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Bible Commentaries
Exodus 33

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

Verse 1

And the LORD said unto Moses, Depart, [and] go up hence, thou and the people which thou hast brought up out of the land of Egypt, unto the land which I sware unto Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, Unto thy seed will I give it:

Ver. l. Which thou hast brought.See Trapp on " Exodus 33:7 "

Verse 2

And I will send an angel before thee; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite:

An angel before thee. — A created angel to conduct thee. But Moses would none of that; he would not be so put off. Exodus 34:9 Low things satisfy not a high spirit.

Verse 3

Unto a land flowing with milk and honey: for I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou [art] a stiffnecked people: lest I consume thee in the way.

I will not go up,sc., By those visible signs of my gracious presence as heretofore.

Verse 4

And when the people heard these evil tidings, they mourned: and no man did put on him his ornaments.

They mourned. — As good cause they had: for "woe be unto thee when I depart from thee." Hosea 9:12

Verse 5

For the LORD had said unto Moses, Say unto the children of Israel, Ye [are] a stiffnecked people: I will come up into the midst of thee in a moment, and consume thee: therefore now put off thy ornaments from thee, that I may know what to do unto thee.

And consume thee. — God’s threatenings are cordial, but conditional. Minatur Deus ut non puniat. "Fury is not in me." Isaiah 27:4 He punisheth not "till there be no other remedy," 2 Chronicles 36:16 as the bee stings not till provoked.

Verse 6

And the children of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments by the mount Horeb.

Stripped themselves. — As in a day of restraint.

Verse 7

And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation. And it came to pass, [that] every one which sought the LORD went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which [was] without the camp.

Afar off from the camp. — In token of God’s deep displeasure and departure from them.

Verse 8

And it came to pass, when Moses went out unto the tabernacle, [that] all the people rose up, and stood every man [at] his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he was gone into the tabernacle.

And looked after Moses. — To see what success, what acceptance: as David looked up after his prayer to see how it sped. Psalms 5:3

Verse 9

And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood [at] the door of the tabernacle, and [the LORD] talked with Moses.

And the Lord talked with Moses. — Out of the cloudy pillar: which was a sign of favour. Psalms 99:7 The Turks honour Moses, and call him the talker with God.

Verse 10

And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand [at] the tabernacle door: and all the people rose up and worshipped, every man [in] his tent door.

Rose up and worshipped. — Though obnoxious, they would not despair of mercy. See 1 Samuel 12:20-22 .

Verse 11

And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.

Face to face. — Friendly and familiarly, as Numbers 12:8 . And perhaps in human shape, as he spake with Abraham his friend. Genesis 18:16-33

Verse 12

And Moses said unto the LORD, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight.

See, thou sayest unto me. — See, saith one, Mr Bur. [?Burroughs.] how Moses here encroacheth upon God. God had done much for him, he must have more. Exodus 33:13 "Show me now thy way," … This God grants him. Exodus 33:14 This serves not the turn; he must have more yet. Exodus 33:16 Well, he hath it. Exodus 33:17 Is he satisfied? No, he must yet have more. Exodus 33:18 "I beseech thee show me thy glory." It is done. Exodus 33:19 Is he satisfied yet? No. Exodus 34:9 God must pardon the sin of his people too; and take them and him for his inheritance: this fruit of his favour he must needs be entreated to add to the rest.

Verse 13

Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation [is] thy people.

That I may know thee. — Moses knew more of God than any man; he was but newly come down from the mount, and at the tabernacle door God spake with Moses "face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend." Exodus 33:11 The more a man knows of God, the more desirous he is to know him.

Verse 14

And he said, My presence shall go [with thee], and I will give thee rest.

I will give thee rest. — Full content of mind, in the sense of my presence and light of my countenance.

Verse 15

And he said unto him, If thy presence go not [with me], carry us not up hence.

If thy presence go not with me. — What is it to have the air without light? What was all Mordecai’s honour to him when the king frowned upon him?

Verse 16

For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? [is it] not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that [are] upon the face of the earth.

So shall we be separated. — Heb., Marvellously separated. The separation of the saints is a wonderful separation. See Deuteronomy 4:7 ; also Isaiah 20:6 , where Judea is for this cause called an "isle."

Verse 17

And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name.

I know thee by name. — As princes do their favourites, who easily forget others, as Saul did David. 1 Samuel 17:55

Verse 18

And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.

Show me thy glory. — None ever knew God’s glory; our cockle shell can never comprehend this sea: yet it may be apprehended that it is incomprehensible.

Verse 19

And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.

I will make all my goodness. — My glorious goodness. Thus Moses may have what he will of God. "The king is not he that can do anything against you," said Zedekiah to his courtiers. Jeremiah 38:5

Verse 20

And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.

Thou canst not see my face. — Otherwise than in his words and works. Romans 1:20 As we cannot see the sun in rota, in the circle, but in the beams. Some have seen Mercabah velo harocheb, as the Hebrews speak, Rab. Maimon. the chariot in which God rode, but not the rider in it: they saw some created image, or glory, whereby he testified his more immediate presence, but not himself.

No man shall see me, and live. — But be oppressed and swallowed up with majesty: as the sight of the eye is dazzled with the sun; or a crystal glass broken with the fire.

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Exodus 33". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/exodus-33.html. 1865-1868.
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