Stacks of bread

Recently I got an e-mail about the size of the holy loaves of bread in Lev 24:5-6 and the size of the table where the loaves were to be put (Exo 25:23). The person knew that the bread were BIG and the table was small. So, why do almost all translations say that the loaves of bread were placed in two rows with 6 in each row?

NIV: Set them in two rows, six in each row

ESV: And you shall set them in two piles, six in a pile

TNIV: Arrange them in two stacks, six in each stack

GW: Put them in two stacks of six each

The table was about 1½ feet wide and 3 feet long. The bread were round and flat and about 4 quarts of flour were used for each bread. That does indicate a large bread, and there would certainly not be room for six loaves of bread side by side. The Hebrew word used here means an “arrangement”, and this particularly form is only used to refer to these holy loaves of bread. So, why do so many translations talk about rows? I don’t know, but it is clear that it should be stacks, six in each, in order to fit on the table. There is a nice picture here.

I am happy to see that both ESV and TNIV in this case have gone away from tradition in order to produce a more accurate translation.

One thought on “Stacks of bread

  1. clarealice77 says:

    Thanks! Your article has totally just saved me a headache,

    I am editing a book, a biography of a Jewish Christian man, and this verse is quoted in it. I was getting very confused by different Bible versions, one saying ‘rows’, the other saying ‘stacks’.

    The book goes to print in three days time, you just saved it from error!

    Cheers!
    Clare,
    in Sydney,
    Australia

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