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Laying the Foundation

Our previous article touched on a special man mentioned in the Bible, who lacks a lot of modern recognition for the great things he accomplished.

(בְּצַלְאֵל), Bəṣalʼēl, or Bezalel in its Anglicized form, was the chief artisan of the Tabernacle, which seems fitting since his name translates to “in the shadow of the Lord“. He is also responsible for building the Ark of the Covenant, the consecrated utensils for worship, the sacred furniture, the priestly garments, and preparing the oil and incense for service.

In Exodus 31:1-5, God informs Moses that He has filled Bezalel with the Spirit of God, with Wisdom, Knowledge, and Understanding and the ability to be a skilled artisan crafting things out of gold, silver, and brass. Bezalel would be able to cut stone and set them, and carve wood with intricate detail.

Bezalel and his amazing talents follow a long line of accomplishment seen throughout his distinguished family tree.

He was the son of Uri, whose name means my light/my flame/illumination, which could be a reference to his upstanding ethics or possibly an extremely enlightened mind.

Bezalel’s grandfather was Hur, the companion of Moses who helped Aaron keep Moses’ hands up to win the battle of Rephidim against the Amelekites in Exodus 17:12. In 1 Chronicles 4:4, Hur is listed as the father of the town of Bethlehem. When Moses goes up to Mount Sinai, he tells the Israelites that “Aaron and Hur are with you; whosoever hath a cause, let him come near unto them ( Exodus 24:14)” indicating that Hur was a key right hand man to Moses and deeply trusted by him. Afterwards, Hur is no longer mentioned in Biblical account and Jewish Talmudic tradition holds that he was killed while trying to prevent the making of the Golden Calf.

Though not fully clear in Biblical text, rabbinic folklore holds that Bezalel’s great grandparents were Miriam and Caleb.

Most will remember Miriam as Moses’ sister, who helped Moses survive in the Nile and offered the Egyptian princess her family’s services to nurse him. Some Jewish scholars believe that Miriam and Moses’ mother Yocheved were actually the famous midwives Shiphrah and Puah. These are the women whom the Egyptian Pharaoh ordered to kill the Hebrew boys as they were being born, but instead saved them in Exodus 1:15-22. If Miriam and Yocheved were midwives, they would have possibly known that the Egyptian princess was open to adopting. It also makes more sense that the Egyptian princess would not trust some random girl to look after her newly embraced baby, but would recognize the midwife’s daughter who regularly visited the Pharaoh.

Puah (Miriam’s midwife name), comes from the root pa’ah which means ‘to cry out or scream” referring to the newborn child’s cries. It also translates as “cooing” which implies Miriam’s role in the midwifing process was looking after and comforting the baby after birth. This makes sense that, after years of singing lullabies after the birth of a baby, Miriam’s natural instinct after crossing the Red Sea, a symbolic birthing of Israel out of Egypt, is to lead the newly freed Israelite women to start singing Miriam’s Song recorded in Exodus 15:19-21. Miriam also served as a prophetess and the leader of the women during the 40 year march in the wilderness.

Caleb, Bezalel’s great grandfather, was one of twelve spies sent out into the Promised Land to scout the region and conduct reconnaissance. He, along with Joshua, were the only ones who brought back a positive report of the area, trusting, that with God’s help, they would be able to conquer the land (Numbers 14:6-9). Caleb’s name means “dog”, which has been interpreted different ways. His father Jephunneh (Numbers 32:12, Joshua 14:6, 14) was a Kenizzite (Genesis 15:19), which were a foreign Gentile tribe, so Caleb being a “dog” might refer to his mixed race heritage. Customary Jewish sources paint a more positive picture of Caleb as a man with a dog-like loyalty to Moses and most importantly, to God. Caleb’s voice was so booming and loud that in a Jewish legend, he rescues the other spies in the Promised Land with his shouts and “barks” by frightening away giants who had cornered them.

Caleb’s dog-like loyalty and courage are profoundly expressed when he confronts Joshua before the final invasion of the Promised Land. Caleb reminds Joshua of their Special Forces mission forty-five years earlier and how at “eighty-five years old, [Caleb was] still as strong as the day Moses sent [him] out“, and that after all this time Caleb still believes that with “God’s help, [he would] drive [the giants] out” (ref Joshua 14:6-15).

I hope you understand that I am not arguing that God’s spiritual gifts are genetic or that only special lineages helped complete His plans, but that His promises are accomplished by a long stream of people with different talents each deciding to be courageous and follow the role and path God had laid out for them, building upon the accomplishments of those who came before them.

Some are blessed with a myriad of spiritual gifts and huge public positions, like we see with Bezalel, the chief architect of the Tabernacle. Others may at first seem insignificant or un-profound like the father of Caleb, Jephunneh, the Kenizzite, until we consider that if it were not for his Faithful decision to bravely leave behind his family and homeland to convert and join the Israelite Nation, the rest of his family’s story wouldn’t have taken place. God did not overlook the sacrifices and choices of these characters and their legacies stand thousands of years later for us to learn from today. The decision to turn from the world by joining the Vision of the Tabernacle, living by God’s principles, and employing your spiritual gifts, may not seem profound in your lifetime but it has ripple effects for generations to come.

In the next articles, we’ll be exploring the parallels between the roles and gifts seen in the building of the Tabernacle and what God is constructing today.


Prepared by, Kent Simpson, Apostolic Prophet & Eric Sepulveda, PMT Administrator


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