And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD has said will we do, and be obedient.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The book of the covenant—i.e., the book which he had written overnight, the collection of laws and promises which we have in Exodus 20:22 to Exodus 23:33.
In the audience of the people.—Heb., in the ears of the people.
And they said.—Having heard the ipsissima verba spoken by God to Moses, they repeated their previous acceptance (see Exodus 24:3), adding a general promise of obedience.Exodus 20:22 note. The people had to repeat their assent to the book of the covenant before the blood was thrown upon them. Compare 2 Kings 23:2, 2 Kings 23:21; 2 Chronicles 34:30. The book of the covenant, wherein Moses had written the conditions of this covenant, to wit, the words and laws of God, above, Exodus 24:4.
In the audience of the people, i.e. in the hearing of a great number of them, or of some in the name of all the people, by whom it was read, or otherwise published to all the people successively. Exodus 24:4, and consisted both of laws and judgments required of the people, and to which they had given their assent, and promised obedience to; and of promises made by the Lord of sending his angel before them to guide them in the way, and bring them to Canaan, and to drive the Canaanites from thence, and put the Israelites into the possession of it; so that here were promises on both sides, a restipulation of parties, which made a formal covenant:
and read in the audience of the people; he had rehearsed what was contained in it from his memory, by word of mouth, to which they had assented, Exodus 24:3 and having written the same in a book, he read it to them distinctly, that they might the better take notice of the contents of it:
and they said, all that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient; which is a repetition and confirmation of what they had before said, and is expressed in stronger terms; so that this was not done suddenly and inconsiderately, and yet they seem not to be so well apprised of their own inability to keep the laws of God, and of the treachery of their own hearts as to their regard to them; see Deuteronomy 5:28.And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)7. the book of the covenant] The ‘book,’ or scroll, just written (v. 4), containing the laws of Exodus 20:22 to Exodus 23:33, on the basis of which (v. 8) the ‘covenant’ was to be concluded. If, however, the view expressed on vv. 3, 12 is correct, the ‘book’ will not have included the ‘judgements,’ Exodus 21:2 to Exodus 22:17.Verse 7. - And he took the Book of the Covenant. In this book we have the germ of the Holy Scriptures - the first "book" actually mentioned as written in the narrative of the Bible. Genesis may contain other older documents, inserted by Moses, under the sanction of the Holy Spirit, in his compilation. But his own composition, if we except the burst of poesy called forth by the passage of the Red Sea (Exodus 15:1-18), would seem to have commenced with "the Book of the Covenant." Upon this nucleus the rest of the law was based; and it was to explain and enforce the law that Moses composed the Pentateuch. In the audience of the people, Literally, "in the ears of the people," which is equally intelligible, and more graphic. And they said, etc The people made the same answer as before (ver. 3), adding a general promise of obedience to all that God might command in future. Exodus 20:22-23:33; for אמר משׁה ואל ("but to Moses He said") cannot be the commencement of a fresh address, which would necessarily require מ אל ויּאמר (cf. Exodus 24:12; Exodus 19:21; Exodus 20:22). The turn given to the expression מ ואל presupposes that God had already spoken to others, or that what had been said before related not to Moses himself, but to other persons. But this cannot be affirmed of the decalogue, which applied to Moses quite as much as to the entire nation (a sufficient refutation of Knobel's assertion, that these verses are a continuation of Exodus 19:20-25, and are linked on to the decalogue), but only of the address concerning the mishpatim, or "rights," which commences with Exodus 20:22, and, according to Exodus 20:22 and Exodus 21:1, was intended for the nation, and addressed to it, even though it was through the medium of Moses. What God said to the people as establishing its rights, is here followed by what He said to Moses himself, namely, that he was to go up to Jehovah, along with Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and seventy elders. At the same time, it is of course implied that Moses, who had ascended the mountain with Aaron alone (Exodus 20:21), was first of all to go down again and repeat to the people the "rights" which God had communicated to him, and only when this had been done, to ascend again with the persons named. According to Exodus 24:3 and Exodus 24:12 (? 9), this is what Moses really did. But Moses alone was to go near to Jehovah: the others were to worship afar off, and the people were not to come up at all.
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