The sabbath to be observed. (1-3) The free gifts for the tabernacle. (4-19) The readiness of the people in general. (20-29) Bezaleel and Aholiab called to the work. (30-35)
Verses 1-3 The mild and easy yoke of Christ has made our sabbath duties more delightful, and our sabbath restraints less irksome, than those of the Jews; but we are the more guilty by neglecting them. Surely God's wisdom in giving us the sabbath, with all the mercy of its purposes, are sinfully disregarded. Is it nothing to pour contempt upon the blessed day, which a bounteous God has given to us for our growth in grace with the church below, and to prepare us for happiness with the church above?
Verses 4-19 The tabernacle was to be dedicated to the honour of God, and used in his service; and therefore what was brought for it, was an offering to the Lord. The rule is, Whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring. All that were skilful must work. God dispenses his gifts; and as every man hath received, so he ( 1 Peter. 4:10 ) materials to work on; those that were skilful, must serve the tabernacle with their skill: as they needed one another, so the ( 1 Corinthians. 12:7-21 )
Verses 20-29 Without a willing mind, costly offerings would be abhorred; with it, the smallest will be accepted. Our hearts are willing, when we cheerfully assist in promoting the cause of God. Those who are diligent and contented in employments considered mean, are as much accepted of God as those engaged in splendid services. The women who spun the goats' hair were wise-hearted, because they did it heartily to the Lord. Thus the labourer, mechanic, or servant who attends to his work in the faith and fear of God, may be as wise, for his place, as the most useful minister, and he equally accepted of the Lord. Our wisdom and duty consist in giving God the glory and use of our talents, be they many or few.
Verses 30-35 Here is the Divine appointment of the master-workmen, that there might be no strife for the office, and that all who were employed in the work might take direction from, and give account to them. Those whom God called by name to his service, he filled with the Spirit of God. Skill, even in worldly employments, is God's gift, and comes from above. But many are ready enough in cutting out work for other people, and can tell what this man or that man should do; but the burdens they bind on others, they themselves will not touch with one of their fingers. Such will fall under the character of slothful servants. These men were not only to devise and to work themselves, but they were to teach others. Those that rule should teach; and those to whom God has given knowledge, should be willing to make it known for the benefit of others.
This chapter begins with a renewal of the command of the sabbath, Ex 35:1-3 and contains an order for a freewill offering to be brought for the service of the sanctuary, and specifies the things to be brought, and for what uses, Ex 35:4-19 to which there was a ready compliance, and men and women, princes and the common people, everyone according to what they had in possession, brought and offered it freely, Ex 35:20-29 and for their encouragement, that their offering would not be in vain, they were informed there were two persons divinely inspired, to do, and teach to be done, all manner of work for the tabernacle, towards which they had made such a liberal and plentiful contribution, Ex 35:30-35.