Exodus 31

Listen to Exodus 31

Oholiab and Bezalel

1 The LORD said to Moses,
2 "See, I have called by name 1Bezalel the son of Uri, son of 2Hur, of the tribe of Judah,
3 and I have 3filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship,
4 to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze,
5 in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft.
6 And behold, I have appointed with him 4Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. And I have given to all able men 5ability, that they may make all that I have commanded you:
7 6the tent of meeting, and 7the ark of the testimony, and 8the mercy seat that is on it, and all the furnishings of the tent,
8 9the table and its utensils, and 10the pure lampstand with all its utensils, and 11the altar of incense,
9 and 12the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and 13the basin and its stand,
10 and 14the finely worked garments,[a] the holy garments for Aaron the priest and the garments of his sons, for their service as priests,
11 and 15the anointing oil and the fragrant 16incense for the Holy Place. According to all that I have commanded you, they shall do."

The Sabbath

12 And the LORD said to Moses,
13 "You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, 'Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the LORD, sanctify you.
14 You shall keep the Sabbath, because it is holy for you. Everyone who profanes it shall be put to death. 17Whoever does any work on it, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.
15 18Six days shall work be done, but 19the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the LORD. 20Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death.
16 Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations, as a covenant forever.
17 21It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that 22in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and 23on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.'"
18 And he gave to Moses, when he had finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai, the 24two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written with 25the finger of God.

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Exodus 31 Commentary

Chapter 31

Bezaleel and Aholiab are appointed and qualified for the work of the tabernacle. (1-11) The observance of the sabbath. (12-17) Moses receives the tables of the law. (18)

Verses 1-11 The Israelites, who had been masons and bricklayers in Egypt, were not qualified for curious workmanship; but the Spirit who gave the apostles utterance in divers tongues, miraculously gave Bezaleel and Aholiab the skill that was wanting. The honour which comes from God, is always attended with a work to be done; to be employed for God is high honour. Those whom God calls to any service, he will find or make fit for it. The Lord gives different gifts to different persons; let each mind his proper work, diligently remembering that whatever wisdom any one possesses, the Lord put it in the heart, to do his commandments.

Verses 12-17 Orders were now given that a tabernacle should be set up for the service of God. But they must not think that the nature of the work, and the haste that was required, would justify them in working at it on sabbath days. The Hebrew word /shabath/ signifies rest, or ceasing from labour. The thing signified by the sabbath is that rest in glory which remains for the people of God; therefore the moral obligation of the sabbath must continue, till time is swallowed up in eternity.

Verse 18 The law was written in tables of stone, to show how lasting it is: to denote likewise the hardness of our hearts; one might more easily write on stone, than write any thing good on our corrupt natural hearts. It was written with the finger of God; by his will and power. God only can write his law in the heart: he gives a heart of flesh; then, by his Spirit, which is the ( 2 Corinthians. 3:3 )

Cross References 25

  • 1. Exodus 35:30; Exodus 36:1; 1 Chronicles 2:20
  • 2. Exodus 17:10, 12; Exodus 24:14
  • 3. Exodus 35:31; [1 Kings 7:14]
  • 4. Exodus 35:34
  • 5. Exodus 28:3; Exodus 35:10, 35; Exodus 36:1
  • 6. See Exodus 36:8-38
  • 7. See Exodus 37:1-5
  • 8. See Exodus 37:6-9
  • 9. See Exodus 37:10-16
  • 10. See Exodus 37:17-24
  • 11. See Exodus 37:25-28
  • 12. See Exodus 38:1-7
  • 13. Exodus 38:8
  • 14. Exodus 35:19; Exodus 39:1, 41
  • 15. Exodus 30:25, 31; Exodus 37:29
  • 16. Exodus 30:7, 34
  • 17. Exodus 35:2; [Jeremiah 17:27]; See Numbers 15:32-36
  • 18. See Exodus 20:9
  • 19. Exodus 16:23; Exodus 20:10; Genesis 2:2
  • 20. [See ver. 14 above]
  • 21. ver. 13
  • 22. Genesis 1:31
  • 23. Genesis 2:2; Hebrews 4:4, 10
  • 24. Exodus 24:12; Exodus 32:15, 16; Deuteronomy 4:13; Deuteronomy 5:22; Deuteronomy 9:10, 11; [2 Corinthians 3:3]
  • 25. See Exodus 8:19

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Or garments for worship

Chapter Summary


In this chapter an account is given of the persons whom God had chosen, and qualified for the work of building the tabernacle, and all things relating to it, and for the direction and oversight thereof, Ex 31:1-6 and an enumeration is made of the several things that were to be wrought, some in one way, some in another, Ex 31:7-11 the law of the sabbath is repeated, and the violation of it made death, Ex 31:12-17 and the chapter is concluded with observing, that at the close of the above orders, two tables of stone, with the law written upon them by the finger of God, were given to Moses, Ex 31:18.

Exodus 31 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.