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Bible Commentaries
Exodus 24

Barnes' Notes on the Whole BibleBarnes' Notes

Verses 1-2

Are placed by some with great probability between Exodus 24:8-9.

Verse 4

Twelve pillars - As the altar was a symbol of the presence of Yahweh, so these twelve pillars represented the presence of the Twelve tribes with whom He was making the covenant.

Verse 5

Young men of the children of Israel - See Exodus 19:22; Exodus 28:1; Leviticus 1:5.

Burnt offerings ... peace offerings - The burnt offerings Leviticus 1:0 figured the dedication of the nation to Yahweh, and the peace offerings Leviticus 3:0 their communion with Yahweh and with each other.

Verse 6

He sprinkled - Rather, he cast. See Leviticus 1:5.

Verse 7

The book of the covenant - See Exodus 20:22 note. The people had to repeat their assent to the book of the covenant before the blood was thrown upon them. Compare 2 Kings 23:2, 2 Kings 23:21; 2 Chronicles 34:30.

Verse 8

The blood which sealed the covenant was the blood of burnt offerings and peace offerings. The sin-offering Leviticus 4:0 had not yet been instituted. That more complicated view of human nature which gave to the sin-offering its meaning, had yet to be developed by the law, which was now only receiving its ratification. The covenant between Yahweh and His people therefore took precedence of the operation of the law, by which came the knowledge of sin. Romans 3:20.

Upon the people - Either upon the elders or those who stood foremost; or, upon the twelve pillars representing the Twelve tribes, as the first half had been cast upon the altar, which witnessed to the presence of Yahweh. The blood thus divided between the two parties to the covenant signified the sacramental union between the Lord and His people. Cf. Psalms 50:5; Zechariah 9:11.

Verse 9

It would appear that Moses, Aaron with his two sons, and seventy of the elders Exodus 19:7 went a short distance up the mountain to eat the meal of the covenant (compare Genesis 31:43-47), which must have consisted of the flesh of the peace offerings Exodus 24:5. Joshua accompanied Moses as his servant Exodus 24:13.

Verse 10

And they saw the God of Israel - As they ate the sacrificial feast, the presence of Yahweh was manifested to them with special distinctness. In the act of solemn worship, they perceived that He was present with them, as their Lord and their Deliverer. It is idle to speculate on the mode of this revelation. That no visible form was presented to their bodily eyes, we are expressly informed, Deuteronomy 4:12; see Exodus 33:20; compare Isaiah 6:1. The latter part of this verse may be read: “under His feet, it was like a work of bright sapphire stone, and like the heaven itself in clearness.” On the sapphire, see Exodus 28:18; compare Ezekiel 1:26. The pure blue of the heaven above them lent its influence to help the inner sense to realize the vision which no mortal eye could behold.

Verse 11

He laid not his hand - i. e. He did not strike them. It was believed that a mortal could not survive the sight of God Exodus 33:20; Genesis 32:30; Judges 6:22; Judges 13:22 : but these rulers of Israel were permitted to eat and drink, while they were enjoying in an extraordinary degree the sense of the divine presence, and received no harm.

Verse 12

Many Jews understand the “tables of stone” to denote the Ten Commandments; “a law,” the law written in the Pentateuch; and the “commandments” (or “the commandment”), the oral or traditional law which was in after ages put into writing in the Mishna and the Gemara. But it is more probable that the Ten Commandments alone are spoken of, and that the meaning is, “the tables of stone with the law, even the commandment.”

Verse 18

During this period of forty days, and the second period when the tables were renewed, Moses neither ate bread nor drank water. Compare marginal references. In like manner, Elijah fasted for forty days, when he visited the same spot 1 Kings 19:8. The two who met our Saviour on the Mount of Transfiguration Matthew 17:3, the one representing the law, the other representing the Prophets, thus shadowed forth in their own experience the Fast of Forty days in the wilderness of Judaea.

Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Exodus 24". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnb/exodus-24.html. 1870.
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