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Bible Commentaries
Exodus 31

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-18

Exodus 31:3. I have filled him with the Spirit of God. How just to ascribe the glory to God for the powers of genius, seeing he has assuredly disposed the minds of men to the arts and sciences, as much as he allures and draws the soul to piety. It often wounds our feelings to hear the egotisms of our mechanics, who being practical men, despise scientific men, who are notwithstanding the ultimate guides of ingenious artists.

Exodus 31:8. The pure candlestick; because always kept bright and clean, or because made of pure gold.

Exodus 31:13. My sabbaths ye shall keep. This precept seems to be here repeated, to limit the time for doing the forementioned works. Though the work of the tabernacle and its utensils be holy, and for a holy use, yet I will not have it done upon my holy day. Ezekiel 20:12. I the Lord doth sanctify you. I have selected you out of all people, and consecrated you to myself, to my service and worship, a great part whereof is the due observance of the sabbath.

Exodus 31:17. Was refreshed. Which denotes the pleasure or delight God took in reflecting upon his works, beholding that every thing he had made was very good. Genesis 1:31.

Exodus 31:18. Written with the finger of God. By God’s own powerful operation, and not by the art of man; or as the Jews say, by the express command and direction of God, by the ministration of an angel. This was not the first writing; the order and power of the alphabet among the Persians, the Goths, and the Hebrews, having one origin, undoubtedly from Noah, proves the contrary.


There are four reflections to be made on this chapter. First, That God did not leave it to the people to make choice of persons to work in the tabernacle, but named those who were to have the principal direction of this work; that it might appear that every thing relating to the divine service was done by his order and authority. Secondly, We find by this and the following chapters, that though the children of Israel had been in a state of oppression in Egypt, there were nevertheless among them some persons of both sexes who had ingenuity and capacity for all kinds of workmanship.

Thirdly, God on this occasion repeated the law concerning the observance of the sabbath, lest those who were to work in the tabernacle might imagine themselves at liberty not to rest on that day. The frequent repetition of this law, and the punishment of death denounced against its transgressors, sufficiently show its great importance. The constant observance of this day of rest served also to remind the Jews that they were the worshippers of the true God, and were by this means to be kept from falling into idolatry.

Lastly, After God had pronounced the law from Mount Sinai, he was pleased to engrave it upon two tables of stone, that it might be preserved to future ages without alteration. It has always been the will of God that men should adhere to his word, and to the revelation he has made of his will, without adding to or diminishing from it, or making the least alteration: and that they should make it the unalterable rule of their faith and practice.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Exodus 31". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/exodus-31.html. 1835.
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