Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
These chapters, which all belong to P, form the sequel to chs. 25–31, and narrate the execution of the instructions there communicated to Moses. In the main, the narrative is repeated verbatim from the instructions in chs. 25–31, with the simple substitution of past tenses for future; in two or three cases, however, a phrase is altered, and there are also some instances of omission or abridgement. Thus a few verses (as Exodus 25:8-9; Exodus 25:15; Exodus 25:22; Exodus 25:40) are omitted, as not needing repetition; others (as Exodus 25:16; Exodus 25:21; Exodus 25:30; Exodus 25:37 b), chiefly relating to the position or use of the different vessels named, are incorporated in Exodus 40:17-23, the account of the erection of the Tent of Meeting, where they actually belong; and the sections on the Anointing Oil and the Incense (Exodus 30:22-38) are merely referred to briefly in a single verse (Exodus 37:29). There are also, as compared with chs. 25–31, differences in the order of contents. The relation of chs. 35–40 to chs. 25–31 will appear perhaps most clearly from the following synoptical table:—
Chapters 35–40 Chapters 25–31
Exodus 35:1-3. Observance of the Sabbath inculcated (v. 3 added). Exodus 31:15 (vv. 13–14, 16–17 not repeated).
Exodus 35:4-9. The people invited to make voluntary offerings. Exodus 25:2-7 (vv. 8, 9 not repeated).
Exodus 35:10-19. All skilled workmen invited to assist
Exodus 35:20-29. Presentation of the offerings
Exodus 35:30 to Exodus 36:1. Moses announces to the people the appointment of Bĕẓal’çl and Oholiab, and of other skilled workmen qualified to assist. Exodus 31:2-6 (vv. 7–11, the details of things to be made, not repeated).
Exodus 36:2-7. Delivery of the offerings to Běẓal’çl and Oholiab. The liberality of the people has to be checked.
Exodus 36:8-19. The curtains for the Dwelling, the tent over it, and the two outer coverings. Exodus 26:1-11; Exodus 26:14 (vv. 9b, 12, 13 not repeated).
Exodus 36:20-34. The boards, or ‘frames,’ to support the curtains. Exodus 26:15-29 (v. 30 not repeated).
Exodus 36:35-38. The Veil and Screen. Exodus 26:31-32; Exodus 26:36-37 (vv. 33–35 not repeated).
Exodus 37:1-9. The Ark and Mercy-seat. Exodus 25:10-14; Exodus 25:17-20 (vv. 15, 16, 21, 22 not repeated).
Exodus 37:10-16. The Table of Presence-bread. Exodus 25:23-29 (v. 30 not repeated).
Exodus 37:17-24. The Candlestick. Exodus 25:31-39 (vv. 37b, 40 not repeated.
Exodus 37:25-28. The Altar of Incense. Exodus 30:1-5 (vv. 6–10 not repeated).
Exodus 37:29. The Anointing Oil, and the Incense. Exodus 30:22-25; Exodus 30:34-35 (abridged: vv. 26–33, 36–38 not repeated).
Exodus 38:1-7. The Altar of Burnt-offering. Exodus 27:1-8 a (v. 8b not repeated).
Exodus 38:8 a. The Bronze Laver (v. 8b is new). Exodus 30:18 a (vv. 18b–21 not repeated.
Exodus 38:9-20. The Court of the Tent of Meeting. Exodus 27:9-19.
Exodus 38:21-31. Account of the amount of metal employed.
Exodus 39:1-31. Vestments of the priests:— Exodus 28:6-43.
Exodus 39:2-5. The ephod (v. 1 introductory; most of v. 3 new. Exodus 28:6-8.
Exodus 39:6-7. The two onyx stones on the shoulder-straps, engraved with the names of the tribes of Israel. Exodus 28:9-12 (abridged).
Exodus 39:8-21. The pouch of judgement, to contain the Urim and Thummim. Exodus 28:15-28 (vv. 13, 14 much abridged in Exodus 39:16 a: vv. 29, 30 (the Urim and Thummim) not repeated).
Exodus 39:22-26. The robe of the ephod. Exodus 28:31-35 a (v. 35b not repeated).
Exodus 39:27-29. The tunics, turban, caps, drawers, and sashes. Exodus 28:39-40; Exodus 28:42 a (abridged: vv. 41, 42b, 43 not repeated).
Exodus 39:30-31. The golden plate, on the front of the turban. Exodus 28:36-37 (v. 38 not repeated.
Exodus 39:32-43. Delivery of the completed work to Moses.
Exodus 40:1-8. Moses is commanded to set up the Tent of Meeting, and to arrange the sacred vessels in their places.
Exodus 40:9-15. Repetition of command to anoint the Tent of Meeting, and the sacred vessels (Exodus 30:26-29); and to wash, invest, and anoint the priests (Exodus 29:4-9; Exodus 30:30).
Exodus 40:16-33. Moses sets up the Tent of Meeting, and arranges the sacred vessels according to the instructions given partly in vv. 1–8, partly in chs. Exodus 25-31. See references to chs. 25–31 in the notes on Exodus 40:16-33.
Exodus 40:34-38. The cloud takes up its abode on the Tent of Meeting.
From a critical point of view, the most noticeable variation is the different position of the Altar of Incense and the Bronze Laver. These, which appeared before in the appendix to chs. 25–29, viz. in ch. 30, are here introduced in accordance with the place which they would naturally hold, viz. in the description of the Dwelling (Exo Exodus 37:25-28), and Court (Exodus 38:8), respectively; the Altar of Incense is mentioned also in ch. 40 (vv. 5, 26). If, therefore, chs. 30–31 are rightly assigned to a secondary stratum of P (see p. 328), the same conclusion will follow, as a necessary corollary, for chs. 35–40. There are other indications pointing in the same direction. In the LXX. of chs. 35–40 the order of the contents in Exodus 36:8 b–39:43 differs remarkably from the Hebrew (see the Table in LOT. 37 f. [6–8 40 f.], or McNeile, pp. Exo 224 f.); and the renderings of many of the technical terms of the Hebrew differ from those in chs. 25–31 (see examples in McNeile, p. 226). It is thus difficult to suppose either (1) that the translators of chs. 35–40 had before them the Hebrew text of these chapters in its present form, or (2) that these translators were the same as those who translated chs. 1–34; and it becomes probable ‘that the Heb. text used by the original translators of Exodus did not contain chs. 35–40, and that they were supplied afterwards from a longer Heb. recension of the book, in which these chapters had not yet reached their final form’ (Swete, Intr. to OT. in Greek, p. 236). These considerations support the conclusion, reached in the first instance upon independent grounds (the relation of these chapters to chs. 30, 31), that chs. 35–40 belong to a secondary and posterior stratum of P (P2 or P3). This is recognized even by Dillm., who supposes (Nu. Dt. Jos. pp. 635, 688) that the execution of the instructions contained in chs. 25–31 was originally narrated quite briefly—in, for instance, Exodus 35:1-5; Exodus 35:20-21, Exodus 36:2-6, Exodus 40:1-2; Exodus 40:34-38 [and Leviticus 8]; and that all the rest of chs. 35–40 is an expansion due to a later hand (or hands). See further Kuen. Hex. pp. 76–80.
 Secondary strata of P (see p. xii top; pp. 328f., 378).
 Secondary strata of P (see p. xii top; pp. 328f., 378).
And Moses gathered all the congregation of the children of Israel together, and said unto them, These are the words which the LORD hath commanded, that ye should do them.1. the congregation] see on Exo Exodus 12:3.
1–3. Command to observe the sabbath. A repetition of the substance of Exo Exodus 31:12-17 (note that v. 2 is in the main identical verbally with Exodus 31:15), placed here apparently as a reminder to the Israelites that the sabbath must not be broken even for sacred purposes.
Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a sabbath of rest to the LORD: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death.2. an holy day] Heb. holiness (without ‘day’). Probably ḳôdesh has been accidentally transposed; and we should read, as in Exodus 31:15, a sabbath of entire rest, holy to Jehovah. For ‘entire rest,’ see on Exodus 16:23.
Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day.3. An addition to the law of Exodus 31:12-17. The explicit prohibition is not found elsewhere in the OT.; but it is implied in Exodus 16:23.
in all your habitations] see on Exodus 12:20.
And Moses spake unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, This is the thing which the LORD commanded, saying,4. This is the thing which Jehovah hath commanded. See on Exodus 16:16.
4–9. The people are invited to make voluntary offerings of the materials needed for the sanctuary. See Exodus 25:2-7, from which the list of materials in vv. 6–9 is verbally repeated.
Take ye from among you an offering unto the LORD: whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it, an offering of the LORD; gold, and silver, and brass,5. from among] from; ‘among’ is wrong. The prep. is the one rendered ‘of’ (i.e. from) in Exodus 25:2.
an offering (twice)] a contribution, Heb. terûmâh; see on Exodus 25:2.
of a willing heart] cf. on Exodus 25:2.
brass] bronze or copper, as Exodus 25:3.
And blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats' hair,6. See on Exodus 25:4.
And rams' skins dyed red, and badgers' skins, and shittim wood,7. sealskins] dugong skins (Exodus 25:5). So v. 23.
And oil for the light, and spices for anointing oil, and for the sweet incense,8. sweet incense] incense of fragrant powders (Exodus 25:6). So vv. 15, 27.
And onyx stones, and stones to be set for the ephod, and for the breastplate.
And every wise hearted among you shall come, and make all that the LORD hath commanded;10. wise hearted] i.e. skilled: see on Exodus 28:3.
10–19. All skilled workmen among the people invited to assist in the task of making the objects prescribed. There is nothing in chs. 25–31 corresponding to this invitation: Exodus 28:3 relates to the priestly vestments alone. The enumeration of things to be made begins with the Dwelling, and then proceeds in order from the Holy of holies to the Court, ending with the vestments for the priests.
The tabernacle, his tent, and his covering, his taches, and his boards, his bars, his pillars, and his sockets,11. the tabernacle] the Dwelling, i.e. (see on Exodus 26:1) the curtains, which, supported on the fabric of ‘frames,’ formed the ‘Dwelling.’
its tent, and its covering] See Exodus 26:7-14.
The ark, and the staves thereof, with the mercy seat, and the vail of the covering,12. the veil of the screen] i.e. the veil which acts as a screen (cf. Exodus 40:3; Exodus 40:21), viz. in front of the Holy of holies. So Exodus 39:34; Exodus 40:21. Elsewhere ‘the veil’ alone.
The table, and his staves, and all his vessels, and the shewbread,13. the Presence-bread] included also in Exodus 39:36 among the things brought by the people, though flour is not mentioned among the articles to be offered, vv. 6–9. The Presence-bread was afterwards prepared by the priests from materials offered by the people (Leviticus 24:5; Leviticus 24:8 RVm.).
The candlestick also for the light, and his furniture, and his lamps, with the oil for the light,
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,15. the altar of incense] this here appears in the place in which we should expect it, among the other vessels of the Holy place.
door (twice)] entrance.
the altar of burnt offering] See on Exodus 38:1.
The altar of burnt offering, with his brasen grate, his staves, and all his vessels, the laver and his foot,
The hangings of the court, his pillars, and their sockets, and the hanging for the door of the court,
The pins of the tabernacle, and the pins of the court, and their cords,18. cords] i.e. tent-cords, to attach the curtains of the Dwelling, and hangings of the Court, to the tent-pins fastened in the earth (cf. Exodus 39:40, Numbers 3:26; Numbers 3:37; Numbers 4:26; Numbers 4:32). Not mentioned in Exodus 27:19, but implied in the mention of ‘pins.’
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.19. the plaited (?) garments] See on Exodus 31:10.
And all the congregation of the children of Israel departed from the presence of Moses.20–29. How the people responded to Moses’ summons: ordinary men, women, and ‘rulers,’ all brought willingly whatever their means, or their ability, enabled them to provide. An ideal picture of a community ready and eager to contribute liberally to the sanctuary and service of its God. Cf. on Exodus 25:1.
20–29. Presentation of the offerings.
And they came, every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one 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.21. stirred … up] lit. lifted up: so v. 26, Exodus 36:2.
made willing] cf. on Exodus 25:2.
offering] contribution: see on Exodus 25:2.
all the service thereof] i.e., as Exodus 30:16, the daily worship, especially for the candlestick and the Altar of incense, the materials for which are mentioned in v. 28. ‘All’ must not be pressed; materials for the morning and evening daily burnt-offering, and for the Presence-bread (Exodus 29:38 ff.; Exodus 25:30), not being included in the sequel.
And they came, both men and women, as many as were willing hearted, and brought bracelets, and earrings, and rings, and tablets, all jewels of gold: and every man that offered offered an offering of gold unto the LORD.22. The offering of men and women alike; viz. gold (v. 6; Exodus 25:3), in various forms.
brooches] Heb. ḥâḥ,—elsewhere a ‘hook’ for the jaw (Ezekiel 29:4), or nose (2 Kings 19:28).
earrings] or nose-rings. See on Exodus 32:2.
armlets] marg., necklaces: the precise meaning is uncertain. Heb. kûmâz, only besides Numbers 31:50.
all jewels of gold] more clearly, ‘(even) every jewel of gold.’
and every man that waved a wave-offering of gold unto Jehovah (brought it)] cf. vv. 23 end, 24 end. The rend, ‘even’ is impossible, besides yielding a wrong sense: the reference in this clause is not to those who brought brooches, and earrings, &c., but to such as brought gold in any form,—probably, in particular, ingots. ‘Wave’ and ‘wave-offering’ are used here, not in their proper sense (see on Exodus 29:24) of a ceremony implying that the object ‘waved’ is given ultimately to the priests, but in a weakened and later sense of present, presentation: so Exodus 38:24; Exodus 38:29, Numbers 18:11.
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, brought them.23, 24. The contributions of the men; viz. the other things mentioned in vv. 6, 7 (= Exodus 25:3-5).
Every one that did offer an offering of silver and brass brought the LORD'S offering: and every man, with whom was found shittim wood for any work of the service, brought it.24. offering] not as v. 22, but, as v. 5, contribution (see on Exodus 25:2). The verb ‘offer’ is cognate: lit. lift or take up (see ibid.).
the service] the business of constructing the sanctuary; so Exodus 36:1; Exodus 36:3.
And all the women that were wise hearted 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.25, 26. The special contributions of the women. The women spun yarn, both of linen (v. 25) and coarser (v. 26) materials. Spinning is still in the East the work of women: and both in the Sin. Peninsula and elsewhere women still spin camels’ and goats’ hair into the coarse yarn out of which tent-coverings are woven. ‘Wise hearted,’ and ‘wisdom,’ of technical skill; cf. v. 10, and on Exodus 28:3.
And all the women whose heart stirred them up in wisdom spun goats' hair.
And the rulers brought onyx stones, and stones to be set, for the ephod, and for the breastplate;27, 28. The contributions of the rulers (see on Exodus 16:22); precious stones, spices, and oil (vv. 9, 8 = Exodus 25:7; Exodus 25:6).
And spice, and oil for the light, and for the anointing oil, and for the sweet incense.
The children of Israel brought a willing offering unto the LORD, every man and woman, whose heart made them willing to bring for all manner of work, which the LORD had commanded to be made by the hand of Moses.29. Whatever the Israelites offered was offered by them freely.
30–36:1. Moses communicates to the people Jehovah’s nomination of Bĕẓal’çl and Oholiab to superintend the construction of the sanctuary. Vv. 30b (from See)—33 are all but verbally identical with Exodus 31:2-5, only the third person being substituted for the first, as Moses is here the speaker. Vv. 34–36 are expanded from Exodus 31:6; Exodus 31:7-11 (the list of things to be made) is omitted.
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;
And he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship;31. the spirit of God] see on Exodus 31:3.
And to devise curious works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass,32. cunning works] works of skill (Exodus 31:4).
And in the cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of wood, to make any manner of cunning work.33. cunning] skilled (Exodus 26:1). This word is not in Exodus 31:5.
And he hath put in his heart that he may teach, both he, and Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan.34. that he may teach] i.e. instruct others to become skilled workmen likewise. The assistance of the ‘wise hearted’ is promised in Exodus 31:6 (cf. Exodus 36:1-2; Exodus 36:4; Exodus 36:8); but it is not elsewhere said that Bĕẓal’çl and Oholiab should instruct them.
Them hath he filled with wisdom of heart, to work all manner of work, of the engraver, and of the cunning workman, and of the embroiderer, in blue, and in purple, in scarlet, and in fine linen, and of the weaver, even of them that do any work, and of those that devise cunning work.35. the craftsman (RVm.)] the word (lit. cutter in, incisor), if followed by ‘of stone’ may mean an ‘engraver’ (Exodus 28:11), but, used absolutely, signifies generally a worker in wood, stone, or metal.
cunning workman] designer, or pattern-weaver; see on Exodus 26:1.
the embroiderer] See on Exodus 26:1.
cunning works] works of skill, as v. 32.