The Coverings of Badgers' Skins

 •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 9
Much question has arisen respecting the animal, in our translation called the badger. The Septuagint renders "tachash" ὑαχινθινα or skins of a blue color. Upon comparing the conjectures of many writers on this subject, that suggested by the late Colonel Hamilton Smith seems to be the most probable, viz. that they were skins of a blueish-gray color, from an animal of a stag-goat species, common in the East. Be this as it may, this covering was not measured, and therefore has reference rather to the outward aspect than to the intrinsic costliness of the material. We read of badgers' skins being used for sandals, (Ezek. 16:1010I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with badgers' skin, and I girded thee about with fine linen, and I covered thee with silk. (Ezekiel 16:10);) and throughout the details of the tabernacle, these skins were employed for external coverings to protect the vessels on the march from the sun or rain.
Again, referring to the estimate in which the Lord Jesus was held by the unbeliever, we find it written of Him, " He hath no form nor comeliness: and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected of men. He was despised, and we esteemed Him not." Isa. 53:2,32For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 3He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (Isaiah 53:2‑3). Persecution, opposition, rejection, a life of sorrow on account of the ruin and misery which He saw around Him; the havoc that sin and Satan had caused; a life spent in ceaseless watchings, prayings, fastings, and going about doing good, had wrought their results on the blessed Lord; so that in Him, there was no beauty to attract the outward eye. And at length when lifted up in shame and ignominy on the tree, bearing in addition to the buffetings of men and. Satan, the outpouring of the wrath of God; men beheld One from whom they would rather hide their faces in dislike, than gaze upon in love and admiration. No one, who looked merely upon the rough badger-skin exterior of the tabernacle, would have conceived that it was the dwelling-place of God. The eye of faith alone beheld in Jesus " the glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father."
The visage marred, those sorrows deep,
The vinegar and gall,
These were His golden chains of love,
His captive to enthrall.
The priest who had title, by reason of his consecration through the blood, to enter within the holy place, saw around him only glory and beauty.
The Church of God, in her wilderness journey, strikingly presents the same features as we have been considering in this type. " I am black, but comely," she can say: black, as to outward appearance and the estimate formed by sense; like the tents of Kedar, the rough dark camels' hair dwelling of the wandering shepherd; black, not by reason of evil or sin, but because the sun of persecution and tribulation in the service of Christ had marred all outward beauty: but comely within, as the curtains of Solomon, the curiously wrought tapestry of divers colors, resplendent with the beauty and glory of her Lord.
" I am black, but comely, 0 ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon. Look not upon me, because I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me." Sol. 1:5,65I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon. 6Look not upon me, because I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me: my mother's children were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept. (Song of Solomon 1:5‑6). In Psa. 45 the Queen, the king's daughter, is seen after the wilderness journey is passed. The way-worn exterior is no longer presented. It is a resurrection-scene of complete and eternal glory. " Upon thy right hand standeth the queen, in gold of Ophir. The King's daughter is all glorious within (her palace:) her clothing is of cloth interwoven with gold. She shall be brought unto the King in raiment of needle-work." Even now, Christ's estimate of the Church is, that she is as one pearl of great price, (Matt. 13) for the sake of which, He has parted with all, making Himself poor: for He "loved the church, and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word; that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." Eph. 5:25-2725Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:25‑27).
The tabernacle must have appeared, to the eye of a stranger, as a long dark coffin-like structure. So also must the ark, that Noah built as a place of refuge, have seemed to men around a strange ungainly black wooden building. Christ in His death, presents no object of attraction to the natural heart; while to the believer He is, by reason of that very death, altogether lovely. In like manner, the Church of God is as the filth and offscouring of all things to the world. But the Lord is able to say of her, " Thou art all fair, my love: there is no spot in thee."
False prophets in Israel wore a rough garment to deceive. In modern days, men have affected an outward garb of humility, and separation from the world: while beneath the serge garment and rope of the recluse, or the unadorned vestments of some nominal Christian sects, has lurked a heart of unsubdued pride, and an eager desire for human approbation. The flesh, to accomplish its own ends, can mortify itself. There may be a show of wisdom in will-worship and humility, and neglecting of the body. But by these very things, the flesh may be satisfied. The true badger-skin exterior should be the result of the walk and ways of a risen heavenly man, in the midst of an unredeemed wilderness earth. We must be first transformed, by the renewing of the mind, into the likeness of Jesus, and walk according to the rule of the new creature, if we would not be conformed to this world. Gal. 6:15,1615For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. 16And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. (Galatians 6:15‑16). The unregenerate earthly man may make a fair show in the flesh; may become a devotee, and thereby pacify his own conscience, and gain the esteem of men. But the Lord seeth not as man seeth: for man looketh on the outward appearance; but the Lord looketh on the heart. And the day is fast approaching, when realities will take the place of false appearances. The true follower of Jesus will, by reason of fellowship with God, and a heart set on things above, unconsciously acquire a stranger, and pilgrim-like character. He will be little esteemed amongst men, and may have a Galilean name of reproach, But he is a king and priest to God, and will be soon manifest in the glory of his Lord. The blessed Lord Himself was despised, as of Nazareth. But this very name of contumely was one of distinguished holiness: for it implied entire separation to God.