These are the instructions for the lampstand.
The descriptions used... are those of a tree.
Exodus 25:31 --
"And you shall make a candlestick of pure gold; of beaten work shall the candlestick
be made. His shaft, and his branches, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers, shall be
of the same.
And six branches shall come out of the sides of it; three branches of the candlestick
out of the one side, and three branches of the candlestick out of the other side.
Three bowls made like unto almonds,with a knop and a flower in one branch, and three
bowls made like almonds in the other branch, with a knop and a flower; so in the six
branches that come out of the candlestick.
And in the candlestick shall be four bowls made like unto almonds, with their knops
and their flowers. And there shall be a knop under two branches of the same, and a knop
under two branches of the same, and a knop under two branches of the same, according
to the six branches that proceed out of the candlestick. Their knops and their branches
shall be of the same; all of it shall be one beaten work of pure gold.
And you shall make the seven lamps thereof, and they shall light the lamps thereof,
that they may give light over against it.
And the tongs thereof, and the snuff dishes thereof, shall be of pure gold. Of a talent of
pure gold shall he make it, with all these vessels. And look that you make them after
their pattern, which was showed you on the mount."
In Exodus 26:35
"And you shall set the table without the vail, and the candlestick over against the table
on the side of the tabernacle toward the south, and you shall put the table on the north
The first requirement that helps to define the appearance of the lampstand is that
the total weight... of it and the implements... is to be a talent of gold. This is approx.
108 lbs. of gold.
The second... is that it is free-standing. The table in
the instructions for the Tent of God is set on the north side of the tent, and the lampstand
is set on the south. There is no mention of a table for the lamp itself.
The third... there are almond blossoms and knops (or seed pods) that serve as the lamps
on the lampstand. This works beautifully. Almond blossoms... from the almond tree...
are the shape of a petunia somewhat, with 5 petals. On each lamp, the knop would be
the bowl of oil... the blossom would cover the bowl and hold the wick (the stamin)... and
golden tree leaves would reflect light into the tent.
In Hebrew, Luz means "almond." The name of this tree means "to wake
or watch" because it is the first to wake from the sleep of winter... the first to blossom
in spring. The almond tree is a genus of the peach. There is another ancient term
called "almond." In the language of lapidaries, or gem cutters... "almonds" are pieces
of rock crystal that are used in adorning branch candlesticks.
The fourth thing to note is... there is a main shaft to the lamp, with six branches coming
forth from it. There are also to be four bowls on the main shaft... without the branches
that are mentioned for the first six lamps. The most logical place for these bowls (and
per the stated instructions) is between the 6 branches. These are to be lamps, as well,
with knops and flowers.
The number "seven" that is mentioned does not connect to anything that is described in
the instructions, unless it refers to the branches and a lamp at the top of the shaft of the
lampstand. And there is no specific meaning to "seven" in the design of the
tent of God.
There is however, meaning to "eleven" lamps. Aaron, was the priest and his sons.
The Levite tribe was the tribe of service, and were separate from the whole of the tribes of
Israel. And so, eleven tribes being served by one tribe... expressed in the eleven lamps
being attended to by Aaron and his sons. This makes ultimate sense... moreso than the
named "seven." SEVEN may well mean the number of leaves surrounding each light,
which would reflect the light from the candle into the room.
Exodus 28:43 -- "And [the priests clothes] shall be upon Aaron, and upon
his sons, when they come in unto the tabernacle of the congregation, or when they come
near unto the altar to minister in the holy place; that they bear not iniquity, and die: it shall
be a statute for ever unto him and his seed after him."
Numbers 1:49 -- "Only thou shalt not number the tribe of Levi, neither take the sum
of them among the children of Israel: But thou shalt appoint the Levites over the tabernacle
of testimony, and over all the vessels thereof, and over all things that belong to it: they shall
bear the tabernacle, and all the vessels thereof; and they shall minister unto it, and shall
encamp round about the tabernacle."
All these instructions give clues to the shape of this lampstand. The master who worked
with the gold (which would need to be reinforced with another metal for strength) would
be limited in the design of the lampstand to what shape could evolve from this amount of
metal. He would likely begin with the needs of the implements and their design... and then
incorporate what metal was remaining into the making of the lamp.
If one wanted to ensure a balanced appearance to a free-standing oil-burning lampstand,
it may well take on the shape of a tree, and with so many candles burning on it... it
would give the impression of a burning bush.
The Arch of Titus, erected in A.D. 91 to commemorate the conquests of Titus in Judea... has
a rendering of the candlestick taken from Jerusalem. Some believe that this is the best source
for knowing what this candlestick and its implements looked like. This sculpture looks exactly
like the menorah used today in Jewish traditions, with the exception being that it had only
seven branches, while today there are nine.
In "Halley's Bible Handbook" under Exodus 35-40, it reads, "[The Candlestick]... Thought to
have been 5 ft. high and 3 1/2 ft. across the top."
From: Halley's Bible Handbook