Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Exodus 39

By Joseph Benson


Verse 1
Exodus 39:1. The tabernacle and its court being now fitted for divine service, the next things to be wrought were the robes of the high-priest and priests, to be put on when they did service in the holy place. Hence these garments are termed clothes of service. And “those that wear robes of honour,” says Henry, “must look upon them as clothes of service; for, from them upon whom honour is put, 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 Father’s 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 3
Exodus 39:3. Cut it into wires — They had not then the art which we have now, of drawing a piece of gold into threads of what length we please; but they beat it first into thin plates, and then cut off small wires, which they wove with the other materials here mentioned.

Verse 8
Exodus 39:8. He made the breast-plate — This was the next piece in order, and it was formed with its four rows of jewels, and its chains, rings, and laces, to tie it inseparably to the ephod: all which was done according to the model given chap. 28. It is observable that nothing is here said of the Urim and Thummim, which is thought an argument that they were not distinct things from the precious stones in the breast-plate.

Verse 32
Exodus 39:32. 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
Exodus 39:43. And Moses did look upon all the work — Piece by piece; and behold they had done it according to the pattern showed him — For the same that showed 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 recompense 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 any 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.