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Ecclesiastes Podcast

Exodus 35:10-19

The book of Exodus is the second book of the Torah (“law”). It continues the story of Genesis concerning the migration of the family of Jacob (the Israelites) to Egypt (Genesis 50). It describes the commissioning of Moses and Aaron as God’s representatives on earth to accomplish God’s deliverance of His people from slavery in Egypt and lead them to the Promised Land (the land of Canaan). It also relates the miraculous deliverance from Egypt beginning with the plagues on Egypt and the crossing of the Red Sea. It then describes the journey to Mount Sinai and the establishment of the Mosaic covenant with the Israelites. The last part of the book involves the specifications and building of the tabernacle – the place where the Lord Himself dwelt amongst His people.

In the book of Exodus, the focus shifts to the deliverance of God’s people.


The covenant, broken by Israel in Chapter 32, has now been renewed in Chapter 34, where the LORD promised that He would be present in their midst. This promise will now be fulfilled through the building of the tabernacle, where the LORD will reside in their midst.

Exodus Chapters 35 – 40 record the construction of the tabernacle, the furniture, and the other items. Chapters 25 – 31 contain the blueprints for these items, and here they are built. Finally, in Exodus 40 the LORD’s glory descended in the cloud in order to reside amongst His people.

Chapter 35 contains the description of the preparation for the building of the tabernacle. It can be outlined as follows:

Keeping the Sabbath Stressed Again (35:1 – 3)
Gathering of Materials Described (35:4 – 29)
The Call to Gather the Raw Materials (35:4 – 9)
The Call to Gather the Workers (35:10 – 19)
The Response of the People (35:20 – 29)
The Appointment of Bezalel and Oholiab (35:30 – 35)


The LORD calls for craftsmen, artisans, and other skilled workers to come forward for the building of the tabernacle. They were needed to build the tabernacle itself as well as the furniture, utensils, and other items that were going to be used in the worship of the LORD.

Moses then told the people to let every skillful man among you come. The phrase skillful man is literally “wisdom of heart,” meaning one with artistic skill. These artists and craftsmen were needed to make all that the Lord has commanded.

The items that these craftsmen were to make are listed in verses 11 – 19. The first item mentioned was the tabernacle along with all the components—its tent and its covering, its hooks and its boards, its bars, its pillars, and its sockets.

Next, the ark and its poles, the mercy seat, and the curtain of the screen, were items that would be placed in the Holy of Holies, the most sacred part of the tabernacle (Exodus 26:33f). The poles were for carrying the ark and the mercy seat during their journey to the Promised Land, and the curtain separated the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place inside the tabernacle.

The items listed next are the furniture and fixtures that would be in the Holy Place:

  • The table and its poles, and all its utensils, and the bread of the Presence (v. 13). The “poles” were used to carry the Table of Shewbread.
  • The lampstand also for the light and its utensils and its lamps and the oil for the light (v. 14).
  • The altar of incense and its poles, and the anointing oil and the fragrant incense (v. 15).
  • The screen for the doorway at the entrance of the tabernacle (v. 15).

Then the items associated with the courtyard that surrounded the tabernacle were listed:

  • The altar of burnt offering with its bronze grating, its poles, and all its utensils, the basin and its stand (v. 16).
  • The hangings of the court, its pillars and its sockets, and the screen for the gate of the court (v. 17).
  • The pegs of the tabernacle and the pegs of the court and their cords (v. 18).

Finally, the garments worn by the priests were listed:

  • The woven garments for ministering in the holy place (v. 19).
  • The holy garments for Aaron the priest and the garments of his sons, to minister as priests (v. 19).

All these instructions Moses gives the people are consistent with the instructions Moses received from God relating to how to build the tabernacle in chapters 25-31.

Biblical Text:

10 ‘Let every skillful man among you come, and make all that the Lord has commanded: 11 the tabernacle, its tent and its covering, its hooks and its boards, its bars, its pillars, and its sockets; 12 the ark and its poles, the mercy seat, and the curtain of the screen; 13 the table and its poles, and all its utensils, and the bread of the Presence; 14 the lampstand also for the light and its utensils and its lamps and the oil for the light; 15 and the altar of incense and its poles, and the anointing oil and the fragrant incense, and the screen for the doorway at the entrance of the tabernacle; 16 the altar of burnt offering with its bronze grating, its poles, and all its utensils, the basin and its stand; 17 the hangings of the court, its pillars and its sockets, and the screen for the gate of the court; 18 the pegs of the tabernacle and the pegs of the court and their cords; 19 the woven garments for ministering in the holy place, the holy garments for Aaron the priest and the garments of his sons, to minister as priests.’”