Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Exodus 35

By Joseph Benson


Verse 2
Exodus 35:2. Six days shall work be done — Work for the tabernacle, but on the seventh day they must not strike a stroke, no, not at the tabernacle work; the honour of the sabbath was above that of the sanctuary.

Verse 3
Exodus 35:3. Ye shall kindle no fire — For any servile work; throughout your habitations — No, not for the service of the tabernacle, as for the heating of tools, or the melting of metals, or other things belonging to it; which being made for God’s service, and deserving and requiring all expedition, they might probably conceive that such work might be done upon that day. And here also, as often elsewhere, under one kind of work, lighting a fire, every other kind is comprehended and forbidden. It is justly observed by Mr. Scott here, “If the kindling of fires in general on the sabbath days be here understood to be prohibited, it must either be viewed as a mere temporary institution, to continue only during the time when the people were miraculously provided for in the wilderness; or that some exceptions were allowed in favour of the sick, infirm, and children, who must suffer extremely, at some seasons, even in warm climates, for want of fire; or that a fire which was burning might be kept up, though a fresh one might not be kindled.” It is remarkable that “the subsequent parts of Scripture give no light on this subject,” further than that, “among the various instances recorded of the Israelites being reproved, and individuals punished, for neglecting to sanctify the sabbath, this is not once mentioned. The modern Jews understand the prohibition literally, yet they use fires in various ways on the sabbath, but employ other persons to kindle them, or to keep them up.”

Verse 21-22
Exodus 35:21-22. Every one whom his spirit made willing — What they did they did cheerfully. They were willing; and it was not any external inducement that made them so, but their spirits. It was from a principle of love to God and his service; a desire of his presence with them by his ordinances, gratitude for the great things he had done for them, and faith in his promises of what he would do further.

Verse 30
Exodus 35:30. The Lord hath called Bezaleel — And those whom God called by name to this service, he filled with the Spirit of God, to qualify them for it. The work was extraordinary which Bezaleel was designed for, and therefore he was qualified in an extraordinary manner for it. Thus when the apostles were appointed to be master-builders in setting up the gospel tabernacle, they were filled with the Spirit of God in wisdom and understanding.