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Bezalel and Oholiab


The L ord spoke to Moses: 2See, I have called by name Bezalel son of Uri son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: 3and I have filled him with divine spirit, with ability, intelligence, and knowledge in every kind of craft, 4to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, 5in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, in every kind of craft. 6Moreover, I have appointed with him Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and I have given skill to all the skillful, so that they may make all that I have commanded you: 7the tent of meeting, and the ark of the covenant, and the mercy seat that is on it, and all the furnishings of the tent, 8the table and its utensils, and the pure lampstand with all its utensils, and the altar of incense, 9and the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the basin with its stand, 10and the finely worked vestments, the holy vestments for the priest Aaron and the vestments of his sons, for their service as priests, 11and the anointing oil and the fragrant incense for the holy place. They shall do just as I have commanded you.

The Sabbath Law

12 The L ord said to Moses: 13You yourself are to speak to the Israelites: “You shall keep my sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, given in order that you may know that I, the L ord, sanctify you. 14You shall keep the sabbath, because it is holy for you; everyone who profanes it shall be put to death; whoever does any work on it shall be cut off from among the people. 15Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the L ord; whoever does any work on the sabbath day shall be put to death. 16Therefore the Israelites shall keep the sabbath, observing the sabbath throughout their generations, as a perpetual covenant. 17It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the L ord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.”

The Two Tablets of the Covenant

18 When God finished speaking with Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the covenant, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.

13. Speak thou also unto the children of Israel. He inculcates the same things as before, with the addition of a few words, such as “for it is holiness unto you;” 337337     “For it is holy unto you.” — A. V. by which expression he exhorts them to observe this rite as most sacred and inviolable, since by its neglect religion would fall 338338     “Ils mettoyent bas la religion comme pour la fouler au pied;” they would cast down religion as if to trample it under foot. — Fr. And therefore he denounces capital punishment against any who should work on that day. Hence, again, we gather the dignity and excellency of the mystery, when God deemed an apparently light transgression of it worthy of death. Still this was an act of by no means excusable contempt, to overthrow professedly, as it were, what God would have to be a mark of distinction between His people and heathen nations. The passages which follow have the same tendency, which it would have been superfluous to repeat, unless because the people were thus reminded that it was a matter of the utmost importance. By prohibiting them from lighting a fire, He anticipates all the glosses which they would have been ready enough to invent; for they would have alleged that if the pot had been put on the fire the day before, the Sabbath would not have been violated by lighting the fire. What, then, would have been more allowable than anything else God excludes, viz., that they should not employ themselves in the preparation of their food, or undertake any other earthly work, however venial. When He calls it a “perpetual” or eternal “covenant,” the Jews rest on it as a ground of their obstinacy, and wantonly rave against Christ as a covenant-breaker, because He abrogated the Sabbath. I will not contend with them as to the word גולם, gnolam, which sometimes means a long time, and not perpetuity: I will simply insist on the thing itself. Whatever was spoken of under the Law as eternal, I maintain to have had reference to the new state of things which came to pass at the coming of Christ; and thus the eternity of the Law must not be extended beyond the fullness of time, when the truth of its shadows was manifested, and God’s covenant assumed a different form. If the Jews cry out that what is perpetual, and what is temporary, are contraries to each other, we must deny it in various respects, since assuredly what was peculiar to the Law could not continue to exist beyond the day of Jesus Christ. Besides, the Sabbath, although its external observation is not now in use, still remains eternal in its reality, like circumcision. Thus the stability of both was best confirmed by their abrogation; since, if God now required the same of Christians, it would be putting a veil over the death and resurrection of His Son; and hence the more carefully the Jews persevere in the keeping the festival, the more do they derogate from its sanctity. But they calumniate us falsely, as if we disregarded the Sabbath; because there is nothing which more completely confirms its reality and substance than the abolition of its external use. To this point also may my readers apply what I have written on Genesis 17, 339339     Vide C.’s Comment on Genesis, Calvin Society’s edit., vol. 1 pp. 447, et seq. lest I should weary them in vain by my prolixity; and again, in treating of the sacrifices, I have adverted to some things which relate to the same doctrine. When, in Exodus 34, God especially commands them to rest “in earing-time and harvest,” 340340     We must beware of being misled by what is a very common misapprehension, not without the authority of some of our English Dictionary-writers, as ifearing-time” were the time of gathering the ears of corn, instead of a derivative from the Saxon “erian,” cognate with and equivalent to the Latin “arare,” to plough. See C.’s Latin, “in aratione." it is not as if He would let loose the rein for the rest of the year; but He rather draws it tighter, since no necessity must interrupt this sacred observance. Else it might have seemed a just pretext, if, on account of continued rains, or other ungenial weather, ploughing should be difficult, husbandmen were to be released from the obligation of the law, lest their resting should have produced sterility. The same opinion might have prevailed as to the ingathering of the harvest, lest it should have been spoilt on the ground. God, however, allows of no dispensation; but the Sabbath is to be observed, though at the risk of general loss.

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