1. And he said unto Moses, Come up unto the Lord, thou, and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and worship ye afar off.
1. Et dixit ad Mosen, Ascende ad Jehovam tu et Aharon, Nadab et Abihu, et septuaginta e senioribus Israel, et adorabitis procul.
2. And Moses alone shall come near the Lord; but they shall not come nigh, neither shall the people go up with him.
2. Solus autem Moses perveniet ad Jehovam: ipsi vero non pervenient, nec populus ascendet cum eo.
3. And Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the Lord hath said will we do.
3. Venit ergo Moses, et narravit populo omnia verba Jehovae, omniaque judicia, Et respondit totus populus una voce, ac dixerunt, Quaecunque verba loquutus est Jehova, faciemus.
4. And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel.
4. (Seripserat autem Moses omnia verba Jehovae): surgensque mane aedificavit altare sub monte, et duodecim statuas secundum duodecim tribus lsrael.
5. And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt-offerings, and sacrificed peace-offerings of oxen unto the Lord.
5. Misitque juniores filiorum Israel, qui immolaverunt holocausta, et sacrificaverunt sacrificia prosperitatum ipsi Jehovae, vitulos.
6. And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basins; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar.
6. Accepit Moses dimidium sanguinis, et posuit in crateribus: dimidium vero sanguinis sparsit super altare.
7. And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient.
7. Sumpsit deinde librum foederis, et legit in auribus populi: qui dixerunt, Quaecunque dixit Jehova, faciemus, et obediemus.
8. And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words.
8. Tulit quoque Moses sanguinem, et sparsit super populum, ac dixit, Ecce, sanguis foederis quod pepigit Jehova vobiscum super cunctis his sermonibus.
9. Then went up Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel;
9. Ascendit autem Moses, et Aharon, Nadab et Abihu, et septuaginta e senioribus Israel.
10. And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire-stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.
10. Et viderunt Deum Israel: et sub pedibus ejus erat tanquam opus tabulae sapphiri, et sicut species coeli serenitate.
11. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.
11. Et in principes filiorum Israel non extendit manum suam: et viderunt Deum, et comederunt, et biberunt.
12. And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there; and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.
12. Dixitque Jehova ad Mosen, Ascende ad me in montem, et esto ibi; daboque tibi duas tabulas lapideas, et Legem atque praeceptum, quae scripsi ad docendum eos.
13. And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua; and Moses went up into the mount of God.
13. Surrexit itaque Moses et Jehosua minister ejus; et ascendit Moses in montem Dei.
14. And he said unto the elders, Tarry ye here for us, until we come again unto you: and, behold, Aaron and Hur are with you: if any man have any matters to do, let him come unto them.
14. Senioribusque dixit, Manete hic donec revertamur ad vos: et ecce, Aharon et Hur sunt vobiscum: quisquis habuerit causas, accedet ad eos.
15. And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount.
15. Tunc ascendit Moses in montem, et operuit nubes montem.
16. And the glory of the Lord abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud.
16. Habitavitque gloria Jehovae; super montem Sinai, et operuit eum nubes sex diebus: vocavitque ipsum Mosen die septimo e medio nubis.
17. And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.
17. Et aspectus gloriae Jehovae erat tanquam ignis comburens in vertice montis, in oculis filiorum Israel.
18. And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.
18. Et ingressus est Moses in medium nubis, ascenditque in montem: et fuit Moses in monte quadraginta diebus, et quadraginta noctibus.
Here, however, (See this subject further discussed on Numbers 11:16, infra.) arises a question respecting the seventy elders; for we shall see elsewhere that the seventy were not chosen till the people had departed from Mount Sinai; whereas mention is made of them here, before the promulgation of the Law, which seems to be by no means consistent. But this difficulty is removed, if we allow, what we gather from this passage, that, even before they came to Mount Sinai, each tribe had appointed its governors (praefectos), who would make up this number, since there were six of every tribe; but that when Moses afterwards desired to be relieved of his burdens, part of the government was transferred 1to these seventy persons, since this number was already sanctioned by custom and use. Certainly, since it is plainly stated that there were2 seventy from the very first, it is probable that this number of coadjutors was given to Moses in order to make as little change as possible. For we know that, when a custom has obtained, men are very unwilling to depart from it. But it might have also been that the desire and intention of the Israelites was thus to celebrate the memory of their origin; for seventy persons had gone down into Egypt with Jacob, and, in less than two hundred and twenty years after they went there, their race had increased to six hundred thousand, besides women and children. It is not, therefore, contrary to probability that seventy persons were appointed to preside over the whole people, in order that so marvelous a blessing of God might continue to be testified in all ages, as if to trace the commencement of their race up to its very source.
We have stated elsewhere that the7 sacrifices of prosperities were designed as acts of thanksgiving; and yet that they were not only expressions of gratitude, but also that prayers were mixed with them in supplication of good success. This offering, however, comprised in it a ratification of the Covenant, as appears immediately afterwards; for, in order to increase the sanctity and security of covenants, they have in all ages, and even8 amongst heathen nations, been accompanied with sacrifices. To this end Moses, the victims being slain, pours half the blood upon the altar, and keeps half in basins to sprinkle the people, that by this9 symbol the Covenant might be ratified, whereof he was the mediator and surety. Paul, in allusion to this custom, says, that he should rejoice, if he were "offered upon the sacrifice and service of their faith" whom he had gained for Christ, (Philippians 2:17;) and he uses the word
We must now carefully observe the course of the proceeding. First, Moses states that he read the book before the people; and then adds that the people themselves embraced the covenant proposed to them. Finally, he relates that when the people had professed their obedience, he sprinkled the blood, not without adding his testimony, and that in a loud voice. The context here shews us the true and genuine nature of the Sacraments, together with their correct and proper use; for unless doctrine precede them to be a connecting link between God and man, they will be empty and delusive signs, however honorable may be the encomiums passed on them. But inasmuch as mutual consent is required in all compacts, so, when God invites His people to receive grace, He stipulates that they should give Him the obedience of faith, so as to answer, Amen. Thus nothing can be more preposterous than the invention of dumb sacraments: such as those childish charms which the Papists hawk about as sacraments, without the word of God; whilst, at the same time, it must be added that the word, which gives life to the Sacraments, is not an obscure whisper, like that magical incantation of the Papists, when they blow on the bread and the cup, and which they call the consecration; but it is a clear and distinct voice which is addressed to men, and avails to beget faith in them. Thus Moses here speaks aloud to the people, and reminds them that God enters into covenant with him.
Now, although the profession here recorded might seem to be derived from too great confidence, when the people declare that they will do whatsoever God commands, still it contains nothing amiss or reprehensible; inasmuch as the faithful among them promised nothing, except in reliance on the help of God: and gratuitous reconciliation, if they should sin, was included in it. This was not indeed the proper office of the Law, to incline men's hearts to the obedience of righteousness; as also under the Law there was no true and real expiation to wash away the guilt of sins; but the office of the Law was to lead men step by step to Christ, that they might seek of Him pardon and the Spirit of regeneration. It is, therefore, unquestionable that the elect of God embraced by faith the substance and truth of the shadows when they voluntarily offered themselves to keep the covenant of God.
There the glory of God was beheld more closely by the elders, that they might afterwards relate to the people what they had seen, and that thus the thing, being proved by competent witnesses, might obtain undoubted credit. For this reason he says, that "they saw the God of Israel," not in all His reality and greatness, but in accordance with the dispensation which He thought best, and which he accommodated to the capacity of man. The form of God is indeed nowhere described, but the pediment (basis) on which He stood was like a work of sapphire.13 The word
Finally, on the footstool Infinite Majesty appeared, such as to strike the elders with astonishment, so that they might humble themselves with greater reverence before the incomprehensible glory of God.
What follows, as to their eating, I interpret to mean a solemn banquet, which was a part or appendage of a sacrifice, as we have seen on Exodus 1815 and in many other places.
1 "A ceux, qui desia estoyent en degre d'honneur;" to those who were already honourably distinguished. -- Fr.
2 "Septante et deux;" seventy-two. -- Fr.
3 "Ces trois estats;" these three estates. -- Fr.
4 "Had written." -- Lat.
5 "Pillars." -- A.V. "Some think that this altar was set upon twelve stones, such as Elias built, 1 Kings 18:31; and Joshua 4:20; in which places, however, the word used is
6 "Ce qui n'est attribuE qu'a ceux qui ont la charge speciale de sacrifier;" which is only applied to those who have the special charge of sacrificing. -- Fr.
8 "In all solemn leagues and covenants, they sacrificed to the gods by whom they swore, offering for the most part either a boar, ram, or goat; sometimes all three; sometimes bulls or lambs instead of any of them. Hence comes the phrase,
9 "Par tel sacrement." -- Fr.
10 See C. in loco. Calvin Soc. edit., p. 74, where, however, I question whether his statement on the word
11 "Comme si le Loy, et les Prophetes, et l'Evangile en estoyent escrits;" as if the Law and the Prophets, and the Gospel were written with it. -- Fr.
12 "Devant que sacrifier;" before sacrificing. -- Fr.
13 Ainsworth, "A work of sapphire-brick. Heb., brick of sapphire: whereby is meant sapphire-stone, hewed like brick, wherewith the place under Him was paved. So also the Greek translateth it. Or, it may be Englished, of whiteness of sapphire, i.e., of white sapphire-stone: for brick hath the name in Hebrew of whiteness. The Chaldee translateth, under the throne of his glory was, as it were, a work of precious, stone."
"The Hebrews, (says Willet, in loco,) whom Lyranus and Lippoman follow, -- in that the pavement or brick-work was like sapphire, -- understand the happy change which was now made for Israel: their servitude in making of brick was turned into glorious liberty, as if a floor should be paved with sapphire instead of brick!"
14 So Aben-Ezra, in Willet; and Faigius and S. Munster in Poole. Boothroyal says, "This phrase evidently means, 'He slew them not;' compare Genesis 22:12; and 37:22; Nehemiah 12:21; Esther 2:21; Psalm 55:20."
16 "Un document celeste et infallible;" a celestial and infallible document. -- Fr.
17 See Augustine, Serm. 155: De verbo Apost. sect. 3, tom. 5. pp. 742, 743, (Edit. Bened.) See also Serm. 8. sect. 14, ibid., p. 48. See also Quaest. in Exodus 25, tom. 3., p. 429; and Quaest. 166., ibid., pp. 471, 472. "Proinde magna oritur quaestio, quomodo illae tabulae, quas erat Moyses Deo utique praesciente fractures, non hominis opus esse dicantur, sed Dei, nec ab homine scriptae, sed digito Dei: posteriores vero tabulae tamdiu mansurae, ac in tabernaculo et templo Dei futurae, jubente quidem Deo, tamen ab homine excisae sint, ab homine scriptae. An forte in illis prioribus gratia Dei significabatur, non hominis opus, qua gratia indigni facti sunt revertentes corde in Aegyptum, et facientes idolum; unde illo beneficio privati sunt, et propterea Moyses tabulas fregit: istis vero tabulis posterioribus significati sunt qui de suis operibus gloriantur; unde dicit Apostolus (Romans 10:3) Ignorantes Dei justitiam, et suam volentes constituere, justitiae Dei non sunt subjecti; et ideo tabulae humano opere exsculptae et humano opere conscriptae datae sunt, quae cum ipsis manerent, ad eos significandos de suis operibus gloriaturos, non de digito Dei hoc est de Spiritu Dei."
18 "Le mot d'ici;" the word here. -- Fr.
19 Added from Fr.