But if the ministry that produced death – carved in letters on stone tablets 1 – came with glory, so that the Israelites 2 could not keep their eyes fixed on the face of Moses because of the glory of his face 3 (a glory 4 which was made ineffective), 5
Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was,
But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was,
That old system of law etched in stone led to death, yet it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses’ face. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away.
The Government of Death, its constitution chiseled on stone tablets, had a dazzling inaugural. Moses' face as he delivered the tablets was so bright that day (even though it would fade soon enough) that the people of Israel could no more look right at him than stare into the sun.
For if the operation of the law, giving death, recorded in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the eyes of the children of Israel had to be turned away from the face of Moses because of its glory, a glory which was only for a time:
Now if the ministry of death, chiseled in letters on stone tablets, came in glory so that the people of Israel could not gaze at Moses’ face because of the glory of his face, a glory now set aside,
But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away,
that the children
[glory] was to be done away
|NET © [draft] ITL|
that produced death
on stone tablets
that the Israelites
their eyes fixed
of the glory
(a glory which was made ineffective),
|NET © Notes||
1 tn Grk “on stones”; but since this is clearly an allusion to the tablets of the Decalogue (see 2 Cor 3:3) the word “tablets” was supplied in the translation to make the connection clear.
2 tn Grk “so that the sons of Israel.”
3 sn The glory of his face. When Moses came down from Mt. Sinai with the tablets of the Decalogue, the people were afraid to approach him because his face was so radiant (Exod 34:29-30).
4 tn The words “a glory” are not in the Greek text, but the reference to “glory” has been repeated from the previous clause for clarity.
5 tn Or “which was transitory.” Traditionally this phrase is translated as “which was fading away.” The verb καταργέω in the corpus Paulinum uniformly has the meaning “to render inoperative, ineffective”; the same nuance is appropriate here. The glory of Moses’ face was rendered ineffective by the veil Moses wore. For discussion of the meaning of this verb in this context, see S. J. Hafemann, Paul, Moses, and the History of Israel (WUNT 81), 301-13. A similar translation has been adopted in the two other occurrences of the verb in this paragraph in vv. 11 and 13.