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Bible Commentaries
Exodus 24

Poole's English Annotations on the Holy BiblePoole's Annotations



Moses, Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu are commanded to appear before the Lord, Exodus 24:1.

Who was to come near the Lord, Exodus 24:2.

Moses buildeth an altar and twelve pillars, Exodus 24:4.

He sends young men to sacrifice unto the Lord, Exodus 24:5.

He sprinkles the altar with the blood, Exodus 24:6.

The covenant being read, the people promise obedience, Exodus 24:7.

The people are sprinkled with blood, Exodus 24:8.

Moses and the elders of Israel see the Lord, Exodus 24:9,Exodus 24:10.

God promises to give to Moses tables of stone, Exodus 24:12.

Moses and Joshua go up into the mount, Exodus 24:13.

Aaron and Hur took care for the people in the mean time, Exodus 24:14.

God’s glory on the mount, Exodus 24:15,Exodus 24:16; appeareth like devouring fire, Exodus 24:17.

Moses remains there forty days and forty nights, Exodus 24:18.

Verse 1

After thou hast gone down and acquainted the people with my will, and received their answer, then come up again. This sense is gathered from the repetition of this command after that was done, Exodus 24:12. Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu; Aaron and his two eldest sons, whom by this special honour and favour he prepared for that office to which they were to be called, Exodus 28:0. Seventy of the elders of Israel; not the seventy governors which were chosen after this time, as appears from Numbers 11:16, compared with Exodus 24:14; but seventy persons selected by Moses out of those rulers chosen and mentioned Exodus 18:25; and possibly these were the chief heads of those several families which went with Jacob into Egypt, which were about seventy. See Genesis 46:26,Genesis 46:27. Worship ye afar off. Though they may come up into the mount further than the people, yet do thou, and let them especially, keep their distance; and what worship either thou or they shall offer to me, shall be performed afar off from the top of the mountain, whither thou only shalt be admitted, and that not to pray to me, but only to receive laws and oracles from me. See Exodus 24:2.

Verse 2

Moses alone, i.e. without the persons now mentioned, though not without Joshua his minister, as some conceive from Exodus 24:13, though even there Moses seems to ascend into the mount without Joshua.

Neither shall the people go up with him to any part of the mount, as Aaron, and Nadab, &c. did, but they shall tarry at the bottom. See Exodus 19:12.

Verse 3

Moses came down from the mount to the people, after he had received the laws from God.

All the words which the Lord hath said will we do: this they so readily and rashly promise, because they were not sensible of their own weakness, and because they did not understand the comprehensiveness, and spirituality, and strictness of God’s law, but thought it consisted only in the external performances and abstinences expressed.

Verse 4

Moses wrote, to wit, in a book, Hebrews 9:19. And the ten commandments God himself wrote also in tables of stone, Exodus 31:18.

Builded an altar; representing God in Christ, as one party in the covenant.

Twelve pillars; representing the people of Israel, the other party. So here are the outward signs and symbols of a covenant made between God and the Israelites.

Verse 5

It matters not whether they were the first-born, or others; it is sufficient that they were persons appointed and authorized for the present service, not without God’s direction.

Peace-offerings of oxen; one kind, as the principal is named for all; for there were offered also goats, as appears both from Hebrews 9:19, and from hence, that burnt-offerings were usually made of the goats, Leviticus 1:10; Numbers 7:28.

Verse 6

Half of the blood of the beasts killed, which for conveniency of sprinkling was mixed with a little water, Hebrews 9:19, whereby also Christ was most fitly represented, who came by water and blood, 1 John 5:6.

Half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar, to signify, as well that God was appeased and atoned by this blood, as it represented the blood of Christ, as also that Christ was sanctified with his own blood, Hebrews 9:12.

Verse 7

The book of the covenant, wherein Moses had written the conditions of this covenant, to wit, the words and laws of God, above, Exodus 24:4.

In the audience of the people, i.e. in the hearing of a great number of them, or of some in the name of all the people, by whom it was read, or otherwise published to all the people successively.

Verse 8

Moses took the blood; the other half of the blood, which was put in the basons for this end, Exodus 24:6.

On the people; either upon the twelve pillars representing the people; or upon the people’s representatives, to wit, the elders mentioned Exodus 24:1, as when the people are commanded to lay on their hands, the elders do it in their name and stead, Leviticus 4:15; Deuteronomy 21:2; or upon those of the people which are nearest him, which was imputed to all the rest, and was to be taken by them as if it had reached unto them all. Now this sprinkling of the blood upon the people did signify,

1. Their ratification of the covenant on their parts, and their secret wishing of the effusion of their own blood if they did not keep it.

2. Their sprinkling of their consciences with the blood of Christ, and their obtaining redemption, justification, and access to God through it alone. See Hebrews 9:20,Hebrews 9:22; Hebrews 13:20.

The blood of the covenant, whereby the covenant is made and confirmed, as was usual both in Scripture, Matthew 26:28; Luke 22:20, and among heathens.

Verse 9

In obedience to that command of God given Exodus 24:1.

Verse 10

They saw the God of Israel; not any visible resemblance of the Divine nature, which is expressly denied, Deuteronomy 4:15; 1 Timothy 6:16, and was refused to Moses when he desired it, Exodus 33:18,Exodus 33:20, and therefore surely would never be granted to the elders of Israel; but some glorious appearance or token of God’s special presence; or rather, the Second Person in the Trinity, who now showed himself to them in a human and glorious shape, as an essay and testimony of his future incarnation. This may seem probable,

1. Because here is mention of his feet.

2. Because this way of Christ’s appearance was not unusual. See Genesis 18:0, &c.

3. Because the person who delivered the law in Sinai was Christ, as appears from Acts 7:38, though he be there called an angel, a name oft given to Christ, as hath been formerly showed.

A sapphire stone is of a clear sky colour, mixed with golden spots like stars in the sky.

In his clearness, or, for clearness. A clear sky in prophetical style signifying God’s favour, as a cloudy sky notes his anger.

Verse 11

The nobles; or, separated or select ones, i.e. the persons who were singled out to go up with Moses, Exodus 24:1,Exodus 24:9, the same of whom it is said here, and Exodus 24:10, that they saw God.

He laid not his hand, i.e. did not hurt or destroy them, as they might expect according to the vulgar opinion, Genesis 16:13; Genesis 32:20, &c., and the conscience of their own guilt, as being now before their Lord and Judge. And so the phrase of putting or stretching forth the hand is most frequently used, as Genesis 37:22; 1 Samuel 26:11,1 Samuel 26:23; Esther 2:21; Job 1:11,Job 1:12; Psalms 138:7, &c.

Did eat and drink; so far they were from being destroyed, that they were not affrighted at this glorious appearance of God, but were refreshed and comforted by it, and did joyfully eat and drink together in God’s presence, celebrating the sacred feast made of the remnant of the peace-offerings, according to the manner. Thus God gave them a taste of his grace and mercy in this covenant, and an assurance that he would not deal with them according to the rigours of the law, but for the sake of the blood of Christ typically represented there, would graciously pardon and accept all those that sincerely, though imperfectly, obey him.

Verse 12

Be there, i.e. abide, as that verb is used 1 Timothy 4:15, and elsewhere.

Tables of stone; he chose that material, partly as very durable, yet so that it was capable of being broken, which God, foreseeing their wickedness, intended to do; and partly for signification, to note the hardness of their hearts, upon which no impression could be made but by the finger of God.

A law, and commandments, or, the law; and because that is ambiguous to the moral, and ceremonial, and judicial, he adds, even the commandment, or commandments, to wit, the ten commandments, so called by way of eminency, for these only were written by God upon the stony tables, as appears by Exodus 34:28; the rest were written by Moses in a book, above, Exodus 24:4.

Verse 13

Joshua did not go up with Moses to the top of the mount, as is sufficiently implied both here and above, Exodus 24:1,Exodus 24:2; but abode in some lower place, waiting for Moses’s return, as appears from Exodus 32:17. And there Joshua abode forty days, not fasting all the while, but having, as the rest had,

manna for his meat, and for his drink, water out of the brook that descended out of the mount, as we read Deuteronomy 9:21.

Verse 14

For us, i.e. for me and Joshua, and here, i.e. in the camp, where he was when he spake these words; for it was where not only Aaron and Hur, but the people might come, as it here follows, and therefore not upon the mount. Moses had made

Aaron and Hur joint-commissioners, to determine hard causes which were brought to them from the elders, according to the order, Exodus 18:22. Some make Aaron the ecclesiastical head, and Hur the civil head; but Aaron was not authorized for ecclesiastical matters till Exodus 28:0.

Verse 16

The glory of the Lord, i.e. the tokens of his glorious presence in the fire, Exodus 24:17; Deuteronomy 4:36.

The cloud covered it from the eyes of the people.

The seventh day; so long God made Moses wait, either to exercise his humility, devotion, and dependence upon God; or to prepare him by degrees for so great a work; or because this was the sabbath day, called therefore the seventh with an emphatical article; and God might choose that day for the beginning of that glorious work, to put the greater honour upon it, and oblige the people to a stricter observance of it. So it was upon a Lord’s day that St. John had his revelation delivered to him, Revelation 1:10.

Verse 17

He saith

like it, for it was not

devouring fire, as appears by Moses’s long abode in it. Note here, whatsoever the elders of Israel saw before, the people saw no similitude of God, as Moses observes, Deuteronomy 4:15.

Verse 18

Into the midst of the cloud, the God that called him enabling him to enter and abide there; whereas, when he was left to himself, he could not enter into the tabernacle, Exodus 40:35.

Forty days and forty nights; in which he did neither eat nor drink, Exodus 34:28; Deuteronomy 9:9,Deuteronomy 9:18; whereby it seems most probable the six days mentioned Exodus 24:16 were a part of these forty days, because Moses being in perpetual expectation of God’s call, seems not to have had leisure for eating and drinking, nor provision neither. Besides, he is not said to be in the midst of the cloud so long, but only

in the mount, where he was those six days, Exodus 24:15,Exodus 24:16.

Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Exodus 24". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/mpc/exodus-24.html. 1685.
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