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Exodus 36:14-19

Verses covered in this passage:

  • Exodus 36:14
  • Exodus 36:15
  • Exodus 36:16
  • Exodus 36:17
  • Exodus 36:18
  • Exodus 36:19

The roof curtains of the tabernacle were made a specific size along with loops and clasps. A covering for the tabernacle was also made. The plans for their construction were given by God to Moses on the mountain, as recorded in Exodus 26:7 – 14.

Along with the curtains that form the walls of the tabernacle, the craftsmen made curtains of goats’ hair for a tent over the tabernacle; he made eleven curtains in all. These curtains made of goats’ hair were to serve as the ceiling of the tabernacle.

They made the curtains so that the length of each curtain was thirty cubits and four cubits the width of each curtain. This would make each curtain forty-five feet long (13.7 meters) and six feet wide (1.8 meters). All of the eleven curtains had the same measurements. To make the ceilings, the chief craftsman Bezalel joined five curtains by themselves and the other six curtains by themselves.

As described in Exodus 26:10, he made fifty loops on the edge of the curtain that was outermost in the first set, and he made fifty loops on the edge of the curtain that was outermost in the second set. Like the other curtains (vv. 8 – 13), the loops were used to join the curtains together.

To fasten the loops together, he made fifty clasps of bronze to join the tent together so that it would be a unit [lit. “one”] (v. 18). These clasps were made of bronze, not gold as were the clasps of the curtains that comprised the tabernacle inner walls (see v. 13).

Finally, he made a covering for the tent of rams’ skins dyed red, and a covering of porpoise skins above (v. 19). The meaning of the word for porpoise skins (Heb. “takhashim”) has been debated extensively. Some translations see the word as referring to “badger skins.” Others translate it as “fine leather.” Whatever the case, the material must have been a durable overlay on top of the goat skin curtains.

This covering went over the curtains that comprised the ceiling of the tabernacle. This gave extra protection and durability to the roof which was constantly exposed to the harsh elements of the wilderness.

Biblical Text

14 Then he made curtains of goats’ hair for a tent over the tabernacle; he made eleven curtains in all. 15 The length of each curtain was thirty cubits and four cubits the width of each curtain; the eleven curtains had the same measurements. 16 He joined five curtains by themselves and the other six curtains by themselves. 17 Moreover, he made fifty loops on the edge of the curtain that was outermost in the first set, and he made fifty loops on the edge of the curtain that was outermost in the second set. 18 He made fifty clasps of bronze to join the tent together so that it would be a unit. 19 He made a covering for the tent of rams’ skins dyed red, and a covering of porpoise skins above.