Exodus 31 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Exodus 31)

Verse 2

[2] See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah:

See I have called Bezaleel|, the grandson of Hur, probably that Hur who had helped to hold up Moses's hand, Exodus 17:10-12, and was at this time in commission with Aaron for the government of the people in the absence of Moses. Aholiab of the tribe of Dan is appointed next to Bezaleel, and partner with him. Hiram, who was the head-workman in the building of Solomon's temple, was also of the tribe of Dan, 2 Chronicles 2:14.

Verse 3

[3] And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,

And I have filled him with the spirit of God; and Exodus 31:6. In the hearts of all that are wise-hearted I have put wisdom. Skill in common employments is the gift of God; It is he that puts even this wisdom into the inward parts, Job 38:36. He teacheth the husbandman discretion, Isaiah 28:26, and the tradesman too, and he must have the praise of it.

Verse 13

[13] Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you.

It is a sign between me and you — The institution of the sabbath was a great instance of God's favour, and a sign that he had distinguished them from all other people: and their religious observance of it, was a great instance of their duty to him. God, by sanctifying this day among them, let them know that he sanctified them, and set them apart for his service, otherwise he would not have revealed to them his holy sabbaths to be the support of religion among them. The Jews by observing one day in seven, after six days labour, testified that they worshipped the God that made the world in six days, and rested the seventh; and so distinguished themselves from other nations, who having first lost the sabbath, the memorial of the creation, by degrees lost the knowledge of the creator, and gave the creature the honour due to him alone.

Verse 14

[14] Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.

It is holy unto you — That is, it is designed for your benefit as well as for God's honour; it shall be accounted holy by you.

Verse 15

[15] Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.

It is the sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord - It is separated from common use, for the service of God; and by the observance of it we are taught to rest from worldly pursuits, and devote ourselves, and all we are, have, and can do, to God's glory.

Verse 16

[16] Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.

It was to be observed throughout their generations, in every age, for a perpetual covenant - This was to be one of the most lasting tokens of the covenant between God and Israel.

Verse 17

[17] It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.

On the seventh day he rested — And as the work of creation is worthy to be thus commemorated, so the great Creator is worthy to be thus imitated, by a holy rest the seventh day.

Verse 18

[18] And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.

These tables of stone, were not prepared by Moses, but probably by the ministry of angels. They were written with the finger of God - That is, by his will and power immediately, without the use of any instrument. They were written in two tables, being designed to direct us in our duty, towards God, and towards man. And they were called tables of testimony, because this written law testified the will of God concerning them, and would be a testimony against them if they were disobedient.