Bible Commentary: Exodus 39

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Exodus 39

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Priestly Garments; The Work Completed

The priestly garments were made according to the fashion God had instructed Moses in chapter 28. The only thing left out here is the placement of the Urim and Thummim in the breastplate (see Exodus 28:30)—a step that takes place in Leviticus 8:8. Notice here the short trousers that were part of the priestly uniform. This linen undergarment, God had earlier explained, was for modesty's sake—"over their nakedness" (Exodus 28:42). "Given the sexually preoccupied worship of Israel's neighbor's, this provision was decidedly countercultural" (Nelson Study Bible,note on verse 42). "This modesty communicated to the Israelites that human sexuality could not influence God. That idea was a central feature of Baal worship, which continually tempted the Israelites. The priests of Baal would use obscene gestures and actions in the pagan worship of their depraved god" (note on Leviticus 6:10). In stark contrast, "Nothing obscene or unseemly was permitted in the pure worship of the living God" (note on Exodus 20:26).

With the completion of the priestly garments, the work of construction was finally finished. Verses 32-43 of chapter 39 list "all the work" that God had commanded through Moses. It was now finished. "Then Moses looked over all the work" (verse 43)—a final inspection. And the result? "And indeed they had done it; as the Lord had commanded, just so they had done it" (verse 43). May the same be said of us as we strive to please God in our lives. In the end, Moses blessed them, just as Christ will bless us if we follow God's instructions.