Now therefore, I pray you, if I have found grace in your sight, show me now your way, that I may know you, that I may find grace in your sight: and consider that this nation is your people.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Shew me now thy way—i.e., Thy course—Thy intention. Let me know if Thou really intendest to withdraw Thyself from us, and put a created being in Thy place or no.
Consider that this nation is thy people.—Moses glances back at God’s words recorded in Exodus 32:7, and reminds God that the Israelites are not merely his (Moses’) people, but also, in a higher sense, God’s people. As such, God had acknowledged them (Exodus 3:7; Exodus 3:10; Exodus 5:1; Exodus 6:7; Exodus 7:4, &c.).Exodus 33:13. Now, if I have found grace in thy sight — What favour God had expressed to the people they had forfeited the benefit of; and therefore Moses lays the stress of his plea upon what God had said to him. By this, therefore, he takes hold on God; Lord, if thou wilt do any thing for me, do this for the people. Thus our Lord Jesus, in his intercession, presents himself to the Father as one in whom he is always well pleased, and so obtains mercy for us, with whom he is justly displeased. Show me thy way — What course thou meanest now to take with us; that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight — That by proof and experience I may know how good thou art to them that seek thee, and may be assured that I have found grace in thy sight. He intimates that the people also, though most unworthy, yet were in some relation to God; consider that this nation is thy people — A people that thou hast done great things for, redeemed to thyself, and taken into covenant with thyself; Lord, they are thy own, do not leave them.
as Moses entered—It was when he appeared as their mediator, when he repaired from day to day to intercede for them, that welcome token of assurance was given that his advocacy prevailed, that Israel's sin was forgiven, and that God would again be gracious.Show me now thy way; the course and manner of thy dealings with men, and particularly thy purpose and will concerning me and thy people, and the method which thou wilt choose for the fulfilling of thy promise, and the course which thou wouldst have me take, and the way by which I shall conduct thy people to the Promised Land.
That I may know thee, i.e. thy mind herein; men are said to know God when they know his mind and will; or that I may experimentally know thee to be what thou hast promised thou wilt be to me and to thy people; or rather,
that I may thereby know thee, namely, that I shall find grace
in thy sight, as it follows; that I may be assured that thou wilt be reconciled to and present with me and thy people.
Thy people, both by thy own choice and purpose, and promise to their parents, and by their recognition of thee for their God, and their returning to thee again.
shew me now thy way: either the way which he himself would take, the way of his providence in bringing the children of Israel into the land of Canaan; or the way he would have him take, the way of his duty, how he would have him behave in conducting them thither; unless he means the Messiah, Christ, the way to the heavenly Canaan, to whom he seems greatly to have respect in the following part of this chapter:
that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight; by which he might have a further evidence of his being acceptable to God, and having a share in his good will; as well as he would better know in what way grace is communicated, Christ being the way both of access into the grace of God, and of acceptance with him, and of the communication of grace from him:
and consider that this nation is thy people; though they had sinned against him in the manner they had done, they were a people he had chosen above all people to be his; he had made a covenant with them, and was their covenant God; he had redeemed them out of Egypt, and had called them from thence, and had wrought a great salvation for them, and had bestowed many peculiar favours upon them; and though for this their gross idolatry and sad apostasy from him they were unworthy of the relation, and he had thought fit not to call them his people, but the people, or the people of Moses, yet they still were his people, and he entreats he would consider the relation they stood in to him, and show mercy to them.Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, show me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)13. if, &c.] A common Heb. phrase: Genesis 18:3; Genesis 30:27 al.
shew] lit. make me to know. ‘Shew’ in Old English meant not only to let see, but also to let know, or tell: see on Daniel 2:2; Daniel 4:2 in the Camb. Bible, or the writer’s Parallel Psalter, p. 481. Cf. Psalm 103:7.
ways] His ways of dealing with men, Deuteronomy 32:4 : see Exodus 34:6 f.
that I may know thee, &c.] understand what Thy nature and character is, and shape my petitions accordingly, that so I may find grace in thy sight, and my future prayers may be answered.
is thy people] and should not, therefore, be left by Thee without a leader.Exodus 25., which was not made till after the perfect restoration of the covenant (Exodus 35.), nor another sanctuary that had come down from their forefathers and was used before the tabernacle was built, as Clericus, J. D. Michaelis, Rosenmller, and others suppose; but a tent belonging to Moses, which was made into a temporary sanctuary by the fact that the pillar of cloud came down upon it, and Jehovah talked with Moses there, and which was called by the same name as the tabernacle, viz., מועד אחל (see at Exodus 27:21), because Jehovah revealed Himself there, and every one who sought Him had to go to this tent outside the camp. There were two reasons for this: in the first place, Moses desired thereby to lead the people to a fuller recognition of their separation from their God, that their penitence might be deepened in consequence; and in the second place, he wished to provide such means of intercourse with Jehovah as would not only awaken in the minds of the people a longing for the renewal of the covenant, but render the restoration of the covenant possible. And this end was answered. Not only did every one who sought Jehovah go out to the tent, but the whole nation looked with the deepest reverence when Moses went out to the tent, and bowed in adoration before the Lord, every one in front of his tent, when they saw the pillar of cloud come down upon the tent and stand before the door. Out of this cloud Jehovah talked with Moses (Exodus 33:7-10) "face to face, as a man talks with his friend" (Exodus 33:11); that is to say, not from the distance of heaven, through any kind of medium whatever, but "mouth to mouth," as it is called in Numbers 12:8, as closely and directly as friends talk to one another. "These words indicate, therefore, a familiar conversation, just as much as if it had been said, that God appeared to Moses in some peculiar form of manifestation. If any one objects to this, that it is at variance with the assertion which we shall come to presently, 'Thou canst not see My face,' the answer is a very simple one. Although Jehovah showed Himself to Moses in some peculiar form of manifestation, He never appeared in His own essential glory, but only in such a mode as human weakness could bear. This solution contains a tacit comparison, viz., that there never was any one equal to Moses, or who had attained to the same dignity as he" (Calvin). When Moses returned to the tent, his servant Joshua remained behind as guard. - This condescension on the part of Jehovah towards Moses could not fail to strengthen the people in their reliance upon their leader, as the confidant of Jehovah. And Moses himself was encouraged thereby to endeavour to effect a perfect restoration of the covenant bond that had been destroyed.
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