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Exodus 39:42-43; 40:1-4; 34-38 Notes

Ex. 39:42-43 Commentary

"According to all that the Lord had commanded Moses so the people of Israel had done all the work. Moses saw all the work and behold, they had done it. As the Lord had commanded, so had they done it. Then Moses blessed them."

Exodus 39:42-43

What I love about these two verses is the way they repeat themselves. They basically say, you look at verses 42 and 43, they almost mirror each other basically saying twice in different ways the people of God did all that God told them to do, period.

We should long for the commentary on each of our lives to be one of obedience to the commands of God.

That's the point, it repeats it a couple of different times, just hits it from different angles. I read that and I think now, I want that to be the commentary at the end of my life. Don't you? Don't you want to look back at the end of your life, which obviously for any one of us could be any moment. Any moment and to say, "They did all that the Lord commanded them to do.

Now, obviously none of us is going to be perfect on that day and will have done every single thing the Lord has called us to do, but I surely wanna do as much as possible of what God has called me to do, commanded me to do in His word, His will for my life in this world. I want to make my life count by doing what God calls me to do. I don't want to waste time not doing what God has called me to do.

I'm assuming you don't either. This is why we are in His word on a daily basis, why we must be in His word on a daily basis, because we have to hear what He commands us to do. We have to abide in His word, and then to walk in obedience to His commandments by His grace. That's only possible by His grace. And not just individually, the picture here in Exodus Chapter 39 is the people of God doing all that God called them to do together.

I think about the church that I'm part of or think about the church you're a part of. Don't you want to be part of a community of people who are doing everything God says to do? We're working, striving by the grace of God to be obedient, not to leave anything on the table. Jesus is coming back. We want to spend our lives individually in our families and together in our churches doing all that He calls us to do. Let's not waste time on anything else.

So we pray God, may this commentary, Exodus 39:42 and 43 be our commentary at the end of our lives. I pray for this at the end of my life, for other's lives who are listening to this, for not just our lives but our families and our churches. The families of faith in Christ that we are a part of. As you command us, may it be said that we did it. We did it, we did what you called us to do. We shared the gospel, we made disciples. We saw people come to Christ by your grace, through the power of your spirit. We grew in Christ.

We raised up the next generation to love, glorify and worship you. We walked in holiness, in purity. We made your glory known in a world of urgent spiritual and physical need. We showed your love selflessly. We loved others as ourselves. We didn't waste our lives on ourselves, on the pleasures and purposes on this world. No, we spent ourselves for the accomplishment of your purposes, for the spread of your pleasure.

We used our possessions for what matters most in this world. Oh God, may it be said of us in the end. And for that matter God, may it be said of us at the end of today that we did all that you commanded us to do. In Jesus name we pray, amen.

EW Commentary-Ex. 39:42-43 - Moses inspects the work.

According to all that the LORD had commanded Moses, so the children of Israel did all the work. Then Moses looked over all the work, and indeed they had done it; as the LORD had commanded, just so they had done it. And Moses blessed them.

  1. Then Moses looked over all the work: Moses was the leader with the command from God and with the best knowledge of the pattern God wanted the tabernacle built according to (Exodus 25:9). Therefore, it was right and proper for him to supervise every detail of the construction.
  2. As the LORD had commanded, just so they had done it: This was wonderful obedience. No wonder Moses blessed them.

Ex. 39:42-43 Extra Commentary

Exodus 39:42 "According to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so the children of Israel made all the work."

We see here again, a list of each item that was made. Moses had received the plans from God. God had called Bezaleel and Aholiab to do the actual oversight of the work. And now that this was finished, it had to be brought to Moses to examine each item to make sure that each detail had been carried out to the fullest.

Exodus 39:43 "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."

"Moses did look upon all the work": Fittingly enough, the one who had been with God on the mount and had passed on to the people the blueprints for everything connected with the Lord's tabernacle personally inspected the work and confirmed its successful completion. The term "work" is to be taken as "the end result" of professional and skilled craftsmen.

"And Moses blessed them": by this act, Moses set his final and formal seal of approval on the outcome of their earnestness and diligence, and expressed his prayer-wish that good would result to them from their God. This is the only instance recorded in Exodus of Moses' pronouncing a blessing upon his people. The other appearances of the verb "to bless" occur 3 times with God as the subject of the verb (20:11, 24; 23:25). And one time with Pharaoh requesting Moses to bless him (12:32).

All of this work pleased Moses, because he saw that Aholiab and Bezaleel had done their job well. Now Moses spoke a blessing on all the workers. This blessing was actually a blessing from God, but Moses was God's agent and the blessing spoken by Moses came from God. This blessing was for this world, but Moses, these workers, Bezaleel and Aholiab would have great reward in heaven as well.

EW Commentary-Ex. 40:34-38

C. The glory of God and the tabernacle.

1. (40:34-35) God's glory fills the tabernacle.

Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tabernacle of meeting, because the cloud rested above it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.

  1. The cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle: Obviously, God was pleased with the obedience of Israel. This was not so much because it showed His superiority over them, but it was more so because it proved they really did believe Him and love Him.
         i. There is a real and significant connection between the continually mentioned obedience of Moses and Israel (as the LORD had commanded Moses) and this remarkable display of glory. We shouldn't think that Moses or Israel earned this display of glory because of their obedience; yet their obedience welcomed it.
         ii. This is an enduring principle. We don't earn our rescue, and God doesn't love us more when we obey. Yet, undeniably, when we walk in God's light and truth, there is blessing. Proverbs 3:5-6 speaks beautifully to this: Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
  2. Moses was not able to enter the tabernacle of meeting, because the cloud rested above it: The same thing happened when Solomon completed and dedicated the temple - the glory of God so filled the temple they couldn't stay in it (1 Kings 8:10-11).
         i. Without the glory, it was just a fancy tent. The same could be said of a church, of a home, or of the human tent.

2. (40:36-38) God's glory abides with Israel in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. Whenever the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle, the children of Israel would go onward in all their journeys. But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not journey till the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the LORD was above the tabernacle by day, and fire was over it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.

  1. Whenever the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle, the children of Israel would go onward: This is beautiful evidence that God did answer Moses' prayer in Exodus 33:14. God's presence was with Israel, despite the golden calf debacle.
         i. "The book ends with the fulfillment of the promise of Exodus 29:45. YHWH is living among His people: the theology of the presence of God has become the fact of His presence." (Cole)
  2. Throughout all their journeys: The Book of Exodus ends with great hope and trust in God. Though Israel was in the middle of a desolate desert, had fierce enemies in the Promised Land, and was weak and liable to sin and rebellion, God was with them. This gave them great cause for faith and confidence.
         i. "To speak of a journey is to look for an arrival: He who has begun a work of salvation for Israel will complete it (Philippians 1:6)." (Cole)

Exodus 40:34-38 - EXPOSITION

OVERVIEW OF EX. 40: All was now ready. Bezaleel and Aholiab had completed their task. The work for the tabernacle had been given in, and had been approved Moses did not however at once set it up. He waited for a command from God. After a short interval, the command came. He was ordered to select the first day of the ensuing year-the first day of the first year of freedom-for the operation. Directions were given him, which fixed the order in which the various parts were to be set up, and assigned to the various articles of furniture their proper places (Exodus 40:1-8). When he had arranged the whole as directed, he was to anoint the various parts (Exodus 40:9-11). He was then to wash and dress Aaron, and his sons; to invest them with their robes of office (Exodus 40:12-14), and to anoint them to be priests (Exodus 40:15). The orders given were executed, except (as it would seem) those concerning the investiture of the priests and the anointing, which were deferred. (See Le Exodus 8:6-30.) In one day the sanctuary was completely set up (Exodus 40:18-33).

Verses 34-38

THE DESCENT OF THE GLORY OF GOD ON THE COMPLETED WORK. The work was finished the fist incense burnt (Exodus 40:27)-the first sacrifice offered (Exodus 40:29). Those who had watched the proceedings, and those who had been engaged in them, were probably about to retire to rest. Even Moses had withdrawn, and left the tabernacle to itself-when suddenly, there was a manifestation of Divine Power. The cloud, which had gone before the Israelites from Succoth onward (Exodus 13:20-22), and which had recently settled upon the extemporised "Tent of Meeting" (Exodus 33:9), left its place, and "covered" the newly-erected structure externally (Exodus 40:34), while an intensely brilliant light-here called "the glory of God"-filled the whole interior of the tabernacle (ib,). Moses, it appears, would fain have re-entered the tabernacle-to see the great sight" (Exodus 3:3); but he could not-the "glory" was too dazzling (Exodus 40:35). Thus a distinct approval was given to all that had been done. God accepted his house, and entered it. The people saw that he had foregone his wrath, and would be content henceforth to dwell among them and journey with them. Henceforth, throughout the wanderings, the cloud and tabernacle were inseparable. If the cloud was lifted a little off it and moved in front, the tabernacle had to follow (Exodus 40:36)-if it settled down on the roof, the people stopped and remained until it moved again (Exodus 40:37). The appearance was as of a cloud by day, and as of fire by night, so that all could always see where the tabernacle was, and whether it was stationary or in motion (Exodus 40:38). After the first descent, it would seem that "the glory" withdrew into the Holy of Holies, so that both Moses and the priests could enter the holy place, and minister there (Le Exodus 8:10; Exodus 10:13, etc.).

Exodus 40:34

Then a cloud. In the original "the cloud," i.e. the cloud so often spoken of (Exodus 13:21, Exodus 13:22; Exodus 14:19, Exodus 14:20, Exodus 14:24; Exodus 19:9; Exodus 24:15-18; Exodus 33:9, Exodus 33:10). Covered the tent. Descended on the outer covering and rested there. Filled the tabernacle. Entered inside, and filled both holy place and Holy of Holies.

Exodus 40:35

Moses was not able to enter. It is implied that he wished-nay, tried-to enter-but the "glory" prevented him. (Compare 1 Kings 8:11; 2Ch 5:14; 2 Chronicles 7:2.) Because the cloud abode thereon. It was not the external "cloud" which prevented Moses from entering, but the internal "glory." But the two are regarded as inseparable.

Exodus 40:36-38

And when-i.e. "whensoever." The last three verses describe the manner in which the cloud henceforth served the Israelites as guide-not only directing their course, but determining when they were to move, and how long they were to rest at each encampment. For a further account of the same, see Numbers 9:15-23.

Exodus 40:38

The cloud ... was upon the tabernacle by day and fire was on. it by night. Compare Exodus 13:21, Exodus 13:22; and Exodus 14:20, Exodus 14:24; Numbers 9:15, Numbers 9:16. The cloud had two aspects-one obscure, the other radiant. It was a dark column by day-a pillar of fire by night. Thus it was always visible.

Ex. 40:34-38 - Extra Commentary

Exodus 40:34"Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle."

"Then a cloud covered ... the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle": This was the final confirmation for Moses and the people that all the work for setting up God's dwelling place had been properly done and all the tedious instructions obediently followed.

Now that Moses had dedicated the temple and followed all of God's commands to the letter, we see God entered the Holy of Holies. The presence of God was in this cloud. This was the same cloud that the children of Israel followed in their wilderness wanderings. The Lord will not enter a polluted temple (then or now). This presence of the Lord was over the mercy seat.

Exodus 40:35 "And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle."

As it was at Mount Sinai (see 24:16-18; 34:5-9, 29-35), the "glory of the Lord" was evidence of God's presence with His people (1 Kings 8:10-11). This abiding glory and presence is what some refer to as "the Shekinah glory" (see John 1:14).

The close presence of God, as we have read all through this book, is a very dangerous place to be unless the person in question is summoned by the Lord. The Lord was pleased with this temple and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. As long as this presence was there, Moses or no one else was to say it was time to go. The presence or absence of the Lord determined when it was time to move.

Exodus 40:36 "And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys:"

God continued to guide the Hebrew people as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night "in all their journeys" (13:21-22).

"Taken up": This first occurred (as recorded in Num. 10:11), 50 days after the tabernacle was finished and erected.

Exodus 40:37 "But if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up."

It was not a cloud which the sun scatters. This cloud was a token of God's presence to be seen day and night, by all Israel, that they might never again question, is the Lord among us, or is he not? It guided the camp of Israel through the wilderness. While the cloud rested on the tabernacle, they rested; when it removed, they followed it. The glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. In light and fire the Shekinah made itself visible.

God is Light; our God is a consuming Fire. Yet so dazzling was the light, and so dreadful the fire, that Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, till the splendor was abated. But what Moses could not do, our Lord Jesus has done, whom God caused to draw near; and who has invited us to come boldly, even to the mercy-seat. By us being taught by the Holy Spirit and follow the example of Christ, as well as to depend upon him. To attend his ordinances, and obey his precepts, we shall be kept from losing our way, and be led in the midst of the paths of judgment, till we come to heaven, the habitation of his holiness. BLESSED BE GOD FOR JESUS CHRIST!

Exodus 40:38 "For the cloud of the LORD [was] upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys."

Or over it, it covered it, when it abode upon it, and rested. And stood on high over it when it moved and the people journeyed.

"And fire was on it by night": The same phenomenon which had the appearance of a cloud in the day time shone like fire in the night time. Or "fire was in it"; that is, in the cloud. So it appeared in the night. And it was, as the Targum of Jonathan here calls it, a pillar of fire. The same with the pillar of cloud and fire, which departed not from the people all the while they were in the wilderness (Exodus 13:21). And this was:

"In the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys": Whether by night or by day. For in hot countries they travel much by night; and as the cloud was both a shelter from the heat of the sun in the daytime, and a direction of their way. So the fire by night was of the same use for direction. And might be also terrifying to wild beasts in the wilderness, who are afraid of fire, and so be a security to the Israelites from them. All which is an emblem of the guidance and protection, light, joy, and comfort, the church of God has from his gracious presence, while in the wilderness of this world (see Isaiah 4:5).

This cloud led the children of Israel and they set the tabernacle and the court of the congregation wherever they stopped. In another study of a later book, we will study about building a permanent temple in Jerusalem to house this same Ark of the Covenant. David's son Solomon, would be called of God to do the task. For all the journeys of the Israelites the tabernacle and its court was their place to meet with God.

EW Commentary-A. God tells Moses how to assemble everything.

1. (40:1-4) How to arrange the furniture within the tabernacle.

Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: "On the first day of the first month you shall set up the tabernacle of the tent of meeting. You shall put in it the ark of the Testimony, and partition off the ark with the veil. You shall bring in the table and arrange the things that are to be set in order on it; and you shall bring in the lampstand and light its lamps.

  1. On the first day of the first month: This indicates that it was a year since Israel came out of Egypt. This was an amazing year in the history of Israel. They could count the great works of God and measure their own spiritual growth.
         i. It is fair to use the passing of time to see how far we have come with God. Some Christians never grow much beyond their initial experience with God. Some who have been Christians for 10 years have only the maturity of a one-year-old Christian - they simply repeat their first year over and over again.

Pulpit Commentary -Exodus 40:1-4 The directions to set up the tabernacle.

Exodus 40:2: On the first day of the first month. The first of Abib, or Nisan, the "New Year's Day" of Israel, coinciding nearly with the opening of the vernal equinox, a very suitable day for the inauguration of a place of worship. The tabernacle was to be set up first of all; then the tent was to be placed over it. See Exodus 40:18, Exodus 40:19.

Exodus 40:3: The first thing to be placed within the tabernacle was the ark of the testimony, as containing the foundation of the covenant between God and Israel, and being the special token of God's presence with his people. See the comment on Exodus 25:10. The "two tables" were placed within the ark before it was brought into the tabernacle (Exodus 25:20, Exodus 25:21). Cover the ark with the veil-i.e; "hang up the veil in front of the ark, so as to cover or conceal it."

Exodus 40:4: Thou shalt bring in the table-i.e; "the table of shew-bread" (Exodus 25:23-30; Exodus 37:10-16). And set in order the things, etc. It has been observed with reason that the directions of Le Exodus 24:5-7 must have been already given, though not recorded till so much later. Bread and frankincense were to be "set in order" on the table in a particular way. The candlestick. The seven. branched candelabrum (Exodus 25:31-39; Exodus 37:17-24). And thou shalt light the lamps. The lamps would have to be lighted on the first day at even (Exodus 27:21; Exodus 30:8).

Ex. 40:1-4 Extra Commentary

Verses 1-33: Finally the time arrived for the tabernacle to be erected with the Holy of Holies and its accompanying Holy Place to the west, and the courtyard entrance to the east. In terms of pagan religions and their worship of the sun god, some polemic significance might be seen in the High-Priest worshiping God with his back to the rising sun. All who entered the courtyard also turned their backs to the rising sun as they came
in to sacrifice and worship.

The tabernacle was raised up about a year after the Exodus from Egypt, 10 months after they arrived at Sinai. Moses' faithfulness to the Lord's commands until the work was "finished" is recognized here. The writer of Hebrews also highlights Moses' faithfulness in the building of the tabernacle (Heb. 3:2; see Num. 12:7). It is never enough to start strong for God; His servants must also seek to finish well (2 Tim. 4:7-8).

Exodus 40:1 "And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,"

When the tabernacle, and the work of it, were finished, and he had taken a survey of it, and everything belonging to it, which appeared to be done as was ordered. Saying; as follows:

Exodus 40:2 "On the first day of the first month shalt thou set up the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation."

Which was the month Abib (the first month of the ancient Hebrew calendar corresponding to Nisan), as the Targum of Jonathan expresses it. Which was the month the children of Israel came out of Egypt, out of which they had now been a whole year, with the exception of fourteen days.

"Shalt thou set up the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation": The tabernacle, which had a tent or covering over it, to which the people were gathered at times for religious service.

This was approximately April 1. I say approximately, because the Hebrews change months with the new moon. Here, we see after Moses' inspection of all the items, God told Moses to set up the tabernacle on the first day of Abib.

Exodus 40:3 "And thou shalt put therein the ark of the testimony, and cover the ark with the veil."

The ark or chest where the law was, a testimony of the divine will, and which was to be put into the most holy place of the tabernacle.

"And cover the ark with the veil": not with the propitiatory or mercy seat, as the Targum of Jonathan. For though that was a covering or lid to the ark, yet not a veil. This was the veil that divided between the holy place and the most holy, and so covered or hid the ark from the sight even of the priests that went into the holy place.

The ark must not be open to public view. This ark was to be kept in the Holy of Holies and no one could go into the Holy of Holies but the high priest. This beautiful veil kept the ark hidden.

Exodus 40:4 "And thou shalt bring in the table, and set in order the things that are to be set in order upon it; and thou shalt bring in the candlestick, and light the lamps thereof."

The table of showbread, which was to be set in the holy place.

"And set in order the things that are to be set in order upon it": Besides the dishes, spoons, covers, and bowls, there were the twelve loaves of showbread to be set in two rows.

"And thou shall bring in the candlestick, and light the lamps thereof; which was to be brought and set in the same holy place with the showbread table. And though the lamps were to be lighted by Aaron, the priest of the Lord, he being not yet consecrated, the office was performed by Moses.