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Bible Commentaries

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

Exodus 36

Verses 1-7

1. Preparations for construction 35:1-36:7

Following the restoration of the covenant, Moses announced God’s directions for the construction of the tabernacle. In building it the Israelites were to work only six days a week. They were to rest on the Sabbath (Exodus 35:2-3).

"Kindling a fire receives special attention here because the people thought that kindling a fire was not a work, but only a preparation for some kind of work. But the Law makes sure that this too was not done." [Note: The NET Bible note on 35:3.]

Moses invited the people to bring their contributions for the construction (Exodus 35:4-19; cf. Exodus 25:1-9). These materials would have been the Israelites’ own goods. Some were items the Egyptians had given them when they left Egypt and possessions they had obtained from traders they had met during their travels since leaving Egypt.

The people began to bring what the builders needed (Exodus 35:20-29). Moses again recognized Bezalel and Oholiab as skillful artisans whom God had gifted and appointed to lead the construction work (Exodus 35:30 to Exodus 36:2). This provision by God inspired the people to give even more, so much so that Moses had to tell the people to stop giving (Exodus 31:3-7). The people proved their commitment to the covenant and to Yahweh by their generous contributions to the project that He had ordered. [Note: See Dwayne H. Adams, "The Building Program that Works (Exodus 25:4-36:7 [31:1-11])," Exegesis and Exposition 1:1 (Fall 1986):82-92.]

Verses 8-38

The tabernacle 36:8-38

The hangings and coverings Exodus 36:8-19 (cf. Exodus 26:1-14)

The boards and bars Exodus 36:20-34 (cf. Exodus 26:15-30)

The veil and screen Exodus 36:35-38 (cf. Exodus 26:31-37)

"The order of recounting the construction of the parts of the tabernacle is not the same as that of the instructions in Exodus 25-30. . . . The purpose for this change is perhaps to begin with, and thus highlight, the part of the work that involved ’all the skilled workers’ before moving on to that work which involved only Bezalel. Thus the picture given at the beginning of the narrative is that of the total participation of all the people." [Note: Sailhamer, The Pentateuch . . ., p. 318.]

Verses 8-43

2. Execution of the work 36:8-39:43

Moses described the directions for constructing the tabernacle and its furnishings earlier (chs. 25-31). I will simply give a breakdown of the individual items here with references and parallel references (cf. also Exodus 35:11-19).

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Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Exodus 36". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/exodus-36.html. 2012.