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11Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then he would return to the camp; but his young assistant, Joshua son of Nun, would not leave the tent.

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11. And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face Moses will hereafter be dignified by this distinction, where God would declare the difference between him and other Prophets. (Numbers 12:8.) Familiar intercourse is therefore described in this phrase, as if it were said that God appeared to Moses by an extraordinary mode of revelation. If any object that there is a contradiction between this statement and what we shall presently see, “Thou canst not see my face,” the solution is easy, viz., that although God revealed Himself to Moses in a peculiar manner, still He never appeared in the fullness of His glory, but only so far as man’s infirmity could endure. For this expression contains an implied comparison, i.e., that no man was ever equal to Moses, or arrived at such a pitch of dignity. And this tends to magnify the Law, that Moses its minister reported what he had familiafly learnt, so that no ambiguity might be suspected. When it is said that Joshua departed not from the tabernacle, we gather that the dwelling-place of Moses was in the camp; and perhaps the fact of his being a young man is mentioned, 365365     “So called (says Ainsworth) in respect of his service, not of years, for he was now above fifty years old, as may be gathered by Joshua 24:29. But because ministry and service are usually by the younger sort, all servants are called young men. See Genesis 14:24.” “Perhaps, (adds Adam Clarke,) נער naghar, here translated young man, means a single person, one unmarried.” Others suppose that he was so called as being integer, upright, and without guile; and De Lyra, as being young in respect to Moses. in order more highly to illustrate God’s grace, in choosing that he should have the charge of the sanctuary. It is true that Joshua at this time was of mature age; but God’s special blessing was manifested in him, in that God passed over many old men, and set him who was younger to be the keeper of His tabernacle.