on Exodus 25 :31
A candlestick of pure gold - This candlestick or chandelier is generally described as having one shaft or stock, with six branches proceeding from it, adorned at equal distances with six flowers like lilies, with as many bowls and knops placed alternately. On each of the branches there was a lamp, and one on the top of the shaft which occupied the center; thus there were seven lamps in all, Exodus 25:37. These seven lamps were lighted every evening and extinguished every morning.
We are not so certain of the precise form of any instrument or utensil of the tabernacle or temple, as we are of this, the golden table, and the two silver trumpets.
Titus, after the overthrow of Jerusalem, a.d. 70, had the golden candlestick and the golden table of the shew-bread, the silver trumpets, and the book of the law, taken out of the temple and carried in triumph to Rome; and Vespasian lodged them in the temple which he had consecrated to the goddess of Peace. Some plants also of the balm of Jericho are said to have been carried in the procession. At the foot of Mount Palatine there are the ruins of an arch, on which the triumph of Titus for his conquest of the Jews is represented, and on which the several monuments which were carried in the procession are sculptured, and particularly the golden candlestick, the table of the shew-bread and the two silver trumpets. A correct Model of this arch, taken on the spot, now stands before me; and the spoils of the temple, the candlestick, the golden table, and the two trumpets, are represented on the panel on the left hand, in the inside of the arch, in basso-relievo. The candlestick is not so ornamented as it appears in many prints; at the same time it looks much better than it does in the engraving of this arch given by Montfaucon, Antiq. Expliq., vol. iv., pl. 32. It is likely that on the real arch this candlestick is less in size than the original, as it scarcely measures three feet in height. See the Diarium Italicum, p. 129. To see these sacred articles given up by that God who ordered them to be made according to a pattern exhibited by himself, gracing the triumph of a heathen emperor, and at last consecrated to an idol, affords melancholy reflections to a pious mind. But these things had accomplished the end for which they were instituted, and were now of no farther use. The glorious personage typified by all this ancient apparatus, had about seventy years before this made his appearance. The true light was come, and the Holy Spirit poured out from on high; and therefore the golden candlestick, by which they were typified, was given up. The ever-during bread had been sent from heaven; and therefore the golden table, which bore its representative, the shew-bread, was now no longer needful. The joyful sound of the everlasting Gospel was then published in the world; and therefore the silver trumpets that typified this were carried into captivity, and their sound was no more to be heard. Strange providence but unutterable mercy of God! The Jews lost both the sign and the thing signified; and that very people, who destroyed the holy city, carried away the spoils of the temple, and dedicated them to the objects of their idolatry, were the first in the universe to receive the preaching of the Gospel, the light of salvation, and the bread of life! There is a sort of coincidence or association here, which is worthy of the most serious observation. The Jews had these significant emblems to lead them to, and prepare them for, the things signified. They trusted in the former, and rejected the latter! God therefore deprived them of both, and gave up their temple to the spoilers, their land to desolation, and themselves to captivity and to the sword. The heathens then carried away the emblems of their salvation, and God shortly gave unto those heathens that very salvation of which these things were the emblems! Thus because of their unbelief and rebellion, the kingdom of heaven, according to the prediction of our blessed Lord, was taken from the Jews, and given to a nation (the Gentiles) that brought forth the fruits thereof; Matthew 21:43. Behold the Goodness and Severity of God!
on Exodus 25 :31
A candlestick of pure gold - (Compare Exodus 37:17-24.) A lampstand rather than a candlestick. Its purpose was to support seven oil-lamps. Its height appears to have been about three feet, and its width two feet. The original foot was lost or stolen when the candlestick was taken out of the temple, and the pedestal in the sculpture was added by some Roman artist to set off the trophy.
His shaft, and his branches, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers - Or, its base, its stem, its flower cups, its knobs, and its lilies.
on Exodus 25 :31
25:31 This candlestick had many branches drawn from the main shaft, which had not only bowls to put the oil and the kindled wick in for necessity, but knops made in the form of a pomegranate and flowers for ornament. The tabernacle had no windows, all its light was candle - light, which notes the comparative darkness of that dispensation, while the sun of righteousness was not as yet risen, nor had the day - star from on high visited his church. Yet God left not himself without witness, nor them without instruction; the commandment was a lamp, and the law a light, and the prophets were branches from that lamp, which gave light in their several ages. The church is still dark, as the tabernacle was, in comparison with what it will be in heaven: but the word of God is the candlestick, a light burning in a dark place.