Exodus 24:10
And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(10) They saw the God of Israel.—Probably, in human form, as Isaiah saw Him (Isaiah 6:1-5), and Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1:26), and even Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 3:25). It is not of this appearance that Moses says: “Ye saw no similitude” (Deuteronomy 4:12). The appearance which they saw had “feet.”

A paved work of a sapphire stone.—Heb., a work of the clearness of sapphire. The “sapphire” (sappir) of the Pentateuch is probably lapis lazuli.

The body of heaven—i.e., “the very heaven,” or “the heaven itself.”

Exodus 24:10. They saw the God of Israel — That is, they had some glimpse of his glory, in light and fire, though they saw no manner of similitude. They saw the place where the God of Israel stood, so the Septuagint; whatever they saw, it was certainly something of which no image or picture could be made, and yet enough to satisfy them that God was with them of a truth. Nothing is described but that which was under his feet, for our conceptions of God are all below him. They saw not so much as God’s feet, but at the bottom of the brightness they saw (such as they never saw before or after, and as the footstool or pedestal of it) a most rich and splendid pavement, as it had been of sapphires, azure, or sky-coloured. The heavens themselves are the pavement of God’s palace, and his throne is above the firmament.24:9-11 The elders saw the God of Israel; they had some glimpse of his glory, though whatever they saw, it was something of which no image or picture could be made, yet enough to satisfy them that God was with them of a truth. Nothing is described but what was under his feet. The sapphires are the pavement under his feet; let us put all the wealth of this world under our feet, and not in our hearts. Thus the believer sees in the face of Jesus Christ, far clearer discoveries of the glorious justice and holiness of God, than ever he saw under terrifying convictions; and through the Saviour, holds communion with a holy God.And they saw the God of Israel - As they ate the sacrificial feast, the presence of Yahweh was manifested to them with special distinctness. In the act of solemn worship, they perceived that He was present with them, as their Lord and their Deliverer. It is idle to speculate on the mode of this revelation. That no visible form was presented to their bodily eyes, we are expressly informed, Deuteronomy 4:12; see Exodus 33:20; compare Isaiah 6:1. The latter part of this verse may be read: "under His feet, it was like a work of bright sapphire stone, and like the heaven itself in clearness." On the sapphire, see Exodus 28:18; compare Ezekiel 1:26. The pure blue of the heaven above them lent its influence to help the inner sense to realize the vision which no mortal eye could behold. 10. And they saw the God of Israel—That there was no visible form or representation of the divine nature, we have expressly intimated (De 4:15). But a symbol or emblem of His glory was distinctly, and at a distance, displayed before those chosen witnesses. Many think, however, that in this private scene was discovered, amid the luminous blaze, the faint adumbrated form of the humanity of Christ (Eze 1:26; compare Ga 3:24).

sapphire—one of the most valuable and lustrous of the precious gems—of a sky-blue or light azure color and frequently chosen to describe the throne of God (see Eze 1:26; 10:1).

They saw the God of Israel; not any visible resemblance of the Divine nature, which is expressly denied, Deu 4:15 1 Timothy 6:16, and was refused to Moses when he desired it, Exodus 33:18,20, and therefore surely would never be granted to the elders of Israel; but some glorious appearance or token of God’s special presence; or rather, the Second Person in the Trinity, who now showed himself to them in a human and glorious shape, as an essay and testimony of his future incarnation. This may seem probable,

1. Because here is mention of his feet.

2. Because this way of Christ’s appearance was not unusual. See Ge 18, &c.

3. Because the person who delivered the law in Sinai was Christ, as appears from Acts 7:38, though he be there called an angel, a name oft given to Christ, as hath been formerly showed.

A sapphire stone is of a clear sky colour, mixed with golden spots like stars in the sky.

In his clearness, or, for clearness. A clear sky in prophetical style signifying God’s favour, as a cloudy sky notes his anger. And they saw the God of Israel,.... The Targum of Jonathan restrains this to Nadab and Abihu whereas it is doubtless true of Moses and Aaron, and the seventy elders, who all saw him, and who were witnesses to the people that it was a divine Person that spoke to Moses, and delivered the laws unto him, to be observed by them; which seems to be the reason of their being called up, and favoured with this sight which must not be understood as of anything criminal in them, as if they curiously looked and pried to see something they should not, for which they deserved some sort of punishment, as the Targum intimates; but of a privilege, and a very high one they were favoured with: and this sight they had was not by a vision of prophecy, or with the eyes of their understanding, but corporeally; they saw the Son of God, the God of Israel, in an human form, as a pledge and presage of his future incarnation, who is the Angel that spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, as Stephen says, and the Lord that was among the angels there, who afterwards became incarnate, and having done his work on earth, ascended on high, Acts 7:38.

and there was under his feet; which shows that there was a visible form, and that human; nor is this contrary to what is said, "ye saw no similitude"; Deuteronomy 4:12, since what is here related does not respect the same time, nor the same persons; this was after the giving of the ten commands, that at the time of it; this is said of the seventy elders, with Moses, Aaron, and his two sons, that of all the people:

as it were paved work of a sapphire stone: like a pavement pitched with sapphire. The Septuagint version is,"and they saw the place where the God of Israel stood, and what were under his feet, as the work of a sapphire brick.''The sapphire stones, of which the pavement was, were as broad as bricks, and being like a brick, was a memorial, as the Targum of Jonathan says, of the servitude the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with in clay and bricks; but being a sapphire, bright and glorious, may denote the liberty they now enjoyed in exchange for their bondage. And the Targum of Jonathan understands it of the colour, and not of the form of the sapphire, and renders it, the white sapphire; and so do some Jewish writers (w); though the colour of the sapphire is azure, or sky coloured, with which agrees what follows:

and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness; and Ruaeus (x) says, the sapphire is sky coloured, and some of them shine and sparkle with golden points or spots, and are reckoned the best sapphires; so that this represents the heaven as quite clear and serene, bespangled with stars; and as the heavens, covered with clouds, may denote the displeasure of God, so a serene heaven his favour and good will, and in such an amiable light was he now beheld.

(w) Saadiah Gaon in Aben Ezra, & R. Jonah in Ben Melech in loc. (x) De Gemmis, c. 2.

And they {e} saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.

(e) As perfectly as their infirmities could behold his majesty.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
10. and they saw, &c.] LXX., to avoid its being supposed that God could be ‘seen’ (cf. on Exo Exodus 23:15 b, Exodus 33:20), paraphrase by ‘and they saw the place where the God of Israel stood.’

and there was under his feet, &c.] The idea appears to be that they saw the Divine glory, not directly, but as they looked up at it from below, through what seemed to be a transparent blue sapphire pavement, comparable only to the sky in its clearness. Cf. the sapphire throne upon which, in his vision, Ezekiel sees the Divine form (Ezekiel 1:26). On what is meant by ‘sapphire,’ see on Exodus 28:18.

paved work] lit. brick- or tile-work. Bright (RVm.) is a meaning unsupported by usage.Verse 10. - They saw the God of Israel. These words can scarcely mean less than that they saw with their bodily eyes some appearance of the Divine being who had summoned them to his presence for the purpose. Moses, we know, saw a "similitude of God" (Numbers 12:8). Isaiah "saw the Lord sitting upon his throne "(Isaiah 6:1). Ezekiel saw upon the throne "the appearance of a man" (Ezekiel 1:26). It does not follow from Deuteronomy 4:12, 15, that the elders saw no similitude, since in that passage Moses is speaking, not to the elders, but to the people, and referring, not to what occurred at the sacrificial feast after the ratification of the covenant, but to the scene at the giving of the Ten Commandments previously (Exodus 20:1-18). What the form was which the elders saw, we are not told; but as it had "feet," it was probably a human form. It may have been hazy, indefinite, "too dazzling bright for mortal eye" to rest upon. But it was a true "vision of God" - and, as Keil says, "a foretaste of the blessedness of the sight of God in eternity." There was under his feet, as it were, a paved work of a sapphire stone. Rather, "and under his feet was, as it were, a work of clear sapphire." Nothing is said concerning a pavement, but only that below the feet of the figure which they saw was something, which looked as if it were made of bright blue sapphire stone, something as clear and as blue as the blue of heaven. Canon Cook supposes the actual sky to be meant; but the expression, "as it were, the body of heaven," or "like the very heaven," makes this impossible. A thing is not like itself. The ceremony described in Exodus 24:3-11 is called "the covenant which Jehovah made with Israel" (Exodus 24:8). It was opened by Moses, who recited to the people "all the words of Jehovah" (i.e., not the decalogue, for the people had heard this directly from the mouth of God Himself, but the words in Exodus 20:22-26), and "all the rights" (ch. 21-23); whereupon the people answered unanimously (אחד קול), "All the words which Jehovah hath spoken will we do." This constituted the preparation for the conclusion of the covenant. It was necessary that the people should not only know what the Lord imposed upon them in the covenant about to be made with them, and what He promised them, but that they should also declare their willingness to perform what was imposed upon them. The covenant itself was commenced by Moses writing all the words of Jehovah in "the book of the covenant" (Exodus 24:4 and Exodus 24:7), for the purpose of preserving them in an official record. The next day, early in the morning, he built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and erected twelve boundary-stones or pillars for the twelve tribes, most likely round about the altar and at some distance from it, so as to prepare the soil upon which Jehovah was about to enter into union with the twelve tribes. As the altar indicated the presence of Jehovah, being the place where the Lord would come to His people to bless them (Exodus 20:24), so the twelve pillars, or boundary-stones, did not serve as mere memorials of the conclusion of the covenant, but were to indicate the place of the twelve tribes, and represent their presence also.
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