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Exodus 35-38

Supplemental notes for the Daily Bible Study Bible Reading Plan

by Wayne Blank

Exodus Chapter 35

The instructions for how the Tabernacle and its furnishings were to be constructed were given earlier. Now, the actual work was to begin, but even in that, The Lord's Sabbath (see "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it Holy") was to be a day of rest.

Aaron

"Moses [see also The Education Of Moses] assembled all the congregation of the people of Israel, and said to them, "These are the things which The Lord has commanded you to do.

Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day you shall have a holy Sabbath of solemn rest to The Lord; whoever does any work on it shall be put to death" (Exodus 35:1-2 RSV)

The Israelites had left Egypt with great wealth ("The people of Israel had also done as Moses told them, for they had asked of the Egyptians jewelry of silver and of gold, and clothing; and The Lord had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have what they asked. Thus they despoiled the Egyptians," Exodus 12:35-36 RSV). From that, came the materials for the Tabernacle.

"Take from among you an offering to The Lord; whoever is of a generous heart, let him bring The Lord's offering: Gold, Silver, and bronze; blue and Purple and Scarlet stuff and fine twined Linen; goats' hair, tanned rams' skins, and goatskins; acacia wood, oil for the light, spices for the anointing oil [see also Ointment] and for the fragrant incense, and onyx stones and stones for setting, for the ephod and for the breastpiece. "And let every able man among you come and make all that The Lord has commanded: the tabernacle" (Exodus 35:5-10 RSV)

The Lord also gave certain craftsmen even greater skill for their work on the Tabernacle.

"And Moses said to the people of Israel, "See, The Lord has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold and silver and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, for work in every skilled craft. And he has inspired him to teach, both him and Oholiab the son of Ahisamach of the tribe of Dan. He has filled them with ability to do every sort of work done by a craftsman or by a designer or by an embroiderer in blue and purple and scarlet stuff and fine twined linen, or by a weaver - by any sort of workman or skilled designer." (Exodus 35:30-35 RSV)

Exodus Chapter 36

The Israelites obeyed The Lord's command to supply the materials for the Tabernacle. For once at least, they did so wholeheartedly. The Tabernacle

"And Moses called Bezalel and Oholiab and every able man in whose mind The Lord had put ability, every one whose heart stirred him up to come to do the work; and they received from Moses all the freewill offering which the people of Israel had brought for doing the work on the sanctuary [see also Sanctuary]. They still kept bringing him freewill offerings every morning, so that all the able men who were doing every sort of task on the sanctuary came, each from the task that he was doing, and said to Moses, "The people bring much more than enough for doing the work which The Lord has commanded us to do." So Moses gave command, and word was proclaimed throughout the camp, "Let neither man nor woman do anything more for the offering for the sanctuary." So the people were restrained from bringing; for the stuff they had was sufficient to do all the work, and more." (Exodus 36:2-7 RSV)

So the work began, beginning with the Tabernacle in which all of the items would be housed and implemented..

"Bezalel and Oholiab and every able man in whom The Lord has put ability and intelligence to know how to do any work in the construction of the sanctuary shall work in accordance with all that The Lord has commanded." (Exodus 36:1 RSV)

"And all the able men among the workmen made the tabernacle with ten curtains; they were made of fine twined linen and blue and purple and scarlet stuff, with cherubim skilfully worked. The length of each curtain was twenty-eight cubits, and the breadth of each curtain four cubits; all the curtains had the same measure." (Exodus 36:8-9 RSV)

Exodus Chapter 37

Next, The Ark of The Covenant (see also Raiders Of The Lost Ark) was constructed by Bezalel.

Ark Of The Covenant

"Bezalel made the ark of acacia wood; two cubits and a half was its length, a cubit and a half its breadth, and a cubit and a half its height. And he overlaid it with pure gold within and without, and made a molding of gold around it. And he cast for it four rings of gold for its four corners, two rings on its one side and two rings on its other side. And he made poles of acacia wood, and overlaid them with gold, and put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark, to carry the ark.

And he made a mercy seat [see the Fact Finder question below] of pure gold; two cubits and a half was its length, and a cubit and a half its breadth. And he made two cherubim of hammered gold; on the two ends of the mercy seat he made them, one cherub on the one end, and one cherub on the other end; of one piece with the mercy seat he made the cherubim on its two ends. The cherubim spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings, with their faces one to another; toward the mercy seat were the faces of the cherubim." (Exodus 37:1-9 RSV)

Then the table, the lampstand and the altar of incense.

"He also made the table [see also Bread of the Presence] of acacia wood; two cubits was its length, a cubit its breadth, and a cubit and a half its height; and he overlaid it with pure gold, and made a molding of gold around it." (Exodus 37:10-11 RSV)

"He also made the lampstand of pure gold. The base and the shaft of the lampstand were made of hammered work; its cups, its capitals, and its flowers were of one piece with it. And there were six branches going out of its sides, three branches of the lampstand out of one side of it and three branches of the lampstand out of the other side of it; three cups made like Almonds, each with capital and flower, on one branch, and three cups made like almonds, each with capital and flower, on the other branch--so for the six branches going out of the lampstand." (Exodus 37:17-19 RSV)

"He made the altar of incense [see also Frankincense] of acacia wood; its length was a cubit, and its breadth was a cubit; it was square, and two cubits was its height; its horns were of one piece with it." (Exodus 37:25 RSV)

Exodus Chapter 38

Then, the altar of burnt offering (see Burnt Offerings and the origin of the word holocaust), the basin for washing [see also The Origin of Baptism] and the courtyard. Note below how mirrors back then were made of polished metal i.e. "its base of bronze from the mirrors of the ministering women."

Scroll

"He made the altar of burnt offering also of acacia wood; five cubits was its length, and five cubits its breadth; it was square, and three cubits was its height. He made horns for it on its four corners; its horns were of one piece with it, and he overlaid it with bronze. And he made all the utensils of the altar, the pots, the shovels, the basins, the forks, and the firepans: all its utensils he made of bronze." (Exodus 38:1-3 RSV)

"And he made the laver of bronze and its base of bronze, from the mirrors of the ministering women who ministered at the door of the tent of meeting." (Exodus 38:8 RSV)

"And he made the court; for the south side the hangings of the court were of fine twined linen, a hundred cubits; their pillars were twenty and their bases twenty, of bronze, but the hooks of the pillars and their fillets were of silver." (Exodus 38:9-10 RSV)

Again, to make plain how the Israelites had left Egypt with great wealth, the offerings alone that they made for the Tabernacle included "twenty-nine talents and seven hundred and thirty shekels" of gold - over a ton of gold (valued at about $24 million at July 2007 prices).

"All the gold that was used for the work, in all the construction of the sanctuary, the gold from the offering, was twenty-nine talents and seven hundred and thirty shekels, by the shekel of the sanctuary." (Exodus 38:24 RSV)

Fact Finder: What is the Christian meaning that the cover of The Ark of The Covenant symbolized?
See Christ's Mercy Seat


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