Page images

17 And í Moses brought forth the as the smoke of a furnace, and k the people out of the camp to meet with whole mount quaked greatly. God; and they stood at the nether 19 And I when the voice of the part of the mount.

trumpet sounded long, and waxed 18 And g mount Sinai was alto- louder and louder, m Moses spake, gether on a smoke, because the and n God answered him by a voice. LORD descended upon it h in fire: 20 And the LORD came down

upon i and the smoke thereof ascended mount Sinai, on the top of the f Deut. 4. 10. 8 Deut. 4. 11. & 33. 2. Judg. mount: and the LORD called Moses 3.2. & 24. 17. 2 Chrou. 7. 1,2, 3. i Gen. 15.

5. 5.

Ps. 68 7, 8. Isai. 6. 4. Hab. 3. 3. h ch.

k F's. 68. 8. & 77. 18. & 14. 7. Jer, 4. 24. Hebr. 12. 26. I ver. 13. m Hebr. 12. 21. n Neh. 9. 13. Ps. 81. 7.

17. Ps. 144. 5. Rev. 15. 8.

here mentioned that the Scriptures teach its clang. - Moses spake and God us to associate idea of the sound of a answered him by a voice. What Moses great trumpet with the awful occur- said on this occasion, we are not inc rences of the day of judgment, of which formed; at least not in this connexion. the giving of the law from Sinai was in- The Apostle tells us, Heb. 12. 21, that tended to be a faint type and shadow. in the midst of the terrors of the scene,

17. To meet with God. Heb. 08773 he said, “I exceedingly fear and quake;' 973877 likrath ha-Elohim, to meet the and it is not improbable that it was preElohim; i. e. the Deity, in his visible cisely at this stage of the transaction apparition. Chal. "To meet the Word that these words were uttered. As to of the Lord.'- Stood at the nether the answer which God is said to have part of the mount. Without the limits given him, a correct view of that depends fixed by Moses.

upon the construction of the next verse. 18. And Mount Sinai uas altogether 20, 21. The Lord came doun upon on a smoke, &c. The appearances thus Mount Sinai. As it had been already far seem to have been exclusively those said, v. 18, that the Lord descended described in v. 16, in which we have no upon the Mount in fire, we have little mention of sınoke or fire. But as the hesitation in adopting the suggestion of solemnities proceeded, the terrors of Calvin that all the verbs here should be the scene became deeper. Nature seem- rendered in the pluperfect tense, 'had ed to have become more conscious of come down,' 'had called,''had gone up,' the approaching God, and discovered and the whole verse considered as paren. greater cominotion. Dark and pitchy thetical. The scope of it seems to be, to volumes of smoke, intermingled with inform us how it happened that Moses lurid flames of fire, rolled up the sides was in a situation to hold this intercourse and above the summit of the mount, as with Jehovah; for it does not appear if issuing from an immense furnace, and that in any stage of the proceedings did just at this time the foundations of the God communicate with Moses while he perpetual hills began to be moved by remained among the people below. He the throes of an earthquake, which was invariably called up to the summit, shook the solid rocky mass to its centre. or near the summit of the mountain.

19. When the voice of the trumpet But as nothing had heretofore been said sounded long, and waxed louder and of Moses since he was represented as louder. . , ve-hazök mend, going and strengthen their appointed station, and he is yet ing exceedingly. It is a phrase entire here set before us as holding commu.

y different from that v. 13, and implies nion with God, it was obviously proper is gro'ving intensity in the loudness of to interpose the notice of his having

holik | bringing the people out of the carnp to חולך וחזק מאד .Heb

up to the top of the mount; and they break through unto the LORD Mbses went up.

o to gaze, and many of them perish. 21 And the LORD said unto Moses, 22 And let the priests also which Go down, charge the people, lest come near to the LORD, P sanctify

[blocks in formation]

been previously called up to the top of before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, the mount. This is done in the twentieth &c.' Thus the charge here appointed verse. If this remark be well founded, to be given was a solemn testimony it is perhaps to be inferred that God of God, through Moses, of the conanswered Moses' exclamation by giving sequences of disobedience. - Lest him the order mentioned, v. 21, viz. to they break through unto the Lord. That go down and restrain the people from is, to the Shekinah, the visible mani. breaking through the prescribed limits. festation of the Lord. The phraseology Otherwise we must suppose that as throughout the narrative is wonderfully Moses' words to God are not expressly in keeping with this idea. And recorded, so God's words to him are for many of them perish. Heb. Turan 303 wise reasons withheld. But however 7 naphal mimmenu rab, many of them this may be, the charge which he was fall. Gr. TEOWO IV autav Andes, a mule required to convey to the people leads titude of them fall; i. e. be destroyed us to suppose, that when they saw Mo. by being put to death in obedience ses passing unharmed into the midst of to the command, v. 12, 13. We cannot the fire, the smoke, and the lightning, fail to learn from this, that a prying their curiosity was excited to the high- curiosity in relation to matters which est pitch to learn the nature of elements God does not see fit to reveal to his at once so fearful to look upon, and yet creatures is not only highly presumptuapparently so innocent in their effect, ous, but fraught with danger. and, accordingly, that many of them 22. Let the priests also which come were upon the point of breaking through near to the Lord sanctify themselves.

. the spectacle. This is confirmed by the hanim hanniggashim el Yehovah, the

UN TOTE Eyylowol 1.pos Tov Okov katavo- priests coming near to the Lord; i. e.

lest by any means they draw nigh whose duty, whose function, it is, on unto God to consider; i. e. to contem. ordinary occasions, to come near to plate, to ponder, to study, implying the the Lord. Chal. “Which come near to indulgence of a prying curiosity. The minister before the Lord.' But as the word is used in this sense in Stephen's Aaronical priesthood was not yet estabspeech, Acts, 7. 31, in reference to Moses lished it becomes a question who are at the burning bush. - Charge the meant by the term. We learn from people. Heb. 7977 haëd, testify unto. Gr. Ex. 13. 2, that the first-born of every drauapruņai, bear witness to; the same family were in a special manner to be word employed by Paul, 1 Tim. 5. 27, dedicated and sanctified to God, and it "I charge thee (diapapruvopai) before is clear, from the whole tenor of th God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and patriarchal history, that the honor o. the elect angels, &c.' So also 2 Tim. the priesthood was considered as in. 2. 14, 'Of these things put them in 're. volved in the rights of primogeniture. membrance, charging them (draruaptv- As this was the case, and the tribe of povuevos) before the Lord that they Levi was afterwards substituted instead strive not, &c. Again, 2 Tim. 4. 1, 'I of the first-born, we cannot well doubt charge thee (deauaprupojat) therefore, that the eldest sons throughout the tribes

-hakko הכהנים הנגשים אל יהוה .the boundaries to gaze more closely at




themselves, lest the LORD q break / mount Sinai: for thou chargedst forth upon them.

us, saying, r Set bounds about the 23 And Moses said unto the LORD, mount, and sanctify it. The people cannot come up to 9 2 Sam. 6. 7, 8.

r ver. 12. Josh. 3. 4. were at this time considered as invested with that applied in the preceding verse with so much of the priestly character to the breaking through of the people as to be properly employed on all occa. in respect to the prescribed limits. That sions when any peculiarly sacred minis. is a very emphatic word 70777 yehersu, trations were to be performed. We may having the import of subverting, raz. therefore suppose that this class of the ing, destroying, as of houses, walls, people are intended by the appellation fortifications, &c, and therefore very “priests,' and that they are the same as well applied to the rushing and pressure we afterwards, Ex. 24. 5, find denomi. of a crowd who break down, trample nated 'young men of the sons of Israel,' under foot, and obliterate, any kind of many of whom were, in all probability, fence or barrier set up to check their at the same time heads, chiefs, and el. progress. But the root y paratz is ders of the people, and so still more equally significant as spoken of God, properly to be viewed as having the and conveys the idea of a sudden, fearsuperintendence of the sacred services. ful, and destructive bursting forth of his These were charged in a peculiar and judgments against opposers. Thus, 2 emphatic manner to 'sanctify them- Sam. 5. 20, ‘And David came to Baalselves on this occasion, i. e. by ab-perazim, and David smote them there, staining from presumptuous intrusion; and said, The Lord hath broken forth for the nearer persons are brought to yoo paratz) upon mine enemies beGod by their office, the more dangerous fore me, as the breach of waters. There. and deadly are their transgressions. fore he called the name of that place They had no doubt shared with the rest Baal-perazim (072 ya baal perat. of the people in that previous personal zim, i. e. plain of breaches).' So also, sanctification which had been enjoined, 2 Sam. 6. 8, 'And David was displeased, v. 10, so thai that cannot here be alluded because the Lord had made a breach to. The meaning is rather, that con. upon Uzzah : and he called the name sidering the force of their example, the of the place Perez-uzzah (nly yo obedience which they were to evince peretz Uz zah, breach of Uzzah) to was to be so strict, so punctilious, so this day. We are no doubt prone to be conscientious, that it would be con. covetous of license beyond what God sidered as amounting to a "sanctifica has seen fit to allow us, but we may astion’ of themselves in the sight of God. sure ourselves that he always has conComp. Lev. 10. 3, "Then Moses said ceded and always will concede as much unto Aaron, This is it that the Lord as will be for our good, and with such spake, saying, I will be sanctified in precepts an' such examples as we have them that come nigh me, and before here cited, we cannot but see that it is all the people I will be glorified. The at our utmost peril that we presume to implication is, that while in the obedi- go beyond the salutary limits, both of ence of common persons God is honored, knowledge and action, which he has in that of his priests he is sanctified. imposed. -- Lest the Lord break forth upon 23. The people cannot come up. Not them. Heb. y 57 yiphrotz, break vio that there was any physical impossie lently forth. The word is not the same bility in the way, but Moses seems to

24 And the LORD said unto him, come up unto the LORD lest he Away, get thee down, and thou break forth upon them. shalt come up, thou, and Aaron 25 So Moses went down unto the with thee: but let not the priests people, and spake unto them. and the people break through, to have thought that by reason of the un- ple in the discharge of their official duutterable terror and glory of the scene, ties, they might perhaps be at a loss to it was morally impossible that the peo- see why they might not follow Moses, ple should any of them be so presump- and still more Aaron, in hiş near actuous as to transgress an order which cess to the Lord, and thus be embold. he had once so expressly delivered to ened to promise themselves impunity them, and which he had guarded by set- even if they went beyond the limits ting bounds according to divine direc- prescribed to the rest of the people. tion. Thus it is that the conscious. 25. And spake unto them. Heb. Any ness of a due deference to the will of va-yomer, and said unto them. But God in themselves, the good and the what he said unto them is not stated; charitable are sometimes prone to en. for which reason some have thought tertain a more favorable opinion of hu- that 2477 va-yomer in this connexion man nature than the truth will warrant.

was equivalent to 12777 va-yedabber, God often sees a necessity of uttering and he spake, as our translation has it. cautions and repeating commands of But we may still take the verb in its which his right-minded servants are but usual sense by supplying, with Jarchi, little aware.

the objective clause ; 'He said or de. 24. Thou and Aaron with thee. God livered to them this admonition,' i. e does not see fit to make any direct what is contained in the preceding verse verbal reply to Moses' remark, nor does 'Moses went down and said it unto he intimate that he had been guilty of them. Ainsuorth. remissness in any part of his duty, but he repeats the order that he should go down, not only to renew his warning to the priests and people, but also to take

CHAPTER XX. Aaron and bring him up with him to the top of the mount. As he was about

THE LAW. to invest him with the honors of the The sacred historian, having fully de. high priesthood, it was fitting that he tailed in the preceding chapter all the should put upon him such tokens of various preliminaries to the delivery of distinction as would inspire the people the Law, comes now to the account of with a profound respect for his dignity the solemn transaction itself-the most and authority. Let not the priests remarkable event, perhaps, taken in all and the people break through to come up. its bearings, that occurred in the history Gr. un Blaseodwrav avaßnvar mpos tov Osov, of the chosen people prior to the incarlet them not violently press to come up to nation of Christ, and one of the most God. As if the danger were that in their remarkable that ever did or will distinanxiety to gaze they should even at- guish the annals of the world itself. The tempt to advance up the sides of the occasion was indeed one which had a mountain, from which all but Moses primary reference to the nation of Israel, were strictly interdicted. As the priests to whom,' says the apostle, “pertain. were ordinarily permitted to approach eth the adoption, and the glory, and the aearer to God than the rest of the peo- covenants, and the giving of the law,

and the service of God, and the prom- | pointed more or less distinctly to him. ises. But it was not an event consti- Viewed in this ecclesiastical character, tuting the national distinction of that God bestowed upon them the ceremonial people only. It was one affecting the lau', which was a body of rules and preivhole human race in its deepest intercepts regulating their religious worship. ests, both temporal and eternal. God (3.) As a peculiar peoj le, having a civi. himself descended from heaven and by polity and constitution especially apa supernatural voice promulgated to pointed for them, and distinguishing man the Moral Law, the expression of them from all other nations, their gov. his will, the reflection of his nature, the ernment being in fact a theocracy, in immutable standard of right, the inflex- which God himself was their supreme ible rule of action for his accountable magistrate. Viewed in this light a creatures, containing every essential code of civil or political laws was preprinciple of duty, and embodying the scribed them. The term “the law' is grounds of all the future rewards and sometimes applied to one of these

sys. punishments to be enjoyed or suffered tems, and sometimes to another, and throughout the ages of eternity. These again to the whole taken collectively; considerations impart to this event a so that we must osten be governed in magnitude and importance scarcely to great measure by the context in deter. be paralleled by any thing else which mining the precise sense in which the has come within the range of our ex term is used. It is however most le. positions, so that the nature and scope gitimately and emphatically employed of the Law itself, the various circum- in reference to the first of these, or stances attending its promulgation, the the moral lau', which was distinguished phraseology in which it is couched, and from the others by being audibly de. the principles of its interpretation de livered by God himself and afterwards mand the most careful investigation. written by him upon two tables of stone Such an inquiry will be best conducted of this Law one of the prevailing scripunder the several distinct heads that tural designations is the ten words,' follow.

or ten commandments,' a phraseology

which is fully considered in the notes on 1. Various Divisions and Titles of the the first verse of this chapter. The term Law,

‘Decalogue' is wholly equivalent, being As the people of Israel may be viewed derived froin the Gr. dexalayıs, from under a threefold aspect, so we have a dekor, ten, and ingos, uord. The origin foundation laid in this fact for a three of this appellation is easily to be traced fold acceptation of the word Law. They to such passages as the following, Ex. may be viewed, (1.) As rational and 34. 28, 'And he wrote upon the tables responsible creatures, depending upon the words of the covenant, the ten com. God, and subject to his will as the su- mandments (Gr. Tvvs dewa dogovs).' Deut. preme Ruler and Judge of the universe. 13. 4, 'And he declared unto you his In this capacity the law of the ten com- covenant, which he commanded you to mandments, or the moral law, was given perform, were ten commandments (Heb. to them, which is substantially one and 77170923 asereth haddebarim, the the same with the law of nature, and ten words, Gr. Ta deka pnuata); and he binding all men as such. (2.) As the wrote them upon two tables of stone.' church of the Old Testament, expecting In other connexions we find the several the Messiah, and furnished with a sys- terms Law, Covenant, Testimony, State tem of worship embracing a great va. utes, Precepts, Commandments, &c. ap. riety of rites and ceremonies, which plied as a designation of the moral code

« PreviousContinue »