A portable sanctuary. There are instructions to build a tabernacle in Exod. (25:8 ff.) and it is duly built (Exod. 35:10 ff.). When completed it consisted of two compartments, the inner being the Holy of Holies containing the Ark [[➝ ark]]. The narrative puts the episode, improbably, into the wilderness period, and describes how Levites had to take down and reassemble this complicated structure every time the people moved on (Num. 1:51). The amounts of gold and silver used sound incredible; and surely when the people are said to cross the River Jordan (Josh. 3:17), there would have been mention of the tabernacle if it was being carried.
Since this account forms part of the P source, it seems likely that details of the Jerusalem Temple have been transposed into the description of the wilderness tabernacle.
But not all the narrative is retrojection.
There is also a ‘tent of meeting’ described in Exod. (33:7–11) which appears to be an alternative account of the tabernacle and is probably more in accordance with the facts. The Priestly source has perhaps coalesced the memories of a wilderness sanctuary with a theological and idealized concept based on knowledge of the Jerusalem Temple. The ‘tent of meeting’ was a simple, easily movable, structure in which a single minister could operate. According to P this is the location for the divine presence, or the shekhinah. (Exod. 40:34–8).
In the NT there are references to the tabernacle in Heb. (8:2, 5; 9:21)—the true tabernacle is in heaven—and in Stephen's speech (Acts 7:44–50), where Solomon's Temple is contrasted unfavourably with the ancient tabernacle made according to the pattern of the one in heaven. It is also possible that the Exod. narrative lies behind John 1:14—where the Greek is literally ‘the Word...tabernacled among us’.

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  • TABERNACLE — (Lat. tabernaculum, tent ; taberna, hut ; the word renders the Heb. mishkan), the portable sanctuary constructed by the Children of Israel in the wilderness at the command of God. (The word has no connection with the Festival of Tabernacles –… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Tabernacle — • Vessel holding the Blessed Sacrament • Old Testament precursor to the Temple Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Tabernacle     ♦ …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • tabernacle — [ tabɛrnakl ] n. m. • 1120; lat. tabernaculum « tente » 1 ♦ Relig. Tente des Juifs de l Antiquité. Fête des tabernacles, célébrée après la moisson sous des abris de feuillage (fête appelée par les juifs fête des Cabanes, des Tentes). Spécialt… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • tabernacle — TABERNACLE. s. m. Tente, pavillon. En ce sens il n a d usage qu en parlant des tentes, des pavillons des Israëlites. Retourne, Israël, dans tes tabernacles. la feste des tabernacles. l Ecriture marque que saint Pierre à la Transfiguration de N. S …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • Tabernacle — Tab er*na*cle, n. [F., fr. L. tabernaculum, dim. of taberna nut. See {Tabern}.] 1. A slightly built or temporary habitation; especially, a tent. [1913 Webster] Dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob. Heb. xi. 9. [1913 Webster] Orange trees… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • tabernacle — [tab′ər nak΄əl] n. [ME < LL(Ec) tabernaculum, the Jewish tabernacle (transl. of Heb ohel in ohel moed, tent of meeting) < L, tent, dim. of taberna, hut, shed, TAVERN] 1. Archaic a) a temporary shelter, as a tent b) a dwelling place 2. the… …   English World dictionary

  • tabernacle — (n.) mid 13c., portable sanctuary carried by the Israelites in the wilderness, from O.Fr. tabernacle (12c.), from L. tabernaculum tent, especially a tent of an augur (for taking observations), dim. of taberna hut, cabin, booth (see TAVERN (Cf.… …   Etymology dictionary

  • tabernacle — Tabernacle, Et pavillon, Tabernaculum. Le tabernacle de nostre corps, ou l esprit est logé, Custodia corporis …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • Tabernacle — Tab er*na*cle, v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Tabernacled}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Tabernacling}.] To dwell or reside for a time; to be temporary housed. [1913 Webster] He assumed our nature, and tabernacled among us in the flesh. Dr. J. Scott. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • tabernacle — index domicile, dwelling, habitation (dwelling place) Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • tabernacle — ► NOUN 1) (in the Bible) a tent used as a sanctuary for the Ark of the Covenant by the Israelites during the Exodus. 2) a receptacle or cabinet in which a pyx containing the reserved sacrament may be placed in Catholic churches. 3) a meeting… …   English terms dictionary

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