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Bible Commentaries
Exodus 35

Kingcomments on the Whole BibleKingcomments

Verses 1-3


In this chapter, the description of the tabernacle begins again. This shows that the sin of man in Exodus 32-34 does not take away or even reduce the grace of God. In spite of all that man is and does, God fulfills His counsels. The people have shown how necessary it is that there is a way to God. The tabernacle now comes amidst a fallen people.

The Sabbath Command

Moses has received in a visible and audible way all the will of the LORD for His dwelling place and His dwelling. Now he has reached the point where he can communicate all this to the people. The author of the letter to the Hebrews points to the faithfulness of Moses in the house of God, the tabernacle (Hebrews 3:5-Joshua :). At the same time, the writer makes it clear that Christ far exceeds Moses in everything.

The writer indicates that Moses is a servant of God in His house and therefore part of that house. Moses’ service consists of passing on to the people what God speaks to him about, and later also in the tabernacle. The writer compares Moses to Christ. As for faithfulness, there is agreement between Christ and Moses. When it comes to the house of God, there is a clear difference between Christ and Moses. Moses is a servant, albeit an honored servant, in the house; but Christ is the Son over the house, which is also His house.

Before saying for the second time what the tabernacle should look like, Moses first speaks about the sabbath command. In this way, even before the tabernacle is written, the final goal of God’s ways with His people is presented. The sabbath is a picture of the millennial kingdom of peace, the period in which God’s people will truly rest and God will live in peace with His people.

Verses 4-9

The Contribution for the Tabernacle

The contribution is on the one hand a commandment of the LORD, on the other hand He asks everyone to bring the contribution with a willing heart. Everyone born of God has the Lord Jesus as his life. By this he loves God. It is his joy to serve him and obey his commandments. The commandments of God – that is not the law of the ten commandments, but all that is inherent in the new life, as it is perfectly visible in the Lord Jesus – are not heavy for those who love Him (1 John 5:3).

The description of the materials is the same as in Exodus 25 (Exodus 25:4-Judges :). This is not a pointless repetition. When God repeats something, it makes it even clearer how much importance He attaches to it and we realize the value it has for Him. He wants us to share in His feelings and in patience He provides everything we need. That also includes repetition.

The materials all speak of the Lord Jesus. Bringing it means telling God what we have found in the Lord Jesus. This is an act of the whole people. Everyone has their own contribution, but all contributions together are needed for the dwelling place of God. The dwelling place of God is established where His people honor Him. He is “enthroned upon the praises of Israel”, His people (Psalms 22:3).

Verses 10-19

The Parts to Be Made

In this section, the parts of the tabernacle to be made all come to our attention. Just like the materials, the parts also speak of the Lord Jesus. In the parts everything takes shape and in the spiritual application we see an extension of the truths that are connected with the Lord Jesus and His work. There are parts that illuminate the Person of Christ from a certain side. Other parts represent truths resulting from His work on the cross. We also see here again how all contributions are necessary and complement each other. Everyone delivers what is necessary, so that the whole can come into being.

A remarkable addition is that the veil is “the curtain of the screen” (Exodus 35:12). What that means is written in Numbers 4: “When the camp sets out, Aaron and his sons shall go in and they shall take down the veil of the screen and cover the ark of the testimony with it” (Numbers 4:5).

Verses 20-29

The People Bring the Contribution

After Moses has addressed the people, they leave, but not as forgetful hearers. Men and women who have been touched in their hearts come back with their possessions to make them available for the construction. Men come with fabrics and metals and wood. Women bring what they have made with their own hands. All are animated by one desire: to meet the demand of the LORD. They share in what occupies His heart. It is all given to Him. What joy for Him!

Women participate fully in the work for the tabernacle. They have special qualities that men do not have. They also often have a better sense of what is appropriate for God’s purpose. There was no one among the disciples who performed an act like Mary. She anointed the feet of the Lord Jesus (John 12:3). She also receives a special mention for this from Him (Matthew 26:13). Women are also mentioned among the fellow workers for the gospel (Philippians 4:2-Leviticus :).

In Exodus 32 they brought their jewels to make the golden calf (Exodus 32:3). They have lost that jewelry and unfortunately cannot offer it now. In the same way we have lost for the Lord’s service what we have given to the world.

Verses 30-35

Bezalel and Oholiab

Bezalel and Oholiab are filled by the LORD with His Spirit and with wisdom, insight and knowledge. In this way they can shape the materials that the people bring in a way that is pleasing to Him. He gives the creativity, but does not leave how to deal with it to man himself. What they design in their creativity must find its origin in the work of God’s Spirit. It is not about whether it corresponds to the taste of man, but whether it corresponds to Who God is.

This is also the case later in the construction of the temple. Nothing is left to the imagination of Solomon either. David gave “gave to his son Solomon the plan of the porch [of the temple], its buildings, … and the plan of all that he had in mind” (1 Chronicles 28:11-2 Kings :). The same applies to the local church. For the meeting of the church, the Lord has given clear directions that we cannot change or even ignore at our own discretion (1 Corinthians 11:23; 1 Corinthians 14:37).

Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Exodus 35". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/exodus-35.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.
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