[Heb. menorah; Aramaic nebreshah; Gr. luchnia.] A stand for holding one or more lamps. In the OT such an item of furniture is mentioned as being used in the tabernacle (Ex 25:31) and the Temple (1 Ki 7:49), also in a palace (Dan 5:5). NT references to a lampstands are more general. In this article only the lampstand in the sanctuary will be discussed. Since the sources of the light were lamps and not candles, the translation "candlestick" is incorrect. The first lampstand made for the tabernacle was of hammered gold, and consisted of a base and a main shaft from which 6 other branches protruded. It stood on the south side in the first apartment of the tabernacle (Ex 25:31-40; 40:24). The lamps were fed with pure olive oil and burned all night (Ex 27:20, 21; Lev 24:2-4). Josephus says that 3 of the lamps burned also during the day (Ant. iii. 8. 3). Solomon replaced the 1 lampstand by 10 in his Templeâ€”5 on each side of the sanctuary (1 Ki 7:49; 2 Chr 4:7). Nebuchadnezzar carried the Temple lampstands to Babylon (Jer 52:19). They were apparently not returned to Jerusalem in Cyrus' time, for Zerubbabel's Temple seems to have contained only one lampstand, which Antiochus IV Epiphanes carried off after he had desecrated the Temple (1 Macc 1:20, 21). Judas Maccabeus had a new one made (ch 4:49), but this one was replaced in Herod's Temple by a much larger one (Jos. War vii. 5. 5). This lampstand was captured by the Romans in a.d. 70 and carried in Titus' procession of triumph, as the relief on his triumphal arch shows . It remained in Rome until the Vandals carried it to Carthage in a.d. 455. Under Belisarius it was taken to Constantinople in 534, and was later sent back to Jerusalem by the emperor Justinian. When the Persians sacked Jerusalem in a.d. it was probably taken to the East. Nothing has been heard of it since.
Since archeology has found no examples of 7-branched lampstands in OT times, but only of lamps consisting of a bowl with 7 spouts for the wicks, many believe that the lampstands of the tabernacle and of Solomon's Temple were in appearance and form quite unlike that of Herod's Temple. However, the description in Ex 25:31-37 specifies 7 branches. The 7-branched lampstand became a frequent symbol in later Jewish art on sarcophagi, on tombstones, over the doors of houses, and especially in synagogue decorations, of which the 3rd cent. a.d. synagogue of Dura Europus on the Euphrates is one of the earliest examples -- Seventh-day Adventist Bible Dictionary.