The gifts exceed the needs. — V.1. Then wrought Bezaleel and Aholiab and every wise-hearted man in whom the Lord put wisdom and understanding to know how to work all manner of work for the service of the sanctuary, according to all that the Lord had commanded. That was their calling, and in this calling they proved themselves willing. V.2. And Moses called Bezaleel and Aholiab and every wise-hearted man in whose heart the Lord had put wisdom, even every one whose heart stirred him up to come unto the work to do it, to offer his talents for the service of the Lord; v.3. and they received of Moses all the offering which the children of Israel had brought for the work of the service of the Sanctuary, to make it withal. That was the first great collection of gold, metals, and all other materials of which the artists stood in need for the work entrusted to them. And they brought yet unto him free offerings every morning. The enthusiasm was no mere straw-fire, but it lasted in a steady glow. V.4. And all the wise men that wrought all the work of the Sanctuary, the artists engaged in their labor of love, came every man from his work which they made, after they had carefully estimated the amount of material needed; v.5. and they spake unto Moses, saying, The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work which the Lord commanded to make. The material offered by the people was far in excess of the needs of the work. V.6. And Moses gave commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, Let neither man nor woman make any more work for the offering of the Sanctuary. Moses did not even wait to summon a meeting, but had a crier pass through the camp with a message restraining the eagerness of the people. So the people were restrained from bringing. V.7. For the stuff they had was sufficient for all the work to make it, and too much; even with a lavish use of material there would be some remaining. The willingness of the children of Israel at this time is a shining example to the believers of the New Testament and a spur to many so-called Christians, who are very often unwilling to offer to the Lord even their surplus.
The curtains of the Tabernacle. — V.8. And every wise-hearted man among them, all the artists appointed to the work, that wrought the work of the Tabernacle, made ten curtains of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet; with cherubim of cunning work made he them, the figures of the cherubim were skillfully woven into the cloth, as it was made on the loom with the four kinds of yarn, or thread, mentioned throughout the narrative. V.9. The length of one curtain of the inner wall of the tent was twenty and eight cubits and the breadth of one curtain four cubits; the curtains were all of one size. V.10. And he coupled the five curtains one unto another; and the other five curtains he coupled one unto another, the inner tent thus consisting of two large pieces, each twenty by twenty-eight cubits in size. V.11. And he made loops of blue on the edge of one curtain from the selvage in the coupling; likewise he made in the uttermost side of another curtain, in the coupling of the second. Cp. chap. 26. V.12. Fifty loops made he in one curtain, and fifty loops made he in the edge of the curtain which was in the coupling of the second; the loops held one curtain to another. V.13. And he made fifty taches of gold, froglike clasps, and coupled the curtains one unto another with the taches; so it became one tabernacle, a single tent curtain for the inside covering. V.14. And he made curtains of goats’ hair, evidently woven from the hair as it was spun into threads, for the tent over the Tabernacle; eleven curtains he made them. V.15. The length of one curtain was thirty cubits, and four cubits was the breadth of one curtain. The eleven curtains were of one size. V.16. And he coupled five curtains by themselves and six curtains by themselves. The five and six strips, respectively, as sewed together, formed two pieces of unequal size, which formed the tent proper. V.17. And he made fifty loops upon the uttermost edge of the curtain in the coupling, and fifty loops made he upon the edge of the curtain which coupleth the second. V.18. And he made fifty taches of brass, clasps of copper or bronze, to couple the tent together, that it might be one. V.19. And he made a covering for the tent of rams’ skins dyed red, and a covering of badgers’ skins above that. Cp. chap. 26, 1–14. The leather coverings were intended to serve for a protection against the weather. 4) [Footnote text: On the manner of putting the curtains together, see Baehr, Symbolik des mosaischen Kultus. ]
The framework and the veils. — V.20. And he made boards (planks) for the Tabernacle of shittim wood, standing up, strong and durable. V.21. The length of a board was ten cubits and the breadth of a board one cubit and a half. V.22. One board had two tenons, equally distant one from another. Thus did he make for all the boards of the Tabernacle. V.23. And he made boards for the Tabernacle; twenty boards for the south side southward; v.24. and forty sockets of silver he made under the twenty boards: two sockets under one board for his two tenons and two sockets under another board for his two tenons. The tenons, fitting exactly in the sockets of the bases, held the planks upright. V.25. And for the other side of the Tabernacle, which is toward the north corner, he made twenty boards, v.26. and their forty sockets of silver: two sockets under one board and two sockets under another board. V.27. And for the sides of the Tabernacle westward he made six boards, of the regular width. V.28. And two boards made he for the corners of the Tabernacle in the two sides, the planks on the northwest and southwest corners, respectively, being apparently only one half cubit in width, as they were dovetailed to the first planks on the north and the south side to form a solid corner. V.29. And they were coupled beneath, and coupled together at the head thereof, to one ring. Thus he did to both of them in both the corners. V.30. And there were eight boards all told, on the west side; and their sockets were sixteen sockets of silver, under every board two sockets. V.31. And he made bars of shittim wood, cross-bars of acacia wood to lock the planks in place: five for the boards of the one side of the Tabernacle, v.32. and five bars for the boards of the other side of the Tabernacle, and five bars for the boards of the Tabernacle for the sides westward. V.33. And he made the middle bar to shoot through the boards from the one end to the other, thus making the walls solid. 5) [Footnote text: Some scholars understand this to refer to the ridge-pole of the tent. ] V.34. And he overlaid the boards with gold, and made their rings of gold to be places for the bars, and overlaid the bars with gold. Cp. chap. 26, 15–30. V.35. And he made a veil of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen; with cherubim made he it of cunning work, the four kinds of thread woven into a damask cloth with figures of cherubim. V.36. And he made thereunto four pillars of shittim wood, for the entrance of the Most Holy Place, and overlaid them with gold; their hooks, to which the curtain was fastened, were of gold; and he cast for them four sockets of silver, heavy bases to hold the pillars upright. V.37. And he made an hanging for the Tabernacle door, the door leading to the Holy Place, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, of needlework, woven in geometrical figures. V.38. And the five pillars of it with their hooks, from which this outer screen was suspended; and he overlaid their chapiters, their heads, or capitals, and their fillets, the rods connecting them, with gold; but their five sockets were of brass, of less costly metal than those of the inner curtain. Cp. chap. 26, 31–37. Thus the directions of the Lord, as given to Moses, were followed with the most painstaking exactness, as the Lord had commanded Moses.