Exodus 24:8
And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD has made with you concerning all these words.
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(8) And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it . . . —Half of the blood had been sprinkled upon the altar, which symbolised Jehovah; the other half was now sprinkled upon the people, or rather upon their representatives—the elders and others who stood nearest to Moses. Thus the two parties to the covenant, sprinkled with the blood of the same sacrifices, were brought into sacramental union. Rites somewhat similar, involving blood communion, were common throughout the East in connection with covenants (Horn. Il. iii. 298, xix. 252; Herod. I. 74, iii. 8, iv. 70; Xen. Anab. ii. 2, § 9; Lucian. Toxar. 37; Pomp. Mel. ii. 1; Tac. Ann. xii. 47; &c), and were regarded as adding to their force and sacredness.

On the people.—It has been suggested (Abarbarnel) that the blood was really sprinkled on the twelve pillars which represented the people; but the words used scarcely seem to admit of such an interpretation. The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews understood the passage as declaring that the people were sprinkled (Hebrews 9:19).

24:1-8 A solemn covenant was made between God and Israel. Very solemn it was, typifying the covenant of grace between God and believers, through Christ. As soon as God separated to himself a peculiar people, he governed them by a written word, as he has done ever since. God's covenants and commands are so just in themselves, and so much for our good, that the more we think of them, and the more plainly and fully they are set before us, the more reason we may see to comply with them. The blood of the sacrifice was sprinkled on the altar, on the book, and on the people. Neither their persons, their moral obedience, nor religious services, would meet with acceptance from a holy God, except through the shedding and sprinkling' of blood. Also the blessings granted unto them were all of mercy; and the Lord would deal with them in kindness. Thus the sinner, by faith in the blood of Christ, renders willing and acceptable obedience.The blood which sealed the covenant was the blood of burnt offerings and peace offerings. The sin-offering Leviticus 4 had not yet been instituted. That more complicated view of human nature which gave to the sin-offering its meaning, had yet to be developed by the law, which was now only receiving its ratification. The covenant between Yahweh and His people therefore took precedence of the operation of the law, by which came the knowledge of sin. Romans 3:20.

Upon the people - Either upon the elders or those who stood foremost; or, upon the twelve pillars representing the Twelve tribes, as the first half had been cast upon the altar, which witnessed to the presence of Yahweh. The blood thus divided between the two parties to the covenant signified the sacramental union between the Lord and His people. Cf. Psalm 50:5; Zechariah 9:11.

8. Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people—probably on the twelve pillars, as representing the people (also the book, Heb 9:19), and the act was accompanied by a public proclamation of its import. It was setting their seal to the covenant (compare 1Co 11:25). It must have been a deeply impressive, as well as instructive scene, for it taught the Israelites that the covenant was made with them only through the sprinkling of blood—that the divine acceptance of themselves and services, was only by virtue of an atoning sacrifice, and that even the blessings of the national covenant were promised and secured to them only through grace. The ceremonial, however, had a further and higher significance, as is shown by the apostle (see as above). Moses took the blood; the other half of the blood, which was put in the basons for this end, Exodus 24:6.

On the people; either upon the twelve pillars representing the people; or upon the people’s representatives, to wit, the elders mentioned Exodus 24:1, as when the people are commanded to lay on their hands, the elders do it in their name and stead, Leviticus 4:15 Deu 21:2; or upon those of the people which are nearest him, which was imputed to all the rest, and was to be taken by them as if it had reached unto them all. Now this sprinkling of the blood upon the people did signify,

1. Their ratification of the covenant on their parts, and their secret wishing of the effusion of their own blood if they did not keep it.

2. Their sprinkling of their consciences with the blood of Christ, and their obtaining redemption, justification, and access to God through it alone. See Hebrews 9:20,22 13:20.

The blood of the covenant, whereby the covenant is made and confirmed, as was usual both in Scripture, Matthew 26:28 Luke 22:20, and among heathens. And Moses took the blood,.... The other half of the blood which was in the basins:

and sprinkled it on the people; not on the whole body of the people, who could not be brought nigh enough, and were too numerous to be all sprinkled with it; though the apostle so expresses it, a part being put for the whole, Hebrews 9:19 either this was sprinkled on the young men that offered the sacrifices in the name of all the people; or on the seventy elders, as the heads of them, so Aben Ezra; or upon the twelve pillars, which answered to the twelve tribes, and represented them as the altar did the Lord:

and said, behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words; being a ratification of the covenant on both sides, having been sprinkled both upon the altar, and upon the people. In allusion to which, the blood of Christ is sometimes called the blood of sprinkling, and which, sprinkled upon the mercy seat, calls for pardon for men; and sprinkled on their consciences, speaks peace and pardon to them, and cleanses from all sin; and sometimes the blood of the everlasting covenant, the covenant of grace made with him, by which it is ratified and confirmed; and our Lord may have regard to this rite and mode of expression in Matthew 26:28.

And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the {d} blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words.

(d) Which signifies that the covenant broken cannot be satisfied without shedding of blood.

8. the blood of the covenant] the blood by which the covenant is ratified. Cf. Hebrews 9:20; Hebrews 12:24 (noting vv. 18–21); 1 Peter 1:2, with Hort’s note (p. 23 f.); and the ‘blood of the’ new ‘covenant,’ founded by Christ, Matthew 26:28 = Mark 14:24 (cf. Luke 22:20, 1 Corinthians 11:25).

concerning] upon (the basis of). The marg. paraphrases correctly.

9–11 (J). The sequel to vv. 1–2. Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy elders, as directed in v. 1, go up into the mount, and have a vision of Jehovah’s glory.Verse 8. - Moses then proceeded to the final act - He took the blood from the basins, and sprinkled it - not certainly upon all the people, who numbered above two millions - but upon their leaders and representatives, the "elders" and other chief men, drawn up at the head of each tribe, and thus brought within his reach. It has been supposed by some that he merely sprinkled the blood on the twelve pillars, as representing the twelve tribes; but, had this been the case, the expression in the text would probably have been different. We read, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, that he "sprinkled both the book, and all the people" (Hebrews 9:19). As he sprinkled, he said, Behold the blood of the covenant, etc. It was a common practice among the nations of antiquity to seal covenants with blood. Sometimes the blood was that of a victim, and the two parties to the covenant prayed, that, if they broke it, his fate might be theirs (Hom. 1l. 3:298; 19:252; Leviticus 1:24; 21:45; etc.). Sometimes it was the blood of the two parties themselves, who each drank of the other's blood, and thereby contracted a blood-relationship, which would have made their breaking the covenant more unpardonable (Herod. 1:74; 4:70; Tacit. Ann. 12:47). Moses seems to have followed neither practice at all closely, but, adopting simply the principle that a covenant required to be sealed with blood, to have arranged the details as he thought best. By the sprinkling of both the altar and the people the two parties to the covenant were made partakers of one and the same blood, and so brought into a sort of sacramental union.

CHAPTER 24:9-11 These two verses form part of the address of God in 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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