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Bible Commentaries

Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Exodus 31

Verses 1-18

The Appointment of Bezaleel and Aholiab. The Keeping of the Sabbath

2. By name] indicating a very special call: cp. Exodus 33:12; Isaiah 43:1; Isaiah 45:1, Isaiah 45:3-4; John 10:3. Bezaleel] RV ’Bezalel’: see 1 Chronicles 2:18-20. For the identification of the grandfather of Bezaleel with the Hur of Exodus 17:10 there is nothing beyond the similarity of names.

3. See on Exodus 28:3.

4. To devise cunning works] Divine inspiration does not reduce man to a mere machine or passive instrument. It is compatible with originality of invention. This applies not only to the mechanical arts as here, but also to intellectual gifts. It heightens and purifies, but does not supersede the normal faculties. Observe that ’cunning’ is used here in its etymological sense of ’knowing ’or ’skilful.’ See Psalms 137:5

10. Cloths of service] RV ’finely wrought garments,’ a general term including what follows: see Exodus 39:1, Exodus 39:41.

12-17. The reason why the injunction to observe the sabbath is repeated here and again in Exodus 35:1-3 before the account of the carrying out of the preceding instructions is probably the close connexion of the worship of the tabernacle with the observance of the day of rest.

13. A sign] Like circumcision the sabbath is a sign or sacrament marking the covenant relation between Jehovah and His people. Cp. for circumcision Genesis 17:11; Romans 4:11, and for the sabbath Ezekiel 20:12; Isaiah 56:4, Isaiah 56:6. Ancient profane writers frequently refer to these two things as the distinguishing characteristics of a Jew.

14. Shall be put to death.. shall be cut off] The two expressions are not always synonymous; see on Exodus 12:15.

18. Two tables of testimony] cp. Exodus 16:34; Exodus 25:16. Written with the finger of God] see on Exodus 24:12.

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Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Exodus 31". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". 1909.