Exodus 34:9
And he said, If now I have found grace in thy sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us; for it is a stiffnecked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thine inheritance.
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(9) If now, I have found grace in thy sight.—Rather, Since now, &c. The evidences of God’s favour towards him—which Moses had now experienced, emboldened him to prefer fresh requests on behalf of the people. God has promised to go up in the midst of them; will He not also promise to forgive their iniquity and sin if they offend Him in the way, and permanently to attach them to Himself by making them “His inheritance?” God does not directly answer these prayers, but indirectly accepts them by renewing His covenant with Israel (Exodus 34:10; Exodus 34:27).

Exodus 34:9. And he said, I pray thee go among us — Thus Moses prays for the things God had already promised, not as doubting the sincerity of God’s grants, but as one solicitous for the ratification of them. But it is a strange plea he urges; for it is a stiff-necked people — God had given this as a reason why he would not go along with them, Exodus 33:3. Yea, saith Moses, the rather go along with us; for the worse they are, the more need they have of thy presence. Moses sees them so stiff-necked, that he has neither patience nor power enough to deal with them; therefore, Lord, do thou go among us; else they will never be kept in awe; thou wilt spare, and bear with them, for thou art God and not man.

34:5-9 The Lord descended by some open token of his presence and manifestation of his glory in a cloud, and thence proclaimed his NAME; that is, the perfections and character which are denoted by the name JEHOVAH. The Lord God is merciful; ready to forgive the sinner, and to relieve the needy. Gracious; kind, and ready to bestow undeserved benefits. Long-suffering; slow to anger, giving time for repentance, only punishing when it is needful. He is abundant in goodness and truth; even sinners receive the riches of his bounty abundantly, though they abuse them. All he reveals is infallible truth, all he promises is in faithfulness. Keeping mercy for thousands; he continually shows mercy to sinners, and has treasures, which cannot be exhausted, to the end of time. Forgiving iniquity, and transgression, and sin; his mercy and goodness reach to the full and free forgiveness of sin. And will by no means clear the guilty; the holiness and justice of God are part of his goodness and love towards all his creatures. In Christ's sufferings, the Divine holiness and justice are fully shown, and the evil of sin is made known. God's forgiving mercy is always attended by his converting, sanctifying grace. None are pardoned but those who repent and forsake the allowed practice of every sin; nor shall any escape, who abuse, neglect, or despise this great salvation. Moses bowed down, and worshipped reverently. Every perfection in the name of God, the believer may plead with Him for the forgiveness of his sins, the making holy of his heart, and the enlargement of the Redeemer's kingdom.This yearning struggle after assurance is like the often-repeated utterance of the heart, when it receives a blessing beyond its hopes, "can this be real?" 9, 10. he said, If now I have found grace in thy sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us—On this proclamation, he, in the overflowing benevolence of s heart, founded an earnest petition for the Divine Presence being continued with the people; and God was pleased to give His favorable answer to Moses' intercession by a renewal of His promise under the form of a covenant, repeating the leading points that formed the conditions of the former national compact. It is a stiff-necked people, and therefore need thy glorious and powerful presence to rule them. Or rather,

though it be a stiff-necked people, as thou sayest, yet forsake them not. The Hebrew particle chi oft signifies though, as Exodus 5:11 Isaiah 44:6.

Take us for thine inheritance, i.e. deal with us as men do with their inheritances, dwell among us, protect us, improve us.

And he said, if now I have found grace in thy sight,.... Or "seeing now", for he could have no doubt upon his mind but that he had found grace and favour in the sight of God, since he had caused his goodness and glory to pass before him, and made such a proclamation of his grace and mercy to him; but he takes it for granted, and improves it, and argues upon it, as follows:

O Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go amongst us; as the Lord had signified as if he would not go among them, but leave them to the conduct of a created angel; and Moses had before prayed that his presence or face might go with them, Exodus 33:3 and now having some fresh tokens of the favour and good will of God towards him, renews his request with great earnestness and importunity, entreating the Lord Jehovah the Father, that Moses's Lord Jehovah the Son, the Angel of God's presence, in whom his name was, might go with them, as he had said he should:

for it is a stiffnecked people; and therefore have need of such an one to be with them, to rule and govern them, to restrain and keep them within due bounds; or "though (m) it is a stiffnecked people"; for this is the reason given by the Lord why he would not go among them, Exodus 33:3 wherefore Moses prays that he would go, notwithstanding this; he owns the character of them was just, yet humbly prays that God would nevertheless vouchsafe his presence:

and pardon our iniquity, and our sin; which he had the greater reason to hope he would, since he had just proclaimed his name, a God pardoning iniquity, transgression, and sin; and, the more to gain his suit, makes himself a party concerned, calling the sin committed, "our iniquity, and our sin"; even his among the rest, who had found grace in the sight of God, and therefore entreats others might also, since they were all sinners, and there was forgiveness with him:

and take us for thine inheritance; to possess and enjoy, protect and defend, cultivate and improve, keep and preserve for ever.

(m) Quamvis, Piscator, Patrick; so R. Marinus in Aben Ezra; and some in Abendana.

And he said, If now I have found grace in thy sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us; {b} for it is a stiffnecked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thine inheritance.

(b) Seeing the people are of this nature, the rulers need to call on God that he would always be present with his Spirit.

9. Jehovah’s ‘ways’ (Exodus 33:13) and character having now been disclosed to Moses, he again entreats Jehovah, who is ready to forgive (v. 7a), to pardon His people’s sin, and give proof that He has again received them into His favour, by going personally with them to Canaan. Exodus 33:14 (see note) should now probably follow as the answer.

9. stiffnecked] This character of the people (Exodus 32:9, Exodus 33:3; Exodus 33:5) is here made the motive for its being treated with favour and forgiven.

for thine inheritance] The thought of Israel being Jehovah’s inheritance occurs in Deuteronomy 4:20; Deuteronomy 9:26; Deuteronomy 9:29, and in the Song, Exodus 32:9, but not elsewhere in the earlier books of the Pentateuch.

Verses 9-26. - THE RENEWAL OF THE COVENANT. Dazed, as it would seem, by the splendour of the vision which he had beheld, Moses forgot that God had already pledged himself to renew the covenant, and lead the people in person to Canaan. In his forgetfulness, he once more set himself to intercede with God on their behalf, and besought him -

1. That he would go up with them;

2. That he would pardon them; and

3. That he would once more take them as his inheritance (ver. 9). Without replying separately to these requests, God formally renews the covenant; promises not only to go up with the people, but to work miracles for them (ver. 10), and to drive out the nations before them when they have arrived (ver. 11); and makes a brief summary of the chief points of positive observance, which he requires of them in addition to the moral law. These points may be reduced to twelve: -

1. That no treaty of peace should be made with the Canaanite nations (ver. 12).

2. That all their images, altars, and groves should be destroyed (ver. 13).

3. That no molten image should be made to represent God (ver. 17).

4. That the Passover festival should be observed as previously commanded (ver. 18).

5. That the first-born should be dedicated, or redeemed (vers. 19, 20).

6. That the Sabbath rest should be observed at all times of the year (ver. 21).

7. That the feast of Pentecost (weeks) should be observed regularly (ver. 22).

8. That the feast of tabernacles should also be observed (ib,).

9. That at all the three great festivals all the males should appear before God (ver. 23).

10. That no leaven should be used with any sacrifice (ver. 25).

11. That first-fruits of all things should be offered to God (ver. 26).

12. That no kid should be seethed in her mother's milk (ver. 26). Verse 9. - If now I have found grace in thy sight. The vision vouchsafed him makes Moses feel that he has indeed been received into favour with God. The first use which it occurs to him to make of his position is to intercede anew for his people, he, apparently, forgets that God has already promised to go with them (Exodus 33:17), and prefers exactly the same request which he had made on the preceding day, and which had been granted. To this he adds a prayer for pardon, and a request that God would take Israel for his inheritance. The last phrase is a new one, but expresses perhaps no more than has been implied in such phrases as "thy people, which thou hast purchased" (Exodus 15:16) - "ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me" (Exodus 19:5). Exodus 34:9On this manifestation of mercy, Moses repeated the prayer that Jehovah would go in the midst of Israel. It is true the Lord had already promised that His face should go with them (Exodus 33:14); but as Moses had asked for a sign of the glory of the Lord as a seal to the promise, it was perfectly natural that, when this petition was granted, he should lay hold of the grace that had been revealed to him as it never had been before, and endeavour to give even greater stability to the covenant. To this end he repeated his former intercession on behalf of the nation, at the same time making this confession, "For it is a stiff-necked people; therefore forgive our iniquity and our sin, and make us the inheritance." Moses spoke collectively, including himself in the nation in the presence of God. The reason which he assigned pointed to the deep root of corruption that had broken out in the worship of the golden calf, and was appropriately pleaded as a motive for asking forgiveness, inasmuch as God Himself had assigned the natural corruption of the human race as a reason why He would not destroy it again with a flood (Genesis 8:21). Wrath was mitigated by a regard to the natural condition. - נחל in the Kal, with an accusative of the person, does not mean to lead a person into the inheritance, but to make a person into an inheritance; here, therefore, to make Israel the possession of Jehovah (Deuteronomy 4:20; Deuteronomy 9:26, cf. Zechariah 2:12). Jehovah at once declared (Exodus 34:10) that He would conclude a covenant, i.e., restore the broken covenant, and do marvels before the whole nation, such as had not been done in all the earth or in any nation, and thus by these His works distinguish Israel before all nations as His own property (Exodus 33:16). The nation was to see this, because it would be terrible; terrible, namely, through the overthrow of the powers that resisted the kingdom of God, every one of whom would be laid prostrate and destroyed by the majesty of the Almighty.
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