Study

a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary
Select a resource above

35. Sabbath Regulations

And Moses gathered all the congregation of the children of Israel together, and said unto them, These are the words which the Lord hath commanded, that ye should do them. 2Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a sabbath of rest to the Lord: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death. 3Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day.

4And Moses spake unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, This is the thing which the Lord commanded, saying, 5Take ye from among you an offering unto the Lord: whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it, an offering of the Lord; gold, and silver, and brass, 6And blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats’ hair, 7And rams’ skins dyed red, and badgers’ skins, and shittim wood, 8And oil for the light, and spices for anointing oil, and for the sweet incense, 9And onyx stones, and stones to be set for the ephod, and for the breastplate. 10And every wise hearted among you shall come, and make all that the Lord hath commanded; 11The tabernacle, his tent, and his covering, his taches, and his boards, his bars, his pillars, and his sockets, 12The ark, and the staves thereof, with the mercy seat, and the vail of the covering, 13The table, and his staves, and all his vessels, and the shewbread, 14The candlestick also for the light, and his furniture, and his lamps, with the oil for the light, 15And the incense altar, and his staves, and the anointing oil, and the sweet incense, and the hanging for the door at the entering in of the tabernacle, 16The altar of burnt offering, with his brasen grate, his staves, and all his vessels, the laver and his foot, 17The hangings of the court, his pillars, and their sockets, and the hanging for the door of the court, 18The pins of the tabernacle, and the pins of the court, and their cords, 19The cloths of service, to do service in the holy place, the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons, to minister in the priest’s office.

20And all the congregation of the children of Israel departed from the presence of Moses. 21And they came, every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit made willing, and they brought the Lord’S offering to the work of the tabernacle of the congregation, and for all his service, and for the holy garments. 22And they came, both men and women, as many as were willing hearted, and brought bracelets, and earrings, and rings, and tablets, all jewels of gold: and every man that offered offered an offering of gold unto the Lord. 23And every man, with whom was found blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats’ hair, and red skins of rams, and badgers’ skins, brought them. 24Every one that did offer an offering of silver and brass brought the Lord’S offering: and every man, with whom was found shittim wood for any work of the service, brought it. 25And all the women that were wise hearted did spin with their hands, and brought that which they had spun, both of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine linen. 26And all the women whose heart stirred them up in wisdom spun goats’ hair. 27And the rulers brought onyx stones, and stones to be set, for the ephod, and for the breastplate; 28And spice, and oil for the light, and for the anointing oil, and for the sweet incense. 29The children of Israel brought a willing offering unto the Lord, every man and woman, whose heart made them willing to bring for all manner of work, which the Lord had commanded to be made by the hand of Moses.

30And Moses said unto the children of Israel, See, the Lord hath called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; 31And he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship; 32And to devise curious works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, 33And in the cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of wood, to make any manner of cunning work. 34And he hath put in his heart that he may teach, both he, and Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. 35Them hath he filled with wisdom of heart, to work all manner of work, of the engraver, and of the cunning workman, and of the embroiderer, in blue, and in purple, in scarlet, and in fine linen, and of the weaver, even of them that do any work, and of those that devise cunning work.

5. Take ye from among you an offering. I have introduced a passage from chapter 35, wherein Moses again requires what he had before prescribed; but he goes more into detail, and treats at greater length of the parts of the tabernacle. In the former passage he employed a verb, where he here uses a noun, “willing or voluntary of heart.” There is, however, no ambiguity in the meaning; since in both places God requires a cheerful zeal, so that they may not only contribute abundantly, but willingly. He will afterwards use a different form of expression, viz., that they did their duty, whose heart roused, or stirred them up, so as to distinguish them from the indifferent and slow. — 5:21.

10. And every wise-hearted among you. Thus he denominates the artificers, who excelled in shrewdness of intellect, and so, after having commanded them severally of their private means to supply the materials, he now exhorts others to contribute their industry for shaping and joining them together. He then briefly enumerates the parts of the Tabernacle, a longer explanation of which will be seen in chapter 26. This is, therefore, a kind of epitome of all those things, of which he before spoke more in full, since it was necessary to spur them on afresh to the performance of what they had been clearly instructed in. For we know that instruction is very often coldly received without the addition of exhortations. It might indeed seem strange, 133133     "Particular stress is laid on the contrast, which the condition of the Israelitish nation at that time presents to the splendor and speedy completion of the tent. That tent was certainly splendid, but, in point of fact, exceedingly simple in its construction. If we compare it with the monuments of Egyptian architecture, its relative simplicity must strike us in a much greater degree. As to the materials that were required for it, it admits of proof that the Israelites might well have been possessed of them at that time. The wilderness even might supply them with many of these things. With respect to other things, the metals, precious stones, etc, we must keep in view the condition of a people that had just come out of Egypt. History describes that country as having mercantile transactions with Asia, even from the earliest times. The people had acquired property, in part at least, in Egypt; the description in Exodus 32, leaves us no doubt as to the possessions, and even wealth, that they had gained there. They had not gone out of Egypt empty-handed, but richly provided with silver and gold, 12:36. — “Havernick, Introd. to Pentat. Edin., 1850, pp. 284-285. how so much wealth could be possessed by a miserably pillaged people, and long driven to servile work; unless it may be inferred from the abundance which is here described, that they were incredibly enriched at their departure from Egypt by the booty which God gave them. The kingdom of Egypt was very wealthy; and its people, as we know, had always been devoted to pleasures and luxuries. What, then, they had accumulated by their rapacity in many years, flowed away from them by the secret influence of God, when they were suddenly made prodigal. But, just as He had blinded the Egyptians, that they should profusely give all they had, so He now directed the minds and hearts of His people, that, mindful of so great a benefit, they should willingly expend, at His command, what they had obtained of His mere grace.

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.

29. And it came to pass when Moses came down Another remarkable honor given to the Law is here narrated, viz., that the brightness of the heavenly glory appeared in the face of Moses; for it is said that his face gave forth rays, or was irradiated. The word is derived from קרן keren, a horn; and therefore it is probable that rays shone forth from his face, which rendered it luminous; and this effulgence God shed upon him, whilst He was speaking to him in the mount. It is not certain what was the reason why Moses himself was ignorant that he was thus illumined by God, except that it seems probable that it was concealed from him for a short time, in order that he might approach the people with more freedom, and thus that the miracle might be more evident from close inspection. When it is said afterwards, that Aaron and the children of Israel were so alarmed at the brightness, that “they were afraid to come nigh him,” I do not understand it, as if they fled from him immediately; for, since they were recalled by his voice, undoubtedly they had not seen the rays from a distance, but when they were in the act of receiving him, and he, on his part, delivering to them the commands of God. Therefore, what follows soon afterwards, that, when he had done speaking, he covered his face with a vail, 389389     “Till Moses had done speaking with them, he put,” etc. — A. V. Rosenmuller translates it with C. and the LXX., “and, when,” etc. “We need not (says Willet) with Oleaster to transpose the words, ‘he put a vail upon his face, and so finished to speak unto the people;’ but either we may read with Junius,’ While he had finished to speak unto the people, he put a vail:’ or rather to read it in the praeter-pluperfect tense, with the Genevan version, ‘So Moses made an end of communing with them, and he had put a covering upon his face.’” I refer to his first address, which He was obliged to break off on account of the departure or flight of the people, so that the meaning is, when He knew the cause of their alarm, He left off speaking, and covered his face with a vail; for he could not have known the reason of their flying except by inquiry. Some, in order to avoid the difficulty, separate the second clause from the first, and transpose their order; but this exposition appears to me to be forced. It seems, however, in my opinion, to be perfectly consistent that Moses, after he saw them departing in consternation, ceased from speaking, because they did not listen to him, and, when he discovered the reason, put on the vail. Hence arises a question, viz., How Moses could have borne the brightness of God’s glory, whilst the people could not bear the rays which shone from his face? But this is easily answered: that they were branded with this mark of disgrace, in order that they might confess how far by their ingratitude they had departed from God, since they were terrified at the sight of this servant. They were, therefore, humbled by this difference between them, that, whilst Moses securely advanced to them from his conference with God, although he bore upon him the indications of God’s terrible power, they, in fear and astonishment, recoiled from the sight of a mortal man.

After Paul has shewn the genuine object of this brightness, viz., that the Law should be glorious, he proceeds further, and shews that it was a presage of the future blindness which awaited the Jews. (2 Corinthians 3:13.) He begins, therefore, by saying, that although the Law was only a dead letter, and the ministration of death, yet it was graced with its own peculiar glory; and then adds what is accidental, that there was a vail before the face of Moses, because it would be the case that the Jews would not be able to see what is the main thing in the Law, nor to pay attention to its true end; and so it actually is, that since the coming of Christ, their senses have been blinded, and the vail is upon them, until Moses shall be 390390     So C. translates the words in his Comment. on 2 Corinthians 3:16, ”and when he (i.e., Moses,) shall have turned to the Lord,” and thus defends it: “This passage has hitherto been badly rendered, for both Greek and Latin writers have thought that the word Israel was to be understoon, whereas Paul is speaking of Moses. he had said that a vial is upon the hearts of the Jews when Moses is read. He immediately adds, As soon as he will have turned to the Lord, the vial will be taken away. Who does not that this is said of Moses, that is, of the Law? For as Christ is the end of it, (Romans 10:4,) to which it ought to be referred, it was turned away in another direction, when the Jews shut out Christ from it.” Calvin Society edition, vol. 2, p. 183. Camerarius, in Poole, remarks on the difficulty of the passage, arising from the fact that the verb ἐπιστρέψὟ may either be the third person singular subjunctive active, or the second person singular of the first future middle; but he concludes, that “it seems somewhat harsh to apply it to Moses.” turned by them to Christ, who is the soul of the Law. But, since now in the Gospel God presents Himself with open face, we must take care that the prince of this world does not darken our minds, but rather that we may be transformed from glory to glory.

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