Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, , at sacred-texts.com
The narrative of what relates to the construction of the sanctuary is now resumed from Exo 31:18.
See Exo 31:12.
This prohibition is here first distinctly expressed, but it is implied Exo 16:23.
See Exo. 26:1-37. It has been already observed Exo 25:10 that in the instructions for making the sanctuary, the ark of the covenant, as the principal thing belonging to it, is mentioned first; but in the practical order of the work, as it is here arranged, the tabernacle with its tent and covering come first.
The covering - This is not the same as the covering of Exo 35:11, which denotes the covering of the tent (see Exo 26:14): the word is used here for the entrance curtains (see Exo 26:36; Exo 27:16).
The word "tabernacle" משׁכן mı̂shkān is here used for the full name, the tabernacle of the tent of meeting. It denotes the entire structure.
The cloths of service to do service in the holy place - Rather; the garments of office to do service in the sanctuary, etc. See Exo 31:10.
Bracelets - Rather, brooches.
Earrings - The Hebrew word signifies a ring, either for the nose (see Gen 24:22) or for the ear Exo 32:2; Gen 35:4. That ear-rings, not nose-rings, are here meant is confirmed by what we know of early Hebrew and Egyptian customs.
Rings - Signet rings.
Tablets - More probably, armlets. It is most likely that all the articles mentioned in this verse were of gold. The indulgence of private luxury was thus given up for the honor of the Lord. Compare Exo 30:18 note.
The precious stones Exo 28:9 and spices were contributed by the rulers, who were more wealthy than the other Israelites.
Curious works, cunning work - Works of skill. Compare Exo 30:4.
The engraver - The artificer, literally "one who cuts": a general name for the workman, to which was added the name of the material in which he worked; thus the artificer in wood, or carpenter; the artificer in iron, or smith, etc. Exo 35:32-33; Exo 31:4-5 enumerate the branches of work committed to Bezaleel. What was under the charge of Aholiab is here for the first time clearly distinguished into the work of the skilled weaver, that of the embroiderer, and that of the weaver.
The cunning workman - The skilled weaver, literally, "the reckoner". He might have been so called because he had nicely to count and calculate the threads in weaving figures after the manner of tapestry or carpet. His work was chiefly used in the curtains and veil of the tabernacle, in the ephod and the breastplate (Exo 26:1, Exo 26:31; Exo 28:6, Exo 28:15, etc.).
The embroiderer - He worked with a needle, either shaping his design in stitches of colored thread, or in pieces of colored cloth sewn upon the groundwork. His work was employed in the entrance curtains of the tent and the court, and in the girdle of the high priest Exo 26:36; Exo 27:16; Exo 28:39.
The weaver - He appears to have worked in the loom in the ordinary way with materials of only a single color. The tissues made by him were used for the robe of the ephod and its binding, and for the coats of the priests Exo 28:32; Exo 39:22, Exo 39:27.
These three classes of workers were men, while the spinners and dyers were women Exo 35:25.