Betzalel

Synonyms:
Bezalel, b’-tzal-AYL, בְּצַלְאֵל
Bezalel (Wikipedia)
Portrait of Bezalel by James Tissot.

In Exodus 31:1-6 and chapters 36 to 39, Bezalel (Hebrew: בְּצַלְאֵל‬, Bəṣalʼēl, also transcribed as Betzalel), was the chief artisan of the Tabernacle and was in charge of building the Ark of the Covenant, assisted by Aholiab. The section in chapter 31 describes his selection as chief artisan, in the context of Moses' vision of how God wanted the tabernacle to be constructed, and chapters 36 to 39 recount the construction process undertaken by Bezalel, Aholiab and every gifted artisan and willing worker, in accordance with the vision.

Elsewhere in the Bible the name occurs only in the genealogical lists of the Book of Chronicles, but according to cuneiform inscriptions a variant form of the same, "Ẓil-Bêl," was borne by a king of Gaza who was a contemporary of Hezekiah and Manasseh.

The name "Bezalel" means "in the shadow [protection] of God." Bezalel is described in the genealogical lists as the son of Uri (Exodus 31:1), the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah (I Chronicles 2:18, 19, 20, 50). He was said to be highly gifted as a workman, showing great skill and originality in engraving precious metals and stones and in wood-carving. He was also a master-workman, having many apprentices under him whom he instructed in the arts (Exodus 35:30-35). According to the narrative in Exodus, he was called and endowed by God to direct the construction of the tent of meeting and its sacred furniture, and also to prepare the priests' garments and the oil and incense required for the service.

He was also in charge of the holy oils, incense, and priestly vestments.Caleb was his great-grandfather.

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