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  • ADAM CLARKE'S BIBLE COMMENTARY -
    EXODUS 35

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    CHAPTER XXXV

    Moses assembles the congregation to deliver to them the commandments of God, 1. Directions concerning the Sabbath, 2, 3. Free-will offerings of gold, silver, brass, &c., for the tabernacle, 4-7. Of oil and spices, 8. Of precious stones, 9. Proper artists to be employed, 10. The tabernacle and its tent, 11. The ark, 12. Table of the shew-bread, 13. Candlestick, 14.Altar of incense, 15. Altar of burnt- offering, 16. Hangings, pins, &c., 17, 18. Clothes of service, and holy vestments, 19. The people cheerfully bring their ornaments as offerings to the Lord, 20-22; together with blue, purple, scarlet, &c., &c., 23, 24. The women spin, and bring the produce of their skill and industry, 25, 26. The rulers bring precious stones, &c., 27, 28. All the people offer willingly, 29. Bezaleel and Aholiab appointed to conduct and superintend all the work of the tabernacle, for which they are qualified by the spirit of wisdom, 30-35.

    NOTES ON CHAP. XXXV

    Verse 1. "And Moses gathered" - The principal subjects in this chapter have been already largely considered in the notes on chapters 25., 26., 27., 28., 29., 30., and 31., and to those the reader is particularly desired to refer, together with the parallel texts in the margin.

    Verse 3. "Ye shall kindle no fire" - The Jews understand this precept as forbidding the kindling of fire only for the purpose of doing work or dressing victuals; but to give them light and heat, they judge it lawful to light a fire on the Sabbath day, though themselves rarely kindle it-they get Christians to do this work for them.

    Verse 5. See, on these metals and colours, chap. xxv. 3, 4. &c.

    Verse 7. "Rams' skins, &c." - See chap. xxv. 5.

    Verse 8. "Oil for the light" - See chap. xxv. 6.

    Verse 9. "Onyx stones" - See chap. xxv. 7.

    Verse 11. "The tabernacle" - See chap. xxv. 8.

    Verse 12. "The ark" - See chap. xxv. 10-17.

    Verse 13. "The table" - See chap. xxv. 23-28.

    Verse 14. "The candlestick" - See chap. xxv. 31-39.

    Verse 15. "The incense altar" - The golden altar, see chap. xxx. 1-10.

    Verse 16. "The altar of burnt-offering" - The brazen altar, see chap. xxvii. 1-8.

    Verse 17. "The hangings of the court" - See chap. xxvii. 9.

    Verse 19. "The clothes of service" - Probably aprons, towels, and such like, used in the common service, and different from the vestments for Aaron and his sons. See these latter described chap. xxviii. 1, &c.

    Verse 21. "Every one whose heart stirred him up" - Literally, whose heart was lifted up - whose affections were set on the work, being cordially engaged in the service of God.

    Verse 22. "As many as were willing-hearted" - For no one was forced to lend his help in this sacred work; all was a free- will offering to the Lord.

    "Bracelets" - jj chach, whatever hooks together; ornaments for the wrists, arms, legs, or neck.

    Ear-rings] Ázn nezem, see this explained Gen. xxiv. 22.

    "Rings" - t[bf tabbaath, from ybf taba, to penetrate, enter into; probably rings for the fingers.

    "Tablets" - zmwk cumaz, a word only used here and in Numbers xxxi. 50, supposed to be a girdle to support the breasts.

    Verse 25. "All the women that were wise-hearted did spin" - They had before learned this art, they were wise-hearted; and now they practice it, and God condescends to require and accept their services. In building this house of God, all were ambitious to do something by which they might testify their piety to God, and their love for his worship. The spinning practiced at this time was simple, and required little apparatus. It was the plain distaff or twirling pin, which might be easily made out of any wood they met with in the wilderness.

    Verse 27. "The rulers brought onyx stones" - These being persons of consequence, might be naturally expected to furnish the more scarce and costly articles. See how all join in this service! The men worked and brought offerings, the women spun and brought their ornaments, the rulers united with them, and delivered up their jewels! and all the children of Israel brought a willing offering unto the Lord, ver. 29.

    Verse 30. "The Lord hath called by name Bezaleel" - See this subject discussed at large in the note on chap. xxviii. 3, See the note on "chap. xxviii. 3", where the subject of superseding the work of the hand by the extra use of machinery is particularly considered.

    1. FROM the nature of the offerings made for the service of the tabernacle, we see of what sort the spoils were which the Israelites brought out of Egypt: gold, silver, brass, blue, purple, scarlet, fine linen, rams' skins dyed red, what we call badgers' skins, oil, spices, incense, onyx stones, and other stones, the names of which are not here mentioned. They must also have brought looms, spinning wheels, instruments for cutting precious stones, anvils, hammers, furnaces, melting-pots, with a vast variety of tools for the different artists employed on the work of the tabernacle, viz., smiths, joiners, carvers, gilders, &c.

    2. God could have erected his tabernacle without the help or skill of man; but he condescended to employ him. As all are interested in the worship of God, so all should bear a part in it; here God employs the whole congregation: every male and female, with even their sons and their daughters, and the very ornaments of their persons, are given to raise and adorn the house of God. The women who had not ornaments, and could neither give gold nor silver, could spin goat's hair, and the Lord graciously employs them in this work, and accepts what they can give and what they can do, for they did it with a willing mind; they were wise of heart- had learned a useful business, their hearts were lifted up in the work, ver. 21, and all felt it a high privilege to be able to put only a nail in the holy place. By the free-will offerings of the people the tabernacle was erected, and all the costly utensils belonging to it provided. This was the primitive mode of providing proper places for Divine worship; and as it was the primitive, so it is the most rational mode. Taxes levied by law for building or repairing churches were not known in the ancient times of religious simplicity. It is an honour to be permitted to do any thing for the support of public worship; and he must have a strange, unfeeling, and ungodly heart, who does not esteem it a high privilege to have a stone of his own laying or procuring in the house of God. How easily might all the buildings necessary for the purpose of public worship be raised, if the money that is spent in needless self-indulgence by ourselves, our sons, and our daughters, were devoted to this purpose! By sacrifices of this kind the house of the Lord would be soon built, and the top-stone brought on with shouting, Grace, grace unto it!

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