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Bible Commentaries

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments
Exodus 24

 

 

Verse 1

Exodus 24:1. Come up unto the Lord — Moses being already on the mount, the meaning is, “After thou hast gone down and acquainted the people with my will, and received their answer, then come up again.” He was to bring with him Aaron and his two eldest sons, Nadab and Abihu, who, by this special favour, were to be prepared for that office to which they were to be called. Seventy of the principal elders of Israel also were to accompany him, probably that they might be witnesses of Moses’s immediate intercourse with God, and that they themselves might be possessed with a greater reverence for the laws to be received from him. Worship ye afar off — Before they came near they must worship. Thus we must enter into God’s gates with humble and solemn adorations.


Verse 2

Exodus 24:2. And Moses alone shall come near — Being therein a type of Christ, who, as the high-priest, entered alone into the most holy place. In the following verse we have the solemn covenant made between God and Israel, and the exchanging of the ratifications: typifying the covenant of grace between God and believers through Christ.


Verse 3

Exodus 24:3. Moses told the people all the words of the Lord — He laid before them all the precepts, in the foregoing chapters, and put it to them, whether they were willing to submit to these laws or not? And all the people answered, All the words which the Lord hath said will we do — They had before consented in general to be under God’s government; here they consent in particular to these laws now given.


Verse 4

Exodus 24:4. And Moses wrote the words of the Lord — That there might be no mistake; as God dictated them on the mount, where, it has been thought by many, God taught him the use of letters; these Moses taught the Israelites, from whom they afterward travelled to Greece and other nations. As soon as God had separated to himself a peculiar people, he governed them by a written word, as he has done ever since, and will do while the world stands. Pillars according to the number of the tribes — These were to represent the people, the other party to the covenant; and we may suppose they were set up over against the altar, and that Moses, as mediator, passed to and fro between them. Probably each tribe set up and knew its own pillar, and their elders stood by it. He then appointed sacrifices to be offered upon the altar.


Verse 5

Exodus 24:5. He sent young men — So also the Septuagint, τους νεανισκους: but the Chaldee renders it, the firstborn. The firstborn were priests in every family; but, among the Israelites, they were afterward redeemed, and the tribe of Levi given to God in their stead, for his service. But the Hebrew word נערי, nagnarei, here used, signifies active as well as young, and as these persons were employed in slaying and offering up the oxen, strength and activity were necessary. As Moses himself performed the principal office of the priest, (Exodus 24:6,) it cannot be concluded from this passage that these young men were priests. But it is worthy of observation, that even after the appointment of Aaron’s family to the priesthood, no man was permitted to serve at the altar after the age of fifty, see Numbers 8:25.


Verse 6

Exodus 24:6. 1st, The blood of the sacrifice which the people offered, was (part of it) sprinkled upon the altar — Which signified the people’s dedicating themselves to God, and his honour. In the blood of the sacrifices, all the Israelites were presented unto God as living sacrifices, Romans 12:1. 2d, The blood of the sacrifice which God owned and accepted was (the remainder of it) sprinkled, either upon the people themselves, or upon the pillars that represented them, which signified God’s conferring his favour upon them, and all the fruits of that favour, and his giving them all the gifts they could desire from a God reconciled to them, and in covenant with them. Thus our Lord Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant, (of whom Moses was a type,) having offered up himself a sacrifice upon the cross, that his blood might be indeed the blood of the covenant, sprinkles it upon the altar in his intercession, (Hebrews 9:12,) and sprinkles it upon his church by his word and ordinance, and operations of the Spirit of promise, by whom we are sealed to be to him a people.


Verse 10

Exodus 24:10. They saw the God of Israel — That is, they had some glimpse of his glory, in light and fire, though they saw no manner of similitude. They saw the place where the God of Israel stood, so the Septuagint; whatever they saw, it was certainly something of which no image or picture could be made, and yet enough to satisfy them that God was with them of a truth. Nothing is described but that which was under his feet, for our conceptions of God are all below him. They saw not so much as God’s feet, but at the bottom of the brightness they saw (such as they never saw before or after, and as the footstool or pedestal of it) a most rich and splendid pavement, as it had been of sapphires, azure, or sky-coloured. The heavens themselves are the pavement of God’s palace, and his throne is above the firmament.


Verse 11

Exodus 24:11. Upon the nobles — Or elders; of Israel he laid not his hand — Though they were men, the splendour of his glory did not overwhelm them, but it was so moderated, (Job 36:9,) and they were so strengthened, (Daniel 10:19,) that they were able to bear it: nay, though they were sinful men, and obnoxious to God’s justice, yet he did not lay his avenging hand upon them, as they feared he would. When we consider what a consuming fire God is, and what stubble we are before him, we shall have reason to say, in all our approaches to him, “It is of the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed.” They saw God, and did eat and drink — They had not only their lives preserved, but their vigour, courage, and comfort; it cast no damp upon their joy, but rather increased it. They feasted upon the sacrifice before God, in token of their cheerful consent to the covenant, their grateful acceptance of the benefits of it, and their communion with God in pursuance of that covenant.


Verse 12

Exodus 24:12. The Lord said unto Moses, Come up — There were different stations on the mountain. The glory of the Lord occupied the highest place, the top of the mountain: to this place Moses is now called up, leaving the elders below to wait for him, and commissioning Aaron and Hur to transact any business in his absence. It has been thought that Moses might not expect so long a continuance in the mount with God as forty days and forty nights, when he enjoined the elders to tarry for him on the mount, and commissioned Aaron and Hur to go backward and forward between them and the people; and that it is not probable the elders continued all that time upon that part of the mountain where he left them. Concerning this, however, nothing can be affirmed with certainty.


Verse 13

Exodus 24:13. Joshua was his minister or servant, and it would be a satisfaction to him to have him as a companion during the six days that he tarried in the mount before God called to him. Joshua was to be his successor, and therefore thus he was honoured before the people, and thus he was prepared by being trained up in communion with God. Joshua was a type of Christ, and (as the learned Bishop Pearson well observes) Moses takes him with him unto the mount, because without Jesus, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, there is no looking into the secrets of heaven, nor approaching the presence of God.


Verse 16

Exodus 24:16. A cloud covered the mount six days — A visible token of God’s special presence there, for he so shows himself to us, as at the same time to conceal himself from us; he lets us know so much as to assure us of his power and grace, but intimates to us that we cannot find him out to perfection. During these six days Moses stayed waiting upon the mountain, for a call into the presence-chamber. And on the seventh day — Probably the sabbath day; he called unto Moses — Now the thick cloud opened in the sight of all Israel, and the glory of the Lord broke forth like devouring fire.


Verse 18

Exodus 24:18. Moses went into the midst of the cloud — It was an extraordinary presence of mind which the grace of God furnished him with, else he durst not have ventured into the cloud, especially when it broke out in devouring fire. And Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights — It should seem the six days were not part of the forty; for during those six days Joshua was with Moses, who did eat of the manna, and drink of the brook mentioned Deuteronomy 9:21, and while they were together, it is probable Moses did eat and drink with him; but when Moses was called into the midst of the cloud, he left Joshua without, who continued to eat and drink daily while he waited for Moses’ return, but from thenceforward Moses fasted.

 


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Bibliography Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Exodus 24:4". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/exodus-24.html. 1857.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, November 18th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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