Question: When God had the Israelites make an ark and tabernacle while in the wilderness, where would they get the wood?

Answer: While the Sinai wilderness is very desert like, there are some plants. Besides some grasses and scrub brush there is one notable tree, the Acacia tree! Unlike oasis that have water sources for clusters of trees, including palms, the Acacia is found growing anywhere with no seeming source of water. This slow growing tree would provide welcome shade in the heat of the wilderness and provided a scarce but ample supply of mature wood for constructing the items needed for the tabernacle and ark.

    Exodus 25:10 "Have them make a chest of acacia wood--two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high.

    Exodus 27:6 Make poles of acacia wood for the altar and overlay them with bronze.

    Exodus 36:20 They made upright frames of acacia wood for the tabernacle.

    Exodus 36:31 They also made crossbars of acacia wood...

Photo of Acacia tree taken in 1999

Photo of same Acacia tree taken in 2005, with vehicle to show size.
Notice that these are very slow growing trees

Photo of same Acacia tree from further away to show perspective.

Notice the Acacia trees in the distance.
Photo taken through a bus window (sorry!)

Another typical Acacia tree.