34:29 3 Now when Moses came down 4 from Mount Sinai with 5 the two tablets of the testimony in his hand 6 – when he came down 7 from the mountain, Moses 8 did not know that the skin of his face shone 9 while he talked with him.
1 sn The expression “the finger of God” has come up before in the book, in the plagues (Exod 8:15) to express that it was a demonstration of the power and authority of God. So here too the commandments given to Moses on stone tablets came from God. It too is a bold anthropomorphism; to attribute such a material action to Yahweh would have been thought provoking to say the least. But by using “God” and by stating it in an obviously figurative way, balance is maintained. Since no one writes with one finger, the expression simply says that the Law came directly from God.
2 tn The disjunctive vav (ו) serves here as a circumstantial clause indicator.
3 sn Now, at the culmination of the renewing of the covenant, comes the account of Moses’ shining face. It is important to read this in its context first, holding off on the connection to Paul’s discussion in 2 Corinthians. There is a delicate balance here in Exodus. On the one hand Moses’ shining face served to authenticate the message, but on the other hand Moses prevented the people from seeing more than they could handle. The subject matter in the OT, then, is how to authenticate the message. The section again can be subdivided into three points that develop the whole idea: I. The one who spends time with God reflects his glory (29-30). It will not always be as Moses; rather, the glory of the
4 tn The temporal clause is composed of the temporal indicator (“and it happened”), followed by the temporal preposition, infinitive construct, and subjective genitive (“Moses”).
5 tn The second clause begins with “and/now”; it is a circumstantial clause explaining that the tablets were in his hand. It repeats the temporal clause at the end.
6 tn Heb “in the hand of Moses.”
7 tn The temporal clause parallels the first temporal clause; it uses the same infinitive construct, but now with a suffix referring to Moses.
8 tn Heb “and Moses.”
9 tn The word קָרַן (qaran) is derived from the noun קֶרֶן (qeren) in the sense of a “ray of light” (see Hab 3:4). Something of the divine glory remained with Moses. The Greek translation of Aquila and the Latin Vulgate convey the idea that he had horns, the primary meaning of the word from which this word is derived. Some have tried to defend this, saying that the glory appeared like horns or that Moses covered his face with a mask adorned with horns. But in the text the subject of the verb is the skin of Moses’ face (see U. Cassuto, Exodus, 449).