Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Exodus 37

By Joseph Benson


Verse 1
Exodus 37:1. The house of God being thus finished, the furniture is next made for it. The several articles and ornaments of this the people were not admitted to see, but the priests only; and therefore it was requisite that they should be largely described, as they are in this chapter, particularly to them. And Moses would thus show the great care which he and his workmen took to make every thing exactly according to the pattern showed him in the mount. Thus he appeals to every reader concerning his fidelity to him that appointed him, in all his house. And thus he teacheth us to have respect to all God’s commandments, even to every jot and tittle of them. Bezaleel made the ark of shittim-wood — The ark, with its glorious appurtenances, the mercy-seat and the cherubim, was the principal part of the furniture of the tabernacle. It was placed in the most sacred apartment of the house, and was the great symbol of the divine presence and protection. “It represented,” says Henry, “the glory of a holy God, the sincerity of a holy heart, and the communion that is between them by a Mediator. It is the glory of a holy God, that he dwelleth between the cherubim, that is, he is continually attended by the blessed angels, whose swiftness was signified by the wings of the cherubim, and their unanimity in their services, by their faces being one toward another. It is the character of an upright heart, that, like the ark of the testimony, it hath the law of God hid and kept in it. By Jesus Christ, the great propitiation, there is reconciliation made, and a communion settled between us and God: he interposeth between us and God’s displeasure; and through him we become entitled to God’s favour.

Verse 10
Exodus 37:10. Observe how much the dispensation of the gospel exceeds that of the law. Though here was a table furnished, it was only with show-bread, bread to be looked upon, not to be fed upon, while it was on the table, and afterward only by the priest: but to the table Christ has spread, in the new covenant, all good Christians are invited as guests, and to them it is said, Eat, O friends, come, eat of my bread. What the law gave but a sight of at a distance, the gospel gives the enjoyment of.

Verse 17
Exodus 37:17. This candlestick, which was not of wood overlaid with gold, but all beaten work of pure gold only, signified that light of divine revelation with which God’s church upon earth (which is his tabernacle among men) hath always been enlightened, being always supplied with fresh oil from Christ the good olive, Zechariah 4:2-3. The Bible is a golden candlestick, it is of pure gold; from it light is diffused to every part of God’s tabernacle, that by it the spiritual priests may see to do the service of his sanctuary. This candlestick has not only its bowls for necessary use, but its knops and flowers for ornament; many things which God saw fit to beautify his word with, which we can no more give a reason for than for these knops and flowers, and yet must be sure they were added for some good purpose. Let us bless God for this candlestick, have an eye to it continually, and dread the removal of it out of its place!

Verse 25
Exodus 37:25. The incense burned on this altar daily. signified both the prayers of saints and the intercession of Christ, to which is owing the acceptableness of them.