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Exodus 33:12-16

Context

33:12 Moses said to the Lord, “See, you have been saying to me, ‘Bring this people up,’ 1  but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. But you said, ‘I know you by name, 2  and also you have found favor in my sight.’ 33:13 Now if I have found favor in your sight, show me 3  your way, that I may know you, 4  that I may continue to find 5  favor in your sight. And see 6  that this nation is your people.”

33:14 And the Lord 7  said, “My presence 8  will go with you, 9  and I will give you rest.” 10 

33:15 And Moses 11  said to him, “If your presence does not go 12  with us, 13  do not take us up from here. 14  33:16 For how will it be known then that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not by your going with us, so that we will be distinguished, I and your people, from all the people who are on the face of the earth?” 15 

1 tn The Hiphil imperative is from the same verb that has been used before for bringing the people up from Egypt and leading them to Canaan.

2 tn That is, “chosen you.”

3 tn The prayer uses the Hiphil imperative of the verb “to know.” “Cause me to know” is “show me, reveal to me, teach or inform me.” Moses wanted to know more of God’s dealings with people, especially after all that has happened in the preceding chapter.

4 tn The imperfect tense of the verb “to know” with the vav follows the imperative of this root, and so this indicates the purpose clause (final imperfect): “in order that I may know you.” S. R. Driver summarizes it this way: that I may understand what your nature and character is, and shape my petitions accordingly, so that I may find grace in your sight, and my future prayers may be answered (Exodus, 361).

5 tn The purpose clause simply uses the imperfect, “that I may find.” But since he already has found favor in God’s eyes, he is clearly praying that it be so in the future as well as now.

6 tn The verb “see” (an imperative) is a request for God to acknowledge Israel as his people by providing the divine leadership needed. So his main appeal will be for the people and not himself. To underscore this, he repeats “see” the way the section opened.

7 tn Heb “and he said”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

8 sn Heb “my face.” This represents the presence of Yahweh going with the people (see 2 Sam 17:11 for an illustration). The “presence” probably refers to the angel of the presence or some similar manifestation of God’s leading and caring for his people.

9 tn The phrase “with you” is not in the Hebrew text, but is implied.

10 sn The expression certainly refers to the peace of mind and security of knowing that God was with them. But the expression came to mean “settle them in the land of promise” and give them rest and peace from their enemies. U. Cassuto (Exodus, 434) observes how in 32:10 God had told Moses, “Leave me alone” (“give me rest”), but now he promises to give them rest. The parallelism underscores the great transition through intercession.

11 tn Heb “and he said”; the referent (Moses) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

12 tn The construction uses the active participle to stress the continual going of the presence: if there is not your face going.

13 tn “with us” has been supplied.

14 tn Heb “from this.”

15 sn See W. Brueggemann, “The Crisis and Promise of Presence in Israel,” HBT 1 (1979): 47-86; and N. M. Waldman, “God’s Ways – A Comparative Note,” JQR 70 (1979): 67-70.



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