The 2001 Translation Translator NotesNote

Tent

Leviticus 26:11 says:

‘I will pitch My tent among you,’

Why would God refer to Himself as living in a tent?

The Greek word translated as tent is skene (pronounced skaynay). This word is used throughout the Bible and has been translated in other Bibles as booth, tent, and tabernacle. However, none of these words accurately describe what skene means, for it implies a temporary type of dwelling that can be made of cloths, skins, or even of sticks and branches.

For example, God’s Sacred Tent (skene) in the desert was made of cloth and covered with skins, while the structures (skenes) that the IsraElites were to live in during what has become known as ‘the Festival of Booths’ was made of sticks and branches.

The Greek word oikos (pronounce oy-koss), on the other hand, refers to a permanent dwelling, and it is usually translated as house. For example, when the IsraElites were wandering in the desert, the Sacred Tent of Jehovah was to be temporary (a skene). But when Solomon later built His Temple, it was often referred to as a House (oikos), since it was a permanent structure. However, house in this case didn’t mean a home, because God didn’t live there.

So, notice how coming to an understanding of the meanings of the original words helps to explain why God refers to Himself as coming to ‘tent’ with mankind (as at Revelation 21:3). For the term likely refers a temporary presence or representation, not to His coming to the earth to live among us.

See more translator notes