Numbers 12:8

8 With him I speak 1mouth to mouth, clearly, and not in 2riddles, and he beholds 3the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?"

Numbers 12:8 Meaning and Commentary

Numbers 12:8

With him will I speak mouth to mouth
And face to face, as he had done, ( Exodus 33:11 ) ; in a free, friendly, and familiar manner, as one friend speaks to another, without injecting any fear or dread, and consternation of mind, which was sometimes the case of the prophets; or without a middle person, a mediator, as Aben Ezra, not by means of an angel, as in some cases, but the Lord himself spake to him:

even apparently, and not in dark speeches;
the word "apparently", or "vision", being opposed to "dark speeches", shows that this is not to be understood of the appearance or vision of an object presented to the sight, or to the mind, which is denied of Moses, though usual with other prophets; but of the vision, or plain sense and meaning of words, which are so plainly expressed, that the sense is easily seen and understood; it was not under figures and allegories, and parables and dark representations of things, that the law of the decalogue, and other laws, statutes, and ordinances, and the proclamation the Lord made of himself, as the Lord gracious, merciful were delivered unto Moses, but in plain words and clear expressions; not in such enigmatical, parabolical, and allegorical terms as many of the visions and prophecies of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Amos, and Zechariah, were exhibited to them; (See Gill on Numbers 12:6):

and the similitude of the Lord shall he behold:
as he had at the burning bush, and at Mount Sinai, with the elders of Israel, and when the Lord proclaimed his name before him; at which several times it is highly probable he beheld the Lord, even the Lord Christ, in an human form, as a presage of his future incarnation, and as he might also after this: the Targum of Jonathan is,

``the similitude which is after my Shechinah (or divine Majesty) he saw;''

that is, his back parts, as Jarchi, and other Jewish writers, interpret it; but Bishop Patrick thinks the word not should be repeated from the preceding clause, and that the sense is, that he did not behold him in similitudes, nor did the Lord speak to him by them, as to other prophets, see ( Hosea 12:10 ) ;

wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?
or against my servant, against Moses; against any servant of mine, but especially against Moses, so faithful in my house, so much approved of and honoured by me, and so superior to all other prophets.

Numbers 12:8 In-Context

6 And he said, "Hear my words: If there is a prophet among you, I the LORD make myself known to him in a vision; I speak with him in a dream.
7 Not so with my servant Moses. He is faithful in all my house.
8 With him I speak mouth to mouth, clearly, and not in riddles, and he beholds the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?"
9 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against them, and he departed.
10 When the cloud removed from over the tent, behold, Miriam was leprous, like snow. And Aaron turned toward Miriam, and behold, she was leprous.

Cross References 3

  • 1. Numbers 7:89; [Exodus 33:11; Deuteronomy 34:10; 1 Corinthians 13:12]
  • 2. Psalms 49:4; Psalms 78:2; Proverbs 1:6
  • 3. [Exodus 33:20, 23]
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.