The Pulpit Commentary

Exodus 35:1-3 (Exodus 35:1-3)

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Exodus 35:2 (Exodus 35:2)

Is almost a repetition of Exodus 31:15 .

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Exodus 35:1-2 (Exodus 35:1-2)

The sabbath rest not to be broken even for sacred work.

Note here a difference. Some work is rendered necessary by the very nature of that public worship which is especially commanded on the sabbath. "On the sabbath days the priests in the temple," says our Lord, "profane the sabbath day and are blameless "( Matthew 12:5 ). Offering sacrifice was a heavy work—cleansing the altar and its precincts after sacrifice was perhaps a heavier one—reading aloud, teaching, preaching are works, the last-named to many a most exhausting work. Against such kinds of work there is no law. But physical toil, not needed for Divine worship, and so not necessary to be undergone on the sabbath day, stands on a different footing, and was forbidden, at any rate to the Jews. The spinning, weaving, dying, embroidering, carpentering, metallurgy, which occupied hundreds during the rest of the week, were to cease upon the sabbath. Men were not to consider that the fact of the purpose whereto the fabrics were about to be applied so sanctified the making of them as to render that a fit occupation for the "day of holy rest"—of "rest to the Lord."

Application .—Christians will do well to apply the lesson to themselves, and not allow themselves in occupations, on their "day of holy rest," which are really secular, because it may be argued that they have, in some respects, a sacred aspect. To play sacred music, for the excitation of devotional feelings in themselves and others, is a fitting Sunday occupation; but to practise Handel as an exercise, for the acquirement of skill in execution, would be no better than to practise Rossini or Auber. To write articles for the press on Sundays, if otherwise wrong, is not justified by the fact that they are written for a "religious" newspaper. To cast up accounts does not become a right act because they are the accounts of a charity. Whatever our rule of Sunday observance, let us beware of evading it under the excuse that our employment has a connection with religion when it is essentially secular in its character.

- The Pulpit Commentary

Exodus 35:1-4 (Exodus 35:1-4)

The new start.

Moses' second absence, though, like the first, it lasted-forty days and forty nights ( Exodus 34:28 ), was not followed by the same disastrous effects as the former one. The people had meantime had enough of "gods of gold." They were too frightened at what had happened to think of seeking out any more" inventions" ( Ecclesiastes 7:29 ). They were penitent and well disposed. When at length the news came that God had forgiven them, no bounds could be set to their zeal for service. Learn—

1. How God brings good out of evil. The Divine physician so treated the distemper of the people that it ended, not simply in restored health, but in increased vitality and energy. The lapse into sin was made the means of imparting to the people the stimulus necessary for the erection of the tabernacle.

2 . That revival of religion evinces its reality by the effects which it produces.

- The Pulpit Commentary