Exodus 32:14
And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do to his people.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Exodus 32:14. The Lord repented of the evil — Changed his sentence at the entreaty of Moses, who in this represented the Lord Christ, the great Mediator and Intercessor for all the sinful race. He was pleased not to inflict upon them that punishment which he threatened, (Exodus 32:10,) and so acted as men do when they repent and change their minds. Though he designed to punish them, yet he would not ruin them. See here the power of prayer! God suffers himself to be prevailed with by humble, believing importunity. And see the compassion of God toward poor sinners, and how ready he is to forgive! It must, however, be well observed that such expressions as this, of the Lord’s repenting, must be understood as spoken after the manner of men. For that no proper change or repentance can take place in the Divine Mind, plainly follows from the perfection of the divine knowledge, which comprehends at one view all things, past, present, and to come, and can never be surprised at their happening as they do, or change his mind on that account. See this further explained on Genesis 6:6.32:7-14 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.This states a fact which was not revealed to Moses until after his second intercession when he had come down from the mountain and witnessed the sin of the people Exodus 32:30-34. He was then assured that the Lord's love to His ancient people would prevail God is said, in the language of Scripture, to "repent," when His forgiving love is seen by man to blot out the letter of His judgments against sin (2 Samuel 24:16; Joel 2:13; Jonah 3:10, etc.); or when the sin of man seems to human sight to have disappointed the purposes of grace (Genesis 6:6; 1 Samuel 15:35, etc.). The awakened conscience is said to "repent," when, having felt its sin, it feels also the divine forgiveness: it is at this crisis that God, according to the language of Scripture, repents toward the sinner. Thus, the repentance of God made known in and through the One true Mediator reciprocates the repentance of the returning sinner, and reveals to him atonement.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. i.e. Changed his sentence. See on Genesis 6:6. And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people. He did not do what he threatened to do, and seemed to have in his thoughts and designs, but did what Moses desired he would, Exodus 32:12 not that any of God's thoughts or the determinations of his mind are alterable; for the thoughts of his heart are to all generations; but he changes the outward dispensations of his providence, or his methods of acting with men, which he has been taking or threatened to take; and this being similar to what they do when they repent of anything, who alter their course, hence repentance is ascribed to God, though, properly speaking, it does not belong to him, see Jeremiah 18:8. Aben Ezra thinks that the above prayer of Moses, which was so prevalent with God, does not stand in its proper place, but should come after Exodus 32:31 for, to what purpose, says he, should Moses say to the Israelites, Exodus 32:30 "peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin": if he was appeased by his prayer before? And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
14. And Jehovah repented, &c.] so Genesis 6:7, Jdg 2:18, 1 Samuel 15:11; 1 Samuel 15:35, 2 Samuel 24:16 al. Hebrew writers often express themselves ‘anthropopathically,’ i.e. attribute to God the feelings or emotions of a man. God is thus said to ‘repent,’ not because He really changes His purpose, but because He does so apparently, when, in consequence of a change in the character and conduct of men, He is obliged to make a corresponding change in the purpose towards them which He had previously announced, and adopt towards them a new attitude. See esp. Jeremiah 18, where it is taught that if man repents, a threat may be withdrawn (cf. Jeremiah 26:3; Jeremiah 26:13; Jeremiah 26:19, Jonah 3:9-10), while on the other hand if man turns to evil a promise may be revoked. Here Jehovah ‘repents,’ as a consequence of Moses’ intercession (cf. Amos 7:3; Amos 7:6). God is also said to ‘repent,’ when he stops a judgement in the midst, as it seems, of its course, through compassion (2 Samuel 24:16, Deuteronomy 32:36). Where, however, nothing is likely to occur to cause a change in Jehovah’s declared purpose, He is said to be ‘not a man, that he should repent’ (1 Samuel 15:29; cf. Numbers 23:19).Verse 14. - The Lord repented of the evil. Changes of purpose are, of course, attributed to God by an "economy," or accommodation of the truth to human modes of speech and conception. "God is not a man that he should repent." He "knows the end from the beginning." When he threatened to destroy Israel, he knew that he would spare; but, as he communicated to Moses, first, his anger, and then, at a later period, his intention to spare, he is said to have "repented." The expression is an anthropomorphic one, like so many others, on which we have already commented. (See the comment on Exodus 2:24, 25; 3:7, 8; 31:17; etc.)

CHAPTER 32:15-19 "They have turned aside quickly (lit., hurriedly):" this had increased their guilt, and made their ingratitude to Jehovah, their Redeemer, all the more glaring.
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