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Bible Commentaries
Exodus 31

Kretzmann's Popular Commentary of the BibleKretzmann's Commentary

Verses 1-11

The Master Craftsmen Engaged

v. 1. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

v. 2. See, I have called by name Bezaleel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, the grandson of the influential man in his tribe, one of Moses' right-hand men, Exodus 17:10; Exodus 24:14;

v. 3. and I have filled him with the spirit of God in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, in every craft connected with the art of building and equipping the Tabernacle,

v. 4. to devise cunning works, to execute artistic designs, to work in gold and in silver and in brass, the precious and costly metals which were used for the various parts of the equipment,

v. 5. and in cutting of stones, to set them, the work of the jeweler and the silversmith, and in carving of timber, another branch of artistic achievement, to work in all manner of workmanship. In this man technical knowledge was united with practical ability; he could not only devise and plan artistic work in all its details, but he could also supervise its proper execution. His natural talents had been sanctified by the influence of the Lord and consecrated to His service, a combination which, even now, makes the best church architects and the most excellent artists.

v. 6. And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and in the hearts of all that are wise-hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee, Aholiab being a master not only in metal, stone, and woodwork, but also an artist in fancy weaving:

v. 7. the Tabernacle of the Congregation, and the Ark of the Testimony, and the mercy-seat that is thereupon, and all the furniture, the sacred vessels, of the Tabernacle,

v. 8. and the table and his furniture, and the pure candlestick with all his furniture, the instruments and vessels needed for keeping it in order, and the altar of incense,

v. 9. and the altar of burnt offering with all his furniture, and the laver and his foot,

v. 10. and the cloths of service, the special garments of the high priest which he alone wore in the service of the Tabernacle and Temple, and the holy garments for Aaron, the priest, which he had in common with the ordinary priests, and the garments of his sons, to minister in the priest's office,

v. 11. and the anointing oil, and sweet incense for the Holy Place; according to all that I have commanded thee shall they do. The entire work was entrusted to the Jewish artisans under the leadership of these two masters, for it was necessary that the workmanship throughout be of the very best. It is well-pleasing to the Lord if work done in His service is performed with painstaking care, as being really worthwhile.

Verses 12-18

Concerning the Celebration of the Sabbath

v. 12. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

v. 13. Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily, My Sabbaths ye shall keep; for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. Through the rest of the Sabbath-day the children of Israel were to remain conscious of the fact that it was Jehovah that sanctified them, the Sabbath being the day especially consecrated to His service.

v. 14. Ye shall keep the Sabbath therefore, observe it most religiously; for it is holy unto you. Everyone that defileth it shall surely be put to death, the desecration or profanation of the day consisting chiefly in not observing the rest enjoined by the Lord; for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people, the breaking of the Sabbath being a capital crime.

v. 15. Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, a day devoted entirely to rest from physical labor, holy to the Lord; whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath-day, he shall surely be put to death.

v. 16. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, their resting should make the day a real Sabbath, for a perpetual covenant.

v. 17. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever, the public symbol and expression of the relation between Jehovah and Israel; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed. As the text expressly notes, this phase of the Third Commandment, according to which one special day was set apart for total rest, concerned only the children of Israel. For the believers of the New Testament the observance of the Third Commandment consists in this, that we gladly hear and learn the Word of God. He that despises preaching and God's Word destroys himself by starving his soul.

v. 18. And He (God ) gave unto Moses, when He had made an end of communing with him upon Mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God. In what manner this engraving was done is not revealed, the fact alone being stated. The Decalogue is the word and will of the Lord, of which He Himself says that heaven and earth will pass away before one tittle of this will is invalidated. The ministry of the New Testament is written with the Spirit of the living God, not in tables of stone, but in the fleshy tables of the heart, 2 Corinthians 3:3.

Bibliographical Information
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Exodus 31". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kpc/exodus-31.html. 1921-23.
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