Curtain(s)

CURTAIN(S). The word “curtain(s)” trs. three Heb. words. The usual word is יְרִיעָה, H3749, (hanging), which occurs twenty-four times in the sing. and thirty times in the pl., mostly in Exodus. There is a single usage of מָסָכְ, H5009, (“veil”) in Numbers 3:26, and one instance of דֹּק, H1988, (“thinness,” “gauze”) in Isaiah 40:22, referring to the heavens.

The curtain was much more familiar in the Oriental household than elsewhere. Change from nomadic tent to settled house made it more necessary. The nomad’s tent was sewn together of narrow lengths of cloth woven from goats’ and camels’ hair mixed with sheep’s wool.

The majority of references to curtain(s) are in Exodus in connection with the Tabernacle (Exod 26:1ff.; 36:8ff.). In fact, the word “curtains” became synonymous for the Tabernacle itself (2 Sam 7:2). The weaving of the curtains was the work of the women (Exod 35:25, 26).

In the Tabernacle the curtains hung on sixty acacia pillars set in brass sockets five cubits apart. Curtains for the N and S sides were each five cubits high by 100 cubits long of fine white linen; that for the W side was five by fifty cubits. On the E side (the entrance) hung two short curtains, each five by fifteen cubits, on three pillars.