Tabernacle (tăbˈərnăkˌəl) [key], in the Bible, the portable holy place of the Hebrews during their desert wanderings. It was a tent, like the portable tent-shrines used by ancient Semites, set up in each camp; eventually it housed the Ark of the Covenant (see ark, 2). In the Book of Numbers, the Tabernacle is referred to as the "Tent of Meeting" when it functioned as the place for divine revelation to Moses. The Tabernacle rested in Shiloh before it was finally placed in Jerusalem. David kept the Ark of the Covenant inside it. During Solomon's reign, the Tabernacle was replaced by the Temple as a sign that God had given his people rest from their wandering. The term is also applied to the small receptacle, used in the Roman Catholic Church, in which the Host in the ciborium is reserved on the altar.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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