|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
32:7-14 God says to Moses, that the Israelites had corrupted themselves. Sin is the corruption of the sinner, and it is a self-corruption; every man is tempted when he is drawn aside of his own lust. They had turned aside out of the way. Sin is a departing from the way of duty into a by-path. They soon forgot God's works. He sees what they cannot discover, nor is any wickedness of the world hid from him. We could not bear to see the thousandth part of that evil which God sees every day. God expresses the greatness of his just displeasure, after the manner of men who would have prayer of Moses could save them from ruin; thus he was a type of Christ, by whose mediation alone, God would reconcile the world to himself. Moses pleads God's glory. The glorifying God's name, as it ought to be our first petition, and it is so in the Lord's prayer, so it ought to be our great plea. And God's promises are to be our pleas in prayer; for what he has promised he is able to perform. See the power of prayer. In answer to the prayers of Moses, God showed his purpose of sparing the people, as he had before seemed determined on their destruction; which change of the outward discovery of his purpose, is called repenting of the evil.
Verse 14. - The Lord repented of the evil. Changes of purpose are, of course, attributed to God by an "economy," or accommodation of the truth to human modes of speech and conception. "God is not a man that he should repent." He "knows the end from the beginning." When he threatened to destroy Israel, he knew that he would spare; but, as he communicated to Moses, first, his anger, and then, at a later period, his intention to spare, he is said to have "repented." The expression is an anthropomorphic one, like so many others, on which we have already commented. (See the comment on Exodus 2:24, 25; 3:7, 8; 31:17; etc.)
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people. He did not do what he threatened to do, and seemed to have in his thoughts and designs, but did what Moses desired he would, Exodus 32:12 not that any of God's thoughts or the determinations of his mind are alterable; for the thoughts of his heart are to all generations; but he changes the outward dispensations of his providence, or his methods of acting with men, which he has been taking or threatened to take; and this being similar to what they do when they repent of anything, who alter their course, hence repentance is ascribed to God, though, properly speaking, it does not belong to him, see Jeremiah 18:8. Aben Ezra thinks that the above prayer of Moses, which was so prevalent with God, does not stand in its proper place, but should come after Exodus 32:31 for, to what purpose, says he, should Moses say to the Israelites, Exodus 32:30 "peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin": if he was appeased by his prayer before?
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