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Bible Commentaries

Kingcomments on the Whole Bible

Exodus 38

Verses 1-7

The Altar of Burnt Offering

After the actual building and the objects that go with it, the objects that are in front of the building are made. First the altar of burnt offering is made. To this altar are brought the sacrifices which the Israelite brings voluntarily to the LORD and also the sacrifices which he is obliged to bring in certain cases. The sacrificial service at this altar is discussed in detail in the next book, Leviticus.

This altar is the meeting place where God meets His people. The basis is the continual burnt offering that is offered upon it (Exo 29:38-45). In the letter to the Hebrews it is made clear that this altar and the sacrifice upon it have been fulfilled in Christ. Whoever still clings to this literal altar today has no part in the Christian fellowship (Heb 13:10).

See also the comments on Exodus 27:1-8.

Verse 8

The Bronze Laver

Here it is mentioned as a special feature that women gave the material for the laver in the form of their mirrors. The mirror, which they use to look at themselves and which caresses their pride, is handed in to make it the laver. It has cost them something to give up this important utensil. Someone only does so if she would get something better in return. And this is the case here.

The laver represents the Word of God. The Word is also compared with a mirror (Jam 1:23-25). The women’s mirror gives a complete image of who is looking into it, but is not a means to change what is wrong. The mirror of the Word of God also gives a complete image of who looks at himself in it, but it does give a means to change. Whoever sees himself as a sinner also reads how forgiveness and acceptance by God can take place.

Women on various occasions give an essential contribution to the work of God. They
1. serve the Lord with their goods (Lk 8:1-3);
2. sit at His feet (Lk 10:39);
3. anoint him (Lk 7:37-38; Jn 12:3);
4. are at the cross (Jn 19:25);
5. are at the tomb after His resurrection (Mt 28:1-6);
6. see Him first after His resurrection (Mt 28:7-9);
7. are His messengers (Mt 28:10; Jn 20:16-18);
8. are the first to accept the gospel in Philippi (Acts 16:13-15);
9. form, with others, the core of the church (Acts 1:14).

See also the comments on Exodus 30:17-21.

Verses 9-17

The Hangings and Their Pillars

The building and the objects in front of it are surrounded on the south side, the north side, the west side and part of the east side by linen hangings held up by pillars. From the east side means that it is the side “where the sun rises”. The sun rises nowhere else but in the east. Mentioning this in this way can only mean that the attention is focused on the rising sun.

That reminds us of the Lord Jesus. Zachariah, in his song of praise, speaks of Him as “the Sunrise from on high” (Lk 1:78). In the future “the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple” (Mal 3:1) and “the sun of righteousness will rise” (Mal 4:2).

See also the comments on Exodus 27:9-15,17-18.

Verses 18-19

The Screen of the Gate

The remaining part of the hangings on the east side is different from the rest. It is a screen in the gate of the court and is colored. Only through this gate someone can enter.

See also the comments on Exodus 27:16.

Verse 20

The Bronze Pegs

Pillars have their place in the tabernacle, but also tent pegs. Pillars are impressive, while tent pegs seem insignificant. However, both are needed. In the church are men like “James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars” (Gal 2:9). However, there are also countless men and women whose names we do not know, but who are known to God. All are needed. Without pillars there can be no building; without pegs the pillars will not remain standing.

See also the comments on Exodus 27:19.

Verses 21-31

The Costs of the Tabernacle

Everything is counted. To God every sacrifice, every contribution to the tabernacle, His dwelling, is important. It will be a memorial for them before Him (Exo 30:16). We too must count whether everything is still there, or whether we are not deficient in certain truths, underexposing them, while emphasizing other truths disproportionately.

The gold of the tabernacle comes from the voluntary gifts. The silver comes from those that are numbered. That means that the amount of silver is the same for everyone, because each of the numbered people has to pay half a shekel (Exo 30:11-16).

The sockets of the sanctuary are made from this silver. That is, everyone is part of the house of God on the same basis. However different we may be, we all need the fundamental truths of Christ’s reconciliation work. Only faith in that work makes us part of God’s house, the church.

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Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Exodus 38". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.