Exodus 31:3 MEANING

Exodus 31:3
(3-4) I have filled him with the spirit of God . . . to devise cunning works.--"Every good gift and every perfect gift (intellectual power no less than others) is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights" (James 1:17). Artistic ability is a Divine gift, a very precious gift, best employed in God's direct service, and always to be employed in subordination to His will, as an improving, elevating, and refining--not as a corrupting--influence.

In wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge.--By "wisdom" is probably meant the power to invent and originate artistic forms; by "understanding," the ability to appreciate artistic suggestions received from others; by "knowledge," acquaintance with the methods and processes of art. Bezaleel was to possess all these gifts.

In all manner of workmanship.--He was also to possess that wonderful dexterity of hand on which the power of artistic execution mainly depends.

Verse 3. - The Spirit of God. There is no article in the Hebrew, any more than in Genesis 1:1; and some would therefore translate "a Divine Spirit"; but no change is needed. Ruakh elohim contains in itself the idea of singularity, since God has but one Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the medium of communication whereby God the Father bestows all gifts upon us. In wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge. By the first of these terms is meant the power to invent and originate; by the second ability to receive and appreciate directions and suggestions; by the third, such information as is acquired by experience and acquaintance with facts. Bezaleel was to have all these, and, in addition, was to be wise in all manner of workmanship; i.e. - to possess manual dexterity, the power of artistic execution.

31:1-11 The Israelites, who had been masons and bricklayers in Egypt, were not qualified for curious workmanship; but the Spirit who gave the apostles utterance in divers tongues, miraculously gave Bezaleel and Aholiab the skill that was wanting. The honour which comes from God, is always attended with a work to be done; to be employed for God is high honour. Those whom God calls to any service, he will find or make fit for it. The Lord gives different gifts to different persons; let each mind his proper work, diligently remembering that whatever wisdom any one possesses, the Lord put it in the heart, to do his commandments.And I have filled him with the Spirit of God,.... Not with the special graces of the Spirit, or with spiritual gifts fitting for spiritual service in the knowledge of spiritual things, and the instruction of men in them, though, no doubt, he might have them; but with the gifts of ingenuity and skill in manual arts, and mechanical operations, as follows:

in wisdom, and in understanding, and in all manner of workmanship; these explain what is meant by the Spirit of God he was filled with; namely, with a sufficient measure of natural wisdom, knowledge, and understanding in all sorts of workmanship hereafter mentioned, to qualify him for his office as a director therein; that is, he had such a share of knowledge of what was to be wrought, such wisdom and understanding in the ingenious and curious manner of working them, that though he did not work with his own hands, yet could teach, guide, and direct others how to do them: and this was not an ordinary but an extraordinary gift of knowledge of these things; nor was it owing to a fruitful invention, nor to long study and contrivance; but it was by the immediate inspiration of the Spirit of God, which was necessary at this time, the Israelites being now in a general state of ignorance of all ingenious arts and sciences, having lived so many years in a state of servitude, and scarce knew anything but making of bricks: and it may be observed, that God never calls any to any work or service of his but he qualifies for it: in all this Bezaleel was a type of Christ, who was filled with the Holy Spirit without measure; and on whom rested the spirit of wisdom and of counsel, and in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; and who, as God's righteous and faithful servant as Mediator, dealt wisely and prudently in all his administrations.

Courtesy of Open Bible