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Exodus 24

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 1

And he said unto Moses, Come up unto the LORD, thou, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and worship ye afar off.

And he said unto Moses. When and where were these words spoken? It was after the delivery of the Ten commandments, when the people, overwhelmed with awe at the appalling display of the Divine Majesty, besought Moses to act as mediator between God and them. Although paralyzed at first, in common with the people, by the awfulness of the scene, yet, having been reassured by the Divine Voice (Exodus 19:19), he drew near into "the thick darkness" (Exodus 20:21), where he remained in mysterious communion with God, and was instructed in the application of the great principles of the Decalogue to various cases bearing on matters of interest and importance in the social economy, and which, from their frequent occurrence, required an immediate and authoritative settlement in accordance with the national constitution.

The results of that solemn conference are related in Exodus 20:22-26; Exodus 21:1-36; Exodus 22:1-31; Exodus 23:1-33; and the close of it is described in the commencement of this chapter. It is manifestly implied in the terms of this order that Moses had been sent down to communicate to the people those counsels and explanatory details of the law, and that he had been commanded, after performing that duty, to re-ascend the mountain, in order to receive a divinely-authenticated and permanent record of the Decalogue-the basis of the national covenant-and to be furnished with a "pattern" according to which he was to fashion the whole political and religious course of Israelite life. On this subsequent occasion he was to be accompanied by a select body of attendants, consisting of the principal and most respected chiefs of the people, whose presence and testimony would tend to inspire general confidence, and pave the way for a readier acceptation of the divine will. (See further the notes at Exodus 24:13-14.)

Verse 2

And Moses alone shall come near the LORD: but they shall not come nigh; neither shall the people go up with him.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 3

And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do.

Moses came and told the people. The rehearsal of the Ten commandments and foregoing laws (Exodus 20:2-14; also Exodus 21:23), together with the promises of special blessings in the event of their obedience, having drawn forth from the people a unanimous declaration of their consent, these were forthwith recorded as the conditions of the national covenant.

Verse 4

And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel.

Moses wrote all the words of the Lord. It is not said where he wrote them, the public register having been mentioned already (Exodus 17:14), in which it seems that, by the special appointment of God, all incidents of public interest or sacred importance, especially His marvelous interpositions, and the revelations of His will and worship, were recorded. The next day preparations were made for having it solemnly ratified, by building an altar and twelve pillars; the altar representing God, and the pillars the tribes of Israel-the two parties in this solemn compact-while Moses acted as typical mediator.

The altar was erected [ tachat (H8478) haahaar (H2022)] under (at the base of) the mount, not the hill, as it is erroneously called. [ matseebaah (H4676) pillar, a cippus (cf. Genesis 28:18; Genesis 28:22; Isaiah 19:19).] The twelve pillars were set up probably around the altar, which, having been erected in the manner and of the material prescribed (Exodus 20:24), became a temporary place where the presence and blessing of the Lord were enjoyed by the people; and the position of the twelve stones would be ranged in such regular order that they were recognized as representing the respective tribes.

'An altar was a stepping-stone by which man ascended to God, and on which he offered the gifts which he presented to God. It was therefore necessary that the altar should be erected by man himself. When Yahweh came down-not to receive gifts and sacrifices from the people, but to give them laws and promises-Sinai was the altar on which He revealed Himself. The people durst not ascend Mount Sinai to offer their gifts to God; it was necessary, therefore, that they should build an altar themselves, which should bear the same relation to Sinai as the work of man to the work of God. At the same time its connection was to be made known by the fact that it was constructed of earth and unhewn stones' (Kurtz).

Verse 5

And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the LORD.

And he sent young men. Whether these young men were oldest sons of particular families, to whom belonged, among other privileges of primogeniture in patriarchal times, the hereditary office of priest, who were set apart to the Lord (Exodus 13:2), and these youths were the parties alluded to (Exodus 19:22), it is impossible to say, nor is it of much consequence to determine; because the service they were directed by Moses to perform on this occasion was not among the special functions of the priesthood-namely, that of sprinkling blood upon the altar. Their assistance was rendered only in the preparatory labour of playing and ranging the victims on the altar; and in this work they represented the people by whom the sacrifice was offered, and whose attitude as a nation resembled that of a youth just ready to enter upon his course' (Kurtz, 3:, p. 143). [The oblations were of two kinds - `olaah (H5930) (from `aalaah (H5927), to ascend, signifying their being carried up and laid upon the altar); Septuagint, holokautoomata, holocausts, sacrifices wholly consumed, of a propitiatory import; and shªlaamiym (H8002) zªbaachiym (H2077), peace offerings, which were federal in their character (see the note at Exodus 20:24: cf. Exodus 32:6).]

The victims offered are called [ paariym (H6499)] young bullocks, the principal animals only being mentioned; because it appears (Hebrews 9:18-20) that goats were also presented on this occasion, of which, as well as of sheep and lambs, as afterward appointed by the law, burnt offerings might consist (Leviticus 1:10; Numbers 7:28). The occasion, being the solemn ratification of the national covenant between the Lord and the people of Israel, was signalized not only by the offering of sacrifices, which were essential to every act of religious worship (for the sin of the people must be expiated before they could be admitted into communion with the Lord), but by the observance of a special ceremony, by which both the parties interested in the covenant were brought under the most sacred obligations faithfully to adhere to its conditions.

Verse 6

And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basons; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar.

Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basins. At a later period. after the ritual under the law had been long established, and was in full operation, the chief ruler, the civil head of the nation, committed a heinous offence by assuming the sacred office (1 Samuel 13:9). But at the time referred to in this passage the sacerdotal order was not instituted in Israel, and Moses, as mediator in this extraordinary transaction, discharged the interim functions of the priest.

Since there were many victims immolated, there would be a copious effusion of blood, which he divided into two equal portions received in basins; the one was reserved for a special use, the other portion was sprinkled upon the altar, as symbolcally representing the presence of God. Previous to the same ceremony being performed toward the people, it was important to elicit from them a formal expression of their voluntary consent to the conditions and stipulations embodied in the covenant; and accordingly there was a public rehearsal of the law.

Verse 7

And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient.

He took the book of the covenant - namely, the writing in which, as stated in Exodus 24:4, were inscribed the conditions of the national covenant as embodied in the words and laws of God (see the notes at Deuteronomy 4:13-14).

And read in the audience of the people - probably first to the elders or representatives, by whom it was rehearsed to the various sections of the people in succession.

They said, All that the lord hath said will we do, and be obedient. Since the law is termed a covenant, into which the Israelites were on their part to enter voluntarily and with self-consciousness, an express declaration to this effect had to be asked and obtained; and on the renewed acceptance of the terms by the people, the ceremony was performed which indicated its solemn ratification, by sprinkling the blood half on each party in the transaction.

Verse 8

And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words.

Sprinkled it on the people - probably on the twelve pillars, as representing the people (also the book, Hebrews 9:18-20), and the act was accompanied by a public proclamation of its import. It was setting their seal to the covenant (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:25). It must have been a deeply impressive as well as instructive scene, for it taught the Israelites that the covenant was made with them only through the sprinkling of blood-that the divine acceptance of themselves and services was only by virtue of an atoning sacrifice, and that even the blessings of the national covenant were promised and secured to them only through grace.

The ceremonial, however, had a further and higher significance, as is shown by the apostle (see as above). On comparing the transaction recorded in this passage with that described Genesis 15:9 to end, there appears a very considerable modification in the rites observed at the formation of the covenant from the simple but significant usage of the patriarchal age, when the contracting parties actually passed between the severed victims. The principle embodied in the symbolical observance is the same; but the complete form of antiquity in the course of time is abridged. 'Besides, it ought not to be overlooked,' says Havernick ('Historico-Critical Introduction to the Pentateuch,' Clarke's ed., p. 152), 'that the rite mentioned in Genesis wears more of a universal character, as illustrated by pagan usages derived from the earliest times; while, on the contrary, that which was adopted at Sinai has a more particular and theocratic character (see Winer, p. 236).'

It may be necessary to observe, that God, who was one of the parties in this covenant, entered into it in the character of the King of Israel. He is frequently called so in Scripture (Judges 8:23; 1 Samuel 8:7; 1 Samuel 12:12); and in that capacity he disposed of offices, made war and peace, exacted tribute, enacted laws, and punished with death such of that people as refused Him allegiance. The other contracting party was the Jewish nation-not excluding those unregenerate and inwardly disaffected to God and goodness. In this passage, which contains the original record of the Sinai covenant, all the people are expressly said to enter into it; and yet the greater part of that people were strangers to the enlightening and converting influences of the Spirit, or to any principle of inward love to God and holiness. The covenant was made not with individuals, but with the Jewish nation as such, on condition of their external obedience to a variety of laws, precepts, and judgments; and it was made not only with those who came out of Egypt, but with all succeeding generations that were to spring from them (Deuteronomy 29:14-15: cf. Ezekiel 16:20; Matthew 3:9; John 8:33; Philippians 3:4-5).

All the stock of Israel were interested in that covenant-not only the pure and lineal descendants of Jacob, but those also who were incorporated with them-whether adopted by a Jew from being born in his house or bought with his money, and circumcised, as a token that they were entitled to its benefits (Genesis 17:12-13; Selden 'De Jur. Nat. and Gent.,' lib. 5:, cap. 12): whether proselytes, who in virtue of their own deed acquired the same claim, or the children of proselytes, who, though circumcised at an age when incapable of knowing what was done to them, had a similar claim through the deed and will of their parents (Dr. John Erskine 'On the Nature of the Sinai Covenant').

Verse 9

Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel:

Then went up Moses, and Aaron ... - in obedience to a command given (Exodus 24:1-2; also Exodus 19:24) previous to the religious engagement of the people, described above.

Nadab, and Abihu - the two oldest sons of Aaron, whose approach to God on this occasion was preparatory to their consecration to the priestly office.

And seventy of the elders - a select number. What was the principle of selection is not said; but they were the chief representatives, the most conspicuous for official rank and station, as well as for their probity and weight of character in their respective tribes.

Verse 10

And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.

Saw the God of Israel. (The Samaritan text has, 'they worshipped the God of Israel.') It cannot be supposed that the invisible God Himself was actually seen with the bodily eye, or in a literal sense (John 1:18); and though a strong mental perception of His immediate presence would be sufficient, according to Hebrew usage, to warrant the expression of seeing Him-for who does not know that internal seeing is frequently spoken of in the Scriptures? (Numbers 24:3-4; Numbers 24:16; Matthew 5:8) - there was something more experienced by this party who ascended the mount (see the note at Numbers 12:8).

That there was no visible form or representation of the divine nature, we have express intimation, Deuteronomy 4:15. The Chaldee paraphrase is, 'they saw the glory of the God of Israel;' and the Septuagint has: kai eidon ton topon hou eisteekei ho Theos tou Israeel, they saw the place where the God of Israel stood, representing the majesty of God as far above the heaven, which, sublime as it is, was under His feet. But it was "the God of Israel" they are described as seeing, who made Himself visible by the Shechinah; and a symbol or emblem of His glory was distinctly and at a distance displayed before those chosen witnesses. At an advanced period in the progressive development of the Jewish dispensation it is expressly said, that to the mystic eye of the prophet (Ezekiel 1:26) there was discovered, amid the luminous blaze of the vision, a faint adumbrated form of the humanity of Christ.

Many of the most orthodox writers are of opinion that visions similar to that of Ezekiel had often been seen by holy men of God before his time, although no descriptive details have been given, and that the adoption of this hypothesis as a fact will furnish a key to the explanation of many passages which must otherwise remain involved in obscurity (cf. 2 Samuel 22:1-51 with Psalms 18:1-50: see Henderson 'On Inspiration, p. 108; Watts' 'Fragments').

There was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, [ libnat (H3840) hacapiyr (H5601)] - the clearness or transparency of the sapphire. Sapphire is one of the most valuable and lustrous of the precious gems, of a sky-blue or light azure colour, and frequently chosen by later writers to describe the throne of God (Ezekiel 1:26; Ezekiel 10:1; Revelation 4:6; Revelation 15:2; Revelation 21:18).

Ancient monarchs, when they appeared in full state, sat on thrones or tribunals erected on floors of surpassing beauty, and nearly resembling the tesselated pavements afterward adopted by the Roman magistrates. They were formed of painted tiles, of a blue or sapphire colour; and it is now well known that the floor in the mosque of Omar at Jerusalem is almost entirely covered over with green and blue bricks, which are glazed; so that when the sun shines they perfectly dazzle. But as those tiles were not transparent, Moses, in order to describe the pavement under the feet of the God of Israel with due majesty, represents it as like the floors of painted tile he had seen in Egypt, but transparent as the body of heaven [ uwkª`etsem (H6106) hashaamayim (H8064)] - as the heaven itself, the very heaven. The Septuagint has: eidos stereoomatos tou ouranou, appearance of the firmament of the heaven in its clearness - i:e., a purer, finer, and brighter sky, as seen on the summit of the mountain, than what they were accustomed to witness from the plain below. This image was evidently before the mental eye of the apocalyptic seer in his description of the Theophany (Revelation 4:1-6), and reproduced under that of the resplendent "sea of glass" (cf. Revelation 21:21).

Verse 11

And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.

Upon the nobles of the children of Israel, [ 'atsiyleey (H678)] - deep-rooted: hence, metaphorically, sprung from an ancient and noble stock.

Laid not his hand. This phrase is used to denote a violent attack with a view to slay (cf. Genesis 22:12). The Septuagint has: kai toon epilektoon tou Israeel ou diefooneesen oude heis, and not one of those picked men of Israel expired (was cut off); and the allusion is to the popular belief that a sudden and direct revelation by God of Himself was followed by death (Genesis 16:13; Genesis 32:30; Judges 6:22; Judges 13:23; Isaiah 6:5).

They were indeed to worship "afar off;" for even the greatest men who are held in high veneration by their fellowmen must bow in humble reverence before God. But the nobles who had ascended the mount were not inspired with terror in presence of the calm, benign, radiant symbol of the Divine Majesty; nor did they sustain any bodily injury from their admission to so unusual a spectacle-so different was this scene from the terrific exhibitions at the giving of the law.

Also they saw God. This repetition, though no details are given, was evidently made to show that the party enjoyed the most convincing evidence of a present Deity being on the mount. [In accordance with this view, the Septuagint translates it as: kai ooftheesan en too topoo tou Theou-they appeared in the place (sanctuary) of God]; and the report of so many competent witnesses would tend to confirm the people's faith in the divine mission of Moses.

And did sat and drink - i:e., they feasted on the peace offering-on the remnants of the late sacrifices and libations. While the fat of the victim was consumed, and its blood sprinkled upon the altar as an atonement, the rest of the carcass was, in the case of peace offerings, given to the offerer to feast upon as a sacrificial meal, symbolical of his participating in the promised blessings of the covenant; and as, according to Oriental ideas, eating and drinking in the house, and in the presence of a host, was an introduction to near communion and inviolable friendship with him, so the elders did eat and drink in the immediate vicinity of what was then the sanctuary or dwelling-place of Yahweh, representing in their persons the nation of Israel, introduced into the full enjoyment of the Sinaitic benefits. Hence, it became in after times a favourite idea of the prophets to portray the blessings of the new covenant, and of all near communion with God, under the imagery of a festival (Song of Solomon 5:1; Isaiah 25:6; Isaiah 65:13; Zephaniah 1:7-8; Proverbs 9:1); and our Lord Himself made use of the same metaphor to set forth the same truths (Luke 22:18; Luke 22:30; Revelation 19:7).

The chosen men of Israel, on the termination of their sacrificial meal, descended along with Moses from the mount. Although this is not expressly said, the subsequent narrative of transactions necessitates the hypothesis that the whole party returned to the camp below. The way by which Moses and the 70 elders went, on leaving the camp in Wady Raheh, must have been through one of the deep narrow ravines which in almost every direction intersect the mountain range-probably Wady Shuweib-the common route for an ascent of the mountain. The spot from which they obtained a sight of the resplendent symbol of Deity, and on which they afterward partook of the covenant meal, was far up the ridge of Jebel Musa-probably the spot where there is a circular valley or hollow at the base of the highest peak.

Verse 12

And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.

The Lord said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there - i:e., remain there, as the verb "be" often signifies, (Genesis 2:18; Genesis 4:8; Isaiah 7:23: cf. 1 Timothy 4:15, Gr.) The summons of the leader to the sacred presence on this new occasion was for a special and important purpose-namely, that of receiving an authentic copy of the Decalogue. Although the ten commandments had been promulgated from Sinai by the voice of God Himself, amid circumstances fitted to inspire the greatest solemnity and awe, yet the awful impressions which that scene had produced would ere long have worn away, and even the 'ten words' which God had spoken been forgotten, unless means had been taken to perpetuate the remembrance of them. They were inscribed, therefore, for greater durability, on stone, which had been miraculously prepared, and the writing of which was also of divine execution. They were thus authenticated and honoured above the judicial or ceremonial parts of the law; and Moses was now called up to receive the divine transcript from the hands of the Lawgiver Himself, to serve as the basis, the fundamental principles, of the national legislation.

Rationalist writers maintain that nothing more is meant than that the ten commandments were to be again in that mountain solitude rehearsed to Moses, who was to write them upon a stone tablet, according to the direction of God; but the language of this passage is so explicit, and repetitions of the fact related are so numerous and so pointed, that either the historical testimony of Moses must be rejected altogether, or his narrative be received in its literality, that "tables of stone" on which the precepts of the Decalogue had been recorded by the Divine Hand were given him as a permanent mode of preserving them for the instruction of the people (see further the notes at Exodus 31:18; Exodus 32:15-16; Deuteronomy 10:1-5).

Jewish writers have founded the authority of the oral law on this passage. Maimonides, the greatest of their rabbies since Gamaliel, asserts this in the plainest and most positive terms at the commencement of his great work; for in reference to the words, "I will give thee tables of stone, and a law and commandments," he says the word [ hatowraah (H8451)], 'the law,' signifies the written law, and the word [ hamitswaah (H4687)], 'the commandments,' signifies the oral law; and thus maintains, on the alleged authority of God Himself, that He gave the oral law at that time;-so that the oral had the same origin as the written law, and the Talmud, in which the traditions are preserved, possesses equal authority with the Bible.

This interpretation, however, is totally inadmissible, because it is expressly said Moses was called to receive 'what God had written;' and therefore the word "commandments" cannot be applicable to the instructions given (Exodus 25:1-40; Exodus 26:1-37; Exodus 27:1-21; Exodus 28:1-43; Exodus 29:1-46; Exodus 30:1-38; Exodus 31:1-17), for they were written on tables of stone (Exodus 31:18; Exodus 34:28). Besides, in the original text the words are, 'the law' and 'the commandment.' Mitsevah is frequently used in a collective sense with reference to the Decalogue (Deuteronomy 5:28; Deuteronomy 5:31; Deuteronomy 6:1; Deuteronomy 8:1; Deuteronomy 17:20; Deuteronomy 27:1); and therefore the true rendering of the clause is, 'I will give thee tables of stone, and (containing) the law, even the commandment, or commandments.'

Verse 13

And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God.

Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua. The leader prepared, in obedience to the divine call, to re-ascend the mount, and he was attended on by his minister or assistant, Joshua. It would be a great comfort to him to have the company of that active, faithful, and pious attendant, during the protracted halt he had to make, ere he was summoned to the top of the mount. There is no evidence that Joshua was included in the number of the 70 elders who had been up the mount at the sacrificial feast; at all events, he is not mentioned, because he possessed no independent status.

His name which was at first Oshea or Hoshea (see the note at Exodus 17:9), was afterward changed to Joshua or Jehoshua (Numbers 22:16). Although his only errand was to minister to Moses on the mount, he enjoyed a greater distinction than any of the 70 elders who had preceded him, in being privileged to ascend to a higher point; and his service on this occasion was a sort of initiatory consecration to the duties of the important office with which, on the death of Moses, he was invested.

Verse 14

And he said unto the elders, Tarry ye here for us, until we come again unto you: and, behold, Aaron and Hur are with you: if any man have any matters to do, let him come unto them.

He said unto the elders, Tarry ye here for us, [ baazeh (H2088)] - in this place (Genesis 28:16); i:e., the camp, where the people generally pitched their tents.

Aaron and Hur are with you. Moses had appointed these two to act as colleagues in the administration of public affairs, particularly in the decision of causes, which might be appealed from the subordinate jurisdiction of the elders to his tribunal, as the court of last resort.

If any man have any matters to do, [ ba`al (H1167) dªbaariym (H1697)] - whoever has a lawsuit or dispute [ ba`al (H1167), lord or possessor, when followed by the genitive of the thing, frequently signifies one to whom that attribute or quality belongs (see Genesis 37:19) (Gesenius). The Septuagint has: ean tini sumbee krisis. If any controversy should occur, the party aggrieved was to submit it to the judgment of the joint commissioners, who were armed with full powers to decide every matter during his absence.

Verse 15

And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount.

Moses went up into the mount. The summit of the mount was covered by a dark cloud, which, with the resplendent glory, the shechinah, in the midst of it, symbolized the divine presence on the summit of the mount, as afterward in the holy of holies. At an elevated spot on the skirts of that mystic cloud Moses remained for the space of six days-a period of trial to his faith, humility, and patience; and had he, under the impulse of a proud, impatient self-will, broken through all restraints, as Saul afterward did (1 Samuel 15:1-35), he would have betrayed a want of devout, submissive dependence upon God, which would have indicated an unpreparedness for the great work he was chosen to perform. But he remained stedfast, immovable in the attitude of patient waiting until God's time should come; and he was at length summoned [ bªyowm (H3117) hashªbiy`iy (H7637)] on the seventh day, God having chosen the Sabbath for the commencement of the glorious revelation, in order to put the greater honour upon it, and inspire the people with a deeper reverence for that sacred institution (cf. Revelation 1:18).

Verse 16

And the glory of the LORD abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 17

And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.

The sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire. Though it had such an appearance to the spectators in the plain, Moses sojourned near to it, during a prolonged stay on the mount, without being injured; but he went there in the character of mediator (cf. Galatians 3:19; Hebrews 8:6; Hebrews 9:15; Hebrews 10:11; Hebrews 10:24), and he might have been miraculously protected as well as sustained. In fact, it must have been by divine help he was emboldened to enter at all within the canopy of the cloud; because when he did not possess such aid, he shrunk from entering the thick darkness caused by the same cloud in the tabernacle (Exodus 40:35).

Verse 18

And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.

Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount. The Hebrew legislator remained all the time he was occupied in compiling the law in that sublime elevation, which has ever since been called from him the 'mountain of Moses' (Jebel M-sa). The peak is scarcely 30 paces in compass.

Whether Joshua was permitted to enter the cloud, and go up the mount along with him, is not said. The prevalent opinion is, that he continued on the spot where Moses and he tarried during the preparatory days of trial, and consequently was the first to salute Moses on his return (Exodus 32:17). But many of the fathers were of opinion that Joshua was allowed to attend Moses as his assistant (Pearson 'On the Creed,' Art. 2:); and some of them, as Augustine, suggest that Joshua's temporary observation during the delivery of the law, and his re-appearance, together with his high office of leading the people into the promised land, might typify our Lord's being, in the earlier part of his life, hidden in the law, and afterward coming forth to do what Moses could not accomplish-introducing God's people into "the better country, that is an heavenly."

And Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights (see the note at Genesis 7:4: cf. Matthew 4:2). Whether this statement is to be taken as marking a definite period, of which the first six days formed a part (cf. Exodus 34:28; Deuteronomy 9:9), or as a popular form of speaking, to indicate a protracted season, as some infer from the frequent occurrence of the same phraseology, cannot be determined. But the stay was sufficiently long to make it evident that no human frame could sustain such a prolongation of lack of food, as well as of incessant mental occupation, unless through miraculous power. If Joshua were along with him, a miracle was equally necessary in his case. But if he remained below on the mountain's brow, he was probably sustained, like the rest of the people, by a daily supply of manna, and the water of the brook that descended from the mount (Deuteronomy 9:21).

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Exodus 24". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/exodus-24.html. 1871-8.
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