In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them…
1. The "Presence" (lit. "Face") of Jehovah is used elsewhere of His self-manifestation. The fundamental passage is Exodus 33:14, 15. But compare also Deuteronomy 4:37; Lamentations 4:16.
2. An "angel of the Presence," on the other hand, is a figure elsewhere unknown to the Old Testament: the phrase would seem to be "a confusion of two forms of expression, incident to a midway stage of revelation" (Cheyne).
3. The "Face" of Jehovah, however, is not (as the LXX inferred) just the same as Jehovah Himself in person. It is rather a name for His highest sensible manifestation, and hardly differs from what is in other places called the Mal'ak Yahveh (Angel of Jehovah). This is shown by the comparison of Exodus 33:14 f. with Exodus 23:20-23. The verse, therefore, means that it was no ordinary angelic messenger, but the supreme embodiment of Jehovah's presence that accompanied Israel in the early days.
(Prof. J. Skinner, D. D.)The Angel in whom Jehovah was seen; who was Jehovah Himself in manifestation.
(A. B. Davidson, D. D.)Not some one of the "ministering spirits," nor some one of the angel-princes standing in God's immediate presence (archangels), but the one whom God makes the medium of His presence in the world for affecting the revelation of Himself in sacred history.
(F. Delitzsch, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.