Exodus 31

Bezalel and Oholiab

1 Then the LORD said to Moses,
2 “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah,
3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills—
4 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze,
5 to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts.
6 Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, to help him. Also I have given ability to all the skilled workers to make everything I have commanded you:
7 the tent of meeting, the ark of the covenant law with the atonement cover on it, and all the other furnishings of the tent—
8 the table and its articles, the pure gold lampstand and all its accessories, the altar of incense,
9 the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, the basin with its stand—
10 and also the woven garments, both the sacred garments for Aaron the priest and the garments for his sons when they serve as priests,
11 and the anointing oil and fragrant incense for the Holy Place. They are to make them just as I commanded you.”

The Sabbath

12 Then the LORD said to Moses,
13 “Say to the Israelites, ‘You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the LORD, who makes you holy.
14 “ ‘Observe the Sabbath, because it is holy to you. Anyone who desecrates it is to be put to death; those who do any work on that day must be cut off from their people.
15 For six days work is to be done, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day is to be put to death.
16 The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant.
17 It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.’ ”
18 When the LORD finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the covenant law, the tablets of stone inscribed by the 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 33

  • 1. Exodus 36:1,2; Exodus 37:1; Exodus 38:22; 1 Chronicles 2:20; 2 Chronicles 1:5
  • 2. S Exodus 17:10
  • 3. S Exodus 28:3
  • 4. 1 Kings 7:14; 1 Corinthians 12:4
  • 5. Exodus 36:1,2; Exodus 38:23
  • 6. 1 Kings 7:14; 2 Chronicles 2:14
  • 7. S Exodus 28:3
  • 8. Exodus 36:8-38
  • 9. Exodus 37:1-5
  • 10. Exodus 37:6; Exodus 40:20
  • 11. Exodus 37:10-16
  • 12. Exodus 37:17-24; Leviticus 24:4
  • 13. Exodus 37:25-28
  • 14. Exodus 38:3; Numbers 4:14
  • 15. S Exodus 30:18
  • 16. S Exodus 28:2; Exodus 39:1,41
  • 17. Exodus 30:22-32; Exodus 37:29
  • 18. S Exodus 25:6
  • 19. S Exodus 25:9
  • 20. S Exodus 20:8; Leviticus 19:3,30
  • 21. ver 17; Isaiah 56:4; Ezekiel 20:12,20
  • 22. S Exodus 29:42
  • 23. Leviticus 11:44; Leviticus 20:8; Leviticus 21:8; Ezekiel 37:28
  • 24. Exodus 35:2; Numbers 15:32-36
  • 25. S Exodus 20:8-11; Exodus 35:2; Leviticus 16:29; Leviticus 23:3; Numbers 29:7
  • 26. S Genesis 2:3; Exodus 16:23
  • 27. S Exodus 20:8
  • 28. S ver 13
  • 29. S Genesis 2:2-3
  • 30. S Genesis 2:2; S Exodus 20:9; Isaiah 56:2; Isaiah 58:13; Isaiah 66:23; Jeremiah 17:21-22; Ezekiel 20:12,20
  • 31. S Exodus 19:11
  • 32. S Exodus 24:12; 2 Corinthians 3:3; Hebrews 9:4
  • 33. Exodus 32:15-16; Exodus 34:1,28; Deuteronomy 4:13; Deuteronomy 5:22; Deuteronomy 9:10

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO EXODUS 31

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