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Appendix II. The Lampstand

The Tabernacle of Israel, by George de Charms, 1969

The description of the lampstand given in Exodus is quite inadequate to provide material for its exact reproduction, and it has been necessary to interpret what is said there in the light of some knowledge of ancient craftsmanship and with reference to probable implications of the text. No dimensions are given for it. The only clue to them is involved in the amount of gold which it was said was used in its construction. This is said to be a talent, which weighs 108 pounds. The illustration found on the arch of Titus would appear to be about the height of a man and this may well indicate the approximate size. It was not made of solid gold. The fact that the branches are called "reeds" would seem to indicate that they were tubular. And for this reason we have made the model of gold tubing with a base that is hollow. The fact that it was said to have been made of pure gold and of beaten work does not necessarily imply that it was solid, the beaten work possibly having special reference to the fashion of the ornaments. When made of tubing as has been done in the model, of a size that corresponds to the scale of the whole tabernacle model, we find that the amount of gold required is in proportion.

There is no means of determining exactly the thickness of the gold as used in the original lampstand. But since it was not solid, the relative weight would be proportional to the square of the surface. The model's being to a scale of 1/18, we find that, if the original lampstand weighed 108 Ibs., the weight of the model should be 1/3 lb., as follows:

S : s = 12 : (1/18)2 108 lbs. : s = 12 : (1/18)2

s = 108 / 182 = 1/3 lb.

Thus the model should weigh 51/3 oz. The model as made weighs 5 oz. without the lamps. This is as close to the probable size as we can approximate, judging from the limited data available. The model is made of 1/18" gold tubing. It is 41/2" (6'41/2") in height. It is 33/4" from outside lamp to outside lamp (4'10"). The hexagonal base measures 21/4" (3'41/2") from angle to angle. The three branches divide the central stem between the base and the central lamp into four equal parts. The base itself with its three steps being 11/2" (2'3") in height. The illustration given on the arch of Titus could not possibly have been an exact reproduction, for it does not, in many particulars, fill the requirements of the Scripture and its construction would not permit of its holding lamps. It was evidently made some time after the triumphal procession was held in which the captured lamp-stand was carried through the streets of Rome, and it represents an artistic representation of the lampstand according to the ideas of the artist. It would appear to have been of heavier construction than would be indicated by our model, heavier indeed than the amount of gold prescribed would permit. The base as shown in this illustration is hexagonal with but two steps. We have placed three steps in our model, partly for reasons of proportion and partly because of the probable correspondence to the three degrees of the mind. For this, however, there is no Scriptural sanction. The decorations placed upon the branches and the staff are of special importance because of their correspondence. They are described in Exodus 25:13. Each decoration was composed of three parts, a "bowl," a "knop" and a "flower."

The word for bowl is (Gavia) in the Hebrew. It comes from a verb root signifying "to be high" and it means a cup or goblet, being used to designate the cup or bell of a flower.

The word for knop is (Kaphtor), coming from a root which signifies a round or spherical knob. The term is also applied to the pomegranate, probably because of the shape of this fruit.

The word for flower is (Perach), derived from a root signifying to "sprout, flourish, blossom," and meaning a "young shoot or flower."

The bowl was almond-shaped, representing the shell of an almond nut opened up, with a pomegranate in it, and the petals of a flower extending from the pomegranate. All together formed a single ornament, three of which were on each branch and four on the central stem. The bowls are said to represent scientifics from good, from the signification of "cup," as being scientifics that are from the good of charity. For scientifics from good are vessels into which truth is poured as wine into a cup. And from the signification of almonds as being the good of life, it corresponds to the truths of interior natural good; A.C. 9557. In A.C. 9551 it is said that the cups represented spiritual things in the natural because they were placed upon the branches of the lampstand which are like the arms and hands of the body, representing a descent into the natural. In A.C. 9552 the "pomegranates" are also said to represent scientifics from good, particularly that of the sensuous man. And in A.C. 9553 the "flowers" are said to signify scientifics of truth. Thus we have in each of these ornaments three degrees of scientifics represented, interior good, external good, and truth respectively. The implication of these in connection with the signification of the lampstand will be seen from what is related in the text.

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The Lampstand

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