on Exodus 25 :23
Thou shalt also make a table of shittim wood - The same wood, the acacia, of which the arkstaves, etc., were made. On the subject of the ark, table of shew-bread, etc., Dr. Cudworth, in his very learned and excellent treatise on the Lord's Supper, has the following remarks: -
"When God had brought the children of Israel out of Egypt, resolving to manifest himself in a peculiar manner present among them, he thought good to dwell amongst them in a visible and external manner; and therefore, while they were in the wilderness, and sojourned in tents, he would have a tent or tabernacle built to sojourn with them also. This mystery of the tabernacle was fully understood by the learned Nachmanides, who, in few words, but pregnant, expresseth himself to this purpose: 'The mystery of the tabernacle was this, that it was to be a place for the shechinah, or habitation of Divinity, to be fixed in;' and this, no doubt, as a special type of God's future dwelling in Christ's human nature, which was the True Shechinah: but when the Jews were come into their land, and had there built them houses, God intended to have a fixed dwelling-house also; and therefore his movable tabernacle was to be turned into a standing temple. Now the tabernacle or temple, being thus as a house for God to dwell in visibly, to make up the notion of dwelling or habitation complete there must be all things suitable to a house belonging to it; hence, in the holy place, there must be a table, and a candlestick, because this was the ordinary furniture of a room, as the fore-commended Nachmanides observes. The table must have its dishes, and spoons, and bowls, and covers belonging to it, though they were never used; and always be furnished with bread upon it. The candlestick must have its lamps continually burning. Hence also there must be a continual fire kept in this house of God upon the altar, as the focus of it; to which notion I conceive the Prophet Isaiah doth allude, Isaiah 31:9 : Whose fire is in Zion, and his furnace in Jerusalem; and besides all this, to carry the notion still farther, there must be some constant meat and provision brought into this house; which was done in the sacrifices that were partly consumed by fire upon God's own altar, and partly eaten by the priests, who were God's family, and therefore to be maintained by him. That which was consumed upon God's altar was accounted God's mess, as appeareth from Malachi 1:12, where the altar is called God's table, and the sacrifice upon it, God's meat: Ye say, The table of the Lord is polluted; and the fruit thereof, even His Meat, is contemptible. And often, in the law, the sacrifice is called God's לחם lechem, i.e., his bread or food. Wherefore it is farther observable, that besides the flesh of the beast offered up in sacrifice, there was a minchah, i.e., a meat-offering, or rather bread-offering, made of flour and oil; and a libamen or drink-offering, which was always joined with the daily sacrifice, as the bread and drink which was to go along with God's meat. It was also strictly commanded that there should be salt in every sacrifice and oblation, because all meat is unsavoury without salt, as Nachmanides hath here also well observed; 'because it was not honorable that God's meat should be unsavoury, without salt.' Lastly, all these things were to be consumed on the altar only by the holy fire which came down from heaven, because they were God's portion, and therefore to be eaten or consumed by himself in an extraordinary manner." See Clarke on Exodus 25:22 (note).
on Exodus 25 :23
(Compare Exodus 37:10-16.) The table and the candlestick figured on the Arch of Titus at Rome are those of the Maccabaean times, but made as nearly as possible after the ancient models reproduced under the direction of Solomon and Zerubbabel. The details and size of the figure, and the description of Josephus, appear to agree very nearly with the directions here given to Moses, and to illustrate them in several particulars. Josephus says that the table was like the so-called Delphic tables, richly ornamented pieces of furniture in use amongst the Romans, which were sometimes, if not always, covered with gold or silver.
on Exodus 25 :23