Tabernacle (Lat. tabernaculum, tent; Heb. ohel), the sanctuary which the Israelites carried with them through the desert, and which, after the conquest of Canaan, was set up in various towns of Palestine until the time of Solomon, when it was replaced by the temple of Jerusalem. It was constructed, by order of Moses, by Bezaleel and Aholiab, and set up for the first time on the first day of the first month in the second year after leaving Egypt. Its framework consisted of 48 perpendicular gilded boards of acacia wood, which were kept together by golden rings and fixed into silver sockets. Over these boards four coverings were spread. The entrance, at the east end, was closed by means of a splendid curtain, supported by five columns. A curtain divided the interior into two rooms, the sanctuary and the holy of holies. In the sanctuary was placed, on the north, the table with the 12 loaves of shew bread (see Shew Bread); toward the south the golden candlestick; and in the middle the altar of incense. In the holy of holies stood the ark of the covenant. The tabernacle was surrounded by a kind of courtyard which was 100 cubits long and 50 cubits wide. The typical significance of the tabernacle has been, ever since the times of Philo and Josephus, a subject of investigation.
The most important treatises, on the subject in modern times are by Creuzer, Symbo-lik des mosaischen Cultus (2 vols., Heidelberg, 1837-'9), and Friedrich, Symbolik der mosai-schen Stiftshutte (Leipsic, 1841).