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Exodus 34:29-35

Context
The Radiant Face of Moses

34:29 1 Now when Moses came down 2  from Mount Sinai with 3  the two tablets of the testimony in his hand 4  – when he came down 5  from the mountain, Moses 6  did not know that the skin of his face shone 7  while he talked with him. 34:30 When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, the skin of his face shone; 8  and they were afraid to approach him. 34:31 But Moses called to them, so Aaron and all the leaders of the community came back to him, and Moses spoke to them. 34:32 After this all the Israelites approached, and he commanded them all that the Lord had spoken to him on Mount Sinai. 34:33 When Moses finished 9  speaking 10  with them, he would 11  put a veil on his face. 34:34 But when Moses went in 12  before the Lord to speak with him, he would remove the veil until he came out. 13  Then he would come out and tell the Israelites what he had been commanded. 14  34:35 When the Israelites would see 15  the face of Moses, that 16  the skin of Moses’ face shone, Moses would put the veil on his face again, until he went in to speak with the Lord. 17 

1 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 Lord is reflected differently today, but nonetheless reflected. II. The glory of Yahweh authenticates the message (31-32). III. The authentication of the message must be used cautiously with the weak and immature (33-35).

2 tn The temporal clause is composed of the temporal indicator (“and it happened”), followed by the temporal preposition, infinitive construct, and subjective genitive (“Moses”).

3 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.

4 tn Heb “in the hand of Moses.”

5 tn The temporal clause parallels the first temporal clause; it uses the same infinitive construct, but now with a suffix referring to Moses.

6 tn Heb “and Moses.”

7 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).

8 tn This clause is introduced by the deictic particle הִנֵּה (hinneh); it has the force of pointing to something surprising or sudden.

9 tn Heb “and Moses finished”; the clause is subordinated as a temporal clause to the next clause.

10 tn The Piel infinitive construct is the object of the preposition; the whole phrase serves as the direct object of the verb “finished.”

11 tn Throughout this section the actions of Moses and the people are frequentative. The text tells what happened regularly.

12 tn The construction uses a infinitive construct for the temporal clause; it is prefixed with the temporal preposition: “and in the going in of Moses.”

13 tn The temporal clause begins with the temporal preposition “until,” followed by an infinitive construct with the suffixed subjective genitive.

14 tn The form is the Pual imperfect, but since the context demands a past tense here, in fact a past perfect tense, this is probably an old preterite form without a vav consecutive.

15 tn Now the perfect tense with vav consecutive is subordinated to the next clause, “Moses returned the veil….”

16 tn Verbs of seeing often take two accusatives. Here, the second is the noun clause explaining what it was about the face that they saw.

17 tn Heb “with him”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.



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