Numbers 12:8
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles; he sees the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?"

New Living Translation
I speak to him face to face, clearly, and not in riddles! He sees the LORD as he is. So why were you not afraid to criticize my servant Moses?"

English Standard Version
With him I speak mouth to mouth, clearly, and not in riddles, and he beholds the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?”

New American Standard Bible
With him I speak mouth to mouth, Even openly, and not in dark sayings, And he beholds the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid To speak against My servant, against Moses?"

King James Bible
With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?

Holman Christian Standard Bible
I speak with him directly, openly, and not in riddles; he sees the form of the LORD. So why were you not afraid to speak against My servant Moses?"

International Standard Version
I speak to him audibly and in visions, not in mysteries. If he can gaze at the image of the LORD, why aren't you afraid to speak against my servant Moses?"

NET Bible
With him I will speak face to face, openly, and not in riddles; and he will see the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?"

New Heart English Bible
With him I will speak mouth to mouth, even openly, and not in riddles; and he shall see the LORD's form. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant, against Moses?"

GOD'S WORD® Translation
I speak with him face to face, plainly and not in riddles. He even sees the form of the LORD. Why weren't you afraid to criticize my servant Moses?"

JPS Tanakh 1917
with him do I speak mouth to mouth, even manifestly, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD doth he behold; wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against My servant, against Moses?'

New American Standard 1977
With him I speak mouth to mouth,
            Even openly, and not in dark sayings,
            And he beholds the form of the LORD.
            Why then were you not afraid
            To speak against My servant, against Moses?”

Jubilee Bible 2000
With him I will speak mouth to mouth and by sight not by enigmas; he shall see the similitude of the LORD. Why then were ye not afraid to speak against my slave Moses?

King James 2000 Bible
With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even clearly, and not in dark sayings; and the form of the LORD shall he behold: why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?

American King James Version
With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?

American Standard Version
with him will I speak mouth to mouth, even manifestly, and not in dark speeches; and the form of Jehovah shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant, against Moses?

Douay-Rheims Bible
For I speak to him mouth to mouth: and plainly, and not by riddles and figures doth he see the Lord. Why then were you not afraid to speak ill of my servant Moses?

Darby Bible Translation
Mouth to mouth do I speak to him openly, and not in riddles; and the form of Jehovah doth he behold. Why then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant, against Moses?

English Revised Version
with him will I speak mouth to mouth, even manifestly, and not in dark speeches; and the form of the LORD shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant, against Moses?

Webster's Bible Translation
With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: why then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?

World English Bible
With him I will speak mouth to mouth, even plainly, and not in riddles; and he shall see Yahweh's form. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant, against Moses?"

Young's Literal Translation
mouth unto mouth I speak with him, and by an appearance, and not in riddles; and the form of Jehovah he beholdeth attentively; and wherefore have ye not been afraid to speak against My servant -- against Moses?'
Study Bible
The Murmuring of Miriam and Aaron
7"Not so, with My servant Moses, He is faithful in all My household; 8With him I speak mouth to mouth, Even openly, and not in dark sayings, And he beholds the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid To speak against My servant, against Moses?" 9So the anger of the LORD burned against them and He departed.…
Cross References
1 Corinthians 13:12
Now we see but a dim reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

Hebrews 1:1
On many past occasions and in many different ways, God spoke to our fathers through the prophets.

Genesis 32:30
So Jacob named the place Peniel, for he said, "I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved."

Exodus 20:4
"You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.

Exodus 24:10
and they saw the God of Israel; and under His feet there appeared to be a pavement of sapphire, as clear as the sky itself.

Exodus 24:11
Yet He did not stretch out His hand against the nobles of the sons of Israel; and they saw God, and they ate and drank.

Exodus 33:11
Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses returned to the camp, his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.

Deuteronomy 5:8
You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.

Deuteronomy 34:10
Since that time no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face,

Psalm 17:15
As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Your likeness when I awake.
Treasury of Scripture

With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?

mouth

Numbers 14:14 And they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land: for they have …

Exodus 33:11 And the LORD spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his …

Deuteronomy 34:10 And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like to Moses, whom …

1 Timothy 6:16 Who only has immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can …

dark speeches

Psalm 49:4 I will incline my ear to a parable: I will open my dark saying on the harp.

Ezekiel 17:2 Son of man, put forth a riddle, and speak a parable to the house of Israel;

Ezekiel 20:49 Then said I, Ah Lord GOD! they say of me, Does he not speak parables?

Matthew 13:34 All these things spoke Jesus to the multitude in parables; and without …

John 15:15 From now on I call you not servants; for the servant knows not what …

1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now …

similitude

Exodus 24:10,11 And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it …

Exodus 33:19,23 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will …

Exodus 34:5-7 And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and …

Deuteronomy 4:15 Take you therefore good heed to yourselves…

Isaiah 40:18 To whom then will you liken God? or what likeness will you compare to him?

Isaiah 46:5 To whom will you liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that …

John 1:18 No man has seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is …

John 14:7-10 If you had known me, you should have known my Father also: and from …

John 15:24 If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, …

2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the …

2 Corinthians 4:4-6 In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which …

Colossians 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

Hebrews 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his …

were ye

Exodus 34:30 And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, …

Luke 10:16 He that hears you hears me; and he that despises you despises me; …

1 Thessalonians 4:8 He therefore that despises, despises not man, but God, who has also …

2 Peter 2:10 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, …

Jude 1:8 Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, …

(8) With him will I speak.--Better, do I speak, mouth to mouth. Comp. Exodus 33:11.

Even apparently.--The noun mareh, which is here used, is cognate with that which occurs with the preposition in Numbers 12:6, and which is rendered "a vision." It differs from it only in punctuation, and is sometimes identical in meaning. It appears, however, here to denote an objective reality, as in Exodus 3:3, where it is rendered sight. The clause might be rendered, and (as) an appearance, and not in riddles (or, enigmas).

And the similitude of the Lord . . . --Or, and the form of Jehovah doth he behold. The word which is here rendered similitude (temunah) is the same which occurs in Exodus 20:4; Deuteronomy 4:15-16; Deuteronomy 4:23; Deuteronomy 4:25; Deuteronomy 5:8; Psalm 17:15. It is sometimes rendered likeness, and sometimes similitude. The noun mareh, which is here rendered "apparently," and that which is rendered similitude, are found in conjunction in Job 4:16 : "I could not discern the form (or appearance), mareh, thereof: an image (or form), temunah, was before mine eyes." (Comp. Exodus 33:20-23.)

Verse 8. - Mouth to mouth. Equivalent to face to face in Exodus 33:11. What the exact facts of the case were it is not possible to know, scarcely to imagine; but the words seem to imply a familiar speaking with an audible voice on the part of God, as distinguished from the internal voice, inaudible to the ear, with which he spake "in" the prophets. To assert that the revelations accorded to Moses were only subjective modifications of his own consciousness is to evacuate these strong words of any meaning whatever. Apparently. מַרְאֶה (Septuagint ἐν εἴδει) is an accusative in apposition to what goes before by way (apparently) of further definition. It is the same word translated "vision" in verse 6; but its meaning here must be determined by the expression "in riddles," which stands in antithesis to it. It was confessed]y the case with most prophetic utterances that the language in which they were couched was quite as much intended to conceal as to express their full meaning; but to Moses God spake without any such concealments. The similitude of the Lord shall he behold. מַרְאֶה. Not the essential nature of God, which no man can see, but a form (wholly unknown and unimaginable to us) in which it pleased him to veil his glory. The Septuagint has τὴν δόξαν Κυρίου εῖδε, referring, apparently, to the vision promised in Exodus 33:22; and the Targum Palestine speaks here of the vision of the burning bush. The motive for this alteration is no doubt to be sought in a profound jealousy for the great truth declared in such texts as Deuteronomy 4:15; Isaiah 40:18, and afterwards in John 1:18; 1 Timothy 6:16. But the statement in the text is a general one, and can only mean that Moses habitually in his intercourse with God had before his eyes some visible manifestation of the invisible God, which helped to make that intercourse at once more awfully real and more intensely blessed. Such manifestation to the sense of sight must be distinguished both from the visionary (or subjective) sight of God in human figure accorded to Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1:26), to Isaiah (Isaiah 6:1), to St. John (Revelation 4:2, 8), and perhaps to others, and also from such theophanies in angel guise as are recorded in Genesis 32:30; Judges 13:9, 2, and elsewhere. On the other hand, the seventy elders seem to have seen the "Temunah" of the Lord upon that one occasion when they were called up into Mount Sinai (Exodus 24:10, 11). Wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses! No doubt it was the double fact of their relationship to Moses after the flesh, and of their sharing with him in certain spiritual gifts and prerogatives, which made them oblivious of the great distinction which lifted him above their rivalry, and should have lifted him above their contradiction. That contradiction, however, served to bring out in the clearest way the singular and unapproached position of the mediator of Israel; and it serves still to enable us to estimate aright the peculiar dignity of his legislation and his writings. The substance of prophetic teaching may be of deeper interest and of wider import titan "the law," but this latter will still rank higher in the scale of inspiration, as having been more directly communicated front on high. Thus "the law" (as the Jews rightly taught) remained the body of Divine revelation until "that Prophet" came who was "like unto" Moses in the fact that he enjoyed constant, open, and direct communication with the Godhead. With him will I speak mouth to mouth,.... And face to face, as he had done, Exodus 33:11; in a free, friendly, and familiar manner, as one friend speaks to another, without injecting any fear or dread, and consternation of mind, which was sometimes the case of the prophets; or without a middle person, a mediator, as Aben Ezra, not by means of an angel, as in some cases, but the Lord himself spake to him:

even apparently, and not in dark speeches; the word "apparently", or "vision", being opposed to "dark speeches", shows that this is not to be understood of the appearance or vision of an object presented to the sight, or to the mind, which is denied of Moses, though usual with other prophets; but of the vision, or plain sense and meaning of words, which are so plainly expressed, that the sense is easily seen and understood; it was not under figures and allegories, and parables and dark representations of things, that the law of the decalogue, and other laws, statutes, and ordinances, and the proclamation the Lord made of himself, as the Lord gracious, merciful, &c. were delivered unto Moses, but in plain words and clear expressions; not in such enigmatical, parabolical, and allegorical terms as many of the visions and prophecies of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Amos, and Zechariah, were exhibited to them; See Gill on Numbers 12:6,

and the similitude of the Lord shall he behold: as he had at the burning bush, and at Mount Sinai, with the elders of Israel, and when the Lord proclaimed his name before him; at which several times it is highly probable he beheld the Lord, even the Lord Christ, in an human form, as a presage of his future incarnation, and as he might also after this: the Targum of Jonathan is,"the similitude which is after my Shechinah (or divine Majesty) he saw;''that is, his back parts, as Jarchi, and other Jewish writers, interpret it; but Bishop Patrick thinks the word not should be repeated from the preceding clause, and that the sense is, that he did not behold him in similitudes, nor did the Lord speak to him by them, as to other prophets, see Hosea 12:10,

wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses? or against my servant, against Moses; against any servant of mine, but especially against Moses, so faithful in my house, so much approved of and honoured by me, and so superior to all other prophets. 8. with him will I speak mouth to mouth—immediately, not by an interpreter, nor by visionary symbols presented to his fancy.

apparently—plainly and surely.

not in dark speeches—parables or similitudes.

the similitude of the Lord shall he behold—not the face or essence of God, who is invisible (Ex 33:20; Col 1:15; Joh 1:18); but some unmistakable evidence of His glorious presence (Ex 33:2; 34:5). The latter clause should have been conjoined with the preceding one, thus: "not in dark speeches, and in a figure shall he behold the Lord." The slight change in the punctuation removes all appearance of contradiction to De 4:15.12:1-9 The patience of Moses was tried in his own family, as well as by the people. The pretence was, that he had married a foreign wife; but probably their pride was hurt, and their envy stirred up, by his superior authority. Opposition from our near relations, and from religious friends, is most painful. But this is to be looked for, and it will be well if in such circumstances we can preserve the gentleness and meekness of Moses. Moses was thus fitted to the work he was called to. God not only cleared Moses, but praised him. Moses had the spirit of prophecy in a way which set him far above all other prophets; yet he that is least in the kingdom of heaven, is greater than he; and our Lord Jesus infinitely excels him, Heb 3:1. Let Miriam and Aaron consider whom it was they insulted. We have reason to be afraid of saying or doing any thing against the servants of God. And those are presumptuous indeed who are not afraid to speak evil of dignities, 2Pe 2:10. The removal of God's presence is the surest and saddest token of God's displeasure. Woe to us, if he depart! he never departs, till by sin and folly we drive him from us.
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