Let us give him the glory! For the time has come for the wedding of the Lamb, and his Bride has prepared herself — fine linen, bright and clean has been given her to wear. (“Fine linen” means the righteous deeds of God’s people.”)” (Revelation 19:7-8)

The Hebrew word for fine linen is sheshee and means ‘white or bleached.’  Linen is made from the fibers of the flax plant which was cultivated in Egypt and known for its pure white color (Exodus 9:31).   The process is labor intensive,  but when it is woven into garments, it is cool and remains fresh in hot weather.  In ancient times, linen was mainly used by the wealthy and the priesthood.   The tunic, the turban, and shorts for the high priest were made of finely woven linen. The curtains for the Tabernacle interior and Courtyard were made of fine linen along with the wicks for the Menorah.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Fine Linen or sheshee שש – shin, shin

the all consuming glory

Linen or bad – בדbet, dalet

house of the door (door of the house)

Onyx Stones

“The name of the first [river] is Pishon; it winds throughout the land of Havilah, where there is gold.  The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx stone are also found there” (Genesis 2:11-12).

Onyx Stones with Tribes

The Hebrew word for onyx or sardonyx is shoham and has its roots in the Arabic word for ‘blackness.’  Onyx is a type of chalcedony, a member of the crystals family.  It symbolizes inner strength, discipline and reason.  Two onyx stones were put in settings of gold and placed on the high priest’s shoulders – one on the right and one on the left.  They were engraved with the names of the sons of Isra’el, six names on one side and six on the other.  They were considered to be ‘remembrance’ stones.  When Aaron entered the Holy Place dressed in his priestly garments, ‘I AM’ would see all the names of the tribes of Isra’el written on the stones and would be moved to have mercy on His people.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Onyx or shoham  שוהם – shin, vav, hey, mem

consumed and bound to reveal the mighty

 

They Did It!

“Then they brought the tabernacle to Moses …  The people of Isra’el did all the work just as Adonai had ordered Moshe. Moshe saw all the work, and — there it was! — They had done it! Exactly as Adonai had ordered, they had done it. And Moshe blessed them” (Exodus 39:33-43).

For months the Israelites worked with skill to perfectly create the Mishkan according to the plan Moshe had been given on the mountain.  Wooden boxes of Acacia wood had been covered in gold for the Altars the Table. Mirrors had been transformed into a Bronze Laver.  Tapestries had been woven together in blue, scarlet and purple yarns with the image of k’ruvim. Fine linen had been twisted from flax, spun and sewn together for tent coverings. Animal skins had been tanned into leather.  Gold had been beaten into a Menorah and fine slivers of golden thread glistened between the colorful yarns.   Silver sockets had been polished.  Bronze tent pegs waited to be hammered into the ground.  Anointing oil, lamp oil and aromatic spices were ready for use.   Priestly garments had been fashioned with blue cloth, precious stones, fine linen and golden chains. The Israelites gathered everything they had made and brought it to Moshe.

The Mishkan Rises

On the first day of the first month of the second year after the Israelites had left Egypt, the Mishkan was set up. One year after they were given Yahweh’s ‘appointed times,’ the people of Isra’el were raising up His divine place of residence where He could live with His treasured people.  Moshe did everything exactly as commanded because ‘the appointed time’ of Pesach was arriving in 14 days.

After the gold posts, silver sockets and gold ceiling rafters were set, the four coverings were hung on rings.  Bronze stakes were pounded into the ground.  The Ark of the Covenant was put in the Holy of Holies and concealed behind the colorful veil woven with k’ruvim.  In the Holy Place, the Table of Presence was set up and on it Moshe arranged the loaves of the Bread of Presence.   Wicks and oil were put in the cups of the golden Menorah across from the Table of Presence and the lamps were lit.   The golden Altar of Incense was placed in front of the veil and the smell of burning incense filled the Holy Place.   The entrance screen to the Most Holy Place was hung on its five golden posts.   In the Courtyard, the Altar of Sacrifice was set up near the entrance to the Tabernacle.  Between the Altar and the entrance screen to the Most Holy Place, the Bronze Laver was filled with water.  Finally, the fine linen curtains that surrounded the Courtyard were hung along with the screen, the gate to the Tabernacle.    

Everything was anointed with the holy oil.  Aaron was brought to the entrance to the Tabernacle and washed with water.  He put on the high priest’s garments and the turban with the golden ornament engraved with “Holy to Yahweh.” He was anointed with oil and consecrated to serve as a cohen gadol.  His sons were also washed and put on the priestly garments.  They were anointed like their father to serve as cohanim throughout their generations (Exodus 40:35).

‘I AM’ Makes His Decision

This is the culmination of the book of Exodus describing the Israelites’ journey from slavery to freedom.  They plundered Egypt and entered the wilderness.  They crossed the Red Sea, ate manna, drank water from a ‘rock,’ saw ‘I AM’ in lightning and thunder on a mountain, heard His voice and received His divine instructions – Torah.

They sinned against their Deliverer and Provider and had to drink contaminated water and watch many of their loved ones die at the hands of the Levites.  Though they repented through mourning, they did not know what Yahweh’s decision would be regarding their destiny.

Had Moshe’s intercession been enough?   Would Yahweh forgive them?  Or would He continue to keep His distance?  Would He be merciful and compassionate to them?  Would they worship the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as they had been promised in Egypt or had they lost that privilege?  Would the Shekinah of the One who redeemed them, guided them, protected them, fought for them, and spoke with them, appear and live among them in the Tabernacle they built with their hands and willing hearts?  Did ‘I AM’ still consider Isra’el His treasured possession?

“Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting and the glory of Adonai filled the Tabernacle.  Moshe was unable to enter the Tent of Meeting, because the cloud remained on it, and the glory of Adonai filled the Tabernacle. Whenever the cloud was taken up from over the Tabernacle, the people of Isra’el continued with all their travels. But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not travel onward until the day when it was taken up.  For the cloud of Adonai was above the Tabernacle during the day, and fire was [in the cloud] at night, so that all the house of Isra’el could see it throughout all their travels” (Exodus 40:34-38).

Yahweh chose to live with His people, His treasured possession, His holy nation.   More importantly, He chose to remain with them until they reached the Promised Land.   This reveals the character of Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh who is willing to remain close and near to His people despite their faithlessness.   Exodus concludes with the ultimate expression of Yahweh’s grace and mercy, compassion and lovingkindness found in the Old Testament.

Yeshua in the Tabernacle Colors

Yeshua is the Tabernacle of Yahweh’s Spirit.  He is the golden thread woven throughout the tapestries of the Tabernacle giving promise to his coming Kingdom.  Like silver that is refined in a furnace, Yeshua was tested and afflicted and overcame death, his Altar of Sacrifice.  With the engraved onyx stones, he will remember the Tribes of Isra’el and return to earth with power and strength making war with the nations who have come against the chosen people of his Father. He will remove the maggots of Isra’el’s scarlet sins and sprinkle clean water on them from the heavenly Bronze Laver.   They will be cleansed from all their idolatries and reflect the glory of Messiah.  His armies, redeemed from among the nations of the earth, will follow him wearing fine linen, white and pure.  They are not only sanctified warriors, but also his Bride, who are rewarded for their righteous works in the Most Holy Place.  Dressed in the finest royal purple robe, Yeshua will sit on the throne in the Holy of Holies in Jerusalem and as the Ark of the Covenant judge the nations for 1000 years.  During that that time, the glory of Yahweh will return to Isra’el and Yeshua will be known in Yerushalayim as High Priest and King of Kings.

Haftarah (Readings of the Prophets)

1 Kings 7:40-8:21

B’rit Chadashah (New Testament Readings)

Revelation 15:5-8

Midrash P’kudei: Mirrors of Reflection

The Bronze Laver was made from mirrors allowing the reflections of not only the priests to be seen, but also the reflection of the Altar of Sacrifice in front of it and the Tent of Meeting in back of it.  Reflect on what has happened from the beginning of Exodus and the enslaved Israelites to the end with the construction of the Tabernacle.  How do the objects in the Tabernacle reflect their journey as a nation?  How does each object in the Tabernacle reflect our salvation journey as followers of Messiah: being justified, sanctified and glorified?

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