Exegetical Notes: Exodus 39:42-43; 40:1-4; 34-35

39:42 According to all that the Lord had commanded Moses, so the people of Israel had done all the work.

“Israel had done” -An obvious emphasis at the conclusion of chapter 39. 3 times within the last two verses it is noted that Israel had completed (“done”)the task of building the tabernacle and all of it’s components. Moses’ inspection of the work insured that it wasn’t simply finished, but that it was finished well (See note on v. 43).

APP: God’s provision and their participation in the task enabled Israel to complete this large and intricate process. We too must participate in Kingdom work, dependent on God’s grace and enablement to accomplish the work before us.

39:43 And Moses saw all the work, and behold, they had done it; as the Lord had commanded, so had they done it. Then Moses blessed them.

“saw” -as in “made an inspection”.

his inspection was a matter of quality control and not merely a determination of completion of required objects. 
Douglas K. Stuart, Exodus, vol. 2, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2006), 783.

“blessed them” – This blessings was most probably a brief prayer offered up on behalf of Israel, asking God to bestow favor upon the nation for accomplishing the task as God had instructed. Receiving a blessing places the one who receives in a place of fortunate favor, because of the benefit they would receive from God.

“There is an assumption of divine approval inherent in such a blessing. The person giving the blessing cannot control God and cannot speak for him without permission. He cannot make God bless someone or something just by saying the right words. But if he “has the mind of” God—that is, if he correctly understands God’s will—then his prayer said in the form of a wish can be assumed to have a certain force, to be more than a pure wish (i.e., merely a type of hope) and, in fact, a true declaration of God’s intention to provide benefit for the person or thing being blessed…A blessing does not imply a promise that nothing negative will ever happen to the person being blessed, but it does imply a desire that much good will happen to that person.
” Douglas K. Stuart, Exodus, vol. 2, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2006), 784-5.

40:1 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying,

40:2 “On the first day of the first month you shall erect the tabernacle of the tent of meeting.

Tabernacle construction was completed in just under 1 year.

By commanding Moses to set up the tabernacle “on the first day of the first month,” God was also indicating that the whole job could be done in a day. The tabernacle was intended to be highly portable, and its portability would be tested with the first setup. Worship was so important to the traveling Israelites that had they required more than a few hours to set up their tabernacle, it would potentially have hindered their ability to move quickly, at God’s command, in the wilderness.
Douglas K. Stuart, Exodus, vol. 2, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2006), 786–787.

40:3 And you shall put in it the ark of the testimony, and you shall screen the ark with the veil.

“the veil” -Interestingly, the veil here was to impose separation between God’s presence and those he “tabernacled” with. it was a constant reminder that sin separates people from God and that the presence of sin could not mingle with the holy presence of God.

Upon the death of Christ, The veil is reported as being torn into from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51). As a side note, the Jewish historian noted that the veil was 4″ thick (in Herod’s temple).

The author of Hebrews noted that Jesus’ humanity (his flesh) was a veil. Meaning that it hid His full deity (Heb. 10:19-20). Thus, just as the ripping of the temple veil symbolized that man’s separation from God had come to an end, the actual death of Christ at the crucifixion, accomplished the actual reconciliation of God and man. Jesus’ sacrifice of himself accomplished something the sacrificial system could not. It appeased God’s wrath against sin and now allows God’s people to “draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith” (Heb. 10:21-22).

40:4 And you shall bring in the table and arrange it, and you shall bring in the lampstand and set up its lamps.

“the cloud” -Remember, the cloud had been an enduring sign of God’s presence, protection, and provision for the Israelites, beginning with God’s leading them from Egypt.

It was a way God chose to manifest himself—a visible presence—indicating symbol of an invisible God. In the hot, arid wilderness of Sinai, where the sun beat down mercilessly upon people, plants, and animals, a cloud during the day represented a cool, beneficent, shade-giving divine kindness. But the cloud was much more than that. It displayed Yahweh’s glory, which was an awesome and frightening thing the closer one got to it. Accordingly, as the Israelites saw the cloud, they understood it to be a potentially overwhelming manifestation of the presence of their God, to be avoided carefully and not infringed upon. The cloud had thus progressed in location from Mount Sinai to the little, temporary tent of meeting to the tabernacle.
Douglas K. Stuart, Exodus, vol. 2, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2006), 791.

40:34 Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.

“and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle” -The cloud’s surrounding of the tabernacle was a visible representation to the people of God that He had chosen to dwell among them.

40:35 And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.

“And Moses was not able to enter” -Moses had witness God’s presence in past events in a close, personal way. Why then could he not enter the tabernacle? God is communicating that this is solely his house-that he alone would be the object of devotion and worship.

One Reply to “Exegetical Notes: Exodus 39:42-43; 40:1-4; 34-35”

Comments are closed.