22.4. The Table for the Bread of Display (25:23-30)

 (23) You shall make a table of acacia wood, two cubits long, one cubit wide, and a cubit and a half high.

(24) Overlay it with pure gold, and make a gold molding around it.

(25) Make a rim of a hand’s breadth around it, and make a gold molding for its rim round about.

(26) Make four gold rings for it, and attach the rings to the four corners at its four legs.

(27) The rings shall be next to the rim, as holders for poles to carry the table.

(28) Make the poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold; by these the table shall be carried.

(29) Make its bowls, ladles, jars and jugs with which to offer libations; make them of pure gold.

(30) And on the table you shall set the bread of display, to be before Me always.

(23) You shall make a table of acacia wood, two cubits long, one cubit wide, and a cubit and a half high: The table was located at the north wall, to the right of the entrance. It symbolizes the economic well-being of the state and its citizens.

(24) Overlay it with pure gold, and make a gold molding around it: This molding, or “crown,” symbolizes the “crown of the kingship,” paired with the “crown of the Torah,” i.e., of the ark (v. 11). It represents the religious dignity and the royal status of those who take responsibility for the economic well-being of the nation.

(25) Make a rim of a hand’s breadth around it, and make a gold molding for its rim round about: This rim, together with the legs of the table, formed the frame on which the tabletop lay. Its edges held the rim (a design similar to the ark’s cover).

(26-28) Make four gold rings for it … as holders for poles to carry the table: The rings and poles for carrying the table were just like those of the ark, but with a significant difference: When the table stood in the Tabernacle, and was not being transported, its poles were removed from the rings.

(29) Make its bowls, ladles, jars and jugs with which to offer libations; make them of pure gold: All these are appurtenances for the bread of display that is set on the table (v. 30).

Ladles: An alternate translation is “pans.” These contained frankincense, a mixture of aromatic herbs, that was placed on the table alongside the bread of display (Lev. 24:7).

(30) And on the table you shall set the bread of display, to be before Me always: The table symbolizes material well-being, and the bread set on the table symbolizes that all sustenance comes from the Almighty. Judaism orients a person to material success and well-being, for these too are seen as having religious value.

The bread of display: There were twelve breads, one for each of the tribes of Israel. This is an indication that the Almighty’s blessing rests on all of Israel’s economy collectively, and also on the independent material and social life of each individual tribe.

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Bible Dynamics, VOL. 2. EXODUS Copyright © by Orot Yerushalaim / P. Polonsky / English translation of the Torah by the Jewish Publication Society, New JPS Translation, 1985. With sincere gratitude for the permission to use. All Rights Reserved.

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