Exodus 32:10
Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.
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(10) Let me alone.—This was not a command to abstain from deprecation, but rather an intimation that deprecation might have power to change God’s purpose. Moses was tried by an offer which would have exalted him at the expense of the people. He was allowed to see that he might either sacrifice the people and obtain his own aggrandisement, or deny himself and save them. That he chose the better part redounds to his undying glory.

I will make of thee a great nation—i.e., I will put thee in the place of Abraham, make thee the father of the faithful, destroy all existing Israelites but thee and thine, and proceed de novo to raise up a “great nation” out of thy loins.

Exodus 32:10. Let me alone — What did Moses, or what could he do, to hinder God from consuming them? When God resolves to abandon a people, and the decree is gone forth, no intercession can prevent it. But God would thus express the greatness of his displeasure, after the manner of men, who would have none to intercede for those they resolve to be severe with.

Thus also he would put an honour upon prayer, intimating, that nothing but the intercession of Moses could save them from ruin.

32:7-14 God says to Moses, that the Israelites had corrupted themselves. Sin is the corruption of the sinner, and it is a self-corruption; every man is tempted when he is drawn aside of his own lust. They had turned aside out of the way. Sin is a departing from the way of duty into a by-path. They soon forgot God's works. He sees what they cannot discover, nor is any wickedness of the world hid from him. We could not bear to see the thousandth part of that evil which God sees every day. God expresses the greatness of his just displeasure, after the manner of men who would have prayer of Moses could save them from ruin; thus he was a type of Christ, by whose mediation alone, God would reconcile the world to himself. Moses pleads God's glory. The glorifying God's name, as it ought to be our first petition, and it is so in the Lord's prayer, so it ought to be our great plea. And God's promises are to be our pleas in prayer; for what he has promised he is able to perform. See the power of prayer. In answer to the prayers of Moses, God showed his purpose of sparing the people, as he had before seemed determined on their destruction; which change of the outward discovery of his purpose, is called repenting of the evil.Let me alone - But Moses did not let the Lord alone; he wrestled, as Jacob had done, until, like Jacob, he obtained the blessing Genesis 32:24-29.10. make of thee a great nation—Care must be taken not to suppose this language as betokening any change or vacillation in the divine purpose. The covenant made with the patriarchs had been ratified in the most solemn manner; it could not and never was intended that it should be broken. But the manner in which God spoke to Moses served two important purposes—it tended to develop the faith and intercessory patriotism of the Hebrew leader, and to excite the serious alarm of the people, that God would reject them and deprive them of the privileges they had fondly fancied were so secure. Do not hinder me by thy prayers, which I see thou art now about to make on their behalf.

I will make of thee; to come out of thy loins.

Now, therefore, let me alone,.... And not solicit him with prayers and supplications in favour of these people, but leave him to take his own way with them, without troubling him with any suit on their behalf; and so the Targum of Jonathan,"and now leave off thy prayer, and do not cry for them before me;''as the Prophet Jeremiah was often bid not to pray for this people in his time, which was a token of God's great displeasure with them, as well as shows the prevalence of prayer with him; that he knows not how, as it were, humanly speaking, to deny the requests of his children; and even though made not on their own account, but on the account of a sinful and disobedient people:

that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: which suggests that they were deserving of the wrath of God to the uttermost, and to be destroyed from off the face of the earth, and even to be punished with an everlasting destruction:

and I will make of thee a great nation; increase his family to such a degree, as to make them as great a nation or greater than the people of Israel were, see Deuteronomy 9:14 or the meaning is, he would set him over a great nation, make him king over a people as large or larger than they, which is a sense mentioned by Fagius and Vatablus; and, indeed, as Bishop Patrick observes, if this people had been destroyed, there would have been no danger of the promise not being made good, which was made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, concerning the multiplication of their seed, urged by Moses, Exodus 32:13 seeing that would have stood firm, if a large nation was made out of the family of Moses, who descended from them: this was a very great temptation to Moses, and had he been a selfish man, and sought the advancement of his own family, and careless of, and indifferent to the people of Israel, he would have accepted of it; it is a noble testimony in his favour, and proves him not to be the designing man he is represented by the deists.

Now {f} therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.

(f) God shows that the prayers of the godly hold back his punishment.

10. and I will make, &c.] The promise given to Abraham (Genesis 12:2) is now restricted to Moses (cf. Numbers 14:12).

Verse 10. - Now, therefore, let me alone. This was not a command, but rather a suggestion; or, at any rate, it was a command not intended to compel obedience - like that of the angel to Jacob - "Let me go, for the day breaketh" (Genesis 32:26). Moses was not intended to take the command as absolute. He did not do so - he "wrestled with God," like Jacob, and prevailed. That my wrath may wax hot. Literally, "and my wrath will wax hot." I will make of thee a great nation. (Compare Numbers 14:12.) God could, of course, have multiplied the seed of Moses, as he had that of Abraham; but in that case all that had been as yet done would have gone for nought, and his purposes with respect to his "peculiar people" would have been put back six hundred years and more. Exodus 32:10"Behold, it is a stiff-necked people (a people with a hard neck, that will not bend to the commandment of God; cf. Exodus 33:3, Exodus 33:5; Exodus 34:9; Deuteronomy 9:6, etc.): now therefore suffer Me, that My wrath may burn against them, and I may consume them, and I will make of thee a great nation." Jehovah, as the unchangeably true and faithful God, would not, and could not, retract the promises which He had given to the patriarchs, or leave them unfulfilled; and therefore if in His wrath He should destroy the nation, which had shown the obduracy of its nature in its speedy apostasy, He would still fulfil His promise in the person of Moses, and make of him a great nation, as He had promised Abraham in Genesis 12:2. When God says to Moses, "Leave Me, allow Me, that My wrath may burn," this is only done, as Gregory the Great expresses it, deprecandi ansam praebere. God puts the fate of the nation into the hand of Moses, that he may remember his mediatorial office, and show himself worthy of his calling. This condescension on the part of God, which placed the preservation or destruction of Israel in the hands of Moses, coupled with a promise, which left the fullest freedom to his decision, viz., that after the destruction of the people he should himself be made a great nation, constituted a great test for Moses, whether he would be willing to give up his own people, laden as they were with guilt, as the price of his own exaltation. And Moses stood the test. The preservation of Israel was dearer to him than the honour of becoming the head and founder of a new kingdom of God. True to his calling as mediator, he entered the breach before God, to turn away His wrath, that He might not destroy the sinful nation (Psalm 106:23). - But what if Moses had not stood the test, had not offered his soul for the preservation of his people, as he is said to have done in Exodus 32:32? Would God in that case have thought him fit to make into a great nation? Unquestionably, if this had occurred, he would not have proved himself fit or worthy of such a call; but as God does not call those who are fit and worthy in themselves, for the accomplishment of His purposes of salvation, but chooses rather the unworthy, and makes them fit for His purposes (2 Corinthians 3:5-6), He might have made even Moses into a great nation. The possibility of such a thing, however, is altogether an abstract thought: the case supposed could not possibly have occurred, since God knows the hearts of His servants, and foresees what they will do, though, notwithstanding His omniscience, He gives to human freedom room enough for self-determination, that He may test the fidelity of His servants. No human speculation, however, can fully explain the conflict between divine providence and human freedom. This promise is referred to by Moses in Deuteronomy 9:14, when he adds the words which God made use of on a subsequent occasion of a similar kind (Numbers 14:12), "I will make of thee a nation stronger and more numerous than this."
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