Exodus 33 Bible Commentary

The Geneva Study Bible

(Read all of Exodus 33)
33:1 And the LORD said unto Moses, Depart, [and] a go up hence, thou and the people which thou hast brought up out of the land of Egypt, unto the land which I sware unto Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, Unto thy seed will I give it:

(a) The land of Canaan was surrounded by hills: so those who entered it, must go up by the hills.

33:5 For the LORD had said unto Moses, Say unto the children of Israel, Ye [are] a stiffnecked people: I will come up into the midst of thee in a moment, and consume thee: therefore now put off thy ornaments from thee, that I may know b what to do unto thee.

(b) That I may either show mercy if you repent, or else punish your rebellion.

33:7 And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the c Tabernacle of the congregation. And it came to pass, [that] every one which sought the LORD went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which [was] without the camp.

(c) That is, the tabernacle of the congregation: so called because the people turned to it, when they needed to be instructed of the Lord's will.

33:11 And the LORD spake unto Moses d face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.

(d) Most clearly and familiarly of all others, (Numbers 12:7,8; Deuteronomy 34:10)

33:12 And Moses said unto the LORD, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by e name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight.

(e) I care for you and will preserve you in your calling.

33:14 And he said, My f presence shall go [with thee], and I will give thee rest.

(f) Signifying that the Israelites would exceed all other people, through God's favour; (Exodus 33:16).

33:18 And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy g glory.

(g) Your face, your substance, and your majesty.

33:19 And he said, I will make all my h goodness pass before thee, and I will i proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew k mercy on whom I will shew mercy.

(h) My mercy and fatherly care.
(i) See (Exodus 34:6,7).
(k) For finding nothing in man that deserves mercy, he will freely give his.

33:20 And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and l live.

(l) For Moses did not see his face in full majesty, but as man's weakness could bear.

33:21 And the LORD said, Behold, [there is] a place by m me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock:

(m) In mount Horeb.

33:23 And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my n back parts: but my face shall not be seen.

(n) As much of my glory as in this mortal life you are able to see.