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Exodus 35:20-29 meaning

After Moses' call for the people to give materials for building the tabernacle and for skilled craftsmen to build it, the people departed from his presence. The men and women who were moved to contribute brought their donations to Moses.

Following Moses' exhortation to get involved both materially and time-wise for the building of the tabernacle, all the congregation of the sons of Israel departed from Moses' presence.

Those people whose heart stirred him [lit., "whose heart was lifted up"] and everyone whose spirit moved him [lit., "his spirit caused him to be willing"] came and brought the Lord's contribution for the work of the tent of meeting and for all its service and for the holy garments. These contributions were to be voluntary. The ones who willingly brought material for the tabernacle showed a desire to have the LORD dwell among the people. The LORD delights in our gifts as well (2 Corinthians 9:7).

Not only were materials for the tabernacle itself brought to Moses, but also, all whose hearts moved them, both men and women, came and brought brooches and earrings and signet rings and bracelets, all articles of gold; so did every man who presented an offering of gold to the Lord. The valuable items, jewelry of all types and gold, were brought to Moses. These items would be used to create the furniture and other items in the tabernacle used in the worship of the LORD.

In particular, every man, who had in his possession blue and purple and scarlet material and fine linen and goats' hair and rams' skins dyed red and porpoise skins, brought them. These materials were used to make the walls and ceiling of the tabernacle (Exodus 36). Also, everyone who could make a contribution of silver and bronze brought the Lord's contribution; and every man who had in his possession acacia wood for any work of the service brought it. The silver and bronze were used to overlay several items in the tabernacle, and the acacia wood was used for the framing of the tabernacle, the ark itself, and several other items (Exodus 36:20, 31, 36, 37:4, 10).

Not only did women bring items to Moses, they participated in the tabernacle's construction. All the skilled women [lit., "women wise of heart"] spun with their hands, and brought what they had spun, in blue and purple and scarlet material and in fine linen. These items were used for the various items for the tabernacle (Exodus 26:1, 4, 31, 36). Other women whose heart stirred with a skill spun the goats' hair, which were used for curtains used as a covering or roof for the tabernacle (Exodus 26:7).

Now that the materials for the tabernacle have been obtained, the items for the objects to be used for worship were next. Specifically, the rulers brought the onyx stones and the stones for setting for the ephod and for the breastpiece. This was first discussed in Exodus 28:6 - 14. The ephod was an item of clothing worn by the high priest. It was similar to an apron and was worn around the high priest's body. It covered his body from waist to thigh. Stones (including two "onyx" stones upon which the names of the twelve tribes were written) were placed on the ephod. The ephod with the stones was meant to be a "memorial" (Exodus 28:12) that the high priest wore when entering the tabernacle.

Along with the ephod, the spice and the oil for the light and for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense were donated by the rulers. The oil and the spices were discussed in Exodus 25:6. They will be used in the daily routine of the priests in the tabernacle. Moses is executing the plan God gave him while on the mountain, as recorded in Exodus 25-31.

Verse 29 summarizes this section. The conclusion was that the Israelites, all the men and women, whose heart moved them to bring material for all the work, which the Lord had commanded through Moses to be done, brought a freewill offering to the Lord. The mention of both men and women shows that everyone whose hearts were moved were very involved in the tabernacle's financing and construction. No one was coerced to participate. Each person participated voluntarily. The complete opposite of their experience as slaves in Egypt.


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