The Coverings for the Tabernacle
See Exodus 36:8–38.
A CES (Church Educational System) Old Testament manual states:
“Because the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness at this time, the tabernacle had to be portable. The walls were formed of panels that could be joined together (see Exodus 25:15–16). Then the walls and open ceiling were covered with four different layers of fabric.
“The inner fabric was made of fine-twined linen. The Hebrew word translated ‘linen’ signifies not only the fabric but also ‘whiteness’ (Wilson, Old Testament Word Studies, s.v. “linen,” p. 255; see also Fallows, Bible Encyclopedia, s.v. “linen,” 2:1068). Scholars believe it was either a fine cotton fabric or one made from flax. Because of the length of the tabernacle, ten curtains, or pieces of fabric, were needed to cover it. This inner layer was to have cherubim (angels) embroidered upon it and was to incorporate, besides the whiteness, the colors blue, purple, and scarlet.
“The selvage of these curtains was a special border at the edge of each woven piece that prevented raveling. This border was usually of different size threads and was sometimes of a different weave than the rest of the curtain.
“By means of golden clasps or pins called taches, the selvages of adjacent curtain segments were joined together, creating the appearance of a single drape over the tabernacle.
“The other three fabrics consisted of goats’ hair, rams’ skins dyed red, and badgers’ skins (see Exodus 26:7, 14). The nature of the last kind of fabric is not clear; scholars seem to agree only that it was not the skin of badgers. The Hebrew word implies the color of, more than the kind of, fabric (see Wilson, Old Testament Word Studies, s.v. “badger,” p. 27). Some
scholars believe it may have been the skins of porpoises or seals from the Red Sea which would have given the tabernacle a waterproof outer covering (see Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, 1:2:163).”
(Old Testament Student Manual: Genesis–2 Samuel, 3rd ed. [Church Educational System manual, 2003], 150–51.)