“And you shall make curtains of goat’s hair to be a covering upon the tabernacle: eleven curtains shall you make.”
The “goats’ hair” covering was totally hidden from view. Whereas ten curtains had been joined together to make the ceiling of fine-twined linen, eleven curtains were to be used as it regards the goats’ hair covering. Why eleven curtains? The idea of eleven curtains, seems to be two fold. First of all, these coverings, or curtains, seem to have been laid crossways over the tabernacle, with the ends hanging down on both sides. In other words, there was no hip roof on the tabernacle, the top being flat, which the top was actually the covering.
The adding of the eleventh curtain created enough extra width that it could be doubled at the forefront, which referred to it being pulled under the linen covering, which would provide greater protection from the elements.
The width of the goats’ hair was the same as the linen curtains, but the goats’ hair curtains were two cubits (3 ft.) longer.
The tabernacle itself was 30 cubits (45 ft.) long, 10 cubits (15 ft.) wide, and 10 cubits (15 ft.) high.
Due to being 28 cubits, the linen curtain would not come down all the way to the ground on either side of the tabernacle. But the goats’ hair covering being 30 cubits, which is 45 ft., would cover the tabernacle and the sides completely, actually reaching the ground on either side, thereby giving it proper protection.
The “50 loops” joined the portions together, which means that the two portions of the goats’ hair covering were to be united in exactly the same way as those of the inner awning of linen. In the linen covering, the “taches” were of gold, while the taches here are copper (bronze).
Goats are identified with sin in the Bible. In the parable of the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25), the sheep represent God’s chosen children; the goats represent sinners separated from the kingdom of God.
On the Day of Atonement (the one day each year the high priest entered the Holy of Holies), two goats were selected: the scapegoat and the sacrificial goat.
The sacrificial goat was designated to present the sins of the people, and it was slain to pay for the sins of the people. The scapegoat, also representing the sins of the people, was set free in the wilderness a great distance away that it would never come back—just as our sins have been separated from us as far as the east is from the west, never to be remembered again (Psalm 103:12).
Just as those goats’ symbolized sinfulness, we are reminded that Jesus became sin for us.
Now consider that the two middle layers of the tent covering (the ram’s skin dyed red and the goat skin) were hidden from view. These layers were not visible from the inside or the outside of the tent. A priest who went inside the tabernacle saw the inner layer. The outer layer was visible from the courtyard, but the two middle layers wouldn’t be seen. They were not visible to the human eye. This raises an interesting point.
The layer that represents Jesus dying on the cross is not seen. Mark 15:33,34 tells us that darkness covered the earth from noon to 3 o’clock in the afternoon on the day Jesus was crucified. You might say no one actually saw what sin was doing to the Son of God. No one saw the actual sin coming upon Christ as He paid the penalty for our sins.
“Just as many were astonished at, you, My people, So his appearance was marred more than any man, And his form more than the sons of men” (Isa.52:14).
No one has ever had his appearance and form marred more than Jesus Christ did on the cross. God just darkened the earth so this could not be seen by men. What a gracious God.