Chapter thirty-eight presents us new information we have not seen before, though we are likely to miss it because all of this looks so very familiar, being nearly a verbatim repetition of chapters 25 – 31.
But it is here that we learn the bronze basin and bronze stand were made from the “mirrors” of the “women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting.”
In those days, mirrors were made from polished metal and so these women gave their bronze mirrors.
But the very interesting thing is the mention of the women at all. It’s a total surprise given that they have not been mentioned before. Who were these women and what did they do?
We are not told.
But I think this is one of those places we have to come to grips with in our method of biblical interpretation. Christian leaders often talk about things being “authorized,” or approved, by biblical teaching or precedent. But there is no precedent for these women. The Levites were those who served in the tabernacle, and they were all supposed to be men. But the fact of the matter was – and is – that nearly nothing in the world, and certainly not in religion, happens without the participation of women. God may (and does) have clearly defined roles for leadership and participation among His people. Those directions must certainly be followed. But after that, there may be a variety of roles that are needed that are not so specified. Just because they are not specified does not mean that such roles are precluded, and certainly does not mean that they are forbidden.