Exodus 39 Commentary

Irving Jensen (Online) - Used by Permission
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Summary Chart of
The Book of Exodus
DELIVERANCE
FROM OPPRESSION
PREPARATION FOR
WORSHIP
Redemption from Egypt
Ex 1:1-18:27
Revelation from God
Ex 19:1-40:38
Getting Israel Out of Egypt Getting Egypt Out of Israel!
Narration Legislation
Birth of
Moses
Ex 1-2
Call of
Moses
Ex 3-6
Conflict with Pharaoh
Ex 7-10
Exodus
from
Egypt
Ex 11-12
Red
Sea
Crossed
Ex 13-15
Journey
To
Sinai
Ex 16-18
Law
Given
Ex 19-24
Tent
Plan
Ex 25-31
Idol
Worship
Ex 32-34
Tent
Built
Ex 35-40
Subjection Redemption Instruction
Suffering and Liberation
of People of God
Guidance
of God
Worship
of God
Moses and
Burdens of Israel
Pharaoh and
Plagues Upon Egypt
Red Sea
Deliverance
Wilderness
Provision
Sinai
Instructions
Bondage
and Oppression
Deliverance
and Provision
Law Pattern
and Construction
Israel in Egypt
Ex 1:1-13:16
Israel to Sinai
Ex 13:17-18:27
Israel at Sinai
Ex 19:1-40:38
God's People
Enduring
Bondage
God's Grace
Revealed
in Redemption
God's Glory
Manifested
in Worship
Egypt
430 Years

(15% of Exodus)
Wilderness
2 Months

(30% of Exodus)
Mt Sinai
10 Months

(55% of Exodus)
From
Groaning
                To
Glory!
 
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GENESIS EXODUS
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revelation of nationality realization of nationality

SUMMARY OF THE PENTATEUCH
(from Believer's Study Bible)

Exodus 39:1  Moreover, from the blue and purple and scarlet material, they made finely woven garments for ministering in the holy place as well as the holy garments which were for Aaron, just as the LORD had commanded Moses.

  • the blue: Ex 25:4 Ex 26:1 Ex 35:23 
  • garments: Ex 31:10 Ex 35:19 
  • holy place: Ps 93:5 Eze 43:12 Heb 9:12,25 
  • the holy: Ex 28:2-4 31:10 Eze 42:14 
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THE PRIESTS' GARMENT
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PRIESTLY GARMENTS
AND EPHOD
Exodus 39:1-7

Moreover, from the blue and purple and scarlet material - Ex 25:4, cf Exodus 35:23

they made finely woven garments for ministering in the holy place as well as the holy garments which were for Aaron - Exodus 26:1  Exodus 31:10, cf Ex 28:2

Bush - They made clothes of service. This phrase is previously used, Ex. 31:10, for the coverings which were thrown over or wrapped about the various articles of the sacred furniture, when the camp was removed. But it is here applied to the priestly garments, importing that they were not made for mere display, nor to be worn abroad, but only in the sanctuary. The ensuing clause, ‘to do the service in the holy place,’ is probably to be understood as determining the use of them to the one place and purpose for which they were intended, and for nothing else. ‘Those upon whom honor is put, from them service is expected. It is said of those who are arrayed in white robes, Rev. 7:13, 15, that ‘they were before the throne and serve him day and night in his temple.’ ’ Henry.

Just as the LORD had commanded Moses - This phrase is repeated seven times in this chapter and seven times in the next.- Exod. 39:1; Exod. 39:5; Exod. 39:7; Exod. 39:21; Exod. 39:26; Exod. 39:29; Exod. 39:31; Exod. 39:32; Exod. 39:42; and also in Exodus 40 -  Exod. 40:19; Exod. 40:21; Exod. 40:23; Exod. 40:25; Exod. 40:27; Exod. 40:29; Exod. 40:32; 

Cole - The deliberate intention of the repetition is made clear, in stressing the exact and detailed obedience of Moses to every minute command of God.

Thompson - Ever since Exodus 25, Moses has been telling the people that they needed to bring various colored materials to the Tabernacle project and part of the reason for this was so that they could make the priestly garments. A critical part of worship was the design and the construction of the priestly garments. It is interesting to observe that in all of the priestly items mentioned here we keep reading “as the LORD had commanded Moses” (39:1, 5, 7, 21, 26, 29, 31, 32, 42, 43). Now we do not read this that often in regard to other things, but we do read this in regard to these priestly garments. Why is that? Well for one reason, as one Biblical scholar observed, the human high priest wearing these garments was a human “the most prominent type of Christ” (George Bush, Exodus, p. 285). All of these things related to the tabernacle were shadow types of Christ, but were not human. The priests were human and of course Jesus Christ would become human. Therefore it was critical that the clothing be exactly the way God had given the specs to Moses.

Bush - As the Lord commanded Moses. It is observable that all the six paragraphs from this to v. 31, giving an account of the making of the high priest’s garments, conclude with these words. As this is not the case in the previous statements, it would seem that they had in the preparation of these articles a peculiarly strict regard to the divine appointment; and this was perhaps owing to the fact that the high priest in his appropriate dress was the most prominent type of Christ of any thing in the whole establishment.

Exodus 39:2  He made the ephod of gold, and of blue and purple and scarlet material, and fine twisted linen.

He made the ephod of gold, and of blue and purple and scarlet material, and fine twisted linen - See comment Ex 28:6

Thompson - Now the Ephod was a sleeveless vest that was worn close to the body, which probably extended down just below the hips. Now verse 2 gives us the material that was needed to construct the Ephod–gold, blue, purple, scarlet material and fine twisted linen. This was the same material that was used for the inner curtains. Now the singular pronoun “he” of verse 2 would indicate that Bezalel was the one who did this.

Exodus 39:3  Then they hammered out gold sheets and cut them into threads to be woven in with the blue and the purple and the scarlet material, and the fine linen, the work of a skillful workman.

Then they hammered out gold sheets and cut them into threads to be woven in with the blue and the purple and the scarlet material, and the fine linen, the work of a skillful workman 

Cole - Gold leaf was hammered out and cut into threads. This method (not mentioned elsewhere in the Old Testament) is an interesting technical detail, explaining how Israel produced the gold thread needed to work into the priestly fabrics to produce extra richness.

Thompson - Now in verse 3 we learn how the gold could be blended in with the yarn and linen; it needed to be hammered into sheets and then cut. Now apparently what was done is that the gold was hammered and then cut into thin strands and interwoven with the yarn and linen. It is a known fact that metal workers can hammer gold into sheets as thin as “a thousandth of an inch” (Douglas Stuart, Exodus, p. 778). These thin slices of gold enable the gold to have durability and flexibility. One scholar observed what we have here is the most ancient record of how gold could be made into thin wires that became threads that could be interwoven with cloth (Bush, p. 285). We aren’t quite sure how the thread of gold was weaved into the cloth, but one thing would be for sure and that is it would have been beautiful.

Exodus 39:4  They made attaching shoulder pieces for the ephod; it was attached at its two upper ends.

They made attaching shoulder pieces for the ephod; it was attached at its two upper ends.- See comment Ex 28:7

Exodus 39:5  The skillfully woven band which was on it was like its workmanship, of the same material: of gold and of blue and purple and scarlet material, and fine twisted linen, just as the LORD had commanded Moses.

  • skillfully woven band: Ex 28:8 29:5 Lev 8:7 Isa 11:5 Rev 1:13 
  • as the LORD had commanded Moses.: Mt 28:20 1Co 11:23 
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The skillfully woven band which was on it was like its workmanship, of the same material: of gold and of blue and purple and scarlet material, and fine twisted linen- See comment Ex 28:8

just as the LORD had commanded Moses.- So the specs are being followed very carefully and Moses is overseeing every bit of this.

Exodus 39:6  They made the onyx stones, set in gold filigree settings; they were engraved like the engravings of a signet, according to the names of the sons of Israel.

  • onyx stones:  Ex 25:7 Ex 28:9 Ex 35:9 Job 28:16 Eze 28:13 
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They made the onyx stones, set in gold filigree settings; they were engraved like the engravings of a signet, according to the names of the sons of Israel.- See comment Ex 28:9-11

Thompson - According to verses 6-7 there were two onyx stones which contained the names of the sons of Israel. The names of the sons of Israel were engraved on these stones. Now engraving on a stone is not easy when the stone is large. Engraving on stones this size would not be easy. These stones were mounted on the shoulder area and would be a constant reminder that the priest had a sacred privilege of carrying out ministry for Israel. Priests need to always remember the fact that they are ministers for God. This would have produced a patterned cloth that would have sparkled bright and yet would have been very flexible and very comfortable to wear.

Exodus 39:7  And he placed them on the shoulder pieces of the ephod, as memorial stones for the sons of Israel, just as the LORD had commanded Moses.

  • as memorial stones Ex 28:12,29 Jos 4:7 Ne 2:20 Mk 14:9,22-25 
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And he placed them on the shoulder pieces of the ephod, as memorial stones for the sons of Israel, just as the LORD had commanded Moses- See comment Ex 28:12

Exodus 39:8  He made the breastpiece, the work of a skillful workman, like the workmanship of the ephod: of gold and of blue and purple and scarlet material and fine twisted linen.

  • Ex 25:7 Ex 28:4,13-29 Lev 8:8,9 Ps 89:28 Isa 59:17 Eph 6:14 
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THE BREASTPIECE
Exodus 39:8-21

This section is a very close repetition of Exodus 28:15–28.

He made the breastpiece, the work of a skillful workman, like the workmanship of the ephod: of gold and of blue and purple and scarlet material and fine twisted linen.- See comment Ex 28:15

Thompson - This was a beautiful vest that went over the Ephod. This construction almost follows verbatim with what was described in 28:15-28. But verse 16 adds something to the construction and that is “two gold filigree settings.” The word “filigree” refers to the fine thread that was being used to weave this together.

Exodus 39:9  It was square; they made the breastpiece folded double, a span long and a span wide when folded double.

It was square; they made the breastpiece folded double, a span long and a span wide when folded double- See comments on Ex 28:16

Exodus 39:10  And they mounted four rows of stones on it. The first row was a row of ruby, topaz, and emerald;

  • The first row was a row Ex 28:16,17,21 Rev 21:19-21 
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And they mounted four rows of stones on it. The first row was a row of ruby, topaz, and emerald - See comments on Ex 28:17

Thompson - In row 1 was the ruby (deep red), topaz (golden yellow) and emerald (green). (v. 10) In row 2 was the turquoise (blue-green), sapphire (blue) and diamond (clear/smoky). (v.11) In row 3 was the jacinth (orange red), agate (brown/white) and amethyst (deep purple). (v.12) In row 4 was the beryl (greenish blue), onyx (different colors/black) and jasper (brown/red). (v. 13) Now again this shows us how special and beautiful Israel is to God. As we said many weeks ago, Aaron is not wearing a robe containing the names of the Muslims or Mormons; but of the twelve sons of Israel.

Exodus 39:11  and the second row, a turquoise, a sapphire and a diamond;

and the second row, a turquoise, a sapphire and a diamond - See comments on Ex 28:18

Exodus 39:12  and the third row, a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst;

and the third row, a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst - See comments on Ex 28:19

Exodus 39:13  and the fourth row, a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper. They were set in gold filigree settings when they were mounted.

and the fourth row, a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper. They were set in gold filigree settings when they were mounted.- See comments on Ex 28:20

Exodus 39:14  The stones were corresponding to the names of the sons of Israel; they were twelve, corresponding to their names, engraved with the engravings of a signet, each with its name for the twelve tribes.

The stones were corresponding to the names of the sons of Israel; they were twelve, corresponding to their names, engraved with the engravings of a signet, each with its name for the twelve tribes.- See comments on Ex 28:21

Exodus 39:15  They made on the breastpiece chains like cords, of twisted cordage work in pure gold.

  • Ex 28:14 2Ch 3:5 Song 1:10 Joh 10:28 17:12 1Pe 1:5 Jude 1:1 
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They made on the breastpiece chains like cords, of twisted cordage work in pure gold.- See comments on Ex 28:14

Exodus 39:16  They made two gold filigree settings and two gold rings, and put the two rings on the two ends of the breastpiece.

They made two gold filigree settings and two gold rings, and put the two rings on the two ends of the breastpiece.- See comments on Ex 25:12

Exodus 39:17  Then they put the two gold cords in the two rings at the ends of the breastpiece.

Then they put the two gold cords in the two rings at the ends of the breastpiece.- See comments on Ex 28:24

Exodus 39:18  they put the other two ends of the two cords on the two filigree settings, and put them on the shoulder pieces of the ephod at the front of it.

they put the other two ends of the two cords on the two filigree settings, and put them on the shoulder pieces of the ephod at the front of it..- See comments on Ex 28:25

Exodus 39:19  They made two gold rings and placed them on the two ends of the breastpiece, on its inner edge which was next to the ephod.

They made two gold rings and placed them on the two ends of the breastpiece, on its inner edge which was next to the ephod.- See comments on Ex 28:26

Exodus 39:20  Furthermore, they made two gold rings and placed them on the bottom of the two shoulder pieces of the ephod, on the front of it, close to the place where it joined, above the woven band of the ephod.

Furthermore, they made two gold rings and placed them on the bottom of the two shoulder pieces of the ephod, on the front of it, close to the place where it joined, above the woven band of the ephod..- See comments on Ex 28:27

Exodus 39:21  They bound the breastpiece by its rings to the rings of the ephod with a blue cord, so that it would be on the woven band of the ephod, and that the breastpiece would not come loose from the ephod, just as the LORD had commanded Moses.

  • just as the LORD had commanded Moses. Mt 16:24 1Co 1:25,27
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They bound the breastpiece by its rings to the rings of the ephod with a blue cord, so that it would be on the woven band of the ephod, and that the breastpiece would not come loose from the ephod, just as the LORD had commanded Moses. - See comments on Ex 28:28

Exodus 39:22  Then he made the robe of the ephod of woven work, all of blue;

THE BLUE ROBE
Exodus 39:22-26

This section duplicates of Ex 28:31–34, 

Then he made the robe of the ephod of woven work, all of blue - See comments on Ex 28:31

Exodus 39:23  and the opening of the robe was at the top in the center, as the opening of a coat of mail, with a binding all around its opening, so that it would not be torn.

and the opening of the robe was at the top in the center, as the opening of a coat of mail, with a binding all around its opening, so that it would not be torn - See comments on Ex 28:32

Thompson - This robe had an opening at the top and covered the front and back of the priest from shoulder to foot. Now we may observe from verse 23 that this was an opening on the robe that was like the opening “of a coat of mail.” Now this coat of mail was a small coat made of iron rings which covered the neck and breast area. It was very light and it protected from a blow of a sword. Throughout the robe were pomegranate shaped tassels that were interspersed with gold bells.

Exodus 39:24  They made pomegranates of blue and purple and scarlet material and twisted linen on the hem of the robe.

They made pomegranates of blue and purple and scarlet material and twisted linen on the hem of the robe - See comments on Ex 28:33

Exodus 39:25  They also made bells of pure gold, and put the bells between the pomegranates all around on the hem of the robe,

They also made bells of pure gold, and put the bells between the pomegranates all around on the hem of the robe - See comments on Ex 28:34

Exodus 39:26  alternating a bell and a pomegranate all around on the hem of the robe for the service, just as the LORD had commanded Moses.

Related Passage:

Ex 28:35 comment “It shall be on Aaron when he ministers; and its tinkling shall be heard when he enters and leaves the holy place before the LORD, so that he will not die. 

 alternating a bell and a pomegranate all around on the hem of the robe for the service, just as the LORD had commanded Moses - See comments on Ex 28:34

Exodus 39:27  They made the tunics of finely woven linen for Aaron and his sons,

  •  Ex 28:39-42 Lev 8:13 Isa 61:10 Eze 44:18 Ro 3:22 13:14 Ga 3:27 Php 2:6-8 1Pe 1:13 
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They made the tunics of finely woven linen for Aaron and his sons - See comments on Ex 28:39

Thompson - Now the tunics were the special robes that were made for Aaron’s sons. We may recall that if Aaron’s sons tried to minister without wearing these things, they could literally die (Ex 28:43). It was imperative that people who ministered for God be dressed properly. Now what is stated in verse 27 is that they were to be made of finely twisted linen. Now fine linen robes were worn by all kinds of priests. The Egyptian priests wore their robes everywhere they went. God’s priests were to only wear these robes when they were ministering for Him

Exodus 39:28  and the turban of fine linen, and the decorated caps of fine linen, and the linen breeches of fine twisted linen,

and the turban of fine linen, and the decorated caps of fine linen, and the linen breeches of fine twisted linen,- See comments on Ex 28:39

Exodus 39:29  and the sash of fine twisted linen, and blue and purple and scarlet material, the work of the weaver, just as the LORD had commanded Moses.

and the sash of fine twisted linen, and blue and purple and scarlet material, the work of the weaver, just as the LORD had commanded Moses. - See comments on Ex 28:39

Exodus 39:30  They made the plate of the holy crown of pure gold, and inscribed it like the engravings of a signet, "Holy to the LORD."

  • the plate of the holy crown Ex 26:36 Ex 28:36-39 1Co 1:30 2Co 5:21 Heb 1:3 7:26 
  • Holy to the LORD: Ex 28:36 Zec 14:20 Tit 2:14 Rev 5:10 
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THE GOLDEN PLATE
Exodus 39:30-31

They made the plate of the holy crown of pure gold, and inscribed it like the engravings of a signet, "Holy to the LORD."  - See comments on Ex 28:36

Currid notes that this plate "constitutes a fitting finale to the construction of the items for the tabernacle, for the plate has on it an inscription that says, ‘Holy to Yahweh’—and that is one of the most important points about the entire tabernacle construction. It is set apart to Yahweh, for his worship and his service."

Bush - They made the plate of the holy crown of pure gold. To the explanations on this subject made above, ch. 28:36, we have only here to add, that the priests generally among the heathen nations of antiquity were distinguished by the epithet στεφανοφοροι, crown-bearers, from the crowns worn upon their heads, which were usually made either of a laurel wreath, or of a rayed or serrated band of gold.—We here append a view of the high priest in his full costume, the details of which have been already given

Exodus 39:31  They fastened a blue cord to it, to fasten it on the turban above, just as the LORD had commanded Moses.

They fastened a blue cord to it, to fasten it on the turban above, just as the LORD had commanded Moses.  - See comments on Ex 28:37

Exodus 39:32  Thus all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting was completed; and the sons of Israel did according to all that the LORD had commanded Moses; so they did.

  • all the work of the tabernacle: Ex 39:33,42 25:1-31:18 35:1-40:38 Lev 8:1-9:24 Nu 3:25,26,31,36,37 Nu 4:4-32 
  • according to all: See Ex 39:1+, Ex 39:42,43 25:40 40:32 De 12:32 1Sa 15:22 1Ch 28:19 Mt 28:20 Heb 3:2 8:5 
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TABERNACLE CONSTRUCTION
COMPLETED

Thus all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting was completed; and the sons of Israel did according to all that the LORD had commanded Moses; so they did.

NET Note - The last sections of the book bring several themes together to a full conclusion. Not only is it the completion of the tabernacle, it is the fulfillment of God’s plan revealed at the beginning of the book, i.e., to reside with his people.

Thompson - In verses 32-43–we get the final inspection of Moses. Moses is the construction inspector. He will examine everything in this project to see that it meets code. The code of course is the code designed by God. In verse 32 we read “all” tabernacle work was completed in complete conformity to all that God had commanded. Moses had given the commands to the builders and everything was done so now it was time for Moses to inspect things.

Currid makes an interesting comment regarding creation. He says:

It also appears that the author is consciously drawing on the Hebrew creation account. The statement in the first line that 'All the work was finished' echoes Genesis 2:1-2, which says, 'So the heavens and the earth were finished and by the seventh day God finished his work which he had done.' In addition, in the last verse of the present account, we are told that Moses 'saw' and he 'blessed' - those acts are reminiscent of God's activity in Genesis 1:22, 28, 31. The reason for these parallels may be to point out that the redemption of Israel and the construction of a tabernacle is a re-creation account - that is, that God is among his people as he was in the beginning.

Exodus 39:33  They brought the tabernacle to Moses, the tent and all its furnishings: its clasps, its boards, its bars, and its pillars and its sockets;

  • brought the tabernacle to Moses: Ex 25:1-30:38 31:7-11 35:11-19 36:1-40:38 
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MOSES INSPECTS THE
TABERNACLE CONSTRUCTION

They brought the tabernacle to Moses, the tent and all its furnishings: its clasps, its boards, its bars, and its pillars and its sockets - Moses received the original plans and so was the only one who could discern if it had all be constructed according to all the LORD had commanded him. 

Exodus 39:34  and the covering of rams' skins dyed red, and the covering of porpoise skins, and the screening veil;

and the covering of rams' skins dyed red, and the covering of porpoise skins, and the screening veil

Exodus 39:35  the ark of the testimony and its poles and the mercy seat;

the ark of the testimony and its poles and the mercy seat;

Exodus 39:36  the table, all its utensils, and the bread of the Presence;

the table, all its utensils, and the bread of the Presence

Exodus 39:37  the pure gold lampstand, with its arrangement of lamps and all its utensils, and the oil for the light;

the pure gold lampstand, with its arrangement of lamps and all its utensils, and the oil for the light;

Exodus 39:38  and the gold altar, and the anointing oil and the fragrant incense, and the veil for the doorway of the tent;

  • Ex 25:6 30:7 31:11 35:8 37:29 2Ch 2:4 
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 and the gold altar, and the anointing oil and the fragrant incense, and the veil for the doorway of the tent;

Exodus 39:39  the bronze altar and its bronze grating, its poles and all its utensils, the laver and its stand;

the bronze altar and its bronze grating, its poles and all its utensils, the laver and its stand;

Exodus 39:40  the hangings for the court, its pillars and its sockets, and the screen for the gate of the court, its cords and its pegs and all the equipment for the service of the tabernacle, for the tent of meeting;

the hangings for the court, its pillars and its sockets, and the screen for the gate of the court, its cords and its pegs and all the equipment for the service of the tabernacle, for the tent of meeting;

Exodus 39:41  the woven garments for ministering in the holy place and the holy garments for Aaron the priest and the garments of his sons, to minister as priests.

  • Ex 39:1 31:10 
  • the holy garments: Ex 28:2 
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 the woven garments for ministering in the holy place and the holy garments for Aaron the priest and the garments of his sons, to minister as priests.

Exodus 39:42  So the sons of Israel did all the work according to all that the LORD had commanded Moses.

  • according to all that the LORD had commanded Moses. See Ex 39:1+ Ex 39:32 23:21,22 25:1-31:18 De 12:32 Mt 28:20 2Ti 2:15 4:7 
  • So the sons of Israel did all the work : Ex 35:10 
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So the sons of Israel did all the work according to all that the LORD had commanded Moses

Exodus 39:43  And Moses examined all the work and behold, they had done it; just as the LORD had commanded, this they had done. So Moses blessed them.

  • examined all the work: Ex 40:25 Ge 1:31 Ps 104:31 
  • blessed them (KJV): Ge 14:19 Lev 9:22,23 Nu 6:23-27 Jos 22:6 2Sa 6:18 1Ki 8:14 1Ch 16:2 2Ch 6:3 30:27 Ne 11:2 Ps 19:11 
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MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!
BLESSING BESTOWED!

And Moses examined all the work and behold, they had done it; just as the LORD had commanded, this they had done. So Moses blessed them.

NET Note on blessed them - The situation and wording in Ex 39:43 are reminiscent of Gen 1:28 and 31, with the motifs of blessing people and inspecting what has been made.

Bush - And Moses blessed. After having thoroughly examined the work in all its various items, and found it executed precisely according to the directions given, he confirms his acceptance of it at the hands of the people by solemnly invoking the blessing of God upon them. This teaches us, at the conclusion of every enterprise undertaken for a good object devoutly to acknowledge the good hand of the Lord in enabling us to carry it forward to completion, and to implore his benediction upon the results. We are reminded also that those who serve the cause of religion have a claim to our prayers, even as if they were our own personal benefactors; for that cause we are bound to consider as our own.


BIBLIOGRAPHY - Resources Quoted in Commentary

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