Making Fun of Pharaoh

“…the tabernacle was modelled for polemical purposes, at least in part, on mobile Egyptian military tent camps that consisted of almost exactly the same three-part structure with the same measurements and that was oriented eastward (courtyard, inner reception area and the innermost chamber, where an image of the divine Pharaoh was flanked by two winged creatures!)” (Beale, The Temple and the Church’s Mission, p. 64)

Beale then goes on to describe that Egyptian military tents were even surrounded by four camps of troops, just like Israel in the wilderness. The tabernacle was Yahweh’s war headquarters.

This is given greater strength when we read the description of the Israelites in Exodus 12:41, which says that “all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.” Also translated “divisions” or “forces.” This is military language to describe God’s people just after we have been told that they have plundered the Egyptians. Just after God has made war against the gods of Egypt.

The tabernacle was making fun of the pretensions of Pharaoh. It was a slap to the face of worldly idolatry.

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