Did the tabernacle in the wilderness have a flat roof?

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The following points show that the tabernacle in the wilderness probably had a flat roof:

1.The outside curtains (Exodus 26:8) were 30 cubits long, the precise length required to offer a flat roof and to extend down either side as a top for the gold-plated board walls. A gable roof would increase the length of covering required for the roof and similarly decrease the remaining length available for covering the sides. More or less of the lower portion of the gold-plated boards would thus be left exposed. But gold was otherwise reserved for the interior of the structure. The fact that the inner curtain was two cubits shorter than the outer three which covered it points that the outer curtains were made to protect it, and that they perhaps reached almost to the floor.

2.No ridgepole is recorded, nor is the use of one implied. In addition, there is nothing to show that the five “pillars” varied in length.

3.No record is made of any methods of covering triangular gable ends, and it would be highly doubtful that the ends were left exposed. It should be noted that the veil which divided the holy place from the most holy did not spread to the top of the building, so that light from the Shekinah might be partly seen above it from the first apartment of the sanctuary.

4.The tabernacle was a impermanent, movable construction designed for use during the wilderness wanderings, until the erection of a more permanent building in the Holy Land. The insignificant amount of rainfall in the dry, wilderness would not make a flat roof a problem.

Thus, while there is no sure proof, it seems likely that the roof was flat. Drawings of the tabernacle showing a gable roof are based on the artist’s imagination of it.

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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