Exodus 39

CHAPTER XXXIX

Bezaleel makes the clothes of service for the holy place,

and the holy garments, 1.

The ephod, 2.

Gold is beaten into plates, and cut into wires for

embroidery, 3.

He makes the shoulder-pieces of the ephod, 4.

The curious girdle, 5.

Cuts the onyx stones for the shoulder-pieces, 6.

Makes the breastplate, its chains, ouches, rings, &c., 7-21.

The robe of the ephod, 22-26.

Coats of fine linen, 27.

The mitre, 28.

The girdle, 29.

The plate of the holy crown, 30, 31.

The completion of the work of the tabernacle, 32.

All the work is brought unto Moses, 33-41.

Moses, having examined the whole, finds every thing done as

the Lord had commanded in consequence of which he blesses the

people, 42, 43.

NOTES ON CHAP. XXXIX

Verse 1. Blue and purple, and scarlet] See this subject

largely explained in the notes on Ex 25:4.

See Clarke on Ex 25:4.

Verse 2. Ephod] See this described, Ex 25:7.

See Clarke on Ex 25:7.

Verse 3. They did beat the gold into thin plates] For the

purpose, as it is supposed, of cutting it into wires () or

threads; for to twist or twine is the common acceptation of the

root pathal. I cannot suppose that the Israelites had not

then the art of making gold thread, as they possessed several

ornamental arts much more difficult: but in the present instance,

figures made in a more solid form than that which could have been

effected by gold thread, might have been required.

Verse 6. Onyx stones] Possibly the Egyptian pebble. See

Ex 25:7, and Ex 28:17, &c.

Verse 8. Breastplate] See Ex 28:15.

See Clarke on Ex 28:15.

Verse 10. And they set in it four rows of stones] See all these

precious stones particularly explained in the notes on Ex 28:17,

&c. See Clarke on Ex 28:17.

Verse 23. As the hole of a habergeon] The habergeon or hauberk

was a small coat of mail, something in form of a half shirt, made

of small iron rings curiously united together. It covered the

neck and breast, was very light, and resisted the stroke of a

sword. Sometimes it went over the whole head as well as over the

breast. This kind of defensive armour was used among the

Asiatics, particularly the ancient Persians, among whom it is

still worn. It seems to have been borrowed from the Asiatics by

the Norman crusaders.

Verse 30. The holy crown of pure gold] On Asiatic monuments,

particularly those that appear in the ruins of Persepolis and on

many Egyptian monuments, the priests are represented as wearing

crowns or tiaras, and sometimes their heads are crowned with

laurel. Cuper observes, that the priests and priestesses, among

the ancient Greeks, were styled στεφανοφοροι, or crown-bearers,

because they officiated having sometimes crowns of gold, at

others, crowns of laurel, upon their heads.

Verse 32. Did according to all that the Lord commanded Moses]

This refers to the command given Ex 25:40; and Moses has taken

care to repeat every thing in the most circumstantial detail, to

show that he had conscientiously observed all the directions he

had received.

Verse 37. The pure candlestick] See Clarke on Ex 25:31.

The lamps to be set in order] To be trimmed and fresh oiled

every day, for the purpose of being lighted in the evening.

See Clarke on Ex 27:21.

Verse 43. And Moses did look upon all the work] As being the

general superintendent of the whole, under whom Bezaleel and

Aholiab were employed, as the other workmen were under them.

They had done it as the Lord had commanded] Exactly according to

the pattern which Moses received from the Lord, and which he laid

before the workmen to work by.

And Moses blessed them.] Gave them that praise which was due to

their skill, diligence, and fidelity. See this meaning of the

original word in the note on Ge 2:3.

See Clarke on Ge 2:3. See also a fine instance of

ancient courtesy between masters and their servants, in the case

of Boaz and his reapers, Ru 2:4. Boaz came from Bethlehem, and

said to the reapers, The Lord be with YOU! And they answered him,

The Lord bless THEE! It is, however, very probable that Moses

prayed to God in their behalf, that they might be prospered in all

their undertakings, saved from every evil, and be brought at last

to the inheritance that fadeth not away. This blessing seems to

have been given, not only to the workmen, but to all the people.

The people contributed liberally, and the workmen wrought

faithfully, and the blessing of God was pronounced upon ALL.

THE promptitude, cordiality, and despatch used in this business

cannot be too highly commended, and are worthy of the imitation of

all who are employed in any way in the service of God. The

prospect of having God to dwell among them inflamed every heart,

because they well knew that on this depended their prosperity and

salvation. They therefore hastened to build him a house, and they

spared no expense or skill to make it, as far as a house made with

hands could be, worthy of that Divine Majesty who had promised to

take up his residence in it. This tabernacle, like the temple,

was a type of the human nature of the Lord Jesus; that was a

shrine not made with hands, formed by God himself, and worthy of

that fulness of the Deity that dwelt in it.

It is scarcely possible to form an adequate opinion of the

riches, costly workmanship, and splendour of the tabernacle; and

who can adequately conceive the glory and excellence of that human

nature in which the fulness of the Godhead bodily dwelt? That

this tabernacle typified the human nature of Christ, and the

Divine shechinah that dwelt in it the Deity that dwelt in the

man Christ Jesus, these words of St. John sufficiently prove: In

the beginning was the WORD, and the WORD was with God, and the

WORD was GOD. And the WORD was made flesh, and dwelt among us,

(εσκηνωσενενημιν, made his TABERNACLE among us,) full of

grace and truth-possessing the true Urim and Thummim; all the

lights and perfections, the truth and the grace, typified by

the Mosaic economy, Joh 1:1,14. And hence the evangelist adds,

And we beheld his glory; as the Israelites beheld the glory of

God resting on the tabernacle, so did the disciples of Christ see

the Divine glory resting on him, and showing itself forth in all

his words, spirit, and works. And for what purpose was the

tabernacle erected? That God might dwell in it among the children

of Israel. And for what purpose was the human nature of Christ so

miraculously produced? That the Godhead might dwell in it; and

that God and man might be reconciled through this wonderful

economy of Divine grace, God being in Christ reconciling the world

unto himself, 2Co 5:19. And what was implied by this

reconciliation? The union of the soul with God, and the

indwelling of God in the soul. Reader, has God yet filled thy

tabernacle with his glory? Does Christ dwell in thy heart by

faith; and dost thou abide in him, bringing forth fruit unto

holiness? Then thy end shall be eternal life. Why shouldst thou

not go on thy way rejoicing with Christ in thy heart, heaven in

thine eye, and the world, the devil, and the flesh, under thy

feet?

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