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Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament

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EXODUS 36

This chapter is parallel with Exo. 26, with "no major differences."F1 It is true, of course, that there is a variation in the order of some verses in order to bring the tent (the first thing constructed) to the front, and in order to mention the laver, the bronze altar, and the altar of incense in the groupings that correspond to the major divisions of the whole structure. Here and there, one will find something a little different. In Exo. 36:38, for example, it is stated that the "capitals and fillets of the pillars were overlaid with gold," whereas, in Exo. 26:37, only the pillars were gold plated. Fields noted that "This example is typical of others in these chapters that might be noted."F2

Exo. 36:1-38 --

And Bezaleel and Oholiab shall work, and every wise-hearted man, in whom Jehovah hath put wisdom and understanding to know how to work all the work for the service of the sanctuary, according to all that Jehovah hath commanded.F3

"And Moses called Bezaleel and Oholiab, and every wise-hearted man, in whose heart Jehovah had put wisdom, even every one whose heart stirred him up to come unto the work to do it: and they received of Moses all the offering which the children of Israel had brought for the work of the service of the sanctuary, wherewith to make it. And they brought yet unto him freewill-offerings every morning. And all the wise men, that wroughtF4 all the work of the sanctuary, came every man from his work Which he wrought; and they spake unto Moses, saying, The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work which Jehovah commanded to make. And Moses gave commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, Let neither man nor woman make any more work for the offering of the sanctuary. So the people were restrained from bringing. For the stuff they had was sufficient for all the work to make it, and too much.F5

"And all the wise-hearted men among them that wrought the work made the tabernacle with ten curtains; of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, with cherubim, the work of the skilled workman, Bezaleel made them.F6 The length of each curtain was eight and twenty cubits, and the breadth of each curtain four cubits: all the curtains had one measure. And he coupled five curtains one to another: and the other five curtains he coupled one to another. And he made loops of blue upon the edge of the one curtain from the selvedge in the coupling: likewise he made in the edge of the curtain that was outmost in the second coupling. Fifty loops made he in the one curtain, and fifty loops made he in the edge of the curtain that was in the second coupling: the loops were opposite one to another. And he made fifty clasps of gold, and coupled the curtains one to another with the clasps: so the tabernacle was one.

"And he made curtains of goats' hair for a tent over the tabernacle: eleven curtains he made them. The length of each curtain was thirty cubits, and four cubits the breadth of each curtain: the eleven curtains had one measure.F7 And he coupled five curtains by themselves, and six curtains by themselves. And he made fifty loops on the edge of the curtain that was outmost in the coupling, and fifty loops made he upon the edge of the curtain that was outmost in the second coupling. And he made fifty clasps of brass to couple the tent together, that it might be one. And he made a covering for the tent of rams' skins dyed red, and a covering of sealskins above.

"And he made the boards for the tabernacle, of acacia wood, standing up.F8 Ten cubits was the length of a board, and a cubit and a half the breadth of each board. Each board had two tenons, joined one to another: thus did he make for all the boards of the tabernacle. And he made the boards for the tabernacle: twenty boards for the south side southward; and he made forty sockets of silver under the twenty boards; two sockets under one board for its two tenons, and two sockets under another board for its two tenons. And for the second side of the tabernacle, on the north side, he made twenty boards. and their forty sockets of silver; two sockets under one board, and two sockets under another board.F9 And for the hinder part of the tabernacle westward he made six boards. And two boards made he for the corners of the tabernacle in the hinder part. And they were double beneath; and in like manner they were entire unto the top thereof into one ring: thus he did to both of them in the two corners. And their were eight boards, and their sockets of silver, sixteen sockets; under every board two sockets.

"And he made bars of acacia wood; five for the boards of the one side of the tabernacle, and five bars for the boards of the other side of the tabernacle, and five bars for boards of the tabernacle for the hinder part westward. And he made the middle bar to pass through in the midst of the boards from one end to the other. And he overlaid the boards with gold, and made their rings of gold for places for the bars, and overlaid the bars with gold.

"And he made the veil of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen: with cherubim, the work of the skillful workman, made he it. And he made thereunto four pillars of acacia, and overlaid them with gold: their hooks were of gold: and he cast for them four sockets of silver. And he made a screen for the door of the Tent, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, the work of the embroiderer; and the five pillars of it with their hooks: and he overlaid their capitals and their fillets with gold; and their five sockets were of brass."


Footnotes for Exodus 36
1: Robert P. Gordon, The New Layman's Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1979), p. 208.
2: Wilbur Fields, Exodus (Joplin: College Press, 1976), p. 781.
3: This verse is actually the conclusion of the previous chapter; but we have kept the usual chapter divisions.
4: The word "wrought" is an old past tense form of the verb "to work".
5: This episode of the people's abundant and willing liberality, even bringing too much, is, of course, a new element here. It has stood in all ages as an inspiring example of faithful and loyal giving in behalf of the work of the Lord.
6: It appears that Oholiab was the chief weaver and that Belzaleel is here mentioned as the chief of all the works.
7: This simply means they were all the same size.
8: The subject "he" is here rather indefinite, as in several other places, the probable meaning being that "whoever was the workman" did this or that.
9: It was understood that what he did for "one board ... and another board" was to be continued for the whole twenty.

Copyright Statement
James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Exodus 36". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/bcc/view.cgi?book=ex&chapter=036>. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.  

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