They made the bronze basin and its bronze stand from the mirrors of the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting.Exodus 38:8 NIV
This passage is an example of a cultural practice whose significance is lost to us today. Here is an obscure group of women serving at the entrance to the Tabernacle. Who were these women? And what service were they performing? The Scripture is silent concerning both of these questions, although it must have been common knowledge at the time. The only other time these women are mentioned in the Scripture is in 1 Samuel 2:22. In that passage, Eli’s sons were sleeping with them. But I do not believe that they were serving as shrine prostitutes as some of the other religions of that time had.
The service these women performed may have included keeping the Tabernacle supplied with water for washing and wood for the altar fire. And I would guess that they were unmarried. Otherwise, they would have been taking care of their families. It may be that these women were similar to the order of widows that Paul mentions in 1 Timothy 5:9-10.
The Challenge of Cultural Differences
This passage illustrates well one of the challenges we face in reading and understanding the Bible. The Bible was written by and for a culture different from ours today. Often that is not a significant issue. But there are times when it is. We need to be careful of those cultural differences if we are going to understand what God was saying to them. And to us today.
The views expressed here are solely mine and do not necessarily reflect those of any other person, group, or organization. While I believe they reflect the teachings of the Bible, I am a fallible human and subject to misunderstanding. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions about this post in the comments section below. I am always interested in your feedback.
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