Friday, December 29, 2006

Exodus 31

Exodus 31: The Tabernacle: Specific workers; the Sabbath


This chapter continues God’s instructions for building, and using, the Tabernacle.

First, He appoints two workers, whom He has given special ability “to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship” (verses 4–5): Bezalel, and Oholiab as his assistant. God also says that He has given all of the craftsmen skills, for working on the Tabernacle, even though He has given special skill to Bazalel and Oholiab.

With this out of the way, the LORD gives instructions for the Sabbath:

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

“‘Observe the Sabbath, because it is holy to you. Anyone who desecrates it must be put to death; whoever does any work on that day must be cut off from his people. For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day must be put to death. The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant. It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he abstained from work and rested.’”

(verses 12–17)

Notice that, as is sometimes the case, God has not only given instructions, but has also given the reasons why He is giving these instructions.

Finally, at the end of this chapter, the LORD gives Moses “the two tablets of the Testimony, the tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God” (verse 18). As I think I’ve mentioned, most people think of these tablets as being inscribed with the 10 Commandments, but this text seems to indicate that they might have more than just those ten rules; it may be all of the rules that the LORD has given to Moses while he’s been up on the mountain.


I don’t really have anything special to say about this chapter. Seems pretty straightforward, except that I find it very interesting that God actually wanted to include Bezalel and Oholiab’s names in the Bible—since the book of Exodus was written, for the rest of time, people have known to whom God gave skills for building the Tabernacle.

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