And Moses gathered all the congregation of the children of Israel together, and said unto them, These are the words which the LORD hath commanded, that ye should do them.
Verse 1. - All the congregation. All the Israelites were to be allowed the privilege of making offerings for the tabernacle (Exodus 25:2-7), and all who were competent might take part in the spinning and the weaving of the materials for the curtains and the holy vestments (Exodus 28:3; Exodus 35:10, 25; Exodus 36:4, etc.). All therefore had to be summoned, to learn what was required. These are the words, etc. - i.e., "These are the injunctions especially 'laid' upon you at this time."
Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a sabbath of rest to the LORD: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death.
Verse 2 ?is almost a repetition of Exodus 31:15.
Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day.
Verse 3. - Ye shall kindle no fire. The kindling of fire in early times involved considerable labour. It was ordinarily affected by rubbing two sticks together, or twisting one round rapidly between the two palms in a depression upon a board. Fire only came after a long time. Moreover, as in the warm climate of Arabia and Palestine artificial warmth was not needed, fire could only have been kindled there for cooking purposes, which involved further unnecessary work, and had already been forbidden (Exodus 16:23). The Karaite Jews still maintain the observance of this precept to the letter, even in cold climates, as in that of the Crimea, and allow neither fire nor light in their houses on the sabbath day; but the Jews generally view the precept as having had only a temporary force, and have lights and fires, like other persons, even in Palestine. Strict Jews, however, still cook no food on the sabbath day.
And Moses spake unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, This is the thing which the LORD commanded, saying,
Verses 4-20. - THE PEOPLE INVITED TO BRING GIFTS, AND ASSIST IN THE WORK OF THE TABERNACLE. Having warned the Israelites against breaches of the sabbath, Moses proceeded to enumerate the offerings which God had said that they might bring (vers. 4-9), and the works which he had required to be constructed (vers. 10-19). In the former enumeration, he follows exactly the order and wording of the Divine command to himself, as recorded in Exodus 25:3-7; in the latter, he changes the order, mentioning first the building, with its component parts (ver. 11), then the contents of the building (vers. 12-15), then the court with its contents (vers. 16, 17) together with some details which had been omitted in the former account (ver. 18), and finally the holy garments (ver. 19). After hearing him, the people returned to their several tents (ver. 20).
Take ye from among you an offering unto the LORD: whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it, an offering of the LORD; gold, and silver, and brass,
Verses 5-10 correspond to vers. 2-7 of ch. 25, the correspondence in the list of offerings being exact.
And blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats' hair,
And rams' skins dyed red, and badgers' skins, and shittim wood,
And oil for the light, and spices for anointing oil, and for the sweet incense,
And onyx stones, and stones to be set for the ephod, and for the breastplate.
And every wise hearted among you shall come, and make all that the LORD hath commanded;
The tabernacle, his tent, and his covering, his taches, and his boards, his bars, his pillars, and his sockets,
Verse 11. - On the tabernacle, see Exodus 26:1-6; on the tent, ib, 7-13; on the covering, ib, 14; the boards, ib, 15-25; the bars, ib, 26-29; the pillars, ib, 32-37; and the sockets, ib, 19, 21, 25, 32, and 37. The enumeration comprises all the main parts of which the tabernacle consisted.
The ark, and the staves thereof, with the mercy seat, and the vail of the covering,
Verse 12. - On the ark and the staves thereof, see Exodus 25:10-15; on the mercy-seat, ib. 17-22; on the vail of the covering, see Exodus 26:31.
The table, and his staves, and all his vessels, and the shewbread,
Verse 13. - On the table and its appurtenances, see Exodus 25:23-30.
The candlestick also for the light, and his furniture, and his lamps, with the oil for the light,
Verse 14. - For the candlestick, its furniture, and its lamps, compare Exodus 25:31-39.
And the incense altar, and his staves, and the anointing oil, and the sweet incense, and the hanging for the door at the entering in of the tabernacle,
Verse 15. - The incense altar. See Exodus 30:1-10. His staves. See Exodus 30:5. The anointing oil is described in the same chapter, vers. 23-25; the sweet incense in vers. 34, 35; the hangings for the door in Exodus 26:36.
The altar of burnt offering, with his brasen grate, his staves, and all his vessels, the laver and his foot,
The hangings of the court, his pillars, and their sockets, and the hanging for the door of the court,
Verse 17 to Exodus 27:9-18.
The pins of the tabernacle, and the pins of the court, and their cords,
Verse 18. - The pins of the tabernacle and the court had not been previously mentioned. They must be regarded as tent-pegs, whereto were attached the cords which kept taut the covering of the tent over the tabernacle, and which steadied the pillars whereto the hangings of the court were fastened.
The cloths of service, to do service in the holy place, the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons, to minister in the priest's office.
Verse 19. - The cloths of service. See the comment on Exodus 31:10.
And all the congregation of the children of Israel departed from the presence of Moses.
And they came, every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit made willing, and they brought the LORD'S offering to the work of the tabernacle of the congregation, and for all his service, and for the holy garments.
Verses 21-29. - THE ZEAL OF THE PEOPLE IN OFFERING. Moses dismissed the people; but they soon began to return, bringing their offerings with them. There was a general, if not a universal, willingness Men and women alike "brought bracelets (brooches?), and earrings, and rings, and armlets - all articles of gold," and offered them to the Lord (ver. 22). Others brought blue and purple and scalier and fine linen, and goats' hair and rams' skins dyed red, and badger (or rather, seal) skins (ver. 23). Silver and bronze and shittimwood were contributed by others (ver. 24). The women, who were the only spinners, brought their spun yarn of blue and purple and scarlet and fine linen, and their yarn of goats' hair (vers. 25, 26); while the richest class of all - "the rulers" - gave, as their contribution, the onyx stones for the ephod, the jewels for the high-priest's breastplate, and the oil needed for the light, together with rare spices for the anointing ointment and the incense (vers. 27, 28). Subsequently, we are told that what was contributed was "much more than enough" (Exodus 36:5), and that the people had to be "restrained from bringing" (ibid. 6). Verse 21. - The Lord's offering - i.e., "their offering to Jehovah." For all his service. The use of "his" for "its" causes an unfortunate ambiguity here. The antecedent to the pronoun is not the Lord, but the tabernacle.
And they came, both men and women, as many as were willing hearted, and brought bracelets, and earrings, and rings, and tablets, all jewels of gold: and every man that offered offered an offering of gold unto the LORD.
Verse 22. - They came, both men and women. That among the Hebrews gold ornaments were worn by men, as well as by women, is indicated by Exodus 3:22, and Exodus 32:2. The Egyptian men at the time of the Exodus wore armlets, bracelets, and sometimes anklets, but not often earrings Earrings, however, had been worn by the household of Jacob (Genesis 35:2). Bracelets. Rather, "buckles" or "brooches." Kalisch says, "nose-rings," and so Gesenins and Rosenmuller. Tablets. Rather, "armlets" (Furst, Cook), or perhaps "necklaces "(Gesenius Kalisch, Knobel). Every man that offered, offered an offering of gold. It is not meant that every man who offered anything gave with it an offering of gold, but simply that, besides those who brought the articles named there were others who brought gold offerings of some different kind.
And every man, with whom was found blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats' hair, and red skins of rams, and badgers' skins, brought them.
Verse 23. - Red skins of rams. The words are the same as those translated "rams' skins dyed red" in Exodus 25:5. The earlier rendering is the better one. Badger skins. Rather, "seal skins." See the comment on Exodus 25:5.
Every one that did offer an offering of silver and brass brought the LORD'S offering: and every man, with whom was found shittim wood for any work of the service, brought it.
Verse 24. - Every one that did offer an offering of silver. It would seem that silver was offered by some in the way of a free-will offering, in addition to the compulsory half-shekel (Exodus 30:12-16). Curiously, however, the amount obtained in this way is not given in Exodus 38:24-29.
And all the women that were wise hearted did spin with their hands, and brought that which they had spun, both of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine linen.
Verse 25. - All the women that were wise-hearted - i.e., "skilful." See the comment on Exodus 28:3. Brought that which they had spun, both of blue, etc. The flax itself was dyed, so that the thread produced was already coloured. Of fine linen - i.e. "white." All the threads were flaxen.
And all the women whose heart stirred them up in wisdom spun goats' hair.
Verse 26. - All the women whose heart stirred them up in wisdom. This strong expression seems to imply that peculiar skill was required for spinning goats' hair.
And the rulers brought onyx stones, and stones to be set, for the ephod, and for the breastplate;
Verses 27, 28. - The rulers are, no doubt, the "elders" of Exodus 3:16; Exodus 4:29; Exodus 24:9, etc. Moses had made them "rulers," or rather, "princes" (sarey), according to the advice of Jethro (Exodus 18:25). They brought onyx stones for the ephod (Exodus 28:9-12) and stones to be set, - i.e., gems for the breastplate (ibid. 17-20); oil of olive for the lamp (Exodus 27:20) and the holy ointment (Exodus 29:24), and spice for the same (ibid. 23, 24) and for the incense (ibid. 34).
And spice, and oil for the light, and for the anointing oil, and for the sweet incense.
The children of Israel brought a willing offering unto the LORD, every man and woman, whose heart made them willing to bring for all manner of work, which the LORD had commanded to be made by the hand of Moses.
And Moses said unto the children of Israel, See, the LORD hath called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah;
Verses 30-35. - THE APPOINTMENT OF BEZALEEL AND AHOLIAB TO SUPERINTEND THE WORK. Though, in some real sense, "learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians," still Moses was probably devoid of the technical knowledge requisite for a "superintendent of the works" on the present occasion. At any rate, his other duties imperatively required that he should decline to undertake, in addition to them, so onerous an office. And God had told him whom it would be best for him to set over the work (Exodus 31:1-6). Accordingly, he now made known to the people that the construction of the tabernacle and its appurtenances would be committed to two men - Bezaleel, the son of Uri, as principal, and Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, as his assist-ant - who would "teach" those under them what they were to do (ver. 34). Verse 30. - The Lord hath called, etc See Exodus 31:2: - "I have called by name Bezaleel," etc. Of the tribe of Judah. The descent of Bezaleel from Judah has been already traced. (See the comment on Exodus 31:2.)
And he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship;
Verses 31-33 - Correspond almost word for word with vers. 3-5 of ch. 31, q. vide.
And to devise curious works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass,
And in the cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of wood, to make any manner of cunning work.
And he hath put in his heart that he may teach, both he, and Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan.
Verse 34. - And he hath put in his heart that he may teach. Rather, "And he hath put it into his heart to teach." He (God) has given him the gift of being able to teach others, and so has enabled him to form a body of workmen competent to carry out his conceptions. Both he and Aholiab. God has given the same gift to Aholiab. On the special talent of Aholiab, see the comment upon Exodus 31:6.
Them hath he filled with wisdom of heart, to work all manner of work, of the engraver, and of the cunning workman, and of the embroiderer, in blue, and in purple, in scarlet, and in fine linen, and of the weaver, even of them that do any work, and of those that devise cunning work.
Verse 35. - Them hath he filled with wisdom of heart - i.e., "with talent or genius." Of the engraver. Rather, "of the artificer," a general term, under which working in metal, Gem-engraving, and wood-carving are included. And of the cunning workman. Rather, "and of the skilful weaver." This clause seems to apply to Aholiab (Exodus 38:23), the preceding one to Bezaleel. And of the embroiderer. This also applies to Aholiab (1.s.c.). And of the weaver - i.e., "the ordinary, weaver," who wove a cloth all of one colour. The "skilful weaver" produced a patterned fabric. (See Exodus 26:1.) The methods of working here spoken of are, all of them, such as were well known in Egypt at the time, and which, consequently, it would have been quite natural for some of the Israelites to have learnt. We are not to suppose that God supernaturally communicated to Bezaleel and Aholiab the technical knowledge required in their occupations, but only that he gave them genius and artistic skill, so that both their designs, and their execution of them, were of unusual excellence.