The tabernacle in the wilderness being constructed as a portable building without permanent foundation, its stability was attained by the use of "sockets" into which the pillars and boards forming its walls were sunk. The word therefore is used solely in relation to the tabernacle, except in one poetic passage (Song of Solomon 5:15), where the legs of the beloved are compared to "pillars of marble set upon sockets of fine gold." In all, the tabernacle with its court rested upon 165 bases or sockets, apportioned thus:
(1) silver sockets, each a talent (circa 95 lbs.) in weight (Exodus 38:27), namely, 96 to support the 48 boards of the tabernacle (Exodus 26:19); 4 for the pillars supporting the veil (Exodus 26:32) = 100;
(2) bronze sockets, weight not given, namely, 50 to support the 50 standards on which were hung the curtains of the tabernacle on North, South and West (Exodus 27:10), 10 to support 10 pillars on the E. (Exodus 27:13), and 5 to support the 5 pillars upholding the screen at the tabernacle entrance (Exodus 26:27) = 65. The site for the tabernacle being chosen and leveled, these sockets would be "laid" upon it (Exodus 40:18), and the tenons of the boards, or projecting base of the pillar, inserted into holes made for the purpose.
W. Shaw Caldecott
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