The call for voluntary offerings. — V.1. And Moses gathered all the congregation of the children of Israel together, in a solemn assembly, and said unto them, These are the words which the Lord hath commanded that ye should do them. It was the formal, impressive statement of God’s precept. V.2. Six days shall work be done. These words contain not only a permission, but a command: the people were to be engaged in the labor of their calling during the week, and none to be found needlessly idle. Cp. 2 Thess. 3, 12. But on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the Lord; whosoever doeth work therein, performs the labor of his station or calling, shall be put to death. The government of Israel being theocratic, under the immediate direction of the Lord, the rulers were charged to execute the Sabbath-breaker. V.3. Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the Sabbath-day. This ordinance made the Sabbath precept, chap.20, 9–11; 31, 13–17, more severe, and prepared for the work connected with the building of the Tabernacle. V.4. And Moses spake unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, This is the thing which the Lord commanded, saying, v. 5 Take ye from among you an offering, a gift presented to the Lord by willingly lifting up the hands containing the sacrifice, unto the Lord; whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it, an offering of the Lord; gold, and silver, and brass, copper or some of its standard alloys, v.6. and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, the expensive materials of hyacinth, purple, and crimson, and of white, shining byssus, to be used in the weaving of the sacred paraments, and goats’ hair, of the long-haired Oriental goats, v.7. and rams’ skins dyed red (or tawny), and badgers’ skins, those of the sea-cow of the Indian Ocean and its branches, and shittim ( acacia) wood, v.8. and oil for the light, and spices for anointing oil, and for the sweet incense, chap. 30, 22–38, v.9. and onyx stones, and stones to be set for the ephod, and for the breastplate. This list includes all the materials which were used for the Tabernacle and its appointments. V.10. And every wise-hearted among you shall come and make all that the Lord hath commanded; all the artistic talent among the children of Israel was pressed into service; v.11. the Tabernacle, his tent, and his covering, his taches (loops), and his boards, his bars, his pillars, and his sockets, v.12. the ark, and the staves (carrying-poles) thereof, with the mercy-seat, and the veil of the covering, given this designation because it hid the ark with its mercy-seat from the eyes of all but the high priest, v.13. the table, and his staves, and all his vessels, and the showbread, v.14. the candlestick also for the light, and his furniture, the instruments needed for keeping it in good order, and his lamps, with the oil for the light, v.15. and the incense altar, and his staves, and the anointing oil, and the sweet incense, and the hanging for the door at the entering in of the Tabernacle, at the eastern door, which led into the Holy Place, v.16. the altar of burnt offering, with his brazen grate, chap. 27, 1–4, his staves, and all his vessels, the laver and his foot, v.17. the hangings of the court, the curtains which formed its enclosure, his pillars, and their sockets, and the hanging for the door of the court, made of the same materials as the Tabernacle curtains, v.18. the pins of the Tabernacle, the pegs for holding the guy-ropes, and the pins of the court, and their cords (ropes), v.19. the cloths of service, to do service in the Holy Place, the holy garments for Aaron, the priest, and the garments of his sons, to minister in the priest’s office. All these appointments, these various articles of equipment, had been ordered by the Lord, and were to be made in accordance with His will.
The willing offerings. — V.20. And all the congregation of the children of Israel departed from the presence of Moses. They hurried from the meeting-place to their tents with a spontaneous, joyful willingness. V.21. And they came, everyone whose heart stirred him up, who felt lifted up, moved thereto, and everyone whom his spirit made willing, and they brought the Lord’s offering to the work of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, and for all his service, and for the holy garments. V.22. And they came, both men and women, the women almost getting ahead of the men in the joyful, spirited rivalry, as many as were willing-hearted, and brought bracelets, and earrings, and rings, such as were worn on the fingers, and tablets, small golden globules which were worn in strings at the wrist or around the neck, all jewels of gold, ornaments of every kind; and every man that offered, offered an offering of gold unto the Lord, whatever he had consecrated to the Lord by the gesture of weaving, or moving back and forth. V.23. And every man with whom was found blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats’ hair, and red skins of rams, and badgers’ skins (cp. vv. 6. 7), brought them. V.24. Every one that did offer an offering of silver and brass brought the Lord’s offering, he took or lifted his gift from his property and dedicated it for the service of the Lord; and every man with whom was found shittim wood for any work of the service, brought it. V.25. And all the women that were wise hearted, that had artistic talent, did spin with their hands, and brought that which they had spun, both of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine linen ( cp. v. 6). V.26. And all the women whose heart stirred them up in wisdom spun goats’ hair for the outer covering of the Tabernacle. V.27. And the rulers brought onyx stones, and stones to be set, for the ephod and for the breastplate; v.28. and spice, and oil for the light, and for the anointing oil, and for the sweet incense. V.29. The children of Israel brought a willing offering unto the Lord, every man and woman whose heart made them willing, urged them on, to bring for all manner of work which the Lord had commanded to be made by the hand of Moses. It was a scene altogether different from that which had taken place some two months before, when the people had been swayed by their idolatrous passions.
The master artisans. — V.30. And Moses said unto the children of Israel, See, the Lord hath called by name: Bezaleel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; v.31. and He hath filled him with the Spirit of God, his natural talent and love of the work being increased and intensified by the Lord Himself, in wisdom, to devise and plan ornaments, in understanding, to make the pattern applicable to the work in hand, and in knowledge, practical sense, and in all manner of workmanship, the various branches of the fine arts coming into consideration in the building of the Tabernacle and in the preparation of its appointments; v.32. and to devise curious works, skilful designs, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, v.33. and in the cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of wood, to make any manner of cunning work, that pertaining to every branch of art. V.34. And He hath put in his heart that he may teach, God had given him the ability to instruct others, to give them directions for making the individual parts and vessels, both he and Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. V.35. Them hath He filled with wisdom of heart, to work all manner of work, of the engraver, and of the cunning (skilful) workman, the artistic craftsman, and of the embroiderer, the weaver, in blue, and in purple, in scarlet, and in fine linen, and of the weaver, one skilled both in weaving and in plaiting or braiding, even of them that do any work, and of those that devise cunning work; these two men ranked above all others in artistic ability combined with practical sense. It is a combination of gifts which has often been placed in the service of the Lord in times past and deserves to be cultivated today.