And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God.
Many Jews understand the "tables of stone" to denote the Ten Commandments; "a law," the law written in the Pentateuch; and the "commandments" (or "the commandment"), the oral or traditional law which was in after ages put into writing in the Mishna and the Gemara. But it is more probable that the Ten Commandments alone are spoken of, and that the meaning is, "the tables of stone with the law, even the commandment."
Moses rose up - In Exodus 24:16
it is said that the glory of the Lord abode on the mount, and the cloud covered it. The glory was probably above the cloud, and it was to the cloud that Moses and his servant Joshua ascended at this time, leaving Aaron and the elders below. After they had been in this region, viz., where the cloud encompassed the mountain, for six days, God appears to have called Moses up higher: compare verses Exodus 24:16
and Exodus 24:18
. Moses then ascended to the glory, leaving Joshua in the cloud, with whom he had, no doubt, frequent conferences during the forty days he continued with God on the mount.
And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua,.... In order to go up higher on the mount. Joshua, and he only, was to go up higher with him, though not to the top of the mount, at least not into the cloud upon it, as Moses did. Joshua was his minister or servant, and waited upon him wherever he went, and was to be his successor; and therefore for his encouragement, and to qualify him the better for it, he was indulged with a sight and knowledge of things others were not; for by his not knowing anything of the idolatry of the golden calf, Exodus 32:17
it appears that he was on some part of the mount all the forty days and forty nights; and if it should be asked whether he fasted all that time, or, if he did not, how he was provided with food and drink? it may be replied, that there is no necessity to suppose that he fasted all that time; and it is easy to imagine how he was supplied, for the manna fell round about the mountain, of which he might gather and eat day by day, as Aben Ezra observes; and there was a brook which descended out of the mount, from whence he might have water, Deuteronomy 9:21
and Moses went up into the mount of God; Mount Sinai, where he had formerly appeared to him in a bush, and now had descended on it to give the law, and was still upon it, where his glory was seen; and therefore might, with great propriety, be called the mount of God; to the top of which Moses was preparing to go, but before he went gave the following instructions. And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God.
13. Moses went up into the mount of God—He was called to receive the divine transcript. Joshua was taken a little higher, and it would be a great comfort for the leader to have his company during the six days he was in patient waiting for the call on the seventh or sabbath day.
The blood was divided into two parts. One half was swung by Moses upon the altar (זרק to swing, shake, or pour out of the vessel, in distinction from הזּה to sprinkle) the other half he put into basins, and after he had read the book of the covenant to the people, and they had promised to do and follow all the words of Jehovah, he sprinkled it upon the people with these words: "Behold the blood of the covenant, which Jehovah has made with you over all these words." As several animals were slaughtered, and all of them young oxen, there must have been a considerable quantity of blood obtained, so that the one half would fill several basins, and many persons might be sprinkled with it as it was being swung about. The division of the blood had reference to the two parties to the covenant, who were to be brought by the covenant into a living unity; but it had no connection whatever with the heathen customs adduced by Bhr and Knobel, in which the parties to a treaty mixed their own blood together. For this was not a mixture of different kinds of blood, but it was a division of one blood, and that sacrificial blood, in which animal life was offered instead of human life, making expiation as a pure life for sinful man, and by virtue of this expiation restoring the fellowship between God and man which had been destroyed by sin. But the sacrificial blood itself only acquired this signification through the sprinkling or swinging upon the altar, by virtue of which the human soul was received, in the soul of the animal sacrificed for man, into the fellowship of the divine grace manifested upon the altar, in order that, through the power of this sin-forgiving and sin-destroying grace, it might be sanctified to a new and holy life. In this way the sacrificial blood acquired the signification of a vital principle endued with the power of divine grace; and this was communicated to the people by means of the sprinkling of the blood. As the only reason for dividing the sacrificial blood into two parts was, that the blood sprinkled upon the altar could not be taken off again and sprinkled upon the people; the two halves of the blood are to be regarded as one blood, which was first of all sprinkled upon the altar, and then upon the people. In the blood sprinkled upon the altar, the natural life of the people was given up to God, as a life that had passed through death, to be pervaded by His grace; and then through the sprinkling upon the people it was restored to them again, as a life renewed by the grace of God. In this way the blood not only became a bond of union between Jehovah and His people, but as the blood of the covenant, it became a vital power, holy and divine, uniting Israel and its God; and the sprinkling of the people with this blood was an actual renewal of life, a transposition of Israel into the kingdom of God, in which it was filled with the powers of God's spirit of grace, and sanctified into a kingdom of priests, a holy nation of Jehovah (Exodus 19:6
). And this covenant was made "upon all the words" which Jehovah had spoken, and the people had promised to observe. Consequently it had for its foundation the divine law and right, as the rule of life for Israel.
24:12-18 A cloud covered the mount six days; a token of God's special presence there. Moses was sure that he who called him up would protect him. Even those glorious attributes of God which are most terrible to the wicked, the saints with humble reverence rejoice in. And through faith in the atoning Sacrifice, we hope for greater honour than Moses ever enjoyed on earth. Now we see through a glass darkly, but when he shall appear, then face to face. This vision of God will continue with equal, if not increasing brightness of joy; not for a few days only, but through eternity.Verse 13.
- Moses went up
. Prompt to obey, Moses, though he had only just descended from the mount, immediately made ready to set forth and again ascend it. This time he was attended by his minister, Joshua
, whose arm he had employed on a former occasion against the Amalekites (Exodus 17:9-13
). The name, Joshua, is, however, still given him by anticipation, since he did not receive it until he was sent by Moses to explore the land of Canaan (Numbers 13:8, 16
Exodus 17:9-14 And Moses said to Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek…
Exodus 32:17 And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he …
Exodus 33:11 And the LORD spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his …
Numbers 11:28 And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young …
Exodus 24:2 And Moses alone shall come near the LORD: but they shall not come …
24:13 Joshua was his minister or servant, and it would be a satisfaction to him to have him with 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 Peirson well observes Moses takes him with him into 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.
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