|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
36:1-38 The making of the tabernacle The liberality of the people restrained. - The readiness and zeal with which these builders set about their work, the exactness with which they performed it, and the faithfulness with which they objected to receive more contributions, are worthy of our imitation. Thus should we serve God, and our superiors also, in all things lawful. Thus should all who are in public trusts abhor filthy lucre, and avoid all occasions and temptations to covetousness. Where have we the representation of God's love towards us, that we by love dwell in him and he in us, save in Emmanuel? Mt 1:23. This is the sum of the ministry of reconciliation, 2Co 5:18,19. This was the design of the tabernacle of witness, a visible testimony of the love of God to the race of men, however they were fallen from their first state. And this love was shown by Christ's taking up his abode on earth; by the Word being made flesh, Joh 1:14, wherein, as the original expresses it, he did tabernacle among us.
Verses 1-3 and 8-38. - THE PROGRESS OF THE WORK, AND THE SUPERFLUOUS LIBERALITY OF THE PEOPLE - THE LATTER HAS TO BE RESTRAINED (vers. 3-7). Bezaleel and Aholiab felt that the time for action was now come. They at once addressed themselves to their task. Moses delivered into their hands all the various offerings which the people, rich and poor, had brought in (Exodus 35:21-29); and skilled workmen were immediately called upon to shape it for the designed uses. The fact of the work being commenced did not stop the inflow of gifts. More and yet more continued to be brought "every morning" (ver. 3). At last it became clear that the supply had exceeded the demand; and the workmen reported so to Moses (vers. 4, 5), who thereupon commanded that the offerings should cease (ver. 6). The progress of the work is then reported in detail, and in the following order: -
1. The covering for the tabernacle (vers. 8-13);
2. The goats' hair covering for the tent above the tabernacle (vers. 14-18);
3. The outer coverings of rams' skins and seals' skins (ver. 19);
4. The boards for the walls of the tabernacle (vers. 20-30);
5. The bars for the boards (vers. 31-34);
6. The veil of the most holy place (vers. 35, 30);
7. The hanging for the entrance to the tabernacle (vers. 37, 38).
The chapter, from ver. 8, runs parallel with ch. 26, differing from it mainly in describing as made that which in ch. 26. is ordered to be made. Verse 1. - Then wrought Bezaleel, etc. This is introductory to the entire sub-section, which extends to the end of ch. 39. It means - "Then, under the direction of Bezaleel and Aholiab, began the work of constructing that place of meeting for which commandment had been given to Moses in the mount." The master-craftsmen, and those under them, "wrought," and took care that all was done according to all that the Lord had commanded. It is to mark the exactitude of the obedience that chs. 36. - 39, follow so closely, and with such minuteness, the wording of chs. 26. - 28.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then wrought Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wise hearted man,.... Or every ingenious artificer under them: when they began to work is not precisely said, but it is very probable they set about it directly, as soon as they were furnished with materials for it, nor is it said where they wrought; it is very likely there was a particular place, where they were ranged according to their respective manufactories, and where they did their work under the inspection, and by the direction of these two men:
in whom the Lord put wisdom and understanding, to know how to work all manner of work, for the service of the sanctuary, according to all that the Lord had commanded; for as all the wisdom and understanding, which Bezaleel and Aholiab had for the building of the tabernacle, and making everything appertaining to it, and for instructing others to do the same, were from the Lord; so all the wisdom, understanding, and capacity in the artificers to learn of them, and work according to their directions, were also from him; who in a very extraordinary manner enlarged their faculties, and increased their natural abilities, to take in what was suggested to them, and perform their work exactly agreeable thereunto.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Ex 36:1-38. Offerings Delivered to the Workmen.
1. Then wrought Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wise-hearted man, &c.—Here is an illustrious example of zeal and activity in the work of the Lord. No unnecessary delay was allowed to take place; and from the moment the first pole was stuck in the ground till the final completion of the sacred edifice, he and his associates labored with all the energies both of mind and body engaged in the work. And what was the mainspring of their arduous and untiring diligence? They could be actuated by none of the ordinary motives that give impulse to human industry, by no desire for the acquisition of gain; no ambition for honor; no view of gratifying a mere love of power in directing the labors of a large body of men. They felt the stimulus—the strong irresistible impulse of higher and holier motives—obedience to the authority, zeal for the glory, and love to the service of God.
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