Exodus 36





Bezaleel and Aholiab felt that the time for action was now come. They at once

addressed themselves to their task. Moses delivered into their hands all the various offerings

which the people, rich and poor, had brought in (ch. 35:21-29); and skilled workmen were

mmediately called upon to shape it for the designed uses.


vs. 1-2 – “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.” - It is to mark the exactitude of the obedience that chps. 36- 39,

follow so closely, and with such minuteness, the wording of chs. 26-28.  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:”



THE SUPERFLUOUS LIBERALITY OF THE PEOPLE WHICH HAS TO BE                                                 

                                    RESTRAINED (vs. 3-7).


The fact of the work being commenced did not stop the inflow of gifts. More and yet more

continued to be brought “every morning” (v. 3). At last it became clear that the supply

had exceeded the demand; and the workmen reported so to Moses (vs. 4-5),

who thereupon commanded that the offerings should cease (v. 6).


vs. 3-7 – “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.  And all the

wise men, that wrought all the work of the sanctuary, came every man from his

work which they made;  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.  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.”


                                                Superabundant Giving


Too much is far better than too little. (Thomas Paine, the great pamphleteer, during

the American Revolution days said, “Better too much over-reaction when such a

thing as “freedom” is at stake – I say the same for worship  - “Better too much

than not enough” – CY – 2010) - Let a great work be taken in hand, and it is impossible

to anticipate the exact quantity of the material that it will require, or the exact cost of work

and material together. Care should always be taken to have a margin beyond the supposed

necessity. Unless this is done:


            THE CLOSE. Fear naturally arises lest the material or the money should

            not hold out; and economies are practiced which detract from the beauty,

            the finish, the perfection of the construction. Or (which is worse) desirable,

            even necessary, adjuncts are omitted, given up as impracticable under the



      calculations of cost are uncertain. Prices rise while a work is in progress;

      material purchased, or presented, turns out to be defective, and has to be

      replaced by something better. Accidents occur.  The actual cost of a work

      almost always exceeds the estimate — sometimes greatly exceeds it. How

      often do we hear of there being a debt upon a building! This would occur far

      less frequently, if gifts and offerings kept flowing in until the authority

      entrusted with the work cried “Stop.”  Superabundant giving shows a truly   

      liberal spirit in those who give. It is not a very common thing. Cases are rare of

      its needing to be “restrained.”  The example of the Israelites should stir           

      Christians to emulate them. While these poor wanderers in the desert were so   

      generous, how is it that we are, for the most part, so niggardly?

            Superabundant giving is a trial to those who receive the gifts. How easy to

            appropriate what is not required to our own advantage! Moses withstood

            this temptation. Bezaleel and Aholiab withstood it. It may be doubted

            whether all Christians have always done so. The gifts that flowed in at the

            shrine of Becket, at the exhibition of the holy coat of Troves, at the altar of

            St. Januarius, were intended as offerings for the service of the sanctuary.

            Were they always used for sacred purposes? Was there not often a

            superfluity, which men converted to their own benefit? There have

            certainly been those in modern times who have enriched themselves out of

            moneys subscribed for charitable purposes, as the records of our assize

            courts sufficiently show.




Ø      The progress of the work is now reported in detail, and in the following order:

Ø      The covering for the tabernacle (vs. 8-13);

Ø      The goats’ hair covering for the tent above the tabernacle (vs. 14-18);

Ø      The outer coverings of rams’ skins and seals’ skins (v. 19);

Ø      The boards for the walls of the tabernacle (vs. 20-30);

Ø      The bars for the boards (vs. 31-34);

Ø      The veil of the most holy place (vs. 35-36);

Ø      The hanging for the entrance to the tabernacle (vs. 37-38).


The chapter, from v. 8, runs parallel with ch. 26, differing from it mainly in describing

as made that which in ch. 26. is ordered to be made.


vs. 8-38 – “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.  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.

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.  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.  And he made boards for the tabernacle

of shittim wood, standing up.  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.  And he made

boards for the tabernacle; twenty boards for the south side southward:  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.  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.  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.  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;  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.”



                                                Exactitute in Obedience


Kalisch observes on this passage, that, “though even literal repetitions of the same occurrence,

or the same command, are not unusual in the Biblical style, yet the lengthened and accurate

reiteration” which here occurs, is unusual and must have some special meaning. He himself

considers that he has sufficiently accounted for it as intended to draw attention to the

importance of the tabernacle in the Mosaic system, and the significance, and especially the

symbolical character of the descriptions (‘Commentary on Exodus,’ pp. 449-450). To

us it seems that there must have been some further reason for the phenomenon; and we are

inclined to find it in the importance of the example which Moses here sets of exactitude in

 obedience.   (Remember God had said, “See, saith He, that thou make all things

according to the pattern shewed thee in the mount” – [Hebrews 8:5, Exodus 25:40] –

CY- 2010) - If any one might ever be supposed entitled to depart from thestrict letter of

observance, where the commands of God are concerned, it would be such an one as

Moses, who had conversed as friend to friend with God, and had been twice

summoned to a conference of forty days’ duration. But Moses does not seem to feel

that he is so privileged. The exact correspondency of paragraph with paragraph,

verse with verse, clause with clause, word with word, seems intended to teach



five concluding chapters of Exodus especially set forth, is the extreme exactitude which

Moses and those under him showed in carrying out all the directions that God had

given with regard to the tabernacle. If “fifty taches were ordered (ch. 26:6), “fifty

taches were made (ch. 36:13); if “five pillars” were commanded here (ch. 26:37),

and “four pillars” there (ibid. – v. 32), the five and the four were constructed and set

up accordingly (ch. 36:36, 38); if this curtain was to have a pattern woven into it

(ch. 26:31), and that curtain was to be adorned with embroidery (ibid. v. 36), the

embroiderer’s and the weaver’s art were employed upon them as ordered (ch. 36:35,37).

Nothing commanded was ever neglected; only in one or two cases (notably in v. 38)

small additions were made, if not to the orders given, at any rate to the orders recorded.

Generally, however, there was an entire effacement of self, a complete restraint of

private fancy and private preference. Note:


Ø      The rarity of exact obedience;

Ø      The difficulty of it;

Ø      The scant praise which it obtains from men;

Ø      The certainty that it is approved in God’s sight.





Ø      The obedience of Moses as here set out;

Ø      The perfect obedience of Christ.  “My meat is to do the will of Him that

      sent me and to finish His work” (John 4:34). “I have finished the work

      which thou gavest me to do” (John 17:4).


On Tabernacle symbolism see Exodus 26 – this web site.



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