Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
Then wrought Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wise hearted man, 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.XXXVI.
THE WORK COMMENCED AND THE LIBERALITY OF THE PEOPLE RESTRAINED.
(1) This verse is introductory to the entire section, which may be viewed as extending from the present point to the close of Exodus 39. It states, in brief, that Bezaleel and Aholiab, with the skilled workmen at their disposal, proceeded to the accomplishment of the work which Moses had committed to them, and effected it “according to all that the Lord had commanded.” i.e., according to the instructions given to Moses in Mount Sinai, and recorded in Exodus 25-30. The entire section is little more than a repetition of those chapters, differing from them merely in recording as done that which had in them been ordered to be done. The minute exactness of the repetition is very remarkable, and seems intended to teach the important lesson, that acceptable obedience consists in a complete and exact observance of God’s commandments in all respects down to the minutest point.
And Moses called Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wise hearted man, in whose heart the LORD had put wisdom, even every one whose heart stirred him up to come unto the work to do it:(2) Moses called Bezaleel—i.e., Moses summoned Bezaleel, Aholiab, and their chief assistants, into his presence, and committed to them the offerings which he had received from the people (Exodus 36:3)—the gold, the silver, the bronze, the shittim wood, the thread, the goats’ hair, the rams’ skins, the seals’ skins, the precious stones, the oil, the spices, &c. “They received of Moses all the offering that had been hitherto brought.
And they received of Moses all the offering, which the children of Israel had brought for the work of the service of the sanctuary, to make it withal. And they brought yet unto him free offerings every morning.(3) They brought yet unto him free offerings.—The liberality of the people continued. After the work was taken in hand, and making progress, they kept still bringing in fresh offerings morning after morning, until the workmen found that they had more than enough. Compare the liberality shown when David was collecting materials for the Temple (1Chronicles 29:6-9); and, again, when Zerubbabel was about to rear up the second Temple on the return from the Captivity (Ezra 2:68-70; Nehemiah 7:70-72).
And Moses gave commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, Let neither man nor woman make any more work for the offering of the sanctuary. So the people were restrained from bringing.(6) So the people were restrained from giving.—Moses felt it necessary to interfere, and forbid further offerings. By the expression, “Let neither man nor woman make any more work, it would seem that the superfluous offerings were chiefly such things as were produced by labour—thread, goats’ hair yarn, and the like. (See Exodus 35:25-26.) The humblest class of contributors would thus appear to have shown itself the most zealous. When will Christian liberality be so excessive as to require to be “restrained”?
(8-13) This passage follows exactly Exodus 26:1-6, the tenses of the verbs alone being changed. It relates the construction of the inner covering.
And he made curtains of goats' hair for the tent over the tabernacle: eleven curtains he made them.(14-18) The construction of the outer covering of goats’ hair follows, and is expressed in terms nearly identical with those used in Exodus 26:7-11. Exodus 36:14 is better rendered than that to which it corresponds in the previous passage (Exodus 36:7). There are two omissions of short clauses for the sake of brevity.
And he made a covering for the tent of rams' skins dyed red, and a covering of badgers' skins above that.(19) This verse corresponds exactly to Exodus 26:14, and relates the construction of the two outer coverings.
And he made boards for the tabernacle of shittim wood, standing up.(20-34) After the construction of the roof, that of the walls is described, the order of Exodus 26 being still followed. Exodus 36:20-34 correspond to Exodus 36:15-29 of Exodus 26. The correspondence is closer than would appear from the Authorised Version.
And there were eight boards; and their sockets were sixteen sockets of silver, under every board two sockets.(30) Under every board two sockets.—This is undoubtedly the true meaning; but it can scarcely be elicited from the present text. The words, takhath hak-keresh ha-ekhâd, which ought to have been repeated twice, as they are in Exodus 26:25, have accidentally fallen out here in one place.
And five bars for the boards of the other side of the tabernacle, and five bars for the boards of the tabernacle for the sides westward.(32) For the sides westward.—Rather, for the back (of the tabernacle) westward. (Comp. the Note on Exodus 26:27.)
And he made a vail of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen: with cherubims made he it of cunning work.(35, 36) The order of Exo. xxvi is still followed. From the walls which enclosed the Tabernacle the transition is easy to the vail which divided it into two parts. Exodus 36:35-36 correspond to Exodus 36:31-32 of Exodus 26
And he made an hanging for the tabernacle door of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, of needlework;(37, 38) These verses correspond in the main to Exodus 36:36-37 of Exodus 26, which they pre-suppose and confirm, adding, however, one new fact, viz., that the capitals of the five pillars were overlaid with gold. Either God had given no order on this point, or Moses had omitted to record it.