Don Isaac Abravanel, also spelled Abarbanel (1437-1508) was a preeminent Jewish thinker, scholar, and prolific Biblical
commentator. Exodus chapter 26 continues to discuss the Tabernacle, a topic introduced in the previous
chapter. Abravanel draws our attention to a grammatical inconsistency in our lead verse (“Moreover,
you shall make…”) when compared to the verb’s conjugation in chapter 25 (“Make an ark…and you
shall overlay it with pure gold”, “Make a table…and you shall overlay it with pure gold”, and “Make a
menorah of pure gold…”). Our verse is conjugated in future tense; whereas last chapter’s verbs are
written in the imperative or command form.

Abravanel sheds light on the linguistic discrepancy after phrasing the question. Why, he asks, doesn’t
our lead verse use the command form for literary consistency: “Make the Tabernacle…” instead of the
future tense “You shall make the Tabernacle…?”

Here is the answer. The previous chapter introduces the commandment to construct the Tabernacle,
“Make Me a Tabernacle.” It uses the command form. That creates a divine fiat to build a Tabernacle.
That earlier chapter then launches into the “how to” aspect of the first three fixtures in the sanctuary:
“Make an ark…of pure gold”, “Make a table…with pure gold”, and “Make a menorah of pure gold…”

Bible students will readily understand that the common – and most valuable – building material for the
ark, table, and menorah is gold. Gold, recall, was the first of several building materials that Hebrews
offered in order to finance the sacred enterprise, some others being silver, copper, wool etc.

Now to the point. After the last chapter listed those three fixtures made of gold, our chapter provides
the “how to” concerning the Tabernacle itself. What materials went into the Tabernacle’s walls and
partitions? “Moreover, you shall make the Tabernacle with ten curtains…” As our chapter proceeds, we
shall see that parts of the Tabernacle had also been constructed with gold, silver, copper, wool etc.

In summary, the earlier chapter foreshadows – in general terms – an impending commandment to build
a Tabernacle, hence the verb is conjugated in the future tense. Our present chapter follows up with the
“how to” manual, including dimensions and the requisite building material to get the job done,
necessitating the command form of the verb.

See Abravanel’s World for the full discussion of the Tabernace and its fixtures.