Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Sunday Sermonette: The Mind Doth Boggle

As I warned y'all last week, we are now in the most boring part of the Bible. We've seen God do all kinds of weird and psychopathic shit up till now -- making false promises, arbitrarily picking favorites, committing mass murder, that sort of thing -- but now he's become an obsessive architect and interior designer. It's one thing I suppose for the faithful to decide to erect an expensive, super-luxe monument to the being they worship, but for said being to drag a guy up to a mountaintop and make him write down these meticulous instructions just so he can be properly worshipped seems pretty wack. Anyway, there really isn't much more I can say about it. Obviously this is a one-off. As far as I know this is a one-off. Nobody has made an attempt to follow these instructions in known history.

26 “Make the tabernacle with ten curtains of finely twisted linen and blue, purple and scarlet yarn, with cherubim woven into them by a skilled worker. All the curtains are to be the same size—twenty-eight cubits long and four cubits wide.[a] Join five of the curtains together, and do the same with the other five. Make loops of blue material along the edge of the end curtain in one set, and do the same with the end curtain in the other set. Make fifty loops on one curtain and fifty loops on the end curtain of the other set, with the loops opposite each other. Then make fifty gold clasps and use them to fasten the curtains together so that the tabernacle is a unit.
“Make curtains of goat hair for the tent over the tabernacle—eleven altogether. All eleven curtains are to be the same size—thirty cubits long and four cubits wide.[b] Join five of the curtains together into one set and the other six into another set. Fold the sixth curtain double at the front of the tent. 10 Make fifty loops along the edge of the end curtain in one set and also along the edge of the end curtain in the other set. 11 Then make fifty bronze clasps and put them in the loops to fasten the tent together as a unit. 12 As for the additional length of the tent curtains, the half curtain that is left over is to hang down at the rear of the tabernacle. 13 The tent curtains will be a cubit[c] longer on both sides; what is left will hang over the sides of the tabernacle so as to cover it. 14 Make for the tent a covering of ram skins dyed red, and over that a covering of the other durable leather.[d]
15 “Make upright frames of acacia wood for the tabernacle. 16 
KJV calls this "shittim" woods. I did a little research and it turns out acacia is a guess as to what shittim wood means. I kind of like shittim wood.
Each frame is to be ten cubits long and a cubit and a half wide,[e] 17 with two projections set parallel to each other. Make all the frames of the tabernacle in this way. 18 Make twenty frames for the south side of the tabernacle 19 and make forty silver bases to go under them—two bases for each frame, one under each projection. 20 For the other side, the north side of the tabernacle, make twenty frames 21 and forty silver bases—two under each frame. 22 Make six frames for the far end, that is, the west end of the tabernacle, 23 and make two frames for the corners at the far end. 24 At these two corners they must be double from the bottom all the way to the top and fitted into a single ring; both shall be like that. 25 So there will be eight frames and sixteen silver bases—two under each frame.
26 “Also make crossbars of acacia wood: five for the frames on one side of the tabernacle, 27 five for those on the other side, and five for the frames on the west, at the far end of the tabernacle. 28 The center crossbar is to extend from end to end at the middle of the frames. 29 Overlay the frames with gold and make gold rings to hold the crossbars. Also overlay the crossbars with gold.
30 “Set up the tabernacle according to the plan shown you on the mountain.
31 “Make a curtain of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen, with cherubim woven into it by a skilled worker. 32 Hang it with gold hooks on four posts of acacia wood overlaid with gold and standing on four silver bases. 33 Hang the curtain from the clasps and place the ark of the covenant law behind the curtain. The curtain will separate the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. 34 Put the atonement cover on the ark of the covenant law in the Most Holy Place. 35 Place the table outside the curtain on the north side of the tabernacle and put the lampstand opposite it on the south side.
36 “For the entrance to the tent make a curtain of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen—the work of an embroiderer. 37 Make gold hooks for this curtain and five posts of acacia wood overlaid with gold. And cast five bronze bases for them.


  1. Exodus 26:2 That is, about 42 feet long and 6 feet wide or about 13 meters long and 1.8 meters wide
  2. Exodus 26:8 That is, about 45 feet long and 6 feet wide or about 13.5 meters long and 1.8 meters wide
  3. Exodus 26:13 That is, about 18 inches or about 45 centimeters
  4. Exodus 26:14 Possibly the hides of large aquatic mammals (see 25:5)
  5. Exodus 26:16 That is, about 15 feet long and 2 1/4 feet wide or about 4.5 meters long and 68 centimeters wide


Don Quixote said...

It seems like somebody must have followed the directions at some point ... I mean, the book supposedly goes back at least 2,700 years.

Cervantes said...

Well yeah, it's possible that they built this once. However there is no historical record, as far as I know, of Jews building this exact structure and it certainly never became a standard. I'm not aware that any part of this is a requirement for Jewish temples today or at any known time. So it's just sort of weird that these specifications take up almost half of Exodus. What's supposed to be the point?

Don Quixote said...

Well, what I'm wondering is, is this passage not filled with mitzvot? Are not all commandments to be followed precisely? I guess not ... because we don't stone people for growing two crops in one field either, etc.

I am so ignorant of the Talmud and oral tradition, but I suppose that the rabbis have worked out over the centuries what is and is not to be taken literally.

Cervantes said...

Yes, they definitely have. But for the orthodox, the results seem rather arbitrary.