A. The call to receive the offering.
1. (1-3) The command to keep the Sabbath.
Then Moses gathered all the congregation of the children of Israel together, and said to them, “These are the words which the LORD has commanded you to do: Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh day shall be a holy day for you, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it shall be put to death. You shall kindle no fire throughout your dwellings on the Sabbath day.”
a. Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh day shall be a holy day for you, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD: In the coming chapters, there was a lot of work for Israel to do. They had to build a complex and exact tabernacle of meeting. Yet before they did anything, they should be reminded to enter into God’s rest and to respect the Sabbath.
i. The same principle holds true for our walk with God. Anything we do for the LORD must grow out of our rest in Him, and rest in His finished work on our behalf.
b. Whoever does any work on it shall be put to death: This was a strict call to obedience. Before they did the work of building the tabernacle, God first called Israel to the work of simple obedience. Basic obedience is a pre-requisite for doing work for the LORD.
i. “Why was it necessary to refer so often to the Sabbath? (16:23-30; 20:8-11; 23:12; 31:13-17). The observance was the best guarantee of continued loyalty to God.” (Thomas)
ii. The Hebrew language has two words for work: avodah and melachah. Avodah is a general term meaning work, while melachah is a word more related to business and things specifically forbidden on the Sabbath. One might say that here, God allowed some work (avodah) to be done on the Sabbath, but did not allow certain things on the Sabbath, especially business-related things (melachah).
iii. Kindle no fire: “The Jews understand this precept as forbidding the kindling of fire only for the purpose of doing work or dressing victuals; but to give them light and heat, they judge it lawful to light a fire on the Sabbath day.” (Clarke)
2. (4-9) Receiving what is needed to build the tabernacle.
And Moses spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, “This is the thing which the LORD commanded, saying: ‘Take from among you an offering to the LORD. Whoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it as an offering to the LORD: gold, silver, and bronze; blue, purple, and scarlet thread, fine linen, and goats’ hair; ram skins dyed red, badger skins, and acacia wood; oil for the light, and spices for the anointing oil and for the sweet incense; onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod and in the breastplate.’”
a. This is the thing which the LORD commanded: Now it was time to do what God originally commanded Moses in Exodus 25-31 regarding the building of the tabernacle and its associated items.
i. “If it is a reduplication, it is a deliberate one, to point out the lesson of the faithfulness of Moses in carrying out God’s instruction (Exodus 25:9).” (Cole)
b. Take from among you an offering to the LORD. Whoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it as an offering to the LORD: This offering came from God’s command, not from Moses’ clever fund-raising techniques. This shows God’s normal way of channeling resources to His work – by the gifts given from His people with a willing heart.
i. God could cause the money and materials to appear by a miracle. Yet He chose to fund His work through the willing gifts of His people. He works this way because we need to be a giving people.
ii. This idea is echoed in 2 Corinthians 9:7: So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.
c. Gold, silver, and bronze; blue, purple, and scarlet thread, fine linen, and goats’ hair; ram skins dyed red: These were the materials necessary to build the tabernacle as commanded in Exodus 25-31.
3. (10-19) Coordinating the labor and planning the work for the tabernacle.
“‘All who are gifted artisans among you shall come and make all that the LORD has commanded: the tabernacle, its tent, its covering, its clasps, its boards, its bars, its pillars, and its sockets; the ark and its poles, with the mercy seat, and the veil of the covering; the table and its poles, all its utensils, and the showbread; also the lampstand for the light, its utensils, its lamps, and the oil for the light; the incense altar, its poles, the anointing oil, the sweet incense, and the screen for the door at the entrance of the tabernacle; the altar of burnt offering with its bronze grating, its poles, all its utensils, and the laver and its base; the hangings of the court, its pillars, their sockets, and the screen for the gate of the court; the pegs of the tabernacle, the pegs of the court, and their cords; the garments of ministry, for ministering in the holy place—the holy garments for Aaron the priest and the garments of his sons, to minister as priests.’”
a. All who are gifted artisans among you shall come and make all that the LORD has commanded: God commanded that the labor to make the tabernacle and its furnishings come from the gifted artisans among the Israelites.
b. The tabernacle, its tent, its covering: This lists the items of the tabernacle that must be made, repeating from Exodus 25-31.
4. (20-29) Receiving the offering for building the tabernacle.
And all the congregation of the children of Israel departed from the presence of Moses. Then everyone came whose heart was stirred, and everyone whose spirit was willing, and they brought the LORD’s offering for the work of the tabernacle of meeting, for all its service, and for the holy garments. They came, both men and women, as many as had a willing heart, and brought earrings and nose rings, rings and necklaces, all jewelry of gold, that is, every man who made an offering of gold to the LORD. And every man, with whom was found blue, purple, and scarlet thread, fine linen, and goats’ hair, red skins of rams, and badger skins, brought them. Everyone who offered an offering of silver or bronze brought the LORD’s offering. And everyone with whom was found acacia wood for any work of the service, brought it. All the women who were gifted artisans spun yarn with their hands, and brought what they had spun, of blue, purple, and scarlet, and fine linen. And all the women whose heart stirred with wisdom spun yarn of goats’ hair. The rulers brought onyx stones, and the stones to be set in the ephod and in the breastplate, and spices and oil for the light, for the anointing oil, and for the sweet incense. The children of Israel brought a freewill offering to the LORD, all the men and women whose hearts were willing to bring material for all kinds of work which the LORD, by the hand of Moses, had commanded to be done.
a. All the congregation of the children of Israel departed from the presence of Moses: After Moses asked them to give, he sent them home to decide what they would give. This shows that Moses did not use manipulative techniques, such as asking people to make quick, public decisions about their giving. There was no manipulation at in Moses’ request.
i. Moses didn’t have a contest setting one tribe against another, to see which tribe could raise the most money, or any other such nonsense. God did the work in the hearts of the people.
b. Everyone came whose heart was stirred… everyone whose spirit was willing… as many as had a willing heart… all the women whose hearts were stirred… a freewill offering to the LORD… whose hearts were willing: The idea of the freedom and lack of coercion in the offering is repeated and emphasized.
i. “The willingness of the people is mentioned repeatedly (vv. 21, 22, 26, 29; 36:2).” (Kaiser)
ii. Though their hearts were willing, they didn’t know what to give, when to give, or how to give until Moses led them. Willing hearts still need to be told when there is a need and how they can meet that need.
c. The LORD’s offering… an offering of gold to the LORD… the LORD’s offering… a freewill offering to the LORD: It was also clear exactly to Whom they gave – the LORD, not to Moses or even to the nation.
d. Both men and women… every man… every man with whom was found blue and purple and scarlet… everyone with whom was found acacia wood… all the women who were gifted artisans… all the women whose hearts stirred with wisdom… the rulers brought onyx stones: In this we see just how many among Israel gave to the work. It wasn’t only the wealthy who gave, but everyone who could and who had a willing heart. There were many willing hearts.
i. “All have a part in building the sanctuary for YHWH, and, without each playing his peculiar part, it cannot be completed (cf. Ephesians 4:16).” (Cole)
ii. The people gave what they could. Not all could give gold or precious gems, but they could give some goat’s hair. Certainly, a gift of goat’s hair could be just as welcome in God’s sight as a gift of gold if it was given with the right heart.
B. Coordinating the construction of the tabernacle.
1. (30-35) The call of Bezaleel and Aholiab.
And Moses said to the children of Israel, “See, the LORD has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; and He has filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom and understanding, in knowledge and all manner of workmanship, to design artistic works, to work in gold and silver and bronze, in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of artistic workmanship. And He has put in his heart the ability to teach, in him and Aholiab the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. He has filled them with skill to do all manner of work of the engraver and the designer and the tapestry maker, in blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine linen, and of the weaver—those who do every work and those who design artistic works.”
a. He has filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom and understanding, in knowledge and all manner of workmanship: God chose Bezaleel and Aholiab to be the general contractors for this building project. He equipped them with a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit to do the work.
b. Those who do every work and those who design artistic works: The leaders of the work of building the tabernacle had a unique inspiration of the Holy Spirit to do this important and practical work. Since God wanted the work done according to a certain pattern (Exodus 25:9), it made sense that He specially inspired some to do the work.
2. (36:1) The coordination of the work.
“And Bezalel and Aholiab, and every gifted artisan in whom the LORD has put wisdom and understanding, to know how to do all manner of work for the service of the sanctuary, shall do according to all that the LORD has commanded.”
a. Every gifted artisan… shall do according to all the LORD has commanded: It was up to the workers under Bezaleel and Aholiab to follow what the LORD instructed them to do.
©2018 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission