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Exodus 35:4-9 meaning

Moses called upon the Israelites to voluntarily contribute the raw materials for the construction of the tabernacle and its furnishings. This included precious metals, high-quality material, oil, spices, and other items used for worship in the tabernacle. These verses repeat what was stated in Exodus 25:1 – 7.

The next topic in preparation for the tabernacle's construction was the gathering of the materials. Moses directly spoke to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, not to the priests. He told them the thing which the Lord has commanded, which was take from among you a contribution to the Lord. The word contribution (Heb. "terumah") is related to the verb "rum," which means "to lift up", giving it the meaning of "that which is lifted up" or "donation."

This "donation" was not to be given as an obligation. Instead, it was to be given by whoever is of a willing heart. This generous person was to bring it as the Lord's contribution.

The items to be collected were almost identical to the list in Exodus 25:3 - 7, where God instructed Moses to make this collection in order to acquire the materials necessary to construct the tabernacle and its furnishings:

  • Precious metals gold, silver, and bronze (v. 5)
  • Cloth that was blue, purple and scarlet material (v. 6)
  • Fine linen (v. 6)
  • Goats' hair (v. 6)
  • Rams' skins dyed red (v. 7)
  • porpoise skins (v. 7)
  • Acacia wood (v. 7)
  • Oil for lighting (v. 8)
  • Spices for the anointing oil, and for the fragrant incense (v. 8)
  • Onyx stones and setting stones for the ephod and for the breastpiece (v. 9)

Many of these items were those given to the Israelites by the Egyptians when they left Egypt (Exodus 12:35).

As God instructed Moses in Exodus 25:2, now the items will be collected from whoever has a willing heart.

That the offering is voluntary is consistent with the entire manner in which God is constructing Israel, as a self-governing society that depends on voluntary, mutual cooperation to be blessed. As Paul states in the New Testament, "God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7). This is illustrated here. God could produce the material Himself. But He works through those who come to Him with a willing heart. This will allow them an opportunity to be blessed (Galatians 6:6-10).


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