English Standard Version
Now the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel.
King James Bible
And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.
American Standard Version
And the appearance of the glory of Jehovah was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.
And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like a burning fire upon the top of the mount, in the eyes of the children of Israel.
English Revised Version
And the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.
Webster's Bible Translation
And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount, in the eyes of the children of Israel.
Exodus 24:17 Parallel
CommentaryKeil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament
Through their consecration with the blood of the covenant, the Israelites were qualified to ascend the mountain, and there behold the God of Israel and celebrate the covenant meal; of course, not the whole of the people, for that would have been impracticable on physical grounds, but the nation in the persons of its representatives, viz., the seventy elders, with Aaron and his two eldest sons. The fact that the latter were summoned along with the elders had reference to their future election to the priesthood, the bearers of which were to occupy the position of mediators between Jehovah and the nation, an office for which this was a preparation. The reason for choosing seventy out of the whole body of elders (Exodus 24:3) is to be found in the historical and symbolical significance of this number. "They saw the God of Israel." This title is very appropriately given to Jehovah here, because He, the God of the fathers, had become in truth the God of Israel through the covenant just made. We must not go beyond the limits drawn in Exodus 33:20-23 in our conceptions of what constituted the sight (חזה Exodus 24:11) of God; at the same time we must regard it as a vision of God in some form of manifestation which rendered the divine nature discernible to the human eye. Nothing is said as to the form in which God manifested Himself. This silence, however, is not intended "to indicate the imperfection of their sight of God," as Baumgarten affirms, nor is it to be explained, as Hoffmann supposes, on the ground that "what they saw differed from what the people had constantly before their eyes simply in this respect, that after they had entered the darkness, which enveloped the mountain that burned as it were with fire at its summit, the fiery sign separated from the cloud, and assumed a shape, beneath which it was bright and clear, as an image of untroubled bliss." The words are evidently intended to affirm something more than, that they saw the fiery form in which God manifested Himself to the people, and that whilst the fire was ordinarily enveloped in a cloud, they saw it upon the mountain without the cloud. For, since Moses saw the form (תּמוּנה) of Jehovah (Numbers 12:8), we may fairly conclude, notwithstanding the fact that, according to Exodus 24:2, the representatives of the nation were not to draw near to Jehovah, and without any danger of contradicting Deuteronomy 4:12 and Deuteronomy 4:15, that they also saw a form of God. Only this form is not described, in order that no encouragement might be given to the inclination of the people to make likenesses of Jehovah. Thus we find that Isaiah gives no description of the form in which he saw the Lord sitting upon a high and lofty throne (Isaiah 6:1). Ezekiel is the first to describe the form of Jehovah which he saw in the vision, "as the appearance of a man" (Ezekiel 1:26; compare Daniel 7:9 and Daniel 7:13). "And there was under His feet as it were work of clear sapphire (לבנת, from לבנה whiteness, clearness, not from לבנה a brick),
(Note: This is the derivation adopted by the English translators in their rendering "paved work." - Tr.)
and as the material (עצם body, substance) of heaven in brilliancy," - to indicate that the God of Israel was enthroned above the heaven in super-terrestrial glory and undisturbed blessedness. And God was willing that His people should share in this blessedness, for "He laid not His hand upon the nobles of Israel," i.e., did not attack them. "They saw God, and did eat and drink," i.e., they celebrated thus near to Him the sacrificial meal of the peace-offerings, which had been sacrificed at the conclusion of the covenant, and received in this covenant meal a foretaste of the precious and glorious gifts with which God would endow and refresh His redeemed people in His kingdom. As the promise in Exodus 19:5-6, with which God opened the way for the covenant at Sinai, set clearly before the nation that had been rescued from Egypt the ultimate goal of its divine calling; so this termination of the ceremony was intended to give to the nation, in the persons of its representatives, a tangible pledge of the glory of the goal that was set before it. The sight of the God of Israel was a foretaste of the blessedness of the sight of God in eternity, and the covenant meal upon the mountain before the face of God was a type of the marriage supper of the Lamb, to which the Lord will call, and at which He will present His perfected Church in the day of the full revelation of His glory (Revelation 19:7-9).
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
like devouring fire
for our God is a consuming fire.
And the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed.
Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the LORD had descended on it in fire. The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled greatly.
For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
Know therefore today that he who goes over before you as a consuming fire is the LORD your God. He will destroy them and subdue them before you. So you shall drive them out and make them perish quickly, as the LORD has promised you.
Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking.
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ESV Text Edition: 2016. The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.