That they bring me an offering - The offering here mentioned is the תרומה terumah, a kind of free-will offering, consisting of any thing that was necessary for the occasion. It signifies properly any thing that was lifted up, the heave-offering, because in presenting it to God it was lifted up to be laid on his altar; but see Clarke on Exodus 29:27; (note). God requires that they should build him a tent, suited in some sort to his dignity and eminence, because he was to act as their king, and to dwell among them; and they were to consider themselves as his subjects, and in this character to bring him presents, which was considered to be the duty of every subject appearing before his prince. See Exodus 23:15.
Yahweh had redeemed the Israelites from bondage. He had made a covenant with them and had given them laws. He had promised, on condition of their obedience, to accept them as His own “peculiar treasure,” as “a kingdom of priests and an holy nation” Exodus 19:5-6. And now He was ready visibly to testify that He made his abode with them. He claimed to have a dwelling for Himself, which was to be in external form a tent of goats‘ hair Exodus 19:4, to take its place among their own tents, and formed out of the same material (see Exodus 26:7 note). The special mark of His presence within the tent was to be the ark or chest containing the Ten Commandments on two tables of stone Exodus 31:18, symbolizing the divine law of holiness, and covered by the mercy-seat, the type of reconciliation. Moses was divinely taught regarding the construction and arrangement of every part of the sanctuary. The directions which were given him are comprised in Exodus 25:2
That giveth it willingly with his heart - The public service of Yahweh was to be instituted by freewill offerings, not by an enforced tax. Compare 1 Chronicles 29:3, 1Chronicles 29:9,1 Chronicles 29:14; Ezra 2:68-69; 2 Corinthians 8:11-12; 2 Corinthians 9:7. On the zeal with which the people responded to the call, see Exodus 35:21-29; Exodus 36:5-7.
Gold, and silver, and brass - The supply of these metals possessed by the Israelites at this time probably included what they had inherited from their forefathers, what they had obtained from the Egyptians Exodus 12:35, and what may have been found amongst the spoils of the Amalekites Exodus 17:8-13. But with their abundant flocks and herds, it can hardly be doubted that they had carried on important traffic with the trading caravans that traversed the wilderness, some of which, most likely, in the earliest times were furnished with silver, with the gold of Ophir (or gold of Sheba, as it seems to have been indifferently called), and with the “brass” (the alloy of copper and tin, called bronze) of Phoenicia and Egypt. Compare Exodus 38:24 note.
Blue, and purple, and scarlet - i. e. the material dyed with these colors. The Jewish tradition has been very generally received that this material was wool. Compare Hebrews 9:19 with Leviticus 14:4, Leviticus 14:49, etc. When spun and dyed by the women, it was delivered in the state of yarn; and the weaving and embroidering was left to Aholiab and his assistants, Exodus 35:25, Exodus 35:35. The “blue” and “purple” dye are usually thought to have been obtained from shell-fish, the “scarlet” from the cochineal insect of the holm-oak.
Fine linen - The fine flax or the manufactured linen, for which Egypt was famous Ezekiel 27:7, and which the Egyptians were in the habit of using for dresses of state Genesis 41:42. It was used as the groundwork of the figured curtains of the tabernacle as well as of the embroidered hangings of the tent and the court. See Exodus 35:35.
Rams‘ skins dyed red - Skins tanned and colored like the leather now known as red morocco.
Badgers‘ skins - Rather, leather, probably of a sky-blue color, formed from the skins of the תחשׁ tachash (a general name for marine animals), which was well adapted as a protection against the weather.
Shittim wood - The word שׁטים shı̂ṭṭâm is the plural form of שׁטה shı̂ṭâh which occurs as the name of the growing tree, Isaiah 41:19. The tree is satisfactorily identified with the Acacia seyal, a gnarled and thorny tree, somewhat like a solitary hawthorn in its habit and manner of growth, but much larger. It flourishes in the driest situations, and is scattered more or less numerously over the Sinaitic Peninsula. It appears to be the only good wood produced in the wilderness. No other kind of wood was employed in the tabernacle or its furniture. In the construction of the temple cedar and fir took its place 1 Kings 5:8; 1 Kings 6:18; 2 Chronicles 2:8.
See the notes to Exodus 25:8
sanctuary - i. e. a hallowed place. This is the most comprehensive of the words that relate to the place dedicated to Yahweh. It included the tabernacle with its furniture, its tent, and its court.
That I may dwell among them - The purpose of the sanctuary is here definitely declared by the Lord Himself. It was to be the constant witness of His presence among His people. Compare the marginal references.
According to all that I shew thee - The tabernacle and all that pertained to it were to be in strict accordance with the ideas revealed by the Lord to Moses (compare Exodus 25:40; Exodus 26:30; Acts 7:44; Hebrews 8:5). The word here translated “pattern” is also used to denote the plans for the temple which were given by David to Solomon 1 Chronicles 28:11-12, 1 Chronicles 28:19; it is elsewhere rendered “form, likeness, similitude,” Deuteronomy 4:16-17; Ezekiel 8:3, Ezekiel 8:10.
The tabernacle - The Hebrew word signifies the “dwelling-place.” It here denotes the wooden structure, containing the holy place and the most holy place, with the tent which sheltered it. See Exodus 26:1 note.
His people had small possessions and no flattering prospect of adding to them; but an object was before them—to build a tabernacle for God. The Lord had spoken, and they must obey His voice. They withheld nothing. All gave with a willing hand, not a certain amount of their increase, but a large portion of their actual possessions. They devoted it gladly and heartily to the Lord, and pleased Him by so doing. Was it not all His? Had He not given them all they possessed? If He called for it, was it not their duty to give back to the Lender His own? 4T 78.1
No urging was needed. The people brought even more than was required, and were told to desist, for there was already more than could be appropriated. Again, in building the temple, the call for means met with a hearty response. The people did not give reluctantly. They rejoiced in the prospect of a building being erected for the worship of God, and donated more than enough for the purpose. David blessed the Lord before all the congregation, and said: “But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of Thee, and of Thine own have we given Thee.” Again in his prayer David gave thanks in these words: “O Lord our God, all this store that we have prepared to build Thee an house for Thine holy name cometh of Thine hand, and is all Thine own.” 4T 78.2
David well understood from whom came all his bounties. Would that those of this day who rejoice in a Saviour's love could realize that their silver and gold are the Lord's and should be used to promote His glory, not grudgingly retained to enrich and gratify themselves. He has an indisputable right to all that He has lent His creatures. All that they possess is His. 4T 78.3
There are high and holy objects that require means, and money thus invested will yield to the giver more elevated and permanent enjoyment than if it were expended in personal gratification or selfishly hoarded for greed of gain. When God calls for our treasure, whatever the amount may be, the willing response makes the gift a consecrated offering to Him and lays up for the giver a treasure in heaven that moth cannot corrupt, that fire cannot consume, nor thieves break in and steal. The investment is safe. The money is placed in bags that have no holes; it is secure. 4T 78.4Read in context »
The command was communicated to Moses while in the mount with God, “Let them make Me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them;” and full directions were given for the construction of the tabernacle. By their apostasy the Israelites forfeited the blessing of the divine Presence, and for the time rendered impossible the erection of a sanctuary for God among them. But after they were again taken into favor with Heaven, the great leader proceeded to execute the divine command. PP 343.1
Chosen men were especially endowed by God with skill and wisdom for the construction of the sacred building. God Himself gave to Moses the plan of that structure, with particular directions as to its size and form, the materials to be employed, and every article of furniture which it was to contain. The holy places made with hands were to be “figures of the true,” “patterns of things in the heavens” (Hebrews 9:24, 23)—a miniature representation of the heavenly temple where Christ, our great High Priest, after offering His life as a sacrifice, was to minister in the sinner's behalf. God presented before Moses in the mount a view of the heavenly sanctuary, and commanded him to make all things according to the pattern shown him. All these directions were carefully recorded by Moses, who communicated them to the leaders of the people. PP 343.2
For the building of the sanctuary great and expensive preparations were necessary; a large amount of the most precious and costly material was required; yet the Lord accepted only freewill offerings. “Of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take My offering” was the divine command repeated by Moses to the congregation. Devotion to God and a spirit of sacrifice were the first requisites in preparing a dwelling place for the Most High. PP 343.3Read in context »
Prominent among the primary causes that led Solomon into extravagance and oppression was his failure to maintain and foster the spirit of self-sacrifice. PK 61.1
When, at the foot of Sinai, Moses told the people of the divine command, “Let them make Me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them,” the response of the Israelites was accompanied by the appropriate gifts. “They came, everyone whose heart stirred him up, and everyone whom his spirit made willing,” and brought offerings. Exodus 25:8; 35:21. For the building of the sanctuary, great and extensive preparations were necessary; a large amount of the most precious and costly material was required, but the Lord accepted only freewill offerings. “Of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take My offering,” was the command repeated by Moses to the congregation. Exodus 25:2. Devotion to God and a spirit of sacrifice were the first requisites in preparing a dwelling place for the Most High. PK 61.2Read in context »
The beginnings of Solomon's apostasy may be traced to many seemingly slight deviations from right principles. Associations with idolatrous women was by no means the only cause of his downfall. Among the primary causes that led Solomon into extravagance and tyrannical oppression, was his course in developing and cherishing a spirit of covetousness. 2SM 173.1
In the days of ancient Israel, when at the foot of Sinai Moses told the people of the divine command, “Let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them” (Exodus 25:8), the response of the Israelites was accompanied by appropriate gifts. “They came, every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit made willing” (Exodus 35:21), and brought offerings. For the building of the sanctuary, great and expensive preparations were necessary; a large amount of the most precious and costly material was required; yet the Lord accepted only freewill offerings. “Of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take My offering” (Exodus 25:2), was the divine command repeated by Moses to the congregation. Devotion to God and a spirit of sacrifice were the first requisites in preparing a dwelling place for the Most High. 2SM 173.2Read in context »