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Bible Commentaries
Exodus 35

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and HomileticalLange's Commentary

Verses 1-35


The building of the tabernacle. The house of the redeemer and lawgiver, the residence of the king of Israel; or the erection of the tent of meeting

Exodus 35-40

Summons to Build and to Furnish Voluntarily the Building Materials

Exodus 35:1-19

1And Moses gathered all the congregation of the children of Israel together, and said unto them, These are the words which Jehovah hath commanded, that ye should do them. 2Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an [a] holy day, a sabbath of rest to Jehovah: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death. 3Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations [in any of your dwellings] upon the sabbath day.

4And Moses spake unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, This is the thing which Jehovah commanded, saying, 5Take ye from among you an offering unto [for] Jehovah: whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it, an offering of the Lord [Jehovah’s offering]; gold, and silver, and brass, 6And blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats’ hair, 7And rams’ skins dyed red, and badgers’ [seals’] skins, and shittim [acacia] wood, 8And oil for the light, and spices for [for the] anointing oil, and for the sweet incense, 9And onyx stones, and stones to be set, for the ephod, and for the breast-plate. 10And every wise-hearted [wise-hearted man] among you shall come, and make all that Jehovah hath commanded; 11The tabernacle, his [its] tent, and his [its] covering, his taches [its clasps], and his 12[its] boards, his [its] bars, his [its] pillars, and his [its] sockets, The ark, and the staves thereof, with [thereof,] the mercy-seat, and the veil of the covering [screen], 13The table, and his [its] staves, and all his [its] vessels, and the shew-bread, 14The candlestick also for the light, and his [its] furniture, and his [its] lamps, with 15[and] the oil for the light, And the incense altar, and his [its] staves, and the anointing oil, and the sweet incense, and the hanging [screen] for the door, at the entering in [door] of the tabernacle, 16The altar of burnt-offering, with his [its] brazen grate [grating], his [its] staves, and all his [its] vessels [furniture], the laver, and his foot [its base], 17The hangings of the court, his [its] pillars, and their sockets, and the hanging [screen] for the door of the court, 18The pins of the tabernacle, 19and the pins of the court, and their cords, The cloths [garments] of service, to do service [for ministering] in the holy place, the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons, to minister in the priest’s office [to serve as priests].


In general we refer, as other commentaries do, to the previous directions concerning the tabernacle, 25–31, the execution of which is treated of here. The execution is the practical proof that the covenant-relation has been restored, with the afore-mentioned modifications designed for a religion of the covenant in process of formation

Exodus 35:2. The repetition of the precept concerning the Sabbath is interpreted by Knobel and Keil as having for its object to apply the law of the Sabbath to the time of the building of the tabernacle. But though this object may be included, yet a more general object is to be inferred from the circumstance that the Sabbath law concludes the command concerning the building (Exodus 31:12 sqq.), as well as here opens the summons to carry out the command. The Sabbath, or the holy time, is the prerequisite of worship, or the coming together in the holy place. The addition, prohibiting the kindling of fire, indicates that the law of the Sabbath is made more rigorous in the matter of abstinence.

Exodus 35:5-9. Summons to take the voluntary contributions, vid.Exodus 25:2-7.

Exodus 35:10-19. Invitation to men of artistic talent to render voluntary assistance on the building; and specification of their duties, vid.Exodus 25:8; Exodus 31:6-11.


Second Section

The Voluntary Consecratory Gifts, or the Holy Tributes for the Building

Exodus 35:20-29

20And all the congregation of the children of Israel departed from the presence of Moses. 21And they came, every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit made willing, and they brought Jehovah’s offering to [for] the work of the tabernacle of the congregation [tent of meeting], and for all his [its] service, and for the holy garments. 22And they came, both men and women [the men with the women], as many as were willing-hearted, and brought bracelets [hooks], and earrings, and rings [signet-rings], and tablets [necklaces], all jewels of gold [all kinds of golden things]: and every man that offered offered an [that offered an] offering of gold unto Jehovah. 23And every man, with whom was found blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats’ hair, and red skins of rams [rams’ skins dyed red], and badgers’ [seals’] skins, brought them. 24Every one that did offer an offering of silver and brass [copper] brought Jehovah’s offering: and every man, with whom was found shittim [acacia] wood for any work of the service, brought it. 25And all the women that were wise-hearted did spin with their hands, and brought that which they had spun, both of [spun, the] blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of 26[and the purple, the scarlet, and the] fine linen. And all the women whose heart stirred them up in wisdom spun [spun the] goats’ hair. 27And the rulers brought onyx [the onyx] stones, and stones to be set, for the ephod, and for the breast-plate; 28And spice [the spice], and oil [the oil;] for the light, and for the anointing oil, and for the sweet incense. 29The children of Israel brought a willing offering unto Jehovah, every man and woman, whose heart made them willing to bring for all manner of [all the] work, which Jehovah had commanded to be made by the hand of Moses.


Exodus 35:20 sqq. A charming passage, illumined by the clear light of spontaneity, gladsomeness and joy; an appearance of New Testament features in the Old Testament. At the same time there is involved a fine contrast between Moses’ animated summons, issued at God’s command, together with the glad willingness of the people to build a true sanctifying sanctuary, on the one hand, and the people’s cowardly and false-hearted summons, extorted by the sensuous passions of the multitude, and followed by the tumultuous readiness to make offerings for the establishment of an equivocal, barbarizing system of worship, on the other.

Exodus 35:22. The men with the women [Lange: to the women].—Keil, referring to עַל, as used in Genesis 32:12 (11), would read: “the men together with the children.” But it is probably meant here that the women anticipated the men, as in such religious movements is often the case. In the passage in Genesis, moreover, there is probably an intimation that the enemy first attacks the children, then the mother, who is defending the children; this was suggested in our Commentary on Genesis, though the rendering “together with” is retained.

Exodus 35:23. Every man with whom was found.—At first ornaments for the body are offered; then, possessions and treasures; afterwards, the products of female labor; finally also, princely jewels. “According to the Talmudists and Rabbins, followed by Braun (Vestitus sacerdotum, p. 92), Bähr (Symbolik I., p. 265), and others, the purple and crimson cloths were of wool, the שֵׁשׁ (byssus) of linen. But if so, the costume of the high-priest must have consisted of a diversity of materials, which conflicts with Leviticus 19:19; Deuteronomy 22:11, and also Ezekiel 44:17 sq., where wool is forbidden to be used in sacerdotal garments (vid. Genesis 41:42; Genesis 46:34). It is therefore safer to suppose that all the four kinds of material were flaxen yarn, the first three colored, the last bleached and white” (Knobel). But it is to be observed in reference to this, that the garments of the high-priest did not consist of a single article, and that the precept in Ezekiel relates to the symbolic aspects of a new, ideal sanctuary.1


Third Section

Bezaleel and his Assistants Introduced to the People to Receive the Consecrated Materials for the Building

Exodus 35:30 to Exodus 36:7.

30And Moses said unto the children of Israel, See, Jehovah hath called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; 31And he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner [kinds] of workmanship; 32And to devise curious works [skilful designs], to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass [copper], 33And in the cutting of stones, to set them [stones for setting], and in carving of wood, to make any manner of cunning work [to work in all kinds of skilful work]. 34And he hath put in his heart that he may teach, both he [to teach, in him], and Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Daniel 3:0; Daniel 3:05Them hath he filled with wisdom of heart, to work all manner [to do all kinds] of work, of the engraver, and of the cunning workman [skilful weaver], 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 [skilful designs].

Exodus 36:1 Then wrought Bezaleel and Aholiab [And Bezaleel and Aholiab shall work], and every wise-hearted man, in whom Jehovah put [hath put] wisdom and understanding to know how to work all manner of work for [do all the work of] the service of the sanctuary, according to all that Jehovah had [hath] commanded. 2And Moses called Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wise-hearted man, in whose heart Jehovah had put wisdom, even every one whose heart stirred him up to come unto the work to do it; 3And they received of [from] 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 [besides] unto him free [free-will] offerings every morning. 4And all the wise men, that wrought all the work of the sanctuary, came every man from his work which they made [were doing]; 5And they spake unto Moses saying, The people bring much more [are bringing too much—more] than enough for the service of the work, which Jehovah commanded to make [tobe done]. 6And 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. 7For the stuff they had was sufficient for all the work to make [do] it, and too much [and there was left over].


Exodus 35:30 sqq. This is not merely a disclosure respecting the future. The skilled workmen under the master workman Bezaleel are introduced to the people as those who, in Moses’ presence, are to receive the offerings which have already been presented, and to judge of the proportion of them to the need. Two principal classes of workmen are named. The חָרָשׁ [smith] includes at least three different occupations, according as the work is in metal, stone, or wood. The weavers are of three classes: the skilled workman, who inweaves figures (חשֵׁב); the weaver who works together the different colors (רֹקֵם); and the plain weaver (אֹרֵג).

Exodus 36:5. And they spake unto Moses.—On all sides there is a superfluity of building material, so that Moses has occasion to cause a proclamation to be made in the camp, asking the contributions to be suspended. A rare instance in the history of collections, though also mediæval and evangelical institutions have often attained an excess of prosperity. Knobel remarks on this point: “The Elohist has a more favorable opinion of Israel in Moses’ time than the later narrator has.” But his archæological knowledge ought surely to have presented him here too with examples of how a nation in great crises is lifted above its ordinary level.


Fourth Section

The Work of the Building and the Priests’ Ornaments. The Elements of the Typical Sacred Structure

Exodus 36:8 to Exodus 39:31

A.—the curtains of the tent and the coverings

Exodus 36:8-19

8And every wise-hearted man among them that wrought the work of the tabernacle made ten [work made the tabernacle with ten] curtains of [curtains: of] fine-twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, with cherubims [cherubim] of cunning work [the work of the skilful weaver] made he them. 9The length of one [each] curtain was twenty and eight cubits, and the breadth of one [each] curtain four cubits; the curtains were all of one size [had all one measure]. 10And he coupled the five curtains one unto another: and the other five curtains he coupled one unto another. 11And he made loops of blue on the edge of one [the one] curtain from the selvedge in the coupling [at the border in the first set]: likewise he made in the uttermost side of another curtain, in the coupling of the second [the samemade he at the edge of the outmost curtain in the second set]. 12Fifty loops made he in one [the one] curtain, and fifty loops made he in the edge of the curtain which was in the coupling of the second [which was in the second set]: the loops held one curtain to another [were opposite one to another]. 13And he made fifty taches [clasps] of gold, and coupled the curtains one unto another with the taches [clasps]: so it became one tabernacle [and the tabernacle became one].

14And he made curtains of goats’ hair for the [a] tent over the tabernacle; eleven curtains he made them. 15The length of one [each] curtain was thirty cubits, and four cubits was the breadth of one [each] curtain: the eleven curtains were of one size [had one measure]. 16And he coupled five curtains by themselves, and six curtains by themselves. 17And he made fifty loops upon the uttermost edge of the curtain in the coupling [upon the edge of the outermost curtain in the one set], and fifty loops made he upon the edge of the curtain which coupleth the second [curtain, the second set]. 18And he made fifty taches [clasps] of brass [copper] to couple the tent together, that it might be one. 19And he made a covering for the tent of rams’ skins dyed red, and a covering of badgers’ skins above that [seals’ skins above].

B.—the frame—work of the tent

Exodus 36:20-34

20And he made boards [the boards] for the tabernacle of shittim [acacia] wood, standing up. 21The length of a board was ten cubits, and the breadth of a [each] 22board one cubit and a half. One [each] board had two tenons, equally distant one from another: thus did he make for all the boards of the tabernacle. 23And he made boards [the boards] for the tabernacle; twenty boards for the south side southward: 24And forty sockets of silver he made under the twenty boards; two sockets under one board for his [its] two tenons, and two sockets under another board for his [its] two tenons. 25And for the other side of the tabernacle which is toward the north corner [tabernacle, the north side], he made twenty boards, 26And their forty sockets of silver; two sockets under one board, and two sockets under another board. 27And for the sides [rear] of the tabernacle westward he made six boards. 28And two boards made he for the corners of the tabernacle in the two sides [the rear]. 29And they were coupled beneath, and coupled together at the head thereof, to one ring [double beneath, and they were together whole up to the top of it, unto the first ring]: thus he did to both of them in [at] both the corners. 30And there were eight boards; and their sockets were sixteen sockets of silver [sockets of silver, sixteen sockets], under every board two sockets. 31And he made bars of shittim [acacia] wood; five for the boards of the one side of the tabernacle, 32And five bars for the boards of the other side of the tabernacle, and five bars for the boards of the tabernacle for the sides [rear] westward. 33And he made the middle bar to shoot through [pass alongat the middle of] the boards from the one end to the other. 34And he overlaid the boards with gold, and made their rings of gold to be [for] places for the bars, and overlaid the bars with gold.

C.—The veil and the screen

Exodus 36:35-38

35And he made a [the] veil of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine-twined linen: with cherubims made he it of cunning work [cherubim, the work of a skilful weavermade he it]. 36And he made thereunto [for it] four pillars of shittim [acacia] wood, and overlaid them with gold: their hooks were of gold; and he cast for them four sockets of silex Exodus 36:37 And he made an hanging [a screen] for the tabernacle door [door of the tent] of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine-twined linen, of needle-work 38[linen, embroidered work]: And the five pillars of it with their hooks: and he overlaid their chapiters [capitals] and their fillets [rods] with gold; but [and] their five sockets were of brass.


[1][But the ephod was a single thing, and according to Exodus 28:6 it was made out of all four of these materials. The same is true of the breast-plate (Exodus 35:15).—Tr.].

Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Exodus 35". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lcc/exodus-35.html. 1857-84.
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