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Exodus 31:1-11

Context
Willing Artisans

31:1 1 The Lord spoke to Moses: 2  31:2 “See, I have chosen 3  Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 31:3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God 4  in skill, 5  in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds 6  of craftsmanship, 31:4 to make artistic designs 7  for work with gold, with silver, and with bronze, 31:5 and with cutting and setting stone, and with cutting wood, to work in all kinds of craftsmanship. 31:6 Moreover, 8  I have also given him Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, and I have given ability to all the specially skilled, 9  that they may make 10  everything I have commanded you: 31:7 the tent of meeting, the ark of the testimony, the atonement lid that is on it, all the furnishings 11  of the tent, 31:8 the table with its utensils, the pure lampstand with all its utensils, the altar of incense, 31:9 the altar for the burnt offering with all its utensils, the large basin with its base, 31:10 the woven garments, the holy garments for Aaron the priest and the garments for his sons, to minister as priests, 31:11 the anointing oil, and sweet incense for the Holy Place. They will make all these things just as I have commanded you.”

1 sn The next unit describes the preparation of skilled workers to build all that has been listed now for several chapters. This chapter would have been the bridge to the building of the sanctuary (35-39) if it were not for the idolatrous interlude. God called individuals and prepared them by his Spirit to be skilled to do the work for the tabernacle. If this were the substance of an exposition, it would clearly be a message on gifted people doing the work – close to the spiritual lesson of Ephesians 4. There would be two levels of meaning: the physical, which looks at the skilled artisans providing for a place to worship Yahweh, and the spiritual, which would bring in the Spirit-filled servants of God participating in building up his kingdom.

2 tn Heb “and Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying.”

3 tn Heb “called by name.” This expression means that the person was specifically chosen for some important task (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 342). See the expression with Cyrus in Isa 45:3-4.

4 sn The expression in the Bible means that the individual was given special, supernatural enablement to do what God wanted done. It usually is said of someone with exceptional power or ability. The image of “filling” usually means under the control of the Spirit, so that the Spirit is the dominant force in the life.

5 sn The following qualities are the ways in which the Spirit’s enablement will be displayed. “Skill” is the ability to produce something valuable to God and the community, “understanding” is the ability to distinguish between things, to perceive the best way to follow, and “knowledge” is the experiential awareness of how things are done.

6 tn Heb “and in all work”; “all” means “all kinds of” here.

7 tn The expression is לַחְשֹׁב מַחֲשָׁבֹת (lakhshov makhashavot, “to devise devices”). The infinitive emphasizes that Bezalel will be able to design or plan works that are artistic or skillful. He will think thoughts or devise the plans, and then he will execute them in silver or stone or whatever other material he uses.

8 tn The expression uses the independent personal pronoun (“and I”) with the deictic particle (“behold”) to enforce the subject of the verb – “and I, indeed I have given.”

9 tn Heb “and in the heart of all that are wise-hearted I have put wisdom.”

sn The verse means that there were a good number of very skilled and trained artisans that could come to do the work that God wanted done. But God’s Spirit further endowed them with additional wisdom and skill for the work that had to be done.

10 tn The form is a perfect with vav (ו) consecutive. The form at this place shows the purpose or the result of what has gone before, and so it is rendered “that they may make.”

11 tn Heb “all the vessels of the tent.”



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