Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, , at sacred-texts.com
For Exo 38:1-7 and Exo 38:9-20 see the notes to Exo. 27.
See the marginal reference. The women who assembled at the entrance of the tent of meeting were most probably devout women who loved the public service of religion. The giving up of their mirrors for the use of the sanctuary was a fit sacrifice for such women to make (compare Exo 35:22 note).
This is the sum ... - "This is the reckoning of the tabernacle, the tabernacle of the Testimony as it was reckoned up according to the commandment of Moses, by the service of the Levites, by the hand of Ithamar," etc. The weight of the metals was taken by the Levites, under the direction of Ithamar. The tabernacle is called the tabernacle of the testimony, or the depository of the testimony, i. e. the tables of the law Exo 25:16.
See Exo 35:35 note.
Of the holy place - Rather, of the sanctuary. The gold was employed not only in the holy place, but in the most holy place and in the entrance to the tent Exo 36:38.
The gold of the offering - The gold of the wave offering.
Talents ... the shekel of the sanctuary - The shekel was the common standard of weight and value with the Hebrews: and is probably to be estimated at 220 English grains (just over half an ounce avoirdupois) and its value in silver as 2s. 7d. The shekel of the sanctuary (or, the holy shekel) would seem to denote no more than an exact shekel, "after the king's weight" Sa2 14:26, "current money with the merchant" Gen 23:16.
In the reign of Joash, a collection similar to that here mentioned, apparently at the same rate of capitation, was made for the repairs of the temple Ch2 24:9. The tax of later times, called didrachma, στατήρ statēr, Mat 17:27, was not, like this and that of Joash, a collection for a special occasion, but a yearly tax, for the support of the temple, of a whole shekel. See also Exo 30:13.
The talent contained 3,000 shekels, as may be gathered from Exo 38:25-26. According to the computation here adopted, the Hebrew talent was 94 2/7 lbs. avoirdupois. The Greek (Aeginetan) talent, from which the Septuagint and most succeeding versions have taken the name "talent," was 82 1/4 lbs. The original Hebrew word, ככר kı̂kār, would denote a circular mass, and nearly the same word, kerker, was in use among the Egyptians for a mass of metal cast in the form of a massive ring with its weight stamped upon it.
A bekah - Literally, "a half": the words "half a shekel," etc. appear to be inserted only for emphasis, to enforce the accuracy to be observed in the payment. See Exo 30:13. Respecting the capitation and the numbering of the people, see Exo 30:12.
Sockets - Bases. See the margin reference.
The hooks, chapiters, and fillets here spoken of belonged to the pillars of the court. See Exo 27:10, Exo 27:17.
According to the estimate of the shekel that has here been adopted, the weight of the metals mentioned in this chapter would be nearly as follows, in avoirdupois weight:
Gold 1 ton 4 cwt. 2 qrs. 13 lbs. Silver 4 tons 4 cwt. 2 qrs. 20 lbs. Bronze 2 tons 19 cwt. 2 qrs. 11 lbs.
The value of the gold, if pure, in our money would be 175,075 British pounds, 13 shillings, and of the silver, 38,034 British pounds, 15 shillings 10d. These quantities of the precious metals come quite within the limits of probability, if we consider the condition of the Israelites when they left Egypt (see Exo 25:3 note), and the object for which the collection was made. Many have remarked that the quantities collected for the tabernacle are insignificant when compared with the hoards of gold and silver collected in the East in recent times, as well as in ancient times.