Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. 5: Harmony of the Law, Part III, tr. by John King, [1847-50], at sacred-texts.com
20. And all the congregation of the children of Israel departed from the presence of Moses.
20. Egressi sunt universus coetus filiorum Israel a facie Mosis,
21. And they came, every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit made willing, and they brought the Lord’s offering to the work of the tabernacle of the congregation, and for all his service, and for the holy garments.
21. Veneruntque vir quem extulit cor suum, qui liberalis fuit spiritu suo: attuleruntque oblationem ad opus tabernaculi conventionis, et ad omne opus ejus, et ad vestes sanctitatis.
22. And they came, both men and women, as many as were willing-hearted, and brought bracelets, and ear-rings, and rings, and tablets, all jewels of gold: and every man that offered, offered an offering of gold unto the Lord.
22. Venerunt viri et mulieres, quicunque liberalis fuit corde, attulerunt fibulas, et inaures, et annulos, et armillas, quodlibet vas aureum, et omnis vir qui attulit levationem auri Jehovae.
23. And every man with whom was found blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goat’s hair, and red skins of rams, and badgers’ skins, brought them
23. Praeterea onmis vir apud quem inveniebatur hyacinthus, purpura, coccus, byssus, et pili caprarum, et pelles arietum rubricatae, et pelles taxorum, haec attulerunt.
24. Every one that did offer an offering of silver and brass, brought the Lord’s offering: and every man with whom was found shittim-wood, for any work of the service, brought it
24. Omnis tollens levationem argenti et aeris, obtulerunt levationem Jehovae: et omnis apud quem inveniebantur ligna sittim, pro universo opere ministerii attulerunt.
25. And all the women that were wise-hearted did spin with their hands, and brought that which they had spun, both of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine linen.
25. Praeterea omnis mulier intelligenti corde, manibus suis neverunt, et attulerunt quod nendo operatae fuerant, hyaciuthum, purpuram, coccum et byssum.
26. And all the women, whose hearts stirred them up in wisdom, spun goats’ hair
26. Omnes quoque mulieres quas excitavit cor ipsarum, intelligenter neverunt pilos caprinos.
27. And the rulers brought onyx-stones, and stones to be set, for the ephod, and for the breastplate;
27. Principes quoque attulerunt lapides onychinos, et gemmas inserendas in ephod et pectorali:
28. And spice, and oil for the light, and for the anointing oil, and for the sweet incense.
28. Aromata etiam et oleum pro luminari, et pro oleo unctionis, et pro incenso aromatico.
29. The children of Israel brought a willing offering unto the Lord, every man and woman, whose heart made them willing to bring, for all manner of work which the Lord had commanded to be made by the hand of Moses.
29. Omnis vir et mulier qui liberales fuerunt corde suo ad offerendum pro cuncto opere quod mandaverat Jehova fieri per manum Mosis, obtulerunt filii Israel donum voluntarium Jehovae.
30. And Moses said unto the children of Israel, See, the Lord hath called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah:
30. Tunc ait Moses ad filios Israel, Videte, vocavit Jehova nomine Besaleel filium Uri, filii Hur, de tribu Juda:
31. And he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship;
31. Et implevit cum Spiritu Dei, in sapientia et intelligentia, in scientia et omni artificio,
32. And to devise curious works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass,
32. Ad excogitandum ingeniosa opera, ut faciat in auro, argento et aere:
33. And in the cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of wood, to make any manner of cunning work.
33. Et in artificio gemmarum; ut illas includat in artificio ligni, ut faciat quodcunque opus ingeniosum.
34. And he hath put in his heart that he may teach, both he and Aholiab the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan.
34. Et posuit in corde ejus ut doceat, ipse et Aholiab filius Ahisamach, e tribu Dan.
35. Them hath he filled with wisdom of heart, to work all manner of work of the engraver, and of the cunning workman, and of the embroiderer, in blue, and in purple, in scarlet, and in fine linen, and of the weaver, even of them that do any work, and of those that devise cunning work.
35. Replevit eos sapientia cordis, ut faciant omne opus artificis, et phrygionis, et acupictoris, ex hyacintho, et purpura, et vermiculo cocci, et bysso, et textura, facientes omne opus, et excogitantes inventiones.
20. And all the congregation of the children of Israel. There is no reason why any one should be surprised that the order of the narrative is changed, since it plainly appears from many passages that the order of time is not always observed by Moses. Thus he appears here to connect the fall of the people with the foregoing injunctions, both with respect to the building of the tabernacle, and the rest of the religious service of God. But I have shewn 292 upon good grounds that the tabernacle was built before the people fell into idolatry. Therefore Moses now supplies what had been before omitted, though I have followed the thread of the narrative in order to render it less difficult.
The sum of this relation is, that whatever was necessary for the building of the tabernacle was liberally contributed. It must be observed that they had departed from the presence of Moses: for we gather from this circumstance that, having severally retired to their tents, they had considered apart by themselves what they should give. Hence their liberality is deserving of greater praise, because it was premeditated; for it often happens that when a person has been bountiful from sudden impulse, he afterwards repents of it. When it is added that “they came, every one,” it is a question whether he means that the minds of the whole people were prompt and cheerful in giving, or whether he indirectly rebukes the stinginess and sordidness of those who meanly neglected their duty. In whichever way we choose to take it, Moses repeats what we have seen before, that the offerings were not extorted by force or necessity, but that they proceeded from voluntary and cordial feelings. I thus construe the words, “They came, every one, as his heart stirred each of them up,” as if he had said that they were not compelled by any law imposed upon them, but that every one was his own lawgiver, of his own good-will. This passage is absurdly twisted by the Papists in proof of free-will; as if men were incited by themselves to act rightly and well; for Moses, even while praising their spontaneous feelings, does not mean to exclude the grace of the Spirit, whereby alone our hearts are inclined to holy affections; but this stirring up is contrasted with the unwillingness by which ungodly men are withheld and restrained. Those, therefore, whom the Spirit rules, He does not drag unwillingly by a violent and extrinsic impulse, as it is called, but He so works within them upon their will, that believers stir up themselves, and they voluntarily follow His leadings. So that when it is added, “whose spirit was liberal in himself,” 293 the commencement of well-doing is not ascribed to men, nor is even their concurrence praised, as if they co-operated apart from God, but only the internal impulse of their minds, and the sincerity of their desires·
22. And they came, both men and women. Express mention is made of the women, not only whose bounty, but whose labors, as it soon afterwards appears, God designed to make use of in the work of the sanctuary. Moses magnifies the fervor of their pious desires, because they did not spare their ornaments; of which people, and especially women, are generally so fond, that they would rather suffer cold, hunger, or thirst, than touch them. 294 It was, therefore, a sign of no ordinary zeal to deprive themselves of their rings and bracelets, which many are so slow to part with, even when they are dying of hunger. Again, the contribution of those is praised who gave brass, iron, shittim-wood, and rams’ skins; so that the poor might not doubt but that, although their ability might not be equal to their wishes, the offering, which they presented willingly in their poverty, was no less acceptable to God than when the rich man of his abundance gave what was a hundred times more valuable.
30. See, the Lord hath called by name Bezaleel. This was a great stimulus to encourage them, when they plainly saw that God presided over the work; a conspicuous proof of which was that new and extraordinary power wherewith Bezaleel and Aboliab were endued; for although they had before been noble and excellent artificers, still there is no doubt but that they were still further endowed with higher gifts, even to a miracle. Hence it is not without cause that he bids the people attend to this unexpected exertion of God’s power; since it was exactly as if he had stretched forth His hand from heaven for the advancement of the work. For which reason also the tribe of each of them is referred to, because of the conspicuous excellency of the grace, the memory of which it was fitting to celebrate in all generations. Now, as God conferred this honor on the architects of the visible sanctuary, so He declares that their names shall be glorious in heaven, who, being furnished with the illustrious gifts of the Spirit, faithfully employ their labors in the building of His spiritual temple. (Da 12:3.)
By “the wisdom of heart,” both in the men and women, which is so often mentioned here, understand activity of mind: for not only is the seat of the affections called the heart, but also the power and faculty of the intellect as it is called: thus in De 29:4, it is said, “Yet the Lord hath not given you a heart to understand.” 295
31. And he hath filled him with the spirit of God. He again magnifies at greater length the excellence of genius and ability, (which had been given to Bezaleel.) 296 For it was a remarkable instance of God’s power, that, after the Israelites had been so contemptuously and oppressively enslaved, there should exist in their nation men still endowed with such talent. God is said to have “filled him with the Spirit of God,” i e., with the Divine Spirit; in order that we may understand that these endowments were not natural to the man, nor even acquired by his own industry. For although even the gifts of nature proceed from the Spirit of God, who gives their intellect to all men no less than their life; still the distribution of peculiar gifts is conspicuous in a higher and different degree. Besides, God had regard to the exquisite nature of this work, so as to endow these artificers with wonderful and extraordinary ability. The faculty of teaching is also added, because two persons by themselves would never have completed so arduous a work in their whole life-time: and this capacity, too, was the gift of Divine grace; for else they would never have overcome the fatigue of instructing the ignorant, nor would have so speedily prepared such a great multitude of men for fashioning the various parts of the work with incredible symmetry.
See vol. 2, p. 143, and note.
“Every one, whom his spirit made willing.” — A.V.
Addition in Fr., “Pour s’en defaire;” to deprive themselves of them.
“To perceive.” — A.V. See ante, vol. 1, p. 390, and vol. 2, p. 441.
Added from Fr.