Exodus Chapter Thirty Nine

Testimony of Obedience

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In our study of Exodus chapter thirty nine, we see that the completion of the construction of the tabernacle was a testimony of obedience for the people of Israel.

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Exodus 39:1-7

From the blue, purple and scarlet yarn they made the garments for officiating, for serving in the Holy Place; and they made the holy garments for Aharon, as ADONAI had ordered Moshe. He made the ritual vest of gold, of blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and of finely woven linen. They hammered the gold into thin plates and cut them into threads in order to work it into the blue, purple and scarlet yarn and the fine linen crafted by the skilled artisan. They made shoulder-pieces for it, joined together; they were joined together at the two ends. The decorated belt on the vest, used to fasten it, was of the same workmanship and materials - gold; blue, purple and scarlet yarn; and finely twined linen - as ADONAI had ordered Moshe. They worked the onyx stones, mounted in gold settings, engraving them with the names of the sons of Isra'el as they would be engraved on a seal. Then he put them on the shoulder-pieces of the vest to be stones calling to mind the sons of Isra'el, as ADONAI had ordered Moshe.

Once again, we see a description of the priestly clothes that were to be worn by the high priest of which Aharon was the first. We are reminded that God had shown Moshe the pattern for all of these things while he was on the mountain and that God had given wisdom to two men to create these things. We see the first part of the outfit which was the vest and it had shoulder straps and on these straps was two stones where the names of the tribes were engraved and, in the Hebrew text, they are described as being engraved like a signet ring. This is where the names would have been elevated as if they were making a stamp or seal which speaks of authority and these stones were a reminder of the authority that God had given the tribes of Israel.

Exodus 39:8-14

He made the breastplate; it was crafted by a skilled artisan and made like the work of the ritual vest - of gold; blue, purple and scarlet yarn; and finely woven linen. When folded double, the breastplate was square - doubled, it was a hand-span by a hand-span. They put on it four rows of stones: the first row was a carnelian, a topaz and an emerald; the second row a green feldspar, a sapphire and a diamond; the third row an orange zircon, an agate and an amethyst; and the fourth row a beryl, an onyx and a jasper. They were mounted in settings of gold. The stones corresponded to the names of the twelve sons of Isra'el; they were engraved with their names as a seal would be engraved, each name representing one of the twelve tribes.

Now, we see the breastplate with a stone on it for each tribe but many of the stones that are listed here are just a guess as we do not know what the words in the Hebrew text mean. We see again that the stones are carved in the manner of a signet ring representing authority.

Exodus 39:15-21

On the breastplate they made two pure gold chains, twisted like cords. Also for the breastplate they made two settings of gold and two gold rings, and they put the two rings at the two ends of the breastplate. They put the two twisted gold chains in the two rings at the ends of the breastplate and attached the other two ends of the twisted chains to the front of the shoulder-pieces of the ritual vest. They also made two gold rings and put them on the two ends of the breastplate, at its edge, on the side facing in toward the vest. Also they made two gold rings and attached them low on the front part of the vest's shoulder-pieces, near the join, above the vest's decorated belt. Then they bound the breastplate by its rings to the rings of the vest with a blue cord, so that it could be on the vest's decorated belt, and so that the breastplate would not swing loose from the vest - as ADONAI had ordered Moshe.

This breastplate was attached to the vest with woven golden chains on the top and blue cords on the bottom and the purpose was to keep the breastplate firmly against the vest.

Exodus 39:22-26

He made the robe for the ritual vest; it was woven entirely of blue, with its opening in the middle, like that of a coat of mail, and with a border around the opening, so that it wouldn't tear. On the bottom hem they made pomegranates of blue, purple and scarlet, and woven linen; and they made bells of pure gold, and put the bells between the pomegranates all the way around the hem of the robe - between the pomegranates, that is, bell, pomegranate, bell, pomegranate, all the way around the hem of the robe for service - as ADONAI had ordered Moshe.

Next we see a robe that was entirely blue with pomegranates and bells on its hem. The pomegranates were made of the same three colored linen while the bells were made of gold and they were alternated all the way around the hem of the robe. This is a reminder that the priests did not just go inside the tent and hang out but they were actively moving and serving with the bells making a noise with their every move.

Exodus 39:27-29

They made the tunics of finely woven linen for Aharon and his sons, the turban of fine linen, the splendid headgear of fine linen, the linen shorts, and the sash of finely woven linen and blue, purple and scarlet yarn, the work of a weaver in colors - as ADONAI had ordered Moshe.

We see tunics were made not only for the high priest but for all of the priests which, at this time, were the sons of Aharon. Also, there were hats, linen shorts and a sash for all of them.

Exodus 39:30 & 31

They made the ornament for the holy turban of pure gold; wrote on it the words, "Set apart for ADONAI," like the engraving on a seal; and tied a blue cord on it to fasten it to the front of the turban - as ADONAI had ordered Moshe.

An ornament that had the same type of raised engraving which said "Set apart for Adonai" was attached to the front of the high priest's turban using a blue cord.

Exodus 39:32-41

Thus all the work for the tabernacle, the tent of meeting, was finished, with the people of Isra'el doing everything exactly as ADONAI had ordered Moshe. Then they brought the tabernacle to Moshe - the tent and all its furnishings, clasps, planks, crossbars, posts and sockets; the covering of tanned ram skins, the covering of fine leather and the curtain for the screen; the ark for the testimony, its poles and the ark-cover; the table, all its utensils and the showbread; the pure menorah, its lamps and their arrangement for display, its accessories and the oil for the light; the gold altar; the anointing oil; the fragrant incense; the screen for the entrance to the tent; the bronze altar with its bronze grate, poles and all its utensils; the basin with its base; the tapestries for the courtyard, with their posts and sockets; the screen for the entrance to the courtyard, with its ropes and tent pegs; all the utensils for the service in the tabernacle, the tent of meeting; the garments for officiating, for serving in the Holy Place; the holy garments for Aharon the cohen; and the garments for his sons to serve in the office of cohen.

Like we saw in the last chapter, we again see an inventory of all the things that were made for the tabernacle.

Exodus 39:42 & 43

The people of Isra'el did all the work just as ADONAI had ordered Moshe. Moshe saw all the work, and - there it was! - they had done it! Exactly as ADONAI had ordered, they had done it. And Moshe blessed them.

We have seen the phrase "as ADONAI ordered" repeated ten times in this chapter and we are reminded that the number refers to earthly completion. This reminds us that the instructions of God were followed completely in the construction of the altar and this tabernacle would continue to be a testimony of that fact not only to the people of Israel but to everyone else that came into contact with Israel. Finally, we see that the obedience brought blessing to the people of Israel and we are reminded that worship brings about change in our lives and this change brings us closer to the will of God which brings about God's blessing in our lives.

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