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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
Exodus 31



Verses 1-11

The Appointment of Craftsmen for the Building of the Tabernacle - Exodus 31:1-11 describes the appointment of the craftsmen for the building of the Tabernacle. It is important to note that God gave Moses general instructions on the building of this Tabernacle and of the making of the priestly garments. However, God left it up to the creativity of the craftsmen, being inspired under their anointing, to design the details of each item they made. In the same way, God will give us instructions for our lives, but He often allows us to make the decisions about many of the details as we are inspired by the Holy Spirit each day.

Exodus 31:1-11 — God Appoints Bezaleel- God anointed Bezaleel so that he could "devise cunning works." This phrase tells us that he was going to build and carve and create a work that had never been done on earth before, a work so beautiful and unique that it could only have come from the mind of God and imparted to man by the Spirit of God. Bezaleel began to have "God ideas" on how to design and construct the Tabernacle. These thoughts were inspired by the Spirit of God.

Exodus 31:1-11 — God Appoints Bezaleel (The Symbolism of the Materials Used in the Building of the Tabernacle) - We see the children of Israel building bricks out of straw and stubble while in Egyptian bondage.

Exodus 5:12, "So the people were scattered abroad throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble instead of straw."

When they were delivered, they began to build the tabernacle out of gold, silver, brass and precious stones. God anointed Bezaleel, the son of Uri, to work with these valuable metals, stones and wood carvings (see also Exodus 35:30-33).

The gold, silver, and precious stones could represent the works that we do in faith, being led by the Spirit. It could represent the good, the acceptable and the perfect will of God. In contrast, the wood, hay, and stubble could represent the works of the flesh, also as three levels of works. Note how these works are contrasted in 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 :

1 Corinthians 3:12-13, "Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man"s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man"s work of what sort it is."

Note these comments from Frances J. Roberts, who refers to the works of the flesh as being symbolized by straw and stubble:

"My people shall obey Me (not a human leader) saith the Lord. My people shall not labor in vain in the straw and stubble of the works of the flesh. But My people shall walk in newness of life and they shall be energized and led by My Spirit, saith the Lord." 97]

97] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King's Farspan, Inc, 1973), 62.

Exodus 31:4Word Study on "To devise" - Strong says the Hebrew word "to devise" ( חָשַׁב) (H 2803) is a primitive root that means, "to think, plan, esteem, calculate, invent, make a judgment, imagine, count." The Enhanced Strong says it is used 124times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as "count 23, devise 22, think 18, imagine 9, cunning 8, reckon 7, purpose 6, esteem 6, account 5, impute 4, forecast 2, regard 2, workman 2, conceived 1, misc 9."

Exodus 31:4Word Study on "cunning works" - Strong says the Hebrew word "cunning works" ( מַחֲשָׁבָה) (H 4284) means, "a thought, a device, plan, purpose or invention." The Enhanced Strong says it is found 56 times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as "thought 28, device 12, purpose 6, work 3, imaginations 3, cunning 1, devised 1, invented 1, means 1."

Verses 12-18

The Law of the Sabbath - Exodus 31:12-18 describes the Law of the Sabbath in which the Israelites were to rest on the seventh day from their works.


Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Exodus 31:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. 2013.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, October 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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