|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
34:5-9 The Lord descended by some open token of his presence and manifestation of his glory in a cloud, and thence proclaimed his NAME; that is, the perfections and character which are denoted by the name JEHOVAH. The Lord God is merciful; ready to forgive the sinner, and to relieve the needy. Gracious; kind, and ready to bestow undeserved benefits. Long-suffering; slow to anger, giving time for repentance, only punishing when it is needful. He is abundant in goodness and truth; even sinners receive the riches of his bounty abundantly, though they abuse them. All he reveals is infallible truth, all he promises is in faithfulness. Keeping mercy for thousands; he continually shows mercy to sinners, and has treasures, which cannot be exhausted, to the end of time. Forgiving iniquity, and transgression, and sin; his mercy and goodness reach to the full and free forgiveness of sin. And will by no means clear the guilty; the holiness and justice of God are part of his goodness and love towards all his creatures. In Christ's sufferings, the Divine holiness and justice are fully shown, and the evil of sin is made known. God's forgiving mercy is always attended by his converting, sanctifying grace. None are pardoned but those who repent and forsake the allowed practice of every sin; nor shall any escape, who abuse, neglect, or despise this great salvation. Moses bowed down, and worshipped reverently. Every perfection in the name of God, the believer may plead with Him for the forgiveness of his sins, the making holy of his heart, and the enlargement of the Redeemer's kingdom.
Verses 5-8. - THE FULFILMENT BY GOD OF HIS PROMISE TO MOSES. This section coheres closely with the last section of the preceding chapter, and must be regarded, as the historical account of how God fulfilled the promises there made by him to Moses (Exodus 33:19-23). The promises were mainly two -
1. That he would proclaim his name to him afresh; and
2. That he would pass by him, and let him see, after he had passed, what man might see of his glory. The fulfilment of the first promise appears in the long enumeration of attributes contained in vers. 6, 7; the fulfilment of the second is expressed with extreme brevity in the words - ,' And the Lord passed by before him" (ver. 6). Probably no further description could be given of that marvellous manifestation beyond those words in which it was promised (Exodus 33:21-23). Its effects were seen in that permanent reflection of God's glory on the face of Moses, which thenceforth compelled him to wear a veil mostly when he showed himself to the people (vers. 33-35). Verse 5. - The Lord descended in the cloud. The cloudy pillar, which had stood at the door of the Tent of Meeting (Exodus 33:10), was withdrawn while Moses ascended Sinai, and probably disappeared from men's sight. When Moses reached the top, it descended once more from the sky, and stood with him there. Then a voice from the cloud proclaimed the name of the Lord in the manner more fully stated in the ensuing verses.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the Lord descended in the cloud,.... The same with the cloudy pillar, which was now gone up from the door of the tabernacle, and was on high in the air over the mount, and on which the Lord now descended in it, as he had before, Exodus 19:9,
and stood with him there; not Moses stood with the Lord, as the Vulgate Latin version; but the Lord, or the cloud in which the Lord was, stood near to Moses:
and proclaimed the name of the Lord: Jehovah declared with a loud voice out of the cloud, that the Lord was there; the Targum of Jonathan is,"and Moses called on or in the name of the Word of the Lord;''and so the Vulgate Latin version refers it to Moses, and renders the words, "calling on the name of the Lord"; but the following verse clearly shows that it must be understood of the Lord, and not of Moses.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5. the Lord descended in the cloud—After graciously hovering over the tabernacle, it seems to have resumed its usual position on the summit of the mount. It was the shadow of God manifest to the outward senses; and, at the same time, of God manifest in the flesh. The emblem of a cloud seems to have been chosen to signify that, although He was pleased to make known much about himself, there was more veiled from mortal view. It was to check presumption and engender awe and give a humble sense of human attainments in divine knowledge, as now man sees, but darkly.
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