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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
Exodus 33

 

 

Verses 1-17

Exodus 33:1 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:

Exodus 33:2 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:

Exodus 33:3 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.

Exodus 33:3Comments- God will not dwell in the midst of sin, lest His wrath consume them. Moses intercedes for Israel's sins again in Exodus 32:31-32. Note:

Exodus 32:31-32, "And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin--; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written."

Exodus 33:13-15, "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. And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence."

Exodus 34:9, "And he said, If now I have found grace in thy sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us; for it is a stiffnecked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thine inheritance."

Exodus 33:4 And when the people heard these evil tidings, they mourned: and no man did put on him his ornaments.

Exodus 33:5 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.

Exodus 33:6 And the children of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments by the mount Horeb.

Exodus 33:7 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.

Exodus 33:7Comments- Note that the Tabernacle was patterned from a vision on the mount, but a temporary tent was built until it was constructed.

Exodus 33:8 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.

Exodus 33:9 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.

Exodus 33:9Comments- Moses stood inside the Tabernacle and the glory cloud descended without, like Moses in the cleft of rock ( Exodus 33:22-23) and Elijah in the cave ( 1 Kings 19:9-18, esp. Exodus 33:13).

1 Kings 19:13, "And it was Song of Solomon , when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?"

Exodus 33:10 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.

Exodus 33:11 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 Prayer of Manasseh , departed not out of the tabernacle.

Exodus 33:11Comments- The Lord did not speak to Moses with dreams and visions as He did with the prophets. He spoke to him audibly as a man hears the voice of another man speaking. God originally intended to talk with man face to face in the Garden, for He walked with Adam in the Garden in the cool of the day ( Genesis 3:8). However, the Fall hindered this method and caused God to seek ways of speaking to men. From then on, He spoke to men with dreams and visions.

Exodus 33:12 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.

Exodus 33:13 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.

Exodus 33:13Comments- In an earthly relationship, a person only opens up himself to a true friend in whom he has come to love and trust. Song of Solomon , does God wait for us to seek Him and be faithful until He is able to trust us with His presence. Did not the Lord call Paul the apostle and give him His anointing after he was found faithful (see 1 Timothy 1:12)? Only then will the Lord begin to open up our understanding into a deeper relationship with Him. This intimate relationship is not for those who are show to seek the Lord in their lives. He reserves His secrets for those who seek Him with passion.

1 Timothy 1:12, "And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;"

In Exodus 33:13 Moses knows that he cannot perform God's will of taking the land of Canaan without God's presence. In this passion, God reveals Himself in a way that no other person has seen God. God shows to Moses "the way" by first telling him to hew out two more tablets of stone. God then gives Moses the Ten Commandments and explained that if he would follow these laws, he would prosper in the way in which God was guiding him.

Exodus 33:14 And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.

Exodus 33:15 And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.

Exodus 33:15Comments- Once Moses had experienced the presence of God on the Mount he did not want to be without it. He wanted God's presence with him every where he went.

Exodus 33:16 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.

Exodus 33:17 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.


Verse 18

Moses Sees God's Glory- Note these insightful words by Sadhu Sundar Singh.

"Man also has a natural desire that he should see Him in whom he believes and who loves him. But the Father cannot be seen, for He is by nature incomprehensible, and he who would comprehend Him must have the same nature. But man is a comprehensible creature, and being so cannot see God. Since, however, God is Love and He has given to man that same faculty of love, therefore, in order that that craving for love might be satisfied, He adopted a form of existence that man could comprehend. Thus He became Prayer of Manasseh , and His children with all the holy angels may see Him and enjoy Him (Col. i 15, ii 9). Therefore I said that he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father (John xiv 9-10). And although while in the form of man I am called the Song of Solomon , I am the eternal and everlasting Father (Isa. ix 6)." 98]

98] Sadhu Sundar Singh, At the Master's Feet, trans. Arthur Parker (London: Fleming H. Revell Co, 1922) [on-line]; accessed 26 October 2008; available from http://www.ccel.org/ccel/singh/feet.html; Internet, "I The Manifestation of God's Presence," section 2, part 1.

Exodus 33:18 And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.

Exodus 33:18Comments- Benny Hinn teaches that when Moses asked to see God's glory, it was immediately after he had been on the mount for forty days. He could ask this question and receive a positive reply from the Lord because there was nothing else left of Moses' flesh. He had crucified his flesh during those forty days and had nothing left of this world's desires. He has emptied himself of earthly desires and his passion was now for fellowship with the Father. Moses had paid the price and received his reward, for God did pass before Him. 99]

99] Benny Hinn, This is Your Day (Irving, Texas), on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California), television program.

Exodus 33:19 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.

Exodus 33:19Scripture References- Note:

Romans 9:15, "For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion."

Exodus 33:20 And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.

Exodus 33:21 And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock:

Exodus 33:21Comments- Jesus is our rock who allows us to stand before God by grace.

Exodus 33:22 And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by:

Exodus 33:22"that I will put thee in a clift of the rock" - Comments- Figuratively speaking, God places us in the clift of the rock through Christ Jesus so that we can enter into God's presence, lest we be consumed at God's presence because of our sins. Jesus is our rock.

Exodus 33:22Comments - The Scriptures record other accounts of men standing in the presence of God. Moses stood in the tent in behalf of the children of Israel as their intercessor and spoke with God face to face ( Exodus 33:9-11) and Elijah stood on Mount Horeb and experienced the presence of God ( 1 Kings 19:33).

Exodus 33:9-11, "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 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. 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 Prayer of Manasseh , departed not out of the tabernacle."

1 Kings 19:13, "And it was Song of Solomon , when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?"

Exodus 33:23 And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.

Chapter 34

Exodus 34:6-7Scripture References- Note:

Numbers 14:18, "The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation."

 


Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Exodus 33:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/exodus-33.html. 2013.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, May 27th, 2020
the Seventh Week after Easter
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