a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary
Select a resource above

Sabbath Regulations


Moses assembled all the congregation of the Israelites and said to them: These are the things that the L ord has commanded you to do:

2 Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day you shall have a holy sabbath of solemn rest to the L ord; whoever does any work on it shall be put to death. 3You shall kindle no fire in all your dwellings on the sabbath day.

Preparations for Making the Tabernacle

4 Moses said to all the congregation of the Israelites: This is the thing that the L ord has commanded: 5Take from among you an offering to the L ord; let whoever is of a generous heart bring the L ord’s offering: gold, silver, and bronze; 6blue, purple, and crimson yarns, and fine linen; goats’ hair, 7tanned rams’ skins, and fine leather; acacia wood, 8oil for the light, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense, 9and onyx stones and gems to be set in the ephod and the breastpiece.

10 All who are skillful among you shall come and make all that the L ord has commanded: the tabernacle, 11its tent and its covering, its clasps and its frames, its bars, its pillars, and its bases; 12the ark with its poles, the mercy seat, and the curtain for the screen; 13the table with its poles and all its utensils, and the bread of the Presence; 14the lampstand also for the light, with its utensils and its lamps, and the oil for the light; 15and the altar of incense, with its poles, and the anointing oil and the fragrant incense, and the screen for the entrance, the entrance of the tabernacle; 16the altar of burnt offering, with its grating of bronze, its poles, and all its utensils, the basin with its stand; 17the hangings of the court, its pillars and its bases, and the screen for the gate of the court; 18the pegs of the tabernacle and the pegs of the court, and their cords; 19the finely worked vestments for ministering in the holy place, the holy vestments for the priest Aaron, and the vestments of his sons, for their service as priests.

Offerings for the Tabernacle

20 Then all the congregation of the Israelites withdrew from the presence of Moses. 21And they came, everyone whose heart was stirred, and everyone whose spirit was willing, and brought the L ord’s offering to be used for the tent of meeting, and for all its service, and for the sacred vestments. 22So they came, both men and women; all who were of a willing heart brought brooches and earrings and signet rings and pendants, all sorts of gold objects, everyone bringing an offering of gold to the L ord. 23And everyone who possessed blue or purple or crimson yarn or fine linen or goats’ hair or tanned rams’ skins or fine leather, brought them. 24Everyone who could make an offering of silver or bronze brought it as the L ord’s offering; and everyone who possessed acacia wood of any use in the work, brought it. 25All the skillful women spun with their hands, and brought what they had spun in blue and purple and crimson yarns and fine linen; 26all the women whose hearts moved them to use their skill spun the goats’ hair. 27And the leaders brought onyx stones and gems to be set in the ephod and the breastpiece, 28and spices and oil for the light, and for the anointing oil, and for the fragrant incense. 29All the Israelite men and women whose hearts made them willing to bring anything for the work that the L ord had commanded by Moses to be done, brought it as a freewill offering to the L ord.

Bezalel and Oholiab

30 Then Moses said to the Israelites: See, the L ord has called by name Bezalel son of Uri son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; 31he has filled him with divine spirit, with skill, intelligence, and knowledge in every kind of craft, 32to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, 33in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, in every kind of craft. 34And he has inspired him to teach, both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. 35He has filled them with skill to do every kind of work done by an artisan or by a designer or by an embroiderer in blue, purple, and crimson yarns, and in fine linen, or by a weaver—by any sort of artisan or skilled designer.

20. And all the congregation of the children of Israel. There is no reason why any one should be surprised that the order of the narrative is changed, since it plainly appears from many passages that the order of time is not always observed by Moses. Thus he appears here to connect the fall of the people with the foregoing injunctions, both with respect to the building of the tabernacle, and the rest of the religious service of God. But I have shewn 292292     See vol. 2, p. 143, and note. upon good grounds that the tabernacle was built before the people fell into idolatry. Therefore Moses now supplies what had been before omitted, though I have followed the thread of the narrative in order to render it less difficult.

The sum of this relation is, that whatever was necessary for the building of the tabernacle was liberally contributed. It must be observed that they had departed from the presence of Moses: for we gather from this circumstance that, having severally retired to their tents, they had considered apart by themselves what they should give. Hence their liberality is deserving of greater praise, because it was premeditated; for it often happens that when a person has been bountiful from sudden impulse, he afterwards repents of it. When it is added that “they came, every one,” it is a question whether he means that the minds of the whole people were prompt and cheerful in giving, or whether he indirectly rebukes the stinginess and sordidness of those who meanly neglected their duty. In whichever way we choose to take it, Moses repeats what we have seen before, that the offerings were not extorted by force or necessity, but that they proceeded from voluntary and cordial feelings. I thus construe the words, “They came, every one, as his heart stirred each of them up,” as if he had said that they were not compelled by any law imposed upon them, but that every one was his own lawgiver, of his own good-will. This passage is absurdly twisted by the Papists in proof of free-will; as if men were incited by themselves to act rightly and well; for Moses, even while praising their spontaneous feelings, does not mean to exclude the grace of the Spirit, whereby alone our hearts are inclined to holy affections; but this stirring up is contrasted with the unwillingness by which ungodly men are withheld and restrained. Those, therefore, whom the Spirit rules, He does not drag unwillingly by a violent and extrinsic impulse, as it is called, but He so works within them upon their will, that believers stir up themselves, and they voluntarily follow His leadings. So that when it is added, “whose spirit was liberal in himself,” 293293     “Every one, whom his spirit made willing.” — A.V. the commencement of well-doing is not ascribed to men, nor is even their concurrence praised, as if they co-operated apart from God, but only the internal impulse of their minds, and the sincerity of their desires·

22. And they came, both men and women. Express mention is made of the women, not only whose bounty, but whose labors, as it soon afterwards appears, God designed to make use of in the work of the sanctuary. Moses magnifies the fervor of their pious desires, because they did not spare their ornaments; of which people, and especially women, are generally so fond, that they would rather suffer cold, hunger, or thirst, than touch them. 294294     Addition in ­Fr., “Pour s’en defaire;” to deprive themselves of them. It was, therefore, a sign of no ordinary zeal to deprive themselves of their rings and bracelets, which many are so slow to part with, even when they are dying of hunger. Again, the contribution of those is praised who gave brass, iron, shittim-wood, and rams’ skins; so that the poor might not doubt but that, although their ability might not be equal to their wishes, the offering, which they presented willingly in their poverty, was no less acceptable to God than when the rich man of his abundance gave what was a hundred times more valuable.

30. See, the Lord hath called by name Bezaleel. This was a great stimulus to encourage them, when they plainly saw that God presided over the work; a conspicuous proof of which was that new and extraordinary power wherewith Bezaleel and Aboliab were endued; for although they had before been noble and excellent artificers, still there is no doubt but that they were still further endowed with higher gifts, even to a miracle. Hence it is not without cause that he bids the people attend to this unexpected exertion of God’s power; since it was exactly as if he had stretched forth His hand from heaven for the advancement of the work. For which reason also the tribe of each of them is referred to, because of the conspicuous excellency of the grace, the memory of which it was fitting to celebrate in all generations. Now, as God conferred this honor on the architects of the visible sanctuary, so He declares that their names shall be glorious in heaven, who, being furnished with the illustrious gifts of the Spirit, faithfully employ their labors in the building of His spiritual temple. (Daniel 12:3.)

By “the wisdom of heart,” both in the men and women, which is so often mentioned here, understand activity of mind: for not only is the seat of the affections called the heart, but also the power and faculty of the intellect as it is called: thus in Deuteronomy 29:4, it is said, “Yet the Lord hath not given you a heart to understand.” 295295     “To perceive.” — A.V. See ante, vol. 1, p. 390, and vol. 2, p. 441.

31. And he hath filled him with the spirit of God. He again magnifies at greater length the excellence of genius and ability, (which had been given to Bezaleel.) 296296     Added from Fr. For it was a remarkable instance of God’s power, that, after the Israelites had been so contemptuously and oppressively enslaved, there should exist in their nation men still endowed with such talent. God is said to have “filled him with the Spirit of God,” i e., with the Divine Spirit; in order that we may understand that these endowments were not natural to the man, nor even acquired by his own industry. For although even the gifts of nature proceed from the Spirit of God, who gives their intellect to all men no less than their life; still the distribution of peculiar gifts is conspicuous in a higher and different degree. Besides, God had regard to the exquisite nature of this work, so as to endow these artificers with wonderful and extraordinary ability. The faculty of teaching is also added, because two persons by themselves would never have completed so arduous a work in their whole life-time: and this capacity, too, was the gift of Divine grace; for else they would never have overcome the fatigue of instructing the ignorant, nor would have so speedily prepared such a great multitude of men for fashioning the various parts of the work with incredible symmetry.

VIEWNAME is study