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Exodus Chapter Thirty-nine


Exodus 39

Chapter Contents

The priests' garments. (1-31) The tabernacle completed. (32-43)

Commentary on Exodus 39:1-31

(Read Exodus 39:1-31)

The priests' garments were rich and splendid. The church in its infancy was thus taught by shadows of good things to come; but the substance is Christ, and the grace of the gospel. Christ is our great High Priest. When he undertook the work of our redemption, he put on the clothes of service, he arrayed himself with the gifts and graces of the Spirit, girded himself with resolution to go through the undertaking, took charge of all God's spiritual Israel, laid them near his heart, engraved them on the palms of his hands, and presented them to his Father. And he crowned himself with holiness to the Lord, consecrating his whole undertaking to the honour of his Father's holiness. True believers are spiritual priests. The clean linen with which all their clothes of service must be made, is the righteousness of saints, Revelation 19:8.

Commentary on Exodus 39:32-43

(Read Exodus 39:32-43)

The tabernacle was a type or emblem of Jesus Christ. As the Most High dwelt visibly within the sanctuary, even on the ark, so did he reside in the human nature and tabernacle of his dear Son; in Christ dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, Colossians 2:9. The tabernacle was a symbol of every real Christian. In the soul of every true follower of the Saviour the Father dwells, the object of his worship, and the author of his blessings. The tabernacle also typified the church of the Redeemer. The meanest and the mightiest are alike dear to the Father's love, freely exercised through faith in Christ. The tabernacle was a type and emblem of the heavenly temple, Revelation 21:3. What, then, will be the splendour of His appearance, when the cloud shall be withdrawn, and his faithful worshippers shall see him as he is!

── Matthew HenryConcise Commentary on Exodus


Exodus 39

Verse 1

[1] And of the blue, and purple, and scarlet, they made cloths of service, to do service in the holy place, and made the holy garments for Aaron; as the LORD commanded Moses.

The priests garments are called here clothes of service - Those that wear robes of honour must look upon them as clothes of service; for those upon whom honour is put, from them service is expected. Holy garments were not made for men to sleep in, but to do service in, and then they are indeed for glory and beauty. These also were shadows of good things to come, but the substance is Christ. He is our great high priest; he put upon him the clothes of service when he undertook the work of our redemption; arrayed himself with the gifts and graces of the Spirit, which he received not by measure; charged himself with all God's spiritual Israel, bare them on his shoulder, carried them in his bosom, and presented them in the breast-plate of judgment unto his Father. And, lastly, he crowned himself with holiness to the Lord, consecrated his whole undertaking to the honour of his Fathers holiness. And all true believers are spiritual priests. The clean linen with which all their clothes of service must be made, is the righteousness of saints: and holiness to the Lord must be so written upon their foreheads, that all who converse with them may see they bear the image of God's holiness.

Verse 32

[32] Thus was all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation finished: and the children of Israel did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so did they.

Thus was all the work finished — In not much more than five months. Though there was a great deal of fine work, such as used to be the work of time, embroidering, and engraving, not only in gold, but in precious stones, yet they went through with it in a little time, and with the greatest exactness imaginable. The workmen were taught of God, and so were kept from making blunders, which would have retarded them. And the people were hearty and zealous in the work, and impatient till it was finished. God had prepared their hearts, and then the thing was done suddenly, 2 Chronicles 29:36.

Verse 43

[43] And Moses did look upon all the work, and, behold, they had done it as the LORD had commanded, even so had they done it: and Moses blessed them.

And Moses did look upon all the work — Piece by Piece, and behold they had done it according to the pattern shewed him - For the same that shewed him the pattern, guided their hand in the work.

And Moses blessed them — He not only praised them, but prayed for them: he blessed them as one having authority. We read not of any wages Moses paid them for their work, but his blessing he gave them. For though ordinarily the labourer be worthy of his hire, yet in this case, they wrought for themselves. The honour and comfort of God's tabernacle among them would be recompence enough. And they had their meat from heaven on free-cost, for themselves and their families, and their raiment waxed not old upon them; so that they neither needed wages, nor had reason to expect any. But indeed this blessing in the name of the Lord was wages enough for all their work. Those whom God employs he will bless, and those whom he blesseth, they are blessed indeed. The blessing he commands is life for evermore.

── John WesleyExplanatory Notes on Exodus



39 Chapter 39


Verses 32-43

Exodus 39:32-43

They brought the Tabernacle unto Moses.

The delivery of the work to Moses

I. The presentation of the work: “They brought the Tabernacle unto Moses.” So, whatever work or service is done in connection with the Christian Church should be solemnly presented to Christ, who is the Chief Builder of the Christian Temple.

II. The inspection of the work; “Moses did look upon all the work“; and so does Christ inspect every offering that is brought to Him. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 3:13, that a day is coming in which every man’s work will be tried of what sort it is--tried by fire--tried with the most terrible exactness.

III. The approbation of the work: “Behold, they had done it as the Lord had commanded.” So in Christian service nothing can be accepted that is not minutely in accordance with the Divine specification.

IV. The remuneration of the work: “And Moses blessed them.” So is all faithful service done to Christ rewarded even here with spiritual blessing. So will it be in the end (1 Corinthians 3:14). Lessons:

1. The dignity of Christian work as presented to Christ.

2. The duty of fidelity in Christian work, considering it must be inspected by Christ.

3. The grand aim in Christian work, to be accepted by Christ. Cf. 2 Corinthians 5:9.

4. The high stimulus in Christian work, the certainty of being rewarded by Christ. (J. S. Exell, M. A.)

The Tabernacle itself

The Tabernacle held an important position in the divinely-appointed worship of the Jewish Church. No less than thirteen chapters in the Book of Exodus (Exodus 25-31; Exodus 35-40) are devoted to the account of it; an account twice repeated, extending to the minutest details of shape, size, material, colour, and workmanship. Special stress is laid upon the fact that it was made after a heavenly design exhibited to Moses during the forty days of his mysterious communing with Jehovah on Mount Sinai (Exodus 29:9; Exodus 29:40; Exodus 26:30). The smallest details are included in this heavenly pattern (Exodus 27:8; Numbers 8:4). This heavenly pattern of the Tabernacle is twice referred to in the New Testament (Acts 7:44; Hebrews 8:5). Not only was the Tabernacle made after a heavenly pattern, but divinely-inspired artificers carried the design into execution (Exodus 31:1-6; Exodus 35:30-35; Exodus 36:1). We see from these passages that, in matters which concern the worship of God, the minutest details as to the colour, shape, material, and make of the ornaments of Divine service, and of the ministers of it, are not thought unworthy of a special Divine revelation as to their design, and of a special Divine inspiration for the carrying of that design into effect. At the close of the work we are told, in words that carry our thoughts back to the blessing bestowed upon the first creation (Genesis 1:30), that Moses recognized its exact accordance with the heavenly pattern which he had seen (Exodus 39:43). (E. F. Willis, M. A.)

Names of the Tabernacle

It is called the House of Jehovah (Exodus 23:19; Joshua 6:24; 1 Samuel 3:15); The Temple of Jehovah (1 Samuel 3:3), the Sanctuary (Exodus 25:8; Leviticus 12:4; Leviticus 16:33; Leviticus 19:30; Leviticus 20:3; Leviticus 21:12; Numbers 3:38, etc.); or simply, the Tabernacle (Exodus 25:9; Exodus 26:16; Exodus 27:9; Exodus 27:19, etc.); or Dwelling, i.e., of God. The two most characteristic names, however, are, the Tent or Tabernacle of the Testimony (Numbers 9:15; Numbers 17:7-8, etc.), and the Tent or Tabernacle of Meeting (Exodus 27:21; Exodus 39:32; Exodus 39:40; Exodus 40:7; Exodus 40:34-35, etc.). The name Tent or Tabernacle of the Testimony had reference to that which was one of the two chief objects of the Tabernacle, viz., to serve as a shrine for “the Testimony”--the two tables of stone on which were engraved the ten words of the Divine Law. The other characteristic name, that of Tabernacle or Tent of Meeting, speaks of the other chief end for which the Tabernacle existed, viz., to be a place of meeting between God and His people (Exodus 25:8; Exodus 25:22; Exodus 29:42-45; Exodus 30:6; Exodus 30:36). (E. F. Willis, M. A.)

Completed labour

I. The work was completed according to plan.

II. It was completed in a short time.

III. It was completed with great joy. The joy of--

1. Knowing that each had done something, and that something his best.

2. Anticipation.

IV. The completed work may remind us of the words of Him who said, “I have finished the work Thou gavest Me to do.”

V. As the house in the wilderness was finished down to the last pin, so the Church in the world, of which it was a type, shall be perfected down to the last and meanest member. The Jewish Tabernacle:--

1. It was a school of object-lessons, designed to teach the ignorant and sensual Israelites the truths of the invisible and eternal kingdom of God. It was a small model of heavenly realities--a pattern of sight in the heavens (Hebrews 9:23). It was, in the realm of religious truth, something like the planetarium used in a recitation room in teaching astronomy.

2. The principal lessons it taught were--

──The Biblical Illustrator