|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
25:1-9 God chose the people of Israel to be a peculiar people to himself, above all people, and he himself would be their King. He ordered a royal palace to be set up among them for himself, called a sanctuary, or holy place, or habitation. There he showed his presence among them. And because in the wilderness they dwelt in tents, this royal palace was ordered to be a tabernacle, that it might move with them. The people were to furnish Moses with the materials, by their own free will. The best use we can make of our worldly wealth, is to honour God with it in works of piety and charity. We should ask, not only, What must we do? but, What may we do for God? Whatever they gave, they must give it cheerfully, not grudgingly, for God loves a cheerful giver, 2Co 9:7. What is laid out in the service of God, we must reckon well bestowed; and whatsoever is done in God's service, must be done by his direction.
Verses 8, 9. - GENERAL DIRECTIONS. After the gifts which God will accept have been specified, and the spirit in which they are to be offered noted (ver. 2), God proceeds to unfold his purpose, and declare the object for which the gifts are needed. He will have a "sanctuary" constructed for him, an habitation in which he may "dwell." Now, it is certainly possible to conceive of a religion which should admit nothing in the nature of a temple or sanctuary; and there are even writers who tell us that a religion has actually existed without one (Herod. 1:131, Strab. 15. pp, 1039-41) That God should "dwell" in a house, as a man does, is of course impossible; and the Hebrews were as deeply impressed with this truth as any other nation (1 Kings 8:27; 2 Chronicles 2:6; Isaiah 56:1; Jeremiah 23:24, etc.). But a religion without a temple was probably unknown in the days of Moses; and, with such a people as the Hebrews, it is inconceivable that religion could have maintained its ground for long without something of the kind. "It was," as Kalisch says, "above all things necessary to create a firm and visible centre of monotheism, to keep perpetually the idea of the one omnipotent God alive in the minds of the people, and so to exclude for ever a relapse into the pagan and idolatrous aberrations" (Comment on Exodus, p. 365). A sanctuary was therefore to be constructed; but, as the nation was in the peculiar position of being nomadic, without fixed abode, that is, and constantly on the move, the usual form of a permanent building was unsuitable under the circumstances. To meet the difficulty, a tent-temple was designed, which is called mishkan, "the dwelling," or ohel, "the tent," which was simply an Oriental tent on a large scale, made of the best obtainable materials, and guarded by an enclosure. The details of the work are reserved for later mention. In the present passage two directions only are given: -
1. A sanctuary is to be constructed; and
2. Both it, and all its vessels, are to be made after patterns which God was about to show to Moses. Verse 8. - A sanctuary well expresses the Hebrew micdash, which is derived from cadash - "to be holy." It is a name never given to the temples of the heathen deities. That I may dwell among them. Compare Exodus 29:45; Numbers 35:34. There is a sense in which "God dwelleth not in temples made with hands"(Acts 7:48; Acts 17:24) - i.e., he is not comprehended in them, or confined to them; but there is another sense in which he may be truly said to dwell in them, viz., as manifesting himself in them either to the senses, or to the spirit. In the tabernacle he manifested himself sensibly (Exodus 40:34, 35, 38).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And let them make me a sanctuary,.... An holy place to dwell in, and so called from his dwelling in it, as follows:
that I may dwell amongst them; in the midst of them, where the tabernacle was always placed; and there he dwelt as their King and their God, to whom they might have recourse on all occasions, and whom they should serve and worship; this sanctuary was to be made of many of the materials before mentioned by the Israelites, whom Moses should employ, and to whom he should give directions for the making it, according to the pattern showed him: and so the Jewish writers interpret "make me", or "to me", i.e. of mine, of mine holy things, things sanctified and separated to his use; and they bring this passage to prove that the workmen in the temple were to be paid only out of the holy things, or money given for the repair of it (h): this was a type of the human nature of Christ, the true sanctuary and tabernacle which God pitched and not man, and in which the fulness of the Godhead dwells bodily; and of the church of God, the temple of the living God, among whom he walks, and with whom he dwells, Hebrews 8:2.
(h) Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. Temurah, c. 7. sect. 1.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
8. a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them—In one sense the tabernacle was to be a palace, the royal residence of the King of Israel, in which He was to dwell among His people, receive their petitions, and issue His responses. But it was also to be a place of worship, in which God was to record His name and to enshrine the mystic symbols of His presence.
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