Unit 12: Day 1, Exodus 35–40

    “Unit 12: Day 1, Exodus 35–40,” Old Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2014)

    “Unit 12: Day 1,” Old Testament Study Guide

    Unit 12: Day 1

    Exodus 35–40


    The Israelites willingly provided the materials necessary to build the tabernacle, and skilled workers built each of its components. After all of the items were ready, the Lord commanded Moses to erect and dedicate the tabernacle. The Israelites put the tabernacle together, and Moses followed the Lord’s instructions to anoint and ordain Aaron and his sons to administer the ordinances. After Moses and the children of Israel obeyed these commands, the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.

    Exodus 35–39

    The Israelites obey the Lord’s command to build the tabernacle

    Have you ever served someone when you did not want to? How did you feel serving unwillingly, compared to when you served willingly? How did your attitude affect your experience?

    In Exodus 35 we learn that the children of Israel offered gifts to the Lord.

    In Exodus 35:1–3 we read that Moses gathered the children of Israel together and told them to observe the Sabbath day.

    The Lord had asked the Israelites to contribute some of their possessions for the building of the tabernacle (see Exodus 25:2). Read Exodus 35:4–5, looking for what the Lord commanded the Israelites regarding their offerings to build the tabernacle. Then read Exodus 35:20–22, 29 to see how the people responded to the Lord’s command. You might want to mark what you find.

    Based on what you read, complete the following truth: The Lord desires that we give our offerings to Him with a heart.

    What are some offerings we are asked to give to the Lord?

    1. journal icon
      Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

      1. How would you describe to someone what it means to have “a willing heart” (Exodus 35:5)?

      2. Why do you think the Lord wants us to give our offerings willingly?

    For each item in the following chart, check the box that matches how willingly you give that offering to the Lord. (Your answers do not need to be shared with anyone else.)

    Weighing My Willingness


    Somewhat willingly

    Not very willingly

    1. I attend and participate in my Church classes.

    1. I do service for others.

    1. I pay my tithing and fast offerings.

    1. I participate in activities with my family.

    1. I obey my parents.

    What did this chart reveal about how you give offerings to the Lord? Are there any offerings you give the Lord unwillingly? Do you hold back part of any offering? How will you make offerings to the Lord with a more willing heart?

    The principle of serving the Lord with a willing heart is so important that the Lord revealed the following to the Prophet Joseph Smith: “Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days” (D&C 64:34). This is the same principle the Lord was trying to teach ancient Israel. The Lord will help all who desire to have a willing heart.

    In Exodus 35:30–36:3, a man named Bezaleel and other skilled workers were called to build the tabernacle. The people of Israel brought their offerings to these workers. Read Exodus 36:4–7, looking for how much the Israelites offered for the building of the Lord’s house.

    1. journal icon
      Think about someone who you feel lives the truth you completed earlier and gives offerings and serves the Lord with a willing heart. In your scripture study journal, write about how you see this truth exemplified in that person’s life.

    Read the chapter summaries at the beginning of Exodus 37; 38; and 39.

    What did Bezaleel and the other skilled workers do with the offerings given by the willing and obedient Israelites?

    After the workers completed the various components of the tabernacle, they took their completed work to Moses. Read Exodus 39:43, looking for what Moses recognized about their work. You may want to mark what you find.

    Exodus 40:1–16

    The Lord commands Moses to erect the tabernacle and to wash and anoint Aaron and his sons

    In Exodus 40:1–11 we learn that the Lord told Moses to set up the tabernacle and to place the newly built holy objects within it and anoint them with oil and consecrate them.

    The completed tabernacle would have looked similar to the one shown in the following drawing.

    drawing of tabernacle

    Read Exodus 40:12–15, looking for what Moses was told to do with Aaron and his sons.

    Moses was commanded to anoint Aaron and his sons to minister “in the priest’s office.” At that time, “instructions were revealed for setting up, equipping, and dedicating the tabernacle for worship services and for washing, anointing, and clothing priests … so that they could properly officiate in the ordinances to be performed in the tabernacle” (Ellis T. Rasmussen, A Latter-day Saint Commentary on the Old Testament [1993], 125). These ceremonies of washing, anointing, and clothing in holy garments helped prepare Aaron and his sons to officiate in the sacred ordinances to be performed in the tabernacle.

    Read Exodus 40:16, looking for how thoroughly Moses followed the Lord’s commands concerning the tabernacle.

    What similarity do you notice between Exodus 40:16 and Exodus 39:43?

    Exodus 40:17–38

    The glory of the Lord fills the tabernacle

    Read Exodus 40:19, looking for wording that is similar to what you read in Exodus 40:16. Look for the same wording in Exodus 40:21. You might want to mark these phrases.

    Read Exodus 40:22–32. You may want to mark each instance of the phrase “as the Lord commanded Moses.”

    What can we learn about the children of Israel from the repeated phrase in these verses?

    Read the first word of Exodus 40:34, and circle or mark it if you choose. This word is a clue that can help you to identify a principle.

    You might consider drawing lines in your scriptures from each occurrence of the phrase “as the Lord commanded Moses” to “Then” at the beginning of verse 34.

    marked page of Exodus 40

    Read Exodus 40:34–38, looking for what happened because of the Israelites’ obedience in building the tabernacle.

    The cloud and fire were symbols of the presence of the Lord. These symbols could help the children of Israel to know that their sacrifices were accepted by the Lord and that He was guiding them in their journeys.

    1. journal icon
      Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

      1. What was the result of the Israelites’ obedience?

      2. What principles can you learn from the children of Israel about how to invite the Lord to guide your life?

    One truth that these verses teach is that the Lord will be with us and guide us if we obey His commandments. Consider writing this principle in your scriptures.

    What blessings can come from having the Lord guide our lives?

    President Thomas S. Monson

    In the following statement, underline the blessing President Thomas S. Monson said we receive when we invite the Lord to guide our lives: “My brothers and sisters, the Lord is in all of our lives. He loves us. He wants to bless us. He wants us to seek His help. As He guides us and directs us and as He hears and answers our prayers, we will find the happiness here and now that He desires for us” (“Consider the Blessings,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2012, 89).

    1. journal icon
      In your scripture study journal, write about a time when you were guided by the Lord because you were obedient and sensitive to the Lord’s will. Write about the happiness you received as you followed the Lord’s guidance. (If you cannot think of a personal experience, write about an experience of someone you know.)

    Ponder what you could do in your life to better qualify to be guided by the Lord.

    Ask your Father in Heaven for the courage and strength to obey any promptings you may have felt while studying this lesson. Know that the Lord recognizes your efforts to be obedient to His commandments.

    1. journal icon
      Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:

      I have studied Exodus 35–40 and completed this lesson on (date).

      Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: