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Exodus 31

Listen to Exodus 31
1 Then the LORD said to Moses,
2 “Look, I have specifically chosen Bezalel son of Uri, grandson of Hur, of the tribe of Judah.
3 I have filled him with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts.
4 He is a master craftsman, expert in working with gold, silver, and bronze.
5 He is skilled in engraving and mounting gemstones and in carving wood. He is a master at every craft!
6 “And I have personally appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, to be his assistant. Moreover, I have given special skill to all the gifted craftsmen so they can make all the things I have commanded you to make:
7 the Tabernacle; the Ark of the Covenant; the Ark’s cover—the place of atonement; all the furnishings of the Tabernacle;
8 the table and its utensils; the pure gold lampstand with all its accessories; the incense altar;
9 the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils; the washbasin with its stand;
10 the beautifully stitched garments—the sacred garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments for his sons to wear as they minister as priests;
11 the anointing oil; the fragrant incense for the Holy Place. The craftsmen must make everything as I have commanded you.”
12 The LORD then gave these instructions to Moses:
13 “Tell the people of Israel: ‘Be careful to keep my Sabbath day, for the Sabbath is a sign of the covenant between me and you from generation to generation. It is given so you may know that I am the LORD, who makes you holy.
14 You must keep the Sabbath day, for it is a holy day for you. Anyone who desecrates it must be put to death; anyone who works on that day will be cut off from the community.
15 You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day must be a Sabbath day of complete rest, a holy day dedicated to the LORD . Anyone who works on the Sabbath must be put to death.
16 The people of Israel must keep the Sabbath day by observing it from generation to generation. This is a covenant obligation for all time.
17 It is a permanent sign of my covenant with the people of Israel. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day he stopped working and was refreshed.’”
18 When the LORD finished speaking with Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant, written 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 )

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. Hebrew the Tent of Meeting.
  • [b]. Hebrew the Ark of the Testimony.
  • [c]. Hebrew the two tablets of the Testimony; see note on 25:16 .

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