And you said, Behold, the LORD our God has showed us his glory and his greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the middle of the fire: we have seen this day that God does talk with man, and he lives.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Exodus 20:18-21. Here it is important to call attention to the fact that it was on the entreaties of the people that Moses had taken on him to be the channel of communication between God and them. God approved Deuteronomy 5:28 the request of the people, because it showed a feeling of their own unworthiness to enter into direct communion with God. The terrors of Sinai had done their work; they had awakened the consciousness of sin. 2 Corinthians 3:7, it being delivered with so much majesty, and such a glorious apparatus attending it; see Deuteronomy 33:2. Aben Ezra interprets this of the appearance of fire in which the Lord was, "and his greatness", of the thunders and lightnings, and the voice of the trumpet:
and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire; the ten words, as the same interpreter rightly notes, which were vocally and audibly expressed out of the fire:
we have seen this day, that God doth talk with man, and he liveth; they had proof of it in themselves; God had been talking with them out of the fire, and yet it did not reach and consume them, but they were still alive.And ye said, Behold, the LORD our God hath showed us his glory and his greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire: we have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he liveth.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)24. his greatness] See Deuteronomy 3:24.
24–26. See on Deuteronomy 4:33. It was contrary to expectation that the people survived the voice of God: they would not repeat the risk.Exodus 20, with only a few variations, which have already been discussed in connection with the exposition of the decalogue at Exodus 20:1-14. - In Deuteronomy 5:22-33, Moses expounds still further the short account in Exodus 20:18-21, viz., that after the people had heard the ten covenant words, in their alarm at the awful phenomena in which the Lord revealed His glory, they entreated him to stand between as mediator, that God Himself might not speak to them any further, and that they might not die, and then promised that they would hearken to all that the Lord should speak to him (Exodus 20:23 -31). His purpose in doing so was to link on the exhortation in vv. 32, 33, to keep all the commandments of the Lord and do them, which paves the way for passing to the exposition of the law which follows. "A great voice" (Exodus 20:22) is an adverbial accusative, signifying "with a great voice" (cf. Ges. 118, 3). "And He added no more:" as in Numbers 11:25. God spoken the ten words directly to the people, and then no more; i.e., everything further He addressed to Moses alone, and through his mediation to the people. As mediator He gave him the two tables of stone, upon which He had written the decalogue (cf. Exodus 31:18). This statement somewhat forestalls the historical course; and in Deuteronomy 9:10-11, it is repeated again in its proper historical connection.
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