And the twenty pillars thereof and their twenty sockets [shall
be of brass]
On these pillars the hangings, rails, or curtains were set, and they were for one side, the south side, in number twenty; and so must stand five cubits, or two yards and a half or more, distant from each other, since the length of the hangings were one hundred cubits: these, according to Philo the Jew F8, were made of cedar, but if of wood, most probably of "shittim wood", as they are by most thought to be; though one would think, according to the plain and express words of the text, they as well as their sockets were of brass: and Josephus F9 expressly says they were of brass, and which seems fittest for the purpose: now though the church of God itself is a pillar, and so is every true member of it, ( 1 Timothy 3:15 ) ( Revelation 3:12 ) yet ministers of the Gospel may be more especially designed, ( Proverbs 9:1 ) ( Galatians 2:9 ) ( Jeremiah 1:18 ) who are the principal support of the churches of God, and of the interest of religion; and are set for the defence of the Gospel, and are steadfast in the ministration of it:
the hooks of the pillars and their fillets shall be of silver;
the hooks on the pillars might be somewhat like our tenter hooks, and so Jarchi describes them, as having one end crooked upwards, and the other end fixed in the pillar; and as for the fillets, he says, they were silver threads round about the pillars; but whether they were upon the face or of them all, or on the top, or in the middle of them, he confesses his ignorance; only this he knew, that the word has the signification of girding or binding; and these fillets might not only be for ornament, but for the binding of the hangings to the pillars: and so Ben Gersom says, that they were silver threads, with which the curtains were bound to the pillars, that the wind might not separate them from them; and both the silver hooks and fillets may signify the word and ordinances as administered by the preachers of the Gospel, in which there is an union, conjunction, and communion between them and the churches.
F8 De Vita Mosis, l. 3. p. 667.
F9 Antiqu. l. 3. c. 6. sect. 2.