Exodus 31

1 The Lord spoke to Moses:
2 See, I have called by name Bezalel son of Uri son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah:
3 and I have filled him with divine spirit, with ability, intelligence, and knowledge in every kind of craft,
4 to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze,
5 in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, in every kind of craft.
6 Moreover, I have appointed with him Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and I have given skill to all the skillful, so that they may make all that I have commanded you:
7 the tent of meeting, and the ark of the covenant, and the mercy seat that is on it, and all the furnishings of the tent,
8 the table and its utensils, and the pure lampstand with all its utensils, and the altar of incense,
9 and the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the basin with its stand,
10 and the finely worked vestments, the holy vestments for the priest Aaron and the vestments of his sons, for their service as priests,
11 and the anointing oil and the fragrant incense for the holy place. They shall do just as I have commanded you.
12 The Lord said to Moses:
13 You yourself are to speak to the Israelites: "You shall keep my sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, given in order 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; whoever does any work on it shall be cut off from among the people.
15 Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord; whoever does any work on the sabbath day shall be put to death.
16 Therefore the Israelites shall keep the sabbath, observing the sabbath throughout their generations, as a perpetual covenant.
17 It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed."
18 When God finished speaking with Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the covenant, tablets of stone, written with 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 5

  • [a]. Or [with the spirit of God]
  • [b]. Or [treaty], or [testimony]; Heb [eduth]
  • [c]. Or [the cover]
  • [d]. Heb [he]
  • [e]. Or [treaty], or [testimony]; Heb [eduth]

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