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).
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.1. in whom, &c.] cf. Exodus 31:6 b.
the service of] i.e. the business of constructing, as Exodus 35:24. So v. 3.
according to] with regard to.
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:2. every wise hearted man, &c.] v. 1; cf. Exodus 31:6 b.
stirred … up] lit. lifted up, as Exodus 35:21; Exodus 35:26.
to come] to draw near, viz. for a sacred purpose, as often in P (Exodus 16:9, Exodus 40:32, Leviticus 9:5; Leviticus 9:8; Leviticus 16:1, &c.); cf. on Exodus 12:48.
2–7. Delivery of the offerings to Běẓal’çl and Oholiab, and their assistants. The people continuing to bring offerings, in excess of what was required, are restrained by Moses. Another ideal picture: the people not only offer liberally, but offer more than is required; and their liberality has to be checked.
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. And they brought yet unto him free offerings every morning.3. received of] took from before. ‘Of’ is incorrect and inadequate: the picture is of the heap of materials lying before Moses.
offering] contribution, as Exodus 25:2, Exodus 35:5; Exodus 35:21; Exodus 35:24. So v. 6.
And they] They, however (i.e. the Israelites): the pron. is emphatic.
And all the wise men, that wrought all the work of the sanctuary, came every man from his work which they made;4. wrought] were working.
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.5. bring] are bringing.
There follows now (Exodus 36:8 to Exodus 39:31) an enumeration and full description of the things made, repeated for the most part verbally—with of course the necessary change of tense—from chs. 25–28, 30, 31 (for ch. 29, see Leviticus 8). The order is in certain cases different: thus the Dwelling (Exodus 36:8-38) is made before the articles (the Ark, &c.), which it is to contain (Exodus 37:1-24): and the altar of incense then follows immediately (Exodus 37:25-29), instead of coming, as in chs. 25–31, in the appendix (Exodus 30:1-10). See further above, pp. 377, 378.
8–19 (Exodus 26:1-14). The curtains forming the Dwelling (vv. 8–13); the tent over it (vv. 14–18); and the two protective coverings above this (v. 19). Mutatis mutandis, the text agrees almost verbally with Exodus 26:1-14, except in the Heb. idiom for ‘one to another’ in vv. 10, 12, 13 (so v. 22), and in the omission of the clauses relating to the erection of the Dwelling in Exodus 26:9 b, 12, 13 (without, however, their being introduced in Exodus 40:17 ff.).
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. So the people were restrained from bringing.
For the stuff they had was sufficient for all the work to make it, and too much.
And every wise hearted man among them that wrought the work of the tabernacle made ten curtains of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet: with cherubims of cunning work made he them.8. every wise hearted man, &c.] cf. vv. 1, 2, 4. In the account of the construction of the sanctuary these are mentioned only here; in the sequel (even in v. 8b) the sing. (referring to Běẓal’çl) is used regularly (as in Exodus 26:1; Exodus 26:4 &c.) till ch. 39, where the plur. reappears (though not uniformly).
the tabernacle] the Dwelling. See on Exodus 26:1, and Exodus 25:9.
the cunning workman] the designer, or pattern-wearer.
The length of one curtain was twenty and eight cubits, and the breadth of one curtain four cubits: the curtains were all of one size.
And he coupled the five curtains one unto another: and the other five curtains he coupled one unto another.
And he made loops of blue on the edge of one curtain from the selvedge in the coupling: likewise he made in the uttermost side of another curtain, in the coupling of the second.11. from, &c.] at the extremity in the (first) set (Exodus 26:4).
11 end, 12. coupling] set (Exodus 26:4 end, 5). So v. 17 (Exodus 26:10).
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.
And he made fifty taches of gold, and coupled the curtains one unto another with the taches: so it became one tabernacle.13. the tabernacle] the Dwelling (Exodus 26:6).
And he made curtains of goats' hair for the tent over the tabernacle: eleven curtains he made them.
The length of one curtain was thirty cubits, and four cubits was the breadth of one curtain: the eleven curtains were of one size.
And he coupled five curtains by themselves, and six curtains by themselves.
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.
And he made fifty taches of brass to couple the tent together, that it might be one.
And he made a covering for the tent of rams' skins dyed red, and a covering of badgers' skins above that.19. sealskins] dugong skins (Exodus 26:14); see on Exodus 25:9.
20–34 (Exodus 26:15-29). The beams or frames (see on Exodus 26:15), forming the framework of the Dwelling. Exodus 26:30 is not repeated.
And he made boards for the tabernacle of shittim wood, standing up.20. the tabernacle] the Dwelling. So vv. 22, 23, &c.
The length of a board was ten cubits, and the breadth of a board one cubit and a half.
One board had two tenons, equally distant one from another: thus did he make for all the boards of the tabernacle.22. joined] clamped together. See on Exodus 26:17.
And he made boards for the tabernacle; twenty boards for the south side southward:23. the south side southward] See on Exodus 26:18.
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.24. sockets] bases; see on Exodus 26:19. So in the sequel.
And for the other side of the tabernacle, which is toward the north corner, he made twenty boards,
And their forty sockets of silver; two sockets under one board, and two sockets under another board.
And for the sides of the tabernacle westward he made six boards.
And two boards made he for the corners of the tabernacle in the two sides.
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.29. On this difficult verse, see on Exodus 26:24.
And there were eight boards; and their sockets were sixteen sockets of silver, under every board two sockets.
And he made bars of shittim wood; five for the boards of the one side of the tabernacle,
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.
And he made the middle bar to shoot through the boards from the one end to the other.
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.
And he made a vail of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen: with cherubims made he it of cunning work.35. cunning workman] designer, or pattern-weaver (Exodus 26:31).
35–38. The veil in front of the Holy of holies (Exodus 26:31-32); and the screen at the entrance of the Dwelling on the east (Exodus 26:36-37). There is nothing here corresponding to Exodus 26:33-35 (directions for hanging up the veil, and placing the ark &c. in position).
And he made thereunto four pillars of shittim wood, and overlaid them with gold: their hooks were of gold; and he cast for them four sockets of silver.
And he made an hanging for the tabernacle door of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, of needlework;37. door] entrance (Exodus 26:36).
And the five pillars of it with their hooks: and he overlaid their chapiters and their fillets with gold: but their five sockets were of brass.38. their chapiters and their fillets with gold] For ‘chapiters’ we should now say capitals; the ‘fillets’ (see on Exodus 27:10) were bands of metal surrounding the pillars just below the chapiters. In Exodus 26:37 the chapiters and fillets are not mentioned; and the five acacia-wood pillars are to be entirely overlaid with gold. As Di. points out, by the partial gilding a gradation would be obtained: (a) the pillars at the entrance to the Most Holy place overlaid entirely with gold (v. 36, Exodus 26:32); (b) the pillars at the entrance to the Tent overlaid only at the top with gold (Exodus 36:38); (c) the pillars at the entrance to the Court (like those of the Court generally, Exodus 27:17, Exodus 38:17) overlaid only at the top with silver (Exodus 38:19).