Exodus 33

1 And the Lorde sayde vnto Moses: departe ad goo hence: both thou ad the people which thou hast brought out of the lad of Egipte, vnto the lande which I swore vnto Abraha, Isaac ad Iacob saynge: vnto thi seed I will geue it.
2 And I will sende an angell before the, and will cast out the Canaanytes, the Amorites, the Hethites, the Pherezites, the, Heuites and the Iebusites:
3 that thou mast goo in to a lande that floweth with mylke ad honye. But I will not goo among you my selfe, for ye are a styfnecked people: lest I consume you by the waye.
4 And when the people heard this euell tydinges, they sorowed: ad no ma dyd put on his bestrayment.
5 And the Lorde spake vnto Moses, saye vnto the childern of Israel: ye are a styffnecked people: I must come ons sodenly apon you, ad make an ende of you. But now put youre goodly raymet from you, that I maye wete what to do vnto you.
6 And the childern of Israel layde their goodly raymet from them eue vnder the mount Horeb.
7 And Moses toke the tabernacle ad pitched it without the hoste a ferre of fro the hoste, ad called it the tabernacle of wytnesse. And al that wold axe any questio of the Lorde, went out vnto the tabernacle of wytnesse which was without the hoste.
8 And when Moses wet out vnto the tabernacle, all the people rose vp and stode euery man in his tentdore and loked after Moses, vntill he was gone in to the tabernacle.
9 And as sone as Moses was entred in to the tabernacle, the clouden piler descended and stode in the dore of the tabernacle, ad he talked with Moses.
10 And when all the people sawe the clouden piler stonde in the tabernacle dore, they rose vp and worshipped: euery man in his tentdore.
11 And the Lorde spake vnto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh vnto his frende. And whem Moses turned agayne in to the hoste, the ladd Iosua his seruante the sonne of Nun departed not out of the tabernacle.
12 And Moses sayde vnto the Lorde: se, thou saydest vnto me: lede this people forth, but thou shewest me not whom thou wilt send with me. And hast sayde moreouer: I knowe the by name and thou hast also founde grace in my syghte:
13 Now therfore, yf I haue founde fauoure in thi syghte, the shewe me thy waye ad let me know the: that I maye fynde grace in thi sighte. And loke on this also, how that this nacyon is thi people.
14 And he sayde: my presence shall goo with the, and I will geue the rest.
15 And he sayde: yf thi presence goo not with me, carye us not hense
16 for how shall it be knowne now that both I and thi people haue founde fauoure in thi sighte, but in that thou goest with us: that both I and thi people haue a preemynence before all the people that are vpon the face of the erth.
17 And the Lorde sayde vnto Moses: I will doo this also that thou hast sayde, for thou hast founde grace in my sighte, and I knowe the by name.
18 And he sayde: I besech the, shewe me thi glorye:
19 And he sayde: I will make all my good goo before the, and I will be called in this name Iehouah before the, ad wil shewe mercy to whom I shew mercy, and will haue compassion on whom I haue compassion.
20 And he sayde furthermore: thou mayst not se my face, for there shall no man se me and lyue.
21 And the Lorde sayde: beholde, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stonde apon a rocke,
22 and while my glorye goeth forth I will put the in a clyfte of the rocke, and will put myne hande apon the while I passe by.
23 And then I will take awaye myne hande, and thou shalt se my backe partes: but my face shall not be sene.

Exodus 33 Commentary

Chapter 33

The Lord refuses to go with Israel. (1-6) The tabernacle of Moses removed without the camp. (7-11) Moses desires to see the glory of God. (12-23)

Verses 1-6 Those whom God pardons, must be made to know what their sin deserved. "Let them go forward as they are;" this was very expressive of God's displeasure. Though he promises to make good his covenant with Abraham, in giving them Canaan, yet he denies them the tokens of his presence they had been blessed with. The people mourned for their sin. Of all the bitter fruits and consequences of sin, true penitents most lament, and dread most, God's departure from them. Canaan itself would be no pleasant land without the Lord's presence. Those who parted with ornaments to maintain sin, could do no less than lay aside ornaments, in token of sorrow and shame for it.

Verses 7-11 Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp. This seems to have been a temporary building, set up for worship, and at which he judged disputes among the people. The people looked after him; they were very desirous to be at peace with God, and concerned to know what would come to pass. The cloudy pillar which had withdrawn from the camp when it was polluted with idolatry, now returned. If our hearts go forth toward God to meet him, he will graciously come to meet us.

Verses 12-23 Moses is very earnest with God. Thus, by the intercession of Christ, we are not only saved from ruin, but become entitled to everlasting happiness. Observe here how he pleads. We find grace in God's sight, if we find grace in our hearts to guide and quicken us in the way of our duty. Moses speaks as one who dreaded the thought of going forward without the Lord's presence. God's gracious promises, and mercy towards us, should not only encourage our faith, but also excite our fervency in prayer. Observe how he speeds. See, in a type, Christ's intercession, which he ever lives to make for all that come to God by him; and that it is not by any thing in those for whom he intercedes. Moses then entreats a sight of God's glory, and is heard in that also. A full discovery of the glory of God, would overwhelm even Moses himself. Man is mean, and unworthy of it; weak, and could not bear it; guilty, and could not but dread it. The merciful display which is made in Christ Jesus, alone can be borne by us. The Lord granted that which would abundantly satisfy. God's goodness is his glory; and he will have us to know him by the glory of his mercy, more than by the glory of his majesty. Upon the rock there was a fit place for Moses to view the goodness and glory of God. The rock in Horeb was typical of Christ the Rock; the Rock of refuge, salvation, and strength. Happy are they who stand upon this Rock. The cleft may be an emblem of Christ, as smitten, crucified, wounded, and slain. What follows, denotes the imperfect knowledge of God in the present state, even as revealed in Christ; for this, when compared with the heavenly sight of him. is but like seeing a man that is gone by, whose back only is to be seen. God in Christ, as he is, even the fullest and brightest displays of his glory, grace, and goodness, are reserved to another state.

Chapter Summary


This chapter informs us, that the Lord refusing to go with the people, only sending an angel with them, they are filled with concern, and troubled, Ex 33:1-6. Moses upon this pitched the tabernacle without the camp, where everyone that sought the Lord went; Moses entered into it himself, and the Lord talked to him in a friendly manner in the cloudy pillar that stood at the door of it, and the people worshipped, every man at his own tent door; all which foreboded good, and tended to reconciliation, Ex 33:7-11. Moses improved the opportunity, and entreats the presence of God to go with them, which was granted, Ex 33:12-17 and that he might have a sight of the glory of God; and this is promised to pass before him, he being put into the cleft of the rock, Ex 33:18-23.

Exodus 33 Commentaries

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