Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
These chapters, which all belong to P, form the sequel to chs. 25–31, and narrate the execution of the instructions there communicated to Moses. In the main, the narrative is repeated verbatim from the instructions in chs. 25–31, with the simple substitution of past tenses for future; in two or three cases, however, a phrase is altered, and there are also some instances of omission or abridgement. Thus a few verses (as Exodus 25:8-9; Exodus 25:15; Exodus 25:22; Exodus 25:40) are omitted, as not needing repetition; others (as Exodus 25:16; Exodus 25:21; Exodus 25:30; Exodus 25:37 b), chiefly relating to the position or use of the different vessels named, are incorporated in Exodus 40:17-23, the account of the erection of the Tent of Meeting, where they actually belong; and the sections on the Anointing Oil and the Incense (Exodus 30:22-38) are merely referred to briefly in a single verse (Exodus 37:29). There are also, as compared with chs. 25–31, differences in the order of contents. The relation of chs. 35–40 to chs. 25–31 will appear perhaps most clearly from the following synoptical table:—
Chapters 35–40 Chapters 25–31
Exodus 35:1-3. Observance of the Sabbath inculcated (v. 3 added). Exodus 31:15 (vv. 13–14, 16–17 not repeated).
Exodus 35:4-9. The people invited to make voluntary offerings. Exodus 25:2-7 (vv. 8, 9 not repeated).
Exodus 35:10-19. All skilled workmen invited to assist
Exodus 35:20-29. Presentation of the offerings
Exodus 35:30 to Exodus 36:1. Moses announces to the people the appointment of Bĕẓal’çl and Oholiab, and of other skilled workmen qualified to assist. Exodus 31:2-6 (vv. 7–11, the details of things to be made, not repeated).
Exodus 36:2-7. Delivery of the offerings to Běẓal’çl and Oholiab. The liberality of the people has to be checked.
Exodus 36:8-19. The curtains for the Dwelling, the tent over it, and the two outer coverings. Exodus 26:1-11; Exodus 26:14 (vv. 9b, 12, 13 not repeated).
Exodus 36:20-34. The boards, or ‘frames,’ to support the curtains. Exodus 26:15-29 (v. 30 not repeated).
Exodus 36:35-38. The Veil and Screen. Exodus 26:31-32; Exodus 26:36-37 (vv. 33–35 not repeated).
Exodus 37:1-9. The Ark and Mercy-seat. Exodus 25:10-14; Exodus 25:17-20 (vv. 15, 16, 21, 22 not repeated).
Exodus 37:10-16. The Table of Presence-bread. Exodus 25:23-29 (v. 30 not repeated).
Exodus 37:17-24. The Candlestick. Exodus 25:31-39 (vv. 37b, 40 not repeated.
Exodus 37:25-28. The Altar of Incense. Exodus 30:1-5 (vv. 6–10 not repeated).
Exodus 37:29. The Anointing Oil, and the Incense. Exodus 30:22-25; Exodus 30:34-35 (abridged: vv. 26–33, 36–38 not repeated).
Exodus 38:1-7. The Altar of Burnt-offering. Exodus 27:1-8 a (v. 8b not repeated).
Exodus 38:8 a. The Bronze Laver (v. 8b is new). Exodus 30:18 a (vv. 18b–21 not repeated.
Exodus 38:9-20. The Court of the Tent of Meeting. Exodus 27:9-19.
Exodus 38:21-31. Account of the amount of metal employed.
Exodus 39:1-31. Vestments of the priests:— Exodus 28:6-43.
Exodus 39:2-5. The ephod (v. 1 introductory; most of v. 3 new. Exodus 28:6-8.
Exodus 39:6-7. The two onyx stones on the shoulder-straps, engraved with the names of the tribes of Israel. Exodus 28:9-12 (abridged).
Exodus 39:8-21. The pouch of judgement, to contain the Urim and Thummim. Exodus 28:15-28 (vv. 13, 14 much abridged in Exodus 39:16 a: vv. 29, 30 (the Urim and Thummim) not repeated).
Exodus 39:22-26. The robe of the ephod. Exodus 28:31-35 a (v. 35b not repeated).
Exodus 39:27-29. The tunics, turban, caps, drawers, and sashes. Exodus 28:39-40; Exodus 28:42 a (abridged: vv. 41, 42b, 43 not repeated).
Exodus 39:30-31. The golden plate, on the front of the turban. Exodus 28:36-37 (v. 38 not repeated.
Exodus 39:32-43. Delivery of the completed work to Moses.
Exodus 40:1-8. Moses is commanded to set up the Tent of Meeting, and to arrange the sacred vessels in their places.
Exodus 40:9-15. Repetition of command to anoint the Tent of Meeting, and the sacred vessels (Exodus 30:26-29); and to wash, invest, and anoint the priests (Exodus 29:4-9; Exodus 30:30).
Exodus 40:16-33. Moses sets up the Tent of Meeting, and arranges the sacred vessels according to the instructions given partly in vv. 1–8, partly in chs. Exodus 25-31. See references to chs. 25–31 in the notes on Exodus 40:16-33.
Exodus 40:34-38. The cloud takes up its abode on the Tent of Meeting.
From a critical point of view, the most noticeable variation is the different position of the Altar of Incense and the Bronze Laver. These, which appeared before in the appendix to chs. 25–29, viz. in ch. 30, are here introduced in accordance with the place which they would naturally hold, viz. in the description of the Dwelling (Exo Exodus 37:25-28), and Court (Exodus 38:8), respectively; the Altar of Incense is mentioned also in ch. 40 (vv. 5, 26). If, therefore, chs. 30–31 are rightly assigned to a secondary stratum of P (see p. 328), the same conclusion will follow, as a necessary corollary, for chs. 35–40. There are other indications pointing in the same direction. In the LXX. of chs. 35–40 the order of the contents in Exodus 36:8 b–39:43 differs remarkably from the Hebrew (see the Table in LOT. 37 f. [6–8 40 f.], or McNeile, pp. Exo 224 f.); and the renderings of many of the technical terms of the Hebrew differ from those in chs. 25–31 (see examples in McNeile, p. 226). It is thus difficult to suppose either (1) that the translators of chs. 35–40 had before them the Hebrew text of these chapters in its present form, or (2) that these translators were the same as those who translated chs. 1–34; and it becomes probable ‘that the Heb. text used by the original translators of Exodus did not contain chs. 35–40, and that they were supplied afterwards from a longer Heb. recension of the book, in which these chapters had not yet reached their final form’ (Swete, Intr. to OT. in Greek, p. 236). These considerations support the conclusion, reached in the first instance upon independent grounds (the relation of these chapters to chs. 30, 31), that chs. 35–40 belong to a secondary and posterior stratum of P (P2 or P3). This is recognized even by Dillm., who supposes (Nu. Dt. Jos. pp. 635, 688) that the execution of the instructions contained in chs. 25–31 was originally narrated quite briefly—in, for instance, Exodus 35:1-5; Exodus 35:20-21, Exodus 36:2-6, Exodus 40:1-2; Exodus 40:34-38 [and Leviticus 8]; and that all the rest of chs. 35–40 is an expansion due to a later hand (or hands). See further Kuen. Hex. pp. 76–80.
 Secondary strata of P (see p. xii top; pp. 328f., 378).
 Secondary strata of P (see p. xii top; pp. 328f., 378).
And Bezaleel made the ark of shittim wood: two cubits and a half was the length of it, and a cubit and a half the breadth of it, and a cubit and a half the height of it:1. Beẓal’el made the ark] In Deuteronomy 10:3 Moses makes it. See on Exodus 34:3.
1–9. (Exodus 25:10-20). The Ark. Exodus 25:15 f., 21 f. not repeated.
And he overlaid it with pure gold within and without, and made a crown of gold to it round about.2. a crown] a rim or moulding (Exodus 25:11). See on Exodus 25:11.
And he cast for it four rings of gold, to be set by the four corners of it; even two rings upon the one side of it, and two rings upon the other side of it.3. side] Heb. rib. See on Exodus 25:12.
And he made staves of shittim wood, and overlaid them with gold.
And he put the staves into the rings by the sides of the ark, to bear the ark.
And he made the mercy seat of pure gold: two cubits and a half was the length thereof, and one cubit and a half the breadth thereof.6. a mercy-seat] Or, propitiatory: see on Exodus 25:17.
And he made two cherubims of gold, beaten out of one piece made he them, on the two ends of the mercy seat;7. beaten work] see on Exodus 26:18.
10–16 (Exodus 25:23-29). The table of the Presence-bread (see on Exodus 25:30). Exodus 25:30 (on the Presence-bread itself) is not repeated.
One cherub on the end on this side, and another cherub on the other end on that side: out of the mercy seat made he the cherubims on the two ends thereof.
And the cherubims spread out their wings on high, and covered with their wings over the mercy seat, with their faces one to another; even to the mercy seatward were the faces of the cherubims.
And he made the table of shittim wood: two cubits was the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof:
And he overlaid it with pure gold, and made thereunto a crown of gold round about.
Also he made thereunto a border of an handbreadth round about; and made a crown of gold for the border thereof round about.
And he cast for it four rings of gold, and put the rings upon the four corners that were in the four feet thereof.13. cast] in Exodus 25:26 make. The same change in Exodus 38:5.
17–24 (Exo Exodus 25:31-39). The candlestick. Exodus 25:37 b, 40 are not repeated.
23 Corresponding to Exodus 25:37 a, 38. For Exodus 25:37 b, cf. Exodus 40:25.
25–28 (Exodus 30:1-5). The altar of incense. Exodus 30:6-10 are not repeated.
Over against the border were the rings, the places for the staves to bear the table.
And he made the staves of shittim wood, and overlaid them with gold, to bear the table.
And he made the vessels which were upon the table, his dishes, and his spoons, and his bowls, and his covers to cover withal, of pure gold.
And he made the candlestick of pure gold: of beaten work made he the candlestick; his shaft, and his branch, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers, were of the same:
And six branches going out of the sides thereof; three branches of the candlestick out of the one side thereof, and three branches of the candlestick out of the other side thereof:
Three bowls made after the fashion of almonds in one branch, a knop and a flower; and three bowls made like almonds in another branch, a knop and a flower: so throughout the six branches going out of the candlestick.
And in the candlestick were four bowls made like almonds, his knops, and his flowers:
And a knop under two branches of the same, and a knop under two branches of the same, and a knop under two branches of the same, according to the six branches going out of it.
Their knops and their branches were of the same: all of it was one beaten work of pure gold.
And he made his seven lamps, and his snuffers, and his snuffdishes, of pure gold.
Of a talent of pure gold made he it, and all the vessels thereof.
And he made the incense altar of shittim wood: the length of it was a cubit, and the breadth of it a cubit; it was foursquare; and two cubits was the height of it; the horns thereof were of the same.
And he overlaid it with pure gold, both the top of it, and the sides thereof round about, and the horns of it: also he made unto it a crown of gold round about.26. a crown] a rim or moulding (Exodus 30:3). See on Exodus 25:11.
And he made two rings of gold for it under the crown thereof, by the two corners of it, upon the two sides thereof, to be places for the staves to bear it withal.
And he made the staves of shittim wood, and overlaid them with gold.
And he made the holy anointing oil, and the pure incense of sweet spices, according to the work of the apothecary.29. The holy Anointing Oil, and the Incense. A summary abridgement of Exodus 30:22-25; Exodus 30:34-35; Exodus 30:26-33; Exodus 30:36-38, also, being not repeated.