Exodus 26 Study Notes


26:1-14 The tabernacle proper was made with four layers; the first of finely spun linen, the second of woven goat hair, the third of leather made from ram skins dyed red, and the fourth another kind of leather whose source is uncertain. The word used for it appears also in Ezk 16:10 to describe material for special sandals. The Hebrew word translated fine leather (also in 25:5; 35:7) might be borrowed from an Egyptian term. The Hebrew word also sounds similar to an Arabic word for a marine mammal, probably the manatee or dugong.


Hebrew pronunciation [mish KAN]
CSB translation tabernacle, dwelling
Uses in Exodus 58
Uses in the OT 139
Focus passage Exodus 26:1,6-7,12-13,15

Mishkan, from shakan (“dwell”), describes human dwellings (Nm 16:24) or the divine dwelling place (Ps 43:3). Commonly these are tents (Nm 24:5), and mishkan is sometimes translated tent (Sg 1:8; Ezk 25:4). Mishkan occurs with ’ohel, “tent,” in 73 verses. Mishkan can suggest home (Jr 51:30), a permanent structure (Is 32:18). Mishkan can connote a resting place (Is 22:16), salt flats as an animal’s dwelling (Jb 39:6), or territories as dwelling places (Hab 1:6). Exodus 25-40 describes the tabernacle (Ex 26:6) built as God’s residence (Lv 26:11), also called the “tent of meeting.” This structure as the mishkan can be distinguished from its top, called a “tent” (Ex 26:7), and its “courtyard” (Ex 38:31). Mishkan also characterized the temple (Ps 43:3; 74:7), and most references to mishkan concern either the tabernacle or the temple. God will again establish his mishkan among Israel (Ezk 37:26-27) at the end of the age.

26:15-30 The tabernacle would be oriented with its open side to the east, its short wall on the west, and its long walls on the north and south.

26:31-35 The curtain (Hb paroketh) is a term used only of this drapery that divides the two halves of the tabernacle proper. The outer room, the holy place, would contain the table and the lampstand described in chap. 25. The inner room, the most holy place, would contain the ark and its cover, the mercy seat.

26:36-37 The entrance to the holy place, on the east side of the tabernacle, would have a woven linen screen of the same fine material as the veil, but with no mention of the cherubim design.