Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, by Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsh, [1857-78], at sacred-texts.com
Preliminaries to the Work. - Ex 35:1-29. After the restoration of the covenant, Moses announced to the people the divine commands with reference to the holy place of the tabernacle which was to be built. He repeated first of all (Exo 35:1-3) the law of the Sabbath according to Exo 31:13-17, and strengthened it by the announcement, that on the Sabbath no fire was to be kindled in their dwelling, because this rule was to be observed even in connection with the work to be done for the tabernacle. (For a fuller comment, see at Exo 20:9.). Then, in accordance with the command of Jehovah, he first of all summoned the whole nation to present freewill-offerings for the holy things to be prepared (Exo 35:4, Exo 35:5), mentioning one by one all the materials that would be required (Exo 35:5-9, as in Exo 25:3-7); and after that he called upon those who were endowed with understanding to prepare the different articles, as prescribed in ch. 25-30, mentioning these also one by one (Exo 35:11-19), even down to the pegs of the dwelling and court (Exo 27:19), and "their cords," i.e., the cords required to fasten the tent and the hangings round the court to the pegs that were driven into the ground, which had not been mentioned before, being altogether subordinate things. (On the "cloths of service," Exo 35:19, see at Exo 31:10.) In Exo 35:20-29 we have an account of the fulfilment of this command. The people went from Moses, i.e., from the place where they were assembled round Moses, away to their tents, and willingly offered the things required as a heave-offering for Jehovah; every one "whom his heart lifted up," i.e., who felt himself inclined and stirred up in his heart to do this. The men along with (על as in Gen 32:12; see Ewald, 217) the women brought with a willing heart all kinds of golden rings and jewellery: chak, lit., hook, here a clasp or ring; nezem, an ear or nose-ring (Gen 35:4; Gen 24:47); tabbaath, a finger-ring; cumaz, globulus aureus, probably little golden balls strung together like beads, which were worn by the Israelites and Midianites (Num 31:50) as an ornament round the wrist and neck, as Diod. Sic. relates that they were by the Arabians (3, 44). "All kinds of golden jewellery, and every one who had waved (dedicated) a wave (offering) of gold to Jehovah," sc., offered it for the work of the tabernacle. The meaning is, that in addition to the many varieties of golden ornaments, which were willingly offered for the work to be performed, every one brought whatever gold he had set apart as a wave-offering (a sacrificial gift) for Jehovah. הניף to wave, lit., to swing or move to and fro, is used in connection with the sacrificial ritual to denote a peculiar ceremony, through which certain portions of a sacrifice, which were not intended for burning upon the altar, but for the maintenance of the priests (Num 18:11), were consecrated to the Lord, or given up to Him in a symbolical manner (see at Lev 7:30). Tenuphah, the wave-offering, accordingly denoted primarily those portions of the sacrificial animal which were allotted to the priests as their share of the sacrifices; and then, in a more general sense, every gift or offering that was consecrated to the Lord for the establishment and maintenance of the sanctuary and its worship. In this wider sense the term tenuphah (wave-offering) is applied both here and in Exo 38:24, Exo 38:29 to the gold and copper presented by the congregation for the building of the tabernacle. So that it does not really differ from terumah, a lift of heave-offering, as every gift intended for the erection and maintenance of the sanctuary was called, inasmuch as the offerer lifted it off from his own property, to dedicate it to the Lord for the purposes of His worship. Accordingly, in Exo 35:24 the freewill-offerings of the people in silver and gold for the erection of the tabernacle are called terumah; and in Exo 36:6, all the gifts of metal, wood, leather, and woven materials, presented by the people for the erection of the tabernacle, are called קדשׁ תּרוּמת. (On heaving and the heave-offering, see at Exo 25:2 and Lev 2:9.)
All the women who understood it (were wise-hearted, as in Exo 28:3) spun with their hands, and presented what they spun, viz., the yarn required for the blue and red purple cloth, the crimson and the byssus; from which it is evident that the coloured cloths were dyed in the yarn or in the wool, as was the case in Egypt according to different specimens of old Egyptian cloths (see Hengstenberg, Egypt and the Books of Moses, p. 144). Other women spun goats' hair for the upper or outer covering of the tent (Exo 26:7.). Spinning was done by the women in very early times (Plin. hist. n. 8, 48), particularly in Egypt, where women are represented on the monuments as busily engaged with the spindle (see Wilkinson, Manners ii. p. 60; iii. p. 133, 136), and at a later period among the Hebrews (Pro 31:19). At the present day the women in the peninsula of Sinai spin the materials for their tents from camels' and goats' hair, and prepare sheep's wool for their clothing (Rppell, Nubien, p. 202); and at Neswa, in the province of Omn, the preparation of cotton yarn is the principal employment of the women (Wellstedt, i. p. 90). Weaving also was, and still is to a great extent, a woman's work (cf. Kg2 23:7); it is so among the Arab tribes in the Wady Gharandel, for example (Russegger, iii. 24), and in Nubia (Burckhardt, Nub. p. 211); but at Neswa the weaving is done by the men (Wellstedt). The woven cloths for the tabernacle were prepared by men, partly perhaps because the weaving in Egypt was mostly done by the men (Herod. 2, 35; cf. Hengstenberg, p. 143), but chiefly for this reason, that the cloths for the hangings and curtains were artistic works, which the women did not understand, but which the men had learned in Egypt, where artistic weaving was carried out to a great extent (Wilkinson, iii. pp. 113ff.).
(Note: For drawings of the Egyptian weaving-stool, see Wilkinson, iii. p. 135; also Hartmann, die Hebrerinn am Putztisch i. Taf. 1.)
The precious stones for the robes of the high priest, and the spices for the incense and anointing oil, were presented by the princes of the congregation, who had such costly things in their possession.
Moses then informed the people that God had called Bezaleel and Aholiab as master-builders, to complete the building and all the work connected with it, and had not only endowed them with His Spirit, that they might draw the plans for the different works and carry them out, but "had put it into his (Bezaleel's) heart to teach" (Exo 35:34), that is to say, had qualified him to instruct labourers to prepare the different articles under his supervision and guidance. "He and Aholiab" (Exo 35:34) are in apposition to "his heart:" into his and Aholiab's heart (see Ges. 121, 3; Ewald, 311 a). The concluding words in Exo 35:35 are in apposition to אתם (them): "them hath He filled with wisdom...as performers of every kind of work and inventors of designs," i.e., that they may make every kind of work and may invent designs. In Exo 36:1, ועשׂה with vav consec. is dependent upon what precedes, and signifies either, "and so will make," or, so that he will make (see Ewald, 342 b). The idea is this, "Bezaleel, Aholiab, and the other men who understand, into whom Jehovah has infused (בּ נתן) wisdom and understanding, that they may know how to do, shall do every work for the holy service (worship) with regard to (ל as in Exo 28:38, etc.) all that Jehovah has commanded."