Bezalel and Oholiab

What skills did Bezalel and Oholiab possess? What does this say about the way the Spirit of God equips people for leadership? Why might God have equipped them with people skills as well as artistic and practical skills? How would each be needed in building the Tabernacle?

    REFLECT: When told everything to do and exactly how to do it, how do you typically respond? If given the spiritual and physical resources to do it, and protected from overworking, how do you respond?

    Not only does ADONAI give the details and specifications for the building of the Tabernacle, but He also personally selected who would oversee the work. Bezalel was to have overall charge of the building with Oholiab as his assistant. Without a doubt these men were selected because of their superior talent and previous experience. God promised that Bezalel would be filled with the Spirit of God. The construction of the Tabernacle was no small task. It would take skill and imagination. For this responsibility the LORD chose the best and gave them divine help.

    Then ADONAI said to Moses His prophet: See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. It is unusual to mention the names of both a father and grandfather together. But the rabbis teach that Hur was murdered for opposing the making of the golden calf. If true, Hur’s life was redeemed in the work of his grandson, who fashioned gold into the dwelling of the living God.505 And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts, to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship (31:1-5, 35:30-33, 38:22). Bezalel was filled, or controlled, by the Holy Spirit to do his ministry. The rabbis also teach that Bezalel was only thirteen when selected by God to do the work of constructing the Tabernacle.

    In addition to Bezalel, ADONAI appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan to help him. It is interesting to notice that Hiram, the chief artist Solomon employed to make the ornamental work of the Temple was also from the tribe of Dan (Second Chronicles 2:13-14). And God gave both of them the ability to teach others (35:34). Although all of the craftsmenpossessed skill, literally wise of heart, but only Bezalel was filled with the Spirit of God. The supervisors’ names were appropriate indeed, since Bezalel means, in the Shadow of God, and Oholiab means, God the Father is My Tent.



The Tabernacle (Hebrew: מִשְׁכַּן‎‎, mishkan, "residence" or "dwelling place"), according to the Hebrew Bible, was the portable earthly meeting place of God with the children of Israel from the time of the Exodus from Egypt through the conquering of the land of Canaan. Built of woven layers of curtains along with 48 standing boards clad with polished gold and held in place by 5 bars per side with the middle bar shooting through from end to end and other items made from the gold, silver, brass, furs, jewels, and other valuable materials taken out of Egypt at God's orders, and according to specifications revealed by Yahweh (God) to Moses at Mount Sinai, it was transported [1] by the Israelites on their journey through the wilderness and their conquest of the Promised LandSolomon's Temple in Jerusalem superseded it as the dwelling-place of God some 300 years later.

The main source for the account of the construction of the Tabernacle is the biblical Book of Exodus, specifically Exodus 25–31 and 35–40. It describes an inner shrine, the Holy of Holies, which housed the Ark of the Covenant, which in turn was under the veil of the covering suspended by four pillars and an outer chamber (the "Holy Place"), containing beaten gold made into what is generally described as a lamp-stand or candlestick featuring a central shaft incorporating four almond-shaped bowls and six branches, each holding three bowls shaped like almonds and blossoms, 22 in all. It was standing diagonally, partially covering a table for showbread and with its seven oil lamps over against it to give light along with the altar of incense.[2]

This description is generally identified as part of the Priestly source ("P"),[2] written in the sixth or fifth century BCE. However whilst the first Priestly source takes the form of instructions, the second is largely a repetition of the first in the past tense, i.e., it describes the execution of the instructions.[3] Many scholars contend that it is of a far later date than the time of Moses, and that the description reflects the structure of Solomon's Temple, while some hold that the description derives from memories of a real pre-monarchic shrine, perhaps the sanctuary at Shiloh.[2] Traditional scholars contend that it describes an actual tabernacle used in the time of Moses and thereafter.[4]According to historical criticism, an earlier, pre-exilic source, the Elohist ("E"), describes the Tabernacle as a simple tent-sanctuary.[2]