International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
(1) In English Versions of the Bible this word in the plural represents the Hebrew qela`im, the curtains of "fine twined linen" with which the court of the tabernacle was enclosed. These were five cubits in height, and of lengths corresponding to the sides of the enclosure and the space on either side of the entrance in front, and were suspended from hooks fastened to the pillars of the court. They are described at length in Exodus 27:9-15; Exodus 38:9-18. See , besides, Exodus 35:17; Exodus 39:40 Numbers 3:26; Numbers 4:26.
(2) In the King James Version another word, macakh (the Revised Version (British and American) uniformly "screen"), is distinguished from the preceding only by the singular, "hanging" (Exodus 35:17; Exodus 38:18, etc.). It is used of the screen or portiere, embroidered in colors, that closed the entrance of the court (Exodus 27:16; Exodus 35:17; Exodus 38:18; Exodus 39:40; Exodus 40:8, 33 Numbers 3:26; Numbers 4:26); of the screen of similar workmanship at the entrance of the tabernacle (Exodus 26:36, 37; Exodus 35:15; Exodus 36:37; Exodus 39:38; Exodus 40:5, 28 Numbers 3:25; Numbers 4:25); and once (Numbers 3:31) of the tapestry veil, adorned with cherubim, at the entrance of the Holy of Holies (elsewhere, parokheth, "veil," Exodus 26:31-33, etc., or parokheth ha-macakh, "veil of the screen," Exodus 35:12, etc.). In Numbers 3:26, the King James Version renders macakh "curtain," and in Exodus 35:12; Exodus 39:34; Exodus 40:21 (compare also Numbers 4:5), "covering."
(3) In 2 Kings 23:7 we read of "hangings" (Hebrew "houses") which the women wove for the Asherah. If the text is correct we are to think perhaps of tent shrines for the image of the goddess. Lucian's reading (stolas, "robes") is preferred by some, which would have reference to the custom of bringing offerings of clothing for the images of the gods. In 1 Kings 7:29 the Revised Version (British and American), "wreaths of hanging work" refers to a kind of ornamentation on the bases of the lavers. In Esther 1:6, "hangings" is supplied by the translators.
Benjamin Reno Downer