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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Exodus

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FRAMEWORKS: Exodus 31: Preparing to Make the Tabernacle


v.1-6 The Two Main Workers: Bezalel and Oholiab

v.6-11 The things to be made

v.12-18 Observing the Sabbath



v.1-6 The Two Main Workers: Bezalel and Oholiab


v.1 Then the Lord said to Moses,

v.2 ‘See I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah,

v.3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills –

v.4 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze,

v.5 to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts.

v.6 Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, to help him.


[Notes: Having described the Tabernacle etc. in previous chapters, the text now turns towards manufacturing it. Two specific men were chosen by God to head this up and they would be anointed by the Holy Spirit to do it. This is the first mention of the Spirit after Genesis 1:2 & 6:3. We will see more of them in later chapters.]



v.6-11 The things to be made


Also I have given ability to all the skilled workers to make everything I have commanded you:

v.7 the tent of meeting, the ark of the covenant law with the atonement cover on it, and all the other furnishings of the tent –

v.8 the table and its articles, the pure gold lampstand and all its accessories, the altar of incense,

v.9 the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, the basin with its stand –

v.10 and also the woven garments, both the sacred garments for Aaron the priest and the garments for his sons when they serve as priests,

v.11 and the anointing oil and fragrant incense for the Holy Place. They are to make them just as I commanded you.'


[Notes: To ensure there is no misunderstanding, their work will include all the items covered in the recent chapters.]



v.12-18 Observing the Sabbath


v.12 Then the Lord said to Moses,

v.13 ‘Say to the Israelites, “You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so that you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy.

v.14 ‘“Observe the Sabbath, because it is holy to you. Anyone who desecrates it is to be put to death; those who do any work on that day must be cut off from their people.

v.15 For six days work is to be done, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day is to be put to death.

v.16 The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant.

v.17 It will be a sign between me and the Israelites for ever, for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.”'

v.18 When the Lord finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the covenant law, the tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God.


[Notes: It is likely that it is not a coincidence that observing the Sabbath is mentioned immediately after talk of the task of making the Tabernacle. Not even that task is to stop them observing the day of rest and memorial. Remember, all that has gone in recent chapters was given by God to Moses while he was up on the mountain. The giving of these instructions has either been completed or it is interrupted by what follows in the next chapter. Whatever happens, Moses now has the two tablets or stone (or slate?) on which God has written the covenant law – see 34:28]



Continue to Chapter 32