Exodus 34:30
And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come near him.
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(30) They were afraid.—The supernatural appearance terrified them. Compare the feelings of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1:18) and St. John (Revelation 1:17).

Exodus 34:30. And Aaron and the children of Israel saw it, and were afraid — It not only dazzled their eyes, but struck such an awe upon them as obliged them to retire. Probably they doubted whether it was a token of God’s favour, or of his displeasure.34:28-35 Near and spiritual communion with God improves the graces of a renewed and holy character. Serious godliness puts a lustre upon a man's countenance, such as commands esteem and affection. The vail which Moses put on, marked the obscurity of that dispensation, compared with the gospel dispensation of the New Testament. It was also an emblem of the natural vail on the hearts of men respecting spiritual things. Also the vail that was and is upon the nation of Israel, which can only be taken away by the Spirit of the Lord showing to them Christ, as the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. Fear and unbelief would put the vail before us, they would hinder our free approach to the mercy-seat above. We should spread our wants, temporal and spiritual, fully before our heavenly Father; we should tell him our hinderances, struggles, trails, and temptations; we should acknowledge our offences.The two tables of testimony - Compare Exodus 31:18.

The skin of his face shone - Compare Matthew 17:2. The brightness of the Eternal Glory, though Moses had witnessed it only in a modified manner Exodus 33:22-23, was so reflected in his face, that Aaron and the people were stricken with awe, and feared to approach him until he gave them words of encouragement.

The word translated "shine" is closely connected with a word translated "horn"; and hence, the Latin version and others have rendered the verb "to be horned." From this rendering of the word has arisen the popular representation of Moses with horns on his forehead; e. g. in Michaelangelo's statue at Rome.

30. they were afraid to come nigh him—Their fear arose from a sense of guilt—the beaming radiance of his countenance made him appear to their awe-struck consciences a flaming minister of heaven. No text from Poole on this verse. And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses,.... Who very probably met him at the bottom of the mount; these Israelites with Aaron were the princes, as Aben Ezra seems rightly to interpret it, and as appears from the following verse; for Moses could not well be seen by the whole body of the people at once, upon his descent from the mount:

behold, the skin of his face shone; darted out rays of light and glory all around it, much perhaps in the same manner as the glory about our Lord, and others, is painted by the Romanists:

and they were afraid to come nigh him; there was something so majestic and striking in it; and perhaps they could not tell whether it foreboded good or evil to them; and this may signify, that as by the light of the law sin is discovered, it fills with a sense of wrath and fear of damnation; and being the ministration of condemnation and death, it is terrifying and killing, though it has a glory in it.

And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him.
Verse 30. - They were afraid. They shrank from Moses, as if he were more than man. (Compare Ezekiel 1:28; Revelation 1:17.) Perhaps they thought that what they saw was his spirit. The true way to worship Jehovah is then pointed out, first of all negatively, in the prohibition against making molten images, with an allusion to the worship of the golden calf, as evinced by the use of the expression מסּכה אלהי, which only occurs again in Leviticus 19:4, instead of the phrase "gods of silver and gold" (Exodus 20:23); and then positively, by a command to observe the feast of Mazzoth and the consecration of the first-born connected with the Passover (see at Exodus 13:2, Exodus 13:11, and Exodus 13:12), also the Sabbath (Exodus 34:21), the feasts of Weeks and Ingathering, the appearance of the male members of the nation three times a year before the Lord (Exodus 34:22, see at Exodus 23:14-17), together with all the other instructions connected with them (Exodus 34:25, Exodus 34:26). Before the last, however, the promise is introduced, that after the expulsion of the Canaanites, Jehovah would enlarge the borders of Israel (cf. Exodus 23:31), and make their land so secure, that when they went up to the Lord three times in the year, no one should desire their land, sc., because of the universal dread of the might of their God (Exodus 23:27).
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