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Exodus 32:28-31

Context

32:28 The Levites did what Moses ordered, 1  and that day about three thousand men of the people died. 2  32:29 Moses said, “You have been consecrated 3  today for the Lord, for each of you was against his son or against his brother, so he has given a blessing to you today.” 4 

32:30 The next day Moses said to the people, 5  “You have committed a very serious sin, 6  but now I will go up to the Lord – perhaps I can make atonement 7  on behalf of your sin.”

32:31 So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Alas, this people has committed a very serious sin, 8  and they have made for themselves gods of gold.

1 tn Heb “did according to the word of Moses.”

2 tn Heb “fell.”

3 tn Heb “Your hand was filled.” The phrase “fill your hands” is a familiar expression having to do with commissioning and devotion to a task that is earlier used in 28:41; 29:9, 29, 33, 35. This has usually been explained as a Qal imperative. S. R. Driver explains it “Fill your hand today,” meaning, take a sacrifice to God and be installed in the priesthood (Exodus, 355). But it probably is a Piel perfect, meaning “they have filled your hands today,” or, “your hand was filled today.” This was an expression meant to say that they had been faithful to God even though it turned them against family and friends – but God would give them a blessing.

4 tn The text simply has “and to give on you today a blessing.” Gesenius notes that the infinitive construct seems to be attached with a vav (ו; like the infinitive absolute) as the continuation of a previous finite verb. He reads the verb “fill” as an imperative: “fill your hand today…and that to bring a blessing on you, i.e., that you may be blessed” (see GKC 351 §114.p). If the preceding verb is taken as perfect tense, however, then this would also be perfect – “he has blessed you today.”

5 tn Heb “and it was on the morrow and Moses said to the people.”

6 tn The text uses a cognate accusative: “you have sinned a great sin.”

7 tn The form אֲכַפְּרָה (’akhappÿrah) is a Piel cohortative/imperfect. Here with only a possibility of being successful, a potential imperfect nuance works best.

8 tn As before, the cognate accusative is used; it would literally be “this people has sinned a great sin.”



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