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Exodus 24:10

Context
24:10 and they saw 1  the God of Israel. Under his feet 2  there was something like a pavement 3  made of sapphire, clear like the sky itself. 4 

1 sn S. R. Driver (Exodus, 254) wishes to safeguard the traditional idea that God could not be seen by reading “they saw the place where the God of Israel stood” so as not to say they saw God. But according to U. Cassuto there is not a great deal of difference between “and they saw the God” and “the Lord God appeared” (Exodus, 314). He thinks that the word “God” is used instead of “Yahweh” to say that a divine phenomenon was seen. It is in the LXX that they add “the place where he stood.” In v. 11b the LXX has “and they appeared in the place of God.” See James Barr, “Theophany and Anthropomorphism in the Old Testament,” VTSup 7 (1959): 31-33. There is no detailed description here of what they saw (cf. Isa 6; Ezek 1). What is described amounts to what a person could see when prostrate.

2 sn S. R. Driver suggests that they saw the divine Glory, not directly, but as they looked up from below, through what appeared to be a transparent blue sapphire pavement (Exodus, 254).

3 tn Or “tiles.”

4 tn Heb “and like the body of heaven for clearness.” The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heaven” or “sky” depending on the context; here, where sapphire is mentioned (a blue stone) “sky” seems more appropriate, since the transparent blueness of the sapphire would appear like the blueness of the cloudless sky.



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