Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
This day, very soon, (Menochius) within the space of a month. (Calmet) --- Sky: an hyperbole to denote their surprising height. (Worthington)
Stand. Hebrew, "who can stand before the sons of Enak?" as if this were a sort of proverb. (Calmet) --- The spies had formerly terrified the people with the report of the high walls and gigantic inhabitants of Chanaan, Numbers xiii. 18.
Fire. See chap. iv. 24. The conducting angel would fight for the Hebrews. (Haydock)
Strove. Hebrew, "irritated." (Calmet) --- Septuagint, "continually disbelieved the Lord." Moses hence takes occasion to lay before the people their frequent and most heinous offences, on account of which they might justly have feared being destroyed, as much as the infamous nations whom they were about to supplant. They might thus be convinced that they had been chosen gratuitously. (Haydock) --- For God hates nothing more than ingratitude and presumption. (Calmet)
Would, if He had not been appeased by earnest supplication, as [in] ver. 20.
Have quickly. Hebrew, "have become corrupt; they have quickly abandoned the way which I commanded them." (Haydock) --- Septuagint, "the people hath sinned....they have quickly transgressed," &c. (Calmet) --- Idol. Protestants have "image." The Hebrews had called the similitude of a calf their god, Exodus xxxii. (Haydock)
Sinned, by idolatry, which comprises every sort of sin. Hence the Scripture only specifies that Jeroboam caused Israel to sin, when it means to assert that he engaged the people in the worship of idols. (Calmet)
Sins. Many believe that Moses spent the whole time in obtaining pardon. Hiscuni agrees herein with the other Rabbins, only he thinks Moses was all the time in the tabernacle. Other 40 days, or a third rigid fast, were requisite to obtain the second tables of the law, as the text seems to insinuate, (ver. 25., and chap. x. 10,) unless Moses repeat what he has here asserted, as many able chronologers suppose. (Torneil; Usher; &c.) (Calmet) (Tirinus) --- The former opinion is maintained, however, by Salien, &c., Exodus xxxiv. (Haydock)
Sin. The Scripture designates by this name not only the evil action, but also the propensity to it, the object, matter, occasion, punishment , or victim of sin. --- The calf. He broke the idol in pieces, and then ground it small, Exodus xxxii. 20. (Calmet)
Burning, &c. The places called in Hebrew, "Tabera, Masa, and Kibroth Hattaavah." (Haydock) --- At the first, the murmurers were burnt; (Numbers xi. 1) at the second or at Raphidim, (Calmet) the people demanded water, and were supplied from Horeb; (Exodus xvii. 2, 7.; Menochius) though some confound this with the former place. It seems rather to refer to the temptation, or murmur of the people, on account of quails, Numbers xi. 34., and Psalm lxxvii. 18. (Calmet)
Slighted. Hebrew, "rebelled against," &c., as [in] ver. 24. Septuagint, "you were incredulous to." See Numbers xiii. 3.
To know you. When Moses slew the Egyptian, and would have pacified two of his contending brethren, they refused to receive his mediation; so also, when he returned from Madian, to rescue them from slavery, they presently began to murmur against him, and continued to do so frequently for 40 years. (Haydock) --- Septuagint refers this to God, "from the day that he was known to you," and received you for his peculiar people, Exodus xi. 25.
Nights. See ver. 18. (Calmet) --- After specifying various seditions of the people, Moses returns to what he had been saying respecting the tables of the law, and shews with what difficulty he obtained pardon for the people, and the second tables. (Haydock) --- Some people believe that Moses was thrice 40 days in the mountain. He mentions the prayer which he addressed to God before his first descent, Exodus xxxii. 11. (Menochius)