Verse 9. According to all that I shew thee - God shewed him an exact plan of it in little, which he must conform to in all points. And God did not only shew him the model, but gave him also particular directions how to frame the tabernacle, according to that model, in all the parts of it. When Moses was to describe the creation of the world, tho' it be such a stately and curious fabrick, yet he gave a very short and general account of it; but when he comes to describe the tabernacle, he doth it with the greatest niceness and accuracy imaginable: for God's church and instituted religion is more precious to him than all the rest of the world. And the scriptures were written not to describe to us the works of nature, (a general view of which is sufficient to lead us to the knowledge of the Creator,) but to acquaint us with the methods of grace, and those things which are purely matters of Revelation.
10. The ark was a chest or coffer, in which the two tables of the law, written with the finger of God, were to be deposited. If the Jewish cubit was, as some learned men compute three inches longer than our half-yard, (twenty one inches in all) this chest or cabinet was about fifty-two inches long, thirty-one broad and thirty one deep; it was overlaid within and without with thin plates of gold; it had a crown, or cornish of gold round it; rings and staves to carry it with; and in it he must put the testimony. The tables of the law are called the testimony, because God did in them testify his will; his giving them that law was in token of his favour to them, and their acceptance of it was in token of their subjection to him. This law was a testimony to them to direct them in their duty, and would be a testimony against them if they transgressed. The ark is called the ark of the testimony, chap. xxx, 6, and the tabernacle, the tabernacle of the testimony, Num. x, 11. The tables of the law were carefully preserved in the ark, to teach us to make much of the word of God, and to hide it in our inmost thoughts, as the ark was placed in the holy of holies. It intimates likewise the care which divine providence ever did, and ever will take to preserve the records of divine Rev. in the church, so that even in the latter days there shall be seen in his temple the ark of his testament. See Rev. xi, 19.
17. The mercy-seat was the covering of the ark, made exactly to fit the dimensions of it. This propitiatory covering, as it might well be translated, was a type of Christ the great propitiation, whose satisfaction covers our transgressions, and comes between us and the curse we deserve.
18. The cherubim (Cherubim is the plural of Cherub, not Cherubims) were fixed to the mercy-seat, and of a piece with it, and spread their wings over it. It is supposed these were designed to represent the holy angels, (who always attend the Shechinah, or divine majesty,) not by any effigies of an angel, but some emblem of the angelical nature, probably one or more of those four faces spoken of Ezek. i, 10. Whatever the faces were, they looked one towards another, and both downwards towards the ark, while their wings were stretched out so as to touch one another. It notes their attendance upon the Redeemer, their readiness to do his will, their presence in the assemblies of saints, Psalm lxviii, 17; 1 Cor. xi, 10, and their desire to look into the mysteries of the gospel, which they diligently contemplate, 1 Pet. i, 12.