Exodus 39
Clarke's Commentary
Bezaleel makes the clothes of service for the holy place, and the holy garments, Exodus 39:1. The ephod, Exodus 39:2. Gold is beaten into plates, and cut into wires for embroidery, Exodus 39:3. He makes the shoulder-pieces of the ephod, Exodus 39:4. The curious girdle, Exodus 39:5. Cuts the onyx stones for the shoulder-pieces, Exodus 39:6. Makes the breastplate, its chains, ouches, rings, etc., Exodus 39:7-21. The robe of the ephod, Exodus 39:22-26. Coats of fine linen, Exodus 39:27. The mitre, Exodus 39:28. The girdle, Exodus 39:29. The plate of the holy crown, Exodus 39:30, Exodus 39:31. The completion of the work of the tabernacle, Exodus 39:32. All the work is brought unto Moses, Exodus 39:33-41. Moses, having examined the whole, finds every thing done as the Lord had commanded in consequence of which he blesses the people, Exodus 39:42, Exodus 39:43.

And of the blue, and purple, and scarlet, they made cloths of service, to do service in the holy place, and made the holy garments for Aaron; as the LORD commanded Moses.
Blue and purple, and scarlet - See this subject largely explained in the notes on Exodus 25:4 (note).

And he made the ephod of gold, blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen.
Ephod - See this described, Exodus 25:7 (note).

And they did beat the gold into thin plates, and cut it into wires, to work it in the blue, and in the purple, and in the scarlet, and in the fine linen, with cunning work.
They did beat the gold into thin plates - For the purpose, as it is supposed, of cutting it into wires (פתילם) or threads; for to twist or twine is the common acceptation of the root פתל pathal. I cannot suppose that the Israelites had not then the art of making gold thread, as they possessed several ornamental arts much more difficult: but in the present instance, figures made in a more solid form than that which could have been effected by gold thread, might have been required.

They made shoulderpieces for it, to couple it together: by the two edges was it coupled together.
And the curious girdle of his ephod, that was upon it, was of the same, according to the work thereof; of gold, blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen; as the LORD commanded Moses.
And they wrought onyx stones inclosed in ouches of gold, graven, as signets are graven, with the names of the children of Israel.
Onyx stones - Possibly the Egyptian pebble. See Exodus 25:7, and Exodus 28:17, etc.

And he put them on the shoulders of the ephod, that they should be stones for a memorial to the children of Israel; as the LORD commanded Moses.
And he made the breastplate of cunning work, like the work of the ephod; of gold, blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen.
Breastplate - See Exodus 28:15 (note).

It was foursquare; they made the breastplate double: a span was the length thereof, and a span the breadth thereof, being doubled.
And they set in it four rows of stones: the first row was a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: this was the first row.
And they set in it four rows of stones - See all these precious stones particularly explained in the notes on Exodus 28:17 (note), etc.

And the second row, an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond.
And the third row, a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst.
And the fourth row, a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper: they were inclosed in ouches of gold in their inclosings.
And the stones were according to the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names, like the engravings of a signet, every one with his name, according to the twelve tribes.
And they made upon the breastplate chains at the ends, of wreathen work of pure gold.
And they made two ouches of gold, and two gold rings; and put the two rings in the two ends of the breastplate.
And they put the two wreathen chains of gold in the two rings on the ends of the breastplate.
And the two ends of the two wreathen chains they fastened in the two ouches, and put them on the shoulderpieces of the ephod, before it.
And they made two rings of gold, and put them on the two ends of the breastplate, upon the border of it, which was on the side of the ephod inward.
And they made two other golden rings, and put them on the two sides of the ephod underneath, toward the forepart of it, over against the other coupling thereof, above the curious girdle of the ephod.
And they did bind the breastplate by his rings unto the rings of the ephod with a lace of blue, that it might be above the curious girdle of the ephod, and that the breastplate might not be loosed from the ephod; as the LORD commanded Moses.
And he made the robe of the ephod of woven work, all of blue.
And there was an hole in the midst of the robe, as the hole of an habergeon, with a band round about the hole, that it should not rend.
As the hole of a habergeon - The habergeon or hauberk was a small coat of mail, something in form of a half shirt, made of small iron rings curiously united together. It covered the neck and breast, was very light, and resisted the stroke of a sword. Sometimes it went over the whole head as well as over the breast. This kind of defensive armor was used among the Asiatics, particularly the ancient Persians, among whom it is still worn. It seems to have been borrowed from the Asiatics by the Norman crusaders.

And they made upon the hems of the robe pomegranates of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and twined linen.
And they made bells of pure gold, and put the bells between the pomegranates upon the hem of the robe, round about between the pomegranates;
A bell and a pomegranate, a bell and a pomegranate, round about the hem of the robe to minister in; as the LORD commanded Moses.
And they made coats of fine linen of woven work for Aaron, and for his sons,
And a mitre of fine linen, and goodly bonnets of fine linen, and linen breeches of fine twined linen,
And a girdle of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, of needlework; as the LORD commanded Moses.
And they made the plate of the holy crown of pure gold, and wrote upon it a writing, like to the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD.
The holy crown of pure gold - On Asiatic monuments, particularly those that appear in the ruins of Persepolis and on many Egyptian monuments, the priests are represented as wearing crowns or tiaras, and sometimes their heads are crowned with laurel. Cuper observes, that the priests and priestesses, among the ancient Greeks, were styled στεφανοφοροι, or crown-bearers, because they officiated having sometimes crowns of gold, at others, crowns of laurel, upon their heads.

And they tied unto it a lace of blue, to fasten it on high upon the mitre; as the LORD commanded Moses.
Thus was all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation finished: and the children of Israel did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so did they.
Did according to all that the Lord commanded Moses - This refers to the command given Exodus 25:40; and Moses has taken care to repeat every thing in the most circumstantial detail, to show that he had conscientiously observed all the directions he had received.

And they brought the tabernacle unto Moses, the tent, and all his furniture, his taches, his boards, his bars, and his pillars, and his sockets,
And the covering of rams' skins dyed red, and the covering of badgers' skins, and the vail of the covering,
The ark of the testimony, and the staves thereof, and the mercy seat,
The table, and all the vessels thereof, and the shewbread,
The pure candlestick, with the lamps thereof, even with the lamps to be set in order, and all the vessels thereof, and the oil for light,
The pure candlestick - See Clarke's note on Exodus 25:31.

The lamps to be set in order - To be trimmed and fresh oiled every day, for the purpose of being lighted in the evening. See Clarke's note on Exodus 27:21.

And the golden altar, and the anointing oil, and the sweet incense, and the hanging for the tabernacle door,
The brasen altar, and his grate of brass, his staves, and all his vessels, the laver and his foot,
The hangings of the court, his pillars, and his sockets, and the hanging for the court gate, his cords, and his pins, and all the vessels of the service of the tabernacle, for the tent of the congregation,
The cloths of service to do service in the holy place, and the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and his sons' garments, to minister in the priest's office.
According to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so the children of Israel made all the work.
And Moses did look upon all the work, and, behold, they had done it as the LORD had commanded, even so had they done it: and Moses blessed them.
And Moses did look upon all the work - As being the general superintendent of the whole, under whom Bezaleel and Aholiab were employed, as the other workmen were under them.

They had done it as the Lord had commanded - Exactly according to the pattern which Moses received from the Lord, and which he laid before the workmen to work by.

And Moses blessed them - Gave them that praise which was due to their skill, diligence, and fidelity. See this meaning of the original word in the note on Genesis 2:3 (note). See also a fine instance of ancient courtesy between masters and their servants, in the case of Boaz and his reapers, Ruth 2:4. Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said to the reapers, The Lord be with You! And they answered him, The Lord bless Thee! It is, however, very probable that Moses prayed to God in their behalf, that they might be prospered in all their undertakings, saved from every evil, and be brought at last to the inheritance that fadeth not away. This blessing seems to have been given, not only to the workmen, but to all the people. The people contributed liberally, and the workmen wrought faithfully, and the blessing of God was pronounced upon All.

The promptitude, cordiality, and dispatch used in this business cannot be too highly commended, and are worthy of the imitation of all who are employed in any way in the service of God. The prospect of having God to dwell among them inflamed every heart, because they well knew that on this depended their prosperity and salvation. They therefore hastened to build him a house, and they spared no expense or skill to make it, as far as a house made with hands could be, worthy of that Divine Majesty who had promised to take up his residence in it. This tabernacle, like the temple, was a type of the human nature of the Lord Jesus; that was a shrine not made with hands, formed by God himself, and worthy of that fullness of the Deity that dwelt in it.

It is scarcely possible to form an adequate opinion of the riches, costly workmanship, and splendor of the tabernacle; and who can adequately conceive the glory and excellence of that human nature in which the fullness of the Godhead bodily dwelt? That this tabernacle typified the human nature of Christ, and the Divine shechinah that dwelt in it the Deity that dwelt in the man Christ Jesus, these words of St. John sufficiently prove: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (εσκηνωσεν εν ἡμιν, made his Tabernacle among us), full of grace and truth - possessing the true Urim and Thummim; all the lights and perfections, the truth and the grace, typified by the Mosaic economy, John 1:1, John 1:14. And hence the evangelist adds, And we beheld his glory; as the Israelites beheld the glory of God resting on the tabernacle, so did the disciples of Christ see the Divine glory resting on him, and showing itself forth in all his words, spirit, and works. And for what purpose was the tabernacle erected? That God might dwell in it among the children of Israel. And for what purpose was the human nature of Christ so miraculously produced? That the Godhead might dwell in it; and that God and man might be reconciled through this wonderful economy of Divine grace, God being in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, 2 Corinthians 5:19. And what was implied by this reconciliation? The union of the soul with God, and the indwelling of God in the soul. Reader, has God yet filled thy tabernacle with his glory? Does Christ dwell in thy heart by faith; and dost thou abide in him, bringing forth fruit unto holiness? Then thy end shall be eternal life. Why shouldst thou not go on thy way rejoicing with Christ in thy heart, heaven in thine eye, and the world, the devil, and the flesh, under thy feet?

Commentary on the Bible, by Adam Clarke [1831].
Text Courtesy of Internet Sacred Texts Archive.

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